Experts' corner

Jose Marrero

"Beast Box" - Naganadel-GX/Ultra Necrozma-GX

Jose examines what he feels is the best Beast Box variant in the current format that can stand a chance against Buzzwole-GX decks, including Garbodor.

06/28/2018 by Jose Marrero


What's going on, 60cards readers! I am happy to be back after a long 10 days in Mexico City. I had an awesome time but I'm excited to finally be back home and writing to you guys again. Before I begin, I want to talk a little about my experience in Mexico City. First off, I've never been that long away in a different country before. However, I'm glad I took the trip because it was a blast. I got to hang out with a number of players and explore the Pyramids. Their tacos and churros were phenomenal and I would definitely go back next year, hopefully to Cancun as well this time. For this next article, I'll be dissecting what I call the best variant of Beast Box should you decide to play Naganadel GX (FLI; 121) . Then I'll transition into the deck's matchups so you get a feel on how certain matchups should ultimately go.

With that said, this is how I initially ran Beast Box. Let's take a closer look.

Beast Box

3-3 Naganadel-GX

I feel at least a 3-3 line is necessary just to have a higher count of Naganadel GX (FLI; 121)  to help combat the almighty Buzzwole GX (CIN; 104) . Poipole has 70 hit points meaning it won't just get double sniped for a KO. Poipole's attacks are lackluster so we will just skip to Naganadel GX (FLI; 121) . Having 210 hit points means it is not so easy to take down unless you are getting hit for weakness. It's first attack, Beast Raid, does 20 damage for each Ultra Beast you have in play. Similar to Zoroark GX (SLG; 53) , though Naganadel GX (FLI; 121)  only applies Ultra Beasts, making Zoroark GX (SLG; 53) 's Riotous Beating inferior. If you count modifiers such as Beast Energy and Choice Band, then Beast Raid can hit higher numbers if needed.

Beast Raid is the attack you will most often use when attacking with Naganadel-GX, especially against Psychic weak Pokémon. Now, its second attack, Jet Needle, isn't all that great simply because it does not apply weakness, otherwise it would be better. As for its GX attack, Stinger GX, you will almost never wanna use that because there are better and more effective GX options in the deck. However, Stinger GX will come in handy against Greninja if you can get it going by turn two or three, following it up with Jet Needle and Beast Ring plays. Overall I think Naganadel GX (FLI; 121)  is underrated. It has a weakness to Psychic making it vulnerable to one of the best typings in the game so be careful with that. Every Pokémon in the deck aside from Tapu Lele-GX can abuse Beast Raid, so remember that when benching them.

2 Ultra Necrozma-GX

A great attacker against Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  and other high hit point Pokémon that would otherwise give the deck trouble. Ultra Necrozma-GX can hit any numbers it wants with the correct amount of energy, making it a lethal beast — "no pun intended". Ultra Necrozma-GX has a solid 190 hit points, sometimes making the opponent struggle to hit that extra 10 damage for the one-hit KO. It does have Fairy weakness, but that isn't too scary because Gardevoir-GX isn't played as much anymore. You do have to be wary of Clefairy that are starting to be splashed into Malamar decks.

Moving into Ultra Necrozma-GX's first attack, and why the card is a force to be reckoned with, is Photon Geyser. It has a base of 20 damage and adds an additional 80 damage for each Psychic Energy you discard off of it. That means just two Psychic discards is a solid 180 damage. Adding another Psychic Energy pushes it to a whopping 260 damage, enough to one-hit KO any Pokémon in the game. Now, it's GX attack, Sky Scorching Light GX, will rarely be used simply because it can only be used when both players' prize cards are a total of six or less. However, it can be an endgame play if the opponent forgets all about it.

1 Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX

Its ability, Invasion, allows you to freely roam around if needed and is great in this deck for two reasons. The first is to go in and out of attackers when needed, while not having to retreat with energy. The second is to make the most out of Max Elixir. Those are not Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX's only uses. Its attacks are viable as well and will come in handy at times especially it's GX attack, Moon's Eclipse GX. It does 180 base damage and makes Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX invincible next turn. However, the attack can only be used when you are behind on prizes. This is okay because if the opponent can't go around it then you should be able to bring the prize lead or the game back into your favor. Dark Flash isn't too bad as well because it can easily take out Buzzwole and Buzzwole GX (CIN; 104)  or any other Psychic-weak Pokémon. This card has a great resistance, though it has a really bad weakness — namely to Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  so, try not to bench it unless you absolutely have to.

