Managing the Vessel of Life

Welcome to the first-ever article on Tier-X Gaming! First, let me give an overview of what you can expect from the site. My name is Preston Ellis and I am a junior in high school in Northern California. During my years in the Senior Division, I placed second at two internationals, top eight in another, and top four at an NAIC. In the Master Division, I placed top eight at NAIC and have placed in numerous regionals. I always strive to create and play the most interesting rogue decks, and through this site I plan on bringing many of these decks and honest opinions to our readers. We plan to have many writers including Jacob Chen and Cameron Shenoy, and we will be constantly seeking out new contributors. The plan is to post one or more articles per week, but with the outbreak of COVID-19 and the possible cancellation of events articles may be posted less frequently. Anyway, let’s get into this article.

At OIC I played Shedinja, and although I failed to make day two I still believe that the deck has potential. In the past Shedinja has had to deal with Guzma and Vs Seeker; however, now the format has limited gust effects making the deck more appealing. At first glance, it may seem like there are major issues with the deck including ADP’s Altered Creation GX attack and Ninetales’ Nine Temptations ability. Yet, these problems can be overcome as I will discuss later in the matchup section. Most of the format has no chance of winning after you set up. As a result, I think that Shedinja has the potential to perform quite well at the upcoming Regional in Toronto. Below is the list that I played at OIC followed by how to play the deck, card choices, and matchups.


  • 4 Nincada
  • 4 Shedinja
  • 4 Blitzle (LOT)
  • 4 Zebstrika (LOT)
  • 3 Oranguru
  • 2 Latios GX
  • 1 Mew
  • 1 Dedenne GX
  • 1 Hoopa (UNM)


  • 4 Professor’s Research
  • 3 Ingo & Emmet
  • 2 Brock’s Grit
  • 2 Lt. Surge’s Strategy
  • 2 Bellelba & Brycen-Man
  • 1 Tate & Liza
  • 2 Chaotic Swell
  • 2 Air Balloon
  • 4 Quick Ball
  • 3 Great Ball
  • 3 Acro Bike
  • 2 Pokemon Communication
  • 1 Adventure Bag
  • 1 Pal Pad


  • 4 Psychic Energy


Although it may seem complicated, the core strategy of the deck is simple. The idea is to deckout then use Brock’s Grit to recycle Orangurus, Shedinjas, Nincadas, and Psychic Energies. It may seem like you would lose to Reset Stamp, but this can be counteracted by sprinting into four of the six Brock’s grit cards, of which you can play two. Then using Resource Management to end your turn, which would put the total amount of cards in hand and deck at seven. You can play the remaining cards of Brock’s on your next turn. For a guaranteed infinite loop with two Zebstrika and Nincada on board, you have to grab two Orangurus, and if your bench is full you must grab two Shedinjas as well (to prevent you from having to discard Nincada or Psychic Energy). The biggest question with control and mill decks is what should I Resource Management back into the deck? In most games, after achieving the infinite Brock’s Grit loop I would grab Lt. Surge’s Strategy, Brock’s Grit, and Bellelba & Brycen-Man. However, if you have three Zebstrikas set up (you only require two for the basic endgame) you can grab Pal Pad, Lt. Surge’s Strategy, and another card, which could be Chaotic Swell as to avoid any turns where you can lose prizes due to Lysandre Labs. Keep in mind that you will need to keep track of time and must play very fast in some games to get two wins in a set (though you can often win a series with one game). It’s important to remember that you can Resource Management a Professor’s Research and use it in combination with Brock’s Grit to get into the infinite loop. Mid-game, I suggest resourcing Acro Bikes, Lt. Surge’s Strategy, Great Balls, and Professor’s Researches to burn through your deck. No matter what stage of the game you are in it is always important to keep track of the amount of Energy, Pal Pads, Brock’s Grit, and Orangurus that are left in deck. 

Card Choices and Potential Changes

Overall I was completely satisfied with the list that I brought to OIC. Special thanks to Isaiah Bradner for creating it and Jacob Chen for helping work on it. If I was going to Toronto I would not change a single card.

2 Latios GX

Latios GX is key in most of your matchups, and prizing it often can lead to a loss as most GX attacks dismantle your strategy. Giving you slightly higher chances to start it is important as it allows you to quickly Clear Vision GX, it has free retreat to pivot into Oranguru, and can easily be removed from the bench with Bellelba & Brycen-Man.

Dedenne GX

This card provides a small consistency boost to the deck. It is important to note that benching Dedenne GX in certain situations can be detrimental as it is easily targeted by Great Catcher, and still provides a prize card even if a Shedinja is attached to it. However, it is often necessary to use it against ADP in order to get a turn one Clear Vision GX if starting second.

