Hi guys! My name is Pedro Eugenio Torres, I’m from Spain, a competitive Pokémon TCG player and part of the Limitless TCG team!
This is my 1st article, and I would like to talk about one of the new decks that Cosmic Eclipse brought to us: Arceus & Dialga & Palkia Tag Team GX, mostly known as ADP!
ADP was my choice for the last big event: LATAM IC (Brazil, São Paulo). In this article, I’m going to explain all the ins and outs of the deck in detail, enjoy!
New set, new possibilities, new archetypes… why did I play the deck? Before Cosmic Eclipse was released, I was trying to get information of which decks had success in Japan, as they have the new cards before rest of the world. I saw that ADP was played by really good players like Takuya Yoneda in one of their most recent big tournaments. Their format is different, but I always like to see the Champions League games they play on stream to get new ideas for the future. ADP has almost everything you want in a deck:
- Basic Pokémon, big HP
- Energy acceleration
- Healing possibilities
- Control elements (Keldeo-GX)
- Multiple different attackers (you can give 1, 2 or 3 prizes)
- Flexibility (different game plans depending on your opponent’s deck)
I was only missing the OHKO option, but I “solved” this with 1 card that we will talk about in the next section.
Once the set was released on PTCGO, I started to test the deck to learn all the strategies you can use in every matchup. Before Cosmic Eclipse, I was really happy with PikaZek, because the deck had solid answers to every matchup and was not taking any autolosses. Thanks to that, I feel like you can outplay your opponent when drawing the cards you need every turn thanks to the combination of Volkner & Bill’s Analysis, with high level of consistency to play every game (Electromagnetic Radar for Dedenne-GX, Supporters, Jirachi, etc).
Then, testing ADP, I felt that both decks have a lot of things in common: They are probably not the BDIF, but you don’t take any autoloss and have responses to everything. PikaZek seemed to lose power due to Keldeo‘s hype, Chaotic Swell, Mallow & Lana as a healing card in some decks, Mega Lopunny & Jigglypuff-GX, and the boost of control decks, so ADP felt like a better play because it has more answers to all of those new cards. My backup deck was a Welder one (Mewtwo & Mew Tag Team GX or Ability Reshizard), but I didn’t want to rely on hitting Welder in a big tournament, so my final pick was ADP!
How did I build the final ADP list? In early testing, I was getting ideas from good Japanese players that played ADP in the last Champions League tournament. Even if the format is different, every idea is welcome to make a list for a new deck in a new format. I started to test with a turbo engine (Acro Bikes, 2-3 Dedenne-GX, 3-4 N’s Resolve) to try hit the T1 GX attack, but after some days of testing, I felt that you don’t hit the GX T1 often enough, and I lost many games against many matchups because of Great Catcher on my Dedenne for the last prizes.
Then, I tried to give another dimension to the deck, making it slower but with a high consistency of getting the GX T2, which will be the goal in almost every match. I cut the Acro Bikes, lowered the amount of Dedenne to 1 copy (it still feels good to have the option if you are forced to bench it, also amazing when you are Stamped to 1-2 cards), cut the N’s Resolve to 1-2 copies, and added more consistency & healing cards to comeback because now we were slower. Mallow & Lana felt like a really good card during all my early testing, so I upped it to 4 copies. It can also be helpful early game to switch into ADP to GX attack T2.
As testing continued, I realized Welder decks were complicated to deal with, because they can 300 your ADP after your GX, turning the matchup to unfavorable if this happens. I needed to adapt my game plan against that type of decks. It depends a lot on the matchup and the situation, and whether you think the opponent can 300 you or not. Depending on their early turns, you can adapt your plays and either do the GX or just wait on the bench to Ultimate Ray and power up another attacker. It felt like a matter of probabilities, with Chaotic Swell being an important card against Welder decks because they can’t find the 2 Fire Energy as easily as when having access to Giant Hearth. Also winning the coinflip gives you a big advantage!
