2008 Decks

  • Legal Sets
    • Ex Holon Phantoms
    • Ex Crystal Guardians
    • Ex Dragon Frontiers
    • Ex Power keepers
    • Diamond and Pearl Base
    • DP Mysterious Treasures
    • DP Secret Wonders
    • DP Great Encounters
    • DP Majestic Dawn
  • First Turn Rules
    • On their first turn, the player going first may not play any Trainers (Items), Supporters, or Stadiums
    • The player who wins the coin flip MUST GO FIRST
    • The coin flip occurs AFTER the setup phase

2008 was a very interesting year in the history of the pokemon TCG. At the beginning of the season, the format was fairly diverse. Magmortar, Typhlosion, Infernape, Empoleon, Blissey, and Lucario variations all performed exceptionally well. Then, the release of Secret Wonders put an end to all of that. Gardevoir SW birthed what became the year of Plox. Gardevoir set up so consistently, and shut down so oppressively the vast majority of decks that existed beforehand, and unfortunately, the release of Great Encounters did not do much to change that. The vast majority of pre-Majestic Dawn events, including States and Regional Championships were basically all dominated by Gardevoir/Gallade.

Once Majestic Dawn released in May, the format did balance out a little bit. Plox was still an exceptionally strong deck, however, it now had to pick and choose which matchups it teched for, as it could no longer cover all of them at the same time. Empoleon/Bronzong came together as a deck that stood up very effectively in this format, and Eeveelution variations started seeing play as well. However the format was still VERY centralized around various control or disruption strategies – many of them centered around Psychic Lock or Cessation Crystal (to shut down abilities) or Absol SW (to rip cards out of your opponent’s hand). There were also several different archetypes that came together specifically as hard counters to Plox – and some of them managed to do very well.

Despite its supposed new counters, though, Plox still managed to win both US Nationals and Worlds – this would be the last time both events were won by the same deck for 10 years.

AmphyZong

Deck Results:
2x Top 32 World Championships
PokemonTrainersEnergy
3 Ampharos
2 Flaaffy
3 Mareep
4 Bronzong
4 Bronzor
2 Claydol
2 Baltoy
1 Absol ex
4 Bebe’s Search
3 Roseanne’s Research
3 Steven’s Advice
2 Copycat
1 Celio’s Network
3 Rare Candy
3 Warp Point
2 Windstorm
2 Lake Boundary
1 Night Maintenance
4 Double Rainbow Energy
4 Call Energy
4 Lightning Energy
3 Scramble Energy

Decklist Credit: Top Cut Retro Decks

Ampharos is probably one of the most criminally underrated pokemon in history – its Poke-Body punishes the opponent for using Supporter cards, and Cluster Bolt spreads damage around even further. Bronzong allows you to capitalize on both of these traits by spreading damage round the field, using Scramble Energy to take crucial KOs from behind when needed, and Absol ex to hurdle over important HP numbers. Bronzong was also one of the better answers to Plox in this format, as it could cleanly KO gardevoir while avoiding the KO in response. Ampharos handled Empoleon with ease, which covered the 2 biggest decks in this metagame.

Ampharos also saw success in 2008 alongside Plox as a nats deck (top 32) as well as Abomasnow and the newly printed Ampharos PL in 2010.

Blissey Control

Deck Results:
2nd Place World Championships (Masters)
2nd Place World Championships (Seniors)
Top 32 US National Championships (Masters)
PokemonTrainersEnergy
4 Blissey
4 Chansey
3 Chatot
4 Celio’s Network
4 Castaway
2 Roseanne’s Research
2 TV Reporter
2 Team Galactic’s Wager
1 Scott PK
1 Steven’s Advice
4 Cessation Crystal
4 Energy Removal 2
3 PlusPower
3 PokedexHANDY910is
3 Crystal Beach
1 Warp Point
1 Night Maintenance
1 Time-Space Distortion
4 Holon Energy FF
8 Fire Energy
1 Fighting Energy

Decklist Credit: Khanh Le, 2nd Place Worlds

Before Great Encounters was released, Blissey had been played as an aggressive deck alongside Arcanine SW, to stack up energy and then swap in the Arcanine for big damage. However, the domination of plox and the advent of Empoleon/Bronzong started to make this undesirable. Arcanine was dropped, and instead replaced with disruptive cards, such as Crystal Beach, Cessation Crystal, and Energy Removal 2, which had the potential to slow down decks enough for Blissey to win, especially those that relied heavily on special energy to set up.

