Caught the Spark

PikaRom Tuned and Matched Up for Knoxville

What’s up guys, Jon here again for another article. I took a tiny break from writing to get situated with school (I’m a senior in high school, so this is a pretty busy year for me), but I’m back now to help you guys through this season to the best of my ability!

Since my last article, Worlds has concluded, which shouldn’t be news to anyone, and we’ve gotten to see the first few major events of the 2019–20 season take off. I personally kicked off my season by playing in the Atlantic City Regional Championships and got a respectable 24th place finish with . I feel like my finish could’ve been better, but my luck in Rounds 9 and 10 was absolutely atrocious and those two loses knocked me out of Top 8 contention. Regardless, in this article, I will be going over PikaRom heading into Knoxville. With that being said, let’s go!

Atlantic City PikaRom

The List

Pokémon (14)

3 Jirachi TEU

3 Dedenne-GX

2 Pikachu & Zekrom-GX

1 Raichu & Alolan Raichu-GX

1 Zeraora-GX

1 Tapu Koko p

1 Hoopa UNM

1 Mew UNB

1 Absol TEU

Trainer (35)

4 Volkner

3 Cynthia

 

4 Custom Catcher

4 Electromagnetic Radar

4 Electropower

3 Switch

2 Energy Switch

2 Pokémon Communication

2 Reset Stamp

1 Stadium Nav

1 Tag Switch

1 Escape Board

 

2 Lysandre Labs

1 Power Plant

1 Thunder Mountain p

Energy (11)

11 Lightning

 

Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 14

* 3 Jirachi TEU 99
* 3 Dedenne-GX UNB 57
* 2 Pikachu & Zekrom-GX TEU 33
* 1 Raichu & Alolan Raichu-GX UNM 54
* 1 Zeraora-GX LOT 86
* 1 Tapu Koko p TEU 51
* 1 Hoopa UNM 140
* 1 Mew UNB 76
* 1 Absol TEU 88

##Trainer Cards - 35

* 4 Volkner UPR 135
* 3 Cynthia UPR 119
* 4 Electromagnetic Radar UNB 169
* 4 Electropower LOT 172
* 4 Custom Catcher LOT 171
* 3 Switch SUM 132
* 2 Pokémon Communication BLW 99
* 2 Reset Stamp UNM 206
* 2 Energy Switch SUM 117
* 1 Tag Switch UNM 209
* 1 Stadium Nav UNM 208
* 1 Escape Board UPR 122
* 2 Lysandre Labs FLI 111
* 1 Power Plant UNB 183
* 1 Thunder Mountain p LOT 191

##Energy - 11

* 11 Lightning Energy Energy 4

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=75346 ******

This was the list I played in Atlantic City. I played it alongside my main testing partner, Tanner Hurley. The other person in our squad was Adler Pierce, the person who pitched us the idea in the first place. Adler played 2 Hoopa as opposed to 1 Hoopa and 1 Absol. Adler made Top 64 and Tanner made Top 32 alongside myself, so I’d say the tournament for this list was a success.

On Friday…

Going into Atlantic City, I had definitely done my fair share of trash talk about PikaRom, stating that it simply wasn’t a good enough deck anymore, and that it relied too heavily on Reset Stamp. I was mainly testing a deck that relied on using multiple 1-Prizers in combination with Welder and Ninetales to win trades. It had been what Tanner and myself had been playing to Cups prior, so I had a lot of experience with it. Come time Friday before AC, we’re testing the deck and we cannot seem to get it to function. We quickly realized that it is possible to “low roll” with Welder decks, and that if you don’t find 1-of your 4 Supporters, you will just lose.

I then informed Adler of our testing and he suggested we try out PikaRom. I laughed, but I figured I’d give it a shot. To make things short, our friend the electric mouse went 5-0 against Ability ReshiZard and 2-0 against , and that was enough to convince us to play it. Normally this isn’t sufficient enough testing, but we were tired, and this had to suffice. Here’s how my event went:

Match Recaps

R1: Control … WW … 1-0
R2: Ability ReshiZard … LL … 1-1
R3: Mew Box … WLT … 1-1-1
R4: Ability ReshiZard … WLW … 2-1-1
R5: PikaRom … WLW … 3-1-1
R6: Ability ReshiZard … 4-1-1
R7: Mew Box … 5-1-1
R8: Mew Box … WLT … 5-1-2
R9: Mew Box … WW … 6-1-2
R10: PikaRom w/ Judge … WLL … 6-2-2
R11: Ability ReshiZard … LWL … 6-3-2
R12: Ability ReshiZard … WW … 7-3-2
R13: PikaRom … WLW … 8-3-2
R14: Green’s Blacephalon-GX … LWW … 9-3-2
Final: 24th

Looking back on my tournament, I think the list had a few suboptimal counts which I will get into later.

