Giant Feral Hamsters

Morpeko VMAX/Dusknoir in Collinsville, Flaws with Our List, Updates, Matchups, and Briefly on Standard

Hello again readers, I’m back with you after Collinsville 🇺🇸 has just concluded. I finished 34th with a deck that was semi-accidentally handed to me the night before the event: Morpeko VMAX/Dusknoir. Today I’m going to talk about what led me to play the deck, my Collinsville run, the deck’s game plan, and its matchups (cursorily). After that, I’ll talk a bit about Standard and provide one of my top choices for Toronto 🇨🇦.

Morpeko @ Collinsville

The Leadup

As a note, whenever I say “we” in this portion, it generally refers to some combination of Alex Krekeler, Wes Hollenberg, Patrick Littleson, and me.

Leading up to the event, I was frantically testing Expanded, and everything felt terrible. I didn’t want to play TrevNoir because I knew the mirror match would be common, and I didn’t want to play Zacian because of how linear it is which made it easy to counter. This led me to try out rogue decks that had no business being good. Ironically, I built Cramorant V/Mew FCO on Monday, but eventually tabled the deck because my list just wasn’t working. Had I put more time in, it’s entirely possible I would have played a list very similar to the successful one. But alas, I moved on to other decks.

We had exhausted all of the attacking decks by Tuesday morning, and on a whim I threw together a Cinccino hand lock list that incorporated Magnezone PLS 46 as an inferior Lt. Surge’s Strategy. Initial testing led us to believe that the deck was incredibly good, and our thoughts stayed that way until Friday afternoon, where we went 0-10 against Dark. I compared the deck to playing solitaire, where your opponent is sometimes able to “cheat” around your game plan depending on their deck. Unfortunately, Dark is the deck that was able to cheat the most against Cinccino due to Guzzlord CEC, Weavile-GX, and Oranguru SSH. Even after this, we hadn’t tabled the deck, but once Zacian V started beating the deck because of Timeless-GX, we had to acknowledge that the deck was unplayable into an unknown meta.

This is where Morpeko came in. All out of options, Krekeler and I decided to play the deck that the St. Louis players had created. I played three games with the deck, and Krekeler played zero games. My mentality at that point was that I just didn’t care about how I did as much as I did about having fun. Morpeko VMAX fit that description, so I went with it and played games other than Pokémon that night.

The Tournament

Going into Round 1 I had zero clue what my deck actually did and decided to learn as I went. I was paired against a Mill deck, which meant that mistakes would likely cost me the game. Clearly not the optimal space for learning how to play my deck. As expected, I was soundly destroyed in the first game, and after two games of unfortunate draws and Prize cards for my opponent, I managed to steal a win without having learned how to play the deck well.

Still oblivious to just how broken Dusknoir is, I was paired against Zacian in Round 2, and finally discovered that manipulating damage counters is really good. After running over this matchup, I won my next two and finally lost a game to Sableye/Garbodor. The deck really can’t handle Ability lock combined with constantgust effects and Energy denial. I then won my next three matches without dropping a single game to end up at 7-1 to lock Day 2. In Round 9, I played what was easily my sloppiest match of the season due to not knowing my deck well enough and fatigue. I lost due to my misplays and I was okay with that. After all, I had went 7-2 with Morpeko VMAX.

Day 2 begins with me being paired to one of the only people I knew I for sure couldn’t beat. Naturally, I managed to win that match after an unfortunate decklist issue and a completely dead start in Game 2. What follows is what happens when you play a deck that has very polarizing matchups. I proceed to hit four more terrible matchups, stealing one more win off of Grant Manley’s Florges/Doll Stall. I ended the day at 9-5, which was unfortunately just shy of Top 32.

So What Went Well/Wrong?

I had already resigned myself to not doing well in Collinsville, and decided that having fun was the answer to my problems. It worked out alright in the end, but that mentality caused me to go in completely blind with a deck that was quite complicated at times. I had no idea what my matchups were, and thus had no real game plan for anything. This was by far the worst I’ve ever played throughout a tournament, and my success likely only came about because everyone else also had no game plan for Morpeko VMAX.

