Who’s a Good Dog?

Introducing “Budget” Shock Lock, an Approachable Shock Lock with No Tropical Beach
No Beach? No problem! Shock Lock can now be played without it.

Welcome, friends! Today I’d like to share with you something I’ve spent significant time developing—a Shock Lock deck that includes no copies of Tropical Beach! I’m confident that this list is as good or better than my previous, traditional version with a focus on Tropical Beach, Tapu Lele-GX, and Brigette, and it seems to be suited to the current projected BLW–CEC metagame.

Traditional Shock Lock was built to do two things on the first turn:

  1. get and play Brigette, usually through Tapu Lele-GX, and
  2. use Tropical Beach to fill up on cards, looking for Rare Candy + Stoutland pieces.

These priorities led me to play a full 4 copies of Trainers’ Mail, which helped find the Brigette, Ultra Ball, or Tropical Beach.

Budget Shock Lock

In my previous Expanded article, I predicted a particular new card to spell serious trouble for Shock Lock—Great Catcher. Since you were basically stuck with Tapu Lele-GX on the Bench until the very end of the game (where Pickup on Pal Pad for 2 AZs allowed you to go positive on resources), Great Catcher would permanently threaten to push Stoutland to the Bench. Then, Guzma can be played, which breaks the Paralysis lock for that turn and targets down your Pikachu, meaning they can attack yet again on the next turn. While it’s unclear at the moment how common Great Catcher will be in BLW–CEC, the idea of losing 2 Prize cards for every Great Catcher any opponent plays is a frightening prospect. My first task of an updated Shock Lock would be to remove reliance on Pokémon-GX.

Well…I couldn’t do it entirely. I looked through all the potential support Pokémon, and the only viable option was an Alolan Ninetales-GX line. The good news is, devolving Alolan Ninetales-GX removes its Pokémon-GX status. Additionally, Mysterious Guidance also has natural devolving synergy.

Instead of closing our early turns with Tropical Beach, we simply attack with pre-Evolutions. If you were playing around the time of Guardians Rising, you already know how powerful Beacon is as a setup tool. Even if your opponent decides to N your Beacon targets away, you are still starting the next turn with a fresh 7-card hand. Of course, you shouldn’t underestimate Pickup or a lucky Nuzzle either.

As for our ACE SPEC: Don’t own a Computer Search? Rejoice—without the need to find Brigette or Tropical Beach early, it loses much of its importance. Better yet, the less expensive Scoop Up Cyclone provides an out to switching, clearing Special Conditions, reusing the Abilities of our Stage 1 Pokémon, and removing Jirachi-EX from our board.

The List

Pokémon (23)

4 Lillipup BLW 80

3 Herdier SUM

3 Stoutland BCR

3 Pikachu XY

2 Raichu BUS

4 Alolan Vulpix GRI

2 Alolan Ninetales-GX LOT

1 Ditto p

1 Jirachi-EX

Trainer (33)

4 Professor Juniper

2 AZ

2 Cynthia

2 Gladion

1 Lillie


4 Level Ball

4 Ultra Ball

2 Rare Candy

1 Counter Catcher

1 Devolution Spray

1 Field Blower

1 Pal Pad

1 Rescue Stretcher

1 Special Charge

1 VS Seeker


4 Stealthy Hood


1 Scoop Up Cyclone

Energy (4)

4 Memory


Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 23

* 4 Lillipup BLW 80
* 3 Herdier SUM 104
* 3 Stoutland BCR 122
* 3 Pikachu XY 42
* 2 Raichu BUS 41
* 4 Alolan Vulpix GRI 21
* 2 Alolan Ninetales-GX LOT 132
* 1 Ditto p LOT 154
* 1 Jirachi-EX PLB 60

