Experts' corner

Kevin Clemente

Slowing the format down: A LucMetal guide

Sunday Open Winner Kevin Clemente goes over his thoughts on the best way to slow down the format and get away from the 3-4 Turn Games.

06/22/2020 by Kevin Clemente

On Sunday, June 7th, I entered the Neil Pie Sunday Open, an online tournament with over 130 participants, and ended up getting first with an overall record of 10-2. Winning the championship is not the surprising part here, the surprising part was that I played Lucario Melmetal GX/Zacian V for the entire tournament. I did not invent the archetype; it has been around since Sword and Shield dropped, always being a fringe archetype that was largely ignored. In my last article, I put LucMetalZ in the C Tier; after all, it has some inconsistency issues and a polarizing match-up spread, but I believe the meta is shifting in a way that makes the deck a real contender moving forward. After my 1st place finish in the open, Axel Alvarez piloted a similar list to a 5th place finish in the Limitless Invitational, which gives me more hope for the deck moving forward. I have taken some of his changes and made a few adjustments for what I believe is an optimal 60. 

The first thing you need to know before you pick this deck up is this: LucMetal is a control deck! I know what you are probably thinking, "What control deck hits 230?" and "Don't we win by taking prizes?". We do hit hard, and we do win by taking prizes, but we control the pace of the game and force decks to make uncomfortable plays and move slower than they want. The longer the game goes on, the more favored we become. This mindset shift is extremely valuable when it comes to piloting the deck. So now that we have shifted ourselves into the proper mindstate let's talk about the list, card choices, and match-ups! 


This is not the list I played, nor is this exactly the list Axel played. A few changes have been made for the better. 

Card Choices

1 Lucario & Melmetal GX

I had initially played two, and if you moved up to 2, it would not be the worst thing, but I have taken the idea of only playing one from Axel. I know that this is the deck's namesake, but we only ever need one, and we never want to start it, and we do not need it on the field turn one, so going down to 1 is excellent. Prizing it ~10% of the time is annoying but acceptable. One thing I see people do when piloting is treating this deck like ADPZ, where they want to GX immediately, and that is rarely correct. Our turn one is often used to set-up Zacian as a significant threat, not to set-up the LucMetal. We use the LucMetal as a response to their primary attacker to remove their energy and then become tanks.

3 Zacian V

This is still a Zacian deck, Zacian is arguably the best card in the format, and we are planning to abuse that. We want to get them down on turn 1 to use Intrepid Sword and hopefully get two attachments on it, so we are threatening that 230 damage strike. The Zacian threat, even if we do not want to hit with it right away, is enough to force pressure on our opponent. They suddenly have to speed up to deal with the significant threat of a Brave Blade, which puts their big Pokemon in harm's way and can force them to ditch valuable resources, namely energy, to set-up. Early Zacian pressure forcing your opponent to discard supplies is ideal because we are going to start to slow the game down with Hammers and Full Metal Wall. If our opponent sits back and has a slow set-up, then we suddenly become a threat that starts punching hard. An early two energy Zacian makes it so no matter what play our opponent makes, we can have a response to control the tempo of the game. 

1 Oranguru


This is a new addition to the deck, and it is tech, but it is a useful tech. We are a slow and grindy deck, and some match-ups can become a quiet war of attrition. These match-ups include the Combo Zacian match-up, the mirror, and the ADPZ match-up. Sometimes all you need to do to set yourself up to win that war by spending a turn with a single prizer in the active putting back some saucers, supporters, or potentially even hammers. This can also come in handy with the very aggressive discard of the deck and make those acro bikes and researches early less painful. Like I said in the first sentence, this is tech, so it is not going to be used in all match-ups, but it has come in handy enough to warrant the deck spot.

1 Aipom

The new Aipom promo from the Pikachu and Zekrom GX Battle Decks took the place of Tapu Fini in my list from the Neil Pie Open, and I think it is worth keeping. It has come in handy in match-ups vs. Control, Zacian decks, and Baby Blacephalon. Sometimes the Combo Zacian decks will sit behind a Jirachi and try to build up for a big turn of gusting your Zacian, and Aipom offers a hard punishment for those plays. It also has a significant utility versus Baby Blowns where we can punish those large hands they get in the late game after they have taken those 3-4 prizes which can offer us the ability to throw up a thick Zacian with a pan and, if we had hit the right cards, they might not have the energy left to respond. It takes some practice to know when attacking with Aipom is correct versus running for damage versus using sword, but once you get the hang of the tempo of the deck, an Aipom for a random 4+ card discard can end the game before it starts.

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