After the event has concluded, I think I finally have a decent grasp on how to play the deck, and I probably won’t again make the misplays that are so blatantly obvious. I was rarely punished by these misplays, but it still takes a toll on one’s mental state when they constantly try to hand games to their opponents through bad play. I am honestly amazed that I didn’t drop the event with a horrible record.

How the Deck Plays

I often heard saying that any successful deck needed to “cheat” games away from opponents in this event. This comes in the form of broken hand disruption (TrevNoir), Prize card denial (Dolls/Subs), taking extra Prize cards (Guzzlord), or break Evolution rules (EggLet, Duskull). Dusknoir is almost like a cheat, because of how broken manipulation of damage counters is, on what is essentially a Stage 1 because of Duskull CEC’s Spiritborne Evolution.

There’s a lot of thought that goes into stealing games through spread damage. There are multiple situations where using Spark on your first few turns while finding all the pieces you need to start using the VMAX is optimal. The extra 40 damage counters in play can easily make the difference between winning and losing, even if your opponent KOs the Morpeko V that turn. At this point, your damage counter gimmicks are turned on, or you already have enough Energy to start doing the real damage.

Depending on the matchup, you’ll now have enough damage to remove anything from the board with Dusknoir and follow that up with another attack. You need to be aware that taking Prize cards (via Sinister Hand) before attacking will potentially shut down the Counter Energy or Counter Gain that you’re dependent upon to attack. So what you need to do is arrange damage counters in a way that you either don’t take the KO, assuming your aren’t at risk of losing, or in a way that takes care of multiple threats with a single attack. Remember, you don’t need to KO things before you attack. You have 20 extra spread damage to be factored in when you attack with Spark or Max Discharge. 280 damage (the number that is likely in play) is usually enough to set up a KO on the Active—for instance, a Zacian V (40 damage)—and at least one more target. Being able to systematically wipe out your opponent’s board is incredibly powerful.

An Updated List

Pokémon (22)

3 Morpeko V

2 Morpeko VMAX

2 Duskull CEC

2 Dusclops BUS

2 Dusknoir BCR

2 Remoraid BKT 31

2 Octillery BKT

2 Exeggcute PLB

1 Dedenne-GX

1 Sudowoodo GRI

1 Tapu Koko p

1 Tapu Koko-GX

1 Tapu Lele-GX

Trainer (30)

2 N

1 Guzma

1 Guzma & Hala

1 Mallow & Lana

1 Professor Sycamore


4 Ultra Ball

4 VS Seeker

3 Pokémon Communication

2 Battle Compressor

2 Quick Ball

1 Field Blower

1 Ordinary Rod

1 Rescue Stretcher


2 Float Stone

1 Counter Gain


1 Computer Search


1 Silent Lab

1 Thunder Mountain p

Energy (8)

4 L

2 Counter

2 Flash


Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 22

* 3 Morpeko V SSH 79
* 2 Morpeko VMAX SSH 80
* 2 Duskull CEC 83
* 2 Dusclops BUS 52
* 2 Dusknoir BCR 63
* 2 Remoraid BKT 31
* 2 Octillery BKT 33
* 2 Exeggcute PLB 102
* 1 Dedenne-GX UNB 57
* 1 Sudowoodo GRI 66
* 1 Tapu Koko p TEU 51
* 1 Tapu Koko-GX PR-SM 33
* 1 Tapu Lele-GX GRI 155

##Trainer Cards - 30

* 1 Professor Sycamore STS 114
* 1 Computer Search BCR 137
* 1 Rescue Stretcher BUS 165
* 1 Thunder Mountain p LOT 191
* 2 N FCO 105
* 1 Guzma & Hala CEC 193
* 1 Ordinary Rod SSH 171
* 1 Mallow & Lana CEC 198
* 1 Silent Lab PRC 140
* 2 Battle Compressor Team Flare Gear PHF 92
* 2 Quick Ball SSH 179
* 4 Ultra Ball SUM 161
* 4 VS Seeker ROS 110
* 1 Guzma BUS 143
* 1 Field Blower GRI 163
* 2 Float Stone PLF 99
* 3 Pokémon Communication
* 1 Counter Gain LOT 230

