[EN-BT16]Resurge From the Ashes: An exhaustive look on Phoenixmon X deck profile (2nd place regional)

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Hi everyone! I’m Héctor / HecceHrottor (@_hectormr98 on Twitter / X), and I've been playing TCGs almost all my life (not on a competitive level until much later though), moving from YuGiOh to Pokemon to Digimon. In the case of Digimon TCG, I entered mostly between BT6 and EX1, and have been playing consistently since then. Since last year I've also been a member of the Sons of Yggdrasill team (@SonsYggdrasill on Twitter / X) alongside some of my friends.

I’m relatively new to big events, and mainly play offline tournaments, as I don’t usually like the format of online ones, nor do I have a good setup for them. Remarkably, I placed 17th on ManaVortex regional tournament last October (BT13 meta) with Gankoomon (one spot away from entering top cut 16 due to tie-breaker), and 2nd place on Gameria regional tournament last 15th June (BT16 Meta) with the deck I’m going to talk about: Phoenixmon X. While some may see It as a “fun at locals” tier deck, I will try to change the way you see the deck with this article.

The Tournament

Back in April Gameria, a store located in Barcelona (Spain), announced they were hosting a regional tournament in June. With all of our team members living near Madrid, we decided to sign up for it, since it was taking place within the same country. Knowing the date of the tournament, we knew it was going to include BT16 expansion, a meta that I was not looking forward to at all. During the weeks prior to the event, I kept on looking for a deck that could withstand and surpass immunities coming from Magnamon X and Tyrantkabuterimon. I tried with Fenriloogamon, Machinedramon and Jesmon GX, but I noticed I was not getting decent results at locals nor I was feeling really comfortable with any of them. 

At last, I made a decision I encourage everyone to do, and decided to enter the tournament with the deck I was the most comfortable with and had the most fun while playing it, that is Phoenixmon X. 

The date arrived and the tournament started with 173 players ready to take the throne. I will not go in detail on every pairing I came across during the Swiss tournament phase, as I will explore more in depth the different matchups later on. Without further ado, these were my matchups and results:

R1: 2/1 Vs. Miragegaogamon
R2: 2/0 Vs. Magnamon X (Blue Armor)

R3: 2/0 Vs. Imperialdramon

R4: 1/2 Vs. Numemon

R5: 2/0 Vs. Security Control

R6: 2/0 Vs. Numemon

After the 6th round, the store announced that there was a single unbeaten person with a 6/0 score, and declared the end of the Swiss phase. With my 5/1 score, I managed to reach 5th place and enter the 8 person top cut limit. The top cut went as follows:

T8: 2/0 Vs. Miragegaogamon

T4: 2/0 Vs Yellow Vaccine Armor

Finals: 1/2 Vs Numemon (same person as R4)

Although a bit bittersweet for that last defeat, I’m really proud of the overall performance of the deck, which I will proceed to analyze now

The Deck

The list is as shown in this image:

Click into the image for decklist in DIGIMONMETA

“Okay, I see a lot of birds, but what do they even do?” Is probably the first thought of the majority of players I’ve encountered, before they are left with an empty board and security stack, while I swarm the board with powerful lvl6 and 5 Digimon, all of which have strong On Deletion effects. 

Core Deck

For anyone who does not know at this point, the Phoenixmon X deck is based all around On Deletion effects, all of which are converted to End of Attack effects thanks to one of the two deck-changing cards introduced in BT16: Phoenixmon X (as long as it has Phoenixmon or X-Antibody in its sources)

This is the combo-enabling card in the deck, as well as your boss monster. Apart from attaching End of Attack to all the On Deletion effects on the stack and having Blitz, it has its own powerful On Deletion effect, which is able to play literally any other Digimon of the decklist (except itself or Valkyrimon ACE), while deleting your opponent’s Digimon on the process.

Get yourself a nice stack ending up with this Digimon and you may have something similar to this: 

In a single swing, you are able to:

  • leave the opponent with 2 less security
  • play a Digimon with up to 11k (another lvl6), delete an Opp Digimon with up to 11k
  • play a tamer for free
  • Delete an Opp Digimon with 6k or less (potentially a level 5)
  • gain memory
  • recover a piece from trash (This is more important than what it may seem at first)

Keep in mind, these effects are also kept as On Deletion effects, so if your opponent does not have a different form of removal, they are gonna have a hard time dealing with the stack.

