Unlimited Format Post XY Meta Decks Analysis

15.7.2014 wrote: David Hochmann in category Trading Card Game

Unlimited Format Post XY Meta Decks Analysis

Hey guys, my name is David Hochmann and after US Nationals, I don't think that it's worth to write about the actual format. And the worlds competitors should be strong enough that they don't need explanations about the format and this kind of stuff.
That's why I decided to write something about the Unlimited format, in which I won some unofficial tournaments.




Table of contents

  • Introduction
  • Blastoise/Forretress Donk
  • Proygon2/Shiftry Donk
  • Aggron Mill
  • The Rocket's Trap Lock
  • Fossil Lock
  • Afterword


The Unlimited Format has become a very weird format since the rule change of the Black and Withe era, because you are able to play Trainer (Item) cards in your first turn now and there are so many strong Items in the game, that you are able to draw your whole deck in one turn.
There have been decks like Sableye/Crobat G and Porygon2/Drifblim, which won pretty much every game when they started.
With the rule change of Generation six, these decks became totally useless, because they weren't able to attack in the first turn. But there are still decks with the potential to win in the first Turn and in this article I will talk about the best decks in the Unlimited format.

I will give a short explanation of every deck's strategy and than explaining every card which isn't in the actual format like you don't know what they do, because there are so many cards in the Unlimited format. So when you already know the effect it isn't worth reading the paragraph about it.

After the explanation of the cards there will be some kind of review in which I want to mention the pro and cons about the decks and thoughts about alternatives.

Blastoise/Forretress Donk

Blastoise Forretress (you can play Emboar as well) is my favorite deck in that format. Blastoise allows you to attach an energy from your hand to your Pokemon as often as you like during your turn. The Legends Awakened Forretress flips a coin every time you attach an energy card from your hand to it, when you flip heads nothing happens, when you flip tails you have to put two damage counters on every Pokemon in play. Then you use Leafeon, which heals 20 damage from a Pokemon when you attach an energy from your hand to it as long as it is your active Pokemon. At last you run Espeon, whose Poke-Power allows you to return an energy from one of your Pokemon to your hand as often as you like during your turn.
With this combination you can repeat Forretress and Leafeon's Poke-Body as often as you like, which means you are able to KO every opponents Pokemon in your first turn.

This is the list I'm using when I play Unlimited, there are some cards in it which aren't necessary, but I will talk about that later.










1 Blastoise     Boundaries Crossed
1 Wartortle     Platinum
1 Squirtle     Boundaries Crossed
1 Espeon     Skyridge
1 Leafeon     Rising Rivals
2 Eevee     Rising Rivals
1 Forretress     Legends Awakened
1 Pineco        EX Unseen Forces
1 Shuckle     HGSS Promo
2 Uxie         Legends Awakened
2 Azelf     Legends Awakened
4 Sableye     Storm Front
= 18

4 Erika
2 Professor Oak
4 Pokedex Handy
4 Poke Drawer +
4 Scoop Up
1 Computer Search
4 Level Ball
1 Luxury Ball
2 Pokemon Retrieval
4 Junk Arm
2 Item Finder


3 Broken Time Space
1 Space Center
= 4

2 Oracle
1 Collector
= 3

3 Water Energy
= 3

Me and a friend made a video about how this deck works, check it out

The Cards


Sableye         Storm Front
This is the most important card in the Format. It allows you to to start the game when it is your active Pokemon. Nearly ever deck wins turn one, so you usually win when you start, Sableye allows you to start so Sableye wins you the game.
But it has two amazingly strong attacks too, the first attack can be used for zero energy and it uses the effect of a Supporter from your deck after discarding it.
The second attack deals 10 damage for a darkness energy, but when your opponent has fewer remaining HP you deal 40 damage.
You won't need the attacks in this deck, but in other decks.

