Soaring the Skies

GG Malamar w/ Dragon Talon and Blacephalon-GX/Naganadel for Worlds/DC Open
@Jose_MarreroTCG
League Cups have gone great!

Hey there 6P readers! I’m excited to be back again writing for this fantastic site as this will be my second article on here. Worlds is inching closer and closer as the weeks have gone by. I’ve been doing a lot of coaching, testing, and just getting ready for Worlds all at once. I even played in a handful of pre-Worlds League Cups, during which I won three in a row with ReshiZard, so I’ve been quite busy.

Right now I am sitting at 187/500 Championship Points and the season hasn’t really started yet, so I’m happy with my 2019–2020 season so far. That puts me currently ranked 2nd in the US/Canada Leaderboards. But you’re not here to read about pre-Worlds stuff; I’m sure players are eagerly waiting for the DC Open and the Main Event as I myself am one of those players. Having the privilege of automatically advancing to Day 2 is nice given that I am able to wait and see what happens in Day 1 to decide on my deck choice. However, that doesn’t mean I can slouch in the interim because, as I said in my latest article, the players who put the most time and effort into testing will be rewarded with better results.

For this article, I’ll be discussing two more decks that can be strong contenders for Worlds. First, I’ll start off with my own brew of Garchomp & Giratina-GX/ paired with Dragon Talon. Next, I’ll transition into Blacephalon-GX/ paired with Ninetales TEU. These two decks can be fierce competitors if piloted correctly, and today I will showcase my takes on them.

GG Malamar w/ Dragon Talon

Decklist

Pokémon – 19

4 Inkay FLI

4 Malamar FLI

3 Garchomp & Giratina-GX

1 Mewtwo & Mew-GX

1 Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX

1 Latios-GX UNM

1 Dedenne-GX

2 Giratina LOT

2 Jirachi TEU

Trainers – 31

4 Cynthia
4 Lillie

 

4 Custom Catcher

4 Mysterious Treasure

4 Switch

3 Pokémon Communication

3 Dragon Talon

2 Escape Board

 

3 Viridian Forest

Energy – 10

7 Psychic

3 Fighting

Pokémon

3 Garchomp & Giratina-GX

This card is the deck’s main attacker against other TAG TEAMs, which is why the deck plays 3 copies. Linear Attack can do 40 damage to any 1-of your opponent’s Pokémon. Leading with this, you can then transition into Calamitous Slash for a big KO. Its GG End-GX attack is nice as well because if for some reason you can’t 1HKO something that is threatening, you can discard it instead—think of a ReshiZard with Choice Helmet or a with 5+ Energy. Overall, Garchomp & Giratina-GX is one of the strongest cards to come out of Unified Minds.

1 Mewtwo & Mew-GX

I didn’t want to add this card; however, I want to have some way of healing. Miraculous Duo-GX does that, hence the 1 copy in the deck. Not to mention, you can copy other attacks if needed, such as Tag Purge or Calamitous Slash.

1 Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX

I like this card for a number of reasons. Moon’s Eclipse-GX hits for a 1HKO (with Weakness) on opposing Mewtwo & Mew-GXs while providing invincibility for the next turn. Not only that, but Moon’s Eclipse-GX can also 1HKO Blacephalon-GX. Invasion can be useful against Special Conditions, so keep that in mind.

1 Latios-GX UNM

This is a great card against TAG TEAM attackers, namely Mewtwo & Mew-GX, PikaRom, Raichu & Alolan Raichu-GX, and ReshiZard because of its Tag Purge attack. Latios-GX can also be used for its free retreat or Clear Vision-GX to nullify your opponent’s GX attack.

2 Giratina LOT

Giratina is useful attacker against Pokémon that would otherwise stifle this deck’s GX attackers, e.g., Latios-GX UNM, Altaria-GX, and Keldeo-GX. Not to mention, Distortion Door combos well with Calamitous Slash.

Trainers

4 Custom Catcher

You want to take as many cheap Prizes as you can with Garchomp & Giratina-GX which is why Custom Catcher is useful. You can eventually force the opponent into attacking into Dragon Talon with their TAG TEAM Pokémon.

3 Dragon Talon, 2 Escape Board

Putting the opponent into a situation to where they have to either pass or attack into Dragon Talon is nice, especially against a TAG TEAM-focused deck. Escape Boards are nice for Jirachi, or any of your Pokémon should they get put to Sleep or hit with Paralysis.

