King of the Jungle

Another Take on Mew Box/Jirachi and a Bold Blacephalon-GX/Naganadel for Knoxville
Hear me roar purr! (One last, still-different Mew Box before Knoxville.)

Hello again SixPrizes readers, today is the last article I bring to you regarding this extremely long format that we have been stuck in. Heading into the Knoxville Regional Championships, I’m going to give you a few key rules that I believe should be followed for this event, my top pick heading into the event, and a second pick which has been tested lightly and piqued my interest to the point where it is back on my radar.

First things first, I want to announce that I have finally become employed, so I will have to be a productive member of society. While this means my time has become much more limited, this is a promise that it won’t take away from my love and commitment to the competition that the Pokémon TCG brings.

Atlantic City

As you may know, I competed in the Atlantic City Regional Championships and stuck to the deck that has brought me so much success at local Cups and Challenges, Mew Box. Here’s how my tournament went.

Match Recaps

Day 1
R1: Dark Box … LWW … 1-0-0
R2: QuagNag … WW … 2-0-0
R3: Blacephalon-GX … WW … 3-0-0
R4: Ability ReshiZard … LWL … 3-1-0
R5: Mirror … WW … 4-1-0
R6: PikaRom … WLW … 5-1-0
R7: Mirror w/ Jirachi … LWL … 5-2-0
R8: Green’s ReshiZard … WW … 6-2-0
R9: Blacephalon-GX … ID … 6-2-1

Day 2
R10: QuagNag … No-Show … 7-2-1
R11: PikaRom … Decklist Error … 7-3-1
R12: PikaRom … WW … 8-3-1
R13: GardEon … WW … 9-3-1
R14: PikaRom … LWL … 9-4-1

Final: 9-4-1, 25th place

The tournament started off excellently for myself, barring the few losses that I attribute to luck. After an unfortunate scenario at deck check that led to me to a loss, I was put on tilt. My play deteriorated and I began making mistakes that led to my final record of only a Top 32 finish. I strongly believe that I could have gotten Top 8 had I been a little luckier and played a little better, but the deck was overall incredibly impressive and powerful.

Lessons Learned

  1. QuagNag and GardEon are much scarier decks than I previously imagined and deserve respect moving forward. These decks are both win-or-lose decks with no real in-between matchups, and a lot of players in Atlantic City chose to disrespect the pair, giving them respectable finishes in the Top 16. A single tech in any deck to deal with the Fairy Charms and Keldeo-GX can win you the match, so every deck should be playing an answer of some sort answer to them so you aren’t taking an uncontrollable loss. GardEon is a deck I expect to rise in popularity due to its favorable matchup against Mew Box.
  2. PikaRom should be playing more than just Lysandre Labs and Thunder Mountain p (as far as Stadiums). With a card as flexible as Stadium Nav, it makes no sense not to play a copy or two of Power Plant. The deck already boasts anti-synergy with Lysandre Labs, but Power Plant gives you a fighting chance against decks like QuagNag and Ability ReshiZard. Using Reset Stamp + Power Plant is almost as powerful as N + Garbotoxin, and PikaRom is the deck that can abuse that the best, outside of any Green’s Exploration decks. Playing counts like 1 Thunder Mountain p, 1 Lysandre Labs, and 2 Power Plant (or vice versa) would be acceptable heading into Knoxville.
  3. Pidgey.dec is real and it’s coming for you. I know this deck underperformed at the World Championships and then proceeded to get Top 4 at Sheffield piloted by Fabien Pujol, but players like myself still refused to acknowledge its strength. When in the hands of a skilled player, it goes from being a harmless bird to a lethal bird flu. Grant Manley and Sander Wojcik proved that by placing 2nd at their respective Regionals, only slightly bad luck away from taking home their respective Champion trophies.
  4. Every matchup is closer than it seems. Learning a matchup is far more important than over-teching your deck in this format. Commit to the identity of your deck and learn the intricacies of how to approach an individual matchup because that will take you through a large tournament.

Mew Bubble Box for Knoxville

pokemonscreenshots.tumblr.com

Fellow writers Pablo Meza and Jose Marrero covered their Mewtwo variants in depth, but the one that I have begun to prefer is the Jirachi build, and this is the current list that I have been liking:

Pokémon (20)

4 Jirachi TEU

3 Dedenne-GX

3 Mewtwo & Mew-GX

1 Turtonator DRM

1 Naganadel-GX UNM

1 Reshiram & Charizard-GX

1 Magcargo-GX

1 Charizard-GX HIF

1 Solgaleo-GX SM104

1 Espeon & Deoxys-GX

1 Jirachi-GX

1 Latios-GX UNM

1 Marshadow UNB

Trainer (28)

4 Welder

 

4 Cherish Ball

4 Custom Catcher

3 Mysterious Treasure

3 Switch

2 Reset Stamp

1 Energy Recycle System

1 Pal Pad

 

2 Escape Board

 

3 Giant Hearth

1 Viridian Forest

Energy (12)

