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Standard 1st/52 ADP Zacian w/ Bronzong (TEU-BST) - Card Explanations, Tournament Report, and Possible Changes

Holden Sheeks

a.k.a. WinterShorts
Introduction - Opinions on the Format & Experience with playing Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX:

Hallo! It's been a bit of a while since I've done much activity for competitive Pokémon TCG. Corona Virus was a factor, obviously, but either way for the longest time I wasn't too interested in the decks that were being played now and what they did. In fact, I thought that all of them were very inconsistent messes that weren't very fun to play in my opinion. Every deck seemed like you needed to go through too many hoops in order to fulfill your deck's basic setup with the multiple cards you played like multiple Quick Balls, multiple Switches for mobility, multiple Metal Saucers if you were any Metal deck, etc. instead of a catch-all answer like Brigette, or Tapu Lele-GX for Brigette, or Ultra Ball for Tapu Lele-GX for Brigette a couple formats ago. That much is probably a weird complaint, but I know what isn't: Several Pokémon that were worth 3 prizes and were it's deck's main focus, including a card that turned 2-prizers into more 3-prizers once it used it's GX attack (you know exactly what I'm talking about as he will be the part of the main subject of this thread). Combine this with consistent gusting effects via Boss's Orders and you have one of the fastest formats in the Pokemon TCG history determined by only a couple factors. Gusting effects have never been more extreme, and I didn't even mention Crushing Hammer.

It seemed like whatever fun to be had for me this format wouldn't be whatever rogue shenanigan I could come up with to challenge the metagame, but to break the format as much as possible, mainly through the degenerate art of Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX, also known as ADP, and it's format-defying GX attack. This was my favorite Tag Team to make a deck around generally. In Expanded, I've made concepts like ADP with Zoroark-GX, and when I saw more play Honchkrow-GX on the online ladder, I tried making ADP with Boltund V just to have the lightning weakness against Honchkrow. None of these decks were perfect, nor are they the subject of this thread's deck profile, this is to simply state my experience with everyone's favorite ban suggestion.

So naturally, my favorite deck to play in Team Up-onwards, the current Standard format, was ADP Zacian. It didn't work all the time, but when it did, I got to do what I like doing with PTCG: Answer threats with OHKO power in the form of ADP-boosted Zacian V, and make explosive plays while drawing through my entire deck with just as explosive draw power. Still though, this deck or really the format in general wasn't consistent enough for me with how much you had to do for your setup. Others will rightfully feel otherwise but I just personally didn't like how you could discard key cards you may have needed using Professor's Research or Dedenne-GX, such as copies of Boss's Orders or Switch that you wish you could just use later, esspecially against LucMetal decks. Against PikaRom specifically, Switch was crucial for you to avoid getting Paralyzed whereas if you couldn't attack that turn you very likely lost the game. Cards like Switch and Boss's Orders were just great cards overall that could be lost when you started going through your deck.

So that's just all opinion. Despite any minor gripes I had with playing the format I still bothered to mess around and see what I could do. I entered my first PTCGO tournament in 3 months with Battle Styles legal for play, specifically the Full Grip Games Online Series hosted bi-weekly on Tuesdays (which I might as well throw the link to that tournament's discord just incase you're ever interested), and with my new take on ADP Zacian, to my surprise and in overwhelming joy, I actually won the entire event with a clean 6-0 record.

I was really ecstatic! Even though it was just a bi-weekly of 52 people as opposed to say, the Players Cup, I won with what I considered to be a cool take on typical ADP Zacian and it got some attention from friends and fellow PTCG players (Flex Daddy Righteous already made a video on their channel about the deck). I thought I was on to something, and that's the subject of today's deck thread. I will present 2 lists I have on PTCGO, the Energy Switch ADP Zacian build I made just for comparison's sake, and the deck I took to yesterday's tournament, this being ADP Zacian now paired with it's newest partner: BST Bronzong.

I will make any necessary updates to this thread should I ever get any new information, include / replace personal thoughts, or just have a typo to fix should I see it.

****** Pokémon Trading Card Game Deck List ******

##Pokémon - 16

* 2 Oranguru SSH 148
* 2 Crobat V DAA 104
* 2 Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX CEC 156
* 1 Eldegoss V RCL 19
* 4 Dedenne-GX UNB 195
* 1 Aegislash V VIV 177
* 4 Zacian V SSH 195

##Trainer Cards - 33

* 2 Cherish Ball UNM 191
* 2 Marnie SSH 169
* 4 Metal Saucer SSH 170
* 2 Energy Spinner UNB 170
* 1 Chaotic Swell CEC 187
* 4 Quick Ball SSH 179
* 4 Escape Rope PRC 127
* 4 Energy Switch FFI 89
* 2 Air Balloon SSH 156
* 4 Professor's Research SHF 60
* 4 Boss's Orders RCL 154

##Energy - 11

* 3 Water Energy XYEnergy 9
* 8 Metal Energy Energy 8

Total Cards - 60

****** Deck List Generated by the Pokémon TCG Online www.pokemon.com/TCGO ******
****** Pokémon Trading Card Game Deck List ******

##Pokémon - 21

* 2 Crobat V DAA 104
* 2 Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX CEC 156
* 1 Eldegoss V RCL 19
* 4 Dedenne-GX UNB 195
* 1 Aegislash V VIV 177
* 4 Bronzor TEU 100
* 2 Zacian V SSH 195
* 4 Bronzong BST 102
* 1 Mew UNB 76

##Trainer Cards - 28

* 1 Marnie SSH 169
* 4 Metal Saucer SSH 170
* 1 Chaotic Swell CEC 187
* 4 Quick Ball SSH 179
* 4 Escape Rope PRC 127
* 4 Pokémon Communication TEU 152
* 2 Air Balloon SSH 156
* 4 Professor's Research SHF 60
* 4 Boss's Orders RCL 154

##Energy - 11

* 4 Aurora Energy SSH 186
* 7 Metal Energy Energy 8

Total Cards - 60

****** Deck List Generated by the Pokémon TCG Online www.pokemon.com/TCGO ******
Win Condition:

4 words, you know them: GX, Boss, Boss, Game.

