[PJNO T4] Delcatty Cinccino Control

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.

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Hi all, I’m 774 from Sendai City.

At the recent Pokemon Japan Nationals Online (PJNO) I played my favorite type of deck, control.

This tournament had a lot of strong players and I knew it was going to be really tough, so I decided to play a deck with my signature style.

As usual, you can read this article in its entirety for free. If you do, I’ll be very happy.

Deck Building


My interest was initially piqued when I heard about a Delcatty control deck that was used at the Momoya Cup in May. I reached out to Aurora Mikann (@pokeka_mikann) who taught me about the deck, and decided to try it out myself.

About three weeks before the PJNO, I was finally able to play Pokemon in a face to face setting. I brought my Delcatty Cinccino control deck to a Gym Battle [Note: Equivalent of local league] but the result was a crushing failure. The list I used was terrible and I’ve lost it since. It didn’t run Chaotic Swell so it had no way of dealing with Vikavolt V’s Paralyzing Bolt and Thunder Mountain Prism Star. The deck list was painful to look at.

Building on that experience, I came up with this deck list:

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With Channeler and Chaotic Swell, as well as adding Brock’s Grit instead of a second Fishing Rod, I built the deck to deal with Vikavolt better, as I thought that strong players would play the deck.

I brought this deck to the following week’s Gym Battle. I beat Arceus & Dialga & Palkia Zacian and Decidueye, and in the final round I hit Vikavolt. I thought this would be the time to use my secret weapon (Channeler), but it was Prized! So I lost.

What?? I was enraged. I decided to never forgive Vikavolt, and rebuilt my deck, getting rid of cards useless in that matchup.

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I added a second Channeler. Then, the following week I took the deck to the Sendai Battle Stadium, a grassroots event. While I beat Eternatus, Vikavolt and Inteleon, I lost to Fire decks, Salamence and Dragapult, leaving me with an unimpressive result of three wins and five losses. This was five days before the deadline for entering our deck lists for the PJNO, so I decided against bringing a mill deck. Mill decks are supposed to break other people’s hearts, not my own.

Thus, for the PJNO I was considering playing Baby Blacephalon or Inteleon like some other people.

The next day and night I was practicing with Inteleon but it didn’t go well at all. At this point I was going to give up and just play Baby Blacephalon, but then my saviour materialised.

This was my friend Take (@takesun46), who often acted as a guinea pig for me to test mill decks against, and whom I discussed mill decks with.

He told me, “You should just play mill; that way you’ll have fun and it’ll be fine.”

So I prepared myself for the worst, thought up of a deck list and finalised everything the day before submission.

With that, I began to pick myself up after having half given up.


Deck Explanation


I’ll continue on with an explanation of the deck. Essentially, I ran 2-3 copies of cards which I didn’t want to risk Prizing.

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19 Pokemon

4-4 Cinccino

I wanted to set up as many Cinccino as I could, so I ran the maximum count. While you’ll generally only set up two in a game, you can use them as discard fodder in the late-game so that’s not an issue.

2-2 Delcatty

I actually wanted both Skitty to be from Celestial Storm, but due to some personal circumstances I ran out of time to get my hands on them. If you’re in a situation where you have to attack with Skitty you’re probably in a tough spot anyway, but it’s still good to have the right options. The promo Delcatty won’t warp with humidity as much as the set Delcatty, so I used that one.

3 Oranguru

Since I don’t run Lillie’s PokeDoll in this deck, Oranguru will generally be in the active position. With two copies, if one is Prized it can be difficult to adapt to situations, so I ran three.

1 Mew

This is for Salamence VMAX and Cramorant V. I initially felt that Salamence decks would be played widely, but then I predicted that Vikavolt decks would increase, causing Salamence decks to decrease. So I used this card less.

2 Zacian V

This is the absolute minimum count you should be playing. I cut down on this card because it’s so easily defeated by Fire decks.

1 Articuno GX

This is useful against Fire decks or against opponents who stack a lot of Energy onto one Pokemon.

13 Items

I think my Item line up is pretty different from other mill decks.

4 Quick Ball

4 Crushing Hammer

No explanations needed.

3 Scoop Up Net

I felt that four was too many and two too little, so three was the perfect in between.

1 Fishing Rod

Against Vikavolt, which I thought was going to be widely played, there were a lot of situations where I wouldn’t be able to play down the second Fishing Rod, so I cut down to one.

1 Reset Stamp

Until now, using Reset Stamp in mill decks has done more bad than good. However, with this deck it gives me a considerable advantage as I can use it after my opponent is low on Prizes and also disrupt their Energy. I think there were quite a few matches where this card saved me.

23 Supporters

This is the second factor that makes my deck unique from other mill decks. Delcatty can act as a pseudo-Lusamine, and my deck is built on getting around Item lock. Similar to the old Hoopa mill deck, the focus is on Supporters.

4 Team Yell Grunt

This is useful against opponents who need more than one Energy to set up, and it can also be very strong if two are used in succession after Lt. Surge’s Strategy.

