Techno Blast & The Miraculous Miracle

     Our friends over at Atlas Collectables ran a fantastic event yesterday, with nearly 40 trainers battling it out for $1000 in store credit prizing! I had an absolute blast at this event getting to see a ton of friends that I haven't seen since the world ended, and played some really enjoyable matchups. Here I'll go over some of the top decks we saw at this event, the decklists that saw the most success, and an in-depth look at how Fusion Strike wins against this diverse meta!

     The most common decks we saw today were Fusion Strike and Jolteon, making up over a third of the entire field together. The remaining decks included Single Strike, Duraludon, Ice Rider, Zacian, Eternatus and Sylveon. Top 8 was indicitive of a beautiful meta, with each trainer bringing a different deck to finals. Here's how the top 8 decks today ended up ranking:

1st- Fusion Strike
2nd- Jolteon
3rd- Zacian
4th- Duraludon
5th- Gengar
6th- Inteleon
7th- Ice Rider
8th- Rapid Strike

     As a relative black sheep in the meta, I really want to talk about Duraludon. When I was going over what deck to play for this event, I flipped through a page of Duraludons and did a double take- this could be a genuinely good deck. I played around with the idea for a bit before deciding that it was too slow to take down Fusion Strike, but the fact that one made 4th got me curious- How did he manage to build a deck consistent enough to make Top 8? Let's take a look at his list to find out!

3 Duraludon V CPA 47
3 Duraludon VMAX EVS 123
2 Zacian V SSH 138

4 Boss's Orders SHF 58
4 Adventurer's Discovery FST 224
3 Professor's Research CEL 23
2 Avery CRE 130
2 Raihan EVS 152
1 Marnie CPA 56
1 Pokémon Center Lady CPA 60
4 Crushing Hammer SSH 159
4 Pokégear 3.0 SSH 174
3 Team Yell Towel SHF 63
3 Switch SSH 183
2 Energy Search SSH 161
1 Tool Scrapper RCL 168
2 Big Charm SSH 158
4 Crystal Cave EVS 144

8 Metal Energy 
4 Fighting Energy 

I played and lost to this trainer in Round 3, so I got a great first-hand experience with how the deck runs. The key is in the healing factor- Yell Towels, Crystal Caves, and Pokemon Center Lady all help keep your beefy Building Pokemon strong. Every time I would hit him with Max Miracle for 130, he would take 30 off with Cave, 50 off with Towel, or 60 off with Center Lady. I was lucky if 50 damage stuck after all that! At 330HP that gives you an insane amount of time to set up and get the cards you need to keep healing. Once a Duraludon got within Techno Blast range, he would switch it out to a fresh one and keep healing off the damage with Crystal Cave each turn, putting me further and further behind on the prize trade. Duraludon doesn't care if it doesn't get to attack for a few turns- but once it does it's hitting for a hefty 220 damage, knocking out most regular Vs in format.


Duraludon VMAX | Evolving Skies | TCG Card Database |

How Does Fusion Strike Win?

     For the Fusion Strike matchup in particular- Remember that your Max Miracle attack says "This attacks damage isn't affected by effects on your opponent's active Pokemon", which means it gets through Duraludon's ability (Which prevents it from being attacked by Pokemon with Special Energies attached) meaning you can use Max Miracle even with Fusion Strike energies attached! Save your basic psychic energies for a Meloetta and go in on a Duraludon with the Melodious Echo- if you can get all 4 Fusion Strike Energies out on your Mews, Meloetta will do 280 damage. Add 2 Power Tablets and you have a One Hit Knock Out on Duraludon! It's a lot to get going but Fusion Strike sets up faster than Duraludon, and only has to hit that combo twice to take all 6 prizes. If you can't find enough Power Tablets fast enough, soften it up with a Max Miracle to get the damage through before swapping to the Meloetta to finish it off. Don't target down the Zacian unless you absolutely have to- it just forces you to take 8 prizes when you end up needing to knock out a second Duraludon anyways.

Image 1 - NM-Mint, English - 1 x Pokemon Mew VMAX - 114/264 - Ultra Rare Sword & Shield -

     The next deck I want to look at is Jolteon. This has been a reasonably expected threat at any tournament since Evolving Skies dropped, but has never really been seen as a deck to be overly concerned about. It's solid through and through with answers to the top decks and a good amount of consistency. My friend Andre Chiasson took his deck to a 2nd place finish today, and a few key cards likely helped him take those wins. His deck features a Fan of Waves which sends Special Energies back to the bottom of the deck. This can be devastating if timed correctly with a knock out on another Pokemon with energy attached, making it more difficult for his opponents to set up attacks. He also played 2 Zigzagoon for the extra ping damage, making the math work out even better for the most popular matchups. This is relevent for taking KOs on Genesects when Oricorio is reducing your damage by 20, hitting Mew VMAX for the ten extra damage, taking knock outs on Urshifu Vs, Suicunes, Inteleons and cleaning up damage on most Vs with 210-220HP. Add in the Scoop Up Nets and you have an extra 40 ping damage to apply as needed, not even counting the Quick Shooting Inteleons to add an extra 2 damage counters each per turn! Here's the list Andre used to make it all the way to Finals today:

4 Jolteon V PR-SWSH 183
3 Jolteon VMAX EVS 51
4 Sobble CRE 41
4 Drizzile SSH 56
2 Inteleon CRE 43
1 Inteleon SSH 58
2 Galarian Zigzagoon SSH 117

4 Marnie CPA 56
3 Professor's Research CEL 23
2 Boss's Orders SHF 58
1 Cheryl BST 123
4 Evolution Incense SSH 163
4 Quick Ball FST 237
4 Level Ball BST 129
2 Scoop Up Net RCL 165
1 Fan of Waves BST 127
1 Energy Search SSH 161
3 Elemental Badge EVS 147
4 Path to the Peak CRE 148

4 Speed Lightning Energy RCL 173
3 Lightning Energy 

The idea is to get as many as your Sobble out as possible, use Drizzile's Shady Dealings to search for any Trainer cards you may need, evolve the Jolteons and start hitting for 100 damage plus another 100 to a benched Pokemon with damage on it. The bench snipe damage can be really hard for some decks to play around, as your Inteleons and Zigzagoons work together to take knock outs and soften up Pokemon for the extra Jolteon damage. This deck benefits from a lot of consistency in the forms of its thick supporter line, ability to attack with just one energy thanks to Elemental Badge, and Lightning Energy to draw more cards.

Jolteon VMAX | Evolving Skies | TCG Card Database |

How Does Fusion Strike Win?

     This matchup is more luck-based for Fusion Strike than most. You have to hope your opponent doesn't get the Path to the Peak, which prevents all Rule-Box Pokemon from having Abilities- i.e. Vs and VMaxs. This is especially difficult for Fusion Strike as we rely on our Genesect's Fusion Strike System to draw cards up to the amount of Fusion Strike Pokemon we have in play. With Path on the board, we lose our ability to draw cards. When they play down the Path, you have to hope you draw into another stadium to replace theirs, or flip heads on a Cram-o-Matic to find one. Try your best to get as many Pokemon down and set up before they find Path, and hold onto your Stadiums as you find them. Keep in mind that you don't always have to use Fusion Strike System if it means throwing away precious Stadiums or Switch cards- time your stadium placements correctly and you'll be able to use Genesect when it really matters. The bench damage really hurts us and it's a surprisingly difficult matchup considering there's no weakness to worry about. Target down the Jolteons and make good use of Meloetta's Melodious Echo to turn the prize trade in your favour- I recommend holding onto Meloetta until you have a chance to use Elesa's Sparkle and get enough energy on her to attack the same turn, because she likely will only stick around the one turn before getting knocked out.

Genesect V | Fusion Strike | TCG Card Database |

     Next up we have a near-and-dear deck that also benefits from the Inteleon Shady Dealing & Quick Shooting line. I'm talking about Ice Rider! I've written about Ice Rider before, but Austin made some changes to his deck recently to deal with the new meta. We're still working with the same basic idea of using the Inteleon line to set up and snipe while using Ice Rider's Max Lance to dole out up to 250 damage at the cost of discarding 2 energies. However, we can recycle that energy using Melony, a supporter which attaches a water energy from your discard back onto a V Pokemon (Hint: That includes VMaxs!) Now we're also focusing heavier use of Path to the Peak, Fan of Waves, and Cheryl to outlast our opponents and turn the most popular matchups in our favour. Notice any similarities to the last list? Other than the main attacking Pokemon, a lot of the same themes are found in the items to make the Fusion Strike matchup more favourable. Here's the list Austin took to his Top 8 finish today:

4 Sobble CRE 41
4 Drizzile SSH 56
2 Inteleon CRE 43
1 Inteleon SSH 58
3 Ice Rider Calyrex V CRE 45
2 Ice Rider Calyrex VMAX CRE 46
2 Suicune V EVS 31

4 Melony CRE 146
2 Boss's Orders SHF 58
1 Marnie CPA 56
1 Cheryl BST 123
1 Professor's Research CEL 23
4 Evolution Incense SSH 163
4 Quick Ball FST 237
4 Level Ball BST 129
3 Fan of Waves BST 127
3 Capacious Bucket RCL 156
1 Scoop Up Net RCL 165
1 Escape Rope BST 125
1 Echoing Horn CRE 136
1 Air Balloon SSH 156
4 Path to the Peak CRE 148

7 Water Energy 

It's just an insanely consistent deck with no majorly popular auto-losses. Unfortunately, Austin did hit the one Zacian deck in the entire tournament during Top 8, which is an auto-loss due to Calyrex's weakness. This list is fantastic at early wins; most decks can't handle a turn 2 Ice Rider doing 250 damage. Combined with a Fan of Waves to clear off bench energy after knocking out the main threat, and its a recipe for a very quick game. You're aiming to get as many Sobble into play as early as possible and to use Melony which will get you from having no energy to attacking in the same turn. The deck also features Suicune V, which is a great secondary attacker especially against large-bench decks, and has the added bonus of getting a free card draw each turn with its ability, Fleet-Footed. After hitting for 250 and discarding your energy off Calyrex, you can use Cheryl to fully heal your Pokemon at the cost of discarding their energies. Since there's no energy left, you don't have to discard any! The Echoing Horn is a nice surprise for late-game when you need an additional 20 damage to knock something out- it brings another one of your opponent's Pokemon from their discard onto their bench, which bumps up Suicune's attack. Alternatively, use Echoing Horn to force your opponent to bench something you can Boss's Orders up for the knock out to win, or prevent them from benching things like Crobat V and using their abilities!

