Eyes Wide Shut

Analyzing the Limitless Q3 Meta and Exploring New Ideas for Q4 (Zacian V/Galarian Perrserker + Torkoal V/Magcargo-GX)
“I see what you did there.”

Hello all SixPrizes readers! How are you doing? Are you playing Pokémon TCG during the quarantine period? Well, I’m playing a lot and I’m excited to try to participate in the Players Cup, the first official online tournament organized by Pokémon. At the time of writing this article, just a few details have been released, and with what we know it seems confusing, but it is great news anyway.

I’m sure the Limitless Online Series, the tournament circuit run by the Limitless TCG team, served as an inspiration for Pokémon to start promoting Pokémon TCG Online competitively. I hope that along with this new tournament we will also have improvement in the game’s software and many other things will be improved to provide a better experience of playing Pokémon TCG over the internet.

Speaking of competitive Pokémon, last week we had the Limitless Online Series Q3, the first major tournament with Rebel Clash, which had 1,158 participants, and Kim Pobega won the tournament in a PikaRom final. Good old PikaRom is back with the arrival of new cards from Rebel Clash. We also saw a lot of Dragapult VMAX, the card that received the most hype from the new set, and it proved that it is actually really strong. In addition, we saw Baby Blowns perform strongly and the fall of Zacian V decks.

In this article I will do a little analysis of the metagame and define which decks are the best currently. Then, I prepared two ideas that can play well against the main decks of the meta.

Limitless Q3 Analysis

With the arrival of the Rebel Clash, no one knew exactly what the metagame would be like, so many new ideas could appear. The fact that the Limitless Online Series is a free online tournament also contributes to making players feel more relaxed and comfortable using decks outside Tier 1. So many new decks could surprise you. But it didn’t quite work out that way.

The four main decks of the tournament—PikaRom, Baby Blowns, Dragapult VMAX, and ADPZ—in my opinion, are really a step ahead in the metagame. Dragapult VMAX proved to be difficult to counter; even with many players preparing to face the deck, we now know that preventative measures may not be enough. Baby Blowns remains firmly in Tier 1; its main characteristics remain intact: it is a consistent deck with a 1-Prize attacker that can 1HKO any Pokémon in the game. We also have PikaRom’s return with the arrival of Speed L Energy (to bring consistency) and Boltund V, which proved to be not only a new staple Pokémon in the deck, but maybe the best Pokémon in the deck. Finally, we had a drop in Zacian V decks (ADPZ, Straight Zacian, etc.).

Based on the results, we can identify that the four main decks of Q3 are very consistent, strong, and different in their strategies: Dragapult VMAX is strong because it can distribute damage across multiple Pokémon, while Baby Blowns does huge up-front damage, while ADPZ focuses on picking up extra Prizes, and PikaRom applies a lot of pressure at the start of the game and can also grab multiple Prizes and achieve high damage.

In terms of consistency, all of these decks are to be lauded. They are pleasant decks to play as they manage to execute their strategy most of the time. But in terms of the metagame, the winning deck managed to be more complete with regard to strategies and resources.


BulbapediaPikaRom, in addition to being strong and consistent, can attack the opponent in different ways and therefore has more opportunities to exploit weaknesses of the opponent in the game. If the opponent has a bad start, PikaRom can be aggressive with a T1 Full Blitz and gain a lot of advantage, particularly while Dragapult VMAX and ADPZ have a slow start. Tag Bolt-GX has always been an incredible GX attack that can tip the scales by grabbing multiple Prizes, especially against Baby Blowns. And we also have Boltund V, which oddly enough can Knock Out a Dragapult VMAX in one attack.

Dragapult VMAX

Dragapult VMAX did well in my view (I expected it to perform worse) since every featured deck is quite balanced by one another. I believe that in Limitless Q4 Dragapult VMAX will be even more dangerous, as players learn more and more the nuances of playing with the card, in addition to the metagame having to worry about other decks that are also relevant, such as PikaRom and Baby Blowns.

