Hello to all SixPrizes readers. I’m back to talk about competitive Pokémon TCG. First of all, I would like to say that I managed to qualify for the Players Cup II, with about 85 Tournament Rep and a little more than 5 Tournament Keys remaining. I would have liked to use all my Keys, but unfortunately I couldn’t find the time to play. Despite having a month to use all my Tournament Keys, this was probably the most exhausting tournament I have ever played in. And there’s still more to go!
I started off the Players Cup II doing very well with Water Mew3 Box (aka Mew3-GX/Frosmoth SSH), but over the month the metagame changed a lot. I had to use other decks because even Dragapult VMAX returned to the format. I didn’t perform as well with the other decks, so I decided to go back to Water Mew3 Box and earned the points I needed to secure Top 256 with it, then I played my last tournaments with a few more decks.
It was not only the metagame that changed over the month, but during the middle of October I felt that my performance dropped a little. I started playing distracted and ended up losing a lot of tournaments. My great performance at the beginning allowed me to fail a little bit in the process, but it is interesting to see how a long tournament can be very difficult and require more commitment and consistency from the player.
My favorite deck of the format is Water Mew3 Box, and depending on the metagame it can still be a good choice. But I realized throughout the Qualifier Period that I needed to find another deck option, since Mew3 started to suffer from several problems that began to emerge. Since Water Mew3 Box was no longer a safe choice, I tried to focus more on other decks like PikaRom and LucMetal/Zacian. With PikaRom my performance was poor and with LucMetal/Zacian I performed relatively well. The problem with PikaRom is that there are matchups where you need to hit Crushing Hammer to win, and LucMetal/Zacian has difficulty facing Decidueye DAA or Altaria CPA (the only way to win against them is by deck-out).
With enough Tournament Rep and a few Tournament Keys left, I decided to stop playing the Players Cup II to look for a new deck option that would make me happy before spending my Keys again. It was then that my friend and great player João Pedro Medeiros suggested that I try Baby Blowns. He said he had started testing it and liked it a lot, so I also decided to give the deck a chance. I spent about three days training with the deck and then went to play two tournaments. I managed to win both! Even during my training period, the deck showed great results, with many victories and few defeats, so I started to believe that I had found my new deck option.
Baby Blowns Refinflated
Today’s article will analyze Baby Blowns, which, together with the Water Mew3 Box from my previous article, is one of my main choices for Players Cup II bracket play. After Fiery Flint rotated, Baby Blowns wasn’t the same and lost the monstrous strength it had in the first few turns. But, with a new strategy and way of playing the deck, I feel that Blacephalon still has the capability to be one of the best in the format. The great truth is that Baby Blowns had been so strong that it was necessary for decks to tech Tapu Fini UNM to check its power, and now it is simply a “normal” top tier deck.
1 Crobat V
1 Zacian V
****** Pokémon Trading Card Game Deck List ******
##Pokémon - 15
* 4 Jirachi TEU 99
* 3 Blacephalon UNB 32
* 1 Cramorant V SSH 155
* 1 Crobat V DAA 104
* 1 Dedenne-GX UNB 57
* 1 Eldegoss V RCL 19
* 1 Marshadow UNB 81
* 1 Oricorio-GX CEC 95
* 1 Reshiram & Charizard-GX UNB 20
* 1 Zacian V SSH 138
##Trainer Cards - 29
* 4 Welder UNB 189
* 1 Boss’s Orders RCL 154
* 4 Quick Ball SSH 179
* 2 Cherish Ball UNM 191
* 4 Switch SSH 183
* 4 Scoop Up Net RCL 165
* 4 Fire Crystal UNB 173
* 1 Energy Retrieval SSH 160
* 1 Ordinary Rod SSH 171
* 4 Giant Hearth UNM 197
##Energy - 16
* 16 R Energy Energy 2
Total Cards - 60
****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=82778 ******
Jirachi is still one of the best starters in the game and it is responsible for searching out key cards like Quick Ball and Fire Crystal. It is a little dangerous to use Jirachi in the current format (which lacks Escape Board) because we now always need a switch card in hand, otherwise there is no way to get Jirachi out of the Active Spot, so we need to play 4 Switch and 4 Scoop Up Net. Often my opponent plays Marnie, which leaves me with 4 cards in hand, and if none of them is a switch card then Jirachi becomes a liability.
