It is great to be back, this time with a post-rotation, pre-Worlds article. The sun is shining, birds are chirping, and days are flying by before this year’s World Championships.
I took a glorious two-week break after NAIC after my year-long grind and realized I missed playing Pokémon for fun more than I thought I would. I headed up to New York City for a League Cup Marathon and a weekend with some friends with only one deck in my hand, PikaRom. I managed to get Top 4 at one of the League Cups, but went 1-2–drop the other two days. I did enjoy some of New York’s delicacies that it has to offer food wise, and I got to unwind. Now it’s back to being serious as we have almost exactly a month left till the big show, Worlds.
Today we’re going to go over what I think are the top 10 cards from Unified Minds that will impact the World Championships, then I’m gonna hit you guys with a deck that’s brand new to me. Just kidding—it’s going to be my favorite deck, PikaRom! I’ve seen lots of different builds going around and I’ll give you guys my take on the deck.
Unified Minds: Top 10 Impact Cards
At first glance this card seems underwhelming with a net gain of 2 only cards, but you see 6 cards from your deck and get rid of 4 cards that may or may not be useful later on. Thinning your deck without Ultra Ball is more of a hassle than I previously thought, and Reset Stamp exists, which makes deck-thinning important. Granted, an early-game Hapu is risky because you can get rid of important cards. Decks like Dark Toolbox and Mewtwo & Mew-GX Toolbox should both be playing high counts of Hapu because their strategies revolve around their discard pile.
limitlesstcg.comThis card is as vanilla as it gets, healing 50 damage from your Active Pokémon-GX, but who says vanilla is a bad thing? Sometimes you just need a scoop of vanilla ice cream after a long day, and that’s what this card is all about. Healing 50 damage can be enough to turn a 2HKO into a 3-hit KO. It isn’t going to be played in every deck, but Green’s ReshiZard gets a big boost from this card being out. Healing is at an all-time low in UPR-on, and this card can make an impact by giving you that one extra turn to regain momentum.
8. Cherish Ball
You might be wondering why this card is so low on the list, and the simple answer is that I don’t think it is going to have a place in every deck in high numbers. Some decks will prioritize Mysterious Treasure and Pokémon Communication, so I don’t think Cherish Ball will be a 4-of card in any deck heading into the World Championships. Even in PikaRom where it makes a lot of sense, it is better to play heavy counts of Electromagnetic Radar. The advantage to this card, however, is that any deck can play Dedenne-GX and have an easy way to search it out for extra dig. Cherish Ball is a good card, but it isn’t game breaking. Expect to see almost every deck sporting a copy or two, but not the full playset.
Mewtwo & Mew-GX7.
This card is potentially one of the best cards printed since Zoroark-GX because of how versatile its Ability is. Perfection allows you to use the attacks of any Pokémon-GX or -EX on your Bench or in your discard pile, if you have the required Energy to use the attacks. There are strong Pokémon-GX that aren’t played because they are Stage 2s that require setup, but imagine taking that stipulation away and accelerating Energy to this guy who can do anything. This card will make a splash at Worlds and be strong headed into the future as well. The question is how will people build around it? Mina and Welder seem to be the most popular engines right now, and cards like Altaria-GX are making their way into lists to counter Wall decks and the mirror. I’m excited to see where this card goes but personally I haven’t put much time into testing it yet.
6. Mega Sableye & Tyranitar-GX
This card is the definition of a clean-up crew. Greed Crash does 210 damage and if your opponent’s Pokémon is a GX or EX, then you take an extra Prize, so even that meek Dedenne-GX on the Bench becomes a TAG TEAM if Tyranitar wants it to be. Gigafall-GX is a devastating attack if you can get 10 Energy on the board and pull off the secondary effect. Pitching 15 cards off the top of your opponent’s deck can be game ending and a sneaky option to close out the game if the opponent is playing recklessly. In testing, one of my friends just waited and used Naganadel to Charge Up 2 Energy a turn and attach 1 from hand until he could pull off that play, and I couldn’t find my Custom Catchers to stop it from happening. It was one of the funniest things to happen to me in a testing game, but I know I would be mortified if that happened to me in a tournament.
