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Wailord V — the Best Coin-Flip Deck in Standard

Hello again readers, I’m back today with a deck that I’ve spent quite a bit of my free time on over the last few weeks since the release of Champion’s Path. Small disclaimer, today’s deck isn’t going to be tier one – it’s not going to be something that beats everything in the room – but it sure is fun! Let’s get into it.

PTCGO Code
##Pokémon - 18
3 Wailord V CPA 13
3 Snom SSH 63
3 Frosmoth PR-SW 07
3 Cleffa UNB 131
2 Dedenne-GX UNB 195
1 Lapras V SSH 49
1 Lapras VMAX SSH 50
1 Keldeo-GX UNM 47
1 Crobat V DAA 182
##Trainer Cards - 31
4 Professor's Research SSH 209
3 Marnie SSH 208
3 Boss's Orders RCL 200
4 Switch HS 102
4 Quick Ball SSH 179
4 Pokémon Communication HS 98
2 Cape of Toughness DAA 160
2 Capacious Bucket RCL 156
1 Ordinary Rod SSH 215
1 Energy Retrieval BLW 92
3 Glimwood Tangle DAA 162
##Energy - 11
11 Water Energy 3

This is one of the lists that I’ve built for Wailord V / Frosmoth. There are a number of different ways that the deck can be built and I’ll be showing another one later in this article. A couple of things before I get into the list itself; the deck is reliant on coin flips to do well. By playing a deck with heavy amounts of coin flips, you’re subjecting yourself to luck, both good and bad.

Card Choices

A lot of this list strongly resembles many Inteleon VMAX decks, but there are a few key differences that make the deck different, and sometimes stronger. One major difference is the lack of a Scoop Up Net engine. Unlike Inteleon, Wailord V doesn’t deal any snipe damage, and there’s not much math that can be helped with Galarian Zigzagoon.

Three Cleffa

The baby Pokemon that were released over a year ago have seen next to zero play besides Munchlax or Tyrogue in a select few decks. There’s only one reason why Cleffa is in this list over any other Pokemon; it has a Retreat Cost of zero. Yes, there are other Pokemon that have free Retreat, but none of them are at all useful outside of that. Cleffa has an Ability that can occasionally bail you out of rough situations. Flipping a coin to play a Cynthia that ends your turn might seem terrible, and it honestly is, but relative to the other choices it’s pretty darn good. I thought I would never be using Cleffa as more than a pivot, but there have so many situations where it has saved me.

Why is free Retreat important you may ask? Why not just play Air Balloons? There’s a lot of reasons, but the big one is that it’s incredibly easy to trap a Wailord V if you’re playing Air Balloon rather than Switch. Having Cleffa instead of Air Balloon can sometimes be unfortunate, but Cleffa provides Pokemon Communication targets in a deck with an otherwise low Pokemon count. Also important to note is that Cleffa doesn’t work with Glimwood Tangle.

One Keldeo-GX

The goal of this deck is to take Prize cards. Wailord V’s high HP may tempt you to stall a bit, but you won’t win games off of high HP alone. Eternatus VMAX is one of the only things capable of taking an OHKO on a Wailord V, and that’s with a Galarian Zigzagoon. Keldeo-GX is what one could call a hard counter to Eternatus. In order for them to KO a Wailord V, they must fill up their Bench. Keldeo-GX capitalizes on this and takes a quick revenge KO for three Prize Cards, potentially out of nowhere without benching it beforehand.

One Lapras V and One Lapras VMAX

I’ve been playing these in my Inteleon lists for a long time now. It has a much different purpose in this deck though. Sometimes there will be times that you can’t find a Glimwood Tangle in order to have a sense of security with coin flips. You need a way to deal damage that isn’t entirely reliant on luck. There’s also the fringe use of Lapras VMAX being able to safely get around Galarian Obstagoon without being KOed immediately by a Decidueye like Keldeo does.

