Draining the Swamp – Countering Mew with Galarian Moltres / Leafeon

Hello PokeBeach readers! Isaiah here, happily bringing you another article! By now, Fusion Strike has been out for nearly a month, and it’s beginning to settle into the metagame more than ever: the gap between Mew VMAX / Genesect V and the rest of the format is pretty significant, and growing larger by the day. The most potent challenger to this powerhouse so far has been the format’s Single Strike decks, namely Single Strike Urshifu VMAX / Umbreon VMAX and Gengar VMAX, both of which I covered in my last article. However, as prominent as Single Strike decks may be in the current metagame — they make up a collective metagame share of around 15% — they still fall short, with a win rate of only around 50% and only a slight favorability against Mew VMAX decks, which is unfortunate considering that their primary role in Standard is to take down decks that have Weakness to Darkness-type and Fighting-type Pokemon.

After seeing Single Strike’s disappointing win rate, especially against Mew VMAX, many players have begun to seek out new options for taking down the powerhouse. One option is the classic Zacian V / Zamazenta V, which takes advantage of the fact that Mew VMAX seldom plays Tool Scrapper or Tool Jammer by putting forward large Pokemon V with Cape of Toughness attached. Another option is Jolteon VMAX with the classic combo of Marnie and Path to the Peak to damage Mew VMAX’s draw engine. Other players are exploring different strategies involving Darkness-type Pokemon like Galarian Weezing / Sableye V. While all of these strategies are powerful, though, one of the most powerful so far has been the renewal of the Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX / Galarian Moltres V deck that’s been hanging on over the past few months. Here’s a recent deck list from my good friend Luke Morsa of Celio’s Network on YouTube:

Pokemon (22)

3x Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX (SWSH5 #88)3x Rapid Strike Urshifu V (SWSH5 #87)3x Galarian Moltres V (SWSH6 #97)2x Inteleon (SWSH6 #43)1x Inteleon (SWSH1 #58)4x Drizzile (SWSH1 #56)4x Sobble (SWSH6 #41)1x Passimian (SWSH6 #88)1x Crobat V (SWSH3 #104)

Trainers (28)

4x Professor's Research (SWSH45 #60)2x Marnie (SWSH1 #169)2x Raihan (SWSH7 #152)1x Boss's Orders (SWSH2 #154)4x Quick Ball (SWSH1 #179)3x Evolution Incense (SWSH1 #163)3x Level Ball (SWSH5 #129)2x Energy Search (SWSH1 #161)2x Energy Switch (SWSH1 #162)1x Air Balloon (SWSH1 #156)1x Escape Rope (SWSH5 #125)1x Scoop Up Net (SWSH2 #165)1x Telescopic Sight (SWSH4 #160)1x Tower of Waters (SWSH5 #138)

Energy (10)

4x Rapid Strike Energy (SWSH5 #140)5x Darkness Energy (HS #121)1x Fighting Energy (HS #120)
This build plays a slightly larger Galarian Moltres V package in an effort to make a straight–Galarian Moltres V game plan more reliable against Mew VMAX while still having the consistent Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX option in other matchups. In general, this deck should be reasonably favored against Mew VMAX, but due to the natural inconsistencies and unreliability of the low Energy count, low Boss's Orders count, and two strategies that do not complement each other particularly well, the deck can struggle to win games, even against good matchups.

However, it got my mind thinking about the other options out there for Galarian Moltres V. Around the same time Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX / Galarian Moltres V started popping up again, a different deck with a similar goal, Leafeon VMAX / Galarian Moltres V, also came to light. The idea of this deck is to use the same Galarian Moltres V strategies against decks that are weak to Darkness, but to switch to Leafeon VMAX at other times. Leafeon VMAX is a situationally better alternative attacker than Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX, and it’s also much easier to use. The earliest lists for this archetype looked something like the following list, which was piloted by titallytan to a second-place finish in an online tournament:

Pokemon (19)

2x Leafeon VMAX (SWSH7 #8)3x Leafeon V (SWSH7 #7)2x Galarian Moltres V (SWSH6 #97)2x Inteleon (SWSH6 #43)1x Inteleon (SWSH1 #58)4x Drizzile (SWSH1 #56)4x Sobble (SWSH6 #41)1x Crobat V (SWSH3 #104)

Trainers (31)

3x Professor's Research (SWSH45 #60)2x Boss's Orders (SWSH2 #154)2x Marnie (SWSH1 #169)1x Raihan (SWSH7 #152)4x Quick Ball (SWSH1 #179)3x Level Ball (SWSH5 #129)2x Energy Search (SWSH1 #161)2x Evolution Incense (SWSH1 #163)2x Fan of Waves (SWSH5 #127)2x Scoop Up Net (SWSH2 #165)2x Switch (SWSH1 #183)2x Tool Jammer (SWSH5 #136)1x Escape Rope (SWSH5 #125)3x Galar Mine (SWSH2 #160)

Energy (10)

4x Grass Energy (HS #115)4x Darkness Energy (HS #121)2x Capture Energy (SWSH2 #171)
While I liked the idea of this deck, especially with the incorporation of Leafeon VMAX over Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX, I felt the build was still lacking. Notably, this deck list in particular has dipped particularly low on consistency cards in favor of a far more teched-out build. As such, it doesn’t properly run with the consistency of either a Leafeon VMAX or a Galarian Moltres V deck, and instead it ends up as an awkward mix of both.

With that said, I was a huge fan of where this deck was going conceptually, so I sought to improve it. One idea that has hung around in the back of my head since rotation is the possibility of a Galarian Moltres V / Inteleon deck, but as much as I wanted this to work, the concept was just not feasible by itself. However, a lot of the problems I was having on the theory end are solved by the inclusion of a small Leafeon VMAX package, which shores up some of the matchups that are hard for Galarian Moltres V to handle on its own, such as the Single Strike decks. With that concept in mind, I got to work on creating my version of the deck — a build I would call “Galarian Moltres V / Leafeon VMAX.” While the name change might seem a bit superficial, I think of it as clarifying the change in focus of the deck. This build is a Galarian Moltres V deck first, and a Leafeon VMAX deck second.


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Anthony Chen

Aspiring Trainer
Member
Personally I have a 95% win rate against MewGen as Single Strike Toolbox. I can see how Single strike loses if they don't set up houndours in time but isn't that just how the deck loses. Also going second do be terrible for that deck.
 

Zaya_Lee

Evoshock, Devolution Spray, Pickup
Member
Personally I have a 95% win rate against MewGen as Single Strike Toolbox. I can see how Single strike loses if they don't set up houndours in time but isn't that just how the deck loses. Also going second do be terrible for that deck.
Yeah, the matchup generally should be in Single Strike's favor based on just how the decks work, but Single Strike's inherent inconsistencies and the recent emergence of Meloetta as a tech really hurts the matchup for Single Strike, making a lot of your attack maps much harder to pull off. Obviously these don't always come up, but when they do, they can often result in a win for Mew.
 

Anthony Chen

Aspiring Trainer
Member
Yeah, the matchup generally should be in Single Strike's favor based on just how the decks work, but Single Strike's inherent inconsistencies and the recent emergence of Meloetta as a tech really hurts the matchup for Single Strike, making a lot of your attack maps much harder to pull off. Obviously these don't always come up, but when they do, they can often result in a win for Mew.
Honestly Single Strike just struggles with inconsistency like its all about getting the double houndours turn 1 and if you don't the games up.