Unlimited’s Wrath

Nine Unlimited Decks That Win on Turn 1 in All Ways Possible (Including Bench Out, Deck Out, the Unown Trio, Lost World, and, Yes, Walk-Off Homer)

Boy, do we live in interesting times. Since my last article, I’ve been evicted from my college dorm, two months of Organized Play has been canceled, and the cherry trees have bloomed. Yesterday, the Governor of Virginia ordered everyone to stay home, and Limitless announced invitational tournaments. Just hours ago, Pokémon canceled the rest of the 2019–2020 season.

The lack of sanctioned tournaments puts most players in an awkward spot. If Pokémon is a casual hobby for you and you suddenly can’t attend local League and events, there is simply no outlet for a Pokémon fixing. And for competitive players, there’s theoretically PTCGO, but that’s locked in UPR–SSH, a format that will never be played again at official tournaments. Some players have responded by building legacy format decks, others have been proxying and testing for Rebel Clash, and the rest are spending the hiatus with other, more digital games.

And I? I have been sitting in my room, playing games against a pile of Energy. Playing solitaire is a great way to burn time during the pandemic. Luckily for us, Pokémon has a solitaire game mode called the Unlimited format. With over 25 years of cards in the pool, you should be trying to win the game before your opponent gets to take a turn. My goal was to make an Unlimited deck for every possible win condition in the game, each of which wins on the first turn, every time.

There’s nothing else to do, and nowhere else to go. So, take a journey with me. Keep your hands inside the vehicle and enjoy all the silliness to come.

The Premise/Guidelines

pokemonscreenshots.tumblr.com

With the millions of possibilities, I decided to put down some guidelines for myself.

  1. I can use any card ever printed in English that was legal for tournament play at some point, plus Rebel Clash.
  2. I am permitted to assume my opponent doesn’t put any restrictions on me (i.e., no Spiritomb AR, Wobbuffet PHF, or Sudowoodo GRI/Ditto TM).
  3. I must play with current Sword & Shield rules (i.e., no Supporter turn 1).
  4. I can’t rely on coin flip cards for consistency (e.g., Bill’s Teleporter), and consistency cards that shuffle the deck should be limited (see: Trainers’ Mail).
  5. I must maximize my chance of starting Sableye SF in every deck. When I don’t start Sableye, I still assume I go first. This is because if you give your opponent a turn in Unlimited, you’ve probably lost the game.
  6. I had to stick to the same core engine with every deck. This is both to save time and simplify this article.

With that out of the way, let’s get to the meat!

The Skeleton List

All following lists are based off this list:

Pokémon (8)

4 Sableye SF

1 Porygon RO

3 Porygon2 GE

Trainer (39)

2 Lysandre’s Trump Card

 

4 Acro Bike

4 Misty’s Wrath

4 Poké Drawer +

4 Pokédex HANDY910is

4 Professor Oak

4 Puzzle of Time

2 Computer Search BS

2 Rotom Dex

2 Scoop Up Net

1 Junk Arm

1 VS Seeker

 

1 Dowsing Machine

 

4 Broken Time-Space

Energy (0)

 

Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 8

* 4 Sableye SF 48
* 1 Porygon RO 48
* 3 Porygon2 GE 49

##Trainer Cards - 39

* 2 Lysandre’s Trump Card PHF 99
* 4 Professor Oak BS 88
* 4 Misty’s Wrath G1 114
* 4 Puzzle of Time BKP 109
* 4 Pokédex HANDY910is DP 111
* 4 Poké Drawer + SF 89
* 4 Acro Bike CES 123
* 2 Rotom Dex SUM 131
* 2 Scoop Up Net REC 1
* 2 Computer Search BS 71
* 1 Junk Arm TM 87
* 1 VS Seeker PHF 109
* 1 Dowsing Machine PLS 128
* 4 Broken Time-Space PL 104

##Energy - 0

Total Cards - 47

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=80172 ******

As you can see, this is rather hefty for a “skeleton list,” containing a whole 47 cards. I wanted a strong base to my decks before I started trying different win conditions. It did go through a few iterations as I was working on different win conditions, so thankfully, it was easy to retroactively adjust the older decks.