  • All of my ties in Day 1 were really weird. I think I’d have won all of those games given more time.
  • My Day 1 loss was against our very own Peter Kica who rolled me over with Welders. I made a tiny blunder at the start of Game 1 against him due to tiredness, but I likely would have lost anyway.
  • Another thing I’d like to highlight is that I went 2-0-2 against Mew Box and, as said before, I’m confident that that would have been 4-0 had I played faster. The PikaRom vs. Mew Box matchup is something that has been quite controversial lately, and once I get to the deck’s matchups (below) I will go in depth as to why.

Now that we got my /PikaRom primer out of the way, here is the list that I would play moving forward and for Knoxville:

Knoxville PikaRom

The List

Pokémon (13)

2 Jirachi TEU

3 Dedenne-GX

2 Pikachu & Zekrom-GX

1 Raichu & Alolan Raichu-GX

1 Zeraora-GX

1 Tapu Koko p

1 Hoopa UNM

1 Mew UNB

1 Pachirisu LOT

Trainer (36)

4 Volkner

3 Cynthia

 

4 Custom Catcher

4 Electromagnetic Radar

4 Electropower

3 Reset Stamp

3 Switch

2 Energy Switch

2 Pokémon Communication

1 Stadium Nav

1 Tag Switch

1 Escape Board

 

2 Lysandre Labs

1 Power Plant

1 Thunder Mountain p

Energy (11)

11 Lightning

 

Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 13

* 2 Jirachi TEU 99
* 3 Dedenne-GX UNB 57
* 2 Pikachu & Zekrom-GX TEU 33
* 1 Raichu & Alolan Raichu-GX UNM 54
* 1 Zeraora-GX LOT 86
* 1 Tapu Koko p TEU 51
* 1 Hoopa UNM 140
* 1 Mew UNB 76
* 1 Pachirisu LOT 80

##Trainer Cards - 36

* 4 Volkner UPR 135
* 3 Cynthia UPR 119
* 4 Electromagnetic Radar UNB 169
* 4 Electropower LOT 172
* 4 Custom Catcher LOT 171
* 3 Switch SUM 132
* 2 Pokémon Communication BLW 99
* 3 Reset Stamp UNM 206
* 2 Energy Switch SUM 117
* 1 Tag Switch UNM 209
* 1 Stadium Nav UNM 208
* 1 Escape Board UPR 122
* 2 Lysandre Labs FLI 111
* 1 Power Plant UNB 183
* 1 Thunder Mountain p LOT 191

##Energy - 11

* 11 Lightning Energy Energy 4

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=75346 ******

Changes

The list hasn’t changed drastically, but the changes were made for good reason. Jirachi as a count simply doesn’t make sense as 3 in this deck. If you want to find it at some point as a pivot, play 2, but if you want to start it consistently, then play 4. In Jirachi’s place I decided to add a 3rd Reset Stamp. You will sometimes find yourself discarding a Reset Stamp in the early game when it isn’t exactly optimal to use. With 3, it is almost certain that you will have Stamp at the right time.

The next cut was Absol TEU for Pachirisu LOT. The Absol was neat in Atlantic City, but sometimes I just didn’t have the Bench space for it, and other times it didn’t really make a difference in the outcome of the game. Pachirisu is actually extremely cute in the matchup. They play the pesky Fairy Charm L to stop your main attackers from attacking, but with Pachirisu we can do 60 damage to the opposing GardEon-GX, paralyze it, and discard the Fairy Charm L. This paired with a Reset Stamp to a low number can be extremely detrimental to their game. In addition to Lysandre Labs, Pachirisu helps make the GardEon matchup not a near auto-loss.

On the Fence: 4th Electropower

I am so unbelievably close to cutting the 4th Electropower. It feels as if I always end up discarding one on turn 1 with Dedenne-GX when the card is literally useless. There are a lot of cards that could reasonably go into its spot. Here are some inclusions I have considered:

  • Regice CES. Another spicy tech for a specific matchup (like Pachirisu), this time for Mew Box. This scenario happens a little less frequently, but if you use Lightning Ride-GX in combination with Power Plant and Reset Stamp, you can theoretically lock your opponent for the turn since they can’t bounce the Stadium. They have the Marshadow UNB, but in the situation they use it early or can’t find it, you can steal some wins.
  • 2nd Power Plant. Nearly all of the topdecks right now utilize GX Abilities, so having a 2nd Plant can drastically change how well you are able to disrupt your opponent over the course of the game.
  • Zapdos TEU. This is another 1-Prize attacker that can help with awkward trades. I’ve always been more a fan of Hoopa UNM, but Zapdos can dish out big damage on occasion with Electropower.
  • Bill’s Analysis. This card is pretty nuts, and I am a huge fan of Pedro’s list from Cologne. The card provides you with a lot more reach, and most of the time I’m using Cynthia, I’m looking for cards I can find with Bill’s anyway.
  • 4th Switch. Sometimes you discard your switching cards at awkward times when you don’t need them, so having the 4th switching out to make sure you always have mobility is good.

Matchups

That’s it for the list, now for the deck’s matchups. Allow me to preface this by saying that I think that PikaRom’s big selling point is its raw consistency over the other decks right now. Relying on finding Welder in order for your deck to remotely function seems iffy, but with PikaRom you don’t really have issues with setting up and doing what you want to do.

Ability ReshiZard: 55/45

This matchup is heavily dependent on how well the ReshiZard player draws. If they are able to chain multiple Welders and wipe out your attackers before you can do anything, you’ll lose. However, if you can successfully get a Full Blitz off and get the ball rolling, you should be in for a real game.

  • If your opponent is prioritizing the bigger attackers, like ReshiZard-GX and Heatran-GX, then you’ll want to have Raichu & Alolan Raichu-GX as an option, especially for the ReshiZard-GX.
  • If they are prioritizing 1-Prize attackers, such as Turtonator DRM, then your Full Blitz should be onto the 2nd PikaRom-GX to spread out your Energies in hopes of a late-game Tag Bolt-GX to hit into an attacker and a Dedenne-GX.

If they don’t get an early knockout on one of your 1-Prizers like Jirachi, then Full Blitzing onto the Zeraora-GX is also a reasonable strategy to help make the Prize trade for them awkward. You usually win by taking a big knockout paired with a Reset Stamp (and them drawing poorly off of the Stamp).

Mew Box: 45/55

This is the matchup I think is largely dependent on how good your Mew Box opponent is. I went into AC full well knowing that I had a slightly negative matchup to high-class players playing the deck, but I still went 2-0-2 against it at the event. Mew Box is one of the hardest decks to play right now, so if you catch your opponent making a mistake it is important to capitalize.

Going first is a really big advantage in this matchup because they have Wobbuffett LOT to stop your Tapu Koko p, so if you go first, try to prioritize getting value out of Koko on turn 1.

Mew UNB is also very important in this matchup as their ideal line of play will be to Knock Out a Jirachi/Hoopa, Knock Out a TAG TEAM, and finish the game off with a snipe on a Dedenne-GX by copying Venom Shot. Having Mew blocks the snipe at the end of the game, meaning unless they find Custom Catchers they have to go through another TAG TEAM.

Reset Stamp, as in many matchups, is your best friend here. Whatever you can do in order to disrupt your opponent while you take big knockouts is what you should be doing. I often find myself Stamping my opponent and Tandem Shocking, leaving the game up to a Switch (Mew Box lists commonly play 2–3, but with Stamp they can be hard to find). Power Plant also does wonders in this matchup for obvious reasons.

Regardless of their start, you’re probably going to have to get through 2 Mewtwo & Mew-GX in order to win the game, so having the ability to 1-shot them with Lightning Ride-GX is important.

Another amazing card in this matchup is Hoopa. I think I used him in all of my games in the matchup at AC. He’s a great lead as he has 130 HP and is resistant to Psychic. Leading Hoopa allows you to soften up a Mewtwo & Mew-GX for a knockout, and also forces them to use an attack other than Tag Purge to knock it out, leaving room for your TAG TEAMs to take the first 3 Prizes.

Overall the matchup is very grindy. You sometimes even end up using Tingly Return-GX (no, I’m not joking) to paralyze a Mewtwo & Mew-GX and buy time, but you should be able to navigate it once you sit down to play.

Malamar: 55/45

This matchup is affected by a multitude of things:

  1. if you go first,
  2. if they get the turn 2 attack off, and
  3. if you can successfully use Hoopa to its fullest ability.

Going first is obviously a huge advantage against a deck that relies on Evolutions to attack, but you can still easily win if you go second. Them whiffing the turn 2 attack is a possibility, and if they do you’re in an amazing spot, but if they hit it you should still be fine.