Hoopa (UNI)

It turns out that some pokemon counter your strategy and Hoopa is necessary to kill those Pokemon. It is a key component in the Mewtwo Marnie matchup if they have Blacephalon (CEC) and it is also key versus Malamar with Blacephalon. Hoopa can also be used to win unwinnable games such as when you prize mew versus certain matchups like Lapras. 


Mew is required in many matchups, and after the tournament I have considered adding a second one to prevent losses from it being prized. Furthermore, Mew is basically the only way that you can beat any deck with Nine Temptations Ninetales as it’s Psypower attack provides a way to knock it out.

3 Ingo & Emmet

Ingo & Emmet is a very mediocre card that is simply included because it furthers the strategy to deck yourself out. There are several other draw supporters you can try, but I believe that Ingo & Emmet is the best choice of a secondary draw supporter. 

2 Bellelba & Brycen-Man

Brycen-Man serves as your primary win condition as it turns out that waiting a hundred turns for your opponent to draw their deck four times is not a good way to win under time pressures. It also provides a way to discard unwanted Pokemon from your bench such as Latios and Dedenne. 

Tate & Liza

Tate & Liza provides insurance versus opponents that attempt to gust up a high retreat Pokemon and trap it in the active spot. It also allows you to switch Pokemon mid-game if there are no Air Balloons or if a Shedinja is already attached.

2 Chaotic Swell

Swell is necessary in the deck as it provides an out to Lysandre Labs. Two copies are needed because if the opponent plays multiple stadiums they can bump your Chaotic Swell and follow it up with a Lysandre Labs the next turn. You wouldn’t be able to stop this strategy with only one copy of Chaotic Swell, as it would take at least one turn to Resource Management it back and then draw into it again.

2 Air Balloon

Honestly, this card sucks, but it is needed to beat ADP in order to get the turn one Clear Vision, and it can also be useful in niche scenarios in other matchups or simply to create an easy way to pivot your Pokemon.

Adventure Bag

This is in the deck to have three outs to Air Balloon, which allows the deck to use Clear Vision GX consistently in the first couple of turns.

Pal Pad

Pal Pad is not an obviously useful card, but it is needed to preserve the ability to use Chaotic Swell to lockout Lysandre Labs. Also, it acts as insurance and consistency mid-game to return Brock’s Grit, Lt. Surge’s Strategy and Professor’s Research to the deck. In the later stages of the game, Pal Pad can provide insurance versus gust stalling with an Absol as you can recycle Tate & Liza.

4 Psychic Energy

Isaiah Bradner played three in his list at OIC, but a fourth increases your chances of using Clear Vision GX early against aggressive decks like ADP Zacian and Pikachu & Zekrom.

Lillie’s Pokedoll

I didn’t play Lillie’s Pokedoll to OIC but I think it has its place in the deck as it helps you transition to a point where you don’t lose any prizes to Phione.

Giratina/Galarian Zigzagoon

These two cards improve the ReshiTales matchup as they open up the option to three-shot Ninetales.

4 Stealthy Hood, Ordinary Rod, and Lanas Fishing Rod

If you really want to beat Venasaur Snivy’s Ability and Ninetales this combination of cards may help. However, ultimately the strategy would rely on far too many cards avoiding the prizes, requires to many dedicated spaces, and counts on luck late game to loop a Stealthy Hood on Nincada.


Galarian Obstagoon – Heavily Favored

This matchup is hard to lose and only requires the basic strategy. Their only outs to win are Mew (which can be killed with Hoopa or raced to deck out) and Obstagoon’s and Zigzagoon’s ability in combination with Virizion GX to snipe Nincadas. However, if their deck is milled quickly they will inevitably lose some of the Obstagoon line preventing them from taking all their prizes off Nincadas. Also, keep in mind that Nincadas do not need to be benched if you have a benched Oranguru already prepped with a Shedinja.

Frosmoth – Heavily Favored

Basically the only way to lose this matchup is by prizing Mew. Otherwise, just make sure that you execute the standard strategy and always keep a Shedinja on a benched Pokemon to deal with Volcanion Prism Star’s ability. If Mew is prized, kill the Volcanion with Hoopa, Oranguru, and Shedinja’s attack (which does 30 to the active) and then win. 

Baby Blacephalon / Big Blowns – Heavily Favored

Again, execute the standard strategy and bench mew to prevent them from using Cramorant. If you start Latios, you can use its GX attack to prevent Burst GX, but it is unnecessary. If they try to Bursting Burn, just remember that you always get at least one attack per Oranguru. and make sure to set up one on the bench to prevent them from taking prizes if your guru dies into their turn. If a Big Blown player plays Stinger Naganadel GX, you should be able to easily Clear Vision before they can set up their attack. If they for some reason play Ninetales, you can kill it or often even just mill them out as their attacks consume energies.

