To Go Full Berserk

ReshiBlowns 2.0 and PikaRom in My Pocket (for That Tournament This Weekend)
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Hello everyone, I’m finally back after a month off from writing. Although I haven’t put out an article since before NAIC, if you’ve been following me on Twitter you’ll have seen lists I’ve shared for some of my top choices heading into Worlds this week. This format has me super excited because it’s the first time since I’ve been playing (and ever?) that the format rotation has happened prior to the World Championships, which means there is a lot of room for creativity and deck ingenuity.

As mentioned before, I have been actively posting lists on Twitter. The first deck I posted was a Green’s Exploration-engine Blacephalon-GX deck which I named “ReshiBlowns” for fun. I have received tons and tons of DMs from people asking me about this deck and how to pilot it because it’s a “new” archetype, even though it uses mostly old cards. Here is the original list I posted on my Twitter.

ReshiBlowns: The Original

Pokémon (8)

4 Blacephalon-GX

1 Reshiram & Charizard-GX

2 Meowth UNB

1 Persian-GX

Trainer (35)

4 Green’s Exploration

4 Welder

2 Erika’s Hospitality

1 Lt. Surge’s Strategy

 

4 Beast Ring

4 Cherish Ball

4 Custom Catcher

4 Pokégear 3.0

2 Fire Crystal

2 Switch

 

3 Giant Hearth

1 Heat Factory p

Energy (17)

16 Fire

1 Beast p

 

Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 8

* 4 Blacephalon-GX LOT 52
* 1 Reshiram & Charizard-GX UNB 20
* 2 Meowth UNB 147
* 1 Persian-GX UNB 149

##Trainer Cards - 35

* 1 Heat Factory p LOT 178
* 4 Cherish Ball UNM 191
* 2 Erika’s Hospitality TEU 140
* 3 Giant Hearth UNM 197
* 4 Welder UNB 189
* 2 Switch SUM 132
* 1 Lt. Surge’s Strategy UNB 178
* 2 Fire Crystal UNB 173
* 4 Green’s Exploration UNB 175
* 4 Pokégear 3.0 UNB 182
* 4 Custom Catcher LOT 171
* 4 Beast Ring FLI 102

##Energy - 17

* 1 Beast Energy p FLI 117
* 16 Fire Energy Energy 2

Total Cards - 60

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Card Choices

3 Giant Hearth

As you can see, this is not a normal Blacephalon-GX deck. The main focus of the deck, and why I believe it to be powerful, is Giant Hearth. This card is on such a high power level that it singlehandedly improves all Fire decks until it rotates.

1 Reshiram & Charizard-GX

In addition to Blacephalon-GX, I included a ReshiZard which is where the name ReshiBlowns comes from. The inclusion of ReshiZard was pretty obvious to me as it is an incredibly powerful attacker. It doesn’t affect the Prize trade unless playing against another Blacephalon-GX deck, in which case you just don’t use ReshiZard. The flexibility of tanking damage on top of having a Shred-like GX attack and dealing a ton of damage make it a vital part of the deck.

After that glowing assessment you might say “Why not play 2 copies?” Well, I don’t want to start with it in matchups where it’s bad, and on top of that, the main focus of the deck is to spew Energies onto the board via Welder and Beast Ring, so it’s usually not an issue if it’s Prized.

2-1 Persian-GX

The next focus of the deck is the 2-1 Persian line. At first you might say “Why include an Evolution line with an unsearchable Basic (Meowth)?” Well, this was the original concept list for the deck and through testing I found that setting Persian up spelled almost immediate doom for my opponent, regardless of archetype. Cat Walk is such an insane Ability that Persian was an auto-include in my eyes, even if Meowth couldn’t be searched out.

As time progressed, though, and the format matured, I saw more complex ideas being tested, which put the deck in a weird state. Getting Persian-GX out became a deciding factor in some games; however, it can often function without it.

ReshiBlowns: 2.0

Now, onto the updated list with much needed inclusions.

Disclaimer: I tend to first build decks geared toward straight consistency to determine if they’re worth playing. If a deck cannot function with maximum consistency, then it most certainly cannot function with tech cards.

Pokémon (8)

4 Blacephalon-GX

1 Reshiram & Charizard-GX

2 Meowth UNB

1 Persian-GX

Trainer (36)

4 Green’s Exploration

4 Welder

 

4 Cherish Ball

4 Custom Catcher

4 Pokégear 3.0

3 Beast Ring

2 Fire Crystal

2 Reset Stamp

2 Switch

1 Great Potion

1 Pokémon Communication

 

2 Giant Hearth

2 Power Plant

1 Heat Factory p

Energy (16)

15 Fire

1 Beast p

 

Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 8

* 4 Blacephalon-GX LOT 52
* 1 Reshiram & Charizard-GX UNB 20
* 2 Meowth UNB 147
* 1 Persian-GX UNB 149

