Hey everyone,

Levi here, today I'm excited to bring you my thoughts on the current state of the meta right before the Players Cup II commences. In this short article, I'm going to go over three of my favorite, most powerful decks. Followed by short comments on each one, so, let's jump right into it shall we!

Currently, my go to deck is LucMetal. To me, and many others, this is the most skill intensive deck of our current format. Mostly due to the fact that it slows the game down just enough that your opponent can rarely take knock outs on you. Due to that aspect alone, it creates room for nasty good plays creating vulnerability in your opponent potentially making a mistake or two. Check out the list right quick.

Lucario & Melmetal GX / Zacian V Deck

Pokémon - 8

1 Galarian Stunfisk SSH 132
4 Zacian V SSH 211
2 Zamazenta V SSH 139

Trainer Cards - 38

4 Crushing Hammer EPO 92
4 Metal Saucer SSH 214
3 Boss's Orders RCL 200
4 Switch PRC 163
1 Bird Keeper DAA 159
4 Metal Goggles TEU 148
2 Mallow & Lana CEC 231
2 Lillie's Poké Doll CEC 197
1 Viridian Forest UNM 256
1 Tool Scrapper RCL 208
1 Tag Call CEC 206
4 Quick Ball SSH 216
3 Professor's Research SSH 209
4 Marnie SSH 208

Energy - 14

12 Metal Energy SMEnergy 17
2 Weakness Guard Energy UNM 213

This isn't too crazy of a list, and probably feels quite familiar to those of you who've picked the deck up in the past. One major cut, technically two I guess, is that most of us LucMetal players have recently eased our way into cutting both Lucario & Melmetal-GX and Tag Call down to one copy each. In past months, I believe we've all come to the realization that a dead LucMetal in the deck for the entirety of a game, (after you've already benched the other), is pointless dead space. Honestly, the deck could always use an extra Metal Energy for the increased chance of attaching one via Intrepid Sword in place of the extra clunky LucMetal.

Which is precisely what I personally cut the Pokemon for, a twelfth Metal Energy. Addionally, the typical second Tag Call has been replaced by a third Boss's Orders. While I see many players not even including Boss's Orders in their LucMetal lists, I have to say I quite like having Team Rocket's leader in the deck. One key example is in the Eternatus matchup, when a Sableye has been benched early, Boss + Brave Blade for 230 takes carry of the pesky rascal. Same goes for the early Centiskorch V KO, baby Eternatus V, benched Zacian V in the inevitable mirror matchup, and many many more examples. (Excadrill stall cough cough.)

Other than the above mentioned cards, the list is quite simple when looked over. The only fear I have running in with a deck such as this into the second official Players Cup, would be hitting either Fire-based attacking decks (ex. Centiskorch, Firebox, Blacephalon) and Mewtwo (specifically Welder Mewtwo). Those are by far the toughest matchups for us as a LucMetal player. I won't get into the way any matchups play out today, however, it can be explained as simply put in that one must pray for a miracle as a LucMetal player in some of these matchups…

So why play LucMetal then? Well, I'm trying not to scare myself too much into fearing a bad matchup. One way I'm trying to think of this tournament, as far as meta gaming is concerned, is that I wouldn't assume that there will be too many Fire variants nor Mewtwo decks in total. Most players, like any tournament setting, want to win. And there aren't too many "smart" players in this world that would honestly believe that Centiskorch or ReshiZard can take it all the way home in the end. Mewtwo is a little bit of a different story, however, it's hard to deny that the amount of Mewtwo players will be far more outweighed than the likes of ADP, Eternatus, LucMetal, and Pikarom players respectively.

As a solid, grounded, confident LucMetal player, I feel that it's a safe call for the Players Cup II. With it's raw consistency, high HP, and multiple outs to a win no matter the matchup: we will see many players successfully take LucMetal deep into the tournament bracket.

My next deck of topic is Pikarom. This deck only just jumped back into the scene last month, and for good reason. The deck is powerful, fast, and plays everyone's favorite Trainer card; Crushing Hammer!

Pikarom has been a deck that we've heard talks about for nearly two-ish years now. It's that one deck of the format that never goes away, like Zoroark-GX and VirGin. The recent addition of Crushing Hammer gives this deck the extra umph it needed all along to stand up to the likes of ADPZ, the center stone of our format. Some players even opt into including a one-of Team Yell Grunt just to have the extra ability of removing an Turn 1 Energy attachment on ADP's end of the board. Check it right quick will ya!