The decks in this article are presented in order of increasing complexity. The later archetypes need more space for their win conditions, and therefore chip away at the consistency cards. I’ll record these deviations from the skeleton beneath each list; otherwise, assume this 47 is in every list.

Key Cards

4 Sableye SF, 1-3 Porygon2 GE

Per rule #5, I am running the full 4 Sableye and the bare minimum number of non-Sableye Basics.

pokemon-paradijs.comSince we are going first and are unable to play a Supporter normally, we need to use Porygon2 GE to use their effects. The particular Supporter that every deck uses is Lysandre’s Trump Card. In combination with Porygon2, scoop-up effects, and Supporter recovery, Lysandre’s Trump Card allows us to play everything an infinite number of times. (Note that Lysandre’s Trump Card is banned in Expanded, but Unlimited has no ban list.)

2 Rotom Dex

Rotom Dex is my method of protecting from poor Prize cards. Gladion is more powerful, but does not work with Download. Every other Prize-searching card is a Basic Pokémon, which violates my fifth rule, or are Japanese promos, violating the #1 rule. (Thanks Charlie Lockyer for telling me about these cards.)

Strategy-wise, when you need a crucial card like the Porygon or your pair of Trump Cards, you want to play Rotom Dex with as large a deck as possible. On the other hand, when you need combo pieces out, you’ll want to draw your deck, then discard junk cards like extra Sableye, Broken Time-Space, and consistency Items by continuously using Item Finder and Dowsing Machine on each other. That way, you can Lysandre’s Trump Card, then immediately Rotom Dex with a thick deck of weak cards to be stranded in your Prizes.

4 Professor Oak, 4 Misty’s Wrath, 4 Puzzle of Time

These are the bread and butter of the Item draw engine. Oak refreshes your hand, Misty digs for pieces, and Puzzle recovers resources you sprinted past.

2 Scoop Up Net

This is the most exciting card out of our upcoming set for perennial formats. Picking up Pokémon lines without downside is crazy! As far as the skeleton is concerned, this card is just used to reset Porygon2 to use Lysandre’s Trump Card again, so it stays as just a 2-of. In lists that have more uses, such as switching or playing other Supporters, the count is upped.

ACE SPEC choice

ACE SPECs are surprisingly mediocre in Unlimited, but there are still a couple of options to run as upgrades to other cards.

ACE SPECs can also be run as extra copies of cards. In particular, Scoop Up Cyclone can be the 5th Scoop Up Net or Master Ball can be a 2nd Luxury Ball.

Standard Win Conditions

Missing Clover (Take 6 Prizes)

Additions to the Skeleton

Let’s start with the most simple, powerful, and robust deck I have: Missing Clover. The strategy is simple: gather your playset of Missing Clover 6 times. There isn’t too much to say about the list, as it makes zero deviations from the core list.

The plan for finding Missing Clover sets is spamming Clay, who will typically draw you 5–6 cards. It only takes playing Clay a few times before you are holding your entire deck.

The deck includes 2 cute cards in Town Map and Capture Energy. Town Map lets you pick which resources you want when you play Missing Clover, and Capture Energy is like a Nest Ball that won’t get recycled with Lysandre’s Trump Card.

Seeker/Poké Blower + (Bench Out)

Additions to the Skeleton

Deviations

This deck aims to force your opponent to pick up all of their Benched Pokémon via Seeker, then spam Poké Blower + to place damage counters on their remaining Pokémon until it is Knocked Out.

Erika’s Perfume, Impostor Professor Oak, and Impostor Professor Oak’s Invention are here to protect from opponents that might play Basic Pokémon with Omega Barrier (Regirock XY49 or Electrike PRC 60). You can spam Impostor Professor Oak and Erika’s Perfume to force a Basic without Omega Barrier on the Bench, pull it up with double Poké Blower +, and finally force the Omega Barrier Pokémon to hand with Seeker. (Note that Seeker affects the opposing player, similarly to how Escape Rope could force a Primal Groudon Active if it was the only Pokémon on the Bench.) Impostor Professor Oak’s Invention is for the freak scenario that your opponent prized all of their Pokémon that don’t have Omega Barrier.