##Energy - 8

* 2 Flash Energy AOR 83
* 2 Counter Energy CIN 122
* 4 L Energy SWSHEnergy 4

Total Cards - 60

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

The list I played is on my Twitter, and maybe Limitless depending on when you are reading. That list was not optimal. It played 1 Stadium, no Field Blower, and had no way to deal with a high-Energy ZoroNinja in the early game.


+1 Silent Lab

So there’s this thing called Bench Barrier. It’s an Ability on a Basic Pokémon. I had no out to dealing with it. A single Silent Lab might not seem like enough, but it is. All you need is too spread the extra damage, and Dusknoir can easily take care of Mr. Mime BKT/PLF or Mew UNB and another target.

+1 Tapu Koko-GX

In hindsight, this card seems really good. You already play the Lightning support Prism Stars, so attacking isn’t difficult, and it’s a way to attack out of nowhere against Dark, Zacian, or even a TinaChomp that over-attaches. I never got punished for not having it, but I also never played against Dark, and only against two Zacian V.

+1 Field Blower

Having Faba be my only out to Garbotoxin was awful, and is something I wish I had realized before the event. Removing Stealthy Hoods from play is also something that is important, because a Hood prevents Dusknoir from moving damage to or from the protected Pokémon.


-1 Mimikyu CEC 97

This is a cut I am 100% not okay with if there is any Mewtwo hype whatsoever, because this card literally makes the matchup free. However, if Mewtwo remains mostly irrelevant, I see no great reason (beyond Weavile-GX) to play Mimikyu.

-1 Quick Ball

I hesitate to cut a search card from the deck, but it is definitely necessary to have a 2nd Stadium and a Field Blower. Quick Ball just so happens to be the most disposable of the search cards.

-1 Faba

This was the cut for Field Blower, and I’m still not sure how I feel about it. Having a recyclable way to Lost Zone Tools or Special Energy was incredibly nice at times, but was far too slow at other times. I really want to find space to put this back into the deck, but I have no idea where that space comes from yet.

Potential Inclusions

Bunnelby PRC 121

This is something that I wish I had thought of before the event, because it deals with some of the Stall decks rather well. The matchup where it would help the most is against Grant Manley’s Florges/Dolls, which if it sets up, is absolutely impossible to win. However, with Bunnelby you should be able to systematically mill their deck down eventually, assuming they do not flip more than 1–2 heads on Florges every turn.

Girafarig LOT

This would be another Stall tech, specifically Sableye/Garbodor. Eventually, you should be able to Lost Zone all of their disruption Supporters. I haven’t tested this, so it is potentially not enough to win.


I really want both of these cards in the deck because it needs more healing to keep up with the 1-Prize decks. AZ lets you pick up and reuse or protect Dedenne-GX.

Counter Attackers: Sudowoodo BKP, Mimikyu TEU, Entei CEC

All three of these cards have merits in the current format.

  • Sudowoodo helps with the Dark and Zacian matchups,
  • Mimikyu helps with any ADP variants, as well as TinaChomp, and
  • Entei helps with Zaican and EggLet.

Pokémon Ranger

This would be for the decks that play ADP or LucaMetal. Both GX attacks cause problems, so removing them from play might be worth the slot.


I’m just going to be going over each matchups (un)favorability instead of diving into each one. This is partially because I have no real experience in some of them aside from word of mouth, and because I myself am still unsure of the correct ways to go about them. If there’s something notable about the matchups, I’ll make a point of mentioning it.


