The Beach Boys

Octo Doll and Classic Shock Lock (i.e., Decks That Require Tropical Beach) for Dallas
“If everybody had an ocean,
across the U.S.A.…”

Hello hello everybody! I hope your year has been off to a good start and your Dallas testing is going well. I’ve personally been taking it slow for Dallas 🇺🇸, but I do have some interesting things to share (that aren’t entirely Shock Lock!). In the reverse spirit of my last article, where I presented a budget option, today I have two high-end decks for you that I also think are viable for Dallas (and can milk some value out of those Tropical Beaches that have been in your binder for so long).

It’s worth noting that despite each of these decks playing a full 4 Tropical Beach, they can just as easily be played with 3 Beach and a Stadium Nav. In fact, both of them have ways to recover Item cards, meaning it could even be better in some situations.

Octo Doll

Credit where credit is due, this first list originates from a deck sent to me by Rudy Wade. I removed the Energy denial and stall cards in favor of a Durant-style sit-and-mill deck.

The List

Pokémon (6)

4 Sableye DEX

1 Girafarig LOT

1 Hoopa SLG

Trainer (50)

4 Green’s Exploration

4 Team Rocket’s Handiwork

2 Bellelba & Brycen-Man

2 Colress

2 Professor Sycamore

1 N

 

4 Lillie’s Poké Doll

4 Robo Substitute

4 Trainers’ Mail

4 VS Seeker

2 Eco Arm

2 Nest Ball

2 Pal Pad

1 Adventure Bag

1 Professor’s Letter

1 Super Rod

 

4 Rescue Scarf

1 Float Stone

 

1 Life Dew

 

4 Tropical Beach

Energy (4)

4 Darkness Energy

 

Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 6

* 4 Sableye DEX 62
* 1 Girafarig LOT 94
* 1 Hoopa SLG 55

##Trainer Cards - 50

* 4 Lillie’s Poké Doll CEC 197
* 4 Robo Substitute PHF 102
* 4 Tropical Beach PR-BLW 28
* 4 Green’s Exploration UNB 175
* 2 Professor Sycamore BKP 107
* 2 Colress PLS 118
* 1 N FCO 105
* 4 Team Rocket’s Handiwork FCO 112
* 2 Bellelba & Brycen-Man CEC 186
* 4 Trainers’ Mail ROS 92
* 4 VS Seeker PHF 109
* 2 Pal Pad UPR 132
* 2 Nest Ball SUM 123
* 1 Professor’s Letter BKT 146
* 1 Super Rod BKT 149
* 4 Rescue Scarf DRX 115
* 1 Life Dew PLF 107
* 1 Float Stone BKT 137
* 2 Eco Arm AOR 71
* 1 Adventure Bag LOT 167

##Energy - 4

* 4 Darkness Energy Energy 7

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=79050 ******

Key Cards

4 Rescue Scarf, 2 Eco Arm, 4 Team Rocket’s Handiwork, 2 Bellelba & Brycen-Man

This list heavily invests in the synergy between Rescue Scarf and your Lillie’s Poké Dolls/Robo Substitutes (henceforth just “Dolls”), giving you a near-endless supply of 0-Prize walls. Simply sit behind your Dolls and cast a milling Supporter every turn, occasionally using Junk Hunt to recover high-value cards like Pal Pad and Eco Arm that will continue the pressure and soft-lock.

Normally, relying on reactive Pokémon Tools like Rescue Scarf in a format with Field Blower is a bad idea, but it’s fine in this case because you can easily recover your Pokémon Tools, and your opponent probably isn’t taking Prize cards in the meantime.

The split of milling Supporters favors Team Rocket’s Handiwork, which mills somewhat less in exchange for not hurting yourself. Usually, discarding from your own deck isn’t a big deal—after all, Tropical Beach is the only card that cannot be recovered—but it isn’t something you want to be doing every turn. There is no particular reason for having 6 mill cards, but it has felt like a good number in testing. You probably don’t need more and most likely can’t get away with fewer.

4 Sableye DEX, 0 Oranguru UPR, 1 Girafarig LOT, 1 Hoopa SLG

Since we do actually have to play Basic Pokémon in our deck, Sableye and Girafarig fill the role. Despite Sableye debuting in 2012, being among the oldest cards in the format, Junk Hunt is still a fantastic attack. The more Item cards that get released, the more flexible it becomes. While the best targets are value-dense cards like Pal Pad and Eco Arm, as stated earlier, you can use it for Rescue Scarf, Super Rod, or just VS Seeker/Trainers’ Mail to get out of a dead hand. Because Item cards can access every class of card in the deck (sans Tropical Beach), I’m not including an Oranguru UPR. The cost of the cards getting stuck at the bottom of the deck, instead of going straight to your hand for use, is a large price to pay for just 1 more card of recovery.

