Pokémon Players Cup IV Pokémon TCG Global Finals Preview

Get ready for the Pokémon Players Cup IV Global Finals stream with a breakdown of the top players and decks.

By Jeremy Jallen, Contributing Writer

Later this week, fans can witness the Pokémon Players Cup IV Global Finals, where the 15 remaining players will compete in a double-elimination bracket for the chance to win $5,000 and the title of Players Cup IV Champion. These players qualified by first earning Tournament Rep in the Pokémon Trading Card Game Online, then successfully navigating a nine-round Swiss tournament in their respective regions. Finally, the Top 16 from each region battled down to these final competitors:

Europe: Leonardo Martins, Pedro Eugenio Torres, Pascal Lohrer, Hampus Eriksson
Latin America: Angel Aranibar, Bruno Sermann, Dalton Acchetta, João Pedro Medeiros Zambrano
North America: Alex Schemanske, Aaron Friedman, Dan Hugar, Isaac Troan
Oceania: Christian Hasbani, Peter Lo, Ting Chan, Zyad Afiza (withdrew due to personal reasons)

With only a few weeks for players to try out cards from the new Sword & Shield—Chilling Reign expansion, they'll be tasked with seeing what new cards are for real, or if they stick with the decks that got them this far. Fortunately, you'll get to see all the action when the Players Cup IV Global Finals are broadcast from July 30 to August 1.

Let us take a look again at how these players got to this point, and how they kicked off a new era of Pokémon TCG featuring Sword & Shield—Battle Styles.


Popular Pokémon Players Cup IV Decks


Pikachu & Zekrom-GX Still at Full Charge?


  • Pikachu & Zekrom-GX

Pokémon
  • 2
    Pikachu & Zekrom-GX
    33/181
    sm9 33
  • 4
    Boltund V
    67/192
    swsh2 67
  • 2
    Dedenne-GX
    57/234
    sm10 57
  • 2
    Mewtwo & Mew-GX
    71/236
    sm11 71
  • 1
    Crobat V
    104/189
    swsh3 104
  • 1
    Eldegoss V
    19/192
    swsh2 19
  • 1
    Raichu & Alolan Raichu-GX
    54/236
    sm11 54
  • 1
    Tapu Koko ◇
    51/181
    sm9 51
Energy Cards
  • 10
    Lightning Energy
    nrg1 29
  • 4
    Speed Lightning Energy
    swsh2 173
Trainer Cards
  • 4
    Marnie
    swsh1 169
  • 4
    Professor's Research (Professor Magnolia)
    swsh1 178
  • 3
    Boss’s Orders (Giovanni)
    swsh2 154
  • 1
    Chaotic Swell
    sm12 187
  • 4
    Crushing Hammer
    swsh1 159
  • 4
    Quick Ball
    swsh1 179
  • 4
    Switch
    swsh1 183
  • 3
    Air Balloon
    swsh1 156
  • 3
    Cherish Ball
    sm11 191
  • 2
    Reset Stamp
    sm11 206
More Info Copy Deck List

Pikachu & Zekrom-GX has been a force in the format ever since it was previewed at the World Championships. As a deck, it has gone through change after change as the metagame calls for it, and keeps continuing to win. Now anchored by heavy counts of Boltund V and Mewtwo & Mew-GX, the deck tries to navigate a dangerous field where you use an early Electrify and Full Blitz to speed up the game to a point where you can use Bolt Storm or Tag Bolt-GX to clean up the rest of your Prize cards.

Angel Aranibar, Christian Hasbani, Dan Hugar, and João Pedro Medeiros Zambrano piloted the deck to earn them a spot in the Global Finals. Each of them played the full four copies of Crushing Hammer and Marnie as their best way to slow down the other decks in the format, with João and Dan taking the disruption a step further with copies of Team Yell Grunt.

