Hello everyone! Lost Origin is out, and while we still have some tournaments left in the SSH-PGO format, most of the community is excited about the new expansion. Lost Origin is a very exciting update to the metagame and has introduced several new decks, but the main inclusion from it is the lost zone engine. While one partner with the lost zone engine is Giratina VSTAR, I’ve seen some players online come up with a different way to use the lost zone with single-Prize Pokemon. In this article, I will examine the single-Prize lost zone deck, and provide my current list for the archetype with how I’ve tried to solve the problems I’ve had with it.
My interest with this deck started when I saw a list Andrew Mahone (@enjoifriend) posted on Twitter.
****** Pokémon Trading Card Game Deck List ****** ##Pokémon - 12 * 4 Comfey LOR 79 * 3 Articuno PGO 24 * 4 Cramorant LOR 50 * 1 Manaphy BRS 41 ##Trainer Cards - 48 * 3 Switch Cart ASR 154 * 2 Ordinary Rod SSH 171 * 4 Boss's Orders RCL 154 * 4 Quick Ball SSH 179 * 3 PokéStop PGO 68 * 2 Air Balloon SSH 156 * 4 Scoop Up Net RCL 165 * 4 Battle VIP Pass FST 225 * 4 Choice Belt BRS 135 * 4 Colress's Experiment LOR 155 * 2 Echoing Horn CRE 136 * 4 Pokégear 3.0 UNB 182 * 1 Hisuian Heavy Ball ASR 146 * 1 Lost Vacuum LOR 162 * 4 Escape Rope BUS 114 * 2 Trekking Shoes ASR 156 ##Energy - 0 Total Cards - 60 ****** Deck List Generated by the Pokémon TCG Online www.pokemon.com/TCGO ******
The concept of this deck was very similar to an older deck, Zapdos/Jirachi from 2019.
The way both of these decks play is to use a repeated assault of a single-Prize attacker, with Cramorant LOR in the current version.
Mahone decided to play no energy in his list, instead relying on the Lost Provisions ability which lets Cramorant attack for no Energy if you have four or more cards in the lost zone. The way you get cards into the lost zone is mostly though the Flower Selecting ability on Comfey and Colress’s Experiment. This deck is built with a ton of switching options to reuse Flower Selecting over and over again, to see more cards and quickly fill your lost zone.
I tried Andrew’s version of the deck a bit and liked playing it; the deck was definitely strong. However, I felt like it had some problem matchups. The main issue I found was that the strategy was very weak to anyone trying to directly counter it, with either Empoleon V or Flying Pikachu VMAX.
Andrew’s list did have some good ways of answering Empoleon V with four Escape Rope and four Boss’s Orders, but contained no ways of attacking through the Empoleon. While it was possible to beat Flying Pikachu by adopting the same method, I found that it was almost impossible to beat them if they played Jolteon VIV.
Jolteon shuts down Cramorant’s ability, and since this deck has no alternate attacker that will end the game on the spot, I also had trouble against Mew VMAX decks. If you try and just attack into the Mew VMAX, they can repeatedly Psychic Leap and eventually win the game because you can’t ever take a one-hit knockout. It doesn’t even matter if they aren’t knocking out your attackers in one hit, you will rarely ever stick enough damage to be relevant. I tried to solve these problems I had by including alternate attackers in Sableye LOR and Radiant Charizard.
Sableye was a card I mentioned as one to watch out for in a previous article, and it is very strong in this deck. Cramorant will often just be short of taking knockouts, and Sableye cleans those up very nicely. However, the biggest use I’ve had out of it is as an attacker under Empoleon V or Jolteon. Unlike Cramorant, Sableye just needs Psychic Energy to use its attack which has made it very valuable when against decks which shut down Cramorant’s Ability. I’ve also used it to set up multiple single-Prize Pokemon. When against the Regigigas deck, you will usually get a turn or two where they miss an attack. When this happens, Sableye is perfect for setting up their entire board to be knocked out in one attack from a Cramorant.
It’s also been situationally good against Mew VMAX. With Radiant Charizard, I’ve been using a line of play where I try and repeatedly use Boss’s Orders on Genesect V to try and take six Prize cards off Pokemon which cannot be healed with Psychic Leap. Sableye allows you to attack a Genesect V without using Boss’s Orders, which has been very important because I have found that you need to use Colress’s Experiment later in the game to continue churning through your deck. Sableye is also one of the only ways you can knock out a Jolteon early, which has proven to be very valuable.
It has also surprisingly come up in the mirror match. If your opponent has two Comfey in play, you can use Galarian Zigzagoon, a Scoop Up Net and Sableye to knock out two Comfey at once. After losing to someone else doing this, I started including Galarian Zigzagoon so that I could come back if I was down a Prize card. Overall, Sableye became a very powerful option in this deck in addition to Radiant Charizard.
