Experts' corner

Daniel Altavilla

Perks of Being a Bulu - Zoroark, Bulu, and Passimian

Daniel explores KicaBulu, Zoroark/Lycanroc, Zoroark/Greninja in Standard and Passimian/Counters in Expanded.

01/14/2018 by Daniel Altavilla


Hey there 60cards readers, before Memphis I left you with an extensive look at Decidueye-GX/Zoroark-GX and Volcanion-EX/Celesteela-GX, both of which I think are still incredibly strong in Standard. Standard is yet again at a point where the meta has been well-defined, and it'll take a strong meta call and some lucky matchups and draws to win an event, but most of the surprises of the format are out of the bag. Taking examples of meta shifts from Memphis, pretty much only being the rise of Zoroark/Lycanroc and the fall of Gardevoir-GX, it's clear that Zoroark decks have taken heavy favor in the Standard format, with decks previously teched out for the Gardevoir matchup relinquishing those techs in favor of pure consistency or Enhanced Hammers or other ways to keep up with the plenty of Zoroark decks and the handful of Big Basics decks that are taking up the top tables. 

With Gardy being almost irrelevant after Memphis, decks like Vikavolt/Tapu Bulu or Volcanion will see more play, and I wouldn't be surprised if we saw more versions of that Wishiwashi-GX deck piloted by Yehoshua Tate or concepts like Passimian/Mew which excel highly against Zoroark decks but have issues with other less common matchups. For me, there are 2 ways to go for Australia and for League Cups--you either play one of the strongest decks, or you play a great meta call and pray you hit the proper matchups.

The Best in Standard

In Standard right now, we can go for the strong and all-around safe play and run Zoroark/Lycanroc, which has a more even matchup spread, though it has trouble with non-meta, and a more consistent set-up on average, or we can go with something that will take advantage of the popularity of Zoroark decks currently, like Tapu Bulu/Vikavolt. An off-the-wall play is Zoroark/Greninja BREAK, which has popped up recently and gained overnight hype. For me personally, these three decks are my current main picks for Australia and what I am testing the most while trying to see if I can figure out an unexplored concept to break the meta.

Fox and the Hound

The first deck I'll go over with you all is going to be my take on Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX, which is a pretty basic list, derived more from fellow Pro-Play Games sponsored player Ahmed Ali than the actual Michael Pramawat winning list. There's just something very strong about Buzzwole-GX and Reverse Valley in the list, which both set you up for one-shots in places they normally wouldn't belong. I'll go over the cards in the list and the matchups, making sure to provide a thorough explanation of the deck.


The idea behind this deck is fairly simple--you are utilizing Zoroark's Trade ability in tandem with Lycanroc's Bloodthirsty Eyes ability, which together allow for plays where you can take early prizes and then one-shot Tapu Leles, set up a Lycanroc for an oh-so-important OHKO at a crucial climax in game, or use Buzzwole to set up knockouts with or without Professor Kukui. The deck also can afford to pressure with 2-shots a lot of the time, which ends up being your usual strategy, but so many different scenarios are opened up when you have a deck this diverse. Let's get into the counts:

4-4 Zoroark-GX

This is the best card in the deck. You couldn't make me complain if I was top decking Zoroark pieces every turn. It's really nice having a heavy count in order to avoid prizing them, have the option to set up 3-4 a game, can afford to discard them, etc. Maxing out the strongest Pokemon in your deck isn't necessarily a bad thing! Trade has defined the meta to be almost exclusively Basic or Stage 1 attackers, due to the sheer speed of the Trade/triple Brigette engine. If you can't keep up with Zoroark's consistency, you're going to have some trouble if you face it multiple times in an event, as eventually they will be able to just outspeed you, or catch you with a hand worse than theirs. The reason this card is so good is because it allows Zoroark players to essentially never whiff; or at the very least you rarely don't have a specific piece out of a 3+ card combo. Zoroark also opens us up to the Puzzle of Time engine, which was something that was attempted in the past after VS Seeker rotated, but it was never heavily played due to not really being able to dig out your Puzzles. Or often you would be having games where you just Sycamore away one piece and have trouble finding the other. Zoroark has really singlehandedly changed the standard format!

