Down Down Under

My OCIC Zacian/ADP, 5-4/What Went Wrong, and Galarian Obstagoon’s Matchup Spread

Hello again, SixPrizes readers! I’m back from OCIC 🇦🇺 and sadly I didn’t perform as I wanted, going 5-4 and missing Championship Points that were so crucial to my Worlds Day 2 berth. I ended up playing ADP/Zacian, a deck that was new and felt overpowered when it came to testing. Before I get into the list, I’ll talk a little bit about what went wrong for me and why I think it went that way.

What Went Wrong…

  1. The first thing that went wrong was the mentality I had approaching the event. My motivation wasn’t to win the entire event, which is okay, but that clouded my judgement when selecting decks. The Top 16 race for this year has become quite crowded in the bottom half and I found myself in a position to be knocked out of Top 16 if I didn’t earn Points. I began convincing myself that Championship Points were all I needed; I just needed to walk away with 100 CP if I could, and nothing else mattered. This put me in a negative mental state when it came to choosing decks and techs for the main event.
  2. I discarded ideas too quickly. Between myself and my testing partners, there was no idea that we felt like we missed heading into this event. We even spent time on decks like Psychic Malamar and Shedinja, but never dedicated time to testing to them. The Mewtwo/Welder deck that won OCIC was actually 57 cards similar to the one we had drawn up in testing, but we hadn’t put more than a few games into it. We didn’t devote a day to test bad ideas because we felt pressured to perform. We scared ourselves into playing a known quantity rather than try and break these unknown quantities that ended up surprising the event (but not us).
  3. I was too prepared. Having tested a lot heading into the event, there wasn’t an idea we hadn’t touched on, like I mentioned above, but that created a fear in our minds. Who else had came up with these decks? What was the meta going to be now? Are we really going to have to play Shedinja? It opened a can of worms and added another factor into an unhealthy and stressed mindset going into the event.
  4. There were too many voices. There was some out-of-game drama happening during this event, and every group had infighting of sorts. Mine was no exception. This made it so Thursday evening or Friday morning was the earliest anyone wanted to talk about tech cards in each list, and the fear of performing badly made us all listen to each other’s ideas. Everyone had a strong voice or opinion on every tech card, and rather than split off and play what we personally believed in, we came to a consensus with the same 60-card lists.


ADP/Zacian was the most played deck at the event by far, and the most dominant as well. Zacian V was the shiny new card that came into the format which centralized a deck around it and its Intrepid Sword Ability that is so strong. We couldn’t deny the strength of the card or the deck and decided to give it a go. Similar to the last iteration of ADP, the deck felt too slow and the mirror felt decided on the coin flip. If the initial coin flip wasn’t enough, then people like myself opted to play Pokémon Catcher in their deck to add some higher chances of winning.

After a lot of deliberation, this was the final 60 that we ended up on at 8:13 AM Friday morning with 17 minutes left to go:


Pokémon (14)

4 Jirachi TEU

3 Zacian V

2 Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX

1 Dedenne-GX

1 Galarian Zigzagoon SSH

1 Marshadow UNB

1 Mimikyu CEC 97

1 Phione CEC

Trainer (33)

4 Professor’s Research

3 Marnie

1 Guzma & Hala


4 Metal Saucer

4 Pokémon Catcher

4 Quick Ball

4 Switch

2 Reset Stamp

2 Tag Call

1 Great Catcher


1 Escape Board

1 Vitality Band


1 Lysandre Labs

1 Shrine of Punishment

Energy (13)

9 M

4 Aurora


Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 14

* 4 Jirachi TEU 99
* 3 Zacian V SSH 138
* 2 Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX CEC 156
* 1 Dedenne-GX UNB 57
* 1 Galarian Zigzagoon SSH 117
* 1 Marshadow UNB 81
* 1 Mimikyu CEC 97
* 1 Phione CEC 57

##Trainer Cards - 33

* 4 Professor’s Research SSH 178
* 3 Marnie SSH 169
* 1 Guzma & Hala CEC 193
* 4 Quick Ball SSH 179
* 4 Metal Saucer SSH 170
* 4 Switch SSH 183
* 4 Pokémon Catcher SSH 175
* 2 Tag Call CEC 206
* 2 Reset Stamp UNM 206
* 1 Great Catcher CEC 192
* 1 Escape Board UPR 122
* 1 Vitality Band SSH 185
* 1 Shrine of Punishment CES 143
* 1 Lysandre Labs FLI 111

##Energy - 13

* 9 M Energy Energy 8
* 4 Aurora Energy SSH 186

Total Cards - 60

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

Tech Analyses

1 Dedenne-GX

The mirror was the matchup we were most focused on, so the natural conclusion was to do what the last iteration of ADP did and only play 1 Dedenne-GX. This was the biggest mistake we could have made as many of us, including myself, missed Dedenne-GX every time it was prized or we opened it. I started 0-2 at the main event, opening or prizing Dedenne-GX so getting out of a dead hand wasn’t possible. The mistake we made was thinking only 1 Dedenne-GX would fix the mirror, but in reality the 2nd one was needed just to play the game in most situations. It was a cardinal sin that we were punished for throughout the event.

