If You Can’t Beat Them, Fireball Circus Them

Blacephalon and Dragapult VMAX (My Two Favs to Grind With), Thoughts on PTCGO + the Players Cup, and Limitless Invitational Meta Musings

Hello 6P! I’m back with another article for you, but let me start off by thanking you, the reader, for your continued support throughout this whole bizarre reality we are living in right now.

The global leaderboard as of June 10.

We are in full swing with the Players Cup qualification period for the month of June and, as expected with a brand new system, there are quite a few hiccups. The first and most important one being that not all tournaments are counting toward the leaderboards. I’m hoping this is a bug that TPCi will fix eventually, where they can just rerun whatever script they have that calculates your points and it will update the leaderboard with the correct counts. As of today, I’m missing points for exactly half of the tournaments I’ve played in on PTCGO. I have faith that it’ll all be made right by the end of June, but just in case, I’m part of the lucky few that have extra tournament tickets to do a big grind toward the end.

In the beginning, I was going to set myself the goal of being #1 in LATAM for the month of June, but with all the technical issues, I figure it is best to be conservative now and give it my all when the next phase of Best-of-3 tournaments starts in July. Being at least 256th place in LATAM should be a matter of investing time, rather than a challenge of skill, with all the tickets that I have.

We have kickoff! (Almost—three more days.)

The real challenge for me this June, however, was participating in the Players Cup Kickoff Invitational that took place on the weekend of the 30th and 31st of May. That’s why I wasn’t able to participate in the Limitless Online Series Qualifier #4—I was under an NDA to not disclose that I was invited until Pokémon announced the participants of the tournament officially. I was invited at the beginning of May and really eager to share the news but I wasn’t able to until a few days ago.

The tournament will be broadcast this weekend, on June 13th and 14th. I unfortunately can’t give out any details of the event, not even what deck I decided to play. I will say though that I definitely recommend you check out the stream as there were some great games and matchups that unfolded. And of course I hope you’re rooting for Tablemon from the past to have won the tournament! It’s unfortunate that there is a conflict of schedule with the Limitless Invitational taking place this weekend as well, but I’m sure both events will be worth your time watching if you’re looking for some top-level Pokémon TCG gameplay.

Now that the Limitless Qualifiers are over, there are still a bunch of tournaments and events you can join over on Discord, such as the PokeX ongoing tournament series which will have its own invitational coming soon, along with a Regional-style Best-of-3 tournament happening on June 20th! I’m particularly excited about that one as it has a $10 entry fee and the prize pool could be significant with enough players. If that’s something that might interest you, this is the Discord server where it all happens: http://discord.gg/eeGRM3Q

So we have the ladder, the Players Cup, and these independently-run events, and I’ve actually upped my play time now that I’ve needed to update my old Tablemon account for the Players Cup, since I obviously couldn’t keep playing with the demo PTCGO account (which has a full collection) that I’d been using exclusively the past four years.


So far, my favorite decks to grind with have been Baby Blacephalon and Dragapult VMAX. Baby Blacephalon has been a new interest for me as I usually despised playing against it, and in general I felt like Welder decks were too hit-or-miss. Having played a lot with it recently though, with the mentality of “if you can’t beat them, join them,” I’ve enjoyed using it. Blacephalon really focuses on perfect sequencing and rewards optimal deck-thinning to put yourself in great spots where you’re basically guaranteed to not miss KOs, on top of trading extremely favorably against the big TAG TEAMs and VMAXs.


This is the list that I’ve been utilizing to a good degree of success, both as a deck to grind events but also for ladder:

Pokémon (14)

4 Jirachi TEU

3 Blacephalon UNB

1 Blacephalon-GX

1 Cramorant V

1 Dedenne-GX

1 Mew UNB

1 Mewtwo UNB

1 Oricorio-GX

1 Zacian V

Trainer (33)

4 Welder


4 Fiery Flint

4 Fire Crystal

4 Quick Ball

4 Scoop Up Net

4 Switch

2 Energy Retrieval

1 Adventure Bag

1 Great Catcher

1 Ordinary Rod


1 Beast Bringer

1 Escape Board


1 Heat Factory p

1 Ultra Space

Energy (13)

13 R


Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 14

* 4 Jirachi TEU 99
* 3 Blacephalon UNB 32
* 1 Blacephalon-GX LOT 52
* 1 Cramorant V SSH 155
* 1 Dedenne-GX UNB 57
* 1 Mew UNB 76
* 1 Mewtwo UNB 75
* 1 Oricorio-GX CEC 217
* 1 Zacian V PR-SW 18

