Experts' corner

Mark Dizon

So You Hate Welder?

With Atlantic City coming tomorrow. Is it even possible to play a non-welder deck?

09/27/2019 by Mark Dizon


I want you to look at this card

Check this Supporter Out

Check out that it lets you attach multiple energy per turn

I want you to see that they put a Hau on a Double Colorless Energy


Now check out these cards

I want you to look at this Stage One that allows you to discard a card and draw two cards

I want you to look at this energy that counts as two colorless energy

I want you to tell me how busted these two cards are

One of these situations are way different then the other.


I haven’t been playing Pokémon long however I have played a variety of decks and they have all been “broken per – se”

These decks are basically

Yveltal – Garbodor
Espeon – Garbodor
Drampa – Garbodor
Zoroark – Golisopod
Zoroark – Lycanroc
Gardevoir – Swampert
Zoroark – Nagandel
Mew3 Box


One thing about complaining, is that while you are complaining, better players are breaking the format. I remember complaining with Zoroark Lycanroc that it had such a bad matchup versus Blacephalon GX that I stopped playing Zoroark for a full Quarter. Blacephalon was too good and the prize trade was hard to gain in my favourite. I played Malamar in Virginia regionals that year and while I was able to beat all the Blacephalon’s I played. I ended up losing to all the Zoroark – Decidueye-Ninetales deck. While I was complaing about Blacephalon, DDG came up with the Gardevoir Swampert deck that would have game versus the whole format during that quarter. Better players complain too, they just find ways to make it work.

I generally preach in these articles to play what you know, play what you are comfortable with. Unfortunately for me, I like playing fair decks that have a lot of play too them. Not generally the best deck. I like long grindy mirrors with tight decision trees that have a lot of impact. Generally I choose not to play decks that involve multiple different haymakers and having big swing turns after swing turns. Let’s think about Volcanion Mirrors, Buzzroc Mirrors, Vikaray Mirros, Now Welder Mirrors. I generally don’t like playing a lot of mirrors even with the best decks due to feeling that I don’t have much control. I mean we already don’t have that much control in this game, so don’t frown on me for trying to take some control back.

One thing about this strategy however is that it can lose me percentage points in the long run because these Haymaker decks with big swings are generally at points of the Meta, the best deck in the format. I generally shy away from Best Deck in Format because if 40 % of the meta is the deck, I want to have an edge in the mirror. Playing Yveltal Garbodor Mirrors and Zoroark Mirrors were fun because players had to learn how to navigate the game when in front or when behind. When playing Haymaker decks the goal is to always be ahead, as coming from behind in those matchups is quite hard.

With the release of Welder, this has brought to us to a standstill. The format seems as diverse as ever with multiple different decks that are playable. I mean Sheffield Regionals was won by Gardevoir Sylveon and I doubt anyone would have taken that bet before the tournament. Looking at the rest of the decks in the top 32 we have.

Gardevoir Sylveon

Pikachu Zekrom

Oranguru Pidgeotto Control

Blacephalon Nagandel

Ability Zard

Mew Box

Malamar Giratina


That is quite a diverse meta it seems. If you look at past formats, we have generally had 4 or 5 decks. Now we have One Prize Attack decks, GX Decks, Tag Team decks and control decks even. Players are still complaining about deck diversity though and bring the decks down to two segments. Decks that play welder and decks that don’t. I am a firm believer that welder strategies might be the most powerful strategies to play now. The sheer velocity and card advantage provided by one card using multiple cards is unmatchable by anything else in the format. Most other decks require you to build a bridge and try to cross it, however welder decks seem to be two ships in the night trying to get to their destination faster.

