Life of the Mad Party — Reflections on UPR-DAA and What Comes Next

Hello! The short-lived Ultra Prism to Darkness Ablaze (UPR-DAA) format is already coming to an end, killed by the rotation. The 10 days between the release of Darkness Ablaze on PTCGO and the POG Championships were the only reason anyone cared about this format. Unlike more similar ephemeral formats (like those used for Pokemon World Championships until 2018), I believe this format was more explored with a high density of online tournaments.

The POG Championships were designed as a replacement for Worlds. It doesn’t have the same level of prestige, but the fact that we had a two-day event comprised of a tough qualification phase and a second day featuring the best players of the world makes it appropriate to talk of it as the unofficial Worlds of this year. This is why I’m proud to have reached Top 32, something I never achieved at the actual World Championships (even though their Day 2 usually has less players).

The deck I played surprisingly was Mad Party. This was not my original plan at all; I made the decision to switch to it while watching Day 1 of the event. Don’t think for a minute that this deck was the secret BDIF — it had plenty of weaknesses! However, as I studied the metagame it became apparent that Mad Party had a shot at doing very well because of what was and wasn’t actually played.

Playing this deck was a gamble, but it was one of the strongest metacalls I’ve made. This is why I want to talk about this deck. I’ll discuss the list as usual, however I think the most important lesson I can give regarding Mad Party is not how to play the deck but why I chose to play it. In other words, how to recognize when to play a lower-tier deck instead of a more mainstream one. I’ll give my thoughts on what to play after the rotation as well.

An Introduction to Combo Mad Party

Mad Party is not the hardest deck to build as there are 16 auto-include cards (the Mad Party Pokemon Bunnelby, Dedenne, Galarian Mr. Rime, and Polteageist), not counting Sinistea, Twin Energy, Professor's Research, etc. Basically, you want to include ways to discard Pokemon and draw cards.

There were two variants of the deck circulating when I started testing the deck. One (which to my knowledge comes from Daniel Altavilla) included a Naganadel-GX line to use Stinger GX since the deck played Triple Acceleration Energy. It has been a long time since I used Stinger-GX, but I liked this option a lot in theory to deal with a deck like Eternatus VMAX. Use the Mad Party attack on Eternatus VMAX, Follow up with Stinger GX, then hit it again with Mad Party to KO it and take three Prizes. However, as I was testing the deck I found that I wasn’t using Stinger GX. Against Eternatus VMAX, I could win the Prize race without having to use a GX attack. This led me to cut Naganadel-GX.

The other common Mad Party build was popularized by Azul Garcia Griego. It was focused on Bunnelby and originally played one Sinistea. While it was possible to attack with Polteageist, it wasn’t the main attacker by any means. Instead, the list played Duskull and Rose Tower to try to discard and draw more cards. I believe this approach is better suited to the Expanded format, but in Standard the draw power of Polteageist was very valuable.

My own take on the deck was to include Oranguru, Mr. Mime and Jirachi Prism Star. This gave me an advantage against other one-Prize decks because I could win the Prize race even if (being slower) I started at a disadvantage. My original list only played one Prize Pokemon (including Jirachi) to make better use of Scoop Up Net and go without Switch or Air Balloon. While it was decently effective, there were times when it was too slow. It didn’t play Stadiums, which could be dangerous against decks using Heat Factory Prism StarThunder Mountain Prism Star, or worse, Black Market Prism Star.

After sharing the list with some friends and including their suggestions, this was the final list I played:

Pokemon (25)

4x Polteageist (DAA #83)4x Sinistea (SSH #89)4x Bunnelby (DAA #150)4x Dedenne (DAA #78)4x Galarian Mr. Rime (DAA #36)2x Oranguru (SSH #148)1x Mr. Mime (TEU #66)1x Jirachi Prism Star (CES #97)1x Dedenne-GX (UNB #57)

Trainers (28)

4x Professor's Research (SSH #178)2x Roxie (COE #205)1x Boss's Orders (RCL #154)4x Acro Bike (PRC #122)4x Quick Ball (SSH #179)4x Mysterious Treasure (FOL #113)3x Great Ball (EPO #93)3x Scoop Up Net (RCL #165)1x Great Catcher (COE #192)1x Rose Tower (DAA #169)1x Thunder Mountain Prism Star (LOT #191)

Energy (7)

4x Twin Energy (RCL #174)3x Triple Acceleration Energy (UNB #190)

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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