[Top 4 City League] Arceus & Dialga & Palkia Spiritomb

Please find the original Japanese-language article here. Note my translation is not a perfect translation and I have rearranged and reworded some parts of the original article for clarity and readability. Find also some explanatory comments inside square brackets, italicised.

Hello, my name is rimper.

I was able to make top 4 at the City League Kagawa held at Game Ark Marugame on the 9th of November. This means I received priority entry into the Aichi Champions League. [Note: Due to Champions Leagues being so popular and with limited capacity, participants must vie for a spot through a lottery system. Those with a certain level of CSP are prioritised, receiving automatic entry.]  I’ll be writing about how I chose my deck and how my tournament went.

Deck selection and metagame consideration

The deck I used was Arceus & Dialga & Palkia Spiritomb.

Image 1

The first City League season was held after the Tokyo Champions League, and Tag All Stars was legalised. There were two cards from this set which shifted the metagame in a big way:


These two cards caused a frenzy at the City Leagues held during October.

My favourite deck, Malamar, was strengthened (I hate Malamar). However, I wasn’t able to continue playing the build I had been before as it no longer seemed good.

Until the 8th of November, the tier list for City Leagues looked like this:

Tier 1

Trevenant & Dusknoir GX (Malamar, Shining Mew)
Arceus & Dialga & Palkia GX (Keldeo GX, Silvally GX)
Reshiram & Charizard GX
Zoroark GX
Jirachi Zapdos Pikachu & Zekrom

Tier 2

Shining Mew Tag Team Box
Mewtwo & Mew GX (Fire variants, Arceus & Dialga & Palkia variants)
Bellelba & Brycenman Mill
Blacephalon GX Naganadal
Lucario & Melmetal GX

Tier 3

Gardevoir GX
Gardevoir & Sylveon GX
Blastoise GX
Baby Charizard

Tier 4

Everything else

Was there a deck which would be favoured against any of these, even when going second?

I don’t think such a deck exists.

Regarding Trevenant & Dusknoir, I realised that it was stronger to build a Shining Mew variant than a Malamar variant. So there was no reason to run Malamar – but no one owned any Shining Mew, so I couldn’t build the deck.

Accordingly, I gave up on running a Psychic deck.

So Zoroark, Arceus & Dialga & Palkia Mewtwo & Mew, Lucario & Melmetal, Golurk and Pidgeotto became top contenders. This format is one heavily influenced by matchups, so I didn’t really think about it too much, and decided upon either finetuning Arceus & Dialga & Palkia Mewtwo & Mew or Zoroark.

The decks I was considering looked something like this:

After I bought Takuya Yoneda’s article [Note: Takuya Yoneda released an article about Arceus & Dialga & Palkia Mewtwo & Mew, which he piloted to top 16 the Tokyo Champions League], I kept on practicing with Arceus & Dialga & Palkia Mewtwo & Mew. This deck is the kind of deck where reading the article and then practising for five hours is more effective than simply looking at the list and theorying for one hundred hours.

Both decks were really strong, so three days before the City League I had decided that, on the day, I would roll a die and let that choose which deck I would play. However, two days out, the story changed drastically.

https://note.mu/yoshi1026/n/nb57592feb128 [This is a link to a paid article by top player Yoshiyuki Yamaguchi, concerning the Arceus & Dialga & Palkia Spiritomb deck.]

This article looked interesting, so I bought it.

I tried the deck out and it was fun, so I decided to use it at the City League.

Running a deck which is less stressful takes up less brain power, so it’s more efficient.

Running a non-GX attacker which dealt large damage for just one Energy reminded me of Jirachi Zapdos and Buzzwole Garbodor, so it was really interesting.

It’s honestly such a godly deck that I could go on about it forever.

I felt that even if I lost with it, it would be fun, so I decided to play it without any regrets.
If you want the nitty gritty details about the key cards of the deck and how to play it, please refer to Yoshi’s article.

Without a doubt, it was worth more than the 500 yen charged and I recommend everyone check it out.