3-2 Lycanroc-GX

Pay attention to the Rockruff. This Rockruff specifically has an attack that deals 10 damage, so with a turn 1 Strong Energy or Kukui you can take a KO on a Zorua and put yourself ahead in the prize trade. Corner is also a good attack, but it comes up less often, so we want to stick with this specific Rockruff.

Lycanroc is meant to be paired with Zoroark to allow you to draw cards and use a Lysandre effect without having to waste your Supporter slot; making Acerola, N or Professor Kukui become part of a long and eventful turn compared to the past where you might not even see the utility supporters in action. Dangerous Rogue GX also comes up at times and can be a momentum shift in itself, giving Lycanroc a bigger role than pure support.

3 Tapu Lele-GX

While three Lele might not be necessary anymore, it's still comforting having the consistency in here. Three Lele, four Ultra Ball and three Brigette allow us ten outs to a turn-one Brigette, not including games where we naturally draw into enough Zorua and Rockruff to not even need a t1 Brigette. That's a very good chance of starting the Supporter compared to some other decks, which have 8-9 outs. Past turn one, I could see these being disposable for your Trade discard, so it's not like 3 Lele is going to take up space in a negative way.

1 Buzzwole-GX

Buzz is in here to work with Kukui, Reverse Valley and Lycanroc-GX to set up future KOs where you may otherwise not have had them, or to quickly get some KOs on Zoruas or 2-shots on other 60-hp Basics. Lists involving Buzzwole typically play at least 2 Float Stone in order to have a better chance of a turn one or two Jet Punch, because past the first couple of turns Buzzwole's usefulness wanes. Though it can come in handy sometimes to sneak a Knuckle Impact or something, it pretty much belongs in the early stages of a game.

1 Mew-EX

Mew is in here simply for Buzzwole. That matchup isn't as autowin as it needs to be, so we use Mew-EX to copy Riotous Beating and hit Weakness on Buzzwole for KO. This can mean 2-4 prizes against Buzzwole decks in the early turns, which can end up winning a game by itself. Starting this card in the mirror is a bit of an issue because we don't have AZ or Parallel City, so a Mew that hits the board stays there until it gets KO'd. Luckily, we have plenty of other starters that usually show up before we have to worry about starting Mew.

4 N/2 Sycamore/3 Brigette

This count is one that came as a surprise for plenty of people at the London EUICs, but it turns out that this is optimal! Rarely does the Zoroark player want to use Sycamore, when you can dig into the cards you want anyways, so having the option available but still respecting N as a solid choice throughout the entire game is smart. Three Brigette is almost a Sycamore in itself, as Brigette turns into Zoroark turns into 2 extra Cards a turn!

2 Professor Kukui/1 Acerola/1 Mallow/1 Guzma

These Supporters besides Guzma are utility Supporters which only serve niche purposes and haven't seen heavy and consistent play in the format, but with Trade letting us find these cards without playing another Supporter for turn lets us use these more often than normal, which is why they are in here. Kukui specifically is in here to serve as an extra 20 after using Lycanroc's Guzma effect to bring up a Lele or another target. The Mallow can be used before Trade to give us two specific cards which sort of makes it like Computer Search, and the one Guzma is a safe count because we have 3 Lycanroc-GX doing the same thing more often.

4 Puzzle of Time

These cards are included in the deck as a substitution for what VS Seeker was before rotation, but they are now able to grab any card instead of just a Supporter. This paired with Trade gives us the best chance of finding two pieces, so the combo is too good to ignore. This was quickly adapted into Expanded for San Jose, with the best players running Puzzle of Time in their respective Zoroark builds along with VS Seeker. That's pretty max consistency!

3 Choice Band/2 Float Stone/1 Escape Rope

Choice Band is very necessary for our Band/Kukui/Bloodthirsty Eyes on Lele combo which is such a high value play for this deck to make. Three Choice Band allows us to hit this combo more often and gives us comfort when we would prize one copy. Float Stone and Escape Rope at a total count of three is absolutely necessary when aiming for a quick and easy Buzzwole spread. Three Choice Band is a staple count in my opinion and shouldn't ever be dropped. Four Choice is unnecessary with Puzzles, and two just isn't going to allow you to consistently see it, especially when consistency is the name of the game.

1 Enhanced Hammer 

Enhanced Hammer was a two-of in the past, but I disagree with this count. One Enhanced Hammer is fine now because in the mirror your opponent will just slam down a basic Fighting which you can do nothing about, and discarding your opponent's Special Energy is seldom a play you make twice a game and see a momentum shift each time. Enhanced at two is nice for prizing purposes though, so easily a card worth considering.

