Experts' corner

Jose Marrero

A Closer Look at the Milan Open Finalist Decks

Jose examines the two decks that made the finals of the Milan Open not too long ago.

05/25/2017 by Jose Marrero


Hello, 60cards readers, for this article I briefly want to examine the two decks that made the finals at the Milan Open event. One of my favorite decks, Gyarados, ended up winning the whole event and when I saw the Top 8 standings I had a feeling Alex would take it all. In second place we saw Manuele pilot a unique Garbodor variant with Espeon-GX and Bunnelbys. It's crazy to think that Alex won all his top cut games against decks that teched for Gyarados, yet still took them all down with no counters of his own. In Top 8 Alex bested Garbodor with a tech Hoopa STS, and then in Top 4, he bested Greninja with a tech Aqua Shower Greninja and finally, in the finals he bested Garbodor with Espeon-GX. Beating all these decks with no counters will surely frighten many of those attending Seattle this weekend. I think the million-dollar question will be do players tech for Gyarados in Seattle or not? Or do we think Alex got extremely lucky to have won those games given that the other players probably bricked hard and Gyarados overpowered them for being more consistent and straight forward? I actually won a League Cup recently with Gyarados, however, my list is about 7 cards off of Alex's, and I have to respectfully disagree on some of Alex's card choices. Still at the end of the day, Gyarados is Gyarados and you can't argue Alex's win so congrats to him. I'll post my list below after I talk about Alex's if you want to compare them although many of you probably saw the list already.

With that said, let's take a closer look at Alex's winning Gyarados list from the Milan Open.


I wasn't surprised to see Alex win the Milan Open event after I saw the top 8 decks. As long as he dodged Decidueye-GX/Vileplume, I had a feeling he would go far, and that's exactly what he did. Granted, I didn't know a handful of the top 8 decks were playing counters to Gyarados at the time, however, Alex still prevailed in the end and proves why Gyarados is a force to be reckoned with post-Guardians Rising. I'll briefly go over some cards that I think were questionable and can be changed to something else, starting with the two Shaymin-EX. Personally, I play a copy of Tapu Lele-GX over the second Shaymin-EX; reason being not only is it a Glaceon-EX counter but it guarantees you a supporter for the turn. I play more supporters than Alex, so maybe if he ran more, then he would have opted to play Tapu Lele-GX. Which brings me to the one-of N and Lysandre--I run two of each. Of course, you could say it's because I run Tapu Lele-GX as I mentioned, however by playing two of each you're more likely to find them when needed most. You want to be able to weigh your options at a moment's notice so by upping the supporter count you can find those early on. You can't really argue with a maxed count of Dive Ball and Ultra Ball because without a doubt that's straight up consistency, however, I play three Level Ball which I prefer over a heavy Ultra Ball count.

You don't want to have to discard too many resources in this deck because anything you Ultra Ball away that's not a supporter can be a crucial resource you may need later on. Plus Level Ball helps for searching more effectively once you Rescue Stretcher Magikarps back in. Alex played four Trainers' Mail which I can respect because again consistency is key, however, I've been playing two and it's been fine. Alex went with one Float Stone and one Escape Rope. I prefer to go with two Float Stone because I run Machoke but even then I much rather have a Float Stone on Octillery and most times you are going to want to KO the active anyway. You can bait out Field Blower for the first Float Stone. You shouldn't even attach Float Stone unless you are using Professor Sycamore anyway. Otherwise no need to attach them and potentially get Field Blowered. I see plenty of people making simple mistakes like this. You want to make sure you never lose by deck out from being stalled out and you really do not want to use up Puzzle of Time on Float Stones so just manage your resources. Lastly, the one of Acro Bike seems odd just playing one so I would definitely drop it for literally anything else.

Other card options

Tapu Lele-GX:

I think going down to 1 Shaymin-EX and 1 Tapu Lele-GX is the way to go. I actually one-hit KO'd a Shaymin-EX with a Double Colorless Energy because of Tapu Lele-GX because my opponent went first with Shaymin-EX active to my active Magikarp so maybe he figured he would take a quick KO next turn. So I said to myself "okay let me show you something buddy." I Float Stoned my Magikarp out and benched Tapu Lele-GX with a Double Colorless Energy and Choice Band for the turn 1, 110 damage KO on my opponent's Shaymin-EX and from there it was gg. This was Top 8, game 2 against M Rayquaza-EX/Metal at the League Cup I won, which was the only time I attacked with Tapu Lele-GX.

Machoke GUR:

I run this card in my build because it literally helps against all Gyarados' counters and I would rather be safe than sorry. Sure, the opponent can play Garbodor or Hex Maniac to shut Machoke off, and if that's the case you need to learn to play around those cards by benching no more than one or two Magikarp at a time. For example, against, let's say M Gardevoir-EX with Spinda, instead of benching three Magikarp and potentially giving up three prizes at once you can try one-shotting them with two Magikarp and two Choice Band to do 210 damage or you can simply two-shot them with 1 Magikarp first to do 90, and then two the following turn to do 150. Eventually for your last two prizes you can go all out with three Magikarp. These plays take time to master so if you're considering playing Gyarados you need to know these plays!

