It’s Hip to Be…

SQUARE Eternatus, Centiskorch VMAX, and Slumbering Mill for UPR–DAA

Hello 6P! Welcome back to another article of mine! The Players Cup has concluded and I… can’t say how I did! Because I signed an NDA with Pokémon and there’s a chance they stream my Week 3 games. You’ll just have to tune in to the stream on Friday (July 31) @ 3–5 PM PT on the official Pokémon Twitch channel to find out if I made it through to the finals or not in August!
Who doesn’t want to be crowned the “POG Champ”?

Speaking of August, we have the very exciting Darkness Ablaze set coming out in a couple of weeks, and also the Pokémon Online Global (POG) Championship happening right before rotation at the end of the month. This community-driven tournament is happening on the same weekend Worlds 2020 would’ve happened, with the format being UPR–DAA, rather than rotating to TEU–DAA right on that weekend. This is different from last year’s setup which saw rotation take place on the day of Worlds, which meant a completely new metagame.

The tournament will feature a Day 1 and Day 2 spread, just like Worlds, and I’ve been awarded a Day 2 invite given my 2020 season performance up to the point where it was canceled. Given how I was just out of Top 8 for LATAM for Day 2, with 2 ICs and 3 Regionals finishes still to add to my total, and plenty of SPEs lined up, I was fairly confident I would easily clinch a Top 8 LATAM spot by the end of the season, so I’m happy that with whatever criteria they used to invite players I ended up receiving an invite.

SQUARE Eternatus


With this tournament in mind, I’ve been testing a few decks from Darkness Ablaze that on paper look like they are incredibly strong. The first is the ever-so-obvious combo that Pokémon presents to us: Eternatus VMAX. I really like Eternatus because of the Turbo approach it can employ, by being able to fully abuse Crobat V’s Night Asset Ability which is just like Shaymin-EX ROS’s Set Up (except limited to once per turn), and Galarian Zigzagoon SSH in order to increase its damage output which is already very high at 270 total.

The Eternatus deck I’ve been working on also lends itself nicely to the concept I’ve been enjoying using lately of combining Capture Energy + Quick Ball. We all know how good Quick Ball is—it has been a 4-of in basically every competitive and winning deck since it was printed in February—and Capture Energy is sort of an extension for that. I especially like it in this deck because it helps you fill up your Bench and set up backup Eternatuses, though it’s not as great if you are forced to attach it to anything other than an Eternatus. However, there’s another concept that I’ve been working on with this combination in mind that I’ve been enjoying using lately due to the increase in consistency it gives to decks early on.

The list I currently have built is as follows, dubbed SQUARE Eternatus:


Pokémon (18)

4 Eternatus V

4 Eternatus VMAX

4 Crobat V

4 Galarian Zigzagoon SSH

1 Absol TEU

1 Hoopa UNM

Trainer (31)

4 Marnie

3 Boss’s Orders

3 Professor’s Research


4 Acro Bike

4 Quick Ball

4 Scoop Up Net

3 Pokémon Communication

2 Switch

1 Great Catcher


2 Air Balloon


1 Chaotic Swell

Energy (11)

8 D Energy

3 Capture Energy


Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 18

* 4 Eternatus V DAA 116
* 4 Eternatus VMAX DAA 117
* 4 Crobat V DAA 104
* 4 Galarian Zigzagoon SSH 117
* 1 Absol TEU 88
* 1 Hoopa UNM 140

##Trainer Cards - 31

* 4 Marnie SSH 169
* 3 Professor’s Research SSH 178
* 3 Boss’s Orders RCL 154
* 4 Acro Bike CES 123
* 4 Quick Ball SSH 179
* 4 Scoop Up Net RCL 165
* 3 Pokémon Communication TEU 152
* 2 Air Balloon SSH 156
* 2 Switch SSH 183
* 1 Great Catcher CEC 192
* 1 Chaotic Swell CEC 187

##Energy - 11

* 3 Capture Energy RCL 171
* 8 D Energy SWSHEnergy 7

Total Cards - 60

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

As you can see, the list contains no techs whatsoever other than maybe Hoopa UNM and Absol TEU, both of which have niche uses, especially against possible Decidueye DAA decks. However, they’re not very effective. Once I feel like the list is optimized, I’ll truly asses if I need any counters at all, as Decidueye doesn’t seem like a very strong deck overall to me anyway.

pokeguardian.comI dubbed this SQUARE Eternatus VMAX, as—just like my ADPZ for the Players Cup—I tried to streamline the deck to accomplish one thing. The same concept applies here where I just don’t want to ever not have an Eternatus VMAX ready on turn two. The deck is really good at accomplishing said task, and the Galarian Zigzagoons plus Scoop Up Nets can sometimes allow you to reach those 320–340-number thresholds that will now be the norm moving forward.

These huge HP numbers have also made me consider Vitality Band and Garbodor RCL in the deck, in order to further increase the damage potential. However, Garbodor would require too much space and a rework of the Stadiums, so I don’t think it’s worth it at the moment. Vitality Bands, however, could easily be fit into the deck by removing the Great Catcher (which is unsearchable, situational, and less good in a V-dominated format) and an Acro Bike or a Pokémon Communication.