This list differs slightly from the worlds list – the worlds list plays only 3 Energy Removal 2 and 2 Chatot MD in exchange for a 4th Crystal Beach and a 3rd TV Reporter. I opted for the extra energy removal because of Crystal Beach’s susceptibility to Windstorm and counter stadiums.

Blissey/Banette

Deck Accomplishments:
Top 8 World Championships
Top 16 US National Championships
2x Top 32 US National Championships
1st Place British Columbia Provincial Championships
PokemonTrainersEnergy
4 Banette
4 Shuppet
3 Blissey
3 Chansey
1 Mew Star
1 Lunatone
4 Roseanne’s Research
4 TV Reporter
3 Celio’s Network
2 Castaway
2 Steven’s Advice
2 Copycat
4 Warp Point
4 Cessation Crystal
2 Night Maintenance
4 Crystal Beach
1 Multi Energy
10 Psychic Energy
2 Water Energy

Decklist Credit: Jimmy Ballard, Top 16 US Nationals

Blissey/Banette combined 2 of the more successful stage 1 archetypes and turned them into a threatening anti-metagame deck. Shuppet’s attack immediately searches out Banette allowing you to pressure Plox decks early, while Blissey shores up the matchups against decks that Banette struggles to handle by itself. Mew* helps chip away at Empoleon. Crystal Beaches and Cessation Crystals also make it difficult for opponents to work their way back into the matches after Banette and Blissey work up the early lead.

This is one of Jimmy Ballard’s rogue decks. He used this list to place Top 16 at US nationals. He boasted an astonishing 8-0 record against Plox decks at the event, but he unfortunately got paired up against the single Torterra left in the bracket in Top 16, which is a much harder matchup, ending his impressive Nationals run.

Eeveelutions

Deck Results:
1st Place US Nationals (Seniors)
Top 32 World Championships
PokemonTrainersEnergy
2 Leafeon Lv.X
2 Leafeon
2 Espeon
2 Jolteon
1 Umbreon
1 Vaporeon
4 Eevee
2 Claydol
2 Baltoy
1 Chatot
1 Holon’s Castform
1 Jirachi ex
4 Roseanne’s Research
3 Celio’s Network
3 Steven’s Advice
2 Copycat
2 Bebe’s Search
2 Night Maintenance
3 Lake Boundary
3 Warp Point
2 Windstorm
3 Double Rainbow Energy
3 Scramble Energy
3 Grass Energy
3 Psychic Energy
2 Water Energy
1 Lightning Energy

Decklist Credit: Orion Craig, 1st Place US Nationals Seniors

Majestic Dawn released in May of 2008, and the Eeveelutions were a large focal point of the set with Leafeon Lv. X and Glaceon Lv. X taking the spotlight. All forms of eeveelutions were in the set, though, and they all proved useful in various matchups. This deck aims to take advantage of all the Eeveelution’s various types to try and hit for Weakness alongside Lake Boundary (although somewhat ironically it doesn’t play Flareon, which would be incredibly useful in the mirror.)

With a Lake Boundary in play, Espeon cleanly OHKOs Gardevoir, and pushes an energy back to your bench, allowing you to save up energy for a big attack from Leafeon Lv. X. Leafeon, Jolteon, and Vaporeon are all solid against Empoleon/Bronzong variants, either hitting for weakness, carrying resistance, or by healing the spread damage from Dual Splash. Umbreon is just there mostly to support with free retreat (although it does hit Dusknoir!)

EmpoStar

Deck Results:
Top 16 World Championships
Top 32 World Championships
Top 8 UK National Championships
PokemonTrainersEnergy
1 Phione
1 Chatot
1 Holon’s Castform
4 Piplup
3 Prinplup
3 Empoleon
1 Empoleon Lv.X
2 Baltoy
2 Claydol
1 Omanyte
2 Omastar
1 Mew Star
1 Unown Q
2 Mysterious Fossil

4 Bebe’s Search
1 Copycat
4 Rare Candy
4 Roseanne’s Research
4 Steven’s Advice
2 Warp Point
4 Call Energy
4 Scramble Energy
8 Water Energy

Decklist Credit: Top Cut Retro Decks

Empoleon MD was popular in this year as it was one of the few decks that could really consistently threaten Plox. Empoleon would use Dual Splash to spread damage around, and if it went down in prizes (which it commonly did) you could slap a scramble energy on the next one to power it up immediately.

