Experts' corner

Jose Marrero

Life Stream - A Look at Xerneas BREAK in Standard

Jose analyzes Tamao's Top 8 Xerneas BREAK deck from Bremen Regionals.

09/28/2017 by Jose Marrero


Hello again, 60cards readers! I'm back yet again and this time I wanted to go over a deck that came out of nowhere and took a spot in the Top 8 at the Bremen Regional Championships not too long ago. Xerneas BREAK was the deck, piloted by Tamao, who's one of Europe's greats. Tamao's Regional run was unfortunately stopped by one of Europe's gods himself: the one and only Tord Reklev. This man is on fire and doesn't want to stop anytime soon. Still, Tamao was able to get Top 8 with such a unique deck which players didn't expect at all. From personally playing against the deck at a recent League Cup I can truly say the deck is definitely no joke, and should be taken seriously, especially in today's meta. I'm sure players will try this deck out and some will hate it and some will love it. It's up to you as a player to decide if this deck fits your playstyle or not. The deck isn't that difficult to understand, it's all about having patience and hitting the correct numbers for one hit KO's, which is what the deck thrives on and why the deck is so powerful.

With that being said, let's go right into Tamao's Top 8 Xerneas BREAK list from Bremen Regionals.

Xerneas BREAK

As you know, Tamao got Top 8 at the Bremen Regional Championships with this list. I think his Top 8 match against Tord was unlucky, as I feel the matchup against Drampa-GX/Espeon-GX/Garbodor should be favored for Xerneas BREAK. However, Tord is one of the best players right now, and was piloting Garbodor mixed with both Drampa-GX and Espeon-GX, so if anyone could beat Xerneas BREAK it's definitely Tord. You can't be mad at a Top 8 Regional finish especially this early in the season, not to mention with a deck you created himself. Shout out to Tamao on that creativity and success, and now I'm sure players will want to try the deck out for themselves. One thing I learned from this game over the years is that if you put your mind to it you can to come up with a solid archetype or deck in general which most would say is out of the box.Tamao's Pokemon counts were as basic as possible, which may be why he got so far. Consistency is key, which I've said plenty of times, and Tamao's list definitely shows plenty of it. The general concept of this deck is to use Xerneas's Geomancy attack to load up your board with tons of Fairy Energy.

After enough energy is on your field, Xerneas BREAK comes in to do the dirty work. For just two Fairy Energy, Xerneas BREAK has an attack called Life Stream, which does 20 damage for each energy attached to all of your Pokémon. Because it specifically says "Energy" a Double Colorless Energy will count as 40 damage. Evolving into Xerneas BREAK also boosts Xerneas with an extra 20 hit points, which will surely make it more difficult to one hit KO. A 4-3 line of Xerneas BREAK is thus ideal, as it is the deck's main attacker. Xerneas's second attack Rainbow Spear can come in handy too, but only in certain situations will it be more powerful than Life Stream. Tamao also played 3 Tapu Lele-GX, as it can act not only as a supporter wild card, but as a secondary attacker as well due to Energy Drive's inherent synergy with Geomancy.

It's important to get a turn one Brigette, so having at least three Tapu Lele-GX in this deck seems like the correct count, since, as I said, the worst case scenario for them is that they become secondary attackers. Oranguru can also be an attacker if absolutely necessary, but its inclusion is more of an insurance against late-game Ns. Oranguru is in a majority of decks right now, unless they run Octillery, which is just a more powerful stage one version of Oranguru.

The loss of VS seeker to rotation this year ushers in higher counts of supporters, which Tapu Lele-GX are able to fetch from the deck. A max count of Professor Sycamore and N should be in every deck now, and this is no exception. As far as Guzma goes, it all depends on the deck because anywhere from 2-4 is ideal, and this list runs 3. While I understand the double Brigette is insurance against prizing your single copy and not having access to it, I am not a fan because I feel the second one ends up being a dead card.

You definitely want to be playing four Max Elixir in this deck because that's how you fuel Life Stream, outside of Geomancy. Four Choice Band is great in this deck because it is so focused on one-hit knockouts, and the Choice Bands help you hit those magic numbers. Because Xerneas BREAK is an evolution Pokemon, Fighting Fury Belts don't work in this deck anyway. Now, Exp. Share is another must in this deck because of their ability to keep energies on the board. It's also important to note that without Xerneas BREAK and its Life Stream attack, this deck is without a main attacker, which is why Tamao played three recovery cards and not 1-2 like most decks. Two Super Rods make perfect sense, since this deck thrives on basic Fairy Energy you need to get them back if necessary, or else your damage output is severely diminished. I like the one of Rescue Stretcher in case you have to just grab a Xerneas BREAK from the discard right to your hand or even a Tapu Lele-GX to grab a supporter right away. This deck's stadium of choice is obviously Fairy Garden because once you Geomancy enough times you want to preserve your active Pokémon's energy, so you never want to have to manually retreat or else your damage output gets reduced.

