18 Feb 2021

Top Deck Academy Episode 3: The Mechanics of Lucario & Melmetal-GX

Check out how a deck that uses only one type of Energy at its core can help bring clarity and focus to your strategy.

Many successful Pokémon TCG decks build their entire strategy around a single type. One recent deck that showcases this approach features Lucario & Melmetal-GX, a Metal-type TAG TEAM Pokémon-GX that offers both offense and defense.

In this episode of Top Deck Academy, Pokémon TCG player Andrew Mahone takes a closer look at what makes Lucario & Melmetal-GX shine. Follow along and discover tips for how you can build your next winning Pokémon TCG deck.

Remember that a new episode of Top Deck Academy comes out every week, and you can watch the entire series here on Pokemon.com or on YouTube and Twitch.


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What's up, everybody? I'm Andrew Mahone, Pokémon player and host of Tricky Gym. On today's episode of Top Deck Academy, we're going to be taking a look at a powerful Metal-type deck featuring Lucario & Melmetal-GX, as well as Legendary Pokémon Zacian V and Zamazenta V. This deck is unique because it employs a defensive strategy to keep the opponent from taking Knock Outs.

If you're new to the Pokémon Trading Card Game or just learning how to play, I highly recommend heading over to tcg.pokemon.com/how-to-play to start your journey with our how-to-play videos.

The deck we're going to be looking at today is inspired by Jack Millar's Players Cup winning deck from the first ever Players Cup held in August of 2020. There are some exciting new cards from the most recent Sword & Shield Pokémon TCG expansions that make this deck even more powerful than ever!

In Step 1, we'll look at Metal Pokémon. Every Pokémon in this deck is a Metal type. In Step 2, we'll cover the Trainer cards used in the deck. In Step 3, we'll cover the Metal Goggles Tool card. Step 4, accelerating your Energy. And Step 5, Supporter and search cards.

Let's dive in.


Metal Pokémon

The centerpiece of this deck is Lucario & Melmetal-GX. This TAG TEAM's Full Metal Wall-GX attack makes it so that your Metal-type Pokémon take 30 less damage from the opponent's attacks for the rest of the game for just one Energy! And if you have one more Energy attached, you also get to discard all Energy from the opponent's Active Pokémon. Most games with this deck will start out with a powerful Full Metal Wall-GX, disrupting the opponent while preparing your Pokémon's defenses for the rest of the game. Since all of your Pokémon in this deck are Metal type, they all receive protection from Lucario & Melmetal-GX's Full Metal Wall.

Lucario & Melmetal-GX also has two other useful attacks. Steel Fist deals 50 damage and accelerates a Metal Energy from the deck onto your Lucario & Melmetal-GX. Even though 50 damage isn't a lot of damage, it's great for setting up Knock Outs and preparing for a big Heavy Impact, which deals 150 damage for two Metal and two Colorless Energy.

At 260 Hit Points, Lucario & Melmetal-GX is the biggest Pokémon in the deck. However, that comes at a cost. If Lucario & Melmetal-GX gets Knocked Out, the opponent gets to take three Prize cards! So usually we'll only play one Lucario & Melmetal-GX in a game, and try to force our opponent to take two other Knock Outs on any of our other powerful metal Pokémon, that are all worth two Prizes each.

Lucario & Melmetal-GX and its Full Metal Wall-GX attack might be the backbone of this deck, but Zacian V is the arms and legs. Zacian V's Brave Blade attack deals 230 damage for three Metal Energy. It's the strongest attack in the deck. 230 damage is significant because it one-hit KOs nearly every other Pokémon in the Pokémon TCG worth two Prizes or less, including other Zacian V! Zacian V's Intrepid Sword Ability allows you to end your turn by looking at the top three cards of your deck. You can attach any Metal Energy you find there to Zacian V and put the other cards into your hand. Drawing cards and accelerating Energy are two of the best things you can do in the Pokémon TCG, and Zacian V's Intrepid Sword does them both!

Though Zamazenta V doesn't deal as much damage as Zacian V, Zamazenta V's Dauntless Shield Ability makes it immune to attack damage from the opponent's Pokémon VMAX, making it a perfect fit for this defensive-oriented deck. Some decks like Eternatus VMAX and Coalossal VMAX have little or no answer to a Zamazenta V with its Dauntless Shield Ability—especially since Zamazenta will be taking 30 less damage from the opponent's attacks thanks to Lucario & Melmetal-GX's Full Metal Wall-GX attack! Zamazenta V's Assault Tackle attack is also disruptive. It deals 130 damage and discards a Special Energy attached to the defending Pokémon. Many games are won because the opponent simply has no answer to a Zamazenta V!