Omastar was a variation of this deck that would focus on spreading damage around and then devolving the opponent’s entire field, allowing you to take several KOs at once, and potentially devastate your opponent’s board. Some people tried this with Omastar from Majestic Dawn, but it functions off of a Poke-Power rather than an attack, so it has the potential to be shut down by Psychic Lock and Cessation Crystal. Omastar PK was much more effective, and actually saw some success at the World Championships.

EmpoZong

Deck Accomplishments:
Top 4 World Championships
Top 8 World Championships
Top 8 US National Championships
3x Top 16 US National Championships
PokemonTrainersEnergy
4 Empoleon
2 Prinplup MD 44
1 Prinplup DP 58
3 Piplup DP 93
1 Piplup MD 72
2 Claydol
2 Baltoy
2 Bronzong
2 Bronzor
1 Mew Star
1 Chatot
1 Holon’s Castform
4 Roseanne’s Research
3 Steven’s Advice
2 Celio’s Network
2 Bebe’s Search
1 Castaway
1 Copycat
3 Rare Candy
3 Warp Point
3 Cessation Crystal
2 Night Maintenance
1 Windstorm
3 Call Energy
3 Scramble Energy
1 Double Rainbow Energy
6 Water Energy

Decklist Credit: Sean Worcester, Cody Walinski

Empoleon/Bronzong was the more popular version of Empoleon, as Bronzong could function as a psychic-type attacker with Scramble energy. The damage reduction from Coating proved problematic for several archetypes, while Pain Amplifier and Cursed Alloy allowed you to double down on the damage that was being spread around by Empoleon. Mew Star is a tech mostly for the mirror match. As with the previous Empoleon list, don’t be afraid to go down early in prizes with this deck. This gives you access to Scramble Energy, and you have the potential to take several knockouts at once when set up properly in the late game.

The decklist above is my own, crafted after many conversations and mirror matches against Cody Walinski. I started with Dylan LeFavour’s Empoleon list (without Bronzong), and eventually swapped over to this. I don’t know that it’s super optimal for the whole metagame, but it has done well for me in all the mirror matches we played, and it has been extremely fun.

Gallade Lock

Deck Accomplishments:
2nd Place British Columbia Regional Championships
Top 16 US National Championships
Top 32 World Championships
PokemonTrainersEnergy
4 Absol
1 Jirachi ex
4 Ralts
2 Kirlia
4 Gallade
4 Castaway
4 Celio’s Network
4 Rare Candy
4 Roseanne’s Research
3 Steven’s Advice
4 Team Galactic’s Mars
1 Team Galactic’s Wager
4 Warp Point
4 Warp Point
4 Call Energy
4 Double Rainbow Energy
5 Psychic Energy
2 Scramble Energy

Decklist Credit: Top Cut Retro Decks

Unlike Plox, which plays Gallade as a tech attacker, this deck relies on the superior-attacking Gallade as the main attacker, while using several trainer cards as well as Absol Secret Wonders to disrupt the opponent’s setup instead. Absol would rip cards out of your opponent’s hand early, and when combined with Team Galactic’s Mars, it became very difficult for opponents to get going early in the match. Afterwards, Gallade with Cessation Crystal could clean up rather effectively.

Some versions of this list would opt for 1 Gardevoir as a tech option just in case. Early 2008 it was not uncommon to see Plox lists run 2 Gardy and 3 Gallade rather than vice versa, until lists became more optimized.

Garchomp MT

Deck Accomplishments:
2nd Place UK National Championships
PokemonTrainersEnergy
1 Garchomp Lv.X
3 Garchomp
2 Gabite
3 Gible
2 Claydol
2 Baltoy
1 Dusknoir
1 Duskull
2 Phione
1 Rotom
1 Pachirisu
1 Absol ex
1 Dugtrio
1 Diglett
1 Chatot
1 Unown Q
4 Celio’s Network
4 Roseanne’s Research
2 TV Reporter
1 Team Galactic’s Wager
1 Holon Mentor
4 Crystal Beach
3 Rare Candy
1 PlusPower
1 Strength Charm
1 Night Maintenance
1 Time-Space Distortion
4 Lightning Energy
3 Psychic Energy
3 Water Energy
2 Fighting Energy
1 Metal Energy (Basic)

Decklist Credit: Sami Sekkoum, 2nd Place UK Nationals

Sami Sekkoum used this list to place 2nd at the UK’s National Championships, before scooping to his brother in the finals. The list is interesting, and it’s one of the few non-lock decks that survived after the release of Gardevoir SW. The deck relies on Garchomp MT as its attacker, and through the use of its Rainbow Fang poke-body, it has the power to OHKO Gardevoir, as well as cause significant damage to the rest of the format. The deck plays all the energy types needed to get the boost from the poke-body: Lightning against Empoleon, Psychic against Plox, Water against Magmortar, Fighting against Blissey, and 1 Metal Energy for Glaceon.