Two Cape of Toughness

This might seem like a really low count when the biggest asset that Wailord V has is its high HP. However, with Tool Scrapper being almost non-existent and Eternatus VMAX being the only thing really capable of hitting for 280 but not 330, it just isn’t worth the space for more copies. In different bulbs of the deck, there’s a much better argument for playing more copies

One Ordinary Rod and One Energy Retrieval

Ordinary Rod is something that I’m not entirely sure about playing if I’m being honest. Usually with Frosmoth decks you need the Energy to go straight to hand in order for the card to be effective. With a one-oneline in the deck, it becomes a bit murkier on whether Ordinary Rod is necessary or not. There have been many games where Lapras VMAX was necessary to close out the game, but one piece had been discarded. Energy Retrieval is something that I believe to be very good when you play Lapras VMAX. If I commit four Energy to a Wailord V in the early game and then need to use Lapras VMAX to take a large OHKO, then Energy Retrieval is nearly essential for hitting the higher numbers.

Matchups

One thing that you’ll find I’m hesitant to do recently is put percentages or ratios on matchups. To put it simply, I don’t believe in writing down percentages for matchups unless I have hundreds of games worth of data to accurately represent actual win percentages. I also find that when giving percentages or ratios, there’s a tendency to exaggerate, and thus misrepresent a deck’s capabilities. In a world where best of three is the most common method of play, it is important to understand that a true 60-40 matchup is very favorable and a 80-20 should be nearly impossible to lose. Most matchups in reality are determined by more factors than just the deck, such as both players’ skill and ability to play optimally. We use numbers like 60-40 to show win percentages in matchups, but where do those numbers come from? Unless you’re keeping track during a large quantity of games, then that number isn’t actually accurate. And no, ten games isn’t a good sample size. If I don’t have the data required to give accurate numbers, then I generally prefer to stick to phrases such as “heavily (un)favored,” “slightly (un)favored,” or “even.”

Centiskorch VMAX: Heavily Favored

For obvious reasons, this is by far your best matchup. Unlike Inteleon or even Lapras VMAX, you only require a single Evolution in order to apply pressure. You also only give up two Prize cards if they do manage to build a Centiskorch VMAX to OHKO a Wailord V. As long as you set up, the matchup should go well. A few important things to note are that you should prioritize getting two Snom into play over an attacker on turn one. With Cramorant now being a staple in lists, it is important to discourage your opponent from targeting Snom or Frosmoth. For the same reason, try to limit your Dedenne-GX and Crobat V usage. You want to force them to deal with a Wailord V, not pick off a bunch of support Pokemon. Finally, you can afford to be passive and let them come to you first. If your opponent is going to be capable of an OHKO on your Wailord V, and you’re only KOing a Volcanion, it is sometimes better to just pass and go for a Boss KO the next turn. Of course, if you’re going to have access to another attacker that can OHKO the Centiskorch VMAX in revenge, then by all means, go for it. It’s situations like these where Cleffa becomes more than just a pivot and is capable of refreshing your hand.

Centiskorch VMAXCentiskorch VMAX (Secret)Centiskorch VCentiskorch V (Full Art)

ADP: Slightly Unfavored

This list takes a slightly worse ADP matchup than my other one does. Basically, you’re going to have to get decently lucky on coin flips in order to keep pace with them. You’re also going to need to not bench more than one Dedenne-GX or Crobat V, and then keep them out of your hand because of Mawile-GX. If you successfully do all of this, you might win. There is a very specific strategy for this one. Load up the Lapras VMAX with seven Energy and OHKO that ADP before they use Ultimate Ray. Or when that doesn’t happen, you can get obscenely lucky and flip three heads with Wailord V and do 360 damage. If you’re going for the Lapras VMAX play, then you’re probably going to have to bench more than one Dedenne-GX or Crobat V. At that point it’s a game of hoping they don’t manage to KO both of them before you win. One way to avoid this is to avoid having your Bench be five Pokemon. With four or less Pokemon on your Bench, Mawile-GX is incapable of taking a KO on anything relevant.

