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Primal Flygon — More Than a Meme

The most recent meme deck that has seen a little bit of discussion in the community lately is one called “Primal Flygon.” I don’t know who came up with the idea, but apparently nobody was able to make it work. I think I ended up hearing about it later than most, and it was on fellow CFB member Chip Richey’s stream. The idea of the deck sounded interesting to me, so I went ahead and built my own list to try it out. Surprisingly, the deck works quite well. I’d even go so far as to say the deck has what it takes to be one of the best decks in the format. The list is tricky to work with, as the deck has a lot of mandatory moving parts, but I eventually ended up with one I like.

PTCGO Code

##Pokémon - 14
4 Snorlax VIV 131
3 Trapinch DAA 89
2 Vibrava CEC 109
2 Flygon-GX CEC 110
1 Tyrogue UNB 100
1 Mew UNB 76
1 Marshadow UNB 81
##Trainer Cards - 35
4 Marnie SSH 169
4 Bird Keeper DAA 159
3 Mallow & Lana CEC 198
1 Kabu DAA 163
1 Boss's Orders RCL 154
4 Quick Ball SSH 179
4 Lillie's Poké Doll CEC 197
4 Great Potion UNM 198
4 Evolution Incense SSH 163
1 Pokégear 3.0 SSH 174
1 Big Parasol DAA 157
1 Big Charm SSH 158
3 Martial Arts Dojo UNB 179
##Energy - 11
4 Stone {F} Energy VIV 164
4 Capture Energy RCL 171
3 Fighting Energy 6

The deck is called Primal Flygon because it’s almost a carbon copy of the Primal Groudon-EX deck that has seen success in Expanded and Standard back when it was in the format. Vibrava‘s Ability is like Groudon’s Ancient Trait, which blocks current Supporters such as Boss’s Orders and Team Yell Grunt. Flygon-GX itself is like Primal Groudon in terms of HP and damage output. Lillie’s Poke Doll replaces Robo Substitute, and Snorlax’s Ability is the same effect as Tropical Beach.

This deck works quite well in the current format, as the only gust effect that people use is Boss’s Orders, which doesn’t work on Vibrava. This means that you can set up Vibrava with multiple Stone Energy and at least one Basic Fighting Energy while hiding behind Snorlax and Lillie’s Poke Doll. When the time is right, evolve into Flygon-GX and start attacking for massive amounts of damage. Thanks to Martial Arts Dojo, Flygon can easily swing for 280, which will OHKO any non-Pokemon VMAX in the format.

Flygon’s Ability reduces damage done to it by 30, a number that increases for each Stone Energy attached. Therefore, it’s not uncommon for attacks directed at Flygon to be reduced by 90 or even 110 damage. Powerful hits like Brave Blade and Dread End are incapable of OHKOing Flygon, which means it can be healed with Great Potion and Mallow & Lana. Assuming Flygon is taking OHKOs, which it usually is, it only needs to be fully healed once. It’s not overly resource intensive. If you take a KO for two Prizes on the turn Flygon goes in, take a hit, heal, take another two Prizes, and take another hit, you don’t even need to heal again so long as you’re winning the game.

The entire deck is built around making a single Flygon-GX that will sweep an opponent’s board and take all six Prizes by itself.

This means that each game, the deck only requires one copy of Vibrava and one copy of Flygon. For prizing and consistency reasons, I run two of each. Trapinch is important to play three-of, as some situations require benching two at once. They can still be picked off with Boss’s Orders before they evolve. Trapinch also has a useful attack that can deal 20 damage for one Energy. This can be important for softening up or finishing off Pokemon like Centiskorch VMAX.

Explanations

One Mew

Mew is an automatic inclusion in this deck, as the only way to KO Vibrava is by sniping it. Mew provides protection against Pokemon that can snipe like Cramorant V, Inteleon VMAX, and Pikachu & Zekrom-GX. Even though they can KO Mew with Boss’s Orders, it at least buys some time.

One Marshadow

Marshadow is an important tech for Chaotic Swell. Among decks that play Chaotic Swell are Mewtwo & Mew-GX and ADPZ. Against those two decks, the damage boost from Martial Arts Dojo is crucial.

