Hello, and welcome to UNDNTD's first Standard Deck Feature! We're starting off strong with a fun little combination called ADPZ.

The key cards in this deck are Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX (sm12-156) (most commonly referred to as ADP) and Zacian V (swsh1-138) (there's the Z). These two cards could also be considered to be the most polarizing cards in the Standard format right now because of their sheer power and aggression. This combo commonly wins by overwhelming the opponent with powerful attacks, and targeting their set-up Pokémon such as Dedenne-GX (sm10-195) and Crobat V (swsh3-182) for easy prizes to speed up the pace of the game.

Pokémon - 12

1 Oranguru (swsh1-148)
2 Crobat V (swsh3-182) 
2 Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX (sm12-156)
1 Eldegoss V (swsh2-19)
2 Dedenne-GX (sm10-195) 
1 Mawile-GX (sm11-141)
3 Zacian V (swsh1-138)

Trainer Cards - 37

2 Cherish Ball (sm11-191) 
2 Marnie (swsh1-169)
4 Metal Saucer (swsh1-170)
2 Energy Spinner (sm10-170)
4 Professor's Research (Professor Magnolia) (swsh1-178)
4 Boss's Orders (Giovanni) (swsh2-154)
2 Chaotic Swell (sm12-187) 
4 Energy Switch (sm1-117)
4 Quick Ball (swsh1-179) 
2 Big Charm (swsh1-158)
2 Air Balloon (swsh1-156)
4 Switch (xy6-91) 
1 Great Catcher (sm12-192)

Energy - 11

8 Metal Energy (xy1-139)
3 Water Energy (xy1-134)

How To Play It

The first two turns of playing an ADPZ deck are the most important, because they dictate how the rest of the game is going to play out. To get off to a strong start, you'll want to be able to use the Altered Creation GX attack by turn 2 at the latest.

If you are going first (and you should elect to go first most of the time, except against decks that play Welder (sm10-189)), the main thing you want to do is attach an energy to an ADP—preferably a Metal Energy (xy1-139). Crushing Hammer (swsh1-159) is extremely powerful in this particular format, and you'd much rather have your Metal Energy (xy1-139) discarded rather than a Water Energy (xy1-134), because you can accelerate those back from the discard with Metal Saucer (swsh1-170)

However, attaching a Water first is not the end of the world! Likewise, if you're unable to find an ADP to attach to on the first turn (which can happen occasionally since you can't play a supporter on the first turn going first), simply attach an energy to another Pokémon you have on the field and Energy Switch (sm1-117) it to an ADP on the second turn. If everything goes right, your first turn should start with an energy attachment to an ADP and conclude with Zacian's Intrepid Sword to draw more cards. If you hit additional Metal Energy (xy1-139) off the Intrepid Sword, then you can go ahead and attach those to Zacian V (swsh1-138) as well.

If you were able to get an energy attachment to an ADP on the first turn (either Metal or Water), then you can attach an energy of the opposing type (Water if you already have Metal, Metal if you already have Water) to the ADP and use the Altered Creation GX attack. If you attached an energy to something other than ADP on the first turn, you'll need to Energy Switch (sm1-117) the first energy to the ADP, attach the second energy, and find an Air Balloon (swsh1-156) or Switch (xy6-91) (assuming your ADP is not in the active). This is the typical way to get the turn 2 Altered Creation GX going first. Reminder that the Altered Creation GX attack requires two different types of energy (Metal and Water) for the extra boosted damage and ability to take extra prize cards, so it can't be 2 Metal or 2 Water, just one of each.

If you are going second turn 1 or your first-turn energy attachment was discarded by Crushing Hammer (swsh1-159), your goal is to still get off the GX attack as soon as possible. In this scenario, you have to discard a Metal Energy (xy1-139) through Quick Ball (swsh1-179), Dedenne GX's Dedechange, or Professor's Research (Professor Magnolia) (swsh1-178) (unless your energy was discarded with Crushing Hammer (swsh1-159)) so you can accelerate the energy through Metal Saucer (swsh1-170). This allows you to perform the following strategies: accelerate the energy to Zacian V (swsh1-138) (or Mawile-GX (sm11-141) if you were unable to get a Zacian V (swsh1-138) into play), Energy Switch (sm1-117) the Metal Energy (xy1-139) to ADP, attach Water to ADP, Air Balloon (swsh1-156) or Switch (xy6-91)  the ADP into the active if it's not already there, and finally, use Altered Creation GX. Although this may sound daunting, Dedenne GX's Dedechange, Crobat V's Dark Asset, and Professor's Research (Professor Magnolia) (swsh1-178) will help you draw through your deck and make it possible.

