Experts' corner

Jose Marrero

A Closer Look at the Utah Regional Finalist Decks

Jose discusses the two decks that made the Finals at the Utah Regional Championship.

04/20/2017 by Jose Marrero


Hello again, fellow 60cards readers! As stated in my previous article on the finalist's decks of Puerto Rico I'll now be going over the two finalists decks of Utah Regionals not too long ago. Mike Newey ended up winning the whole event with his Volcanion deck. Chris Siakala almost won a second Regionals with his trusty Turbo Darkrai-EX deck but unfortunately fell short of the win losing a very close and intense game three since it was streamed live on Twitch by UtahPokemon which shout out to them for a great stream. I'll be going over a few more card options for each deck so you can see different tech ideas depending on what you think the meta might be. It's no surprise seeing Volcanion taking another big win after Australia. People love their Decidueye-GX/Vileplume and as long as it's in the format I don't see Volcanion stopping anytime soon. Turbo Darkrai-EX has always been a force to be reckoned with so it's nothing too special at the moment although Chris almost winning a second Regionals this season with the same deck has to say something about Turbo Darkrai-EX. I think we can easily say that both these decks are in the Top 5 of best decks right now in Standard.

With that said, let's go over Mike Newey's winning Volcanion list.


As I mentioned, Volcanion now has it's second big win and I don't see it stopping anytime soon. Mike's list is slightly different from Petro's Australia winning list which is a good thing. This means Volcanion is still consistent no matter the build and Mike went with his gut and played what he thought was a solid list which obviously worked. The only Pokémon difference they didn't share was that Pedro played Salamence-EX which honestly isn't the worst thing because most opt not to play it. The Pokémon line in Volcanion is probably one of the most standard lines which are hard to mess up honestly. Four Volcanion-EX and three non-EX Volcanion should be in every Volcanion build. You don't really want to play four non-EX Volcanion even though it's the preferred starter and this is because you don't really use more than two non-EX Volcanion in a game anyway meaning the others will be dead cards. I see plenty of players tossing them away which is fine as long as you know you have access to at least two of them and even then you want to make your opponent play the 7 prize game which is why you see players tossing their other Volcanion's. I'm actually happy to see that Mike played Pokémon Ranger because Petro didn't. Having the option to go around Jolteon-EX and to reuse Volcanic Heat seems too good not to play in this deck even though Jolteon-EX based decks have died down a lot. I personally much rather be safer than sorry honestly. Fisherman and Olympia are also must haves because of Vileplume based decks most notably with Decidueye-EX.

Having these supporters can bail you out of a rough spot while under the Vileplume lock whether it's to get out of the active when stuck or to get back energy to set up more attackers. Four Max Elixir I can also agree with even though a lot of times you want to draw into energy to fuel Volcanic Heat's damage output. Still, you want to be setting up multiple Volcanion-EX thanks to Max Elixir which is the way to go. Max Elixir helps attack with Volcanion-EX at a faster pace. The one Enhanced Hammer seems odd but I can see it catching your opponent off guard to force your opponent to dig for more energy and who knows maybe that clutch Enhanced Hammer against let's say M Rayquaza-EX can save you a turn or two. At the end of the day Volcanion is Volcanion and with or without the Enhanced Hammer it's still going to be one of the most consistent decks right now. Petro didn't play Enhanced Hammer but instead went with more consistency by playing the 4th copy of Trainers' Mail. Because Volcanic Heat reads you can't attack next turn means you want to have a handful of switching effects to abuse it such as the two Escape Rope and Float Stones and of course Olympia. The deck plays 5 ways to get out of the active which seems perfect to me. Escape Rope can also come in handy to bring up one of your opponent's benched Pokémon which may put them in a troublesome situation. Mike decided to play two Scorched Earth and one Parallel City as his stadium choices. Scorched Earth helps the decks consistency and also helps put energy in the discard for Power Heater. As for Parallel City, I can see it being clutch at times against M Rayquaza-EX however, I still think the matchup is unfavorable with Parallel City. Petro ran two Sky Field and just one Scorched Earth which I think I like the most or vice versa.

Other card options


Most lists don't play this card and that's probably because of the fact that your opponent can see it coming unless you are lucky enough to hit two Max Elixirs on the same turn. Salamence-EX is great against a handful of decks such as M Rayquaza-EX, M Mewtwo-EX, Turbo Darkrai-EX as well as the mirror because they all rely on EX Pokémon making Salamence-EX's attack, Beastly Fang very threatening.


Ahmed Ali was one of the first Volcanion players to use this card in the deck. Although Ahmed did play Sky Field which this list does not run meaning Dragonite-EX probably won't be as useful since your bench will be limited.

Entei AOR:

Slightly similar to Salamence-EX in the sense that it's great against M Rayquaza-EX and because of Entei's attack, Combat Blaze only needs two energy instead of three means it's more viable against M Rayquaza-EX. You also can't Steam Up to fuel Salamence-EX because it's not a Fire type unless Entei.


This card helps to use Volcanic Heat again without having to discard Volcanion-EX's energy assuming there isn't a Float Stone attached to it. Switching into another Pokémon and saving the energy can be game changing because this way you have another Volcanic Heat to your disposal while setting up another Volcanion-EX if you can't bring it back to the active spot after the Switch.

Sky Field:

I'm not sure how I feel about Parallel City over Sky Field because a lot of times you want to be able to bench whatever you want at a moments notice. However, against a deck that also plays Parallel City if you get your's down first and they don't have a counter to it then your opponent will be limited to three bench Pokémon all game which is huge.