Or, against Garbodor, you only need two Magikarp on the bench to KO them, and with a Choice Band you're now doing 180 damage--enough to one hit KO Drampa-EX, Tapu Lele-GX and much more, so what I'm trying to say is not to aggressively bench 3 Magikarp unless you absolutely have to. If you know your opponent doesn't play a counter then, by all means, go all out.

Mr. Mime/Giratina XY 184 Promo:

These two can do what Machoke does except are more limited whereas Machoke blocks everything except its a stage 1 compared to these two being basics which are easier to get out. People can play Spinda now, however, once the new Tapu Koko promo is legal on June 2nd it may be time to switch back to Mr. Mime unless Espeon-GX and Greninja start to see more and more play. Giratina is only good against Greninja so this card is extremely limited so really it's up to you what you think you're more likely to face on which tech to play.

Professor Kukui:

There are times where this card can hit the correct numbers, however, with at least three Choice Band you shouldn't have trouble one hit KOing both EX's and GX's.

Level Ball:

As I said they help find Magikarps easier without wasting resources. 

Down below is the list I won a League Cup with if you want to compare the two.

Let's now move onto the second place Milan Open list piloted by Manuele Tartaglia.


Manuele's list is interesting because it has Espeon-GX as a backup attacker and it also has a heavy count of Bunnelby for some reason. Manuele, as you can see, split his Garbodor count into 3 Trashalanche and 1 Garbotoxin. Guardians Rising yielded a new Garbodor that does some serious damage for just a single Psychic Energy. Its attack, Trashalanche does 20 damage for each Item in your opponent's discard. So you can see why Garbodor has been getting tons of hype once it was leaked and from already have attended a League Cup and seeing other League Cup top cuts I can say the hype is very much real. The one of Garbotoxin you might as well play because you're already playing four Trubbish and a handful of Float Stones anyway. As for the secondary attacker, Espeon-GX can make KO's easier since you can Divide GX 10 damage counters wherever you want. Its Psychic attack is no slouch either since it can do some serious damage which you can combine with Choice Band.

The three of Tapu Lele-GX I can see because the deck plays a ton of one of supporters which I'll get into next. What I don't get is the three Bunnelby. Like why? Maybe they were for the fear of Sylveon-GX which honestly seems like overkill but Manuele took second so he had to be doing something right. Let's now go over the one of supporters starting with Pokémon Fan Club which is nice to get a couple Trubbish on the first turn thanks to Tapu Lele-GX. Teammates does seem cool too since you can search for that Double Colorless Energy or whatever two cards you need at the time. Because Manuele's list doesn't run any stadium means Delinquent is more viable which makes sense. Hex Maniac I like as well because you can't always rely on Garbotoxin to shut off abilities. As far as Team Rocket's Handiwork goes I don't think it's a necessity because this deck isn't a disruption type deck like Sylveon-GX. Lastly, two Field Blower makes perfect sense because not only do they help with discarding stadiums but they also help for discarding Tools to fuel Trashalanche more which can catch your opponent off guard.

Other card options


A solid backup attacker which can be used to discard Special Energy if need be or if you have damage on your bench then you can do a nice 180 damage with a Choice Band. Its GX attack isn't too great since an N can nullify it and your likely going to want to use Divide GX for your GX attack anyway.


Both Garbodor and Espeon-GX can abuse these cards because they are stage 1s. Vaporeon is effective against Volcanion-EX and Turtonator-GX whereas Flareon helps against Decidueye-GX, Lurantis-GX, Metagross-GX and even Solgaleo-GX. Jolteon on the other hand only really helps against M Rayquaza-EX.


The deck plays Pokémon Fan Club which grabs any two Basic Pokémon, however, Brigette can grab three Basic Pokémon non-EX or 1 EX and no other basics. But you have to be careful because the Pokémon you grab go straight to the bench so Tapu Lele-GX and Shaymin-EX don't get their abilities. Still, you can get three Trubbish or a mix with Eevee and Bunnelby.

Altar of the Moone:

The deck plays Psychic Energy so really you can take advantage of this card to go in and out of attackers because you now have free retreat.

Closing Thoughts

That will conclude this short article on the finalist decks of the Milan Open. If you are going to Seattle Regionals this weekend be sure to stay wary of these two decks because like I said the Milan Open was the biggest post Guardians Rising event so far until Seattle Regionals. I wish I were attending, however, flights from Florida are over $400 and maybe if I didn't already have 8 Regional finishes I may have went but I'll definitely be attending both Wisconsin Regionals and now Mexico Regionals. Good luck to those attending Seattle Regionals this weekend. I can't wait to watch the stream and see what players and decks are performing the best. But first I'll be trying to get my second League Cup win for the last quarter out of the way so I can help others that need points since I'm still going to try and chase a Day 2 invite to Worlds.

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 Pokemon-TCG for tons of deck lists from great players. My Twitter is down below if you want to follow me then, by all means, go for it. 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

[+16] okko


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