Posted by Daniel Altavilla on 10/26/2020 to Deck Lists
Hello everyone, I hope everybody has had a better time in quarantine lately now that things are starting to calm down slightly and we are settling back into normal life slowly but surely. It has been a wild ride at home staying safe and not being able to go out has been rough, but plenty of TOs are stepping up to create options for online circuits and on top of that we have smash-hit games like Fall Guys and Among Us to help bring us all together in this wild time. The Players Cup was also a great opportunity to feel like a community again, and with the Players Cup II in full swing now, we have a ton of events to prepare for and one “holy grail” so to speak to strive to succeed in. This is a wonderful time for the Pokemon TCG with seemingly infinite events and even more infinite resources with the amount of content creation going on in full swing right now. This is a very important time to take advantage of all of these resources to better one’s play and to get an understanding of play concepts now to be able to take to the competitive circuit in the future when it returns for the best chance to earn that elusive Worlds invite.
The Standard format TEU-CPA right now is pretty packed with ADPZ, PikaRom, LMZ, Centiskorch and Eternatus decks and isn’t straying too far away from these. Welder Mewtwo and Blacephalon UNB have both seen decent finishes as well, though much less consistent in numbers and that is most likely due to both of these decks having troubles with consistency, being Welder decks that can get KO’d too easily and don’t utilize Volcanion UNB like Centiskorch. For the other decks I mentioned, it feels that most of them are turning to Crushing Hammer and Power Plant plus Reset Stamps as ways to handle ADPZ right now, as the deck has so much going for it and will continue to be a top contender for quite some time. Personally, out of all the top decks I am really loving PikaRom and LMZ. Both are decks where it actually feels like you are playing the game and where when things go well it feels like you genuinely have a shot to take any game, and when you draw poorly you have enough comeback potential to sneak out some wins. I will only be talking about PikaRom today though, as it is the deck I think has the greatest chance to win any game in the Standard format due to Raichu & Alolan Raichu GX’s Tandem Shock attack in conjunction with Reset Stamp being able to effectively neutralize any threat on your opponent’s side of the board and then you can follow that up with some Crushing Hammers on potential Bench threats to try and mount a comeback any time you fall a bit behind, and otherwise you can take the turbo aggression strategy by aiming for a turn 2 or 3 Tag Bolt GX and going up so far ahead in the Prize race that you are just not going to lose. With that being said, allow me to jump into some more details on Pikarom.
Everything You Need to Know About PikaRom
PikaRom has been around in different styles since it was printed. It started out as an incredibly fast, hard-hitting deck that aimed to target down Tapu Lele-GX with Tag Bolt GX to try and get a 3 or 4-prize turn and then use Let Loose early and again later to completely reset an opponent’s board, sometimes before they could even get anything going for them. It shifted into a deck that relied on using Vikavolt V’s Item Lock early until a Full Blitz could get a KO and then going from there to try and maintain a game-winning board state, and now in it’s arguably weakest form it is utilizing Crushing Hammer with Reset Stamp to be a slower deck that has infinite options AFTER a Full Blitz but takes longer to reach that point.
The thing about PikaRom right now that brought it back to seeing a ton of success is the versatility it has – you can set up a Tag Bolt GX to take extra Prize cards to try and win the race that way, you can Full Blitz to RaiRai GX to set up a Stamp to 3/Tandem Shock combo if your PikaRom is in harm’s way or you can try and use Vikavolt V to buy time if you are extremely far behind in a game. Boltund V will help accelerate energies to Pika, Tapu Koko V will provide a high enough damage output to close out your last 2 Prizes and can help set up a Reset Stamp to 1 for you, which when paired with Tandem Shock or a KO on your opponent’s only attacking option can usually seal a game for you. Having all of these options makes this deck less linear than anything else in the format right now and that alone is capable of winning you games. When paired with Crushing Hammers and Reset Stamps to potentially buy you those extra turns that PikaRom will sometimes need, you have a well-rounded deck capable of fixing your unfavored matchups off of luck sometimes.
The deck can effectively consider Reset Stamp more of a vital part of the strategy than most other concepts, where a Reset Stamp helps you here and there in other decks but PikaRom wants to use it most games and pair it with Vikavolt V or Tandem Shock to really return the game state into your favor. PikaRom feels similar to other decks that thrived off of having more options than your opponent late game, and is put in a similar position where other decks around it are faster or have more HP but can still win off of disruption and due to not being so linear, such as Yveltal/Garbodor when Volcanion was so much faster but had trouble dealing with the disruption. Yveltal had more utility in Supporter options than attacks, but Pika uses mostly Draw Supporters and Boss’s Orders while having an array of strong attacks instead.