##Trainer Cards - 36

* 1 Heat Factory p LOT 178
* 1 Pokémon Communication BLW 99
* 4 Cherish Ball UNM 191
* 1 Great Potion UNM 198
* 2 Giant Hearth UNM 197
* 4 Welder UNB 189
* 2 Reset Stamp UNM 206
* 2 Switch SUM 132
* 2 Fire Crystal UNB 173
* 2 Power Plant UNB 183
* 4 Green’s Exploration UNB 175
* 4 Pokégear 3.0 UNB 182
* 4 Custom Catcher LOT 171
* 3 Beast Ring FLI 102

##Energy - 16

* 1 Beast Energy p FLI 117
* 15 Fire Energy Energy 2

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=74471 ******

The Updates

2 Reset Stamp + 2 Power Plant

With the updated list I was able to add format-defining cards such as Reset Stamp and Power Plant. The fact that they’re so good in combination with each other on swing turns makes the 2-counts included, in my opinion, optimal.

1 Pokémon Communication

In addition to that, I was able to add a Pokémon Communication which can fetch out that important (and sometimes elusive) Meowth.

1 Great Potion

Another crucial inclusion has been Great Potion. This card can win games by catching opponents off guard. The ability to all of a sudden heal and present a fresh attacker can spell disaster for some non-GX decks.

The Kill Combo

The main combo you want to pull off comes on your Beast Ring turn. During this crucial turn, the optimal board state you want to achieve is:

  1. Persian-GX set up and ready to go,
  2. a couple of Blacephalon-GX on the Bench, and
  3. a hand with 2-of the combo pieces (Power Plant, Reset Stamp, and Beast Ring) needed to go full berserk.

The “kill combo” revolves around using Cat Walk to fish out the remaining pieces so that you can play multiple Beast Ring, Reset Stamp, and Power Plant at the same time. A common play is to Cat Walk for Power Plant to activate your Green’s Exploration (which can be used because Persian-GX now no longer has an Ability).

This swing turn is so crucial and in most games seals the deal. Your board state ends up looking like two fully-charged Blacephalon-GX, a Persian-GX, and a hand that can respond to anything because of Cat Walk.

Besides this combo, the deck plays itself and its hand. The ability to draw/thin 2 cards from your deck on most turns with Giant Hearth makes the deck run more smoothly than one might initially think.

Potential Inclusions

Hoopa UNM + Lysandre Labs

This deck inherently struggles with non-GX decks such as . The combination of Spell Tag, Distortion Door, and the constant stream of Giratina makes the matchup tough. The inclusion of Hoopa and Lysandre Labs can let you trade 2-for-1 with Giratina and win the Prize trade.

More Heal

You can add additional copies of Great Potion. While I personally don’t think it’s optimal, your major weakness is non-GX decks and this can help with that.


Other than a combination of these two techs, I don’t think that any other tech options, such as Tapu Fini UNM for mirror, etc., are viable for ReshiBlowns. The deck is consistent enough to compete with all of the top tier archetypes in this format. The only worrisome part is, as mentioned, that Tapu Fini exists. It can seriously hurt you if included in a top tier deck. The Prize swing it initiates is often too much to overcome.

PikaRom

Transitioning to UPR-on, was one of the decks that lost the least amount of cards essential to its success (namely Nest Ball and Choice Band). It also gained a couple of new tools which keep it at tier 1.

I admittedly have not played PikaRom at any major tournament since its release, but it’s a deck that’s always in my back pocket and I have built at all times. I’ve tested extensively with it and against it because it is so popular and you need to understand its ins and outs, no matter what deck you play. Needless to say, I feel like my PikaRom list is fairly optimized and it is one of my top choices heading into the World Championships.

Pokémon (11)

2 Pikachu & Zekrom-GX

2 Raichu & Alolan Raichu-GX

2 Dedenne-GX

1 Zeraora-GX

1 Rayquaza-GX

1 Tapu Koko p

1 Zapdos TEU

1 Hoopa UNM

Trainer (38)

4 Cynthia

3 Erika’s Hospitality

3 Volkner

 

4 Electromagnetic Radar

4 Electropower

4 Energy Switch

3 Switch

2 Cherish Ball

2 Custom Catcher

2 Reset Stamp

2 Tag Switch

1 Great Potion

1 Pokémon Communication

1 Stadium Nav

 

1 Lysandre Labs

1 Thunder Mountain p

Energy (11)

11 Lightning

 

Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 11

* 2 Pikachu & Zekrom-GX TEU 33
* 2 Raichu & Alolan Raichu-GX UNM 54
* 2 Dedenne-GX UNB 57
* 1 Zeraora-GX LOT 201
* 1 Rayquaza-GX CES 109
* 1 Tapu Koko p TEU 51
* 1 Zapdos TEU 40
* 1 Hoopa UNM 140

##Trainer Cards - 38

* 1 Thunder Mountain p LOT 191
* 2 Tag Switch UNM 254
* 4 Energy Switch ROS 109
* 2 Custom Catcher LOT 231
* 3 Volkner UPR 156
* 3 Switch SUM 160
* 2 Cherish Ball UNM 191
* 1 Lysandre Labs FLI 111
* 4 Electropower LOT 232
* 1 Great Potion UNM 198
* 3 Erika’s Hospitality TEU 174
* 4 Cynthia UPR 148
* 1 Stadium Nav UNM 208
* 1 Pokémon Communication TEU 196
* 4 Electromagnetic Radar UNB 230
* 2 Reset Stamp UNM 253

##Energy - 11

* 11 Lightning Energy GRI 168

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=74471 ******

Let’s go over a few things you might notice about my list.