Pikachu & Zekrom GX Deck

Pokémon - 10

1 Crobat V DAA 182
1 Eldegoss V RCL 176
1 Boltund V RCL 67
2 Dedenne-GX UNB 57
1 Tapu Koko {*} TEU 51
1 Tapu Koko V SSH 72

Trainer Cards - 37

3 Energy Switch ROS 109
1 Team Yell Grunt SSH 202
4 Crushing Hammer EPO 92
2 Big Charm RCL 206
3 Boss's Orders RCL 200
4 Switch PRC 163
1 Chaotic Swell CEC 187
2 Electromagnetic Radar UNB 169
1 Tool Scrapper RCL 208
4 Quick Ball SSH 216
4 Professor's Research SSH 209
4 Marnie SSH 208
2 Reset Stamp UNM 253
2 Air Balloon SSH 213

Energy - 13

9 Lightning Energy HS 118

While it looks vastly different from the likes of previous years' models, (terrible car joke), it's built this way to stand up to our meta's strongest decks. Notice the lack of Jirachi here, as we focus on setting up with Boltund V and Tapu Koko V, Dedenne-GX as well of course, but that's a given I'd imagine.

When trying this deck out for yourself, try not to utilize Tapu Koko PRISM until absolutely necessary. As I've found surprising your opponent with a quick setup to be far more effective in the mid to late game over a Turn 1 Koko attachment. However, I understand that most openning turns require the Koko for a quick lead of a setup.

While it's my belief that this deck was "re-created" to counter the likes of ADP and Tier 3 decks that we were often seeing early last month like Inteleon VMAX and Torkoal V. This deck hard losses to any Eternatus VMAX deck. While Alolan Raichu & Raichu-GX can create an opening each time it paralyzes an Eternatus, after discarding a Special Darkness Energy with Crushing Hammer, Eternatus variants still have too many Switching effects at their disposal for us to realistically stand a chance in any game. Due to that opinion of mine alone, I would not be playing Pikarom in the second Players Cup.

The deck is consistent, powerful, and fast though. After just a few games with it, it's easy to pick up. And at this point, with all of the PTCGO products that have released with Pikaroms, it's an easy deck to build with commonly accessible cards. Give it a go!

Lastly, I wanted to touch on Eternatus VMAX, which is funny considering that in the eyes of a Pikarom player just a minute ago, the sound of an Eternatus matchup had us shivering in our skivvies. As per usual, below is the list of discussion;

Eternatus VMAX Deck

Pokémon - 19

4 Crobat V DAA 182
4 Eternatus V DAA 116
4 Galarian Zigzagoon SSH 117
1 Hoopa DAA 111
1 Sableye V SSH 120
1 Yveltal TEU 95
4 Eternatus VMAX DAA 192

Trainer Cards - 32

3 Turbo Patch DAA 200
4 Boss's Orders RCL 200
4 Switch PRC 163
4 Great Ball BKP 100
4 Scoop Up Net RCL 207
2 Viridian Forest UNM 256
2 Pokémon Communication TEU 196
4 Quick Ball SSH 216
4 Professor's Research SSH 209
1 Marnie SSH 208

Energy - 9

9 Darkness Energy BLW 111

Eternatus is a powerful deck, and it's clear that the Pokemon Company wanted it to be powerful with the release of Darkness Ablaze. With eight benched Pokemon, Eternatus VMAX can smack a patty walk and give a dog a bone for a mighty 270 damage! (And that doesn't even include the eight possible ticks from Zigzagoon plus Scoop Up Nets!)

Recently we've seen a rise in a Poison variants of Eternatus. Which is a different beast in and of itself, but I prefer a more consistent build myself. (Looks at x3 Turbo Patches)

Eternatus VMAX doesn't really have any terrible matchups outside of a good LucMetal player with 1-2 opposing Zamazenta V. Thus, when up against a LucMetal matchup, you must, MUST preserve the Sableye for the ideal turn to take out said Zamazenta V. Far too often I see players illogical bench their Sableye V early on in the game, followed by a Marnie… which is just silly! Without Sableye, we can't beat LucMetal. Which is part of the reasoning behind running Turbo Patches to this day.

While Turbo Patch can be nifty for the surprise Sableye into Zamazenta KO, I like to have them in the deck as a way to potentially catch up from a successful Crushing Hammer. Far too many decks play Crushing Hammer now, ex. ADPZ, Pikarom, LucMetal, Vikavolt. Part of what makes Eternatus an insane attacker is the speed in which it can abuse to take an early Prize lead. But if a single Crushing Hammer gets in the way of that, we're sitting idle for one extra turn than needed before taking our first prize card(s).

Turbo Patch isn't efficient nor guaranteed to work, but there's nothing else that can do the job better, so this is what we got. I don't play four currently as I simply haven't found the room to do so. And to be honest, we rarely need them, as again they're here mostly as a response to Crushing Hammer.


Well, I hope I helped in any little way possible with this article today. While some of my key notes may have been rough around the edges, I really just wanted to put a focus on why I'm either considering the deck or wouldn't consider it at all. I personally love this format and can't wait to see what the second Players Cup has in store for us. With three keys decks out of the way, I hope you try some out for yourselves and let me know what your thoughts are.

Until next time!