Going second, establish an Altered Creation GX using Metal and Water energies as early as possible, take out two 2-prize liabilities on the bench and win the game faster than your opponent can click the "Well Played!" button on PTCGO like the proud competitive try-hard you are. What makes this strategy so terrifying & degenerate to the point where people want ADP to be banned and is one of the main reasons why 90% of opposing decks run Crushing Hammer is the ability to establish it your first turn of the game (going second, at least). You go for this exact plan every single game you can. Here was how it got done initially, before SWSH - Battle Styles / BST came out for anyone not caught up in the loop:

-A Manual Attachment to your ADP with Aurora Energy or Water Energy (make sure you can get this guy in the active)
-Get a Metal Energy into the discard pile with a discard effect (Professor's Research, Dedenne-GX, Quick Ball, or Aurora Energy)
-Metal Saucer onto a Metal-Type Pokémon, usually Zacian V
-Use Energy Switch to Switch the Metal Energy onto ADP
-Altered Creation GX

The ladder 4 steps in that order.

While I have a little more respect for the Energy Switch build after learning the power of SSH Oranguru to save cards like combo pieces and spare Boss's Orders, I still think using Energy Switch for this purpose is overall gimmicky and clunky, feels like it at least. This much asked you to play certain item cards in a specific order, in a format where good draw power was on discard-and-draw refresh effects such as Professor's Research and Dedenne-GX, meaning you could discard key combo pieces that you needed to use first in order to get the turn 1 going second Altered Creation GX. SSH Oranguru solved quite a bit of this issue, but there's just some games where you needed to use your search card on a hand refresher like Dedenne or Crobat, or you just didn't have the search card to get the Oranguru in the first place before discarding a key combo piece that you could've used. Even then, you still needed to get your miracle T1 Altered Creation going via digging & searching through your deck as much as possible, and Oranguru only slightly helps this aspect, and by slightly, I mean literally by one card.

Enter BST Bronzong. SWSH Battle Styles gets officially released on March 19th, 2021, adding a lot more to the competitive side of the current card pool that SWSH Vivid Voltage hoped to achieve. Just ignore the fact that BST Bronzong's ability with Aurora Energy makes for a cool toolbox playstyle, because what I believe is that BST Bronzong is a much better replacement for Energy Switch. You can get out the Bronzong turn 1 going second thanks to TEU Bronzor's ability, so now we have a new plan:

-Attach Aurora Energy to a Pokémon (Any Pokémon, since you can move it later in the turn if you establish the Bronzong)
-Bench TEU Bronzor ASAP to then immediately evolve it into BST Bronzong
-Find a way to get a Metal Energy into the discard pile (pre-mentioned discard effects)
-Metal Saucer onto a benched Metal Pokémon (so establish that benched Pokémon ASAP too)
-Move all the energy on board to ADP and bring it to the active spot
-Altered Creation GX

So we have an extra step, but that's because said extra step is just benching more Pokémon. We can do most of these actions in a number of orders, but the real key difference is that we can establish our Energy Switching effect before using our Metal Saucer to get the Metal Energy in play. This overall makes this turn 1 gameplan not only a lot smoother to work out, but now we can be super crafty with how we attach energies and how we attack with our Pokémon since we can move energies how we please. I'll exaggerate it again, if you can establish T1 Altered Creation GX going second, your chances of winning the game you're in skyrocket, the challenge is to do it all the time consistently.

Card by Card:

So before I get into my card choices, I want to quickly talk about how I got to the conclusion on what quantity to run for each card. I have one goal every single game: Establish Altered Creation GX as early as possible, turn 1 if we go second. So how did I go about consistency? One thing you can never control in any card game is the exact kind of cards you'll draw. Out of your deck it'll always be random out of the deck you made. I figured that since we need to get to our dream turn, I viewed it like if there were separate areas of consistency I needed to focus on for each combo piece, and run as many cards for each category and as equally as possible to get them into our opening hand and as many hand refreshes as possible, so what do we need again?

So for specific cards:

-The ADP itself
*2x ADP + 4x Quick Ball + 4x Pokemon Communication = 10x cards to grab ADP
-Metal Energy
*7x Metal Energies = 7x cards to get Metal Energy in hand
-TEU Bronzor
*4x Bronzor + 4x Quick Ball + 4x Pokemon Communication = 12x cards to grab Bronzor
-BST Bronzong
*4x Bronzong + 4x Pokemon Communication = 8x cards to grab Bronzong
-Aurora Energy
*4x Aurora Energy = 4x cards to get Aurora Energy
-Metal Saucer
*4x Metal Saucer = 4x cards to get Metal Saucer

And as for Hand Refreshers:

-4x Dedenne-GX + 2x Crobat V + 4x Professor's Research + 1x Marnie + 4x Quick Ball + 4x Pokemon Communication = 19 ways to refresh your hand.

Overall, not much we can do to modify chances of getting things like Aurora Energy or Metal Saucer, but we have plenty of draw power to try and dig for them, and as for Aurora Energy specifically, it's a lot more flexible than trying to land a Saucer to move the energy turn 1 given that you can attach it to a Pokémon and move it later. To make my weird and overly complicated perspective of consistency simple, we have plenty of universal Pokémon search to go along with more copies of Pokémon we want to see turn 1. Just wanted to mention a bit of talk about ratios, so now let's get into the card by card:

2x Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX, 2x Zacian V

The main attackers, might as well be your only attackers. 2 ADP is very standard, however I'd like to mention I constantly thought of only playing 1 copy a couple times. You obviously only need to and can only establish one Altered Creation GX per game, making the second copy of ADP 90% of the time a dead card. I mean, you could start attacking with the second ADP, but that would mean all the opponent has to do is OHKO 2 ADP's, instead of only playing 1 ADP the whole game, and then forcing 2 more OHKOS by only playing 2 prizers for the rest of the game. The second copy of ADP is of course here to further ensure that we don't prize ADP at all for that sweet initial turn, but even with playing one copy, prizing your 1 copy still was low odds, and even when you did prize it there were still games where the deck all of the sudden turns into Zacian Turbo and you just start knocking out 2-prizers that eventually evolve into 3-prizers as a disruption plan. Ultimately I decided to just play the 2 copies just to be on the safe side (playing 2 copies also benefits the decision of adding Mewtwo & Mew-GX for psychic weakness as an option, more on that later.)