This version isn't as fancy as the usual deck focused on Mewtwo & Mew-GX, but make no mistake—this TAG TEAM is very effective when you need that extra HP or the Weakness advantage against Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX and other Mewtwo & Mew-GX. Being able to switch between attacks like Tandem Shock and Tag Bolt-GX gives the deck amazing closeout potential.


Showing Up After a Big Win


  • Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX

Pokémon
  • 3
    Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX
    88/163
    swsh5 88
  • 3
    Rapid Strike Urshifu V
    87/163
    swsh5 87
  • 3
    Cinccino
    147/202
    swsh1 147
  • 3
    Minccino
    145/202
    swsh1 145
  • 1
    Dedenne-GX
    57/234
    sm10 57
  • 1
    Farfetch'd
    127/181
    sm9 127
  • 1
    Galarian Zigzagoon
    117/202
    swsh1 117
  • 1
    Jirachi
    99/181
    sm9 99
  • 1
    Mew
    76/234
    sm10 76
  • 1
    Mewtwo
    75/234
    sm10 75
  • 1
    Mimikyu
    97/236
    sm12 97
  • 1
    Snorlax
    131/185
    swsh4 131
Energy Cards
  • 4
    Rapid Strike Energy
    swsh5 140
  • 3
    Capture Energy
    swsh2 171
  • 2
    Fighting Energy
    nrg1 31
Trainer Cards
  • 3
    Bird Keeper
    swsh3 159
  • 2
    Boss’s Orders (Giovanni)
    swsh2 154
  • 2
    Cheryl
    swsh5 123
  • 2
    Marnie
    swsh1 169
  • 1
    Phoebe
    swsh5 130
  • 4
    Pokémon Communication
    sm9 152
  • 4
    Quick Ball
    swsh1 179
  • 4
    Scoop Up Net
    swsh2 165
  • 3
    Air Balloon
    swsh1 156
  • 3
    Level Ball
    swsh5 129
  • 2
    Reset Stamp
    sm11 206
  • 1
    Ordinary Rod
    swsh1 171
More Info Copy Deck List

Aaron Friedman, Pedro Eugenio Torres, and Zyad Afiza each had a different take on the deck that took the top spot in the previous Players Cup. Aaron opted for the more popular version of the deck, relying on Jirachi and its Stellar Wish Ability to control the flow of turns. It's definitely the fastest of the variations, but if you can't start the game with Jirachi, it can sometimes be difficult to recover.

Pedro went with a list close to the one Tord Reklev also decided to bring, the same one that Tord used to reach the semifinals of the last Players Cup. Cinccino is used for its Make Do Ability to have a reliable and consistent form of draw without the need for two-Prize support Pokémon sitting on the Bench. A proven list, piloted by one of the best players in the region, allowed Pedro to sweep through the Winners Bracket without dropping a single game. Pedro is definitely one of the biggest players to look out for in the Global Finals.

Zyad opted for a half-and-half approach: the reliability of Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX, combined with the versatility that Mewtwo & Mew-GX provides with its Perfection Ability, makes for a powerful one-two punch that led Zyad to a clean sweep through the Winners Bracket.


This Miraculous Duo Strikes Back!

Mewtwo & Mew-GX already showed up in the first deck mentioned, and once more it's ready for double duty with either Rillaboom or Jirachi-GX as its main source of Energy acceleration.