Blastoise         Boundaries Crossed
This is one of the key cards to knock out your opponents Pokemon, as I mentioned before you use Blastoise to attach all the energies to trigger the Poke-Body from Forretress, Leafeon and Shuckle. The reason why I run Blastoise over Emboar is just because the Wartortle has only one retreat cost, so I can retreat it, when I had to evolve it. This should happen in one of a few thousand games, so it doesn’t really matter.
(and it's blue <3)

Shuckle         HGSS Promo
Whenever you attach an energy card from your hand to Shuckle, you draw a card. This means you just have to set up Blastoise and Espeon and than you just need an energy card to draw your whole deck. The Item cards are so strong that you can draw your whole deck without Shuckle as well, so you can cut it to have a higher chance starting with Sableye. I run Shuckle, because I wanted to make my deck winning against an opponents Spiritomb start.

Espeon         Skyridge
I said it so often in the article so:
Blastoise + Espoen = unlimited energy attachment
+ Shuckle = unlimited draw
+ Forretress = unlimited damage
+ Leafeon = unlimited healing

Forretress         Legends Awakened
Yeah, I don't like to repeat things too often, but Forretress is your only option to deal damage. It's funny that you have to flips tails with it, usually the effects you don't want to have are triggered by flipping tails.

Leafeon         Rising Rivals
Leafeon will heal your Pokemon from the damage Forretress did. The only annoying thing is that Leafeon has to be your active Pokemon, but this isn't a huge problem, because nearly every Pokemon in the deck has only one retreat cost and you can use Scoop up to get them back to the bench.

Uxie             Legends Awakened
It's Poke-Power says you may draw cards until you have seven cards in your hand when you put it from your hand to your bench. Because there has been a well support to search your deck for Basic Pokemon in every Format and with Uxie you can use this support as a draw support. Uxie is one of the strongest cards which had ever existed. In this deck Uxie is the most likely used to draw cards. I never tried to play this deck without Uxie, I don't think it will be good without it, but it is worth being tested.

Azelf             Legends Awakened
When you didn't play during the DP series, you might have wondered about all the one off I need to win. I need like four or five one offs in play to win and when one of them is prized I would have a huge problem. With Azelf it is no Problem, because you can search your prize cards for a Pokemon and exchange it with one of the cards in your hand when you put it to the bench. So you can win even if there are two important Pokemon prized.


Erika            Gym Heroes
This card allows you to draw three cards and your opponent may draw up to three cards as well, but your opponent won't play a turn so there is no real drawback.

Professor Oak        Base Set
Discard your hand and draw seven cards, this card has the same effect like Professor Juniper, but it is an Item card, so you can play it multiple times in one turn. I only run two of them, because I already have Uxie and you can use Junk Arm and Item finder to get them back.

Pokedex Handy    Diamond and Pearl
Look at the top two cards of your deck, put one of them into your hand and the other one at the bottom of your deck. This is a card you can put in your deck when you just need 56 cards and don't know what to add.

Poke Drawer+        Storm Front
This is one of my favorite cards for setting up. When you play a Poke Drawer+ you draw a card, so nothing really happened, but you can play two of them at the same time and than you can search your deck for any two cards. This gives you a lot of consistency, with Junk Arm/Item Finder you have good chance to get at least once in the game two of them at the same time.

Scoop Up         Base Set
This card allows you to put a basic Pokemon back to your hand. With Scoop Up you can use Uxie and Azelf multiple times and you can use it to get Leafeon in the active spot.

Computer Search        Boundaries Crossed
In this deck you just need your set up, so Computer Search is the best ACE Spec to play.

Level Ball           Next Destenies
There is only one Pokemon with more than 90 HP, so Level Ball fits perfectly here.

Luxury Ball             Storm Front
This is some kind of pseudo ACE Spec, you can run more than one but you can only play it when there is no Luxury Ball in your discard pile. You can search your deck for every Pokemon, so you can get your Blastoise with it.

Pokemon Retriever          EX Team Rocket Returns
Sometimes you have to discard Pokemon, so you need something to get your Pokemon back. Pokemon Retriever is pretty cool, because you have the choice between putting one Pokemon straight to your hand or shuffling three Pokemon back in your deck.

Junk Arm/Item Finder           Triumphant/Base Set
You discard two cards from your hand in order to put an Item card form your discard pile back to your hand. I think there is no explanation needed why I play these cards.


Broken Time Space     Platinum
This is the card which allows you to evolve Pokemon the turn you played them (including the Pokemon you started with turn one) and when you already evolved them.