Playing 2 Zacian V was the real greedy call. Trust me, I'd love to play 3, but the list I wanted to play was looking real tight, and my thought process was that so long as I establish a T1 Altered Creation GX (you know, the whole point of the structure of the deck), I only needed to attack once with ADP and once with Zacian V, and they wouldn't have too much of a chance for my opponent to send a Zacian V to the discard pile before setting off the GX attack. Additionally, I was going to use Zacian's ability only in specific scenarios, either going first or should I whiff the T1 Altered Creation GX, and either way I could only use 1 Zacian ability per turn. I thought I was fine playing just 2. It's funny that you don't even need the Zacian at all in order to at the very least set up your initial Altered Creation GX.

4x TEU Bronzor, 4x BST Bronzong

TEU Bronzor is the superior Bronzor for this format because of the ability to evolve it immediately. Having 10HP higher with the other Bronzor in BST is not a benefit we should be focusing on as it doesn't matter at all in our first turn. We have such a thicc line of Bronzong even though we only need to establish one of them just to get it out turn 1 as consistently as possible. We may have enough search for the Bronzor with Quick Ball in the mix, but Pokémon Communication is the only card in the deck that searches Bronzong, making 8 total openings to get the card into your hand. Playing more Pokémon in general also naturally makes Pokémon Communication a lot better so yeah.

2x Crobat V, 4x Dedenne-GX, 1x Eldegoss V

Oh yeah, we go hard on liabilities.

Usually people run 1 Crobat V in their lists, which is completely fine, and we usually bench just 1 Crobat to help us dig through our deck, but with the second copy, it's more insurance to make sure we can dig through our deck by as many cards as possible as opposed to playing 1 Crobat and possibly prizing or leading with the only singular Crobat. In combination with Pokemon Communication, we can also make our hand smaller just by using Poke Comm and either failing the search on purpose or re-search for the Crobat or Dedenne.

Dedenne-GX is the overall better liability as it needs no modifications with your hand in order to draw your guaranteed 6 cards, and the discarding effect not only discards your necessary Metal Energy as previously stated, but can discards card that we don't need anymore for the game like additional copies of our Bronzong line, techs that don't do anything in the matchup we're currently playing, Draw Supporters if we only need the Boss's Orders to win the game, and several similar examples. Having a Dedenne in hand also helps us draw into our Boss's Orders and possibly other cards we need should we ever get Reset Stamped or Marnie'd. I remember a PokéBeach writer talking about his AbilityZard deck at the time which played 4 Dedenne in his list that article, and I remember him saying something along the lines of, "It never feels bad to have a Dedenne in hand", and I couldn't agree better myself. I don't think I have a good reason to run any less copies. Infact, I remember several games, using various builds of ADP Zacian, where I benched all 4 of my Dedenne-GX out of my deck, one of those games happened in the tournament that I will talk about later. This example usually happens once 2 of your key Pokémon have been knocked out and you actually have the bench room to use your 4th Dedenne which can win you the game should you get the cards you need that turn. It's maximum consistency, and I wouldn't have it any other way, esspecially for ADPZ.

Definitley in favor of the 1 Eldegoss V, as it helps smoothen our Supporter process. With a Boss's Orders in the discard pile, should we have the open space on the bench it's a searchable Boss's Orders, and since we need to Boss's Orders a lot of the time, having that option is super underrated. Getting a necessary Research or Marnie also helps when needed, and that situation does come up.

Another cool thing with playing Bronzong now is that we can actually attack with our liabilities! Seems very silly, and you're probably desperate for an answer when you do so which is usually a losing situation, esspecially when you decide to use Tingly Return GX as opposed to Altered Creation GX, but those situations do and have come up. With an ADP Boost, Crobat V using an Aurora and a Metal Energy can soften up VMAX Pokemon for Zacian V to KO the following turn when needed. Attacking with both these Pokémon reaches the 370HP threshold, which OHKO's Eternatus VMAX even if that player decides to play Big Charm. Here's the math:

-ADP Boost = 30 more damage for each attack
-Zacian V + ADP Boost = 260
-Crobat V + ADP Boost = 110 (100 + 10 poison damage)
-260 + 110 = 370

On the subject of leading with them, since we play so many, it sucks to do so but we have 5-6 more to use with a good amount of search cards so you usually don't get bricked once you do. If you're playing this many liabilities, you might as well expect to lead with one of them generally. That's the risk you play for massive, fast draw power, but hey you can at least Air Balloon onto them :)

1x Aegislash V, 1x UNB Mew

The Aegislash V is very clearly for Decidueye, whereas the UNB Mew flips the matchups it does well in more than you think. Again I'll explain it more in the matchups section but I'll tell you right now it makes it a lot easier against:

-Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX
-Inteleon VMAX
-PikaRom (I would imagine at least, I haven't used the Mew yet post-BST so I'll update this section when I see the situation come up)

Pretty unheard of to play a whopping 21 Pokémon in a big-basic era like this, but it makes Poke Comm a lot better.

4x Professor's Research, 1x Marnie

Professor's Research is just a very good draw supporter to open up with. It's unfortunate to get a PTCGO hand and end up discarding something like 3 Boss's Orders or 2 Metal Saucers, but it's well worth it, you need to dig.