Once you are done with the three aforementioned cards and your Seeker, you can get them out of your deck with Lost Blender. Lost Blender also removes spare Broken Time-Space, Porygon2, and extraneous Rotom Dex. Removing these cards from Trump Card cycles makes spamming Poké Blower + less tedious and lowers your chance of bricking.

Trick Shovel/Surprise Box (Deck Out)

Additions to the Skeleton

Considering all of my decks want to use Lysandre’s Trump Card, it was surprisingly difficult to find a strategy for decking out the opponent. However, I think I’ve found the best way of doing so. The idea is to “store” cards in your opponent’s hand instead of leaving them in the discard, so that the don’t get shuffled back into the deck when you Trump Card. Curiously, excluding shuffle-draw, Surprise Box is the only Trainer card in the history of the game that forces cards into your opponent’s hand. Before using Surprise Boxes, we must first play something to mill cards, and I’ve chosen Trick Shovel.

The rest of the deck is pretty straightforward and can basically be whatever you want as long as it increases consistency. You can fit in a small Clay package to make the cycling go faster, at the expense of slight less reliable Porygon2 setup.

The Good Stuff (Alternate Win Conditions)

While it was a bit of fun to optimize the previous three decks, there was seldom a question of if I would be able to pull off a combo. It just always worked. Default win conditions are boring. Here is a complete list of cards that allow you to win the game via alternate measures, in order of release date:

Is it possible to Walk-Off Homer on the first turn? Has anybody announced MISSING to win a game of Pokémon before at all, let alone turn 1? Before this article is over, I hope to convince you that anything is possible in the Pokémon TCG. As stated earlier, decks are in ascending order of complexity.

Unown HAND

pokemonkorea.co.kr

Okay, I just got through saying that default win conditions are boring. Well, in that sense, HAND is an honorary default win condition in the Unlimited format. It is very simple to achieve using a variety of methods; in fact, I already discussed one of them—just cut 2 cards from the previous deck for an Unown HAND and a Copycat and you are there! There’s also a combo I’ll show you later that allows you to pick up your entire deck, but since it uses Pokémon, it’s technically suboptimal for this win condition. Here’s the most straightforward way of achieving HAND:

Clay (Unown HAND)

Additions to the Skeleton

Deviations

Spam Clay, announce HAND. Simple as that. Level Balls are to pull Pokémon out of the deck so Clay gets more value. Let’s move on.

Walk-Off Homer

Hiker Lock (Walk-Off Homer)

Additions to the Skeleton

Deviations

Unfortunately, it is not possible to Walk-Off Homer on the first turn. However, you can effectively skip your opponent’s first turn by discarding their whole hand and manipulating their topdeck with Hiker. I’m only permitting the opponent to have a turn with this deck because it’s otherwise impossible to pull off turn 1. I also think it’s a fair assumption to make that you can strand a useless card on top when can block either or both of Item and Supporter cards between Vileplume and Kabutops.

Now, to explain what on Earth is going on with the Pokémon line!

First of all, we need to discuss Brock’s Ninetales. Brock’s Ninetales works a lot like a broken, Stage 1 version of Ditto p, being able to “evolve” into any Evolution Pokémon! It even gives you the ability to “devolve” it by discarding top stage at any time. However, the card has some serious limitations to keep in mind:

  • Shapeshift disallows the Evolution card from using “Pokémon Powers,” which includes Poké-Powers and Poké-Bodies.
  • Shapeshift doesn’t count as evolving, which means it doesn’t activate Abilities like Tsareena SUM’s Queenly Majesty (which is relevant in a later deck).
  • Shapeshift doesn’t count as becoming a new Pokémon, which means the game keeps track of the fact that you used Shapeshift in a turn. You cannot Shapeshift, activate an Ability, discard the Evolution, then try to Shapeshift again.

Those things said, Brock’s Ninetales can evolve into any of Kabutops, Vileplume, and Slowbro in this deck! The reason I am just playing a 1-1 line is because Unidentified Fossil isn’t a Basic we can start with, making it better than a 2-2 line.

