The Expert Belt – Four Of A Kind, 31st March 2017

Greetings and welcome to another edition of The Expert Belt! This week’s we bring you a new meta-game deck in the Pokemon TCG; one that no one expected!

When the Sun & Moon expansion was released in Malaysia, the hype was all about Umbreon GX, Espeon GX and Tauros GX. There was some love for Lurantis GX as well. But hidden deep within the popular and highly-demanded GXs, lies the underdog, thought to be unusable in our current meta-game. Well, we thought wrong.

This week’s featured card is none other than the nicknamed “Big Mouth” Lapras GX!

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“Big Mouth” Lapras

 

General Information

Lapras GX is a 190 HP Basic Water Type Pokemon from the Sun & Moon expansion. It is weak to Grass and has a Retreat Cost of 2.

For one [W] Energy, you can use Collect, which lets you draw 3 cards from your deck.

For three [W] Energy, you can use Blizzard Burn, which does 160 Damage and makes Lapras unable to attack during your next turn.

Lastly is his GX Attack. For two [W] and one [C], you can use Ice Beam GX which does 100 damage and your opponent’s Active Pokemon is now Paralyzed.

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Now, just from first impressions, Lapras GX did not seem appealing to many players. Most notably due to no “Water EX/GX decks” yet. That is until people started to discover Waterbox. But wait, Waterbox is getting really popular you say? Yes, Lapras GX is in the deck but did I mention a new meta-game deck? Well, I did, and it’s not Waterbox! Introducing Quad-Lapras GX!

Playability.

Lapras GX, if there is no energy acceleration cards, would usually be a very, very slow deck. Hence Waterbox utilized Palkia EX and Max Elixir to help power up their Water attackers. Lapras GX is mainly good as a 1- or 2-off attacker, mainly due to its huge damage output with Blizzard Burn. With Fighting Fury Belt, this gives Lapras GX 230 HP and a 170-damage Blizzard Burn. (LMAO).

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Now, that is mainly for Waterbox with its versatility and different water attackers with Manaphy EX providing free Retreat. Generally, Lapras GX is there to either control the tempo of the game or ending it. And don’t underestimate Lapras GX’s first attack, Collect, as you can draw 3 cards from you deck. Imagine having a hand with no Supporters and no way to gain momentum; Collect can help give you a chance to make a comeback. Although minor, but every little bit goes a long way to victory.

And let’s not forget, with Decidueye GX decks all over the place, do expect an increase of Volcanion decks to attempt to burn down the owls. Waterbox wrecks Volcanion decks due to Weakness, so it is a 3-way Weakness meta-game battle.

With everyone kinda aware about Waterbox now, players were simply ‘trying’ out the power of Lapras GX. That is until a Quad Lapras GX deck made it to Top 4 at Malmö Regionals (in Sweden), and then eyes turned!

The Quad Lapras GX deck focuses more on disrupting your opponents Energy while you set up your Lapras GX’s Blizzard Burn. The deck runs Crushing Hammer, Enhanced Hammer, Team Flare Grunt, and Team Skull Grunt as well to maximize disruption (Really ewww). This deck does run at least a copy of Pokemon Ranger to help streamline its attacks each turn (so Lapras GX can continue using Blizzard Burn in consecutive turns). Professor Kukui is also important to help hit 180 damage off the bat, KO-ing the typical EX Pokemon in format. But do expect some mulligans since you are only running 4 Basic Pokemon in your 60 card deck.

However, Quad Lapras GX facesn a rough match-up to the current King Of Annoyance meta-deck, the DeciPlume deck (Decidueye GX/Vileplume). A fast Vileplume will shut down your deck’s item cards that you so desperately need, losing access to your hammers and disruption. Although you still have Team Flare Grunt to help disrupt their energy, they can still snipe you off with Decidueye GX’s Ability.  And it also doesn’t help that Lapras GX is weak to Grass, a Razor Leaf will deal a total of 180 damage alone to Lapras GX.

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Its not often a deck only consist of only 4 Pokemons and get close to winning a tourney; the last time such decks appeared in the meta were with Quad Sigilyph with its Safeguard Ability and Quad Terrakion with Retaliate quite some years ago. Yeah, that was one for the memory books. For newbies, Quad Lapras GX deck is actually pretty affordable, as there are no Shaymin EX needed to build the deck.

Player’s Perspective

Since the next League Challenge is tomorrow, I caught up with community legendary player, Rinesh, to ask on his opinion on Lapras GX and whether its up for tomorrow’s League Challenge. 

“Lapras GX is one card that is really underrated (for now). But we can’t deny that Lapras GX has potential. It’s attacks are quite decent and it’s GX attack can buy you an extra turn. What makes this card so hyped is when Sun & Moon 2: Guardians Rising is released. With the much hyped Aqua Patch and combined with Max Elixir, Lapras GX can hit 160 on the first turn or maybe 190 with Choice Band. That is just mind blowing. I rate the card 7 for now but after Sun & Moon 2 is released, it will be 9.5.

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Aqua Patch from SM2: Attach a basic [W] Energy card from your discard pile to 1 of your Benched [W] Pokémon.
The only negative point I see is that there is alot of cancer decks (you know what I mean) that is being played now hence why you don’t see much Lapras GX being played.

Personal advice to newbies, if you all wanna start Pokemon, get a Lapras GX deck. It’s cheap and quite affordable”

 

Conclusion

All in all, Lapras GX is in a good placement in the meta-game today. With Waterbox getting a ramp up from next expansion, SM2 Guardians Rising, do look to get a copy or 2 before the price hikes. Lapras GX so far has the highest damage output per energy so far in Waterbox, so do expect it to stick around for some time.

With tomorrow’s League Challenge at Toysbar, we might see Waterbox decks along with Lapras GX make some splash versus the Volcanion decks there. However, with Decidueye GX roaming around, is Lapras GX able to make any impact tomorrow? Well, that is what we have to wait and see.

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And that’s it for this week’s edition of The Expert Belt! Thanks for reading and good luck to those attending tomorrow’s League Challenge at Toysbar tomorrow!

 

*All graphics belong to their original owners and no copyright infringement intended.

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