A Thunderous Assault on the Meta

Hey everyone! I have fallen in love with the Zapdos Jirachi archetype and I want to breakdown down the individual cards that can be included in the deck, the matchups against popular archetypes, and my two lists. The deck functions similar to a Zoroark Golisopod or Zoroark Lycanroc deck, but with one prize attackers. Zapdos focuses on being extremely consistent and putting out a steady stream of damage every turn. The deck has a very high skill cap with the amount of decisions you make each turn. Let’s get into the skeleton I start with when building a Zapdos deck. There are 7 open slots.

Zapdos Skeleton

Pokémon – 12 Trainers – 33 Energy – 8
4 Jirachi 4 Guzma  4 Electropower  8 Lightning
3 Zapdos 4 Lillie  4 Nest Ball
1 Blitzle 2 Cynthia  3 Ultra Ball
1 Zebstrika  3 Escape Rope
1 Tapu Koko GX 1 Thunder Mountain Prism  3 Switch
1 Tapu Koko Prism  2 Rescue Stretcher
1 Marshadow  2 Escape Board
 1 Choice Band

Pokemon

The only points about the Pokemon line up I want to discuss here are the Zebstrika line and Marshadow, as everything else seems fairly obvious. Alolan Muk is a hard counter to any Jirachi based deck, and with the prevalence of Zoroark-based decks I don’t think the Zebstrika line is optional. Marshadow is one of the most despised cards in rotation. Almost all the best decks right now use it in some fashion (Blacephalon, Malamar, and Pikarom) so why not use it ourselves? If you start Jirachi it is very easy to draw out of Let Loose on turn 1 even if your initial 4 cards are bad. Phinn and I tested the Zapdos mirror a lot and we’ve concluded you always want to go second to get the first knockout. However, if you don’t know what you’re playing against and accidentally choose to go first in mirror Let Loose is a way to get your opponent to whiff that turn 1 knockout.

Trainers

I have seen other lists cut down on Switch and Escape Rope counts however I think this is a mistake. Escape Rope helps with things like getting a knockout on turn one, when going second, without having to use Guzma. It can force your opponent into awkward positions, or even deal with niche things like Kabutops “Supporter Lock”. Having less than three of each also makes you more susceptible to effects like Absol’s Dark Ambition or Mt. Lanakaila. You won’t always start Jirachi, and with three of each you can consistently move Jirachi into the active spot after a Nest Ball on turn one.

One Choice Band is certainly something people tend to disagree with. However, with Electropower boasting a similar damage increase I don’t think you necessarily need more than one. It’s pretty much useless in the mirror and against Malamar. Tapu Koko GX one shots Pikachu & Zekrom GX if they have five or more energy on board. Acerola and Max Potion in Zoroark decks make it really hard to get damage to stick, so I think it is better to use the flex spots to find ways to one shot Zoroark GX instead. For these reasons I start with one Band and then up the count later if I feel it’s needed.

The last card I want to go over is Thunder Mountain Prism. I have seen some lists cut the card, especially when they are running the Shrine of Punishment variant. I think the card is way too versatile and powerful to be excluded. There’s a solid amount of decks that aren’t GX-based and Shrine becomes useless in those matchups. Hitting energy cards can also be a problem with this deck and Thunder Mountain Prism gives you a pseudo-energy of sorts that you can find off Stellar Wish.

Matchups

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