Experts' corner

Jose Marrero

Three Plays for Worlds and the Examination of the 2018 Season Announcements

Jose analyzes three decks for the upcoming World Championship format as well as gives his thoughts on the new 2018 season announcements.

06. 08. 2017 by Jose Marrero

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Jose analyzes three decks for the upcoming World Championship format as well as gives his thoughts on the new 2018 season announcements.


Hello once again, 60cards readers! Currently, many are testing for the World Championships and Anaheim Open, so it's a great time to talk about three plays that will see a lot of play come Worlds and should be taken seriously when deck building. First, I start with Volcanion, a deck that has had a number of strong finishes over the past several months. With the addition of the new set, Burning Shadows, Volcanion gains some new cards, which makes it one of the best contenders going into the Worlds format.

Second, I transition to Gardevoir-GX/Octillery, the most hyped deck and possibly the best deck in format now that Burning Shadows has officially dropped.

Third, I move to Golisopod-GX/Decidueye-GX, a deck that can succeed if you dodge Volcanion, since this deck can apply pressure on the first turn thanks to Forest of Giant Plants still being legal for play. Forest of Giant Plants will rotate out of Standard and be banned from Expanded at the same time, so this is your last chance to take advantage of it.

After covering my three plays for Worlds, I finish with my thoughts on the 2018 season announcements (including everything but League Challenges, because who cares about those anyway.)

Quickly moving off topic, I want to briefly talk about the ARG Invitational coming up next week as I did in my last article. The ARG Invitational (click here for more information) yields four tournaments in one weekend that will have Burning Shadows legal for play to provide some last-minute testing for those attending Worlds and the Anaheim Open. There also are credit and cash prizes on the line, so be sure to register with the link provided above.

With that said let's start off with an old archetype with some new inclusions from Burning Shadows.


There's been a lot of talk about Volcanion post-Burning Shadows and for good reason, since it has gained four new cards. The first being Kiawe, which searches your deck for 4 Fire Energy and attaches them to one of your Pokémon. However, this Supporter does end your turn. It's not surprising to see such a large drawback to balance a powerful effect (think Tropical Beach). Having a turn two Volcanion-EX, Turtonator-GX, or even Ho-Oh-GX ready to threaten KOs is too good to pass up. Kiawe will surely make its way in most if not all Volcanion lists moving forward.

Kiawe brings me to Ho-Oh-GX, another addition from Burning Shadows. Ho-Oh-GX not only has weakness to Lightning, making it useful against decks that would otherwise hit Fire types for weakness. Ho-Oh-GX has three attacks, two of which aren't too great: Sacred Fire does only 50 damage to one Pokémon for three energy. It's GX attack, Eternal Flame GX, puts three of any combination of Fire Pokémon GX or Fire Pokémon EX onto your bench from your discard. However, Phoenix Burn has a base damage of 180, making it immune to Garbotoxin, since you don't have to Steam Up to one-hit KO Pokémon with 180 or fewer hit points namely Drampa-GX. The downside is that you can't use Phoenix Burn next turn.

Guzma allows you get around the effect of Phoenix Burn, as well as Volcanion-EX's Volcanic Heat. By using Guzma, then promoting something you can retreat, you can reuse Phoenix Burn and Volcanic Heat, which is awesome, since you don't have to manually retreat your attackers anymore or be forced to use Volcanion's, Power Heater, when you'd rather be taking a KO. With Guzma, you can go in and out of attackers if you have at least two powered up.

The last new inclusion is Acerola, a card that's not necessarily needed but can be clutch if used at the right time. With this deck having many bulky attackers, a card like Acerola may be able to turn two-shots into three-shots or more. Having the option to Acerola into Volcanion then have energy ready to Steam Up is a solid strategy, if you're going for two-shots. Recently, a lot of lists have been going down to three Volcanion-EX; however, if you prize one and another is knocked out early, you're left with just one, which may not be enough to one-hit KO anything with 210 hit points or higher or anything with Fighting Fury Belts or Bodybuilding Dumbbells attached to them. I have two Volcanion even though there are two Kiawe to help fuel attackers faster. Still, you want a couple Volcanion just in case you need to do damage while setting up two attackers. Having a non-EX or -GX attacker helps especially if you want to play the seven-prize game.

Having at least one Turtonator-GX still is optimaly, since you never know when it'll come in handy. Turtonator-GX provides another form of energy acceleration outside of Max Elixir, which is useful with the threat of Trashalanche.

I've always been a fan of having at least one Shaymin-EX in any given deck outside of the obvious ones such as Greninja to name one. Sure, there's no Hoopa-EX to search it out; however, Shaymin-EX in most cases can save you, despite being a liability on the bench. And Shaymin-EX's low hit points don't matter if you're going for the game-winning play. If you'd like to avoid playing Shaymin-EX, then you can substitute it for Oranguru or a third Volcanion.

Two Tapu Lele-GX is a must in this deck, (maybe even three) since finding those turn 1 Kiawe plays are ideal, because a turn two, fully powered Ho-Oh-GX, Volcanion-EX, or Turtonator-GX can start taking KO after KO.

Lastly, for the Pokémon, I still kept Starmie in the deck because its ability, Space Beacon, is too good in this deck not to play. Getting back two Fire Energy whenever you want to abuse Steam Up is important from turning two-shots into one-shots. This list is pretty standard outside of the new cards mentioned above. You can change the Tool count to your liking, but I would advise playing Fighting Fury Belts over Choice Band. With access to Steam Up, damage from Choice Band may not always be needed. I prefer the survivability provided from Fighting Fury Belt, but you can go with a 2-2 split if you prefer.

Other card options

Oranguru SUM:

This card is never bad, because, if anything, it can save you from a late game N bringing you back into the game. It is tough to fit this card in a deck like Volcanion, because bench space always is tight.


If you are playing Starmie, you don't need to run Fisherman. If you do not play Starmie, then you should be playing Fisherman. The only downside of Fisherman over Starmie is that Starmie can get you energy off N no matter what hand size they N you to. 

Max Elixir:

If Garbodor starts seeing a decline in play, then Max Elixirs can once again be great, However, with the inclusion of Kiawe, I don't think Max Elixir is needed as much, not to mention Turtonator-GX, where its GX attack, can fuel multiple attackers.

Rescue Stretcher:

Normally you don't see a recovery card in a deck like Volcanion, but it is useful if you need to get back Starmie, Tapu Lele-GX, or even Volcanions. Having at least one copy of Rescue Stretcher can come in handy. I've never been one to play Volcanion even though I know how powerful it is, and I always wondered why they never ran recovery. If everyone's doing it, then maybe that's the correct call.

Scorched Earth:

Currently, I have only Brooklet Hill, since they to search out Volcanion-EX and Staryu without using an item. But I can see where Scorched Earth can be clutch at times for when your dead-drawing or just need energy in the discard for Turtonator-GX's Nitro Tank GX or Volcanion's Power Heater.

Next, I go over the most hyped deck of the new set, Gardevoir-GX/Octillery.

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