Before the Sword & Shield set saw its global release decks that focused on Arceus & Dialga & Palkia GX were already dominating. During the UPR-CEC meta, the archetype took multiple top 8 placements at Regional Championships and a top 4 at the Latin American International Championships. Since then this archetype has only grown stronger. The newest expansion Sword & Shield has given us cards like Zacian V, a powerful attacker with optimal typing and the Intrepid Sword ability that allows players to draw additional cards and accelerate energy onto this Pokemon and Metal Saucer, an additional form of consistent energy acceleration. 

Today, I want to discuss two ways to play this powerful archetype. I am hesitant to consider either version particularly better although some card variations will give you an advantage in specific metas, which I will cover below. Ultimately the strategy for this archetype is the same regardless of how the list is crafted. It’s a race to attach the two energy cards necessary to use Arceus & Dialga & Palkia GX’s Altered Creation GX attack. This will push the momentum of the coming turns in favor of the player as all attacks will now do 30 more damage and net the player an additional prize for every knockout.

Prior to the release of the Sword & Shield, the Arceus & Dialga & Palkia archetype relied on Keldeo GX to play a defensive role and finish games thoughtfully over several turns. With the introduction of Zacian V, the tempo of this archetype has increased dramatically. Zacian V’s “Brave Blade” attack delivers a heavy 230 damage. Boosted by Arceus & Dialga & Palkia GX’s Altered Creation GX attack Zacian’s damage output peaks at a base of 260 damage. With a small amount of damage modification, this is enough damage to execute a single hit knock out on any Pokemon in the current format.

The first list below is reminiscent of the earlier “ADPZ” lists many players piloted shortly after Sword & Shield was released. The key to this variant is using cards like Tag Call and Guzma & Hala to retrieve Special Energy cards from the deck in order to satisfy the requirement necessary to execute Arceus & Dialga & Palkia GX’s Altered Creation GX attack. This list generally favors tech cards that allow for a more even matchup spread; ideal for an unexpected or difficult meta

The second list below takes an approach that has become popular since Tord Reklev piloted it to win the Malmo Regional Championships and uses only Basic Energy and Energy Spinner to access the energy necessary to achieve the deck’s early game strategy. This version generally contains fewer tech cards, while instead focusing solely on speed, efficiency, and consistency. This is critical in the mirror match which I will discuss in further detail below.

2x Raise Dead
2x Draconic Studies
2x Holy Smite
2x Renew
2x Condemn (Rank 1)
2x Insight
2x Sethekk Veilweaver
2x Shadow Word: Death
2x Apotheosis
2x Hysteria
1x Mindrender Illucia
2x Palm Reading
1x Xyrella
2x Wandmaker
2x Venomous Scorpid
1x Blademaster Samuro
1x Ysera the Dreamer
2x First Day of School
2x Conviction (Rank 1)
2x Knight of Anointment
2x Righteous Protector
2x Hand of A'dal
2x Goody Two-Shields
2x Underlight Angling Rod
2x Blessing of Kings
1x Cariel Roame
2x Blessing of Authority
2x Hammer of the Naaru
2x Crabrider
2x Cult Neophyte
1x Nerubian Egg
1x Blademaster Samuro
1x Moonfang
1x Ogremancer
1x Alexstrasza the Life-Binder
2x Brain Freeze
2x Devolving Missiles
2x Lab Partner
2x Primordial Studies
2x Shooting Star
2x Wand Thief
2x Cram Session
2x Imprisoned Phoenix
2x Incanter's Flow
2x Runed Orb
2x Arcane Intellect
2x Fireball
2x Refreshing Spring Water
1x Aegwynn, the Guardian
1x Ras Frostwhisper
2x Mask of C'Thun

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