Balloon Animal

Blacephalon/Naganadel Updated and Matched Up for UPR–SSH/Standard
Not just an animal—a Beast!

Hello again, 6P readers! These next few weekends are going to be exciting. This weekend is the Costa Rica SPE 🇨🇷 which I’ll be attending this time around. Following that is Oceania Internationals 🇦🇺 and finally Collinsville Regionals 🇺🇸 + Puerto Rico SPE 🇵🇷. I’ll be going to events all three weekends, and I decided on Puerto Rico instead of Collinsville because I’d much rather play Standard than Expanded. Costa Rica will still be played with UPR–CEC, while the other events will be played with Sword & Shield (as well as the new first turn rule).

For this article, I’ll be going over my updated Blacephalon-GX/Naganadel LOT list. I’ve been playing Blacephalon/Naganadel often at League Cups recently, and have been having great success with a few wins and 2nd place finishes. I’ve been using the same 60 from Daytona Regionals at these Cups, as I’ve felt it’s still a strong and consistent list and it’s been working out nicely lately. I may end up playing it this weekend in Costa Rica since it’s the deck I’m most comfortable playing at the moment. The deck doesn’t really have any auto-losses since it can win basically any matchup if played well enough.

UPR–SSH Blacephalon/Naganadel


Pokémon (16)

4 Poipole FLI

3 Naganadel LOT

2 Naganadel-GX UNM

1 Naganadel-GX FLI

4 Blacephalon-GX

1 Dedenne-GX

1 Mew UNB

Trainer (27)

4 Cynthia

4 Welder


4 Beast Ring

4 Mysterious Treasure

3 Quick Ball

2 Pokémon Catcher

1 Great Catcher

1 Reset Stamp


3 Ultra Space

1 Heat Factory p

Energy (17)

15 R Energy

1 Beast Energy p

1 P Energy


Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 16

* 4 Poipole FLI 55
* 3 Naganadel LOT 108
* 2 Naganadel-GX UNM 160
* 1 Naganadel-GX FLI 56
* 4 Blacephalon-GX LOT 52
* 1 Dedenne-GX UNB 57
* 1 Mew UNB 76

##Trainer Cards - 27

* 4 Welder UNB 189
* 4 Cynthia UPR 119
* 4 Beast Ring FLI 102
* 4 Mysterious Treasure FLI 113
* 3 Quick Ball SSH 179
* 2 Pokémon Catcher SSH 175
* 1 Great Catcher CEC 192
* 1 Reset Stamp UNM 206
* 3 Ultra Space FLI 115
* 1 Heat Factory p LOT 178

##Energy - 17

* 15 R Energy Energy 2
* 1 Beast Energy p FLI 117
* 1 P Energy Energy 5

Total Cards - 60

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


I decided to keep all Poipole the same (with the Spit Poison attack) since the 10 damage ticks can actually make a difference at times.

I also ended up finally dropping Heatran-GX for a 4th copy of Blacephalon-GX for a couple of reasons:

  1. First, our best starter is Blacephalon-GX. When we start with it, we can Burst-GX as soon as possible.
  2. Second, GardEon will likely not exist anymore with the introduction of Zacian V. Heatran-GX was included to have a chance against GardEon with Fairy Charm UB, but the 4th Blacephalon-GX should be more effective now that GardEon is no more.

I also dropped Marshadow UNB because it was mainly for Power Plant, which GardEon often played.

Next, I took out Blacephalon CEC for Mew UNB because PikaRom might see a resurgence thanks to new cards such as Quick Ball and Tapu Koko V. If this is the case, then Mew UNB is recommended to deny the opponent of getting past our Beast Ring turn with Tag Bolt-GX. Blacephalon CEC (comboed with Stinger-GX) was mainly for Control decks.

I added a Pokémon Catcher which can help us KO Pokémon V. (Great Catcher does not work on Pokémon V.) I didn’t like playing just 1 Pokémon Catcher though, so I dropped 1 Great Catcher for a 2nd Pokémon Catcher. In testing, I think the 2/1 split is perfect.

Finally, I decided to play Quick Ball over Cherish Ball. I believe that Quick Ball is more effective than Cherish Ball now with the first turn rule. If you go first, Quick Ball can net you any Basic Pokémon you want. Cherish Ball, notably, cannot grab Poipole. Having more outs to a turn 1 Poipole I feel is the way to go. Quick Ball also lets you discard R Energy to accelerate with Charging Up.

