As we head into the last weekend before format rotation, a new anti-meta Dugtrio deck has emerged at League Cups over the past few weeks. This has been one of my favorite decks to play recently and it has some very good matchups against some of the top decks in Standard.
|Pokémon – 15
|Trainers – 37
|Energy – 8
When I first built a list for this deck, I built it using a Jirachi engine, but quickly moved away from this engine after losing some games against Zoroark GX variants, which should have been a good matchup in theory. The problem was that Zoroark can establish a turn 2 Alolan Muk, and then my Jirachi couldn’t use Stellar Wish completely killing my setup engine.
With that in mind, I turned to Supporter-heavy variant of the deck and found it to run much better this way and not lose to Alolan Muk.
Overall, I went with ten draw Supporters with two Pokegear 3.0 to help find those draw Supporters. The deck plays two Marshadow SLG for extra draw that you can search with your four Ultra Ball, and then an Oranguru SUM that you can use for extra draw that you can search with your four Nest Ball, giving the deck plenty of consistency outs.
The deck doesn’t have very deep strategic depth, so it should be a very easy deck for players to pick up and play with little testing. Most of the skill needed to play the deck is general sequencing and resource management skills that you need to play any deck in the game.
For the majority of turns in a game, you will use Dugtrio’s Home Ground attack. The big exceptions are when your opponent at 4-prizes remaining, you will want to attack with Buzzwole, and then sometimes it can make sense to attack with Mew’s Psypower to finish out a knockout you fell short of getting.
You only get the damage boost for Home Ground when you have your own Stadium card in play. The deck plays five total Stadium Cards, four Martial Arts Dojo and one Shrine of Punishment. As you need these for the damage boost, make sure to not needlessly discard them.
- 30 damage – No Stadium
- 50 damage – No Stadium + Diancie Prism Star
- 90 damage – Shrine of Punishment
- 100 damage – Martial Arts Dojo + Prize Lead/Tie
- 110 damage – Shrine of Punishment + Diancie Prism Star
- 120 damage – Martial Arts Dojo + Diancie Prism Star + Prize Lead/Tie
- 130 damage – Martial Arts Dojo + Prize Deficit
- 150 damage – Martial Arts Dojo + Diancie Prism Star + Prize Deficit
Beyond these numbers, against GX Pokémon you can add 30 more damage onto this with Choice Band.
Being able to hit for 120 damage with a prize lead is great, as a lot of the relevant non-GX Pokémon in the format, such as Volcanion UNB or Dewgong UNB have 120 HP or less, allowing you to keep building a lead on the game when you pull ahead.
In this matchup, you have to react to how they setup their board, which is primarily decided by the variant of the deck they’re playing. If they are playing a super aggressive variant, then there will generally be a bunch of GXs in play early in the game and the strategy is as simple as knocking out enough GX Pokémon to take your six prizes. As most of the Pokemon in their deck will be Fighting weak, you have a lot of easy OHKO opportunities.
Tapu Koko GX doesn’t have a Weakness, but at only 170 HP if you’re behind on prizes you can OHKO it with a Choice Band. If you’re ahead on prizes, you can 2HKO it to keep an even prize trade with it. You can also Guzma around it to knockout any easier targets on their bench.
If it looks like they may be able to use Tag Bolt GX for two prizes, make sure to search out your Mew and ge tit into play to prevent the bench snipe damage.
Against the Jirachi/Zapdos variant of Pikarom you want to fall behind in prizes so you can OHKO a Zapdos. Then just trade knockouts with Zapdos until they can no longer stream Zapdos attacks, and then from there take easy OHKO’s on their GX Pokémon to pull ahead.
In this matchup, be very aggressive in taking prizes to shrink the game into as few turns as possible. Your opponent may try to setup the Dewgong spread and Stinger GX combo to try to pull out a win, but you take knockouts so quickly that it’s difficult for them to execute this strategy.
You do have Mew to prevent the spread damage from Dewgong, but that can also be countered by Alolan Muk.