Dugtrio protects your bench from Empoleon’s Dual Splash attack, while Rotom MD ensures you always have the correct energy attached (although Reflect Energy does significant damage to Empoleon as well.) Pachirisu helped search out basics, while also potentially discarding some Cessation Crystals along the way, while Phione helped get your evolutions online. Even without the poke-body activation, a consistent 70 damage is enough to 2hko every deck in this format, aside from Torterra.

Glaceon Lock

Deck Accomplishments:
Top 8 World Championships
PokemonTrainersEnergy
4 Absol
4 Eevee
2 Glaceon
2 Glaceon Lv.X
2 Baltoy
2 Claydol
1 Jirachi ex
3 Bebe’s Search
3 Castaway
2 Celio’s Network
3 Cessation Crystal
3 Crystal Beach
4 Energy Removal 2
2 Island Hermit
2 Night Maintenance
2 Roseanne’s Research
1 Strength Charm
4 Team Galactic’s Mars
1 Team Galactic’s Wager
4 Call Energy
2 Multi Energy
1 Psychic Energy
6 Water Energy

Decklist Credit: Top Cut Retro Decks

Glaceon Lv. X was another archetype that relied on shutting down opponent’s poke-powers in order to slow down their start. This version uses Absol SW to take cards out of the opponent’s hand in addition to crystal beach and cessation crystal early game until the Glaceon is established. Energy Removal 2 and Team Galactic’s Mars further disrupted the opponent’s set up. The non-leveled up Glaceon also has an attack where it can flip a coin to prevent all effects of an attack, making it even more of a headache to take down.

Featherweight (Honchkrow/Palkia)

Deck Accomplishments:
Top 32 World Championships
PokemonTrainersEnergy
2 Honchkrow Lv. X
2 Honchkrow
3 Murkrow
1 Murkrow
4 Absol
2 Palkia Lv. X
2 Palkia
1 Chatot
4 Team Galactic’s Mars
4 Celio’s Network
3 Castaway
2 Roseanne’s Research
2 Steven’s Advice
4 Cessation Crystal
3 Crystal Beach
2 Team Galactic’s Wager
2 Warp Point
1 Windstorm
1 Premier Ball
1 Time-Space Distortion
1 Night Maintenance
4 Darkness Energy (Special)
4 Darkness Energy (Basic)
3 Call Energy
2 Warp Energy

Decklist Credit: PTCG Archive

Honchkrow was a rogue taken into worlds by Finland’s Tom Sjoblom. The goal was to use Absol and Team Galactic’s Mars to disrupt the opponent’s hand early in the game, while Honchkrow and Team Galactic’s Wager could disrupt them late game. Palkia Lv. X was also a really cool tech here, as in most cases it didn’t matter which pokemon the opponent chose to bring active.

Honchkrow’s ability allows you to attack for free with Murkrow, and Chatot has free retreat. As a result, you could pick the most threatening pokemon your opponent had, and remove it as quickly as possible, because it didn’t matter which pokemon your opponent would pull to the active position. Honchkrow Lv.X allowed you to snipe targets, as well as grab cards out of your discard pile, which made it easier to keep disruptive cards like Crystal Beach or Cessation Crystal in play.

Intimidation (Toxicroak/Scizor)

Deck Accomplishments:
1st Place World Championships (Juniors)
PokemonTrainersEnergy
4 Toxicroak MD 31
4 Croagunk MD MD 60
4 Scizor MD 29
4 Scyther MD 46
1 Electrode SW 26
1 Voltorb SW 117
1 Sableye CG 10
4 Roseanne’s Research
4 Celio’s Network
4 Castaway
4 Steven’s Advice
2 Scott
2 Copycat
4 Cessation Crystal
4 Crystal Beach
4 Multi Energy
1 Metal Energy (Special)
3 Metal Energy (Basic)
4 Psychic Energy
1 Lightning Energy

Decklist Credit: Tristan Robinson, 1st Place Worlds Juniors

Toxicroak/Scizor was seen by many as a counter deck to Plox, but it never saw any results in the upper divisions due to its very weak matchup spread against other archetypes. It also, ironically, lost to Plox in top cut of the seniors bracket in the world championships. Nonetheless, its aggressive early game allowed it to steal games, especially against decks where Scizor could punish the heavy use of special energy.

