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Chris Fulop

Brewing with Ultra Prism!

Chris Showcases New Decks Built Around Ultra Prism Standouts, And Updates Existing Archetypes To Combat The New Threats!

02/05/2018 by Chris Fulop

Hello again everyone!

Ultra Prism is the newest Expansion, and with it comes quite a few cards that will be impacting the Standard format. The first card I want to discuss is the "new" Supporter card, Cynthia. I use quotes because it is a functional reprint of Professor Oak's New Theory: Cynthia shuffles your hand into your deck and draws you a new hand of six cards. In the opening stages of the game, it performs the same as an N, which has long been embraced as a strong opening draw Supporter. Unlike N, Cynthia doesn't scale poorly ( as draw! ) as the game progresses and prizes get taken. It also doesn't shuffle your opponent's hand into the deck, too, which sometimes is an actual issue if the opponent has a small hand, or showed prior signs of possessing a poor hand.

Cynthia also competes with Professor Sycamore. While Sycamore sees you a 7th card, Cynthia shuffles your hand into your deck opposed to discarding your hand. If you are looking for a specific card, Sycamore has a few benefits. Beyond seeing one extra card, Sycamore sees 7 NEW cards, where as Cynthia dilutes your deck with the unhelpful cards you previously had in hand. In a deck using cards which are generally easy to play down as they are drawn, this is a notable downgrade. In a deck where you have to piece together Evolutions, discarding potentially clunkier resources is a pretty big issue for Sycamore. Stage 2 decks in particular, using Rare Candy to get out their Evolutions, struggle with using Sycamore at times.

The "core" of Supporter-based draw had been 4 Professor Sycamore and 4 N for quite some time now. Obviously decks augment this with some assortment of Tapu Lele-GX, Octillery, Oranguru and Zoroark-GX; but these had been the standard bearers for Supporters. Now, we have three very viable options, as any deck can make a very reasonable case to include Cynthia on the same tier as these cards. Currently, decks run generally between 7-9 draw Supporters. ( Those going beyond eight delve into the realm of Lillie, Mallow, Skyla, or Prof. Kukui usually. ) Even with Cynthia, I expect this to be the norm. I don't imagine decks will play four of each. Too many turns are taken up using Brigette or Guzma for there to be a need to play that many total Supporters. Tapu Lele-GX's Wonder Tag does so much to mitigate issues regarding failing to have access to draw, that there is just no point in bloating a deck with 10+ draw Supporter cards.

What this leaves us with is the puzzle of how to split up those spots in decks. I mentioned it earlier, but Stage 2 decks seem like they should put an emphasis on Cynthia over Sycamore. These slower Stage 2 decks also play very well with N, as they will often have to play from behind as they take a few turns to get going. ( Games where they are not behind are often games they are winning, too. ) Aggressive, Evolution-less decks like Volcanion have less incentive to conserve their resources and thus the extra reach of Sycamore is more appealing.

Zoroark decks which run Puzzle of Time also should lean more into Cynthia since those are cards which you really want to save until the late game. While Stage 1 decks can certainly benefit from Sycamore, Puzzle of Time conflicts with the Supporter quite a bit. I expect Zoroark decks to lean away from Sycamore, as it seems like the worst of the three Supporters for them. N is nice because you have so much on-board draw power from Trade that you can leverage over an opponent without it.

Greninja is actually a deck that could really benefit from the printing of Cynthia too. One of Greninja's biggest issues, to me, is that it lacked draw power. Greninja really struggled to run cards like Tapu Lele-GX because it did not want to have to deal with retreating them, and did not want to actually bench a two prize liability as so much of the deck's strength derives from it being able to force a full 6 prize game. Even cards like Starmie and Octillery are a bit clunky in the deck, and without the Lele-reinforced engine, getting access to thin 1-1 lines of these cards could be unreliable. This is one archetype that I can see actually playing closer to a set of all three Supporter cards.

Prior to this set, I had been really locked in on playing my own brew of Gardevoir Gallade, and despite the new influx of Metal Pokemon we have gotten in this set, I am still very much interested in continuing to play the deck. Before I go over an updated list of the deck, I want to look at a deck featuring the most powerful tool that Metal decks have gotten from this set: Magnezone.

