You Don’t Have to Win in Five Turns!

A Crash Course on the Slow and Sturdy Deck of the Format, Lucario & Melmetal-GX/Zacian V
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Not one for brevity, Lucario & Melmetal to the rescue!

Hello SixPrizes readers, and welcome to your crash course on everything to know about Lucario & Melmetal-GX/Zacian V! My name is Jake Gearhart and I am delighted to finally be writing an article for a site I’ve been following for years. I’ll begin with a short introduction of myself. I’ve been playing competitively since Legendary Treasures, right before the start of the XY era in 2014. I credit my good friend Emery Taylor, a former writer for this site, for helping me into the competitive scene as he had been playing for a couple of years already at that point. It didn’t take long before I discovered my love for slower decks. From 2014–2016, I almost exclusively played Seismitoad-EX, and, the last year I played in the Senior Division, I was able to take Seismitoad/Slowking to a Regional win and attend Worlds that year. From 2017 to present, I’ve had to dedicate more time to school so I haven’t been able to attend as many in-person events as I would’ve liked. However, with the advent of online events due to COVID-19, I’ve been able to play in many more tournaments and prove myself again!

My Qualifications

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You could say I’ve collected a few Heggies.

Before I start, I would like to give some explanation of why you should actually read this article from me, a player you may have never heard of before. If you are hesitant about trusting me on my knowledge with this deck, I hope the following will alleviate any of that. So far, this season, in the HegsterTCG tournament series (a tournament series that has a consistent attendance of around 150 players which I will mention a few times in this article), I have achieved two first place finishes, a second place finish, a top eight, top sixteen, and two top thirty-two finishes—all with Lucario & Melmetal-GX—as well as notable finishes in many other online tournaments. These currently put me at number one on the HegsterTCG leaderboard. The time I’ve spent with this deck has given me the knowledge I have to share with you today.

Evolution of the Deck

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Lucario & Melmetal-GX (which I will be referring to as LucMetal from here on out) as an archetype has gone through quite a few innovations over the course of the month of September.

The first innovation was the inclusion of two Zamazenta V. This card has become an essential card in the deck rather than a tech card like last format and that will become apparent when I talk about how much it’s used in the “Matchups” section of this article.

The second innovation was the list that won the first Players Cup. Bronzong TEU was an ingenious way to counter all of the Fire decks, and Zamazenta V was able to completely wall off all of the Eternatus lists (as well as counter Tord Reklev’s Inteleon list). The Players Cup list is important to mention but I would not consider running it now that the meta has developed significantly. Bronzong isn’t nearly as effective now that Fire decks are aware of it, and Eternatus and other VMAX decks play Zamazenta counters more often than not. The lists I did well with at the start of this season were based heavily on the Jirachi TEU engine which was something that translated well into the new meta despite the loss of Escape Board. Considering going back to this engine may very well be the next phase in the life of the deck. You can check out the pinnacle of those lists here (this one yielded me my first HegsterTCG victory):

Weakness Guard Energies were also a key innovation of the time which substituted for the rotation of Metal Frying Pan.

The most recent innovation of the deck was the inclusion of Lillie’s Poké Doll, pioneered by yours truly. Lillie’s Poké Doll is extremely useful in many situations. It’s not only the perfect wall card to sit behind, but also a way to reset Zacian V’s Brave Blade. By using a Switch or Mallow & Lana to pivot into the Doll, all effects on Zacian (most importantly the “you cannot use Brave Blade during your next turn” effect) are reset. Then you can use the effect of the Doll to put it on the bottom of your deck, promote Zacian, and Brave Blade with the same Zacian for the second turn in a row.

Mindset

When playing this deck, there are a few things you need to keep in mind above everything else.

  • Don’t think of it as a “LucMetal” deck. This archetype is played as a Zacian Toolbox more than anything. You do not need to use Full Metal Wall-GX in every game. LucMetal is a tool that fixes math, can remove Energy, and reduces damage, but it is not the end-all be-all.
  • Unlike other decks where you bench Dedenne-GXs and Crobat Vs without hesitation, every time you put a Pokémon on the field you have to be thinking about the Prize cards on board. For example, if you bench a Lucario & Melmetal-GX, as well as two Zacian Vs, that’s 7 Prize cards on the board. As soon as you put more than 6 Prize cards on your field, your opponent has a win condition. Always be mindful of this because controlling the possible paths your opponent can take to win is critical. I will discuss more about this in the Eternatus portion of the “Matchup” section.
  • Ending your turn can happen in many ways. At the start of each turn, you should evaluate the situation and decide how you want to end your turn. Everything you do on the turn should be based on how you want your field and your opponent’s field to look. You can attack with any of the attacking options available to you, including your once-per-game GX attack, pass the turn, or Intrepid Sword. In all these scenarios, what Pokémon you leave Active is an important consideration (and don’t forget to include Lillie’s Poké Doll as an option). Sometimes building up cards with Intrepid Sword is better than taking a Brave Blade KO. Sometimes letting your opponent take Prize cards is okay. Once again, always be mindful of the path your opponent needs to take to win. For example, if you know your opponent is going to KO your LucMetal at some point and it won’t be too difficult for them to Boss it Active later, you can let them Knock it Out and build up your field with Intrepid Sword. You don’t need to remove it from the Active if it’ll waste too many resources.
  • When your opponent VMAXes (evolves) one of their Pokémon V, they are effectively removing an attacker from play. If your opponent runs out of counters for Zamazenta, you can easily run them over with a single one. So whenever they are forced to VMAX a Pokémon, that is one less threat you have to deal with.

