Experts' corner

Jose Marrero

A Closer Look at the Austrian Open Finalist Decks

Jose examines the two decks that made the finals of the Austrian Open.

06/08/2017 by Jose Marrero


Hello, once again 60cards readers! I'm back again with another short article, however this time on the Austrian Open finalist decks that concluded during Seattle Regionals. But first I'll go over what happened in Seattle which shouldn't have been a surprise to most people. In the top 32, I believe 24/32 of those decks had Garbodor in them with 5 being Espeon-GX and the other 19 with Drampa-GX variants. With the recent release of Guardians Rising, Garbodor/Drampa-GX was expected to be "the deck" to beat at upcoming events and with Seattle and the Austrian Open's conclusion the expected consensus was correct because it won Seattle and took 2nd at the Austrian Open. However, one player by the name of Martin Janous knew that Garbodor was "the deck" to beat and so he made his own unique M Rayquaza-EX build which I'll be going over. Next, I'll get into Stephane's 2nd place list as well so you guys can compare them to the top 8 Seattle Regional lists piloted by Sam Chen, Brad Curcio, Kenny Wisdom, and Tyler Ninomura. Jeffrey Cheng, on the other hand, took 2nd at Seattle with Vespiquen/Zoroark which seemed like it had a solid Garbodor matchup from watching some of the live stream games. Jeffrey got Top 4 at Anaheim Regionals too with Vespiquen.

With that said, lets now take a look at Martin's unique M Rayquaza-EX build he used to win the Austrian Open.

M Rayquaza-EX/Latios-EX/Mew-EX

Once I saw Martin's list I was extremely intrigued because he ran some crazy stuff which definitely helped him take the tournament down. Let's start with his Pokémon counts and why he may have played some of them. Martin ran two Dragonite-EX which you only really see one in most lists however after seeing his other counts I see why. I like the two Tapu Lele-GX because it helps against Garbodor not having to use as many items to find a supporter. Plus it's a solid backup attacker if need be and will be needed to help counter Glaceon-EX which Israel Sosa played in his Top 8 Seattle Lapras-GX/Box list. Now we get into the unique additions which you aren't used to seeing in a deck like M Rayquaza-EX and that is both Mew-EX and Latios-EX. Of course, they are used to help turn 1 KO certain Pokémon such as Trubbish or Magikarp. You basically attack with Mew-EX then copy Latios-EX's attack, Fast Raid to KO a Trubbish on the first turn thanks to its Psychic weakness. You can even later copy your opponents Trashalanche to take a KO with Mew-EX if you wanted to. Martin played Professor Kukui so he can find that extra 20 damage in case he may have tried to KO something that's not weak to Psychic and has more than 40 hit points such as, Rowlet. I know in the finals against Garbodor/Drampa-GX Martin actually won game 1 by turn 1 KOing Stephane's Trubbish with Mew-EX.

Moving on we can see Martin decided to play four copies of Unown which now brings me to Martin's supporters starting with the two copies of Mallow. Unown and Shaymin-EX both pair nicely with Mallow because Mallow lets you put two cards from your deck on top of your deck in an order which this way you are playing fewer items and still can get what you want which is the way to go against Garbodor decks. Martin must have been testing strictly against the Garbodor matchup because his list is definitely anti-Garbodor hate. Professor Sycamore and Lysandre are the other two of supporters including Mallow. By running two Tapu Lele-GX you are able to search these supporters out more efficiently which helps while under Vileplume lock as well. Now we get into the one of supporters starting with Hex Maniac. Usually, you want to be playing two Hex Maniac however now with the release of Tapu Lele-GX you can now find them easier whenever you want assuming it's not prized or discarded. Skyla I still like in this build even though there isn't Puzzle of Time because you need to be able to search out that one card you need whether it's a Sky Field or Float Stone at a moments notice. A turn one Skyla is also pretty good since it can grab an Ultra Ball into Hoopa-EX.

Professor Kukui as I said helps hit those turn 1 donk numbers easier or to one hit KO Pokémon with over 240 hit points such as Metagross-GX and Solgaleo-GX. Brock's Grit makes sense because you want to get all those Unown back to reuse for later or to help fuel Emerald Break. Now you can see Martin only played a total of 14 items with four of them being Tools or 3 being VS Seeker and two Spirit Links meaning you should be able to set up multiple M Rayquaza-EX without having to use too many items thanks to Mallow. Playing 3 VS Seeker may seem odd but now with Garbodor's dominance in the format, I think trimming your VS Seeker count and upping your supporters is the way to go not just in M Rayquaza-EX. You should be manually evolving M Rayquaza-EX on the first turn anyways every game unless a turn 1 KO presents itself. Lastly, Martin chose Psychic Energy over any other energy because not can you use Tapu Lele-GX's GX attack, Tapu Cure GX but as I said to take advantage of your opponent's Trashalanche with Mew-EX.

Other card options

Garbodor GUR:

A player in Florida actually ran a 1-1 Garbodor line and took Top 4 with it at a League Cup. Honestly its a solid backup attacker against opposing Garbodor decks and for just one Psychic Energy you can get that revenge KO or threaten it for late game when your opponent has used tons of items.