-Magnezone-

Magnezone is nothing new. It has Rain Dance/Deluge/etc. It is a Stage 2 Pokemon that lets you attach an unlimited amount of Metal Energy from your hand into play each turn. These abilities have pretty much always been powerful, and should never be slept on. In this format, which has shown that Stage 2 Pokemon are absolutely competitive, this is even more the case. We have plenty of engines already showcased in-format that give us some insight into a good starting point for the deck. Both Gardevoir and Vikabulu are tier 1 Stage 2 decks, so lets look to those.

In order for these decks to succeed, you need to not only have the Energy accelerator, but you need a good attacker too. Also released in Ultra Prism is Dusk Mane Necrozma GX. This new Necrozma ( as I will simply it to for the rest of the discussion as I have no idea what a Dusk Mane is, how Necrozma gets one, and what it implies. It is also shorter to type and read. ) Necrozma has 190 HP, and I think Buzzwole GX has done a pretty good job showcasing just how much of a difference the jump from 180 to 190 HP makes. For 4 energy, Necrozma deals 220 damage, and discards 3 Energy. The attack cost, and Energy purge are easily offset by Magnezone's Ability. While 220 damage doesn't OHKO -every- Pokemon in the format, it answers enough of them that I am inclined not to play with any Choice Band or Fighting Fury Belt. I think you possess enough durability and damage output that freeing up deck space is more important. These Stage 2 decks which rely heavily on Abilities are very demanding on cards to be included, and this is no different. Unlike Gardevoir, which can function off a lower Energy count, and Vikabulu whose Vikavolt yanks Energy from it's deck, Magnezone requires you to be able to have a lot of Energy in hand to really flow. You need Rare Candy, a lot of Energy, ways to get back Energy, and Field Blowers to deal with Garbotoxin. This space has to come from somewhere, and the lack of Tools is one good way to get it. Necrozma's GX attack also can hit the 250 mark, even if it does have the limitation of requiring you to be behind on prizes to use it. That is enough to make me forego the inclusion of damage boosting Tools.

Lets look at the core of the deck.

I am choosing to go with a 3-2-3 Magnezone line. You only need 1 Magnezone out at a time to function, and there is no real incentive to get out an extra one beyond as an insurance policy in case the first one goes down. As a result, there is no need for a thicker line than this. In fact, if there wasn't the threat of Espeon EX, I would trim this to a 3-1-3 line and rely more off of Rare Candy. While one of the Magnemites does have a nice attack that grabs Metal Energy from your deck, I'm not ever hoping to use the attack. As a result, all 3 Magnemite are being played as the one whose Ability protected it on the bench. Necrozma is the deck's main...or should I say "Mane" attacker...( Please don't cancel your membership...I won't do it again. ) and gets a three count as a result. You don't need more than that and you can make a case that you don't even need 3, especially with additional attackers included, but there is no need to really skimp on this card.

Beyond this, I'm running a 2-2 Octillery line and 2 Tapu Lele GX. This is a pretty common engine for Stage 2 decks, and with how much I've been enjoying it in Gardevoir so far, I'm not looking to deviate too much. While Starmie would get you your Metal Energy back cleanly for Magnezone, I feel as if Octillery will facilitate this function well enough while also protecting you from N and just helping you set up in general too.

For additional attackers, I'm testing out Solgaleo PRISM and Dialga GX. Solgaleo is a strong non-EX attacker, and also a means to dump additional Energy into play in a pinch. Sometimes you'll fail to be able to draw into enough to attack with, and sometimes you'll either lack the Magnezone entirely, or be Ability locked. Solgaleo gives you an alternative means to progress your board state. Solgaleo's first attack lets you pluck a Metal Energy from the Discard pile for every Pokemon your opponent has in play, and attach it to your field. For 4 Energy, it does 160 damage and cannot attack on the following turn. With 160 HP and only giving up a lone prize card, it is a strong weapon in the deck. Due to the limitations of PRISM cards, you can only run one copy, but I feel as if that would be the count even if we could run additional ones.