The strategy of this deck is to spam Missing Clover, just like my Prize-taking deck, but to leave yourself at just 1 Prize card. While doing that, you can slowly develop your Evolution lines, getting up to having Kabutops Active and Brock’s Ninetales on the Bench. Additionally, play Mars when convenient; you’ll eventually want your opponent to have no cards in their hand. Once you are down to 1 Prize and your opponent has no hand, play Hiker until you find an Item or Supporter card to place on top. After that, simply Shapeshift into Vileplume AOR and pass. On your next turn, discard the Vileplume, Shapeshift into Slowbro, Scoop Up Net the Kabutops, attach Triple Acceleration Energy to Slowbro, and Walk-Off Homer. Easy, right?

This is one of the less consistent decks I’ll show you today, and it has a lot of moving pieces that make it not especially fun to play. Additionally, Walk-Off Homer is a bit of a silly win condition, because attacks like Blacephalon-GX’s Burst-GX and Kartana-GX’s Blade-GX do effectively the same thing. Nonetheless, Walk-Off Homer has the text “win this game,” and I’d be remised if I didn’t include it.

Unown DAMAGE

pokemonkorea.co.kr

Crazy Code/Energy Reset (Unown DAMAGE)

Additions to the Skeleton

Now we’re getting into some really fun decks! This deck aims to pull off DAMAGE by continuously attaching Rainbow Energy with Crazy Code and returning them with Energy Reset. With a Bench of 1 Porygon-Z, 1 Magikarp & Wailord-GX, and 3 Sableye—with 2 Big Charm and a Fighting Fury Belt attached appropriately—you have space for exactly 66 damage counters. To my knowledge, this is the best way of getting damage onto your board, especially considering that I already play a Porygon line. Other cards that I can think of include Banette PL, the classic Masquerain PLB/Klefki STS/Team Magma’s Secret Base, and Digger (though you would need a way to heal your opponent’s Pokémon à la Unown K SW).

The only trick of this version is balancing the Porygon-Z with your need for Download. The way to do it is to sculpt your hand into having a Scoop Up Net and a Lysandre’s Trump Card (as well as a Professor Oak to draw afterward). You scoop up the Porygon-Z, evolve up to Porygon2 and Download, then evolve to Porygon-Z and continue. The entire cycle through your deck, you will have access to Crazy Code, and by the time you will need Download again, you will have acquired a Scoop Up Net again.

Lost World

In the decks I’ve previously showed you, the win condition is simple enough that you ought to build the decks around Items to respect rule #5. In other words, if you want to optimize them for solitaire win rate, you are shoehorned into a particular way of building it. In the MISSING deck I will show you, the same is true, but reversed—the win condition is so complex that there is only one draw engine to support it. Lost World lives in a happy medium where you are given creative license on the draw engine. It will become clear in a minute why this is the case. I’ll show you the two engines I came up with.

Of course, with Lost World, we need to make the assumption that our opponent plays at least 7 Pokémon (one is in play). The same goes for MISSING requiring 12 Supporter cards.

Bewear (Lost World)

Additions to the Skeleton

Deviations

There are only three ways of getting Pokémon into the Lost Zone turn 1, and those are Lysandre p, Gengar Prime, and Palkia G LV.X. Since Lysandre p is the only way to put 6 in by itself, I’ve gone all in on it.

Here is the sequence of steps to take to pull off Lost World:

  1. Fill your opponent’s hand with their entire deck, the same way I showed you in the deck out deck.
  2. Use Weavile UD’s Claw Snag 6 times to discard 6 Pokémon. (Remember when I said Tsareena SUM doesn’t work with Brock’s Ninetales?)
  3. Download Lysandre p with 6 Fire Pokémon in play, to Lost Zone all of the Pokémon you just discarded. (This deck plays exactly 6 “Fire” Pokémon: Flareon AOR, Porygon2, 2 Bewear, Weavile, and Brock’s Ninetales.)
  4. Shapeshift into Gothitelle and Teleport Room to put Lost World into play. This step is interchangeable with 3, provided you have a Porygon2 able to use Download. (You need Gothitelle because you have already played Broken Time-Space as your turnly Stadium.)

