Steady at the Ready

ADPZ onto Week 2 of the Players Cup, Why I Switched Decks, On the Seeding + No Shows, and ¿Hablas Español?
ADP/Doggo (with tweaks) is still running strong.

Hello 6P! I’m back with another article for you, right after we have finally kicked off bracket play for the Players Cup! Even though you’ve seen me at many events in North America, I’m playing in the LATAM division of the tournament.

During June there was a lot of panic about whether people would be able to qualify July and ticket usage and whatnot. For LATAM, the base amount of points needed to qualify was around 25, so not very high at all. I got all the way up to 105 points and rank 50, and I was content to simply qualify. But as we played yesterday, everyone realized that how many points you had actually did matter as this was the basis for seeding in the tournament (i.e., higher rank = higher seeding). With so many No Shows (mostly from players with lower seeding), I don’t understand how this was not communicated to us earlier. With over 300 tickets to spare, I definitely would’ve grinded for 1st seed in LATAM had I known about the seeding and how No Shows would work. I heard of a few people who made Week 2 without having played a single game, so to not let us know beforehand how seeding would work was a big oversight from TPCi.

I was very undecided in the days leading up to the decklist submission as to what to play. Last time I wrote about Dragapult VMAX and Baby Blacephalon as my top choices, and that held up until Thursday, 24 hours prior to the decklist submission deadline. In the end, Dragapult VMAX was the deck that netted me the most points to qualify and I felt really comfortable with it, but the popularity of PikaRom was making me have doubts and thus I was leaning more toward Baby Blacephalon. However, in the coaching sessions that I give, one of my students had been playing ADPZ nonstop, and after getting crushed by him for over an hour straight, I decided to continue to fine-tune the deck and make it as consistent as possible in terms of maximizing the chances that you pull off the turn one Altered Creation-GX+ when going second.

My Players Cup Decklist

We had taken inspiration from my fellow Mexican player Oliver Rochin Montijo and his Limitless Invitational Top 4 deck. As you can see, though, that list included a bunch of techy cards such as Tool Scrapper, Metal Frying Pan, Chaotic Swell, and Mallow & Lana, none of which really help in any way in terms of getting the GX attack off on turn one. I decided to cut all the fluff and max out on counts of cards that I deemed were crucial when going for the combo, and this is the list I ended up with:

Pokémon (10)

3 Zacian V

2 Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX

2 Dedenne-GX

1 Eldegoss V

1 Oranguru SSH

1 Zamazenta V

Trainer (40)

4 Professor’s Research

2 Boss’s Orders

2 Marnie


4 Acro Bike

4 Energy Switch

4 Metal Saucer

4 Order Pad

4 Quick Ball

3 Energy Spinner

2 Cherish Ball

2 Great Catcher

2 Switch


3 Air Balloon

Energy (10)

8 M

2 W


Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 10

* 3 Zacian V PR-SW 18
* 2 Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX CEC 156
* 2 Dedenne-GX UNB 57
* 1 Eldegoss V RCL 19
* 1 Oranguru SSH 148
* 1 Zamazenta V PR-SW 19

##Trainer Cards - 40

* 2 Cherish Ball UNM 191
* 4 Metal Saucer SSH 170
* 3 Energy Spinner UNB 170
* 2 Boss’s Orders RCL 154
* 4 Energy Switch CES 129
* 4 Quick Ball SSH 179
* 3 Air Balloon SSH 156
* 4 Professor’s Research SSH 178
* 2 Great Catcher CEC 192
* 2 Marnie SSH 169
* 4 Acro Bike CES 123
* 2 Switch SSH 183
* 4 Order Pad UPR 131

##Energy - 10

* 2 W Energy SWSHEnergy 3
* 8 M Energy SWSHEnergy 8

Total Cards - 60

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

Maxing out on the Acro Bikes and Energy Switch started to make a world of difference in the success rate I was having achieving the turn one Altered Creation, along with the extra Air Balloon and Energy Spinner. More importantly, despite having Order Pad in the deck for that extra chance at pulling the turn one attack off, I was relying less on Order Pad, which I loved! Less reliance on coin flips is always something that you want to strive for when it comes to deckbuilding.

