Hello again readers, I’m back with you today with a more in-depth list discussion on a deck that I’ve been playing a lot recently. I’ll also be talking about my thoughts on the format as a whole, and where it may be leading to. Without further ado, let’s get into it.
Oh where to start? ADP? Sure, why not. Unless you’ve been living under a proverbial rock in regard to the Pokémon community these last few weeks, you’ve surely heard the calls for a ban of ADP. And you’ve also heard the people defending the card. I’ve mostly been on the side of the former, as I believe that ADP is bad for the game as a whole. There’s a lot that can be said about ADP right now. I personally believe ADP is more of a symptom of the actual problem rather than the whole problem.
The game has sped up considerably over the last few sets. By itself that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. However, when one card gives a clear advantage in the race, it becomes an issue. ADP by itself would not be too much of an issue. It’s when it’s paired with the powerful cards that fill this format when it becomes an issue. ADP without Zacian V and Metal Saucer/Turbo Patch? Probably borderline unplayable now. ADP without Marnie? Less oppressive than it currently is for sure. ADP without Crobat V and/or Dedenne-GX? I could see that being kinda balanced. ADP without Boss’s Orders? A completely different game plan in many matchups.
I’m going to go more in-depth on Marnie, because it’s probably the biggest reason ADP is bad for the game as it is. Altered Creation-GX puts you on a short clock to win the game. Depending on what deck you’re playing, you might be able to force them to take 8 Prize cards, or 3 KOs. At best you have three turns after they’ve GX attacked. In order to keep pace, you must take a KO on the ADP and two more Pokémon, usually 2 Zacian V. That’s difficult enough under normal circumstances. Throw in a very good hand disruption card while you’re trying to get that first KO on ADP? Good luck.
Boss’s Orders is also an obvious offender here. The simple strategy of gusting up 2 Dedenne-GX or Crobat V is incredibly effective, and allows ADP to circumvent any actual threats it faces. After all, why does ADP care if you take 5 Prizes before they win? Mawile-GX also enables this strategy even more.
All of these cards and more are the “real” reason why ADP is so oppressive. However, all of these cards are playable in much less oppressive decks and are much more balanced when the game isn’t on a 3–4-turn clock. The best way to at least begin to fix the format would be to ban ADP. An ADP ban does the least amount of damage to the current decks and opens the door for new, mostly unexplored archetypes to see actual play. Would an ADP ban completely “fix” the current speed of the format? Probably not, but it’s a good starting point.
That’s enough about ADP for now. Onto the format itself. I’ve already touched on how fast the format currently is. There are a lot of cards that have led to this, so it’s not something that can be fixed in the short term. From a marketing viewpoint, is the format even broken? It’s going to physically hurt to say this, but ultimately the game is marketed toward younger kids. Faster, less complicated games are better for kids. I honestly don’t expect any sort of change to occur within the structure of the game to slow it down very much. My best hope is that a card like ADP never gets printed again and when it rotates, the game will slow down to 5–6-turn games rather than 3–4.
All of that said, the format itself is actually incredible when you look at it from a diversity point of view. There are at least six decks that appear to be straight up capable of winning events. We’ve seen decks like Decidueye/Obstagoon take down multiple online events. We’ve seen a lot of innovation in lists. Deck building skills are becoming more relevant. The format isn’t perfect, but it also isn’t as terrible as it’s being made out to be. It could certainly be much better, but it could also be much worse. Onto the decks!
I seem to have taken a liking to Centiskorch VMAX. Fortunately for me, the deck isn’t terrible. I’ve seen a lot of lists that make me want to cry though. People seem to be writing off the deck pretty often after one shot at playing it with lists that aren’t optimal. My list might not be optimal either, but it’s certainly less bad than some of what I’ve been seeing.