Card Choices

I pretty much just used Yoshi’s list (the original list was already so strong there was no real need for me to think further about it - shh). I’ll write about the cards that I changed and cards that I considered.

Cards changed from the original list

I think the Arceus & Dialga & Palkia Vileplume deck is really strong, though I couldn’t run it myself because I didn’t have the cards. Greninja GX gives me a fighting chance against this deck. I also took out Hoopa, which meant I could use this card against Ultra Necrozma decks – you don’t want to bench Spiritombs in that matchup. Personally, I’m not good at playing the Lucario & Melmetal matchup, so I felt that it was still beneficial even if you disregard my aforementioned points. If Absol is causing trouble, you can also attach Escape Board to Greninja GX to get around it. It can be good against Malamar and the Arceus & Dialga & Palkia mirror, and can use Counter Gain just like Frost Rotom. Being a GX Pokemon with 230 HP is also a strong point, as it can withstand a Choice Banded Ultimate Ray (210 damage). However, if this card is used in conjunction with Shrine of Punishment, it gets a little dangerous, so I wish I had put further consideration into it.

I didn’t practice the Reshiram & Charizard matchup enough, and didn’t have confidence when I was going second in the matchup so I ran this card. In reality, there weren’t many Reshiram & Charizard decks, and Silvally decks were the most used after Arceus & Dialga & Palkia decks. I should’ve replaced this slot with the Reverse Shoulder Throw Throh. Note: I think this should be done regardless of what decks you expect.


Originally, this Tate & Liza was a third Cynthia. But thinking about Absol and Oranguru, I decided to include it as an Energy-less Arceus & Dialga & Palkia GX is difficult to get out of the Active. I pretty much forced a third Switch in. Although in the actual tournament I wasn’t able to draw it and so couldn’t use it, Absol was a pain for me so I was happy that I included it.

I think in the current metagame this deck is the one which can utilise Guzma & Hala most effectively. It’s good that you can search for Stadiums and not have to rely on topdecking. I decided to put in two Stadiums, and this appeared to be one of my strongest options. This card was so good that I’m not exaggerating when I say this card won me some games. Thank god for Power Plant and Let Loose.

Cards I considered but didn’t use

This card is good in the Reshiram & Charizard, Lucario & Melmetal and Gardevoir & Sylveon matchups. However, the meta has been trending towards Zoroark and Arceus & Dialga & Palkia, and the card is also weak against Pikachu & Zekrom and Dusknoir & Trevenant so I decided against including it.

This is useful when you’re going second and can’t use Arceus & Dialga & Palkia GX, and it is also good against Ultra Necrozma. However, I felt that I would be able to deal with Ultra Necrozma using Greninja GX, so I didn’t use it.

This is a counter card to use against Zoroark or Silvally decks when they have Alolan Muk set up. There were many Silvally decks at the City League, so I thought that if I had replaced Frost Rotom with Throh I would have been better prepared for that specific meta. On the same day the City League Tochigi was held, and at that tournament an Arceus & Dialga & Palkia Spiritomb deck running Throh won. This reassured me that my idea wasn’t bad.

This is mainly to counter Vileplume. It’s also good for hitting Mewtwo & Mew GX for weakness, however, the fact that it was an Evolution Pokemon caused me to discard it. With two choices between this or Greninja GX, I appreciated Greninja GX more and decided against running Garbodor. Though, I’d like to try building an Arceus & Dialga & Palkia Garbodor deck.

The meta is full of Escape Board, U Turn Board and Trevenant & Dusknoir. Absol is particularly good in a Jirachi dominant meta. Absol can also one shot Dusknoir & Trevenant GX, so there has been an increase in decks which enable Absol to attack. I had to give up on it because I couldn’t find the space.