Now that I have made it clear what PikaRom feels like to play right now and what the selling points of the deck are, let me go ahead and share my current list, which aims to have the strongest Late Game in Standard right now to make up for how slow your early game can be:
|2x Pikachu & Zekrom GX||4x Marnie||3x Speed Lightning Energy|
|1x Raichu & Alolan Raichu GX||3x Professor's Research||10x Lightning Energy|
|1x Boltund V||3x Boss's Orders|
|1x Tapu Koko V||1x Team Yell Grunt|
|1x Vikavolt V||4x Quick Ball|
|2x Dedenne GX||3x Electromagnetic Radar|
|1x Crobat V||4x Crushing Hammer|
|1x Eldegoss V||4x Switch|
|1x Tapu Koko Prism||2x Reset Stamp|
|2x Energy Switch|
|1x Tag Switch|
|2x Big Charm|
|1x Air Balloon|
|2x Power Plant|
This list is pretty standard compared to what I’ve been playing already, I just went for a Tag Switch over the 3rd Energy Switch and 2 Power Plants over a Swell and the 2nd Boltund V that I had. I think Tag Switch is perfect in the deck right now, because you want to Full Blitz onto Raichu most of the time but having Tag Switch will still let you go into a Tag Bolt GX if you need to, and Tag Switch is just Energy Switch if you get it early and have two Tag Teams in play. Besides that, late game it lets you take a hit with your Raichu and then move the energies to Koko V or Vikavolt V to use one of their high-damage attacks. Power Plant is for the ADPZ matchup and the Blacephalon matchup, and can also have a lot of power in the mirror match or against Welder Mewtwo.
A low Stamp plus no Dedenne-GX for the turn paired with Tandem Shock is way stronger than a Stamp where they do have access to Dedenne, because at that point in the game, if they play 4 Switch most decks will have had to throw away one or two and will have a harder time finding another off of a Plant/Stamp combo. ADPZ specifically is choosing to not play Stadiums right now for a smoother all around game plan, and will suffer to a t1 Power Plant as a result.
Those are the couple of cards specific to my list that I haven’t seen being played a lot, so I’ll go ahead and go more in depth on the full list below.
This is the cornerstone of the deck. You only play 2 copies because you usually only need to use one per game, if you prize 1 it isn’t too big of a deal because you are going to move into Raichu towards the endgame most of the time anyways. Pika is meant to use Full Blitz to set up whoever your second attacker is, but in some matchups or in situations where your Pikarom cannot be threatened, you will accel three to itself to be able to use Tag Bolt GX to put yourself at a quick and commanding lead.
RaiRai is mostly used for the Tandem Shock attack’s Paralysis. When paired with Reset Stamp, 160 damage + Paralysis followed by a Lightning Ride GX for 250 will usually 2HKO any attacker in the game. I use this mostly for the VMAX matchups and versus Welder Mewtwo, where there is too much HP and too strong a damage output for PikaRom to ever successfully pull off a big Tag Bolt, or where it is going to get OHKO’d after your first Full Blitz so you have to go for a Tandem Shock + Stamp to 3 to get back into the game. Outside of Tandem Shock, you are sometimes looking to Lightning Ride GX to take a KO where you otherwise couldn’t, or even if you aren’t taking a KO or are only hitting for 150 you can Lightning Ride just to switch into a 2-Prizer so that your opponent needs a gust effect to close out the game. Raichu is very important in the deck but still best at a 1-of because of how big of a liability it can be as your starter and because the deck is aiming for more of a toolbox strategy with various random techs.
1x Tapu Koko V
Tapu Koko V is going to be used as your free retreater most of the time but has the option for Spike Draw if you are in a pickle and can hit 200 damage to OHKO a Crobat V or something similar in situations where Pika and Raichu can’t hit for enough. Tapu Koko V has a decent chunk of health as well, so I really enjoy using Lightning Ride into it because either it gets KO’d or you can just free retreat out of it back to Raichu for a Tandem Shock. Koko isn’t extremely vital to the deck’s success or anything so people have been cutting it, but I have found it extremely useful too much of the time to want to cut it from the deck, even if only for the free retreating option.
1x Boltund V
Boltund is mostly your backup way to set up a Full Blitz. If you whiff the t1 Full Blitz, which will happen a decent chunk of the time, Boltund is going to come in and Electrify 2 energies onto PikaRom for the following turn. This is great because it usually means you get to hold Tapu Koko Prism until later in the game. Boltund’s 2nd attack Bolt Storm is extremely good because it is a clock for your opponent. They are forced to OHKO your PikaRom after a Full Blitz or you have the potential to hit upwards of 300 damage on turn 3, and if they do take that OHKO then you are going into Stamp/Tandem Shock. Boltund truly rounds the deck out to have an answer to everything your opponent does, and to allow you to set up a PikaRom turn 2 when it would otherwise not come out until later if your draws aren’t too hot.
