[Top 8 Chushikoku Showdown] Baby Blacephalon and Rocky Helmet Dragapult

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.


Hey guys, it’s been a while. I’m COOLKID, the leader of Team Kizuna.

I participated in the Chushikoku Showdown tournament hosted by Enemaru from Okayama and Lemon from Kagawa. [Note: This was a tournament focussed on the island of Shikoku and the Chugoku region of the island of Honshu. There was a Qualifying Round held in Shikoku, then the main tournament was held in Okayama.]

From the Qualifying Round results… I was 3-1 in Shikoku, tied for eighth. As there was a tie, we had to play it out for who would proceed to top 8, and I won that round. I lost my first round in cut so I didn’t proceed past top 8.

For the main round, I was 4-0 at Okayama and was seeded first. Again, I lost my first round in cut and got top 8.

I guess you could call me a top 8 wonder.

I garnered quite a reaction to my results, so I thought I’d write an article. If you don’t mind, I would appreciate it if you could read this until the end.

Meta Expectations

Essentially, I think when deciding upon a deck it is important to consult your surroundings. Of course, you should also build decks and test them yourself!

I thought these were potential plays: Arceus & Dialga & Palkia Zacian, Lucario & Melmatal (Zacian, Zamazenta), Combo Zacian, Eternatus, Mill (Centiskorch, Magcargo), Coalossal, Psychic Perfection, Baby Blacephalon and Fire Tool Box.

Decks that I wrote off were: Pikachu & Zekrom, Vikavolt, Dragapult, Inteleon, Charizard VMAX, Obstagoon, Psychic Box, Decidueye and Altaria.

From here, I just applied my own judgment.

I considered weakness, aggressiveness, the Prize race and speed. While a lot of people liken it to gambling, Baby Blacephalon is really strong in this current meta if you can get it up and running. Further, I had already gotten used to playing it so I decided to use it for the Shikoku Qualifying Round.

Shikoku Qualifying Round

The Baby Blacephalon list I used is below:

Card Explanations

Jirachi: If you open with it you will be able to set up.

Baby Blacephalon: I wasn’t sure whether to run one copy of Ordinary Rod or an extra Blacephalon. However I wanted to get as much use out of Ultra Space as I could and ran 4 copies.

Blacephalon GX: The GX attack is a must have, and Bursting Burn and Mind Blown aren’t bad either. It is also very good against opponents who target down your benched GX or V Pokemon instead of Baby Blacephalon, as it means you have much more Energy on board. If you can learn the ins and outs of this Pokemon in different situations, it will surely become an asset you can take advantage of.

Victini Prism Star: While I’m sure there are many people out there who think this is exclusively an anti-mill measure, it has uses other than that. In a Zacian-focussed meta, it can be difficult to set up Blacephalons time after time, so even just playing Victini Prism Star on your bench and waiting until the following turn to use it can have benefits. This was one of the MVPs in the Qualifying Round.

Other 5 GX/Vs: I chose these cards because I thought they would help me the most in tough situations.

Cards I didn’t Use:

Reshiram & Charizard: I think this is the card I had most doubt about. It’s pretty bad to start with against most things, and I started with it a lot, so it wasn’t the card for me.

Items

I don’t even need to say it, but I run 4 Quick Ball and Fire Crystal.

Fiery Flint: I wanted to deplete my deck of Energy as quickly as possible. If you get your deck down to the bare necessities, you can draw almost anything and be fine. Even disregarding the metagame, you need 6 to 9 Energy (outside of attachments to Blacephalon) – there’s no way for Giant Hearth to compete with Fiery Flint.

Acro Bike: It allows the deck to be speedier and gives more chances of drawing Welder, while simultaneously discarding Energy.

Switch: I could really feel the difference in running this card and not, as support Pokemon would be targeted by Boss’s Orders and Great Catcher. Honestly, I would really like to run more of these but due to space constrains I could only fit 2.

I think the rest of the Items are pretty standard.

Supporters

Welder: 4

Boss’s Orders: Unlike Great Catcher, this can target any Pokemon, making it very strong. If you’re someone that feels there is no point running this card as you can’t play Welder in that turn, I urge you to try it out yourself.

Stadiums

I wanted to increase my hand size as well as discard Energy, two things which Giant Hearth cannot do. I expected Chaotic Swell to be popular, and thought Stadium usage would really come down to whether I could get a Stadium out or not. I decided to minimise my Stadium count and only ran 1.

Energy

I ran 15 Basic Energy and I don’t think you can get lower than that. I would like to increase my count but am afraid of going too far. And Beast Energy? It’s really good against Arceus & Dialga & Palkia GX! But not quite so good against VMAX Pokemon… and that is the status quo. I thought rather than doing an extra 30 damage with Beast Energy, a Basic Energy which can deal an additional 50 damage was more beneficial.