The List

Pokémon (8)

4 Zacian V

2 Zamazenta V

1 Galarian Stunfisk SSH

1 Lucario & Melmetal-GX

Trainer (38)

4 Marnie

4 Professor’s Research

3 Boss’s Orders

2 Mallow & Lana

1 Cynthia & Caitlin

 

4 Metal Saucer

4 Quick Ball

4 Switch

3 Lillie’s Poké Doll

2 Tag Call

1 Tool Scrapper

 

4 Metal Goggles

 

2 Chaotic Swell

Energy (14)

11 M

3 Weakness Guard

 

Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 8

* 4 Zacian V SSH 138
* 2 Zamazenta V PR-SW 19
* 1 Galarian Stunfisk SSH 132
* 1 Lucario & Melmetal-GX UNB 120

##Trainer Cards - 38

* 4 Switch
* 1 Cynthia & Caitlin CEC 189
* 4 Metal Saucer SSH 170
* 2 Mallow & Lana CEC 198
* 4 Metal Goggles TEU 148
* 2 Chaotic Swell CEC 187
* 4 Quick Ball SSH 179
* 3 Lillie’s Poké Doll CEC 197
* 4 Professor’s Research SSH 178
* 2 Tag Call CEC 206
* 4 Marnie SSH 169
* 1 Tool Scrapper
* 3 Boss’s Orders RCL 154

##Energy - 14

* 11 M Energy GEN 82
* 3 Weakness Guard Energy UNM 213

Total Cards - 60

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This is the LucMetal list that I use in any standard PTCGO online tournaments I attend. I will briefly go over some card counts as well as edits to the deck you need to make based on the format you are playing in.

0 Dedenne-GX, 0 Crobat V, 0 Eldegoss V

DO NOT play multi-Prize draw support Pokémon. Benching one will lose you the game significantly more often than it will help you win a game. The only one of the three that you could consider is Eldegoss V specifically because it can be used as a tech for DeciGoon or Altaria/Goon, which I will discuss in that portion of the “Matchups” section. Because of the low amount of Basic Pokémon in the non-Jirachi engine lists, Eldegoss V becomes even more of a liability because you can start it.

1 Lucario & Melmetal-GX

As I mentioned before in the “Mindset” section of the article, don’t think of this deck as a “Lucario & Melmetal” deck when you are playing it. This is a Zacian Toolbox deck. You don’t use Lucario & Melmetal in many of your matchups, it’s optional in many of the matchups you do use it in, and starting it can often be detrimental (against Blacephalon UNB and Centiskorch VMAX specifically) so playing more copies in order to not prize it will punish you just as often as it will help you.

4 Zacian V

Intrepid Sword is the ideal way you want to end your early turns. Being able to get a Zacian early greatly increases the odds of you winning.

2 Zamazenta V

As I mentioned in “Evolution of the Deck” section, multiple Zamazenta V are now necessary in order to gain good matchups against fast VMAX decks.

1 Galarian Stunfisk SSH or Galarian Stunfisk V

Galarian Stunfisk SSH, popularized by my lists, is the Ultimate Tech Card. It’s got a variety of uses but primarily acts as a tech for the DeciGoon matchup (as well as an out to a tricky Psychic-type Pokémon that is the subject of the challenge at the end of the article). I will discuss more about this guy in my DeciGoon portion of the “Matchups” section.

If you’re playing in a no-ADP tournament, you should highly consider cutting the regular Galarian Stunfisk for Galarian Stunfisk V. This will become apparent when I discuss some of the matchups that are much more common without ADP in the format (Mad Party, Spiritomb, and AeroPod).

4 Metal Goggles

This Tool card allows the deck to function. Surviving hits or forcing your opponent to do awkward things in order to get 1HKOs allows this deck to gain ground even if it’s not nearly as fast as other top decks.

2 Chaotic Swell

I’m confident in saying that Chaotic Swell is the best Stadium for this deck. It’s extremely versatile and essential in Welder-based matchups. Being able to prevent your opponent from getting Giant Hearth down can stop your opponent from getting the full effect out of a Welder as well as an attachment for turn. Swell can also limit a Dark deck’s pivoting options if they play Dark City, and can occasionally slow your opponent from being able to achieve an early Altered Creation-GX via Viridian Forest.

