In this article I take a look at Tapu Bulu GX, a rising star in the Standard format, with two different partners: Vikavolt SM and Lurantis GX.


Tapu Bulu GX/Vikavolt


Tapu Bulu     Vikavolt


Charlie Lockyer used the list below to take Top 8 at Madison Regionals:


Pokemon: 16

3 Grubbin SUM 13
2 Charjabug SUM 51
3 Vikavolt SUM
3 Tapu Bulu GX
3 Tapu Lele GX
1 Drampa GX
1 Tapu Koko SM 30


Trainers: 32

4 Professor Sycamore
3 N
2 Lysandre
1 Brock’s Grit
1 Skyla
1 Olympia
1 Brigette
4 Ultra Ball
3 VS Seeker
3 Rare Candy
2 Heavy Ball
2 Float Stone
2 Choice Band
2 Field Blower
1 Energy Recycler


Energy: 12

7 Grass
5 Lightning




This deck has a very linear strategy from which you will rarely deviate: get out as many Vikavolt as you can as quickly as you can and then use Strong Charge to allow a string of OHKOs with Tapu Bulu GX’s Nature’s Judgment. Tapu Bulu GX is, like the other Tapu GXes, devoid of weakness so you don’t have to cower in fear when you sit down against Volcanion or something with Flareon AOR as you normally would with a Grass-focused deck in your hands. Drampa GX and Tapu Lele GX are both capable backup attackers, and so is Vikavolt, for that matter, when needed.

The deck is essentially free of tricks – it just goes for that classic strategy of using a supporting Pokemon to break the energy attachment rule and enable repeated OHKOs. We have seen many decks like this throughout the game’s 20-year history, such as Blastoise BCR/Black Kyurem EX PLF/Keldeo EX, Eelektrik NVI variants and Emboar BW variants most recently. These decks have a certain “inevitability” to them: let them set up fully and you stand little chance of handling the rule-breaking power of the Abilities on display.


Notes on the list


3-2-3 Vikavolt line

Vikavolt GX is a bit redundant with Tapu Bulu GX able to do 180, so it does not make the cut. The 3-2-3 line is probably perfect; I would never go any lower on any of these three Pokemon and I might even consider a 4th Grubbin. This deck falls apart without consistent access to Strong Charge.


3 Tapu Bulu GX

The main attacker. 4 is excessive; any other count is too few.


1 Drampa GX

I am not sure what specifically the Top 8 pilot had in mind with his inclusion of Drampa GX,  but this is a strong starter given the GX attack as well as another Basic capable of hitting for 180 but without the need to discard energy. Speaking of discarding energy, Righteous Edge is also useful in many matchups and can sometimes be used to stall while Vikavolts are being brought onboard.


3 Tapu Lele GX

The best Pokemon in the game. The deck runs 3, as a lot of decks do, to increase the deck’s consistency (always important but especially if you’re running a Stage 2) and allow on-demand access of key cards like Brigette and Brock’s Grit. Energy Drive can also be used for big damage here due to Strong Charge.


1 Tapu Koko

This gives the deck a 1-Prize attacker/buffer that is not part of the precious Vikavolt line, a free retreater (great opener), and a spreader that can soften up Pokemon for Tapu Bulu GX/Drampa GX/even Vikavolt to KO later on.


0 Shaymin EX

Tapu Lele GX is generally sufficient now, although one copy is still something to think about – that draw is always going to be appreciated.

As far as the Trainers go, I am not going to bother saying anything about the standard stuff like 4 Professor Sycamore.


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