All Grown Up — A New Look at Blacephalon

Hello everyone! The rotation is officially here after months of anticipation and we are getting the first results from post-rotation events. Rather than predicting the meta, we can finally begin to react to it. I’m typically a huge fan of anti-meta plays, especially in this current era of online Pokemon — there’s nothing like playing the deck that all of the popular ladder decks lose to! In this article, I’ll be going over what I believe to be one of the strongest anti-meta decks in the Darkness Ablaze Standard format: Blacephalon.

In an article back in May, I made the prediction that Blacephalon could emerge as a strong post-rotation deck, provided that the list could maintain a similar consistency to what it had prior to rotation. The biggest reason for that optimism was that I foresaw a strong set of matchups for Blacephalon in the Darkness Ablaze meta, particularly if Pokemon VMAX decks could live up to their hype and potential. Fast forward a few months and today we are looking at a metagame which is similar to what I predicted. Pokemon VMAX decks, such as Eternatus VMAX, Centiskorch VMAX, and Inteleon VMAX have proven to be strong, while other single-Prize decks have largely fallen by the wayside. That latter shift isn’t due to strong Pokemon VMAX decks, but more because of Arceus and Dialga and Palkia-GX‘s utter strength. All in all, multi-prize decks are dominating the Darkness Ablaze landscape — so what better than to play a deck that has traditionally performed well in those matchups?

Even with a strong matchup spread, the more critical piece to the Blacephalon puzzle was whether or not the deck could weather the storm of rotation and maintain its consistency and damage output — despite losing Fiery Flint, Heat Factory Prism Star, Ultra Space, and Blacephalon-GX. This was a tough ask given that the deck didn’t actually gain all that much from Darkness Ablaze. By switching around the Blacephalon deck’s Item and Stadium base, it is able to achieve a rather close level of firepower compared to its pre-rotation versions. As it turns out, post-rotation Blacephalon isn’t a weak knockoff of pre-rotation builds, but rather a strong, consistent deck by its own right. If you’ve played the deck before, you’ll feel right at home with the list in this article.

All in all, Blacephalon is one of the most competitive single-Prize attacking decks that exist in our new Standard format. It is one of the best options overall for any player, either on the PTCGO ladder or in tournament play. The deck itself is as strong as ever and the matchup spread is one that players dream about. If you’re looking for a strong counter-meta deck or a top-tier deck that doesn’t involve Pokemon VMAX or Arceus and Dialga and Palkia-GX, Blacephalon is an excellent choice.

The New Blacephalon

Let’s take a look at the new Blacephalon consistency engine. This is the Blacephalon list that I’ve developed:

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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