By Natalie Millar, Contributing Writer
With the Europe International Championships in the books and the Portland Regional Championships just concluded, the Scarlet & Violet-era Standard format is in full swing. The big focus heading into EUIC was the introduction of the new Scarlet & Violet expansion. Players expected that two new Pokémon ex, Gardevoir ex and Miraidon ex, would see success in London. They were correct: Gardevoir ex, piloted by Tord Reklev, finished second at the tournament, and Miraidon ex, piloted by Robert Kinbrum, made the Top 8. Robin Schulz recently revealed the ins and outs of Gardevoir ex. Now it’s Miraidon ex’s turn in the spotlight.
Miraidon ex comes in as something of an underdog to other decks in this format, but it still has a lot of merit. Its Photon Blaster attack does a hefty 220 damage, enough to Knock Out many Pokémon in one hit and even the stoutest Pokémon in two. This power does come with a downside—Miraidon ex can’t use that attack during the following turn (although another Miraidon ex can). Fortunately, Miraidon ex’s Tandem Unit Ability lets you search your deck for 2 Basic Lightning-type Pokémon and put them straight onto your Bench. The real power of this Ability is its lack of restriction—each of your Miraidon ex can use Tandem Unit during your turn at any point in the game. In effect, Tandem Unit becomes the central focus of this strategy thanks to its effect that allows you to attack over and over again. Miraidon ex isn’t the only attacker in this deck, but it is a good one. A common play pattern of this deck is to use Tandem Unit to find one Pokémon and another Miraidon ex, then using Tandem Unit again right away. This gives your deck incredible consistency, effectively turning one Nest Ball into an entire board full of Pokémon!
The Lightning-type Pokémon you should aim to search out with Tandem Unit are Regieleki V and Raikou V. Regieleki V evolves into Regieleki VMAX, whose Transistor Ability lets your Basic Lightning-type Pokémon do 30 extra damage with each attack. This Ability stacks, so if you have two Regieleki VMAX in play, your Lightning-type Pokémon will do 60 extra damage. Raikou V is simply an attacker that requires less Energy than Miraidon ex, but its Fleet-Footed Ability can also be useful sometimes. Don’t forget about it!
Power up your Miraidon ex and Raikou V with Electric Generator. This Item card lets you look at the top 5 cards of your deck and attach up to 2 Basic Lightning Energy cards you find to your Benched Lightning-type Pokémon, letting you power up the Photon Blaster and Lightning Rondo attacks very quickly. In fact, a popular strategy is to use Lightning Rondo on your first turn if you go second, as Raikou V will often land a one-hit Knock Out on most Basic Pokémon. Because of Electric Generator, Miraidon ex decks can have electrifyingly fast starts!
Miraidon ex is typically a simple deck to build, and I have tried to focus on that simplicity and speed with this list:
4Professor’s Research (Professor Sada)
3Boss’s Orders (Cyrus)
2Forest Seal Stone
16 Energy Cards!
The deck list above should be a solid baseline for Miraidon ex: with high counts of everything, this deck consistently attacks on either turn one or two and has extra options to draw through your deck with Radiant Greninja. Sixteen Lightning Energy cards aren’t usually included in Miraidon ex decks, but I really like this high count because it all but guarantees hits off Electric Generator. Nothing will put you in a bad mood faster than playing Electric Generator and seeing zero Lightning Energy, so I wanted to minimize that risk as much as possible. However, 16 Energy is still a lot to include, so to take advantage of those extra Lightning Energy, I also decided to include Radiant Greninja.
While this deck has no synergy with discarded Energy cards, and Radiant Greninja can’t be used for attacking, the Concealed Cards Ability is incredibly useful for simply letting us draw extra cards! Robert Kinbrum played Radiant Greninja in his Top 8 deck list from EUIC. It worked really well for him, so I decided to include it here. However, one major change I have made from Robert’s list is cutting Cram-o-matic and including Judge.
Judging the Opponent’s Hand
Often the difficult part of using Cram-o-matic is getting an Item card to activate it. The most popular Cram-o-matic deck, Mew VMAX, often plays a massive 30 Item cards, making it very easy to have an Item card to discard. However, this Miraidon ex deck plays only 13 Item cards, with four of those being Electric Generator. With Electric Generator being so important for Miraidon ex to attack early, I found that Cram-o-matic was often just getting trapped in my hand or discarded via Ultra Ball. Because I often wasn’t using Cram-o-matic, I ended up streamlining the Supporter line and adding Judge for additional disruption.
While Professor’s Research is an amazing card in this deck, you can play only four copies of it. Furthermore, Miraidon ex has one of the best Pokémon search engines built into the deck, but you don’t really have a way to draw extra cards. Drawing loads of cards is very important in this deck—since the only additional draw engine you have is Concealed Cards, you need to be able to consistently play draw Supporters in the early stages of the game.
Judge doesn’t draw as many cards as Professor’s Research, but often you don’t need much in the middle of the game besides Energy attachments. However, the most important element of Judge is its disruption to other decks. Because your Pokémon search engine is so consistent, having Judge as an option to disrupt other decks is very important. Both Gardevoir ex and Lost Zone decks need a lot of cards to set up, so an early Judge can often be disastrous.
The Rest of the Trainers
Including only seven Pokémon search cards—four copies of Ultra Ball and three of Nest Ball—might be considered quite low for most decks, but Miraidon ex’s Tandem Unit makes this count actually quite high. However, you still need access to your first Miraidon ex if you don’t start with it, so Miraidon ex decks do need to include at least a few Pokémon search cards: having around six total is common. This deck also adds a fourth Ultra Ball to give you easier access to Regieleki VMAX and Radiant Greninja. Since Concealed Cards is so strong in this deck, it’s good to get Radiant Greninja on the Bench as soon as possible, but since it’s a Water-type Pokémon, you can’t use Tandem Unit to search it out. Similarly, you can only use Ultra Ball to search out Regieleki VMAX. I decided to include a fourth copy of Ultra Ball over a fourth copy of Regieleki VMAX because Ultra Ball can also find Radiant Greninja and your first Miraidon ex.
