Hey guys, Jon here again. I’m back after my short, but much needed, break from the game. Since my last article we saw the conclusion of Malmö Regionals over in Sweden, which definitely gave us a little help in terms of defining the meta we will see going into Toronto Regionals this weekend. Today I’m going to go over my favorite play for this weekend, how it holds up against the expected meta, and how you can build it to deal with what you may be worried about. With that being said, Let’s go!
Where We Left Off
If you recall, my last article was about my experience at OCIC with my very aggressive PikaRom list. I also went into how I think the deck should be built moving forward. While I do think that PikaRom is super solid in a vacuum, I don’t believe that it is the play for Toronto. The meta has a few pillars that it has trouble getting past. Its current ADP matchup is slightly negative, it struggles with Baby Blacephalon, and it still struggles with fringe decks like Obstagoon and Mill.
Now this isn’t unheard of for PikaRom. In the past, it’s never been the deck to boast amazing matchups. Its selling point was its sheer aggression and consistency. However, I just think that if it struggles this much with the big decks and fringe decks, then it may be time to put it on the shelf until its time comes again.
Decks I’m Worried About for Toronto
To give you a little insight on where my head is at and what I’m concerned about playing against at Toronto, here are two categories of decks that are on my radar:
1. Decks I’m Concerned About
- ADP/Zacian V
- Baby Blacephalon
- Mew3 Box
2. Decks I’m Going to Regret Not Being Concerned About
- Cinccino Control
- Cinccino Mill
- Spell Tag/Malamar
I threw a little joke in there, as not respecting fringe decks (i.e., category #2) has historically bitten me in the butt, but in reality it’s impossible to beat everything.
Now for my favorite play going into this weekend:
3 Zacian V
3 Tag Call
****** Pokémon Trading Card Game Deck List ******
##Pokémon - 11
* 3 Zacian V SSH 195
* 2 Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX CEC 156
* 2 Jirachi TEU 99
* 1 Dedenne-GX UNB 57
* 1 Galarian Zigzagoon SSH 117
* 1 Mawile-GX UNM 141
* 1 Oranguru SSH 148
##Trainer Cards - 38
* 4 Professor’s Research SSH 178
* 2 Guzma & Hala CEC 193
* 4 Quick Ball SSH 179
* 4 Metal Saucer SSH 170
* 4 Switch SSH 183
* 4 Custom Catcher LOT 171
* 3 Pokémon Catcher SSH 175
* 3 Tag Call CEC 206
* 2 Reset Stamp UNM 206
* 1 Escape Board UPR 167
* 1 Metal Frying Pan FLI 112
* 1 Big Charm SSH 158
* 1 Vitality Band SSH 185
* 2 Metal Core Barrier UNB 180
* 2 Chaotic Swell CEC 187
##Energy - 11
* 9 M Energy Energy 8
* 1 Aurora Energy SSH 186
* 1 Unit Energy GRW UPR 137
Total Cards - 60
****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=79962 ******
This list is pretty heavily based on Medhi’s from Malmö. I’m a fan of the consistency engine that he used with Tag Calls with Guzma & Hala to ensure the turn two Altered Creation. I changed a few cards to give it what I think is a slightly better mirror match, because it will be so popular, but otherwise, it’s pretty much Medhi’s.
Galarian Zigzagoon SSH1
Most of the Pokémon are self explanatory, but this card is not super standard among most ADP lists. With the deck being more based around Chaotic Swell, we need another way to ping damage in the place of where Shrine of Punishment would’ve been. 270 is an important number to hit, and having a way to reach that without taking up the Stadium in play or the Tool on a Pokémon is extremely convenient. Zigzagoon is also searchable with Quick Ball which means you can usually find it on command.
This is the last of the unique Pokémon in the deck, and it is quite an important one. Funnily enough, my testing group had discovered Mawile-GX prior to its debut at Malmö Regionals, and we had planned to keep it secret until Toronto, but we were pleasantly surprised when Pedro opened with it on stream in Round 1. That aside, it is mainly a tech for Obstagoon, as when they use Virizion-GX to pick up their board, you can use Captivating Wink to throw it right back down and gust around the Goons from there.