You can pretty easily take a knockout on the first turn of the game against Zoroark variants. Buzzwole can OHKO a Zorua with Sledgehammer, and if you get Diancie Prism Star into play, Diglett can OHKO a Zorua too.
Taking OHKO’s on Zoroark GXs while pairing those turns with a Let Loose is also pretty effective in preventing the Zoroark player from successfully pulling off the spread and Stinger GX strategy.
Reshiram & Charizard GX
This is the most challenging of the big GX decks as some variants of the deck play healing cards, like Mixed Herbs, and then sometimes Acerola or Max Potion in addition to the herbs. They also play Volcanion, which is a solid non-GX attacker that can trade 1 for 1 with Dugtrio.
They generally don’t have enough healing to outlast all of your attackers if you don’t miss an attack and are able to get Guzma at the right time to target down their damaged Pokémon that they will try to hide from knockouts on the bench.
Let Loose is also very useful in this matchup to disrupt your opponent out of resources to effectively use something like healing.
This is a pretty easy matchup as you can trade 2HKOs with Blacephalon GXs and their Naganadel doesn’t even OHKO a Dugtrio when they’re not at three prize cards remaining. If you’re behind on prizes, you can even hit for 180 damage to OHKO a Blacephalon GX.
This matchup seems in favor of Dugtrio, even though they can attack for a knockout on turn 1. With Diancie Prism Star and Martial Arts Dojo you can OHKO them, no matter the prize count. You also can disrupt their hand twice with Let Loose, making it difficult for them to stream their attacks.
This matchup is generally unfavorable. The matchup is difficult as Giratina can be repeatedly attacked with for OHKOs on your Dugtrio. You can only OHKO a Giratina if you’re behind on prizes with Martial Arts Dojo in play while also having Diancie Prism Star in play. This means if they Guzma up the Diancie Prism Star and knock it out, you can’t OHKO a Giratina unless your opponent misplays and puts the damage from Shadow Impact onto the Giratina.
Your best hope is for them to be forced to play down Dedenne GX to get out of a dead hand, giving you a two-prize liability that you can use to jump ahead in the prize trade. If they start Ultra Necrozma GX, this is also helpful, especially games where they start that and then also have to bench Dedenne GX.
You also need to try to avoid playing down Pokémon like Marshadow SLG as the Malamar player can use Sky-Scorching Light GX to knock these out, along with any Diglett in play, setting up for a potential multi-knockout turn.
If you’re worried about playing this matchup, you can cut out one of the Pokegear 3.0 for a Drifblim from Ultra Prism. Evolve it from your Ditto Prism Star and attach twice to it and then use its Damage Transport attack repeatedly. If it’s a very Weezing heavy area, cut both Pokegear 3.0 and put in a Drifloon too.
I don’t have a ton of experience in this matchup as people haven’t been playing a lot of stall online as of late, but I would imagine it’s unfavorable if they stabilize and setup, so the best course of action is probably to aggressively use Let Loose and hope they dead draw and you can bench them out in the first few turns of the game.
If you know your opponent is playing Jirachi/Zapdos, then your best course of action is to start praying to your personal deity that they prize their Pheromosa & Buzzwole GX and that it’s also at the bottom of their prize cards. That card makes this matchup near unwinnable, as they can use Beast Game GX to pull ahead in any prize trade with you, or close out a game when at two prizes left.
While Pikarom variants aiming to use a Zapdos strategy generally run out of steam as a game goes longer, that’s not the case with variants dedicated to using Zapdos, which are built to be able to sustain its attack throughout the entirety of a game.
This deck is a great pick if you play in an area with a meta built primarily around the GX focused decks, especially Pikarom and Zoroark GX, both of which you can exploit for Weakness. The deck does have some legitimate problems against Malamar and Zapdos variants, so if you’re area is heavy in those decks, than this probably isn’t a great play, but in most metas, where those decks exist, but in small numbers, and in which Pikarom, Zoroark GX, and Reshiram & Charizard GX decks rule the land, this is a solid play for this coming weekend for League Cup and League Challenge tournaments.