Go big with six Legendary Pokémon at once thanks to the Sword & Shield—Astral Radiance expansion.
By Stéphane Ivanoff, Contributing Writer
Today, we’re taking a look at a unique Pokémon Trading Card Game deck that is powered by a card from the Sword & Shield—Astral Radiance expansion—Regigigas. Regigigas's Ancient Wisdom Ability lets it attach any 3 Energy cards (not just Basic Energy) from your discard pile to one of your Pokémon in play. Pokémon TCG veterans know that attaching more than the typical single Energy from your hand per turn—also known as Energy acceleration—is a powerful effect that has been at the core of many top-tier decks over the years. Having such a powerful form of Energy acceleration on a Basic Pokémon is particularly notable. Of course, Ancient Wisdom has a strict condition: in addition to Regigigas, you need to have Regirock, Regice, Registeel, Regieleki, and Regidrago in play. This leaves no place for any other Pokémon on the board besides these six. Therefore, we’ll play these six Legendary Pokémon exclusively.
The combination of a powerful, deck-defining effect and a highly restrictive condition may remind you of other cards; Eternatus VMAX required you to only play Darkness-type Pokémon, for example. In a similar way, we need to take advantage of what our Regigigas deck offers while trying to mitigate the drawbacks of this Pokémon’s Ability.
Strengths of the Regigigas Deck
Let's start with the good news: none of the Legendary Pokémon are ultra-rare cards, and we're not playing any Pokémon V (or VMAX or VSTAR). This means building a complete Regigigas deck is a little easier to achieve than some of the other big hitters in the format. Does this mean that the deck will be less effective than others? Not at all! While Regigigas might not be the single best deck in the format, it was strong enough to win Japan's National Championships. This is definitely a deck that even the best players have to respect.
Another advantage of playing Regigigas is that the six Pokémon on our Bench are all good Pokémon to have. They are single-Prize, Basic Pokémon with high HP (at least 120), so it won’t be easy for the opponent to Knock Out all of them. We can't play Manaphy to protect our Benched Pokémon, but we don't really need to because of our Pokémon's high HP. Radiant Greninja is the main reason for Manaphy's ubiquity, but as it can't one-hit KO our Pokémon, Manaphy is not needed.
Finally, notice that each of these titanic Pokémon has a different typing. Regigigas can attach Energy to any of our Pokémon, which means it can power up any of the deck's attacks if we play Aurora Energy. Since our Pokémon are of different types, they can hit a range of Pokémon for Weakness. What's more, some of their attacks have effects that make them very versatile indeed.
Let's take a closer look at our roster’s attack power:
Regigigas: The Gigaton Break attack is particularly powerful against Pokémon VMAX since it hits them for 300 damage. That might be a bit out of reach for a Knock Out on its own, but with Choice Belt, and potentially Powerful Energy, it's possible to get a KO in one hit and three Prizes in one turn.
Regirock: Its Giga Impact attack does a decent base 140 damage. But because Regirock is a Fighting type, it hits the popular Arceus VSTAR for Weakness. There are other Pokémon, such as Gengar VMAX, that can be one-hit KO’d as well, although Regirock would need a Choice Belt to do so.
Registeel: Registeel’s Heavy Slam does 220 damage at most, so in theory it can Knock Out a Pokémon V who has no Retreat Cost, such as Mew V or a Pokémon with an Air Balloon attached. It's situational for sure, but keep an eye out for times when it could be effective.
Regieleki: Regieleki is a Lightning-type Pokémon, which makes it a great choice to attack the powerful Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR (or V) for Weakness with Teraspark. This attack can also do damage to the Bench: If it manages to attack twice, it can Knock Out two Sobble on the Bench. But doing so won’t be easy—that Bench damage can be prevented by Manaphy, removed by Scoop Up Net, or Sobble can simply evolve to get out of range of a Knock Out. Nevertheless, Regieleki is good for putting pressure on opponents.
Regice: Its Blizzard Bind attack is often the best option against a Pokémon V or VSTAR that can't be hit for Weakness, such as Hisuian Samurott VSTAR. Blizzard Bind does 100 damage and prevents the opponent from attacking. There are ways for them to play around it, such as retreating their Active Pokémon, but they’ll still end up with a Pokémon that is in range of a KO by one of your attackers.
Regidrago: Giant Fang hits for 160 damage, which allows it to Knock Out basically anything in two hits. The Pokémon is also used for its Dragon's Hoard Ability, which will help you draw cards if you have a dead hand, making it a key Pokémon in this deck. Because we can't play support Pokémon such as Drizzile, Bibarel, or Crobat V in a Regigigas deck, we need other ways to draw cards. Regidrago helps with that. The Regidrago from Sword & Shield—Evolving Skies could also be played for its higher damage output, but the lack of a draw power makes it a worse option overall.
Keys to Building a Regigigas Deck
The Regigigas deck must meet a few requirements before it can accomplish its goals. First, all six Pokémon need to be in play. This can be accomplished via the usual consistency cards: Quick Ball, Ultra Ball, Capture Energy, etc. Regirock, Regice, and Registeel also have the Regi Gate attack, which can help with this goal on the first turn. Afterward, it’s better not to use your attack for set up—use it for doing damage. Hisuian Heavy Ball is also crucial in getting two Pokémon out of our Prize cards. We can't devote too much deck space to attackers, so playing two copies of each of our Pokémon is a good compromise. We'd lose the match if both copies of any one Pokémon were Prized, and Hisuian Heavy Ball avoids that.
