Into the Lab

Pinch-Hitter PikaRom and Aerodactyl/Welder for Worlds/DC Open (+ What Is Still My Top Pick)
“Fossils will find a way.”

Hello again readers, I’m back for the second-to-last time before we go to DC to compete in Worlds or the Open. While I am still a firm believer that Green’s ReshiZard is potentially the best choice for Day 1 and maybe Day 2 depending on Day 1’s results, I can’t justify writing about the same exact list as last time. This has led me to talk about two other decks that I am still considering as plays for Worlds. One is meta; the other has seen low amounts of hype, but I have yet to see anyone provide a solid list for it.

PikaRom

Consistency is king in a new format. is supposed to be the “most consistent deck” because it kept Mysterious Treasure when every other deck lost their consistency. However, didn’t lose as much as everything else, and, in my opinion, is just as consistent as (if not more so than) Malamar.

While ReshiZard remains my top pick, PikaRom is a close second. I don’t want to play PikaRom for Worlds, but there is no denying how strong the deck can be.

Pokémon (13)

2 Pikachu & Zekrom-GX

2 Raichu & Alolan Raichu-GX

2 Dedenne-GX

2 Zapdos TEU

2 Zeraora-GX

1 Tapu Koko p

1 Rayquaza-GX

1 Absol TEU

Trainer (36)

4 Lillie

4 Volkner

 

4 Custom Catcher

4 Electromagnetic Radar

4 Electropower

4 Pokémon Communication

3 Energy Switch

2 Switch

2 Tag Switch

1 Reset Stamp

1 Stadium Nav

 

2 Lysandre Labs

1 Thunder Mountain p

Energy (11)

11 Lightning

 

Copy List

****** Pokémon Trading Card Game Deck List ******

##Pokémon - 13

* 2 Pikachu & Zekrom-GX TEU 184
* 2 Raichu & Alolan Raichu-GX UNM 241
* 2 Dedenne-GX UNB 57
* 2 Zapdos TEU 40
* 2 Zeraora-GX LOT 86
* 1 Tapu Koko p TEU 51
* 1 Rayquaza-GX CES 160
* 1 Absol TEU 88

##Trainer Cards - 36

* 1 Thunder Mountain p LOT 191
* 2 Tag Switch UNM 209
* 1 Reset Stamp UNM 206
* 3 Energy Switch GEN 61
* 2 Switch CES 147
* 4 Lillie UPR 151
* 4 Electropower LOT 172
* 4 Electromagnetic Radar UNB 169
* 2 Lysandre Labs FLI 111
* 1 Stadium Nav UNM 208
* 4 Custom Catcher LOT 171
* 4 Pokémon Communication HS 98
* 4 Volkner UPR 135

##Energy - 11

* 11 Lightning Energy Energy 4

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=74396 ******

Card Choices (PikaRom)

In my list, you’ll notice some things that aren’t standard in PikaRom right now, but I believe they should be.

1 Absol TEU

Absol has floated in and out of competitive play since its release back in February. I think that Worlds is the perfect time for it to make its way back into PikaRom lists. This card has a massive impact on the Malamar matchup because it becomes much harder for your opponent to successfully pivot between attackers whenever you take a KO. There is also the added benefit of hampering any deck that plays Jirachi, which is certainly not a small amount of the off-meta decks.

1 Rayquaza-GX

While my current list lacks Cherish Ball or Mysterious Treasure, I have opted to play 4 Pokémon Communication in an effort to find Zapdos, Tapu Koko p, and Rayquaza-GX as often as possible. Rayquaza-GX allows us to accelerate Energy even if we manage to Prize our Tapu Koko p. Having the extra out to acceleration is something that I believe this deck sorely needs, and I would not cut for any other card.

2 Switch

Some lists have been popping up with Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX recently, and I personally think the card is mediocre at best. Yes, it is nice in the mirror match if you’re Paralyzed and have been hit with a Reset Stamp, but I personally don’t think the deck has the Bench space for another dead card. There is also the fact that you can search out Switch with Volkner, as well as the fact that Switch is not at risk of being KOed for 2 Prize cards.

