“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.

Round 7 vs. Jay Lesage with Drampa/Garbodor ID, 6-0-1

For this round, I got paired against Cut Or Tap’s own Jay Lesage.  We sat down and he offered the ID, which I quickly took to guarantee the spot in Day 2.  It was great talking to Jay all weekend and I wish him the best of luck finishing off his great season!

Round 8 vs. Blair Zwarich with Alolan Ninetales GX ID, 6-0-2

An ID here would give me no chance at bubbling no matter how my last round went, so I was happy when Blair accepted my offer.  I knew it was a very good matchup for me but I had no intention to risk dead-drawing twice and losing.  We played a fun match anyways which I quickly won.  (Blair, sorry that you had a decklist error after the fun match that forced you to play 4 Kukui, but you were a very nice opponent to play against!)

Round 9 vs. Ray Fernandez with M Rayquaza EX/Garbodor WW, 7-0-2

Although Ray knew he was in for a rough match, he stayed positive and was a really fun opponent to play against for the last round of the day. I was able to use Vikavolt and Tapu Koko SM30 (with a Choice Band) to take OHKOs on his M Rayquaza.  Ray’s been having a really good season (in his first season, mind you) and has lots of great accomplishments ahead of him.

After this, I went ahead and grabbed dinner, played some old format games with friends, and went to sleep in preparation for Day 2.  I knew I would be playing against Jimmy Pendarvis’ Vespiquen deck first thing in the morning, which was shaping up to be a really close match.  In the morning, I got up and headed down to the center, very confident in my ability to have a good day.  Pairings went up and I sat down at Table 2 quickly and set up as fast as possible, to deter the streamers from picking us as the feature match.

Round 10 vs. Jimmy Pendarvis with Vespiquen/Zoroark WLL (time), 7-1-2

I got off to a quick start during Game 1, and started attacking with Tapu Bulu on Turn 2.  Jimmy was able to start hitting for 180 pretty quickly, but he was not able to set up enough Vespiquen while also doing lots of damage.  He scooped after running out of Combee in play.  

Game 2 went pretty differently. Jimmy was able to set up multiple Vespiquen and take a few KO’s with Zoroark as well.  I scooped when I realized that there was absolutely nothing I could do to prevent him from winning.  

Game 3 was very close. Tt came down to him being able to draw his entire deck after an N to find a DCE and Lysandre on Turn 3 of time for the win.  These were some great games and I congratulate Jimmy on also finishing in the Top 8.

Round 11 vs. Alex Schemanske with Metagross GX WLT, 7-1-3

This game was streamed on the official Pokemon live stream, so you can go ahead and watch it if you want.  

I sat down at the table ready for a quick loss, as I thought Metagross was a horrible matchup knowing that he played Professor Kukui.  In Game 1, he missed a crucial KO on a Vikavolt early in the game and then missed Max Potion the following turn.  I was able to KO two Metagross quickly after killing his Alolan Vulpix and then found a Lysandre to KO his Beldum with Energy Drive for the game.  

Game 2 did not go well for me. Alex was able to get a very good setup early on in the game by once again starting his only Alolan Vulpix, crushing all of my Benched GXs for the win.  

Game 3 was close; it eventually came down to both of us making crucial misplays that lost both of us the game respectively.  In one turn, he forgot to use Hex Maniac which would have prevented me from attacking with Vikavolt again, and on Turn 2 of time I top-decked a VS Seeker thinking that I had the win, but I forgot that Dhelmise’s Anchor Shot locks your Pokemon Active.  This was a really close game that could have really gone either way, but mistakes forced the match to a tie.

Round 12 vs. Azul Garcia Griego with Volcanion/Brooklet Hill LWL 7-2-3

There wasn’t much to this match. Azul and I each had games where we won the EX/GX trade but he was able to use Baby Volcanion in Games 1 and 3 to throw the trade off.  Turtonator also helped Azul take a double Bulu KO since I couldn’t find Choice Band to take a KO on the 190 HP beast.

Round 13 vs. Ray Fernandez with M Rayquaza EX WW 8-2-3

This match was very similar to our first match, as I was just able to take OHKOs with non-EXs turn after turn.  Game 2 was very close because of my early dead draws, but I was somehow able to pull it out.  Ray was definitely a great opponent both days, and he deserves a shoutout for how nice he was during both matches and when we weren’t playing.

Round 14 vs. John Roberts II with Tapu Bulu/Vikavolt WLW 9-2-3

I knew this would be a really close match when I sat down, knowing that my opponent was playing a similar deck to Conner LaVelle’s that I played against earlier.  I ended up losing the coin flip this time, but John struggled to set up a Vikavolt early in Game 1, and I was able to KO his Grubbins turn after turn for the win.