Aegislash V is new from the Sword & Shield—Vivid Voltage expansion, and its Sonic Edge attack is a welcome addition to this deck's already formidable arsenal. Sonic Edge deals 130 damage for two Metal and a Colorless Energy, and it ignores all effects on the opponent's Active Pokémon. This deck is made up entirely of Basic Pokémon, Pokémon V, and Pokémon-GX, which means the opponent the has option to wall off our deck with Pokémon like Decidueye and its Deep Forest Camo Ability, or Galarian Obstagoon with its Obstruct attack. Sonic Edge cuts through the effects of these abilities and attacks completely, giving us an opportunity to beat other defensive strategies!

That's it for the Pokémon! Since this is a defensive deck, it's important that there are no easy Knock Outs for the opponent to take. There are less than 10 Pokémon in this deck, but they all have over 200 HP, making them difficult to Knock Out—which is exactly the point!

Now, let's take a look at the Trainers that make this deck work.


Trainer Cards

Though it's not a Pokémon, Lillie's Poké Doll can act like one! You can put it into play as a 30-HP Pokémon that can't attack or retreat. Now, you might find yourself asking, “If it can't attack, then what's the point?” Lillie's Poké Doll doesn't give up any Prize cards when it gets Knocked Out, which makes it a perfect card for this defensive-oriented deck. But it also acts as a great pivot card for Pokémon like Zacian V. Zacian V's Brave Blade attack makes it so that it can't attack the following turn, but if it goes to the Bench, that effect is removed. So, a common strategy with this deck is to use Zacian V's Brave Blade attack, then switch into Lillie's Poké Doll. The effect on Lillie's Poké Doll allows you to put it from the Active position onto the bottom of your deck, allowing you to promote Zacian V and use Brave Blade again!

Every Pokémon in this deck has a Retreat Cost of two or more, and since Zacian V needs to be switched out of the Active position in order to use its Brave Blade attack on back-to-back turns, mobility is very important for this deck. To help with mobility, we play four copies of Switch as well as two copies of Mallow & Lana. Mallow & Lana is a Supporter card that allows you to switch your Active Pokémon with one of your Benched Pokémon, and it heals 120 damage from the Pokémon you switched in the process. This is a very powerful card in this deck because it not only acts as a switching card; it can also heal your Pokémon, playing perfectly into the defensive strategy of this deck. Mallow & Lana is also a TAG TEAM card, making it easily searchable—something I'll talk about later in the video.


Metal Goggles Tool Card

If it's starting to sound like these Pokémon will be difficult to Knock Out, you're right! But wait, there's more! Metal Goggles is a Pokémon Tool card that makes your Metal-type Pokémon take 30 less damage from the opponent's attacks. With Full Metal Wall-GX and Metal Goggles, your Metal-type Pokémon will be taking 60 less damage from the opponent's attacks. Combine that with the healing power of Mallow & Lana, and you're starting to get an idea of the tank potential of this deck!

There's got to be a loophole somewhere, right? What about this deck's glaring Weakness to Fire-type Pokémon? Even though Jack Millar didn't have access to it back when he won the first Players Cup in August of 2020, there is a new Special Energy from the Sword & Shield—Vivid Voltage expansion: Coating Metal Energy, which completely negates the Weakness of any Metal-type Pokémon it's attached to, and it provides a Metal-type Energy. It fits perfectly into this deck, and gives the deck an opportunity to compete with Fire-type Pokémon, which would otherwise hit our Metal Pokémon for double damage!

With all of these defensive options available, Lucario & Melmetal-GX with Zacian V and Zamazenta V is certainly a force to be reckoned with.


Accelerating Your Energy

I mentioned before that accelerating Energy is one of the best things you can do in the Pokémon TCG. In addition to Zacian V's Intrepid Sword Ability, we also have access to Metal Saucer! Metal Saucer is an Item card from the first Sword & Shield expansion. It allows you to accelerate a Metal Energy from your discard pile to one of your Benched Metal-type Pokémon. Metal Saucer is perfect for powering up our Metal-type Pokémon's attacks quickly and efficiently.


Supporter and Search Cards

The other most important part of playing Pokémon is drawing cards. This deck plays a host of strong Supporter cards and search cards, which allow us to get useful resources out of the deck. Professor's Research is a Supporter card that allows us to discard our hand and draw seven new cards. Now, discarding your hand might sound bad, but it can actually be a positive—like discarding Metal Energy so that you can accelerate them later with Metal Saucer.