Dialga GX is far less impressive to me at first glance, but worth trying out in the initial build. First of all, it has a different weakness than the rest of the deck as a Dragon-type, being weak to Fairy Pokemon. It isn't the biggest deal, unfortunately. The only real Fire deck in the format, Volcanion, should still absolutely streamroll this deck. It has another safety net attack, as it gives you a new hand of 6 for only one Metal Energy. It is nice to have another fallback plan for games where you are struggling or disrupted. Dialga also has a "Shred/Swift" attack which cuts through the effects on Pokemon it attacks. The damage output of 80 is a bit low, especially without damage augmenting Tools, unfortunately. The big allure of Dialga is it's hefty costed GX attack, which does 150 damage for 5 Energy...and lets you TAKE ANOTHER TURN. ( Fun Fact: This turn DOES count towards turns in "extra turns" of rounds. If you use it on turn 2 of extra turns, for example, your extra turn counts as turn 3, and the opponent does not get a turn. If you use it on turn 3, you do not actually see this "4th" turn the attack awards, as the match ends before you take it. ) This is an extremely powerful feature, and I can't justify at least not trying it out in this deck whose skeleton fits it so well. Without Choice Band, you can't reach 180 damage for EX/GX KOs, which is a real downside, but it KOs most other Pokemon comfortably. You can Guzma up Octillery or other supporting Pokemon and take them out for "free" as your attack replaces itself. If Dialga proves effective enough, it may be worth forcing a few copies of Choice Band into the deck. ( Being able to KO a Tapu Lele, take 2 prizes, and get another turn immediately afterwards feels really, really powerful. )

I am also certain there are other Pokemon who count see play in this deck. Dhelmise boost metal damage, but it eats up a bench space and I'm not sure the damage output in this deck is a concern. For Dhelmise's damage boost to matter, you'd need multiple copies, and that ends up being ineffecient. I looked at Cobalion, as the card had impressed me in Metalbox, but this deck's game plan renders it fairly obsolete. Celesteela is also outclassed by the other GX attackers in the deck.

Moving beyond the Pokemon, the deck runs 10 Metal Energy. With a pair of Super Rod and 4 copies of the new Stadium, Mt. Coronet ( a Metal Energy Retrieval every turn ), I am banking on this being enough Energy. It may end up correct to play 11-12, but space is pretty tight so 10 will have to suffice to begin with.

The deck's Supporters are pretty standard fare. 4 N and 4 of the new Cynthia are paired with 2 Brigette and 3 Guzma. With the deck not looking to discard resources, I'm not looking to play Sycamore. It could end up correct to play 1 copy of the Supporter as a Lele target for "safe" turns when you empty your hand and Lele for a Supporter, but when playing a starting point list, I'd rather not get too fancy until I start refining the list.

4 Ultra Ball and Rare Candy are necessary, as are 4 Mt. Coronet. 3 Field Blower deals with Garbotoxin and also can take Fighting Fury Belt off of heftier Pokemon. In general, 220 damage still answers most Belted Pokemon, but Buzzwole's 190 HP becomes 230, so that would be an issue. Super Rod recovers lost Pokemon and Energy, but may be better served as Energy Retrieval, Professor's Letter, or Fisherman. The main role is to help offset the speed at which the deck burns through Energy, and with Octillery, maybe Fisherman is just stronger. There could be a case for converting 1 or both of these spots into additional Energy cards too. Finally, I am running 1 Float Stone because the retreat costs in the deck are really high. Normally in this type of deck you just retreat off of your accelerated Energy drops, but when retreat costs get THIS high, this becomes much less practical. The 3 Guzma and 1 Float Stone should provide enough insurance that you don't have issues though.

I am also looking at Max Potion as an option for this deck. Being able to attach a ton of Energy in a turn lets you rebuild immediately after healing one of your hefty GX attackers, so it feels strong here. I am just not sure it is necessary? You are playing haymaker Pokemon, and swinging for the fences with Necrozma. I feel like you are able to just win by overpowering decks and that games that are won by healing cards may be too minimal to justify it considering how many other cards I'd like to fit as well. I'd rather add reactive cards once I know how many matchups I feel they'd impact after testing the deck more.

With all of this being said, I want to voice my concern over the strength of this deck. The deck is powerful! I'm not disputing this. I just feel like it is likely a worse Vikabulu. Vikabulu is so self relient once set up, because it takes the Energy from your deck opposed to your hand. It requires less moving parts every turn, and that really matters. Tapu Bulu GX also GREATLY benefits from having no Weakness. This deck basically cannot ever beat Volcanion. Vikabulu has few major issues to play against, although it is on the weaker energy against Gardevoir. This deck does beat Gardevoir pretty handily, but Gardevoir has decreased in popularity, and I feel like mere Metal hype alone is going to continue to scare off some players. On the other hand, it should also encourage players to pick up more Volcanion. If this trend does not take hold, and Gardevoir becomes a big deck to beat, it does lend a lot of credance to picking this over Vikabulu. Otherwise, I feel like this ends up being just a slightly worse Vikabulu deck.

