Experts' corner

Jose Marrero

Looking at Two New Decks Post Guardians Rising

Jose analyzes two decks that are going to see play post Guardians Rising that implements Turtonator-GX, Tapu Koko-GX and of course Tapu Lele-GX.

05/13/2017 by Jose Marrero


Hello again, 60cards readers! Now that the Virginia Regional Championships have concluded. I now want to talk about a couple new decks that will surely see play post Guardians Rising. I know the next biggest event is Toronto Regionals this weekend which is Expanded and won't have Guardians Rising legal for play. Making this article more useful towards the people attending Seattle Regionals in a couple weeks since it's the first big event with Guardians Rising legal for play which should be interesting. For each deck I go over I'll be adding more card options you can pick from to make each list to your own liking in case you may have missed or forgotten about a certain potential addition. I personally think these two decks will see a moderate amount of play because of how fast and consistent they are. The first deck will be Volcanion paired with Turtonator-GX and the second deck which has also seen play in the past is Raikou/Electrode except now combined with Tapu Koko-GX. It's always exciting once a new set comes out because older decks can get better with certain cards and you even see the occasional new archetypes or techs which can keep the game healthy most of the time.

With that said I want to start with a deck that's been in the format for some time now, however, it's gained a few inclusions thanks to Guardians Rising.


With the recent release of Guardians Rising, Volcanion decks get two new additions. The first being Turtonator-GX and the second obviously being Tapu Lele-GX. You can see most of the Pokémon are pretty standard in a Volcanion deck aside from the two new inclusions I mentioned so let's talk about those for a second. Turtonator-GX is a Basic Pokémon with three solid attacks. The first being Shell Trap in which has a base of 20 damage which may not seem much but its effect is like a Bursting Balloon except for 8 damage counters instead of 6 and because it's an effect of an attack means you can only go around it by Lysandre or Escape Rope or cards that switch the active Pokémon. Shell Trap can put your opponent in a rough situation because if they ignore it or simply pass the turn you still are chipping away since Shell Trap still does damage. Its second attack, Bright Flame isn't too good compared to Volcanion-EX's Volcanic Heat because Bright Flame has to discard 2 Fire Energy. However, it does more base damage than Volcanic Heat making it somewhat more viable depending on what you're trying to KO. Its last attack, Nitro Tank GX is the main reason why Turtonator-GX deserves a spot in the deck. For just a single Fire Energy you get to attach 5 Fire Energy from your discard to your Pokémon in any way that you like.

This means you can power up two Volcanion-EX in an instant which is why Nitro Tank GX is a crazy good attack. You can potentially even set up two Volcanion-EX on the first turn of the game. Overall I think Turtonator-GX will see play in most if not all Volcanion decks. Next up we have Tapu Lele-GX which is by far the best card in the Guardians Rising set. Having an ability that can search out a supporter card just by playing it onto your bench is too good not to play. But not only that but Tapu Lele-GX has a very solid attack for just two Colorless Energy. Energy Drive is just like X Ball except you don't calculate weakness which still is useful against pretty much anything since Tapu Lele-GX is so versatile. Its GX attack obviously can't be used seeing how the deck only plays Fire Energy so we will move out of the Pokémon now. You can see your typical Volcanion list aside from a couple new additions as well in the item department.

The deck plays two Choice Band as opposed to Fighting Fury Belt because in a deck like Volcanion you want to be able to one hit KO something at a moments notice by adding an extra 30 damage which is a free Steam Up in a sense. Sure having 40 extra health seems appealing but if you're not one hit KOing something then whats the point? There aren't many Pokémon that can hit for 180 anyway. Field Blower was another inclusion which surely will see play in most decks. It's basically Tool Scrapper except you can get rid of stadiums too. Having the option to remove a Tool on Garbodor turns Steam Up back on which is very useful. But being able to remove two Tools or a Stadium and Tool at the same time seems too good not to play. The rest of the list doesn't need any saying since it's what most Volcanion lists should be running.

Other card options


This card has seen a moderate amount of play before Guardians Rising, however now that there will be new decks that play less and less EX Pokémon might make Salamence-EX less viable.

Entei AOR:

If M Rayquaza-EX still shows its face then Entei can still be useful here or just in general against decks that like to fill their bench.

Oranguru SUM:

The extra draw can come in handy against low hand N plays.

Sudowoodo GUR:

Obviously great against any deck but more importantly against M Rayquaza-EX and M Gardevoir-EX because they thrive on big benches to do lethal damage.

Pokémon Ranger:

Useful for reusing Volcanic Heat and to get around Jolteon-EX's Flash Ray attack.

Professor Kukui:

20 extra damage combined with Steam Ups can hit better numbers easier without having to discard an extra energy.

Rescue Stretcher:

Having the option to get back multiple Volcanion-EX after one or two were KOed can come in handy to maximize Steam Ups or to put one back into your hand. You usually don't see Volcanion lists running any form of recovery but this card seems very good. 

Fighting Fury Belt:

The deck currently plays Choice Band to hit higher numbers. However the extra 40 health Fighting Fury Belt gives may come in handy but for now, I think more damage is better suited for this deck in the long run.