Finally, after learning how every matchup works and how to identify every win condition (sometimes you just wait for Great Catcher to KO Dedenne-GX for game, sometimes you Phione for the last 2 prizes, etc), I just wanted to add as much extra consistency as possible because we will play a big event, 9 rounds + possibility of 5 more on Day 2. I cut some cards (like the 4th Mallow & Lana and the 4th Chaotic Swell) for consistency: 4 Jirachi, 4 Lillie, 3 Tag Call, 2 Cynthia & Caitlin, plus some techs to have higher odds of getting T2 GX, like Misty & Lorelei (finds the Water Energy if we have Tag Call in hand) or Guzma & Hala (Fabien Pujol’s idea the night before the tournament, it allows you to find the Rainbow Energy + Escape Board + Chaotic Swell to GX T2).
The last cards added were the 1-off slots that turn some matchups from autoloss to at least 50-50 or even favourable: Lucario & Melmetal for the Gardevoir & Sylveon matchup, Cryogonal for Control decks (Pidgeotto & Dolls) and Drampa, which helps in the Mirror as it OHKOs Keldeo and Dedenne. As I said in the previous section, I was missing OHKO potential, so Misty & Lorelei was a nice inclusion that allowed me to hit 280 damage against some ADP or Mewtwo & Mew Tag Teams during the tournament! My last doubt was whether to keep the 2 N’s Resolve or to add a 1-1 Zebstrika line to secure the Control matchup. Fabien Pujol & I finally decided to keep the 2 N to have a comeback option in games that we start really slow. It wasn’t that great in the end, but I was happy with the final list!
After my testing with ADP, these are my subjective opinions of how the matchups are against the most popular decks:
Mewtwo & Mew Tag Team: 30-70
Try to not use ADP in this matchup, they will probably 300 you after your GX, so my game plan is just go Jirachi + manually attach to Keldeo 3 times and then Reset Stamp + Mallow & Lana spam to try to win the matchup. It probably depends on how many Keldeo outs they have (Greninja-GX, Reshiram & Charizard-GX, etc). I played this matchup 5 times, with a 1/1/3 record (1 win, 1 lose, 3 ties), being lucky in 2 ties because my opponent had Greninja in the last 3 prizes. If you start ADP, try to GX with only 1 Metal Energy, so Keldeo hits for 140, turning the 3HKO into a 2HKO.
Reshiram & Charizard Tag Team: 40-60
If they hit Welder and 300 your ADP T2, the game is over. If they don’t find Welder, you can GX and then Ultimate Ray, power up Keldeo, and the matchup becomes favorable. I knew that playing this deck, I could only beat Welder decks if they whiff Welder. Chaotic Swell is a very important card in this kind of matchup. Turtonator is the most annoying card, because it can OHKO Keldeo easily, so we need to try charging up 2 Keldeo.
Pikachu & Zekrom Tag Team: 60-40
Not popular in the first big Cosmic Eclipse tournament, but still a deck to consider. Chaotic Swell, Mallow & Lana healing + 2 Keldeo should make it a fine matchup. If they tech a lot (Marshadow, Power Plant, their own Mallow & Lana healing), the matchup might be 50-50, but Keldeo should put a lot of pressure on them. I didn’t face any PikaZek in the tournament.
Baby Blacephalon Pidgeotto: 40-60
Like the other Welder decks: If they 300 your ADP T2, you lose. If not, we win. We GX + Ultimate Ray for 2 prizes, power up Keldeo, and manually attach to another attacker for the last 2 prizes.
Green’s Exploration decks: 40-60 to 60-40
It probably depends on their amount of healing cards, how we draw after Reset Stamp, or if they can manage to 2HKO us. There are many different Green decks around: ReshiZard, ADP, GuzzNaga (is not a “Green deck”, but it has Mismagius + Reset Stamp engine with Bill’s Analysis, etc), the last one being the most complicated version to deal with due to their answers to Keldeo (Ultra Forest Kartenvoy) and a good GX attack that takes the last 2 prizes. Other Green decks seem at least even.
Oranguru Control (Pidgeotto): 50-50
All depends on their Crushing Hammer heads during T1 or T2, they want to slow us down as much as possible. Our game plan is to GX, Ultimate Ray for 2 prizes, and then we have 3 options: Go Cryogonal (so they can’t stamp), Keldeo-GX (so Articuno can’t GX us if there is no Power Plant in play), or 2nd ADP (so we have 2 ADP powered up to take the last 4 prizes, which is only 2 KOs). If they whiff one of the combo pieces, we should win the matchup.