1 Mimikyu CEC 97

The idea behind Mimikyu was to use Zigzagoon or Shrine of Punishment to take out any of the Abilities that would be a problem for us. Zeraora-GX and Oricorio-GX were the two biggest Abilities that were good to shut down. Mewtwo & Mew-GX’s Perfection was taken into consideration, but Stealthy Hood in most decks made it seem like a cheese tech rather than a viable reason to have in that matchup. It forced my opponents to show their techs when I did, however, use Mimikyu in those matchups.

1 Marshadow UNB

The reasoning behind this card was Chaotic Swell. In the mirror match or against Baby Blacephalon, we would want to get Lysandre Labs or Shrine of Punishment down for extra damage, but pesky Chaotic Swell kept getting in the way. Marshadow was a Quick Ball-searchable out that made life way easier. I myself didn’t use the card very much throughout the tournament, but I understood why it was good and in the deck.

1 Phione CEC

Some lists opted to play Phione, while many others didn’t. I was against the card as it felt like it wasn’t doing anything against good players, and I was right at the end of the day with regard to how I play. The idea was that it would help against mirror, Baby Blowns, Mewtwo/Malamar, and Obstagoon decks in general, but in practice none of them ever had a good Bench target to bring up with the Phione. The only game I used Phione and it was relevant was against Obstagoon to bring up his Doll and then Pokémon Catcher to bring the Obstagoon back up for the game.

1 Galarian Zigzagoon SSH

I was a huge advocate for this card in the list because of how often I was using it to pull off the Mimikyu combo or just set up the damage needed to take a 1-shot with Zacian. Zacian can 1-shot almost any card in the format, and being just short with things that have 280 HP, Zigzagoon and one extra modifier will help you reach those numbers. It’s also a Quick Ball-searchable target, which made it that much more alluring.

The rest of the deck feels pretty standard and there’s nothing too crazy about it. That was the main problem; the mirror felt like everyone was playing 55 of the same cards and the end game came down to Custom Catchers, Pokémon Catcher flips, or who could draw out of the Marnie first. It was one of the least skillful mirrors that I ended up playing and ironically I lost two of them to Pokémon Catcher coin flips.

Galarian Obstagoon

The deck that we saw shock the world this weekend was Obstagoon. I personally had written it off as a deck that wouldn’t be able to contend with the top dogs, but as the tournament narrowed down I was fearing that it might win the entire event. After an unfortunate Double Prize penalty in Top 4, it was stopped cold in its tracks, but had a realistic chance to win the entire event.


Pokémon (19)

4 Galarian Zigzagoon SSH

2 Galarian Linoone SSH

4 Galarian Obstagoon SSH

4 Jirachi TEU

1 Mew UNB

1 Mimikyu CEC 97

1 Sableye V

1 Virizion-GX

1 Yveltal-GX

Trainer (32)

4 Professor’s Research

3 Marnie

3 Rosa

1 Bede


4 Quick Ball

4 Rare Candy

3 Pokémon Communication

3 Switch

2 Evolution Incense

1 Great Catcher

1 Ordinary Rod


2 Escape Board

1 Counter Gain

Energy (9)

9 D


Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 19

* 4 Galarian Zigzagoon SSH 117
* 2 Galarian Linoone SSH 118
* 4 Galarian Obstagoon SSH 119
* 4 Jirachi TEU 99
* 1 Mew UNB 76
* 1 Mimikyu CEC 97
* 1 Sableye V SSH 120
* 1 Virizion-GX LOT 34
* 1 Yveltal-GX FLI 79

##Trainer Cards - 32

* 4 Professor’s Research SSH 178
* 3 Marnie SSH 169
* 3 Rosa CEC 204
* 1 Bede SSH 157
* 4 Quick Ball SSH 179
* 4 Rare Candy SSH 180
* 3 Switch SSH 183
* 3 Pokémon Communication TEU 152
* 2 Evolution Incense SSH 163
* 1 Ordinary Rod SSH 171
* 1 Great Catcher CEC 192
* 2 Escape Board UPR 122
* 1 Counter Gain LOT 170

##Energy - 9

* 9 D Energy Energy 7

Total Cards - 60

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

via Limitless:

My changes to Tim Bartels’ list for initial testing are:

The deck struggles with setting up sometimes, and having Poké Doll will give you an out to most matchups. I think the deck has been covered pretty well, so I want to talk about the matchup spread it has compared to the top decks right now and why I think it could be a strong play heading into League Cups and eventually the remaining Regionals in the UPR–SSH format.