Brooklet Hill:

You can play this stadium over the others, however, Hoopa-EX can just search out the EXs anyway and plus you get an added bonus by playing Scorched Earth. This card seems like it pairs well with Rescue Stretcher though.

Now we get into a deck that's going to make me cringe as I'm writing about it.

Raikou/Tapu Koko-GX/Electrode

We have seen a similar build in the past with Raikou being the primary attacker with Electrode fueling its damage output. However, now we have Tapu Koko-GX which has an ability similar to that of Dragonite-EX from Furious Fists except Tapu Koko-GX only moves Lightning Energy instead of any Basic Energy. This means you can move Electrode which provides two Lightning Energy. Because of Tapu Koko-GX's ability you can potentially attack with it on the first turn of the game thanks to Max Elixir. However, this build is more based on Raikou as the main attacker because the more Lightning attached to it the more damage it does. So we have cards like Electrode whose ability provides 2 Lighting Energy in the form of a Special Energy. The only downside is that you have to KO your own Electrode which then your opponent takes a prize. This is okay because there is Ace Trainer to put your opponent's hand size to three thanks to Electrode. Tapu Koko-GX's first attack, Sky-High Claws doesn't seem that appealing for 130 damage however because you can potentially use it on the first turn is what makes its attack pretty good and of course if your hitting for weakness then they are even better. Its second attack, Tapu Thunder GX forces the opponent to be careful with their energy drops because it does 50 damage per energy attached to your opponent's field. Basically, you want to go aggro Raikou seeing how it can do some big damage and it's a non-EX. Then you can transition into Tapu Koko-GX if need be and late game you can clean up with Tapu Thunder GX.

The deck also plays Jolteon-EX for those decks that strictly play Basic Pokémon since you never know when a free win will present itself. One Tapu Lele-GX and Shaymin-EX to help with consistency as you don't want to play too many of them otherwise they become a liability. Let's now go over some of the more important items and supporters in the deck starting with Ninja Boy. You can basically turn any Basic Pokémon into a surprise Jolteon-EX which is very helpful for locking your opponent out of the game while making sure to not have enough Pokémon on your bench that adds up to six prizes for your opponent. Ace Trainer as I said is useful earlier on once you use Electrode to have your opponent up on prizes. Sure they get to take a prize but essentially getting Ned to three can be troublesome. Max Elixir is one of the best cards in the deck and for good reason. You can get Tapu Koko-GX going in no time once you hit Max Elixirs. Two Level Ball as well to be able to search out both Voltorb and Electrode. Two Field Blower to remove Tools on Garbodor since this deck relies on abilities in a sense. But also to get rid of Fighting Fury Belts to make for easier KO's. One Choice Band and two Fighting Fury Belt because with Aether Paradise Conservation Area reducing 30 damage a Raikou basically has 210 health if you count its ability and Tapu Koko-GX has 240 or even Jolteon-EX having 230 making it more tough to one hit KO them all. Overall this deck will see play whether it's with Electrode or no Electrode. There are two ways you can play Raikou and Tapu Koko-GX it's just up to you on which you prefer.

Other card options

Regirock XY 49 Promo:

You can stack energy onto this card and then Ninja Boy it whenever you want since it's going to be safe from Lysandre.

Pokémon Ranger:

If you expect to face the mirror then adding this card helps against opposing Jolteon-EX. Otherwise, you may as well forfeit the game.

Professor Kukui:

The 20 damage this card provides can make Tapu Koko-GX's attack do 150, 170, or even 220 making numbers easier for you.

Exp Share:

Being able to get back energy for Raikou can hit for bigger damage or for Tapu Koko-GX since its ability grabs Lightning Energy no matter where Exp Share is.

Escape Rope:

Useful against Jolteon-EX if you don't want to play Pokémon Ranger but also just good to force a non-EX in the active spot.

Max Potion:

Because Tapu Koko-GX steals energy from your other Pokémon means whatever Pokémon had its energy moved to Tapu Koko-GX has no drawback of healing it to full making Max Potion useful in this scenario. However, this list only runs two Tapu Koko-GX so maybe if the deck played a heavier line of Tapu Koko-GX then makes Max Potion more viable.

Closing Thoughts

That will conclude this article. I hope you learned something from this short article as I'm always trying to keep people up to date on decks and new techs. As a long time M Rayquaza-EX player, it hurts me to write about Raikou/Tapu Koko-GX/Electrode because I know that's a rough matchup. Still, I want players to know every potential deck that's out there that can do well. There are plenty of decks out there that are strong you just have to be hungry enough to look for them or think outside the box and come up with your own. I'll have a handful of more articles this month so be sure to check those out when they are published. I won't be attending Toronto Regionals this weekend or Seattle Regionals in a couple weeks unfortunately but I'll be in Wisconsin Regionals for sure. If you're attending Toronto Regionals this weekend then good luck to you even though this article doesn't help you in that category since Guardians Rising won't be legal for play just yet as I mentioned earlier.

Closing out 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. If you want to help support my team, 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. My Twitter is down below if you want to follow me go ahead. 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!


-Twitter @Jose_MarreroTCG

[+11] okko


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