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RYOD: Marowak's Lantern

Hello, my young apprentices.  Tell me, have you ever heard the story of Darth Marrowack, the wise?  No?  Hmm.  I thought not.  It's no story the deck builders would tell you.  It's a RYOD legend.  Alolan Marrowack was a dark lord of the game so powerful and so wise, he could use item cards to influence your opponent's deck to create death.  

He had such a knowledge of ruining opponent's day that he could even keep the ones he faced from drawing.  

Where could you learn this power?  Oh...

Not from a deck builder.  


When I first got "into" deckbuilding, I played Magic: the Gathering.  The first deck I ever really, seriously built and took to tournaments (and, incidentally, never did well with so, you know, the more things change) was a deck called Lantern Control.  It was a deck based upon always knowing what the top-card in your opponent's deck was and making sure, through various means, that they never drew anything good.  For a brief period, this deck was translated to the Pokemon TCG via the old Sableye DEX 62 + Trick Shovel FLF 98 from way back in 2014.  It could recycle Shovel to make sure your opponent never drew anything relevant.  I've always kept my eye on ways to translate Lantern Control to Pokemon and, with every new meta, I try to keep the dream alive.  In the Sun and Moon era, I played a Really Complicated Watchog Deck which would use Watchog GRI 108 to control the top-deck.  I've always looked for a way to keep top-deck control alive in Pokemon.  This brings us here. 


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The primary interaction in the deck is Using Orbeetle SSH 19's ability, Bug's Radar, to always rearrange the top three cards of your opponent's deck.  Then, either discarding that card with Alolan Marowak UNM 75 or doing nothing and recouping resources with Munchlax UNM 173.  Now, while the strategy may seem simple, there is a lot of thought that goes into these top-deck control decks.  Especially one like this where the milling attack (the attack that mills) has another effect besides just milling.  

Spirit Smash: Discard the top card of your opponent's deck.  If the card you discarded is a Pokemon, this attack does damage equal to that Pokemon's HP to your opponent's Active Pokemon.  

The key here is that not only does the attack mill one, but if the milled card is a Pokemon, you do damage equal to the HP of that Pokemon.  This means that you can one-hit-KO any Pokemon if you discard a Pokemon with equal or greater HP.  And, importantly, because you are rearranging the top of your Opponent's deck with an ability, you will be able to rearrange cards according to what the battlefield looks like before you mill.  So, for example, if your opponent has an active Pikachu & Zekrom-GX TEU 33 and one of the top three cards is another Pikachu & Zekrom-GX TEU 33, then you can put it on top and take a one-hit KO.  

The learning curve of the Deck is learning what, exactly, you should discard.  Don't always go for the one-hit-KO but always be mindful of the battleground.  If you KO the active, is your opponent going to just bring up a pokemon that will run away with the game?  Always be aware.  Top-deck-control is a kind of deck where you have to constantly be aware of the total picture. 


Generally, I don't like talking about the non-relevant cards in a deck because, well, you know what they do.  You know why Crushing Hammer SUM 115 is here.  You know what to do with Rare Candy SUM 129.  So, instead, I will talk about the important cards that aren't your "standard package."  

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Marshadow UNB 81 is a way to eliminate a stadium without having to play a stadium.  Chiefly, this is in here to deal with Chaotic Swell CEC 187.

Mew PR-SM SM215 Protects your benched pokemon from damage from your opponent's attacks.  So, for example, Decidueye DAA 13 won't be able to snipe the bench with Splitting Arrow

Phione CEC 57 is a way to force a switch of your Opponent's active.  Or, if it comes down to it, you can use it to keep yourself from decking out (by just continuously benching and using the ability).


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Stealthy Hood UNB 186 is here because, while there may not be a lot of abilities that affect Pokemon out there, the ones that exist are extremely relevant.  Phione CEC 57 and Galarian Zigzagoon SSH 117 are just two of the cards whose abilities can put a serious crimp on your game.  Stealthy Hood makes your pokemon immune to them.  

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Oleana RCL 163 and Jessie & James HIF 58 are in here for a very special purpose: disrupt the hand.  While you may be able to control what the opponent draws, you cannot control what they are holding in their hand.  Therefore, these two cards provide a way to ensure that your opponent does not hold anything good.  Special mention goes to Oleana RCL 163, which lets you choose what card to put on the bottom of the deck.  May opponents will think they are being coy by holding onto a Marnie SSH 169 or Boss's Orders RCL 154 to try to disrupt your game.  Oleana lets you take your opponent's "out" cards and tuck them at the bottom of their deck, which is a very hard place to retrieve cards from.  

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Galar Mine RCL 160 is a card that makes it easier to "strand" a Pokemon in the active.  Your goal in playing the deck is to stick a Pokemon in the active that they cannot attack with, and to make sure they never draw anything that can let them attack.  Galar Mine increases the retreat cost of both Pokemon by two colorless, making manual-retreat almost impossible for most cards once you get the lock going.  

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This is the Search Package.  It's the best we got for now.  Most-likely you will replace Pokemon Communication TEU 152 with Nest Ball SUM 123 once it gets a reprint. 

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Draw and recursion for your Supporters.


To conclude, I have a great deal of love for Top-Deck-Control.  To be frank, though, it is a very complex deck to pilot.  While most control variants in the Pokemon game can get away with a degree of lax on the player's part, decks like this are very unforgiving if you lose track of your opponent's deck or what they have drawn.  Letting them draw the wrong card will quickly end your game.  However, if you can pull it off, and have the stomach for it, I would highly recommend giving Marowak's Lantern a try.  There is something satisfying about getting your opponent into a lock that you know they will never get out of.  But remember, if you win, win humbly.  Your opponent never asked for this.  

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