Updating Standard Zacian V — The Definitive Best Way to Play the Best Deck

In Standard, the deck to beat is Zacian V. It was predicted to be as much going into the Oceania International Championships and it didn’t disappoint. The most recent Standard major at Malmö, Sweden proved once again that this deck needs to be prepared for with three of the four semi-final slots taken by the deck.

One question remains: What is the best way to play this now famous deck? Take the Malmö Regionals for example, all three versions of the deck in the semifinals played different Supporter and Energy cards. So what is the absolute best way to play this deck? I believe Tord Reklev’s take on the deck is the strongest—it’s fitting as he won the event overall. However, I will qualify this with some banter on the merit of Guzma and Hala, the major ideological difference in most lists. In the beginning of Standard with Sword & Shield, I started with a speedy list for Zacian V, playing Acro Bike and Order Pad at one point. The goal here was to get a first turn Arceus and Dialga and Palkia-GX using Altered Creation GX via Energy Switch. Later, I tried a Rainbow Brush version with Tapu Koko Prism Star to get that extra Energy into play for the turn. All of these concepts (I tried Rayquaza-GX too) weren’t without merit, but a more steady version of the deck is better especially in the late game. With Energy Switch strategies, you would run out of steam and be stuck with Energy Switch late game. There are games where you will start first and not be able to Altered Creation GX on your first turn either. At this point, much of the trouble I went through in deck-building was worthless and I steered away from these ideas.

Interluding this turbo concept and the modernized versions we’ve seen from this past weekend, slower lists with Mallow and Lana surfaced, but these themselves have proven to be a waste. These decks can consistently “settle” for the second turn Altered Creation GX while hoping to go first and play the Prize trade to win the game. When your strategy ought to be Prize-based, you should not waste deck slots on healing cards that will not bear fruit in many of your matchups, especially in matches where you’ll be trading one-hit Knock Outs. The biggest thing to keep in mind when building Zacian V / Arceus and Dialga and Palkia-GX is to keep it simple. Play cards that are good all game, not only for turns one or two, but play enough Supporters or Item-based draw cards to stabilize after a Reset Stamp or a lull in the middle of the game.

Tord Reklev’s list takes all these things into account and polishes them, freeing a few slots for tech cards. The main culprit of the shift to his list is removing Guzma and Hala. This card is not great in the deck and only helps a bit on the first or second turn. Beyond that you will get almost no value and that spot will be mostly wasted. The super turbo list I had for this deck used Energy Spinner, as does Reklev’s. This card is great because it sets up an Altered Creation GX if you’re playing second and using it. One copy will get you the Energy you need to use your GX attack and the other in reserve to discard for Metal Saucer. Here’s his list which is public. I’m going to take the liberty of explaining it as well as singling out cards you can cut out to tech the deck to your liking.

Tord Reklev’s Arceus and Dialga and Palkia-GX / Zacian V

Pokemon (13)

4x Zacian V (SSH #138)3x Jirachi (TEU #99)2x Dedenne-GX (UNB #57)2x Arceus and Dialga and Palkia-GX (COE #156)1x Oranguru (ULP #114)1x Oranguru (SSH #148)

Trainers (37)

4x Professor's Research (SSH #178)2x Marnie (SSH #169)4x Switch (SSH #183)4x Quick Ball (SSH #179)4x Metal Saucer (SSH #170)4x Custom Catcher (LOT #171)4x Acro Bike (CES #123)2x Metal Frying Pan (FOL #112)2x Escape Board (ULP #122)2x Energy Spinner (UNB #170)2x Cherish Ball (UNM #191)1x Great Catcher (COE #192)2x Shrine of Punishment (CES #143)

Energy (10)

8x Metal Energy (EVO #98)2x Water Energy (EVO #93)

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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