1x Vikavolt V
Vikavolt V is a huge asset to the deck right now. In games where you need to buy some time for whatever reason, switching into a Paralyzing Bolt for the Item Lock can normally do just that. This card is also the most valuable attacker in the Blacephalon matchup, as Item Lock will usually stop your opponent from being able to do anything while you manually attach to a PikaRom on your bench for a couple of turns. Stamp low + Boss’s Orders up Zacian V plus Paralyzing Bolt usually seals the deal for you with that matchup. Sometimes ADPZ has a Zacian active and attaches to ADP and passes, and you beat ADP every time if you Full Blitz onto ADP before they GX and then follow up with a Tag Bolt GX for 5 prizes, so while you are standing by for a Boss’s Orders plus Full Blitz on an ADP, you can item lock with Paralyzing Bolt and with a couple of Crushing Hammer heads you will buy yourself enough time to pull ahead. I use this against Mewtwo sometimes as well, because if you get a Power Plant in play and then use Paralyzing Bolt you are just not going to lose your Vikavolt V for a couple turns and if you can manage 2 Paralyzing Bolts on a Mewtwo without getting KO’d you can then Super Zap Cannon to clean up.
4x Marnie & 3x Research
I chose for 4 Marnie over 4 Research as my 4/3 split where other lists are aiming for the quad Research instead. I feel that you will normally have enough ways to discard Lightning energy turn 1 even without the extra Research, and as a Power Plant deck you want to disrupt your opponent’s hand throughout the game as much as you can. It feels similar to PikaJudge from Atlantic City Regionals last year – a deck that just aims to work it’s strategy out as fast as possible while disrupting your opponent in any way you can.
1x Team Yell Grunt
Yell Grunt feels pretty good in here but having to use it as your Supporter for the turn isn’t amazing. It reminds me again of Yveltal/Garbodor back when they played Team Flare Grunt – you want that one turn where it is just the perfect card to play and if it works out for you it feels incredible, but there are a ton of situations where using it is just irrelevant so it doesn’t hold too much value. I was thinking about messing around with other 1-of Supporters in the deck like Jessie & James or Bird Keeper to see if they would be better, but the Yell Grunt helps enough of the time versus mirror, ADPZ, Eternatus VMAX and Welder Mewtwo that it is likely the best option for the deck right now. In the future if ADPZ falls off a bit I can see Yell Grunt coming out, likely for the Bird Keeper as it is just a huge boon for the deck with both effects.
4x Crushing Hammer
The matchups I explained Yell Grunt being useful in above are sure enough also going to be the matchups where Crushing Hammer will shine. PikaRom needs to come back a lot of the time but against some decks you will never have the opportunity if you cannot remove Energy from play, so hitting a Crushing Hammer to buy a turn is just the new ElectroPower with E Power getting you a KO faster and Crushing stopping your opponent from attacking so you can set up 2HKOs. This card is vital to the deck and I cannot see PikaRom functioning as well without them.
2x Reset Stamp
The deck may as well be called PikaStamp, because Reset Stamp is usually going to be just as important as any of the attackers. Reset Stamp could even see 3 copies in here, but two has been fine for me so far. It is just a really strong option in every single matchup and has been stealing Pika games ever since it came out. Stamp plus Tandem Shock is the biggest selling point to the deck, more so than Tag Bolt GX even. This card is very valuable and you should always consider the next couple of turns before discarding it – unless you absolutely NEED something right now, holding a Stamp for a while is usually going to be worth not playing any Draw card that will end up discarding the Stamp. This is another reason for the 4 Marnie, saving the Stamp and putting it to the bottom so that you don’t have to see it until a bit later.
3x Speed Lightning Energy & 10 Lightning Energy
This energy count is perfect. 4 Speed Lightning would obviously be nice to have, but you need to find Basic Energy asap for Tapu Koko Prism and there aren’t too many other cuts for the 4th Speed, so 3 is going to be as much as we need to get by. 10 Lightning is ideal to find them and to not run out of them late game when you want to be manually attaching Energy every turn to set up the next attacker after your Pika got KO’d. This energy count has yet to fail me and I will stick with it for now, if I had to pick one of these two energies to up the count on it would be the basic Lightnings first.