4 Lillie

I’ve opted to play 4 Lillie over Cynthia for the moment, but I could see this changing in the future. This is a deck that doesn’t need to have shuffle draws as often as other decks because you can usually manage to play your hand down low enough for Lillie to be superior. However, I will acknowledge that there are times when I want Cynthia, or even Erika’s Hospitality, instead of Lillie.

2 Lysandre Labs

Unfortunately, I have been forced to build my lists to be able to deal with Shedinja when possible. Of course, that isn’t the only use for Lysandre Labs. It has utility in the Malamar matchup by turning off Spell Tags, random Escape Boards, and even Choice Helmet if a ReshiZard player has opted to play it.

1 Stadium Nav

So, I think I’ve managed to flip under 25% heads with this card in my testing, and it has still been worth the slot. Being able to Volkner for a Stadium is incredibly powerful and allows you to hit Full Blitz out of nowhere much more often.

Potential Inclusions (PikaRom)

Mewtwo & Mew-GX

This is something I’ve had floating around in my head for a while, but never bothered to test. In theory, it’s a decent card because you can switch from using Full Blitz to using Tandem Shock without having to move Energy around. This card is likely less good in a list without Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX, so I would pass on it unless you have a great reason to play it.

Xurkitree-GX

This is a cute card that can deal with some random decks. For instance, it makes Whimsicott-GX/Porygon-Z an auto-win, and it also makes -GX decks much easier to beat. Is that worth a slot? I doubt it, but who knows?

3rd Dedenne-GX

I cannot count the amount of games where I have started one Dedenne-GX and Prized the other copy. Every time that happens, I basically scoop up my cards because I can no longer be a consistent deck or draw high amounts of cards. A 3rd Dedenne-GX would solve this issue and allow us to save one for the late game more often in certain situations.

Cherish Ball

Cherish Ball actually feels kind of underpowered in this deck because of Electromagnetic Radar and Pokémon Communication providing all of our necessary search. I would play a copy if I were to add any non-Lightning GX Pokémon.

2nd Reset Stamp

Obviously Reset Stamp is going to have a pivotal role in the game going forward. Games will be won and lost based on this card, and I don’t think that’s a good thing. Unfortunately, that means we have to play it, and I have found many situations where a 2nd copy would have been helpful. Being able to discard one off of Dedechange is a major boon. I have yet to find space for the 2nd copy though.

1–2 Judge

Judge is a lot less powerful in PikaRom because it cannot abuse Power Plant. That does not mean that it is bad, however. Early-game hand disruption is something that this format is lacking, and PikaRom is one of the best decks to abuse it because it plays so many outs to Dedenne-GX to draw out of bad hands after a Judge.

The Matchup Spread (PikaRom)

Green’s ReshiZard: Slightly Unfavored

This matchup is the reason that I haven’t jumped on the PikaRom bandwagon yet. As a ReshiZard player, I am confident that I can beat PikaRom a majority of the time. This doesn’t mean it is unwinnable for PikaRom, and I would fully expect to lose a match to PikaRom at some point if I was playing ReshiZard. I already covered this matchup from ReshiZard’s perspective, but how do we play the matchup from PikaRom’s side? Well, generally, you’re going to have to Full Blitz a Volcanion to start the game, and the 3 Energy should always go to a Raichu & Alolan Raichu-GX. Your PikaRom has around a 50/50 chance of surviving your opponent’s next turn if they are playing Shrine of Punishment. If not, you’re probably safe unless they use their GX attack, which is fine for us. Assuming they KOed you, you’ll go into the Raichu TAG TEAM and hopefully use Lightning Ride-GX for a KO on a ReshiZard. Couple this with a Reset Stamp, and things will go your way. After that, you’ll have to find a way to deal with a fresh ReshiZard, and that usually involves Paralyzing it after a Reset Stamp, or using Zapdos to damage it a bit and then following up with a TAG TEAM.