It is tempting to include an equal amount of Boss’s Orders and Serena in this deck; you do need draw Supporters, after all. However, I have almost always found that Boss’s Orders is just better than Serena. The draw Supporter effect of Serena is much better suited in decks that really synergize with your discard pile. However, with Scarlet & Violet introducing so many Pokémon ex, the other effect of Serena has just gotten weaker and weaker. Being able to switch in any opposing Pokémon—not just Pokémon V—has been so crucial when I’ve played games with this deck. Because of that, I’ve been playing Boss’s Orders in every deck in this format and forgoing Serena because of the versatility Boss’s Orders offers.
Because Photon Blaster prevents Miraidon ex from attacking two turns in a row, you need to include a switching card to move around your Miraidon ex. The switching card I went for was Switch Cart over Switch or Escape Rope. Switch Cart’s restriction of only being able to switch out Basic Pokémon wasn’t too much of a liability because Regieleki VMAX has a free Retreat Cost, so it really was between Escape Rope and Switch Cart. The reason I chose to play Switch Cart was because the healing effect against Lost Zone decks turned out to be very important. Lost Zone decks will often go for a two-hit Knock Out on Miraidon ex with Cramorant, and Switch Cart heals the Miraidon ex out of two-hit Knock Out range, which is why I decided to include it over Escape Rope.
Most decks need to include Stadium cards to bump opposing Stadiums, and Miraidon ex is no exception. Most Miraidon ex decks choose Beach Court as their Stadium, and I agree—it’s incredibly useful in this deck. All of your Basic Pokémon have a single-Energy Retreat Cost, so Beach Court effectively gives all of your Pokémon free retreat! This is a powerful effect, which is why I kept with the standard list and included three of this Stadium card.
Potential Tech Options
There are several options for tech cards to include in Miraidon ex, with the two most common options being Klefki and Magnezone VSTAR, so let’s examine both inclusions.
Klefki’s Mischievous Lock Ability turns off all Abilities of Basic Pokémon while Klefki is in the Active Spot. This is a very strong effect, as several of the top decks right now rely heavily on the Abilities of Basic Pokémon—think Comfey, Genesect V, and Radiant Greninja! However, Klefki is two-sided—it will also turn off your Miraidon ex’s Tandem Unit Ability while Klefki is Active. Because of this, Miraidon ex decks that include Klefki will often play higher counts of switching cards so you can move Klefki to the Bench, use your Abilities, and then move it back to the Active Spot. One of the best ways to move Klefki is actually with Regieleki V’s Switching Bolt attack. With two Regieleki VMAX in play, Switching Bolt can take a one-hit Knock Out on an opposing Comfey and switch back into Klefki, continuing the lock!
However, using Klefki does have downsides. If you go second and don’t start Klefki as your Active Pokémon, then your opponent gets a whole turn to use their Abilities, which will make the Klefki in your deck much less effective. In addition, getting two Regieleki VMAX in play and getting an Energy on Regieleki V will be quite difficult without using Tandem Unit, so don’t expect to start taking Knock Outs until turn three at the earliest. During this time, an opposing Lost Zone deck can also play Colress’s Experiment and Lost Vacuum to start attacking your Klefki, and if Mischievous Lock ever gets broken, then the 70-HP Klefki will often get cleaned up quite easily by Sableye. Because of how much it slows you down, I personally don’t prefer it in my Miraidon ex deck. It’s still fun to try, though.
A Miraidon ex deck with Magnezone VSTAR won the Miyagi Champion’s League in Japan, sparking interest in this variant of the deck. Magnezone V’s Magnetic Tension attack lets you switch 1 of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon into the Active Spot, then do 40 damage to it. And yes, this damage is boosted by Regieleki VMAX.
However, the main use for Magnezone V is that it can repeatedly Knock Out Manaphy, then evolve into Magnezone VSTAR and use the Electro Star attack to Knock Out multiple Pokémon at once. The strategy is very effective against both Lost Zone and Gardevoir ex decks, but there is a significant catch: Electro Star is a VSTAR Power. This deck also really makes use of Forest Seal Stone, a Pokémon Tool card that’s a very powerful consistency option and lets you search out any card in your deck. The main problem with the Magnezone V line is that it can require a lot of setup, especially if you aren’t using Forest Seal Stone. You’ll often need to set up two Magnezone V, then evolve them into Magnezone VSTAR at just the right time, and during this whole ordeal you can Knock Out only Manaphy, letting your opponent attack with Cramorant and eventually Dragonite V uninterrupted. Because of this, I ended up leaving Magnezone VSTAR in the binder in favor of a much more straightforward deck.
Miraidon ex is a very fast and powerful deck that is a significant underdog in the current format. However, I believe that if you simplify the deck list and focus on consistently using Photon Blaster as early as possible, it can become a real contender. I hope this article electrifies your desire to try out Miraidon ex. It’s definitely a deck that you should keep an eye on!
For more Pokémon TCG strategy and analysis, visit Pokemon.com/Strategy.
Natalie has been playing Pokémon casually since late 2013 but started attending more competitive tournaments in late 2017. She won the first Regional Championships after the pandemic in her home city of Brisbane, Australia, and has been attending most major tournaments since. Outside of Pokémon, she studied psychology, but it doesn’t help with reading opponents as much as you would think. You can find her at most major tournaments and can follow her on Twitter at @nataliem9999.