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Austin Fernando

Enter The Blown Gods

Austin Fernando formally introduces one of the spiciest decks to come out of Dallas - ADP Blacephalon! Come learn how Blown Gods came to be

01/22/2020 by Austin Fernando

Hey Readers!

My name is Austin Fernando (@woahaustin) and I’m excited to introduce to you the deck that I created for Dallas Regionals, Arceus & Dialga & Palkia Tag Team GX (CoE; 156) / Blacephalon GX (LT; 52) , or as I more affectionately call it, Blown Gods.  A bit of a side note, originally I was going to name the deck "blADP" which was suggested by Dallas Moses, but decided that Blown Gods looked better on paper. For those who are unfamiliar with who I am, I play in San Diego, CA with UltimateSpiceTCG, and I’ve gained some small hype this year for playing Baby Blacephalon (UBO; 32)  with Unown (LT; 91)  at San Diego Regionals, and for bringing Greninja BREAK (BKP; 41)  back at the Portland Regionals League Cup.

 

  

Weeks Leading Up To Dallas

Attempting to tackle the Expanded meta for Dallas was definitely daunting! The expected meta seemed to be diverse, but was predicted to be focused around Turbo Dark. A very common theme that started to get pushed around in various discussions online and in some of my own testing groups was that if your deck did not have a 50/50 or favorable to Turbo Dark, you shouldn’t play the deck.   However, a lot of the deck archetypes that came to mind to beat Turbo Dark (i.e Fighting decks, Night March w/ Marshadow GX (BUS; 80) , etc) would either still lose to the speed and consistency of Turbo Dark, or would lose to the rest of the meta. There was also a looming threat of Control, Wall, and denial decks. Lists were being posted of decks abusing Lillie's Poke Doll (CoE; 197)  and Robo Substitute (PHF; 102) , and there were rumblings of a return of Sableye (DE; 62) / Garbodor (DR; 54)  or some type of Wall deck being revealed. With this in mind, my I knew any deck I chose to play had to meet a specific criteria.

  1. The deck had to have the favorable Turbo Dark Match up, especially I expected to hit at least two in my nine rounds.

  2. I needed at the minimum a 45/55 or better set of odds against the majority of the expected meta, but I could allow myself one auto loss if needed.

  3. My deck needed to have a gamplan vs Wall stall

 

How This Came to Be

I was initially inspired to build an ADP Fire build using Reshiram and Charizard GX (UBO; 20) . Earlier this season we saw Ahmed Ali bring back Volcanion EX (STS; 26)  with the new fire tools like ReshiZard for a great performance, and ADP was receiving a lot of hype for its ease of use thanks to Double Dragon Energy (ROS; 97) . I was stuck for about two weeks trying to make that concept work (and to be honest, I think it still could), trying to find a way to fuse the pure power that most Fire decks provide, with the support that ADP gave with its energy acceleration and its GX attack. Often times, the ADP would die after using the GX without moving my gamestate forward, and then it just felt like I was playing ReshiZard with a disadvantage. In addition, there were a lot of moving pieces that needed to be in the deck to make it work, and it felt like the ratios were always a little off. The deck ended up being shelved in favor of Gardevoir & Sylveon GX (UBO; 205)  until two things happened.

- I played a standard cup and ran into a Blacephalon GX (LT; 52)  that played all their Beast Ring (FLI; 102)  in one turn, reminding me of another amazing energy acceleration we had access to.

- I continued to test against one of my main testing partners Vince Hardy, who was playing a Garchomp & Giratina GX (UB; 146)  / Cofagrigus (PF; 56)  deck based off Stephane Ivanoff’s article, which utilized consistency cards like Random Receiver (FCO; 109)  to guarantee key pieces. This gave us the inspiration on how to change the structure of our decks in Expanded.

Comfortable with my ability to pilot GardEon with my chosen techs, I began to work like a mad man on combining ADP with Blowns. One of my coaches, JW Kriewall, had suggested in a prior sessions that its necessary to go after our wild ideas, and Expanded is the best format to do it in. I ended up putting together a list of about 70 cards before cutting it down to 60. I wanted to focus on creating an aggressive deck that would highlight ADP’s ability to essentially break one of the core rules of the game, drawing Prize Cards with Blacephalon GX (LT; 52)  to Knock Out any Pokemon. I played about 30 games online before revealing it to my testing group. Ramon Reyes, who made Day Two with the list, was eager to play it, and helped to run the deck through the ringer to help expose any potential downsides to the deck so we could address them quickly. Finally, I reached out to my coach Steffen Eriksen, and showed him my creation and after some quick discussions and minor edits, we agreed upon the 60 you see below. Check it out. 