##Trainer Cards - 33

* 1 Heat Factory p LOT 178
* 1 Great Catcher CEC 264
* 4 Fiery Flint DRM 60
* 1 Ordinary Rod SSH 171
* 4 Welder UNB 189
* 4 Quick Ball SSH 179
* 1 Beast Bringer UNB 164
* 1 Escape Board UPR 122
* 4 Fire Crystal UNB 173
* 4 Scoop Up Net RCL 165
* 1 Ultra Space FLI 115
* 2 Energy Retrieval SUM 116
* 1 Adventure Bag LOT 167
* 4 Switch SSH 183

##Energy - 13

* 13 R Energy SMEnergy 11

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=81643 ******

It’s honestly fairly standard compared to what Baby Blacephalon has looked like for the past few months. There’s no spice in there as it’s all about getting those KOs as quickly as you can with Fireball Circus.

1 Beast Bringer, 1 Adventure Bag

The biggest card that I was a little hesitant on was the Beast Bringer. For the longest time I figured that it wasn’t necessary and was still winning games without it. I originally had a Galarian Zigzagoon SSH and a 4th Blacephalon UNB over Beast Bringer and the Adventure Bag. However, PikaRom has been the biggest deck I’ve been running into on the ladder and at the events. The speed it has can sometimes be overwhelming to this deck if you don’t get to stabilize quickly enough or if they combine a Jirachi KO with a Marnie. Being able to save yourself a turn to finish the game can be game-changing thanks to the Beast Bringer, as then all you need to do is finish off a Dedenne-GX with Cramorant V’s Spit Shot for game.

1 Mew UNB

The overall speed and aggressiveness of PikaRom is what prompted the inclusion of Mew into the deck, as the 6-Energy Tag Bolt feels easier to pull off than ever before. Initially I didn’t think PikaRom would get that much of a boost from Boltund V and Speed L Energy, but the results and my experience with the deck certainly show that they were enough to put PikaRom back on the map as arguably one of the best decks, if not the best deck, in the UPR–RCL format.

Dragapult VMAX

The other deck I enjoy grinding the ladder with is, as I mentioned, Dragapult VMAX. Since it came out I’ve always been a big fan of the skill that comes with placing the damage counters from Max Phantom correctly and how it rewards strategic thinking and figuring out the correct placement as your win condition evolves.

Once again, due to the newfound power of PikaRom, Shrine of Punishment wasn’t being enough to deal with the deck and thus Power Plant has become a staple since Q4 took place and Michael Catron placed Top 4 with the following list: https://limitlesstcg.com/decks/?list=4317

Including Power Plant is a natural adaptation to help slow down PikaRom’s explosiveness and delay their initial attacks. It also can be combined with Reset Stamp late in the game which can prove deadly to them.


This is what my current list looks like that I’ve been having a lot of success with when grinding the ladder and events:

Pokémon (15)

3 Dragapult V

3 Dragapult VMAX

4 Jirachi TEU

1 Dedenne-GX

1 Eldegoss V

1 Galarian Zigzagoon SSH

1 Giratina UNM

1 Mew UNB

Trainer (37)

4 Marnie

4 Professor’s Research

2 Boss’s Orders


4 Crushing Hammer

4 Mysterious Treasure

4 Quick Ball

4 Scoop Up Net

4 Switch

2 Energy Spinner

2 Reset Stamp


1 Escape Board


2 Power Plant

Energy (8)

5 P

3 Horror P


Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 15

* 3 Dragapult V RCL 92
* 3 Dragapult VMAX RCL 93
* 4 Jirachi TEU 99
* 1 Dedenne-GX UNB 57
* 1 Eldegoss V RCL 19
* 1 Galarian Zigzagoon SSH 117
* 1 Giratina UNM 86
* 1 Mew UNB 76

##Trainer Cards - 37

* 4 Mysterious Treasure FLI 113
* 4 Crushing Hammer
* 4 Marnie SSH 169
* 2 Energy Spinner UNB 170
* 2 Boss’s Orders RCL 154
* 2 Reset Stamp UNM 206
* 4 Quick Ball SSH 179
* 1 Escape Board UPR 122
* 4 Scoop Up Net RCL 165
* 2 Power Plant UNB 183
* 4 Professor’s Research SSH 178
* 4 Switch SSH 183

##Energy - 8

* 5 P Energy SMEnergy 14
* 3 Horror P Energy RCL 172

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=81643 ******

1 Mew UNB, 2 Power Plant

Mew + Power Plant is the best combination I’ve found to help shore up the PikaRom matchup, and trust me, I’ve tried a lot of different combinations, including having Wobbuffet LOT in here too. You can’t overdo it with the teching though, as the deck is already not as consistent as one would like. If you fail to get the turn one attachment on a Dragapult V, especially going first, it’s usually going to be pretty difficult to recover, even with 4 Crushing Hammers.