Radiant Charizard came out of the need for a way to deal big damage in the late game. When playing this deck, I often found myself missing a turn or two of attacking in the early game and Radiant Charizard was always a good solution to bring myself back into a game. It is especially important against VSTAR decks because with a Choice Belt, it reaches a one-hit KO on most VSTAR Pokemon. Even against VMAX Pokemon, you can use the previously mentioned Sableye to set up a VMAX to have 280 HP remaining and finish it off with Combustion Blast.
Charizard is also especially useful against Empoleon V. Empoleon V’s Emperor’s Eyes ability only shuts off Pokemon without a Rule Box, so Radiant Charizard gets through and can knock it out. Something else I found nice about Sableye and Charizard is that the Energy can be used as a pseudo-switch and recovered easily with Ordinary Rod. They are also easy discards to Trekking Shoes early in the game, as they get recovered naturally with Ordinary Rod. Overall, I found Sableye and Radiant Charizard to be very worthwhile additions to this deck.
With these ideas, and some other changes from Mahone’s original list, I came up with this.
****** Pokémon Trading Card Game Deck List ****** ##Pokémon - 13 * 1 Galarian Zigzagoon SSH 117 * 1 Radiant Charizard PGO 11 * 4 Comfey LOR 79 * 1 Sableye LOR 70 * 1 Articuno PGO 24 * 4 Cramorant LOR 50 * 1 Manaphy BRS 41 ##Trainer Cards - 40 * 1 Switch Cart ASR 154 * 2 Ordinary Rod SSH 171 * 4 Boss's Orders RCL 154 * 3 Quick Ball SSH 179 * 2 Air Balloon SSH 156 * 4 Scoop Up Net RCL 165 * 1 Lost Vacuum LOR 162 * 3 Choice Belt BRS 135 * 4 Colress's Experiment LOR 155 * 4 Lucky Egg SSH 167 * 4 Pokégear 3.0 UNB 182 * 4 Escape Rope BUS 114 * 4 Trekking Shoes ASR 156 ##Energy - 7 * 3 Capture Energy RCL 171 * 2 Fire Energy SMEnergy 2 * 2 Psychic Energy SMEnergy 5 Total Cards - 60 ****** Deck List Generated by the Pokémon TCG Online www.pokemon.com/TCGO ******
3 Capture Energy and 3 Quick Ball
Capture Energy has been an incredible card for me in this deck, but not in multiples. I said earlier that the basic Energy needed for Sableye and Charizard can function as extra switching options, but Capture Energy does this while also finding basic Pokemon. I was struggling when I only played Battle VIP Pass and Quick Ball – if you miss the VIP Pass on the first turn, you have few outs in your deck to find basic Pokemon. I also struggled to find cards to discard with Quick Ball, which is an issue I’ve had many times in this format while playing Palkia VSTAR.
Because there are so many legal expansions, the overall quality of cards has increased to a point that it’s hard to find cards to discard easily. It’s not uncommon to have an eight-card hand with nothing I can discard, so Capture Energy has been incredibly helpful in those situations. I did have Level Ball over Quick Ball in my deck for a while, but not being able to grab Articuno PGO, Cramorant or Radiant Charizard has made me switch back to Quick Ball.
4 Lucky Egg
The other problem (not ability lock) I had with this deck was hand disruption. I would always build up a massive hand with Flower Selection and Colress’s Experiment, then have it taken away with a Marnie or a Roxanne and lose the game shortly afterwards. I added Lucky Egg in to try and solve this issue. While it is easy for most decks to gust around one Lucky Egg, because you only have single-Prize Pokemon, eventually they will have to knock out your attacker with a Lucky Egg. If this happens, it’s also fine because it means Lucky Egg is accomplishing its goal; if my opponent isn’t using Boss’s Orders, they aren’t using Marnie or Roxanne and my hand is safe.
I have found Lucky Egg especially powerful when it’s on a must-KO threat like Sableye. Sableye gets a lot stronger if it’s allowed to be used repeatedly and Lucky Egg sometimes allows that to happen. You can also put Lucky Egg on your support Pokemon like Comfey or Manaphy. Often, Palkia VSTAR decks will try and combine Roxanne with Cross Switcher to KO a support Pokemon, so preemptively attaching Lucky Egg to them usually let them survive the turn and allowed me to draw out of the Roxanne.
Single-Prize lost zone offers a gameplay experience very different to anything available in Standard right now, with very little being invested into your board state and going all-in on using Boss’s Orders every turn. This deck isn’t for everyone, but if you loved playing with Zapdos/Jirachi back in 2019, this is absolutely the deck for you!