1 Tool Scrapper

This card is definitely cuttable, but I prefer to keep it in my lists. Big Charms and other HP-increasing Tools can cause you to struggle in matchups where you otherwise wouldn’t.

2 Tag Call, 1 Cynthia & Caitlin

I am running with a Tag Call package currently because of the consistency it adds. It is worth considering removing these cards and adding Oranguru SSH, Mewtwo UNB, and 1 Scoop Up Net as well. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. Oranguru can increase Intrepid Sword’s effectiveness, Mewtwo can act as a Supporter card off of a Quick Ball, and the 1-of Scoop Up Net allows you to remove these single-Prizers from play in order to manipulate the Prize trade. This does sacrifice your ability to find LucMetal but the increased Intrepid Sword effectiveness may be worth it depending on the meta.

2 Mallow & Lana

These cards not only turn 2HKOs into 3HKOs all the time, but are also incredibly useful as a pivoting option to reset Brave Blade or move LucMetal out of the Active after it Full Metal Walls.

3 Lillie’s Poké Doll

As mentioned previously, this card has so many uses in the deck. 3 of them allows you to find one early to put in the Active and ensures that you’ll always have one to reset Brave Blade with.

3 Weakness Guard Energy, 11 M Energy

I believe Weakness Guard Energies are an essential part of the deck. Weakness Guard Energies will win you many more games than you will lose because they are not basic M Energies, so they are always worth it to me. 12 basic M Energy was the optimal number last format, and 3 Weakness Guard Energies make up for the loss of one of them.

Players Cup II Tips

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You win the opening flip—what next?

In the closed-decklist, limited-time format, you are going to need to play differently than you would in an open-decklist, normal-time format. Unless you know what your opponent is playing, you should choose to go second. Even though in most of your matchups going first is preferable, how important it is to go second in many matchups (such as vs. ADP—which I will discuss in the “Matchups” section) overwrites the small advantage you may get for going first in other matchups.

If the Players Cup qualifiers continue to be the ADP-fest that they are currently, I would also run this alternate list by Daniel Altavilla (@daxptcg on Twitter) that focuses on improving that matchup with Crushing Hammers. (I’m not normally a fan of Hammers in LucMetal in this format, but they do give you the edge over ADP.) I cut the Galarian Stunfisk in Altavilla’s list for the Tool Scrapper and I’ll discuss both of those decisions when I cover ADP and DeciGoon.

Pokémon (7)

4 Zacian V

2 Zamazenta V

1 Lucario & Melmetal-GX

Trainer (39)

4 Marnie

4 Professor’s Research

3 Boss’s Orders

2 Mallow & Lana

1 Cynthia & Caitlin

 

4 Crushing Hammer

4 Metal Saucer

4 Quick Ball

4 Switch

2 Lillie’s Poké Doll

1 Tag Call

1 Tool Scrapper

 

4 Metal Goggles

 

1 Chaotic Swell

Energy (14)

11 M

3 Weakness Guard

 

Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 7

* 4 Zacian V SSH 138
* 2 Zamazenta V PR-SW 19
* 1 Lucario & Melmetal-GX UNB 120

##Trainer Cards - 39

* 4 Switch
* 1 Cynthia & Caitlin CEC 189
* 4 Metal Saucer SSH 170
* 4 Crushing Hammer
* 2 Mallow & Lana CEC 198
* 4 Metal Goggles TEU 148
* 1 Chaotic Swell CEC 187
* 4 Quick Ball SSH 179
* 2 Lillie’s Poké Doll CEC 197
* 4 Professor’s Research SSH 178
* 1 Tag Call CEC 206
* 4 Marnie SSH 169
* 1 Tool Scrapper
* 3 Boss’s Orders RCL 154

##Energy - 14

* 11 M Energy GEN 82
* 3 Weakness Guard Energy UNM 213

Total Cards - 60

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Differences from the First List

Matchups

The primary reason I can continue to play LucMetal without getting bored of the deck is because of how diverse its matchup spread is. Every game with the deck is different. Every matchup has an optimal game plan or multiple optimal game plans and every game involves working toward that plan given the cards you’re dealt. Here, I’m going to lay out the optimal game plan for the most common decks you’ll run into. Whenever a matchup can be improved with a tech card, I will be sure to mention it and discuss the game plan involving that tech card. It’s up to you to predict the meta of the day and decide whether or not it’s worth teching for! (Note, again, I am not considering Weakness Guard Energies as tech cards because I feel that they are an essential part of the deck so all these numbers will be based on having Weakness Guard Energies.)