Things went much more his way for Game 2, where he was able to set up a quick Vikavolt and win the GX trade.  

Game 3 was very interesting. I got behind in the trade but on one turn I played an N, forcing him to miss an attack with Tapu Bulu and instead attack with Tapu Koko GX, allowing me to gain the upper hand in the trade.  He played an N the next turn, with which I drew a Grass Energy and a Lysandre for the win.  John was a very nice opponent who was fun to talk with all weekend, and I congratulate him on the Top 32 finish.

Afterwards, I went up to the deck and ate lunch with my dad, just hoping not to come back to my friends laughing at me for getting 9th.  Luckily, my good resistance resulted in me squeaking in at 8th(!) putting me in the Top 8 at a Regionals for the first time!  Sadly, I got paired against Cut Or Tap’s own and Pro Play Games-sponsored player Daniel Altavilla, piloting his Zoroark BREAK/Drampa deck, the worst matchup I could imagine.

Top 8 vs. Daniel Altavilla with Foxy Drampa LL, 8th Place

I knew I was in for a rough ride sitting down.  In Game 1, he was able to get Turn-2 TRIPLE Zoroark while I was unable to get up a Vikavolt, so he quickly smashed me.  

Daniel also got a fantastic setup for Game 2, while I took a few KO’s with my Tapu Koko SM30.  He got a Lysandre play off and copied my Tapu Wilderness GX to heal his Zoroark and KO my Tapu Bulu.  I decided to scoop afterwards because I was 99% sure I would be losing the game, and I had a flight to catch.  Danny was a great opponent and I congratulate him on his win in Mexico City.

I quickly said goodbye to my friends and left to catch my flight back to DC.  I had a lot of fun in Madison, not only because of how well I did, but also because of how quickly the tournament was run and all the other fun activities that Jimmy arranged. (Retro Decks were sick.)

Here was the list I played to a Top 8 finish:

Pokémon – 16 Trainers – 32 Energy – 12
3 Tapu Bulu GX 4 Professor Sycamore 4 Ultra Ball 7 Grass
3 Vikavolt 3 N 3 VS Seeker 5 Lightning
2 Charjabug 2 Lysandre 3 Rare Candy
3 Grubbin 1 Skyla 2 Heavy Ball
3 Tapu Lele GX 1 Brigette 2 Field Blower
1 Drampa GX 1 Olympia 2 Choice Band
1 Tapu Koko SM30 1 Brock’s Grit 2 Float Stone
1 Energy Recycler

As you can see, this deck tries its best to take a slow Turn 1 by using Brigette for Grubbins and then start attacking by Turn 2 with Tapu Bulu.  This deck proved to be very powerful throughout the weekend and still shows lots of potential for the future

Card Explanations

3 Tapu Bulu GX

As your main attacker, you need three Tapu Bulu so you are always sure you have an attacker available.  The only reason I don’t play four is because almost everything in the deck can serve as a backup attacker.

3-2-3 Vikavolt

I picked this relatively thin line with two Charjabug to maximize space in the deck for other things, as well as to make sure that the Decidueye matchup wasn’t bad.  Since you only need one Vikavolt on the board at once, you don’t really need a much larger count than this.

3 Tapu Lele GX

I used Phinn’s logic to pick a good Lele count.  Since I plan to always use two Lele in a game, playing three makes sense in case I prize one.  This count saved me many times throughout both days, winning me games that I had been falling behind in.

1 Tapu Koko SM30

I picked this card over Tapu Koko GX for three reasons: it’s a non-EX, it has free retreat, and it has an effectively identical second attack.  Surprisingly, I used Electric Ball much more than Flying Flip throughout the tournament.  Flying Flip is also a nice bonus vs. Gyarados and other decks that I may need a bit more damage to take OHKO’s on.

1 Drampa GX

I get asked a lot about why I included this, and the answer is pretty simple: it’s a hard counter to Decidueye, as well as an effective attacker against other Drampa decks.  Using Righteous Edge against Decidueye allows you to slow them down while you set up your board, while Berserk’s condition is easily activated if they use Feather Arrow on a Benched Pokemon.  Lastly, Big Wheel GX can be used as a bail-out attack if you want to use Brigette but have no other Supporter.  I just feel like the Drampa is and likely will be a solid inclusion, no matter what meta you are in.

