Experts' corner

Alex Wilson

Metagross Beats Volcanion!

Alex goes into detail with a new Metagross list that stands a real chance against one of the most successful decks in the format, Volcanion.

08/14/2017 by Alex Wilson

Hello again 60cards reader, did the title grab your attention? Okay, so Volcanion is still a tough matchup for Metagross, but with the recent release of Burning Shadows, Metagross stands a real chance against the powerful Fire type Volcanion EX. By the time you guys are reading this, we’ll only be a couple more days away from the most prestigious event of the year, the 2017 Words Championships! And although I’m sure most players competing in either the World Championships, or the Anaheim Open, know what deck they’re playing, here’s a last minute option for those who still don’t know what to do.


What’s the most hyped deck leading to this weekend? The new Fairy type Gardevoir GX, and what is it weak to… Metal. Metagross is a great deck, it had already proven its worth after its surprise double Top 8 performance at the Madison Regionals shortly before the North American International Championships. But after that successful appearance, many players began to pick up the deck, resulting in an increase of Volcanion decks. And since Volcanion was already a powerful deck to play in the first place, the fact that it gained another good matchup, meant that Metagross had become a scarce, risky play. But thanks to Burning Shadows, Metagross gained a new partner in Vileplume. No, not the item locking Vileplume that we all know and hate, a new one that states, “as long as this Pokémon is your active Pokémon, your opponent’s Basic Pokémon can’t attack.” They can’t attack… at all! Meaning that the only way to get rid of Vileplume is to play a Hex Maniac. But do Volcanion decks play Hex Maniac…. nope! Right off the bat, let’s get to the good stuff.

1-0-1 Vileplume

See how Volcanion is potentially an “auto-win?” Metagross GX is a Stage 2 Pokémon, meaning that it already naturally works well with Rare Candy. And since Vileplume is a Stage 2 as well, why not play a Vileplume to help versus the Volcanion matchup, one of the most popular, and dominant, decks in the format. The idea with Vileplume, is to quickly get out your one of Oddish as soon as you see any sign of your opponent playing a Fire type variant. (Seeing as how Volcanion is literally the only viable Fire type deck, there’s a ninety-nine percent chance that said Fire type deck is Volcanion.) When setting up Vileplume however, you need to use as few resources to set it up as possible. Once you’ve evolved your Vileplume, the idea is to then deck your opponent out. You heard the part where I said spend as few resources to set it up as possible, right? What I quickly found out in my testing, was that if you’ve played more cards than your opponent just to set up your Vileplume, than they can deck you out, foiling your plans. To prevent this from happening, if you don’t have easy access to Bridgette, Ultra Ball, or an Alolan Vulpix, you can sit still for a turn or two, giving up prizes allowing your opponent to “waste” as many recourses as they possibly feel like. If you trick your opponent into doing so, then all that’s left on your part is to set up your Vileplume and you’ve won the game, it’s that simple! There’s one more little problem though, like all decks, Volcanion plays Guzma, and if your opponent knows what’s best for them, they’ll use Guzma to bring up, and knock out, your Oddish deterring you from your main win condition. And that’s why we play Rescue Stretcher, which I’ll discuss in a minute.

"You can't attack! Whatcha gonna do now?"

Metagross GX

Obviously, our main attacker of the deck, Metagross GX has the tank-like capability of swinging for 180 damage, taking a hit, retreating, healing, replenishing energies, then swing for 180 damage again. In a way, it’s Busted! However, like all decks, it has its kinks. Like most Stage 2 decks, it tends to set up a little slower than Basic decks, and can lean a little in the way of inconsistency. But when everything works, the deck can literally beat anything. After it has fully evolved, Metagross GX’s ability, Geotech System, allows you to attach a Metal Energy from your discard pile to your active Pokémon. We play four Metagross GX, meaning that if you have at least three Metagross GX in play, and three Metal Energy in the discard pile, you’ll always have enough resources to attack. Metagross GX’s attacks are amazing too, its Hammer Arm attack deals 150 damage, but with a repercussion of preventing it from using that same attack the following turn. But with its Geotech System ability, using the three energies to retreat, and reattaching the energies with three of Metagross GX’s abilities, Hammer Arm’s repercussion is no big deal… Its GX attack is great as well, Algorithm GX allows you to search your deck for any five cards of your choice. Like Drampa GX’s Big Wheel GX attack, it’s a great way to set yourself up for the following turn, and if your opponent N’s you, you’re sure to get a better hand than you were dealt prior to using your GX attack anyways.

Alolan Vulpix

This cute little regional variant has an attack with no energy cost! Beacon lets you search your deck for two Pokémon and put them into your hand. After playing a Bridgette on your first turn, searching for two Metang, or a Metang and a Metagross (thanks to Rare Candy) is a great way to speed up this Stage 2 deck. And obviously, if up against Volcanion, you can search out both your Oddish and Vileplume.

Rescue Stretcher

With three Stage 1 Pokémon, and four Stage 2 GXs, odds are that you’re more than likely to discard one or two of these evolutions in the early game while setting up your board. Rescue Stretcher allows you to either grab one of them to use immediately, or shuffle three of them back into your deck, which then becomes Ultra Ball searchable. And like I mentioned earlier, you really, really need both your Oddish and Vileplume in the Volcanion matchup. If your opponent knocks it out before you could set it up, Rescue Stretcher’s your last hope to easily win the game. However, if you’re using recourses to grab the Rescue Stretcher to revive Oddish, make sure that you can still deck your opponent out, before they can deck you out.