Baby Blowns

Baby Blowns remains what it is:

  1. an amazing deck against TAG TEAM Pokémon and VMAX decks,
  2. a good deck against Pokémon-GX and V decks, and
  3. a bad deck against non-Pokémon-GX decks.

The best decks are Pokémon VMAX and TAG TEAM decks, therefore Baby Blowns is one of the best as well. More and more players are using Tapu Fini UNM to deal with Baby Blowns, but it is not enough to solve the game. It will help a lot and maybe make the matchup even; however, Tapu Fini is a useless card in almost every other matchup, so the tradeoff of including it is not always worth it.


The fall of ADPZ was something I expected. It seems that the other decks have seen major improvements in their lists since Rebel Clash, while ADPZ has failed to take advantage of the new cards much. Baby Blowns was already a difficult matchup and Dragapult VMAX, in my opinion, has the advantage if ADPZ does not include specific cards to defend against it. Since the previous metagame was focused on ADPZ, many lists in Q3 still contained techs for ADPZ.

As for the Zacian V/Jirachi p deck, I never really liked it. The Jirachi p + Mr. Mime DET combo consumes a lot of space—both in the deck and on the Bench—and it is inconsistent.

I believe that Zacian V decks in general will do better in the next qualifier, with players now more adapted to defeat Dragapult VMAX, PikaRom, and Baby Blowns as well.

New Ideas for Limitless Q4

Based on this analysis we can come to the conclusion that Tier 1 of the metagame looks like this:

Keep in mind that, from now on, any deck you intend to play for any tournament should ideally have at least even matchups against these four decks.

Recently I was testing some ideas, and two of them caught my attention. The first idea was a Zacian V/Perrserker deck, which surprised me because Galarian Perrserker SSH’s damage boost allows for many strong moves, and the second idea was a Torkoal V/Magcargo-GX deck, inspired by a deck that Shintaro Ito used once. Torkoal V’s Steam Crush attack hits for 120 damage and removes 2 Energies from the opponent’s Pokémon. This effect is strong against Dragapult VMAX and ADPZ, while its 210 HP requires Baby Blowns to need 5 Energies to Knock it Out.

Zacian V/Galarian Perrserker

Pokémon (19)

4 Galarian Meowth RCL

3 Galarian Perrserker SSH

4 Zacian V

2 Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX

2 Dedenne-GX

1 Duraludon RCL

1 Eldegoss V

1 Oranguru SSH

1 Tapu Fini UNM

Trainer (29)

4 Marnie

4 Professor’s Research

3 Boss’s Orders


4 Metal Saucer

4 Quick Ball

2 Pokémon Communication

1 Adventure Bag

1 Great Catcher


3 Air Balloon

1 Metal Frying Pan

1 Metal Goggles

1 Vitality Band

Energy (11)

11 M


Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 19

* 4 Galarian Meowth RCL 126
* 3 Galarian Perrserker SSH 128
* 4 Zacian V SSH 138
* 2 Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX UPR 63
* 2 Dedenne-GX UNB 57
* 1 Duraludon RCL 138
* 1 Eldegoss V RCL 19
* 1 Oranguru SSH 148
* 1 Tapu Fini UNM 53

##Trainer Cards - 29

* 4 Professor’s Research SSH 178
* 4 Marnie SSH 169
* 3 Boss’s Orders RCL 154
* 4 Quick Ball SSH 179
* 2 Pokémon Communication TEU 152
* 4 Metal Saucer SSH 170
* 3 Air Balloon SSH 156
* 1 Vitality Band SSH 185
* 1 Metal Frying Pan FLI 112
* 1 Metal Goggles TEU 148
* 1 Adventure Bag LOT 167
* 1 Great Catcher CEC 192

##Energy - 11

* 11 M Energy Energy 8

Total Cards - 59

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=81276 ******

The deck itself doesn’t have much of a secret. The idea is to use Zacian V as quickly and aggressively as possible, to the point of being able to Knock Out TAG TEAM Pokémon on turn two.