Eternatus VMAX: 60/40

One of the archetypes you are most likely to see out of any in a tournament is Eternatus. Due to the nature of Eternal Zone, it’s very difficult for an opponent to play many strong counters to Zamazenta V because they’re limited to Dark Pokémon.

  • Go first when you know you’re playing vs. Eternatus. It gives you the most options for how to carry out your turns one and two.
  • If you start LucMetal, Full Metal Wall-GX for a single Energy ASAP. Don’t worry about the second effect of the attack. You need to get value out of LucMetal before it gets KO’d.
  • If you start Zacian V, don’t hesitate to power it up first. You should almost always choose to attach Energy to it via Intrepid Sword and use up your turn’s attachments on Zacian. You really want to get value out of Zacian before it inevitably gets KO’d, and any Brave Blade you get off can set you far ahead.
  • Do not put more than 3 Prize cards into play that are not Zamazentas. Keeping in mind how many Prize cards you have on board (like I mentioned in the “Mindset” section) is essential to this matchup. You must force your opponent to KO both Zamazentas. This means you cannot put more than 3 Prize cards into play that aren’t Zamazentas.
  • Metal Goggles are crucial. Zamazenta with a Metal Goggles on it is the key to winning. Goggles prevents Zigzagoon pings, completely prevents Eternatus V from damaging you with its first attack, and reduces damage from everything else. Sometimes it’s worth considering saving Zamazenta in your hand until you can bench it with Goggles immediately.
  • Watch out for Sableye V. Sableye V is the only major threat to your Zamazentas. As long as you have one clean Zamazenta that cannot be 1HKO’d by Sableye, you’re in a great spot. Try to save your Boss’s Orders for Sableye. If you are ever able to Boss up the Sableye and hit it for 40 or more damage, the game is basically over. Whenever Sableye comes Active, you’ll always be able to finish it off with the second Zamazenta even if the first one gets KO’d.
  • Manage Switches and Mallow & Lana. Mallow & Lana is the obvious one here because it’ll make your Zamazentas live considerably longer. But Switches are very important due to Crobat V’s Venomous Fang and any other poison your opponent might have in their deck. Against heavy poison variants of Eternatus, switch is crucial and sometimes it is worth it to use up Boss’s Orders on something like a Toxicroak SSH.
  • Secondary game plan. If you know your opponent plays too many Zamazenta counters for you to handle (you can handle much more than you think, but there is a limit), you can approach the matchup a different way. After Full Metal Wall, with Metal Goggles, Zacian cannot be 1HKO’d by Eternatus VMAX. This is the central factor in the secondary game plan. Make use of this to switch between Zacian and Zamazenta dealing 230 and 130 to KO VMAXes and other 2-Prizers to outrace your opponent in the Prize trade. Find the limit first with testing, and then the secondary game plan becomes a tool.

ADP/Zacian: 50/50 (55/45 or better with techs)

ADPZ has the simplest game plan of all your matchups. The games almost always play out the same way.

  • Go second vs. ADPZ. This is counterintuitive but extremely important to effectively achieve my second point:
  • Attach to LucMetal turn one at all costs. As soon as your opponent Altered Creations, you must Full Metal Wall them right back. Don’t be afraid to ditch a bunch of resources because the ADP player will be doing the same. Going second allows you to use two Supporters to achieve this instead of only one.
  • Do not bench anything but Zacians with Metal Goggles (and the LucMetal) in this matchup. Make sure to avoid having targets for Mawile-GX in your hand, and get down Goggles on your Zacians ASAP. Always consider not benching Zacians if you can’t get the Tool down.
  • They Altered Creation, you Full Metal Wall, whoever KOs a Zacian V first wins. Just remember this formula. After the GX attacks, your opponent gets the head start to find what they need to Boss–KO your Zacian. But your Metal Goggles prevent a Brave Blade 1HKO. So your opponent needs to find a Tool Scrapper on top of the resources to power up Zacian. If they don’t KO, it’s now your turn to dig for what you need. This process will go on until someone takes the KO and that player usually wins.
  • Important math: 50 + 230 = 280. A Steel Fist + a Brave Blade will KO an ADP. Sometimes this can even substitute for using Full Metal Wall on the ADP so you can save it for a Zacian. But most of the time, this is a good way to set up for a late game where you can 1HKO anything on their board.
  • Save your Tool Scrapper. Many ADP lists play Big Charm. Removing this from a Zacian can be critical to win the game.
  • Consider playing Hammers or multiple Power Plant if you know you’re going to play vs. many ADP. These can drastically improve the matchup and since the Players Cup II qualifiers are ADP parties, crashing them with Hammers can give you the edge you need.

Blacephalon: 40/60 (60/40 with a tech)

Blacephalon cannot Welder and Boss on the same turn, and often cannot Boss at all. This is crucial to remember for this matchup.

