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Alt. Format Pale Moon (Shadow Rider Vmax / Galarian Articuno / Cresselia / Pumpkaboo)

Dark Espeon

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This deck is intended to be used in a post-rotation SWSH1 to SWSH7 format.


Pokémon (14):
4 Shadow Rider Vmax (beatdown)
4 Shadow Rider V S6K (beatdown)
2 Galarian Articuno (beatdown)
2 Cresselia S6K (acceleration)
2 Pumpkaboo S7D (discard)

Trainer (32):
2 Boss’s Orders (control)
3 Prof. Research (draw)
3 Bird Keeper (draw)
3 Marnie (draw)
4 Evolution Incense (search)
1 Energy Retrieval (retrieve)
1 Ordinary Rod (retrieve)
1 Escape Rope (control)
3 Air Balloon (retreat)
4 Fog Crystal (search)
4 Quick Ball (search)
3 Training Court (retrieval)

Energy (14):
14 Psychic Energy


This deck is ment to be for the post-rotation format after Evolving Skies has been released. The main idea is to focus on acceleration and ohkos with Max Geist. Start with either Shadow Rider V or Cresselia. The latter is the idea starter when going second. Make sure to have three copies of Shadow Rider V on the battlefield on the first turn. If you went second and Cresselia is active attach and accelerate to one of the three Shadow Rider V. When the deck goes first start with Shadow Rider V and attach to him. Be sure to have three Shadow Rider V on the battlefield on the first turn. On the second turn start to evolve into Shadow Rider Vmax and use Underworld Door to accelerate three additional energies on the battlefield. Going second this will leave a total of seven to eight energies. Going first search out Galarian Articuno to have six to seven energies on the battlefield that turn. In either case Shadow Rider Vmax should be able to knock out a defending Pokémon V on the second turn. Use Training Court and the retrieval cards to maintain a stable energy count on the battlefield and achieve ohko knock outs with Shadow Rider Vmax on the third turn. Galarian Articuno does not only provide additional energy acceleration to achieve ohkos faster with Shadow Rider Vmax. It also combos well with Shadow Rider V since both can hit the bench on demand to deal with one-prize decks.


Galarian Articuno
Basic Psychic Pokémon
HP: 120
Ability: Cool Charge
When you play this Pokémon from your hand onto your bench during your turn, you may attach 2 [P] energy cards from your hand to it.
[P][C][C] Psycho Laser
Discard all [P] energy from this Pokémon. This attack does 120 damage to 1 of your opponent’s Pokémon.
Retreat Cost: CC
Weakness: D
Resistance: F

Basic Psychic Pokémon
HP: 60
Ability: Pumpkin Hole
When you play this Pokémon from your hand onto your bench during your turn, you may use this ability. Discard any stadium card in play.
[C][C] Stampede: 20
Retreat Cost: CC
Weakness: D
Resistance: F


In this section I will outline the main rational behind the card choices.

4-4 Shadow Rider Vmax: Max Geist is the main win condition in this deck. Shadow Rider Vmax needs seven [P] energies on the battlefield to knock out most Pokémon V and eleven [P] energies to knock out all Pokémon Vmax. The main method to accelerate [P] energies to the battlefield of Underworld Door which accelerates one [P] to a benched Psychic Pokémon per Shadow Rider Vmax. In addition Underworld Door also allows the deck to draw two cards for each [P] energy accelerated to the battlefield in this manner. To achieve a ohko on Pokémon V on the second turn the deck needs three Shadow Rider Vmax on the battlefield and some assistance from either Cresselia or Galarian Articuno. The choice between these two depends on whether the deck went first or second. On the third turn Max Geist should be able to achieve on-hit knock outs on Pokémon V. For this reason I included the maximum number of Shadow Rider V and Shadow Rider Vmax to increase the likelihood to achieve this aim. Shadow Rider V is also decent on his own. Astral Barrage provides some excellent bench damage which helps versus one-prize decks such as Rapid Strike Malamar and Decidueye since the latter does not prevent effects of attacks.