When looking at the different strategies that abuse welder. We can narrow it down to the Ability Fire decks both Charizard and Charizard less builds, Mewbox builds, and Blacephalon. In each of their own rights the decks use welder to power out extremely strong attackers. Allowing for quick effortless knockouts that are efficient. Turbo dark used to feel like this, but one would need to assemble multiple max elixirs and a supporter to reach the point of the game. Going back to the opening arguments. Comparing a Pokémon – Welder – 3 Energy to become a Pokémon – Welder 3 Energy + 3 New cards in your deck. Seems vastly more powerful in a vacuum than a Darkrai EX – A Hau – An Attachment, and two Max Elixirs that do not whiff. At times you even needed to oblivion wing to set up Damage, and here we are using Jirachi to fuel a fire deck. The reason for Ability Fire metashare in the format is it’s ability to pivot as a one prize deck to a Reshizard GX. The deck's  ability to easily set up 230 damage for four energy and 300 damage from six energy on one prizers allows the deck to figure out how it takes down its opponents. Ability Fire also has something that every deck wishes it has. Ninetales has made the deck in a league of it’s own. Being able to gust the Pokémon you wish to knockout this turn versus having to find two out of four counter catchers improves the decks consistency compared to other decks. The innovation of adding Friend Ball in Zach Lesage’s welder and friends’ deck has made the deck even more streamlined. If you don’t have a way to knockout the Ninetales on the bench the deck will snowball its advantage into a sure wish being able to map its prize trade favourably.

The next welder deck is Mewtwo Box. This is a deck that I have had the most experience with and am highly considering playing. The main reason for this choice, is that the deck allows you to miss a turn one welder and still be able to hit for 300 damage the next turn. The deck allows you to find combos to try to give you an advantage in the prize trade. The scary thing about the deck is your opponent must knock two Mewtwo’s out to win the game. This always puts a pressure on you to figure out your path to victory. Mewtwo allows you to run a deck that tries to find the right answer at the right time. The deck itself is very hard to play to perfection. Haha – See what I did there. And even the best players can miss certain lines. The difference with this welder deck compared to ability fire is being able to attack the bench, take multiple knockouts in the same turn, and generally figure out ways to get a second attacker ready even without getting rid of all energy on the board.

The last main welder archetype is Blacephalon. Not only does Blacephalon have Welder to provide multiple energies to attack immediately, they still have Beast Ring and Charging up Naganadel. I think players have forgotten that this deck came second place at worlds and trades with tag teams favourably. Tag Team decks have to tread lightly and play a different game than they do versus other decks by trying to “skip the beast ring” turn. This is generally hard for most decks to do, as not every deck has a way to target Pokemon on the bench. This goes back to show why Ability Fire’s Ninetales is so important. Having to add four cards into your deck to hope to draw in combination to gust, immediately brings down the consistency of the deck. The difference with Blacephalon compared to the other two decks is the need to set up multiple evolution Pokémon with it running two versions of Nagandel. The deck on paper looks like it has everything. Multiple card draw engines, welder and Naganadel GX, multiple energy acceleration effects, with Welder, beast ring and charging up. The deck looks like it could just be the best deck in the format. However, the card distribution in hands is not always aligned to what the player needs. When asking Canadian Great, Curtis Lyon about Blacephalon and its place in the meta, he reminded me of the imminent thread of Tapu Fini, which as a one prizer counters the whole archetype.


So we come back to the crossroads of Welder vs no Welder decks. I mean even fossils have a welder and non-welder version. I generally say to play what you feel most comfortable with. Especially in a tournament so big. However, I think you would be doing a disservice for yourself by not playing Welder. Do I hate what Welder is doing to the format? Yes. Am I going to play it? Yes. Sure Pikarom, Gardeon, Malamar, and Pidgey are all contenders going into this weekend. However, it might be correct to take Welder as a card itself winning the tournament over the whole field. Welder might be the Golden State Warriors of Yesteryear. 


 Taken from @zlesagepokemon

 Taken from @azul_gg

These two lists are what I have tested the most. Both by great deck builders and innovators who preach consistency. Having to slog through an almost 800 person tournament is tough so playing what you know really gives you extra percentage points as to some players will just pick a deck as always and not know how to play it. When it comes to hating Welder, maybe it’s just treating it in a way that its not about hating the player, its about hating the game.


[+29] okko


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