Azelf XY 142 Promo, Spinda PRC or Oricorio GUR:

Gyarados hands down has a huge advantage against M Rayquaza-EX from having played against M Rayquaza-EX a bunch of times with me piloting Gyarados so I have a first-hand experience. You absolutely have to have some form of counter to stand a chance against Gyarados. The three cards I presented above all in their own way are effective against Gyarados. Azelf puts 2 damage counters on all your opponent's Pokémon with damage on them already so it's perfect against Gyarados seeing how they thrive on their benched Magikarps on having damage on them otherwise their damage output is severely diminished. Azelf goes around Mr. Mime but not Machoke but you can just Hex Maniac first. Spinda is a little more versatile than Azelf because Spinda takes a Colorless Energy whereas Azelf needs a Psychic. Again you just Hex Maniac against Machoke and Mr. Mime if need be. Now Oricorio is good against both Gyarados and Vespiquen which as I said took 2nd in Seattle.

Trainers' Mail:

Adding these back in will make the deck more consistent however by adding more items you're making Garbodor do more damage which you have to keep an eye out on how many items you are using when facing Garbodor. Martin played a lot more supporters to make up for not having Trainers' Mail and Puzzle of Time which in the end was the correct call.

Special Charge:

Drampa-GX can be annoying since it can discard Double Colorless Energy for a single energy so having Special Charge an ultimately come in handy even though it's an item.

Lets now take a look at Stephane's Austrian Open 2nd place list.

Garbodor/Drampa-GX/Tapu Lele-GX

Stephane's list compared to some of the lists from Seattle is slightly different with the first notice being that Stephane didn't play a counter to Gyarados whether it was Spinda or Azelf. Except for that his Pokémon counts are pretty straight forward and standard. Stephane played three N which a lot of lists are running four copies which seem like overkill to me but then again not having to discard resources is always nice. Three Lysandre seems like it should be the way to go because the deck plays three copies of Tapu Lele-GX however you can get away with running just two because Sam won Seattle with two and some others did well with running two as well like Tyler Ninomura and Kenny Wisdom. Delinquent seems like it could catch the opponent off guard because you can search it out whenever you want so once your opponent fails to play around it then it's your time to shine. Even though the deck plays a Garbotoxin Garbodor I still think at least one copy of Hex Maniac is ideal. There's really no reason not to run one of supporters when running three Tapu Lele-GX. Some lists from Seattle ran four Float Stone, however, three should be plenty enough.

Three Choice Band also seems standard however you can argue playing a fourth so you have it when you need it most against opposing Drampa-GX's. Two Field Blower makes perfect sense in this deck and I can't see running one because not only does it help discard Tools and Stadiums but it also helps fuel Trashalanche's damage output. Stephane decided to split his recovery cards into one Rescue Stretcher and one Super Rod which I can respect even though you see either two Super Rod or vise versa. As for Stephane's Stadium, he chose to go with Altar of the Moone which gives all your Pokémon with a Psychic or Dark Energy attached to them two less retreat. A lot of lists run Team Magma's Secret Base to help fuel Drampa-GX. I know Brad Curcio ran two Altar of the Moone in his Top 4 Seattle list, however, Sam Chen ran two Team Magma's Secret Base instead. Lastly. Stephane played one Rainbow Energy which I know Brad ran two in his list. Rainbow Energy makes sense if you aren't playing Team Magma's Secret Base.

Other card options

Tauros-GX+ Ninja Boy:

Both Sam Chen and Tyler Ninomura played this combo in their winning and Top 4 lists. Being able to Tapu Lele-GX into Ninja Boy so easily makes Tauros-GX more effective which can catch your opponent off guard with Mad Bull GX to take the lead back.

Azelf XY 142 Promo, Spinda PRC, or Oricorio GUR:

Same reasoning as in M Rayquaza-EX.


Tyler Ninomura ran a copy of Shaymin-EX in his Top 4 list which was the only difference between Sam's. Sam ran a fourth copy of Professor Sycamore instead. Opening Shaymin-EX I would have to guess isn't so good because if you have to Sky Return then that's one less energy on a Drampa-GX.


I know Mark Garcia ran this card in his Top 16 Seattle list which honestly makes sense if you want to have a better shot at beating Decidueye-GX/Vileplume, however, I think that matchup is still favorable with or without Wobbuffet.

Pokémon Fan Club:

Brigette is nice to be able to turn 1 for triple Trubbish, however, Pokémon Fan Club can search out Tapu Lele-GX and Shaymin-EX which Brigette can as well you just won't get their abilities since Brigette comes from deck to bench and not hand to bench.

Team Flare Grunt:

In conjunction with Drampa-GX you can clean your opponent's Active Pokémon of energy which is good against an opposing Drampa-GX.

Team Magma's Secret Base:

Some of the top lists from Seattle ran this card including the winning list piloted by Sam Chen. Being able to fuel Drampa-GX at your own doing can ultimately be more effective than waiting for your opponent to do it for you. Plus the 20 damage your opponent takes from Team Magma's Secret Base makes it easier for Trashalanche to take KO's.

Closing Thoughts

That will conclude yet another short article, except of course this time on the finalist decks of the Austrian Open. Martin's list is quite unique as you saw and it's no surprise he was able to take the tournament down because it has a good Garbodor matchup seeing how Martin trimmed down his items significantly. Stephane's deck, of course, has seen tons of play after the hype and looking at the results from Seattle Regionals and seeing 6/8 of the top 8 as some form of Garbodor you should definitely expect to play a handful of them at upcoming events. You better be prepared to beat Garbodor or at most have a 50-50 chance against it or just play Garbodor yourself because they will pop up in swarms again because nothing down right just beats it, unlike some other decks. 

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

[+11] okko


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