Gardevoir & Sylveon Tag Team: 60-40
Lucario & Melmetal makes the matchup favorable. We only use him, manual attaching and choosing the best attack depending on the board (save its GX attack for Weakness Guard Energy). It’s still annoying if they play 2 Weakness Guard, Mega Lopunny & Jigglypuff, or Mimikyu-GX (good GX and no weakness to metal), but if we can spam Mallow & Lana during the game, the matchup should be fine.
ADP Tag Team mirror: 60-40
I heavily teched against mirror because I expected it to be a popular deck (and it was!): Drampa to KO Keldeo / Dedenne, 3 Mallow & Lana, Phione and the fact we don’t rely on Dedenne in our list makes the mirror good even if we aren’t the first to GX. You just put pressure + healing + Phione to take the 6 prizes. I played this match on stream, you can find it on twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/508627072?t=1h9m03s
Blacephalon GX: 60-40
I didn’t play against this matchup during my tournament, and didn’t face many of them on TCGO, but I believe the Keldeo plan (like against Mewtwo & Mew Tag Team) can deal with them just fine.
Malamar variants: 70-30
They can’t OHKO us, we take an extra prize, we heal. That’s all. Clear Vision of Latios-GX before our GX is the most annoying part, but if we carefully save our copies of Mallow & Lana, we should be fine because we can still GX with Keldeo to KO their Latios for 2 prizes. Tag Team variants of Malamar (Trevenant & Dusknoir or Gengar & Mimikyu) are more complicated to deal with than Giratina.
If they are 1 prize attackers, we GX + heal to take 6 prizes taking 3 KO’s. If they are Tag Teams that can OHKO you (like DarkBox) we need to be careful and probably play the matchup with a Keldeo focused plan, as we already do against Mewtwo decks.
I made Top16 with the deck! Thanks to that, I secured my Top 4 Travel Award to the next IC in Melbourne, Australia! This is my tournament recap:
R1 Malamar Psychic WW (1/0/0)
He bricked Game 1, in Game 2 he Clear Vision’d me, but I managed to win the game thanks to Mallow & Lana turning 2HKOs into 3HKOs. Keldeo took the last 2 prizes thanks to the GX!
R2 Pidgeotto Lock WW (2/0/0)
He flipped a lot of tails in Game 1, so I could GX T2 followed by Ultimate Ray. After I Reset Stamp and drew another 2 prizes, my opponent whiffed one piece of the combo to lock me (Jessie & James or double Mars), so in his Reset Stamp to 2, I found my Mallow & Lana to win. Game 2 I repeat the same game plan and he whiffed the complete lock again.
R3 ADP Rayquaza WW (3/0/0)
I played this game on stream against a really good player, Connor Finton. His list is more agressive, with no Reset Stamp, no healing cards, Dedenne GX focused. I knew the matchup was great because I prepared for the mirror (2 Reset Stamp, 3 Mallow & Lana, not Dedenne focus). KOing his Dedenne and healing gave me Game 1. Game 2 I was bricking (I had Cherish Ball but my Dedenne was prized), but found Lillie some turns later and I was able to comeback with an epic finish, you can check out the matchup in the link I put in the previous section!
R4 ABZard Zebra LWW (4/0/0)
Played against my teammate and eventual LATAM IC Winner, Robin Schulz. Game 1 he found Welder, and he destroyed me. Game 2 he started Ditto, Welder, pass. I attach again, he passes, I donk him. Game 3 he whiffed Welder for 2 turns in the early game, so I could GX + Ultimate Ray and win thanks to his bad draws.
R5 Gardevoir SSU W (5/0/0)
I thought it was a good matchup until I saw he played Super Scoop Ups, Weakness Guard Energy, Mega Lopunny & Jigglypuff and Mimikyu-GX. At one point in Game 1, he Stamped me, Custom Catchered my Phione, and used Mimikyu’s GX attack to put my Lucario & Melmetal back into the deck. Then I powered him up again, but he confused me, and I flipped 2 tails (I didn’t draw anything good from the Stamp). In the last turn that decided about winning or losing, I flipped heads and was able to take the last 3 prizes. We didn’t have time for Game 2 because Game 1 took so long, but it was a really good game!
R6 ADP Jirachi ID (5/0/1)
Faced Fabien Pujol, same 60 cards, we decided to ID and went to eat.
