Experts' corner

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Alex Wilson

This is How We Bulu

Alex goes over his top choice for Hartford Regionals this weekend, describing how most of its matchups work out.

09/29/2017 by Alex Wilson

What’s up 60cards readers, it’s your favorite Rayquaza player back at you with another article that’s about something that has nothing to do with Rayquaza… Anyways, by the time you guys are reading this, Hartford Regionals will only be a few hours away, which means you'd better know what you’re playing soon. But if not, no worries, as that’s what this deck profile is all about. This deck is one of two decks I’ve been greatly considering to play this weekend, the other being Golisopod. Unfortunately, with Golisopod's obvious weakness to fire type decks, I’m a little hesitant to play it at the moment. Tapu Bulu GX however doesn’t have a weakness, making it slightly more attractive. And this list that I’ll be talking about has even matchups all around, with Metagross as its only downfall.

Table of contents

 

VikaBulu

Tapu Koko-GX

Tapu Koko-GX is mainly for the Gardevoir matchup, as it can be a pretty even matchup without it. Thanks to its Aero Trail ability, you can bench it at any time in the game, move up to three Lightning Energies from the field to it, and move it into the active spot. With its powerful Tapu Thunder GX attack, Tapu Koko-GX can one hit knockout anything that stands in its way if there are enough energy on your opponent’s side of the field. Don’t you see how it can be useful against Gardevoir?

Vikavolt

The most vital piece of the deck, Vikavolt’s main use is its Strong Charge ability, which allows you to attach a grass and a lightning energy from your deck to any of your Pokemon. Additionally, it’s your non-GX/EX attacker in the deck, so if you find yourself facing a Ninetales deck, you have an answer to their pesky baby Alolan Ninetales.

Energy Recycler

This is a super important card in the deck, and I find it unfortunate when I see some lists choose not to include it. Energy Recycler allows you to shuffle five energies from your discard pile back into your deck. Since Tapu Bulu-GX’s Nature’s Judgment attack requires you to discard all three energy attached to it to deal massive damage, some form of energy retrieval is important to enable this deck to consistently attack in the late game. Don’t forget that Vikavolt’s Strong Charge ability grabs energies from the deck, so energies in the discard pile are completely worthless. This card’s so good that I’ve even tested running two of them.

Aether Paradise Conservation Area

Wow, say that ten times as fast as can! If you can, congrats you just wasted a minute of your life. Aether Paradise Conservation Area reduces all damage dealt to your Grass and Lightning type Pokemon by 30 damage, even if they’re chilling on the bench! Just like how Gardevoir lists are teching a Mr. Mime to counter Tapu Koko’s Flying Flip spread, Aether Paradise Conservation Area is a better counter since every Pokemon in our deck, excluding Tapu Lele GX, is either Grass or Lightning type (Does anyone else get confused when people call them Lightning types? It’s electric types, why’d you screw with us Wizards of the Coast…). Aether Paradise Conservation Area also helps in the Gardevoir matchup, forcing them to attach another energy to get a knockout. Additionally, if the tough Metagross matchup misses the Field Blower, your Tapu Bulu GX will live another turn to continue attacking.

Skyla

This is one card I love in this slower format. If you need a Rare Candy, you can find it. If all you need is a Choice Band to get a knockout, you can Stellar Guid… I mean, Wonder Tag for the Skyla and grab it. It’s true that a Professor Sycamore may find the item that you needed, but Skyla is a guaranteed “insurance” of sorts that you can fall back on.

 

Matchups

Gardevoir:  Even – Slightly Favorable

Spamming Tapu Bulu’s Nature’s Judgement attack and discarding energy is the key to this matchup - that way, Gardevoir can’t easily one-shot your Tapu Bulu the following turn. Consistently getting the energies needed each turn is the tricky part for us. Setting up two Vikavolt in this matchup is pretty much a must, if not, they’re likely to play a Guzma and knock out your only one, slowing you down to a guaranteed loss. After a damaged Gardevoir has dealt less damage than required to knock out Bulu, you can opt to finish that Gardevoir off with a Tapu Wilderness GX attack, knocking them out and healing all damage from the Tapu Bulu-GX. The caveat to this is that you leave your Tapu Bulu-GX susceptible to an Infinite Force attack, which will knock it out with only three energy attached to Gardevoir. If you don't use your Tapu Wilderness GX attack, Tapu Koko-GX can use its GX attack instead. If the Gardevoir player has five energies on their side of the field, Tapu Koko GX swings for 250 damage! (230 damage with a Choice Band if there are only four energy in play.) This can score a surprise knockout and turn the matchup into your favor.

Fire Varients: Even – Slightly Favorable

Tapu Bulu is a Grass type Pokemon… oh yeah, without weakness. Nature’s Judgment is yet again the key in this matchup. Discarding Tapu Bulu GX’s energies to deal 180 damage or 210 with a Choice Band knocks out everything they could throw at you. Honestly, that’s the only game plan in this matchup, besides setting up two Vikavolts if possible, and using a surprise Tapu Thunder GX for a one-hit knockout. Our biggest threats in this matchup are Ho-Oh GXs 180 damage attack, and Salazzle GX once they’ve taken three prize cards.

