Fighting the Fire — Coalossal / Sandaconda in Standard

Hello PokeBeach readers! With the Players Cup III right around the corner, I’ll be bringing you a deck that I believe is a good play for making the second stage of Players Cup III; Sandaconda V / Coalossal.

Why Sandaconda / Coalossal?

This was initially conceived as a deck meant for tournaments where Arceus and Dialga and Palkia-GX was banned as it counters most of the other popular decks, however, I feel it still stands a chance in competitions where ADP isn’t banned. My interest in this deck started when I realised the potential of Opal and saw an opportunity to introduce Stage Two decks into the meta. I started with Rillaboom, but eventually switched to Coalossal because of the benefit of playing both Fighting and Fire types in the same deck, countering most of the meta. These decks are built to be as aggressive as possible, taking Knock Outs as early as turn two, then every turn following.

The reason Opal is the card that allows these decks to function is that it nearly guarantees the turn-two Evolution into the Stage Two Coalossal, assuming you flip at least one heads. This logic is often argued by other players as flipping coins is introducing RNG into the game, but I feel when the odds of flipping a single heads is 75% then its worth it if your deck should then win against most of the meta. It’s important to also remember that you can also simply draw into the Rare Candy and Coalossal, and it isn’t unreasonable to assume that will happen in some games. This option combined with Opal means the deck is getting a turn-two Coalossal nearly every game.


Eternatus VMAX

This matchup is pretty simple; you hit for Weakness and they really can’t keep pace. The one thing to keep in mind in this matchup is making sure you have an extra Coalossal in play, or at least a Rolycoly, so that if they try to make you whiff an attack by Knocking Out your Coalossal you can have another one ready to go. You often end up Knocking Out a Pokémon before your opponent has set up — this isn’t always that relevant, but it can cause some issues if your opponent plays Reset Stamp. This would allow them to force you to a small hand after you KO the first Eternatus VMAX and potentially mount a comeback. The best ways to avoid this are by setting up a second Coalossal and/or gusting around the first Eternatus VMAX to put yourself at three Prizes.

Lucario and Melmetal-GX and Zacian V

This matchup, while favorable, is still relatively close. The plan for the opponent is to rush out Zacian V and try to beat you in the Prize race as you can’t use Sanaconda V to one-shot after Full Metal Wall GX if they have Metal Goggles.

The strategy against this deck is to take advantage of your of Fire Pokémon to try and take one-shot KOs, then make your opponent whiff a Knock Out by attaching Cape of Toughness. Ninetales V is the only Fire attacker I currently include in my list, but with Ordinary Rod, you can reuse it to find another Knock Out. Lucario and Melmetal-GX also runs Coating Metal Energy which is why I included a copy of Giratina to ensure I am able to one-shot using Ninetales V.

If you wanted to further improve this matchup the addition of Tool Scrapper would help — for most of the game they will opt to avoid using their GX attack as it doesn’t get much value in the matchup. A second Fire attacker is another consideration for how to improve this matchup and the best choice would probably be Entei. The reason Ninetails V is better than Entei to start is that it can one-shot through Metal Goggles, but Entei is also strong, as well as being a single-Prize attacker which gives it some good utility in the ADP matchup as well.

Arceus and Dialga and Palkia-GX / Zacian V

This matchup is the only mainstream deck I would consider a bad matchup. I have, however, found some ways to make it more manageable; the first being Phione. Phione allows Coalossal to take the first Knock Out on a two-Prize Pokémon before they even use their GX attack, assuming you go first. Phione also forces your opponent into benching both of their Arceus and Dialga and Palkia-GX or they will not be able to keep pace as you can repeatedly gust with Phione and take two Prizes every turn.

The second addition I included to help this matchup, while also being a good attacker in other matchups, is Cramorant V. Similar to Phione, Cramorant V is trying to take free Prizes by sniping your opponents Dedenne-GX, allowing you to have an extra way to take Prizes if you whiff Boss's Orders and they have two ADP in play. In this matchup you also want to avoid benching your own Dedenne-GX and Crobat V if possible. If you can avoid this, it will force your opponent to attack with Zacian V or they won’t be able to take a Knock Out during their turn, putting you further in the Prize lead. Cape of Toughness is also good in this matchup as it stops Zacian V from one-shotting your Sandaconda V, but most lists play Tool Scrapper, so this isn’t always reliable. If I were to include another tech for this deck it would be Entei because of its utility in the Lucario and Melmetal-GX matchup as well as being a single-Prize Pokémon, forcing the ADP player to find Boss’s Orders to take game.

Pikachu and Zekrom-GX

Like Eternatus VMAX, this matchup is fairly easy because of Weakness, however, most lists are running Mewtwo and Mew-GX meaning you can’t one-shot everything in their deck. Phione plays a fairly big role in this matchup, allowing you to gust around Mewtwo and Mew-GX if your opponent doesn’t bench a second copy. This match usually starts with the opponent leading Boltund V then moving into Mewtwo and Mew-GX, meaning you get a free two-Prize lead by KOing the Boltund V. They also can’t one-shot a Sandaconda V, so you often get a free hit on their Mewtwo and Mew-GX or are able to take a Knock Out on one of their benched Pokémon.

Mew is important in this matchup to stop a double KO on both your Coalossal using Tag Bolt GX, which can be a win condition for your opponent as it makes it so you likely won’t be able to get Energy back for the rest of the game. The last thing to worry about with this matchup is Vikavolt V as you have no way to get Coalossal in play after they have Item-locked you. This isn’t a huge issue, as Sandaconda V can KO it fairly fast, but it does often let them take a Prize lead or at least set up for some big turns in the future.

Centiskorch VMAX

In this matchup, you often want to lead with Cramorant V so you can start by sniping their Centiskorch V and KO it when they go to attack. If you can do that, this matchup is fairly straight forward — they need to find much more than you to get Knock Outs, and they are risking three Prizes. If you have to Knock Out the Volcanion it isn’t a huge issue as you can follow up by KOing one Centiskorch VMAX, then using either Boss’s Orders or Cramorant V to finish the game. Cape of Toughness is great to find in this matchup, especially after you Knock Out the first Centiskorch VMAX as it’s fairly hard for them to set up a second Centiskorch VMAX which can hit for 270 damage. If you can force them to two-shot one of your Pokémon, the game is nearly unlosable. One thing to keep in mind is a potential opposing Cramorant V, so benching Mew in this matchup is usually a decent play.

This concludes the public portion of this article.

If you'd like to continue reading, consider purchasing a PokeBeach premium membership! If you're not completely satisfied with your membership, you can request a full refund within 30 days.

Each week we post high-quality content from some of the game's top players. Our article program isn't a corporate operation, advertising front, or for-profit business. We set our prices so that we can pay the game's top players to write the best content for our subscribers. Each article topic is carefully selected, goes through multiple drafts, and is touched up by our editors. We take great pride in our program!