One Tyrogue

Tyrogue is an interesting choice for a deck like this, and it’s quite useful. Against any Pokemon that has more than 280 HP (Pokemon VMAX or TAG TEAMs with Big Charm), you want some way to soften them up without putting Flygon in danger. Tyrogue can do 30 on a flip while hiding behind a Lillie’s Poke Doll. Mew’s Psypower can also help with this, though it must be sacrificed to the Active Spot to do so. Through combinations of Tyrogue’s Ability and the attacks of Mew and Trapinch, even Pokemon with extremely high HP can be brought into OHKO range for Flygon.

Tyrogue

One Boss’s Orders

Boss’s Orders isn’t too important for this deck, but it can be handy to help preemptively deal with threats on the turn Flygon starts attacking. Namely Centiskorch VMAX and Lucario & Melmetal-GX. It can be crucial in both of those matchups and is obviously a strong card overall.

One Kabu

Kabu is a decent hand refresh option because it can be followed up with Snorlax’s Gormandize. I would play more copies of it if there was more space. Kabu is simply a draw supporter. Although it is weak, this is compensated for by Snorlax. Occasionally, you’ll get a random Kabu for eight, and that’s incredible as well.

Kabu

Three Mallow & Lana and Four Great Potion

These are the most efficient healing cards to keep Flygon healthy while it sweeps through the opponent’s board. There are very few Pokemon in the format that can realistically OHKO Flygon-GX, so if you’re able to heal Flygon after the opponent attacks, it will never be KOed.

Four Marnie and Four Bird Keeper

Professor’s Research doesn’t work with this deck, as many of the cards are needed at specific times and aren’t expendable. Throwing away resources with Research would be terrible, so the deck needs to find a way to set up without Research. Due to a lack of options as far as draw Supporters go, you are left with Marnie and Bird Keeper. Marnie works well with Snorlax, and Bird Keeper works well with Tyrogue and Lillie’s Poke Doll.

One Pokegear 3.0

Just like with Kabu, you are scraping the bottom of the barrel for draw Supporters. Pokegear is more versatile than Kabu though. It’s an extra out to Mallow & Lana or Boss’s Orders, which is useful more often than you’d expect. More Pokegear is a consideration, but the deck doesn’t have a lot of space, and you need to play a heavy count of the actual Supporters to make Pokegear worthwhile.

One Big Charm and One Big Parasol

Big Charm is the default Tool of choice for Flygon, and it makes relevant math against some matchups like Poison Eternatus. Big Parasol is a counter to Lucario & Melmetal-GX if you’re unable to KO it before it uses its GX attack. If they use it early, no problem, but they’ll probably save it to deal with Flygon. Big Parasol can also be useful against Zamazenta V, Raichu & Alolan Raichu-GX, Inteleon VMAX, and a few fringe cards with similar effects.

Big Parasol

Matchups

ADPZ – Even

The ADPZ matchup is volatile, and both players need a few things to go right to win. The most important factor is Mawile-GX. Whether Mawile hits a Basic or not often determines the winner of the game. It’s important to play in such a way that ADPZ can only take four Prizes, meaning you cannot leave any extra Pokemon in play for them to snipe with Boss’s Orders.

Lillie’s Poke Doll is therefore more important in this matchup than in any other. If you don’t draw at least a couple of them within the first few turns, you’re out of luck. You can sacrifice a Snorlax or two to set up if there aren’t any other stray Pokemon in play.

Playing around Mawile is important to keep in mind. With four Quick Ball, four Marnie, and the Kabu, it’s not too hard to keep unwanted Basic Pokemon out of your hand. However, sometimes you get unlucky and get stuck with some. Furthermore, ADPZ pressures Flygon to set up quickly, which Flygon can’t do consistently. These are the reasons why the matchup is so close. If Flygon does get set up, it can easily sweep through ADPZ.

Some other factors in this matchup are Big Charm and Crushing Hammer, neither of which you can do anything about. Big Charm makes Flygon 2HKO ADP instead of OHKO, which just means you must heal it an extra time. Ultimate Ray doesn’t deal much damage to Flygon, so it’s no big deal. If they instead attack with Zacian, it doesn’t really matter because they were going to do that at some point anyway, and Flygon can OHKO Zacian.

