Hello and welcome to my first article as an official Underground writer! I’ve put many hours into the two decks I will show you today, and I hope some of you will consider them for Standard events in the future.
- First, I will talk about my personal creation, QuagVally, which had a whole three people playing it at LAIC , and then
- Blowns, the deck that I have fallen for since LAIC.
Make sure you read all parts of each deck to get a full understanding of the lists, but you will need to practice each of them yourself to be competent at them.
1 Ditto p
1 Mew UNB
4 Tag Call
****** Pokémon Trading Card Game Deck List ******
##Pokémon - 21
* 4 Type: Null UNM 183
* 3 Silvally-GX CEC 184
* 1 Silvally-GX UPR 116
* 2 Wooper UNB 96
* 3 Quagsire DRM 26
* 1 Ditto p LOT 154
* 2 Blastoise & Piplup-GX CEC 38
* 2 Keldeo-GX UNM 47
* 1 Mega Lopunny & Jigglypuff-GX CEC 165
* 1 Mew UNB 76
* 1 Marshadow UNB 81
##Trainer Cards - 28
* 4 Professor Oak’s Setup CEC 201
* 3 Cynthia UPR 119
* 3 Red & Blue CEC 202
* 2 Mallow & Lana CEC 198
* 1 Cynthia & Caitlin CEC 189
* 4 Tag Call CEC 206
* 4 Pokémon Communication TEU 152
* 2 Acro Bike CES 123
* 2 Great Catcher CEC 192
* 3 Chaotic Swell CEC 187
##Energy - 11
* 11 W Energy Energy 3
Total Cards - 60
****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=78468 ******
Warning: This deck is excessively difficult to play. With most decks, you can pick it up and have a good feeling for the strategy within 10 games. This is not the case with QuagVally. With this deck, you need to commit yourself to playing many practice games, wherein you carefully analyze every action you take.
History, Concept, and Strategy
The first I heard of a Quagsire/Silvally deck was my good friend Michael Catron pitching the idea to me at Richmond Regionals. You use Red & Blue to get Energy into play instead of Naganadel LOT, then Wash Out the Energies to your attackers. As a QuagNag player, I immediately recoiled: “How will you ever stream attackers without Naganadel?”
The answer lies with Blastoise & Piplup-GX. Three key attributes of this card allow Naganadel to be cut entirely.
- First, its high HP means we can safely push all of our initial Energies onto it without fear of them getting wiped. (If you are playing against a deck like Mewtwo that can deal 270 damage, the Energies are safe on Keldeo-GX instead.)
- Second, its Splash Maker attack allows us to stream Energy into play, adding to the burst that Red & Blue provides.
- Third, the solid damage from and healing aspect of Splash Maker allows us to build a tanking, 2HKO deck around the card.
A tanking build of the deck also suits your other main attacker, Keldeo-GX. Previously, to abuse Keldeo-GX, QuagNag had to put up Keldeo after Keldeo and hope their opponent ran out of non-GX attackers to deal with them. With Mallow & Lana, your Keldeo-GX are much stickier, meaning your 2 is usually enough to push through all non-GX threats.
Another boon to our Keldeo-GX in QuagVally is the switch of support Pokémon. With Naganadel, we had to play many Viridian Forest, both to keep a stream of Energy from our deck and to discard them. Since Red & Blue siphons the Energy from the deck into play, we usually only need to find 1–2 Energy on the first 2 turns to get attacking, eliminating the need for Viridian Forest. On top of that, because we will naturally try to abuse our new partner’s Disc Reload Ability for our draw engine, we will want to include Chaotic Swell to protect from Power Plant. All this is to say, we include Chaotic Swell before even considering its synergy with Keldeo-GX. Thanks to Chaotic Swell protecting Pure Heart from Power Plant, the GardEon matchup flips to heavily favored.
There’s a lot to unpack with this list, so let’s get to it.