I only play the one Marnie as I feel it's more situational than it is a draw supporter. Getting in that one well-timed disruption is good against decks like Blacephalon and Decidueye, and it's good in certain other situations too against most other decks (esspecially when you also get the Chaotic Swell), but I only feel like you only need to disrupt the opponent or shuffle your hand when needed once. Maybe I could increase the Marnie count to 2, but with the way you want your game to turn out, using Research the first turn to help get everything going, then Boss's Orders twice the following 2 turns, the game's already over by that point.

4x Boss's Orders

ADP and Zacian V are your main attackers, but Boss's Orders is your win condition and determines the outcome of the game all the time. After you get your GX attack set up, you want to just Boss's Orders every turn you get. It's one of the most important cards in the deck. I max out my copies to make sure I draw it more often or if I have spares when they're discarded, and I simply wouldn't go any lower.

4x Quick Ball, 4x Pokémon Communication

4x Quick Ball needs no introduction, while Pokémon Communication not only is more universal Pokémon search, but it can shuffle back Pokémon that we don't want discarded yet, like spare copies of Dedenne-GX that we could use in future turns, the Eldegoss V to further ensure we have a Boss's Orders to close out the game, or even Zacian V to ensure that we have an attacker in deck should our other attackers fall.

4x Metal Saucer

Max out your energy acceleration cards, and never look back. Esspecially with the Bronzong, this is your main method on dealing with the worst of Crushing Hammer.

4x Escape Rope, 2x Air Balloon

Now here might be a controversial decision: Playing a full set of Escape Rope instead of playing any copies of Switch. I think Escape Rope is an overall better card in most scenarios. Forcing your opponent to switch up key Pokémon at worst disrupts them a bit and at best is a Boss's Orders without using your Supporter for the turn, and whatever benefit your opponent gets from it is very minuscule. I think it's really good in a deck like this.

Two Air Balloon adds good measure to mobility and to make sure we can get our ADP to the active, and unlike Escape Rope you don't have to burn it immediately to get the most out of the effect. I originally played just one copy in older lists, since if your opponent doesn't play Tool Scrapper, which you don't really see in a lot of lists, then once you attach the Air Balloon you have your pivot for the rest of the game, but the access to mobility is too good to have a smaller number of Air Balloon, esspecially if you're attacking with Zacian V.

1x Chaotic Swell

Just a nice one-of, really. It's great for stopping key stadiums like Giant Hearth or Power Plant which the former can benefit a Fire deck really well, and the ladder can ruin our Dedenne-GX draw support. I never like to play 2 or more because it's always possible to draw both of them, refresh your hand with a discard effect, and not get use out of the second copy at all. If everything goes right, dropping the one Swell is not only a nice bonus, but say against Fire-type decks, stalling out the Hearth by a whole turn or 2 is so good since this deck wants to win in a specific small number of turns.

4x Aurora Energy, 7x Metal Energy

Maxing out on counts of Aurora Energy makes total sense, since not only do you want your Water requirement for ADP as much as possible, but for your liabilities to attack too when needed. As for the Metal Energy, it's definitley a lower count than usual, but I'd figure that it'd be enough to just open with while drawing through our cards to get the T1 Altered Creation. Getting the basic energy out of the deck using ADP's attack wasn't the most important so long as we had Metal Saucer attachments.

On the topic of Aurora Energy, here's a tip: If you're attacking with any Pokémon that needs an Aurora Energy, you can move around your Energy so that whoever your attacking with only has 1 Aurora Energy attached to it, while fulfilling the rest of the attack cost with Metal Energy. That way, should the attacker be knocked out, not only do you preserve more Aurora Energies on the board, but more Metal Energies hit the discard pile for you to make the most out of your Saucers.

Other Options:

UNM Mawile-GX

I used to like this card, and when I was running lists that used Cherish Ball, Mawile-GX fit right in, but now I think the card's very situational. It's ability can possibly bring up liabilities from the hand, but said liabilities are going to be played anyway from the opponent in order for them to draw cards and get their setup going, otherwise then they already lose via inconsistency. When you whiff getting a liability to the bench, which is very possible since most lists play only a couple of liabilities and you could see cards in your opponent's hand that search the liability instead, it's a worse Zacian V that's another 180HP Pokémon to be taken out, and the card is not good at all against decks that don't run liabilities at all such as LucMetal / Corviknight VMAX to keep the only targets Metal Pokemon that can take regular OHKO range, or Decidueye where they play no liabilities to resist ADP's wrath as much as possible.

UNM Mewtwo & Mew-GX

Mewtwo & Mew copies Ultimate Ray after an ADP boost to OHKO psychic-weak Pokémon, and that's all you would need it to do. This is nice to hit psychic weakness on Pokémon that have it, but if we're talking about both the Urshifus, they can play UNM Jirachi-GX to negate the psychic weakness (which by the way, is another Pokémon ADP can snipe off the bench). I'd say it's just better to go for the Boss's Orders to snipe liabilities those kind of decks will inevitably play.

VIV Amazing Rare Zacian

God I wish I could use this card, but it's basically harder to execute than the previously mentioned MewMew since you need 2 Aurora Energies on the board in a format where Crushing Hammer is everywhere. It's too theoretical and difficult to use consistently, and falls into the same reasons to not play the MewMew.

Big Charm

I might consider this card mainly for ADP now that I'm thinking about decks that do OHKO damage as early as their turn 2 such as Single Strike Urshifu and Eternatus VMAX. Against the ladder, ADP guaranteed lives a turn 2 blow from Eternatus VMAX with a full bench and a Galarian Zigzagoon ping. This is still asking for the Big Charm to be attached to the ADP super early, and I don't think Big Charm helps out in other scenarios. It just seems very theoretical.

