Dignified Fighters

Courtesy of Feature Writer Fototaxia.

I am a fan of giving relevance to old, unused and ignored cards. The heart of this deck, Empoleon
from XY Breakthrough, is a great example of that. I wasn’t active in the TCG when this card came
out, but from what I’ve searched on the net, it was mainly tried a couple of times with Archie’s
Ace In the Hole engine in Night March or Yveltal ex decks. DarkIntegralGaming also did at least 2
videos on the card; one with Empoleon Break/Oranguru S&M and one with Lapras also from Sun
and Moon.
I looked at the card for a long time, trying to give it a different twist. Its ability, Dignified Fighter, is
very interesting. It boosts ALL of your basic Pokémon’s attack by 20, before applying weakness
and resistance. Empoleon not being a basic Pokémon itself, needs a partner (or many) to take
advantage of this beautiful ability. So after trying many different basics, I found that an amazing
way to play this was taking advantage of your opponent’s Pokémon weaknesses. Literally!
Dignified Fighter boosts your attacks BEFORE applying weakness and resistance, so for example,
if you hit a Lycanroc GX with Cacnea’s Sucker Punch (40 damage) with a choice band (+30) plus
one Empoleon in play (+20) you are doing 40+30+20=90×2 for weakness=180, for only one
rainbow one energy. Isn’t that great? Trust me, it feels great.
Same math for Heatmor, Panchamp and Magearna if your opponent has 2 different types on their
This is my current decklist, tweakable to fit any meta:

The usual game plan is spreading with Koko to put your opponent’s big GX Pokémon in range of
their evil adversary. With two Koko spreads, plus a choice band and one Empoleon in play,
Panchamp’s Act Tough will KO Zoroark GX. For Lycanroc GX, you will need only one Flying Flip
and one Choice Band + Dignified Fighter Cacnea’s Sucker Punch.

Dedenne from Forbidden Light

This card is amazing against dragon Pokémon, namely Rayquaza GX and Ultra Necrozma GX. With a choice band, it one hit KO’s Rayquaza or against Ultra Necrozma you only need one Koko spread or one Dignified Fighter ability in play. Also the first attack can save you in a pinch.


Pancham from Forbidden Light

This is how you hit Zoroarks, Silvallies, or any other fighting weak Pokémon. Worth nothing that it just knocks out Zoruas without any boosts.




Heatmor from BreakPoint

Heatmor hits Golisopod, Leafeon, or Lurantis GX for 140 with only a choice band. If you manage to set up Heat Blast though, it will hit hard, even to not-fire weak Pokémon. I love this card.


Magearna promo XY186

This card I think was originally released as a counter to the Rainbow Road deck. But it demolishes Alolan Ninetales, Gardevoir, Sylveon and Glaceon GX. If they have three types on their bench, Prismatic Wave will do 180 with a choice band to any of these Pokémon. If your opponent has an Octillery, Tapu Lele, and Ralts on their bench, that’s an instant 120 damage. My opponents always


Mew from Fates Collide and Mewtwo from Evolutions

Fighting is so relevant right now that you need two psychic attackers.Mew has many attacks to choose from, and Mewtwo is not only good against Buzzwoles, but also against high energy-cost attackers, like Ho-oh GX.






4 Rescue Stretcher, 4 Choice Band

These 2 are, trainer wise, fundamental to the deck’s strategy. You always want a stretcher to bring
back you Cacnea, Panchamp, Magearna, Mewtwo, or whatever. 4 Choice band is so good to
elevate the attacks number to GX Pokémon’s HP.

1 Gladion, 1 Misty’s Determination

I really like these 2 in the deck. The Gladion is for the rare occasion in which you prize your
designated attacker for the match up. Misty’s Determination is great for connecting the rare candy
in your hand, with the Empoleon in the next 8 cards in your deck. It’s also useful to discard the
Pokémon you don’t need in that match up. It can help you find your DCE, Rainbow, Rescue
Stretcher, etc.

The deck has many other potential attackers which you can put in, but I found that the ones that hit
for at least 40 for one energy work better. These are some I have tried, and you can do so. You can
also find your own attackers!

I really love playing this deck. For me, creating our own decks is a great meditation and overall
mind exercise.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article, and thank you for reading! See you next time.


  1. I noticed that this deck does not have the stage one Prinplup for Empoleon. Are you relying on rare candy and items/supporters to pull that combination?

    1. Hello czarmarciales,
      Yes I totally rely on rare candy on this build at least. Contrary to Vikabulu for example, this deck doesn’t need to get your stage 2 going as fast as Bulu does. You can still work with flying flip while you set your Empoleon.
      I won’t lie though., I would like to fit one or two prinplups – it would make it that much more consistent – but I just cannot find the space.