  • Mewtwo & Mew-GX / Rillaboom

Pokémon
  • 2
    Mewtwo & Mew-GX
    71/236
    sm11 71
  • 2
    Rillaboom
    14/202
    swsh1 14
  • 2
    Thwackey
    12/72
    swsh45 12
  • 2
    Grookey
    10/202
    swsh1 10
  • 2
    Dedenne-GX
    57/234
    sm10 57
  • 2
    Rowlet & Alolan Exeggutor-GX
    1/236
    sm11 1
  • 1
    Dragonite-GX
    152/236
    sm11 152
  • 1
    Eldegoss V
    176/192
    swsh2 176
  • 1
    Incineroar-GX
    97/181
    sm9 97
  • 1
    Kricketune V
    142/163
    swsh5 142
  • 1
    Pheromosa & Buzzwole-GX
    1/234
    sm10 1
  • 1
    Vileplume-GX
    4/236
    sm12 4
Energy Cards
  • 9
    Grass Energy
    nrg1 26
  • 2
    Capture Energy
    swsh2 171
  • 1
    Weakness Guard Energy
    sm11 213
Trainer Cards
  • 3
    Boss’s Orders (Giovanni)
    swsh2 154
  • 3
    Marnie
    swsh1 169
  • 2
    Guzma & Hala
    sm12 193
  • 2
    Mallow & Lana
    sm12 198
  • 1
    Cynthia & Caitlin
    sm12 189
  • 1
    Chaotic Swell
    sm12 187
  • 1
    Wondrous Labyrinth ◇
    sm9 158
  • 4
    Quick Ball
    swsh1 179
  • 4
    Tag Call
    sm12 206
  • 3
    Cherish Ball
    sm11 191
  • 2
    Air Balloon
    swsh1 156
  • 2
    Big Charm
    swsh1 158
  • 2
    Ordinary Rod
    swsh1 171
More Info Copy Deck List

Leonardo Martins, Pascal Lohrer, and Peter Lo all qualified with essentially the same basic list. By using the Super Growth attack from Rowlet & Alolan Exeggutor-GX, Rillaboom is rushed into play to then power up the TAG TEAM Pokémon-GX that brought it out. TAG TEAM synergies are brought to the forefront here, as the Tag Call Item card combines with the TAG TEAM Supporters in an amazing effort to reliably get that turn-one attack. Pascal even put together an amazing Losers Bracket run to secure a spot after being put there in round one by Leonardo.


  • Mewtwo & Mew-GX / Jirachi-GX

Pokémon
  • 3
    Mewtwo & Mew-GX
    71/236
    sm11 71
  • 2
    Jirachi-GX
    79/236
    sm11 79
  • 3
    Dedenne-GX
    57/234
    sm10 57
  • 1
    Crobat V
    104/189
    swsh3 104
  • 1
    Eldegoss V
    19/192
    swsh2 19
  • 1
    Garchomp & Giratina-GX
    146/236
    sm11 146
  • 1
    Gengar & Mimikyu-GX
    53/181
    sm9 53
  • 1
    Greninja-GX
    SM197
    det SM197
  • 1
    Incineroar-GX
    97/181
    sm9 97
  • 1
    Latios-GX
    78/236
    sm11 78
  • 1
    Reshiram & Charizard-GX
    20/234
    sm10 20
  • 1
    Trevenant & Dusknoir-GX
    SM217
    smp SM217
  • 1
    Vileplume-GX
    4/236
    sm12 4
Energy Cards
  • 4
    Aurora Energy
    swsh1 186
  • 4
    Horror Psychic Energy
    swsh2 172
  • 2
    Psychic Energy
    nrg1 30
Trainer Cards
  • 4
    Marnie
    swsh1 169
  • 3
    Boss’s Orders (Giovanni)
    swsh2 154
  • 2
    Professor's Research (Professor Magnolia)
    swsh1 178
  • 1
    Guzma & Hala
    sm12 193
  • 1
    Mallow & Lana
    sm12 198
  • 2
    Chaotic Swell
    sm12 187
  • 4
    Cherish Ball
    sm11 191
  • 4
    Quick Ball
    swsh1 179
  • 4
    Switch
    swsh1 183
  • 2
    Stealthy Hood
    sm10 186
  • 2
    Tag Call
    sm12 206
  • 1
    Air Balloon
    swsh1 156
  • 1
    Big Charm
    swsh1 158
  • 1
    Reset Stamp
    sm11 206
More Info Copy Deck List

Isaac Troan was the lone player to make it to the Global Finals with the Psychic variation of the Mewtwo & Mew-GX deck. With 10 other Pokémon-GX to choose from for your attacks, there is no telling what this deck can hit you with next. Jirachi-GX plays two sides of the game, getting rid of your main Weakness with the Psychic Zone Ability while also being the Energy acceleration for the deck.