Filling up your Bench with Dark types and using Eternatus VMAX’s Dread End attack is as straightforward as it gets. Missing an Energy drop is huge, which is why we have the very healthy 11 Energy + Acro Bikes + Crobat V to continue to dig into the deck to make sure we don’t whiff them.

We will end up losing resources along the way with Quick Ball discards and Professor Research, hence why playing extra copies of cards like Boss and Marnie are key. We probably won’t need as many copies during any given game, but it’s all about having them at the right time, and the extra copies help with that.

Reset Stamp is another big card I would love to fit, but I think the deck for now has to settle with only Marnie as Reset Stamp would be another unsearchable card, and therefore I wouldn’t be comfortable playing anything less than two.

Centiskorch VMAX


The other deck that I’ve been enjoying playing with is Centiskorch VMAX, one of the least “immediately attractive” Pokémon VMAX as its attack on paper doesn’t scream huge damage really quickly. However, the Energy recovery from the discard with G-Max Centiferno is actually key to the deck’s success. The huge HPs and 2HKO format that Darkness Ablaze will bring means being able to heal these huge behemoths of Pokémon could be pretty crucial, and thus combining Hyper Potions, Mallow & Lana, and the Energy recovery plays along really nicely.

This is the list that I have been working on, based on Japanese lists I’ve seen for the deck and tweaks of my own:


Pokémon (16)

4 Centiskorch V

4 Centiskorch VMAX

3 Jirachi TEU

2 Dedenne-GX

2 Volcanion UNB

1 Eldegoss V

Trainer (32)

4 Welder

2 Boss’s Orders

2 Marnie

2 Professor’s Research

1 Mallow & Lana


4 Quick Ball

4 Switch

3 Hyper Potion

3 Pokémon Communication


2 Big Charm

1 Escape Board


2 Giant Hearth

1 Heat Factory p

1 Wondrous Labyrinth p

Energy (12)

8 R Energy

4 Heat R Energy


Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 16

* 4 Centiskorch V DAA 33
* 4 Centiskorch VMAX DAA 34
* 3 Jirachi TEU 99
* 2 Dedenne-GX UNB 57
* 2 Volcanion UNB 25
* 1 Eldegoss V RCL 19

##Trainer Cards - 32

* 2 Boss’s Orders RCL 154
* 4 Welder UNB 189
* 1 Mallow & Lana CEC 198
* 2 Professor’s Research SSH 178
* 2 Marnie SSH 169
* 3 Hyper Potion SSH 166
* 4 Switch SSH 183
* 2 Giant Hearth UNM 197
* 1 Heat Factory p LOT 178
* 1 Wondrous Labyrinth p TEU 158
* 4 Quick Ball SSH 179
* 1 Escape Board UPR 122
* 3 Pokémon Communication TEU 152
* 2 Big Charm SSH 158

##Energy - 12

* 4 Heat R Energy DAA 174
* 8 R Energy SWSHEnergy 2

Total Cards - 60

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

This deck relies on healing off damage with Hyper Potions and using Welder to repower up after discarding the Energy, and it allows Centiskorch to absorb a full 270-damage hit from Eternatus VMAX’s Dread End and almost fully heal with with a double Hyper Potion or one plus Mallow & Lana, which is something I’ve pulled off.

It can in theory reach for 1HKOs by having 7 R Energy attached to a Centiskorch VMAX, 1 in the discard, and the base 40 damage, which would total 360 and be enough to 1HKO every single Pokémon VMAX out there, except opposing Centiskorch VMAXs which have a combination of Heat R Energy and Big Charm attached. The extra HP that Heat R Energy and Big Charm provide can also be useful in turning 2HKOs into 3HKOs with a single Hyper Potion heal.

If you’re always 2HKOing other VMAXs and you can force a 3HKO from the instead, you will end up winning the exchange and that is why I think this deck excels.

I will say, however, that the engine can be a bit unreliable at times. Jirachi is less explosive without Scoop Up Net, and even though the deck doesn’t rely on Welder every turn to get going quickly like previous Fire Box builds, it does sometimes require it at the right time in combination with the healing in order to keep up.

One important thing to note is Centiskorch V’s first attack, Burning Emissions, which allows you to discard an Energy from it and one from the opponent’s Active Pokémon. This is a great way to delay an opponent’s attack in decks that don’t have much or any Energy acceleration, such as Eternatus VMAX or Vikavolt V decks which should prove to be quite popular as well.

Slumbering Mill

Eternatus VMAX and Centiskorch VMAX are the biggest standout cards in my opinion, followed by Vikavolt V and its Paralyzing Bolt attack which does 50 damage and prevents your opponent from playing Item cards during their next turn. It’s very similar to the old Seismitoad-EX’s Quaking Punch which proved to be dominant for a long time. It’ll be interesting to see if Vikavolt V has that same effect. And given the results and lists I have seen from Japan, I think Vikavolt V decks will be a serious threat in the metagame, especially when paired with Mareep LOT 75’s Fluffy Pillow Ability.

