Strong Charge — Breaking Down Vikavolt, Vespiquen, Zoroark, and Ninetales-GX

Hello PokeBeach readers! It hasn’t been too long since my last article, but man have things changed. The Pokemon world went from being dominated by Decidueye-GX and his pal Vileplume, to Garbodor being the king of the world. Garbodor variants have been killing it at League Cups, and had an extremely good showing in Seattle. I was unable to attend Seattle Regionals, but I did attend Madison! At Madison Regionals, Garbodor did take up a large percent of the field day day, but did not have nearly as dominating of a performance as it did in Seattle Regionals. Furthermore, we saw similar results at the Mexico Regionals this past weekend, which I did not attend. Without further ado, let’s hop in and take a look at what I have learned.

Seattle Recap

  • Garbodor variants took up 71% of the Top 32 in Seattle.
  • Garbodor variants took up six slots in the Top 8 of Seattle, with Vespiquen and WaterBox being the last two slots.
  • Rainbow Energy and Team Magma's Secret Base were seen in several different counts in Seattle. Some lists played both, some lists played two or three of one of them. I personally think zero Rainbow Energy and two Team Magma’s Secret Base is the best way to go.
  • Teammates was seen in some Garbodor lists as a tech for the mirror, but the general consensus seems to be that it is relatively unhelpful. Team Flare Grunt seems like the better tech moving forward.
  • The same team had two players in Top 8 with nearly identical Garbodor lists, with Sam Chen winning the event. I believe their list was the best for the mirror match at the time.

Madison Recap

  • Garbodor variants took up 22% of the Top 32, which is still relatively high.
  • Garbodor variants took up one slot in the Top 8, with seven different decks being in Top 8.
  • Two Vespiquen decks made Top 8, with the deck lists being three cards off of each other.
  • Five Vespiquen decks made Top 32, all of which were a maximum of three cards apart.
  • Rainbow Energy was in none of the Garbodor decks I saw at the event, Team Magma’s Secret Base seems like the way to go.
  • Team Flare Grunt was seen in a lot of Garbodor decks.
  • Tapu Bulu-GX made quite the appearance, being played in Lurantis-GX / Tapu Bulu-GX decks and Vikavolt / Tapu Bulu-GX decks.
  • Tapu Bulu-GX was in 23% of the day two decks, which makes it slightly more popular than Garbodor,

My Madison Regionals Experience

Pokemon (25) Trainers (31) Energy (4)
4x Vespiquen (AOR #10) 4x Professor Sycamore (BKP #107) 4x Double Colorless Energy (EVO #90)
4x Combee (AOR #9) 2x N (FAC #105)
2x Zoroark (BKT #91) 2x Lysandre (AOR #78)
2x Zorua (BKT #89) 1x Teammates (PRC #141)
4x Unown (AOR #30) 4x VS Seeker (RSK #110)
3x Klefki (STS #80) 4x Ultra Ball (SM #135)
1x Vaporeon (AOR #22) 4x Acro Bike (PRC #122)
1x Eevee (AOR #63) 2x Special Charge (STS #105)
2x Shaymin-EX (RSK #77) 2x Choice Band (GUR #121)
1x Tapu Lele-GX (GUR #60) 2x Float Stone (BKT #137)
1x Oranguru (SM #113) 1x Rescue Stretcher (GUR #130)
1x Revitalizer (GEN #70)
2x Forest of Giant Plants (AOR #74)

How My Rounds Went

23 match points, third seed going into day two

31 match points, fourth seed going into Top 8


The week leading up to the event, I was talking about Vespiquen with my teammate Rahul Reddy who is pretty experienced with the deck. We worked on a list together, but ended up being a couple cards off on the day of the tournament. Anyways, I expected a lot of Garbodor and Tapu Bulu-GX decks, which Vespiquen is very favored against. In testing, I was performing very well against those decks, and almost all other matchups I tested. I discovered that Oricorio usually wasn’t as good against Vespiquen as people thought, as it usually only brought the matchup to 50%. Not only was I winning games, but I was almost never drawing dead hands, which made the decision to play Vespiquen super easy for me. I am a huge consistency freak, and the other decks really were not cutting it for me in that regard.

Card Choices

Vaporeon AOR

This made all the difference in the Volcanion matchup, as it completely swings the Prize-trade. Normally, Volcanion would be able to get ahead early because Vespiquen is not able to one shot things quick enough, but Vaporeon allows baby Volcanion to start dying on turn two. Outside of Volcanion, this card did not have much use.


This card is very strong in matchups where you are trading one Prize attackers back and forth, so I used it frequently against Garbodor and the mirror match. In other matchups, I would occasionally use it to find crucial cards like Choice Band, Revitalizer, Forest of Giant Plants, or Double Colorless Energy. Another useful moment for this card was when I would have a really small deck, which meant Professor Sycamore would deck me. Teammates would allow me to find the cards I needed for a KO that turn, and Professor Sycamore would be left in hand to find the win next turn.