Magcargo – Favored

If Magcargo doesn’t play Ninetales, you simply execute the regular strategy and use Latios GX to stop their GX attack. With Nintales, you have the ability to kill it or simply mill them out as their attacks use up lots of energies from their hand hurting their ability to use Ninetales.

PikaRom – Very Favored

PikaRom can become a difficult matchup as they have a few ways to get around your Shedinjas being catchers and the GX attack. You can use Latios to stop the GX or simply bench mew. The problem in most cases isn’t actually the number of prizes that PikaRom takes, but it is largely their ability to snipe two Zebstrikas at once by using a catcher and a GX attack. If they play Phione, remember to bench a Pokemon with a Shedinja attached to prevent any prize loss.

Malamar – Unfavored

Malamar is quite difficult (and practically unwinnable if they know what they’re doing). They have spell tags, Blacephalon, mew, and Pokemon recovery effects. When considering this matchup entirely ignore how I played on stream as I had previously never played the deck and had no idea that Malamar played recovery. If they attack with mew just try to rush them down with Brycen-Man. If they try to use Blacephalon by killing off their own Jirachis and Inkays with their Giratina, you want to have a Hoopa set up on the bench to take a prize as soon as they put you down to three. If they try to use Blacephalon while your above three prizes you have to kill it with a Hoopa as it will snipe all your Nincadas. Keep in mind that you often have the ability to pressure them into a position where they have to play sub-optimally to prevent you from winning through prizes.

Mew Marnie – Favored

Honestly, this is the matchup I have tested the least. If they play no counters, you want to execute your regular strategy, but at the end of the game you will need to recycle both your Brock’s and Great Balls occasionally to ensure that you get the Shedinja every turn. As a result, if your opponent conserves their Marnie’s the game can take a long time as it is hard to pull off a Brycen-Man (but you should eventually win). If they play Blacephalon and Stinger Naganadel GX then you need to rush a Clear Vision and then set up a Hoopa with an energy and an Air Balloon on your bench so that you can attach to your active Oranguru and retreat into it to kill their Blacephalon when they bring it up. Also do not forget you need to bench Mew for the other Naganadel GX (your bench should be the Hoopa, Mew, two Zebstrika, and a Nincada).

Oranguru Cinccino – Unfavored

The Cinccino matchup is incredibly weird and can vary immensely depending on their list. If you do not do anything, Cinccino will eventually win by taking all their prizes with Oranguru as they can Crushing Hammer off your energies and Faba your Shedinjas. Therefore, you must try to take all your prizes with the best strategy being Latios GX first using Clear Vision to prevent Magcargo GX from milling you and then by using Tag Purge to slowly clean up their board while simultaneously keeping your deck size up with Brock’s Grit and Resource Management to recover cards.

ReshiTales – Unfavored

ReshiTales is definitely one of your hardest matchups. However, it is winnable. The strategy is to use Mew to kill the Ninetales and use Brycen-Man in an attempt to mill any Ninetales lines still in their deck. Usually, if you can mill a line or if they have one deep in their prizes, you can squeeze out a victory.

Mew Welder – Favored

This is a simple matchup, get off your GX attack and win the game after executing your regular strategy. One should consider going second in this matchup to ensure that you get Clear Vision before a Stinger GX. Even if they get off Stinger GX one can still win by setting up a Hoopa to kill the Blacephalon.

ADP Zacian – Even

Even after teching so many cards to beat this matchup it is still incredibly close. If they get off their GX attack you will lose so you have to beat them to it. If you go first you at least have the advantage of being able to evolve active Nincadas to pop them and switch and also the advantage of being able to evolve into Zebstrika allowing you to dig deeper. The problem is even after getting the GX attack off you still have to deal with catchers, labs, and Phione. As quickly as possible attempt to discard any Dedenne or Latios off your bench and prepare Shedinjas on two Pokemon to stop Phione prizes. In the end game, you may need to recycle the Lt. Surge’s Strategy, Pal Pad, and Chaotic Swell to stop any prizes to be taken by Lysandre Labs.


As you can see by the matchup spread, Shedinja has a lot of potential and could do well at Toronto despite its notable popular bad matchups. The deck’s extreme consistency and unique game plan will aid heavily during matches. If you’re looking for a unique deck that has the potential to win, Shedinja is a contender.

Just one last shout out to Isaiah Bradner for bringing me the list even though it did not pan out.

Please, tell your friends about this site. In the future, both more paid and free articles will be released so be sure to keep on checking back. If you want to support the site and demonstrate a desire for future content, consider signing up for a subscription. Contact me on Messenger (@Preston Ellis) if you have any questions about the future of this site, suggestions, or the deck. That’s all I got for today. Good luck to everyone competing in Toronto!

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