ADP/Zacian: 65% Win Rate

Note that this build doesn’t play Stealthy Hood, so Phione CEC becomes an issue naturally. The answer to this problem is to go with a lone Obstagoon for the entire game. You can set up a 2nd Obstagoon in case any shenanigans occur, but you have to be aware that it might get gusted up at any point and taken out. Lillie’s Poké Doll also means that you can sacrifice a couple of knockouts while just building up your hand and board. ADP is a slower deck in nature as it needs two attachments to use Altered Creation-GX and then set up the other attackers using Ultimate Ray. That means you can take your time and evolve through the entire line to get the setup you need.

If they recklessly use Altered Creation-GX with no follow-up, then you can place 4 damage counters onto the ADP and use Yveltal-GX’s Doom Count-GX to set them back a turn or two.

Playing against an Obstagoon first-hand in my last round, I felt like I would have lost every time if my opponent just benched one less thing.

Mewtwo/Welder: 70%

This matchup is another one of the favorable matchups that you have as they don’t really play any Evolution Pokémon that can attack you. If the Mewtwo deck plays Greninja-GX SM197, then they have a chance because they have a Shred attack. Otherwise the matchup should be favorable as you eventually get to the single Obstagoon lock, or just 2 Obstagoon up, and then you seemingly can’t lose. Mewtwo’s best answer is to use Stinger-GX early and hope to find the turn two Blacephalon CEC to blow up your board. This strategy is extremely risky because of Yveltal-GX’s Doom Count-GX attack. We saw it in the Top 4 match, that even with the Double Prize penalty, Tim could have won had he found a single Energy card off his Marnie.

PikaRom: 70%

This matchup should be another extremely favorable one because PikaRom doesn’t play any Evolution attackers. They can tech a copy of Eelektross UNM to deal with an Obstagoon or two, but that can easily be dealt with. They can utilize Raichu & Alolan Raichu-GX to paralyze you, but that often doesn’t do enough as you can Doom Count-GX one of the TAG TEAM Pokémon and then just KO the other one for the game. This matchup doesn’t have any gimmicks to it because PikaRom can’t cheat extra Prizes like ADP can.

Fire Box: 55%

This is the closest matchup the deck has amongst the top decks because of Ninetales TEU. Ninetales provides an attacking option for Fire Box decks as well as a gust effect if you over-bench. Double Blaze-GX from ReshiZard will allow them to get through 1 Obstagoon if they need to as well. In my testing against this matchup, it all comes down to the late-game damage placements and how quickly the Fire Box has burnt through their resources. Doom Count-GX once again is a valuable asset and Sableye V paired with Bede can come in handy to KO a big threat like the ReshiZard-GX or Ninetales out of nowhere to regain tempo for a turn.

Cincinno Mill: 20%

I don’t foresee a way that you can take all your Prize cards before they mill your entire deck. The damage output that Obstagoon has is simply not enough to deal with a deck that is getting rid of 3–6 cards every single turn. With no built-in gust effects or good way to recycle cards, the matchup is near impossible. There aren’t any cards you can realistically tech for the matchup either because their deck never interacts with yours; it’s a slow and painful loss.

Psychic Malamar: 80%

This matchup is another one that’s extremely favored because they have no way to deal with a stream of Obstagoons. Malamar might be the only deck that plays less gust cards than you do, so they have to deal with each Obstagoon one at a time. They also have Giratina LOT which places damage counters on their own board, making it easier for you to 1-shot the necessary Pokémon and win the game.

This matchup can be viewed in Round 14 where Danny couldn’t really do anything and eventually lost. That’s how the matchup should go, as it is one of your most favorable ones.

With all that being said, why not play Obstagoon at a League Cup or Challenge coming up? The deck seems to sport good matchups and if it can set up consistently then it should be able to tackle a majority of the field with ease. I for one will be taking a closer look at the deck and seeing if it can hold a candle versus the rest of the field.


After my disappointing finish in Melbourne, I’m beginning to feel the pressure on my season as a whole. Finding myself outside of Top 16 for the first time in almost a year and a half is a very scary feeling. This year has more people chasing the coveted Day 2 berth than any other year in recent history—maybe out of all the years so far—and the pressure is on. What can I do to deal with that pressure? Just play as much Pokémon as I can and try to enjoy myself. As I sign my soul away to Mr. Pikachu for the next six months of my life until Worlds, my next event will be my first Special Event of the season in Puerto Rico 🇵🇷. The decision to attend Puerto Rico over Collinsville 🇺🇸 was made because I didn’t want to switch formats and there was an extremely convenient flight for me Friday night that gets me back Sunday at 6 AM, giving me an entire day at home to relax.

You’ll be hearing from me a lot more as I plan on dedicating more time to the upcoming grind with no more excuses left under my belt. I have the job I want, I’ve gotten used to my relationship, and now that everything is looking good I’ve got to chase that big win once again. Until next time!


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