Tag Call, 2 Guzma & Hala3
There are multiple reasons that I like this engine so much.
- The first is that I feel that it consistently gets the turn two Altered Creation-GX off, which is probably the most important part of a game when playing this deck.
- The second is that it allows us to play a variation of Tool cards that we otherwise wouldn’t be able to due to not being able to easily find them. Metal Core Barrier is a super important card in this deck, which I’ll get into in a little bit, but it is Guzma & Hala that allows us to play these key cards.
Custom Catcher, 3 Pokémon Catcher4
I don’t think I need to go too deeply into as to why a lot of gust effects in a deck is a good thing, but having so many actually improves a lot of your matchups. A key part of the mirror is to gust up a Dedenne-GX and KO it with Ultimate Ray to take 3 Prizes. This is important, as instead of swinging into something that’ll survive a hit for 180, you actually can take a big knockout with it instead. Having more gust also helps to get around those pesky Obstagoon, should you play against it.
Since Tord didn’t include them in his winning list, I play Reset Stamp as this version of ADP is a little less aggressive, and is more tanky then usual. Stamping your opponent low, then shoving a Zacian V with a Metal Core Barrier in their face is quite intimidating and is something that this deck does quite often.
Since there are so many, I’ll tackle them one at a time.
- Escape Board is simply just for Jirachi TEU, so you have an easy way to switch it out without burning a Switch.
- The 1 Metal Frying Pan is still good, despite having the Metal Core Barriers, as another way of tanking hits. Frying Pan is needed as an option against decks that include Fire types that’ll hit for Weakness on Zacians such as Welder/Mewtwo and AbilityZard.
- The Big Charm is also for the Welder decks as they can relatively easily hit for 300 early, which would Knock Out an ADP. Charm allows you to survive that hit and ensures that you will get the GX attack off without being interrupted.
- Vitality Band, similar to Galarian Zigzagoon, is to be able to help you reach 270 damage, which, as said before, is such an important number to be able to hit right now.
- Lastly, the Metal Core Barriers are mainly for mirror in that they let your Zacians survive hits from theirs. They can be gusted around, but with a Reset Stamp to a low amount, it can be hard to find the means to do that.
Chaotic Swell, No Shrine, No Lysandre Labs2
With Zigzagoon and Vitality Band, Shrine isn’t really needed, and Lysandre Labs seems really counterproductive considering how many Tools the deck plays. Swell is the Stadium of choice for this deck because it prevents the Stadiums said before from hurting your strategy, and can disrupt other decks from using theirs. Specifically it is good to prevent Welder decks from utilizing Giant Hearth. However, it is mainly to make sure that your Big Charm and Metal Core Barriers don’t get bypassed by Lysandre Labs.
That’s it for the card explanations, now for the deck’s matchups:
Zacian V: 55% Win RateADP/
I already talked a little bit about how this matchup should ideally go for you, but the ADP mirror hugely advantages the person who wins the opening coin flip. They just get to do everything first.
Regardless of the flip, there are some things you should do in the matchup in order to potentially make the game easier for you to win than your opponent.
- The first is to, if you’re even given the opportunity, Ultimate Ray their Dedenne-GX so Ultimate Ray actually advances your side of the Prize race as opposed to swinging for a useless 180.
- Another thing you can do is avoid benching your own Dedenne-GX, making it harder for them to conveniently find 6 Prizes.
- Lastly, you can make your Zacian Vs harder to KO than theirs by Reset Stamping them low and attaching a Metal Core Barrier. If you are able to get two attacks with a Zacian V without your opponent taking a knockout, you’ve pretty much won the game.
The matchup is heavily influenced by the opening flip, but there are things you can do to help your case regardless of how that flip goes. I think that matchup is 55/45 because you have a few more options than the standard ADP list does.
Baby Blacephalon: 35%
Baby Blacephalon is the only deck that I have seen boast a truly favorable matchup against ADP. Just by concept, they can dish out so much damage so early that you cannot keep up with them. Especially because your first two turns you are a sitting duck waiting for your side of the table to develop.