Crushing Hammers can be annoying because they slow down Flygon, which ADPZ as a deck can capitalize on. Losing a couple of Energy isn’t the end of the world but Crushing Hammer’s presence in the list is certainly an advantage for ADPZ.

Arceus & Dialga & Palkia GXBig CharmCrushing Hammer

Eternatus – Very Favorable

There’s not much to say about this one. Go with the deck’s normal strategy and it should be a smooth game. Watch out for Sableye V. Martial Arts Dojo isn’t too important. Try to get a Boss KO on Eternatus VMAX when Flygon starts attacking if they don’t already have it in the Active.

Sableye V

Pikarom – Favorable

Both the regular and Mewtwo & Mew-GX versions of Pikarom have been seeing a lot of play lately, which is good news for Flygon. Flygon shreds right through their entire deck, and Tandem Shock isn’t much of a threat due to its low damage output and Flygon’s copious amounts of switch-effect Supporters. However, Pikarom can still win this one.

Once they Boss-KO your Mew, you need to watch out for Tag Bolt GX, which can snipe Vibrava. If Vibrava is ever in imminent danger of being sniped with Tag Bolt, you must immediately evolve it. Flygon is still a tank and you can always heal it, so evolving it prematurely in this matchup isn’t the end of the world. Something else to note is that the Mewtwo version may have Naganadel-GX, which can threaten a snipe for fewer Energy.

Boltund is a Pokemon to be wary of as well, so make sure your first KO is taking at least a few Energy off their board. you don’t want Boltund V doing enough damage to OHKO Flygon.

Just like with most matchups, a fully set-up Flygon can easily run through the deck, and it’s just a matter of getting there.

MewPikachu & Zekrom GX

Centiskorch – Slightly Unfavorable

Centiskorch is tricky for Flygon to deal with, but it’s not impossible. The way the game plays out depends on their list. Most lists seem to have Cramorant V and no Giratina, which is fine. If they run both, along with Scoop Up Nets for Giratina, things get very problematic.

As with most matchups that involve snipe attackers, it’s just a matter of time before they Boss-KO your Mew to make Cramorant V a threat to Vibrava. If that happens and you aren’t ready to start attacking yet, you need to evolve into Flygon prematurely.

Centiskorch VMAX itself is a threat to Flygon. With enough Energy, it is capable of OHKOing Flygon. Your approach to dealing with Centiskorch depends on the situation. If Centiskorch is building up enough Energy to where it’s a threat to Flygon, you must take it out before it has a chance to attack Flygon. This is where Tyrogue comes in clutch, as it can put Centiskorch into OHKO range for Flygon.

Mew’s Psypower can do the same thing, but you don’t want to risk the Mew unless the damage placement is sealing the game. For example, if by using Psypower you’re able to ensure a OHKO on a loaded Centiskorch on the following turn, then it’s fine to sacrifice Mew. Don’t forget about Trapinch’s attack either. Trapinch’s attack does 20 damage and one use of Tyrogue is 30. This puts Centiskorch VMAX into KO range, though it’s no guarantee you’ll get a stray hit in with Trapinch. You may need to use Tyrogue twice.

After setting up this damage, try to find Boss’s Orders and take out the Centiskorch with Flygon. In this scenario, he who strikes first wins.

On the other hand, if Centiskorch doesn’t have too much Energy on it, you can simply go with the normal strategy of going in with Flygon. Try to prep the Centiskorch with some damage anyway.

Finally, another factor is Centiskorch V’s Radiating Heat. By itself, it’s not an issue. After all, it does 0 damage to Flygon and only gets rid of one Energy. After that, Flygon easily OHKOs the Centiskorch. However, if you forget about it and don’t play around one or two uses of Radiating Heat, it can certainly turn the game around. If you miss one attack because of Radiating Heat, they can keep using it and then Flygon just loses. It’s another win condition that Centiskorch has, so be aware of it and play around it. Big Parasol would counter Radiating Heat, but Big Charm is usually more important to make Flygon bulkier in the face of Centiskorch’s terrifying damage output. Since Radiating Heat isn’t too hard to play around, you usually don’t need Big Parasol.

Centiskorch VMAX

LMZ – Favorable

This matchup is in Flygon’s favor, but it requires a bit of precision to navigate. The biggest threat is Full Metal Wall GX, which can strip Flygon of its Energy. There are a few lines of play you can take in this matchup, and it all depends on what the opponent decides to do.