Mewtwo & Mew-GX's presence has been felt in the format ever since Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX emerged as a top deck, since both are weak to Psychic. Moving forward, it will be interesting to see how much of a liability that will become.


Never Too Late to Join the Mad Party


  • Mad Party

Pokémon
  • 4
    Bunnelby
    150/189
    swsh3 150
  • 4
    Dedenne
    78/189
    swsh3 78
  • 4
    Galarian Mr. Rime
    36/189
    swsh3 36
  • 4
    Polteageist
    83/189
    swsh3 83
  • 4
    Sinistea
    82/189
    swsh3 82
  • 3
    Dedenne-GX
    57/234
    sm10 57
  • 1
    Crobat V
    104/189
    swsh3 104
  • 1
    Mew
    76/234
    sm10 76
Energy Cards
  • 4
    Twin Energy
    swsh2 174
  • 3
    Triple Acceleration Energy
    sm10 190
Trainer Cards
  • 4
    Professor's Research (Professor Magnolia)
    swsh1 178
  • 2
    Boss’s Orders (Giovanni)
    swsh2 154
  • 1
    Giovanni's Exile
    sm10 174
  • 1
    Chaotic Swell
    sm12 187
  • 4
    Great Ball
    swsh1 164
  • 4
    Quick Ball
    swsh1 179
  • 4
    Level Ball
    swsh5 129
  • 2
    Evolution Incense
    swsh1 163
  • 2
    Great Catcher
    sm12 192
  • 2
    U-Turn Board
    sm11 211
  • 1
    Ordinary Rod
    swsh1 171
  • 1
    Pal Pad
    swsh1 172
More Info Copy Deck List

This deck was the happy surprise of the Region Finals, as two players qualified through the Winners Bracket with these often overlooked cards: Alex Schemanske and Bruno Sermann. The Mad Party attack does 20 damage for each Pokémon in your discard pile that also has the Mad Party attack.

A major callback to Night March of the past, the deck uses Dedenne-GX and Polteageist's Tea Break to get Pokémon in the discard pile fast for big damage late in the game. Having such low-HP attackers can sometimes be a bad thing, but thankfully they only give up one Prize card when they're Knocked Out. I cannot wait to see what kind of party these players plan for the Global Finals.


Wild Pokémon Everywhere

Three players punched their ticket to the Global Finals as the lone pilot of their respective decks. Ting Chan was able to survive the competition with one of the most-played decks of the past year: Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX paired with Zacian V. After the run it has had, it was surprising that this deck didn't put up its usual numbers for this tournament. Altered Creation-GX is still one of the most powerful attacks in the game, allowing you to do an extra 30 damage while grabbing an extra Prize card for your effort. Zacian V provides a powerful main attacker as well as great utility with its Intrepid Sword Ability.

Another popular deck that was limited in its capacity this time around was Eternatus VMAX played by Dalton Acchetta. As a deck, it still hits heavy and fast, but its Weakness to Fighting presents a tough matchup against both Urshifu VMAX. Dalton opted for two Weakness Guard Energy and a full four copies of Crushing Hammer to gain the edge in that matchup.

Last but not least, we round out our players with Hampus Eriksson's creative Altaria Control deck.