-Glaceon GX-

One of the more exciting cards out of this set is Glaceon GX! While active, Glaceon GX locks the opponent off of using GX and EX Abilities while leaving yours in tact. This is pretty brutal. It turns off Wonder Tag and Trade, meaning a lot of decks are going to be pretty hamstrung by this disruption. Other decks such as Decidueye and Volcanion are so reliant on their Abilities that this will be downright crippling. Considering you have Eevee's Energy Evolution as means to be able to evolve it on your first turn, there will be games where your opponent never even gets to have access to their GX/EX Abilities at all!

Glaceon has 200 HP and a weakness to Metal. The Metal weakness could be an issue if the type gains popularity. It has an upgraded "Night Spear", doing 90 damage and 30 to a benched Pokemon for WCC. This means it can be powered up in one turn off an Aqua Patch and a DCE. Glaceon's GX attack also costs WCC, and does 50 damage for every damage counter on the Defending Pokemon. When you are accumulating damage with 30 snipes all game, it makes for pretty easy OHKOs. When you pair Glaceon's disruption with a strong split damage attack and one solid "OHKO" per game, the card feels very powerful.

The question then becomes what is the best way to build around it? I opted to go for a build that is fairly similar to the old Alolan Ninetales GX decks, but I've also seen talk about trying to pair it with Decidueye. I think that sounds really powerful, but I am also not sure how to make a deck like that fit and it may end up failing due to trying to do too much. Here is my starting point for Glaceon GX.

I'm running a 4-3 Glaceon line because with Energy Evolution, the 4th copy of Glaceon feels unnecessary. Tapu Koko helps play off the bench damage side of Glaceon's pressure. Glaceon and Tapu Koko do a lot of work and can set up powerful Espeon EX plays. 3 Tapu Koko may be overkill, but I felt like it's free Retreat Cost would make it a great opener as it lets you promote and Energy Evolve an Eevee on the first turn more often. Since I am already running DCE and I want access to Pokemon based draw power, Zoroark seems like a natural fit. With all of the Spear damage and Koko spread, Zoroark can actually do a good job of cleaning up damaged Pokemon in play. Even Tapu Lele cleans up well enough in a longer game!

The Energy count is about what you would expect. I've considered both more and less Water Energy. On one hand, with Aqua Patch, and Glaceon's demand for Water Energy, 7 feels a bit high. On the other hand, you want Energy Evolution on the first turn as often as possible, so you don't want to go too low. I actually considered cutting a Water for an Oricorio, as it lets you grab a "Water Energy" off of your Brigette.

For the deck's Supporters, I went with 4 N, 1 Sycamore, 2 Cynthia, 2 Mallow, 2 Brigette, and 4 Guzma. This deck is disruptive, and has Zoroark, therefore 4 N is absolutely mandatory. You gain a lot of strength playing disruptive Ns later in the game as you turn off Wonder Tag and Trade. You are also insured...N-sured...against sabotaging your own draws due to your own Trades. I went with a fairly arbitrary split on Cynthia and Sycamore because I have no idea which is better in this deck. This is a Zoroark deck, but it doesn't choose to play any Puzzle of Time, so Sycamore isn't as inherently poor. This is the type of deck I feel very conflicted on the split with.

2 Brigette is just mandatory in decks with Zoroark. I could make a case for 3 here, but the deck has enough Supporters as it is. Since the deck cares more about just getting Glaceon out first more so than filling your bench ASAP for Zoroark, you get a little more leeway too. I'm running 4 Guzma because of how good it is with 90/30 split attacks, and spread in general. You are cutting off a lot of decks' draw power, and if you ever strand something with Guzma as you spread, it is often just game winning. Being able to Guzma up and KO an Octillery while also locking off Wonder Tag is huge too. Guzma on the first turn also lets you promote an Eevee you drew or Ultra Balled for, while still letting you have an available Energy attachment to be able to use Energy Evolution and established the first turn lock.