3 VS Seeker

I usually like to compare playing four VS Seeker to being on training wheels.  With four, you have enough Seeker to fall back if you are new to the concept of resource conservation, but three is almost always enough if you know how to conserve your resources.

3 Rare Candy

I never felt like I needed more than three because I would much rather have the 95% Turn 3 Vikavolt (two Charjabug helps this) along with a 65% Turn 2 than an 80% Turn 2 with similar odds for Turn 3.  You could play four, but I think that three is just enough for this deck

2 Heavy Ball

This is a great search card as Tapu Bulu, Vikavolt, and Charjabug all have a retreat cost of 3.  Heavy Ball really helps with early Vikavolt consistency as well as continuing to find Tapu Bulu turn after turn.  I would not cut this card unless there was a card that could search more for free (and there isn’t).

2 Field Blower

Since Garbodor BKP is a pretty big problem, including two Field Blower was a must.  I would not drop below two unless you expect very little Garbodor (not a good assumption) in which you may think about playing one.

2 Choice Band

Since Tapu Bulu already hits for 180, the Choice Band are only really important if you’re against something with 190-210 HP or trying to attack with Vikavolt/Drampa.  I don’t think there’s really a reason to play more than two unless Alolan Ninetales or Lurantis suddenly becomes more relevant.

2 Float Stone

With Olympia here, there is no need for more than two Stone.  Strong Charge can easily let you retreat something like a Tapu Lele while you can put these on Vikavolts.  A third might not be a bad idea, but I think the deck still runs smoothly without it.

1 Energy Recycler

Recovery is insanely important in this deck, so I included one Energy Recycler to help with mid- to late-game recovery.  I thought about playing two once but with Brock’s Grit it’s unnecessary.  You usually find yourself using this in the mid-game with four or five Energy in the discard and then dropping Brock’s Grit later.  This card is invaluable and possibly one of the most important cards in the deck

1 Skyla

I almost played two Skyla because the search effect is so important when trying to achieve the Turn 2 Vikavolt. Removing this would be a massive mistake; one is the absolute minimum in this.

1 Brigette

Brigette is my preferred Turn 1 Supporter for any game so that I can get out two Grubbin and a Bulu.  I usually won when I could set up properly, so Brigette was a very valuable inclusion all weekend.  I would not take out Brigette for anything right now; the utility it provides on Turn 1 is too valuable.

1 Olympia

I included this mostly for the Espeon/Garbodor matchup, but it proved to be useful in many other matchups as well.  Switching with a VS Seeker is a very powerful effect that many players have overlooked, so I would definitely not take this out for anything other than possibly a third Float Stone.

1 Brock’s Grit

This is your late-game recovery most of the time, as you can get it back with VS Seeker.  I found myself using Brock’s Grit a lot in non-EX matchups where I may have been losing a lot of Energy (especially if their HP is higher than 120).  It is also your only Pokemon recovery in the deck, so if you have to discard a lot of Vikavolt or Tapu Bulu early on, you can play Brock’s Grit to get them back.  Brock’s is a really strong inclusion that I probably will never take out.

7 Grass, 5 Lightning

I feel that this is the optimal Energy count in the deck right now. The only possible change to this would be adding another Grass.  Any more Grass feels like an overflow, while any less is too little to attack turn after turn.  Any less Lightning and you struggle to find them with Strong Charge; any more and they overwhelm your Grass Energy.  Feel free to mess with the Energy count, but I really think this is the best count right now.

Overall, I feel like Tapu Bulu/Vikavolt is one of the strongest decks in the format right now, with a really consistent setup and nice matchup spread.  Below, I will quickly go over the matchups that you may expect to face and how to play against them.


Drampa/Garbodor-Slightly Favorable

If you are able to keep your Item usage to a minimum and keep Garbodor BKP offline, you should be fine.  The only reason this matchup isn’t more favorable is Garbodor BKP .  You are able to set up attackers much faster and you do not struggle with late game N’s unless Garbotoxin is online.  If you have a Choice Band on your Bulu, try to take a KO on a Drampa with Tapu Wilderness GX once so that you keep your Energy in case of a Garbodor.

Espeon/Garbodor-Favorable/Slightly Favorable (if including Garbodor BKP)

Many of these lists choose not to include Garbodor BKP, so as long as you can find your Olympia and/or flip through Confusion you should be able to cut through Espeon after Espeon like butter.  Make sure to conserve Field Blower just in case they do drop Garbodor BKP, though.

Alolan Ninetales-Favorable

As long as you can find your Choice Bands, you can easily win this matchup by OHKOing all of their Ninetales.  There isn’t much to it since your deck is faster, does more damage, and is more resistant to late game N’s.