2 Cresselia: Crescent Glow provides excellent acceleration on the first turn going second and therefore enables the deck to each relevant ohko numbers on Pokémon V on it's second turn even if it went second. In addition Cresselia is also a nice answer to selected one-prize decks such as the aforementioned Rapid Strike Malamar, Decidueye combined with Inteleon, and one-prize Single Strike decks. In other matches and situations the card is not that great. Since the deck can retrieve Pokémon with Ordinary Rod and has an excellent Pokémon search engine two copies should be sufficient.

2 Galarian Articuno: In cases in which the deck went first it used to be hard to accelerate a sufficient number of [P] energies to the battlefield to reach relevant ohko numbers on Pokémon V on the second turn with Max Geist. Cool Charge resolves this issue since it accelerates two [P] energies to the battlefiel out of nowhere. Unlike Underworld Door Cool Charge cannot be shut down with Path to the Peak and from recent test runs it truely speeds up the damage output of the deck. Nevertheless two copies seem sufficient because you will hardly be using Cool Charge more than twice. In addition the aforementioned energy acceleration Psycho Laser provides a nice bench attack that combos well with Shadow Rider V's Astral Barrage in matches versus one-prize Pokémon.

2 Pumpkaboo: Pumpkin Hole is the spiritual successor of Resetting Hole Marshadow. The main purpose of this card is to deal with opposing Path to the Peak which shut down Underworld Door and thereby limit your energy acceleration and your draw potential at the same time. I am running two copies at the moment but I can also see this card as a one-off since it is considerably worse than Marshadow who did not take up a bench slot. At present I retained a second copy since I could not find another Psychic Pokémon that could take the tenth Basic Pokémon slot in this deck. Despite the aforementioned limitation when compared to Marshadow i beleive that at least one copy is warrented since unlike stadium cards it can be easily searched for in this deck.

3-3-3 Prof. Research, Marnie, and Bird Keeper: Despite the draw potential of Underworld Door you sure want a stable draw supporter count to ensure a quick and reliable offense with Shadow Rider Vmax. Prof. Research and Marnie are the two best supporters in the game and need no explanation. While most decks maximize the number of these two supporters three copies each seem sufficient in this deck since you supplement these two supporters with a direct draw supporter that neither shuffles cards back into the deck, nor discards your entire hand. The direct draw from cards like Bird Keeper and other direct draw supporters combos well with the draw power provided by Underworld Door. In this deck I decided to run Bird Keeper as the direct draw supporter since he also provides a much needed switch effect. An alternative to Bird Keeper would be Avery. Avery forces the opponent to discard Pokémon from their bench until they have three Pokémon left on their bench. This effect may be benefitial when faced with Eternatus Vmax and most Vmax decks that use the Inteleon engine to provide search and damage acceleration at the same time. In most other matches Avery's side effect does little for this deck and may even benefit the opponent because it allows them to get rid of Crobat and other easier targets that give up multiple prizes. In addition I value to switch effect of Bord Keeper more than the potential protection of Avery but this card slot is up to debates depending on the predicted meta.

2 Boss's Orders: Instant unconditional Gust effects are great in any deck. I decided to run two copies of Boss's Orders instead of the standard three copies since the deck is ment to reach ohko numbers on the third to fourth turn in a reliable manner. In addition Underworld Dorr and the present draw engine should suffice to gain access to Boss's Orders when you need it.

4-4-4 Evolution Incense, Quick Ball, and Fog Crystal: As mentioned in the strategy section the deck aims to have at least three Shadow Rider Vmax on the battlefield on the second turn. To achieve this aim the deck needs a stable Pokémon Search engine. If the deck went first you also need to search for Galarian Articuno to supplement the acceleration with Underworld Doorr and the manual attachment. This is rather important to mantain a fast and stable offense from turn two on. In addition Pokémon search is also used to access Pumpkaboo as an emergency button to deal with Path to the Peak in the set-up and recovery phase after a Shadow Rider Vmax has been knocked out. For these reasons we want to maximize the number of Pokémon search items in this deck. Quick Ball and Fog Crystal allow the deck to search for Basic Pokémon in this deck. The latter can also be used to search of [P] energy and does not require a discard from the hand. Evolution Incense are used to search for Shadow Rider Vmax. I prefer a maximized item search engine over alternatives such as Adventurer's Discovery since the latter is a supporter and it is restricted to Pokémon V. Thus it is less versatile and becomes a dead card after the first one has been used. Running a lower Adventurer's Discovery count over two of the three Pokémon search items also seem less appealing since it cuts into the consistance of the deck.