The main idea behind Jirachi is to leave it in the Active Spot at the beginning of the game to use Stellar Wish (and Zacian V’s Intrepid Sword).
The deck needs only 3 Baby Blowns now because it will only work well at the end of the game. At the beginning of the game, we lead with Cramorant V or ReshiZard-GX. On average you will need 2 Baby Blowns per match, and using only 3 copies instead of 4 increases the chances of starting Jirachi.
Cramorant V has been mandatory in Baby Blowns since it was released. Before, the deck needed to take only 3 Prizes with Blacephalon UNB and 2 Prizes would be obtained by Cramorant V Knocking Out Dedenne-GX. (Blacephalon-GX would draw the last Prize by using its GX attack.)
Now Cramorant’s job is not only to KO Dedenne-GX but to also damage the opponent on the first turn or search for cards with Beak Catch. Cramorant V has become so important to the deck that I’ve seriously considered playing a 2nd copy. While Beak Catch will be useful to help set up, Spit Shot is good for discarding R Energy and causing damage or Knocking Out an opponent’s Pokémon. Discard Energy with Spit Shot is good because it means that, even if your opponent plays Marnie, you only need 1 Fire Crystal to access 3 R Energies.
This is the most out-there card in my Baby Blowns list. Until Fiery Flint rotated, it didn’t make any sense to use a TAG TEAM GX in a deck where the main idea is to use a single-Prize attacker. But now it’s amazing how important ReshiZard-GX is to the deck.
The lack of Fiery Flint has affected Blacephalon so much that there are now problems that this Pokémon simply cannot solve. The low chance at an explosive start of the game is slightly improved with the inclusion of ReshiZard, which is capable of dealing 200 damage on the first turn. On the second turn it remains oppressive, with the possibility of doing 230 damage with Flare Strike, not to mention the opponent’s difficulty in having to KO a 270-HP Pokémon. While I try to find as much R Energy as possible to reach KOs with Blacephalon, my opponent has to deal with a troublesome ReshiZard-GX at the beginning of the game.
ReshiZard has the early game as its main function, but in any situation it is a good attacker that can quickly be powered up with Welder, always causing above-average damage that can 1HKO many Pokémon V and GX. Thanks to ReshiZard, I am able to win theoretically bad or difficult matchups, like Decidueye DAA/Galarian Obstagoon SSH (due to Double Blaze-GX), LucMetal-GX/Zacian V (due to it being a good attacker), and even Mad Party (due to its high HP).
In my opinion, this card is mandatory in every Baby Blowns deck and its main function is to remove Chaotic Swell. The biggest issue for Blowns is having to find ~9 Energies to 1HKO a Pokémon VMAX, and the easiest way to achieve this is through Giant Hearth. But if the opponent plays Chaotic Swell, your fastest and most consistent way to search for Energies has been nullified. Marshadow UNB solves this problem and it can be accessed by Quick Ball. So in addition to having a counter for Chaotic Swell, you have a good way to search it out and you can reuse it with Ordinary Rod.
It never feels great to play a card just to guard against a card an opponent could possibly play, because in most games you will not use that card, but in the case of Marshadow it is different. If you don’t need Marshadow to counter Chaotic Swell, you can use it to remove your own Giant Hearth and then put a new Giant Hearth into play, so you can use the Stadium’s effect twice in one turn, resulting in 4 R Energies from your deck. You practically use a Fiery Flint in a format without Fiery Flint.
Oricorio-GX, 1 Eldegoss V, 1 Zacian V, 1 Crobat V, 1 Dedenne-GX1
I decided to lump all these Pokémon together so you can see that this deck has 5 support Pokémon, all with different functions but the same objective: to bring consistency to the deck. Blacephalon UNB is a powerful Pokémon, but it doesn’t work alone. It needs an entire deck to make it work, unlike ReshiZard-GX which only needs R Energy and Welder.
