Experts' corner

Alec Geissler

ADP/Zacian with Rebel Clash

Alec goes over ADP Zacian - the current king of the format proving it's here to stay with the release of Rebel Clash.

05/05/2020 by Alec Geissler

What's Up Everyone?

Hey everyone! I'm happy to be bringing you guys another deck with the addition of Rebel Clash. As you guys have seen, I usually give you guys content on the decks that are super out of the ordinary and aren't the kings of the format. I wanted to mix it up and focus on the current best deck in format in ADP Zacian to see if it can keep its title with the release of Rebel Clash. ADP Zacian has outclassed itself being able to take down many events in real life and the first online "regional" we've had. With the inclusion of Energy Switch as we saw in the Limitless Qualifier winning list, the deck has become a monster compared to what it already once was beforehand. Being able to hit turn 1 Altered Creation GX is absolutely absurd. The deck's matchup spread is very wide as the deck can beat pretty much anything it comes up against and I think that will continue with the release of the Rebel Clash decks as there isn't anything being released to destroy the deck's potential. With all that being said, let's jump ahead into the list and see what changes come into the deck.

ADP Zacian

3 Jirachi TEU 99

3 Zacian V SSH 138

2 Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX CEC 156

2 Dedenne-GX UNB 57

2 Zamazenta V SSH 212

1 Absol TEU 88

1 Eldegoss V RCL 19

1 Oranguru SSH 148

4 Metal Saucer 

4 Quick Ball 

4 Switch 

3 Marnie

3 Professor's Research

2 Boss's Orders

2 Cherish Ball 

2 Energy Spinner 

2 Energy Switch

2 Shrine of Punishment

1 Escape Board

1 Great Catcher

1 Mallow & Lana

1 Vitality Band

9 Metal Energy

2 Water Energy


2 Zamazenta V

Zamazenta V is the main counter to the new Dragapault VMax coming out. I know that Dragapult has a Shred attack, but if we manage to pull off the Altered Creation we 2 shot Dragapult while they only do 120 damage. I was thinking one Zamazenta would be enough, but multiple issues of prize factor kept running through my head to the point where I wanted a second one. I am still debating whether I want a second one because I don' t know what Dragapult lists are sold on completely and some lists could throw in a Gengar Mimikyu to counteract the Zamazenta ability. I was messing around with some of the counts and at first I had 1 Zamazenta with the Mallow & Lana, but the Mallow and Lana didn't seem to be that effective if I didn't have the Zamazenta. I then cut the Mallow and Lana for the second Zamazenta, but I feel like the Mallow and Lana has purposes in other matchups and I hadn't tested it at the time so I made space for all of that.

2 Shrine Of Punishment/1 Vitality Band

Shrine of Punishment has been a utility card in the deck and is a necessity to the deck. Shrine gives you the extra tick you need to OHKO Mewtwo after Altered Creation'ing. In addition to the shrine tick, the one of Vitality Band allows you to Brave Blade an ADP in the mirror after you Altered Creation if you don't Ultimate Ray into it. Vitality Band is additional out to the extra tick if you can't get the shrine down due to Chaotic Swell. 

0 Tool Scrapper

As of right now, I don't have Tool Scrapper only because I have no idea what tools will be played and the only main problem I see with the deck struggling with is Big Charm. Giant Bomb in Dragapult could be an issue when you Ultimate Ray the one turn, but I figure the turn you Ultimate Ray you are using Boss's Order to bring up something else like a Jirachi or something to avoid that tick which then Zamazenta only hits for 160 which is under the tick for Giant Bomb. If Big Charm sees more play and Mill decreases, Tool Scrapper is definitely an addition that will go in place of Oranguru. 

2 Cherish Ball

I have been playing the deck with Acro Bikes and have really liked them, but I also find Acro Bike to be greedy assuming you don't hit your one of Frying Pan or other cards you don't want to discard. Cherish Ball mainly gets you Dedenne, but you're only using Dedenne assuming your hand is completely dead and you can't supporter. Cherish Ball is additionally more versatile being able to grab ADP's to accelerate the Altered Creation as fast as you can get it going.

9 Metal Energy

Traditionally, most ADP/Zacian lists only played 8 metal energy, but I wanted to up it to 9 to help accelerate Altered Creation and make sure that we would have enough energy to keep powering up Zamazenta in the Dragapult matchup assuming they don't play a fast way to kill Zamazenta. I think 9 is just a safe number compared to  as well because that way the games you prize 3 metal, you're still safe at 6 compared to 5 because you're guaranteeing at least 1 to the original ADP which puts us down to 5 instead of 4.

Eldegoss V

I've been really back and forth on this card. There have been times where I like the card and think it's a great utility card, but there are other times where I think it's a waste of space and a horrible card that makes me want to play another supporter. After thinking about it more and running some games, I've found that the Eldegoss has been fine in this deck since we run a lower count of Boss's Orders and a one of supporter where as the other decks I've been testing have had max supporter counts and I wouldn't need anymore. This card has good potential and lists will need to adapt to the utility of this card.

Potential Adds

As of right now, we don't have an answer to Mill purely because I think the deck won't see play due to the printing of Boss's Orders. However, we do have 2 Boss's Orders and Eldegoss V which gives us the 3 gusts we need to take all 6 prizes on Mill. However, if Mill were to continue seeing play in the popularity that it is right now, I would consider re-adding Oranguru UPR and Cobalion GX. Oranguru recycles your gusts as you need them and Cobalion prevents the Magcargo mill from putting you to sleep, but at the same time that's a space that can't be accounted for yet due to the lack of knowledge of the meta.