Scizor/Electrode

Deck Accomplishments:
Top 32 World Championships
Top 8 World Championships (Seniors)
PokemonTrainersEnergy
4 Scizor
4 Scyther
2 Electrode
2 Voltorb
1 Sableye
4 Roseanne’s Research
4 Celio’s NEtwork
4 Castaway
3 Steven’s Advice
2 Copycat
1 Scott
1 Team Galactic’s Wager
4 Crystal Beach
4 Energy Removal 2
2 Pokedex HANDY910is
1 Time-Space Distortion
4 Cessation Crystal
4 Metal Energy (Special)
5 Metal Energy (Basic)
4 Lightning Energy

Decklist Credit: PTCG Archive

Similar to the Intimidation decklist above, this version dropped Toxicroak for an extra Electrode as well as Energy Removal 2 – hitting 1 heads was huge when so many decks relied on Double Rainbow Energy and Scramble Energy to attack. Scizor also effectively punished people for relying too heavily on these special energy. Sableye remains in this list, functioning as a crucial tech against Blissey. This version of the deck saw more success in the upper divisions than the Toxicroak version did – top cutting in both of the higher age divisions at worlds.

Leafeon/Cresselia

PokemonTrainersEnergy
4 Eevee
2 Leafeon
2 Leafeon Lv.X
1 Umbreon
1 Espeon
1 Vaporeon
2 Cresselia
2 Cresselia Lv.X
2 Baltoy
2 Claydol
1 Holon’s Castform
1 Mew Star
1 Rayquaza ex
4 Bebe’s Search
1 Copycat
3 Lake Boundary
2 Night Maintenance
4 Roseanne’s Research
3 Steven’s Advice
4 Warp Point
2 Windstorm
3 Grass Energy
1 Lightning Energy
3 Multi Energy
3 Psychic Energy
3 Scramble Energy
2 Water Energy

Decklist Credit: Top Cut Retro Decks

Lefaeon was another one of the popular archetypes that was an alternative to plox – Leafeon itself boasted a strong matchup against Empoleon, and several tech attackers could shore up the matchup against different Plox variants. Cresselia was one of these attackers – it picked up extra prize cards whenever it earned a KO, but Espeon was a popular choice as well because it not only OHKO’d Gardevoir under Lake Boundary while conserving energy, but it also boosted Leafeon’s HP. Mew Star was a fantastic tech for Empoleon, as well as Magmortar decks, but Leafeon’s Energy Forcing when paired with Holon’s Castform made it useful in a wider array of matchups than usual.

Leafeon/Magmortar

Deck Accomplishments:
Top 16 US National Championships
2x Top 32 US National Championships
Top 32 World Championships
PokemonTrainersEnergy
4 Eevee
2 Leafeon
2 Leafeon Lv.X
1 Espeon
1 Vaporeon
2 Magmar
2 Magmortar
1 Magmortar Lv.X
2 Baltoy
2 Claydol
1 Holon’s Castform
1 Chatot
1 Jirachi ex
4 Bebe’s Search
2 Celio’s Network
2 Copycat
2 Night Maintenance
4 Roseanne’s Research
2 Steven’s Advice
2 Warp Point
2 Windstorm
4 Call Energy
2 Double Rainbow Energy
4 Fire Energy
2 Grass Energy
1 Psychic Energy
4 Scramble Energy
1 Water Energy

Decklist Credit: Kyle Suchevich, Top Cut Retro Decks

Leafeon/Magmortar was another deck that relied on stage 1 pokemon to counteract the rest of the metagame. Magmortar held up decently against Plox thanks to its potential damage output and its ability to heal, while Leafeon and Mew Star took care of Empoleon variants. Vaporeon is also pretty critical against Empoleon as you can heal off the damage Dual Splash builds up, while Espeon can deal a solid chunk to Gardevoir and Gallade while conserving energies.