1 Kartana-GX

It is in the deck for a number of reasons: for its GX attack, ability, and for the fact that it is an Ultra Beast. Its ability, Slice Off, can be clutch at times because it lets you discard a Special Energy from one of your opponent's Pokémon when Kartana-GX is benched from the hand. Gale Blade won't likely ever be used unless it a really bad spot to the point that you had to Beast Ring onto it. Now, it's GX attack, Blade GX, simply allows you to take one prize card for free. Use this attack wisely because Moon's Eclipse GX is also very powerful when used at the right time.

1 Dusk Mane Necrozma SM107

The deck's only non-GX aside from Poipole. Dusk Shot only takes one Metal Energy and does 60 damage to one of your opponent's EX or GX Pokémon. Great for picking off or setting up KO's. Rusty Claws won't be used nearly as often as Dusk Shot because it takes two Metal Energy on top of a Colorless. Dusk Mane Necrozma is also an Ultra Beast which is nice for Beast Raid and Beast Ring.

4 Professor Sycamore/3 N/3 Cynthia/4 Guzma

Because the deck has no form of draw power, such as Octillery or Oranguru, I wanted to make sure I had a hefty amount of supporters to make the deck more consistent and less prone to dead draws. That is why I went with a max count of Professor Sycamore, and on top of that three N and three Cynthia. The deck can attack for a single energy, so I wanted to make sure to include four Guzma. A lot of decks these days play just two copies of N. However, I like having three because I hate not having access to one when needed most. I can't really see dropping down on the supporter counts unless you want the deck to be less consistent. 

4 Mysterious Treasure

As you can see, I opted out on adding Ultra Ball because Mysterious Treasure can already search out every Pokémon in the deck aside from Dusk Mane Necrozma but that is okay because the deck plays Ultra Space which I will get into soon. Not to mention, you only have to discard one card as opposed to two with Ultra Ball. If you get N'd to one, then you can still use Mysterious Treasure for a Tapu Lele-GX if needed.

4 Max Elixir

Because Naganadel GX (FLI; 121)  only takes a single energy to use Beast Raid, you can use Max Elixir to power up other attackers like Ultra Necrozma-GX. Naganadel GX (FLI; 121)  isn't too great on its own so having other attackers ready to fight is important.

3 Beast Ring

Important card for powering up Ultra Necrozma-GX at a moments notice. Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX can also abuse it very effectively thanks to Moon's Eclipse GX.

3 Choice Band

Needed against Pokémon that aren't weak to Psychic that have over 180 hit points. By adding Choice Band, Ultra Necrozma-GX would need one less Psychic Energy to take down Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  or other 190 or higher hit point Pokémon. The difference in needing one less Energy is very important at times and can be the difference between a win or a loss. Naganadel GX (FLI; 121)  can also hit up to 180 damage if you add Choice Band plus Beast Energy with a full bench of Ultra Beasts.

3 Float Stone

I can maybe see dropping down to two Float Stone if you really want to add something else, though three is nice if you are definitely relying on Invasion. If you don't have access to Invasion then just simply having Float Stone on something is useful for Max Elixir plays anyway.

1 Super Rod

I felt Super Rod was more useful than Rescue Stretcher at least in this deck because it plays both Max Elixir and Beast Ring both of which take Basic Energy from the deck. The deck only plays three Metal Energy or four if you count Beast Energy, so making sure you have access to them is important for Ultra Necrozma-GX.

3 Ultra Space

Great card in this deck because it lets you grab any Ultra Beast from the deck and into your hand. That means you can search out Poipole and Naganadel GX (FLI; 121)  for free if needed. Also because they go to your hand means you can make use of Kartana-GX's ability. The deck does not play Field Blower because Garbotoxin does not really affect the deck. However, having Ultra Space is nice for bumping Parallel City.

8 Psychic/3 Metal/1 Beast Energy Prism Star

I feel this is the correct amount of energy for the deck. Super Rod will be helpful in adding energy back into the deck so just be careful when using Max Elixir and Beast Ring. Beast Energy allows Ultra Necrozma-GX to not need Choice Band to hit the magic 210 number as well as Moon's Eclipse GX from Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX.

Other card options

Dawn Wings Necrozma SM106

Great card against Buzzwole GX (CIN; 104)  and Malamar decks. It is a solid non-GX attacker that can one hit KO Pokémon that give these deck threats. Not only that but it can abuse Beast Ring, Max Elixir, and Ultra Space. Its first attack, Gulf Stream, can threaten a one-hit KO if the opponent does not one-hit KO it. Gulf Stream can do 100 damage with a Choice Band for just a single Psychic Energy which can come in handy. Its second attack, Sword of Dawn, is what makes the card as a whole a better use since it does 130 base damage. It can one-hit KO a number of relevant Pokémon that are weak to Psychic.

