Experts' corner

Igor Costa

NagSpread Sleeper deck?

Hey, 60 cards readers, I’m back with another article. Here are some decks to try out at cups this weekend.

10/25/2019 by Igor Costa

Mewtwo and Pidgeotto Control took first and second place at Cologne and Atlantic City Regionals. Tord Reklev and Grant Manley's lists were very different from we are used to seeing, but they have the same strategy as the common version of the deck.
These were my top two decks going into Atlantic City and Knoxville. However, I ended up playing Pikarom, and I wasn't happy with my choice at the end of the day.
While I do feel like I would've done better with either of those other two decks, Pikarom still saw some success at the tournament. It made top 8 and it was a very popular deck at cups this past week. The new version of the deck with Power Plant and Absol is now more popular.


With Danny winning Knoxville it shows the power of Mewtwo is out in full force. Being able to find outs in every matchup makes the deck a good call for any event. 



This deck, also known as QuagNag, or NagQuag, is way better than I thought. It seems like a pretty basic deck if we look at the popular list that did well in Atlantic City:

 After trying the deck for a few games, the list didn't seem right for what I wanted to do with this deck. I built my own version of NagQuag and here's what I came up with:

With this list, the main strategy is to get attacks off with Pokemon that are annoying for your opponent to deal with in the early game, such as Keldeo GX and Latios GX. You can either take one prize off of that or gett damage on a Tag Team. After that, you can finish off any Tag Team with Venom Shot, or just go after something else on the bench, leaving the Tag Team for your Espeon & Deoxys GX. You can also spread with Venom Shot and Sauna Blast to take multiple prizes, making it very easy to take prizes without needing Counter Catcher. Let's take a look at some of the matchups.

Malamar would usually be a pretty hard matchup, but the consistency and high HP of Nag GX lets us survive long enough for their Giratina to put enough damage on their bench. Then we can use Espeon & Deoxys GX to clean up every Malamar and Giratina. Combining this with Stamp leaves our opponent without an answer. Never KO Giratina and use Mew to spread some damage and try to get Giratina low on hp as soon as possible so they'll start putting 40 on their bench. They'll usually have Mew, but if they don't, VenomShot and Sauna Blast are also options. Other than that, it's all about having them use as many attacks with Giratina as you can without letting them take six prizes, and then cleaning up with Espeon&Deoxys GX

Against Pidgiotto, there is not much to say. They can't win because Naganadel puts Energies back on the board and Quagsire moves them around, so they'll never be able to lock anything that can't attack.

The Mewtwo matchup is usually 50/50. Whoever draws worse loses. You should try to set up Mew on your bench so they can't Venom Shot. You can start attacking early with Keldeo GX or Latios GX. If they ever discard their Latios GX, you can attack with your Latios using Tag Purge and they will have no way to attack you back. Do this until you're set up and have some damage on Mewtwo. It will take them a while to get 6 Fire energies on 1 MewMewtwo so you can come up snipe the MewMewtwo that has the most Fire energies. They'll be trying to use Reshiram&Charizard GX Double Blaze GX so they can KO Keldeo or Cross Division so they can take the Mew out. Brock's counters that, so usually you have some time. This deck sets up pretty fast once it gets going. Whenever you took care of their first MewMewTwo the second one will be easier since Naganadel's Turning Point can one shot a MewMewtwo.

The Pikarom matchup got a lot harder because the deck now runs Power Plant. This is the main reason I added Latios GX to this deck because Keldeo Gx isn't as effective as it was before. The main strategy is try to set up because they can kill any attacker at any point. You don't want to lose all your energies so save your GX attack. Usually Keldeo can use it to one shot Pikachu&Zekrom GX. For this matchup, I think Escape Board would be a really good card to have so that Raichu&Raichu GX don't get free turns Paralyzing you. I'm not a huge fan of Fighting Quagsire because it needs a Wooper, and it's a stage 1 counter. I would much rather play two Latios GX. Setting up is key because it allows us to send up things like Volcanion Prism Star, and if we can put some damage down with Sauna Blast, Venom Shot, maybe TagPurge or even Sonic Edge, we can use Cross Division GX to end the game.

Blacephalon is a pretty free matchup because they have no way to deal with Keldeo. You can pretty much do whatever in that matchup. This deck has a lot of options, and they even help you by playing Ultra Space.

Gardeon is also a good matchup. They can't really deal with Stamp and Keldeo GX. Keldeo can use Sonic Edge. If they want to attack, they'll have to use Power Plant, and they can't even take the Keldeo down. Then you can keep using Keldeo GX so you have stronger Stamps and then use another Keldeo GX or Venom Shot to start killing Gardys. You can also use Brock's to put Keldeo back in because they'll try to GX you for 200 with Power Plant on the Second Keldeo. Basically, it's too hard for them to keep attacking you. If you see them attaching Fairy Charm UB you can use Latios GX. If they attach the Fairy Charm for Psychic, then use Naganadel GX, but be aware of Weakness.