In an ideal world you use energy forcing to stack a lot of energy into play and deal big chunks of damage with Verdant Dance, but most of the time you instead end up attacking with Espeon, bouncing energy to Magmortar and attacking through with that, due to Poke-Powers being locked up.

The decklist above initially started as the Top Cut Retro Decks version. I tried to make some edits after reading Kyle’s tournament report, but it didn’t seem like the lists were too different, other than Kyle including a Mew Gold Star. An alternative version of this list made Top 32 at the World Championships, with a much more disruptive decklist that included Crystal Beach and Cessation Crystal. This list can be found on PTCG Archive.

Leafeon/Magnezone/Palkia

Deck Accomplishments:
Top 16 World Championships (Seniors)
PokemonTrainersEnergy
2 Leafeon Lv. X
2 Leafeon
3 Eevee
4 Magnezone
2 Magneton
4 Magnemite
2 Claydol
2 Baltoy
1 Palkia Lv. X
1 Palkia
1 Chatot
3 Holon’s Castform
4 Roseanne’s Research
3 Bebe’s Search
2 Steven’s Advice
2 Celio’s Network
3 Rare Candy
3 Windstorm
2 Warp Point
1 Night Maintenance
4 Metal Energy (Special)
3 Double Rainbow Energy
3 Metal Energy (Basic)
3 Scramble Energy

Leafeon/Magnezone/Palkia was the secret deck that some players from Japan decided to run at the World Championships. While it didn’t make top cut in the masters division, Takashi Yoneda managed to take his list all the way to Top 16 in the Seniors division. The idea is cool for an anti-meta deck – Leafeon and Magnezone carry resistance to the 2 biggest decks at this tournament (Empoleon and Gardevoir). At the same time, Magnezone does more damage for each Metal energy attached to it, and Leafeon does more damage for each energy you have in play. Verdant Dance lets you flood the board with energy, and start attacking for large chunks of damage.

Palkia Lv. X can be used to target down Claydol or important attackers, as Magnezone also grants all of your pokemon that have Metal Energy attached to them free retreat, basically giving you a free Gust of Wind every turn!

When I initially built this list, there was no tournament reports for me to look at, so I initially started from ground zero, with a list running a 3-3-1 leafeon, and a smaller Magnezone line. Afterwards, some discussion from players at worlds that year indicated that Magnezone was used as the main attacker in almost every single matchup, including Empoleon, which meant I probably had to make some heavy edits. The list above is an edited version, based heavily on one posted by twitter user @k_da10mo, which I felt was probably much closer to the ones used by players at worlds this year.

Plox/Muk

Deck Accomplishments:
Top 4 World Championships
2nd Place Florida Regional Championships
PokemonTrainersEnergy
3 Gardevoir
1 Gardevoir Lv.X
2 Gallade
2 Kirlia
1 Ralts DF 60
3 Ralts SW 102
2 Claydol
2 Baltoy
1 Cresselia
1 Cresselia Lv.X
1 Muk
1 Grimer
1 Pachirisu
1 Jirachi ex
1 Phione
2 Bebe’s Search
2 Celio’s Network
1 Lake Boundary
1 Night Maintenance
2 Phoebe’s Stadium
4 Rare Candy
3 Roseanne’s Research
3 Steven’s Advice
1 Strength Charm
2 Team Galactic’s Wager
1 Warp Point
3 Call Energy
4 Double Rainbow Energy
3 Scramble Energy
5 Psychic Energy

Decklist Credit: Gino Lombardi, Top 4 Worlds, 58/60 1st Place US Nationals

This list was piloted by Gino Lombardi at the 2008 world championships. Some of the unique tech options in this list include Cresselia Lv.X – which can use its poke-power to manipulate damage to set up easier KOs while healing, as well as Muk SW, which is a powerhouse in a number of important matchups, but especially the mirror match. Muk’s poke-body poisons the opponent at the end of EACH player’s turn if their active pokemon has any Grass energy attached. While this seems like it would only be strong against Torterra or Leafeon variants, this poke-body also includes Double Rainbow Energy, Scramble Energy, Multi Energy, etc. The fact that it poisons at the end of each player’s turn is insane because it means even evolving and/or switching your pokemon won’t protect you from the extra 10 damage in between turns, and since it’s a poke-body and not a power, it won’t get shut down by Psychic Lock.