Rescue Stretcher

Sometimes getting back a Pokémon straight to the hand is needed more than Super Rod, however, I personally still prefer the option of getting back energy.


Golisopod-GX/Zoroark-GX (Slightly Unfavorable)

This matchup is slightly unfavorable. However, Ultra Necrozma-GX will be the main attacker in this matchup for sure. It is the only attacker that can one-hit KO both Golisopod-GX and Zoroark GX (SLG; 53) . Parallel City hurts Beast Box a lot because it limits your attackers and Beast Raid damage, so make sure to have Ultra Space ready to replace Parallel City. If you can force out Mew-EX then that is two free prizes since basically anything in the deck can one hit KO it. You will have to rely on hitting Max Elixir and Beast Ring in this matchup to combat against Golisopod-GX and Zoroark GX (SLG; 53) . The matchup gets extremely hard if you are unable to one-hit KO something and then the opponent uses Acerola to heal it. You have to make sure that whatever you are attacking with makes your prizes even or favorable. That is the only way to keep up with this deck. Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX is a liability against any Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  variant so make sure to never bench it unless you absolutely have to. Dusk Mane Necrozma will definitely help chip away at the opponent and can potentially survive a one-hit KO because it has 130 hit points. Both First Impression and Riotous Beating cap out at 120 damage without damage modifiers which can come in handy knowing that. If the opponent uses Crossing Cut GX to one hit KO Dusk Mane Necrozma then so be it. Using a GX attack for just one prize is usually worth the trade on your end.

Lycanroc-GX/Zoroark-GX (Slightly Unfavorable)

This matchup might be a little harder than with Golisopod-GX. Bloodthirsty Eyes is just so powerful. Ultra Necrozma-GX will be your best friend in this matchup as well. Now that this deck is starting to only play Special Energy, Kartana-GX can get some good use out of it. Picking off Rockruffs before they turn into Lycanroc-GX is ideal, otherwise they will be troublesome. If you can get back-to-back uses of Photon Geyser while taking two prizes a piece, then you should be able to win. If you can get Jet Needle with a Choice Band and Beast Ring then you can pick off Tapu Lele-GX for prizes. Again, using Ultra Space wisely is ideal in case Parallel City hits the field. Zoroak-GX decks are beatable with Beast Box as long as you think out your prizes well enough and use Beast Rings wisely. Taking the first two prizes is huge as well, otherwise they will just use Lycanroc-GX to take the first two themselves.

Lucario-GX/Zoroark-GX (Even to Favorable)

This matchup should definitely be easier to deal with than with Golisopod-GX and Lycanroc-GX. This is because Lucario-GX is weak to Psychic, meaning Naganadel GX (FLI; 121)  can eat them up with ease for two prizes. They will have trouble one hit KOing Naganadel GX (FLI; 121)  with Lucario-GX because they will need Strong Energy, Diancie Prism Star, Choice Band, and Professor Kukui all at once. Doing it once is one thing, but twice is another thing and not as likely. To deal with Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  you use Ultra Necrozma-GX, but be careful in benching them too early because if the opponent takes one of them out first then they will have a big lead on you. However, that is when Moon's Eclipse GX will come in the clutch to take out Lucario-GX while being invincible next turn. I'd say just pick off Zorua's since Naganadel GX (FLI; 121)  can take out Lucario-GX like nothing anyway. Force those two prizes out as long as you know you will stay in the prize lead or at least even it up. If the opponent goes Mew-EX then just simply revenge KO it with literally anything.

Garbodor/Zoroark-GX (Even to Slightly Favorable)

I feel this matchup is fine because you can take out Garbodors with ease with Naganadel GX (FLI; 121) . You just have to watch out with item use and Parallel City. Beast Box doesn't really rely on abilities, making Garbotoxin not as effective,which is great knowing that. You will have to basically combat a bunch of Zoroark GX (SLG; 53) . Picking off Zorua is definitely ideal because they are more of a threat than Garbodor. If the opponent is playing the Bursting Balloon variant then it might be tougher because the deck doesn't play Field Blower to get rid of them. However, you can Guzma around Bursting Balloon which is why four Guzma seems even better. The opponent might play Kartana-GX and energy disruption cards like Enhanced Hammer but that is okay since the deck only plays one Special Energy anyway so those are basically dead cards for the opponent.

