Starting to Dig

What’s poppin’ Po Town readers? I’ve been writing up a storm on Scarlet and Violet: Paldean Fates for this site, and I’m back with some even cooler decklists. I wanna start off by stating that cooler doesn’t necessarily always mean competitively viable, but if you want to play the best deck, check out my last article that covers Charizard ex [Obsidian Flames]. I went digging through the set, found some cards that weren’t necessarily receiving the love that they should be, and cooked up some lists with my friend Ryan Mooney over a recent discord call! We started off by trying to find ways to “break” the new Great Tusk ex [Paldean Fates], and well, here I am writing up about all of my findings! If you wanna cook up any of these lists, or just collect some bling on PTCGL from this set, use code zlesage5 to save 5% off here at the PoTown store! That being said, let’s jump into our first deck list, Garchomp ex [Paradox Rift] with Great Tusk ex! And away we go!

By purchasing Scarlet and Violet: Paldean Fates Pokemon TCG Live codes you can possibly acquire the following cards: Venusaur ex, Espathra ex, Charizard ex, Blastoise ex, Great Tusk ex, Garganacl ex, Iron Treads ex, shiny Charmander, shiny Baxcalibur, shiny Pikachu, shiny Kadabra, shiny Pidgey, Special Illustration Charizard ex, Special Illustration Mew ex, Special Illustration Gardevoir ex, and Special Illustration Iono.

Garchomp ex / Great Tusk ex Deck

Garchomp exGreat Tusk ex

After looking at Great Tusk ex, you’ll either think this card is terrible, or maybe you’ll wanna cook up a funny list to try it out. Since I’m a professional decklist builder, and Paldean Fates hasn’t necessarily given me the easiest cards to write about, here I am! It has a pretty terrible ability that forces you to discard cards from the top of your deck, but that might work with Garchomp ex to get Energy in your discard pile to use with Hydro Launcher. Either that, or pair it with Path to the Peak [Chilling Reign] to shut down that Ability, and only use it for its attack! Swinging for 260 damage isn’t necessarily an easy task, but Great Tusk ex makes it seamless after powering it up with Hydro Launcher. It goes through Mimikyu [Paldean Fates], it OHKOs Gholdengo ex [Paradox Rift], and it might even be able to OHKO a Charizard ex too! I was scrolling through the Play Limitless site for inspiration, and I came across Benjamin Merritt’s list from a tournament earlier this month. I added in Inteleon [Chilling Reign] to use Quick Shooting to layer damage, and I was sold!

I quickly thought of Grant [Astral Radiance], Defiance Band [Scarlet and Violet], with Quick Shooting to add a potential 80 damage to Great Tusk ex. That means you can do 340 damage which is enough to KO most Pokemon in the Standard format. The strategy of this deck isn’t anything too special, just Evolve into Garchomp ex, get Energy into the discard pile, and load up Fighting-type attackers for various situations. Great Tusk ex should only be used to OHKO or swing into something when you won’t get KOed in return, otherwise using another Garchomp ex, or Groudon [Paradox Rift] seems like the play! This deck has yet to really break through the competitive metagame, but I think we are finally getting closer to this deck being viable, and that would be cool to see! All Pokemon cards aren’t created equally, but there is hope for this Garchomp ex concept to grow as we receive more and more Fighting-type support. Let’s check out the list!

Pokémon (16)

Trainers (35)

Energy (9)

3 Garchomp ex PAR 384 Irida ASR 1479 Basic {F} Energy SVE 6
4 Gible PAR 943 Iono PAL 185
1 Great Tusk ex PAF 532 Boss's Orders PAL 172
1 Groudon PAR 934 Rare Candy SVI 191
1 Jirachi PAR 1263 Earthen Vessel PAR 163
1 Manaphy BRS 414 Battle VIP Pass FST 225
1 Radiant Greninja ASR 464 Ultra Ball SVI 196
1 Lumineon V PR-SW 2502 Nest Ball SVI 181
1 Squawkabilly ex PAL 1691 Counter Catcher PAR 160
1 Sobble CRE 411 Switch SVI 194
1 Inteleon CRE 431 Super Rod PAL 188

1 Grant ASR 144

2 Path to the Peak CRE 148

1 Collapsed Stadium BRS 137

1 Escape Rope BST 125

1 Defiance Band SVI 169

Garchomp ex / Great Tusk ex Deck

Espathra ex Deck

Espathra ex

I’ve thought about Espathra ex [Paldean Fates] since I first saw the Japanese translation of this card, and I was instantly intrigued. Being able to force your opponent into attaching more Energy to attack can really set them back, and maybe that is the birth of a great control deck. The synergy of Pokemon League Headquarters [Obsidian Flames], Crushing Hammer [Scarlet and Violet], Sidney [Fusion Strike], Giacomo [Paldea Evolved], and Espathra ex is deadly for most decks in the format. And if your opponent ever gets to that point in the game, you can swing into them with Espathra ex’s attack, and likely OHKO them. Once they run out of resources, the goal is to put your opponent in a position where they attach, pass, and eventually deck out. This deck has a few moving pieces, and it is less traditional than most decks I regularly write about, so lemme explain.

