Did Somebody Say Cradily?

Players Cup Positivity and a Cluster of Cool Concepts, Including Zacian/Galarian Perrserker, Cryogonal/Absol, Cryogonal/Cradily, Archeops, and Meganium Box

Hello again readers, I’m back with another article for you today. Leading up to writing this, I was holding out hope that we would receive an official Darkness Ablaze set list so I could talk about the new cards and maybe come up with some initial lists. Yes, we know most of the cards, but there will be a number of Pokémon V and VMAX excluded from the set, and I want to know all of the cards involved before exploring a new set. Instead, I’ll be sharing a lot of the concepts that I’ve built that I’ve had sitting in my PTCGO account for a while.

The Wall is well.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to play around with other decks very much since last time, because of the Players Cup and the importance of not wasting tickets. I’ve been grinding events with the exact Zacian/LucaMetal list I talked about last time, and it’s been going very well. The lists that I’ll be sharing today aren’t necessarily untested, but they haven’t seen the extreme levels of scrutiny that I would apply to a deck I would be sleeving up for a Regional or higher.

As for the Players Cup, on the day that I’m writing this, there was an announcement that they would be “fixing” the leaderboard issues, and I hope to see my correct Tournament Rep when I wake up tomorrow. Without a change and counting players who are unable to qualify, I’m currently sitting at 130 Rep, at around 70th place in NA. At the current moment, 256th is at 49 Rep, which leads me to believe that I will safely qualify. However, if things do get close, I can do nothing about it because I’ve burnt through every single Tournament Ticket on my account.

On the Players Cup as a whole, first and second impressions left a whole lot to be desired. However, it seems that with today’s announcement, the biggest issue that existed, which was the leaderboards, has been remedied. Yes, it started out very rough, but things have started to smooth over and look much better. I can understand being annoyed about this issue, but at this point, anything more than a passing annoyance feels like an overreaction.

The numbers have been crunched, and it looks doable to qualify by farming exclusively in June.

The second biggest issue is the number of tournament tickets required to qualify. To be frank, anyone complaining about tickets at this point just wants to be unreasonable. Zak Turchansky posted the math on how many tickets a person could expect to farm before the end of the Players Cup, and came up with around 171 tickets, AKA 21 tournaments. That translates to a potential of 168 Tournament Rep. That’s barely less than what I’ll end up with after starting with 240 tickets and being incredibly lazy and not farming the free tickets. If the final number ends up being less than 168 in North America, then no player should have any feelings of resentment because they started with no tickets.

My opinions are only based on the NA region, but they apply even more strongly to the other regions. The Oceania region is incredibly easy to qualify in, and LATAM is slightly harder. Europe is harder than the other two, but does fall short of North America. Literally any player with a PTCGO account in that region has the opportunity to qualify, and thus has no basis to complain about it if they do not.

Sorry, y’all.

However, there are still multiple other reasons to be discontent with the system, but the two “big” ones have been pretty much invalidated at this point. There’s still people who will be unable to even participate because of email issues, and obviously the underage player problem. The only group of players that I feel has the absolute right to be upset are those from the Asian countries that were formerly classified as being within the Oceania region. The last-minute announcement that they would be unable to play must really sting, and I do feel bad for them.

I’ve talked about this long enough, but I feel like most of that was worth saying. Time for us to get into the decks that I’ve messed around with on PTCGO.

Zacian/Galarian Perrserker

Pokémon (19)

4 Galarian Meowth RCL

4 Galarian Perrserker SSH

3 Jirachi TEU

3 Zacian V

1 Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX

1 Dedenne-GX

1 Eldegoss V

1 Lucario & Melmetal-GX

1 Oranguru SSH

Trainer (30)

4 Professor’s Research

3 Marnie

2 Boss’s Orders


4 Metal Saucer

4 Quick Ball

4 Switch

2 Friend Ball

1 Great Catcher

1 Tool Scrapper


2 Escape Board

2 Metal Goggles


1 Chaotic Swell

Energy (11)

11 M


Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 19

* 4 Galarian Meowth RCL 126
* 4 Galarian Perrserker SSH 128
* 3 Jirachi TEU 99
* 3 Zacian V SSH 195
* 1 Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX CEC 156
* 1 Dedenne-GX UNB 57
* 1 Eldegoss V RCL 176
* 1 Lucario & Melmetal-GX UNB 120
* 1 Oranguru SSH 148

##Trainer Cards - 30

* 4 Quick Ball SSH 179
* 2 Friend Ball CES 131
* 2 Escape Board UPR 167
* 2 Boss’s Orders RCL 200
* 4 Switch
* 4 Professor’s Research SSH 178
* 4 Metal Saucer SSH 170
* 3 Marnie SSH 169
* 1 Tool Scrapper
* 2 Metal Goggles TEU 148
* 1 Great Catcher CEC 192
* 1 Chaotic Swell CEC 187