  • Go second vs. Blacephalon. Making sure you can switch out of the Active into a single-Prizer or Lillie’s Poké Doll before Blacephalon can attack is very important and a Supporter card is often necessary to do this.
  • Zamazenta V with Weakness Guard Energy + Metal Goggles = 6 Energy discarded to KO. This is crucial math in this matchup. The constant use of Marnies is important to limit your opponent’s hand size, and can sometimes make it impossible for the Blacephalon player to reach a KO. They will need 9 Energy + Welder to set up a new Blacephalon and KO a Zamazenta. Stadium cards can be critical to remove Giant Hearths from play. If you’re playing Chaotic Swell, don’t put it into play unless you’re removing a Hearth. Winning the Stadium war for as long as possible is key, so don’t waste a Swell by forcing one Hearth away when you can be forcing two Hearths away.
  • Keep multi-Prizers out of the Active. The only time you should ever leave a multi-Prizer in the Active is after you’ve taken a KO on a Blacephalon, or a KO on an opposing multi-Prizer via Zacian. If you’re not KOing a Blacephalon, even if you have the option to KO something like a Jirachi, remove the attacker from the Active and promote a single-Prizer or a Doll. Remember, most Blacephalon lists only play one Boss’s Orders and they can’t Boss and Welder on the same turn. Force them to make the first move.
  • Don’t put LucMetal into play. This card is basically useless in this matchup and is a punching bag that gives up 3 Prize cards. Once again, we’re only playing one LucMetal because a second will punish you for starting it just as much or more than prizing it.
  • Tech Tapu Fini UNM. If you play Tapu Fini, you add 20% win rate to the Blacephalon matchup. Tapu Fini can let you offset the Prize trade as well as take a KO on a Blacephalon. This card is incredibly valuable and in a Blacephalon-heavy meta, you should highly consider playing it. A 60/40 is significantly better than a 40/60.

Centiskorch VMAX: 30/70 to 50/50

The Centiskorch matchup depends on the opponent’s list a lot. If the opponent is playing Victini V, Heatran-GX, or Giratina UNM, the matchup tanks to 30/70. If not, you can actually get a 50/50 out of it.

  • Go second vs. Centiskorch. This will stop them from accelerating a bunch of Energy via Volcanion UNB or a turn one Welder.
  • Don’t use LucMetal unless you have a very good reason to. It’s tempting to Full Metal Wall a bunch of Energy off of a Centiskorch VMAX, but you have to remember that when your opponent VMAXes, they are effectively losing an attacker, so you don’t need to worry about any VMAXes in the final turns of the game. The only time you should Full Metal Wall something is when you know you’re completely running them out of Energy or you’re GXing a Heatran-GX or Centiskorch V that would otherwise run through your board unchecked.
  • Zamazenta V + Metal Goggles + Weakness Guard Energy. This combination is essential to winning this matchup. Zamazenta will win the Prize trade vs. Volcanions and can stand up against many Fire attackers. Most of the time, your endgame should be scavenging for your last few Prize cards with Zamazenta. Zacian V is the tool you need in this matchup to remove threats to Zamazenta.
  • Important math to remember: 230 + 130 > 320. Hitting into a Centiskorch VMAX with a Zacian can often be worth it even if your opponent is going to KO you right back. This matchup can be very tempo oriented and this damage can swing the Prize trade in your favor. Centiskorch VMAX + Volcanion + multi-Prizer = 6 Prize cards.

DeciGoon or Altaria/Goon: 40/60 to 60/40, based on their list (80/20 with techs) (70/30 with limited time)

You have three win conditions against these decks: (1) deck them out, (2) beat them with the Ultimate Tech Card, and (3) run them out of time. This matchup is very math oriented so be prepared to do some calculations on the fly.