3 Air Balloon: All Pokémon in this deck have a retreat cost of two or less and the deck needs some mobility on the battlefield in the first few turns. For this reason three Air Balloon have been included in this deck. Another benefit is that it also hurts Leafeon Vmax since it reduces the retreat cost to zero or two if Leafeon has Galar Mine out.

1-1-1 Escape Rope, Energy Retrieval, and Ordinary Rod: Escape Rope is ment to act as the fourth switch card in this deck and can also be used to bypass one-prize prays that the opponent tries to feed to the deck instead of their main two to three prize attackers. Energy Retrieval and Ordinary Rod provide needed resource recovery. Energy Retrieval has the benefit that it retrieves two [P] energies directly to the hand to fuel Underworld Door. However it cannot retrieve discarded Pokémon which may be neccessary to retain the offense force of this deck in terms of damage output and speed. Ordinary Rod, on the other hand, can also be used to recover discarded Shadow Rider Vmax or utility Pokémon such as Pumpkaboo or the two other assistance Pokémon in this deck. The downside it that the recovered cards are shuffled back into the deck. Since both recovery items have different and weaknesses and strenghts they seem to supplment each other. For this reason an even split of the two recovery items has been chosen.

3 Trainig Court: Prior to the rotation most Shadow Rider decks either used one or two Chaotic Swell in addition to Marshadow to deal with Path to the Peak. Post-rotation this option is no longer available. Although Marshadow Resetting Hole sure is a loss for this deck since he is much better than Pumpkaboo I believe that Training Court is actually a better option as a counter stadium to Path to the Peak since it also fuels Underworld Door and therefore translates into an acceleration and draw stadium. This makes Training Court much more than a mere counter stadium. It is also usefull in matches versus decks that do not play stadium cards that potentially hurt Shadow Rider.

14 Basic Psychic Energy: On usual most prior lists run no more than twelve energies in total. However the main aim of this decklist is to achive ohkos on Pokémon V on turn two and ohkos on Pokémon Vmax on the third to fourth turn. As outlined above Galarian Articuno helps a lot to achieve this aim since the additional two attachments to the battlefield essentially buys the deck a turn of acceleration and thereby strenghtens the offense and speed of the deck to more closely match the early game speed of decks such as Ice Rider Vmax. However, Galarian Articuno requires the player to have two access energies in hand. For this reason I decided to increase the total energy count to fourtheen instead of twelve.


In this section I would like to outline some cards that I have taken into consideration but decided not to include in this deck for various reasons.


As outlined above Pumpkaboo may suffice as a one-off card since he can be easily searched for. However I would like to retain a total count of ten Basic Pokémon to reduce the likelihood of mulligans. Most consistency and utility engines such as Inteleon, Minccino, and Altaria from Towering Perfection require at least some minimal set-up. Multiple mulligans help the opponent to be more consistent which is always a bad thing. However the only alternate one-prize Psychic Pokémon that crossed my mind was Sigilyph who does not benefit the deck much. I also wanted to stay away from two-prize pokémon since you want to use Galarian Articuno to speed up the damage output of Max Geist. Having both Galarian Articuno and a two-prize Psychic Pokémon on the bench seems to be a bad idea since the opponent may take out Galarian Articuno to reduce the damage output of Max Geist on the next turn while drawing a prize card. If there is a two-prize Pokémon on the battlefield the opponent has a much easier time draw all six prize cards compared to no more than two one-prize Psychic Pokémon for the entire game in addition to Shadow Rider Vmax. In the latter case the opponent still needs to knock out two Shadow Rider Vmax to win the game. In addition there is a lack of good two-prize Pokémon that seem to be benefitial for this deck. The only one that comes to mind is Necrozma V. Necrozma V can be used as an easly game attacker but with Galarian Articuno Shadow Rider Vmax himself may take up that role too. The benefit of the current approach is that you do not need to run non-basic energies that cannot be acclerated or retrieved with ease. The benefit of Necrozma V as a one-off would be that it can handle Zamazenta V. However I do not expect to see Zamazenta V outside of a Duraludon Vmax deck who blocks Necrozma V due to his reliance on non-basic energies. For these reasons I currently decided to include neither Sigilyph, not Necrozma V.


