Stinger! Goes the Balloon

Blacephalon/Naganadel Pumped Up for LAIC
Blacephalon para o Brasil!

Hello again, 6P readers! Boy am I glad to be back from Portland Regionals, as Portland is pretty far from where I live (Florida). I had a layover in Chicago and was afraid I would miss my flight due to snowy weather, which would have been bad since I fly to Brazil later today. Thankfully, I made it back home safe and sound, and I am ready to tackle LAIC this weekend.

I ended up playing Turbo Dark in Portland and finished 5-2-2, which was enough to get me 40 Points and increase my total to 493 Championship Points for the season. That may seem like a lot but I know I could have done better. For now, I still have my coveted spot in the Top 16 NA rankings and hope to stay there after LAIC 🇧🇷 is over.

For this article, I’ll be discussing the changes I’ve made to my Knoxville Blacephalon list. Cosmic Eclipse will be legal for LAIC, and I’ll be showcasing the changes I’ve made since Knoxville to incorporate Cosmic Eclipse. Fellow writer Gabriel Semedo also went over Blacephalon-GX/Naganadel LOT in his latest piece, so feel free to compare our lists as they have some unique differences.

Knoxville Blacephalon

Pokémon (15)

2 Poipole FLI

2 Poipole LOT

3 Naganadel LOT

2 Naganadel-GX UNM

3 Blacephalon-GX

1 Heatran-GX

1 Dedenne-GX

1 Mew UNB

Trainer (28)

4 Welder

3 Cynthia

1 Tate & Liza

 

4 Beast Ring

4 Custom Catcher

4 Mysterious Treasure

3 Cherish Ball

1 Reset Stamp

 

3 Ultra Space

1 Heat Factory p

Energy (17)

15 R

1 P

1 Beast p

Key Cards

2 Naganadel-GX UNM

This card does wonders. Not only for its Ultra Conversion Ability that lets you draw cards, but also for its attack, Venom Shot. If the opponent does not play Mew UNB or benches it a turn too late, then Venom Shot is MVP when it comes to victory. So many decks play Dedenne-GX. That is 2 free Prize cards with Venom Shot. If they play a TAG TEAM attacker, then that’s 3 Prize cards as well you can eventually take. Not to mention, Burst-GX gives you 1 free Prize card, making for a total of 6 Prize cards. This is generally how you win your games against decks that play TAG TEAM Pokémon and Dedenne-GX.

1 Heatran-GX

A phenomenal card against GardEon. This is because most GardEon lists play only 1 copy of Fairy Charm UB. If this is the case, you will want to preserve your Heatran-GX until you are able to 1HKO the GardEon with the Fairy Charm UB on it. Then, you can then transition into Blacephalon-GX and take down a 2nd GardEon for the win. Remember to be wary of Power Plant and Reset Stamp as those 2 cards can be deadly together.

1 Tate & Liza

I added this card because of the fear of Paralysis from both Raichu & Alolan Raichu-GX and Muk & Alolan Muk-GX. These two Pokémon, especially Muk & Alolan Muk-GX, can be annoying. Being able to get out of Paralysis will be game-changing, especially against MukMuk-GX, which some Mew Box decks may play. If you are unable to find Tate & Liza when you get hit by Nasty Goo Mix-GX, then you will likely be locked out of your Beast Ring turn (due to you being KO’d by Poison going back into your opponent’s turn) and the game will be lost. I may increase my Tate & Liza count for fear of this scenario.

Updated for São Paulo

Pokémon (17)

3 Poipole FLI

1 Poipole LOT

3 Naganadel LOT

2 Naganadel-GX UNM

1 Naganadel-GX FLI

3 Blacephalon-GX

1 Heatran-GX

1 Dedenne-GX

1 Mew UNB

1 Marshadow UNB

Trainer (26)

4 Welder

3 Cynthia

1 Tate & Liza

 

4 Beast Ring

4 Mysterious Treasure

3 Cherish Ball

2 Great Catcher

1 Reset Stamp

 

2 Lysandre Labs

2 Ultra Space

Energy (17)

15 R

1 P

1 Beast p

Changes from Knoxville

As you can see, I’ve made a number of changes since Knoxville and the release of Cosmic Eclipse. I went back and looked at Hunter Butler’s Top 8 list from Knoxville and splashed some of his take into mine.

