Many powerful cards from the new Pokémon TCG: Sun & Moon—Guardians Rising expansion have been receiving attention and praise, but Metagross-GX has managed to stay below the radar until just recently. The powerful Pokémon has eye-popping stats, but in the amazingly rich metagame of the Pokémon TCG, there are so many great decks in play that it can take a while for a new one to rise to the top. The turning point for Metagross-GX was the big finish at the Madison Regional Championships in Wisconsin by Christopher Schemanske, who took second place with the potent Pokémon-GX.
Now that Metagross-GX has proven itself to be a contender at major events, more and more players are interested in how it works. Take a look at the basics of how competitors are building and using Metagross-GX decks in tournament play.
It’s pretty easy to see why Metagross-GX has attracted attention from top players: it has a spectacular 250 HP, making it incredibly difficult to take down, and it comes packing the Giga Hammer attack, which hits for 150 damage. Typically 150 would be an awkward amount of damage, falling short of a Knock Out on most Pokémon-GX and Pokémon-EX. But thanks to Choice Band, that number gets boosted to 180 against such an opponent, and Professor Kukui can pump it up to 200. Now the Giga Hammer attack is much more exciting, and it makes Metagross-GX pretty fearsome.
But it’s also easy to understand how it took a little while for this deck to become an elite deck in the metagame. The major downside to the Giga Hammer attack is that it can’t be used on consecutive turns, so you have to figure out what to do the turn after you use it. That’s where the Geotech System Ability comes in handy. Once you have multiple Metagross-GX in play, you can begin a cycle: Attack with Giga Hammer, retreat and send out a new Metagross-GX on your next turn, use multiple Geotech System Abilities to charge up the new Metagross-GX, and attack with Giga Hammer. If needed, Max Potion can heal a damaged Metagross-GX after it retreats, and you can use Geotech System to get the Energy back later. The result is a revolving door of 250-HP Pokémon-GX smashing the opponent’s Pokémon every turn.
Stage 2 Pokémon require a lot of setup to get into play, and this deck needs multiple Metagross-GX up and running before it’s truly effective. Trainers had to find the right mix of Pokémon and Supporter cards to improve this deck’s pace before it could truly be a threat. Tapu Lele-GX’s Wonder Tag Ability is a great way to start things off. Usually the first Supporter card you want to find is Brigette, which can pull 3 Basic Pokémon from your deck onto your Bench. It’s important to have several Beldum on the Bench as quickly as possible so your opponent can’t target them all with Lysandre before they get a chance to evolve. Metagross-GX’s Algorithm-GX attack is also an incredible way to get things going. If your opponent can’t play N or some other way to disrupt your hand on their turn, you’ll have 5 cards of your choosing ready to play on your next turn.
Beacon of Hope
The unsung hero of this deck might be Alolan Vulpix. Sometimes it can be difficult to find everything you need to get multiple Stage 2 Pokémon into play. The Beacon attack, which requires no Energy, can search your deck for any two Pokémon and put them into your hand. So no matter which Active Pokémon you start with, you can attach an Energy to it, retreat it to bring up Alolan Vulpix, and use the Beacon attack right away (unless you’re going first and it’s your first turn). That kind of resource is invaluable, and it can jump-start your entire strategy.
When you’ve developed a deck that can dish out the kind of damage this Metagross-GX deck does, you can expect to see it at competitions for a good while. But there are many new strategies to discover in the Sun & Moon—Guardians Rising expansion, and the ingenuity of Pokémon TCG players means plans are already being made to stop this juggernaut. Be on the lookout for other combinations of cards that can make an impact. And for the latest Pokémon TCG strategies and updates, be sure to check back at Pokemon.com/Strategy. Good luck, Trainers!