Experts' corner

Zach Lesage

AbilityZard Bible

Zach explains AbilityZard in depth. Included are three lists, explanations for each card in the deck, 20 tech ideas fully discussed, and strategies for matchups that are relevant in the current metagame.

03/03/2020 by Zach Lesage

Yoooo, what’s up everyone?!?! The goal of this article is to explain as much as humanly possible about AbilityZard in our current standard format! I have been a believer in this deck since it was created at Worlds, I have played it in many events, and I have become an expert on it in the process. I will be going over my list, tech options, ideal playing strategies, and important matchups. There is a lot of ground to cover so let’s jump into it now! 

The Deck

I’m going to start with my OCIC finalist list, go over the basic strategy of the deck, and share why I included the cards that I did in the list. Below that, I am going to include tech options and two of my updated lists that I am working with for Toronto Regionals. Let’s peep out the list. 

Pokemon 17

4 Jirachi TEU

3 Dedenne-GX UNB

2 Ninetales TEU

2 Vulpix SWH

1 Mega Lopunny & Jigglypuff-GX UNM

1 Reshiram & Charizard-GX UNB

1 Victini Prism Star DRM

1 Heatran-GX UMI

1 Turtonator DRM

1 Victini V SWH

Trainers 25

2 Giant Hearth

1 Heat Factory Prism Star

4 Welder

4 Quick Ball

4 Switch

3 Pokémon Communication

2 Escape Board

2 Lucky Egg

2 Fiery Flint

1 Pal Pad

Energy 18

18 Fire Energy

General Strategy 

The goal for this deck is to use Welder on various Pokémon to attack your opponent in the most efficient way. There are different Pokémon that thrive off of varying Energy counts and they each bring a sense of uniqueness to the deck. Mainly, this deck succeeds because of Ninetales because gusting effects are extremely limited with our current card pool. With some of the new cards added from Sword and Shield, such as Quick Ball, this deck has become as consistent as possible. Lastly, it doesn’t necessarily have any auto losses, it has a strong suite of great matchups, and it is capable of winning quickly. When you put together energy acceleration, gusting, and a variety of strong attacks, you end up with a compelling strategy.

Card Explanation

In this section I will go over all of the cards in the deck to explain their uses!


In an effort to make this deck more consistent, Jirachi is seen as a necessity. Make sure to slap on an Escape Board to get out of Stellar Wish making you Asleep (Watch our for Absol) or use Switch to get out of the Active Spot. Welder can only draw so many cards so this card allows you to go the distance!


Similar to Jirachi, Dedenne makes this deck playable! You are really only using this card for Dedechange, but that is fine. Between drawing cards and allowing yourself to dump unneeded cards, this card is a huge consistency crutch! Use this card to pitch away extra Fire Energy to do more damage with Victini Prism! 

Ninetales / Vulpix

As stated in the general strategy, Ninetales provides this deck with the rare option of consistent gusting! Knock Out any Pokémon you want! Ninetales is also a Stage One Pokemon and that has some neat bonuses too! It gets around Abilities such as Absol, which only works on Basic Pokémon, and Ninetales can get through Obstagoon’s Obstruct attack! Nine Temptations also allows you to discard Fire Energy so you can use Victini V to grab them back or use Victini Prism for more damage! I have received a lot of messages on Facebook about me using the SWH Vulpix and I want to clear that up! With Jirachi being popular in our format and that brings out opposing Absol techs, Switch is almost a four count in every deck. That means that the TEU Vulpix is less effective overall and the SWH Vulpix has 10 more HP! It doesn’t really matter that much, but it might help out against the few Psychic Blacephalon techs that are floating around out there! 

Mega Lopunny & Jigglypuff-GX

If you expect a lot of PikaRom matchups or if there are decks in the format that Bench a lot of GX Pokémon, this is your go to attacker! I have personally been in the fence in whether to include this card in future iterations of the deck or not, but it can be effective in the right circumstances! I know some players are picking up on Henry Brand’s Mewtwo deck from OCIC that works with Solgaleo-GX Sol Burst and Special Energy so perhaps LoPuff can prove it’s worth! 

Reshiram & Charizard-GX

ReshiZard has a large amount of HP, can swing for 300 damage, and it goes through all effects! I typically use this card to OHKO Mewtwo, ADP, or any other large HP Tag Team GX Pokémon. Outrage can force your opponent into some awkward scenarios too!