Lapras-GX (Even to Unfavorable)

This matchup is pretty tough actually because Lapras-GX can accelerate energy so easily. Lapras-GX can also hit 190 damage with Choice Band, which is enough to one-hit KO Ultra Necrozma-GX. I don't think Beast Box can trade prizes with Lapras-GX, at least not this variant. Good thing Lapras-GX isn't played as often. Volcanion is an annoying card to deal with because they can set up one hit KO's on Naganadel GX (FLI; 121)  because of its 20 damage snipe attack. Even its ability is troublesome because it forces something like Naganadel GX (FLI; 121)  that they can't one hit KO into something else that they likely can while putting Water Energy in the discard at the same time to abuse Aqua Patch. If you can take the first two prizes or at least take a two prize KO with Moon's Eclipse GX then you might have a chance, though like I said Volcanion makes Moon's Eclipse GX's effect not as effective. Maybe not benching Ultra Necrozma-GX too early is the way to go and just going aggro with Naganadel GX (FLI; 121)  until you take the first two prizes. Then you can Max Elixir and Beast Ring onto Ultra Necrozma-GX to hopefully take the last four prizes. Manaphy-EX is a liability for them since it has low hit points and gives up two prizes so be aware of that prize option.

Buzzwole-GX/Lycanroc-GX (Slightly Favorable)

This matchup can be scary because of Lycanroc-GX and Bloodthirsy Eyes, especially if the opponent is able to go around Moon's Eclipse GX. However, the matchup as a whole is fine as long as you plan out your prizes wisely. Never KO back-to-back one prize or three one prize attackers. The ideal way to play against Buzzwole is to take one, then two, this way it negates their option to use Sledgehammer and forces out more Buzzwole GX (CIN; 104)  and gives them only one turn of Beast Ring use. The more Buzzwole GX (CIN; 104)  on the field, the easier the match will be. Swing Around most likely won't one-hit KO Naganadel GX (FLI; 121)  which is why the opponent will likely have to go into Buzzwole GX (CIN; 104)  which is what you want. This way you can take even prizes or be in the prize lead. You still should have Ultra Necrozma-GX ready at a moment's notice in case Lycanroc-GX comes out. Take down Rockruffs as soon as possible — it will make the matchup a lot less stressful not having to deal with both Dangerous Rogue and Bloodthirsty Eyes.

Buzzwole-GX/Garbodor (Favorable)

This matchup is easier than with Lycanroc-GX that's for sure. Against the Garbodor variant, they play more Buzzwole GX (CIN; 104)  and rely on them more than baby Buzzwole which is what you want. Put a Choice Band on Naganadel GX (FLI; 121)  and go ham. They play Fighting Fury Belt but that is okay because you can still one hit KO them. Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX can easily take Buzzwole-GX down with a Fighting Fury Belt. Having five Ultra Beast in Play with Choice Band on Naganadel GX (FLI; 121)  isn't that hard, to be honest. Especially when Buzzwole GX (CIN; 104) /Garbodor doesn't play Field Blower or Parallel City. If they play the Trashalanche Garbodor then just be wary of your item use is all. If they don't play Trashalanche, then even better for you.

Ultra Necrozma-GX/Malamar (Even to Slightly Unfavorable)

This matchup is tricky depending on what attackers the opponent plays. If they play a decent amount of non-GX attackers like Hoopa and Mewtwo then it'll be tougher for sure. But if they are playing a build that relies more on Ultra Necrozma-GX then it shouldn't be too hard to keep up with them. If you can stick them with a well-timed N then you can steal games.

Necrozma-GX/Malamar (Even to Slightly Unfavorable)

Again, it just depends on their attackers. If the opponent benches Necrozma-GX first then you can take advantage of that and take it down first. If you can limit their Malamar's then that's a great plan as well. Some Malamar decks play Max Elixir so be careful when deciding on your next attacker.

Closing Thoughts

That will conclude this article all about Beast Box. I actually played Beast Box at two League Cups which I ended up winning both. I also played the deck at one of the Mexico Special Events, though I dropped Dusk Mane Necrozma for Dawn Wings Necrozma. However, I ended up losing to one Buzzwole and one Malamar to knock me out of cut. I didn't draw too well against Buzzwole, but against Malamar the matchup can get very close. Next up, is the North American International Championships next weekend. It'll be exciting to see who and what deck comes out on top. Hopefully, I can get some Championship Points and clinch a Top 16 spot for a Day 2 Worlds invite. I'm very close so I'm super anxious to see if I can finish the season as one of the 16 top players of the season. If you see me in Columbus feel free to come say hi.

If you want to help support my team, be sure to check out Team ARG's Pokémon page on Facebook: "Team ARG Pokémon-TCG." There you can keep up to date with all the players on the team. Also, check out and be sure to pick up some awesome dice and GX markers. They are by far my favorite dice to use and I recommend getting yourself at least two sets of any given color. I recently started coaching on so if you are interested then check them out or just pm me directly. Don't forget my Twitter handle is down below if you want to follow me for when I post lists and other exciting news.

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 always, 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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