##Trainer Cards - 33

* 4 Professor Juniper PLB 84
* 2 Cynthia UPR 119
* 1 Lillie UPR 125
* 2 AZ PHF 91
* 2 Gladion CIN 95
* 4 Ultra Ball SLG 68
* 4 Level Ball AOR 76
* 2 Rare Candy CES 142
* 1 Scoop Up Cyclone PLB 95
* 1 Devolution Spray EVO 76
* 1 Rescue Stretcher GRI 130
* 1 Counter Catcher CIN 91
* 1 Special Charge STS 105
* 1 VS Seeker PHF 109
* 1 Pal Pad UPR 132
* 1 Field Blower GRI 125
* 4 Stealthy Hood UNB 186

##Energy - 4

* 4 Memory Energy LOT 194

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=78872 ******

Key Cards

Draw Supporter/Ball Engine

I’ve really been liking the 4 Professor Juniper/Sycamore, 2 PONT, 1 Bianca engine so far. Juniper is generally the best Supporter to hit off Random Receiver, so I’ve maxed that first. Between PONT and Bianca, shuffle draw is usually better, but sometimes I want to hold onto my hand and build a combo with the Bianca.

(Yes, it’s still 2020—you have not entered a time warp—though that last paragraph could have been written eight years ago.)

With our low Supporter count, it’s important not to get greedy with our choices—no Colress, no heavy Lillie, and no Teammates. This lineup has worked well for me, and I can’t really think of a way you could adjust it either. Cynthia is better than Tate & Liza because we have Scoop Up Cyclone to switch in emergencies.

As mentioned earlier, this version forgoes Brigette for simple draw Supporters and a full 4 Level Ball. Level Ball not only grabs all of our Basics, but can get us out of a dead hand via Jirachi-EX. In the mid game, it’s also incredibly flexible due to Herdier’s Treasure Hunt.

I’ve tried 1–2 Timer Ball in the past, as a no-downside out to Evolution Pokémon off of Mysterious Guidance. Unfortunately, there’s a 1 in 4 chance you get totally hosed each time you play Timer Ball, and you may not even be able to capitalize on the times you hit double heads. If it were Evolution Incense, I would certainly be running 1, maybe even 2.

On that note, if you decide to play an Alolan Muk SUM or Goodra PHF line, consider playing a Heavy Ball. On top of getting either of those cards, Heavy Ball accesses Stoutland BCR and Alolan Grimer (excluding Alolan Grimer UNM).

4 Lillipup BLW, 3 Herdier SUM, 3 Stoutland BCR, 2 Rare Candy

For those unfamiliar with Shock Lock as a deck, the core of the strategy is to use Raichu BUS’s Evoshock every turn while shutting off opposing Guzma with Stoutland BCR’s Sentinel. To do this, you use Lillipup BLW’s Pickup to bring back certain Items that reactivate Evoshock every turn. Though it may be tempting to run a Lillipup CEC to lock a support Pokémon like Dedenne-GX or Sudowoodo GRI Active, believe me, it just ends up being a consistency hit.

Due to the ease of finding Rare Candy off Mysterious Guidance, we run only 2 copies. Outside of our second turn, evolving through Herdier SUM is preferred, due to its excellent Treasure Hunt Ability.

4 Alolan Vulpix GRI, 2 Alolan Ninetales-GX LOT, 1 Ditto p

Similar to max copies of Lillipup, I’m running a full 4 Alolan Vulpix. You usually want to find 2 Alolan Vulpix on the first turn—one to Beacon, the other to evolve in case the Active one gets KO’d. Naturally, it’s also our best starter.

Alolan Ninetales-GX is run in a healthy 2-count, as we only ever need to find a single copy of it, and it can be grabbed off Beacon.

I avoided running Ditto in the past, as it was usually just another Pikachu that couldn’t be returned with Rescue Stretcher. Now, with Alolan Ninetales as a target, this card is premium.

2 AZ, 1 Pal Pad, 2 Gladion

Though AZ + Pal Pad isn’t the only way to prevent yourself from decking out, I still firmly believe that it’s the best way. Crucially, using Pad Pad on 2 AZ means you get 2 turns of Evoshock per 1 Pickup, allowing you the freedom to recover resources; having extra Rescue Stretcher, Special Charge, Counter Catcher, Field Blower, and Stealthy Hood can make the difference when the opponent plays ways to break the lock. Additionally, it seems dangerous to not go positive on resources in a format littered with Stall and Mill decks.