I worked with Cal Connor, the Snorlax [Pokemon Go] master himself, and we took a lot of inspiration from top performing Pidgeot ex [Obsidian Flames] control decks, and his Snorlax control deck. The core of the idea was based around energy denial to avoid our opponent attacking us, so we went with a slim Espathra ex line, Crushing Hammer, Sidney, and Giacomo. With Cyllene [Astral Radiance], Team Yell’s Cheer [Brilliant Stars], and Pal Pad [Scarlet and Violet] we can effectively loop any card over and over, so we can technically use infinite Crushing Hammer to destroy opposing Energy. Our early game revolves around getting out Rotom V [Lost Origin] to draw cards, and if it ever gets in harm's way, we can find a Penny [Scarlet and Violet] or Professor Turo’s Scenario [Paradox Rift] to avoid it getting KOed. If we’re able to get a Pidgeot ex established early enough, we can Quick Search for any card we need, and try to keep Pidgeot ex alive as long as possible.

When you’re playing your match, you’ll quickly need to identify which Pokemon will lead you to your win condition, and that can vary from deck to deck. Something like Lost Zone Box might not have an easy time against Espathra ex, and Pokemon League Headquarters, so I would try to go for that route. Charizard ex decks can easily get around Espathra ex, which means you’ll likely want to isolate their Charmeleon [Pokemon 151], KO it with Lost City [Lost Origin] in play, and leave Mimikyu [Paldea Evolved] in the Active Spot to stop them from drawing any Prize Cards. Mawile [Lost Origin] can easily punish your opponent for having a Pokemon that can’t attack in play, and force them to draw pass until deck out. A solid example would be a Radiant Greninja [Astral Radiance] in a Gardevoir ex [Scarlet and Violet] deck because they don’t play any Water Energy, very rarely play Professor Turo’s Scenario, and don’t play any switching outs.

Even if they don’t have a Pokemon out like Radiant Greninja, you can often force them into tough scenarios with Erika’s Invitation [Pokemon 151] or Echoing Horn [Chilling Reign]. Everything in this deck is designed for some niche scenario or another, it is all searchable by Pidgeot ex, and then you want to take complete control over the game. Even when your opponent has the game winning Switch [Scarlet and Violet] in their hand, Luxray V [Astral Radiance] can rip it out of their hand, and leave them stranded. Once you have a complete lock on your opponent, you can use Miss Fortune Sisters [Astral Radiance] to mill through their deck, hopefully hit some important resources, but otherwise get to your deck out win condition quicker.

It is important to note that you can deck out too, and you’ll need to replenish your deck each turn during the latter half of the game. Cyllene, Pal Pad, and Team Yell’s Cheer allows you to get back Supporters into your deck, and those said Supporters should allow you to infinitely loop your deck to avoid deck out. If any of those cards are in your Prize Cards, you can use Peonia [Chilling Reign] to put away useless cards, and replace them with cards you need for the matchup. Another key thing, don’t overbench Pokemon! Once you get into the groove of your lock, use Penny / Professor Turo’s Scenario to clear clutter from your Bench, and take away easy Prize Cards from your opponent. If you follow everything in this article, this deck should be a little easier to digest, but these kinds of decks usually have a steep learning curb, and that's completely fine too! It's often best to practice these difficult-to-play decks because it will increase your overall player skill, and give you the opportunity to try out something outside of your comfort zone! The below list is still a work in progress, but it is working, I have tried it for a handful of games, and it does have advantages compared to other control decks available in format! Let’s check out my list!

Pokémon (12)

Trainers (45)

Energy (3)

1 Mawile LOR 711 Defiance Vest PAR 1622 Double Turbo Energy BRS 151
2 Pidgey MEW 161 Hisuian Heavy Ball ASR 1461 Basic {P} Energy SVE 5
1 Rotom V LOR 582 Professor Turo's Scenario PAR 171
1 Mimikyu PAL 974 Counter Catcher PAR 160
1 Luxray V ASR 504 Crushing Hammer SVI 168
2 Pidgeot ex OBF 1641 Miss Fortune Sisters LOR 164
2 Espathra ex PAF 061 Team Yell's Cheer BRS 149
2 Flittle SVI 1003 Pokémon League Headquarters OBF 192

1 Erika's Invitation MEW 160

1 Sidney FST 241

1 Forest Seal Stone SIT 156

1 Echoing Horn CRE 136

1 Cyllene ASR 138

4 Pokégear 3.0 SVI 186

2 Pal Pad SVI 182

1 Penny SVI 183

2 Nest Ball SVI 181

1 Lost City LOR 161

1 Battle VIP Pass FST 225

1 Bravery Charm PAL 173

1 Boss's Orders PAL 172

1 Peonia CRE 149

1 Iono PAL 185

4 Arven SVI 166

1 Giacomo PAL 182

1 Ultra Ball SVI 196

2 Rare Candy SVI 191

Espathra ex Deck

Celebrating Paldea

With Paldean Fates adding new cards to our already diverse competitive pool, I'm thrilled to see which ideas will dominate this set. Although there aren't many major events in this format before Rotation, I'm confident that some innovative players will push Paldean Fates to its limits and showcase its potential. And even if things don't pan out as expected, there's always the allure of shiny Pokémon to keep us entertained. That's a definite win in my book! Of course pick up some Paldean Fates online Pokemon TCG code cards by using code zlesage5 and save 5%! Until next time, peace out!

Zach Lesage

About the Writer

Zach Lesage is a contributing writer for As a Toronto local, he has been playing the Pokémon Trading Card Game since 2005, and creates Pokémon content as his full-time career. With multiple prestigious accomplishments in the game, such as the 2020 Players Cup 2 Champion and 2020 Oceania International Championships Finalist, he has proven his success in the game. Outside the game, he travels the world, enjoys the culture of designer streetwear, and is a professionally trained chef. You can catch him at most Pokémon events and follow him on Twitter