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Pokémon TCG: Standard Celebi VMAX/Orbeetle VMAX Control Deck

Chill Clinton is a trading card enthusiast and investor who operates an online trading card store.

Celebi VMAX and Orbeetle VMAX strike an optimal balance by grinding down your opponent's Pokémon hit points and drawing their resources while reliably restoring your own Pokémon—and preparing them to hit big at ideal moments.

Celebi VMAX and Orbeetle VMAX strike an optimal balance by grinding down your opponent's Pokémon hit points and drawing their resources while reliably restoring your own Pokémon—and preparing them to hit big at ideal moments.

A Budget-Friendly Deck That Will Succeed Within the Sword & Shield-era Standard Meta

Though standard Pokémon deckbuilding is not known to be exceptionally expensive, especially when compared to similar games such as Yu-Gi-Oh! and Magic: The Gathering, many players are eager to discover competitive decks that make novel use of cards that are easy to pick up on a budget.

Both presently priced at less than $3 per card, this deck's two primary Pokémon cards, Celebi VMAX and Orbeetle VMAX, pack quite a punch when compared to their relative affordability. Plus, they are exceptionally well equipped to combat other common standard deck lists, including Galarian Moltres/Inteleon and Single Strike Urshifu/Umbreon.

Celebi VMAX/Orbeetle VMAX Control Deck List

Let's check out the deck list:

Pokémon: 17

4x Celebi V CRE 7
4x Celebi VMAX CRE 8
4x Orbeetle V VIV 20
4x Orbeetle VMAX VIV 21
1x Kricketune V BST 6

Trainer Cards: 31

3x Bird Keeper SHF 66
2x Evolution Incense SSH 163
2x Cheryl BST 123
2x Quick Ball SSH 179
4x Air Balloon SSH 156
3x Boss's Orders SHF 58
4x Turffield Stadium EVS 234
2x Professor's Research SSH 178
4x Switch SSH 183
3x Marnie SSH 169
2x Energy Search SSH 161

Energy: 12

8x Grass Energy
4x Aromatic {G} Energy VIV 162

The Exciting Stage Ability allows players to draw cards until they have three cards in their hand if Kricketune V is in the Benched position, and four cards if it is in the Active position.

The Exciting Stage Ability allows players to draw cards until they have three cards in their hand if Kricketune V is in the Benched position, and four cards if it is in the Active position.

Achieving Early Game Dominance by Drawing Necessary Resources

As you may notice, this deck plays a significantly larger number of Trainer cards than Pokémon cards. This difference speaks to the build's confidence in its player's ability to quickly stick both their Celebi VMAX and Orbeetle VMAX to the field, protect those Pokémon, and utilize their Trainer resources to nimbly move their Pokémon about the Active and Benched positions, remaining just out of reach of any Knock Out hits.

This rapid development is supported by several options that allow players to draw out necessary resources from their deck early in the game, including:

  • Kricketune V: This Pokémon features the Exciting Stage Ability, which allows players to draw cards until they have three cards in their hand if Kricketune V is in the Benched position, and four cards if it is in the Active position.
  • Celebi VMAX: Though Celebi's strongest feature within this deck is its Curative Forest Ability, which allows its player to heal 20 HP across all of their grass-type Pokémon, its low-cost Max Plant attack also allows players to search two Pokémon (basic or evolution) from their deck. Plus the 130 damage isn't bad either!
  • Turffield Stadium: This Stadium allows both players to draw one Evolution grass-type Pokémon on their turns.
  • Quick Ball: This Item allows players to discard a card from their hand and search their deck for a basic Pokémon.
  • Evolution Incense: By using this Item, a player can search their deck for an Evolution Pokémon. This Item can be used in lieu of Turffield Stadium if that card is unavailable, and provides convenient discard fodder to use Quick Ball if a player is able to secure Turffield Stadiums in their hand.
  • Marnie: This Supporter allows a player to refresh their hand without having to discard their resources, and offers the added bonus of forcing the opposing player to also refresh their hand, which is especially ideal when your opponent has used resources to search their own Pokémon, or when they have especially large hands.

Pressuring Your Opponent's Board by Dealing Damage Widely

The primary win condition for this deck is using multiple Orbeetle VMAX cards to distribute 10 damage each turn to all of your opponent's Pokémon. Though, in a standard meta where many Pokémon have hit points above 200, this may not seem like much damage, by consistently using this effect by multiple copies of Orbeetle VMAX, players can reliably deal an additional 20–30 damage to all of their opponent's Pokémon every turn.

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This places pressure on your opponent to waste resources protecting their benched Pokémon, avoid playing low-HP Pokémon that may give them useful abilities, and more widely distribute their tools and energies to ensure Pokémon are able to switch out and see use before inevitably being knocked out.