Turbo Darkrai-Favorable

You are able to take OHKOs much faster than they are, so a Bulu or two should easily KO all of their Darkrai.  Make sure to watch out for Hex though, as a well-timed Hex can ruin your plans and result in one Darkrai sweeping your board.

Greninja-Highly Favorable

One or two Tapu Bulu should be able to clean up all of your opponent’s Greninja.  A well-timed Tapu Wilderness GX can result in a Bulu lasting much longer than you expected, so make sure to conserve the attack until you are sure you need it.  Otherwise, just make sure you are taking a KO every turn and you will be fine.

Decidueye/Vileplume-Even to Slightly Favorable

By including Drampa GX and 2 Charjabug, you are able to set up your Vikavolt by Turn 3 and do plenty of early damage to their Decidueye.  Tapu Wilderness GX is very important, so if you don’t have to use Big Wheel GX because of a bad hand then don’t.  Make sure to get out your Drampa and manage your resources so that you can deal with the onslaught of Decidueye coming your way.

Volcanion-Even to Slightly Favorable

This really comes down to who sets up faster, but Baby Volcanion can throw the trade off early in the game.  If you are able to avoid it then you should be fine, but this is a matchup where getting ahead in the trade is actually pretty hard.  However, you are still doing more damage more consistently, which can easily give you the win against a Volcanion deck that struggles to continue streaming Volcanion.

Metagross-Even to Slightly Unfavorable (Example on stream of how to play the matchup)

This is the one of two matchups in which you do not use Tapu Bulu at all.  Attacking with Vikavolt is your best option as it resists Metal, forcing them to take 2HKOs unless they play Professor Kukui.  Consistently streaming Electrocannon (and praying they don’t Tapu Cure) is the key to winning the matchup.

Zoroark BREAK/Drampa-Highly Unfavorable

This is Tapu Bulu’s only autoloss, since the ability to copy Nature’s Judgement with Foul Play and only discard a Dark is scary.  You have to attack with Tapu Lele and Tapu Koko for any real chance at winning, while also keeping a small Bench.  This is definitely the deck’s worst matchup that I still have not solved.

Overall, I love the matchup spread that Tapu Bulu offers and it is one of the reasons I picked the deck.  I don’t see this really changing much in the future, not many real new decks have popped up since Madison other than Gallade/Octilery (relatively even).


The only card I have since added to the deck was a Hex Maniac, something that helps improve the Metagross and mirror matchups.  I took out the fourth Professor Sycamore because the deck already felt consistent enough; the Hex does not hurt consistency much at all.

Final Thoughts on the Deck

I still love this deck as much as I did the day I came up with it. The raw damage output and consistency is unrivaled in this format right now.  I’d definitely recommend this deck to anyone looking for something that is not only really hard-hitting and consistent, but also super fun to play.  I really hope you enjoy trying the deck out!

Drampa GX-The Colorless Dragon that Dominates Decidueye

This card is most definitely my favorite new card in the set not only because of its attacks (hard counter to Decidueye), but also because of its splashability.  As a Colorless-type, Drampa GX can fit into any deck that plays Energy with ease, providing basically everything that plays it with a strong out to Decidueye.  All three of its attacks are also incredibly strong in their own right.  Righteous Edge is very powerful in the early game, able to discard a Special Energy off of your opponent’s Active for just a single Colorless.  Berserk, while usually taking two or three turns to fuel, is able to OHKO most Basic EXs/GXs with a Choice Band as long as their is damage on your Bench.  Lastly, Big Wheel GX can help you draw out of a dead hand and/or draw enough cards to do what you need to the next turn, regardless of any real lock factors.  Each of these attacks would still make any Basic GX playable even if there was only one of them, but all three of these on a single Pokemon is what makes Drampa so effective.

Options for our Color-Changing Dragon – Nine Different Types to Try


The current top Grass contender is Decidueye, a deck that has utilized many different tech attackers before.  I would consider playing one Drampa for the mirror match, allowing me to discard their Energy and punish them with a high damage attack for damaging my Bench with Feather Arrow.  Big Wheel would also help Decidueye find its Evolutions in the early game, resulting in more Decidueye/Vileplume on the board.  I would definitely consider a copy of Drampa in this deck.


Volcanion is the only real Fire deck that has been competitive in the past year, and its damage output is already high enough to compete with the format.  I would probably never consider a Drampa in Volcanion, since Volcanion already covers the bases that Drampa is meant to.