Mallow has shown it's strength in both Zoroark decks and Alolan Ninetales GX decks. Being able to, at worst, grab an Aqua Patch and a DCE to power up an attacker in one turn is great. This also influenced my decision to run a pair of Max Potion. With 200 HP, Glaceon isn't an easy OHKO, and you can definitely heal and re-power it in a turn pretty comfortably. Buying turns with a spread deck is very lucrative in general. The last 2 cards are Field Blower. I am actually not really concerned with Garbotoxin, but I am absolutely concerned about Parallel City. On top of this I am a bit worried about Fighting Fury Belt as the deck's damage output isn't poor, but it would care about 40 additional hit points spread about.

Glaceon's presence, if it gets popular, will impact how decks have to build. Relying on turn 1 Wonder Tag becomes less reliable. I wouldn't be surprised to see decks which really want a turn 1 Brigette to run an additional copy of it to help mitigate the loss to Tapu Lele GX.

-Dugtrio-

Alright, this deck is either going to be absolutely busted or unplayable, and I have no idea which it will end up being yet. I read through the spoiler for the set and saw Alolan Dugtrio and my mind started racing. ( Fun Fact: The very first Pokemon deck I ever won was using a base set Dugtrio/Hitmonchan/Scyther deck. Me and Dugtrio go way back. ) While only having 60 HP on a Stage 1 ( Shades of the Dark Pokemon from the original Team Rocket expansion! ) it has a free attack that lets you pitch any number of Metal Energy from your hand to do 30 damage per card. This is actually a pretty reasonable rate, and there are a lot of tools to be able to pull off OHKOs reliably! Starmie gets back 2 Energy a turn, Fisherman gets back 4, and Mt. Coronet gets back 2. That is your 240 damage per turn. Lets look at the first list I've thrown together for the deck.

A 4-4 Dugtrio line is mandatory. I'm running a 3-2 Starmie line and a 2-2 Octillery line. I want as much Pokemon based draw power as possible. If I can get out multiple Starmie, great. Octillery offers diminishing returns for extra copies. There is a pretty good chance I want a 2nd Tapu Lele GX but I'd rather not give up 2 prize KOs if I don't have to. With how low the HP totals are for all of these Pokemon, you'll be giving up a lot of prizes early, and even if you are scoring your own OHKOs, you don't want to give up 1-2 prizes setting up, and then losing 2 more at the end to Tapu Lele too. It is similar to Greninja, only you don't ever hit the point of stemming the bleeding with Greninja BREAKs high HP and disruptive Shadow Stitching.

The deck runs 12 Metal Energy and 4 Prof. Letter. It is odd because you not only need to be able to recover a lot of Energy a turn, but you also need to draw into them to begin with. Recovering the Energy is actually not going to be a big problem. Drawing into them on the other hand, is going to be a real challenge. I wouldn't expect to start piecing together EX/GX KOs until turn 3 unless you have a strong draw.

You'll notice there is not a lot of Supporter draw in the deck: Only 3 Cynthia and 1 N. Once you set up at all, you really don't want to even be playing these cards. You want to Fisherman as often as you can. It is going to be better than a Cyntia or an N a vast majority of the time. On the first turn, you'd rather Brigette. Beyond this, you will want to Guzma every so often too. There are not many stages of the game where you want these types of Supporters, and they are more there as safety nets than cards you'd be excited to play.

4 Mt. Coronet and 4 Prof. Letter and 2 Super Rod are there to assure you see your Energy cards. Field Blower is for Parallel City, and for Garbotoxin. Not sure you'll be beating Garbotoxin with it much anyways, but its better than not trying. 4 Ultra Ball and 2 Evosoda help you get out your Pokemon quicker. I actually started with more Evosoda, but had to trim them to fit the Super Rods and Field Blowers. You unfortunately need to be able to get back your uh...hairy mole people. I haven't played enough games with this deck yet to know if Super Rod recovering Energy is BENEFICIAL or a handicap to the deck. Rescue Stretcher may be strictly better.

This deck reminds me a lot of the Gourgeist deck, only without a finite damage output per game. The deck has two major glaring flaws: It should never beat Tapu Koko/Espeon GX. And you have to spend all game staring at Digletts with hair. What a hideous design.

The next two decks are not really show-casing the new cards as much as they are updates to exisiting archetypes to adjust for Ultra Prism's release.