##Energy - 11

* 11 M Energy BLWEnergy 112

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=81799 ******

At first glance this deck seems really weird. However, it’s probably the most “meta” deck that I’ll be talking about today. The theory here is that I can 1HKO literally any Pokémon in the game with Zacian V. The deck caps at 340 damage, but in reality you’re probably not ever going to need to hit that. 320 is much more realistic and is conveniently enough to 1HKO Dragapult VMAX. The thing I really like about this deck is that you can play it in so many different ways. I think that it has favorable matchups against every other Zacian variant, but completely sacks the Blacephalon matchup.

I haven’t been able to test this nearly as much as I would like, but in the games I’ve played, it’s felt like a slightly less consistent Zacian/LucaMetal with more polarized matchups. As I’m currently stuck playing Best of 1, consistency is king, and this deck was shelved until now. I think that this one might actually be viable for the second phase of the Players Cup. ADP is in this deck solely for the damage boost that it provides.

General Strategies

I’m trying something a bit different here, and rather than going through each matchup individually, I’ll talk about the lines of play that this deck has and against which matchups they are optimal. This deck can play very similarly to Zacian/LucaMetal, but has the extra damage options that come with Galarian Perrserker SSH.

  1. The first and most common way you’ll want to play the deck is by simply setting up 1 or 2 Galarian Perrserker in order to claim 1HKOs rather than 2HKOs. This mainly comes into play against PikaRom, where normal Zacian decks fall 30–50 damage short of 1HKOs. This method doesn’t necessarily require you to play either GX attack, but both are usable and fully functional.
  2. The next line of play you’ll want to follow is mainly used against Zacian decks and will require you to use Full Metal Wall-GX immediately. The reasoning behind this is because you’re going to be tanking other Zacian hits rather than spamming 1HKOs back and forth. Galarian Perrserker allows you to break through the damage reduction effects that your opponent might have. On occasion, you’re going to want to Altered Creation-GX against the LucaMetal matchup, but that depends on whether or not you think you’re going to be able to set up a high number of Perrserker.
  3. The third and final line of play is pretty much reserved for VMAX decks, which are mostly mostly Dragapult VMAX, with the occasional Cinderace and with the exception of Rillaboom. You’ll want to use Altered Creation-GX on your first attacking turn. Your goal will be to 1HKO their VMAXs rather than to trade 2HKOs. You need 3 Perrserker and the GX attack in order to do this, but searching out the Perrserkers is rather easy because of Meowth’s Ability. It’s harder to find the Basics, which is why there are 6 Ball cards in this list.

The Cryogonal Crew

Brrr. Bundle up for these.


Pokémon (16)

4 Absol TEU

4 Cryogonal UNM

4 Jirachi TEU

1 Aipom SM244

1 Mawile-GX

1 Mewtwo UNB

1 Mimikyu CEC 97

Trainer (37)

4 Cynthia & Caitlin

3 Koga’s Trap

2 Boss’s Orders

1 Faba

1 Grimsley

1 Guzma & Hala

1 Lusamine


4 Crushing Hammer

4 Quick Ball

4 Scoop Up Net

3 Dangerous Drill

3 Switch

2 Reset Stamp

1 Capacious Bucket


1 Escape Board


2 Galar Mine

Energy (7)

7 W


Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 16

* 4 Absol TEU 88
* 4 Cryogonal UNM 46
* 4 Jirachi TEU 99
* 1 Aipom PR-SM 244
* 1 Mawile-GX UNM 227
* 1 Mewtwo UNB 75
* 1 Mimikyu CEC 97

##Trainer Cards - 37

* 4 Crushing Hammer SUM 115
* 3 Koga’s Trap UNB 177
* 1 Grimsley UNM 234
* 4 Cynthia & Caitlin CEC 189
* 4 Quick Ball SSH 179
* 2 Galar Mine RCL 160
* 1 Lusamine CIN 110
* 4 Scoop Up Net RCL 165
* 2 Boss’s Orders RCL 200
* 1 Capacious Bucket RCL 156
* 3 Dangerous Drill TEU 138
* 1 Faba LOT 208
* 1 Guzma & Hala CEC 193
* 3 Switch SUM 160
* 1 Escape Board UPR 167
* 2 Reset Stamp UNM 206

##Energy - 7

* 7 W Energy HS 117

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=81799 ******


Pokémon (18)

3 Lileep CEC

3 Cradily CEC

4 Cryogonal UNM

4 Jirachi TEU

2 Tapu Lele SM152

1 Magearna UPR

1 Mawile-GX

Trainer (35)