Girafarig LOT is such a peculiar card. It has 1 relevant attack (Get Lost) that does nothing for tempo. There are only a small handful of playable cards that even use the discard pile. And yet, it is a staple for any Control/Stall deck. I really don’t want to play this card; it’s just so situational. But from the other side of the table, the simple 1-of Girafarig LOT can feel totally oppressive, and make you wonder why the deck isn’t playing 2 or 4 copies. Whatever. 1 is probably correct.

Hoopa SLG is mostly here to prevent us from being board-wiped by Mewtwo & Mew-GX decks using Distortion Door and copying SnivySaur’s Solar Plant-GX. It’s worth noting that Scoundrel Guard turns off your own Green’s Exploration—be careful! This anti-synergy hasn’t been too harmful in my experience, but if you find it bad, wean off of Green’s Exploration before removing this card.

4 Tropical Beach, 4 Green’s Exploration, 2 Professor Sycamore, 2 Colress, 1 N

Besides the obvious synergy between Green’s Exploration and Tropical Beach, this draw engine probably looks pretty scatterbrained. And indeed, it is; since I spend most turns of every game playing a mill Supporter, even with many hours of testing, I can’t say for sure if this is the best lineup. I just used instinct when deciding, and so far, have had no reason to change it. In all likelihood, it probably just doesn’t matter which draw Supporters you play, just run enough that you don’t brick.

Octo Doll in the Meta

So, does it beat Dark? Nope! Like nearly everything in this format, this deck falls short of beating the oppressive BDIF. In this case, it’s because Darkrai-EX DEX’s Night Spear takes down 2 Dolls with each attack, and Guzzlord CEC takes 2 Prize cards on your Sableyes. You have less than half the time to grind them down compared to a normal deck. It’s also much worse for you if they play Mega Sableye & Tyranitar-GX to mill you back.

I also haven’t thought of a clean way to deal with opposing Oranguru UPR. On the bright side, since most Control decks play cards like Faba and Girafarig LOT, Oranguru isn’t a very common tech for Control anymore.

The final counter to this deck is Item lock. Obviously, the nature of Dolls and Junk Hunt demands access to Item cards to play the game. Without the Energy-denial package (cards like Team Flare Grunt, Plumeria, Faba, Enhanced Hammer, and Counter Catcher), this deck can’t beat RowEggs, so I do not play a Wobbuffet PHF. Luckily, RowEggs gets its face smashed in by Dark.

So, what do you beat? I’d be pretty confident against most everything else, or at least I could tech for it:

  • Ultra Necrozma and Zoroark variants are generally straightforward and cannot deal with a stream of Dolls.
  • Mewtwo gets walled very well by Hoopa SLG, which forces them to use snipe or pierce attacks instead of Noivern-GX’s Distort.
  • Shock Lock can typically be Get Lost’d out of the game, especially against careless players, but you need 2 Switch to guarantee the matchup.
  • Any other attacking decks that show up, such as Fighting-type decks and PikaRom.

Like most decks in Expanded, this deck is very straightforward. Unfortunately, it is so much so that there is really nothing to say about any of its matchups. If you are interested in playing this deck, spend most of your testing on the Mewtwo matchup, as that’s the one I’ve spent the least on. I’d also briefly add that you can play Pokémon Ranger to counter Altered Creation-GX, Distort, and Quaking Punch, and that the 4 Trainers’ Mail may be extraneous.

Classic Shock Lock

The List

Pokémon (21)

4 Lillipup BLW 80

3 Herdier SUM

3 Stoutland BCR

3 Pikachu XY

2 Raichu BUS

2 Goomy FLI 91

1 Goodra PHF

2 Tapu Lele-GX

1 Mr. Mime BKT

Trainer (35)

4 Professor Sycamore

2 AZ

2 Brigette

2 Gladion

1 Lysandre

1 N

1 Teammates

 

4 Trainers’ Mail

4 Ultra Ball

3 Rare Candy

1 Devolution Spray

1 Field Blower

1 Pal Pad

1 Rescue Stretcher

1 Special Charge

1 VS Seeker

 

1 Scoop Up Cyclone

 

4 Tropical Beach

Energy (4)

4 Memory Energy

 

Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 21

* 4 Lillipup BLW 80
* 3 Herdier SUM 104
* 3 Stoutland BCR 122
* 3 Pikachu XY 42
* 2 Raichu BUS 41
* 2 Goomy FLI 91
* 1 Goodra PHF 77
* 2 Tapu Lele-GX GRI 60
* 1 Mr. Mime BKT 97

##Trainer Cards - 35

* 4 Professor Sycamore STS 114
* 2 Brigette BKT 161
* 2 AZ PHF 117
* 1 Teammates PRC 160
* 1 N FCO 105
* 1 Lysandre FLF 104
* 2 Gladion CIN 109
* 4 Ultra Ball SUM 161
* 4 Trainers’ Mail AOR 100
* 3 Rare Candy GRI 165
* 1 Scoop Up Cyclone PLB 95
* 1 Devolution Spray EVO 76
* 1 Pal Pad UPR 132
* 1 VS Seeker ROS 110
* 1 Field Blower GRI 125
* 1 Rescue Stretcher BUS 165
* 1 Special Charge STS 105
* 4 Tropical Beach PR-BLW 28

##Energy - 4

* 4 Memory Energy LOT 194

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=79050 ******

Mmmm, Shock Lock. My baby. If you read my previous article on budget Shock Lock, I sprinkled in some commentary about this version. I’ll do this again, but this time from the perspective of classic Shock Lock.