Umbreon & Darkrai-GX5.
In addition to being my favorite Pokémon, Umbreon is also partnering with the Pitch-Black Pokémon to create chaos. Both attacks are incredibly powerful. Black Lance is Darkrai-EX DEX’s Night Spear except incredibly powered up. 150 damage to the Active for 3 Energy and it also does 60 to a Benched GX or Pokémon-EX? That sounds really good to me already. But wait, there’s more! Dark Moon-GX is one of the strongest attacks I’ve ever seen if you can pull off the secondary effect, which should be doable with Weavile-GX. Note that Dark Moon-GX doesn’t say Item cards, but Trainer cards. That includes Stadiums, Supporters, and Tools, too. Imagine Dark Moon-GX paired with a Reset Stamp. This card can come out of nowhere, take out one of your biggest threats on board, and cripple your entire next turn.
The previous two cards on my list are only good because of this card, but it often takes just one card to make an archetype. Weavile-GX gives birth to Dark Toolbox decks with the various forms of Energy acceleration that exist in the format. Weavile’s Ability Shadow Connection gives us glimpses of the past in the form of Fairy Box in the 2014 era. The scariest part of facing any Toolbox deck is not being able to deal with the all tools it contains effectively. Weavile-GX is the catalyst that allows you to shift gears to whichever route you’d like to take, and that’s what makes this card so good, frankly terrifying to play against.
Garchomp & Giratina-GX3.
Malamar is the most obvious beneficiary of Guzma hitting the road, but the deck has lacked a big hitter to take out TAG TEAMs easily. With Giratina LOT and Spell Tags, setting up for a Calamitous Slash–KO should become customary. Viridian Forest is already the Stadium of choice for most Malamar decks, so throwing in a couple of F Energy and 2–3 of this guy makes the deck scary. GG End-GX isn’t something I think will be utilized because there isn’t going to be a card that threatens Malamar to the extent wanting to discard it. You don’t have to throw this guy down until you need him and he’s searchable with Mysterious Treasure, which makes him an easy inclusion. I think he’s going to be a star in Malamar decks for the World Championships.
2. Giant Hearth
If we had this card during SUM–UNB, ReshiZard would have been the undisputed best deck in the game. This Stadium is absolutely bonkers for ReshiZard. Being able to pitch a card every turn and grab 2 R Energy is incredible when your deck runs on a Welder engine. Green’s Exploration gives you tons of options for Stadiums to play alongside it, like Power Plant or Heat Factory p, but an early Giant Hearth can get 2 ReshiZard set up with incredible speed, putting crazy pressure on the opponent.
limitlesstcg.comI know this is a boring and obvious card to have at the top of the list, but I cannot stress how much it changes the way we play games now. Most lists will play 1–2 Reset Stamp because with the limited disruption we have in this format, every deck can set up and pull off their game plan. The Stamp comes in (1) when you need to make your big move and hope your opponent cannot respond after burning resources or (2) after taking out something crucial with a Custom Catcher combo. Reset Stamp also makes cards like Alolan Ninetales-GX LOT and Green’s Exploration better because they can now search out a disruption card. After playing a few games of UPR-on, I realized how crippling this card can be if played at the right time.
Stadium NavHonorable Mention:
limitlesstcg.comThere are a lot of decks that revolve around having a turn 1 or turn 2 Stadium in UPR-on, and I think that a single copy of Stadium Nav could help ensure that you get that Stadium early. Granted, another copy of that Stadium might be better, but I like the design of this card and think that it could see play, especially in decks like PikaRom where you’re already playing so many cards per turn. It’s not quite good enough to crack the top 10, but it is a card that I want to try out.
UPR-on PikaRom v1.10
If you guys don’t know yet, I really like PikaRom as a deck. The deck has carried me to my Top 16 NA berth this year and given me a longtime goal of Top 8 at an International Championship. Why turn my back on it now? This is the cornerstone of testing for UPR-on because everyone already knows how powerful the deck is. The question is how do we make it so that it consistently sets up and does massive damage turn after turn? This is the list that I’m at after about 10 games of UPR-on, so it’s still a work in progress.