Malamar: Slightly Favored

Between Zapdos, Absol, and Tag Bolt-GX, you should be able to win the game before your opponent does. It is essential that you save you Lysandre Labs in this matchup and use them when you are KOing something with a Spell Tag. You should be able to steal 2–3 KOs with your 2 Zapdos in the early game, then you’ll transition in a PikaRom and use Full Blitz to power up a 2nd PikaRom. Due to Absol, it is entirely likely that your opponent has missed an attack at this point and you’ll probably be 1–2 Prize cards ahead. If your PikaRom survives, you’ve basically won. If not, you need to use the fresh one to either power up a Raichu TAG TEAM or Tag Bolt-GX to seal up the game if you have enough Energy.

Shedinja: Favored

I usually ignore Shedinja, but in an effort to show people why it is not a bad deck, I’ll explain why PikaRom lists tend to run it over. Alright here goes:

  • 1st Prize: Zapdos or PikaRom KOs some random Basic on T1 or T2.
  • 2nd Prize: PikaRom KOs something without a Shedinja, or uses a Custom Catcher/Lysandre Labs to KO an .
  • 3rd–6th Prizes: Tag Bolt-GX takes 2 at some point, your other Custom Catchers and Lysandre Labs are capable of taking 3–4 more Prizes depending on whether or not you got a 2nd Prize for free.
  • On top of that, Tag Bolt-GX should KO a Benched Nincada or Shedinja, which prevents them from attaching one to their next Oranguru if they hadn’t already done so.

That is 8 Prize cards planned for. The matchup is favored for PikaRom if you play it well.

Dark Box: Favored

I take back everything positive I’ve ever said about this deck. It is absolutely terrible and I would not recommend playing it at any event, let alone Worlds. The strategy here is pretty straightforward: KO Weavile-GXs, maybe KO whatever TAG TEAM their Energy is sitting on, and then clean up the game with whatever you have left. Reset Stamp them down to a low hand at some point and don’t play into either of SableTar’s attacks. Easy enough, right?

Aerodactyl/Welder

This is another off-the-wall deck that has the potential to break open the meta at Worlds. It’s a single-Prize deck that can actually search out its Basics and has a Stadium that finds the necessary Evolution Pokémon in the early game. It can abuse Triple Acceleration Energy and Welder and does high damage. What’s not to like?

Pokémon (10)

4 Aerodactyl TEU

2 Hoopa UNM

4 Jirachi TEU

Trainer (39)

4 Lillie

4 Welder

 

4 Custom Catcher

4 Fossil Excavation Map

4 Pokémon Communication

4 Unidentified Fossil

3 Switch

2 Fire Crystal

2 Lure Ball

3 Escape Board

 

3 Pokémon Research Lab

1 Giant Hearth

1 Heat Factory p

Energy (11)

7 Fire

4 Triple Acceleration

 

Copy List

****** Pokémon Trading Card Game Deck List ******

##Pokémon - 10

* 4 Aerodactyl TEU 130
* 2 Hoopa UNM 140
* 4 Jirachi TEU 99

##Trainer Cards - 39

* 1 Giant Hearth UNM 197
* 2 Fire Crystal UNB 231
* 3 Pokémon Research Lab UNM 205
* 1 Heat Factory p LOT 178
* 4 Unidentified Fossil TEU 155
* 3 Escape Board UPR 122
* 4 Custom Catcher LOT 171
* 3 Switch SUM 160
* 4 Welder UNB 189
* 2 Lure Ball CES 138
* 4 Lillie UPR 151
* 4 Fossil Excavation Map FLI 107
* 4 Pokémon Communication HS 98

##Energy - 11

* 4 Triple Acceleration Energy UNB 190
* 7 Fire Energy Energy 4

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=74396 ******

Card Choices (Aerodactyl)

2 Hoopa UMN

Malamar is one of the hardest matchups for this deck, so I currently play 2 Hoopa in an effort to make it manageable. In theory, we are able to trade decently with Malamar, but Spell Tag can create issues for us.

1 Giant Hearth

Searching out your Energy when you need to Welder seems strong in this deck. Jirachi allows us to find Giant Hearth often enough to where I think 1 copy is enough.