Key Cards

2-0-1 Goodra PHF, 3 Rare Candy, 1 Field Blower

Without Alolan Ninetales-GX LOT’s Mysterious Guidance to support finding Stealthy Hoods, Goodra is the preferred counter to Garbotoxin. We also need to buff up the Rare Candies to accommodate the additional Stage 2.

What makes Goodra overall cleaner is that Slip Trip prevents opponents from dropping pesky Stealthy Hoods, which forces you to find cards like Lysandre, Counter Catcher, Field Blower, or Faba. This means that you can get application out of your Goodra in matchups besides Garbodor DRX decks, namely Mewtwo, but also any random decks that decide to include a Stealthy Hood.

Tapu Lele-GX/Brigette Engine, and the Menace of Great Catcher

This version of the deck wants its first turn to always have two things:

  1. Brigette for many Pikachu and Lillipup, and
  2. Tropical Beach so you can set up the Sentinel + Evoshock lock on turn 2.

This is why we have max copies of Tropical Beach, Trainers’ Mail, and spare Tapu Lele-GX/Brigette to protect from prizing.

Unfortunately, the release of Great Catcher makes this engine worse. Not significantly worse, but not insignificantly worse either, if that makes any sense. It makes every matchup just that little bit harder to establish the hard lock (the extra step, of course, is using AZ or Scoop Up Cyclone on your Tapu Lele-GXs).

I’ve thought of just ignoring Great Catcher. As an Item card, it can only be used once—if they spend the turn using something like Junk Hunt to recover it, they aren’t making progress on breaking the lock. Most lists seems to cap at just 1 Great Catcher. So what, they will get 1 Prize card for every Great Catcher, maybe 2 if they target my only Pikachu? Will that be the difference between winning a losing?

The reason I included Scoop Up Cyclone over the mighty Computer Search is out of fear, doing everything possible to minimize the damage Great Catcher can do. It was inevitable that Great Catcher was going to be good, and personally, I anticipate lists to begin including multiple copies of it. While Guzma will still be around as a 1-of, due to its flexibility with Tapu Lele-GX and VS Seeker, Great Catcher has the potential to become the preferred method of gusting in Expanded. With the abundance of strong Supporters in Expanded, it becomes better and better to save your Supporter for turn by using Great Catcher instead of Guzma. This is the Lysandre + N dream of 2014. Additionally, it discarding cards will typically be a good thing, and Exeggcute PLF is around for when it isn’t.

1 Mr. Mime BKT, Potential for Alolan Muk SUM

After playing the Mewtwo matchup more, I’m convinced that this card is necessary for it. Solar Plant-GX is very nasty for your little Lillipup and Pikachu. That said, I’m unsure if this is a matchup worth teching for.

First of all, seemingly all Mewtwo lists run a 1-of Stealthy Hood. Combined with Noivern-GX’s Distort, you’re looking at a real headache of a situation, being unable to Evoshock the Mewtwo, nor remove the Stealthy Hood with Field Blower or Counter Catcher. Second, they have Solar Plant-GX and/or Lost Boomerang-GX, forcing the Mr. Mime tech. Third, some are even running Cobalion-GX, which you cannot beat without Alolan Muk SUM.

My gut says to disrespect a deck that relies on an Ability on a TAG TEAM, which can be shut off by Power Plant, Silent Lab, Garbotoxin, and now Mimikyu CEC’s Shadow Box, especially taking into account how rough the matchup is already. But for now, I’m keeping the Mime guy in.

1 Teammates, 1 N

Teammates is awesome. Play it.

I like that N limits my opponent’s options while I stabilize; specifically, it lets me build up a hand of cards like Field Blower and Lysandre, and gives time to AZ up Tapu Lele-GX, before my opponent draws their own counterplay cards like Stealthy Hood or Great Catcher. I’m a bit weary to play Shock Lock without a one-sided shuffle-draw Supporter, but with the 2nd Gladion for Pal Pad/AZ insurance, it has been fine. If you want a one-sided shuffle draw, don’t cut N, and play Cynthia over Tate & Liza.

Conclusion

I apologize for writing an article on only Tropical Beach decks—I’ll avoid doing this in the future—but I didn’t want to rush through testing and/or write about decks I wasn’t knowledgable on for the sake of avoiding this topic. You can let me know if you liked the article with the voting at the bottom, or you can go flame me on Twitter @croxtonveryepic. Much love, take care, and good luck at Dallas!


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