“Nitro T’ank You:” Three Plays For The Nationals Meta

[Editor’s Note: This piece was originally intended as an analysis for the Mexico Regionals meta (tournament date June 10-11).]

Hey Cut or Tap readers! My name is Charlie Kerr, and I am a player from the Florida area that recently aged up to Masters. I am going to be a sophomore in high school next year. Today I am going to reflect on Madison Regionals and three decks that could do well moving forward in the Standard format from the results of past events.

Table of Contents

  • Post Madison Thoughts
  • Volcanion/Brooklet Hill
  • Foxy Drampa
  • Tapu Bulu/ Vikavolt


After Seattle, we had a good idea of what would be good going into Madison, with 24 decks of the Top 32 being Garbodor variants. We as players had to combat that. Most players are cutting down on items like VS Seeker, Trainers Mail, etc. In Madison, only eight Garb decks made Day 2 with most of them not making them Top 8. In Madison we had the following:

  • 1 Vikavolt/Tapu Bulu
  • 1 Metagross GX
  • 2 Vespiquen
  • 1 Garbodor Drampa
  • 1 Volcanion
  • 1 Decidueye/ Vileplume
  • 1 Zoroark Drampa

Vespiquen ended up winning the event in Madison. It was piloted by Michael Pramawat against Metagross GX, which was piloted by Christopher Schemanske in an intense Finals that went into time of Game 3. Now knowing the results of Madison, let’s take a look at what could perform well at US Internationals.

Volcanion/Brooklet Hill

Pokémon – 14 Trainers – 32 Energy – 14
4 Volcanion EX 4 Professor Sycamore 4 Ultra Ball 14 Fire
3 Volcanion 3 N 3 VS Seeker
2 Tapu Lele GX 2 Lysandre 3 Choice Band
1 Turtunator GX 2 Olympia 2 Escape Rope
2 Staryu EVO 1 Fisherman 2 Field Blower
2 Starmie EVO 2 Float Stone
4 Brooklet Hill

Card Choices

2 Olympia

…since Field Blower is a card which can get rid of your Float Stones. Also healing 30 can be very good for messing up your opponent’s math potentially, and to get rid of Volcanion EX’s Volcanic Heat effect of not being able to attack during your next turn. Therefore, you can attach a Float Stone to a benched Pokemon, or have another Volcanion EX, or any other attack to switch into which is very good.

2-2 Starmie

With Garbodor being a card doing 20 times the amount of items in your opponents discard pile, this can be very good against that instead of using Energy Retrieval, which is an Item. So you can discard one card from your hand with Starmie’s Ability, and you can get two Basic Energy cards from your discard pile to your hand. This also makes it easier to retrieve energies and reuse Volcanion EX’s Ability, Steam Up, to power your Basic fire types’ attacks by 30 damage.

1 Turtunator GX 

This card gives you access to a GX move, and is a bulky attacker, doing 160 for two fire and one colorless and discarding two energies attached to Turtanator GX. It has 190 HP and has a GX move in Nitro Tank GX, which attaches five Basic Fire energies from your discard pile to your Pokemon in any way you like -for the cost of one Fire energy! Turtanator’s first attack for two colorless is also very good for 20 damage, and its effect is that the active Pokemon takes eight damage counters if it lands damage during the next turn, which is very good in some situations. Four Brooklet Hill is very good for slowing down your pace to beat Garbodor easily; since you don’t play Max Elixirs and Energy Retrievals, the deck is much slower now. This lets you easily search for your Pokemon without having to discard anything, which is very good.


Garbodor – Favored, 55/45

If you draw well and can reduce your items in your discard, this matchup is very winnable due to your OHKO’ing ability.

Decidueye – 55/45 your favor

This matchup has been tested quite a bit over the past couple months. The matchup is very good if the Volcanion player sets up two Volcanion and can consistently take prizes since Decidueye is weak to fire. Lysandre is a pretty big factor for the Decidueye player. If they can Lysandre things with high retreat costs and hit with Feather Arrow’s snipe damage, it can be hard for the Volcanion player under item lock with the Vileplume.

Lapras Box/ P A T C H C I T Y – 40-60 not in your favor

From my testing, this can go a couple different ways. You both hit for a lot of damage, because Lapras hits for weakness on everything and you are dealing a lot back with Steam Ups and Choice Band, making the matchup go back and forth between players, but the only reason this matchup could go wrong is that Volcanion has Water weakness.

Vikavolt 40-60

I tested this matchup a lot, and it’s not very good since Tapu Bulu doesn’t have weakness and hits for 180 every turn. It’s really hard because if you don’t play smart, they can use Tapu Wilderness GX and heal all the damage on Tapu Bulu. You really just have to keep up the pace and draw very well.

Mirror- 50/50

Whoever can stream more Volcanions usually wins. You have to take quick KO’s, and be able to attack somehow after a Volcanic Heat.

Vespiquen 50/50

If you can stream knockouts on Combees, and if they don’t play Forest of Giant Plants, then it’s very favored by you. But if they do play the Forest, it will be easier for them to attack often and set up a Vespiquen easily.