1 Reverse Valley

This card gives us the clutch math we sometimes need to hit KOs where we otherwise wouldn't. Buzzwole for 30 onto a Zorua and then Riotous Beating with Choice Band/Kukui/Valley becomes 30 + 180 = 210. There are other situations, like hitting 150 on Vikavolt or KO'ing Volcanion or other things you otherwise would have no business KO'ing. This card is absolutely not needed but it made the cut so far in my testing and I highly doubt the list I would play for an event would not include this card.

1 Field Blower

This count is a little uncomfortably skimpy and I want to add more Blower and respect Garbodor more, but I feel like Golisopod/Garbodor was a surprise deck and I don't see Garbodor having repeated success too often in the future. One Blower can definitely do the trick in a meta devoid of Garbodor.

3 Strong Energy/2 Fighting Energy

Alongside four Double Colorless, we boast a count of five Fighting Energy cards, 3 being Special but giving us 20 extra damage, and 2 of them being Basic and incapable of removal through Enhanced Hammer. Five Fighting energy are more than enough for your Lycanroc needs, where you are more than likely only attacking with once to use Dangerous Rogue, and Five energy is more than enough to share between Buzzwole and Lycanroc, who combined would take 4-5 max.


Zoroark/Golisopod -- about even

People say this matchup is favored for Lycanroc, and I noticed how when I tested it more the other day -- Lycanroc can be played to bring up Wimpod off of a Sycamore! This means you more consistently have the turn 2 Guzma option onto your opponent's support Pokemon, compared to Zoropod only having the 4 Guzma and having to have a turn 1 Brigette into a turn 2 Guzma plus Attacker in order to apply pressure. The Lycanroc player has more lenience in this aspect thus being given 5 percentage points in this otherwise 50/50 matchup.

Zoroark/Lycanroc -- about even

The mirror is really draw-based, like any other mirror, and usually comes down to the player fortunate enough to have a double Lycanroc set up available. You Claw Slash their Zoroark, eat a Dangerous Rogue, reply with a Dangerous Rogue, and from there should have a strong chance of winning, so whoever can get double Lycanroc or a faster start in general should have the edge. Not to mention the very important Coin Flip to determine who goes first!

Gardevoir-GX --about even 

I would give the edge to Gardevoir if it were as consistent, but Zoroark/Lycanroc makes up for Gardy overpowering it with Dangerous Rogue and the games where it just runs hotter and eats Ralts before they can evolve. I don't see Gardevoir losing often if they can avoid a Dangerous Rogue, though.

Decidueye/Zoroark -- about even

Decidueye still has the heavier damage output, but can lose if the Rowlet are targeted faster than they can set up a Razor Leaf play on Lycanroc. Games are heavy blowouts one way or the other, not really much more to touch on there!

Tapu Bulu/Vikavolt -- slightly unfavorable

Bulu has the ability to OHKO your entire deck, but with Reverse Valley/Lycanroc/Kukui, you can Riotous Beating for 150, so I could see Zoroark having a game where they just eat Grubbins and then KO the one or two Vikavolt that hit the board and make it impossible for the Bulu player to set up a final KO.

Other -

Zoroark/Lycanroc can take an L to Wishiwashi and Sylveon-GX and other lock decks, though these decks usually take up less than 10% of the meta and can sometimes be teched for.


That's about it for Standard Zoro/Lycan, and I'll get into Expanded soon, but first let me jump into KicaBulu, which is a Vikavolt/Tapu Bulu-GX list created by Peter Kica that maxes out consistency for the matchups you'll see often and accepts the L to Gardy where they will come. Here's the list:

If you aren't familiar with Vikavolt/Tapu Bulu-GX, I'll tell you that the main strategy behind the deck is to get a stage 2 Vikavolt out, use Strong Charge on Tapu Bulu-GX, and stream attacks turn by turn until you've taken the win. The deck has been strong for a while, but has always had an issue -- Foxy Drampa killed it in the last format, while Gardevoir-GX is the awful deck of the current format. Vikavolt/Bulu has always been forced to cut consistency in favor of cute techs like Fighting Fury Belt and Clefairy EVO just to compete with those decks. The cool thing about this list is that with the declining number of Gardevoir, players are able to ignore those techs and finally have the consistency machine they have always dreamed of! I can't say why Peter decided on the counts he chose with utmost certainty but I can give my opinion and why I agree with them:

4 Tapu Bulu-GX

This count is one I actually am having trouble figuring out. I'm debating and testing between 3 Bulu 1 Mew FCO, for the mirror and just to hit 210 with a non-ex attacker, or just 4 Bulu to maximize my chances of hitting one without having to waste a ball on it, and also giving me a better shot of having a strong starter. The dilemma I am having is that Mew is a fine starter as it has free retreat, but a bench slot is hard to find when you want 2 Grubbins for safety, a Lele, an Oranguru, and a 2nd Bulu to avoid having to dig one out when the first gets KO'd. Another issue is Zoroark-GX is resistant to Mew, so while you are hitting the 210 mark, Mew is only getting to 190. This can be extremely relevant! 

Peter told me that in the mirror you can just use Vikavolt/Choice Band to KO an opposing Bulu for one prize, but realistically getting 4 energy on a Vikavolt and having another Vikavolt raring to go is a little difficult in such a high-pressure matchup. So I can't say I'm sold on 0 Mew as of now, but I'll just chalk that up to player preference and let you decide if you need it or not.

4-0-3 Vikavolt

The idea behind 4 Grubbin, 3 Vikavolt and 4 Bulu is that a turn one Lillie will net you more cards to help set up a turn two Vikavolt compared to Brigette only grabbing you Grubbins but you needing either a broken hand or a good Sycamore/N to find the turn 2 Vikavolt. The more outs in the deck, the easier it is to find your pieces while you're digging on the first two turns, and with 4 Ultra Ball, 1 Brigette, 2 Skyla, 2 Nest Ball, 2 Tapu Lele GX, and 4 Grubbin, you have 15 outs to Grubbin, which means 1 in 4 games you'll have it on your first turn! Not including supporters to assume we are using Lillie on turn one, we still have 10 ways to hit Grubbin off of our opening hand, any potential Instruct draws, or off of Lillie! This is very consistent and you will hit turn two Vikavolt more than you could imagine.

2 Tapu Lele-GX

If you've read the legendary John Roberts II article on Bulu, you are aware that he has been perfectly fine with two Lele since the beginning of the deck. He may have played three for Wisconsin, but that was his first time piloting the deck and I remember only two Lele ever since. Either way, I'm also comfortable with this number, and so is Peter, if that helps you decide!

1 Oranguru/0 Octillery

Octo is a good card in this deck because it shows you five cards compared to only three, but Oranguru is all you need to close out a game when your field is self-sufficient, so we are aiming to save a slot instead of getting those greedy extra cards. Oranguru also doubles as a Gardy killer if they ever charge up a 6 energy Gardy to take out a Bulu, as he can hit a maximum of 210 damage not counting any previous damage the Gardy may have sustained.

4 Guzma/3 Sycamore/3 N

It may be different seeing this Supporter count over 4/4/4 or 4/4/3 Guzma, but this deck honestly gets hurt by Sycamore more often than it is helped and 4 Guzma is important to get your undesirable Active back onto your Bench. The intended use is obviously for a Gust effect, but with 0 switching cards in the list besides multiple attachments via Strong Charge, we kind of need the four Guzma to get us through some of those grindy games. Another reason this is strong is because you can punish Leles and other bench sitters, and specifically in a deck like Bulu, Guzma for a 180-hp Pokemon is pretty equivalent to Skyla for Choice Band, giving you plenty of outs to those 2 prizes you need.

2 Skyla

Skyla is an underappreciated card for many reasons, the biggest being that it's a cantrip in a game where you have the option to net +6 instead of breaking even, but in a deck where the name of the game is a turn 2 stage 2, Skyla becomes a boon.

1 Lillie/1 Brigette

The original list posted on Heyfonte by Peter ran 2 Lillie, and while I like not prizing Lillie as often as you normally would I also like the option to have the hard double Grubbin out when your hand is a natural t2 Vikavolt. My thought is that some games you will just have such a good hand that either you will not be able to thin down enough for the 8 off of Lillie to be too relevant, or you will just have Candy/Vika in hand (or the specific outs for such a combo) and just want to grab two Grubbin and a Bulu/Guru for safety.