9 R Energy

3 P Energy

 

Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 20

* 4 Jirachi TEU 99
* 3 Dedenne-GX UNB 57
* 3 Mewtwo & Mew-GX UNM 71
* 1 Turtonator DRM 50
* 1 Naganadel-GX UNM 160
* 1 Reshiram & Charizard-GX UNB 20
* 1 Magcargo-GX LOT 218
* 1 Charizard-GX HIF 9
* 1 Solgaleo-GX PR-SM 104
* 1 Espeon & Deoxys-GX UNM 72
* 1 Jirachi-GX UNM 79
* 1 Latios-GX UNM 78
* 1 Marshadow UNB 81

##Trainer Cards - 28

* 4 Welder UNB 189
* 4 Cherish Ball UNM 191
* 4 Custom Catcher LOT 171
* 3 Mysterious Treasure FLI 113
* 3 Switch CES 147
* 2 Reset Stamp UNM 206
* 1 Pal Pad UPR 132
* 1 Energy Recycle System CES 128
* 2 Escape Board UPR 122
* 3 Giant Hearth UNM 197
* 1 Viridian Forest TEU 156

##Energy - 12

* 9 R Energy Energy 2
* 3 P Energy Energy 5

Total Cards - 60

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This list may look familiar and that’s because it is Tristan Macek’s Top 4 list from the Atlantic City. It was a list I was dangerously close to playing for Atlantic City but chose not to because of my inexperience with the Jirachi version of the deck. Any card that forces a player to pick from a pool of cards adds a layer of skill to the deck and game. I took this list to a Cup nearby and placed Top 8, losing to some rather unfortunate luck, but the experience made me realize how powerful this version of the deck truly is.

Card Choices

1 Turtonator DRM

Why is this little guy in the deck? The simple answer is QuagNag and GardEon. Having a 1-Prize, non-TAG TEAM, non-GX attacker can swing a matchup. In both of those matchups, you will potentially have to lead with a Double Blaze-GX, which allows you to have a lot of R Energy on the board. This would make it just a Welder and an attachment away from taking out the 2nd GardEon or Keldeo-GX.

1 Reshiram & Charizard-GX

Azul chose not to play this card in his Atlantic City winning list, but I chose to play it there and I choose to continue having it in my deck moving forward. Flare Strike is a strong attack for 4 Energy, and Outrage also provides utility in case of a big swing that doesn’t take the 1-shot on you. Double Blaze-GX helps you in two of the matchups that the deck struggles to beat, QuagNag and GardEon. The card is only a real liability if you open it, but otherwise I have noticed the value of it in the deck.

0 Bill’s Analysis

Most of the lists that have performed well, including Henry Brand’s version that won the World Championships, contained Supporters not named Welder. This version is similar to the build Azul brought where Welder is the game plan and that’s the only thing that is needed. With 4 copies of Jirachi TEU, the deck gains a reliable way to find either a Welder or a Dedenne every single turn. Bill’s Analysis is a fail-safe Supporter, but Jirachi is the better option that covers the negative areas the deck has.

1 Pal Pad, 0 Mewtwo UNM

This version of the deck simply fills its Bench up too fast, so adding another card that can clog up the Bench is counterintuitive. Pal Pad serves the same purpose and Jirachi can find Pal Pad as the game progresses, so it makes much more sense to include Pal Pad.

2 Reset Stamp

Reset Stamp has proven itself to be an incredibly powerful card as the format has developed. Every deck and matchup seems evenly matched, so gaining even the smallest advantage has become crucial, and even decks as aggressive as Ability ReshiZard are sporting a single copy of this card. Jirachi makes it easy to find the card and utilize it in the correct situation to regain tempo.

Potential Inclusions

Giratina LOT

This is the only card that I want included into the deck (A) to improve your Malamar matchup and (B) as another 1-Prize attacker against decks that are Keldeo-GX-based. I chose to play Giratina over the Turtonator in Atlantic City, and I had a few games where the Distortion Door damage could have been what decided the game. You can map out your Prizes without taking them in order to avoid the negative harm that Reset Stamp would bring. Against Malamar, you can Distortion Door and use a turn 1 Cross Division-GX to eliminate a pair of Inkay that your opponent has and impede their setup.

Full Disclaimer

This is far and beyond my number one play for Knoxville because of my experience with Mew Box and lack of time and motivation to continue trying to break the UPR–HIF format. Expanded (in Richmond) is less than a month away, and two weeks after that is one of the more important tournaments of the year, LAIC in São Paulo, featuring the new set, Cosmic Eclipse. I think the format is as fleshed out as it can be and anything creative is going to get stopped in its tracks because of the established tier list.

Trade, Trade, Mind Blown

The deck that I wanted to put time into before Atlantic City but failed to do so was Blacephalon-GX. As you may have noticed, many decks opted not to play Tapu Fini UNM in Atlantic City and Cologne 🇩🇪, and that means Blacephalon-GX has a favorable matchup against most things in the format. Malamar is the only really difficult matchup, but the rest of the field is 50/50 or better with the 2-for-3 Prize trading that the deck offers. Burst-GX can always even out the trade and regain tempo out of nowhere as well.