I’ve seen all kinds of Malamar builds, but I have yet to see any that incorporate Dragon Talon. I started to work on a list with the card, and this is it. I’m not sure if people forgot about Dragon Talon because it came out a while back in Dragon Majesty, which was a set that hasn’t produced many useful cards. However, I believe that it can now be effective.

Dragon Talon vs. Spell Tag

Dragon Talon can assist in getting 1HKOs and force the opponent into odd situations. Field Blower is no longer legal, so the only real card that can eliminate Dragon Talon’s effectiveness is Lysandre Labs, which only PikaRom plays, if they do play any. Forcing the Attacking Pokémon to take 3 damage counters immediately threatens its existence thanks to the potential of a follow-up Calamitous Slash, which is why the cards pair well together.

For example, against PikaRom, you can use Distortion Door on Pikachu & Zekrom-GX then finish it off with Calamitous Slash. However, if you also have a Dragon Talon attached, that forces the opponent to use a non-TAG TEAM attacker or Custom Catcher around the -GX, otherwise they leave themselves open to straight-up losing on next turn if they attack into Dragon Talon.

Against ReshiZard, if they attack into Dragon Talon, then you 1HKO them next turn assuming Choice Helmet isn’t attached. Really, against any TAG TEAM, Dragon Talon is phenomenal, especially if you are taking KOs with Garchomp & Giratina-GX in the meantime. You can even get multiple effects out of 1 Dragon Talon should you survive a 1HKO.

To include Spell Tag, the deck would have to be built differently with fewer Dragon-type attackers. Spell Tag can set up multiple KOs; however, you only get 1 use per Spell Tag, and that’s only after the Pokémon is Knocked Out. Spell Tag works nicely with Giratina LOT, forcing the opponent to deal with 1-Prize attackers. Another thing to note is that Spell Tag can activate even on the Bench, whereas the Pokémon with Dragon Talon has to be Active.

It comes down to personal preference on which way you want to go. There are a handful of writers that have gone over Spell Tag variants of Malamar, such as Pablo Meza, Xander Pero, and Gabriel Semedo in their latest pieces, so be sure to check those lists out if you haven’t already.

Potential Inclusions

Marshadow & Machamp-GX

Revenge can be used to surprise the opponent and take a 1HKO on something that is Weak to Fighting, such as PikaRom or attackers. If Marshadow & Machamp-GX survives into the next turn, you can transition into Hundred-Blows Impact for another 1HKO. Who knows—maybe even Acme of Heroism-GX can come in handy at some point.

Mimikyu SM99/GRI

This is a solid 1-Prize attacker that can do big damage, depending on what attack it copies. If you are able to trade 1-Prize for more than 1 Prize, then your Mimikyu has served you well.

Reset Stamp

I mentioned in my last article how much I dislike this card if you draw into it early. However, in the mid to late game, it can become useful.

But: I feel as though Reset Stamp only hurts a couple of decks. Against opposing Malamar variants, it’ll get to a point where all your opponent needs is to have attackers, because their Malamar will likely stay in play, so Reset Stamp won’t do much in the long run against them. Not to mention, Giratina LOT keeps coming back from the discard, and no amount of Reset Stamps will disrupt that.

Adventure Bag

This card can search out Dragon Talon and Escape Board, which is nice. I can see adding in 1 copy because it’ll help find the Tools easier.


With that said, let’s move onto the next deck.

Blacephalon-GX/Naganadel

Decklist

Pokémon – 16

3 Blacephalon-GX

1 Mewtwo & Mew-GX

3 Poipole LOT

3 Naganadel LOT

1 Vulpix TEU

1 Ninetales TEU

1 Persian-GX

2 Dedenne-GX

1 Ditto p

 

Trainers – 28

4 Cynthia

4 Lillie

3 Welder

 

4 Beast Ring

4 Mysterious Treasure

3 Pokémon Communication

2 Cherish Ball

 

2 Giant Hearth

1 Heat Factory p

1 Ultra Space

Energy – 16

15 Fire

1 Beast p

 

Gabriel Semedo went over Blacephalon-GX/Naganadel in his latest article, so feel free to check out his list and compare ours together as they have different ideas and techs.

Pokémon

3 Blacephalon-GX

This is the deck’s main attacker against high-HP Pokémon. Blacephalon-GX is a great attacker with three useful attacks. Bursting Burn comes in handy to try and deny the opponent from attacking while also chipping away at them with Burn. However, Mind Blown is the bread and butter of the deck and can take 1HKOs left and right. Burst-GX is mainly used either on the 1st turn of the game (assuming you’re going 2nd and have opened with Blacephalon-GX) or last turn of the game, to finish a win.