  • Damage reduction. There are three forms of damage reduction in this matchup: Full Metal Wall-GX, Metal Goggles, and Resistance. With all three, you are taking 0 damage from Decidueye DAA (the Bench damage is removed entirely by Full Metal Wall alone). With the GX attack and Tool you are taking 0 damage from Altaria CPA (discarding Powerful C Energy with Zamazenta V’s attack can be useful sometimes here), and 30 damage from Obstagoon.
  • Winning on limited time. Since the Players Cup qualifier events have a very low playtime of 12:30 for each player, you can easily run a DeciGoon or Altaria/Goon player out of time. I’ve chosen to cut tech cards that I’d normally run in online events because of this time limit. If you’re smart, you should be able to survive for a long enough time to win. Getting familiar with the matchup so you can play fast and always stay ahead on time is important. Clicking the “Done” button fast is a valuable skill!
  • The Ultimate Tech Card. Galarian Stunfisk SSH is phenomenal in this matchup. Not only can it hit through Decidueye and Altaria while taking 0 damage in return (note that Snap Trap doesn’t actually work if you don’t take damage, but that doesn’t matter because… well, you aren’t taking any damage!), but it also allows you to beat Obstagoon. You might be wondering how a Basic Pokémon can beat Obstagoon, and the answer is all in its Ability. Your opponent doesn’t have unlimited D Energy cards, and they need to attack every turn to get the damage prevention, so all you need to do is sit with Stunfisk in the Active with a Tool attached after Full Metal Wall-GX, and your opponent will eventually miss an attack and then you can come in and 1HKO with Zacian. Mallow & Lana is important to heal Stunfisk because sometimes your opponent can get close to KOing you.
  • Decking your opponent out. When your opponent is doing 30 damage every turn, decking them out is a viable strategy. Managing resources and calculating the number of cards you have in your hand and deck after Marnies is essential. Don’t hesitate to use Intrepid Sword to draw into damage reduction cards early. As long as you’re not playing all the cards you draw, you can shuffle them back into the deck with Marnie at some point. But remember, Marnie will give your opponent 4 cards and you 5, which means you are giving your opponent a one card advantage over decking out. (Keep in mind that you will still be taking 30 damage from Obstagoon every turn. Mallow & Lana will let you survive for a long time, but not indefinitely.)
  • Phione CEC, Lillie’s Poké Doll, Mewtwo UNB, Pokémon Communication, and Eldegoss V.
    • Deckout won’t always work, however, because of Phione CEC or Lillie’s Poké Doll. If your opponent plays a way to retreat into Poké Doll every turn, they can prevent themselves from decking out indefinitely. And if you have Pokémon on the Bench, Phione CEC is able to prevent them from decking out as well. But keep in mind that Obstagoon must attack every turn to prevent damage to itself, so you can force them to Knock Out all Pokémon on your board except for one to prevent Phione CEC.
    • Mewtwo UNB, Lillie’s Poké Doll, and Pokémon Communication can add extra turns for both you and your opponent so keep those in mind on top of shuffle–draw Supporters like Marnie.
    • If you play Eldegoss V and Lillie’s Poké Doll, you won’t be able to deck out because you can infinite-loop with them. By grabbing Mallow & Lana back every time you bench Eldegoss V, you can always switch into it, take some damage, and then shuffle it back into the deck with Float Up. However, if Eldegoss V is the last card in your deck, you won’t be able to attach two Energies in one turn to attack. This is where Lillie’s Poké Doll comes handy. You can switch into it with Mallow & Lana, use the effect of the Doll to add it to your deck, and promote the Eldegoss to take a hit. Then next turn you’ll draw the Doll and be able to attack with Eldegoss again and shuffle it into the deck.
  • Don’t hesitate to take Prize cards! With all this talk about ways around walling cards, you can’t forget that taking simple KOs via Boss’s Orders on Zigzagoons, Rowlets, Jirachis, or whatever else they may have is still very good. You can sometimes prevent them from ever setting up an Obstagoon which will really improve your odds of winning. Just remember that Rosa is a card your opponent can make good use of.
  • Beware of Tool cards. These walling decks often play some problematic Tool cards. Big Parasol will prevent Full Metal Wall from discarding Energy (which is another way to stop Obstagoon from attacking), and Stealthy Hood can stop Snap Trap from working. Saving your Tool Scrapper is key.

Welder/Mewtwo & Mew-GX: 35/65 (55/45 with a tech)

Welder/Mew3 can be a very difficult deck to deal with. Reshiram & Charizard-GX and Victini V are both excellent Fire attackers that can roll through you if you’re not careful. And on top of that, you have to deal with Mewtwo & Mew’s plethora of attacking options. Keep in mind that besides using a GX attack, Mewtwo & Mew can’t 1HKO a Zacian after a Full Metal Wall-GX or a Metal Goggles. But they do have that GX attack option which can ruin your board state quickly. As with all Welder decks, you have to remember that they can’t Boss and Welder in the same turn so Lillie’s Poké Doll can be very useful here.

  • Mimikyu CEC 97. With Mimikyu, the tech card for the matchup, it becomes a lot easier to beat them. Mimikyu makes it so your opponent only has one attacking option that can’t be removed in one attack: ReshiZard-GX. Victini V can be taken out by a Brave Blade, and now Mewtwo & Mew can be taken out with something as simple as a Steel Fist. This leaves Reshiram & Charizard as the main threat you have to prepare for. Including this tech in your deck will also help make the Mew3/Frosmoth matchup, which is otherwise a 40/60, a 70/30. Being able to remove a Mewtwo & Mew with a simple Steel Fist in that matchup is incredibly powerful.
  • Chaotic Swell is actually better than Power Plant. An interesting thing about this matchup is that you’d assume Power Plant would be very helpful. But it turns out that Chaotic Swell is just as helpful, if not more helpful. Preventing Giant Hearth can stop your opponent from being able to Welder for full effect and get an attachment reliably. Slowing their Energy attachments is crucial to winning.