Most of the time PikaRom’s win condition against you ends up being Tag Bolt for 6 Prizes and there’s not a lot you can do about it other than Mew since the deck plays no healing cards. This has brought me back to the Green’s version of Dragapult that I initially started testing before Rebel Clash was released. I still don’t think it’s good enough with the popularity of 4 Marnie in every deck, as that usually ends up setting you back quite a bit, but I’m very sure that some form of consistent healing would shore up the PikaRom and mirror matchups. Unfortunately, Mallow & Lana taking up the Supporter for the turn is usually too detrimental for this deck in its continued search for Energy and other resources.

The Goggles Effect

Unfortunately for Dragapult VMAX, not only does it struggle overall against the Zacian V/Combo decks that showed up in full force in the Qualifier 4 and took down the whole event (check out the winning list here), the inclusion of Metal Goggles prevents you from placing damage counters on Zacian V to help set up KOs, which turns your 2HKO into a 3HKO, which is not great versus a 2-Prize Pokémon.

To top that off, the card is currently bugged on PTCGO to where not even Horror P Energy can place damage counters on Zacian V despite them attacking into it. The card reads that it prevents damage counter placement from attacks and Abilities. However, it’s currently programmed to prevent all damage counters, including from Energy. That means that you will lose games based purely on this broken interaction, and I’ve seen it affect tournament matches with prizes on the line unfortunately.

But alas, this is not under our control and until we are back to real life events, we can’t be sure when or if it will be fixed.

Aside on PTCGO


You’d expect TPCi to finally take a closer look into improving PTCGO, especially with so much uncertainty surrounding the future on, well, everything. Many people have been very vocal against what TPCi has done so far, but I think it’s important to realize that we are all improvising as we go, including them, and that even though the Players Cup is not perfect, it shows that they want to do something. Given proper feedback and openness to improve, if for whatever reason part of next season is played on PTCGO, I’m hopeful they will strive to improve it. If the Players Cup ends up being just a placeholder for the next season, well, at least we got something, you know?

Limitless Invitational Meta Musings

Anyway, the metagame right now seems pretty Mill-free as it did not do too well in the Qualifier 4, so I’m actually expecting players to give the Cinccino Control-style decks another try at the Limitless Invitational coming up. With only 16 players, and all of them able to check the history of decks that the other players played at the previous events, it’ll be pretty interesting to see what they end up using. This Invitational feels like a super concentrated League Cup. For example, you know your chances of facing Shintaro Ito are pretty high, and he has been focusing on a particular style for all the Qualifiers. This means there is merit to teching specifically for Shintaro knowing you’ll possibly have to go through him in order to win the whole thing.

This is something that I’ve personally done in the past for League Cups in Mexico. Some of my biggest rivals are also extremely predictable in their deck choices, as they stick to one deck for long periods of time. Before everything was canceled, I knew that in order to win any given event I’d have to go through a PikaRom player, a TinaChomp player, and a Malamar player.

This led me to play GardEon to cruise to a win, since I played 4 Power Plants, 2 Fairy Charm N, 2 Fairy Charm L, Xerneas-GX as my non-GardEon Pokémon, and 4 Great Potions. This gave me direct techs against these three players, and the final of the Cup lasted no more than five minutes. In both games on turn one I was able to Green’s for the Charms and attach them, and my opponent promptly scooped.

I definitely wouldn’t be surprised to see decks specifically tailored for some players in the event, or harder techs than you would use in a 20-round Best-of-1 format, where all you want is to not dead-draw as much as possible.


And with that I will conclude my article for today. Thanks so much for your continued support and for reading up until this point. I hope you’ve found this article useful and entertaining and, as usual, feel free to leave any questions here or contact me directly on my Tablemon social media channels. Thank you so much, stay safe, and until next time!

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