In a perfect world, this list would be able to fit 2 Lillie 1 Brigette, but I'm having trouble working that out.

4 Ultra Ball/2 Nest Ball/1 Heavy Ball

Seven Ball cards let us search out our specific Vika pieces with ease, and with Ultra Ball pretty much being a supporter in this format you want the four. I mention that because in the past, Turn 2 Stage 2 decks such as Blastoise/Kyurem or Emboar/Rayquaza would run 3 Ultra Ball, 1 Heavy Ball, 1 Level Ball or any combination of 3 Ultra + their respective "free" Ball cards.

The original KicaBulu ran 2 Heavy, 1 Nest, but my preference is to have a 1st and hopefully 2nd t1 Grubbin over a t2 Vikavolt, because your Vikavolt is a dead card if you don't have Grubbin, and so is Heavy Ball.

4 Choice Band

This card lets us hit 210 damage, the perfect math for a KO on a Zoroark-GX or Golisopod-GX, and strong enough to give us a chance to KO Buzzwole-GX, Wishiwashi-GX, Celesteela-GX, or anything else over 180. Having Four Choice Band obviously matches the consistency of the rest of the list, and I doubt three or less would ever cut it. You need to never whiff, because we already know the Zoroark decks won't be whiffing!

2 Energy Recycler/1 Super Rod

These are the recovery cards for the deck. Super Rod is to save us from awful variance or prizes, where we may not have enough Bulu to close out a game, and need to shuffle one in, and then get a couple energies back as well. Recycler is the main recovery card because it lets us have enough energy to close out any given game, considering our main attack discards all of our energy. These counts are pretty universally agreed upon, as well as a 7 Grass/5 Lightning energy count.


That's it for the KicaBulu list, with a couple preference edits, so let me jump into the matchups.

Zoroark/Pod -- favorable

This matchup should be cake, so long as you set up. I would say from the Zoroark side they want to try and KO your extra Grubbin and then Crossing Cut GX your Vikavolt, but if you manage two Vikavolt, they have to go for Guru and then spam N to try and knock you out of the game. It is a surprisingly reliable strategy, but it only feeds off of your poor draws, so in a vacuum Bulu has a well favored matchup here.

Zoroark/Roc -- favorable

This matchup is actually more difficult because of the extra potential for early Guzmas on Grubbins, and also for Kukui/Reverse Valley Zoroark KO on a Vikavolt. This means they can whiff early grubbin KOs and still deal with multiple Vikavolt. Of course, any list not running Reverse Valley is going to have a harder time, so that concern may be a bit inbred. This rating may be a little rough, because we also have access to our Tapu Wilderness GX attack to OHKO a Lycanroc-GX or Lele for two prizes and a full heal, giving us a chance to survive against them for a turn longer.

Gardy 20/80 -- very unfavorable

I give Gardevoir such a high chance of winning this matchup because they can just completely overpower us. Without having the option to OHKO we have to deal with every big Gardy being able to take 3 prizes on average, which means two of those and we lose. We can steal games where Gardevoir dead draws, but even then there are chances for them to just overpower us. Definitely a difficult matchup.

VikaBulu mirror 50/50 -- even

Mew is our saving grace to turn this from your average Mirror into a strong matchup, but their own Mew also swings it so it is very hard to call this anything higher than a 50/50. In this matchup, we need to win the coin flip, or to outrun our opponent, or both! If you lose the coin flip you have to get KOs with your Vikavolt to fix the prize trade into your favor which can be messy if your set up isn't optimal.

Other - Decks like Wishiwashi and Sylveon are notoriously good matchups for the Bulu deck as you hit the magic 210 number and you can play 3 energy in one turn. The pressure Bulu applies is too much for lock decks, and Greninja has to deal with weakness as a hurdle.

That's all for the KicaBulu deck! Hopefully I did it justice; I really like the list and it is one of the first lists that made me actually want to pick up a Bulu deck. It is a serious Australia consideration for anybody going, and it is THE go-to League Cup deck right now if you need some top 8 points and your area only has a couple Gardevoir players.


