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My Favorite Deck of the Season: LMZ

My Favorite Deck of the Season: LMZ

Hello CFB readers! How are you? It’s already Evolving Skies time and annual Standard format rotation is right around the corner. Because of that, today will be my last article referring to the TEUCRE format and the next time I’m back it’ll be post-rotation. With that in mind, I thought about talking about my favorite deck of the season, which was one of my first articles here too, the classic Lucario & Melmetal-GX / Zacian V deck.

Since the first Players Cup, won by Natalie Millar with LMZ, the deck has become popular on the competitive scene. With a different mechanic from the main decks of the format, LMZ has a slow and defensive play style, but equally effective to the others. Since then, this deck has never ceased to appear in tier one in the 2020-2021 format, always with the same basis and essence as its first appearance.

The reason why LMZ remains strong for so long is due to several factors, but basically Zacian V and Zamazenta V complement each other and together they manage to respond to all the main threats in the metagame. While Zamazenta V can stop Pokemon VMAX with its Dauntless Shield Ability, Zacian V is able to stop Pokemon V with his Brave Blade attack for 230 damage. Lucario & Melmetal-GX and the rest of the deck serve to keep the dogs alive and strong. As strong as the next Pokemon VMAX released is, it will always have trouble dealing with Zamazenta V and every Pokemon VMAX evolves from some Pokemon V, which can be Knocked Out by Zacian V.

If LMZ can maintain its similar structure for an entire season, on the other hand, the metagame has already changed a lot for the deck. During most of the season LMZ was forced to deal with several decks focused on Fire-type Pokemon, and because of that there were lists with Bronzong TEU or with four Coating Energy. In the current metagame, Fire is no longer popular. Until the past set it was difficult for other decks to have any effective way to deal with Zamazenta V’s Ability – more recently, Path to the Peak and Phoebe have grown more popular.

Even with all the metagame changes, LMZ remained firm, gaining disadvantages in certain points, and advantages in others, because of that I decided to analyze the list of LMZ I’ve been using one that I’ll try to adapt post-rotation.

PTCGO Code

##Pokémon - 8
4 Zacian V SSH 138
2 Zamazenta V SSH 139
2 Lucario & Melmetal-GX UNB 120
##Trainer Cards - 38
4 Professor's Research SHF 60
3 Marnie SSH 169
3 Boss's Orders SHF 58
2 Mallow & Lana CEC 198
2 Cynthia & Caitlin CEC 189
1 Guzma & Hala CEC 193
4 Switch HS 102
4 Metal Saucer SSH 170
4 Metal Goggles TEU 148
3 Tag Call CEC 206
3 Quick Ball SSH 179
2 Lillie's Poké Doll CEC 197
3 Power Plant UNB 183
##Energy - 14
12 Metal Energy 8
1 Coating {M} Energy VIV 163
1 Capture Energy RCL 171

Talking Cards

The Classic Pokemon Line

Four Zacian V, Two Zamazenta V & Two Lucario & Melmetal-GX

This Pokemon count has stayed the same for a long time. Anyone who dared to take out a copy of Zamazenta V, Lucario & Melmetal-GX or even Zacian V certainly ended up regretting it after a few games. Four Zacian V is required because it’s good to always have this Pokemon on the field, the Ability is critical to consistency and facilitate its own powerup. Zamazenta V is always an awesome weapon to defend against Pokemon VMAX, for just two of 60 cards. Lucario & Melmetal-GX is responsible for leaving the game on hard mode. If it’s hard enough to Knock Out Zacian V and Zamazenta V, then it only gets worse after Full Metal Wall GX.

Some other Pokemon options always end up seeing some play, but I believe the most notable one is Aegislash V. Whenever there is a lot of Decidueye in the metagame, Aegislash V becomes a great outlet to get KOs. In the current metagame I think Decidueye is not a good option, especially with Inteleon appearing in big decks like Rapid Strike Urshifu and Ice Rider Calyrex.

Think carefully before putting Aegislash V in the deck, because with only eight Pokemon cards, the chances of you starting with it may end up being higher than acceptable. The goal is to always start the game with Zacian V to benefit from Intrepid Sword, even though Aegislash V is not so easy to KO, it’s not good to have this Pokemon on the field unless you’re against Decidueye or Altaria.