Great Catcher / Pokémon Catcher

I've already said that Boss's Orders is your win condition in our deck, so why don't we include more cards like it to increase our odds of getting it? You don't even need to play your supporter for the turn in order to use them! Firstly, they're item cards, something that we might have to discard via Research or Dedenne when it's not best to play them or you can't, thus making them dead slots. They're just not going to get use as much games as Boss's Orders will be. Pokémon Catcher always has the possibility to fail, and Great Catcher might not even be used at all that decks that don't use GX liabilities like Dedenne-GX and CEC Oricorio-GX. You can bring up say a UNM Heatran-GX up or anything 190HP or higher, but that means only Zacian V can get an OHKO on it so you also need to have a way to get said Zacian into the active. They just seem so situational and niche At least with Boss's Orders, they are universal and work on any Pokémon, and should you be forced to discard them you can get one of them back with the Eldegoss V.

Viridian Forest / Energy Spinner

These cards and anything similar I feel are worse to play than just....well, running more energy. They're cards that search the energy, but are not energies themselves in a deck I said before could use more Metal Energy. ADP can search that Energy if it's in the deck too.

Basic Water Energy

You'd think this would be a cool inclusion since this increases your odds of finding the necessary Water requirement for ADP when the only card that does that currently is our playset of Aurora Energy, right? If we played the basic Water Energy, it would make a lot more sense to play cards that search energy since those cards gain multiple roles of being cards that get the Metal Energy and the Water Energy! (Infact, the previous energy count before this list I tried in tournament was 4 Aurora, 5 Metal, and 1 Water with 1 Energy Spinner. Yeah, only 5 Metal.) But I found a couple faults here. Firstly, it's not as necessary to increase counts of the Water requirement since, should you draw the Aurora Energy, you can attach it to any Pokémon and still find the rest of your combo pieces to get T1 Altered Creation since you can move the Aurora later on in the turn. Secondly, should you open the Water Energy, but you don't have access to your ADP before you discard your hand to refresh it, then the Water Energy becomes a dead slot that could've been anything else. Not to mention that you can't move it with the Bronzong either, and it has to stay to the ADP once you attach it. I feel like I'd use this slot to dedicate more slots to make sure other parts of the combo go off. Also, I just really don't like playing the basic Water Energy when it goes absolutely nothing for our Zacian Vs.

Tournament Report @ Full Grip Games Online Series #11: & Other Match-ups:

DISCLAIMER: What I describe for matchups are just my current experiences and my thoughts so far. Do not take anything here as absolute. I will update what I say about these matchups if my thoughts change on them later on, if I remember any other specific scenario that happened in the tournament, or if there's a match-up I forgot to talk about. The names of the decks for each round will be links that take you to the exact list of what I played against.

Round 1: LucMetal

LucMetal (specifically the build using a slew of Metal Pokémon instead of trying to be fancy with BST Bronzong and Corviknight VMAX) is rather annoying because they don't play any liabilities for us to prey upon, so we just still try to KO 2 Pokémon and save as many Escape Ropes and Boss's Orders as possible without trying to discard them as they are important resources in the match-up. Still set up the GX attack against LucMetal, them discarding your energies via LucMetal's GX attack isn't the worst thing to happen to you in the slightest, esspecially with your Bronzong since you can attach Aurora, get Saucers to get back your Metal Energies and start applying pressure. Metal Goggles prevents otherwise KOs from your opposing Zacian, so if you ever have the chance to KO a Pokémon that doesn't have Goggles attached, go for it. You save yourself a whole turn by doing that assuming you don't play Tool Scrapper or Rusted Sword. Opposing Zacian in LucMetal is going to be the biggest threat to you since it's the only Pokémon at their disposal that can OHKO your key Pokémon, so give the most attention to KOing said Zacian, even if it means making bold sacrifices. Everything else 2HKOs, making it easy for you to start attacking and taking more prizes.

I admit, I was pretty close to losing this game. I managed to make use out of my Aegislash V to soften up the opposing Zamazenta V to KO later with my Zacian V (They played Mallow & Lana to switch and heal away, the healing usually does nothing because you still do enough damage to set up the 2HKO) Just when Aegislash V took damage and things were looking grim, in true heart of the cards fashion I top deck the Boss's Orders, Escape Rope to bring up my Zacian V, then Boss's for game.


Round 2: Single Strike Urshifu VMAX

I got real lucky here. Single Strike Urshifu is already an underrated monster. Even if we get our turn 1 Altered Creation, they can set up the Urshifu and OHKO ADP right back, which makes streaming Zacians to OHKO opposing liabilities much harder. Doing damage to the Urshifu probably won't help either since they can just attach the Single Strike Scroll to gain an energy efficient attack to make another OHKO, putting them in a winning position in the prize race. Honestly, they kind of win this matchup unless we high roll like crazy and get enough busted cards to snipe liabilities before they can take all their prizes. Maybe this will be the matchup that I start trying to devote 1 or 2 cards to help win the matchup, like a Rusted Sword to Zacian V should they put enough damage counters on the Single Strike Urshifu via their Houndoom's ability.

Thankfully, none of literally anything happened. They lead Houndour turn 1, and passed turn with nothing else. Had I just drawn Metal Saucer as I got everything else set up I could've won the game right then and there attacking with Crobat V for the donk. He was at least able to put down basic Single Strike Urshifus one turn at a time, and I had Boss's Orders with at least Zacian V set up. I couldn't let them access SS Urshifu VMAX at all, so I felt like gusting them and KOing them constantly, even without ADP, was the right solution. I gradually took prizes and won the game from there.


Round 3: Corviknight VMAX w/ Bronzong

So what makes this match-up different from regular LucMetal is that your Boss targets seem much easier to work around. They're already going to try and bench Bronzor or Bronzong, which is a 1-prizer either way, so once you Altered Creation GX and Order up the Bronzong for the KO, you can even KO the Corviknight VMAX via hitting it twice to win the game from there. They can Cheryl, but the problem with that strategy, to me at least, is trying to find Cheryl consistently to keep healing off the damage. Cheryl isn't a draw supporter, and this deck and others like it don't play a draw engine outside of draw supporters. They did Cheryl once this tournament game, to heal off damage I did to a Corviknight VMAX, but they didn't have the Bronzong in play so off went the energy that was attached. They ended up being in a poor position.