2 PipStoise, 2 Keldeo, 1 LoPuff
Silvally-GX CEC is the glue that holds this deck together. Disc Reload allows us to get the most out of our TAG TEAM Supporter cards, both by always have a full hand to discard from, and for giving non-Supporter draw power, so we can afford to play them while doing other things on our turn. Silvally also refills our hand immediately after our turn 2 Red & Blue. It’s a beautiful combo; Silvally fulfills the GX requirement for Red & Blue, and Disc Reload turns the value-costly Red & Blue in a draw out. To boot, Silvally has 2 strong attacks, an alternate Evolution, and a high-HP pre-Evolution. Keep in mind, there are many situations where using Brave Buddies is better than retreating into a proper attacker. Finally, don’t forget that Silver Knight-GX takes 2 Prizes on a Blacephalon-GX, 3 on Naganadel & Guzzlord-GX, and can bypass a Spell Tag on Blacephalon CEC.
Silvally-GX UPR find uses for its Gyro Unit Ability, but in most games, it should not hit the board to play around opposing LoPuffs. This is primarily a tech for Pidgeotto Control. Like its predecessor, QuagVally takes a very strong Pidgeotto matchup. While Turbo Drive only recovers 1 Energy a turn, this is more than enough to make Pidgeotto unable to lock you out of attacking. Silvally-GX CEC with cards like Chaotic Swell and Marshadow UNB make you immune to their hand lock as well.
You must use Type: Null from Unified Minds. While he’s 10 HP shy of the others, his single Retreat Cost means you can retreat him turn 1, which is absolutely necessary when you only have 1 Type: Null and your only way to draw is via Disc Reload. Scarcity of this card in English at LAIC was the sole reason Sam Chen and Rowan Stavenow didn’t play the deck along with myself, Stéphane Ivanoff, and Martin Guilbert.
Maxed counts of Type: Null and Silvally-GX gives you the greatest chance of naturally drawing these cards; they will rarely be dead cards to see because they get you closer to Disc Reload or can fuel Pokémon Communication.
Quagsire DRM, 2 Wooper UNB, 1 Ditto p3
Whereas QuagNag frequently uses Quagsire as an attacker, QuagVally has little use for a low-HP Energy-hog attacker, so his use is mostly relegated to support, moving Energy amongst the various GX attackers. As such, the Quagsire line is much thinner than QuagNag decks. We still want to include 3 copies of Quagsire to ensure we can find it turn 2 or 3, as Pokémon Communication is still the only way to search the big blue friend. Wooper, on the other hand, which gets easily pulled from the deck with Professor Oak’s Setup, we can go down to just 2. By the way, you have to use Wooper UNB so you can also take a Water-type attacker off Oak’s. Sorry to anyone that bought Wooper HIF.
This thin of a line is not a risk because most decks have moved away from Custom Catcher, and therefore cannot exploit it. Should the meta ever shift to reliable non-GX gusting, you may want to buff up these counts. That said, you currently aren’t worried about Custom Catcher decks like GardEon targeting your Quagsires, because they are only taking a single Prize card and they leave your attacker with Energies undamaged. Perhaps a 2-3 line is still fine in a Custom Catcher-heavy meta.
The Steven Silvestro-esque inverted pyramid line may lead you to believe that Ditto p is serving as our 3rd Wooper, but in fact, it’s usually our 5th Type: Null instead. The only times you need to use Ditto for a Quagsire involve Custom Catcher on Quagsire or missing Professor Oak’s Setup. Note: The nature of Almighty Evolution means you cannot use Red & Blue on Ditto.
Marshadow UNB, 1 Mew UNB, 0 Victini CEC1
All of these cards are little techs that can be easily grabbed off Oak’s, and prevent your opponent from doing something to shut down your strategy.
- Marshadow can be taken when you don’t have a Chaotic Swell, in case your opponent drops Power Plant turn 1. It can also help against Stamp + Plant, and 1HKOs Naganadel LOT and Poipole.
- Mew prevents your Mewtwo opponent from using Venom Shot to get around Keldeo-GX (particularly on you Quagsires).
- Victini’s Victory Heal heals 20 damage from one of your Benched Pokémon, allowing you to heal ping damage off Silvally-GX, such that Mimikyu CEC 97’s Shadow Box no longer affects it. In last-minute testing, I found that QuagVally struggled with Malamar spamming Tag Purge anyway, and decided to cut the Victini for consistency. Lo and behold, I hit Mimikyu decks rounds 2–4 at LAIC: 2 Malamar that didn’t even play Latios-GX, and an Ability Zard deck with Mimikyu, Mew UNB, and Volcorona-GX.