Arceus & Dialga & Palkia GXArceus & Dialga & Palkia GX (Full Art)Zacian VZacian V (Full Art)

Lucario & Melmetal-GX / Zacian V: Even

This matchup is similar to ADP, but they need to do so much more in order to win. Your goal is to trade two-shots with them until one of you wins. At some point during the game, you will hopefully either be able to flip three heads or you’ll have a Lapras VMAX with enough Energy to OHKO a Zacian. On the flip side, they are able to target down any Dedenne-GX or Crobat V that you might play down. I won’t tell you not to bench them at all, but I will warn you against their unnecessary use. A couple of things to look out for in this matchup are Lucmetal’s discarding effect with Full Metal Wall GX, Zamazenta V, and any Crobat V or Eldegoss V that they might play. Full Metal Wall GX can cause you some issues if you’re unprepared. I would heavily advise against attacking into a Lillie’s Poke Doll with a Wailord V. Zamazenta V is only worth mentioning if you completely overcommit to Lapras VMAX without having enough Prize cards mapped out to win. Finally, while incredibly obvious, it’s worth noting that any easier two Prize KOs that you can take should be prioritized over an undamaged Zacian V. This is because the game will be such a slow pace that they’ll never miss an attacker once things get going. It’s a Prize race, and you need to come out on top.

Lucario & Melmetal GXLucario & Melmetal GX (Full Art)Zacian VZacian V (Full Art)

Mewtwo & Mew-GX: Slightly Favored

Unfortunately, this is the matchup I’ve worked on the least with the deck. They’ll be able to take one big KO on a Wailord V with one of their GX attacks, assuming you don’t have a Cape of Toughness attached. They need to take three KOs and you only need to take two. Yes, you’ll potentially have to take three KOs as well, but their two Prize Pokemon are a lot easier to KO than yours are. The biggest thing to watch out for is Naganadel-GX’s Venom Shot. If you over-bench, then your opponent has a pretty easy way to win the game. Again, this isn’t to say strictly don’t bench Dedenne-GX or Crobat V, but to exercise caution against unnecessary use. Of course, there will be games where you need to use multiple to stay in the game, and that’s perfectly fine. Lapras VMAX is also a rather solid attacker in this matchup because it only requires six Energy to OHKO a Mewtwo & Mew-GX. You need to be careful here though, because Indeedee V will be capable of taking an OHKO on a Lapras VMAX with that many Energy stacked on it. Generally, it’s best to use Lapras VMAX to close out the game rather than to lead, unless you have no better option.

Indeedee VMewtwo & Mew GXNaganadel GXCape of Toughness

Eternatus VMAX: Slightly Favored

This matchup feels like the one with the most room for things to end favorably for you despite it being a very close matchup. Eternatus is incredibly linear. This means that there won’t be any surprises coming for you out of nowhere. Keldeo-GX will play a major role in winning games. If your opponent commits to having a full Bench in order to KO a Wailord V, then Keldeo-GX swoops in and deletes that Eternatus VMAX from existence. You still need to be able to close out the game, but depending on how fast the game is moving, they may be unable to attack with a VMAX right away. At this point you can either go for another VMAX KO, or you can chase down some weaker Pokemon with Boss’s Orders.

Crobat VCrobat V (Full Art)Eternatus VMAXEternatus VMAX (Secret)

The Healing Version

PTCGO Code
##Pokémon - 14
3 Wailord V CPA 13
3 Snom SSH 63
3 Frosmoth PR-SW 07
3 Cleffa UNB 131
1 Dedenne-GX UNB 195
1 Crobat V DAA 182
##Trainer Cards - 36
4 Professor's Research SSH 209
3 Marnie SSH 208
3 Mallow & Lana CEC 198
1 Boss's Orders RCL 200
4 Switch HS 102
4 Quick Ball SSH 179
3 Hyper Potion SSH 166
3 Energy Retrieval BLW 92
3 Cape of Toughness DAA 160
2 Pokémon Communication HS 98
2 Capacious Bucket RCL 156
1 Evolution Incense SSH 163
3 Glimwood Tangle DAA 162
##Energy - 10
10 Water Energy Energy 3

This is one of my other lists for Wailord V. Rather than chase down Prize cards, this list aims to outlast your opponent and win the war of attrition. Since the lists are fairly similar, I’ll highlight the main differences and jump right into how the matchups are different.