Max Potion

I’ve tested the deck both with and without Max Potion, and I can easily say that Max Potion is one of the most important cards in the deck. For a while, I played with only two Max Potions, but realized that three is a must, four would be amazing, but the room isn’t quite there with our 1-0-1 Vileplume line. In the current format, most decks take knock outs with two attacks. And with Metagross GX’s bulky 250 HP, Metagross will usually be able to survive two, or even three attacks. Which is obviously why we play Max Potion, Metagross rarely gets one hit ko’d, so take advantage of it, especially since energies can be reattached with the Geotech System ability.


Guzma fits farely well in this deck, while half of our Pokémon only have a retreat cost of one, Guzma’s effect of switching your Pokémon is no big deal. And if we’re at a point in the game where we have multiple Metagross GX in play, retreating, then playing Guzma doesn’t hurt us in the slightest thanks to the Geotech System ability.


While we only play one, that’s all you ever need. If you have a Vulpix in play, and draw support for the following turn, play Bridgette to grab three Beldum. If you have any other Pokémon than Vulpix in the active, grab two Beldum and a Vulpix, ending your turn with Beacon. (assuming you went second)

Metagross’ Meta Matchups

Gardevoir Variants – Very Favorable

As I’m sure you’ve heard, Gardevoir GX is the most hyped deck for Worlds. And for good reason, it’s super consistent, hits hard, and with the Gallade/Octillery combo, almost always grabs what it needs. Metagross however is one deck Gardevior cannot handle. While it’s possible for Gardevoir’s Infinite Force attack to reach numbers of 250 damage, realistically, it would need six energies attached to itself, or five and a muscle band, to one hit ko a Metagross GX. However, that’s assuming that Metagross has three energies attached already, and if a Metagross already had three energy attached, that means that it attacked the previous turn, and everything in Gardevoir is within easy one hit knock out range from a Metagross GX. While it may take two or three more turns to set up the next big Gardevoir GX, Metagross will be back up and running that very turn thanks to its ability.

Garbodor Drampa – Favorable

Some players consider this matchup an auto win, but if the Garbodor player is intelligent, they’ll put up a fight. Metagross’ Psychic type resistance and its tanky 250 HP is hard for Garbodor to overcome. And although Drampa GX may be able to deal more damage, Metagross can easily knock out a Drampa in one hit with a Choice Band. The only chance Garbodor has is for the Metagross player to slip up on discarding too many item cards, or start with a lone Beldum and pass. They also have Garbotoxin Garbodor, but so long as you preserve your Field Blowers, and time them right, it should be a fairly easy match.

Turbo Darkrai – Favorable

While this deck may not see too much play this weekend, it’s still a valid matchup as I’m sure a few people are eager to try it out with the new Darkrai GX. Darkrai’s a fast-paced deck, but 250 damage consistently is still too much to overcome. And the fact that Metagross GX can one hit ko a Darkrai for 180 damage really hurts Darkrai’s favor. Field Blower also deters Darkrai in discarding either Exp. Shares on the bench, decreasing your opponent’s damage output, or Fighting Fury Belts, immediately killing damaged Darkrais while allowing for a OHKO on a fresh Darkrai. Darkrai stands a chance, but without Garbotoxin Garbodor, it’s a steep uphill battle.

Mega Mewtwo – Favorable

This matchup is….. ohh ya it no longer exists.

Rayquaza – Even

Rayquaza is known for its capability of one hit koing anything it chooses, Metagross on the other hand is just a little out of reach. While Rayquaza can deal up to 240 damage, Metagross has Max Potion to completely heal all damage. Essentially, it’s a game of two hit koing each other, and whoever has the most Hex Maniacs or Max Potions wins. It’s not literally just that, but you know what I mean.

Volcanion – Slightly Unfavorable

While we play Vileplume to beat Volcanion, all they need to do is knock out our Oddish before it ever has a chance of evolving. Additionally, we have to use fewer resources then they in order to deck them out, if they’ve only one or two more cards than you in their deck, they’ve already won.

Vespiquen – Slightly Unfavorable

Mostly all Vespiquen lists will run a Flareon, specifically for this and the Decidueye matchup. The key is to knock out their Eevee or Flareon before it deals too much damage, as once Flareon is out of the picture, Vespiquen nor Zoroark can swing for one hit kos. But as Metagross is a Stage 2 deck, Vespiquen is sure to begin taking prizes before you’ve even set up a single Metagross. Depending on how fast Vespiquen is setting up, is how well, or bad, this matchup goes for Metagross.

Greninja – Unfavorable

This is a baaad matchup for Metagross. While it takes both decks a few turns to fully setup, Metagross can’t one hit knock out a Greninja BREAK. With Shadow Stitching, Metagross can’t retreat and use it’s Geotech System ability, so it’s pretty much forced to stay active while you attach an energy to one of your benched Metagross, and pass. Greninja’s Giant Water Shuriken is continuous heavy damage, and can knock out a Metagross in as little as two turns. You can tech in a Giratina promo to help with this matchup, but not only would you have to cut a valuable resource like a Max Potion, Greninja more than likely plays Silent Lab making Giratina useless anyways. Though you have Field Blower, you only have a few to discard their Stadium in hope that they don’t find another that next turn.

Closing Thoughts

There you have it, a realistic way for Metagross to finally beat Volcanion. I worked on the list and started testing the deck immediately after my good friend Carl (Eddie) Sitavi and Gengar 101 told me about the idea. Metagross was already a decent deck before Burning Shadows, now it’s a little more relevant. It’s super neat and I hope you can give it a few minutes of testing before your next tournament. And if I didn’t talk anyone into playing Metagross, just scarring Volcanion players into teching a Hex Maniac is good enough for me!

Thanks for reading, if you have any thoughts about Worlds, the Anaheim Open, or post rotation I’m all ears. Until next time guys!


[+13] okko


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