BLOWN GODS

If you haven’t seen it in play, the usual game plan is to go second, and use your first attack as Altered Creation GX with Arceus & Dialga & Palkia Tag Team GX (CoE; 156) . Afterwards, you want to focus on taking two Knock Outs (assuming there are EX and/or GX targets so that you are taking three or more Prizes), while accelerating energy with ADP’s Ultimate Ray or by using Beast Ring (FLI; 102)  on to Blacephalon GX (LT; 52) . Welder (UBO; 189) is there to help you accelerate Energy whenever you need more in play. Naturally there will be some variation to this game plan, and the deck is fully equipped to handle a variety of threats.  I'll break down my card choices and counts below.

Three Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX

Initially this count was at four to help guarantee it turn 1, but you never want to bench a second one. This card is key to setting up favorable Prize trade offs.

Three Blacephalon- GX

You want to one shot threats that provide maximum Prizes to you. It is important to note the Double Dragon Energy (ROS; 97)  can be used for Mind Blown, but will only count as one energy for it.

Two Dedenne-GX

People have asked me why I have chose Dedenne GX (UBO; 57)  over including a Tapu Lele GX (GRI; 60)  and its simply because I value raw draw power. This deck is aggresive, and with the Supporter and Item counts, being able to dump your hand and gain a fresh six cards is preferable. If a player chose to pilot my deck with a Lele instead, I would not be opposed.

One Tapu Fini

On paper, Ultra necrozma (CoE; 164)  with Pokemon Ranger (STS; 104)  is a terrible threat, and to be honest, a lot of single Prize decks that can OHKO this deck are annoying to deal with. Tapu Fini (UB; 53)  after ADP boost hits for 130, which OHKOS UNecrk for a single Energy attachment - something that is extremely efficient. An added benefit is that Fini also helps to function in the Buzzwole (FLI; 77)Garbodor (GRI; 51) match up.

One Ultra Necrozma

Because we give up a large number of prizes, and with Silent Lab (PRC; 140)  and Ability Lock being popular, its easy to attack with Ultra necrozma (CoE; 164) , especially since we can already support it with Double Dragon Energy (ROS; 97) . This also gives the deck another strong single Prize attacker.

One Heatran

This is my favorite card in the entire deck! I showed this list to Michael Del Rosario, and his immediate response to me was how would I be able to deal with Night March.   So I went to one of my testing partners Victor Jaime, and we scoured through cards that fit the criteria of being able to do 30 snipe damage while still having enough base damage to be relevant. We then found our version of Darkrai EX (DE; 63)  Night Spear in the form of Heatran (LT; 48) . After using Altered Creation GX, Heatran (LT; 48)  does 90 to the Active and 30 to the Bench, which should allow a Knock Out of an Active Pumpkaboo (PHF; 44)  and a benched Joltik (PHF; 26) , creating a favorable Prize trade off. But Heatran (LT; 48)  had other purposes for us...

Because it functioned as a Night Spear, it could help to deal with the threat of Doll Stall, by eliminating multiple dolls at once. It’s second attack hits for 180 after the ADP damage boost, giving me an answer to things like Hoopa (SLG; 55)  and Keldeo GX (UB; 47) , which otherwise would absolutely stop this deck. Fun story, we discovered Heatran (LT; 48)  the day before the event, and scrambled to find this card that had been sent away as a bulk card by nearly every player I reached out to. We even scoured the vendors Holo Rare bulk trying to find one to no avail. Luckily, Lucy from Laser Snake Emporium saved two for some reason, and messaged me back in the last few hours so we could play this deck.  

One Comfey

I owe the inclusion of this card to my discussions with Steffen Erikson. He was a big believer that Shock Lock was going to be a real threat in Dallas, and that I needed to be prepared to deal with it. We figured that the Double Dragon Energy (ROS; 97)  interaction with Comfey (GRI; 93)  made it very much worth it, but this also had the additional benefit of preventing my ADP from getting taken down by Dead End GX from a Darkrai GX (BUS; 88) . Because Comfey (GRI; 93)  prevents Pokemon with Fairy Energy (TM; null)  from being affected by Status Conditions, ADP can not be Poisoned by Hypnotoxic Laser (PS; 123) .  

Four Double Dragon Energy and Twelve Fire Energy

If I could, I would love to have a 13th Fire Energy (TM; null) , but space is tight. Twelve and Four seemed like a strong number to guarantee I could use Mind Blown twice against things like Moltres & Articuno & Zapdos Tag Team GX (HFA; 44) , if needed. I also off set the lack of a 13th Fire Energy (TM; null) by adding in   Fire Crystal (UBO; 173) .

Three Welder

This was another card count that got me some weird looks.  With VS Seeker (PHF; 109)  in format, I found it unnesecary and sometimes cluttered to have four.  You also only need to Welder (UBO; 189) twice in most scenarios and thanks to the other acceleration pieces, it doesn’t hurt if you Prize one or more of them.

