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RYOD: Orbee-little your Opponent

Oh.  Hello there you little chicken nuggets.  It's Mostly.  The only Goldfish writer who should probably seek therapy for his deck choices.  Today, I wanted to take a moment to explore a deck which I've been watching for a while that recently took top five at an online expanded tournament, piloted by PythOn.  



The idea of the deck is a "toolbox" style deck, in which you have a card, or a "tool," for every situation.  And you really do have a tool for every situation.  


As you may have no doubt noticed, there are an awful lot of stage two Pokemon in this deck without any pre-evolutions.  This is intentional, and it's what makes the deck a "toolbox."  

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Orbeetle BST 65.  This is the engine.  This is the key.  This is what makes the deck function.  Without Orbeetle, the deck cannot win.  It really cannot even be played.  

The attack we are looking for is Evomancy.  For one colorless energy, you get to search your deck for a number of stage two Pokemon equal to the number of energy attached to Orbeetle and put them straight onto the bench.  This means if you have, say, three energy attached (perhaps by Triple Acceleration Energy UNB 190), then you could search your library for three stage two Pokemon and put them right onto your bench.  This is how we can get away with playing so many stage two Pokemon with no evolution lines.  Now the question is: what do we put on the bench?  Well, my little chicken nuggets.  

This is where the fun starts.


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Your go-to search is Vileplume BUS 6.  This card prevents basic Pokemon from attacking.  Importantly, this does not prevent damage of basic Pokemon.  Rather, it prevents them from attacking.  This means that attacks which are "unaffected by abilities" such as Aegislash V VIV 126 still can't damage it.  Vileplume's ability is not an affect on the Pokemon preventing damage.  Rather, it is an affect on the defending Pokemon preventing attacks.  The only way to stop it is to shut off abilities or play something like Stealthy Hood UNB 186

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Vileplume AOR 3 is another go-to grab.  It's an item lock.  Pure and simple.  We've seen it a thousand times, and it's always good.  Whether it's on Trevenant XY 55 or Vikavolt V DAA 60, item lock is a crushingly powerful ability to use.  Especially in a format like expanded, where item cards are much more prevalent.  

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Stoutland BCR 122 is a card you can grab to really hinder your opponent's ability to get out from under your deck lock.  Stoutland prevents your opponent from playing supporter cards.  Combined with item lock, this pretty much hard-locks your opponent's board state.  They cannot switch with Boss's Orders RCL 154 or Guzma BUS 115.  And they cannot gust with cards like Counter Catcher CIN 91 or Custom Catcher LOT 171.  All they can do, essentially, is attach energy and retreat.  

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Unfezant ROS 80 is a situational tech which you bring in primarily for its attack Strong Winds.  For three colorless energy (or a Triple Acceleration Energy), you shuffle all cards attached to all Pokemon in play back into the deck.  This attack is highly profitable against Pokemon decks that like to dedicate a lot of resources to attaching energy.  Or decks that are very tool-dependent.  Importantly, if you pay the attack cost with [Triple Acceleration Energy UNB 191]], then you will shuffle the energy back into your deck BEFORE you discard to the card's effect.  

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Galarian Obstagoon CPA 37 is here for hand-disruption.  You are essentially forcing your opponent to a four-card-hand every turn.  

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Magnezone PLS 46 allows you to play double supporters.  The purpose of this is to let you infinitely loop any supporter using the Lusamine loop or, as I call it, "Loopsamine."  The combo is you can use Lusamine CIN 110 to return a supporter to your hand.  This includes Lusamine.  So as long as you have a Lusamine in the Discard, you play Lusamine to return A supporter and Lusamine to your hand.  every turn you can play a Supporter, then play Lusamine to "return Lusamine and another supporter" to the hand.

Your primary loop will be Team Rocket's Handiwork FAC 112.  This is your mill win.  Every turn you are milling zero to four cards, with your average being about 2 cards every turn.    

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Dusknoir VIV 71 is a harsh tech against decks that are overly reliant on special energy.  Turning all your opponent's Double Colorless Energy EVO 90 into single energies can really hurt certain decks.  

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Aegislash RCL 135 is the final stage two tech and is here to reduce damage.  That's it.  Nothing Fancy.

Rounding out the Pokemon are the non stage-two Pokemon. Lucario & Melmetal GX UNB 120 is primarily used for its GX attack, Full Metal Wall GX.  For one colorless energy, all your metal Pokemon take 30 less damage.  Which, if you combine with Aegislash's Big Shield ability, means that "LucMetal" is a 260 hp Pokemon who takes 60 damage less each turn.  Also, Aegislash will benefit from the effect, as well.  Meaning it is much harder to KO.  

You also play Zacian V SSH 138 for an additional draw.  Ending your turn is not a big deal in a stall/wall deck, and the fact that you play no metal cards means Intrepid Sword might as well just say "Draw three cards.  Your turn ends."  

Munchlax UNM 173 lets you replay cards on a coin-flip by putting a card from your discard on top of your deck.  Like Zacian, because you don't care about attacking, the fact that your turn ends doesn't really matter.  

Finally, Jirachi TEU 99 is for consistency.  


The tech cards are nothing you haven't seen me sing the praises of before.  However, I will take a few minutes to go over a few that might be unfamiliar to those of you who may be new.  

Steven's Resolve CES 145 lets you search anything, at the cost of ending your turn.  However, as we discussed, ending your turn is not really much of a cost in a stall deck.  

Cheryl BST 123 Heals all your evolution Pokemon in full.  And with Magnezone PLS 46, you can play her every turn using Loopsamine. 

Teammates PRC 141 is just more universal card search, only if your opponent had taken a KO the previous turn.  Trust me.  They will take KO's.


As we've touched on before, control/stall decks like this take an enormous amount of mental energy to pilot.  They also take a somewhat in-depth knowledge of the current meta.  You have to know what you are playing against in order to know what cards to pull as responses.  While you have many tools at your disposal, not every tool is useful in every situation.  

Another thing is: plan to lose Pokemon.  Your opponent absolutely will take prizes.  There is a tendency when we play to start getting nervous once the opponent starts taking prizes, and in that nervousness, to start playing sloppily.  You have to train yourself to not succumb to this.  Control decks take time to stabilize, and during that time they have no defense.  You're like John Wick.  Sure, you'll take some hits.  But if you just tough it out, you can win.  Time, generally, favors the control strategy. 

Finally, I predict this deck will dive in consistency once people expect it.  The deck, though cripplingly powerful, can be beaten if your opponent expects it.  And a misplay can be severely punished.   


To conclude, I love this deck.  I love the concept of it, the playstyle of it, and the sheer soul-crushing weight that this stupid little beetle can bring to bear on your opponent.  PythOn did a great job at selecting the cards which work exceptionally well against the current meta, and proving to everybody (including myself) that Orbeetle really is a viable card in expanded.  I would encourage any of you hardcore control/stall players to give the deck a spin.  But be warned: it is not a forgiving deck.  Do not think this deck a simple conjurer of cheap tricks.  It is phenomenally powerful and frighteningly consistent.  But it will turn on you if you lose respect for it.  

As always, have fun.  And remember: don't gloat, win humbly, and be sympathetic to your opponent.  They never asked for this. 

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