Fighting Fire with Fire — Baby Blowns to Counter ADP

Hey everyone! It’s Charlie and I’m happy to be back with another article. In my last two articles, I’ve spoken a lot on my hatred of Arceus and Dialga and Palkia-GX (ADP) and have actively called it one of the most format-warping cards ever printed. I struggled to find strong counters for a while, and to be honest, I still don’t have any decks that I can say truly beat ADP on an extremely consistent basis. However, I’ve put a lot of work into trying to counter it with various decks, and found one bright spot in my testing of Blacephalon variants. No deck in the format can dish out damage as quickly as Baby Blowns, and a well-built list can easily rival the pace of ADP and take games off it consistently. With Blacephalon, I was finally happy to see an opponent flip over ADP at the start of the game!

I tested all sorts of decks, from Lucario and Melmetal-GX variants to another iteration of Whimsicott-GX, but those decks couldn’t reliably take down a strong ADP player. I realized pretty quickly that the only way to beat ADP right now is to give them a taste of their own medicine and attempt to out-speed them. ADP can win the game in as little as three turns, but Blacephalon can match that even if it goes first. It can successfully take all six Prize Cards in the first three turns as well. Every turn ADP misses something critical, Blacephalon’s win percentage goes up as you put on so much pressure in such a short period of time. While not my favorite deck to play, this was the breakthrough I needed to get a bit more excited about the Standard format right now, so I went ahead and started testing.

As I will talk about later, Blacephalon decks have their own suite of issues, most notably consistency. To take the KOs you need in order to win, you need to hit multiple huge combos that require a lot of Fire Energy in your hand at once. I’ve tried to maximize consistency in this list and build the list so it keeps pace with the fastest ADP lists, but it can be weak to something like Marnie or Reset Stamp. Overall, I think this is the most competitive deck that exists right now with a significantly favorable matchup against ADP, so I’m happy to be able to cover this list for you guys. Here’s my latest list for Anti-ADP Baby Blowns:

Anti-ADP Baby Blowns Deck List

Pokemon (14)

4x Blacephalon (UNB #32)4x Jirachi (TEU #99)2x Dedenne-GX (UNB #57)1x Crobat V (SWSH3 #104)1x Oricorio-GX (COE #95)1x Cramorant V (SWSH1 #155)1x Mewtwo (UNB #75)

Trainers (31)

4x Welder (UNB #189)1x Boss's Orders (SWSH2 #154)4x Quick Ball (SWSH1 #179)4x Scoop Up Net (SWSH2 #165)4x Fire Crystal (UNB #173)3x Energy Retrieval (SWSH1 #160)3x Switch (SWSH1 #183)2x Pokémon Communication (TEU #152)2x Beast Bringer (UNB #164)1x Great Catcher (COE #192)3x Giant Hearth (UNM #197)

Energy (15)

15x Fire Energy (HS #116)

So far, this has been my best attempt at hard-countering ADP with a Baby Blowns list. This list features a lot of tricks to try and speed up the game; I’ll go into these now and explain how I can make the ADP matchup favorable with this list.

Deck Analysis

Four Blacephalon and Four Jirachi

These counts are both full for consistency reasons; Jirachi is by far your best starter and four copies of Blacephalon is pretty much required due to the fact I don’t run Pokemon recovery cards. Jirachi and Blacephalon are good to have on your board pretty much at all times and that’s why I decided to fill both these counts up. When you’re trying to go fast, make it easy to get your most valuable Pokemon on the board by maxing out their counts.

Two Dedenne-GX and One Crobat V

While Arceus and Dialga and Palkia-GX loves to take these guys down for three Prize cards each, you need to make sure you set up as fast or faster than ADP if you want to have a chance to win. I chose to go for a 2/1 split of draw Pokemon here because you often want to dig through more cards rather than sit on a small hand. You could go one Dedenne-GX / two Crobat V or two of each with this count, but I have liked the extra Dedenne-GX when I need to see more cards in one turn and I feel it helps keep the deck’s pace in line with ADP.

One Oricorio-GX

I put the Oricorio-GX into my ADP list in the last article in order to aid your “punch-back” turn after your opponent takes a lot of Prize cards in one turn. Oricorio-GX is back in this list for the exact same reason. When you’re trying to keep up with the fastest deck in one of the fastest formats ever, every single card counts and you’ll need those extra cards to lock up huge KOs on important turns. Oricorio-GX helps so much when it comes to finding that one extra Energy recovery card or a missing piece like Great Catcher. This card is extremely strong and I think it has easily earned its place in this list.

One Cramorant V

Your strategy with this deck is to take six Prize cards as fast as possible in whatever way is easiest. With a 160-HP Dedenne-GX sitting on most opposing players’ Bench in this format, Cramorant V fits the bill extremely well. With Welder, you can easily power this guy up in one turn and take game-winning Prize cards. If you happen to start Cramorant V, it can act as an incredible opener and help you find the missing pieces you need to have an explosive turn 2. I am actually considering a second copy of Cramorant V for consistency purposes, but I wasn’t able to fit it into this list so you have to be careful with your one copy. This is an incredible late-game finisher that provides you with so many options to win the game.

One Mewtwo

This single copy of Mewtwo acts as recovery for your Welder and your sole Boss's Orders, allowing you to put that missing Supporter on top of your deck then draw into it with Dedenne-GX, Crobat V, or Oricorio-GX. Plus, it’s reusable with Scoop Up Net, so you have a ton of options to reuse either Welder or Boss’s Orders when you most need it. I love this card as a one-of inclusion in the deck right now, its synergy with Scoop Up Net makes its value astronomically higher and it adds that extra bit of late-game consistency that you need to keep up with the biggest decks in the format. Keep this one copy in the list.

Four Welder and One Boss’s Orders

Four copies of Welder is standard. There’s no need for more than one Boss’s Orders in this list with Mewtwo and Great Catcher. Plus all the Pokemon-based consistency in this list, there’s very little need for anything like Professor's Research or Marnie since you already draw so many cards. Welder keeps you moving fast and attacking every turn, and Boss’s Orders is great to finish the game or pick up one critical KO. I like the Supporter count as-is right now and don’t think it’s worth changing it given how speedy this deck already is.

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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