Your Cup Of Tea? — The Potential of Mad Party

When it comes to the top decks of Darkness Ablaze, one could easily come to the conclusion that we are heading into a three-deck metagame. Given the utter difficulty of beating Zacian V / Arceus and Dialga and Palkia-GX, Centiskorch VMAX, and Eternatus VMAX, there isn’t nearly as much room for non-meta decks to thrive. Those decks dominate in many factors that are necessary for a Pokemon deck to be successful — speed, damage output, tankiness, and consistency.

While a centralized meta can be a good thing for any player hoping to play a counter-meta or more creative deck (fewer good decks means fewer decks that you have to find a way to beat), if those top-tier decks are too good, finding an effective counter to them can be downright impossible. So far, that appears to be the case in the initial Darkness Ablaze standard format — there aren’t many decks that can find any advantage to exploit. 

Traditionally, whenever a format is dominated by multi-Prize attackers (as this one is), an excellent place to look for off-meta decks is in the realm of single-Prize attackers. Even if the single-Prize deck isn’t quite as fast, or doesn’t hit quite as hard as their multi-Prize counterparts, it can still win by taking advantage of the advantageous Prize trade.

In the pre-rotation format, decks such as Spiritomb and Blacephalon have taken great advantage of the single-Prize attribute, and have been strong enough to be top-tier decks themselves. Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX’s Altered Creation GX has been extremely problematic for single-Prize decks, but nonetheless, the strategy is still a reliable one against the VMAX decks and other decks in the format. With the release of Darkness Ablaze, there will be one more strong single-Prize deck in the format, one which utilizes a tried and true strategy from the past. That deck is Mad Party, and like the Night March strategy that it copies, this deck is one to watch out for.

While Mad Party may not yet have the format-defining impact of its predecessor, it is nonetheless a deck with plenty of potential. The strategy is the exact same quick, single-Prize attacking strategy as it was for Night March, only with four additional Pokemon available for discard. The format might not be the same, and the support system behind the Mad Party Pokemon might be quite a bit different than the one that Night March had at its disposal, but it isn’t hard to see how this deck could become a top-tier option. After all, when Phantom Forces came out in 2014, Night March wasn’t a top deck either — but that changed fairly quickly! So, if you’re nostalgic for the good old days of Night March, aren’t thrilled about the prospect of shelling out cash for a VMAX deck, or simply want to play something a bit different, then this is an archetype I highly recommend. 

Standard Decklist

If you are unfamiliar with this style of deck, the game plan is to get as many Pokemon with the Mad Party attack in the discard pile as quickly as possible, so that you can get off cheap attacks with single-Prize pokemon, and eventually overwhelm your opponent.


The more that you can draw through, the more Pokemon you can get in the discard pile, and the more Pokemon that you have in the discard pile, the greater your damage output will be. This deck aims to draw plenty of cards quickly for that reason. Like other single-Prize decks, Mad Party takes great advantage of a favorable Prize trade, so even though you’ll easily be losing a Pokemon every turn to knockout, you can still win by KOing your opponent’s GXs and V Pokemon every turn. Against VMAXs, a 2HKO strategy is typically the go-to, whereas, against everything else, Mad Party has OHKO potential. Since Mad Party only gives up one Prize per turn, it can afford to play a slightly longer game than other GX, V, or VMAX decks, and so 2HKOs can be a viable strategy.

Here is my Mad Party decklist:

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