Ice Rider Calyrex VMAX - Pokemon | TrollAndToad

How Does Fusion Strike Win?

This is a matchup Austin and I have played over and over again and the best I can say is that it's a pretty even game. I did find a decent bump in win rates when I went second with Fusion Strike, but I feel you should be going second versus any deck with Fusion Strike. Be aware of your Fusion Strike Energies and how they interact with Quick Shooting Inteleons- your Pokemon are protected from them if the Fusion Strike Energy is attached. It's inevitable that you'll have a large bench with Fusion Strike, and I wouldn't recommend handicapping your draw capability just to offset Suicune's damage. Target down whatever attacker they've put  energy on and hope they don't draw into the Melony! The Oricorio can be important in this matchup as its ablility reduces damage done to your Fusion Strike Pokemon by 20.  If they're hitting you for 160 with Ride of the High King, they're 2 Hit KOing your Mew VMAX. But if Oricorio is in play, it means your opponent has to hit you three times, or they're forced to discard their energy to hit for 250. It also effectively reduces Suicune's damage output by one Pokemon, which can always be relevant.

Oricorio | Fusion Strike | TCG Card Database |

Of course, we have to go over the winning deck- Fusion Strike! This is an incredibly powerful deck, and the one I decided to play at this event. While you can win and lose on a coin flip, there's a lot of strategy behind the deck and playing well means relying less on luck. Instead of creating game states where flipping tails on a Cram-o-matic means you lose, work on creating situations where flipping tails means you just don't win as fast. This means focusing heavily on filling your bench early game, ditching dead cards before they start clogging up your hand, and preserving important resources instead of ditching them to draw more cards. Here's the list the winner Wrecklessguy used:

4 Mew V FST 113
3 Mew VMAX FST 114
4 Genesect V FST 185
2 Meloetta FST 124

3 Elesa's Sparkle FST 233
3 Boss's Orders SHF 58
1 Peony CRE 150
4 Power Tablet FST 236
4 Quick Ball FST 237
4 Battle VIP Pass FST 225
4 Switch SSH 183
4 Fog Crystal CRE 140
4 Cram-o-matic FST 229
3 Great Ball CPA 52
1 Rotom Phone CPA 64
1 Tool Jammer BST 136
1 Old Cemetery CRE 147
1 Crystal Cave EVS 144
1 Training Court RCL 169
1 Rose Tower DAA 169

4 Fusion Strike Energy FST 244
3 Psychic Energy 

I played against him for the mirror match in Round 6, but he was able to set up faster and I missed the energy attachment on the last turn. When talking with him during the tournament, we talked about our lists and what was working well versus what we would change. He said that he would likely take out the Tool Jammer and that he liked the Escape Ropes and Air Balloon I was playing, as having additional switching cards is crucial in this deck. I love that he played 4 different Stadiums, because I've definitely noticed times when I need to burn another card from my hand and can't replace my own stadium. I also love the Great Balls, which let you look at your top 7 cards and choose a Pokemon- I was playing 4 in my own list originally, but ended up swapping them for Rotom Phones to look at the top 5 cards and choose to put one on top. The synergy with Genesect's Fusion Strike System means I can get any card I need off the top instead of just a Pokemon. However, the Great Balls do significantly increase your odds of getting your bench full without relying on coin flips, which is crucial early game.

Cram-o-matic - Fusion Strike #229 Pokemon Card

How Does Fusion Strike Win?
If you want to win the Mirror Match, keep a close eye on the discard. A lot of the game can be decided by who sets up faster, but you can come back from a poor start if you notice a trend of certain cards being discarded. Notice a few energy in the discard? Most lists only run 4 Fusion Strike Energy, and 2-3 Basic Psychic. With the Training Court Stadium being the only energy retrieval in this deck you can take advantage of those situations by Bossing up a Pokemon without energy and buying yourself extra time. Alternatively, if you notice they've already discarded 2-3 of their switch cards, you can play Boss's Orders to bring their benched Genesect up while you get the rest of your board sorted out. Resource management is key in this deck, and even moreso against the mirror.

      This is such a diverse meta and a breath of fresh air over the "everyone play ADP" tournaments of yesteryear. Between the Big Beefy Building Duraludon, Quick & Bench Sniping Jolteon, Heavy Hitting Ice Rider and Draw-Through-Your-Deck Fusion Strike, there's something for all play styles and budgets. And that's not even half the deck options you could build right now! The fact that all of these decks and more ended up placing in Top 8 is a great sign of a healthy game with plenty of fun options for trainers to try out. What's your playstyle? Sleeve up some of these decks and find out!