That Which We Call a Rosa

Recapping My 2nd Place Rosa ADP List from Daytona Beach
“…by any other Pokégear 3.0 draw would smell even sweeter.”

Hey everyone! I’m happy to be writing again so shortly after my last article. For anyone who’s been asleep the past few days, I finished 2nd at Daytona Beach Regionals 🇺🇸 with Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX. This is the deck I covered in my article last week, and the deck I continued to explore in the days afterward in preparation for Daytona Beach. In this article I’ll describe the lead-up to the event, the tournament itself, and briefly conclude by looking ahead to this weekend’s Standard tournaments.

This is a shorter piece not intended to be a full article, but long enough to describe what I want to say about the deck. I’m always glad to write these kind of articles after I do well, and I’m grateful I have a platform—SixPrizes—to do so.

The Lead-Up

Pre-Daytona Beach

My parents and I decided to head to Florida early for Thanksgiving. We spent some time in the Cape Coral area staying with the Retzloffs and there just so happened to be a League Challenge on Wednesday night. Lacking a better idea, I took the ADP list from my last article and included some of the untested ideas I wanted to mess with. It’s not worth including the full list here, so here are the important inclusions:

Everything else was just the bread-and-butter ADP list that Fabien Pujol and Pedro Torres played to LAIC. I cut some of their extraneous cards for my techs similar to how I said in my last article. N’s Resolve and Great Catchers became Custom Catchers, and I found the spots for Absol and extra tools by making cuts elsewhere in the list.

I ended up going 4-1 for 1st place at the League Challenge, only losing to Naganadel & Guzzlord-GX/Mismagius in Round 3. I liked the list, but felt like there was more to discover with the deck. Counter Gain and Custom Catchers were incredible, and I knew that I would be playing them in my Daytona Beach list if I stuck with ADP.

The Car Ride

Fast-forward to the 4ish hour car ride to Daytona with Regan Retzloff. I’m mainly trying to get some sleep because I’m tired, but in the last hour of the drive I whip out my computer and begin brainstorming new ideas for ADP. I first made a document listing every meta deck in order of expected popularity. I then wrote down all of the variants of ADP I could play, from traditional to entirely wacky. This is where the first traces of Rosa could be seen.

Miraculously, it’s hard for me to remember exactly how when I thought of Rosa. I included it in a drafted list of ADP/Shedinja—a concept inspired by Tord Reklev’s Mewtwo & Mew-GX/Shedinja list from Cologne Regionals. Maybe I thought Rosa was the best replacement for his Hapu/Red’s Challenge engine?

Like I said, that’s my best guess for how I thought of it, but it might have been even earlier. 2 Rosa are in that list, and since then every list I made included at least one copy.

I also wrote down variants with a specific goal in my mind. Titled “Cards that slow down the T2 300,” I wrote down Choice Helmet, Absol, Stealthy Hood, Chaotic Swell, Mawile-GX, and Crushing Hammer. These are pretty self-explanatory other than Mawile-GX; it can block Welder decks by pulling their Dedenne-GX from hand. Frozen Lock can then block them from using Cherish Ball to find another.

Crushing Hammer is the one idea that stuck, and I made a list for that after the Shedinja list. I quickly scrapped the Shedinja idea because this deck is too slow for it to work. I might be having a better Prize trade, but if I wasn’t building a strong enough board it wouldn’t matter. Maybe I’ll return to the idea in a list more heavily structured around Keldeo-GX, but for now it’s in the dumpster.

Late Thursday + Friday

When we arrived at the hotel, I pulled up all of the Day 2 ADP lists from LAIC 🇧🇷 and compared commonalities. There were lots of different lists and techs that I drew inspiration from—too many to list—that didn’t end up making the final cut. I urge you to take a dive into the LAIC Day 2 and explore the many variations of ADP people brought. And do the same for another tournament and another deck. Maybe you’ll discover something revolutionary too!

Anyway, I thought about even more variations or packages I could include in ADP to win its hard matchups. Energy denial became a strategy worth considering. From then, I dissected each variant and determined which would give me the best matchup spread. Unsurprisingly, the best list was the traditional one with correct, targeted techs.

I quickly ditched the idea of stifling the T2 300 when I cut Crushing Hammer from the deck. It was a flippy card that sometime worked, but I found that I could better dedicate the spots to other things. Mimikyu was added to cover the Naganadel & Guzzlord-GX/Mismagius matchup and further improve mirror. I bumped the Rosa count up to 2 and included a Hoopa as a single-Prize attacker.