1 Mewtwo & Mew-GX

I like having the 1-of Mewtwo & Mew-GX in this deck because you only need to Lost Zone 3 Fire Energy to 1HKO an opposing Mewtwo & Mew-GX should you copy Mind Blown. Remember, you can’t Beast Ring onto it, though it still functionally serves as a 4th copy of Blacephalon-GX that isn’t Weak to Water types. You can also copy Persian-GX’s attacks if need be, even if it’s in the discard. Be aware of MewMew’s Weakness to Psychic types, and only Bench it if it’s really needed.

1-1 Ninetales TEU

Blacephalon-GX can potentially 1HKO any Active Pokémon. However, by having Ninetales TEU, you can pick off other Pokémon on the Bench before the opponent gets a chance to power them up. Not only that, Ninetales TEU puts 2 Fire Energy into the discard which can be recycled with Naganadel’s Charging Up.

0-1 Persian-GX

Persian is in the deck for its Cat Walk Ability. I decided against including Meowth, but, by all means, play it if you feel more comfortable with one. You don’t have to rely on Persian-GX all of the time, but when you are able to freely evolve into it from Ditto p, all the better.

Trainers

3 Welder

You can attack right off the bat with Mind Blown thanks to Welder. Being able to put more Fire Energy into play out of nowhere can be strong, so I upped the usual 2 count to 3. I feel in the late game, the 3rd copy can be handy, especially if you have to Dedechange Welders away early on. Welder makes it so that you can get a fully-powered Blacephalon-GX in one turn, even if you have 0 Fire Energy in play. This scenario comes up more often than you’d like, so there will be times where you are forced to Lost Zone all of your Fire Energy in play to take a KO.

4 Beast Ring

4 is for consistency’s sake; you want to find them when you need them. Blacephalon-GX relies on hitting those Beast Rings on the turn they are live. Using 2–3 Beast Ring in a given turn is what you want to do when the time comes to be able to (1) take big KOs and (2) have enough Energy in play to finish the game in a couple of turns.

4 Mysterious Treasure, 3 Pokémon Communication, 2 Cherish Ball

This deck plays a hefty amount of search cards to get Pokémon out of the deck. This is because you need to set up multiple attackers and Naganadel for the deck to function.

2 Giant Hearth, 1 Ultra Space

With the deck playing 3 Welder and Ninetales TEU, you want to have at least 2 Giant Hearth in my opinion. The card works wonders early on when you need to put Fire Energy into the discard or charge up attackers with Welder. I still like having at least 1 Ultra Space to be able to search out your Ultra Beasts.

Ninetales TEU vs. Custom Catcher

The list plays Ninetales TEU over Custom Catcher. By having Ninetales TEU, you can pick off the Bench more than twice per game, unlike you could with Custom Catcher. Not only that, but Ninetales TEU puts Fire Energy into the discard pile (as I mentioned) for Naganadel. Custom Catcher is a little more difficult to pull off unless you prioritize getting Persian-GX into play. Ninetales can sit on the Bench and do what it needs to do. If the opponent decides to take it down, then—by all means—let them because that is only 1 Prize card yielded. Remember that Blacephalon-GX can theoretically 1HKO any Pokémon anyway.

Potential Inclusions

Naganadel-GX UNM

This Pokémon can be used to draw extra cards with Ultra Conversion. The deck also plays Beast Energy p, which means you can use both Venom Shot and Injection-GX if you want to, which are nice attacking options to have.

Fire Crystal

You may want to get Fire Energy back because you discard them with Ninetales. Be wary of your Nine Temptations uses and how many Fire Energy you have in the deck, hand, Prizes, and discard as this deck depends upon them.

Conclusion

That will conclude my second article here at 6P. The top 6 decks I expect to see at Worlds, in no particular order, are:

  • Malamar variants,
  • PikaRom,
  • Green’s/Jirachi ReshiZard,
  • Dark Box,
  • Blacephalon-GX/Naganadel, and

So I recommend you familiarize yourself with these decks and learn the ins and outs of them as that will be important for Worlds. I hope my last two articles gave you insight into what we may see in DC and make your testing more efficient. I’m excited to see everyone at Worlds and have an awesome time.

Don’t forget, I do full-time coaching, so if you are interested in taking coaching lessons from me then feel free to message me either on Facebook or @Jose_MarreroTCG and we can go over the details.

If you have any questions, please feel free to leave me a comment below or message me through social media. I’ll be sure to get to back to you as soon as possible.

If you enjoyed reading my article, then please consider giving it a like. See you guys after Worlds and good luck!


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