Other Key Cards

1 Naganadel-GX FLI

I had taken this card out of the list along with Blacephalon CEC. However, after seeing the Cinccino Mill deck, I think you at least have to keep Naganadel-GX FLI for the Stinger-GX option to have a chance to win. You can always use it as fodder for Ultra Conversion should it be useless in a certain matchup.

1 Reset Stamp

There are times where I want to drop this card, but there are times where it actually wins me games, so I can’t drop it. There are also times where I wish I had room for a 2nd copy. This card is most effective once the opponent is at 1 or 2 Prize cards, assuming you have a follow-up KO at the same time. The deck plays only 1 copy, so use it wisely. It’s likely that you won’t be forced to discard it because the deck plays 0 Professor’s Research and just 1 Dedenne-GX.

3 Ultra Space

I kept 3 in because when you go first you can’t play Supporters, so having a higher chance to open Ultra Space is nice. Getting rid of Power Plants so that you can reuse Ultra Conversion is important, too.

Potential Inclusions

Professor’s Research

I decided against playing Professor’s Research because this deck doesn’t want to discard resources like Beast Rings, Welders, and Reset Stamp. I feel Cynthia is still a better option still because the deck already draws a lot anyway.

Mallow & Lana

Some kind of switching effect could be useful again since PikaRom has Paralysis in the form of Raichu & Alolan Raichu-GX. The healing aspect is also great against Malamar.


Zacian/ADP: 55% Win Rate

Make sure you get a turn 1 Burst-GX (hence the 4th Blacephalon-GX). Following this, the opponent will likely have Altered Creation-GX. At this point, you have two options or you lose the game:

  1. First, KO ADP-GX after you Burst-GX. This would mean you have to draw well with Welder plays and a few Charging Ups, or find Beast Energy p early.
  2. If you cannot KO ADP-GX once they use their GX attack, then plan B will have to be to target down either Zacian V via Pokémon Catcher or Dedenne-GX via Great or Pokémon Catcher. This way you get yourself down to 3 Prize cards and your last final KO should be on ADP-GX.

Mind you, if the opponent gets a turn 1 Altered Creation-GX and you are unable to 1HKO ADP-GX next turn, you lose the game. The matchup will only last a few turns. Either you win fast or they win fast.

Zacian/Lucario & Melmetal-GX: 70%

This variant should be much easier since both attackers are Weak to Fire, and especially if they don’t play Power Plant. They do, of course, play Metal Frying Pan to shut off Weakness, but even then, once you are on Beast Ring turn you should be able to take them out in one blow.

PikaRom: 55%

Mew UNB will be VERY important in this matchup and be sure to NOT bench it too early. If you bench Mew UNB too early, the opponent will Pokémon Catcher or Custom Catcher it up and then set up their Tag Bolt-GX turn to deny your Beast Rings.

The general strategy in this matchup is to Burst-GX as fast as possible (turn 1 if you can). Following that you can KO 1 TAG TEAM and 1 Dedenne-GX via Venom Shot or some form of Catcher effect. The opponent can Paralyze you with Raichu & Alolan Raichu-GX so make sure you have Mew UNB on the Bench at this point. They will have to KO whatever they Paralyzed next turn and give you Beast Rings.

Cinccino Mill: 55%

Against this matchup, if we played Blacephalon CEC, it’d be much easier once you use Stinger-GX. However, just by using Stinger-GX you can still pick off a Zacian V should they bench one, and then all you have to do is KO 1 more Pokémon. Reset Stamping the opponent to 3 can cripple them as well. You may even be able to use Mew UNB for a Prize card.

I will have to debate whether I want to keep Blacephalon CEC in the deck for this matchup. It might still be worth it, but honestly, I can’t see what I would want to drop for it again because I do like the threegust effects.

Mew Box (Malamar): 60%

This matchup should be easier than the standard Malamar lists with Giratina LOT and Spell Tags. This is because this variant plays a hefty amount of Pokémon-GX, meaning we can take more than 1 Prize card at a time. Mewtwo & Mew-GX is also Weak to Psychic, so once we have taken 3 Prize cards of our own, we can transition into Naganadel LOT for a big 1HKO with Turning Point. If they play Dedenne-GX then you can switch your game plan, similar to PikaRom where you Burst-GX then KO a 2-Prizer followed by a 3-Prizer.

Mew Box (Welder): 60%

This matchup is also basically like how you play against PikaRom. Burst-GX, KO Dedenne-GX, and finally KO Mewtwo & Mew-GX. If you are going for a Turning Point KO, do be wary of Weakness Guard Energy or Jirachi-GX. If they play down Jirachi-GX, then after you Burst-GX go for Jirachi-GX to put yourself at 3 Prize cards then follow up with a Turning Point for the game.