The next deck I'd like to briefly discuss is Greninja/Zoroark-GX, a deck that has received countless hype over the last couple of weeks, after seeing League Cup success from strong players such as Caleb Gedemer. The list I am sharing with you is one I've made minor changes to after seeing it on Azul GG's Twitter page, just to give credit where it is due. Here's the list and a quick explanation on how the deck works:

This deck is definitely unorthodox, but if you think about it the deck is pretty much just your average Zoroark-GX/Decidueye-GX deck, but a little more attractive. The synergy comes with being able to use Giant Water Shuriken for 60 damage and then retreat to Zoroark-GX who will use Riotous Beating with a Choice Band to deal 150 more, hitting that beautiful 210 mark. In certain matchups you can get away with turn two Candy into Greninja/Shadow Stitching while setting up GWS damage all over your opponent's board, and then cleaning up with your Zoroark-GX. Azul's list uses 0 field Blower and 4 Acerola, which I completely disagree with. I feel you want to be super aggressive with this build and just close the game out as fast as you can, because you don't run Puzzle of Time nor do you have access to Hollow Hunt GX, so your resources start to run thin if you attempt a long game. 0 Field Blower is wierd to me considering Azul just got 2nd at Memphis with a Garbotoxin deck, so he must have had a good reason to omit them, but I feel the card is beyond necessary in order to respect Garbotoxin, Fighting Fury Belt and Parallel City, which all could easily see play, especially at cups.

You have Espeon-EX for your matchups against Evolution decks, and most of the basic decks have trouble with Candy Ninja, so this deck really has options for every matchup. The cool thing is you can OHKO Giratina Promo multiple times with Zoroark, so even if your opponent plays it they need to hit a lot of cards in order to keep putting it back into play. Greninja also makes you pretty impervious to the Lock decks that so frequently beat Zoroark variants, and it swings your Bulu, Frog Mirror, and Volcanion matchups in a way normal Zoroark could never accomplish. This deck's biggest issue is its inconsistency being a stage 1 and a stage 3 (not including Rare Candy skipping Frogadier) deck. I'm confident in saying that if this deck draws well, it is BDIF material.

A play to keep in mind with the deck is Giant Water Shuriken, Giant Water Shuriken, Guzma plays to set up a triple-GWS turn, or GWS, retreat, GWS, Stand In with Zoroark BKT, swing with that, and have a giant turn! That combo is what sold me on the deck to be honest, because I would love to see my opponent's reaction to such a momentum-swinging turn! Also, Greninja being a one-prize partner for Zoroark is insane and gives Zoroark an edge that it otherwise didn't have.

That's about it for Standard this time around, I don't want to bore you all with the same format over and over, but I'd say it is fair that I threw 2 new concepts your way!

The Choice for Expanded

In Expanded, I have a Passimian list I would like to share, as the deck has a great chance of holding its own against a lot of the expected meta, and being only a one-prize attacker it can trade against Zoroark and Night March in a way that a Buzzwole deck wouldn't be able to. The list is derived from the pretty optimal list Grafton Roll, Michael Canaves, Orion Craig and Kevin Murphy ran in Memphis, but with a couple changes that I feel translate well over to Expanded. Here's what I have so far:

I would like to run over some of the cards in this deck because it may be a little difficult to understand. Passimian is a concept that is usually kind of tough because of awkward numbers but now it is a deck that can really stand up to the entire format, thanks to the list these Florida players put out, and thanks to the format sort of naturally shifting into something favorable for Fighting types. Let's jump into the list:

4 Passimian/2 Mew FCO

Passimian's Team Play does 30 more Damage for each Passimian on your Bench, so Mew is an obvious card to combo with Passimian because it allows you to have a quad-Passimian bench. Passimian's math lets you hit 100 on a Zoroark-GX plus x2 Weakness, so one Laser or Choice Band gives you the last push to receive a KO. With Choice Band and Laser and 4 Passimian on bench, Mew FCO can OHKO a Tapu Lele GX, and against Shaymin-EX or Buzzwole-GX, Mew can hit them for OHKOs! This is the main attacking strategy of the deck.

1 Cobalion STS/1 Sudowoodo BKP

These two cards can utilize Counter Energy to hit for one attachment, swinging your Gardevoir matchup and giving you an extra attacker in any situation.

1 Tapu Koko

This card using one Flying Flip puts Zoroark-GX, Tapu Lele-GX, and a few other things into KO range for Passimian and Mew, and it sets up KOs that were otherwise not possible. Koko is worth the one slot because it is your best attacker turn one, where it sets up the rest of your game to need less cards overall. If you think about it, Koko is an easy target to kill because of how strong it is, so your opponent will want to activate your Counter cards, which can open up plenty of opportunities.