If you’re considering including Reset Stamp, I think a second Let Loose Marshadow is better. You want to use Let Loose at least once a game, but there’s a probability that with only one, it’ll be Prized. However, there are also specific turns and board states that you may want to use Let Loose in, so sometimes it may be necessary to disrupt your opponent’s hand twice in a game. I didn’t want to start it and I couldn’t find space for it, so I didn’t include it. On the day of the City League, Let Loose Marshadow was in my Prizes multiple times, so maybe I should have included a second copy…

This is a good card if you want your own Shrine of Punishment to stop dealing damage to your Arceus & Dialga & Palkia GX or if you want to destroy your opponent’s Chaotic Swell. However, there weren’t any particular scenarios where I wished I had this card.

This card allows you to deal lots of damage with Spiritomb from an early stage in the game. I didn’t really feel that this card was particularly good. I saw it on stream at the “Shitenno Tournament” so maybe it’s stronger than I’m giving it credit for. [Note: The “Shintenno Tournament” is a series of tournaments held in Japan until the four best players in the country are decided.]

This card allows you to put 30 damage on the opposing Arceus & Dialga & Palkia GX, allowing you to knock it out with 250 damage from Spiritomb. Giant Bomb is better, so I didn’t run this card.

This is good against Alolan Muk and Vileplume. However, both Greninja GX and Throh are better in these matchups, so I didn’t include Stealthy Hood.

Rather than Reset Stamp being necessary against aggro decks, this deck usually gets ahead in the Prize race anyway, so you don’t really need this card. However, against control decks you can knock out your own Spiritomb and then use Reset Stamp, which is pretty good. For general use, I think a second Marshadow is a better choice.

Depending on the board state, this card can be stronger than Cynthia. Seeing six cards is strong, but having to discard four cards is weak.

Since I use this card twice per game and Cynthia & Caitlin is usually used to recover Mallow & Lana or Guzma, I wanted to include a third copy. However, for consistency, I included a Cynthia.

I decided that two Great Catcher and two Guzma were enough. This card is good for bringing up Alolan Muk or when you can’t knock out the Active Pokemon or to bring up a non-GX Pokemon. I felt that I wanted a third copy many times, but I believed that before I could use three Guzma I would have taken all my Prizes, so this was replaced by a Cynthia for consistency.

Unlike Shrine of Punishment, if you knock out a Pokemon using this Stadium you will benefit from the additional effect of Altered Creation GX and be able to take an extra Prize card. While this is useful against Pokemon with 270 or 280 HP, if you use Ultimate Ray without Choice Band for 180 on Ultra Necrozma GX and then it is knocked out by Shrine of Punishment, you will only take two Prizes. This means that you can avoid Blacephalon’s Fireworks Bomb, so I decided on running Shrine of Punishment.

Image 25

[Note: This card is Players Ceremony, a promotional card which is only available in Japan. It allows each player to end their turn to draw two cards.]

Using an Arceus & Dialga & Palkia deck, it seemed good to be able to draw cards from using a Guzma & Hala on the first turn. However, when testing it, this situation never came up, so I decided against including it. On the first turn, Power Plant is more useful.

I thought this was going to be really good, but when I ran through a few hands it generally ended up being the discard cost for other cards, so I immediately got rid of it. It might actually be strong, but I’m not too sure…

Tournament Report

In the morning, I swapped out the third Cynthia for a Tate & Liza. I had been unsure about the number of Reset Stamps to run right up until the tournament, but I reduced my count to zero.

I went 4-1 in the Qualifying Round.

Round 1: Gardevoir Silvally, Second, W, 6-4

My opponent started with Ralts and I with Spiritomb.

My opponent used Lillie on their first turn and managed to bench three Pokemon, including a Ditto Prism Star. On my turn I attached from hand to Arceus & Dialga & Palkia GX, slapped down Power Plant, decided to bench Spiritomb and used Let Loose. A great start. It seemed to have hurt my opponent: they searched for Alolan Grimer two turns in a row. During that time, I used Altered Creation GX and Ultimate Ray, and got ahead in the game. Two Hustle Belt were in my Prizes so I was rushing the game, but Giant Bomb was really good. When in doubt, use Let Loose and Power Plant to disrupt your opponent’s hand!