After playing a bunch on the ladder, and doing over 50 games of solitaire hands in real life to figure out how consistently I was pulling off the turn one Altered Creation, I ended up with close to a 65–70% ratio, which is pretty good! That’s essentially pulling it off on turn one in 2 out of 3 games, which is coincidentally the format that the Players Cup has, Best of 3. You really can’t ask for much more from a deck other than having it do the same thing over and over and executing the expected strategy.

The final addition to the deck was the 2nd Great Catcher and I can’t begin to describe how immense it is. Being able to dig for a gust effect to take 3 Prizes on a Benched Dedenne-GX is a huge win condition, no matter what stage of the game you’re at. That 2nd copy has won me plenty of games by allowing me to play a Supporter alongside it and find the missing Energy, Metal Saucer, or any piece really.

Possible Techs (for Versus Ladder)

There were a handful of techs I did consider adding to the deck over the 3rd Air Balloon. Ultimately I went for consistency because I have no idea what I’ll be up against, and playing a tech card against something that I will not necessarily be paired up against weighed on my mind more. If you were to play this list on the Versus Ladder, which shows trends sometimes, consider the following:

Hoopa UNM

A great overall 1-Energy attacker. Buffed by Altered Creation, it can pack quite a punch, and combined with Zamazenta V, it can make Dragapult VMAX a fairly easy matchup. It is also decently useful against Baby Blacephalon and Spiritomb decks.

Tapu Fini UNM

A direct, cost-effective counter to Baby Blacephalon. Ultimately though, your hope against them is that they don’t KO your ADP right after you Altered Creation. If they don’t, then you can easily win the matchup by taking 2 Prizes off of Ultimate Ray and powering up a Zacian. Zacian then follows up (because your ADP was probably KO’d) to put you at 2 Prizes. Baby Blowns will KO your Zacian and be down to 1 Prize, but as long as you are able to power up a last attacker you should win. Whether you have Tapu Fini in the equation or not doesn’t really change how the matchup works, and there’s definitely no room for double Tapu Fini techs (though I would consider them for a League Cup style tournament!).


More for the Ability than the attack, though the damage spread can be situationally useful. Preventing a Tag Bolt-GX snipe from PikaRom can be pretty huge, especially because you can never really prevent yourself from playing down Dedenne-GX in every game. It’s the lowest priority tech though as it doesn’t counter PikaRom by being a cost-effective attacker like the previous two techs, but rather it just stops a plan they go for sometimes. Also, with open decklists in the Players Cup and opponents taking note of the Mew, it’s much less likely that they will even try to go for the Tag Bolt-GX+ if they know you play it.

Chaotic Swell

A strong Stadium when you can only fit 1 Stadium, especially to prevent free reign of Thunder Mountain p, Heat Factory p, or the more recently popular Wondrous Labyrinth p. It’s a counter Stadium that acts a 2nd Stadium too, so it’s a cost-effective card, but it ultimately doesn’t help me, the ADPZ player, at all in pulling off what I want to do on turn one.

Why I Switched Decks

I’m not usually one to switch decks so suddenly, but the handful of viable decks played awkwardly way too often and I didn’t feel in love with any of them:

  • With Dragapult VMAX, if you miss the turn one Energy drop you’re very far behind.
  • With Baby Blacephalon, if you don’t solidify your board on turn one, you struggle to get that first KO before your deck is thin enough.
  • With PikaRom, prizing either Prism Star card (Thunder Mountain p or Tapu Koko p) is brutal and can swing a whole game.
  • In Spiritomb, not benching 2 or 3 of them on turn one means your damage output is woeful later on.
  • And finally, Combo Zacian can have super awkward starts sometimes and it relies quite a lot on the first Intrepid Sword attaching extra Energy.

Everything I tried kept on feeling very awkward at different stages of the game, but the fluidity of ADPZ after the fine tuning was what ended up convincing me (and two of my other Brave Birds teammates) to run it.