3 Professor’s Research

This card allows you to dig through your deck. Since there aren’t a lot of Items and most cards are recoverable, there are no issues with aggressively discarding cards. It’s useful to come back from a Marnie or Reset Stamp and helps dig for Cinccino, so I ran a lot of copies.

1 Marnie

I ran this for another draw option and to be able to disrupt my opponent.

2 Bellelba & Brycen-Man

This card should be run in every mill deck and it’s useful for discarding Energy. I’ll only start using it after I’ve gone through the entirety of my deck, so I don’t run too many copies.

2 Looker

Looker is great to use after Resource Management.

2 Faba

I ran this card since strong Special Energies such as, Speed Energy, Hide Energy and Powerful Energy are rampant in the current format. It can also Lost Zone Tools and Stadiums. Running two copies is critical.

2 Channeler

You definitely don’t want this Prized against Vikavolt, so I ran two. I never had both Prized against Vikavolt so that was good. I don’t think Channeler is that great in mill decks without Delcatty, however. Also, the full art is only 180 yen, which is a bit sad. I looked for it but couldn’t find it, so I borrowed them from a friend.

1 Boss’s Orders

I used this for when my opponent had run out of Switch or for dragging up a Pokemon with Energy stacked on it to then attack into it with Articuno GX.

1 Tate and Liza

This can be used as a Switch. You can use it even under Item lock. I always run one in mill decks.

1 Brock’s Grit

This takes place of the second Fishing Rod. While you must shuffle in six cards, it’s useful for preventing your own deck out.

1 Bird Tamer

It’s very strong to draw cards while switching. This card was critical.

3 Lt. Surge’s Strategy

This is the key card to use once your opponent begins taking Prizes and paves the win for a defensive deck like this. Since I wanted to use it each turn after going down on Prizes, I ran a thick line. I hope a full art comes out.

1 Stadium

1 Chaotic Swell

I ran this to get rid of Prism Star Stadiums.

4 Energy

2 Recycle Energy

2 Water Energy

I ran a 2-2 line to be able to use Articuno GX’s attack.


Cards that didn’t Make it


Lillie’s PokeDoll

While this card is often touted as essential to mill decks, I didn’t run it in my deck. My reasons for this are that I can’t play it under Item lock, it clogs up the deck in the late-game, it can be a nuisance on the bench and there wasn’t really a benefit to playing it. I could play a better card instead.

Ditto Prism Star

As it only has 40 HP I thought it would often be knocked out by Galarian Zigzagoon’s Headbutt Tantrum. Also, after Delcatty is knocked out I want to use Scoop Up Net to set up Delcatty again, but to do that I need Skitty. I figured I may as well run an extra Minccino instead.

Goomy

I thought this would be strong in the early-game and against decks like Baby Blacephalon, but similarly to Ditto Prism Star it only has 40 HP. It also doesn’t serve any purpose if my opponent can forcibly swap it out. I ran Phione in my own Baby Blacephalon, so I figured it wasn’t necessary.

Cynthia & Caitlin

I have enough Supporter-recycling power with Delcatty and you can only draw three cards 
with this so you may as well use Professor’s Research instead.


Further Thoughts on the Deck


With a remote tournament, I was more conscious of time than usual.

This is not a Magcargo mill deck but a Cinccino one, so I could finish games quickly. I also ran few deck-shuffling cards, limited to Quick Ball, Tate and Liza and Fishing Rod.

I focus on playing quickly until my opponent runs out of Energy. Once that happens, I should have more time for my own turns, taking up about 70% of the total time.


How to Play the Deck


The Basics

Discard Energy using Crushing Hammer and use Team Yell Grunt and Faba to halt your opponent’s moves while digging through your deck.

Once you’ve gotten to the bottom of your deck, use Bellelba & Brycen-Man’s additional effect to discard Zacian V from your bench. From there, you can just use Bellelba & Brycen-Man to finish off your opponent’s deck.

Strong Moves

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With Looker in the discard, you can use Resource Management to put three cards on the bottom of your deck.

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On the next turn, evolve Delcatty and retrieve Looker from your discard. You can get all the cards you put back into your deck with Resource Management, which is very strong. This might seem obvious, but it is important to do.

This depends on the situation, but even if Marnie is used against you, you can use Make Do and Professor’s Research to get to the cards you returned with Resource Management.

I think this deck is harder to play than Magcargo mill or Mareep variants of Cinccino mill, but with practice this shouldn’t be an issue. I think you just need experience.


Matchups


Day 1

Round 1: No show

Round 2: Eternatus, Second, Win

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While the only Pokemon that can donk me is Hoopa, I really didn’t want that to happen so I elected to go second.

I let my active Pokemon be knocked out by Eternatus VMAX, and once there was a Prize difference I used Lt. Surge’s Strategy to play double Team Yell Grunt. I disrupted my opponent’s Energy multiple times, and on the fourth play, they surrendered.

