Countdown to OCIC 2019 1: Pikachu & Zekrom-GX

With input from Syahmi Razak

With the Oceania International Championships 2019 less than a month away, it’s time to kickstart your practise sessions for the new format as the new set Team Up makes its splash down under. 

But if you’re clueless wondering what to play, Syahmi Razak is here to help. The deck builder is no stranger to us, and we are happy to feature his latest ideas – just in time for OCIC. In collaboration with Team Sampah, Syahmi has plenty of decks to recommend for the big International Championships coming up. 

The first deck is what many consider to be the best deck in format once Team Up becomes legal: Pikachu & Zekrom-GX. 

Pikachu & Zekrom-GX Tag Team Decklist

Pokémon (12)
2 Pikachu & Zekrom-GX
2 Zapdos (Team Up)
2 Tapu Lele-GX
2 Jirachi (Team Up)
1 Zeraora-GX
1 Tapu Koko Prism Star
1 Tapu Koko-GX
1 Marshadow (Shining Legends)

Trainers (37)
4 Cynthia
2 Lillie
2 Erika’s Hospitality
3 Guzma
1 Volkner
1 Acerola
1 Lisia
4 Ultra Ball
4 Electropower
3 Acro Bike
3 Escape Board
2 Choice Band
2 Energy Switch
2 Nest Ball
1 Rescue Stretcher
1 Thunder Mountain Prism Star
1 Aether Paradise Conservation Area

Energy (11)
11 Lightning Energy

How to Play

The idea is quite straightforward – the new Jirachi (Team Up) is used to search for Trainer cards in the early turns to keep the deck engine moving, with the aim of charging up Pikachu & Zekrom-GX. 

Tapu Koko Prism Star helps to instantly get Energy to your Pikachu & Zekrom-GX, and a well-timed Thunder Mountain Prism Star means this Electric-type tag team combination can attack as soon as Turn 2 – charging up a second Pokémon-GX attacker like Zeraora-GX or another Pikachu & Zekrom-GX. 

Zapdos (Team Up) is a great inclusion. It’s able to do 80 damage during the turn it becomes your Active Pokemon – more than enough to KO small basic Pokémon like an opponent’s Jirachi, Alolan Vulpix and Zorua. With Electropower and Choice Band, Zapdos can also take KOs on low HP Pokémon-GX like Tapu Lele-GX. Electropower also helps Pikachu & Zekrom-GX against the Celebi & Venusaur-GX matchup too. 

Erika is a new Supporter that will see a lot of play. You draw cards based on how many Pokémon your opponent has, but you can only play Erika’s Hospitality if you have 4 or fewer cards in hand. 

Strengths

This is an extremely hyper offensive deck that charges it’s biggest hitters quick and wins matchups easily as well. Expect to have a fully charged Pikachu & Zekrom-GX and another Pokémon-GX by the end of turn 2, should everything play out smoothly.

Decks that rely heavily on 180 HP Pokémon-GX like Rayquaza-GX and Blacephon-GX will have a hard time against Pikachu & Zekrom-GX (who’s able to deal 180 damage with a Choice Band).

Play your cards right, and you can also skip Sledgehammer and Beast Ring turns against Buzzwole, Buzzwole-GX and Blacephon-GX as well.

Weakness

Like most big Pokémon, Pikachu & Zekrom-GX are susceptible to its weakness, Fighting types. And it’s worse as Tag Team Pokémon-GX concede three Prize cards instead, so cards like Buzzwole-GX and Lycanroc-GX will definitely have the upper hand.

In situations against Buzzwole -GX/Lycanroc-GX and the popular Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX, Syahmi suggests to use Zapdos and Tapu Koko-GX as your primary attackers (the latter has no Weakness).

The deck can also suffer to one Prize Pokémon decks, especially those that utilise the Shrine of Punishment. “Baby” Buzzwole and the new Aerodactyl (Team Up) comes to mind here.

In this case, use Pikachu & Zekrom-GX’s GX attack to dodge the Buzzwole’s Sledghammer requirement (going from five Prize cards to three Prize cards), targetting Pokémon with Energy on the Bench ready to replace their Active Pokémon.

Additional Reading

Do check out the Japanese build for Pikachu & Zekrom-GX decks. Unlike the deck suggestion above, Japanese players rely heavily on Volkner and use fewer draw Supporters. They, of course, play a best-of-one format.

Try adding cards like Raichu (Burning Shadows) with the Evoshock Ability. Combined with Marshadow, you can safely power up Pikachu & Zekrom-GX while leaving your opponent’s Active Pokémon Paralyzed.

Thank you

This is the first of a series of decklists from Syahmi. There are more Tag Team-GX decklists coming soon, so check back often!

Syahmi hopes this list can be a starter guide to build your own list for future tournaments.

Until then, and as always from Syahmi, 

Lu Sampah Bro!

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