Now, going back to what I mentioned earlier about the combination of Capture Energy + Quick Ball in the same deck, the other successful concept that this can be applied to is Mill decks. These decks need the first few turns to stabilize and get a steady stream of resources into their hand to begin their disrupting game plan. This is usually accomplished by an early Zacian V and setup of multiple Basics, either Minccinos or Slugmas. Before Capture Energy, there was a strain on these decks in order to find their Basics early enough. That pressure, and the release of Dragapult VMAX and its attack Max Phantom placing damage counters to the Bench, meant that the Cinccino Mill-based decks that dominated before Rebel Clash had to take a back seat.

However, now that Eternatus VMAX comes into the fray and Dragapult VMAX’s measly 130 damage output is not up to par to compete, these decks are well poised to make a comeback. The Item lock threat in Vikavolt V probably puts a damper on their plans again, but that seems a lot more manageable than Dragapult VMAX’s pressure ever was.

Magcargo with Fluffy Pillow Mareep has been my go-to deck for Mill decks in this new format, and I think it’s very strong with being able to fetch any card you want at any time, thanks to Magcargo’s Smooth Over + Oranguru’s Primate Wisdom.

I can tell that the early consistency boost is there thanks to the Capture Energy, and they also provide Energy to pivot your Mareeps so you don’t have to rely on Air Balloon all the time. Having access to Magcargo-GX is also convenient and plays very well into the milling aspect of the deck.

Here is my current list for the deck:


Pokémon (18)

3 Slugma CES

2 Magcargo CES

1 Magcargo-GX

3 Mareep LOT 75

3 Zacian V

2 Oranguru SSH

2 Oranguru UPR

1 Girafarig LOT

1 Mew UNB

Trainer (35)

3 Bellelba & Brycen-Man

3 Cynthia & Caitlin

2 Lt. Surge’s Strategy

2 Professor’s Research

1 Faba


4 Lillie’s Poké Doll

4 Quick Ball

3 Pokémon Communication

2 Ordinary Rod

2 Pal Pad

2 Tag Call

1 Reset Stamp

1 Switch


2 Air Balloon


3 Slumbering Forest

Energy (7)

4 Capture Energy

2 R Energy

1 Recycle


Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 18

* 3 Slugma CES 23
* 2 Magcargo CES 24
* 1 Magcargo-GX LOT 44
* 3 Mareep LOT 75
* 3 Zacian V PR-SW 18
* 2 Oranguru SSH 148
* 2 Oranguru UPR 114
* 1 Girafarig LOT 94
* 1 Mew UNB 76

##Trainer Cards - 35

* 3 Cynthia & Caitlin CEC 189
* 3 Pokémon Communication TEU 152
* 2 Pal Pad SSH 172
* 2 Ordinary Rod SSH 171
* 4 Quick Ball SSH 179
* 2 Lt. Surge’s Strategy UNB 178
* 2 Air Balloon SSH 156
* 3 Bellelba & Brycen-Man CEC 186
* 4 Lillie’s Poké Doll CEC 197
* 1 Reset Stamp UNM 206
* 2 Professor’s Research SSH 178
* 2 Tag Call CEC 206
* 3 Slumbering Forest UNM 207
* 1 Switch SSH 183
* 1 Faba LOT 173

##Energy - 7

* 1 Recycle Energy UNM 212
* 4 Capture Energy RCL 171
* 2 R Energy SWSHEnergy 2

Total Cards - 60

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

These sort of decks are usually not my cup of tea, but I do think they are going to be viable in the UPR–DAA metagame for the POG tournament, and thus at the very least I have to understand them quite well and how they work, and what their weaknesses are.

The main idea behind this deck is to ensure that an opponent’s Pokémon stays Asleep for as long as possible through Mareep’s Fluffy Pillow and the Slumbering Forest Stadium, while attacking their deck through Bellelba & Brycen-Man. Any turn they don’t flip double heads is really good for you, and even though decks are usually playing 4 Switches, if they do end up using Research or Marnie in order to try and find it to continue their pressure, that is less cards you have to mill in the end. The opponent can take Prizes—that’s not an issue, as long as they don’t take 6 before you’ve milled the out of cards.

The deck can be clunky at times, and requires a lot of future planning to make sure you have a good follow-up plan to your actions in any given turn, they must all be cohesive and with a clear goal in mind. This high skill ceiling means that the deck is not easy to play, and it is also hard to play against because you know the Mill deck will be able to fetch the exact card to counter you next turn (and you can’t always anticipate the variance of Sleep flips).


Those three decks have been some of my top choices for the POG as of now, as I’m slowly but surely looking into Darkness Ablaze. I hope this information is useful to you and you enjoyed reading the article! I’m looking forward to the POG tournament and the new set, and it seems like, even with COVID, each month there’s something new and exciting to look forward to in the world of PTCG. Thanks for reading and until next time!

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