Second, we need to get Energy in play to attack. Regigigas can accelerate Energy, but the Energy needs to be in the discard pile for that to work. Quick Ball, Ultra Ball, and Professor's Research can send Energy cards to the discard pile if needed. The Energy card that we need the most is Aurora Energy: if we don't have two of them out of the deck, we'll be unable to use most of our attacks. Energy Loto can also help to draw Aurora Energy.
Finally, this deck needs to continually get Pokémon back in play whenever they get Knocked Out so that Regigigas can maintain a supply of Energy. Ordinary Rod is perfect for that purpose. Ideally, we only need to play an Ordinary Rod every other turn (assuming the opponent gets a KO every turn), but sometimes we'll need to discard Pokémon and will need to play Ordinary Rod sooner. Including four copies of Ordinary Rod is the safest choice.
Threats to the Regigigas Deck
Because Regigigas relies on having a full board of six specific Pokémon, this deck does have exploitable weaknesses. It's important to be aware of them in order to protect against them as best as possible.
Bench disruption can be a problem for Regigigas. Avery forces us to discard Pokémon from our Bench until we only have three, so if one is Knocked Out, we must make it a priority to get three Pokémon in play on the next turn. Similarly, Collapsed Stadium makes us discard one Pokémon, but it also stays in play and would need to be dealt with before we could use Regigigas's Ancient Wisdom Ability again. For these reasons, we need to include Stadiums of our own in the deck.
Regigigas also only plays Basic Pokémon. Some decks can include techs that will take advantage of that. For example, Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR can play Eiscue, whose Blockface attack makes it immune to Basic Pokémon. The best way to deal with such an attack is to play Escape Rope to force Eiscue back to the Bench, and then use Boss's Orders to bring it back with Blockface's effect removed. Then, Eiscue can be KO'd.
The last potential issue is that Regigigas relies on Special Energy, so Duraludon VMAX is immune to attacks from our Pokémon thanks to its Skyscraper Ability. The main way to counter this is to play the Path to the Peak Stadium, which shuts down Skyscraper.
Once we understand how the Regigigas deck works and the threats that we need to prepare for, the full deck list becomes apparent:
2Speed Lightning Energy
4Professor’s Research (Professor Rowan)
2Boss’s Orders (Cyrus)
3Path to the Peak
3Scoop Up Net
2Hisuian Heavy Ball
After addressing Regigigas's strengths and limitations and adding in draw Supporters, there's not much space left in the deck. Let’s explore the cards that take up the last spots.
Scoop Up Net is used to move between Pokémon. With it, you can send a Regidrago to the Active Spot after another of your Pokémon gets KO'd, use its Dragon Hoard Ability to draw cards, then get it back from the Active Spot to send your preferred attacker to the front. Scoop Up Net also can be used to retreat a Pokémon that's Asleep or Paralyzed. It even allows you to activate Regigigas's Ability twice: use it on Regigigas after using Ancient Wisdom and then play Regigigas afterward! This method of powering up multiple attackers will have you prepared for almost anything, even if the opponent plays, say, a combination of Roxanne and Collapsed Stadium.
Speed Lightning Energy might seem like a strange choice since it's only useful for Regieleki. However, Regieleki tends to be a popular attacker, and even if you don't use for that purpose, you can still attach a Speed Lightning Energy to it for the draw power and then use Ancient Wisdom to power up another attacker.
PokéStop, from the new Pokémon GO expansion, can help you draw cards like Quick Ball and Choice Belt while also discarding Energy. Its effect is not fully under your control, so you might end up discarding useful cards in the process. Luckily, Pokémon can be recovered with Ordinary Rod, and losing a Supporter or two is usually fine. Plus, drawing two Item cards and discarding an Energy at the same time is an excellent use of a Stadium. I'm not confident that PokéStop will be played in every Regigigas deck list, and there are decks for which it would be more suitable, but I think it's worth trying out!
All in all, Regigigas is a powerful deck that's accessible to beginners yet still tricky. Here are some tips to get you started:
Don't be afraid to discard a lot of cards, especially in the early game. Quick Ball and Ultra Ball are powerful cards that will help you set up.
When possible, try to get two Pokémon back when you play Ordinary Rod. If you play one every time each of your Pokémon is Knocked Out, there's a risk that you'll run out of copies of one of your Pokémon, preventing the use of Ancient Wisdom.
Recognize which of your attackers is the best for your current situation. If possible, use different attackers. For example, if you get an opportunity to take a Knock Out with Registeel, seize it. It's better to get two different Pokémon Knocked Out on two consecutive turns than two copies of the same one. Knocking Out both Regieleki in two consecutive turns would let your opponent play a disruption card, such as Marnie, which would make it harder for you to find an Ordinary Rod and use it get a Regieleki back into play. If they Knock Out a Regieleki and a Registeel, however, you'll still have one of each in the deck. It’ll be easier to fill your board again and attack, even if they play Marnie.
There are more subtleties to the deck, but you'll learn them best by playing. Don't hesitate to sleeve up this powerful set of Legendary Pokémon and dominate your opponents with Ancient Wisdom!
For more Pokémon TCG strategy and analysis, visit Pokemon.com/Strategy.
Stéphane Ivanoff is a contributing writer for Pokemon.com. A longtime Pokémon fan, he has played the Pokémon TCG competitively since 2010 and is a former National Champion, seven-time Worlds competitor, and the 2018 and 2019 North America International Champion in the Masters Division. He studied mathematics and has a degree in Probability and Statistics, but he says that doesn't help his game as much as you'd think! You can follow him on Twitter @lubyllule.