Losing to Prize cards sucks. If you only play 2 AZ, 1 Pal Pad, 1 Gladion, you can’t afford to prize 2-of those 4. The 2nd Gladion makes that significantly less likely, and lets you use Gladion more freely for tech cards or consistency. With 2 Gladion in your deck, it’s important to check most of your Prize cards on your first search, so you know when it can become the last piece you need to establish the lock—from Ultra Ball to Rare Candy to Memory Energy.

4 Stealthy Hood, 1 Field Blower

Excessive? I don’t think so. Against Garbodor decks, you’ll need a Stealthy Hood on both Stoutland and 1–2 Pikachu in order to get around Garbotoxin. This means, you need to find several Stealthy Hoods quickly in order for your deck to function, and you need the ability to replace the Hoods should they get removed with Field Blower. You will probably still be unable to beat ZoroGarb, since they play 1–2 Field Blower and Dowsing Machine, but these Stealthy Hoods should be enough to make Ultra Necrozma/Garbodor a strongly favored matchup for you.

Actually, the ideal boardstate only needs 1 Stealthy Hood down, on the Active Stoutland. You can attach Stealthy Hood to Pikachu, evolve it, and use Scoop Up Cyclone. Another neat thing is that you only need 1 Stoutland in play, as they are forced to use Guzma to break Paralysis, moving the Stoutland safely to the Bench. Those things said, ZoroGarb is fast, resourceful, and turns off Treasure Hunt. It’s doable, but quite rough.

Field Blower exists to remove opposing Stealthy Hoods, such that they are not immune to Evoshock. Counter Catcher can fulfill this purpose in some circumstances, but is not a foolproof out.

Tech Slots

Currently, the techs in this list are dominated by Stealthy Hood. Of course, Garbodor decks aren’t the only bad matchups you can improve. Here are the flexible slots you can play around with:

Naturally, I will warn against cutting consistency, and not having an out to enemy Stealthy Hoods seems incorrect. But I’m not your dad.

0-1 or 1-1 Alolan Muk SUM

I’ve removed Alolan Muk SUM from my Shock Lock lists recently, because it doesn’t really have a particular purpose, but it’s always a card we should keep an eye on. There are many random Abilities on Basic Pokémon that can give you trouble, but for the most part, they aren’t popular enough to justify the slots. Here’s a brief list:

As an aside, Wobbuffet PHF is no longer a problem for this deck. If they sit there with Wobbuffet Active, you can heal all of his damage with Scoop Up Cyclone. When they bench anything else to attack with, simply wait for them to bring it Active (or use Counter Catcher) and Evoshock it.

1-0-1 or 2-0-1 Goodra PHF

Goodra is a card I’ve never liked in Shock Lock. ZoroGarb plays Klefki, which means they can attach it and Guzma your Goodra in the same turn. (Don’t even think about getting Muk out to turn off Klefki—you’d be playing 5 Evolution Pokémon!) Since you couldn’t beat the best Garbodor deck with Goodra, why bother? Now, perhaps UltraGarb will dethrone ZoroGarb, in which case Goodra could theoretically be better than Stealthy Hoods. Previously, you also needed to make room for Field Blower, which is now a necessity anyway. Regardless, I’m personally not buying it.

1 Team Rocket’s Handiwork or 1 Trick Shovel

There are various things that might require you to aggressively mill, so it isn’t a bad tool to have. Handiwork has synergy with Pal Pad and mills more, while Trick Shovel can be used under an opponent’s Sentinel.

1 Faba

Faba is a way to get around Mewtwo & Mew-GX decks attaching Stealthy Hood and using Noivern-GX’s Distort, which disables Field Blower. I could see this being run as an alternative or supplement to Field Blower.

Pokémon Ranger

Pokémon Ranger breaks Item lock (fulfilling a similar purpose to Faba) and shuts down Altered Creation-GX. A reasonable (if situational) option.