      1. Oh yeah sorry my apologies Fototaxia you are totally right on the Vikabulu comparison. Right, you want to Flying Flip first, so that takes precedence. Yes, it’s great to have turn 2 Empoleon I’m sure but you don’t need it like Tapu Bulu does.

  2. Hello czarmarciales- I’ll ask fototaxia, but that has been very common recently to go with a 3-0-2 or 4-0-3 line of a Stage 2 support Pokemon. I’ll cite the many Buluvolt successful lists over the past few months as evidence. The majority of them cut Charjabugs from their builds.
    I tried that in my first Rayquaza lists this weekend but found that there were a lot of times I wished I had even a single Charjabug. I also added a Volkner (Juan Macedo – another feature writer here on PDC – gave me that brilliant idea) and those have helped me get double Vikavolts a lot more consistently.

    1. Yeah I’m never really comfortable with a stage 2 line without a pre-evo in it. Basically, if you are running a any line that looks like ?-0-?, you are better off making a Rampardos/Talonflame deck, because that guarantees Talonflame and starts the process of getting down heavy hitting attackers going (yes two Fletchlings are run in the list I found to get more Talonflame up, but I digress….Theoretically, Manectric/Bastiodon with Volkner? Hmmm….meme-ish, but Zoroark players would cry if this goes off).

      Anyways, again, I’m just not comfortable without at least 1 or 2 of the stage 1’s in the deck (just goes back to what I deem the Magnezone Curse in that I tried running him on many occasions, going as far as Breakthrough’s Magnezone, and for whatever reason it just did not work, in part because you HAD to have energy on HAND. Vikavolt has shows the most success because he does the opposite: you have to have energy in the deck, and because you are siphoning cards out the deck, it’s like you’re drawing 2 extra cards every turn, thereby thinning the deck further and further, increasing the chances of pulling your much needed supporters or items.

      With this Empoleon I’ve never tried this variant before. However I have tried the Empoleon with I believe 2 of the BREAKs and White Kyurem from Fates Collide, albeit with not so much success, but plenty of fun nonetheless. It certainly is an underrated card that is rotating out soon, especially if you make it more water box based (take Keldeo from Shining Legends. Resolute Blade does 20 more damage for each benched mon on your opponents side, so at max damage you are hitting 120, but with band you hit 150. Upon using two Empoleon, you start hitting magic numbers and that’s pretty swell.

      With Foxotaxia’s build, I can see plenty of fun plays being done given that his deck can be adjusted for a variety of meta. Gardevoir getting popular, add Magearna. Grass types? Heatmore. Dragons? Dedenne. And with Koko swinging around, you could easily punish evolution decks with Espeon if you wanna go that route. So the list is a bit out of the ordinary, but from the looks of it, it does have a good solid, core base. Certainly more viable than the shadowbox deck that was hyped way back.

      1. And I’m not even gunna lie: I think it’s wonderful that you guys know how to build decks or even go that route to building your own with lots of joy in your hearts. I on the other hand admit to being a netdecker and somewhat of a sheep for the most part, mainly in part due to not really having a whole lot of time for the game more often than not. And I’m not ashamed of that because I’m certain that a large portion of the player base is like me in that aspect. However, even I admit that if you are a netdecker you should have the flexibility to come up with better ideas for whatever deck you come across. Delphox, Raichu, and Pheromosa are all decks that I stumbled across way back when and improved upon based on my experience with it. With Delphox the instant I learned of Zoroark’s arrival to the TCG, I wasn’t thinking “Ooooh, Puzzles and Lycanrocs”, I was thinking “FireFox deck. Zoroark, you are the engine this deck needed”. And sure enough I found a match made in heaven upon its arrival.

        With Raichu and Pheromosa it was a matter of seeing what neat tricks could be teched in to make it all the more better and more consistent (tho Raichu is in a bit of a slump going into rotation, due in part to Static Pikachu rotating out, if running Snuggly Generator).

        So rambling aside, to those that love this game so much that you build with your mind like a lego collection, you all are the real MVPs here. As for myself I just like to keep up with any future sets coming out and play my games for a short while here and there.

        Best advice I can give to anyone and everyone here would be to keep up with the leaks, keep up with what is to come, but also keep in mind what we already have in the TCG. If you’re looking to better a deck, look at all the cards available in standard, look at all the supporters that are around, and see if you can’t make a significant change to it. Just look at how Weakness Policy finally became relevant with Zoroark, look at how Energy Recycler is just perfect in Vikavolt decks, and not too long ago, look at how Espeon EX found some shine in a format where evolution based decks took hold. Sometimes you just need to keep in mind these things for when they become relevant once more.

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