3 Pokémon Research Lab

You might be wondering why I am not playing 4-of these. Well, you don’t always need to find it to win games. It’s more of a luxury than anything else, but it is worth the space for the times when you do hit it.

4 Fossil Excavation Map

This card functions as both a setup card and a recovery card. In a perfect world, you never need to play it as recovery because you’ll get 6 out with the Stadium and 4 Unidentified Fossils. However, that’s not realistic, so playing 4 copies of this card is necessary for the deck to function well.

2 Lure Ball

This card is the only Item that is capable of recovering Pokémon from the discard pile. It is probable that you’ll flip at least 1 heads on each Lure Ball, which means it is likely that you’ll be able to use 6 Aerodactyl in a game.

Potential Inclusions (Aerodactyl)

1 Ditto p

This is a card that I originally played in my list, but I cut it in an effort to start with Jirachi more often. There are a few different ways you could go with Ditto, but the best options I see would either be playing a Ninetales TEU or Salazzle UNB.

Aerodactyl-GX + Fighting Energy

This is something that I could see playing because of how well it can deal with PikaRom, if you’re having trouble with that matchup.

2–3 Lysandre Labs

I’m hesitant to play another heavy Stadium line, but these would make Spell Tag irrelevant and help us beat Shedinja.

1 Reset Stamp

With no great way to search it, I opted to not play a Reset Stamp, but I could easily see including it at some point. The ability to disrupt your opponent is a major boon in the format, and I doubt I’ll be able to play a deck without Reset Stamp at Worlds.

The Matchup Spread (Aerodactyl)

The strategy in each matchup is pretty similar: You basically want to stream Aerodactyls for as many turns as possible.

PikaRom: Favored

This matchup comes down to how fast your are able to start attacking. Your opponent will be forced to use TAG TEAMs to KO your 1-Prize attackers, which means that you will be trading well with them. In this matchup, it is important to use your Lure Balls well because you will likely be using 4–6 Aerodactyl in this matchup. Again, if you’re having trouble in this matchup, then I would try to find space for the Aerodactyl-GX and Fighting Energy.

ReshiZard: Slightly Favored

This matchup is similar to PikaRom because they’re forced to use TAG TEAMs to 1HKO your attackers. The biggest differences are that (1) they can’t take 2 KOs with a GX attack and (2) they’re capable of healing off the damage that you do. In this matchup, it is vital that we start attacking fast and manage to stream our attackers. Volcanion isn’t a major threat to us because it is incapable of taking a KO on an Aerodactyl in one turn.

Dark Box: Favored

Again, this deck is terrible, but I’ll talk about it anyway. In this matchup you’re going to want to target down 2 TAG TEAMs and win the match that way. The biggest thing you’re going to want to avoid is playing into Gigafall-GX. The matchup is pretty simple and straightforward. Practice it a few times, but don’t spend too much time worrying about it.

Malamar: Slightly Unfavored

Without the 2 Hoopa, you’re never winning this matchup. In this matchup you’re going to need to take the Prize lead as soon as possible. This comes in the form of taking a KO on a GX, sticking a Hoopa for a turn, or just taking the first any KO in the matchup. In a perfect world, your opponent will have to bench a Dedenne-GX or some other GX, and you’ll be able KO it to take the Prize lead.

Final Thoughts

I’ve gotten to put a lot of time into this format recently, and I think I have a decent grasp on it. Again, I am still going to say that ReshiZard is my top meta play at the moment, with PikaRom being a close second. I could easily see myself playing a deck like Aerodactyl because of how well it deals with most of the meta, but I’m super scared to play an off-meta deck for the biggest event of the season.

Obviously, I can’t even make a decision until I see the results from Day 1 and see exactly what is the most popular and what does well. I’ll likely spend most of that day running around the room trying to see what I see people playing the most and look for any interesting concepts that I haven’t seen yet.

Well, that’s all I have for today. I’m certainly very excited to continue testing this format. I’ll be back in a bit to bring you 6P’s final words before Worlds kicks off.

As always, feel free to message me with any questions that you might have about anything related to Pokémon. I also now offer coaching! Either email me (alex.schemanske@gmail.com) or PM me if interested.

Until the next one.


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