Banette ROS 31

The current ruling is that Tool Concealment affects the Pokémon in play, rather than the Pokémon Tools. This implies that Stealthy Hood protects the Pokémon it’s attached to from being hit by Tool Concealment, meaning the Stealthy Hood is not shut off. If Banette worked against Stealthy Hood (in my opinion, as intended), we’d play a 1-1 line instead of any Tool removal.



Most lists don’t play a single out to Paralysis + Sentinel, nor a way to capitalize if they did. Dark is looking like the BDIF going into Dallas 🇺🇸, which certainly is a good sign for Shock Lock.

Ultra Necrozma variants

Though Altered Creation-GX means they only need 4 attacks instead of 6 to win, it’s rare that they will get there. God bless Float Stone for being so much better than Switch, against everything but you.

Of course, you need to play Stealthy Hoods or Goodra if you want to beat UltraGarb.

Mill/Stall decks

The bad news is, Evoshock isn’t very good against these decks, but is usually necessary to prevent Junk Hunt and Resource Management. The good news is, Sentinel shuts down most of their utility, and they can’t break it via Counter Catcher because you won’t be taking Prize cards. Just set up the usual lock while avoiding discarding AZ or Pal Pad so they can’t use Get Lost on them and you should be fine.

What they may try to do is leave a Doll/Robo Sub Active, waiting for you to make a mistake. Paralyzing these has no effect, so just take the time to recover resources. Never leave your Pal Pad in your discard pile in this case.

Amusingly, if you don’t play a mill card, they can continuously loop Lillie’s Poké Doll to the bottom of their deck, forcing you to attach 3 Memory Energy to use Herdier’s Bite or Stoutland’s Wild Tackle.

Shock Lock mirror

Before Hartford last year, I obsessed over this matchup for two days, theorying up half a dozen 1-of techs and testing them against each other, some of which were found to be inconsequential, a few helpful, but none really worth the spot. Come to think of it, I might be the only person that knows all of the silly intricacies of this matchup. Mwahahaha.

Though I could write a whole article on it, it’s just too rare of an occurrence for us time-crunched people to worry about, let alone practice. When people ask me about it, I just tell them, “If it happens, ID and move on.”

Here’s the big picture: the problem with this matchup is that neither deck functions. Special Conditions are removed both by evolving and devolving. The only way to lose definitively is getting a Basic support Pokémon like Tapu Lele-GX or Jirachi-EX locked—which is a really hard mistake to make with Scoop Up Cyclone in your deck! Theoretically, Trick Shovel could catch them off guard; in practice, it won’t. ID and move on.



Thank you so much for reading my article, and I sincerely hope it inspires some players on a budget to give Shock Lock a try. After luck totally mistreating me in the second half of last quarter, I’ve decided to take it easy during this one, and Dallas will be the only major I’m attending.

I’ll leave you with a text written to my brother, describing my experience playing Shock Lock in a timed environment:

I’ve actually never had trouble with time playing Shock Lock in Bo3. Over 3 regionals, Greensboro, Daytona, and Hartfort, I didn’t go to time a single match. There was one game match I lost at Hartford by rushing myself, thinking we were about to run out of time, but there was actually 10 minutes left. Experience helps, and I am a fast player in general. But in my opinion, the biggest difference was perfecting the motions of the loop. I kept my Pikachus all the way on the right side of my bench, so my hand didn’t have to move very far after I drew for turn. I played my Raichus halfway down the Pikachu so I could easily grab just the Raichu with devo spray. When I draw for turn, if it’s an AZ, I immediately played it, otherwise putting it to the back of my hand so I can play the devo spray that’s in front. I pick the devo spray up straight off the mat without moving it to my discard. Also, I figured out which actions I needed to say out loud so I couldn’t get rule sharked or stalled. Playing Trainer cards don’t need to be announced, but Evoshock and my attack Pickup do. I can Evoshock, Pickup in 3-4 seconds. I also got a lot of concessions once the lock was established… it’s cool that people don’t try to stall, even when they get locked on turn 2.


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Reader Interactions

1 reply

  1. Twilight_Ops

    Thanks for the great article, Jonathan. Would you make any changes to your Tropical Beach version at this point?

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