I've stayed really impressed with this deck, and actually have been loving it even more the more I play with it. In all honesty, you don't have to do a ton to the decklist I was using previously if you do not want to. There are really two things to come out in this set that make me worry at all: The new Metal Pokemon, and Glaceon GX. Glaceon turning off Wonder Tag makes me want a 3rd Brigette. If Glaceon proves not only good, but popular, the 3rd Brigette needs to be added. Luckily, once set up, I actually think that Glaceon isn't that bad for the deck, depending on how it is built. I would not be thrilled to play against the spread version I have listed above, that is for sure.

The Metal deck is a lot scarier, as you basically cannot ever use Gardevoir as an attacker. The deck is actually rather capable of doing that, though. I've added a 3rd Prof. Kukui and a Rescue Stretcher to the deck to really augment the Gallade game plan. Necrozma has 190 HP...with Regirock, Kukui and a Choice Band, Gallade can OHKO a Necrozma. You need access to 3 Gallade, and 3 Kukui to make this work. I considered just adding a 3rd Gallade...the card is actually just very good in most matchups. It wouldn't be that bad. The problem is, if a Magnezone opponent is smart, they actually just Lysandre KO the Regirock leaving Gallade capped at 180 damage. Adding the wildcard Rescue Stretcher to be the 3rd Gallade/2nd Regirock EX felt better. ( Although adding a 2nd Regirock is legitimately an option. It lets Gallade reach 150 against the Magnezone itself for Guzma KOs which could win games, and also lets you hit 180 without Kukui, so you can Guzma 180 HP Pokemon. I think this is even too cute for what I am already doing with the deck though. )

If the metal deck doesn't actually make much of a splash, I wouldn't worry about making many adjustments at all. Take this list, and cut the Rescue Stretcher and 3rd Prof. Kukui for a 3rd Tapu Lele GX/3rd Brigette, and either a 3rd Field Blower or a Parallel City.

-Lycanroc Zoroark-

One of the cards I looked at in this set and felt oddly drawn to is Missing Clover. I try to tell my friends about it, and their immediate reaction is always "Missing Clover? What does THAT do? " and I make some bad joke "Nothing. UNLESS you play ALL FOUR COPIES of it..." and go on to explain how I think it may be good and usually am met by eye rolling. I like to joke about how it is likely bad, too, but there is a part of me that thinks there could be some real merit to the card.

Taking a free prize card is a HUGE deal. You obviously have to work for it, but it can certainly be pulled off in a deck with Zoroark, Mallow and Puzzle of Times. Now, you can theoretically live the pipe dream of playing 4 Clover, then 4 Puzzle of Time to just take 2 free prize cards, but I'm not even considering that as a viable strategy when building or playing the deck.

What I do not think is "too cute" is running a Kartana GX with this gimmick. Kartana's GX attack just takes a prize card for a Metal Energy. If you can just take 2 free, easy prize cards in a game, that is a huge edge against most decks. I wanted to pair this with the most aggressive deck I could put it in, and that was Lycanroc Zoroark. Between Clovers, Kartana's GX attack, and all of the cheap KOs off Lycanroc's Ability, this deck is able to close games out really easily. The clover gimmick actually plays really well with the overall M.O. of what the deck is already doing. I ended up trimming a lot of the cute utility cards the deck was running before, and tried to embrace a more aggressive role with the build. Here is what I came up with:

I'm running the bare minimum when it comes to the Pokemon. 4-4 Zoroark, 3-2 Lycanroc, 2 Tapu Lele and a lone Kartana GX. Kartana prompted a simple switch from Fighting Energy to Rainbow Energy. This leaves you dead to Xurkitree GX, but the only "real" deck running that ( Sorry Heatmor Raichu! I still love you! Plus you got a lot better due to Pal Pad's reprinting! ) is the Wishiwashi deck, and that matchup is going to be really bad either way so I'm not even viewing that as a relevant downgrade. We've moved an effective auto loss to an actual autoloss. Kartana's space simply came from the 2nd Enhanced Hammer, as it provides a very similar function, but also works better with the Clovers.

Regarding the Trainers, the Supporters are pretty standard except I do not have any Acerola. Acerola is great in the deck, absolutely, and I'd love to fit in ONE copy, perhaps over the 4th Cynthia, but I don't want to grind out games. I want to be very aggressive. I don't run any Max Potion either, despite how good that card is with the Puzzles. I would run Acerola before I'd run Max Potion, and I'd rather have Acerola than 1 of both, as well.