Potential Inclusions

Flareon AOR

Potentially my biggest regret in Pokemon history. This card 100% should have been in my deck, but I got greedy including the third Klefki over this. The Klefki allowed me to thin my hand and deck easier, and comboed well with Unown. Klefki also served the obvious purpose of helping beat Mega Pokemon. However, Flareon makes the Metagross-GX matchup significantly easier, which would have been very helpful for my tournament run. I would certainly include this card over the third Klefki if I were to play this deck again.

Mexico Recap

  • Garbodor variants took up 19% of the Top 32, which is the lowest percent of all three Regionals.
  • Garbodor variants yet again took up one slot in Top 8, with seven decks being in Top 8.
  • Yet again, two Vespiquen decks made Top 8.
  • Oricorio and Karen were reportedly quite popular, which definitely made it harder for Vespiquen decks to succeed.
  • Decidueye-GX / Vileplume made quite the comeback this weekend, with five of them making Top 32 and one of them making Top 8.

League Cup #1 — 6/11

Pokemon (18) Trainers (32)  Energy (10)
2x Zoroark BREAK (BKT #92) 4x Professor Sycamore (BKP #107) 6x Darkness Energy (EVO #97)
4x Zoroark (BKT #91) 3x N (FAC #105) 4x Double Colorless Energy (EVO #90)
3x Zorua (BKT #89) 2x Lysandre (AOR #78)
1x Zorua (BKT #90) 1x Teammates (PRC #141)
2x Drampa-GX (GUR #115) 1x Hex Maniac (AOR #75)
2x Tapu Lele-GX (GUR #60) 1x Professor Kukui (SM #128)
1x Shaymin-EX (RSK #77) 1x Pokémon Fan Club (FAC #107)
1x Oranguru (SM #113) 1x Brigette (BKT #134)
1x Tapu Koko (PRSM #SM30) 4x VS Seeker (RSK #110)
1x Oricorio (GUR #56) 4x Ultra Ball (SM #135)
3x Choice Band (GUR #121)
2x Rescue Stretcher (GUR #130)
2x Float Stone (BKT #137)
1x Special Charge (STS #105)
2x Team Magma's Secret Base (DOC #32)



In my local meta, a lot of Alolan Ninetales-GX decks can often be found, so I wanted to make sure I had a good matchup against that. While I believe Vespiquen is very strong against Ninetales-GX as well, I expected quite a bit of Vespiquen counters to pop up. The day of the tournament, I definitely thought I made the correct call. A few people chose to include Karen in their decks, while Oricorio was in pretty much everyone’s deck. In addition to this, two Decidueye decks made an appearance, which is pretty much unwinnable for Vespiquen. Zoroark was a great call for the day, as a majority of decks that were there were unprepared for it. Ninetales, Vespiquen, Garbodor, and Volcanion were the four big decks of the day.

I went 3-02 in swiss, but had some unfortunate luck in Top 8 and lost to Vespiquen. I don’t regret my choice at all, and I am very confident that this deck should be on everyone’s radar. In case anyone was wondering, this is Daniel Altavilla’s exact list that he won Mexico with, and Top 4’d Madison with. While he didn’t make the deck either, I really think he did a great job creating the right deck list. After playing with the deck, the only cards I have been questioning were the Tapu Koko Promo and the second Rescue Stretcher. I often found myself struggling to find Energy, so I may end up adding a Super Rod in favor of the second Rescue Stretcher moving forward.

Card Choices


This card served one purpose, to significantly improve my Vespiquen matchup. It did its job in swiss, as I took down a Vespiquen in round three. However, in Top 8, I lost to a Vespiquen because I kept whiffing Energy for game. The Oricorio played a huge role in my Top 8 games as well, and secured the win as long as I actually drew into an Energy card on the final turn of either game. I would definitely say this card should not be automatically included in your list though, as it is relatively useless against everything not Vespiquen. If you expect to play against Vespiquen, put it in, it is as simple as that.

Hex Maniac

Hex Maniac really fits well in this deck, as it does not really need to go digging for stuff once it sets up. In addition to this, the card is very strong against a few decks that are gaining in popularity such as Decidueye-GX / Vileplume, Volcanion, and Metagross-GX.

Potential Inclusions

A Seventh Dark Energy

As I explained before, I often found myself missing Energy attachments later in the game. At the current moment, I have removed the Tapu Koko Promo for this seventh Dark Energy. It may not be a permanent change, but I am trying it out to see how I like it.

Super Rod

In addition to the seventh Dark Energy option, I believe a Super Rod could definitely help to fix the problem I have been experiencing. I don’t think both a Super Rod and a seventh Dark Energy is necessary though, so this will probably be a one or the other situation. I would remove a Rescue Stretcher for this card, which would give me a free slot if I chose to remove the Tapu Koko Promo.

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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