Space Center        EX Deoxys
This card isn't really necessary as well. It is in the deck to counter Spiritomb, you can use Sableye's Impersonate attack to use Oracle to get Space Center to draw a lot of cards in one turn. You need an Eevee and Squirtle on your bench and then you need to draw Shuckle, Pineco and the other Eevee and put them onto your bench in the turn you can play Item cards. You should have Blastoise in your hand as well, and then end your turn and evolve them turn for turn.


Oracle    Skyridge
This is a very strong card, you usually win when you have Oracle and Erika in your start hand, because you can search your deck for any two cards and put them after shuffling on top of your deck, than you just need to draw them and you have many options.

Pokemon Collector           Heart Gold & Soul Silver
Another card I just run because of Spiritomb. You can use Collector to get the basics you need, by attacking with Sableye.


Water Energy
Should be pretty obvious, three should be prized at the same time very rarely.

Alternative List

1 Blastoise     Boundaries Crossed
1 Wartortle     Platinum
1 Squirtle     Boundaries Crossed
2 Uxie         Legends Awakened
2 Eevee     Rising Rivals
1 Espeon     Skyridge
1 Leafeon     Rising Rivals
2 Azelf     Legends Awakened
1 Pineco
1 Forretress     Legends Awakened
4 Sableye     Storm Front
= 18

4 Erika
3 Professor Oak
4 Pokedex Handy
4 Poke Drawer +
4 Scoop Up
1 Computer Search
4 Level Ball
1 Luxury Ball
2 Pokemon Retrieval
4 Junk Arm
4 Item Finder

3 Broken Time Space
= 3

2 Oracle
= 2

3 Water Energy
= 3

As a rough guide you can say the more Sableye compared to “Not-Sableye-Basics” you run, the better your deck is, because you have a higher chance of winning.
This Deck has four Sableye and nine or eight “Not-Sableye-Basics” which is very high, so this deck won't start as often with Sableye as other decks, but it is the most consistent one when you started with it.
And you can win against random Spiritombs.

Porygon2/Shiftry Donk

When you played Unlimited before you might remember Proygon2/Drifblim Donk, which was the best Unlimited deck, before you weren't able to attack turn one.
The strategy of this deck is to use Porygon2's Poke-Power to use Seeker's effect which forces your opponent to put a Pokemon from his or her bench to his or her hand. In the same moment you can put your Porygon2 back to your hand and put it to your bench again, so you can use the ability again, until your opponent doesn't have any benched Pokemon left. When this is the case you have to use Shiftry's Ability to have your opponent to shuffle his or her active Pokemon back to the deck and leaving him or her without any Pokemon turn one.










2 Shiftry             Next Destinies
2 Nuzleaf            Flash Fire
2 Seedot            Flash Fire
2 Porygon2            Great Encounters
2 Porygon            Great Encounters
2 Uxie                Legends Awakened
4 Sableye             Storm Front
= 16

4 Seeker
2 Oracle
= 6

4 Erica
4 Scoop Up
4 Poke Drawer +
2 Oak
1 Luxury Ball
4 Level Ball
4 Item Finder
2 Junk Arm
4 Devolution Spray
2 VS Seeker
2 Broken Time Space       
1 Pokemon Retrieval
3 Handy
1 Computer search
= 38

Me and a friend made a video about how this deck works, check it out

The Cards


Porygon2            Great Encounters
Porygon2's Poke-Power allows you to use the effect of a Supporter card from your hand after discarding the Supporter. This sounds like a very cool Power to give your deck more consistency, but in this deck it is used to donk your opponent. With Seeker, your opponent has to put one of his benched Pokemon onto his hand. Than you have to do the same, by taking back the Porygon2 his Poke-Power resets and you can use it again. After using this Power five times, your opponent won't have any benched Pokemon left.

Shiftry                Next Destinies
When your opponent just has his or her active Pokemon left you need this shady guy. When you evolve Nuzleaf you can flip a coin, if heads you can choose one of your opponents Pokemon and your opponent has to shuffle it and all cards attached to it back to his or her deck. So you need one heads to win the game.


