2009-2010 City Championships So Far: A Review

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Expert Belt from Arceus (#87)

As many of you know, City Championships are upon us once again and breathing down our necks! There are so many different decks and variants that it’s difficult to decide what to play. This comprehensive article is here to help you, the indecisive player, deduce what to play for City Championships as well as to learn what big decks are in the format. Enjoy!

It’s quite obvious that certain decks such as SPs have been doing surprisingly well, although not so surprisingly once you take a look at how people have been using them. Gengar is taking a backseat along with Gyarados to many other decks dominating the “first tier,” which is mostly comprised of SP decks. Flygon is doing well as always, although it isn’t shocking considering how a fair chunk of the format has a problem with it. After long enough, hyped-up decks such as Gliscor/Spiritomb have not been performing as expected, and Salamence is not even considered a “tier-worthy” deck at this point. Tangrowth has seen little to no play, and Charizard, although not horrible, is not seeing much action right now. Gardevoir/Gallade decks have been doing surprisingly well, as have many other slower stage 2 decks thanks to two cards that have been changing the format: Expert Belt and Spiritomb. These two cards allow for more survivability late game, fast set up, and early game locking. It’s pretty obvious that SPs are the dominant decks in the format with there being so many variants, and in my opinion, there are six “top decks” out there, with four of them being SP decks. That’s saying something, especially considering many players (including myself) believed SPs wouldn’t be seeing much play during City Championships. I’d also say it’s pretty evident that the new Arceus set has changed the game a LOT – much more than expected. Is this a good or bad thing? I think the usage of cards from the set in popular decks speak for themselves.

For this article, I’ll just be going over what are considered the six “big” decks in today’s metagame. After doing so, I’ll provide you with a short analysis of the deck and a list that I myself have created.

Dialga G / Garchomp C

Dialga G from Platinum (#7)

Dialga G is a name that should not sound unfamiliar if you have been playing since States 2009. After having a great run back then up until Worlds, Dialga G took a small break during Battle Roads. Once Arceus came out, however, Dialga G was given a second chance, and players decided to pair him with Garchomp C LV.X. Garchomp C LV.X was like a Poké Turn but better. It still allows you to heal your Dialga G, but you can keep all of your Special Metals on it as well. So after you start with a Dialga G early game, you can use Deafen for a few turns to lock your opponent and pile on maybe one or two Special Metals if you have the field advantage. If you ever think your Dialga G is in trouble, keep the Special Metals in your hand and wait until you can bring up another one to revenge kill. If Dialga G ever gets weak, instead of Poké Turning and doing all of that work again, just bring up Garchomp C LV.X and take that damage right off. Dialga G LV.X is obviously still used in this deck and it works quite well. Being able to lock your opponent’s bodies (Spiritomb’s, for example) can put you at a real advantage early game. Remove Lost also helps with disruption and does more damage than Second Strike anyway. Garchomp C LV.X’s attack one shots Claydols and Uxies and is very useful, even if you have to discard. It’s a fairly simple deck to play normally, and really doesn’t have big problems that it can’t get around.

Being an SP deck, it has many techs to utilize. Some of the most popular are Toxicroak G for Machamp or Quagsire GL for Fire-types such as Blaziken FB LV.X. Play around with techs and see what works best in light of your metagame.

Pokémon: 18

Trainers: 31

Energy: 11

Blaziken FB / Luxray GL

Blaziken FB from Supreme Victors (#2)

I would say that currently, out of every deck in this format, BlazeRay is the most consistent. The deck itself uses Blaziken FB LV.X and Luxray GL LV.X to hit hard and hit fast. Every turn you’re almost guaranteed to do at least 60 damage, or disrupt your opponent by forcing them to switch with Blaziken FB’s Luring Flame or Luxray GL LV.X’s Bright Look. Although some decks do have a way of getting around this disruption, for the most part, it can really mess up a lot of early game setups. Also, because you’re doing so much damage usually pretty early in the game for such little Energy, your opponent will always be in a tight spot. It is very easy, however, for them to one shot your Blaziken FB LV.X after a Jet Shoot, but it’s just as easy for you to either get another one up or revenge kill with something. It is an EXTREMELY simple deck to play that counters a lot of the metagame. It can have problems with Water-types due to them being able to one shot Blaziken FB LV.X, and sometimes power locking can hurt too, but for the most part, this is a fast, powerful, and consistent deck that has a nice and steady flow throughout the entire game.

This deck shouldn’t use too many techs. You want to be hitting fast and hard, not clunking up your hand with a bunch of useless cards. Ninetales is nice in case your opponent for some reason decides to play Mewtwo, the Toxicroak G promo (DP #40) is still a favorite, Infernape 4 LV.X is nice for Dialga G, and really, anything with a low Energy cost that isn’t too difficult to get out is great in BlazeRay.

Pokémon: 19

Trainers: 29

Energy: 12

  • 7x Fire Energy
  • 3x Lightning Energy
  • 1x Psychic Energy
  • 1x Multi Energy

Palkia G Lock

Palkia G from Platinum (#12)

Palkia G is another card that you might remember if you have played since States. It got just as much recognition as Dialga G did and was arguably just as good as well. After sitting on the sidelines for most of Worlds, Palkia G returned once again in Battle Roads to show what it can do, and during Cities, it’s even more dangerous. The deck’s basic strategy is to fill up your Bench early with one-time effect cards such as Mesprit or Uxie, and then use Palkia G LV.X to “throw away” what you don’t need anymore. Mesprit is just great because it can lock the opponent, and Uxie allows you to draw whatever you need to get Palkia G going early. If you want, you can also use Super Scoop Up to reuse your Mesprits and Uxies if you feel that it’s necessary to do so. As you’re completely locking them, Palkia G spreads damage and does 50 damage to the Active for 3 Energy (2 with Energy Gain), or can do an 80 snipe for 4 Energy (3 with Energy Gain) and discard 2 of those Energy. Really not bad considering you’ll have a few techs to back you up, early game disruption, and spread.

