Experts' corner

Zach Lesage

ADP / Zacian for OIC

Zach shares his ADP / Zacian list, thoughts on the metagame, and matchup spread in this article.

02/06/2020 by Zach Lesage


What’s up everyone? It’s Zach Lesage here and I am back with another article for you today! I wanna go over a deck that is super hyped up, Zacian / ADP, showcase my list, and share some quick thoughts on the deck. This week should have a few shorter articles from me and next week will be more in depth. As I prepare for Oceania Internationals in Australia, I will be sharing my exact lists as I update them. I’m going to try and cover the most important lists that are paving way in our new SwSh Standard format. Anyways, let’s talk about Zacian / ADP! 

Zacian / ADP

Zacian / ADP is a newer concept of a deck that is coming out upon the release of SwSh in the TCG. It mostly takes the existing shell of Keldeo / ADP and adds in Zacian because it is a better partner overall. This is because cards like Metal Saucer allow for the deck to expedite Zacian into attacking or you can Energy Switch to ADP to use Altered Creation GX earlier than before. With Zacian hitting for an already hefty 230 damage, Altered Creation brings that up to 260, Vitality Band brings that up to 270, and Shrine can hit for even more! Magnolia and Marnie make this deck as consistent as ever and don’t forget about the Ability on Zacian either. Having this whole combo wrapped up in a Jirachi engine allows this deck to thrive going first and that is huge in this format. Most other decks will be forced to go 2nd due to the new Supporter rule change because they don’t have as consistent of a backing. If you are new to this format or if you are struggling to find a deck for your next SwSh Standard event, this is a great list to play around with. Let’s check it out!

The List

Pokemon: 11

4 Jirachi TEU

3 Zacian-V SWH

2 Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX CEC

1 Dedenne-GX UNB

1 Absol TEU

Trainers: 37

2 Shrine of Punishment 

4 Professor’s Research (Professor Magnolia)

3 Marnie

2 Mallow & Lana

1 Guzma & Hala

4 Metal Saucer

4 Quick Ball

4 Switch

2 Pokémon Catcher

2 Energy Switch

2 Great Catcher

2 Escape Board

2 Vitality Band

2 Tag Call

1 Reset Stamp

Energy: 12

9 Metal Energy

2 Aurora Energy

1 Water Energy

This list is as basic as it’s going to get and I like to chalk that up to consistency in general. I have seen lists that run Lucario & Melmetal and Keldeo-GX, but those are mainly to target specific matchups. I have seen a large influx of love for Sableye / Obstagoon decks so if I was going to play this deck at OIC, I think I might want to add in a Keldeo-GX and Ordinary Rod. Beyond that, there isn’t much to change. With Aurora Energy, this deck can add techs such a Fairy Mimikyu or Psychic Mimikyu, but that is only going to come with a consistent metagame. Heading into OIC myself, I hear whispers of the following decks being played by top players:

Magcargo CES Control 

Cinccino Control


Zacian / ADP

Zacian / LucMel

Sableye / Obstagoon 

Mewtwo / Psychic

Green’s Blacephalon UNB

I’m sure there will be plenty of other decks played at OIC because this new format has players hyped for the new generation, but it is still tough to put a finger on. Considering Australia has had global success with Mewtwo and PikaRom decks, I am more inclined to tech for those matchups than anything else. Oh, and Zacian too, Zacian is too good for players not to play. The only trying that will remain consistent is that Jirachi, Dedenne, and other consistency cards will be in abundance. That is why I decided to put Absol in this list to help stop Jirachi for a while if I ever need a buffer turn. Overall, this list has been working well for me and it is definitely going to be one of the most played decks after the release of SwSh. 

Before I let you go, I wanted to let you know my quick opinions on some matchups for this deck. I usually exclude matchups from articles for a handful of reasons, but I have been doing a bunch of testing in this format so this might help you out. 

Control (Magcargo, Cincinno, Pidgeotto)

Usually these decks will be able to deck you out or put you in a hand lock before you are able to win. The best thing that you have going for you is that Zacian can power itself up, draw an extra Prize Card with Altered Creation, and draw cards. You need to get Zacian out in these matchups to get around hand lock, but you definitely need to use Altered Creation to get around their deck. Cryogonal wouldn’t hurt to add into your deck if you were worried about control decks. 


Watch out for having Dedenne in your Bench, but this matchup should be relatively easy. I don’t even know if you need to focus on the full effect of ADP, the +30 might be the only thing that matters. Usually I go for the full effect so they can’t play around my deck with single Prize Pokémon. Just get setup ASAP, Knock Out two Pokemon, and you win. Keep a Switch handy if they Paralyze you with ChuChu!

Zacian (ADP, Metal)

The first mirror match is more or less decided by the coin flip and luck! Race your opponent to using Altered Creation GX for the full effect and Knock Out two Pokemon to win the game. Fairy Mimikyu would be amazing in this matchup so if you expect a lot of ADP, that would be a great addition. If you do add it in, a couple copies of Rosa and add in more Aurora Energy seems like it would work great! The “metal” variant of the deck is a bit trickier to deal with because it reduces damage with Frying Pan, LucMel can discard Energy, and LucMel can also reduce damage. That is all wrapped around Mallow & Lana as well which means it is going to be difficult to take consistent Knock Outs. I would still focus on using ADP for the full effect and make a plan to OHKO two Pokemon to win. Otherwise, the “metal” variant isn’t entirely a great matchup. 

Sableye / Obstagoon

If you don’t play Keldeo or another way to get around Obstagoon, they will turn into an attacking Obstagoon deck and block you for the game. This deck has seemingly been gaining popularity as of late so I would respect it going forward if you are playing in any early SwSh tournaments.

Mewtwo / Psychic

I haven’t found this matchup to be too difficult because you can hit the right numbers on Mewtwo (with all of your damage modifiers), but they can “hand lock” you with Marnie and TrevNoir. I actually think this is an RNG matchup because of the random elements of TrevNoir / Marnie so try to adjust to your changing hand. When you have the option to hold on to cards, be prepared for TrevNoir’s GX attack or MimiGar out of nowhere.

Green’s Blacephalon 

This matchup is weird because Zacian has Fire Weakness, but ADP turns this into a game that has only three attacks. You can’t really Stamp or Marnie and pray anymore because they have Lucky Egg now, but you can try to Marnie them early game if they don’t attach the Egg. Just use Altered Creation for the full effect and attack their Pokémon three times afterwards. I have seen a few Rillaboom / RowEggs lists and a few Blacephalon-GX lists, but nothing is inherently amazing. I would focus on the main decks, continuously watch top rated YouTube / Twitch channels for more deck info, and of course read plenty of articles. I’m sure there are other amazing decks getting crafted as we speak so keep your eyes peeled for them! 

Australia Bound!

Well, that’s a wrap for today! I would love to go over some more top decks in our current Standard SwSh format because I won’t be playing Expanded for a while! I will be one of the few North American players who are braving the format as I am travelling to Melbourne, AUS to play in the 2020 Oceania International Championships. The week after, I will be travelling to Puerto Rico to play in their Special Event instead of defending my title at Collinsville Regional Championships. I am super excited to playing the refreshing format that was brought with SwSh and I can’t wait to write more articles. If you wanna keep up with me on my journey, here are the links to my social media! 

Facebook: Zach Lesage

Twitter: zlesagepokemon 

Twitch: zlesagepokemon

YouTube: Rare Candy 


Feel free to reach out to me if you are interested in receiving coaching!

TCEvolutions: use code zach10 for 10% off

PTCGOStore: use code zlesage5 for 5% off


Zach Lesage

[+0] okko


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