Welcome back to the wonderful world of Dead Draw Gaming! It’s Cody, and I’m back with another DeckLab, this time on one of my favorite decks in the current Standard format: Tapu Bulu GX/ Vikavolt! This deck had a lot of appeal to me early in the season, since it is a very easy deck to learn how to play, and also has a relatively linear early game plan, which is something I try to look for when choosing a deck.
2x Energy Recycler
2x Field Blower
2x Heavy Ball
1x Nest Ball
3x Rare Candy
4x Ultra Ball
2x Po Town
2x Professor Sycamore
2x Choice Band
3x Fighting Fury Belt
VikaBulu, as I will be referring to this deck from here out, revolves around two main Pokemon: Tapu Bulu GX and Vikavolt. Tapu Bulu has three attacks, and they’re all worth mentioning. For a single Grass, you have a vanilla Horn Attack for 30 damage. This might sound really underwhelming, but with so many decks playing Octillery, being able to pick off Remoraids early before they evolve can be extremely disruptive to your opponent. Next, for two Grass and a Colorless, Bulu can do Nature’s Judgement for 120 damage, or 180 if you discard all the energy attached. Normally, discarding all those energies would make me cringe, but in a meta where Gardevoir is all over, being able to hit a big number and then dump your energy is certainly not a bad thing. Finally, a very strong GX attack in Tapu Wilderness; for two Grass and a Colorless again, Tapu Bulu can do 150 damage AND heal all damage from himself. This GX attack can really add some life to Tapu Bulu, and timing this attack is probably the hardest decision you normally will have to make while playing this deck. Generally speaking, if using this GX attack will buy your Bulu an extra turn AND take a KO on the opponent’s active, you’re in a good position to use this GX attack.
The other major piece to this deck is the big Stage 2 Vikavolt. Vikavolt is a 150 HP Stage 2, which is largely used for its ability: Strong Charge. Strong Charge allows you to, once per turn, search your deck for a Grass and a Lightning energy and attach them to your Pokemon in any way you want. This ability is bonkers. This is how you are able to continually stream attacks turn after turn. What is even crazier- if you have multiple Vikavolt out, you can use this ability multiple times. It’s not unheard of to get three Vikavolt out at the same time, which means that you can theoretically attach SEVEN energies in a single turn- six from the Strong Charges and one from hand. Vikavolt also has an attack that is worth mentioning; Electro Cannon, for a Lightning and three Colorless does 150 damage, and you discard three energies. Like Tapu Bulu, discarding these energies isn’t as detrimental as it sounds. Vikavolt with a Choice Band is a great way of cleaning up a game, usually by stealing a late Tapu Lele, which virtually every deck in the format plays multiple copies of.
As for the other Pokemon in the deck, they really support the general strategy of expediting Vikavolts into play and helping Bulu get big OHKOs. The single Tapu Koko promo is great for getting damage onto big Pokemon like Metagross GX and Gardevoir GX. Being able to spread damage using Flying Flip means that the 180-210 damage Tapu Bulu is capable of putting out is likely to be lethal. Oranguru is great in the deck for that built in N-protection, but it can also attack. Oranguru is a decent way of punishing your opponent for attaching too many energies to their attacker, since it’s attack does 60+20 more energy for each energy attached to the opponent’s active. Finally, Tapu Lele GX is a no-brainer. Two Tapu Lele GX has been just fine for me. I know many players are holding strong on three Tapu Lele, but I would argue it is not imperative to play the third; two means you essentially have eight outs to a turn-one Brigette (four Ultra Ball, two Tape Lele, two Brigette), which is always the Supporter of choice on your first turn.
The energy is the deck is very normal. The split of seven Grass and five Lightning just makes you that little bit more likely to draw into Grass rather than Lightning, which you’ll need to manually attach to Tapu Bulu in order to start swinging away with Nature’s Judgement.
No doubt, the weird part of this deck is the Trainer lineup. Normally you see four-this and four-that’s, but this deck is really tuned to get a turn two Vikavolt as frequently as possible. Your absolute main goal for your first turn is to get a Grubbin on the bench, and you can do this with one of the four Ultra Ball, the Nest Ball, or just drawing them. You can search those balls out with Skyla, which can be searched out with Tapu Lele, which can also be searched out with Ultra Ball. You can also, and this is ideal, use Brigette, and get multiple Grubbin down, and probably a Tapu Koko, or Oranguru, or even a Tapu Bulu. Brigette is definitely your strongest opening Supporter.
Your second turn goal should be getting Vikavolt into play, and in order to do this you will need a Rare Candy, which there are three of. Rare Candy can also be searched by Skyla, which can be searched by Tapu Lele GX, which can be searched by Ultra Ball. In addition to the Rare Candy, you will need a Vikavolt. Vikavolt can be searched by Heavy Ball or Ultra Ball, both of which, again, can come from Skyla. The point I’m really trying to grind in is that you have a ton of ways to search out the cards that you need, and after you get that Vikavolt on your second turn, you’re in a great position. You’re automatically attaching an addition two energy per turn, likely knocking something out every turn.
The other Trainers in the deck all cater to the general strategy. Two Energy Recyclers, because we do have to go through a lot of energy on the way to taking six prizes. Two Field Blowers, mainly for Garbodor decks, since we need our abilities, but also for any decks playing Fighting Fury Belt, since those will mess up our numbers. We are also playing two Switch, just because Vikavolts are fat, and we don’t want them getting stranded in the active spot. I am choosing to play three Fighting Fury Belt and two Choice Band. The split might seem odd, but Fighting Fury Belt can really make some matchups much more favorable if they’re able to stick. Against some matchups, you also use the Fighting Fury Belts on Tapu Koko and Oranguru to make them more durable, particularly against Metagross decks. Finally, the Stadium of choice for us is Po Town. This is probably something you haven’t seen in a Bulu deck before, but it really makes the Gardevoir and Metagross matchups a lot better. If Gardevoir even evolves through Po Town one time, they are within range of being KO’d by a Nature’s Judgement with a Choice Band attached.
The Final Word
I strongly recommend anyone to pick this deck up and give it a whirl, especially if you’re not sure what to play in Standard. The deck is really gratifying to play, and really rewards players who are able to play a couple turns ahead and keep good track of their resources. This deck is also a great way to introduce a new player into the game, as it uses a bunch of different game elements and can really be a strong teaching tool. If you're interested in this exact deck but are missing some or all of the cards, for a limited time DeadDrawGaming will be selling this exact 60 card deck at minimum rarity for a cool $164, a whole 20% below retail value! Just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and tell 'em Cody sent you.
Thanks for checking out the DeckLab! Stay tuned to DDG for more great content. Feel free to like, comment and share!