“Dragon Tales”: All About Tapu Bulu/Vikavolt, the Power of Drampa, and an Aside on Draw Engines

Hey guys, it’s Charlie back with another article.  Today, I’m going to talk about my Madison Regionals experience, the impact of Guardians Rising when it comes to draw engines, and my favorite card from the set, Drampa GX.  The new cards in Guardians Rising have proven to shake up the format like never before, so I hope you enjoy hearing my opinions on the new format!

Table of Contents:

  • Tapu Bulu/Vikavolt-The Ride to Top 8 of Madison

    • Tournament report
    • List
    • Updates
  • Drampa GX

    • Dragons come in all different colors
    • Drampa’s Strength vs. Decidueye
      • Tech in everything?
    • Possible options for Drampa (no lists)
  • Stick Shift Draw

    • Turbo Draw
    • Conservative Draw
    • Advantages of Stick Shift vs. Garbodor decks
  • Conclusion

Madison Regionals

As many of you guys know, Madison Regionals took place in Wisconsin this past weekend.  Luckily, I was able to finish in the Top 8 of 522 players with a deck many people had not heard of before the event: Tapu Bulu/Vikavolt.  Throughout the weekend, this deck proved to be incredibly consistent and powerful.


About a month before the tournament, Isaiah Cheville sent me a decklist for a completely new concept involving the new Tapu Bulu GX along with Vikavolt from Sun and Moon.  The idea of the original concept was to have many different attackers, including Tapu Bulu GX, Tapu Koko GX, and Tapu Lele GX that were utilized in different matchups.  The deck later evolved and became focused on achieving a Turn 2 Vikavolt along with consistently hitting for 180 with Tapu Bulu GX.  We found that the only very bad matchup that the deck suffered was to Zoroark/Drampa (what I eventually fell to in Top 8) while it took close matchups to Vespiquen and Volcanion, along with positive matchups vs the rest of the field.  In the end, this deck turned out to be a great pick for the tournament, with only one Zoroark/Drampa deck making Day 2 in comparison to the many positive matchups that moved on.

Tournament Report

Heading into the day, I met up with the rest of my friends who were playing the deck and wrote down our lists.  Before handing in our lists, we had a little friendly competition, betting that the winner would do the best out of all of us.  Surprisingly, I won this and was the only one to move on to Day 2.  

Round 1 vs. Paul Vang with Turbo Volcanion EX WW, 1-0

I was playing against a relatively new player with a Volcanion deck that still included Trainers’ Mail, Max Elixir, and all the other crazy Item cards that we used to see in almost every deck.  In Game 1, I started off with a horrible hand that he N’d away on Turn 2, giving me a much better setup.  I was able to knock out his Turtonator GX by attaching a Choice Band to my Tapu Bulu right after he used Nitro Tank (putting ALL of the Energy on the active), giving me the win.  For Game 2, my setup was much better, and I was able to pull out a quick 2-0.

Round 2 vs. Ryan Allred with Turbo Volcanion EX LWW, 2-0

I next played against a similar Volcanion deck, this time piloted by a player who had been around for a little while longer.  In Game 1, I faltered once again in my setup while he had a very strong board by Turn 2.  This game didn’t turn out to be very close; I lost in about 10 minutes.  Game 2 went the opposite way, where I had a great setup and he did not.  Game 3 was very close – it eventually came down to whether one of us would ever miss an attack.  Luckily, I successfully N’d him out of a Fire Energy on the second-to-last turn for the win.  Phew!

Round 3 vs. Austin Saby with Greninja BREAK WW, 3-0

Sitting down, I knew that I was most likely in for an easy win because of how strong the matchup was.  I was able to set up Tapu Bulu on Turn 2 during both games, netting me a quick win.

Round 4 vs. Michael Pramawat with Vespiquen/Zoroark WW, 4-0

I thought I was in for a really rough game knowing that Vespiquen was a bad matchup, but during the first game he was never able to find any Choice Band.  This resulted in him having to overextend to hit a OHKO on my Tapu Bulu, letting me win by running him out of attackers.  In Game 2, he was forced to Sycamore away both of his Special Charge on Turn 1, signaling me to drop Drampa and start removing as many Energy as possible.  Soon enough, I removed all of his Energy and he scooped.

Round 5 vs. Samuel Irish with Espeon/Garbodor WW, 5-0

At the beginning of Game 1, I got off to a relatively good start while he did the same.  At one point, he took the liberty to set up Flareon, add extra Energy to Espeon, and play Kukui trying to get a OHKO on my Tapu Bulu (he forgot it had no Weakness).

Round 6 vs. Conner LaVelle with Tapu Bulu/Vikavolt WLW, 6-0

Although our lists were very different, it was great to see someone else succeeding with my deck.  I was definitely happy to win the coin flip, allowing me to get ahead in the trade as long as I set up.  In Game 1, we both set up Turn-2 Vikavolt but I was able to win the Bulu trade because I went first.  Game 2 was the opposite, where Conner was able to win the trade by going first.  Game 3 was different though, as he actually got ahead in the trade while I struggled to set up a Vikavolt.  In the end, I was able to play Field Blower to discard the Choice Band on his Vikavolt and KO his last Bulu in play while also playing an N, resulting in him missing an attack the next turn.  This was a really close series, and I thank Conner for giving me such a good match.

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