Tales from the Crypt

Spiritomb/Ultra Beasts (History, Lists, Cards, and Matchups) for Richmond
You will be in grave danger facing this deck…

Hello again readers, I’m back with you today after a somewhat successful run in Knoxville. I made Day 2, but had a mediocre Day 2 and ended up finishing in Top 64. I played a Malamar list that was somewhat similar to the one I posted last time, so if you want to read about most of the techs I opted to play, go check that out. I’ll mention a few specific things about my list that I didn’t cover last time, but for now I have a new focus: Expanded. Simultaneously one of my favorite and least favorite things about the Pokémon TCG. Ironically, I spent just as much time during my weeks grinding Expanded games as I did Standard.

Today, I’m going to go over the deck that I accidentally fell in love with and have poured so much effort into making good. Some of you probably know what deck I’m talking about: /Ultra Beasts. (No, not , though that would have been a good guess, but I have no idea how I would make Groudon good anymore. Maybe that’ll be my next project.)

Spiritomb/Ultra Beasts

A History

Before I do anything else, I feel like it’s necessary to explain how this deck came about. Way back before Origins last year, my friend Wes Hollenberg and I were trying to build something for Expanded League Cups that wasn’t meta and was more fun than anything else. So naturally, we built some nonsense deck. Our first game on PTCGO’s ladder, and our opponent opens 4 Spiritomb and immediately drops Black Market p. I quickly scooped that game, but the idea of Spiritomb got stuck in my head, and we drafted up a list (the PTCGO one that we played against was atrocious).

We played two games against , which was the deck to beat at the time, and demolished it. We were sold on Spiritomb and that was that. I made Top 8 at both League Cups, and we decided that Spiritomb was actually a decent deck and not just a meme. My list has floated around for months now, seeing decent success when played, but until now, it’s never been dissected and discussed by its creator.

The Original List

Pokémon (10)

4 Spiritomb UNB

1 Oranguru SUM

1 Buzzwole FLI

1 Kartana UNB

1 Pheromosa & Buzzwole-GX

1 Marshadow SLG

1 Mew UNB

Trainer (42)

3 Professor Sycamore

2 N

2 Teammates

1 Cynthia

1 Guzma

1 Professor Kukui

 

4 Level Ball

4 Roller Skates

4 Trainers’ Mail

4 VS Seeker

2 Switch

1 Damage Mover

1 Nest Ball

1 Rescue Stretcher

1 Special Charge

1 Ultra Ball

3 Hustle Belt

1 Choice Band

1 Computer Search

 

3 Team Magma’s Secret Base

1 Black Market p

Energy (8)

4 Rainbow

2 Darkness

1 Beast p

1 Prism

 

Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 10

* 4 Spiritomb UNB 112
* 1 Oranguru SUM 113
* 1 Buzzwole FLI 77
* 1 Kartana UNB 19
* 1 Pheromosa & Buzzwole-GX UNB 1
* 1 Marshadow SLG 45
* 1 Mew UNB 76

##Trainer Cards - 42

* 3 Professor Sycamore STS 114
* 1 Computer Search BCR 137
* 1 Rescue Stretcher BUS 165
* 2 N FCO 105
* 4 Trainers’ Mail ROS 92
* 3 Hustle Belt CES 134
* 2 Switch SUM 160
* 1 Damage Mover SLG 58
* 3 Team Magma’s Secret Base DCR 32
* 1 Nest Ball SUM 158
* 2 Teammates PRC 141
* 1 Special Charge STS 105
* 1 Black Market p TEU 134
* 1 Cynthia UPR 148
* 4 VS Seeker ROS 110
* 1 Guzma BUS 143
* 1 Choice Band BUS 162
* 1 Professor Kukui SUM 148
* 4 Roller Skates PHF 103
* 1 Ultra Ball DEX 102
* 4 Level Ball NXD 89

##Energy - 8

* 1 Beast Energy p FLI 117
* 2 Darkness Energy SMEnergy 7
* 4 Rainbow Energy CES 183
* 1 Prism Energy NXD 93

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=75449 ******

Obviously this one is a bit outdated, but this is where we were at the end of Origins. I’m just providing it here as a reference.