Sableye V/Galarian Obstagoon: 70%

This deck relies on Obstagoon as a wall against Basic Pokémon. Our deck plays Evolution Pokémon that can take Obstagoon out in one blow—Turning Point (on the 3 Prize turn) or Venom Shot. Also, Obstagoon also only blocks damage from attacks (and not effects), meaning Bursting Burn can be troublesome for them.

EggRow/Rillabom: 80%

This matchup should be free. Most of their Pokémon are Weak to Fire. You take 3 Prize cards on a single EggRow. If they play Rayquaza-GX to attack, then try to take the first 2 Prize cards of the game. However, they likely rely on EggRow to get Rillaboom out. If this is the case, then the matchup should be a cakewalk.

Frosmoth/Lapras VMAX or Keldeo V: 45%

It probably comes down to whoever takes the first 2 Prize cards, though it might still be unfavored due to the opponent being able to attack with Volcanion p. If you can, Burst-GX on turn 1. This way you can take out a 2-Prizer and a Lapras VMAX for the rest of your Prize cards if those options are available. You may have to go aggro Venom Shot due to Weakness until you need to KO something with more than 170 Hit Points.

Baby Blacephalon: 30%

This matchup is not great unless they start benching GX or Pokémon V. Otherwise, the Prize trade will always be in their favor. Should they play Lucky Egg, you need to try and play around it by hitting Baby Blacephalon for 100 followed by Mew UNB or a Bursting Burn. Hold Reset Stamp until you can get them down to 1–2 Prize cards remaining. Use Turning Point for a KO if possible.

RoxieChomp: 60%

This matchup is fine because the opponent will likely give you free Prize cards via Mismagius. If they pop 2 Mismagius, then you can Burst-GX and all you have to do is KO 1 Garchomp & Giratina-GX. Bursting Burn hurts them a lot because they likely only play 2 switching cards. Make sure to be aware of GG End-GX and not put yourself into an odd situation. Bursting Burn will be your best friend in this matchup. If the opponent ever flips tails on the Confusion flip, the game just instantly ends right then and there.


That will conclude this article on my updated Blacephalon/Naganadel. I truly think the deck is still a force to be reckoned with in the new format and even with the new first turn rule. It’s what I’ve been testing the most for OCIC, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I end up playing play it. If you go first, you have 10 outs to get Poipoles if you include Ultra Space. If you go second, then you should be fine with a turn 1 Welder or Cynthia followed with a Burst-GX.

If you see me in Costa Rica or Australia, come say hi. I’ll have another article right after Australia, so stay tuned for that. I can’t wait to finally be done with the Cosmic Eclipse formats and see how the new rule change and Sword & Shield being added into the mix shakes things up.

In no particular order, I believe these to be the top six decks to be played at OCIC, so be sure to familiarize yourself with most (if not all) of these decks:

  • PikaRom w/ Tapu Koko V
  • Zacian/ADP
  • Mew Box (Malamar)
  • Mew Box (Welder)
  • Baby Blacephalon (Pidgeotto, Green’s, or Jirachi w/ Lucky Eggs)
  • Cinccino Mill

According to testing groups, top player tier lists, and of course the Champions League Aichi, these should be the top decks going into the UPR–SSH format.

On a personal note, I have been grinding League Cups (three wins, four 2nd places) to try and snag myself a EUIC 🇩🇪 stipend, which I might have locked up already as I am sitting at 462 CP in that race and 706 CP total. As mentioned, I’ll be in Costa Rica and Australia, so those two events can boost me even further.

As usual, I do full-time coaching, so if you are interested in 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. Until next time!

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Reader Interactions

4 replies

  1. Victor Bergerskogen

    Hi Jose, good article!

    What are your thoughts on playing Marnie in the deck, both for the disruptive element and for drawing fresh cards (think Beast Ring turn, for example)? I started my testing at 4 Marnie, but I’ve been unsure of the value vs. the extra card drawn.

    • Jose Marrero  → Victor

      I actually thought about heavy marnie but if the opp has 3 or fewer cards then they just help the opponent so I decided to just stay with Cynthia. Plus the 6th card can be that extra card that could potentially be what you need when digging for rings.

      • Victor Bergerskogen  → Jose

        I buy that take. It feels like you wanna go second almost always now, both for getting the T1 Burst and for not getting donked. How do you feel about that?

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