The Supporters

0 Lillie

I play no Lillie. From my extensive testing of UPR-on, I have found Lillie to be a lackluster Supporter, not only for PikaRom but most other decks as well. Sure, the ability to draw up to 8 on turn 1 is powerful, but the card has such an insane drop-off in power level after turn 1 that I think it hinders your deck. This can be mostly attributed to the fact that Ultra Ball and Nest Ball rotated, which in turn has led to less thinning options in the format. 4 copies of Electromagnetic Radar is not enough, and if your starting hand does not contain it alongside a Lillie then you’re almost always better off using a guaranteed search card such as Volkner or good shuffle draw like Cynthia.

3 Erika’s Hospitality

The inclusion of Erika’s Hospitality was made because of its incredibly high power level mid to late game. The option to keep a 4-card hand and draw a potential 6 cards on top of it is strong and helps dig for cards when you need something that Volkner cannot fish.


Other than the unorthodox Supporter line, the list is streamlined. There are, however, some tech options that I have chosen to include.

The Techs

1 Hoopa UNM

Hoopa is included to solidify the Malamar matchup. In combination with the next card on this list (Lysandre Labs), Malamar has a tough time responding. The main issue in that matchup is the ability for Malamar to trade efficiently with their never-ending Giratina LOT loop. When you drop down a fresh Hoopa, KO a Spell Tagged Giratina with Lysandre Labs in play, and Reset Stamp your opponent, they often fumble to regain footing.

Important Note: Since almost every Malamar variant is playing Spell Tag, Hoopa UNM without Lysandre Labs is, in my opinion, not enough of a counter because Spell Tag damage corrects the Resistance math on Hoopa.

1 Lysandre Labs

While I have chosen to include only 1 copy, this card is a key part of the format. Sure, it has its niche potential to counter Shedinja; however, I’m not playing it for that. Its main use is to deal with other Tool cards, most notably Spell Tag and Fairy Charm L. I anticipate some kind of Fairy control decks making an appearance at Worlds and I want to be prepared. This tournament will showcase deck-building skills, and your decklist decisions can make or break your tournament run. As I have to grind through Day 1, I want to have options to deal with anything that gets thrown my way.

1 Great Potion

Great Potion is the latest addition I have made to the deck. Not only is it powerful versus non-GX decks that need to 2-shot you, it is a key component versus Green’s ReshiZard. Your go-to attacker in that matchup is Raichu & Alolan Raichu-GX which survives Flare Strike + Shrine of Punishment. However, not being able to find one of your two Stadiums may spell disaster as the residual Shrine ticks could end up Knocking Out your Raichu. Play 1 copy of this card and that situation is less likely to occur. You don’t need to rely on the inconsistency of Super Scoop Up to get the effect you desire.

1 Rayquaza-GX

While I wasn’t a fan of this card prior to rotation, I think it is an essential part of PikaRom going forward. The loss of Nest Ball has made finding Tapu Koko p a rough task. Adding multiple copies of Pokémon Communication isn’t optimal. Cherish Ball in combination with Rayquaza-GX more often than not gets the job done, as you usually only need 1 extra Energy to pull off the turn 1 or 2 Full Blitz.

2 Tag Switch

I have seen many lists keep this at the minimum of 1, and that is questionable in my eyes. The versatility of this card is amazing. The ability to safely Full Blitz to the Bench and threaten a Tag Bolt-GX is too strong to pass up. With the loss of Guzma, having immediate access to Bench knockouts is, by itself, an inherently powerful option. I’m playing two because you might discard one early while setting up and you need one in most games.

2 Custom Catcher

I’m not the biggest fan of this card. Outside of Green’s Exploration-based decks, it’s not consistent enough in my eyes. I have chosen to include 2 copies for those games where your setup is ideal and you don’t discard crucial resources early. I do think playing 3–4 has merit; however, I cannot find the space for them in my list. I have been more than happy at times with 2, and sometimes I could see myself cutting to none.

1 Stadium Nav

This is one of those auto-include cards in PikaRom this format. The ability to search out Thunder Mountain p is so powerful that it offsets the handicap of being a flip card. The one-in-four chance to whiff is tolerable.

Conclusion

With Worlds coming up in a few days, I hope everyone reading this article got a bit of my perspective on the meta heading into the tournament. I feel confident about these two decks, and if nothing spicy falls into my lap between now and Thursday 8PM, I will be locking in either ReshiBlowns or PikaRom.

In its totality, this format feels sort of stale because of the small card pool; however, there is still an excitement about it. I know I’m excited to see what does well this weekend. Good luck to everyone competing in Worlds and the DC Open. As always, if you want additional advice, feel free to DM me on Twitter @PeterJoltik and always come say hi at tournaments!


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