The Electric Sheep Test

Dethroning ADP/Z, Turbo ADP/Z, Sleep Mill (Best Mill), and, Yep!, Shock Lock

Hello everybody and welcome to yet another article about ADP/Zacian! It’s been a while since we’ve had such a through and through BDIF, so it’s only natural to have a wide array of coverage for this archetype. On Tuesday, Gabriel discussed what makes the deck so strong, and yesterday Jon went over the Guzma & Hala build with several key tech cards. Today, I’ll fill in the gaps—going over the weaknesses of ADP/Zacian and my personal aggressive build. I’ll also show a list for what I believe to be the best version of Mill, and finish with a good old Shock Lock list.

Dethroning ADP/Zacian

Traditionally, decks are prevented from becoming too dominant via the Weakness mechanic. As Gabriel pointed out, this doesn’t apply to ADP/Zacian, as there simply aren’t any good Fairy Pokémon to counter ADP, and Zacian V can have its Fire Weakness removed by Metal Frying Pan. (In case you have forgotten, Fairy Pokémon are being phased out of the TCG, so there will never be any more Fairies printed to stand up to ADP-GX.)

So, if we want to counter ADP/Zacian, we are stuck dissecting it for exploitable weaknesses. I’ve compiled a short list here of quirks that you can look to take advantage of.

Energy Removal

Wait and See Hammer, Crushing Hammer

It is no secret that ADP/Zacian can be slowed down with Hammer cards, and Wait and See Hammer has become standard in PikaRom for this reason. Removing the turn one attachment from an ADP is essentially using Horror House-GX for free. On your opponent’s next turn, they will either achieve next to nothing—simply draw, attach, Intrepid Sword—or have to abandon Altered Creation-GX altogether.

Obviously, both of these outcomes are a huge boon for you:

  • If they just replace the Energy you removed, your Item bought you a free turn of building your board and dishing out damage.
  • If they skip Altered Creation-GX, you are still effectively buying yourself time, because it will take them more knockouts to take all of their Prize cards. If you are playing a TAG TEAM-centered deck, they will miss the extra 30 damage from Altered Creation-GX, too.


Another Energy denial card that is frequently overlooked is Eneporter. While too situational for most decks, I can see Eneporter being used in Cinccino decks that can always use it for Make Do fodder.

Team Yell Grunt Lock

Similarly to Hammers, it is possible for Control decks to lock ADPZ out of attacks permanently by spamming Team Yell Grunt. The basic idea is that you can slow down ADP with Crushing Hammer and Team Yell Grunt, and eventually, you will get ahead by using Magneton CEC’s Call Signal for Lt. Surge’s Strategy and 2 Team Yell Grunts. From there, you continue to prevent attacks by looping said Supporters with Oranguru UPR and Cinccino SSH. If you play Persian TEU, you can even discard all of those Energy with Make ‘Em Pay.

Attack Blocking

Latios-GX UNM’s Clear Vision-GX

Altered Creation-GX is broken. Clear Vision-GX prevents Altered Creation-GX. Sounds good, no?

Unfortunately, Zacian V is really good by itself, and ever using Clear Vision-GX means you will get smacked on the following turn by Brave Blade. To add to this, there’s only a few decks capable of Clear Vision-GX:

  1. Mew3/Malamar
  2. Mew3/Welder
  3. Giratina/Malamar

Since I find Mew3/Malamar too inconsistent, and think that Mew3/Welder doesn’t have enough firepower without their GX attack, that leaves only Giratina/Malamar to go with this game plan. If you are willing to play Giratina/Malamar, power to you; you are braver than I.

Mr. Mime-GX CES’s Magic Evens

After boosting with Altered Creation-GX, some ADP lists have no way of touching a lone Mr. Mime-GX CES. You can theoretically force them to Altered Creation-GX with your Magic Odds Mr. Mime-GX TEU, then transition to solo Magic Evens Mr. Mime-GX CES, possibly with the help of Breeze Away-GX. Now, how viable this is is certainly questionable, but it’s something to keep in mind for the future. The only way for a typical ADP list to bypass this strategy is Vitality Band and Oranguru UPR (for Profound Knowledge).