3 Cynthia

3 Cynthia & Caitlin

2 Boss’s Orders

2 Grimsley

2 Lusamine

1 Brock’s Grit

1 Koga’s Trap


4 Pokémon Communication

4 Quick Ball

4 Switch

1 Adventure Bag


2 Escape Board

1 Fairy Charm Ability

1 Fairy Charm L


4 Pokémon Research Lab

Energy (7)

4 W

3 Unit Energy GRW


Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 18

* 3 Lileep CEC 10
* 3 Cradily CEC 11
* 4 Cryogonal UNM 46
* 4 Jirachi TEU 99
* 2 Tapu Lele PR-SM 152
* 1 Magearna UPR 91
* 1 Mawile-GX UNM 227

##Trainer Cards - 35

* 4 Pokémon Research Lab UNM 205
* 1 Fairy Charm L UNB 172
* 1 Fairy Charm Ability UNB 171
* 4 Quick Ball SSH 179
* 4 Pokémon Communication
* 1 Adventure Bag LOT 167
* 2 Escape Board UPR 167
* 2 Boss’s Orders RCL 200
* 4 Switch
* 1 Koga’s Trap UNB 177
* 3 Cynthia UPR 148
* 3 Cynthia & Caitlin CEC 189
* 2 Lusamine CIN 110
* 2 Grimsley UNM 199
* 1 Brock’s Grit TEU 135

##Energy - 7

* 4 W Energy HS 117
* 3 Unit Energy GRW UPR 137

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=81799 ******

Both of these Cryogonal decks definitely stemmed from my obsession with Cryogonal. Their strategy is pretty much the same, except one focuses on Energy denial and locking something Active while Item locking them, and the other utilizes Cradily in order to lock something Active. I personally think the Cradily version is better, but I included the other for the sake of transparency and to demonstrate my mindset when building decks like this. The biggest draw of the first list is that it’s a lot less combo oriented and has less moving pieces. Less things can go wrong in the setup phase, but the lock is less efficient and more breakable. I think both lists are viable, but I favor the more complex version.

The general strategy of both decks is to gust up a Pokémon that is unable to attack and lock it in the Active while using Cryogonal to Item lock them. Using Grimsley, we ensure that the Active Pokémon doesn’t get KO’d before we want it to. The Energy denial list is much more likely to win via Prize cards, while the Cradily list is more likely to win via deckout. Both decks are able to win using both win conditions though. Koga’s Trap speeds up the process quite nicely and allows you to KO the Active Pokémon into your turn.

Now, I’m going to talk about only the Cradily list, because I think it is by far superior and incorporates so many cool cards. The general strategy is to use Pokémon Research Lab to search out 2 Lileep on your first turn, either wait for your opponent to bench a dead Pokémon or use Mawile-GX to force them too, and then use Tapu Lele SM152’s Ability to confuse their Active Pokémon with Cradily in play while Item locking them. Once you get the lock, literally the only way to break it is through Mallow & Lana. Even if you are unable to get a dead Pokémon in the Active, Confusion with Item lock in play is very strong.

I’ve been debating playing a 2-2 Garbodor RCL line rather than the Tapu Lele, but Poison is a lot more annoying than Confusion because of the extra damage. I initially wanted to play Mareep LOT 75, but then realized that Sleep isn’t permanent, and you cannot normally retreat while Asleep anyway. Tapu Lele is the best way to get a Special Condition in play.


Pokémon (14)

4 Archen UNM

4 Archeops UNM

1 Aerodactyl-GX

4 Jirachi TEU

1 Diancie p

Trainer (38)

4 Cynthia

3 Marnie

1 Boss’s Orders


4 Crushing Hammer

4 Lillie’s Poké Doll

4 Quick Ball

4 Unidentified Fossil

3 Switch

2 Ordinary Rod

1 Great Catcher


2 Escape Board


4 Pokémon Research Lab

2 Martial Arts Dojo

Energy (8)

8 F


Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 14

* 4 Archen UNM 120
* 4 Archeops UNM 121
* 1 Aerodactyl-GX UNM 244
* 4 Jirachi TEU 99
* 1 Diancie p FLI 74

##Trainer Cards - 38

* 4 Pokémon Research Lab UNM 205
* 2 Martial Arts Dojo UNB 179
* 4 Lillie’s Poké Doll CEC 197
* 2 Ordinary Rod SSH 215
* 4 Quick Ball SSH 179
* 2 Escape Board UPR 167
* 3 Switch
* 4 Cynthia UPR 119
* 1 Boss’s Orders RCL 200
* 1 Great Catcher CEC 192
* 4 Crushing Hammer SUM 115
* 4 Unidentified Fossil UPR 134
* 3 Marnie SSH 169

##Energy - 8

* 8 F Energy GEN 80

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=81799 ******

Yup, another Fossil deck. This one isn’t a lock deck, but Energy denial is what makes it good. The theory here is that you’re either getting KOs or you’re preventing your opponent from attacking by discarding all of their Energies. You have a really high chance of starting Jirachi, and I’ve considered dropping Diancie p in order to make it so I always start Jirachi. Obviously, this deck should have a pretty decent PikaRom matchup, but the decks like Blacephalon UNB are really tough to beat.