1 Crobat V
****** Pokémon Trading Card Game Deck List ******
##Pokémon - 18
* 3 Centiskorch V DAA 33
* 3 Centiskorch VMAX DAA 191
* 3 Jirachi TEU 99
* 3 Volcanion UNB 25
* 2 Dedenne-GX UNB 195
* 1 Cramorant V SSH 193
* 1 Crobat V DAA 182
* 1 Galarian Zigzagoon SSH 117
* 1 Mewtwo UNB 75
##Trainer Cards - 30
* 4 Switch
* 2 Boss’s Orders RCL 200
* 3 Giant Hearth UNM 197
* 1 Mallow & Lana CEC 198
* 4 Welder UNB 189
* 1 Reset Stamp UNM 206
* 4 Quick Ball SSH 179
* 1 Wondrous Labyrinth p TEU 158
* 1 Fire Crystal UNB 173
* 4 Scoop Up Net RCL 165
* 2 Professor’s Research SSH 178
* 3 Pokémon Communication
##Energy - 12
* 12 R Energy BLWEnergy 4
Total Cards - 60
****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=82367 ******
People have been cutting Jirachi from their lists, or are playing it with only 4 Switch. The consistency hit that the deck takes from doing so is actually ridiculous. It’s more than just losing Stellar Wish, which is a necessary Ability as it is. They’re losing starting Pokémon that are easy to switch into Volcanion. They’re also losing additional Pokémon Communication shuffle targets, which can be the difference between winning and losing games.
My reasoning for a 3-3 split of Jirachi and Volcanion is that if your opponent chooses to go second in order to hinder you, you would much rather start Jirachi than Volcanion. Volcanion is also more than just a setup Pokémon in this deck. With Blacephalon making a comeback, we need Pokémon that can trade evenly with them, which is made possible with Galarian Zigzagoon.
This card is very strong in Centiskorch. 10 damage might not seem like a lot, but it can be the difference between winning and losing games. There’s the obvious application against Blacephalon, but it also helps with almost every single-Prize deck. It also can help against Eternatus, because two pings with Zigzagoon means one less Energy needed to KO a VMAX. It also does something similar in the mirror match if they are playing Heat R Energy or Big Charm.
I’m still having internal debates on if this is better than Eldegoss V. On one hand, you have Scoop Up Nets, which means you can reuse Mewtwo multiple times. On the other hand, Eldegoss V is an instant Supporter, whereas Mewtwo takes a turn to draw it unless you’re using I or a Dedenne-GX/Crobat V. Mewtwo does have the draw of not being a 2-Prize Pokémon, and thus is much better against ADP.
I wanted to have an out for Bronzong TEU if that caught on, but after playing many games with it, Cramorant V has become much more than a Bronzong counter. Centiskorch can struggle to take its last 1–2 Prize cards if the VMAX is KO’d at any point. Almost everything will have something in play that you can snipe to win the game. Galarian Zigzagoon makes this even more probable. Beak Catch is also somewhat decent in certain games. For instance, in mirror after Flare Starter, or if you went first, your goal is to be able to chain Welders and maybe a Boss. Beak Catch allows you to set up the Boss KO on the opposing Centiskorch rather well in some situations.
Heatran isn’t good enough. Which is crazy to think about. I would almost always rather be attacking with Centiskorch VMAX because of how easily Heatran gets KO’d. It’s not worth the Prize cards it gives up in comparison to any other attacker in the deck. Yes, the GX attack can win games, but if you’re in the position where you need it to win, then you either have a Centiskorch with a lot of Energy in play, or it was just KO’d and there isn’t enough Energy in play for it to matter. There are some fringe cases where it can be good to take a KO with to apply pressure when going second, but I’ve found those cases to be few and far between. If Mew3 continues to rise in popularity, then maybe it can come back.
This is actually the only Trainer count of note in this list. Everything else is close to the standard list. The Scoop Up Net engine is what makes this list so strong. Not only do you have the cool tech cards like Galarian Zigzagoon and Mewtwo, you also have 8 switch cards in order to get Volcanion in the Active Spot on turn one. Scoop Up Net also provides more outs to using Pokémon Communication. Say you used Flare Starter and now you only need a switch and a VMAX to take that important KO. Using Scoop Up Net to pick up the Volcanion gives you a target to shuffle into your deck with Pokémon Communication and provides the switch effect. It also clears a Bench space for a Dedenne-GX or Crobat V, which further increases your overall consistency.
One of the lists I have for Centiskorch/Nets is playing this. It was originally included in order to slow down Eternatus VMAX to a much more manageable pace. Unfortunately, as a side effect of Eternatus lists playing multiple Dangerous Drill for the mirror match, they have been cutting all Special Energy from their lists. This made Giratina much less good. It still has uses in other matchups, but in a deck with so little space and so many options, it has been cut from the list for now.