R7 Mew3 Control WLT (5/0/2)
First Mewtwo & Mew I faced, I won Game 1 because his Greninja GX was in the last 3 prizes, so he couldn’t manage to beat my Keldeo. Game 2 he destroyed me, and Game 3 we set up but there was no time to finish the game.
R8 Mew3 Welder WLT (5/0/3)
I tried to ID the last 2 rounds, but I was downpaired, so my opponent wanted to play. Then I realized it was another Mew3 deck. Game 1 I Reset Stamp him + KO, if he could find an energy he wins, but he drew really bad, so I managed to win. Game 2 was close again, I Stamped him to 1, but he found Switch + Energy to win in turn 3 of time, good games!
R9 Mew3 Control ID (5/0/4)
We agreed to ID to join Day2 with 19 points!
R10 ADP Green WW (6/0/4)
In my theory, Keldeo should be good vs ADP Green, so I tried to power him up + Chaotic Swell to put a lot of pressure. Game 1 he bricked, and Game 2 I Stamped him, and he didn’t find the cards he needed to take the last prizes, so it was a nice comeback!
R11 Mew3 Control WW (7/0/4)
Game 1 I won the “Mallow & Lana battle” with 2 Keldeo powered up in a really close game, and Game 2 he had Greninja GX in the last 3 prizes, so he couldn’t KO my Keldeo, sometimes lucky!
R12 Mew3 Control LL (7/1/4)
First loss of the tournament, in Round 12, against a really good player that drew well and had more answers to Keldeo. He just destroyed me Game 1 and Game 2, so the top 8 dream was over.
R13 ADP Jirachi WLW (8/1/4)
Mirror again, I felt great playing it, in Game 1 I could GX + Ultimate Ray pressure so I managed to win by identifying my win conditions depending on his plays. Game 2 I bricked, and Game 3 I whiffed energy to Ultimate Ray, so I was losing the game, but he filled up his bench so I took the last 4 prizes with Keldeo’s GX attack KOing his ADP thanks to Misty & Lorelei!
R14 BBlace Pidgey WLW
Win and in for Top16. As I said in the matchups section, winning or losing here depends on them. If they can’t 300 your ADP, we win. Game 1 he bricked, Game 2 I bricked, Game 3 he couldn’t 300 me after my GX, so I just Ultimate Ray and power up another attackers to take my 6 prizes with only 3 KOs!
Future of the deck
With LATAM IC results being 2 Welder decks in the finals (ABZard & Mew3), it seems scary to continue playing ADP, but I really feel it’s still a solid play for the next events. The list I ended up playing was fine for the event but probably not optimal. The decklist could be improved with many different ideas, here’s some of them:
- Extra consistency: 4th Tag Call or 3rd Cynthia & Caitlin would be amazing. I guess the 2 spots of N’s Resolve can be changed for that.
- Different techs: Girafarig can be interesting for the Mew3 matchup (and control decks), also Absol could be really good in a meta where everyone is playing Jirachi in almost every deck.
- Back to Customs: Custom Catcher should improve the matchups against Welder decks that play Turtonator, as long as you can Custom Catcher the Turtonator and hit 110 with Keldeo.
- Beat control: 2nd Cryogonal or a 1-1 Zebstrika line seem really good if you expect control decks.
- Survive the 300: Choice Helmet helps in mirror and to survive Charizard‘s 300 damage attack that Mew3 can hit with T2.
- Extra copys of important cards: Some cards would be great to have an extra copy of, like Keldeo, Chaotic Swell or Switch.
ADP will continue being good, because you can adapt your decklist depending on the expected meta or the latest results. It’s definitely a solid pick that I recommend you give a try!
Thanks to Limitless TCG for being such a great people and doing a great job with the website! Thanks to my friends who helped me with the decklist, giving ideas and testing with me before the tournament. If you helped me in some way, I really appreciate it!
Hard work pays off when you train on! Never give up and always be HUMBLE! Don’t stress out about results, the most important part is enjoying this game and be kind with your opponent! Thanks to everyone who supports me, all the love I receive in every tournament is the best feeling a player can have to continue working! Thanks for reading, hopefully you enjoyed it!
Remember: Don’t ever let someone tell you, you can’t do something. You got a dream, you got to protect it. People can’t do something themselves, they want to tell you you can’t do it. You want something, go get it! – “Pursuit of Happyness”