A skeleton list is an incomplete deck list that highlights the essential or minimum number of cards necessary for a successful deck of that archetype.
Assuming that the creation of the skeleton list was influenced by proven 60 card lists, skeleton lists are useful for competitive TCG players for a variety of reasons:
- They provide players with an understanding of the core of a deck (and the bare minimum cards required to successfully pilot it)
- Allow players to add their own flavour or anti-meta techs to a deck, while still having some assurance of consistency
- Force players to add their own cards to the list. Why is this important? It promotes critical thinking about the inclusion or exclusion of cards, allowing players to ultimately develop a better understanding of the competitive value of the cards in their deck (compared to 60 card netdecking)
Semi-competitive, time poor, or casual players will call for lists like seagulls call for chips. Better players will look for skeleton lists and make them their own.
We examined two of the most successful decks since Sun and Moon was released for competitive play. We then compared each deck’s 60 card list that placed highly at the Oceania International Challenge and at Regional events worldwide. The following are the resulting skeleton lists for Mega Rayquaza, and Mega Mewtwo (in the standard competitive format).
Note: The player’s full deck list can be accessed by clicking on the player’s name. This will direct you to an external site.
The Mega Rayquaza deck is designed to maximise the damage output of Mega Rayquaza’s Emerald Break attack by having eight benched Pokémon. With this deck, Michael Del Rosario placed in the top 16 at Anaheim Regionals, Jack Gregory Campbell and Steffen Eriksen both placed in the top 8 at Sheffield Regionals, and Emil Ronier placed in the top 32 at Malmö Regionals. Each of the decks had these 48 cards in common:
|3 Mega Rayquaza EX ROS76||3 Professor Sycamore||4 VS Seeker||4 Basic Energy|
|3 Rayquaza EX ROS75||1 N||4 Ultra Ball||4 Double Colourless Energy|
|4 Shaymin EX||1 Lysandre||3 Rayquaza Spirit Link|
|2 Hoopa EX||1 Hex Maniac||3 Mega Turbo|
|3 Trainer’s Mail|
|1 Float Stone|
|4 Sky Field|
Things to note:
- Three out of four decks ran one Dragonite EX, one Skyla, one Super Rod, at least one Escape Rope, and a second Float Stone.
- Two decks dedicated 4 slots to Puzzle of Time.
- Outside of Dragonite EX, every deck included at least two other support Pokémon. This dictated the type of basic energy played.
- If the Mega Rayquaza list that Peter Joltik used to place in the top 4 at the Puerto Rico Special Event on the first weekend of April was included in this analysis, the skeleton list would not change.
The Mega Mewtwo deck is designed to maximise damage dealt, manipulate damage received, and block the abilities of all Pokémon. With this deck, Ryan Sabelhaus and Travis Nunlist both placed in the top 8 at Anaheim Regionals, and Christopher Collins placed in the top 32. Jake Arnold and Diego Santos both placed in the top 32 at Sheffield Regionals, and Jindrich Nepevny placed in the top 4 at Malmö Regionals. Each of the decks had these 52 cards in common:
|3 Mewtwo EX BKT62||4 Professor Sycamore||4 VS Seeker||6 Psychic Energy|
|3 Mega Mewtwo BKT64||2 N||4 Ultra Ball||4 Double Colourless Energy|
|1 Shaymin EX||2 Lysandre||3 Mewtwo Spirit Link|
|1 Hoopa EX||3 Mega Turbo|
|3 Wobbuffet OR
2 Trubbish/1 Garbodor
|3 Float Stone|
|2 Trainer’s Mail|
|1 Super Rod|
|2 Shrine of Memories|
|1 Parallel City|
Things to note:
- Five of the six decks included 7 Psychic Energy, and a second Shaymin EX.
- Four of the six decks included 1 Hex Maniac, a 3rd Trainer’s Mail, 1 Eevee and 1 Espeon GX.
- Four of the six players decided that 2 Shrine of Memories and 1 Parallel City was the optimal number of stadiums to play.
Now that you have the bones of these two meta decks, make them your own, just like Peter Joltik did at the Pureto Rico Special Event on April 1st! You can see his unique Mega Rayquaza take on Decidueye GX in the Top 8 match here:
Thank you to all the players for sharing their deck lists.