During the early stages of the game, you want to hit into a with Hoopa with Lysandre Labs in play to remove Spell Tag’s effect, leaving them with no way to 1HKO your Hoopa. It is important to only bench the Hoopa on the turn you plan on using it as prior Spell Tags or Distortion Doors can ping it, thus leaving it open to being 1-shot. If you use Hoopa correctly, it will get you 2 Prize cards and give up only 1 in return.

Tag Bolt will likely be your GX attack of choice should you get one off.

commonly doesn’t play gust effects, such as Custom Catcher, so they need to use attacks that snipe the Bench, such as Espurr’s Ear Kinesis. If one of your big guys takes a hit and is moved to the Bench, make sure to have Mew in play to deal with the pesky cat. It’s very easy to calculate Malamar’s limitations as a deck since it does the same thing the entire time for the most part. Just be prepared for an Espeon & Deoxys-GX play which is what they will try to end the game with. It is also worth noting that Stamp isn’t as effective against them as they mainly play off their board and discard pile.

Zapdos would be really good in this matchup as it trades with some of their weaker Pokémon and acts as another 1-Prizer.

PikaRom: 50/50

Naturally, the mirror is 50/50 on paper, but there are a few things to note about the matchup. There is a fair amount of luck in who draws better involved, but knowing the basic routing of Prize cards in the matchup is important as well. To start, there are multiple ways to take down this matchup:

  1. You can either be the aggressor and try to run over your opponent quickly, or
  2. you can play a slower game, trying to catch your opponent with Reset Stamp and capitalize.

Both are legitimate ways of winning, but there are times when certain routes are better than others.

Take this scenario:

You go first in the mirror. You are set up to get the turn 2 Full Blitz, but on your opponent’s turn they use their Tapu Koko p to try to get the turn 1 attack and they whiff. On your turn, if your hand allows for it, you should try to get the Tag Bolt-GX KO on their Pika because their Tapu Koko p has been exhausted. You may be more susceptible to Stamp, but you are winning board state-wise.

Another scenario:

Let’s say you use Full Blitz first, but your opponent responds with a Full Blitz of their own with 3 Electropowers, knocking you out. They may have less Prizes and more Energy than you in play, but they’ve just exhausted 3 Electropowers, so their damage cap is lower than usual. You can actually set up a Tag Bolt play to finish off the game, assuming you have taken a Prize on a Jirachi (or something similar) earlier.

The best way I can describe playing the matchup is calculating what option is correct at any given moment. In the first scenario, if you see that opportunity, you take that every day of the week, but if you don’t think it can happen reasonably, then settle for the Full Blitz and put the ball in your opponent’s court to make the first big move. If you go for the play and miss it, you’ll find yourself wasting a pair of either Custom Catcher or Electropowers, both of which are extremely important in the matchup. Once someone makes the first big play, it’s just a matter of how the Stamps play out.

Looking back at things, I don’t think all lists play Mew, so if you have Mew and your opponent doesn’t, they have one less win condition.

Another cute thing to do in the matchup is if you go first, try to shove a Zeraora-GX in their face at the end of your turn, as it is hard for them to deal with. They can ditch 2 Electropowers to get the Full Blitz knockout, assuming they get the turn 1 attack, or they can use Tag Bolt-GX with no Electropowers, leaving their 3-Energy PikaRom in the Active waiting to get Knocked Out by yours. The alternative to this is leaving a Jirachi in the Active, which is significantly worse as if they have the Full Blitz they will always use it, and it will put them at Prizes to take a knockout on a TAG TEAM and a Dedenne-GX.

Final Thoughts

That’s it for now guys. I hope I have given you some insight on my favorite play for Knoxville right now, and that you guys have an absolutely amazing start to your season. Make sure to say “Hi” if you see me at one of the upcoming events (I think I have booked everything for 2019 besides San Diego), and as always, if you have any questions just send them my way. Peace!


…and that will conclude this Unlocked Underground article.

After 90 days, we open each Underground (UG) article for public viewing. New articles are reserved for Underground members.

Underground Members: Thanks for making this article possible!

Other Readers: Check out the FAQ if you are interested in joining Underground and gaining full access to our latest content.


Reader Interactions

1 reply

  1. JL_muserwolves

    Congrats on your 2nd place finish, Jon! True to your word on playing Pikarom as well.

    I do have a couple of questions about the 2 changes that were made. Your Knoxville list did end up with the 3 count of Jirachi, which you said didn’t make any sense. What changed in your thinking between midweek and the weekend? And was it the Collect option or the extra 30 damage on Tool Buster that convinced you to play Farfetch’d over Pachirisu?

Leave a Reply

You are logged out. Register. Log in. Legacy discussion: 0