What I did for this particular game ended up being kind of funny. I set up Altered Creation GX and my first 2 prizes were on a Bronzor. The guy benches another Bronzor later on and I'm just thinking, "Wait, he's trying to get another Bronzong set up" so with another Orders in hand I can bring up the other Bronzor and just like that I'm already at 2 prizes. The guy benches a third Bronzor and I knew what to do the following turn.


Round 4: Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX / Dragapult VMAX

I was able to bench the Mew this game and any problem I was thinking about Rapid Strike Urshifu was immediately thrown to the side. The main threat I was after were Dragapult V/VMAXs. That could take out the Mew protecting my bench from Urshifu doing any funny business. Every chance I took to OHKO or do damage to a Dragapult V/VMAX I did it. I don't think I even GX'd this game, from what I remember both of us had underwhelming openings so it was sort of the same gameplan against Single Strike Urshifu: OHKO the Dragapult Vs before they could evolve and map out prizes from there. I eventually took my last 3 I needed from 2HKOing a Dragapult VMAX and won from there.

All I gotta say is UNB Mew is really good against any variant of Rapid Strike Urshifu. Without Mew, Urshifu goes first, attaches an energy and passes, you t1 Altered Creation GX, but the Rapid Strike Urshifu player gets to evolve, attach their second energy, and do damage to both the ADP and 120 snipe the Bronzong which is a really bad position.


Round 5: Centiskorch VMAX

I can speak way more confidently about this match-up. All you're doing for game is to knock out their Dedenne-GX and Crobat V which they will inevitably play for draw power. What separates this deck from Single Strike Urshifu VMAX is that it's much harder, if even possible, to OHKO ADP using a charged up Centiskorch VMAX, esspecially if we make them go first because they don't have access to UNB Volcanion's triple energy attachment (another reason to go second, by the way).

I had the perfect going second turn too. Not only did I establish my T1 Altered Creation, I ended up with 2 Boss's Orders in hand afterwards. What on earth could go wrong? 2 things, to answer that, and I could've lost had I paid less attention. My first worry was getting Reset Stamped, so I didn't have an Orders or Draw Effect to keep my plays going. He still had 3 prizes to go then, so I could at least move the energy with Bronzong onto the Crobat to attack into the current Centiskorch VMAX to soften it up later for Zacian. So then move all the energy onto Zacian the next turn, right? But then he Order's up the Bronzong. And here, I get a little terrified. I had a Zacian down with one energy and needed another energy attachment with a Saucer to close out the game. Granted, I already drew through so much of my deck, and after a mere 2 cards were left, I got the energy and Saucer I wanted to close out the game, but nonetheless, it's something I'll need to learn from and always prepare for every disruption plan they can throw at you.


Round 6: Victini VMAX

So one more round to go, and I'm up against Victini. Victini I'm not scared of in the slightest. It takes prizes fast against regular V Pokémon, yes, but not faster than ADP. So long as my deck doesn't brick and I get my early Altered Creation, we're golden.

Now the Victini player was super unlucky here, and I mean super unlucky. Even when he played 11 Fire Energy and 3 Giant Hearths, not counting all the draw power he had like the liabilities, he did not find a single energy card to attach with, now that's PTCGO luck right there. Honestly though, I feel like it's a little less comparable to the other times where I got lucky. Not getting a single energy to attach for turn really is unfortunate, but I don't think it would've made a difference so long as I got my ADP up and rolling. Sure he could knockout other liabilities I had and Zacian V, but again, not only were we taking prizes faster, but just benching a Zacian with at least 3 Metal Energies anywhere on the board means Bronzong can move them and we can Boss's Orders for game. And that's exactly what happened.


So these were the decks I played against in the tournament, so what about other decks that could be played?

DAA / SHF Decidueye

Do you play the Aegislash V? Yes? Then you win the match-up. No? Then you lose the match-up. It's that simple. The Aegislash V only gets 4HKO'd by Decidueye attacking 4 times and when you're knocking out Decidueye after Decidueye when it's hard for them to keep streaming Decidueye to attack with, the prize trade is absolutley in your favor once you Altered Creation GX. I remember 2 games where I ran into a Decidueye deck on PTCGO, and the moment I dropped the Aegislash V down they immediately conceded.

And I know what you might be thinking, "Just use the Bronzong to attack, right?" The problem with Bronzong is that energy-wise it's much harder to consistently stream attacking Bronzong than it is for my opponent to stream Decidueye. While Bronzong can 2HKO Decidueye, esspecially with an ADP Boost, they still 2HKO your Bronzongs even with their -30 Grass Resistance. You're also limited on Metal Saucers in which case streaming the third and possibly 4th Bronzong to attack becomes much harder. Just play the Aegislash V if you really want to beat Decidueye. You could always just not play the Aegislash V if you don't expect Decidueye in the slightest, but in my perspective, there's always gonna be that one guy who plays that one deck they're so attached to regardless of whatever happens in the meta. I'd say it's just safer to play it.

PikaRom (Edit on 4/14/21)

You know, I don't think I've played too many PikaRom decks with Bronzong incorporated to ADP. With the popularity rising in both Urshifu VMAX's which can OHKO PikaRom through weakness, and specifically in the case for Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX, already plays a bunch of mobility cards to avoid the paralysis lock and is energy efficient on top of it all, PikaRom seems to be less favored in the new metagame (Although as an edit to this post, it just won the following Bi-Weekly and it plays 2 Mewtwo & Mew-GX to cover that weakness so people are once again innovating PikaRom. Here's the link to the winning list.)

So in the case for ADP Zacian, that play is the main thing we want to be prepared for: Avoid the Paralysis lock with a disrupted hand. We already play the Mew for other matchups, so getting Tag Bolted doesn't seem to be a problem. We also play a bunch of cards that can refresh our hand, so every card dedicated to that gives us more resistance to getting stamped or Marnie'd. Honestly I think this match-up is fine assuming everything goes our way and we get enough hand-refreshers and Escape Ropes. In this case that shouldn't be too hard.