Zacian V (138/202)Zamazenta V (139/202)

The Classic Supporter Line

Four Marnie, Three Professor’s Research & Three Boss’s Orders

Virtually every competitive deck has these Supporters. For a long time, I played with four Professor’s Research and only Three Marnie, but recently I decided to trade a copy of Professor’s Research for another Marnie. In this format it has been important to prevent the opponent from gathering resources. Matchups like Shadow Rider Calyrex and decks with an Inteleon line can add resources very easily, so it’s important to use Marnie whenever possible to slow down your opponent’s setup.

Something I’ve never changed on my list but always wanted to is play four Boss’s Orders. I spent the entire season playing with three copies and that was always enough, but with four copies I would have used Intrepid Sword less trying to find it.

Boss's Orders (Giovanni)Boss's Orders (58/72)

The Tag Call Engine

Three Tag Call, Two Cynthia & Caitlin, One Guzma & Hala & Two Mallow & Lana

There are two ways to play with LMZ, with the Tag Call engine or without it. The version without has the maximum count of Pokegear 3.0, Professor’s Research, Marnie, and Boss’s Orders, doesn’t use Special Energy and uses a lot of Basic Energy. In this version the focus is to further increase the chances of hitting Metal Energy with Intrepid Sword and to have a greater chance of having access to Boss’s Orders. It’s a more aggressive version.

The version with Tag Call bets on a slower paced game, but is much more consistent. In my view it’s the right way to play, it gives you much more control over what you want and need to do to make better plays. All Supporter TAG TEAMs have great synergy with the strategy and bring remarkable consistency without having to use Dedenne-GX.

Tag Call (206/236)Tag Call (270/236)

Some Mandatory Stuff

Three Quick Ball, Four Switch, Four Metal Goggles, Four Metal Saucer & Two Lillie’s Poke Doll

The Standard count for Lillie’s Poke Doll is three, but always thought that two copies were sufficient. Poke Doll helps with deck mobility as it can be used as a Pokemon with no Retreat Cost. When it’s Active, you get advantages like using Metal Saucer on your Benched Pokemon, choosing the Active Pokemon after you draw for turn, or just giving you time to make the best decision. You can even use the same Zacian V consecutively with just a Switch.

Metal Goggles is arguably the strongest Pokemon Tool for the deck. With it, the matchups against Urshifu / Inteleon and Ice Rider / Inteleon are quite favorable – reducing 30 damage while preventing Ability-based damage is excellent.

Metal Goggles (148)Metal Goggles (195)

How To Win a Bad Matchup With a Stadium

Three Power Plant

Stadiums are already mandatory cards in LMZ to be able to remove Path to the Peak from the field, as this it causes problems when disabling the Intrepid Sword from Zacian V and Dauntless Shield from Zamazenta V. Chaotic Swell is always the best option to counter this, but any Stadium also helps, just have a good number of copies in the deck to increase the chances of finding them when needed.

I recently tested the Dark Box versus LMZ matchup and realized that it is unfavorable for LMZ. I’ll talk more about this matchup later, but I realized I might have a chance if my deck’s Stadiums were Power Plant. With at least three copies of Power Plant, it is possible to defeat Dark Box by preventing the opponent from using Weavile-GX, Mewtwo & Mew-GX and Dedenne/Silvally-GX to draw cards.

Power Plant (183)Power Plant (269/236)

An Interesting Energy Line

12 Metal Energy, One Coating Metal Energy & One Capture Energy

It is always important to play with a high number of basic Energy to increase the chances of powering up Zacian V with Intrepid Sword. A higher number also increases your chances of getting an attachment each turn.

If your list has Guzma & Hala then I see no reason not to use Capture Energy. Lucario & Melmetal-GX and Zamazenta V need a Colorless Energy to attack. Anyway, looking for a Basic Pokemon is something so important that it overcomes the small disadvantages of this Special Energy.

As for Coating Energy, there is no longer a need to protect against Fire-type decks, so the usefulness of this Energy is just to have the option to get a Metal Energy in the deck with Guzma & Hala, which can be searched by Tag Call, thus greatly increasing the probability of guaranteeing an attachment for turn.

Coating Metal Energy (163/185)Capture Energy (171/192)

Matchups

Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX / Inteleon

Favorable: 70-30

The main reason to use LMZ in the current metagame is to have a good matchup against Rapid Strike Urshifu. Alex won Players Cup IV and the Players Cup Invitational with this powerful deck, able to beat practically everything else in the format. Because of impressive results like this, I see Rapid Strike Urshifu as the main deck of the format.

