Chill Clinton is a trading card enthusiast and investor who operates an online trading card store.
A Powerful Build That You Can Put Together for Just a Few Dollars!
If you are familiar with playing competitive Pokémon, you likely know how much some of the most powerful deck lists can cost. Often times, constructing a deck that will keep pace with the meta can cost hundreds of dollars, if not more, to put together.
Fortunately, there are a few options available to skilled Pokémon trainers working within a budget, including this incredibly powerful and fun-to-play deck that keeps its costs low by leveraging mostly common cards, as well thirty-five Basic Energy cards!
Now, I know what you may be thinking: How would this possibly work?
But the concept of this deck revolves around quickly equipping and discarding tons of energies to fuel strong mid-game attacks, shutting down your opponent's supporting Pokémon, as you force out your opponent's strongest Pokémon and knock them out with one punch.
Let's take a look at the deck list!
Kyogre/Volcarona V Decklist
Here are the cards you'll need to build this killer deck.
- 4x Cryogonal EVS
- 4x Kyogre CEL
- 2x Volcarona V EVS
- 4x Quick Ball SSH
- 3x Sonia RCL
- 3x Escape Rope BTS
- 3x Boss's Orders SHF
- 2x Ordinary Rod SSH
- 1x Professor's Research SSH
- 31x Basic Water Energy
- 4x Basic Fire Energy
Starting Off Strong With Cryogonal
As your game begins, you will ideally open with Cryogonal in the Active position. Statistically speaking, you should open with three Basic Water Energy cards in your hand. Therefore, you will have no problem attaching one to Cryogonal to use Element Chain, which won't deal any damage, but will allow you to to look at the top six cards of your deck and attach any energies you find to your Pokémon in play.
However, before using this attack, you'll want to make sure that you have a Kyogre on the Bench. Fortunately, because you have four Kyogres, and seven cards that will allow you to search for it (three Sonias & four Quick Balls) it is almost impossible not to be able to play Kyogre by at least your second turn.
Once you use Element Chain, you should uncover at least three energy cards, and be able to attach them to Kyogre. If you have multiple Kyogres on the Bench, don't spread the energies out. Make sure you attach three energies to the first Kyogre before proceeding to power up any others. It's like the oxygen mask rule on airplanes: Put on your own mask before helping any others!
If you're really lucky, you will top deck six water energies, and be able to attach all six! But remember that you are not required to attach all energies discovered through Element Chain, so if you draw any that you don't need to power the Pokémon in play, simply return them to the deck along with any non-energy cards you discover.
After using Element Chain, your turn will end, so be prepared to lose your active Cryogonal on your opponent's turn. With only 90HP, it isn't a particularly strong Pokémon, but you don't have to worry about giving your opponent one Prize Card early in the game.
Hopefully, it will survive, and you can retreat it when your opponent passes the turn. Just don't waste any Escape Ropes on your Cryogonals. Those will be reserved for your Kyogres in the mid-to-late game.
Controlling the Mid-Game With Kyogre
In the best-case scenario, you will have about two turns with Cryogonal to equip two Kyogres with three energy, preparing each to be able to use the Aqua Storm attack by turn three. Of course, you will need to be mindful of your opponent's Bench development when choosing whether to bring out your Kyogre sooner or later.
For example, if your opponent only has one Pokémon on their Bench, you may want to hold off in order to get the full value out of Aqua Storm, which compels you to mill five cards from the top of your deck to the discard pile, dealing 50 damage to two of your opponent's Benched Pokémon for each energy discarded this way.
However, if your opponent has any particularly strong and commonly played supporting Pokémon, such as Houndour/Houndoom or Sobble/Drizzile/Inteleon, you really want to get your Kyogre out as quickly as possible. Statistically speaking, you are most likely to deal between 100 and 150 damage to each affected Pokémon. If you deal 150, you can knock out all of these Pokémon. But if you deal 100, you can only knock out Houndour, Sobble, and Drizzile, so it's best to get a jump on working their hit points down or cutting off their evolutionary lines as soon as you can.
As you whittle away your opponent's Bench, you must manage your Kyogres to ensure that they are not quickly knocked out. You can do this by strategically utilizing your Escape Ropes to retreat damaged Kyogres, either replacing them with other Kyogres capable of using Aqua Storm, or Cryogonals in order to fuel new Kyogres as they hit the Bench. The added bonus of using Escape Rope is that you force your opponent to bring out Pokémon that are often weak and lack the necessary energy to attack, further protecting your Active Pokémon.
