[Top 8 City League] Arceus & Dialga & Palkia Zacian

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, thanks for looking at my article. I’m Noi, a Pokemon player from Hokkaido. Nice to meet you.

This time, I managed to make top 8 at the City League.

I think there might be some awkward expressions in my writing, so please bear with me.
You can read the entire article for free.

The Creation of the Deck

There were only two days between this tournament and the new expansion being released, so I was not confident about what deck to run.

One deck I was considering was a simple aggro deck. I had been eyeing Arceus & Dialga & Palkia Zacian since its release. Zacian V has great synergy with the already strong GX attack of Arceus & Dialga & Palkia GX.

Other than that, I was also considering decks like Blacephalon and Reshiram & Charizard, which remained strong in the new format. I felt that despite the introduction of V Pokemon, Welder’s Energy acceleration and the decks’ high damage cap would remain powerful.

With the new format, the rule about being unable to play a Supporter on the first turn came into force. This made me feel hesitant about running a set up dependent deck (for example, Professor Elm’s Lecture decks or decks which need to set up a strong board to function).

So I thought a simple deck with high HP Pokemon and was OK going first would be a good play.

When I thought about the meta, I considered Arceus & Dialga & Palkia variants, Pikachu & Zekrom, and Reshiram & Charizard to be the best decks.

But from this group Arceus & Dialga & Palkia variants stood out.

Taking an extra Prize card thanks to the GX attack seems almost like cheating. On top of that, it has 280 HP and an attack which can accelerate Energy. Further, Zacian V can help come back from rough situations. It’s only worth two Prizes, and with Altered Creation GX it’s a very high damage attacker, dealing 260 damage. There’s no way it can’t be strong.

I don’t doubt Pikachu & Zekrom’s strength with Bede and Tapu Koko V, but what are the chances of a turn one Full Blitz going second? That said, it’s very good if you can get it off before your opponent announces Altered Creation GX…

While Reshiram & Charizard can’t play a Supporter going first, the strength of Flare Strike is still attractive. I think Welder is still a strong card. I was going back and forth with this deck. I want to try out this deck with Snorlax VMAX - if I have time, I’ll try this out.

From these decks, I decided that Arceus & Dialga & Palkia Zacian was the strongest and decided to play this deck at the City League.

While this is going off on a tangent, I really like how Zacian looks. Even if it doesn’t have the best synergy, I ran both Zacian and Zamazenta.

Tournament Report

My matchups were as follows:

Qualifying Round

Pikachu & Zekrom W
Pikachu & Zekrom W
Arceus & Dialga & Palkia Zacian W
Arceus & Dialga & Palkia Zacian W
Arceus & Dialga & Palkia Zacian L

Main Round

Arceus & Dialga & Palkia Zacian L

There were lots of Arceus & Dialga & Palkia Zacian at the tournament. At the Ibaraki City League the day before, there were plenty of Zigzagoon, so I predicted that there might be even more at this City League. However in reality, it didn’t seem like there were that many.

Round 1: Pikachu & Zekrom, First, W

My opponent started Absol and I opened Jirachi. From the get go, my hand wasn’t very good. Using Switches, I managed to set up an ADP.

My opponent couldn’t do much, so I used Altered Creation GX and took my Prizes with Zacian V.

Round 2: Pikachu & Zekrom, First, W

My opponent opened with Tapu Koko Prism Star.

My opponent managed to gust up my Dedenne GX with Custom Catcher, which I struggled to retreat. This gave my opponent time to set up, making it necessary for me to put on pressure.

Even after I used Altered Creation GX, my opponent did not lose tempo

We toed the line of time being called (which would result in both of us losing) but my opponent conceded and I won. It seemed that they had Prized key cards, and we talked about how I might’ve lost had my opponent opened with anything other than Tapu Koko Prism Star.

Round 3: Arceus & Dialga & Palkia Zacian, Second W

So, my third round ended up being the Arceus & Dialga & Palkia Zacian mirror.
I think the mirror is determined by who gets to use Altered Creation GX first, and then whether the opposing Zacian V can be knocked out.

My opponent was able to establish a stronger board than me and a Marnie left me with a weaker hand than I had hoped.

In the midgame, the game had developed such that if my opponent could use Brave Blade with Shrine of Punishment, my Arceus & Dialga & Palkia GX would be knocked out. However, my opponent whiffed. I lucked out, and the turn after my opponent forfeited and I won.

Round 4: Arceus & Dialga & Palkia Zacian, Second W

My opponent this round was the eventual winner of the City League. Congratulations!

My opponent opened Phione, and unable to do anything, passed.

Although I went second, with Bede I was able to get two Energy on Arceus & Dialga & Palkia and all I needed was an Escape Board to get the turn one Altered Creation GX off. Alas, I didn’t draw it.

My opponent used Crushing Hammer but both coin flips were tails.

I used Altered Creation GX first, then attached Energy to two Zacian Vs, creating a board state where I couldn’t lose even if I were attacked.

My opponent scooped and I won.