Mirror - Even

I think the mirror is super luck based and depends on who goes first/has the better turn one. I feel like whoever gets the Altered Creation off first pretty much locks up the game. I have been thinking of ways to try and make the mirror more one sided or anyway to fix it and the only way I could see it is by adding a Reset Stamp. That way if you fall behind, you can make a comeback by getting rid of their hand. I don't really see any other skilled way to fix the mirror without changing the core of the list.

Dragapult VMax - Favored

I think this matchup is incredibly favored for us no matter what the version of Dragapult is. If it's the straight Dragapult variant, double Zamazenta is really difficult for them to deal with since you're knocking off their horror energies every turn if they get them on and you're two shotting them with Assault Tackle. Some lists do play Mallow and Lana, so that's a little bit of a setback, but we're still favored in the trade. If lists play stuff like Gengar and Mimikyu, you one shot them with Brave Blade after Altered Creation anyway taking 4 prizes which puts you so far ahead in the game that they can't come back from that. I don't think the deck does that much to us.

Baby Blacephalon - Slightly Unfavored

The main reason why baby Blacephalon has seen as much play as it has is because of the ADP matchup it brings to the table. If the deck draws decently, they should be able to knock out our ADP on turn 2. It asks for a lot, but at the same time with the amount of outs they have in their deck to it, I wouldn't be surprised as to if they got it consistently. If they can't knock out the ADP before you Altered Creation/the turn you do Altered Creation, we should be able to win every time. Each side has to take 3 knockouts at that point and they whiffed their chance to do it and we can streamline more efficiently. This matchup is another reason why I'm considering adding Reset Stamp because if you can Reset Stamp and kill their Oricorio GX that they typically put down, it takes so much for them to come back and recover their boardstate.

Pika - Even

Pika vs ADP in the current standard format is a very shaky matchup. Both decks are turbo decks and rely on having very strong early games which develop into late games. Turbo matchups are very draw reliant and that's especially how this matchup is. I think we are favored however if we are able to stick an early Shrine and pull off the Ultimate Ray before they are able to Full Blitz. Normally, we want to KO something/not hit into a Pika with Ultimate Ray because with Vitality Band, Altered Creation and Shrine we're able to OHKO that Pika even if it has Big Charm assuming we got Shrine to stick for a turn or two. If we get that extra tick or two, the game is practically over if we can Ultimate Ray onto a Zacian. This is another matchup where we have to wait and see how many truly show up because Big Charm is a huge inclusion/factor of this matchup to the point where Tool Scrapper may make its way into the list.

Mewtwo Malamar - Slightly Favored

I think this matchup is very draw dependent, but at the same time I think we are favored because of the one of Vitality Band. Vitality Band is our extra out of damage output if they are able to get Chaotic Swell down before we can stick shrine. Band is also good because they can wait to bench their Mewtwo before they Swell and then we could never get the extra damage we need. This is another matchup that is very draw based and depends on how each person sets up/draws off Marnie.

Mill - Variant depends, should be favored

With Resource Management and "3" gust, I think this matchup is pretty much unlosable unless you manage to mess something up or prize terribly. This matchup used to be a little bit shakier because of customs and catcher flips, but with Oranguru it pretty much sealed the deal to give us the advantage. The only loseable part of this matchup is if they mill both of your ADP or 2 gusts and Girafarig them away. I don't expect to see much mill, but I can't guarantee people won't play it. The reason why 3 gust is specifically important is because you need to gust KO Zacian and 2 other Pokemon since if you only KO Zacian and one other mon, they can loop Doll to the point where they can potentially Mill us. That situation makes it game dependent, but typically you want to get 3 knockouts to guarantee the prize win condition.


I think this deck has the potential to keep being the best deck in the format and has all the tools to do so. Obviously the list is nowhere near perfect; changes will be needed and nothing is set and stone since we have no idea what the meta is. The only true deck I see from the new set list coming in and succeeding is Dragapult. The other decks that I have been hearing but have 0 idea on their potential yet is Malamar VMax, Boltund V in PikaRom and Nuzzle and Milotic V with Welder. I could see Malamar VMax doing well if given the correct engine to get powered up. Boltund V is definitely being slept on and has a lot of power in PikaRom with turn 1 electify/turn 2 Full Blitz. Milotic V is very interesting on paper. I don't know if I like it since it is a Welder based deck, but it definitely has a lot of tools to be worked with in Galar Mine and Absol's. Toxricity VMax with Garbodor seems like a cool deck as well, but probably won't be viable or consistent enough to see play. Essentially, I think the format will be the same with the addition of Dragapult. ADP/Zacian has been a monster in this format consistently showing with placements that it is here to stay as long as it's in the format. 

If you guys liked this article, please hit the like button if you see my post on Facebook. If you really liked the article and want to support me personally, there's a donation button below. Anything is appreciated and I am grateful for. I want to thank you guys for reading these articles and apologize for the slight delay on this one. I plan on bringing you guys as much content as I can since we are in a rough time and there isn't much to do right now, so what better way than to read this? I appreciate it, you guys are awesome and until next time, stay safe.

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