Overall I think this deck as a whole is going to see more play at upcoming events and players should not sleep on it.

Other card options


Players are playing this card in Gardevoir-GX - so why not in Xerneas, since it too plays Fairy and Double Colorless Energy? Not only is Sylveon-GX just great for searching out any three cards such as triple Max Elixir, but its GX attack, Plea GX can help put two of your opponent's Benched Pokémon back into their hand. Against Gardevoir-GX and Metagross-GX I can see Plea GX coming in clutch to get rid of threats that will then need to be re-evolved, which then gives you a couple more turns of energy attachments to fuel potential one hit KO's.

Giratina XY 184 Promo:

Greninja can be troublesome for this deck, so having Giratina to help stop Giant Water Shuriken can turn the matchup in your favor.

Field Blower:

Getting rid of Fighting Fury Belts to make for easier one hit knockouts can come in handy. Field Blower can also get rid of Parallel City, which can diminish Xerneas BREAK's damage output.

Matchups (Sylveon-GX can make these matchups better)

Golisopod-GX/Garbodor - 70/30

This matchup is heavily favored for Xerneas BREAK. The fact that Xerneas has 130 hit points makes Golisopod-GX unable to one hit KO Xerneas, unless they use their one-time only Crossing Cut GX. The numbers against Xerneas BREAK are just so bad for Golisopod-GX, which is why the matchup is so good because even after your opponent uses First Impression, a Tapu Koko spread still doesn't finish off Xerneas BREAKs. I played against Xerneas BREAK at a recent League Cup and I got destroyed, so I know from personal experience that the matchup is pretty much unwinnable unless you tech for it.

Gardevoir-GX/Octillery - 50/50

I think this matchup is fairly even since Gardevoir-GX can easily one hit KO a Xerneas BREAK once it has two energies. But at the same time, Xerneas BREAK can also one hit knockout Gardevoir-GX. However, the matchup might be slightly favored for Gardevoir-GX depending on the variant, since if they play multiple Field Blowers they can easily remove EXP. Shares. I did mention that Sylveon-GX can make the matchup better by returning benched Evolution Pokemon to your opponent's hand, which they must then take multiple turns to re-evolve.

Metagross-GX - 20/80

Unfortunately, this might be the deck's worst nightmare. Not only will it be difficult for Xerneas BREAK to hit 250, but at the same time, Metagross-GX can take one hit KO's while healing any damage you manage to do! Unfortunately, Metagross-GX decks typically play 3-4 Field Blowers, which means the chances of your EXP. Shares helping you retain energies are pretty low.

Volcanion - 60/40

Because Volcanion is trading Pokemon-EX for non-EX Pokemon, Xerneas BREAK is favored. If they have to end anything but their first turn with Kiawe, you also gain additional time to get energy on the board.

Vikavolt/Tapu Bulu-GX - 40/60

This is a deck that plays a heavy amount of Field Blowers which makes for a favorable matchup against Xerneas BREAK, because Tapu Bulu-GX and Vikavolt both can one hit knockout a Xerneas BREAK with ease.

Closing Thoughts

That concludes this article on Tamao's Top 8 Xerneas BREAK deck. Personally, I think Xerneas BREAK as a whole has its place in the current meta. As I said, I played in a League Cup where this deck stomped my Golisopod-GX deck and I wasn't surprised, since all of Golisopod-GX's numbers just don't meet the mark against Xerneas BREAK. I lost to Rahul Reddy, who ended up losing in Top 4 to Metagross-GX.

With Xerneas BREAK having a great matchup against Golisopod-GX and a number of other decks, I wouldn't be surprised to see more of the deck start to pop up at League Cups or even in Hartford. At least, I think this will be true, unless Metagross-GX becomes more popular.

Like always, if you haven't already, check out The Chaos Gym on YouTube and Twitch for updates and player interviews, as well as live streaming from Grafton Roll and Rahul Reddy. If you want to help support my team, be sure to check out Team ARG's Pokémon page on Facebook, Team ARG Pokémon-TCG for tons of decklists from great players. My Twitter handle is down below if you want to follow me.

If you have any questions, then please feel free to leave me a comment below or message me on Facebook. I'll be sure to get to them as soon as possible.

As usual, if you enjoyed reading this article, then please consider giving it a thumbs up. If you want to see a specific type of article or topic next time, don't hesitate to give me ideas down below, and I'll consider them. As always, keep an eye out for more articles to come. Until next time!

-Twitter @Jose_MarreroTCG

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