Pokémon – 12
2 Pikachu & Zekrom-GX
Trainers – 36
Energy – 12
The Krabby Patty Formula
Why do we have 3 of these guys? Because it’s the main engine to draw cards in the deck. Normally we won’t use more than 2 in a game, but having 1 Prized when only playing 2 would be tragic. We want to follow up our first turn with a bang on the second. Dedenne serves dual purpose in getting Energy in the discard as well as fetching us a brand new hand of 6 without using our Supporter for the turn. Also, remember that we’re an Electromagnetic Radar-based deck, which helps us find Dedenne with ease.
Zeraora is instrumental in helping us move freely between attackers and do whatever we want. The idea behind playing 2 is the same as it is with playing 3 Dedenne-GX. We are only ever using 1 copy, but prizing it can be game-losing if we only play one.
2 Raichu & Alolan Raichu-GX
I was surprised at how much I liked this card after thinking it wouldn’t be enough. The extra HP over PikaRom makes it a better attacker in the ReshiZard matchup, and it still hits for big numbers. This is a great place to Full Blitz your Energy rather than onto another PikaRom because it gives you more options throughout a game.
With the Turbo engine that this deck sports, the game plan is to get ahead and stay ahead. Eventually you’ll have burned a lot of resources, like Custom Catchers, Volkners, and Energy even. Oranguru allows you to put back the one or two missing pieces you need to close out the game in the following turn.
Prizing Tapu Koko p can be more troublesome now than ever, so having another way to get an Energy onto the board is important. With the heavy counts of Energy movement cards that this deck plays (i.e., Energy Switch and Tag Switch), we can get an Energy onto the board with Rayquaza, move it to our desired target, and then try to Super Scoop Up Rayquaza for a second round of Storm Winds.
Cynthia, 2 Erika’s Hospitality, 0 Lillie2
I firmly believe that Lillie doesn’t do enough in this format. The deck almost always wants to use Volkner turn 1 to find Electromagnetic Radar, unless you were to open with Lillie, and even then you want to be using a Dedenne-GX on the first turn to pitch cards into the discard and see more cards. Cynthia helps when you have an awkward hand that you can’t afford to Dedenne-GX away. Erika’s Hospitality has always been a Supporter that I liked, and now with Reset Stamp in the format, Erika’s provides somewhat of a hard counter to that card. Erika’s is also versatile in the early and mid game because you can lower your hand size with Electromagnetic Radar and then try to find the other Custom Catcher or another piece you may need to have a strong turn.
Super Scoop Up3
The undiscovered gem that closed out SUM–UNB’s version of PikaRom is back. This time the card has more value because we have Tag Switch to move Energies from one TAG TEAM onto another. With cards like Rayquaza-GX and Dedenne-GX cluttering up the Bench, we need a way to reset them. It can even pick up a damaged PikaRom or ChuChu TAG TEAM. As I mentioned earlier, healing is at an all-time low and I think one good heal could change the outcome of a game entirely.
This could easily be another Lysandre Labs, but I want to try the option to Volkner for this card and get a Thunder Mountain p or Lysandre Labs.
That’s all from me folks. My initial testing is underway and I have a long way to go until I feel comfortable with the format, but I’m excited to explore the possibilities. I keep building lists for decks that might not even be good, like Rayquaza-GX/Hat Ladies:
Pokémon – 15
1 Mew UNB
Trainers – 31
4 Pokégear 3.0
Energy – 14
You’ll hear from me two more times before the World Championships and DC Open, so hopefully I have more juicy decks ready by then to satiate appetites.
Two things before I close it out:
- I am back to full-time coaching, so please feel free to contact me on Facebook or Twitter for help preparing for League Cups, Worlds, DC Open, or the next season in general.
- The second thing is that if you have any questions about getting to Worlds or what there is to do in the area, feel free to message me on social media as well. (I am a DC native.)
This has been your favorite Chef Rahul, and thank you for visiting my kitchen today! Until next time, readers.
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