I have a bit of a unique take on the deck, but beware it is relatively untested compared to the other lists I have written about. I typically play 40–50 games with any given deck, and due to time constraints this list has been more theorized and played closer to only 20 games than the amount I would have liked.

The List

Pokémon (16)

3 Blacephalon-GX

4 Poipole LOT

4 Naganadel-GX UNM

3 Naganadel LOT

1 Turtonator DRM

1 Dedenne-GX

Trainer (28)

4 Welder

2 Bill’s Analysis

1 Cynthia

1 Tate & Liza

 

4 Beast Ring

4 Custom Catcher

4 Mysterious Treasure

3 Cherish Ball

 

4 Ultra Space

1 Heat Factory p

Energy (16)

14 R Energy

1 Beast Energy p

1 P Energy

 

Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 16

* 3 Blacephalon-GX LOT 52
* 4 Poipole LOT 107
* 4 Naganadel-GX UNM 160
* 3 Naganadel LOT 108
* 1 Turtonator DRM 50
* 1 Dedenne-GX UNB 195

##Trainer Cards - 28

* 4 Mysterious Treasure FLI 113
* 3 Cherish Ball UNM 191
* 4 Ultra Space FLI 115
* 4 Beast Ring FLI 102
* 1 Heat Factory p LOT 178
* 4 Custom Catcher LOT 171
* 4 Welder UNB 189
* 2 Bill’s Analysis TEU 133
* 1 Tate & Liza CES 166
* 1 Cynthia UPR 119

##Energy - 16

* 1 Beast Energy p FLI 117
* 14 R Energy XYEnergy 4
* 1 P Energy SMEnergy 14

Total Cards - 60

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Looking at the list, you’re going to have a lot of questions; don’t worry, I have answers.

Card Choices

4 Naganadel-GX

For almost two years the format was ruled by Zoroark-GX + Friends, a simple formula that abused the power of an Ability called Trade. Naganadel-GX has a similar Ability, and in a deck that is so reliant on the Beast Ring turn, drawing a ton of cards seems pretty good. Venom Shot is an incredibly strong option to close out the game and a credible threat as you go on, too.

1 Turtonator DRM

This little guy makes his appearance in this list as well. The simple reason being that it is an incredibly strong 1-Prize attacker that trades well into most of the format. GardEon playing Fairy Charm UB is something I am a little scared of, so having a 1-card answer to clean out the game can be important.

2 Bill’s Analysis

This card has been incredibly strong in my testing, and finding a pair of Beast Rings with this card or a Beast Ring and the 2nd Custom Catcher can be the pieces you need to run away with the game. I have found it to be really useful in grabbing a counter Stadium to Power Plant as well. It’s just a versatile card in a combo-oriented deck like this one.

1 Cynthia, 1 Tate & Liza

I originally had 2 Cynthia in the list, but after testing a little more, I wanted a way to switch out of the Active in case a card like Muk & Alolan Muk-GX decides to be a pain for you. Raichu & Alolan Raichu-GX also has Tandem Shock which can potentially cause you to stumble for a turn and them to regain tempo on the board. One less card for a lot of potential utility is something that suits my play style.

Potenial Inclusions

Lysandre Labs

If you examine the rest of the list, there’s a lot of 4-of counts of cards, and the deck is incredibly reliant on Naganadel-GX. I was considering playing a 1-of Lysandre Labs in spot of 1 Ultra Space, but making sure you draw cards and use Ultra Conversion to draw cards every turn is important.

Fire Crystal, Brock’s Grit

These are the 61st and 62nd cards that I want to test out when I get a chance this weekend. A late-game Fire Crystal can surprise your opponent out of nowhere when paired with a Welder to end the game. Brock’s Grit was a card I wanted for a similar purpose because we’re going to be discarding so many of our Pokémon as we go through the deck, and a Brock’s Grit can serve as a potential answer to Reset Stamp later in the game. These are two cards I will be testing this Friday once I get into Knoxville and have some time on my hands, so the verdict is still out.

This is the only other deck I’ll be testing unless something spicy falls into my lap the night before the event or my pre-event nerves take over and I end up on Baby Blacephalon again somehow.

Conclusion

pokemonscreenshots.tumblr.com

Mew Box is the undisputed king of the format again after Atlantic City and Cologne Regionals where it proved that it did in fact deserve to win the World Championships. It is also the most fun deck in this format by a large margin because of all of the options that it has to offer.

I’m headed to Knoxville soon and you’ll hear from me again before Richmond when Expanded is on everyone’s mind. (Buzz buzz, baby.) I’m also excited to mention that I have joined a new team, Guardian Gaming TCG, with fellow writer Jose Marrero. I hope you guys can keep supporting me on my crazy journey.

Good luck to everyone at their tournaments and pursuit of their Worlds invite! Until next time. <3


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