The best-case scenario is they just burn the GX attack while setting up to get the defensive boost. In that case, you don’t even need to worry about it.

It’s possible that the opponent benches Lucario & Melmetal-GX at some point during the game but doesn’t burn the GX attack. If that’s the case, Flygon’s first attack needs to be taking out the Lucmetal along with Boss’s Orders. If they have Metal Goggles, you can use Sonic Edge GX boosted by Martial Arts Dojo to take it out in one shot.

If they save the Lucario & Melmetal, you need to use Marnie on the same turn you start attacking with Flygon. This way, it’s unlikely that they draw Lucmetal, Metal Saucer, an Energy right off the bat, and Flygon applies intense pressure with OHKOs on Zacian and Zamazenta.

Big Parasol is basically a safety net for this matchup. In case the opponent doesn’t prematurely bench the Lucmetal, or if they’re threatening a second one after the first one goes down, Big Parasol can save you. If they play Tool Scrapper and find it at the right time, they might be able to win, but that requires many things to go right for them throughout the entire game.

It’s also possible to rebuild Flygon with Energy after three go down to Full Metal Wall GX, but this is difficult to do and it can be thwarted with Crushing Hammers. The main strategy is to avoid Full Metal Wall altogether.

Tool Scrapper

Coalossal – Favorable

Coalossal is a linear deck and that makes it a decent matchup for Flygon. The only tricky thing about Coalossal VMAX is its defense. With Stone Energy and potential Buff Padding, it’s nearly impossible to ping it with enough damage to set it up for a OHKO from Flygon. This means that Flygon may have to attack more than it’s used to. If the opportunity presents itself to set Coalossal up for an OHKO, that’s great, but don’t count on it.

Focus on building up Flygon and be prepared to heal it a few times. You will likely have to 2HKO two Coalossal VMAX. Don’t forget that Sonic Edge shreds through Stone Energy’s defensive boost, and that Desert Hurricane removes Martial Arts Dojo so they can’t benefit from it. Coalossal doesn’t have any tricks it can employ, so Flygon simply outperforms it.

Coalossal VMAX

Welder Mewtwo, Orbeetle, and Dragapult – Auto-Losses

Fortunately for Flygon, Welder Mewtwo is on the decline due to Lightning Mewtwo becoming the preferred variant. Welder Mewtwo has access to Naganadel-GX and Double Blaze GX, which OHKOs Flygon. Furthermore, they start attacking as early as turn one, and threaten a Venom Shot on turn two. The matchup is a nightmare.

Orbeetle VMAX isn’t a popular deck either, but it crushes Flygon due to hitting for Weakness. If Orbeetle ever became popular, a Weakness Guard Energy should be a reliable counter for it. Furthermore, Orbeetle’s snipe damage hits through Mew’s Bench Barrier, which threatens Vibrava. To beat Orbeetle, you need to build up two Flygon-GX and prep two Orbeetle for OHKOs with ping damage. All of that just isn’t going to happen.

Finally, Dragapult VMAX is another nightmarish matchup. Dragapult’s snipe damage eliminates Vibrava expeditiously. Max Phantom deals too much pressure too quickly, and the Energy disruption that comes with it is the nail in the coffin. If you somehow did manage to set up Flygon, it would wreck Dragapult, but that’s nearly impossible to pull off. Even if Vibrava lives long enough to evolve, the Energy disruption slows down Flygon enough for Dragapult to slowly whittle away at it.

Dragapult VMAXMewtwo & Mew GXOrbeetle VMAX

Conclusion

Overall, Flygon is strong in the current format. It’s not broken, but it certainly doesn’t seem worse than any of the meta decks. If you liked the Primal Groudon deck, you’ve got to try out Flygon. It’s basically the same thing.

Flygon has solid matchups. It only loses to random fringe decks. It is competitive and close against ADPZ and Centiskorch. Those matches can go either way. Flygon is strong against most of the meta though, solidly beating Eternatus, Lucmetal, Coalossal, and Pikarom. Flygon can also handle most random decks due to its powerful core strategy that’s difficult to counter.

That’s all I’ve got for today. Try out the deck, it’s fun and it works!

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