Round 5: Arceus & Dialga & Palkia Zacian, Second L

I don’t remember our openings. I wasn’t able to draw into Zacian V or set up well. I have a feeling I used Team Yell Grunt.

During these turns, my opponent used Altered Creation GX and was able to get solid Energy attachments to Zacian V.

My opponent continued pushing forward and I lost.

In the Qualifying Round I went 4-1 and was in sixth seed.

Image 1
Noi at sixth place.

As I was in sixth place, I continued on to the Main Round.

When it was time for the Main Round, I headed towards the table, but it was empty except for my deck box. I couldn’t see my opponent.

My opponent had made a deck list error so I won the round without having to play.

With this no show, I was able to receive priority entry to the Kyoto Champions League.

My tweet from that time is as follows:

Image 2
Thanks to the no show in the Main Round, I have now received priority entry to the Kyoto Champions League! 

Thinking about it, maybe my wording in this tweet wasn’t appropriate. But at the time I was honestly surprised and it made me relieved.

I was able to take a bit of a break while checking out the deck that my next opponent would be playing.

Main Round

Round 2: Arceus & Dialga & Palkia Zacian, Second, L

Everyone surrounded our match and I was very nervous thinking about other people watching my game.

I focussed on playing one hand at a time.

I opened Jirachi with Zamazenta V in hand.

The first time I checked my hand I thought I had Zacian V, but it was actually Zamazenta V! I felt my heart drop.

On my first turn I drew two Zacian V. I didn’t want to return them to deck with Marnie, so I benched both of them.

I ended my turn with Intrepid Sword, but my Energy-less Zacian V was gusted up by Custom Catcher. I had no switching cards so I couldn’t get it out of the active.

After that, my opponent used Altered Creation GX and Brave Blade and I accepted my loss.
I lost because I benched Zacian V without having a switching option in hand. Although I don’t think it was necessarily wrong for me to bench Zacian V before using Marnie, I think the correct play was to bench just one.

I think I also extended too far in trying to dig for Team Yell Grunt to slow down my opponent’s Altered Creation GX. I should’ve followed a different plan instead.

With that, my City League run ended.

I ended up getting top 8.

Later, the result showed up on my player page:

Image 3
Pokemon Card Game City League (Season 2, Standard Format): 5th Place  
Thanks to placing highly in the Qualifying Round, I was able to come fifth overall.
This is my best result to date in my Pokemon career.

However, I was saved by luck multiple times.

While luck is a part of doing well in the game, I would like to play without mistakes at the Aichi Champions League and win my games convincingly.

Unique Cards I Used

Thank you to those who have read through my long tournament report. 
From here on, I would like to talk about some cards I used that other players generally do not.

Zamazenta V


I think that I was the only ADP Zacian player at this City League to run Zamazenta V. (If there were other players, I apologise).

My reasoning behind the card was this:
  • Since the new set had come out just two days ago, VMAX Pokemon could be very popular.
  • Hokkaido is a very strange place where you have no idea what the metagame will be like (the most important reason).
  • In particular, I didn’t think it would be strange if I played against a Lapras VMAX or Snorlax VMAX deck.
  • Being able to discard Special Energy is very powerful. 

Oh, and one more thing: 
  • On the day of the tournament, I couldn’t get three copies of Zacian V.

I actually wanted to run three Zacian V but I couldn’t get them…

While 130 is not very much damage, I decided to use Zamazenta V due to its usefulness against VMAX Pokemon.

Given that it’s the Sword and Shield format, it’s fun to use both!

I think you can tell by looking at my matchups, but this tournament Zamazenta V was not very useful…

Team Yell Grunt

Image 5

This card was useful multiple times against the mirror.

I thought it was so strong that I could have gone on about how good it was in the mirror the day before the City League.

Against opponents who went first and attached an Energy on their first turn, I felt that this card could get rid of that advantage.

This card is good against Arceus & Dialga & Palkia variants and Pikachu & Zekrom.

(I also went second almost every time, so…)


Image 6

This card is really good as it allows you to use Altered Creation GX turn one if you go second.

Otherwise, it’s a card that can get you up to speed with your opponent’s set up.

I used it to use Arceus & Dialga & Palkia GX’s Altered Creation GX or to set up a Brave Blade with Zacian V out of nowhere.

It is quite a sought-after card, which was annoying.

It can also be useful in the latter half of the game where your ADP has been knocked out but you have yet to set up a Zacian V.

I think these three cards set my deck apart from other people’s.

While this tournament wasn’t for Zamazenta V, Bede and Team Yell Grunt put in their fair share of work.

I could also put in Marnie or Shrine of Punishment… I think this deck is far from complete.

I am extremely happy that I was able to make top 8 and come fifth with this deck.

Thank you for reading this report.

If you have any questions or comments, please tell me on Twitter (@Noivern_PokeCa). 

Please find the original Japanese-language article here.


  1. I noticed you aren't using aurora energy, this is a very good card and pairs very well with metal saucer, especially if you get both on the first turn.


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