Marnie is another great draw Supporter. Where Research requires that you discard your hand, Marnie allows you to shuffle your hand and put it on the bottom of the deck before allowing you to draw five new cards off the top. Where Research is great for digging deep into your deck, Marnie is great for conserving resources. Another awesome thing about Marnie is that it can disrupt the opponent's strategy. Marnie shuffles your opponent's hand and puts it on the bottom of the deck before giving them just four new cards off the top!

Both Guzma & Hala and Cynthia & Caitlin are TAG TEAM Supporters like Mallow & Lana. TAG TEAM Supporters all have multiple functions if you discard to activate the bonus effect. Mallow & Lana switches and heals, Cynthia & Caitlin retrieves a Supporter from the discard pile and draws cards, while Guzma & Hala retrieves a Stadium, Tool, and Special Energy from the deck. All of these Supporters have good in-game effects, but what makes them especially useful is that they are all easily searchable with Tag Call! Tag Call is an amazing item in this deck. It searches for two TAG TEAM cards out of the deck and puts them into your hand. Lucario & Melmetal-GX is also a TAG TEAM card! This means that Tag Call can retrieve your best starting Pokémon as well as a Supporter from the deck at the same time! Getting two cards for one is always good value, making Tag Call a very useful Item in this deck.

The other search card in this deck is Quick Ball. Getting your Pokémon into play is extremely important! Quick Ball gets your Pokémon out of the deck and into your hand. It also requires that you discard a card from your hand in order to play it, which can be good for discarding Metal Energy to accelerate with Metal Saucer later!

The last Supporter in the deck is Boss's Orders. Countless games in the Pokémon TCG are won or lost because of Boss's Orders, which allows you to switch one of your opponent's Benched Pokémon into the Active Spot. Boss's Orders is great for targeting down and finishing off a Pokémon with an attack, or for knocking their Energy away with the effect of Full Metal Wall-GX or Assault Tackle.

This deck only plays one Stadium card, and that's Chaotic Swell. Chaotic Swell is the ultimate Stadium counter, discarding your opponent's Stadium when they try to play one. Chaotic Swell is a disruptive card and great in case your opponent plays a Stadium card that you don't want to see!

And finally, rounding off the end of the deck, we have 12 basic Metal Energy. It's important to play a healthy amount of Metal Energy in this deck, since accelerating Energy off of Zacian V's Intrepid Sword will be one of our primary ways of getting Energy into play. Our Pokémon's attacks are also relatively expensive, so you'll want to make sure to never miss an opportunity to attach an Energy from your hand for the turn!

And that's it for Lucario & Melmetal-GX featuring Zacian V and Zamazenta V! This deck is a force to be reckoned with in the Pokémon TCG, and it's definitely one of my favorite decks to play. Using a defensive strategy is tough, as it prolongs the game and gives you an opportunity to make difficult decisions, but that ultimately makes the wins with this deck that much more satisfying.

I hope you enjoyed the video! Let me know in the comments below what your favorite decks were from the first two Players Cups.

All right, Trainers, it's extra credit time—here is the Lucario & Melmetal-GX deck list:


  • Lucario & Melmetal-GX
Pokémon
  • 2
    Lucario & Melmetal-GX
    120/234
    sm10 120
  • 4
    Zacian V
    138/202
    swsh1 138
  • 2
    Zamazenta V
    139/202
    swsh1 139
  • 1
    Aegislash V
    126/203
    swsh4 126
Energy Cards
  • 12
    Metal Energy
    nrg1 33
  • 3
    Coating { Metal } Energy
    swsh4 163
Trainer Cards
  • 4
    Marnie
    swsh35 56
  • 4
    Professor's Research (Professor Magnolia)
    swsh1 178
  • 3
    Boss’s Orders (Giovanni)
    swsh2 154
  • 2
    Mallow & Lana
    sm12 198
  • 1
    Cynthia & Caitlin
    sm12 189
  • 1
    Guzma & Hala
    sm12 193
  • 1
    Chaotic Swell
    sm12 187
  • 4
    Metal Goggles
    sm9 148
  • 4
    Metal Saucer
    swsh1 170
  • 4
    Quick Ball
    swsh1 179
  • 4
    Switch
    swsh1 183
  • 2
    Lillie's Poké Doll
    sm12 197
  • 2
    Tag Call
    sm12 206
More Info Copy Deck List
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