Once you use the Altered Creation GX attack, its effect allows you to take an additional prize-card whenever you knock something out. This makes gameplay a lot faster. Since Dedenne or Crobat is played in just about every deck in the Standard format, there will usually be one of them on the field. You can also force a Dedenne or Crobat bench with a perfectly-timed Captivating Wink from Mawile-GX (sm11-141) if your opponent doesn't bench them voluntarily.   From then on, your game plan becomes using Boss on Dedenne or Crobat, using ADP's Ultimate Ray to knock it out and take three prizes, and accelerating three Metal energies to Zacian V (swsh1-138).

Ideally, you want to split the Metal energies between two different Zacians in case your opponent uses Boss to target one down. If there is another Dedenne or Crobat on the field (and there usually is), then you can use Boss again on the following turn to target them down and use either Ultimate Ray (if your ADP is still standing) or Brave Blade to knock them out for your remaining prizes. Although this may not work out as optimally as described, your game plan is to be extremely aggressive and will usually follow the trajectory of Altered Creation GX, Ultimate Ray, and Brave Blade to finish the game as quickly as possible.

Matchups

The decks you definitely want to see if you're playing ADPZ are single-prize attacker decks. Why? Because you can take two prizes at a time while knocking out their low HP attackers. Start off by taking knockouts with Ultimate Ray (and setting up two Zacians on the bench, in case your ADP gets knocked out) to finish off the game in three attacks. These winnable matchups include decks such as Baby Blacephalon, Excadrill, Mad Party, and Whimsicott. However, the true beauty of this deck is that it preys on any deck that plays multiple Dedenne or Crobat, which is practically almost every deck in the Standard format, because it typically avoids the main attackers and takes easy prizes on their set-up Pokémon.

In terms of difficult matchups, ADPZ tends to struggle against any decks that play Crushing Hammer (swsh1-159). The best way to win against ADPZ is to overpower it by knocking out ADP quickly before it has a chance to Ultimate Ray, or by removing energy to slow it down. The primary archetype that plays Crushing Hammer (swsh1-159) is Pikachu & Zekrom GX / Mewtwo GX, although Crushing Hammer is such a versatile card that could show up in practically any deck. Other ADPZ lists have also been seen playing Crushing Hammer (swsh1-159) to give them an advantage in the mirror-match and slow other decks down. ADPZ also struggles against decks that have the capability of knocking out ADP on the first or second turn, which includes Poison Eternatus, Centiskorch, and Mewtwo variants. It's very reasonable for these decks to do over 280 damage on the second turn to knockout your ADP and prevent the Ultimate Ray attack, which is critical for the energy acceleration from your deck to Zacian V (swsh1-138).

Although these decks are a little difficult for ADPZ to deal with, these games are not unwinnable by any means. I would still consider them to be okay matchups, because they still need to draw fairly well to knockout your ADP on the second turn. The matchups aren't too bad simply because ADPZ is just as powerful and aggressive as the opposition, and you can still win under normal conditions.

There are also some cards in this particular list that help with these matchups, such as the 2 Big Charms, 2 Chaotic Swells, and third Water Energy (xy1-134). The 2 Big Charms are helpful in all matchups, even the ones deemed "favorable", because giving your ADP an extra 30 HP makes it even more difficult for your opponent to knock it out. If your 310 HP ADP survives after using the Altered Creation GX and has a chance to use its Ultimate Ray attack, good news! You are most likely going to win. Next, the 2 Chaotic Swells are extremely helpful against all decks that play Welder (sm10-189) (Centiskorch, Mewtwo, and Baby Blacephalon) because Giant Hearth (sm11-197) is paramount for searching Fire energies from the deck and preventing them from putting Giant Hearth (sm11-197) into play. This in turn can prevent them from having the necessary Fire energy for Welder (sm10-189) and for attacks. The third Water Energy (xy1-134) is to help against any and all decks that play Crushing Hammer (swsh1-159). Most ADPZ lists are now playing a third Water Energy (xy1-134) because you need at least 1 Water Energy (xy1-134) to Ultimate Ray and you want to make sure they don't all get removed by Crushing Hammers. There may also be situations where you prize a Water Energy (xy1-134)—if that is the case, you want to make sure there's another one available if the first one gets discarded or Hammered away.

Closing Thoughts

Need a good reason to play Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX (sm12-156) and Zacian V (swsh1-138) in the Standard format? Take your pick! For starters, it is a true race-to-the-finish-line kind of deck—perfect for a format that's all about speed and aggression. It also follows a simple and straightforward gameplan, so if you're new to the game, it's a great starter deck. Although it involves some skill, it requires less sequencing and knowledge of the metagame compared to other popular decks, while still helping you get the basic techniques down to grow as a player. To put it simply, ADPZ is an extremely powerful deck, and whether you're playing at tournament events or casually with friends, you really can't go wrong.