In the Firebox matchup, Keldeo is the go to because they always need to use a lot of resources to get rid of it. They'll most likely go after your Bench, and it's very important to have something powered up waiting, because Quagsire is never safe as long as there's a Vulpix or Ninetails.
In this matchup you can put on a lot of pressure with Keldeo, and if they blow it up, you can take advantage of that. Usually when they take a knockout with Turtonator you can just use Naganadel to snipe something on their bench. Their bench will fill up pretty quickly, and that allows you to lock them out of benching new things. This means that for example, if you KO Ninetales, they won't be able to get another one out the next turn. If you snipe Heatran for 170, then you can make some finishing plays with Espeon&Deoxys. I find myself locking them with Stamp when they attack with Turtonator late game. More often than not, they need to use a lot of energies to keep going after your benched attackers. Set up attackers, map out your prizes, and this should be a good matchup.

Now that I've talked about some important matchups, let's talk about what you want your board to look like early game and some ways to set up for late game.
In the early game I always search for Poipol to evolve into Nag GX. That's very important to set up as soon as possible so you can start drawing through your deck. Sometimes I won't bench my other Poipol just so I can make sure I can use Ultra Conversion on turn two. After that, you want your bench to have Wooper, Ditto, and Poipol. Those are usually the first three Pokemon to get. If you can, also grab Keldeo GX. In the matchups where Keldeo can prevent your opponent's attacks, with 4 ultra space and 4 Mysterious Treasure, I usually use Communication to find the Quagsire line or Keldeo GX.

In the late game we can use Brock's Grit to shuffle back some of the Psychic energies we've used. Don't be afraid to attach a psychic to Keldeo turn one. We can also shuffle back a bunch of Ultra Beasts so we can use Ultra Conversion more times. Naganadel GX is our draw engine, so we don't want it dying too early. Our board should have two Naganadel, one Naganadel GX, and one Quagsire. These are almost always needed. We can give up Naganadel GX once we have everything going and just need to set up Espeon & Deoxys.
There are a few other cards that I tested and feel like deserve a spot in this deck.

-Second Latios GX: The main reason for this is that it's not a bad starter. It's pretty good to have 2 vs Mewtwo and Pikarom because the first one will just die to their Latios GX or Zeraora GX.

-Escape Board: The reason why I think Escape Board is better than U-turn Board is because it will let you retreat something under Paralyze. That's very important against Pikarom, especially if you successfully Latios Lock them.

-Third Stamp: I tested most games with three Stamp, so the stamp cut was recent. I really liked the count of three, so I might go back to that. It's good vs matchups in which your opponent is looking for a way to be able to attack your Keldeo. It's also useful to stop them from getting double Custom Catcher in their hand.

-Pokemon Fan Club: Setting up is very important, so it's really good in the early game. Having something that guarantees you a Keldeo GX or Wooper is also nice. You can even use it just to get some Poipol to use Ultra Conversion.

I could see one Naganadel GX coming out but the reason I have three is so I get an extra Ultra Conversion before Grit. Three copies also makes it easier to find early game when you want to start using it on your second turn, but other that that, you don't need three.
Lillie is another card I could see coming out. Even though it's the best supporter for the deck on turn one, it just gets worse and worse as the game goes on. You can have a lot of cards if you keep using Ultra Conversion, and it's easy to play around Stamp with this deck.

I recommend a lot of testing with this deck if you're thinking about playing it.
In the rest of the article, I'm going to talk a bit about Pikarom and how it consistency makes it generally a good call. 

The tournament I played pikarom did not go very well for me. I had a chance of getting points until the very last round, so I had to play all day with a list that I did not like at all. This was mainly because of the heavy Judge count. I was playing my Supporter, which should get me cards and resources to get ahead on my strategy, but instead was giving me a dead hand constantly. My opponent didn't ever seem to care and just whipped out a supporter every turn, and then Stadium and Dedenne. That would happen even if I used Power Plant, and then when they went down on prizes and I needed my Stamp it was either prized or in my discard pile because I had to Dedecharge it away.
So that awesome experience with Judge and needing Stamp all day just made me want to play three Stamp in every deck. Here's what I should've played if I was playing Pikarom:

Gardy is close to an autoloss, but there s not much you can do about that one. Either way, use multiple Lysandre Labs or 2nd Raichu&Raichu GX and Dawnwings GX to Paralyze them until they run out of Switch and deck them out that way.

Another deck I think has a spot in this meta is Blacephalon. I just don't think people are playing it right by having no way to deal with special conditions. This really bothers me, but I will think about it and maybe write an article about Blacephalon sometime soon. For now, this is it for my thoughts. I hope you like and try this NagQuad deck it has really strong matchups against the two decks that dominated the last two Regionals.
I am currently taking some new students for coaching. Message me on Twitter if you are interested.

Good luck 

[+22] okko


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