One Guzma, One Guzma & Hala, and One Professor Sycamore

A gust effect is crucial to make sure our opponent doesn’t disrupt our strategy by feeding us a single Prizers. Guzma & Hala (CoE; 193)  is important to grab Double Dragon Energy (ROS; 97) , but grabbing the Ultra Space (FLI; 115)  to help find Blacephalon GX (LT; 52) is crucial. Professor Sycamore (XY; 122)  allows us to dig deeper and find our pieces faster.

Four VS Seeker

Self-explanatory!

Three Trainers' Mail

Another piece added for consistency, to help dig for our Beast Ring (FLI; 102) , Supporters, etc.

Three Beast Ring

This number matches Shintaro Ito's  Blacephalon GX (LT; 52) decklist, and I think it is the most ideal for this particular set up.   

Three Cherish Ball and One Nest Ball

Being able to dig for our Arceus & Dialga & Palkia Tag Team GX (CoE; 156)  and Dedenne GX (UBO; 57)  is very important, but having a way to search for one of our tech pieces is the reason for the Nest Ball (SUM; 123)  inclusion.   The cost of Ultra Ball (SLG; 68)  is too high for this deck, but will most likely be switched to Quick Ball in the Sword & Shield format

Two Float Stone

A lot of our Pokemon have high retreat costs, and maintaining Energy on the board is important to Blacephalon GX (LT; 52) 's attack.

Two Ultra Space and one Heat Factory

Heat Factory Prism Star (LT; 178)  felt like an obvious inclusion since we were already running Fire Energy (TM; null) , but I debated between Ultra Space (FLI; 115)  and Scorched Earth (PRC; 138) . I opted to go for a way to guarantee searching a Blacephalon GX (LT; 52)  and Ultra necrozma (CoE; 164)  as needed, rather than raw draw power. Based on my experience playing this deck in Dallas, I may consider going with a split. 

Two Random Receiver

An excellent way to dig deeper for Welder (UBO; 189)  or Guzma & Hala (CoE; 193) , without having to commit the bench space for  Tapu Lele GX (GRI; 60) .

One Escape Rope

I respect the Shock Lock match enough to play Escape Rope (BUS; 114)  to hopefully break the Stoutland (BC; 122) Lock and remove Paralysis.

One Great Catcher

Knock Outs are only good if they are hitting a two or three Prize attacker.

One Fire Crystal and One Fiery Flint

Fiery Flint (DM; 60)  may become a Professor's Letter (BKT; 146)  in the future to reduce the cost to play it, but Fire Crystal (UBO; 173)  is necessary to offset any Energy being discarded.

One Computer Search 

Computer Search (BC; 137) is the best consistency Ace Spec available to us - I would consider a Scramble Switch (PS; 129)  if budget is an issue. 

Match Ups


Turbo Dark 80/20

This deck is designed to deal with this naturally. At Dallas we noted that Turbo Dark players started to innovate their decks with Guzzlord GX (CIN; 63) , which would disrupt our Beast Ring (FLI; 102)  turns. However, this requires them to need to set up more pieces, and we move at a consistently fast pace where it should be difficult for them to accomplish. Go second and use Altered Creation GX.

GardEon - 75/25

Similar to the Turbo Dark Match, except but Gardevoir & Sylveon GX (UBO; 205)  can one shot our Arceus & Dialga & Palkia Tag Team GX (CoE; 156)  more easily, and also threatens the annoying Magical Miracle GX to get rid of our hand.   Go second and use Altered Creation GX, to prevent them from using Fairy Song and accelerating their own Energy.

ZoroGarb (and most other Zoro Variants) - 60/40

If a deck doesn’t play Pokemon Ranger (STS; 104) , then it is much more favorable. For this match up, still go second and set up Altered Creation GX. Since Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  has a much harder time in OHKOing ADP, you want to follow this up with a boosted Ultimate Ray on a support GX they play, like Dedenne GX (UBO; 57) , Tapu Lele GX (GRI; 60) , or Shaymin EX (ROS; 77)  to take three Prizes and set up a Blacephalon GX (LT; 52)  on the Bench.


Ultra Necrozma 45/55 (changes if they play Pokemon Ranger)

Pokemon Ranger (STS; 104)  hurts our Prize trade off quite a bit. We run single Prize attackers to help offset any losses if needed, including Heatran (LT; 48) , Tapu Fini (UB; 53) , and Ultra necrozma (CoE; 164) .   Go second and set up Altered Creation GX, and hopefully it sticks for one to two Knock Outs. Don’t play any Dedenne GX (UBO; 57)  or Blacephalon GX (LT; 52)  on the field if at all possible.

RoxieChomp - 50/50

I’m not as familiar with this match up, however in Ramon’s and my own experience at Dallas, it is definitely a close match up! Our method of achieving our win condition is favorable in comparison to RoxieChomp, however they still have access to Faba (LT; 173)  and Chaos Swell (CoE; 187)  which throws us off our game plan, while still applying significant pressure. I’ll be testing this match up quite a bit since I still have a few more Cups in the same Expanded format.