Onto the namesake of the deck: Bewear GRI. Rake It In probably looks like a strangely weak choice for a draw engine. Why build around a simple draw 3, when we have access to crazy Item cards like Professor Oak and Misty’s Wrath? What about Porygon2 DS, which both synergizes with our Porygon2 line and can draw more? The reason is Lysandre p, particularly, the Prism Star part of it. As soon as Lysandre p hits your hand, the best draw card in your deck (Professor Oak) becomes unplayable. Additionally, we need to build large hands so we can pull off this ×6 Claw Snag play. Instead of dump and draw, we want to create engines that can build enormous hands. (Or, if you’re more courageous than I, you can try to Maintenance the Lysandre p back in the deck.) Bewear synergizes nicely with the Scoop Up Nets that we were already playing as well.

Espeon (Lost World)

Additions to the Skeleton

Deviations

Again, the only major difference between these builds is the draw engine. This deck aims to get Porygon-Z and Espeon AQ into play ASAP. As soon as you do, and obtain your Draw Energy, you can pick up your entire deck! This dovetails nicely into the final deck…

Unown MISSING

Croxton’s Magnum Opus (Unown MISSING)

Pokémon (25)

4 Sableye SF

4 Trumbeak LOT

2 Porygon RO

2 Porygon2 GE

1 Porygon-Z UNB

3 Brock’s Vulpix G2

1 Brock’s Ninetales G2

1 Gothitelle FFI

2 Eevee PR 11

1 Flareon AOR

1 Espeon AQ

1 Sneasel N3

1 Weavile UD

1 Unown LOT 92

Trainer (34)

2 Lysandre’s Trump Card

1 Lysandre p

 

4 Misty’s Wrath

4 Professor Oak

4 Puzzle of Time

3 Computer Search BS

2 Rotom Dex

2 Scoop Up Net

1 Impostor Professor Oak’s Invention

1 Item Finder

1 Level Ball

1 Luxury Ball

1 Surprise Box

1 Trick Shovel

 

1 Dowsing Machine

 

4 Broken Time-Space

1 Sky Field

Energy (1)

1 Draw

 

Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 25

* 4 Sableye SF 48
* 4 Trumbeak LOT 165
* 2 Porygon RO 48
* 2 Porygon2 GE 49
* 1 Porygon-Z UNB 157
* 3 Brock’s Vulpix G2 37
* 1 Brock’s Ninetales G2 3
* 1 Gothitelle FFI 41
* 2 Eevee PR 11
* 1 Flareon AOR 13
* 1 Espeon AQ 11
* 1 Sneasel N3 24
* 1 Weavile UD 25
* 1 Unown LOT 92

##Trainer Cards - 34

* 2 Lysandre’s Trump Card PHF 99
* 1 Lysandre p FLI 110
* 4 Professor Oak BS 88
* 4 Misty’s Wrath G1 114
* 4 Puzzle of Time BKP 109
* 3 Computer Search BS 71
* 2 Scoop Up Net REC 1
* 2 Rotom Dex SUM 131
* 1 Luxury Ball SF 86
* 1 Level Ball AOR 76
* 1 Trick Shovel FLF 98
* 1 Surprise Box UNB 187
* 1 Impostor Professor Oak’s Invention N4 94
* 1 Item Finder BS 74
* 1 Dowsing Machine PLS 128
* 4 Broken Time-Space PL 104
* 1 Sky Field ROS 89

##Energy - 1

* 1 Draw Energy CEC 209

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=80172 ******

This deck puts everything I’ve learned about this format together, and I’ve never been more proud of such a monstrosity. If you’ve been reading this article closely, most of this deck is probably falling into place in your head. We have:

It’s precise. It’s deliberate. It uses obscure cards from every inch of the game’s history, all the way from Base Set to Rebel Clash. Beautiful.

In my 25 testing games against a pile of Energy, with the 12 Lightning representing Supporter cards, I was able to pull off MISSING 17 times. 6 times I drew totally dead, which is inevitable in a deck with so many Pokémon, and the final 2 games I drew Lysandre p when my only out to draw was Professor Oak. It may be possible to make it more consistent, but I have my doubts, especially with the limitations I put on myself.

Honorable Mentions

This will be a fun section where I go over things that almost work together or in my decks. This is mainly just for your entertainment, but there are also some things that could be broken in the future, and perhaps you can gain some appreciation for Pokémon’s card design.