Dubwool V would double (I’m sorry) as a Bronzong counter and a late-game attacker. Dubwool V is a really cool card that I wish could see more play. Like Cramorant V, it is especially good for ending games. Unlike Cramorant V, it cannot circumvent whatever the Active Pokémon is when doing so. If faced with a VMAX, there is little that Dubwool is capable of. Against Mew3, Dubwool V hits that sweet 270 if your opponent has taken 5 Prizes, which is by far the biggest reason to play Dubwool. However, a good player will be able to play around that by taking 4 Prizes and then finishing the game with a 2-Prize KO.
I’ve made a few jokes with friends about playing Hammers in Centiskorch, but space has always been an issue. It still is. However, Hammers might be just what the deck needs to make Eternatus completely favored.
I don’t think these would be optimal in the Scoop Up Net list because of how much stronger Jirachi is, but it’s still something worth looking at. Added consistency when finding Welders is very good, and Pokégear combos much better with Mewtwo UNB than Jirachi does. I wouldn’t cut Jirachi entirely from the list, but I could see cutting one and then something else for 2 Pokégear.
The Matchup Spread
Eternatus VMAX: Even
This matchup is one of the closer ones we’ve seen out of this format. It really can go either way. Since this list doesn’t play Giratina, it doesn’t really matter which Energy line your opponent is playing. What does matter is their Stadium count. A game can be swung completely in your favor by a Reset Stamp paired with Wondrous Labyrinth p and Centiskorch V’s Energy-discarding attack. Of course there’s always the games where you manage to 1HKO their Eternatus VMAX, and those are over pretty fast. There will also be games where they 1HKO your VMAX with Zigzagoon pings. That’s just how the matchup is.
This matchup seems impossible on paper, but in reality it’s much harder for them to chain KOs than it is for you with Volcanion. What’s even better is that you don’t need to have the Zigzagoon the same turn that you attack, so you can effectively remove two of their Pokémon at once with a well-timed Scoop Up Net and Boss. They will also inevitably be forced to bench a 2-Prize Pokémon. You can take advantage of this rather well by setting up a Centiskorch in the background while attacking with Volcanion. Cramorant is a good way to take an extra Prize card off of a Dedenne-GX without using a Boss, but that’s a two-way street. You need to be careful to not bench too many of your own support Pokémon, because they also play Cramorant V. It really is a war of attrition here. If they ever miss an attacker, you likely win. And if you miss an attacker they win.
Mewtwo Welder: Slightly Favored
This matchup mostly comes down to how the first few turns go, and what Pokémon are in their list. Your goal would be to not ever damage a Mew3 without taking a 1HKO, because of Incineroar-GX TEU. You also need to watch out for Indeedee V. There will be games where you can do damage with Volcanion and be safe from a Boss KO on your Centiskorch. There’s not much else to be said for this matchup. It mostly comes down to how many Welders each player can find. And your deck is usually a bit better at that.
This matchup is probably the best one that Centiskorch has amongst the top decks. ADP really struggles to do anything if you’re able to 1HKO their ADP before they are able to Ultimate Ray. The game literally comes down to the first two turns of the game. I’d like to think that this list is really consistent at getting the turn one Flare Starter, if not a turn one Welder. There will also be games where it’s better for you to target down a Zacian V, but those only come along when you don’t have more than 1 GX/Pokémon V sitting on the Bench and you’re not at risk from Mawile-GX. These situations also only come up if you’re unable to KO the ADP that would be in the Active Spot.
There are a lot of online events being run right now. Enough to the point that it would be unhealthy to try and play in them all. I personally really like the structure that Atlas uses to play their events, so I’ve put my proverbial eggs into that basket for the time being. The events also aren’t demanding enough that I’m spending overly much time on them rather than on school. For what might be the first time in years, I have a somewhat healthy balance between school and Pokémon.
I think that the format itself is flawed, but is also somewhat good. There are a decent number of options for what to play, but there could definitely be more if the format was balanced well. I’m holding out hope that with the recent reveals of cool Stage 2 cards that they’re going to make an effort to at least make Evolutions viable again.
That’s all I have for today, I hope everyone is staying safe and maybe finding some enjoyment in the some of the online Pokémon events.
Until the next one.
…and that will conclude this Unlocked Underground article.
After 45 days, we unlock each Underground (UG/★) article for public viewing. New articles are reserved for Underground members.
Underground Members: Thank you for making this article possible!
Other Readers: Check out the FAQ if you are interested in joining Underground and gaining full access to our latest content.