  • TinaChomp
  • Zacian V
  • RegiDolls (List dependent)
  • Dark
  • Normal EggLet
  • Wall Stall (w/o LucaMetal)


  • Mewtwo (w/o Mimikyu)
  • EggLet/Rillaboom
  • TrevNoir (Untested by me, was told it is winnable)
  • Vespiquen
  • Ultra Necrozma/Octillery (Dusknoir functions)


  • LucaMetal/Zacian Control (No spread, they heal Active)
  • Ultra Necrozma/Garbodor (Dusknoir does not function)
  • EggLet/Sceptile (Heal and Energy denial, try to prioritize keeping the Sceptile pieces off of the board)
  • Sableye/Garbodor (No Dusknoir, heavy Energy denial, Spark to spread, and try to board wipe with the Field Blower to turn on Dusknoir)
  • Florges Dolls
  • Medicham (Does anyone actually care though?)


Ironically, my mind has completely shifted off of Standard in the past week, so I have not put much thought into the format since OCIC 🇦🇺. Luckily, I also haven’t written since before OCIC. I currently have no extremely updated lists, but since Toronto is around the corner, and this is my only article before it, I feel obligated to dedicate at least some time to Standard.

Notable OCIC Results

Ability ReshiZard is back, and that honestly isn’t that surprising to me. What is surprising is Mewtwo/Welder being good still. I spent time testing it, and it felt too slow or inconsistent whenever I played it. My list was pretty close to the winning one, so it feels a bit bad that I tabled it so early. The other deck that caught my attention was attacking Magcargo.

I think that Mewtwo is in an incredibly strong spot going into Toronto, and I wouldn’t ignore it. Anything I play will likely have techs for it, even if that sometime ends up being Mill (this is the darkest timeline). Mewtwo is apparently still powerful enough to hang in the format, and I can understand why. 300 damage on your second turn for 4 Energy is absolutely broken no matter how you slice it. Currently Mewtwo is my top play, and I see no good reason not to just lift Nico’s list from OCIC, maybe make an undermined tech change or two, and play it.

Magcargo-GX has always been at the back of my radar ever since Welder was printed, but it always felt outclassed by Blacephalon-GX, and thus I have never played it. Now, with the Supporter rule change, Magcargo’s built-in acceleration is enough to swing for 300 on your second turn. Oranguru SSH when coupled with Magcargo CES is also a great consistency engine that we lacked before. I currently don’t have a list, but the successful one from OCIC is as good a place to start as any, and assuming I dedicate time to building it, I think Magcargo may overtake Mewtwo as my play.

Mill is a deck that is in an interesting place right now. As it is, both decks in the finals of OCIC absolutely demolish it. I think that before we can determine the long-term viability of the deck, we need to see a few more tournament results. If everything else falls through, I may end up playing Mill in Toronto just because it has the ability to severely punish suboptimal play. I can’t imagine missing Day 2 with it unless I just run into multiple bad matchups.

Final Thoughts

I’ve played a lot of Pokémon in the past few weeks, but I can honestly say that I had fun doing it. Morpeko in Collinsville was just what I needed to ward off my burnout for the next few events, and a completely open weekend before Toronto is going to be amazing. I think that Morpeko is something that could easily be developed into a really strong deck in Expanded, and if bans hit the format before the end of the season, I cannot foresee it losing anything vital.

Standard is in a weird place right now, and I wish Malmö 🇸🇪 had already concluded when I wrote this, but unfortunately I cannot see into the future, and Standard remains a bit of an enigma. There are a lot of cool concepts that I want to mess around with in the following weeks, but the format feels completely overshadowed by ADP’s dominance. I genuinely wish that there was a universal way to deal with ADP, such as Pokémon Ranger. I think the format would feel a lot more open and fun without the Prize card “cheat” that it brings.

I’ll see some of you over the next three weekends, and good luck to everyone in whatever events you’re playing in. Malmö and Toronto ought to be interesting. Keep an eye out for my next article before Charlotte 🇺🇸!

As always, feel free to message me with any questions that you might have about anything related to Pokémon. I also offer coaching! Either email me ( or PM me if interested.

Until the next one.

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