Round 2: Zoroark Silvally, Second, W, 6-3

My opponent opened with Type: Null and I started with Spiritomb.

I was up against my friend, a player who had been playing a lot of mill recently. They’re a good player, so I didn’t really want to have to face them. My opponent mulliganed, and when I saw Zoroark GX and Magcargo I knew I was up against Zoroark Silvally. They used a turn one Professor Oak’s Setup to bench Ditto Prism Star, Slugma and Alolan Grimer. It was a very difficult match. My Let Loose Marshadow was Prized, and my opponent gave me a rough time by using Plumeria. With Grass Memory, Silvally GX could one shot my Greninja GX, however my opponent’s Alolan Muk was Prized so I was able to use Altered Creation GX and then sweep with Spiritomb for the win. This was the most difficult match.

Round 3: Arceus & Dialga & Palkia Keldeo, Second, L, 4-6

My opponent started Arceus & Dialga & Palkia GX and I opened with Spiritomb.

Both my Let Loose Marshadow and Giant Bomb were Prized, so it was good game.

Round 4: Ultra Necrozma Malamar, First, W, 6-1

My opponent opened with Mimikyu and I had Jirachi in the active.

I’m not sure if my opponent was nervous, but they used Tapu Lele GX under Power Plant. 
On their first turn, they had discarded Ultra Necrozma GX and Metal Energy, so I set up Arceus & Dialga & Palkia GX quite comfortably. While Gengar & Mimikyu GX made things difficult for me, it also meant that I could go down to two Prizes (with my opponent on four) without having to worry about Sky Scorching Light GX. After that, Spiritomb carried the game. Thank God, as I didn’t have an opportunity to play down Greninja GX.

Round 5: Arceus & Dialga & Palkia Spiritomb, Second, W, 6-4

We both opened Jirachi.

I was going second in the mirror, and I wasn’t able to attach an Energy on the first turn – the match was as good as over. Just as I had given up and was thinking about being able to eat some tasty udon, my opponent missed an attachment on their third turn, giving me an opening. I had a small hand, and since my opponent had used Altered Creation GX last turn, they had seemed to be in a position to use Ultimate Ray, so I had attached Giant Bomb. However, they weren’t able to attach an Energy, so that was a waste. At that point it looked like I was going to get the first attack in, so I used Guzma and Let Loose Marshadow and knocked out Jirachi. I wasn’t able to get Arceus & Dialga & Palkia GX in the Active, so I had to pray to get a one shot on the opposing Arceus & Dialga & Palkia GX from Shrine of Punishment and Spiritomb. My opponent had Tag Call, and I was expecting a Mallow & Lana, but they had Prized it. With their Arceus & Dialga & Palkia GX damaged, they passed back to me. I had Guzma and used Anguish Cry for game.

Like the second round, I was able to win quite convincingly. After the Qualifying Round I was in sixth place, and on to the Main Round I went.

Main Round

While 72 people had registered for the tournament, only 56 had actually showed up, meaning the cut off for the Main Round was the top 8 players instead of the top 16. If it had cut to top 16, that would have meant that three of my team members, including me, would have made it. However, a cut to top 16 would have also meant that I needed to win two rounds to receive priority for the Aichi Champions League, so my feelings about it were mixed.

After my teammates went off to eat udon, the real tournament began. I went 1-4 in scissors-paper-rock in the Qualifying Round, and I knew there were lots of Arceus & Dialga & Palkia in the room, so I was hoping my luck would even out…

Round 1: Arceus & Dialga & Palkia Keldeo, Second, W, 6-0

My opponent started with Keldeo GX, and I opened with Spiritomb.

When I realised I was going second in the Arceus & Dialga & Palkia mirror, I internally apologised to my teammates.

My opponent seemed to be dead drawing. They used Cynthia & Caitlin to draw three, attached from hand to Keldeo GX and then passed. I had a really good start and was able to keep up that tempo, which resulted in a victory. It was nothing but luck.

I got priority entry for the Aichi Champions League!