Lopunny FLF

This card serves essentially the same function as Espeon, but can evolve from Brock’s Ninetales, while Espeon cannot. Unfortunately for Lopunny, the Eevee we have access to (Eevee PR 11) is crazy good. In addition, Lopunny takes 1 extra deck slot, since you are evolving through Brock’s Vulpix and then Brock’s Ninetales. Nonetheless, it could potentially serve as a means of reducing your Basics count if you wanted to do other things with this format.

Omanyte FO

Technically, I have not minimized the number of Basics in my Lost World and MISSING decks, as they can theoretically get by with just 4 Basics (1 Eevee, 1 Brock’s Vulpix, 1 Porygon, 1 Sneasel). The remain 2 Bench spots could have been filled with Fossils, which evolve into Stage 1 Pokémon that become Fire from Flareon. However, I believe this to take too much deck space to keep the decks consistent. In addition, the spare Basics that you’d be removing are core to the Pokémon-based draw engines. As I’ve already said, the MISSING deck is a terrible mess of cards; the last thing it needs is a 2-2 line that does nothing.

Chaos Gym + Will + Lost Blender

One of my first thoughts of how to get MISSING to work was, “What if I could force my opponent to play Lost Blender?” (Un?)fortunately, Chaos Gym gives your opponent the option of using failed Trainer (Item) cards.

Dialga LV.X DP17

When I was first getting into the game as a kid, this was one of the first cards my family owned. My brother played Diamond and I played Pearl, so when the Dialga/Palkia tins came out, he got this card and I got Palkia LV.X DP18. While I was browsing through the card archives, a long-gone memory of this card was awoken, and it gave me a brilliant idea! If I could play Will, then use Time Skip until I got heads on the second roll, I’d have infinite turns!

Well, you probably had to read Dialga and already know why that doesn’t work. Time Skip makes your opponent flip the coins, and Will only affects your own coin flips. But what if… you could force your opponent to flip tails?

Nope. Malamar XY58 and Shiftry RR only work on your opponent’s turn, and the only other ways are through attacks that wear off at the end of your opponent’s turn. Bummer. It was going to be messy anyway, because Level-Ups aren’t Evolutions and therefore don’t work with Broken Time-Space; the only way of getting Dialga LV.X in play turn 1 is Level Max.

Trainers’ Mail

Unlimited is just for fun. Shuffling your deck? Not so fun. I’ve excluded Trainers’ Mail from all of my decks in favor of Acro Bike and Pokédex HANDY910is, which are about as good for consistency and don’t double the amount of shuffling that the decks require. If you don’t mind shuffling more during your solitaires, I encourage you to sub out some of the aforementioned cards for Trainers’ Mail. Trainers’ Mail will make the decks I’ve presented here almost strictly better, but in my opinion, it takes away from the casual spirit of the Unlimited format.

Conclusion

pokemonscreenshots.tumblr.com

I was going to end with a comment about the length, but somehow this isn’t the longest article I’ve ever written! Can’t do much of a matchup section for solitaire decks, I guess. Nonetheless, I hope you enjoyed all the shenanigans contained within. This was definitely the most fun I’ve had in testing and writing an article. I encourage you to explore the Unlimited format with your own rules and guidelines. Play 1 Sableye and make yourself always start with it. Cut the Sableyes but go first anyway. Make Gladion work with Download. Try to take infinite turns with Timeless-GX. You’re playing by yourself, who cares? Just have fun.

Use the gap in Organized Play to enjoy Pokémon in different ways; we’ll be here to catch you back up on Standard when events begin again.

These are trying times. Take care of yourselves.

<3


…and that will conclude this Unlocked Underground article.

After 45 days, we unlock each Underground (UG/★) article for public viewing. New articles are reserved for Underground members.

Underground Members: Thank you for making this article possible!

Other Readers: Check out the FAQ if you are interested in joining Underground and gaining full access to our latest content.


Reader Interactions

5 replies

  1. Landon Frank

    Now this is the quality content that I subscribed for.

  2. snoops

    Cool article :) (However, the missing clover deck only has 59 cards)

  3. Dylan Lochte Peacock

    Online doesnt have cards past heart hold soul silver

  4. Dylan Lochte Peacock

    This article is an amazing resource to practice sequencing

Leave a Reply

You are logged out. Register. Log in.