In a Waterbox-esque deck, I could see Drampa being helpful for matchups such as Decidueye.  I would probably not include it without including Double Colorless though, and DCE does not usually work well in Waterbox.  In the future, a Water attacker that makes better use of Double Colorless may be released, in which case I would reconsider playing a Drampa, but for now, leave your Drampa in the binder.


There aren’t very many common Lightning decks in the format right now, so it’s hard to tell whether or not Drampa would be good in one.  If whatever deck you are playing has a poor Decidueye matchup, I would consider Drampa.


With Lycanroc GX being the only major Fighting deck, I cannot see much use in playing Drampa.  You already have Energy removal with Mid-day Lycanroc  and your damage output is high enough to deal with most stuff.  On top of that, you don’t play any DCE and you do play Strong Energy, making it a lot harder to power up Drampa.


With Garbodor entering the format, Psychic decks will need a way to apply early game pressure.  In my opinion, Drampa is the easiest way to apply this pressure. We’ve seen how powerful Drampa/Garbodor can be in Seattle, so I’d always keep an eye out for this deck.


As Turbo Darkrai is now a dead archetype, there aren’t really any Dark decks in the format.  Even if Turbo Darkrai came back from the dead, it has no need for another high-damage attacker.  If Yveltal still exists, it may be able to utilize one Drampa in place of a Tauros, but I wouldn’t count on it being useful.


Other than the new Metagross things, there are no major Metal decks in the format.  Metagross decks don’t show a need for another attacker either, so I wouldn’t consider including a Drampa in Metal.


Mega Gardevoir could use a Drampa as another tech attacker, but its Decidueye matchup is already much better than average.  I would most likely not include a Drampa in Gardevoir or any other Fairy decks.


Unless we’re talking about Expanded, no Dragon decks really exist, and even if they do, a Colorless attacker would be a bad idea (DDE can’t be attached).  I might consider one in Toad/Tina (Expanded) but that’s it.

Colorless (DCE)

Vespiquen and possibly Gyarados could utilize Drampa for Decidueye, possibly turning it from a horrible matchup to a near-even one.  I would definitely include one in Vespiquen and consider one in Gyarados.

As you can see, Drampa is one of the most versatile attackers in the format.  This is definitely a card to keep in the back of your mind for the next couple years, because it could find a place in anything that needs it in an instant.

Stick Shift Draw-The Future of Draw Engines?

With Garbodor now at the head of the format, draw engines need to change a lot in order to combat Garbodor’s powerful Trashalanche attack.  I feel like today’s draw engine should combine both low speed and turbo concepts into one another, and allow you to switch between them. This would allow decks to remain fast when not playing against Garbodor, but take it slow when playing against Garbodor decks.

Low Gear “Conservative” Draw Engine Skeleton

  • 3 Tapu Lele GX
  • 3 VS Seeker
  • 4 Ultra Ball
  • 4 Professor Sycamore
  • 3 N
  • 1 Skyla/Fan Club/Setup Supporter

High Gear “Turbo” Draw Engine Skeleton

  • 2 Shaymin EX
  • 1 Tapu Lele GX
  • 3 VS Seeker
  • 4 Ultra Ball
  • 4 Trainers’ Mail
  • 3 Sycamore
  • 2 N

As you can see, a common Turbo draw engine includes Trainers’ Mail to speed up setup, as well as Shaymin-EX to facilitate a lot of card-drawing early in the game.  Most decks that play a one-speed Turbo engine will struggle a lot with Garbodor.  The low-gear engine, on the other hand, will deal with Garbodor easily, as it is able to set up without the use of many Items.  Low-gear lacks any real aspect of speed though; without Shaymin, your turns are always limited to a single Supporter for draw.

In comes the Stick Shift draw engine, designed to combat Garbodor and still maintain some of the speed that Turbo engines of the past had.

Stick Shift “2 Speed” Draw Engine Skeleton

  • 2 Tapu Lele GX
  • 1 Shaymin EX
  • 3 VS Seeker
  • 4 Ultra Ball
  • 4 Sycamore
  • 4 N

It doesn’t look like much of a difference, but including a single Shaymin along with a high count of Supporters allows anything using this engine to not only play minimal Items against Garbodor, but still pop off when playing against decks without the trash mound.  Overall, I feel like this type of engine will be included in more decks as long as Garbodor is popular, because you cannot just settle for a slow set up in every game.


Well, if you made it all the way through, thanks a ton for reading this!  Shoutout to all of my friends/testing partners (you know who you are), especially Team Fresh Sauce.  I will be at the NAIC in Indianapolis, in case anyone wants to come and talk to me.  Otherwise, good luck at any events you may be attending, and have a nice day!