Match Recaps

As far as the tournament went, I started off the bracket versus a No Show, so I immediately advanced to 1-0. My next round I was paired up against a PikaRom and I was able to turn one Altered Creation-GX+ both games fairly easily. The games were over quite fast in both instances and I was happy to move on to 2-0. My Round 3 opponent was utilizing Dragapult VMAX and this was a trickier matchup to maneuver. However, Zamazenta V is a great tech against them and I was able to pull off another convincing 2-0 sweep.

At 3-0, and with the way double-elimination tournaments work, I was set for Top 64 and guaranteed to be playing next week on the Winners bracket end. I definitely enjoyed playing in this quick tournament and was very happy that variance was on my side. Hopefully I can keep it this way for the upcoming weekend.

Since this tournament is open decklists, I already know what my opponent will be: another Dragapult VMAX deck. Thankfully there is no Crushing Hammer or Super Scoop Up craziness in the list, so I’m confident Zamazenta can pull through for me in that one.

If you’d like to watch the games and sequencing necessary in order to achieve the turn one Altered Creation in each of the games, you can check out the video here:

The Meta

So that’s where we are at in terms of competitive Pokémon for now. From what I heard, the metagame had nothing out of the ordinary outside of the top five decks: a lot of PikaRom, Baby Blacephalon, Dragapult VMAX, Combo Zacian, and Spiritomb, with a splash of ADPZ and Obstagoon here and there. I’m sure my fellow writers will cover the NA Players Cup in full. I’m especially curious about Colin Moll’s Inteleon VMAX deck he managed to make Week 2 with, which can be seen here:

It seems like an incredibly annoying deck to play against if your name is not PikaRom.

On How the Event Was Run (¿Hablas Español?)

From an online tournament point of view, the overall double-elimination structure + three weekends of play felt awkward at first, and I’m fairly sure no one in the LATAM server bothered to read the whole rules and resources document, so chat was filled up with very silly questions that could be answered by taking a look at the document. You could even tell the judges were getting annoyed by the repetitiveness of the questions.

A big, big fail on their part though was the fact that they were only making Portuguese and English announcements in the LATAM Discord server:

FYI: The whole LATAM region speaks primarily Spanish, except for ONE country, Brazil. That common sense oversight really rubbed me the wrong way to me, given how Brazil is the big focus of the region. Yes, they have the biggest player base, and yes they are the biggest market. But to not have the decency to have announcements in all three languages and at least ONE Spanish native speaking judge in the server to help with issues was outrageous to me. If you played in the LATAM Players Cup this weekend, you were expected to at least be bilingual. That’s ridiculous and I’ve submitted the corresponding support ticket to TPCi.

I hope this is modified for next week. It really struck a nerve for me as I’m the exception who actually speaks all three languages, and the confusion of languages in the server was embarrassing for the team in charge of organizing. Toward the end they “fixed” this with terribly translated Spanish from Portuguese, where sentences were still confusing.


And so that will be all from me today! I just want to mention one last thing before finishing though. I am trying out a new concept called Pokémon Ultimate, where I will try to maintain a positive win rate in all aspects of competitive Pokémon—TCG, VGC, and Pokémon GO PVP—while playing ALL THREE at the same time. It’s as chaotic and difficult as it sounds, but Tablemon’s 5th anniversary is coming up on July 15th and I really want to do something special that day. I’m decently knowledgeable at all three, with TCG being my specialty, so I’m hoping it’ll be a cool challenge and entertaining to watch the chaos unfold live.

Anyway, that’s it from me, thanks so much for reading, and definitely reach out if you have any questions regarding anything from the article. Until next time!

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Reader Interactions

1 reply

  1. Ramon Raya


    ¿Dirías tu que una de las fortalezas más grandes es que el deck QUIERE ir segundo?

    E jugado algunos juegos con tu lista y siento que si te toca ir primero, el juego no está igual a tu favor. El setup es más rápido y explosivo hiendo segundo y siento que el deck explota eso como una fortaleza.

    La mayoría de las demás opciones siempre quieren ir primero, así que con este deck se siente como que nunca pierdes el volado.

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