The Coming Storm — Celestial Storm Concepts for Your Worlds Testing

Who’s excited that Copycat’s being reprinted?

With the last event of the 2017-2018 season behind us, many players are now looking toward the World Championships in August. Between now and then the next TCG set, Celestial Storm, is set to be released, having the potential to shake up the Worlds metagame greatly. Since most of our current Standard format has been beaten to death at this point, I’m going to move ahead and take a preliminary look at some of the new decks coming out of Celestial Storm, discussing their potential and how I’ll be looking to build and play them in the coming weeks. To bring clarity to these decks, I’ll first go over some of the new cards they include and discuss their potential now and in the future.

I have three decks to write about today, but there are a ton that I want to get around to building and testing. Some of the concepts that I won’t get into are Swampert, Scizor-GX, Mr. Mime-GX, and I’m sure others that I’ve yet to theorize. I consider those decks to be less promising than the ones I’m covering today, however, so they’ll be left for another time. The first deck I’ll look at is Beast Box, followed by Zoroark-GX / Banette-GX and then Alolan Exeggutor.

New Cards

Before I can get into the meat of this article, there are a few new cards that I need to highlight. I’ll give my thoughts on them at the moment and discuss how I think they’ll fit into the format.


In any format with Zoroark-GX, I expect Copycat to be a staple. Hands in this format tend to be huge on account of all the draw Pokemon people are playing, so Copycat is typically as good as or better than Cynthia. In the situations where it’s better, it’s often drastically better. I’ve included this card in all of my lists to try out, but ultimately other Supporters may produce better results.


Stakataka-GX – Metal – HP180
Basic Pokemon (Ultra Beast)

Ability: Ultra Wall
Any damage done to your Ultra Beasts by an opponent’s attack is reduced by 10 (after applying Weakness and Resistance).

[M][M][C] Gigaton Stomp: 120 damage.

[M][M][C] Assembly GX: 50+ damage. This attack does 50 more damage for each Prize card you have taken. (You can’t use more than 1 GX attack in a game.)

When your Pokemon-GX is Knocked Out, your opponent takes 2 Prize cards.

Weakness: Fire (x2)
Resistance: Psychic (-20)
Retreat: 3

Stakataka-GX is a serious asset to most Ultra-Beast-centric decks. With Ultra Space as a search option, you have plenty of opportunities to get it out. Its Ability stacks, meaning you can reduce up to 40 damage from each of your opponents’ attacks. Its attacks are both passable, though not incredible. Fortunately, this means it can be a decent attacker when needed. Its Ability works on itself, unlike many similar Pokemon in the past, so a straight Stakataka-GX deck may even be viable. With Reverse Valley and Parallel City in addition to Metal Frying Pan, you can reduce 80 or 90 damage against any deck in the format, and this kind of damage reduction is extremely powerful against any deck without an unlimited (or nearly unlimited) damage cap. Even decks like Rayquaza-GX and Malamar will require a large number of Energy to Knock Out Stakataka, though the deck could not keep up with consecutive one-hit Knock Outs.


Rayquaza-GX – Dragon – HP180
Basic Pokemon

Ability: Stormy Winds
When you play this Pokemon from your hand onto your Bench during your turn, you may discard the top 3 cards of your deck. If you do, attach a basic Energy card from your discard pile to this Pokemon.

[G][L][C] Dragon Break: 30x damage. This attack does 30 damage times the amount of basic [G] and basic [L] Energy attached to your Pokemon.

[G] Tempest GX: Discard your hand and draw 10 cards. (You can’t use more than 1 GX attack in a game.)

When your Pokemon-GX is Knocked Out, your opponent takes 2 Prize cards.

Weakness: Fairy (x2)
Resistance: none
Retreat: 3

After it swept all three divisions at a large tournament in Japan, Rayquaza-GX has a serious amount of hype surrounding its release: it accelerates Energy to itself, is compatible with Max Elixir, and has a limitless damage cap with no drawback to the attack. It even has a partner in Latias Prism Star.

While it’s hard to argue that Rayquaza-GX has potential, I’m reaching the conclusion that potential might be all it has. In reality, a lot of things have to go right for the Rayquaza player to have a strong start and attack quickly, and most of the decks in the format require it to have a huge number of Energy in play. The discards from Stormy Winds can be brutal, but the deck loses a huge amount of speed if you decide not to use the Ability. If Rayquaza does become a popular deck headed into Worlds, players may opt to tech a Sylveon-EX into any deck featuring both Double Colorless Energy and Choice Band to grab an easy Knock Out. I’m early into my testing cycle, so there’s a good chance someone finds a way to make the deck strong. That has generally not been my experience with it in these first couple weeks, though.