If You Can’t Beat ‘Em…

This style of ADP/Zacian was pioneered by Tord Reklev (you may have heard of him) in Malmö 🇸🇪 last weekend. His basic idea was to fill his deck with strong Item cards that can always do something. In games, he could play out his hand, refresh with a draw Supporter or Dedechange, and repeat until his Prize cards were taken.

This build actually looks very similar to a version of PikaRom I was testing for Worlds 2019, which rejected Volkner in favor of Cynthia (the way that Tord’s deck plays Marnie over Guzma & Hala), and sported the 4 Acro Bikes and 1 Oranguru UPR.

This style of digging makes Oranguru a strong card outside of Mill matchups, as you can sometimes take a turn to stack your deck with Resource Management to guarantee your win on the following turn. Putting 3 Custom Catchers on the bottom of a thin deck is just so strong, as they are draw cards after a Reset Stamp, and finding them together usually means taking the rest of your Prize cards.

Turbo ADP/Zacian

Pokémon (10)

4 Zacian V

2 Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX

2 Dedenne-GX

1 Oranguru SSH

1 Oranguru UPR

Trainer (40)

4 Professor’s Research

2 Marnie


4 Acro Bike

4 Crushing Hammer

4 Custom Catcher

4 Metal Saucer

4 Quick Ball

4 Switch

2 Cherish Ball

2 Energy Spinner

1 Great Catcher


2 Metal Frying Pan

1 Air Balloon


2 Shrine of Punishment

Energy (10)

8 M

2 W


Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 10

* 4 Zacian V SSH 138
* 2 Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX CEC 156
* 2 Dedenne-GX UNB 57
* 1 Oranguru SSH 148
* 1 Oranguru UPR 114

##Trainer Cards - 40

* 4 Professor’s Research SSH 178
* 2 Marnie SSH 169
* 4 Acro Bike CES 123
* 4 Switch SSH 183
* 4 Metal Saucer SSH 170
* 4 Custom Catcher LOT 171
* 4 Crushing Hammer SSH 159
* 4 Quick Ball SSH 179
* 2 Cherish Ball UNM 191
* 2 Energy Spinner UNB 170
* 1 Great Catcher CEC 192
* 2 Metal Frying Pan FLI 112
* 1 Air Balloon SSH 156
* 2 Shrine of Punishment CES 143

##Energy - 10

* 8 M Energy Energy 7
* 2 W Energy Energy 3

Total Cards - 60

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

Changes from Tord’s List

My list takes Tord’s philosophy, with the only major change being the addition of 4 Crushing Hammer. Crushing Hammer is a card that we saw in many early Japanese builds, but they were quickly removed when SSH was released globally. Because players at OCIC 🇦🇺 adapted old ADP/Keldeo lists instead of starting from scratch, they all created slow versions with Guzma & Hala. In this version, neither could Crushing Hammers be found early nor could the player afford to play the Hammers they’d drawn for an uncertain effect, when they needed cards to discard for Guzma & Hala. In a Turbo list devoid of Guzma & Hala, it makes sense to try out Hammers again.

Crushing Hammer is theoretically good in any deck that draws enough cards (to mitigate the flippiness), simply to slow down the opponent. For our purposes, it is primarily to steal the advantage back when we go second in mirror.

To make space, I cut the Jirachi package. With such a fast engine, I didn’t find the 1 extra card from Stellar Wish especially helpful. I often found myself locked out of Jirachi due to Absol TEU anyway, which essentially means I’d wasted a sizable portion of deck space. Losing 1 early Prize on a Jirachi you left Active can lose you certain matchups, too; thanks to Crushing Hammer, it is less of a risk to leave an ADP Active. Discarding 1 Energy off a MewMew-GX or a ReshiZard-GX can be the difference between getting blown up and getting off the Altered Creation-GX.

Other Mentions

No Mawile-GX

I’m not running the newly-discovered Mawile-GX tech for Galarian Obstagoon decks. This is out of disrespect for Goons, because I believe that Goons is very vulnerable to techs, and that other people will want to play the spicy new Mawile-GX tech, scaring them off for me.

Energy, Damage Modifiers

The only parts about this list that I’m unsure about are the Energy and the damage modifiers. The Energy Spinner line has been just fine, but I understand that being able to Stellar Wish for Energy Spinner is one of the draws of it. I don’t like that Aurora Energy makes me discard or that Rainbow Energy makes me take damage, so for now, I’m sticking with the sturdy ole basic Energy.