Wall / Stall / Control / ShockLock - Favorable (varies)

These decks are prepared to deal with threats quite often, but results can vary based on how quickly you can read what kind of deck the opponent is playing. For Shock Lock we run cards like Escape Rope (BUS; 114)  and Comfey (GRI; 93)  to make sure we have ways of breaking their Lock. For Wall decks, we are able to OHKO tanky Pokemon like Moltres & Articuno & Zapdos Tag Team GX (HFA; 44)  with Blacephalon GX (LT; 52) . We can also deal with niche walls like Hoopa (SLG; 55)  and Keldeo GX (UB; 240)  with Heatran (LT; 48) . Lillie's Poke Doll (CoE; 197)  can be dealt with using Heatran (LT; 48) 's Sniping attack.  The most important factor for all of these match ups is that we use Altered Creation GX to not only increase how much Damage we do, but also make sure that we are taking more Prizes every turn. This requires less Knock Outs to win, which helps to offset any resource denial that they run.

EggRow - Terrible

We chose to not tech for this particular match up, since we figured that although it would be present, it was a loss we were willing to take since Turbo Dark should be scaring most of them away. The fact that they run four Faba (LT; 173) , maximum consistency to find Bench Pokemon, and can lock us out of the game simply putting down Vileplume (BUS; 6)  is terrible for us. If you expect Rowlet & Alolan Exeggutor GX (UB; 1)  to be a common match-up, I would find space for a 1-1 Pokemon to OHKO  Vileplume (BUS; 6) for a minimal attack cost. There are quite a few Pokemon that fit this requirement, and I’ll be testing them over the next couple of days.

What’s Next For Blown Gods?

If you were to play this in a tournament that still followed the BLW to CEC format, I’d think you would have a great time. The following are a list of cards you could potentially include that I’ve considered that you should try out as well.

Tag Call (CoE; 206)
Tapu Lele GX (GRI; 60)
Scorched Earth (PRC; 138)
Beast Bringer (UBO; 164)
Rescue Stretcher (GRI; 130)
Giratina EX (ANO; 57)
Scramble Switch (PS; 129)
Ninetales (EVO; 15)  (with Ditto Prism Star (LT; 154)  or Vulpix (TM; 15) )
Pyroar (FLF; 20)  (with Ditto Prism Star (LT; 154)  or Litleo (LT; 50) )
Mew (FCO; 29)

I’m sure there are a lot of options out there, so definitely feel free to research and find your own answers as well.  As far as how this deck fares in the Sword & Shield era, I think we are poised to dominate the field. This deck is unaffected by the Turn One Supporter Rule Change, as we prefer to go second normally. In addition, we still hit great numbers on Zacian V, and have the ability (although it does use quite a few resources) to OHKO Snorlax VMAX. The convenience of having Quick Ball is great, and I think it is worth exploring a lot of the newer attackers, like Victini V.

Takeaways From This Experience and Thoughts for Deck Innovators In The Making

The biggest thing I learned while making this deck is that creativity is only rewarded if you are willing to put in the time to research and test. A lot of this deck would not be possible if I didn’t spend the time to research if there were Pokemon and tools out there that would allow me to tackle my weaker match ups, or improve upon my consistency.  

Rogue ideas also only really work if you are also willing to spend time studying established decks and spend time understanding how they operate in order to exploit their strategies for your own benefit. For myself that included testing online and in person, reading as many articles I can (like you are doing now on 60Cards), and the invaluable coaching I received from Steffen Erikson and JW Kriewall.

I also learned that collaboration is extremely important, and the deck would not have been successful without the help of my testing partners, coaches, and friends. For any other deck innovators in the making out there reading this, I highly recommend seeking out other players that have different opinions and general play styles than you to help make your wild ideas flourish. I’ve mentioned them a few times already, but big shout out to Ramon Reyes, Vince Hardy, Victor Jaime, Steffen Eriksen, Michael Del Rosario, JW Kriewall, and Dallas Moses for helping me improve and giving me feedback as necessary.  

In Closing

My recent performance brought me to 298/500, with almost all of those points coming from my second quarter, so I’m well on my way to earn my invite and to compete in London. If you see me at events, definitely feel free to say hi. I won’t be attending OCIC (but that may change), however I am planning on attending Salt Lake City and Toronto. I have quite a bit of spice planned for both the Standard and Expanded Sword & Shield formats, so expect to see some big plays coming soon. If you liked this article, and want to keep up with me on my Pokemon journey, follow me on Twitter and IG at @woahaustin. I’ve been getting better about sharing my general musings and updates on my tournaments there, and that is one of the better ways of reaching out to me if you have any questions. 

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