Victini’s heal can supplement Mallow & Lana and Splash Maker in other matchups as well.
Tag Call is an out to the most important Supporters in our deck, Red & Blue and Mallow & Lana, and therefore is maximized. It also draws TAG TEAM Pokémon, either to give us an attacker or to send something back in with Pokémon Communication. I’ll take the time to mention that the 3rd Red & Blue is a flexible spot. It’s nice to have the additional consistency, and dead TAG TEAM cards never hurt because you can pull them out with Tag Call and discard them.
The 3 Cynthia and 1 Cynthia & Caitlin are holding down the fort as secondary draw power to Disc Reload. When you have a hand that you can’t thin cards from or you need to dig, Cynthia is there for you. It also serves as the second-best turn 1 Supporter (behind Oak’s). Occasionally, you’ll have the option between the two, where Cynthia is better because you don’t have a way to Red & Blue to follow up the Oak’s. Cynthia & Caitlin makes your Tag Call an out to draw if your opening hand is very weak, and otherwise allows you to recycle a Mallow & Lana.
The 2 Acro Bikes were the cards I was most unsure about going into LAIC. Actually, I was pretty sold on 1 Acro Bike, but I also wanted 1 Pokégear 3.0. Pokégear is better on the first turn to find Oak’s or Cynthia, while Acro Bike is better at most other points, and can also dig for premium cards like Type: Null or Pokémon Communication on turn 1. Despite hundreds of games on this deck, testing between these two consistency Items was inconclusive, so I stuck to theory and went with the 2 Acro Bikes. After playing more, I do think the 1-1 split is (if ever so slightly) better.
Mewtwo would aim to be a 2nd copy of both PipStoise and LoPuff. Some other attractive characteristics:
- can hit opposing Mewtwos and Espeon & Deoxys-GX for Weakness,
- has more HP than LoPuff, and
- can use Brave Buddies and Turbo Drive.
I decided against Mewtwo mainly for his own Weakness, but also because it puts you at risk of prizing your 1 PipStoise. If you don’t plan on losing to Mimikyu decks, you should also keep in mind that Shadow Box shuts off Perfection.
Mallow & Lana, 2nd Cynthia & Caitlin, 1 Pal Pad, 3rd Great Catcher3rd
Stéphane expressed interest in having more Chaotic Swell. In my testing, the 4th was excessive, but it would improve some of your matchups and disrupt your opponents more.
This is a card I flip-flopped on quite a bit in testing. It serves as an additional healing Supporter like Mallow & Lana by getting full value out of a Splash Maker. The secondary effect, while not very useful for getting another GX attack off, can flush your hand of 5 bad cards. I eventually cut Misty & Lorelei out of frustration after starting it in my opening hand 8 games in a row. Since then, it has not been sorely missed.
Similar to its inclusion in ADP decks, Choice Helmet makes your Pokémon (specifically PipStoise) that little bit tankier. This is something I was always interested in adding, but never wanted badly enough to cut another card for.
In the sciences, there’s a phenomenon where null results don’t get published in journals simply because they aren’t very interesting. Why would somebody want to read about a study where they found no correlation? Since other groups don’t hear about the results, the same hypothesis gets tested again and again, wasting significant time and money.
Feel free to skim over the next section, wherein I discuss trap cards and why you shouldn’t play them. If there is a card I haven’t discussed yet and don’t in this, assume that I have no strong feelings on it.
This was a tech for the APD matchup, in the same vein of ADP playing Drampa CEC for mirror. It can pop in and smack a Keldeo-GX, which can swing the game in your favor. Dazzling Blizzard specifies that you must have a Stadium in play, which means I sometimes had to use Resetting Hole to put my own Chaotic Swell into play. Outside of that matchup, Black Kyurem sees little use, and it is a poor starter. It’s disastrous if they can knock the 4 Water off the board, so you might as well just put 6 on a Quagsire instead.
As I’ve stated earlier, you don’t need more than 1 Wooper off your Oak’s. You can get punished for having this card, but will never get rewarded for it.