1/1-2 Octillery

Octillery is self-explanatory, but I wanted to point attention to the PLF Remoraid and the BUS Remoraid. One has a 20/Paralysis flip attack for a Counter, and the other does 30 for a Counter, which can actually be relevant against Volcanion to hit it for 120 after choice/130 after Laser. These Remoraids come up in your matches, as silly as it sounds. It's about as rare as Paralyzing Gaze would, but it still happens!

1/1 Tapu Lele-GX/Shaymin-EX

These cards are purely for consistency. I like Shaymin-EX in Expanded because early you can slap it down, draw extra cards and then play Brooklet to discard your opponent's Sky Field and ultimately your Shaymin-EX. The one-of Lele is just a necessity and can be played and discarded in the same fashion, so that play is something to keep in mind.

1 Shadow Triad

Shadow Triad lets you pick your Lasers back up, so it is an extra out to a Laser. The Standard list ran four Choice Band, but we are running 2, 2 Laser, a Triad and 4 VS Seeker so there is a chance to pick up Laser as many times as you will need. This may be a bit of a flex spot though, as I'm not sure how often this will come up. In my testing it has been good but I honestly haven't been testing this for too long.

1 Counter Catcher

This lets you Teammates for a Gust effect, burn a card for Octillery draw, Sycamore into a Gust effect, etc. Very good card and perfect as a one-of, any extra would be hard to repeatedly use.

2 Hypnotoxic Laser

I explained the Lele math above, and the +10 for Zoroark, and there really aren't a crazy amount of scenarios where Laser is necessary, so we only want the 2. Another quick scenario for argument's sake would be when you prize a Passimian. With 2 on Bench and one Active, we can hit 10+30+30+choice band 30x2+laser 10 = 210. Triad is nice because if we discard our 2 we can just grab out whatever we need. Another thing I like about Laser/Triad is the chance to Triad into Colress when our hand is awful. I see no reason to switch this back to 4 Band.

1 Town Map

Map is in here just to dig out our prized cards, and to set up our next turn after a big KO, where we can add whatever 2 we want to our hand from prizes instead of just grabbing them blind and potentially whiffing the combo you need. Passimian can survive if one is prized, but it gets harder if they just get KOd , so accessing your four copies is usually giant.

4 Brooklet Hill

These are for consistency and to pull out Passimian and Remoraid from the deck. Maybe Sky Field could be better, but that is doubtful because the added consistency really shows and sometimes this deck can just brick.

1 Dowsing Machine

Dowsing is the Ace Spec of choice because we play a good 37 Trainer Cards and maybe I'll want one of those back at some point in a game, and it also cuts out poor variance a little bit because you can recover something important you had to Sycamore away. I was wanting Master Ball instead, but that is too useless. At that point Comp Search is just better because it will grab out any card instead of just a Pokemon.

1 Strong Energy

The Strong Energy is specifically to just force your opponent to try and turn Counter back on. Canaves said when you are 2-2 versus Gardevoir they will promote a killable One-Prize like Octillery and stick it active to stall, either forcing you to A. Kill Octo, get KO'd in return, and not have access to Cobalion, or B. use Fling on a GX Pokemon forcing them to KO your Passimian at some point or just lose the game, opening up Counter and Cobalion again. This is a card you can play on those turns where you might have extra energy but it is not something you see dropped down every single game. Sometimes you can create different math by attaching the strong first which can be really huge.

That's Passimian for ya! I am confident that this deck can play itself for all of its matchups. One thing to keep in mind is just to do your sequencing properly, be careful going down to 1 Prize because then Counter cards can never be activated again until the next game. Besides that the deck is cake to pilot and it is a really fun and refreshing Counter concept, which I know people love to mess around with.


Thanks again for reading all of this info, it will serve you well for any future Cups or for Australia/Dallas/etc. and will stay relevant for another month and a half, so get in your testing and prepare to play some wonky decks in some wonky formats! As usual, please provide me with any comments and concerns or questions you may have, make sure to check out for all of your trading card singles needs, and say hi if you see me in Dallas or Australia. Until next time,

- Daniel Altavilla 

[+15] okko


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