ADP Zacian / The Mirror

All the mirror is whoever gets the GX attack off first. The one who does will be the one to snipe 2 liabilities off the bench the following 2 turns first assuming they draw or already have Boss's Orders in their hand, which happens like 90% of the time. Go second as much as possible and set up the GX attack at all costs, as it's more important than ever in the mirror. If your opponent gets the GX attack off first, you're very likely screwed. You have to hope to god they don't have all the necessary Orders in their hand or maybe you can go for a disruption play and KO their Zacian they charged up with their Ultimate Ray for less damage on the board the following turn, but even in that situation they can still attack with their ADP and get another Boss's Orders.

Yeah this game sucks xD

Eternatus VMAX

Similarly to other match-ups, your plan is to completely ignore the Eternatus attacking you and just go for 2 Crobats after Altered Creation and win from there, and if they can't OHKO the ADP after Altered Creation, then we're golden. That's the best scenario, but when you don't get that the match-up goes from 180 to 0 and it sucks, and sometimes that magical turn doesn't happen.

Inteleon VMAX (Edit on 4/14/21)

This deck was starting to get popular, specifically the build that uses the Stage 2 SSH Inteleon (how fitting) to get certain trainer cards to get what they need to set up and keep control of the game. It seems scary at first, given that full-on energy denial is irritating for ADP, but there's 2 determining factors:

If we bench the Mew, then no bench damage to worry about. They can Boss up the Mew, but that loses them a turn, enough so for you to get going and be ahead in the prize race. The second factor just asks us to get a little more energy on board. Just go through your deck as much as possible to get your Saucers so that you can move Metal Energies onto ADP via Bronzong, and once you get enough energies on board through that in addition to ADP's attack, then how are they gonna remove all that energy on board in a single turn? They're just not going to have enough energy denial to deal with our position.

CEC Excadrill (Attacking Version) (Edit on 4/14/21)

I call it the attacking version as opposed to Tord Reklev's Excadrill Deck played in the previous format which is a lot more control heavy and has done him some favors in Player's Cup 3.

I don't think I have too much information on what to say about this match-up. Yes, it's a 1-prize deck against ADP Zacian but it's not that easy. CEC Excadrill can apply good pressure and it can take hits specifically from ADP if that list is playing Buff Padding, making Excadrill's HP 190, and unlike some other 1-prize decks it's a lot easier to stream than others given that not only does it's main attacker only need one energy to attack, but it plays a draw engine in the form of SSH Cinccino.

Obviously set up your GX attack, that's a given. From what I know so far, gusting up the Cinccino and getting a KO on that instead of the Excadrill whenever possible softens the blow and gives us a slightly better chance of winning. If they have another Drilbur down already then you know that they're going to get another Exadrill going so it doesn't stop them from streaming Exadrill in the slightest.

As a bit of confirmation bias, in the previous format I've won a game in tournament against Excadrill having 5 cards in their deck including a Boss's Orders in there with 2 of their Cincinno in play that turn. I gusted up and took out one of their Cinccino and in the following turn they couldn't draw enough cards to dig for their Boss's Orders to close out the game and otherwise win.

Possible Changes & Conclusion:

For the list itself, I think I saw one of the main problems pretty fast. Getting Metal Energy to the discard pile is always a priority for Metal Saucer to be burned out of the hand, so I think that's the first combo piece I should focus towards. Back to what I said before talking about the card by card, I wanted to balance out the consistency of each individual step of the T1 Altered Creation GX, but now that I'm thinking about the list again, getting the Metal Energy into the hand as quickly as possible is more important. For as much as I don't like to decrease the consistency of other areas in the deck, the Bronzong one seems like the least important one, as we already have a bunch of universal search for the Bronzor, and while we only have so many cards that mean we get the Bronzong to the hand, a total of 8 maximum, like all of the other cards that we have a lower count of and can't really make any higher like the Metal Saucer itself and Aurora Energy, we already have a bunch of massive hard draw power in the deck to see it more. Not to mention, once we get the single Bronzong out, the only one we need, esspecially if we decide to bench the Mew, then the rest of the line becomes 6 dead slots, something that I've been pointing out throughout this thread. I'd think the only change to make would be to just lower the Bronzong line to 3-3, and then make the Metal Energy count from 7 to 9. Other techs against certain decks are player preference to me.

I know I've made a huuuuge college essay on a deck everyone already knows & hates, for good reason, what can I say? I like the really minor intricacies that go into making a Pokémon TCG deck, esspecially in a competitive sense with the ultimate goal of making that deck as competitive and consistent as possible, and I think that's what keeps me playing in any format for Pokémon TCG whenever I'm interested. I just felt like I had something to share to make playing ADP Zacian a little less of a chore. I'll probably play in the upcoming bi-weekly when it happens again and see how well the deck does on a second tournament. Not much else to say here except thank you for reading! Feel free to leave any thoughts and suggestions you may have for the deck :)
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Holden Sheeks

a.k.a. WinterShorts
New Tournament Report @ Full Grip Games Online Series #12:

So after all, I ended up deciding to play once again at our local store's bi-weekly online series. I wanted to see how the deck would play on a second go after feeling like I got so lucky the first tournament run and after changing some numbers in the list. Here was the revision I went with this tournament:

****** Pokémon Trading Card Game Deck List ******

##Pokémon - 17

* 2 Crobat V DAA 104
* 2 Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX CEC 156
* 1 Eldegoss V RCL 19
* 4 Dedenne-GX UNB 195
* 1 Aegislash V VIV 177
* 2 Bronzor TEU 100
* 2 Zacian V SSH 195
* 2 Bronzong BST 102
* 1 Mew UNB 76