Shrine of Punishment feels like the best damage modifier by a long shot, but is also easily countered by Chaotic Swell, which has recently been growing in popularity. I’m cautiously keeping Tord’s 2 count of Shrine of Punishment, but you might want to switch things up with Vitality Band and/or Galarian Zigzagoon. The Metal Frying Pans, as well, are not necessarily the best Pokémon Tool options—switch them if you aren’t expecting a lot of Fire decks.

Final Thoughts on ADP/Z

Overall, Tord’s deck puts its fists on the table and declares “I’m the BDIF.” If you don’t have a plan for it, it will run you over with ease. My list does the same thing, with mirror techs. If you don’t know what to bring to a Standard event, copy one of these decks and you will probably get CP. I will be playing this build to Mississauga 🇨🇦 unless something radical changes over the next two days.

Sleep Mill

Pokémon (20)

4 Minccino SSH 145

4 Cinccino SSH

3 Zacian V

2 Mareep LOT 75

2 Oranguru UPR

1 Ditto p

1 Girafarig LOT

1 Magcargo-GX

1 Mew UNB

1 Mewtwo & Mew-GX

Trainer (36)

4 Bellelba & Brycen-Man

3 Cynthia & Caitlin

2 Lt. Surge’s Strategy

1 Faba


4 Great Ball

4 Lillie’s Poké Doll

4 Quick Ball

3 Pal Pad

2 Ordinary Rod

2 Tag Call

1 Evolution Incense

1 Fire Crystal


3 Air Balloon


2 Slumbering Forest

Energy (4)

4 R


Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 20

* 4 Minccino SSH 145
* 4 Cinccino SSH 147
* 3 Zacian V SSH 138
* 2 Mareep LOT 75
* 2 Oranguru UPR 114
* 1 Ditto p LOT 154
* 1 Girafarig LOT 94
* 1 Magcargo-GX LOT 44
* 1 Mew UNB 76
* 1 Mewtwo & Mew-GX UNM 71

##Trainer Cards - 36

* 4 Bellelba & Brycen-Man CEC 186
* 3 Cynthia & Caitlin CEC 189
* 2 Lt. Surge’s Strategy HIF 60
* 1 Faba LOT 173
* 4 Great Ball SSH 164
* 4 Quick Ball SSH 179
* 4 Lillie’s Poké Doll CEC 197
* 3 Pal Pad SSH 172
* 2 Tag Call CEC 206
* 2 Ordinary Rod SSH 171
* 1 Fire Crystal UNB 173
* 1 Evolution Incense SSH 163
* 3 Air Balloon SSH 156
* 2 Slumbering Forest UNM 207

##Energy - 4

* 4 R Energy Energy 2

Total Cards - 60

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

This list is a blend of the two most successful Mill decks at Melbourne, taking the Cinccino engine from James Williams’s 4th place list and adding a thin sleep package from Soma Arai’s 10th place list. Fluffy Pillow + Slumbering Forest feels very oppressive compared to simple Crushing Hammers. You have a 50–75% chance of sticking Sleep every turn, and each time it sticks, your opponent has to either find Switch or pass without attacking, both of which are disastrous outcomes.

What made me realize that Sleep Mill was truly bonkers was in playing against Ability ReshiZard. In the Hammer version of Mill, you struggle against AbilityZard, even with teched Wobbuffet LOT (for Victini p) and several Stealthy Hood (to prevent Nine Temptations). With Mareep, however, you will frequently halt your opponent as you Bellelba away their Switches. Eventually, even with Victini p recycling nearly 20 Energy, your opponent will miss a turn of Infinity and you can deck them out over two turns.

Key Cards

1 Faba, 1 Girafarig LOT

Faba is a notable inclusion in the deck, as it removes Escape Boards and Chaotic Swell. Again, Make Do can get use out of situational and matchup-dependent cards, so don’t be afraid of including cards like Faba. Similarly, Girafarig is simply here to make mirror and Control matchups better.