PikaRom: 50/50 (55/45 to 60/40 with Hammers)

Post-rotation PikaRom is a lot easier to deal with compared to pre-rotation. Mallow & Lana as well as damage reduction can cripple their ability to deal with your attackers. But keep in mind their Metal Resistance because it does cause quite a few issues when planning how to deal with Raichu & Alolan Raichu-GX as well as PikaRom-GX itself. Boltund V is a large threat because it has no damage cap. Keeping track of the amount of damage they are able to do is important.

  • Lucario & Melmetal-GX: Full Metal Wall-GX is a very useful tool in this matchup. Being able to remove all Energy from a PikaRom-GX or Raichu & Alolan Raichu-GX can swing the tempo of the match in your favor. Steel Fist can also be crucial to set up damage. 50 (Steel Fist) – 20 (Resistance) + 230 (Brave Blade) – 20 (Resistance) = 240 which will KO a PikaRom. Saving your Tool Scrapper for any potential Big Charms on PikaRom is essential.
  • Damage reduction: Full Metal Wall and Metal Goggles can cripple an opponent’s damage output in this matchup. Using Boss’s Orders tactically to bring up a Raichu & Alolan Raichu-GX can reduce your opponent’s damage capabilities as well.

The LucMetal Mirror

While most mirrors in this format are incredibly luck based, the LucMetal mirror is surprisingly full of strategy. I divide this matchup into three phases:

  • Phase 1: Pre-GX attacks: In this phase, if you can go aggressive and get a KO on a Zacian or Zamazenta, you have a significantly higher chance of winning. Taking 1HKOs is impossible after your opponent uses Full Metal Wall, so if you can 1HKO without wasting too many resources, you will be in a phenomenal spot. Don’t hesitate to use Tool Scrapper early. It becomes almost useless later. Making sure you have Metal Goggles on your Zacians and Zamazentas will help prevent your opponent from KOing during this phase.
  • Phase 2: GX attack turns: Choosing what to Full Metal Wall and when to Full Metal Wall is very important and dependent on the game. If you’re at risk of being taken advantage of early, sometimes you may need to GX early. Usually I find that the optimal target for a Full Metal Wall is an opposing LucMetal with Energy, but an opposing Zacian with Energy is also a good use of the effect. You almost always want to use the plus effect in this matchup.
  • Phase 3: Resource management: Once both players have Full Metal Walled, the game becomes a grind of resources. Neither player can take a 1HKO, and Zamazenta can’t even 2HKO anything. LucMetal is a very good attacker in this phase if your opponent GX’d another one of your Pokémon. Using Boss’s Orders to damage Benched Zacians is sometimes better than taking a KO on the Active even if you can. You won’t always have Boss in your hand and getting damage on all of your opponent’s Zacians is a good way to ensure you’ll be able to close out the game. Take advantage of the fact that your Zacians can’t Brave Blade two turns in a row very easily when you can.

[Single-Prizer decks] AeroPod: 60/40, Mad Party: 40/60, Spiritomb: 40/60 (all 70/30 with a tech)

While ADP gatekeeps these decks for the most part, you will still have to deal with them. Especially if you’re attending an event where ADP is banned. It’s important to put as much pressure on as possible. Vs. AeroPod, Full Metal Walling is quite important and Full Metal Wall can be useful in other single-Prizer matchups, but if you can take a KO, most of the time that is preferable.

Now for the tech card: Galarian Stunfisk V. This card allows you to confidently win the Prize trade against Mad Party and Spiritomb as well as have an option that can force an AeroPod player into awkward scenarios. If you’re playing in a tournament where ADP is banned, this card is a must-include.

Random VMAX decks (Inteleon, Salamence, Dragapult, Toxtricity, etc.)

These decks don’t take much of an explanation. Zamazenta V is your best friend! Full Metal Wall-GX and Metal Goggles can make it near impossible for some VMAX decks to take care of Zamzenta. If your opponent does play ways around Zamazenta, Zacian is the tool you have to remove them. Saving Saucers so you can drop a Zacian out of nowhere is very helpful.

Conclusion and a Math Challenge

Featuring Mr. Mime-GX TEU (Magic Odds)!