Key Cards

3 Poipole FLI, 1 Poipole LOT

I ended up dropping 1 Poipole LOT for a 3rd Poipole FLI because Poison can be more crucial than looking at your Prize cards.

2 Great Catcher, 0 Custom Catcher

The next change I made, and probably what most players will do, is drop all Custom Catcher for at least 2 copies of Great Catcher. This change gave me 2 more spots to work with, which was awesome. In this deck, you really only need to gust 1 thing up, and that is likely a Pokémon-GX. Great Catcher automatically gets you that gust effect while also allowing you to discard R Energy to fuel Charging Up, which is cool.

2 Lysandre Labs, 2 Ultra Space, 0 Heat Factory p

Hunter didn’t play Heat Factory p and instead went with 2 copies of Lysandre Labs and Ultra Space, so I did the same thing.

Malamar decks may see more play now that they have gotten a boost thanks to cards like Blacephalon CEC, Naganadel & Guzzlord-GX, Mimikyu CEC 97, and Lana’s Fishing Rod. Cards like Spell Tag and Escape Board, which are popular in Malamar, can be negated with Lysandre Labs. Nullifying some of their Spell Tag damage can go a long way.

Lysandre Labs can also shut off Fairy Charm UB, which will be huge in the GardEon matchup, and Island Challenge Amulet, in case other Blacephalon or wacky decks decide to play it to deny Prizes.

1 Naganadel-GX FLI

Another inclusion is Naganadel-GX FLI, mainly for the Pidgeotto Control matchup where you want to Stinger-GX as soon as possible. This will mean all your Beast Rings from there on out are live and no longer dead cards. This also means that Reset Stamp can cripple the opponent earlier on in the game, so use it wisely.

An early Stinger-GX might be able to get you there against ADP as well. If you go first with a turn 2 Stinger-GX, then on turn 3 you have Beast Rings active and just need to KO 1 ADP-GX for the game.

1 Marshadow UNB

Last is the addition of Marshadow UNB. This was added because of cards like Power Plant and Chaotic Swell. Against GardEon, if they have Chaotic Swell down, you will be unable to stick Lysandre Labs to disable their Fairy Charm UB. This is where Marshadow UNB comes to the rescue to eliminate Chaotic Swell so that you can stick Lysandre Labs in play.

Potential Inclusions

Mega Lopunny & Jigglypuff-GX

LoPuff can do wonders against decks that bench multiple Pokémon-GX, namely PikaRom and Mew Box. This card can come out of nowhere—thanks to Welder—for that big 1HKO. I just don’t like the idea of playing a TAG TEAM attacker in this deck.

Oricorio-GX

A solid card once 1 of your Pokémon is KO’d. Combined with Ultra Conversion it’s even better; you will surely draw into what you need in no time. My only problem with this card is Bench space. However, it can be searched out with both Mysterious Treasure and Cherish Ball, which is cool.

Heracross CEC or Heracross UNM

I was looking for a counter to Keldeo-GX, and these were the three I found.

  • Heracross CEC: Requires the opponent to have a TAG TEAM Pokémon in play in order for it to 1HKO Keldeo-GX.
  • Heracross UNM: Requires opponent to have used their GX attack during their last turn in order for it to shuffle their Active Pokémon and all cards attached to it into their deck.

So both of these Heracross would likely be useful against ADP. You either 1HKO their Keldelo-GX or shuffle away their ADP-GX.

Now, my dilemma here is that the deck has 0 outs to search for either Heracross. I can maybe see dropping 1 Cherish Ball for 1 Pokémon Communication to have a way to find it. However, I’m not too sure which Heracross would be better against ADP. Heracross CEC takes CCC to 1HKO Keldeo-GX, which you can fulfill by Weldering then attaching for the turn. Heracross UNM just needs C, but it is more situational.

Ultra Forest Kartenvoy

This card can work against Keldeo-GX, though it’s a Supporter. However, you can KO an ADP-GX, then Keldeo-GX, followed by a Burst-GX.