Semi Finals: Naganadel & Guzzlord Malamar, Second, L, 5-6

My opponent started with Absol and I opened with Spiritomb.

Honestly, I was exhausted. Since both of us set up well, the player who went first won. My Let Loose didn’t cause my opponent to lose any ground, and I wasn’t able to do anything about it, so I lost. It was unavoidable.

And that brought a close to the first City League.

Some Anecdotes and Reflections from the Day

Firstly, I did it! Right until I announced Anguish Cry for knock out on the Keldeo GX in the quarter final, I was shaking. At the recent Tokyo Champions League, only one of my five team members got in through the lottery. This was a big tragedy. Since I knew that these things happen, I really wanted to get priority entry for the Aichi Champions League, so I was very happy.

By the way, I went 1-6 in scissors-paper-rock during the tournament. I was 1-4 in the Qualifying Round, and I realised I kept losing with scissors. So, I was determined to use paper in the quarter final.

But, still, I put out scissors…

I was frustrated. I wasn’t even thinking and I put out scissors – I was so surprised. I somehow won that game, and I thought I would definitely change it up in the semi finals. I put out paper and lost. I’ll never forgive the person who thought it was a good idea to use scissors-paper-rock to determine who goes first.

I wasn’t able to eat udon for lunch, but on my way home I was able to eat some tasty meat, 
so I was satisfied.

I was also able to get a full art Cynthia & Caitlin from a 500 yen booster, and then I got Energy Spinner from a 1000 yen booster, so I was very happy.

We travelled as a team, like an excursion, so it was fun. I also performed well. While I was saying that because I had chosen such a fun deck I wouldn’t have minded if I lost, I probably wouldn’t have been too happy about it. If you can’t win at all, the game becomes boring. I want to continue winning in order to play great games (which is why I hate losing.)

In memory of these decks

Image 27

This deck aimed to target decks which were reliant on Special Energy or Items to function with Noivern GX. With Dark Energy in the deck, it’s possible to use Absol to knock out Trevenant & Dusknoir GX in one shot. I rejected this deck.

Image 28

Ultra Necrozma GX is strong against Arceus & Dialga & Paklia and Reshiram & Charizard decks. Naganadel & Guzzlord GX is good against all the other decks, so this deck can do anything you want it to do. Having only one Rosa and one Beast Ring honestly didn’t feel too good, so I increased those counts to have easier access to them, and it was really good. Beast Energy can be used by multiple Pokemon, so you could also include that. When I decided against playing a Malamar deck, I dropped this. I do have quite some confidence in this deck though.

Image 29

This is a style of deck you don’t see much anymore, an aggressive Zoroark deck. This deck is built so that it can target the weaknesses of the current tier one decks, that is, Mewtwo & Mew, Pikachu & Zekrom, Arceus & Dialga & Palkia and Trevenant & Dusknoir. This was just a fun deck, so I dropped it. It was fun, so I’ll definitely play it at a Gym Battle. I forgot to put in Chaotic Swell.

Image 30

I wanted to run a deck with four Crushing Hammer, so I built this. This was also just a fun deck. I also forgot to put in Chaotic Swell when building this.

Image 31

This was the deck I may have played had I been able to participate in the Tokyo Champions League, adjusted to the current meta. I think Guzma & Hala is the really strong, but I didn’t feel that I would be able to win with this deck.


This was my first major tournament (in general and also upon joining Team Kizuna) so I am happy that I was able to achieve a good result. If I wasn’t able to do well in the tournament I felt that I wouldn’t be able to face everyone, so I was really nervous. However, on the day I played sharply and was able to pull off some good plays.

Honestly, I’m a bit embarrassed abut being so over the moon when I lost in the semi final because I was able to get priority entry. Next time I’ll win.

With this, I’ll be able to play in the Aichi Champions League, and I’ll put all my energy into preparing for the new Sword and Shield format.

I am grateful to my team members who helped me fine-tune the deck, to everyone who cheered me on and to Yoshi for making his deck available to the public. Thank you very much.

Please find the original Japanese-language article here.