Round 3: Combo Tapu Koko V, Second, Win

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I didn’t want to go first and have Paralyzing Bolt used against me, so I chose to go second.
My opponent was Kou, someone who I worked with on improving my deck.

I was able to discard Energy and use Chaotic Swell to stop Thunder Mountain, so I won.

I rid my opponent of Energy before they could set up Vikavolt V, so that was great.

Round 4: Vikavolt V, Second, Win

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Similarly to the previous round, I chose to go second to avoid Paralyzing Bolt. My opponent was the overall winner, Masa.

I used Faba to discard Special Energy and got around Item lock by using Channeler and then Crushing Hammer. I replaced Thunder Mountain Prism Star with Chaotic Swell and discarded the Energy on a loaded Vikavolt V with Articuno GX. I was able to secure a 
convincing win. I feel this match was proof that my deck could beat Vikavolt V.

Round 5: Salamence VMAX, Second, Win

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I was afraid of Alolan Meowth’s Spoil the Fun, so I went second.

My Mew wasn’t Prized so I was able to get it out. To play around Boss’s Orders, I used Faba and Crushing Hammer each turn to discard my opponent’s Energy, so it was easy to keep Mew on the field. This Salamence variant is quite easy to win against.

Round 6: Lucario & Melmetal Zacian, Win

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I can’t remember if I went first or second. When I looked at the list and saw Bellelba & Brycen-Man and Durant, my heart stopped. Since my opponent opened with Durant, I had to minimise my draws. I was able to disrupt their Energy and run them out of resources, so I won.

Round 7: Magcargo Mill, Loss

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I was against Garushia, who won all their matches and was ranked first at the end of Day 1. Since Girafarig was in the deck, I figured it would be very difficult to win. My win condition was that Garushia’s Switches would be Prized, meaning I could lock Magcargo in the active with Boss’s Orders. This would force them to use Tate and Liza or Bird Tamer, using their one Supporter for the turn, meaning I could potentially deck them out. However, I wasn’t able to draw Boss’s Orders. As my deck became thinner, it went to the discard thanks to Bellelba & Brycen-Man, and was then Lost Zoned. I lost there.

Day 2

Round 1: Eternatus VMAX, WW

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Game 1: Second, Win

Again, I was afraid of Spoil the Fun, so I went second.

I was able to discard and Lost Zone Energy well, so I won.

Game 2: First, Win

On my first turn I was only able to get Minccino out, so I was in a tough spot. However, my opponent had Prized their Alolan Meowth, so I was saved. The rest of the game played out similarly to the first, and I won.

Round 2: Eternatus VMAX, WW

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Game 1: Second, Win

I was able to discard the Energy attached on the first turn, which set me up for the win. Since this deck didn’t run many Special Energy I had to rely on hitting Crushing Hammers, but Team Yell Grunt also helped me buy time and I was able to run my opponent out of Energy rather easily.

Game 2: Second, Win

I was down six Prizes to three with Zacian V and Articuno GX on the field, which was a pretty dangerous situation. I discarded them both with Bellelba & Brycen-Man, which gave me peace of mind. After that, I just disrupted Energy and won.

Semi-Finals (Streamed): Vikavolt V, LWL

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This was the same decklist as Masa, who I played in Day 1, so I figured I could use the same strategy.

Game 1: Second, Loss

I was afraid of a turn one Paralyzing Bolt so opted to go second. While I was able to get out Minccinos, I wasn’t able to evolve them into Cinccinos. After being Marnied, I drew into three Quick Balls, which put me in a terrible situation. I figured that if I lost the first round, I wouldn’t have enough time to win so I played it out, but I lost in the end.

Game 2: Second, Win

I was so focussed in this match I don’t really remember it, but I remember getting three Crushing Hammer heads in a row and making a misplay at the very end. I was determined to win this game.

Game 3: First, Loss

We were running out of time, so my only option was to set up Articuno GX from the beginning and take about three or four turns to set it up before attacking with it and taking Prizes. My Zacian Vs were Prized so I didn’t get anything with Quick Ball as I was afraid of losing to Boss’s Orders. My opponent returned with a turn one Paralyzing Bolt, and although I used Professor’s Research to dig for some card that could save me, I found nothing and lost from there.


Final Thoughts


The two days of the PJNO were a very fun experience for me. It was like a dream; my mill deck was featured on stream and I was applauded by well-known players. I think I prefer Energy-discarding control-type decks which break other people’s hearts over aggressive Bellelba & Brycen-Man mill decks, haha.

I really appreciate Akira, Edu and Kou for assisting with fine-tuning my deck and offering advice and support as well as the judges and coordinators of the event. Thank you very much!

The person I am most thankful for might be Take, who helped me decide on my deck, haha.
I will continue working hard! If we are able to meet at some other time, I would be very happy.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me on Twitter (@No_name774__) and I will do my best to respond.

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Please find the original Japanese-language article here.

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