Naturally, you will lose some Kyogres because their hit points are very low. But don't worry, you can keep pace with your opponent because they will only take one Prize Card per Kyogre they knock out. Meanwhile, you will probably be able to knock out a few V Pokémon at best, and at worst, collect single Prize Cards by picking off your opponent's weaker supporting Pokémon. If your opponent plays a lot of these low HP supporters, you will often find yourself knocking out two at the same time!
It goes without saying that you do run some risk of discarding necessary cards by using Aqua Storm. To mitigate this risk, this deck runs Quick Balls and Sonias to fetch your Pokémon out of the deck before this happens. But this may not be enough, so to protect yourself from a scenario in which you have discarded all copies of a necessary Pokémon or Basic Energy, this deck also runs two Ordinary Rods. This Item card will allow you to return up to two Pokémon and two Basic Energy cards from the discard pile to your deck!
Quick Tip for Using Kyogre: Many decks play Crobat V for its draw ability, but essentially no decks play Crobat VMAX. At only 180HP and with no risk of that HP increasing due to evolution, Crobat V is very easy to knock out in two uses of Aqua Storm, and will give you two Prize Cards to help get you closer to victory! But don't target Crobat V in lieu of attacking supporting Pokémon that provide continuous Abilities. Nobody will waste resources protecting or attacking with Crobat V, so it's not a big risk to you!
Watch Out for Manaphy!
Manaphy from Sword & Shield: Brilliant Stars is a major problem for this deck because its Wave Veil Ability protects Pokémon on the Bench from receiving attack damage.
Because many other deck lists built around Kyogre's Aqua Storm attack were written before the release of Sword & Shield: Brilliant Stars, many do not have a response for this newly printed card. If it were not commonly played, I wouldn't consider it a cause for concern.
However, since its release, Manaphy has immediately seen play in a wide array of decks. Therefore, unlike most deck lists for this archetype, the list above plays Boss's Orders, a Supporter which allows you to force a Pokémon from your opponent's Bench to the Active position. By targeting Manaphy with Boss's Orders, you can use Kyogre's Surf attack to knock it out. Few decks play more than one Manaphy, so once you knock one out, you shouldn't have anything to worry about.
Finishing the Job With Volcarona V
The majority of your game will be carried on the backs of your Kyogres. However, Kyogre does struggle to end games in many situations. Inevitably, you will likely find yourself face-to-face with a V or VMAX which you need to deal 200 or more damage to in one hit in order to overpower your opponent.
Towards the end of the game, Volcarona V can swoop in to knock out the opponent's final Pokémon using Surging Flames. This attack will do 20 damage plus 20 more for each Basic Energy card in your discard pile. Let's just assume you have half of your energies in your discard pile (17 Basic Energy cards), you will deal 360 damage in one attack which is enough to knock out essentially every Pokémon in the current meta barring Resistance.
If you find that you don't have enough Basic Energies in your discard pile to knock out the Active Pokémon, you can use Professor's Research to hopefully discard energies from your hand and draw seven new cards. Among these cards, you may also find Quick Ball, which you can use to discard more energies from your hand to power up Volcarona V.
But be careful not to leave your Volcarona V hanging out on the Bench. Your opponent will know what you are up to. Because Surging Flames only requires one energy to attack, you can easily surprise your opponent by playing Volcarona V on the same turn that you bring it into the Active Position and attack. It's best to use this Pokémon only to end the game by, for example, knocking out an opponent's V or VMAX Pokémon and collecting multiple Prize Cards.
Before you go out and build this deck on your own, I have to be honest and say that it is certainly not the strongest deck out there. This is not likely a deck that will help you win any Standard tournaments against more competitive builds like Mew VMAX/Genesect V or Gengar VMAX/Single Strike Urshifu VMAX.
However, the most expensive card in this deck will set you back $2 with the entire build easily coming out to $10 or less, and it still holds its weight against many of the strongest decks in the current Standard meta, including decks that easily cost more than ten times as much money.
It's also a ton of fun to play, and provides a really interesting challenge for your opponent! I encourage you to try it out with friends in casual settings or on Pokémon's online trading card game platform.
If you need help learning how to play the Pokémon Trading Card Game, I invite you to check out my Comprehensive Guide!