Greninja: Favorable

Tapu Bulu GX, Tapu Koko GX, and Vikavolt can all knock out any of Greninja's Pokemon. Unlike other matchups, we won’t need to discard Tapu Bulu’s energies in order to one-hit knockout a Greninja BREAK. After their Greninjas have dealt a lot of damage to your Tapu Bulu GX, you can use its Tapu Wilderness GX attack to heal it completely while knocking out one of their attackers. A good Greninja player will spam Shadow Stitching, preventing us from using Vikavolt’s Strong Charge ability. Speaking of Vikavolt, they’ll also target your Vikavolts and Grubbins with Giant Water Shuriken, so as always, it’s ideal to set up two so that you have a strong setup. Additionally, in case they begin Shadow Stitching early on in the game, it may be best to manually attach all three energies to one Tapu Bulu GX.

Golisopod Garbodor: Slightly Unfavored - Even

Golisopod two hits our Tapu Bulu GXs with both First Impression and Armor Press Its Crossing Cut GX attack however one-shots Tapu Bulu if there isn’t an Aether Paradise Conservation Area in play. Fortunately, our Tapu Bulu-GX can one-shot their Golisopods with a Choice Band-boosted Nature’s Judgement! However, we must discard all of our energy to acheive the one-hit knockout, forcing us to re-attach them each turn. This means if their Garbotoxin Garbodor is set up, it definitely spells trouble. If we miss the Choice Band, or they Field Blower them off, Tapu Bulu GX is only dealing 180 damage maximum, meaning that sticking with Nature’s Judgement for only 120 damage is best. The problem with this however is that Golisopod decks play three to four Acerola, allowing them to heal off all damage each turn. If we could play a Flying Flip Tapu Koko, we would for this matchup and Gardevoir namely, but the truth of the matter is we’d have to set up a Vikavolt first, or manually attach basics energies for two turns. By that time, you’d get only one Flying Flip off before they’d return a revenge knockout.

Metagross: Gross

To put it simply, they one-shot us, and we don’t one-shot them. We have a few tricks up our sleeves though! Get ready for the tongue twister again: Aether Paradise Conservation Area. With this in play, Metagross’ Hammer Arm attack is dealing 30 less damage, but don’t get too excited just yet. Metagross lists run on average two or three Field Blower, some even run four. Thus, the game plan is to hold off on playing either of our Aether Paradise Conservation Area Stadiums, only attaching one Choice Band at a time, hoping that they waste a Field Blower on our one Tool card in play. After they’ve wasted one or two Field Blower, it’s fairly safe to activate our Stadium cards, hoping that the second one will stick for the remainder of the game. Since Choice Band is literally worthless in this matchup, (Nature’s Judgement already one-shots their Tapu Lele-GXs), we can use this “mind game” to our advantage. We also have Tapu Koko-GX in our arsenal. While their side of the field may only contain three energies at a time, you can either wait for them to play five energies, (which is 250 damage, enough to one hit knockout a fully healthy Metagross GX), or use Tapu Koko-GX to deal some decent chip damage. The only problem with dealing chip damage in this matchup, however, is that Metagross decks run three to four Max Potion, pretty much ensuring that they’ll always be attacking with a 250 HP tank. Good luck trainer, you’ll need it!

Alolan Ninetales: Even

I haven’t tested this matchup too much to be honest, so I’m only basing this off of the few games I have played this out, and what I think in theory. The threat in this matchup is their Alolan Ninetales-GX, so don’t worry about their baby Alolan Nintales, as our Vikavolts take care of them easily. Honestly, the more baby Alolan Ninetales they waste setting up, the better! When they first evolve into an Alolan Ninetales-GX, they’re more than likely to target your Vikavolt lines with their Ice Blade attack. Aether Paradise Conservation Area helps in this matchup, reducing any Ice Blade attack to just 20 damage, even when your Vikavolts are chilling on the bench during their lunch break. Their Blizzard Edge is the scariest part, because with a Choice Band, they’re one-shotting us with 190 damage. Though, with your Choice Band, you deal 210 damage with Nature's Judgement, making for a clean knockout. Alternatively, you’d like as much chip damage on each Ninetales as possible, otherwise, if you deal 120 – 180 damage to one, they’ll use their Ice Path GX attack, healing it all away and knocking your Tapu Bulu out. We too have a similar GX attack, which can in turn deal 180 damage for a potential knockout while healing Tapu Bulu. Tapu Koko-GX comes in handy once again, and in this matchup, one Ninetales alone may have up to four energy attached to it, making Tapu Thunder GX an insane attack in this matchup. Thinking about this matchup makes it sound very one sided for VikaBulu, but on the other hand, I can see it being a tough one, especially if they Field Blower our Stadiums away, and use Espeon EX to take out our Vikavolts.

Closing Thoughts

I really like this deck and its overall matchups against the expected field this weekend, though as always I’m never sure what I’ll be playing. I’m expecting to hit 3 Gardevoir, 2 Metagross, 1 Fire Varient, 2 Golisopod, and a random Ninetales or Greninja deck. With these matchups in mind, VikaBulu sounds like the perfect deck, but like any 800 player tournament, there’s no telling what you’ll be dealing with on the other side of the table. Last month in Fort Wayne, I played Mega Rayquaza, I lost to a Tapu Koko GX deck with Parallel Cities and Delinquents, I didn’t play against a single Darkrai deck all day, and I only hit one Sudowoodo in Round 9. So yeah, you could always go seven or eight rounds paired against unexpected, crazy decks. Anyways, I wish us all the best of luck this weekend! If you happen to see any of us 60cards writers, please come say hey!

Until next time!

[+13] okko


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