This deck will rarely win quickly unless the opponent concedes prematurely, but by using Orbeetle's Eerie Beam Ability, you will tend to stack knock outs fairly quickly toward the end of the game as you grind away the opposing Pokémon's (plural) hit points so that you can exhaust their hit points in one or two attacks when they are forced into the Active position.

Air Balloon helps you to exploit your Eerie Beam Ability multiple times per turn.

Air Balloon helps you to exploit your Eerie Beam Ability multiple times per turn.

Controlling the Active Position (Both Yours and Your Opponent's)

A crucial element of this deck is controlling the Active space on both sides of the field in order to exploit your Orbeetles' Eerie Beam Abilities, and force weakened Pokémon into the Active position for easy knock outs.

  • Air Balloon: Attaching Air Balloon to your Orbeetles helps you retreat them from the Active position without having to discard any energy cards. Of course, you can only retreat once per turn, but used in cooperation with other Trainer cards in the deck, this card can support multiple exchanges of Pokémon in the Active position, allowing players to utilize multiple Eerie Beam Abilities without having to leave weakened Orbeetles in the Active position when it becomes time to pass the turn.
  • Bird Keeper: This Supporter card is exceptionally strong, allowing you to switch one Pokémon on the Bench with a Pokémon in the Active position, and draw three cards.
  • Switch: This simple Item card is a staple in the game that allows you to simply "switch" one of your Benched Pokémon with the Active Pokémon.
  • Boss's Orders: This annoying little Supporter card allows you to compel your opponent to retreat their Active Pokémon and bring out a Benched Pokémon of your choosing. This card can be devastating in this deck as you can select Pokémon that are within knock out range having been damaged each turn by Orbeetle's Eerie Beam Ability.
Cheryl will allow you to heal your damaged Pokémon with few drawbacks in the context of this deck.

Cheryl will allow you to heal your damaged Pokémon with few drawbacks in the context of this deck.

Protecting Your Pokémon With Reliable and Low-Impact Heal Options

As the game progresses, you must be prepared to absorb some damage from your opponent's Pokémon. Since you will not play many Pokémon in this deck, it is crucial that you protect your Orbeetles and Celebis. Fortunately, this deck list does offer reliable options for healing that will have little impact on your resources.

  • Celebi VMAX: Just as this deck succeeds by stacking Orbeetle's Eerie Beam Ability, it also relies on playing multiple Celebis in order to utilize Curative Forest to heal anywhere from 40-60 damage per turn from all of your Pokémon per turn on average. Again, this may not seem like much with many attacks topping 100 or 200 damage, but by rotating which Orbeetle remains in the Active position, it becomes quite easy to manage your Orbeetles' hit points.
  • Cheryl: In more extreme circumstances, where your Orbeetles have taken more than 200 damage or so, it can be extremely useful to restore them to full health using Cheryl. Though being required to discard all energy from healed Pokémon may seem costly, much of the time, you may only be playing one or two Orbeetles with attached energy, and with its G-Max Wave costing only two energy, you can quickly replenish your energy while continuing to apply pressure in the meantime using Eerie Beam.
Professor's Research is another staple, widely played in the standard meta that allows players to discard their hands and draw seven cards.

Professor's Research is another staple, widely played in the standard meta that allows players to discard their hands and draw seven cards.

Thinning Your Deck of Unneeded Resources

Finally, this deck offers options for players to draw out their deck while discarding cards that no longer serve their strategies, removing those cards from the potential draw pool, and otherwise thinning their decks.

  • Professor's Research: This card can be useful in a number of circumstances. Of course, it's not ideal to discard necessary resources in order to draw seven cards. However, it is exceptionally useful in instances where you either have no cards in hand, or have multiple cards in your hand that no longer support your strategy at a given time in the game, such as Quick Ball, Evolution Incense, or Turffield Stadium, if you have already drawn out and evolved your Pokémon. In this example, this is an ideal card to use instead of Marnie, which will return those less than useful cards to your deck, muddying your draw pool with cards you don't want.
  • Energy Search: Energy Search is a great card not only because it supplies you with an energy card, but because it further thins out your deck of resources in order to increase the likelihood of drawing powerful Trainer cards that can more meaningfully ramp your board development.

Happy Battling!

This deck has worked exceptionally well against decks that play a significant number of Bench supporters, such as Galarian Moltres/Inteleon, and decks that stack energy on single Pokémon, such as Single Strike Urshifu/Umbreon.

Enjoy trying this deck out and getting a feel for how to nimbly move your Pokémon around the board to deal damage while avoiding as much damage as possible. You will likely have difficulty in your first few games since, unfortunately, the deck does not feature particularly strong attacks. But as you learn how to manage your resources effectively, you will find that this deck is extremely effective, difficult for your opponent to predict, and a ton of fun to play!

If you need help learning how to play the Pokémon Trading Card Game, you can check out my Comprehensive Guide!

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