The Updated List

Pokémon (12)

4 Spiritomb UNB

1 Oranguru SUM

1 Buzzwole FLI

1 Kartana UNB

1 Pheromosa & Buzzwole-GX

1 Jynx UNM

1 Marshadow SLG

1 Mew FCO

1 Mew UNB

Trainer (40)

3 Professor Sycamore

2 N

2 Teammates

1 Cynthia

1 Guzma

1 Pokémon Ranger

1 Professor Kukui

 

4 Level Ball

4 Trainers’ Mail

4 VS Seeker

3 Roller Skates

2 Switch

1 Nest Ball

1 Rescue Stretcher

1 Special Charge

3 Hustle Belt

1 Choice Band

1 Computer Search

 

3 Frozen City

1 Black Market p

Energy (8)

4 Rainbow

2 Darkness

1 Beast p

1 Prism

 

Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 12

* 4 Spiritomb UNB 112
* 1 Oranguru SUM 113
* 1 Buzzwole FLI 77
* 1 Kartana UNB 19
* 1 Pheromosa & Buzzwole-GX UNB 1
* 1 Jynx UNM 76
* 1 Marshadow SLG 45
* 1 Mew FCO 29
* 1 Mew UNB 76

##Trainer Cards - 40

* 3 Professor Sycamore STS 114
* 1 Computer Search BCR 137
* 1 Rescue Stretcher BUS 165
* 2 N FCO 105
* 4 Trainers’ Mail ROS 92
* 3 Hustle Belt CES 134
* 2 Switch SUM 160
* 3 Frozen City PLF 100
* 1 Nest Ball SUM 158
* 2 Teammates PRC 141
* 1 Special Charge STS 105
* 1 Black Market p TEU 134
* 1 Cynthia UPR 148
* 4 VS Seeker ROS 110
* 1 Guzma BUS 143
* 1 Choice Band BUS 162
* 1 Professor Kukui SUM 148
* 3 Roller Skates PHF 103
* 1 Pokémon Ranger STS 104
* 4 Level Ball NXD 89

##Energy - 8

* 1 Beast Energy p FLI 117
* 2 Darkness Energy SMEnergy 7
* 4 Rainbow Energy CES 183
* 1 Prism Energy NXD 93

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=75449 ******

This is where I currently am with the deck. I am unfortunately accepting a hard loss to Espeon & Deoxys-GX. There’s no great way to remedy that, but I’ll talk about the methods that do exist. A lot of time has been sunk into this deck, and I think that it stands a reasonable chance against most of Expanded if optimized for certain metas.

Card Choices

4 Spiritomb UNB

Spiritomb seems like such a fragile Pokémon in a format with 270-HP Pokémon everywhere, but it can easily hit 220 damage for a single Energy, and that’s not something just any card can do. Spiritomb is the main attacker in this deck, and you’ll likely end up using 4 of them every game.

1 Oranguru SUM

Between Mewtwo Exodia, decks, and Reset Stamp, Oranguru has certainly earned its spot in this deck. Instruct provides us an out to dead hands, especially because it is usually very easy to play our hand to a low size.

1 Buzzwole FLI, 1 Kartana UNB

You’ll likely use at most 1 of these in a game, but between , PikaRom, and Archie’s, they can easily swing matchups when you do use them. Kartana also doubles as a pivot Pokémon because it has free retreat. A cute little fact is that you can easily use Hustle Belt with Kartana, so it’s not difficult to hit for 190 with Big Cut on the 4-Prize turn.

1 Pheromosa & Buzzwole-GX

is in here to swing the matchup against other 1-Prize decks. Beast Game-GX is the best way to even out an unfavorable Prize trade, and on occasion, Jet Punch can be used to take 2 Prize cards at once.

1 Mew FCO

This is my most recent addition to the deck. Mew FCO is the only card in the deck that can easily KO a Mewtwo & Mew-GX. With just a Rainbow Energy, Frozen City, and Hustle Belt, you can copy Anguish Cry for 320 damage with Weakness.

3 Hustle Belt, 1 Choice Band, 1 Professor Kukui

All three of these cards are here to augment the damage that Spiritomb, and occasionally an Ultra Beast, can deal out. e.g.,

The list goes on.

3 Frozen City

The initial list played Team Magma’s Secret Base. My current list plays Frozen City instead. After much testing, I determined that the ability to easily hit for 190 on turn 1 with Frozen City was much better than the potential extra damage Team Magma’s Secret Base provided. The addition of Jynx UNM to the format was the kicker here. Now, you can use Jynx to move a damage counter every turn, so it becomes less important to have damage everywhere at once. Damage Mover is a single-use card, Jynx is theoretically infinite. It’s now more realistic to drop a Spiritomb from nowhere and attack for massive damage. There is also the added benefit that Archie’s has to take 20 damage for every Energy they attach unless they bump your Stadium, which isn’t always easy.

