Beat the Heatmor — A Dissection of London’s Secret Deck

G’day, trainers! I’m sipping a fresh glass of English breakfast tea as I peak over the European International Championships results, and let me tell you — this tournament was a cornerstone for a ton of developing decks. I was just as excited to see the eventual winner of this tournament as I was to see the decks that spawned off and did well. There were quite a few concepts that caught me off guard; one of the biggest surprises to come out of this tournament was the success of Silvally-GX! But when you look back at the card, you can slowly begin to see its potential:

  • 210 HP — effective at tanking.
  • Gives free retreat to all Basic Pokemon. This ensures mobility to allow for a turn two attack from Silvally-GX.
  • An attack that accelerates Energy.
  • A GX attack that poses an OHKO threat.
  • The ability to use Fighting Memory and Psychic Memory to abuse typing.

Overall, when we see a card like this in the Pokemon TCG, we still overlook its viability… but why? As players, it’s our job to identify hidden gems like this within TCG expansions, and indulge in their strengths while negating their weaknesses. Silvally-GX was just one of many examples that a few players took all the way to the top, including the likes of Grafton Roll, Israel Sosa, and finalist Zakary Krekeler.

Besides Silvally-GX catching me off guard, you could say I was also… erm… “shocked” to see Raichu / Heatmor at the top tables. In fact, I was nearly infatuated with the idea of consistent Paralysis turn after turn. Sander Wojcik ended up piloting this crazy deck to a 7-1-1 finish after the first nine rounds of Swiss, and ran through the second day to a top 16 finish! That’s nothing to disregard when the deck had a minuscule showing at one of the most prestigious events of the year. Imagine if this deck had as much play as something more popular, like Gardevoir-GX!

Today, I’d like to have a peak at the deck list Sander ended up running and explain how all the pieces of this deck fall into place.

The Core of Heatmor

Pokemon (17)

4x Raichu (BUS #41)3x Pikachu (PRSM #SM04)1x Pikachu (GEN #26)3x Heatmor (BUS #24)2x Victini (GUR #10)1x Tapu Lele-GX (GUR #60)1x Durant (BKP #9)1x Jirachi (PRXY #XY67)1x Xurkitree-GX (PRSM #SM68)

Trainers (37)

4x N (DEX #96)2x Professor Sycamore (BKP #107)2x Skyla (BKT #148)2x Acerola (BUS #112)1x Brigette (BKT #134)1x Gladion (CRI #95)1x Lusamine (CRI #96)1x Team Rocket's Handiwork (FAC #112)1x Ninja Boy (STS #103)4x Puzzle of Time (BKP #109)4x Devolution Spray (EVO #76)4x Field Blower (GUR #125)3x Ultra Ball (RSK #93)2x Nest Ball (SM #123)2x Rescue Stretcher (GUR #130)2x Counter Catcher (CRI #91)1x Float Stone (BKT #137)

Energy (6)

4x Double Colorless Energy (HS #103)2x Rainbow Energy (BKT #152)

Wow, this looks like a handful of cards that dropped out of a binder! But each of them has a unique purpose that makes this deck what it is.

I’ve always been a huge fan of lock decks, and this one spares no expense: its entire goal is to keep the opponent’s Active Pokemon Paralyzed for the entirety of the game. How does it do it, you ask? Via Raichu‘s Ability. This Ability only works when you evolve into Raichu, but we’re able to consistently recycle it with a full set of four Devolution Spray — but how do we recycle those Devolution Spray? Similar to how we use Sableye to retrieve Item cards in Expanded, we use Heatmor to retrieve any cards from our discard pile just the same.

Of course we’ll have to pray for a bit of luck since our deck involves coin flips, but we include Victini to mitigate that. I’m not going to drop math bombs here, but just know that Victini doubles your odds of flipping at least one heads by giving you a second chance.

We just rinse and repeat grabbing back Devolution Spray, and continually spam devolution on Raichu to keep our Paralysis Ability on deck. It’s really that easy! This process will continue until our opponent concedes, or until they deck out — it’s nearly impossible for our deck to mill out of cards because we’re consistently recycling cards with Heatmor’s attack. Therefore, we’ll always come out on top with cards left in deck!

Card Counts

Three Heatmor

Although he’s our main guy, we only need three of him since Heatmor won’t necessarily be getting KO’d a lot. Our opponent will have to use Guzma to get out of our lock, which means our Heatmor will be put safely onto the Bench.

Heatmor is great at recycling any card, and bringing it directly into your hand! We use this card to mainly recycle Devolution Spray and Puzzle of Time.

4-4 Raichu

Yes, I know we play different Pikachu, but they’re all here for the same purpose — to Paralyze the opponent! We play the Nuzzle Pikachu to Paralyze for a single Colorless Energy, or, in our case, a Double Colorless Energy.

Raichu is the whole reason why we’re able to lock down our opponent, and the true bread and butter of this deck. Paralysis is the strongest of all of the Special Conditions, and Raichu harnesses it in its blood.

Two Victini

We buff multiple copies of this because it is often the target of Guzma! Victini helps us smooth out any awkward double tails coming from Heatmor’s Odor Sleuth. This helps maintain a high lock percentage throughout the entire tournament!

One Durant

Durant is the ultimate finisher in most games. If we ever have less cards in our deck than our opponent, with the use of Rainbow Energy we can trigger Scrape Down’s effect and mill four cards from our opponent’s deck! This’ll help us to progress the game state, and can instantly score us a win four turns early.

One Xurkitree-GX

My favourite Pokemon of all time makes a splash in this deck, and I absolutely adore it. If our opponent opts to play a deck that includes only Special Energy, then we win the game instantly with Xurkitree-GXs Flash Head Ability! They’ll be unable to harm us, and we can sweep their entire field by attacking with Rumbling Wires.

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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