4 R Energy, 1 Fire Crystal, No Recycle Energy

My personal addition to the archetype is playing more R Energy and no Recycle Energy, with a 1-of Fire Crystal; this is my response to the uptick of Marnie. After repeated Marnie and many uses of Make Do, I usually find myself running out of fodder, and end up discarding valuable resources with Make Do. Since I noticed that I was usually shuffling only 1 Energy in with Ordinary Rod, I figured another physical R Energy would let me get more value out of Ordinary Rod, and in turn curb the discarding issue. The Fire Crystal is more experimental, but essentially has the same philosophy, except that it’s even better for building your hand.


The only smidge of strategy advice I will give for this deck is against ADP. On the turn after your opponent uses Altered Creation-GX, put your Zacian V Active and bench a Doll. They will either have to dig for Metal Saucers to 1HKO you, waste gust to take a KO, or settle for irrelevant Ultimate Ray damage. The Doll is to have something to put up in case of Phione.

Final Thoughts on Sleep Mill

This deck truly feels unbeatable, and the only reason I’m not planning on playing it is Tord’s Oranguru UPR. Even though he said he never used it in his run, I think when people discover that it can be used to whoop Mill, many will include it.

Shock Lock

Pokémon (19)

4 Lillipup BLW 80

2 Herdier SUM

3 Stoutland BCR

3 Pikachu XY

2 Raichu BUS

1 Alolan Grimer UNM

1 Alolan Muk SUM

2 Tapu Lele-GX

1 Zacian V

Trainer (37)

4 Professor Sycamore

2 AZ

2 Brigette

1 Cynthia

1 Faba

1 Gladion

1 Lysandre

1 Team Rocket’s Handiwork

1 Teammates


4 Trainers’ Mail

4 Ultra Ball

3 Rare Candy

2 Pal Pad

2 Rescue Stretcher

1 Devolution Spray

1 Special Charge

1 VS Seeker


1 Scoop Up Cyclone


4 Tropical Beach

Energy (4)

4 Memory


Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 19

* 4 Lillipup BLW 80
* 2 Herdier SUM 104
* 3 Stoutland BCR 122
* 3 Pikachu XY 42
* 2 Raichu BUS 41
* 1 Alolan Grimer UNM 127
* 1 Alolan Muk SUM 58
* 2 Tapu Lele-GX GRI 60
* 1 Zacian V SSH 138

##Trainer Cards - 37

* 4 Professor Sycamore BKP 107
* 2 Brigette BKT 134
* 2 AZ PHF 91
* 1 Gladion CIN 95
* 1 Faba LOT 173
* 1 Teammates PRC 141
* 1 Cynthia CEC 189
* 1 Lysandre AOR 78
* 1 Team Rocket’s Handiwork FCO 112
* 4 Ultra Ball SLG 68
* 4 Trainers’ Mail ROS 92
* 3 Rare Candy SSH 180
* 2 Rescue Stretcher GRI 130
* 2 Pal Pad SSH 172
* 1 VS Seeker PHF 109
* 1 Special Charge STS 105
* 1 Devolution Spray EVO 76
* 1 Scoop Up Cyclone PLB 95
* 4 Tropical Beach PR-BLW 50

##Energy - 4

* 4 Memory Energy LOT 194

Total Cards - 60

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

I’m only including this because I promised it in my last article. The 61st card is Field Blower, and cards 62–65 are Level Ball. Handiwork is a tech for Stall. The deck is quite good if you don’t get donked or hand-locked! That is all.


I hope you enjoyed this short but content-dense article. In light of the news of EUIC 🇩🇪 being canceled, I’d like to remind you about what’s important.

I’m considering skipping Toronto and Charlotte 🇺🇸 for this reason. It isn’t about you getting sick, it’s about who you might spread it to. Please be responsible by self-quarantining yourself from vulnerable friends and family for at least 14 days after you travel to events.

There has been some talk about not shaking hands/fist bumping, or making sure to use your own damage counters. I’m not sure how relevant this is, considering you will end up cutting/shuffling each of your opponents’ decks, but you should still take every precaution. I also recommend avoiding airports, not touching your face, and washing your hands a lot. (I wash my hands after every round.)

That’s all from me for today. Safe travels and good luck!


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Reader Interactions

4 replies

  1. Richallen7

    Hi. Glad to see some respect for the sleep which seems very strong. Do you prefer Cinccino over Magcargo for the extra cards you see? Great article anyway, thanks.

  2. rmalmeid

    with the sleep mill how do you get around stinger gx + psychic blacephalon?

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