Will Jenkins then arrived and joined in on the testing. We realized Mewtwo & Mew-GX wasn’t as bad as we thought and we added Girafarig to improve it. We kept making small changes, and at this point I was happy with where it was at. Rahul Reddy arrived, I handed him the deck, and after a relatively relaxed Friday night we kept discussing the deck until we settled on a final 60. Will continued testing the deck and made a few changes of his own like adding 2nd Cryogonal, Cyrus p, and Cynthia over Lillie. Finally, I handed the list to Rahul and Franco Takahashi at the end of the night.

The List

Pokémon (12)

4 Jirachi TEU

2 Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX

2 Keldeo-GX

1 Dedenne-GX

1 Cryogonal UNM

1 Girafarig LOT

1 Mimikyu TEU

Trainer (35)

4 Lillie

2 Cynthia & Caitlin

2 Mallow & Lana

2 Rosa

1 Guzma & Hala


4 Custom Catcher

3 Pokémon Communication

3 Switch

3 Tag Call

2 Cherish Ball

2 Reset Stamp

1 Great Catcher


2 Escape Board

1 Counter Gain


3 Chaotic Swell

Energy (13)

6 Water Energy

5 Metal Energy

2 Rainbow Energy


Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 12

* 4 Jirachi TEU 99
* 2 Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX CEC 156
* 2 Keldeo-GX UNM 47
* 1 Dedenne-GX UNB 57
* 1 Cryogonal UNM 46
* 1 Girafarig LOT 94
* 1 Mimikyu TEU 112

##Trainer Cards - 35

* 4 Lillie UPR 125
* 2 Rosa CEC 204
* 2 Cynthia & Caitlin CEC 189
* 2 Mallow & Lana CEC 198
* 1 Guzma & Hala CEC 193
* 4 Custom Catcher LOT 171
* 3 Tag Call CEC 206
* 3 Pokémon Communication TEU 152
* 3 Switch CES 147
* 2 Cherish Ball UNM 191
* 2 Reset Stamp UNM 206
* 1 Great Catcher CEC 192
* 2 Escape Board UPR 122
* 1 Counter Gain LOT 170
* 3 Chaotic Swell CEC 187

##Energy - 13

* 6 Water Energy Energy 3
* 5 Metal Energy Energy 8
* 2 Rainbow Energy CES 151

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: ******

The cards that didn’t make the cut were Lana’s Fishing Rod, Drampa CEC, and Hoopa UNM. All in all, I chose to play increased consistency over these cards. Dedenne-GX, 2nd Cherish Ball, and 13th Energy were the cards I was happy I kept in the list. Phione became a Dedenne-GX at some point, which then became a Great Catcher. The logic behind that was Dedenne-GX is to dig for the win; gust effects win the game. I then found the spot for Dedenne-GX elsewhere too.

Looking back, the only sensible change I could’ve made was including the Rod for recovery or another Cryogonal. Choice Helmet was a consideration, but I ditched it. I didn’t care about GardEon so I didn’t include Lucario & Melmetal-GX. (Whoops!)

Comparing this list to Fabien and Pedro’s shows eerily similar personalities. I think they nailed the Supporter and Item engine, which I entirely kept the same. The main changes were swapping in Custom Catchers, playing Mimikyu over Drampa, adding a Counter Gain, and cutting things for Rosa.

The Tournament

Here’s how it played out:

R1: Blacephalon-GX/Naganadel … 2-0
R2: Dolls … 2-0
R3: Mewtwo … 2-0
R4: Malamar … 2-0
R5: ADP Mirror (Will Jenkins) … 1-2
R6: Mewtwo … 2-0
R7: DDG Dolls … 1-1
R8: Dolls … 2-0
R9: Blacephalon-GX/Naganadel … 1-2


R10: Malamar … 2-0
R11: Malamar … 2-0
R12: Blacephalon-GX/Naganadel … 2-0
R13: ADP Mirror (Will Jenkins) … Concession
R14: ID


T8: Mewtwo … 2-0
T4: DDG Dolls … 2-1
T2: GardEon … 1-2

RK9 Labs Pairings:

My losses came from Mirror, Blowns, and GardEon. It was fortunate pairing into Will in R13 because he was already locked for Top 8. From there, I was safe once I ID’d with Grant Manley in R14. I was on stream during Rounds 2, 11, Top 8, and Finals, so watch if you’d like!