2 Teammates

Teammates is essential for the deck to function. Being able to search out any 2 cards is absolutely insane when you’re playing with cards that are dependent on the turns they’re being used. On top of that, you only need 3 or 4 cards for a Spiritomb to be hitting high numbers, so Teammates is perfect for chaining attacks.

3 Roller Skates

When we first built the deck, we played Roller Skates as a joke. And then it actually functioned and was good. In a deck that is already pretty consistent, but needs to find specific cards at a decent pace, Roller Skates is pretty good. For instance, I need 3 cards to win the game, but Teammates can only search 2 of them. Roller Skates is one of the only cards in the game that can draw a decent number of cards without discarding any. The card is incredibly good for thinning, which is vital in the late game, and when you flip a heads, you’re basically playing half of a Supporter. Do not cut these from the deck. They make it faster and have a turn 1 blowup potential that’s out of this world.

1 Pokémon Ranger

With back in the format, Jolteon-EX is a real thing again. This means that we need a way to hit through it, and that means Pokémon Ranger is back.

4 Level Ball, 1 Nest Ball, 0 Ultra Ball

These counts might seem a bit weird if you’ve never played the deck. I’ll start with Ultra Ball. The card is awful in a deck where all of its cards are good and cannot afford to be discarded. Nest Ball is good and all, but cannot trigger Marshadow’s Let Loose, which is somewhat ironically very helpful in this deck. Level Ball is a happy medium because it can grab most of the deck and still put the cards into your hand. Unfortunately, it cannot grab Oranguru or , so I might be shifting these counts around a bit if Exodia decks become more prominent.

4 Rainbow, 2 Dark, 1 Prism, 1 Beast Energy

The Rainbow count makes sense because of Spiritomb. I’ve been asked so many times about the Dark Energy instead of more Prism Energy, so I’ll give a few reasons for them over Prisms. Dark Energy

  1. is a basic Energy and cannot be Enhanced Hammered or prevented from being attached,
  2. can be searched out with Viridian Forest,
  3. doesn’t auto-lose to Xurkitree-GX, and
  4. isn’t vulnerable to things like Drampa-GX.

Enough said. Don’t mess with the Energy counts unless you’re adding some for some reason.

Potential Inclusions

This is basically a Toolbox deck. There are a lot of cards that can be added and not be bad. I’m going to mention the ones that help specific matchups.

Mr. Mime TEU

There are some big TAG TEAM GXs out there that can abuse Acerola. Mr. Mime would prevent that from mattering with its Scoop-Up Block Ability.

Bronzong FCO, Bronzor TEU

Espeon & Deoxys-GX is an annoying card, and this combo appears to be the only solid method to counter it. Unfortunately, Bronzong has 100 HP, and thus is unsearchable with Level Ball. Including this combo would likely force me to rework the Ball counts in the deck, and I don’t know if that would be worth the loss in consistency.

Field Blower

Yes, is annoying. I’m aware of this. However, you can still beat it. Between Frozen City and Rainbow Energy, along with any random damage counters you’ve added with Building Spite, you will likely be able to KO most of what Garbodor decks put forward. This means I think Field Blower is unnecessary, but it could find its way into the deck to deal with Fighting Fury Belt.

The Matchup Spread

In case you hadn’t noticed, Expanded is a rather large format. 37 sets large to be exact. Not counting Promos. There’s just a few decks that are playable, to put it mildly. So: I will not be covering them all. I’d be here all day, you’d stop reading, and that sounds like a lot of wasted effort. However, please message me or leave a comment if you are curious about a matchup that is not listed.

PikaRom: 70/30

The matchup that we originally built the deck for. PikaRom has a really hard time dealing with a deck that is capable of a 1HKO, but doesn’t give up multiple Prize cards at once. The strategy here is pretty simple.

  1. Stream Spiritombs or Ultra Beasts until you’ve taken 6 Prize cards.
  2. Watch out for a Silent Lab + N play by thinning well and not leaving yourself open to not having an attacker.
  3. When you think you’re at risk of a Tag Bolt-GX, bench Mew UNB.

Past that, the deck is relatively straightforward, which is part of the appeal it has in a format where everything is complicated.