One thing about this deck that I really like is that there are a lot of ways to play around your opponent’s plans. Dragapult has a very limited number of Energies, and between Crushing Hammers and Hyper Beam you should be able discard enough of their Energies before they win. This matchup is definitely the closest one you’ll have that is still entirely winnable. The other reason this deck is so solid is because of its ability to deal decent damage and switch into a Lillie’s Poké Doll. You also have a sort of trump card in Aerodactyl-GX.

This deck is something that I definitely want to put more time into, but haven’t gotten to yet because messing with rogue decks isn’t something you do while trying to consistently win games in order to qualify for the Players Cup. I’ve toyed with the idea of Team Yell Grunts in order to buy more turns against Dragapult, but haven’t tested enough to know if they’re necessary.

Meganium Box

Pokémon (26)

4 Nidoran + TEU

4 Nidoqueen TEU

4 Chikorita LOT 6

3 Meganium LOT

4 Mudkip CES 33

3 Swampert CES

2 Litten UNB 27

1 Incineroar UNB

1 Incineroar-GX TEU

Trainer (29)

4 Cynthia

4 Cynthia & Caitlin

1 Boss’s Orders

1 Brock’s Grit


4 Order Pad

4 Rare Candy

3 Great Ball

3 Pokémon Communication

3 Quick Ball

2 Switch

Energy (5)

4 Triple Acceleration

1 Super Boost p


Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 26

* 4 Nidoran + TEU 54
* 4 Nidoqueen TEU 56
* 4 Chikorita LOT 6
* 3 Meganium LOT 8
* 4 Mudkip CES 33
* 3 Swampert CES 35
* 2 Litten UNB 27
* 1 Incineroar UNB 29
* 1 Incineroar-GX TEU 167

##Trainer Cards - 29

* 4 Order Pad UPR 131
* 2 Switch
* 3 Great Ball SUM 119
* 3 Quick Ball SSH 179
* 4 Cynthia & Caitlin CEC 189
* 1 Boss’s Orders RCL 200
* 4 Cynthia UPR 148
* 4 Rare Candy
* 3 Pokémon Communication
* 1 Brock’s Grit TEU 135

##Energy - 5

* 4 Triple Acceleration Energy UNB 190
* 1 Super Boost Energy p UPR 136

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=81799 ******

This is my final deck for the day. If you couldn’t tell, I like Stage 2s. Wes Hollenberg is the one who got me interested in this deck again, but his list involved Jirachi TEU and Scoop Up Net. I determined that I would rather play Order Pad because it has a nice even 50/50 of giving me what I want. Jirachi is a pretty big hindrance to your damage output, and I got screwed over by it too many times. If I’m going to lose, I would rather lose to a coin flip than to not being able to do damage even after I set up.

This list is pretty wild when it comes to the Pokémon lines. This list struggles a bit with Blacephalon, but as long as they bench a 2-Prize Pokémon, you should be able to win the game. The 2-0-1-1 Incineroar line is incredibly cool for a few reasons. Against Dragapult, if you manage to set up both Incineroars, you basically cannot lose. Even if you only manage to get the GX, the game is pretty easy.

Basically, this deck beats almost everything if it sets up, but setting up can be difficult. It’s definitely not the most consistent deck ever, but it’s really fun and very capable of winning games against most of the format.

Final Thoughts

I was getting really bored of talking about meta decks, and these are all decks that have the potential to stand up to the meta. I’m really excited to play in the Players Cup in July, assuming I’m able to qualify, and can’t wait to see what kind of content is created during the lead up. I watched the VGC invitational, and got myself excited to play in a real competition again. I was initially going to put forth minimal effort in order to qualify and then compete, but now I’m treating it like it’s any other major event.

Overall, I’ve been doing alright with handling everything go on around me recently, and based on the recent topics on Twitter recently, I really hope the community can grow while we’re all taking a break from the game. Believe it or not, it still doesn’t cost anything to be nice and accepting toward other people.

Stay safe everyone and try to find happiness and enjoyment where you can. As always, my PMs are always open if you have any questions or anything else you want to talk about.

Until the next one.

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