Seeker                Triumphant
Both player put a Pokemon from his or her bench into his or her hand, very simple and very strong.
With this card you vanish your opponents benched Pokemon, but you can use it to use Uxie another time too.


Devolution Spray        Dragons Exalted
Yes one coin flip to win the game isn't that great, so you run Devolution Spray to use Shiftry's Ability more than one time. Theoretically you can use Shiftry's Ability thirteen times, but usually you have like six or seven tries. You can use Devolution Spray for Porygon2 as well, when you had to play the second Oracle.

VS Seeker            Supreme Victors
This card gives you a Supporter from your discard pile back to your hand. This means you can use more than 4 Seeker (which is necessary) and depending on the situation you can use another Oracle as well.

As you can see, There are a bunch of two offs, like every Pokemon, the BTS and the VS Seeker. I thought about adding a Rotom UD and Alph Lithograph, but I don't like it because you don't know which card you put to your prizes and you have to draw the card from top of the deck and it is another Basic you can start with. So I just said, I take the risk that two same cards are in the prize cards. This deck is cool, but you don't have a chance against Spiritomb, because you need Broken Time Space in play and Item cards in the same turn so you can't play Space Center. You have four Sableyes and six other basics, which gives this deck a higher chance to start with Sableye than the Blastoise deck.

Aggron Mill

One deck can draw six prizes in the first turn, the other one can force your opponent to go bench out turn one, and yes there is a deck which lets your opponent lose to deck out in his first turn.
The idea behind this deck is very easy, you use Aggron's Ability a lot of times with Devolution Spray. It was a fun deck a few people really played in the actual format, but in the Unlimited format you have cards like Junk Arm, Hyper Devolution Spray, Erica and so on.











4 Sableye        Storm Front
3 Aron            Dragons Exalted
3 Lairon        Dragons Exalted
3 Aggron        Dragons Exalted
2 Uxie            Legends Awakened
1 Exeggcute        Plasma Freeze
= 15

1 Seeker
= 1

4 Erica
2 Professor Oak
4 Devolution spray
4 Hyper Devolution spray
4 Junk Arm
4 Item finder
1 Dowsing Machine
4 Poke Drawer +
4 Pokedex Handy
1 Pokemon Retriever
4 Level Ball
1 Luxury Ball
4 Scoop Up
= 41

2 Broken Time Space
= 2

Me and a friend made a video about how this deck works, check it out

The Cards


Aggron        Dragons Exalted
When you evolve Lairon, you may discard the top three cards of your opponents deck. With four Devolution Spray, four Hyper Devolution Spray, four Junk Arm, four Item Finder, one Dowsing Machine and one Seeker you can use the Ability a lot of times.
You draw seven cards at the beginning of the game and then you put down six prize cards so you have 60 – 7 – 6 = 47 cards left. 47 / 3 = 15 + 2/3 so you need to use the Ability sixteen times. Fifteen times should be fine too, because the most decks can't do that much with just two cards left.

Exeggcute        Plasma Freeze
Even thought Exeggcute is the easiest Pokemon to donk, you have to play it. As I mentioned before you need sixteen times Aggron's ability, so you can't waste Junk Arms or Item Finders and with Exeggcute you just need to discard one extra card. I've tested the deck without, but you don't have enough resources.

This is the most inconsistent deck of the three decks which can win turn one.
The cool thing is that you don't have to mill the whole deck turn one, when your opponent has only five deck cards left and you have more than four cards, but none for milling, you can just pass and hope that he or she can't do anything, but I prefer the other two decks.
You don't even have a higher chance of starting with Sableye than Proygon2/Shiftry.

The Rocket's Trap Lock

This deck steps out of line with the other Unlimited decks, because you never win turn one.
The idea behind this deck was to build a deck which only needs Sableye as basic Pokemon, so you will start every game. Then you use Team Rocket Trap until your opponent has zero cards in hand and then you use Trick Shovel until there is a bad card (like Junk Arm or an evolution card) on top of your opponent's deck and doing this every turn, while he or she can't do anything. And Sableye isn't a bad hitter at all, so you usually win the game turn three.