Now to the funny part, some of the effects listed above create new triggers and interactions after resolving, enabling a whole ton of combos (which I will show some of them later on). With a nice setup, you might be able to even OTK an enemy Magnamon X deck with all 5 securities left!.

For now let's move on onto the next core card of the deck: Garudamon X

I’m gonna be real with you all: this is the most important card of the deck, the one that moves it and makes it a deck able to stand on the meta. It does a whopping amount of 4 important things, which is an outstanding amount for a single card to do. It:

  • recycles a piece from trash
  • deletes an opponent’s Digimon with same or less DP
  • gives rush to itself or another digimon
  • trashes opponent’s securities with its inheritable

This is the card you want to base your combos upon. Deleting a Digimon with the same DP or less is a really powerful effect for a lvl5 Digimon, even without having any DP boosts on the list. 

Some deck variants may play DP boost cards like BT14 Tai or ST7 Agumon in order to increase the threshold of deletion of this effect, but I like neither of them. The main reason of this is because the job of Garudamon X is not to delete the opponent’s level 6 Digimon but rather their Lv4 or Lv5 Digimon who are threatening to blast evolve into an ACE when you attack with Phoenixmon X (this is the most vulnerable moment of the deck, as you won’t do any effects until the attack ends). With this in mind, deleting an 8k or less Digimon is more than enough on 99% of occasions, with maybe one or two exceptions. 

I’ve mentioned recycling pieces from the trash is an important effect to the deck, and this is not just only for consistency reasons. For anyone who is not aware of it, introducing BT15 Sora:

Sora is what I consider the most powerful setter tamer in the game. The less security cards your opponent has, the more powerful she becomes. To sum up, whenever you recover a piece from your trash (on All Turns), by returning Sora to the hand, you can play any Digimon with the required traits who follows this scheme, based on the number of security cards your opponent has:

  • 5 cards: 3k or less
  • 4 cards: 5k or less
  • 3 cards: 7k or less
  • 2 cards: 9k or less
  • 1 card: 11k or less
  • 0 cards: 13k or less

Among these, there are 2 important thresholds: 3 and 1 security cards. With 3 cards you become able to play Garudamon (not the X one) for free, and with 1 card left you are able to play both BT11 and BT15 Phoenixmon.

For last core card of the deck, I’m placing BT15 Biyomon here

BT15 Biyomon is not here to enable crazy combos, but it offers the deck what is probably the BEST searching card in the whole game, which is able to search any red card with its effect, with the only requirement or “downside” being trashing one Digimon card with the deck traits (I’m quoting downside as this turns out to be a good effect in order to enable future recycling effects, which need cards to be in the trash). Biyomon also offers a great inheritable effect, giving you memory whenever an opponent’s security is removed during your turn. The only downside of this card is its timing being Start of Main Phase and not having an On Play effect, but hey, I assure you this card gives you a consistency many decks would be jealous of.

Other Relevant Cards

Phoenixmon BT15

Whereas Garudamon X may be the most important card of the deck, BT15 Phoenixmon might be your most versatile card. It gives you free tamers or bodies with its When Digivolving effect, allowing you to have a proper buildup for the oncoming combos, and its On Play / On Deletion effect serves both as a way to clear your opponent’s Digimon or security cards, depending on the number of security cards left. BT15 Phoenixmon full potential is unleashed when played by Phoenixmon X’s Effect, which I will explain in the combos section.

Garudamon ACE

This is a bit of a highroll, but when executed correctly, Garudamon ACE offers amazing results. It is the only Garudamon able to play your Sora, which then can extend your combo when you Digivolve Garudamon ACE into Garudamon X. Its ability to delete any blocker can also catch off guard any opponent who is not careful enough and attacks you while having a blocker on field (Magnamon X before gaining immunity, Megagargomon ACE, Fenriloogamon with Eiji underneath, Dorugoramon with Kosuke underneath). 

Finally, Garudamon ACE is also a low playcost Lv5 Digimon which can be hard played given the occasion. Just take into account that it may be counterproductive to build a large stack with Garudamon ACE as it won't offer any inheritable effects and Overflow is a huge downside against certain matchups.