Mallow & Lana

Similar to Tate & Liza, allowing you to escape Special Conditions, except Mallow & Lana can also heal 120 damage. However, having the drawing aspect of Tate & Liza I feel trumps Mallow & Lana for consistency’s sake.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Favored against TAG TEAM-heavy decks
  • Stinger-GX can help win games against matchups you otherwise would struggle with (e.g., Pidgeotto Control)
  • Has Energy acceleration (Welder + Beast Ring)

Cons

Matchups

Pidgeotto Control: 60/40

Naganadel-GX FLI and Reset Stamp will be your MVPs in this matchup. Get Stinger-GX as fast as possible, turn 2 if you can. Try not to bench non-Ultra Beast Pokémon. This way, all your Beast Rings have targets and nothing can really get stalled Active. Once the opponent is at 3 Prize cards, then Reset Stamping them to 3 can be crucial. A lower hand size means a higher chance of missing the pieces they need to manipulate and control you. Marshadow UNB can be useful as well for Power Plant.

ADP: 45-55

This matchup can be tricky and it depends on what the opponent decides to bench and how fast they get their GX attack off.

  • If they bench 2 TAG TEAM Pokémon, then there is your win condition.
  • If they bench 1 TAG TEAM and 1 Dedenne-GX, then you can win by KOing both and then using Burst-GX.
  • If they bench 1 TAG TEAM and 1 Keldeo-GX, then your best bet is to try and KO ADP-GX before they have taken 3 Prizes. Then you can 1HKO Keldeo-GX with a Beast Energy p’d Naganadel LOT for 190. Follow up with a Burst-GX for the game.

Make sure not to Burst-GX first unless they have a TAG TEAM and 2-Prizer on board that’s not Keldeo-GX, otherwise you forfeit 1HKOing Keldeo-GX with Naganadel LOT.

GardEon: 60-40

This matchup should be fine now having Heatran-GX and 2 Lysandre Labs. Get rid of the Fairy Charm UB and from there you should be able to take the game. Make sure to preserve your Stadiums and Marshadow UNB for Chaotic Swell and Power Plant, as the latter will shut off Heatran-GX’s Ability. However, you have to save Marshadow UNB for Chaotic Swell to get Lysandre Labs into play.

Malamar w/ Naganadel & Guzzlord-GX 45-55, w/o GuzzNag-GX: 50-50

I’m not particularly excited to see Malamar gain new friends that make the deck stronger. This is why I’ve added 2 Lysandre Labs to try and help deny some of its Spell Tag damage. The matchup is more difficult if the opponent plays Naganadel & Guzzlord-GX because it can automatically take 2 Prize cards at a moment’s notice without you being able to stop it, unless you are able to take down enough Malamar FLI. Naganadel & Guzzlord-GX’s GX attack takes PD. Lists may start playing 1 GuzzNag-GX + 1 D Energy since you can search out the GuzzNag with Mysterious Treasure and Pokémon Communication. You can search for the D Energy with Viridian Forest. A well-timed late-game Reset Stamp might be able to cripple their hand and allow you to stay ahead in the Prize trade.

Mew Box w/ Muk & Alolan Muk-GX: 45-55, w/o MukMuk-GX: 55-45

This matchup can be scary if they play Muk & Alolan Muk-GX. If you do not play a switching effect, they will almost always bypass your Beast Ring turn, especially now that Great Catcher is much easier to find than 2 Custom Catcher.

However, if they don’t play MukMuk-GX, what you want to do is Burst-GX as fast as possible—turn 1 if you can, and hopefully before they have taken a Prize. Once you Burst-GX, your last 5 Prize cards will likely be on 1 Mewtwo & Mew-GX and 1 Dedenne-GX with either Great Catcher or Venom Shot. Remember, it’s crucial you that Burst-GX instead of Bursting Burn, even if Mewtwo & Mew-GX will KO you next turn. Being up that 1 Prize will often make the difference in a win or loss against TAG TEAM decks like Mew Box or PikaRom.

Conclusion

That will conclude this article on my changes to Blacephalon-GX/Naganadel LOT going into Brazil. Of course, with all lists, it could change at the last minute. However, I’ll 100% be playing this deck for Brazil this weekend. I believe in the deck and I know its ins and outs, and that’s why I feel comfortable playing it, even in a blind meta. If you see me in Brazil this weekend, come say hi. It’ll be exciting to see who and what deck ends up winning the first Standard major with Cosmic Eclipse.

As usual, I do full-time coaching, so if you are interested in taking lessons, feel free to message me either on Facebook or @Jose_MarreroTCG and we can go over the details.

If you have any questions, 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, please consider giving it a like. Until next time!


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