Hello, readers! Unless you’re a complete newcomer to the Pokemon TCG’s competitive scene (in which case, welcome!), you’ve heard of Arceus and Dialga and Palkia-GX / Zacian V, aka ADP / Zacian V. It’s a Tier 1 deck since Sword & Shield and it currently defines the metagame. While it hasn’t performed as well overall as Eternatus VMAX and Centiskorch VMAX (not that there’s any way to have an objective ranking right now), it has made top cut and won multiple online events. More importantly, it destroys a lot of one-Prize or two-Prize Pokemon decks, preventing them from finding a spot in the metagame (I won’t get into the “ban ADP” controversy). While three-Prize Pokemon’s dominance in the metagame is the result of design decisions that started with Team Up (that I find unhealthy, but that’s yet another topic!), it’s undeniable that Altered Creation GX is one major factor in this state of affairs.
Since the release of Darkness Ablaze and the addition of Crobat V to the roster of powerful support Pokemon alongside Dedenne-GX and Eldegoss V, it’s possible for ADP / Zacian V to reliably win the game in three attacks: Altered Creation GX, its Ultimate Ray attack on a support Pokemon, then Zacian V’s Brave Blade attack on another support Pokemon. You don’t even have to engage with your opponent’s main attacker, especially if it’s a Pokemon VMAX.
Such a game plan is so linear that ADP / Zacian V lists tend to focus on consistency rather than on techs. What the deck does is so strong that if you can achieve your game plan, you’ll win the game. However, there are deck list variations. Some players choose to include risky cards like Pokémon Catcher or Turbo Patch, while others disrupt their opponents with Crushing Hammer. Tech attackers like Mawile-GX and Milotic V may find a spot in certain deck lists. João Pedro Medeiros started running a list using Clay instead of Professor's Research to get a more consistent turn 1 Altered Creation GX attack.
Personally, I recommend using Persian-GX in ADP / Zacian V. This is not my idea: Isaiah Bradner was the one who popularized this tech, although he credits Michael Catron with the idea. Persian-GX is a cool card — remember when using Stage-1 Pokemon-GX was common? However, Persian-GX plays a very different role here than it did in Zoroark-GX decks. No Triple Acceleration Energy needed as Persian-GX won’t attack in the vast majority of games. Instead, it’s used for its Cat Walk Ability. ADP / Zacian V can have trouble with decks that manage to OHKO Arceus and Dialga and Palkia-GX fast enough, which are mostly Eternatus VMAX and Mewtwo and Mew-GX. Cat Walk lets you retaliate after such a KO by finding key cards like Metal Saucer, ensuring that you can still win the game in two attacks!
At the time I’m writing this, I’m playing the deck list in this article in the Atlas League’s Mini #5 tournament (a 24 hour per round event). I’m first seed with a 6-0-1 record going into Top 16 and only lost one game overall, so I think that the deck is definitely a strong choice. I think this deck is a safe choice in order to farm PTCGO events for the Players Cup’s qualification phase (there’s a lot of reason to distrust Crushing Hammer and Turbo Patch lists in a best of one environment), so read on if you’re aiming to win the Players Cup II!
Deck List and Comments
Let’s start with the list I’m using. Again, most of the credit goes to Isaiah Bradner.
This concludes the public portion of this article.
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