Palkia can play quite a few techs, due to its ability to just get rid of them when it doesn’t need them anymore. Azelf is one of the most preferred techs for Palkia because you’re already playing the other two Pixies required to activate his Body, which can be a saving grace against other SP decks. There are several others, and it just depends on what you’re willing to sacrifice when needed.

Pokémon: 20

Trainers: 27

Energy: 13

Luxray / Garchomp

Luxray GL from Rising Rivals (#9)

This is a newer SP deck that has caused a big uproar already. It utilizes two cards that you would not think would quite work together perfectly in a hit-and-run style deck. Your main strategy should be to have a Luxray GL as your Active and a Garchomp C and Bronzong G on your Bench. After leveling up into Luxray GL LV.X, using Bright Look, and killing something, if Luxray GL LV.X doesn’t die, you should move the Energy off of Luxray GL LV.X with Bronzong G to Garchomp C, retreat Luxray LV.X for Garchomp C, and level up to Garchomp C LV.X, thus healing your Luxray GL LV.X. After that, just attach an Energy to Garchomp C LV.X, attach an Energy Gain, and hopefully score a Knock Out with Dragon Rush. Then just go back to Luxray GL LV.X (preferably by Poké Turning Garchomp C LV.X), and keep the process going. You’re healing yourself every turn, and if they don’t K.O. you, you’re in pretty good shape. Its ability to easily one-shot Flygon and Palkia G makes this deck a big contender in today’s format. Disruption, survivability, damage, and above all, speed. This deck has it all.

There aren’t very many popular techs for this deck as you have two obvious main attackers. The Toxicroak G promo is still the best thing here because, like BlazeRay, this deck’s job is to hit fast (while praying that they don’t kill you).

Pokémon: 18

Trainers: 29

Energy: 13


Flygon from Rising Rivals (#5)

I’m sure seeing Flygon here is a welcomed change in light of all the SP decks. Flygon has been a threat to the format for quite some time now and still continues to do so very well. There are several versions of Flygon, and each of them are useful in their own way, but currently, due to the inflation of SP decks and Shuppet decks, Flygon/Machamp is literally the BEST way to play Flygon. Flygon can sort of handle SPs on its own for a while, but eventually they begin to overwhelm the deck and take it down. Machamp gives Flygon not only some breathing room, but also a way out in case SPs surprise it. FlyTrap is still a viable version of Flygon, but for right now, there aren’t enough decks for Flygon to stall out against to win. Flygon needs speed, and that’s exactly what Machamp brings to the table. FlyTrap does have the advantage of playing Mewtwo LV.X, which does help it a considerable amount, but nothing beats killing an SP for only one Energy. Although there are many ways to get around Machamp, it can still frighten SPs when they see Machop hit the field. Even if they attach Unown G to their Active Pokémon, it can buy you enough time to get ready to send Flygon in and activate Upper Energy.

The best techs for FlyChamp are really just Nidoqueen and Chatot, and even then I wouldn’t necessarily consider Nidoqueen a tech, but more of a staple. Chatot helps against Spiritomb and it’s your only way of locking them while you set up, so it’s a helpful tech. It really depends how much room you have in your deck, though.

Pokémon: 26

Trainers: 22

Energy: 12


Gengar from Stormfront (#18)

Gengar is yet another returning deck. Many of you might remember this card from the 2008-2009 City Championships LAST year. Well, it’s back, and the newly released sets since then have given it some new things to work with. It’s faster, more consistent, and spreads more than ever before. I could sit here and tell you about all of the Gengar variants, but there’s really only two good ones: Gengar/Machamp and Gengar/Nidoqueen. Out of those two, Gengar/Machamp comes in second place to Gengar/Nidoqueen because of the latter’s ability to spread, stay alive, and not get as many bad starts as Gengar/Machamp. The basic strategy behind Gengar/Nidoqueen is very simple. After starting with preferably a Spiritomb, you should get one or two Claydols on your Bench, and proceed to go for Gengar. Once you have one or two Curse Gengar on your Bench and have the Shadow Room one Active, proceed to level up to Gengar LV.X and Compound Pain away. The healing from Nidoqueen will allow you to stay alive long enough to get the Energy on and get the damage spread around before you start taking two or more prizes at once. The boosted HP from the LV.X also helps greatly against many threats to Gengar and allows you to not have to kill Gengar in order to possibly kill the threat with Fainting Spell. Gengar is just one of the best decks around because of its ability to lock, spread, heal, and disrupt. The Curse Gengar is helpful to move the damage around and can be an effective attacker early game if needed.

Techs for Gengar are few, but it’s important that you pick the right one. Dusknoir DP is one of the best techs because it puts SPs in a tight spot and can really help against Flygon as well. Chatot is something to consider but you really don’t need it because you play Spiritomb.

Pokémon: 28

Trainers: 22

Energy: 10


I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this article! Its main purpose was to inform you about the popular decks players are using this year. Even though we’re almost finished with Cities, there’s still some time left to switch things up. Remember that the decks I’ve listed here are obviously not the only choices you can make! There are plenty of other decks I have not talked about; the ones here are just the ones that have won the most tournaments so far. If you are unsure what to play, make your choice based on what is being played in your area – what you know will do well in your metagame. Just remember that sometimes it is also good to play the deck you know the best! Good luck!