  • Altaria Control

Pokémon
  • 2
    Altaria
    49/73
    swsh35 49
  • 3
    Swablu
    48/73
    swsh35 48
  • 2
    Absol
    88/181
    sm9 88
  • 2
    Munchlax
    173/236
    sm11 173
  • 1
    Aipom
    SM244
    smp SM244
  • 1
    Bunnelby
    146/192
    swsh2 146
  • 1
    Giratina
    86/236
    sm11 86
  • 1
    Mew
    76/234
    sm10 76
  • 1
    Snorlax
    131/185
    swsh4 131
  • 1
    Zacian V
    138/202
    swsh1 138
Energy Cards
  • 4
    Capture Energy
    swsh2 171
  • 1
    Powerful { Colorless } Energy
    swsh3 176
  • 1
    Recycle Energy
    sm11 212
  • 1
    Twin Energy
    swsh2 174
Trainer Cards
  • 4
    Cynthia & Caitlin
    sm12 189
  • 3
    Boss’s Orders (Giovanni)
    swsh2 154
  • 2
    Bird Keeper
    swsh3 159
  • 1
    Bill’s Analysis
    sm9 133
  • 1
    Bruno
    swsh5 121
  • 1
    Lt. Surge’s Strategy
    sm10 178
  • 1
    Will
    sm12 208
  • 3
    Galar Mine
    swsh2 160
  • 1
    Wondrous Labyrinth ◇
    sm9 158
  • 4
    Crushing Hammer
    swsh1 159
  • 4
    Lillie's Poké Doll
    sm12 197
  • 4
    Quick Ball
    swsh1 179
  • 2
    Pokémon Communication
    sm9 152
  • 2
    Scoop Up Net
    swsh2 165
  • 1
    Camping Gear
    swsh5 122
  • 1
    Ordinary Rod
    swsh1 171
  • 1
    Reset Stamp
    sm11 206
  • 1
    Tool Scrapper
    swsh2 168
  • 1
    Yell Horn
    swsh3 173
More Info Copy Deck List

One never knows what to expect from a player like Hampus, who is always innovating the control archetype. This tournament was no different, as Hampus relied on Altaria and its Miraculous Charm to surprise opponents throughout the tournament, leading to some victories as soon as the Pokémon hit the board. Given a new expansion, one can only imagine what this deck will do next.


Chilling Reign Opens the Underworld Door

It has been a few weeks since Sword & Shield—Chilling Reign was introduced to the format in the Pokémon TCG Online, and one could argue that the format has been reshaped around one of the most exciting new cards in a while: Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX. When evaluating a Pokémon, one needs to look for three things: Energy acceleration, draw power, or a great attack. Most great Pokémon have two out of the three—this new Pokémon VMAX has all three, plus a popular Pokémon type that got even more support in this set with Fog Crystal. After a couple uses of Underworld Door, Max Geist starts to get scary.

Another popular card to emerge from Sword & Shield—Chilling Reign is Galarian Moltres V. With a solid attack in Aura Burn and great Energy acceleration by using Direflame Wings every turn, this Pokémon V has popped up in a few decks given its type advantage against Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX. Look for this to be a popular counterplay in the Global Finals.

Ice Rider Calyrex VMAX should hopefully make an appearance in the Global Finals too, with the card gaining popularity thanks in part to new cards Melony, Path to the Peak, and Inteleon. Max Lance may cap at 250 damage, but Inteleon's Quick Shooting Ability will make short work of anything that sticks around by placing an extra 20 damage a turn. Inteleon could also pair up with Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX to enhance its ability to finish off Knock Outs with G-Max Rapid Flow. Shady Dealings from Drizzile adds another edge to the consistency for these decks, too.

These new cards are well poised to make an impact in the Players Cup IV Global Finals. What cards do you expect to see from the Sword & Shield—Chilling Reign expansion? Be sure to tune in to the Global Finals July 30 to Aug 1 to see the top players in the exciting conclusion of the tournament!


About the Writer

Jeremy Jallen
Jeremy is a TCG competitor and commentator who has been involved in the game since 2008. He made Top 8 in the 2011 World Championships, and has placed first and second at Regional Championships. Jeremy joined the commentary team in 2017, and nowadays you can catch him casting for Pokémon's various online tournaments.

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