The ADPZ matchup certainly doesn’t feel favored, but there are plenty of ways to pull out the win that it might as well be 50/50. The issue is that sometimes ADPZ just has a flawless game and overruns you with little to nothing you can actually do about that. You want to get a Full Blitz off into a Tag Bolt for 5 prizes before they used Altered Creation, otherwise you need a very lucky Reset Stamp and a Lightning Ride on what is ideally their only Zacian V to get there. If you can hit some Crushing Hammer heads along the way, you will be in an even better position. This is the only matchup where I just slam Power Plant down turn 1, as I will have more options under Ability Lock than the ADPZ player will.
Eternatus VMAX (50/50)
This matchup with all the energy removal is truly not that hard. You get a Full Blitz, then you get another Full Blitz if you are lucky, and Boltund V can start KOing anything. Or if you didn’t flip too well early on, you can Stamp and Tandem Shock the active Eternatus VMAX, crushing or Yell off of the benched Etern, and get a 2shot followed by another Tandem Shock to try and win in a couple of turns. The 50/50 is from the games where you go 2nd and Eternatus gets a turn 2 KO on your PIkaRom and just lose, but that doesn’t happen all of the time so the matchup is a bit more fair. Eternatus is also seeing considerably less play.
Centiskorch VMAX (55/45)
Centiskorch is like Eternatus VMAX, but requires winning the coin flip and going 2nd for immediate pressure. Without this pressure, the beginning turns of the game are open season for you to do whatever you need, and late game your Stamp/Tandem Shock will be extremely effective. Power Plant is deceptively good in this matchup because Centiskorch doesn’t have a lot of Supporter options outside of Welder, which you will usually need a Dedenne-GX to find after a Reset Stamp plus Hearth bump. Sometimes you can get run over, but that seems to be a common theme with the meta as a whole – most decks that execute their strategy flawlessly are going to trounce you quickly.
Welder/Mewtwo & Mew GX (65/35)
This matchup was already not so rough thanks to Crushing Hammer, but with Power Plant you can really take control of any game against Mewtwo. Your strategy is usually to just let PikaRom get KO’d after a Full Blitz, clean up with Raichu plus Stamp, and Crushing the Benched Mewtwo followed by Tandem Shock on the Benched Mewtwo next turn, and now you get to do all of this while forcing your opponent to remove the Power Plant or struggle to hit every combo piece they will need. The matchup was at a 55/45 before and now it feels much better.
You want to always go 2nd and Boltund V to PikaRom in the mirror because of the energy removal. One good crushing can set you back way too far, so doing this is going to be your best chance to get off the first Full Blitz which usually seals the deal for you in this matchup. Your biggest goal is to Full Blitz first and from there prevent a big Tag Bolt or Lightning Ride, and then try to save Switches for Tandem Shock/Reset Stamp in the late game. Boltund comes in clutch if you Full Blitz first as well because you can Tag Switch off of PikaRom and then start using Boltund to attack and when it gets KO’d you still have 6 or more energy in play to mess around with and threaten a big KO.
Lucario & Melmetal GX/Zacian V (30/70)
This matchup is near impossible to win. You are hitting for such little damage, getting your energies removed, and getting 2shot by everything while your opponent has Mallow & Lana and can even just sit back and Intrepid to use Boss’s Orders three times. Too many switching outs for Tandem Shock and too big of a damage reduction to be able to set up clean two shots (150-60 = 90 and Zacian V has 220 HP) plus Lightning Ride GX will no longer take an OHKO. Your best chance here is to use Vikavolt V as much as you can early on and get energies into play and then try to use Boltund to clean up, and spam Marnie to help along the way. Tandem Shock may be able to steal you a game, but you need a Stamp to 1 or 2 cards and you have to hope your opponent whiffs one of 6-7 switching outs.
This matchup is very favored with Vikavolt V but with 17 Fire energy in Blacephalon decks it is not as strong as it was last format, where it effectively just won you the matchup alone. Now you need to Full Blitz for a KO into another PIkaRom, then go for Vikavolt V from there and then stamp to one and Tag Bolt for 4 prizes, or at least for 3 + a KO on Oricorio-GX. From there, you are usually good to go. 4 Marnie, 2 Stamp, Power Plant, Item Lock and Tag Bolt GX are all going to help you squeak out the win. Admittedly, I have not played too much of this matchup with the Power Plants in yet, but they will easily help you keep in the game even more and the matchup could potentially be even better than I anticipated here.
That’s all I have for you guys today. I love PikaRom how it is right now as it feels like more of a thought-provoking deck where you have to map out your strategy differently based on your opening hand compared to a cheesy, outpace your opponent strategy. The deck has seen incredible success since it started seeing more play in events, and that is for good reason – it rewards strong play. And right now, a deck with the most options that lets you actually play the game instead of trying to solitaire into your linear strategy is the kind of deck that is going to be rewarded the most and see the best results.
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