As outline above Avery could be used instead of Bird Keeper to provide direct draw. Avery could be decent versus Eternatus Vmax who hardly runs any recovery cards and has little room for them in its deck. Avery could also be decent versus decks that utilize the Inteleon engine to provide direct search and damage acceleration all in one engine. Decks using an Inteleon engine often tend to fill theior bench to maximize the benefit of its engine. Unlike Crobat V and Dedenne GX part of the Inteleon engine remains relevant throughout the entire game. Being restricted to three benched Pokémon three time during a match can cause problem for dekcs uing this engine. A similar argument can be made with regard to a Minccino engine which also remains usfull throughout the game and to a much lesser extent to a Altaria combined with either Oranguru or Suicune V engine. The downside of this approach is that using Avery instead of Bird Keeper leaves the deck with little switch effects which may be needed to retain a fast and stable offense line from turn two on. For this reason I decided to use Bird Keeper instead of Avery in this deck.

Another card that I considered as a one-off is Klara. Klara combines the benefits of Ordinary Rod and Energy Retrieval at the cost of being a supporter card. That means that you cannot use Klara and other supporters on the same turn. Since this may slow the offense of the deck down I decided to retain and above mentioned item-based recovery engine instead of Klara.

Most decks nowadays seem to run three Boss's Orders and a third copy would surely be consistent with the intended offensive nature of this deck. However, given the draw capabilities of this deck due to the stable draw engine in addition to Underworld Door I believe that two copies of Boss's Orders may be sufficient since you hardly need to Boss more than twice with the ohko potential of Shadow Rider Vmax and the access to two sniping attacks in the form of Astral Barrage on Shadow Rider V and Psycho Laser on Galarian Articuno. The only way to fit a third Boss into this deck that crossed my mind was to reduce the energy count which did not feel comfortable given that I want the extra energy to speed up the damage output of Max Geist with Galarian Articuno. For these reasons I retained a Boss's Orders count of two copies in this deck.

Item and Stadium cards:

One could consider to either use two copies of Ordinary Rod or two copies of Energy Retrieval. However since both of them have different weaknesses and strenghts an even split between these two seemed to be a better option to me. Another argument could be made to increase the count of either one or both by one and reduce the total number of basic [P] energies in this deck. While this may have certain merrits I am concerned that it reduces the likelihod toi have two extra [P] energies in hand during the first two or three turns to accelerate them to the battefield with Galarian Articuno in order to speed up the damage output of Max Geist by one turn. For this reason I retained the basic energy count in favor of having access to two more energies late game.

Switch has another card that I have taken into aconsideration but decided not to include it in the deck. Having the best possible attacker in the active spot each turn is important easly game and throughout the entire match. Since you may also need to switch between Shadow Rider Vmax I decided to use Air Balloon instead of Switch because it can be usefull more often than switch due to it being a Pokémon Tool. Provided that the number of tool removal cards and tool blocking cards is currently low in most decks it semed to be a superior choice over switch. Although both Air Balloon and Switch have their own merrits the deck does not have the space to run both simultaneously due to the number of Pokémon search cards needed in this deck.

Old Cementery also came to mind as an alternative stadium but this card is inferior to Training Court. The latter can be used as a recurring energy recovery engine that increases the damage output by 30 while Old Cementery only increases the damage output by 20. In addition Trainig Court also acts as a hidden draw stadium with Underworld Door which cannot be accomplished by Old Cementery. I could see only Cementary in a Dragapult Vmax deck or in an Galarian Cursola V deck but not in an offensive Shadow Rider Vmax build. For these reasons training Court was chosen over Old Cementery.


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