People impulsively put this card in every deck with W Energy. Stop!
For the sake of this section, assume I’ll be using my updated list, which is
Mewtwo: Slightly Favored
As with any matchup involving Mewtwo, most games will come down to how well the Mewtwo player draws. That said, you are in the enviable position of having Keldeo-GX to cower behind. You will have to sniff out what ways your opponent has to get through Pure Heart; the more outs they play, the worse it is for you.
Of course, try to get Mew UNB down so they can’t Venom Shot around Keldeo. As long as they have Great Catchers available, make sure to play around Jumping Balloon by only keeping 1 Keldeo-GX and 1 Silvally-GX in play. If your opponent ever has to waste one of their Great Catchers, you’ve probably won. Unless they run Turtonator. If they run Turt, good luck, Charlie.
Upon seeing this deck, many of my testing partners were immediately worried about the ADP matchup; specifically, they wondered how you can possibly beat the Limitless build with 3 Mallow & Lana. Don’t worry, you’re good! Though they have greater late game potential in theory, they can’t consecutively Mallow & Lana indefinitely. Also, they start much slower than you, spending their first 3 turns on Altered Creation-GX and Ultimate Ray for 0 damage.
You’ll want to start as you typically do, but you’ll probably want LoPuff instead of PipStoise. At some point in the game, you’ll want Silvally-GX UPR down to pivot between Mallow & Lana, and maybe Victini for supplemental healing.
What gives you the edge in this matchup is Quagsire. After the formalities, you will be in a Keldeo war, where you have the ability to Hydro Pump for a 1HKO at any point. Hopefully, you’ll also be up 3 Prize cards from the ADP. This is definitely a matchup I’d get comfortable with before bringing QuagVally to a tournament.
There isn’t much to say about other matchups, so I’ll just list them for you:
- Ability Zard: Even/Slightly Unfavored
- Pidgeotto Control: Heavily Favored
- Blowns: Heavily Favored
- GardEon: Favored
- Doll Stall: Unwinnable
- Baby Blows/Pidgeotto: Very Unfavorable
- Malamar: Depends on techs, but generally favored
- GuzzNag: Even (only because they can Let Loose you)
Let me reiterate: this deck is hard. If you are reading this and are interested in playing it to San Diego Regionals , you need to pick it up today.
Since the Welder revolution, Blacephalon/Naganadel is a deck that I’ve respected, but have never picked up simply because I was having too much fun playing other decks. With some new tricks from Cosmic Eclipse, and an increasingly TAG TEAM-centered meta, I knew it was time to drop some PTCGO packs for Blacephalon-GX. So strap in, we’re going to Blown Town.
1 Beast p
****** Pokémon Trading Card Game Deck List ******
##Pokémon - 17
##Trainer Cards - 26
* 4 Welder UNB 189
* 4 Cynthia UPR 119
* 4 Beast Ring FLI 102
* 4 Mysterious Treasure FLI 113
* 3 Cherish Ball UNM 191
* 1 Pokégear 3.0 UNB 182
* 1 Acro Bike CES 123
* 2 Great Catcher CEC 192
* 2 Ultra Space FLI 115
* 1 Heat Factory p LOT 178
##Energy - 17
Total Cards - 60
****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=78468 ******
This list focuses on pure consistency, with the only gimmick being the Stinger-GX combo. Besides that, the deck does one thing: Mind Blown. By the way, this deck has gotten significantly more difficult to play as it has gotten more tools. Don’t fall for the “helmet deck” meme, you need to consider what cards you want to draw before each action, especially on your Beast Ring turn.
Stinger Naganadel-GX is a card that nearly justifies itself even without Fireworks Bomb Blacephalon. Assuming your opponent has a TAG TEAM in play and you have sufficient Poipole, it’s very strong to go for Stinger-GX on your Beast Ring turn, effectively ending the game in 2 attacks. This is because, instead of throwing 6 Energy at the TAG TEAM and hoping you have enough to close out the game on the next turn, you can end the turn with too many Energy in play for your opponent to do anything about. Just be ready to dig for Great Catcher when they bring the TAG TEAM to the Bench. Also, pay attention; I’ve lost a few embarrassing games where I go to use Stinger-GX and find that I’d used Burst-GX on the previous turn. In games where you don’t use Stinger-GX, Naganadel-GX can be searched with either Item search card and cycled with Ultra Conversion.