##Trainer Cards - 28

* 1 Marnie SSH 169
* 4 Metal Saucer SSH 170
* 1 Chaotic Swell CEC 187
* 4 Quick Ball SSH 179
* 4 Escape Rope PRC 127
* 4 Pokémon Communication TEU 152
* 2 Air Balloon SSH 156
* 4 Professor's Research SHF 60
* 4 Boss's Orders RCL 154

##Energy - 15

* 4 Aurora Energy SSH 186
* 11 Metal Energy Energy 8

Total Cards - 60

****** Deck List Generated by the Pokémon TCG Online www.pokemon.com/TCGO ******

So very light changes to the list. All I did was change the Bronzong line from 4-4 to 2-2 and make the Metal Energy count a very high 11. I did say a 3-3 Bronzong line with 9 Metal Energies was probably the way to go in my last post, but since I had a decent amount of search anyway for both Pokémon and I've won games even without getting the T1 Altered Creation, I didn't think cutting the Bronzong line that much would be significant, and overall decided the deck needed more consistency on the front of just getting the energy in hand. Everything else is the exact same. Here were the decks I played against:

Round 1: LucMetal

The more I play this match-up with ADP Zacian, the more I appreciate how different it is from the typical gameplan of "GX, Boss, Boss, Game" since no liabilities are ever played in that deck. You actually get to fight the main threats of the deck, it's much more resource-intensive than in other match-ups, and there's overall more skill on what to think about in the upcoming turns with Mallow & Lana and disruption effects like Marnie, more so than in other decks. If it's any reason I play this format again treating it like playing a historic format, I think this match-up is the most fun.

But anyway, this particular game ended up a little different. He got the Full Metal Wall GX attack off before I got my Altered Creation GX going since I decided to initially attack with ADP first to attempt to get some damage going on the LucMetal, so he couldn't discard too many energies past that phase. Bronzong absolutely helps in this match-up to immediately re-fill your necessary energy requirements to attack with ADP, and throughout the course of the game I had a bunch of energy on board, enough so to power up my ADP as well as both Zacians. From that point, so long I was able to 2HKO the benched opposing Zacian and doing damage with my own Zacian, so that Mallow & Lana wouldn't be able to heal all the necessary damage to help avoid the 2HKO, we were in a good position to win that game.


Round 2: Victini VMAX

I've already explained my thoughts on this match-up in the previous post and will say the same for other match-ups already listed, as well as add any missing match-ups when I get to that. I was pretty confident going into this, but...

This is where the struggle began. He won the coin flip and made the smart decision to make me go first. I can't get T1 Altered Creation and furthermore he can Welder onto a Reshiram & Charizard-GX (ReshiZard) to start applying pressure. Granted, he didn't get his Phione out of the active that turn, but I still couldn't get that Altered Creation going and my opponent overall was able to catch-up to be in the position to win the prize race. I still played when things looked very grim, but the game-closing Boss's Orders is always there.


Round 3: Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX / Dragapult VMAX

Honestly, this deck's very solid. It's already a weird match-up to play as it is, since Dragapult VMAX can eliminate the Mew we play and set up damage so that the Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX can OHKO both liabilities in 1 turn to claim their remaining prizes with some damage on a benched liability and a Boss's Orders to bring up a fighting-weak liability in the active, which is what happened this game. To make matters worse, we really couldn't get the Mew into play. We had access to it, but we were in a position where we needed to use the bench space to use Dedenne-GX and refresh our hand in which we could lose otherwise.


Round 4: Excadrill

Not a match-up I talked about then, but in summary it's a 1-prize deck that's a little trickier than other 1-prize decks since CEC Excadrill can OHKO benched liabilities and, in other lists at least, can play Buff Padding to ignore the OHKO ADP would otherwise give (Granted, he didn't play the ladder, but still something to note).

This game I had the worst luck. I lead the Aegislash V to start, I couldn't get my setup going past that, and when I got Marnie'd, it was to 2 Metal Energies and 2 Air Balloons. I eventually got a hand refresher 2 turns later, in which I drew into nothing to continue my turn. Some Metal Energies and a mobility card from what I remember, but not what we wanted to continue getting set up and start attacking. He got this one.


With no further motivation to play with other stuff to work on and having to get up early tomorrow for other plans, I dropped.


Welp, not the magical Cinderella run we had like last time, not even in the slightest, but for the sake of information and testing I'm at least glad I tried. Like I said in my previous post, I definitley had a couple of really lucky moments that very well could've determined my last run so the curiosity on what happens on a second go was just too inviting, but here we just didn't get set up properly these games. On an additional note, I don't think the 3-3 Bronzong ratio might have done something but it would be a minor change and it wouldn't impact much (Although there was 1 game this tournament, don't know which one, where I didn't get Bronzong set up so maybe the 3-3 line might help). I really hate to keep blaming things on luck, good or bad. But specifically for ADP, A lot has to be executed for it to be the game-changer it can be, not just getting the T1 Altered Creation but getting your 2 Boss's Orders the following 2 turns. This particular list / concept is very linear in what it does those three turns when you go second and going for anything else is either a desperate move to keep the game moving or just isn't optimal. The format is already very fast and determined in only a couple of turns so you don't really have room or the time to try other things during gameplay, esspecially in the case for ADP Zacian in my opinion.

When you do get everything going in those turns, GX attack, Boss's Orders and all, I still think this is a tier 1 deck if not the best deck in format. Winning a game against ADP Zacian when Altered Creation GX is set up the earliest turn possible is just simply really hard to answer throughout the course of the game, the question is can you get those broken first 3 turns and hit all the bells and whistles as consistently as possible throughout the competition? Everything needs to be perfect and that's the gamble you're taking when you take this deck to a tournament. Maybe I'm viewing things too linearly in that department, but if I can go for that consistency to execute everything I need and that alone wins me the game, then why not? It always seems like you can break this deck, though we are asking for a lot to happen those early turns.

If I register for another tournament, very likely to just be the next bi-weekly, I'll be back with another tournament report, but it'll depend on what else I want to do or need to do in my life. Thanks for reading! :)
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