This deck also interestingly opts for Pachirisu and Phione to set up. Phione allows you to search out evolutions, which can be crucial in mirror matches where you can’t Telepass supporter cards like Celio’s Network to get set up. Pachirisu searches basics and can act as a “4th Call Energy” in a way, but its second attack can also be quite useful. It discards any pokemon tools attached to the defending pokemon, then raids the opponent’s hand for any pokemon tools with the same name, potentially blowing your opponent out of the Cessation Crystals they were hoarding from their chain of Castaways.

Plox/Breloom

PokemonTrainersEnergy
1 Gardevoir Lv. X
3 Gardevoir
2 Gallade
2 Kirlia
3 Ralts SW 102
1 Ralts DF 60
2 Claydol
2 Baltoy
1 Muk
1 Grimer
1 Breloom
1 Shroomish
1 Chatot
1 Absol ex
4 Roseanne’s Research
2 Bebe’s Search
2 Celio’s Network
2 Steven’s Advice
2 Team Galactic’s Wager
4 Rare Candy
2 Warp Point
1 Strength Charm
1 Night Maintenance
2 Moonlight Stadium
4 Double Rainbow Energy
4 Call Energy
4 Psychic Energy
3 Scramble Energy
1 Fighting Energy
Deck Accomplishments: 1st Place US Nationals

The unique tech attacker featured in this version of Plox is Breloom SW – a card that for 3 energy hits for 60, plus an ADDITIONAL 60 damage if the opponent has free retreat. In mirror matches, this allows you to punish opponents for dropping Moonlight Stadium and/or Phoebe’s Stadium (or you could drop one yourself for an unexpected KO.)

While this list only features Strength Charm, other Breloom lists also use PlusPower, for a couple of different reasons. In the Empoleon and Blissey matchups, both of those decks played Castaway, which Gardevoir could copy with Telepass, allowing you to search your deck for an extra 10 damage with Strength Charm. PlusPower wasn’t searchable, but it also wasn’t a pokemon tool. So while it could be a second out to getting 10 extra damage for 130 even in some matchups, you also had the option to play it AND Strength Charm at the same time. I instead choose to play Muk, which, as mentioned above, does a fantastic job of racking up the damage by itself.

The list pictured above wasn’t the exact list that won US Nationals – this one is my personal list. While I cannot guarantee that it is “optimal,” it is the version that has been the most fun for me. Muk is too strong not to play, Breloom is a really fun attacker and one of my own favorite pokemon, and Absol ex was preferred over Jolteon Star by all the players at my own local league in Green Bay. Gino Lombardi won Nats with a 1-1 Breloom teched instead of the 1-1 Muk he used in his top 4 worlds list pictured above.

Plox/Dusknoir

Deck Accomplishments:
1st Place World Championships
PokemonTrainersEnergy
3 Gardevoir
1 Gardevoir Lv.X
2 Gallade
2 Kirlia
4 Ralts
2 Claydol
2 Baltoy
1 Dusknoir
1 Duskull
1 Chatot
1 Jolteon Star
1 Jirachi ex
2 Bebe’s Search
4 Celio’s Network
2 Lake Boundary
4 Rare Candy
4 Roseanne’s Research
2 Steven’s Advice
2 Team Galactic’s Wager
2 Warp Point
2 Windstorm
4 Call Energy
1 Cyclone Energy
4 Double Rainbow Energy
3 Scramble Energy
3 Psychic Energy

Decklist Credit: Jason Klaczynski, 1st Place Worlds

This version of Plox is the one most people are familiar with. Jason Klaczynski used this list to win the 2008 World Championships. He opts for a much more streamlined approach that avoids a lot of tech attackers with the goal of getting Psychic Lock Gardevoir out as quickly and as consistently as possible. 

Some notes on the rest of the list: Jason did not play Night Maintenance in this build, so if the game goes long, it is not uncommon for Dusknoir and Jirachi ex to get in as attackers. Jolteon Star was Jason’s card of choice over Strength Charm and PlusPower for an extra 10 damage. It does have the benefit of being searchable in all matchups by Roseanne’s Research, but it also can’t be used under Cessation Crystal or Psychic Lock. Jirachi ex gives you a 1 energy Psychic Lock in a lot of different matchups, and losing it early isn’t the end of the world as it gives you access to Scramble Energy, which can be crucial in the mirror match since this deck list doesn’t play many basic energy.