Blacephalon CEC is your out to Doll Stall. More on this matchup later. It’s also good in fringe situations against 1-Prizer decks.
Oricorio-GX adds yet another way for Blowns to dig on the all-important Beast Ring turn, and provides some extra resistance to Reset Stamp. What makes this card especially good is how easy it is to search—grabable with both search Items that you already play. A no-brainer.
There are some downsides to this card. Firstly, it takes a Bench space, meaning that is one fewer spot for your Poipole. The other is that it is not an Ultra Beast; being able to Ultra Conversion away techs like Naganadel-GX FLI or Blacephalon CEC is what makes these techs palatable.
This card actually competes with Ditto p, who shares the same downsides. The searchable draw power with Dance of Tribute outweighs the 5th Poipole.
Great Catcher is in excellent addition to this deck, as the only reason you ever wanted to gust was to bring up something bigger so you could take more Prize cards. Discarding 2 is hardly a downside compared to the headache of finding a pair of Custom Catchers. The only downside is that we can no longer gust around Spell Tag when we are playing against Malamar, so, I have removed all of the Malamar techs from the older lists. Theoretically, you can make the Malamar matchup even or favored with Lysandre Labs, Heatran-GX, and even Mallow & Lana, but why would you? Just don’t get paired against them.
Not playing Lysandre Labs or Heatran makes the GardEon matchup trickier, but still somewhat in your favor. See the matchup section for more information. For now, just notice that I’ve forgone the Heatran for the 4th Blacephalon-GX, and that’s because Heatran is an abysmal starter and not useful in most matchups.
By now, my use of very small counts of consistency Items should come as no surprise to you. I’m confident in the singleton Pokégear, whereas the Acro Bike can be a number of things, including: Lillie, Pokégear, Tate & Liza, and techs like Ultra Forest Kartenvoy or Reset Stamp.
Both of these cards have been excluded for their situational, hard-to-find nature. I would rather play more consistency like my 15th Fire and the Acro Bike, or a card like Ultra Forest Kartenvoy, which is only useful in certain matchups, but greatly swings them in your favor.
Mewtwo: Heavily Favored
You take 3 Prizes per attack, they take 2. There’s not much they can do. Look to Burst-GX and KO a Mewtwo and Dedenne, or Stinger-GX and KO a Mewtwo. They might try to play around Beast Ring, which you can respond to by setting up 2 Naganadel LOT and playing Welder a couple of times.
ADP: Slightly Favored
This matchup plays one of two very different ways.
- If your opponent goes for ADP, the game will come down to you turn after they Altered Creation-GX. If they survive to use Ultimate Ray for 3 Prizes, you are hosed. They can attach their 3 free Energy to Keldeo or another ADP, either of which will take the rest of their Prize cards on its next attack. If you Mind Blown for a 1HKO, they will be left with no Energy in play and be stuck manually attaching to Keldeo-GX. Conveniently, you will be at exactly 3 Prizes after taking down their ADP, which means you can go straight in with Turning Point to hit the Keldeo. There’s a lot of ways for you to take the final 3 Prize cards, just use your intuition and remember that all of your Pokémon have attacks.
- If your opponent doesn’t try for ADP, the game is much slower. Depending on each player’s start, you may want to use Stinger-GX to take 3 Prize cards to once again put yourself on Turning Point turns. Without Altered Creation-GX, Sonic Edge doesn’t even take down you Naganadel LOT in one hit, and they only get 1 Prize card for it. Also, Mallow & Lana doesn’t bring them out of 2HKO range. While you can’t Burst-GX to take your last Prize, Venom Shot is always a solid option.
In either case, having Ultra Forest Kartenvoy to hit through Pure Heart would make the game much more comfortable for you. Reset Stamp is also solid to have around, for the turn after Stinger-GX. Make sure to have the correct Poipole (Spit Poison) for potential Turning Point math on Keldeo! Beast Energy p also helps there.
