Standard Team Up Ideas: Darkrai, Alolan Muk Garbodor, Blacephalon Ninetales, Alolan Grimer Nihilego, and ZoroRoc

Team Up is offering several new archetype concepts and as I’m sure many of you know, I love to jump on them as soon as possible. People have been hyping decks like Zapdos, Malmar Snorlax & Mimikyu, and Tool Drop, but I figured I would put together decks that I haven’t heard anybody else talking about. Some of the decks are more obvious combinations like Blacephalon Ninetales and Alolan Muk Garbodor. Others have some interesting stuff that I can almost promise nobody else is thinking about. For any players who want an excuse to play Super Scoop Ups, this article will give you one, if not three. Before getting into the lists, I want to explain why Zapdos is not worth the hype it is getting.

First and foremost, the deck did not win or even get second place in Japan and there is a reason for that. Muk does a great job of ruining Zapdos’ consistency through shutting off Jirachi. The list that won the event played a 1-1 Muk along with the Ditto, which is a pretty hard counter since KO’ing the Grimer or Ditto is not enough. The tech is very achievable in ZoroRoc, which is a great call for the Team Up format. Any healing is also terrible for Zapdos since it is usually two-shotting. Sometimes they will pull off an OHKO, but considering how much stuff they need to make it happen, it is not enough. This can be true when looking at Tag Team Pokemon; any of these Pokemon with HP approximating 250 can potentially use Acerola or other healing to win prize exchanges. Zapdos is thoroughly unimpressive with low HP, no special tricks, and a very easily exploitable weakness (reliance on basic abilities). Anyway, I’m done with my tangent about Zapdos.

Let’s look at Blowns.

Blacephalon Ninetales

Pokémon – 15 Trainers – 28 Energy – 17
 3 Blacephalon GX  3 Cynthia  1 Mysterious Treasure  1 Beast
 2 Poipole (107 LOT)  3 Lillie  1 Rescue Stretcher  16 Fire
 1 Poipole (55/131)  2 Guzma  4 Ultra Ball
 3 Naganadel (108 LOT)  2 Erika’s Hospitality  3 Acro Bike
 2 Tapu Lele GX  4 Beast Ring
 1 Ditto Prism Star  2 Ultra Space  1 Timer Ball
 1 Marshadow (SLG 45)  1 Heat Factory  1 Max Potion
 1 Ninetales (TUP)
 1 Muk (SUM 58)
Fire Type, 100 HP, 1 Retreat
Ability (Nine Temptations): Once during your turn (before you attack), you may discard two fire energy cards from your hand. If you do, switch 1 of your opponent’s Benched Pokemon with their Active Pokemon.

The list is pretty similar to what I have been posting in the past. It has the thinner Blacephalon count and a smaller Nihilego line that I have been promoting, as well as the emphasis on Acro Bike instead of Treasure. For subscribers this is nothing new, but since this is in the non-paywall part of the article I figured I would mention it. That aspect of the list is not experimental for me, as I have been playing Blacephalon like that for months. The experimental parts are the Ninetales, Timer Ball, and only two Guzma.

Ninetales seems too strong to not play a small line of (really small), considering Nine Temptations has perfect synergy with Charging Up. Part of me thinks there is actually too much energy discarding power in the list and that I might want to cut down more on the Acro Bike count. I already dropped Sophocles for Erika’s Hospitality for that reason and so far Erika has been very good.

Blacephalon has been a top tier deck since it’s release and the new boost of Ninetales should keep it there. Nothing in particular about Team Up actually hurts Blacephalon either. In fact the huge HP of a lot of these Tag Team cards is not much of a problem for Blacephalon since it has virtually no damage cap. The deck seems well positioned at the moment, especially for the best of one format at Cups and Challenges. A relieving point is that Zapdos is not that hard of a matchup with the help of Muk and Max Potion.

I am starting to like Blacephalon more despite my low opinion of it. The deck involves less thought than other archetypes and relies on Beast Rings, which kept me from enjoying it. Now with the help of Max Potion (might go up to two of them) and Ninetales, I think I might actually play the deck for an event. Ugh, guess I have to buy the cake pops. They’re way cheaper at starbucks. I digress, let’s talk about Darkrai!


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