Plox/Furret

Deck Accomplishments:
Top 16 US National Championships
1st Place Wisconsin Regional Championships
2nd Place Wisconsin Regional Championships
PokemonTrainersEnergy
1 Gardevoir Lv. X
3 Gardevoir
2 Gallade
2 Kirlia
2 Ralts SW 102
2 Ralts DF 60
2 Furret
3 Sentret
1 Dusknoir
1 Duskull
1 Absol ex
1 Chatot
4 Roseanne’s Research
2 Celio’s Network
2 Bebe’s Search
2 Team Galactic’s Wager
2 Steven’s Advice
4 Rare Candy
2 Windstorm
1 Warp Point
1 Switch
1 Strength Charm
1 Night Maintenance
2 Lake Boundary
4 Double Rainbow Energy
4 Call Energy
3 Scramble Energy
4 Psychic Energy

Decklist Credit: Tyson Stephan, Top 16 US Nationals

Plox/Furret was the most popular variant immediately following the release of Secret Wonders, however many people abandoned Furret in favor of Claydol once Great Encounters released. Most people saw the consistent draw of Claydol as the better option. Tyson Stephan, however, seeing the metagame centralize, stuck to Furret. He figured, Claydol can’t be used if you’re going to be consistently locked by Gardevoir or Cessation Crystal anyways, also noting that Furret pressures opponents to spend their Team Galactic’s Wagers early, to shuffle the two cards back in, potentially stopping them from disrupting your end game strategy. Tyson made a deep run with this deck at US Nationals, his only loss in the mirror match coming in top 16 to eventual champion Gino Lombardi. 

Absol EX was crippling in some matchups – moving 30 damage around allowed you to hurdle over higher HP numbers, which was especially relevant against Torterra. Furret’s Keen Eye also allowed you to consistently grab Lake Boundary, and take an easy response KO in the mirror match with Scramble Energy, saving your other resources for later in the match.

torTERROR

Deck Accomplishments:
Top 4 US National Championships
PokemonTrainersEnergy
4 Turtwig
2 Grotle
2 Torterra
1 Torterra
1 Torterra Lv.X
2 Claydol
2 Baltoy
1 Chatot
2 Treecko
1 Grovyle
2 Sceptile
4 Bebe’s Search
3 Celio’s Network
2 Crystal Beach
2 Night Maintenance
4 Rare Candy
3 Roseanne’s Research
3 Steven’s Advice
4 Super Scoop Up
2 Warp Point
4 Call Energy
9 Grass Energy

Decklist Credit: Top Cut Retro Decks

Torterra was a slower deck that required a bit of setup, but the payoff potential was huge. Empoleon had decimated most of the fire-type decks from the metagame, so running into weakness was rarely an issue. Sceptile made all Grass energy provide 2x energy instead, making it easier to power up the Torterras. Torterra would then abuse its high HP and its healing potential from Leaf Storm to outlast the opponent in the end game.

Torterra MD packed a bit more of a punch and had the potential to stomp out some lower hp threats. Torterra Lv. X also allows you to pull up whatever pokemon you want on your opponent’s side if you are losing, and is commonly used to nuke opposing Claydol and cut off their draw support for late-game.

Skittles (Ho-Oh/Togekiss)

PokemonTrainersEnergy
2 Pachirisu
3 Togepi
2 Togetic
4 Togekiss
4 Ho-oh
2 Baltoy
2 Claydol
1 Mew Star
4 Bebe’s Search
4 Celio’s Network
4 Rare Candy
2 Roseanne’s Research
1 Super Scoop Up
2 Warp Point
1 Windstorm
2 Darkness Energy
3 Fire Energy
3 Grass Energy
3 Fighting Energy
3 Lightning Energy
2 Metal Energy
3 Psychic Energy
3 Water Energy

Decklist Credit: Top Cut Retro Decks

The nickname “Skittles” develops from the Rainbow of energy types that you have to play in this deck to accommodate Ho-Oh SW’s attack. If you can avoid Psychic Lock and/or Cessation Crystal, (or if you respond with an immediate Windstorm), Ho-Oh gets off to an explosive start and threatens legitimate OHKO potential in a format where 2HKOs make up the vast majority of strategies.

This deck also takes out several archetypes that were supposed to counter plox (Leafeon, Torterra, Scizor). Mew Star is again, useful against the Empoleon matchup specifically, but finds more uses in this deck overall as Togekiss allows it to power up practically any attack it needs to. Against Empoleon you’ll want to lean more heavily on Mew and Togekiss, but against anything else you’ll want to be all-in on Ho-Oh.

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