4 Sableye
= 4

4 Professor Oak
4 Junk Arm
4 Item Finder
1 Dowsing Machine
3 Pokdex Handy
3 Red Card
4 Poke Drawer+
4 Trick Shovel
4 Blain's Last Resort
4 The Rocket's Trap
3 Cessation Crystal
2 Expert Belt
1 Hypnotoxic Laser
= 43

4 Ghetsis
4 Skyla

3 Space Center

4 Special Darkness
= 4

The Cards


The Rocket's Trap    Gym Heroes
This is one of the main cards of the deck. If you have ever thought about running Hooligans Jim and Cas in a deck, you will like this card. It hast the exact same effect, but it is an Item card so you can play it multiple times in one turn. With Junk Arm, Item Finder and Dowsing Machine you will be able to shuffle your opponents whole hand into his deck in just one turn.

Trick Shovel        Flash Fire
The second important card of the deck, you should know it already because its a very new card. You look at your opponents top deck card and you may discard it or put it back. So you can be sure he or she won't draw a good card after you shuffled their entire hand into their deck and leave him or her with literally nothing to use.

Red Card        XY
With just four Sableyes in your deck the chance of drawing a basic Pokemon turn one is around 40%, so your opponent usually gets one or two extra cards. So when your opponent starts with two basic Pokemon and got two mulligans you have to hit three Traps, which is kind of wasted when you can hit a 100% Red Card.

Blain's Last Resort     Gym Heroes
When this is the only card in your hand you can play it in order to draw five cards.
Well this card isn't that good for drawing cards, but you can't run Erika in this deck and no Uxie as well, so you need to play another additional card to Professor Oak. You can run Bike instead, but I never had problems with Blain.

Expert Belt        Arceus
After your opponent has literally nothing to do , you need to win the game as fast as possible, because sooner or later you will run out of resources. Expert Belt is giving your Sableyes a +20 damage boost.

Hypnotoxic Laser    Plasma Storm
Have ever tried to KO an 180HP Pokemon with 40 DMG each turn? Hypnotoxic Laser allows you to speed this a little bit up.

Cessation Crystal    Crystal Guardians
This card doesn't just allows you to put an Uxie back to your opponents deck after using a Trick Shovel, it is a Spiritomb counter too, because the most people do not run Spiritomb and Wind Storm/Tool Scrapper in the same deck.


Ghetsis        Plasma Freeze
Well, you might have recognized that there is a huge amount of Item cards in Unlimited decks, so Ghetsis is a pretty cool card to play after a Red Card to get your opponent down to three hand cards or to play it before the Red Card and draw a lot of cards. Even though a nice card in that Format.

Skyla            Boundaries Crossed
A good option to have when you haven't already played Ghetsis. I just put Skyla in the deck to search it with Sableyes attack to search a Space Center against Spiritomb and to have a higher chance of T1 Space Center in general.

The problem I had with this deck was dealing with normal decks like Darkrai Mewtwo, because its hard to play so many Trick Shovels and it's even harder to KO two 170+HP Pokemon. But when you want this deck to win against Decks which aren't built for the Unlimited format, you can add a Seeker and should be fine. Another Problem was coin flip bad luck and bad luck with the Shovels.

Every format has meta counter decks and so has the Unlimited format.
I had the Idea of this deck, which was very difficult to build and to look through all the cards existing. But it was worth it.
I present my creation;

Fossil Lock

The first thoughts were just like the Team Rocket Trap deck, I wanted to start every game with one specific Pokemon, but this time it wasn't Sableye, but Spiritomb.
But unlike Sableye, Spiritomb is a bad hitter and you can't use Items, too so you have to play other Pokemon.
It was pretty obvious that I need fossil Pokemon and I remembered someone playing Kabutops Item lock against me in the DP-on format so I looked for cards to bring Fossil Pokemon in play which weren't Item cards. I found one, tested it a bit, added two Aerodactyl cards and here I am:











4 Spiritomb            Arceus
3 Kabutops          Majestic Dawn
4 Kabuto              Neo Discovery
2 Aerodactyl             Fossil
1 Aerodactyl EX       EX Sandstorm
= 14

4 Fossil Excavator
3 Celio's Network
4 N
4 Team Rockets Admin
4 Judge
4 Roseanne's Research
4 Scott
2 Professor Juniper
= 29

4 Strange Cave
1 Underground Lake
= 5

11 Fighting Energy
1 Darkness Energy

The Cards


Spiritomb        Arceus
It's Poke-Body prevents both player from playing Item cards as long as it is your active Pokemon and it's attack allows you to search your deck for a card which evolves from one of your benched Pokemon and you can evolve it from your deck. After that you have to put a damage counter on Spiritomb. It has a second attack too, but it only deals ten damage for a darkness energy.