  • Against Dragapult VMAX, the idea is to Knock Out Dragapult VMAX in two attacks, one of them being from Duraludon.
  • Against Baby Blowns, Tapu Fini will make the matchup even.
  • Against PikaRom and ADPZ, the idea is to Knock Out everything in one hit beginning on turn two.

Key Cards

4-3 Galarian Perrserker SSH

The idea is to have 2 Galarian Perrserker on the field to increase the damage from Zacian V to 270 and from Duraludon RCL to 70. Against TAG TEAM Pokémon, Zacian V will be able to Knock them Out in one attack, and against Pokémon VMAX, Duraludon RCL will be able to complete the knockout on the next turn.

1 Duraludon RCL

I really like this Pokémon with the extra damage of 2 Galarian Perrserker. It is capable of hitting 70 damage, Knocking Out a Jirachi TEU and attaching a discarded M Energy to a Zacian V. Other than that, it is a non-Pokémon-GX and does not present much issue from being Knocked Out.

I could include one more copy, but it is not used every game. In some cases you can play normally, without having to attack with Duraludon, only with the setup of Zacian V.

2 Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX, 3 Air Balloon

I decided to include this combo because I didn’t want to worry about having to draw switching cards practically every turn. In an ADPZ deck, you are not as dependent on Switch because Altered Creation-GX shortens the game, and most of the time you will only need to attack with Zacian V twice in a match. However, in a Straight Zacian V build (like this one), even if you use 4 copies of Switch, it may be difficult to find later in the game, as you need to perform more attacks and Zacian V cannot attack twice in a row due to the effect of Brave Blade.

Another reason to opt for Dawn Wings Necrozma is that I’m not using Jirachi, and that’s why I can’t go after Switch every turn with enough consistency.

I am really enjoying the result, despite Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX taking up space on the Bench and being a relatively easy Prize for the opponent.

The Tool Bag

Torkoal V/Magcargo-GX

Pokémon (16)

4 Slugma LOT

2 Magcargo CES

2 Magcargo-GX

3 Oranguru SSH

3 Torkoal V

2 Dedenne-GX

Trainer (30)

4 Welder

3 Professor’s Research

2 Boss’s Orders

1 Bellelba & Brycen-Man


4 Great Ball

4 Quick Ball

2 Switch

1 Energy Recycler

1 Fire Crystal

1 Great Catcher

1 Ordinary Rod

1 Pal Pad

1 Pokégear 3.0

1 Reset Stamp


1 Buff Padding


2 Giant Hearth

Energy (14)

14 R


Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 16

* 4 Slugma LOT 43
* 2 Magcargo CES 24
* 2 Magcargo-GX LOT 44
* 3 Oranguru SSH 148
* 3 Torkoal V SSH 24
* 2 Dedenne-GX UNB 57

##Trainer Cards - 30

* 3 Professor’s Research SSH 178
* 4 Welder UNB 189
* 2 Boss’s Orders RCL 154
* 1 Bellelba & Brycen-Man CEC 186
* 1 Pokégear 3.0 SSH 174
* 1 Pal Pad SSH 172
* 4 Quick Ball SSH 179
* 4 Great Ball SSH 164
* 2 Switch SSH 183
* 1 Fire Crystal UNB 173
* 1 Energy Recycler GRI 123
* 1 Ordinary Rod SSH 171
* 1 Buff Padding TEU 136
* 1 Great Catcher CEC 192
* 1 Reset Stamp UNM 206
* 2 Giant Hearth UNM 197

##Energy - 14

* 14 R Energy Energy 2

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=81276 ******

My main idea here is that this deck is not just a Magcargo-GX deck, but a Torkoal V deck as well. It looks kind of confusing but I’ll explain.