Okayama Main Round

From the Shikoku Qualifiers to the Okayama Main Round, I personally thought about the likelihood that deck builds and types would change. So I changed my deck of choice.

Rocky Helmet Dragapult

Why Dragapult? Anyone who knows of its strength will tell you, but it has firepower, speed, control, damage output and endurance all rolled into one. However, I think it’s most important to focus on how it can deal with Arceus & Dialga & Paklia Zacian. Let’s consider some typical gameplay:

Arceus & Dialga & Palkia Zacian goes first. On turn one, attach a Water Energy to Arceus & Dialga & Palkia GX, bench Zacian V and use Intrepid Sword. On the next turn, attach a Metal Energy and use Altered Creation GX. On the following turn, attach a Metal or Water Energy and use Ultimate Ray.

If Arceus & Dialga & Palkia Zacian goes second, a Water or Aurora Energy should be attached to Arceus & Dialga & Palkia GX. Then, use Metal Saucer and Energy Switch to use Altered Creation GX. Attach from hand and then use Ultimate Ray.

If everything goes smoothly, most games should follow the above pattern. For my Dragapult deck, it doesn’t really matter whether I go first or second.

Firstly, attach Psychic or Horror Energy to Dragapult V, then attach Rocky Helmet. The following turn, evolve into the VMAX, attach Energy and attack with Max Phantom.

Does your opponent return with an attack? Either way, you should be the first to get an attack off. This is strong. Though it is weak against Eternatus… just forget about that haha.

Ultimate Ray will always be used in response. If they can’t, they fail at accelerating Energy and will struggle. With Horror Energy and/or Rocky Helmet, there will be 20-40 damage on Arceus & Dialga & Palkia GX (in total 130 + 20 or 40) meaning that they will be knocked out with another Max Phantom. At this point, there should be 50 damage on a benched Zacian V. While there is a 100% chance of their Zacian V knocking out your Dragapult VMAX, you can arrange your damage and set up your replacement Dragapult VMAX in such a way you can take a return knock out. You will be able to take five Prize cards like this. I thought that (as long as my opponent couldn’t pull anything crazy off), my deck should be able to win against Arceus & Dialga & Palkia Zacian.

I think there are probably some cards in my list you are wondering about, so I will explain them.

Explanation

Indeedee V: The main reason for this card is healing. Turning a two shot into a three shot can really shake things up for your opponent. Let’s consider an Arceus & Dialga & Palkia Zacian deck which has used Altered Creation GX. With 260 damage on Dragapult VMAX, 200 damage can be healed from Mallow & Lana and Strange Can, leaving Dragapult VMAX with 60 damage. If you heal a further 20 damage, this means Dragapult VMAX can survive another Brave Blade (40 + 260 = 300, which is less than 320). I think even just healing 100 damage with Strange Can and Watch Over is pretty good, haha.

Oranguru: Forgive me for using the secret rare version, haha. Even if I didn’t own the secret rare I would still run it! If you have this guy benched, you can preserve cards like Mallow & Lana, Strange Can, Reset Stamp and Switch… you can optimise your hand and save cards for the right timing! In short, it’s really useful for accumulating necessary cards.

Rocky Helmet: This was the key card of the tournament. How about Giant Bomb or Stealthy Hood? Those cards have been seeing high rates of play in Psychic decks. Firstly, Giant Bomb is strong! But its point of weakness is that it’s easy to avoid. It can be a waste. Initially I wanted to run three copies of Rocky Helmet to take into consideration the possibility of it being discarded, but I didn’t have space so I went with two. I felt 2 was really good anyway.

Strange Can: The reasoning is in the Indeedee V explanation.

Grimsley: While this can be really good when used at the right time, in all honesty I included this for style points! But it can be useful if your opponent’s active Pokemon has surplus damage from a previous Max Phantom, meaning you can have a benched Pokemon with 80 damage on it. You can even put the three damage counters on a fresh Pokemon – strong, isn’t it? If you think this idea is interesting, make sure to give this post a like! Thank you haha.

Powerplant: I tried running this with one Chaotic Swell but felt that most decks (aside from Eternatus) ran Dedenne GX over Crobat V. And this was true in reality! If other GX’s Abilities are nullified as well, this can really make your opponent struggle so I decided to prioritise running Power Plant.

Cards I didn’t Use

People might feel that my deck is lacking, as I don’t run cards like Jirachi, Scoop Up Net, Viridian Forest and Energy Spinner. From my point of view, I feel these cards would actually slow down the deck and make less space for cards I actually wanted to include.

Conclusion

From the explanations given in the above text, I decided upon my deck. Even if new cards are released, I don’t think my deck will be negatively affected, so please give it a go.

This article became quite long, though if you feel I have insufficiently explained something I am happy to answer you questions through DM. Thank you for reading this until the end.


Please find the original Japanese-language article here.

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