There was less Mewtwo & Mew-GX and ABZard than I expected, which worked out well in my favor. I also didn’t pair into any Blacephalon/Pidgeotto decks. That matchup is a toss-up, so it was nice to avoid that. The meta shaped up well for ADP, and I was fortunate to get lucky when I needed to be to make it so far.

In Top 4, I won Game 1 vs. Isaiah and knew that I was set to win the series in Game 3 because of Top Cut rules. I scooped Game 2 with 10–15 minutes left so that I had enough time to win with Custom Catchers but not enough for him to deck me out.

The GardEon match in finals was much closer than I thought it would be. I knew my strategy going into it was to attack with Altered Creation-GX ASAP so that Keldeo-GX would 2HKO a GardEon. This didn’t work in G1 because I opened with Water Energy. This did work in G3 though. Unfortunately, he hit the Custom Catcher off of the Cynthia & Caitlin to KO my ADP-GX before it could use Ultimate Ray. I then used Keldeo-GX and was so close to winning, but he drew the nuts off of the first Reset Stamp and I lost.

I knew that I had to hold the 2nd Reset Stamp for another turn if I wanted to win that game. If I don’t, I give him way too much time to find Faba + Power Plant. That additional turn is the make or break between Cynthia & Caitlin into Green’s Exploration into Faba + Power Plant. I wasn’t scared of him using Mallow & Lana because he doesn’t get any closer to KOing my Keldeo-GX other than by topdeck. The clock I put him on to win the game doesn’t slow down because of it.

Moving Forward

I expect people to counter ADP by playing faster decks. GardEon may regain popularity, so I think it’s worthwhile to add Lucario & Melmetal-GX into the deck again. This also provides a niche out with Tag Call and Pokémon Communication. Mimikyu is worse now, so I’m going to re-include Drampa instead of it. I’ll also swap the Rainbow Energies for one of each relevant Unit Energy.

If I was going to San Diego 🇺🇸, I would probably play this deck again because it’s a comfort pick. I expect counters to rise up which may mean this deck won’t win the tournament, but I still expect it to do well. Rosa is 100% the correct way to play the deck moving forward. If you aren’t including it in your list you’re making a mistake.

Good luck in San Diego/Singapore/Brisbane!


Reader Interactions

9 replies

  1. James Washer

    Congrats on the 2nd place finish! My junior and I are testing your ADP list vs DDG Dolls. It seems as simple as whoever gets the Gx off first wins. Is that how you see the matchup?

    ADP can get it’s Gx off much easier and has many ways to prevent dolls from Gx’ing. For example one game I simply used cryogonal on turn 1 going second. That means he could not attach an escape board and get Latios Gx in the active. I just used frozen lock over and over until I was able to Gx. Game over.

    • Xander Pero  → James

      Exactly! If you want to make the matchup even easier, include 1 Cynthia in place of 1 Lillie. That way you won’t be at risk of decking out. Even if they pull of the GX attack, it should still be an easy win by alternating Cryogonal and Girafarig. Just remove their Spiritomb when they bench it. If they fail Snack Search, lost Zone it with Girafarig. You’ll have enough time with 1 Cynthia and 2 Cynthia & Caitlin to KO and Lost Zone all of their Poke Dolls.

  2. Dylan Peacock

    I was surprised to hear you lost to blowns. How does this matchup play out, what is blacephalon’s strategy and how do you counter it?

    • Xander Pero  → Dylan

      They can either try to overrun you with Mind Blown or set up Stinger GX. Your game plan is the same either way. You try to pull off the empowered GX attack with ADP, and then use Ultimate Ray and steamroll if given the opportunity. It becomes hard if you can’t use Ultimate Ray, in which you go in with Keldeo-GX because they don’t have any good answers.

      Stinger GX is easy too, as you can simply pivot into Cryogonal, doing 40, and then cleaning up the Naganadel-GX for game with Ultimate Ray the turn afterward.

      I lost because Jose nuked my ADP for 300 before I could use the GX attack in games 1 and 3.

  3. Nick

    I can’t seem to win with this deck, loses to big balloons, nuzzle Raichu, the mirror, blastoise/water power ups. Any advice on those matchups? Shit I can’t even beat a wishiwashi.

    • Xander Pero  → Nick

      Big blowns is a fine matchup, Nuzzle raichu is an enigma (and probably not a terrible matchup), mirror is mirror, and I’ve never played vs BlasPlup.

      • Aaron Sparks  → Xander

        What is your opinion on the recent checkmate deck that just topped? What adaptations would you make to the list that was used? Thanks!

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