Oricorio-GX is fundamental to the deck because it brings consistency throughout the entire game. The main strategy to beat Baby Blowns is to use Marnie, because Blowns plays so much off its hand. After a Marnie their hand is left with only 4 cards, but with Oricorio-GX in play their hand becomes 7 cards (almost double).
Eldegoss V is the second most important support Pokémon because it manages to significantly improve access to Welder. Like most Fire decks, Baby Blowns is a Welder-dependent deck and without Welder the deck practically does not exist.
Another important piece is Zacian V which brings consistency to the deck at the beginning of the game and on turns when you might not have the ability to attack. At each moment of the game the deck has a specific support Pokémon to help.
In Welder decks I personally prefer Crobat V over Dedenne-GX, and in this deck I prefer Crobat V even more, as there are times when I want to hold Fire Crystal in my hand and draw new cards (to do the damage I need with Fireball Circus). But Dedenne-GX is still important because it is the only card that brings us a fresh new hand. In addition to being accessible with Cherish Ball, Dedenne-GX is probably also your best answer after a low Reset Stamp.
The 4 Quick Ball need no explanation; the novelty here is the 2 Cherish Ball. Anyone who has played Baby Blowns knows that the deck can lose games early because it is unable to set up. In some lists, players choose Great Ball or Pokémon Communication to try to alleviate the problem, but here I prefer Cherish Ball.
Cherish Ball gives me access to only three Pokémon—ReshiZard-GX, Dedenne-GX, and Oricorio-GX—but these three Pokémon are vital to avoid defeat. ReshiZard applies quick pressure and keeps your foot in the game, while Dedenne-GX is the security option to get rid of a bad hand, and Oricorio-GX is important throughout any game.
This is the part that I am least comfortable with in the deck. I understand the importance of Jirachi TEU and the need to use so many switching cards, but the deck ends up losing a lot of space with this package that I don’t feel is as effective anymore. The deck’s strategy has changed a bit, and without Escape Board I feel that Jirachi has lost a lot of strength. In the next set we will have a new Jirachi and maybe it will be better, but for now we are going with Jirachi TEU.
I started my testing playing only 4 Fire Crystal, but against Eternatus VMAX I felt that I needed Energy Retrieval too. I ended up including a copy to solve this slight problem. If I feel that this is still not enough, I will consider removing 1 more R Energy for another Energy Retrieval. In general, the R Energy is better.
Ordinary Rod is a valuable card in Baby Blowns. Thanks to Ordinary Rod I can play with ten different Pokémon and use them consistently or even twice in the same game. In addition, it is possible to return Energy. There is no other deck in the meta that gets as much value out of Ordinary Rod as Baby Blowns.
4 copies of Giant Hearth is important to be able to search for it on the first turn with Jirachi TEU, as well as have access to it during the entire game, even through counter Stadiums. With Marshadow UNB, it is even more worth using 4 Giant Hearth because you will be able to use them even if your opponent plays Chaotic Swell or if you have an extra Giant Hearth in hand.
When you need a lot of Energy and don’t have a card like Fiery Flint available in the format, one of the solutions is to simply play more Energy. With a lot of basic Energy, you (A) further increase your access to them, (B) can discard them without issue, (C) can attach them via Welder, or (D) add damage to Fireball Circus.
Baby Blowns possesses a quality that I highly value in a deck, which is the ability to compete against any deck without having any really bad matchups. Its worst matchup is Dragapult VMAX, which, despite being strong, has horrible matchups against Eternatus VMAX and Inteleon VMAX. (Inteleon, which had a bad matchup against ADPZ, now has an even worse matchup against PikaRom to worry about). In other words, I see the deck as being well positioned in the meta.
The great thing about Baby Blowns is recognizing its limitations and solving them in a completely different way. If you notice the way Baby Blowns plays now, it is reminiscent of the good old Fire Box. The deck has an aggressive start, like Fire Box, to apply pressure and buy time, so that in the end high damage can be achieved. It’s a way I prefer to play.
That’s it for today. Thank you very much for reading!
…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.