The really embarrassing inclusion ( If you are willing to give the Clovers a free pass ) is the Town Map. You actually may not need to run any sort of Prize card mapping, as you are taking enough prizes and only need to play the Clovers at the very end of a game and can just bite the bullet when a Clover is your last prize. ( or 2 if you planned to pull them off the same turn you Kartana...and its the turn before the opponent would win. ) Gladion is the other option, as it is a little less anemic than Town Map, but it is also your Supporter use. I could see cutting the Town Map for Gladion, and since it is a draw Supporter of sorts, you can ten trim the 4th Cynthia for the Acerola.

To close out this article, I wanted to go over some of the deck ideas that came to mind using some of the new Ultra Prism cards that I haven't worked with enough yet to have proper lists for.

The freebie deck idea being given to us in this set is Lucario/Garchomp/Cynthia. Garchomp has a solid 150 HP and does 100 damage for FCC, but it becomes 200 if you have played a Cynthia this turn. Lucario has an Ability that lets you search your deck for any card each turn if you have a Garchomp in play. This is actually a pretty great engine, and 200 damage for "two" Energy is certainly an exciting rate, especially on an attacker that gives up only 1 prize card. I'm not even offput on using a deck with a Stage 2 and a Stage 1 Pokemon. The Lucarios will make setting up and maintaining that set up pretty easy. The biggest issue I see is figuring out how to actually keep up on Energy attachments. Fighting energy is a type with NO acceleration. You could rely on Exp. Share, but Field Blower ruins that. The awful gimmick I'm praying isn't the best solution would be Max Elixir. The card is MISERABLE in the deck, as it only attaches to Basic Pokemon and you probably don't want to run many Fighting Energy at all, but if you get multiple Lucario out, these absurd pipe dream scenario gimmicks may actually become reliable. Max Elixir to Gible, Rare Candy Garchomp, DCE...it sounds like so much work, but I don't think the deck can function unless it comes up with a solution to it's attachment issue. I am really hoping this is not the best solution and I am overlooking something.

Leafeon-GX looks really interesting, and the most obvious pairing for it is with Decidueye-GX. Being able to use Leafeon's GX attack to power out a bunch of Owls really quickly is really powerful and worth working for! I'm just not sure it works. Lets look at some of the major issues facing the strategy. First, bench space is tight. You want as many Decidueye as you can get out. You probably get stuck playing down a Tapu Lele at some point. You want some kind of additional draw pairing...likely Zoroark GX.

In order to make Leafeon worth it, you really want to use the GX attack on the first turn. This means you need to get it active. You also need a Grass Energy, which traditionally the archetype runs a whopping total of 3 of. Getting the Eevee, getting the Grass, and getting the Eevee active is asking a LOT. Leafeon has a very small window of usefulness before it "helping your set up" is no longer important. Trying to jam a very time sensative card into a deck that is already extremely tight is a daunting task for sure, especially since the skeleton we are trying to shove the Evolution line into is lacking most of the parts necessary to address it's time sensitivity. Trying to build this list so far has been a disaster.

The only thing I can even think of is cutting Zoroark entirely, and that sounds really bad too. Leafeon AND a draw partner doesn't look to fit, and if choosing between the two, it doesn't look to benefit Leafeon's cause much. Leafeon eats up way more space to make work. Leafeon is actually a decent attacker doing 110 for GCC, but Zoroark is just better in that role. The final straw, to me, is this: Assume you actually pull off the dream. You get Leafeon active. You get a Grass on it. You also fill your bench with as many baby Owls as you can. You GX attack. ( Giving up Decidueye's GX attack is a cost too. ) Is that jumpstart even better than having a game full of Trade and the damage output of Riotous Beating? I don't think it is. I'm pretty convinced that you can't fit BOTH, and also that if you had to choose, Zoroark is superior.

Last up on the "to address" list is Cyrus. Cyrus is an amped up Parallel City, leaving an opponent with only 2 benched Pokemon after use. Cyrus, after it's errata, forces the opponent to bounce all but 2 of their benched Pokemon but can only be used when you have a Steel or Water type Pokemon active. The catch is, of course, you don't have to end the turn with said Pokemon active. It just needs to be there as you play your Supporter. The easiest out to this is to put something like Octillery active with a Float Stone. It really only seems abusive alongside Sylveon GX's GX attack, but that is a lot of work to do.

Until next time!

Chris

[+16] okko


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