Turbo Darkrai-EX

Chris's list was only 1 card different from Azul's Top 4 Utah Regionals list and 2 cards different from Kenny's Top 8 Utah Regionals list. Chris played two Exp Share and both Azul and Kenny played three. Chris also played four Trainers' Mail while the others played three and finally both Chris and Azul played a Switch while Kenny opted to go with a Float Stone instead. Every other card in their lists are identical and this shows to say that these three lists are the top Turbo Darkrai-EX list out right now and not because they have the latest success but because of all three of them essentially played card for card and they all made Top 8 which has to say something. Chris actually won Georgia Regionals with Turbo Darkrai-EX which means he almost won a second with the same deck. His winning list compared to this list were only two cards different. Chris's winning list ran Pokémon Center Lady instead of Olympia and a Float Stone instead of the 4th Trainers' Mail. Literally, only a two card difference between the two which means his lists has to be one of the best out right now. I don't think the Pokémon line should be changed at all. Four Darkrai-EX and at least two Yveltal are a must.

The one copy of Hex Maniac makes sense because it can come in handy against Volcanion and even against M Rayquaza-EX because they thrive on abilities. Olympia, I like as well because if you have a Fighting Fury Belt or Exp Share on your Darkrai-EX you want to be able to retreat it while keeping your energy. Chris, Azul, and Kenny have Team Flare Grunt plus Enhanced Hammer in common meaning those additions didn't really mess up the decks consistency but instead now gives the deck options to remove energy which I actually like because against let's say M Rayquaza-EX if you somehow find both of them then they have to have another Mega Turbo plus Double Colorless Energy. The rest of the list is pretty standard I would have to say given the fact that all three lists in Top 8 of Utah were almost identical.

Other card options


Some lists play Garbodor because why not? Turbo Darkrai-EX doesn't rely on abilities anyway except maybe the first turn of the game only. After that Garbodor comes in handy against almost every deck. However, Garbodor is slower than Silent Lab against decks such as Volcanion and M Rayquaza-EX where you want to ability lock them as soon as possible. Garbodor also makes the deck less consistent of course which is one of its downfalls in a deck that's so fast and wants to stay as consistent as possible.

Professor Kukui:

Because this deck only relies on Basic Energy, you can stack up energy for lethal damage right away thanks to Max Elixir which means you don't have to worry about Enhanced Hammer. The extra 20 damage Professor Kukui adds just might be enough to get that one hit KO instead of a two shot and thanks to Exp Share getting energy back means you can later calculate the extra 20 damage from Professor Kukui to come in clutch.

Pokémon Center Lady:

This card can turn a two-shot into a three-shot against decks such as Yveltal-EX/Garbodor because if they use Y Cyclone, you now remove 60 damage off your Darkrai-EX, essentially making their last attack a joke. Even against Evil Ball, you might be able to turn it into a three shot depending how many energy they have attached. Nullifying a Pitch-Black Spear can very much be crucial as well.


Tony Jimenez actually played a copy of this card in his 2nd place Anaheim Regionals list. Most players will opt to go with an extra N instead, however opening with Lillie with a deck like Turbo Darkrai-EX that's meant to attack turn one seems pretty solid, to say the least.

Float Stone:

Kenny Britton played a copy of Float Stone in his Top 8 Utah Regionals list which I personally like because there are times where you want to retreat your active Darkrai-EX and can't afford to pay the retreat cost yet you still want your opponent's active Pokémon to stay active meaning Escape Rope can be a nuisance at times.

Reverse Valley:

Kyle Sabelhaus played two copies of this card in his Top 4 Georgia Regionals list which means the extra 10 damage can make hitting the right numbers a little easier not having to rely on another Max Elixir.

Closing Thoughts

That will conclude yet another short article, but this time on the finalist decks of the Utah Regional Championship. As you can see Turbo Darkrai-EX is still one of the best decks in Standard right now. It has numerous Top 8 and Top 4's under its belt as well as a Regional win as I said by Chris. We can see why the deck has "Turbo" in its name and this is because of its speed and consistency. As for Volcanion, it's becoming more and more popular by the days simply because of its good matchup against Vileplume based decks namely Decidueye-GX. It also has a solid matchup against Turbo Darkrai-EX I would have to say. Volcanion finally takes home another big win after winning the Australian International Championships and now a Regionals. We still have plenty of Standard Regionals coming up which means you should be wary of Volcanion when deck building. I'm more of a fan of Turbo Darkrai-EX if I were to play one of the two decks just because I have experience with it. I don't think I've ever played Volcanion, not to say I don't know how to play Volcanion because let's be honest Volcanion is probably one of the easiest decks to pilot. The next big Standard event is this weekend since it's the Brazilian International Championship which surely will be filled with tons of Volcanion and Turbo Darkrai-EX so be sure to study these two lists because they will likely be the lists most players will be playing come Brazil this weekend.

With that said, don't forget to 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. As always, be sure to check out Team ARG's Pokémon page on Facebook, Team ARG Pokemon-TCG for tons of deck lists and interviews from great players. If you have any questions about these lists or decks in general or about Team ARG then please feel free to leave me a comment below or message me on Facebook and 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, or if you have any other deck ideas and want to see an analysis on it, then, by all means, post it and I'll take a look. As always, keep an eye out for more articles to come. Until next time!


[+15] okko


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