Zoroark Drampa (aka “Foxy Drampa”)

Pokémon – 18 Trainers – 32 Energy – 10
4 Zorua BKT 4 Professor Sycamore 4 VS Seeker 6 Darkness
4 Zoroark BKT 3 N 4 Ultra Ball 4 Double Colorless
2 Zoroark BREAK 2 Lysandre 3 Choice Band
2 Drampa GX 1 Brigette 2 Rescue Stretcher
2 Tapu Lele GX 1 Pokemon Fan Club 2 Float Stone
1 Shaymin EX 1 Hex Maniac 1 Special Charge
1 Oranguru 1 Teammates
1 Tapu Koko promo 1 Professor Kukui
1 Oricorio GRI56 2 Team Magma’s Secret Base

Now before I get into it, this is not my list, but Daniel Altavilla’s from a Top 4 finish in Madison. The deck is very strong against most of the meta.

Card Choices

2 Zoroark Break

Zoroark Break is such a good attacker; being able to copy any attack on your opponent’s active for just one Darkness Energy is insane to think about.

1-1 Split of Fan Club and Brigette

They both are very good for any situation, depending on whether you want them to go around Magma Base or not.


Vikavolt/Tapu Bulu – 70/30 in your favor

You copy Tapu Bulu’s attack, Natures Judgement, and discard your one dark to hit for 180 damage to a Tapu Bulu GX.

Volcanion 60/40 in your favor

You hit very hard with your 1-prize attackers and trade better than them. Copying Volcanic Heat can be bad since you have to retreat or Stand In multiple times to get rid of the effect of Volcanic Heat.

Garbodor Variants 60/40, your favor

You don’t play many items and won’t play a lot of them during the game. More than likely you could also copy Trashalanche with Zoroark Break.

Decidueye 40/60, their favor

They can item-lock you and hit for ping damage on your Pokemon, and also Decidueye has 240 HP. They can take easy prizes on Zoruas with Feather Arrow.

Vespiquen 60/40 in your favor

You have Oricorio, which can punish them very hard at any time of the game. You hit for 100 almost every time because they will have at least three benched Pokemon that are back up attackers with Zoroark’s Mind Jack attack.

Tapu Bulu/ Vikavolt

Pokémon – 16 Trainers – 33 Energy – 12
3 Tapu Bulu GX 4 N 4 Ultra Ball 7 Grass
3 Grubbin 3 Professor Sycamore 3 VS Seeker 5 Lightning
2 Charjabug 2 Lysandre 3 Choice Band
3 Vikavolt 1 Hex Maniac 3 Rare Candy
3 Tapu Lele GX 1 Skyla 2 Float Stone
1 Drampa GX 1 Brock’s Grit 2 Heavy Ball
1 Tapu Koko promo 1 Olympia 1 Energy Recycler
1 Brigette 1 Super Rod

This is the list that my friend Charlie Lockyer and I played at Madison Regionals. We both started 5-0, and then he went on to make Day 2 at 4th seed at 7-0- 2. I went on to play bad matchups, and draw horribly to fall to a 6-3 record and finish at 51st .

Card Choices

3-2-3 Vikavolt line

This line was perfect. We decided that two Charjbug is very good against Decidueye, which I ended up playing against in Round 7 and I beat it! It helps so you can evolve more easily under item lock.

1 Drampa GX

This is another Decidueye counter. Before the idea of Drampa, the matchup against Decidueye was awful. You couldn;t get anything going for you. But this helps the matchup so you can swing for 150 damage very easily.

2 Heavy Ball

This card was amazing! It lets you search out Tapu Bulu, Charjabug, and Vikavolt without discarding anything since they all have a 3-Retreat cost.


Decidueye 60/40 in your favor

You have Drampa and two Charjabug. You should be able to stream damage and set up your Vikavolts in the process. Swinging for 150 against something with no healing cards is very good.

Vespiquen 30/70 their favor

They attack for 1 prize and swing for OHKOs very easily, and it’s very hard to come back from that.

Volcanion 50/50

If they are able to stream attacks without being one-shotted themselves, it’s very hard for us. But the bright side is that Tapu Bulu has no weakness, which makes it easier. But the testing against it seems very close regarding who can stream attackers easily.

Drampa Garb 60/40 in your favor

You don’t play many items, and you one shot Drampa with Natures Judgement for 180. You have to be careful around Garbodor, though.


Overall, I think all these decks are going to do very strongly for the rest of the 2017 Play Pokemon season before Worlds in August. They all are very consistent and have placed high in tournaments recently, with all of them making at least Top 8 at Madison this past weekend. Also I would definitely plan to take good matchups, or 50/50’s to these decks if you aren’t going to play one of them, as I expect them to perform very well in the near future.

I hope you enjoyed reading my first piece. I hope to write many more in the future for this site, as it seems like a very fun and interesting job as a Pokémon Player.

Until next time,

Charlie Kerr

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