Ability Zard: Favored
Ability Zard is similar to the Mewtwo matchup, which is a simple Prize race where your deck is just better at doing that, except that they have some non-GX attackers that makes it closer. The good news is, Ability Zard usually needs a turn of breathing room where you don’t Knock Out their attacker. They try to buy this with ReshiZard’s high HP, but that just means a bigger, meatier target for your Beast Ring turn. Benching a TAG TEAM also means that you can go for the Stinger-GX play, though typically you will be using Burst-GX. If your opponent manages to stream Heatran-GX into Victini Prism then Turntonator, politely shake their hand and win the next 2 games.
I’m convinced there’s not a good way to beat this deck as Blowns, but some people seem to think Stinger-GX, Fireworks Bomb, and a Reset Stamp or two turns this matchup in your favor. Personally, I don’t see it. You should try it for yourself if you’re worried about Pidgey.
I’m only marking this as “Somewhat Favorable,” because if your opponent knew your 60, there’s a good chance you can’t do anything. But, they don’t. Abuse this.
The core of this matchup is Fairy Charm UB, and the fact that our deck plays zero ways to pierce it. Most GardEon lists play at most 1 Fairy Charm UB. Remember, you only need Stinger-GX and 1 TAG TEAM target. Your opponent will usually bench a 2nd GardEon to Fairy Song onto, and to make sure they aren’t surprised by a Heatran-GX.
If your opponent knows you don’t have an out, you will lose to a single GardEon with a UB Charm. You can try the Stinger-GX into Turning Point combo, but they only need to take 3 Prize cards, and they can easily Magical Miracle-GX for 2. Also, if they play a non-TAG TEAM Pokémon, they can bench it and use Mallow & Lana.
Doll Stall: Heavily Favored
As previously stated, your plan is to use Blacephalon CEC to take your Prizes. Start by using Stinger-GX, which takes your first 3, and also sets your opponent to 3 Prizes. Then, you can use Beast Ring to get the P Energy onto Blacephalon, and spread 12 counters as you please. You should usually be able to take your Prizes in 2 boosted Fireworks Bomb attacks. Know that you will need Stadium cards to counter Sky Pillar on your spread turns. Also, sometimes things can happen to your P Energy, either milled with Bellelba & Brycen-Man or shuffled into your Prizes with Stinger-GX; your hand or board is the safest place for your P Energy.
Where trouble can potentially come is with Spiritomb UNB: with Building Spite, Rainbow Energy, and Blacephalon CEC’s Weakness, Anguish Cry can come out of nowhere and KO your ace in the hole. Fret not, you have plenty of ways to make this not an issue. First of all, if you decided to include Reset Stamp, you can simply Stamp them to 3 before going in with Blacephalon, and there is very little chance they find both Spiritomb and the Rainbow. Otherwise, remember that you only need to take 3 Prize cards, and Spiritomb is itself not a Lillie’s Poké Doll. Usually, your opponent will simply have down 2 low-HP Pokémon for you to take out with 1 Fireworks Bomb, and the game is already over. You can help to set this up in the early turns by using Bursting Burn on a Jirachi, allowing you KO it and a Munchlax or Mew. Speaking of Mew UNB, if there’s ever a turn post Stinger-GX where your opponent has a Doll Active and no Mew on the Bench, you can Venom Shot with your Beast Energy p.
Basically, for your opponent to win, they need to have no weak Pokémon other than Mew, Spiritomb + Rainbow to get your Blacephalon off the board, then another Mew UNB so you can’t take the final Prize card.
Baby Blows/Pidgeotto & Malamar: Unfavorable
If your opponent’s deck does what it’s supposed to, you should not win.
GuzzNag: Heavily Favored
Both Burst-GX and Stinger-GX counter their plan of making you KO 2 GuzzNags, and they have no way of skipping Beast Ring.
Both of these decks are ones I expect to see moderate success in the future, as they have had in the past. If you see me at a Standard tournament this quarter, I will likely be playing one of them. That said, I think I will be taking a break from local events this quarter. I plan on going to Dallas Regionals and OCIC , neither of which are UPR–CEC. If you have success with these decks or have questions about them, let me know @croxtonveryepic on Twitter. Take care, y’all!
…and that will conclude this Unlocked Underground article.
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