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my article! Don’t hesitate to reach out to me on my Twitter @jakekgearhart if you have any questions or want advice on a matchup that I wasn’t able to cover here. I’ll leave you off with the following challenge:

Mr. Mime-GX TEU (Magic Odds) can prove an issue for a deck that only has attacks that deal an odd amount of damage, but the Ultimate Tech Card—Galarian Stunfisk SSH—can do an even amount of damage… sometimes. I set out to calculate the average amount of turns it takes to KO Mr. Mime Odds, but… well, the math is quite complicated and I don’t have time to finish. I challenge anyone who reads this to crunch the numbers and calculate the average number of attacks it takes to KO Mr. Mime Odds. To the first person who does, DM me on Twitter and I will award you with 7 packs of Darkness Ablaze on PTCGO. Here’s a head start on the math… prepare yourself:

∑∞,n=1; 1/(4^n) = 1/3
Probability of doing an even number of damage (is always 60 or more)

∑∞,n=2; 1/(4^n) = 1/12
Probability of doing 120+ damage that is an even number

∑∞,n=3; 1/(4^n) = 1/48
Probability of doing 180+ damage that is an even number to 1HKO

Reader Interactions

6 replies

  1. Bobby

    Hi Jake great article and adding a specific section for important math is something I haven’t seen many people do. Do you think Lucmetal is better or worse in the context that of players cup when Champions Path is legal?

    • Jake Gearhart  → Bobby

      I answered a similar question on Twitter (it may have been you) but I’ll answer it here as well.
      I think waiting until Champion’s Path is legal to play in qualifiers is actually better than playing them now. There’s sure to be an influx of Altaria and if you put the Stunfisk back in for a bit, you’ll have no trouble at all running through them quickly. If I had the ability, I would actually try to fit in all my tournaments within a couple days of Champion’s Path’s release into the qualifiers so you can gain good matchups from the Altaria hype.

      • Richard Yannow  → Jake

        Also really appreciated the article! My concern about the Altaria matchup is that while you can probably get through one ok, it gets harder if you have to get through multiple. Altaria- Kangaskhan lists have been getting a couple of solid results, and they run 4 of each and can swing into your Stunfisk for 60 (through Goggles and Wall) after you KO the first Altaria. I’ve talked about Altaeropod a bit with you too: they can oneshot a stunfisk after you KO it, though that requires an evolution ready on the bench. If you have to get through several Altaria, you might not get there in time, and then it becomes a deckout war against a deck that can play Phione.

        The other thing I’d wonder about is Wailord. Feels like a not-great matchup: they’re a 2-prizer you have to 2-shot, and if they highroll they oneshot through anything (though a single Goggles or Wall means they need all 3 flips for it). The flip side is that it probably reduces Centi’s meta share, which has to be good news for LMZ.

        • Jake Gearhart  → Richard

          Altaria Kangaskhan is a super favorable matchup. All you need to do after taking a KO on an Altaria is simply do nothing until you draw Mallow & Lana. You’ll take 60 from Kangaskhan but then after that they’ll discard their own energy and won’t be able to deal any damage. Then once you draw the Mallow & Lana you can attack whatever they have active or wait to Boss. As for Altaeropod, you’re able to take more early KOs because they’re inherently slower at setting up Altarias, and any threat to Stunfisk can just be Bossed up and KO’d.

          As for Wailord, flipping three heads including the reflip from the stadium is only a 1/4 chance:
          (½^3) * 2. And they don’t get to chose when they get the KO. It’s random. Compare that to other decks which can consistently OHKO if they have comparable setup. It’s gotta be 60/40 at worst in my opinion.

  2. Ramon Raya

    It took Centiskorch SO much time to get as good as it is now. Lists have been optimized a lot and also, they’ve been succeeding.

    Almost all of them run heatran, but the current most successful ones also run Giratina for obvious reasons. Lucmetal became a FORCE in the meta and the giratina is ESSENTIAL In the matchup. So much so that in testing I’ve found it worth it to knockout the giratina when possible. Also, with good reason Baby blowns is becoming more popular. It is a steaightforward deck that trades well and can theoretically, and many times ACTUALLY knock out anything.

    My question is, do you think that Lucmetal will be seeing a big drop in success (ie tournament wins) with these terrible matchups becoming so big in the meta. Even with Champion’s Path, I do no my see fire decks losing traction, at least unless we see some new broken deck that breaks the meta. I personally think it’s unlikely but even if it’s the case it will probably be a while before a deck like that comes out and is perfected.

    • Jake Gearhart  → Ramon

      I doubt LucMetal will see any drop in success anytime soon, even with the bad matchups. Unless Centiskorch alone starts to take up the metashare that Eternatus and ADP have continually boasted. If Blowns or Welder Mew3 become more popular, that’s actually a good thing for the deck. Playing techs like Tapu Fini and Mimikyu allow you to get positive matchups to both and if they become popular enough where hitting them is frequent, the techs definitely become worth it over other cards in the deck.

      And on top of that, there’s a Special Metal Energy coming out in the next set that is exactly the same as Weakness Guard Energy which means a Centiskorch player will most likely need to find Giratina to even OHKO a Zacian. Or commit five energy to Centiskorch VMAX which may end up helping the LucMetal player equally. Power Plant can also potentially stop Heatran, as well as Mimikyu if they have to bench it early, which is something that’s also worth testing at some point.

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