Victini Prism Star

Victini V is so busted because it allows you get back your Fire Energy (this avoids deck out, you can use Ninetales more) and it can hit for a bunch of damage! I personally use this card to have a strong matchup against Control / Mill (use Ninetales to bring up Wobbuffet so that you can attack) and loop your Energy back in your deck! I have also used this card as a single Prize Card attacker against decks such as Baby Blowns and Malamar! You can also attack for near infinite damage because this deck plays 18 Fire! It’s kinda busted! 


This is probably my fave attacker and that’s because it is super efficient. It’s ability means that you can spread Energy around (which is also great for a Turtonator) and it can do 130 for three Energy! It’s GX attack allows you to do semi-infinite damage which is great at Knocking Out Tag Team Pokémon (or any Pokémon if you truly want). 


Turt works great after using a huge Double Blaze GX on ReshiZard or Hot Burn GX on Heatran! It also works great with Volc / Victini V to spread Energy around so you can always hit for large numbers! Turt is great at Knocking Out Pokémon with large amounts of HP and functioning as a decent single Prize Card attacker (when attacking other single Prize Card attackers)

Victini V

I really like this card a lot! Not only is it not a GX Pokémon (it can’t get gusted up with Great Catcher), it has two solid attacks that are extremely different from each other! Spreading Flames allows for an explosive T1 that allows you to attach three Energy with Welder and three with Spreading Flames! This means you can effectively spread Energy for Heatran / Turt or get a ReshiZard ready to Double Blaze GX! Energy Burst can make quick work of a Zacian or give you the opportunity to bop a Mewtwo with plenty of Energy attached to it! 

Giant Hearth / Fiery Flint

You need Fire Energy in your hand and you needs outs to discard Fire Energy / Cards in your hand! These cards provide you with many options, but I use them to thin my deck out quickly while grabbing the Energy I need! I also use them to power up Victini Prism, power up Spreading Flames, and discard clutter in my hand.

Heat Factory Prism Star

Sometimes you need to draw cards because drawing three with Welder doesn’t cut it all of the time. Similar to Hearth / Flint, this is a great way to discard Fire Energy from your hand in a pinch! Remember, this card can’t get bumped by cards like Faba, only other Stadiums! 

Welder / Pal Pad

Welder is the Energy accelerating option in this deck and Pal Pad gets it back! A turn without Welder is usually a turn that has been wasted! 

Quick Ball / Pokémon Communication

Quick Ball essentially replaced Cherish Ball in this deck to be able to search out any Basic in the deck! Pokémon Communication is the only way to search out Ninetales and is a great way to put away Pokémon that you don’t want to discard with Dedenne! 

Switch / Escape Board

While both of these cards work great with Jirachi (especially Escape Board), they are both great at getting unwanted Pokémon out of the Active Spot! 

Lucky Egg

This is likely the card that gets the most reactions out of my list, but it is an entirely simple concept. Welder decks are extremely vulnerable to hand disruption (such as Reset Stamp, Marnie, and TrevNoir) so Lucky Egg allows you to force your opponent into giving you a seven card hand. If they decide against using Stamp because you have Egg attaches, that’s half the battle already! It also pseudo forces your opponent into choosing non-optimal Knock Outs to avoid you getting a draw card bonus! This is definitely a cuttable card, but it certainly helped boost my consistency for OCIC!

Fire Energy

Between Welder, Ninetales, and Victini Prism, 18 is a solid count for this deck. It gives you a nice balance between always having access to Energy and hitting enough relevant damage with Victini Prism

Tech Options

These are some of the tech cards that I have been considering adding to the deck and they are actively being tested! Obviously decks can only be 60 cards, but these are some interesting options!

Volcanion UNB

This is a card that players said that I ‘missed’ in my original list, but I beg to differ! I last minute added LoPuff to my deck because plenty of of top American players were playing PikaRom at OCIC! I didn’t feel comfortable cutting any other card, I already had Victini V in the deck for a similar effect, and Volc ended up on the chopping block! That being said, I really enjoy this card in the list as an additional out to energy acceleration and I like how it can OHKO a Zacian for only two Energy! It also has the benefit of being a single Prize Card attacker which can help greatly against other single Prize Card decks!

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