The advantage in the matchup lies in Zamazenta V, which takes advantage of the Rapid Strike Urshifu decks’ shortcomings in handling the Dauntless Shield ability. Cards like Phoebe and Path to the Peak are not enough and the LMZ’s defensive power can contain the damage Urshifu V can do. Tool Scrapper can cause problems by removing Metal Goggles and thus dealing damage with Inteleon CRE, but it’s still okay to deal with just one copy of this card. Rapid Urshifu’s lists with Galarian Moltres V can take work, but it’s still favorable, just focus on Knocking Out Moltres V.

Ice Rider Calyrex VMAX / Inteleon

Favorable: 70-30

Another great reason to use LMZ is the great matchup against Ice Rider. What I like most about Ice Rider / Inteleon is the ability to play against all metagame matchups in a balanced way. Because of this feature that pleases many players, I always see Ice Rider a popular deck, independent of the metagame.

Although Zamazenta V looks like a great option, the truth is that the best Pokemon in this matchup is Zacian V. The goal is to make a Zacian V with three Metal Energy with Metal Goggles and Full Metal Wall GX. If you manage to do that, with two Brave Blade attacks you win the game by Knocking Out two Ice Rider Calyrex VMAX.

Eternatus VMAX

Unfavorable: 40-60

LMZ always had a good matchup around 80-20 against Eternatus VMAX, but currently it’s a lot harder. The recent Eternatus VMAX lists use Galarian Moltres V and Phoebe to handle Zamazenta V, so now using Lucario & Melmetal-GX and Zacian V need to be your main options.

A big plus of my LMZ list are the three copies of Power Plant, which shuts down Weavile-GX and starts to cause problems. Without being able to use Weavile the opponent does not have the mobility to easily replace Eternatus VMAX for Galarian Moltres V. If Power Plant stays for too long and the opponent can’t manipulate Energy, they will have trouble dealing with their Pokemon. The idea is to KO the opponent’s Galarian Moltres V as soon as possible and keep Zamazenta V attacking afterward.

Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX

Balanced: 50-50

I always thought that ADP had a good matchup against LMZ, but in the current format this has changed for the simple reason that the ADP lists have also adjusted. Now the lists have Galarian Moltres V and Galarian Zapdos V to get good matchups against Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX and Eternatus VMAX, but to fit these new cards it was necessary to remove some, including Rusted Sword. With Rusted Sword ADP used to be able to Brave Blade against a Metal Goggles for an OHKO. Without that, it’s more balanced.

Dark Box

Unfavorable: 40-60

Normally this matchup is horrible for LMZ, something around 20-80 for Dark Box, but with three Power Plant this result has improved a lot. During my testing I noticed that opponents were having more problems than I thought with Power Plant, I soon realized that Dark Box has problems finding Stadiums and can’t reserve Bench space for Marshadow UNB.

Dark Box needs to use all the spaces on the Bench to set up and enjoy its Abilities. Dedenne-GX, Weavile-GX, Silvally-GX, Galarian Moltres V, and Mewtwo & Mew-GX are Pokemon that almost always need to be Benched.

Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX

Unfavorable: 20-80

This matchup is what discourages many players from using LMZ. It’s hard to compete when one of the strongest decks in the format has a good matchup against yours. The current Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX lists use Path to the Peak, so it is possible to KO Zamazenta V with ease and manages to disable Jirachi-GX’s Ability against Rapid Strike Urshifu.

In addition to Path to the Peak, Gengar & Mimikyu-GX is a great attacker against Zamazenta V, as LMZ is a deck with around 35 to 40 Trainers. The best way to play this matchup is to be aggressive with Zacian V to get Knock Outs but being aggressive is not a feature of this LMZ list.

Final Thoughts

It’s amazing to see that LMZ was so competitive for so long. There is one remaining metagame where LMZ might be the best option – basically when Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX is at its lowest and Rapid Strike Urshifu and Ice Rider Calyrex VMAX are at their highest. I believe Urshifu and Ice Rider will always be popular, and Shadow Rider will always have a complicated metagame with Eternatus VMAX, Dark Box and many decks with Galarian Moltres V out there.

In the end LMZ is a deck with good matchups, accented with some bad ones against important decks in the metagame. I think it’s a good choice for playing long tournaments as I feel LMZ is a smooth deck to play. It’s necessary to play well, but it’s not a deck that needs to do a lot of actions per turn. During a tournament that can last up to 18 rounds, these details make the difference.

The future of Zacian V and Zamazenta V is very uncertain post-rotation. Without important cards like Lucario & Melmetal-GX and Metal Goggles, the deck will need to find other strategies to stay competitive. In my next article I will explore the post-rotation format, trying to find some options for a Zacian V and Zamazenta V deck. I still believe in the strength of the dogs!

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