A Magcargo-GX deck looks much better in theory, but in practice it is an inconsistent deck. This is because it is an Evolution deck, and Magcargo-GX can easily be gusted by Great Catcher and its 210 HP can’t absorb much in the current format. Pokémon VMAX are also Evolutions, but they have 320 HP and can’t be targeted by Great Catcher.

That’s where Torkoal V comes in. It’s not a wonderful attacker or a great starter, but it’s a reasonable attacker and a reasonable starter, too. Your goal is to open with it, try to attack with it at the start of the game, and also withstand an opponent’s attack early on. In addition to starting to put pressure on the opponent, it will serve as a barrier for us to put as many Slugma as possible onto our field and protect them from being Knocked Out until we can evolve to Magcargo.

Another problem I see in the Magcargo-GX deck is that it needs a slightly elaborate setup in addition to a combination of cards to hit for high damage. With Torkoal V, the deck can go without the need to build a Magcargo-GX. It is possible to win games with only Torkoal V and Oranguru SSH on the field.

In short, Torkoal V lessens the reliance on Magcargo-GX, and with that I can save time to build and energize Magcargo-GX on the Bench.


  • Against Baby Blowns, the idea is to use the high HP of Torkoal V to try to resist the Baby Blowns knockout while picking up Prizes.
  • Against ADPZ, Torkoal V can delay the opponent by removing Energy, and it can also Knock Out a Zacian V on T1.
  • Against Dragapult VMAX, removing Energy is also a good idea and the high HP of Torkoal V will make multiple knockouts difficult.
  • Against PikaRom, there isn’t a specific plan. The matchup is even.

Key Cards

3 Torkoal V

I explained the role of Torkoal V above, but it has a very interesting attack—Steam Crush—that is great against two meta decks: Dragapult VMAX and ADPZ. Hitting for 120 and removing 2 Energies from these decks can mean a huge delay depending on the situation.

If the Dragapult VMAX deck does not have Malamar FLI on the field, Torkoal V succeeds—in addition to taking out the pesky Horror P Energy—to make the opponent miss an attack for lack of Energy. The same can happen with ADP; it can fail to Altered Creation-GX or Ultimate Ray for lack of Energy. Furthermore, Torkoal V is a R attacker and catches Zacian V for Weakness.

1 Bellelba & Brycen-Man

I decided to test this card as a joke in PTCGO and I ended up liking it a lot. Bellelba with the GX attack of Magcargo-GX can discard 8 cards at once, and this can surprise the opponent and win even an otherwise lost game. I have already defeated Baby Blowns many times by deck-out.

1 Buff Padding

Buff Padding gives Torkoal 260 HP, which forces Baby Blowns to have to discard 6 Energies to Knock it Out. Other than that, Buff Padding helps in several other situations, such as resisting an attack from Zacian V.

Final Thoughts

Looking through the Metal Goggles.

The first big tournament with Rebel Clash just happened but I already see a defined metagame. The Tier 1 decks are all consistent and very strong, but that doesn’t stop other decks from doing well, too. The decks that I presented here today are not meant to be better decks than the four Tier 1 decks, but they can fight on equal terms and break away from new decks that may appear in upcoming tournaments.

I see the Zacian V/Perrserker deck as interesting against Control decks because of Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX to ensure recovery and also Duraludon to recover Energy while doing damage to the opponent. Torkoal V/Magcargo-GX can win games by deck-out, as the opponent will need to draw extra resources to deal with the high HP and Energy removal attack of Torkoal V.

A new strategy that is similar to other existing strategies is not just another strategy. A new strategy is a strategy that has not been studied extensively by the opponent, so it can force them into making mistakes.

Unfortunately I was not able to play Limitless Q3, but I will definitely play Limitless Q4. Among the decks of Tier 1, the deck I like most is Dragapult VMAX. I think it will be a good choice for Q4, while PikaRom and Baby Blowns I believe that players will prepare for more. Simple cards to place in any deck like Mew UNB and Tapu Fini UNM can drastically change a game.

For today that’s all—I hope you enjoyed and see you next time!

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