Nonetheless, talking about this card is important as you’re fairly likely to see it in some capacity after Celestial Storm’s release. I won’t have a list for it in this article, but I’ll certainly write about it if I find a list that works in the future.


Banette-GX – Psychic – HP190
Stage 1 – Evolves from Shuppet

Ability: Shady Move
Once during your turn (before your attack), if this Pokemon is your Active Pokemon, you may move 1 damage counter from either player’s Pokemon to another Pokemon (yours or your opponent’s).

[P] Shadow Chant: 30+ damage. This attack does 10 more damage for each Supporter card in your discard pile. You can’t add more than 100 damage in this way.

[P] Tomb Hunter GX: Put 3 cards from your discard pile into your hand. (You can’t use more than 1 GX attack in a game.)

When your Pokemon-GX is Knocked Out, your opponent takes 2 Prize cards.

Weakness: Darkness (x2)
Resistance: Fighting (-20)
Retreat: 1

I think Banette-GX is a powerful yet overlooked card. The Ability, Shady Move, is strong in its own right, but it’s even better once you see its synergy with Rainbow Energy. Shadow Chant at a single Psychic is a phenomenal attack against anything weak to Psychic and a solid one against everything else. It gives Zoroark-GX decks one-hit Knock Out potential against Buzzwole and Malamar decks. Tomb Hunter GX rounds out Banette’s tools and is another highly powerful effect that we’ve already seen succeed with Decidueye-GX.

A Fighting Resistance and single-Energy Retreat Cost are both great things to have, but Banette’s biggest downside is the Dark Weakness. This means that it will need a partner to combat the large number of Zoroark-GX decks. I’m currently using baby Buzzwole and Sudowoodo from BREAKpoint to fill that need, but Lucario-GX is another option I’d like to explore.


Magcargo – Fire – HP90
Stage 1 – Evolves from Slugma

Ability: Smooth Over
Once during your turn (before your attack), you may search your deck for a card. Shuffle your deck, then place that card on top.

[R][C][C] Combustion: 50 damage.

Weakness: Water (x2)
Resistance: none
Retreat: 3

I definitely don’t think Zoroark-GX needed any more tools, but clearly PCL disagrees. Magcargo gives you a mini Mallow every turn, possibly two if you have two on board. Trade was already the best Ability in the game, and Smooth Over just makes it that much better. Every time you Trade, you Trade into at least one card you need. This makes techs extremely reliable and may even allow multi-attacker Zoroark decks to consistently execute their game plan. Until its proven unnecessary, I’ll be putting this card into every single Zoroark deck I play.

Shrine of Punishments

Shrine of Punishments – Trainer

Between turns, put 1 damage counter on each Pokemon-GX and Pokemon-EX (both yours and your opponent’s).

This card stays in play when you play it. Discard this card if another Stadium card comes into play. If another card with the same name is in play, you can’t play this card.

The last card I want to look at is Shrine of Punishments. At the moment, I think this card is criminally overlooked. It can deal a huge amount of damage to any GX-centric deck and can even become a win condition with enough copies and recovery. If the format becomes GX heavy enough, you may even see decks that try to keep it in play as their primary win condition. Unfortunately, I don’t think it could become an exclusive win condition as even a Pokemon as weak as Zorua can take six Prizes eventually, not to mention cards like Buzzwole. For this article, I’ve paired the card with Alolan Exeggutor as it’s one of the strongest non-GX attackers in the game, but I could see it being used with a variety of attackers down the road.

With these cards explained, I’ll move into the decks where each of them will see play!

Beast Box

I have a few different takes on Beast Box now that Stakataka-GX is coming to our Standard format. Some include Naganadel-GX, some don’t, and the Energy types vary. Ultimately, I think that the Ability to reduce up to 40 damage from each of your opponent’s attacks is incredible, and with cards like Parallel City, Reverse Valley, and Metal Frying Pan, this number can be boosted even further. For today’s article, I’ll be focusing on one build specifically, but there are plenty of other routes you can take with the deck.

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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