Kabutops      Majestic Dawn
The other main card of the deck, which gives an Item lock as long at it is the active Pokemon, but deals more damage than Spiritomb.

Kabuto        Neo Discovery
This Kabuto has a pretty cool Poke-Power which allows you to flip a coin once during your turn and when you hit heads you can search your deck for a Kabuto and Put it onto your bench.

Aerodactyl        Fossil
This guy is the match winner against decks like Blastoise, Porygon2 and Aaron, because it's Poke-Power says, that no player can play evolution cards anymore. This Poke-Power can't be bypassed by Spiritomb's attack or other effects, the only way to evolve is to shut down the Poke-Power.
The easiest way to counter Aerodactyl are the Space Center + Cessation Crystal combo or Igglybuff from Neo Discovery.

Aerodactyl ex    EX Sandstorm
I had problems dealing with Cessation Crystal during testing so I added this card, whose Poke-Body blocks both player from playing down Tools. Because it's a Pokemon ex Space Center has no effect on him as well.


Fossil Excavator                   Majestic Dawn
Celio's Network                   Crystal Guardians
Both cards allow you to search your deck for a Pokemon card. Fossil Excavator allows you to search your discard pile alternatively, but with Celio you can search Spiritomb.

N                                     Noble Victories
Rocket's Admin                 EX Team Rocket Returns
Judge                               Unleashed
While your opponent has problems with dealing with the item lock, the most decks run cards to deal with it, most likely Space Center. The best way to get this cards to your hand is to search them with a Supporter's effect of Sableye's first attack. Because it's an attack, your opponent can't play the card and you know that he or she has the card. So you can just force him or her to shuffle them back again.

Roseanne's Research   Secret Wonders
This is pretty much Professors Letter as a Supporter card with the option to search your deck for basic Pokemon instead of energy cards (you can search one basic and one energy too), but with only four basic Pokemon in the deck you usually go for the energy cards.

Scott         EX Emerald
It is very important to have the Strange Cave in game and with Scott you can search your deck for three cards in any combination of Stadium and Supporter cards.

Professor Juniper      Black and White
With playing every card three or more times and a lot of recovery options with Underground Lake and Fossil Excavator the “discard your hand”-drawback doesn’t have a huge impact, that's why I decided to run Professor Juniper over Professor Oak's New Theory as an additional draw Supporter.


Strange Cave             EX Legend Maker
This is the key card of the deck, it allows every player to put one Stage 1 Fossil Pokemon from Generation one and three to your bench as a basic Pokemon.

Underground Lake            Skyridge
With this card you can put a Kabuto, Aerodactyl or an Amonitas form your discard pile to your bench once during your turn.

This deck has very good match ups against the Unlimited meta decks (depending on the List, the Rocket's Trap Lock Match Up isn't that good), but you don't have a chance against modified meta decks. (I won against a Magnezone Yanmega one time, but everything with a Pokemon EX will beat you).


Well, I think everyone will agree that playing Unlimited is very boring, because you play the same turn over and over again, or your opponent started and you do nothing.
But I like building the decks and like other people play solitaire when they are bored and have no one to play with you can set up a donk with one of the decks.
And I use my Unlimited decks to explain newcomers why we have a rotation (beside the money fact).
When you have another deck which is good in that format, let me know ^^

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David Hochmann

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I started playing the Pokemon TCG competitively 2010 when the Heart Gold & Soul Silver Set was released in English. I started getting through the top cut in a lot of tournaments during the 2010/11 season and had my Worlds Invite every season since that season, but I never played a World Championship. My biggest achievements are 3rd European Prague Cup 2011, 3rd European Challenge Cup 2012 (both in the Seniors devision) and 2nd European Challenge Cup 2013 in the masters division.