Although it is a bad matchup, you still can do certain things to give yourself better odds to win than usual. If you didn’t know, their ideal game plan against you is to Knock Out ADP as early as possible with Fireball Circus with a Beast Bringer attached. After that, all they need to find is a 2-Prize knockout on a Zacian V, and they’ve won.
Your game plan should be to make sure ADP survives to see an Altered Creation; if it is KO’d before you get it off, you lose. Should you be successful in getting it off, you’ll want to ideally Ultimate Ray Energies onto your Oranguru SSH. The significance of Organguru is that if they do get the Beast Bringer knockout on ADP, when they Knock Out the Oranguru, they won’t win the game. You’ll want to gust up something that has 100 or less HP as Oranguru can actually take a knockout on it. After the Oranguru goes down, hope you’ve accumulated enough Energies on a Zacian V to take the last knockout and win. A lot has to go right for you, but the matchup is not impossible, especially considering how inconsistent Baby Blowns is as a deck.
After Mewtwo’s dominating presence at OCIC , I was sure that it would continue to hold strong at Malmö. To my surprise, none made Top 8 or did that well in Day 2. I predict there will still be quite a few at Toronto, however.
The matchup, similar to other Welder decks, is heavily based upon if you can survive to see a turn two Altered Creation to get the ball rolling. The biggest threat Mewtwo poses is being able to do 300 with Flare Blitz-GX on their second turn. This means that we have to find Big Charm quickly, to ensure that our ADP will survive this hit. If you are able to get the GX attack off, you’re in a good spot, but if you are able to get an Ultimate Ray off before they can get rid of the ADP, you’ve pretty much already won.
As said before, you’ll want to Big Charm the ADP. As for Zacian, your Tools of choice will likely be Vitality Band or Metal Frying Pan. Vitality Band allows you to hit 270 on Mewtwo, and Metal Frying Pan helps deal with them using ReshiZard to hit for Weakness. Them having to go through an ADP and two Zacians is quite challenging, so you should win this matchup pretty easily.
I’m not as concerned about this deck as I was when the format first came around. Frankly, I think Mewtwo/Mally is an awful option for this event, but should you hit it, the matchup is pretty simple.
Their plan against you is going to be to take advantage of how slow your starts are. They will use Marnie in combination with TrevNoir-GX to try to get rid of your hand, thus leaving you with no setup after two turns. If they are successful, you’ll probably lose, but Mewtwo/Mally is so inconsistent and weak as a deck in its own right that you will likely win as long as you get the GX attack off.
Be sure to look out for GenKyu-GX and to play around Poltergeist. They have no real way of Knocking your guys Out in one hit other than that, so if you are ready for it you’ll be positioned well.
As someone who has played an unhealthy amount of PikaRom in an attempt to try and make it worth playing for this event, I can confidently say that PikaRom needs to pop off to beat ADP, especially my current list.
If they go second and whiff the turn one Full Blitz, then you are really well set to win. If they go first then they almost always will get an attack off on your ADP, but as long as you pull off the GX attack, you’re in the game. Their management of Electropowers is quite important, so if you can identify a situation where they cannot KO a Metal Core Barrier’d Zacian, you always go in with that.
As said before, MCB’d Zacian is an absolute tank that they need to commit a lot to to get rid of, but they have some HP modifiers that we should be concerned with as well. The successful lists from Malmö contained Big Charm to give their PikaRom 270 HP, thus near impossible to be Knocked Out by a Zacian, bearing a lot of damage modifiers. This is where your plethora of gust effects come in. Swinging into a Dedenne-GX for 3 Prizes to get around a PikaRom is quite good.
Another card we should be worried about that they may play is Wait and See Hammer. There’s not much we can really do to get around this card. If they have to Volkner for it on their first turn, then they have to be pretty lucky to pull off the turn one Full Blitz. If they hit it, that can mean trouble though.
That’s all for now. This format really has cornered me in a sense. Historically I haven’t been a very big fan of ADP, but it is currently so unbelievably strong that I feel I’d be foolish not to put time into it. As always, let me know if you have any questions, and I’ll see you guys in Toronto!
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