Turbo Dark: 65/35

There’s a few reasons this matchup is slightly harder than PikaRom. To start with, Fighting Fury Belt is a card, and so is Acerola. In this matchup, Guzma is your friend, Sledgehammer is pretty good, and if you can get a KO on a ZoroNinja, then good for you. Luckily, in this matchup you don’t have to worry about them spamming 1-Prizers because they don’t even play any. Honestly, the best advice I can give is to use Guzma to take 3 KOs on non-TAG TEAM EXs or GXs.

ZoroGarb: 50/50

This is a matchup that can get a bit awkward depending on your opponent’s list. If they’re playing Mew UNB and Oricorio GRI 56, it gets a lot harder. If not, then you’re going to be trading pretty evenly, and potentially get locked by Garbodor at some point. Fortunately, even if they lock you, you’re able to get 3 damage counters on a Spiritomb easily enough, and 3 is the magic number in this deck. You’re going to be 2-shotting with Spiritomb, but Buzzwole can steal a GX KO on a Zoroark-GX. On top of that, BuzzMosa is an option in the late game if your opponent isn’t careful. A well-timed Guzma + Beast Game-GX can easily take 3 Prize cards to close out the game, which conveniently prevents an extremely low N from happening.

DrampaGarb: 50/50

See , except this one can spam 1-Prizers a bit easier.

Archie’s Blastoise: 30/70 (EspeOxys), 70/30 (No EspeOxys)

This feels pretty self-explanatory to me. EspeOxys walks over this deck if you’re not careful. It’s not even the early game though. No, it’s the late game where they can easily take 3 Prize cards if you’re not careful. On the slightly brighter side, if you somehow find someone not playing it, the matchup is incredibly favored. I guess I’ll go over the best way to deal with EspeOxys though: Never bench more than 1 Spiritomb at a time. You’re going to taking 2HKOs anyway, so not having a preprepared Spiritomb is only a minor inconvenience. The game plan otherwise is normal. Let Loose and pray is a perfectly valid strategy.

ZoroControl: 40/60

Not that I’ve tested it much since Unified Minds dropped, but I can only assume that it’s similar to how the matchup used to go. Let Loose, hope they dead-draw, or maybe set up that BuzzMosa play for the win. The goal is to not get hand locked and manage to take 6 Prizes before they manage to lock you. Oranguru is vital to this strategy. Something interesting that you can do is KO your own Spiritombs to prevent them from playing Lt. Surge’s Strategy for a while, if their list plays it.

Sableye/Garb: Bad

Your only win condition is Let Loose. In theory you could win through Prize cards, but that can be difficult if they manage to hand lock you early enough. Again, BuzzMosa is the key to winning the game. Thin your deck of all the cards that don’t offer consistency fast, and it’s actually possible to draw out of the hand lock.

Malamar Updates

I promised I’d talk about a few of the changes in my Malamar list, so here we are.

  1. First, Lunala p. Last time I wrote an article, I wasn’t even close to sold on playing the card, and it was only after losing to again and again that I decided to choose it over Giratina p.
  2. Second, Power Plant. I had already cut down to 1 Shrine of Punishment, which turned out to be nearly useless everywhere except the matchup. Thus, I decided to play a Power Plant to try and swing the Mew Box matchup. It did end up winning two individual games and likely would have won a third against Daniel Altavilla had we not gone to time.

In the end, I’m happy with my choice, and that I got to play one last time in one of the only formats it has ever been good in.

Final Thoughts

paleona.deviantart.com

Well, here we are. This is the first of three articles I’ll have on Expanded, and I hope that someone decides that Spiritomb is worth their time. I’m going to be continuously optimizing the deck and trying to make it better in the coming weeks. I truly enjoy playing the deck, and it is actually capable of winning games. Despite having somewhat bad Control matchups, it can deal with most everything else, and that means I could easily make Day 2 with the deck.

I highly doubt I’ll be seeing anyone this weekend, and it’ll be two weeks until my next article (Groudon? Please?). I wish everyone luck in any events they play in these next few weeks, and I’ll see you next time with another Expanded deck.

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.


…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

2 replies

  1. Jeff Mendel

    Hey Alex,
    This deck is really fun! I have been hunting for a deck to play at Richmond. I have a messed around with
    spiritomb before and thought it was ok, but it seems like frozen city make this deck so much better. My question is about moving energy. If my opponent uses energy switch or tag switch does frozen city work twice one the same energy? Thanks for the cool list!
    Jeff

    • Jeff Mendel  → Jeff

      Hey Alex,
      Never mind i just read the card again, it says played from your hand. I hope my frozen cities arrive in the mail before next weekend. Good luck at Richmond.
      Jeff

Leave a Reply

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