Card Choices

Zero Lapras VMAX

This one physically hurt me to cut from the deck, but ultimately I needed to find space and Lapras VMAX was the most expendable card. Lapras VMAX might still be worth the spot, I don’t actually know for sure yet. I’ve spent the majority of my time since Champion’s Path playing in the Players Cup and have only recently found time for testing new decks.

One Less Dedenne-GX

Cutting consistency? What could go wrong. This was something I knew needed to happen, but I’m still not overly comfortable with it. Cleffa does help alleviate this a bit at least. The reasoning behind this is that this list literally cannot afford to have your opponent Boss around your Wailord V.

Three Hyper Potion and Three Mallow & Lana

This list is inherently slower than the first one, which means that it’s going to need additional support to outlast your opponent. These are by far the best healing cards in the game, and I wish I could find space for a fourth Hyper Potion.

Three Energy Retrieval

A consequence of playing Hyper Potion is that you’ll be discarding a lot more Energy than you would otherwise. Unlike the previous list, there’s no one-one VMAX line to recover, so Ordinary Rod was dropped in favor of another Energy Retrieval. The reasoning behind three Energy Retrieval is pretty simple. You have ten basic Energy in your deck. You’re probably only attacking with two separate Wailord V during a game. That takes up eight Energy, assuming you don’t use Wailord’s first attack to accelerate. Hyper Potions bring you up to fourteen Energy required. Under the assumption that you’ll reach fourteen required at around two or three Prizes remaining, it is safe to say that you won’t have Prized more than two of the sixteen total Energy available to you throughout the game. Basically, two Energy Retrieval runs the risk of running short on Energy, and four is overkill.

Lapras VMAXHyper PotionMallow & LanaEnergy Retrieval

Matchups

This deck generally has more close matchups than the other list. It sacrifices speed for longevity, and that shows. I think that this version might be better overall, but that it also requires a lot more work to get some of the same results you could with the other list. This one has one major drawback though – it’s less consistent.

Centiskorch: Nothing’s Changed, See Above

ADP: Even

Unlike the other list, this one can theoretically survive a Wailord V being attacked twice. This means that rather than through Lapras VMAX, all you have to do is attack four times with Wailord V, assuming you don’t flip the magical three heads on the ADP. If you’re able to make your Wailord V survive three turns of attacks, then there should be no way to lose the game. My biggest fear in this matchup is actually that my opponent will successfully Boss or Pokemon Catcher (heads) for three turns in a row.

Lucmetal: Favored

This is by far the biggest difference between this list and the first one. Before, Lucmetal was able to consistently two-shot your Wailord V. Now, it’s going to take a lot more effort. With two healing cards, you completely remove the damage done by Zacian. If you do that even once a game, it completely swings the game into your favor. Aside from playing more defensively, you’re going to be playing this matchup the same.

Mewtwo & Mew-GX: Remains Similar to Above

Eternatus VMAX: Unfavored

Yup, this is the tradeoff for having better Zacian V deck matchups. Eternatus VMAX just isn’t as manageable. You could add the Keldeo-GX back in, but that would likely come at the expense of a healing card. The issue with this matchup is that because you’re slower than the first list, you’re unable to apply the same amount of pressure. Even with Keldeo, you don’t have more than one Boss’s Orders to chase things down. Add onto this how common Dangerous Drill is right now, and you have a recipe for loss.

Final Thoughts

That’s all I have for today. Wailord V is an incredibly fun card but will likely struggle to be taken seriously because of coin flips and its very close matchups. I do think it could win an event here or there, but this deck will never be able to dominate like some decks do. It’s decent, but not game-breaking good. That said, if you’re looking to have a good time and mess with some people, Wailord V is a great choice and I highly recommend it. See you next time!

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