BT13 Family

While I was reluctant at first to include all of these 3 cards in the BT16 list, they all turned out to be amazing inclusions to the deck. Garudamon BT13 lets you play both Kristy and Akiho for free, giving BT15 Phoenixmon more liberty to play Sora, another tamer, or a free body on field. Its inheritable effect also plays a big role on certain matchups (Numemon and Yellow Vaccine Armor mostly). 

Kristy gives you extra memory almost every turn, which can be crucial in more scenarios than you could expect (for a reason I still can’t understand, she won’t give you memory if you only have Phoenixmon or Phoenixmon X on field, as those are Holy Beasts and not Bird/Avian). Also, if given the occasion, her On Play effect can give another On Deletion effect to your Phoenixmon X, which will be converted into an extra free Biyomon on End of Attack timing.

Among all Biyomons available to play with your effects, of course BT13 Biyomon is the best target to use, lifting Kristy to the hand in order to warp into a Garudamon which is probably gonna drop Kristy back for free, triggering her On Play again.

Wings of Love

If I could build a 51 card deck, this is the one card I would increase to x2 on the list. At first glance, It offers a way to play your tamers at a reduced cost. However, its true value shines bright if you play a Sora or you already had one on field, making you able to recycle a piece after that, and thus triggering Sora’s All Turns effect. If your opponent has 3 security left, playing this card is equivalent to playing a Garudamon for just 2 cost, which is completely absurd. From that you can use Akiho or Garudamon X to gain Rush and build up your combo out of nothing.

Combos

Now we’ve come to the funniest and most complex part of the deck. I will start by stating one thing clearly: there is NOT a perfectly defined combo guide for the deck. What I mean by this is that the deck allows so many different and versatile combos that you will probably find yourself not doing the same interactions in any game. The most important thing to keep in mind when comboing with the deck is the order in which you resolve your On Deletion effects, as the outcome might be drastically different depending on it.

Here are some basic or common combos I like to spam a lot:

Lv.5 into Phoenix X attack (Opp has 5 security cards)

  1. Move out from breeding with a Garudamon and at least 3 memory (or 1 memory and a training)
  2. Evolve into Garudamon X for 0 cost
  3. Garudamon X effect recovers a piece, deletes an opponent 8k or less
    1. Recovering a piece may imply playing out a free body if you have Sora on field
  4. Evolve into BT15 Phoenixmon without passing turn
  5. Play tamer of body for free with BT15 Phoenixmon When Digivolving effect
  6. Evolve into Phoenixmon X for 2 cost, swing with Blitz
  7. End of attack, let’s resolve some On Deletions
    1. If your opponent’s board is clear or has only an 11k or less Digimon, resolve first Phoenixmon X effect to play BT15 Phoenixmon and delete an 11k or less Digimon. Phoenixmon’s On Play effect will now trigger and trash the top card of your opponent’s security stack, as they still have 4 left. Then, resolve Garudamon X inheritable On Deletion effect, trashing another security card.
    2. If your opponent has their boss monster on field (>11k DP), resolve first Garudamon X On Deletion effect, leaving your opponent with 3 security cards. Resolve afterwards the Phoenixmon X effect to play BT15 Phoenixmon (and delete another 11k or less Digimon in the process). Phoenixmon’s On Play effect will now delete the opponent’s lowest DP Digimon, getting rid of the opponent’s big Digimon.
  8. Keep resolving the rest of On Deletion effects to play tamers, gain memory, recover pieces, and extend the combo

BT11 Phoenixmon extender (Opp has 2 or more security cards left)

  1. Same setup as previous combo, but try to have at least 2 set tamers before swinging with Phoenixmon X (Note: the tamers can also be played on End of Attack timing using both BT11 Birdramon and Garudamon On Deletion effects, before resolving other On Deletion effects)
  2. When you resolve your Phoenixmon X (with a Garudamon X on its sources) On Deletion effects after you attack, resolve first Phoenixmon X effect to play BT11 Phoenixmon (and delete another 11k or less Digimon)
  3. Now, resolve Garudamon X inheritable effect to trash a security card
  4. As BT11 Phoenixmon was already on the board, its effect will trigger and allow you to play another 7k or less Digimon for free (3k + 2K * each tamer you have on play)
  5. Continue resolving the rest of On Deletion effects

Wings of Love surprise combo (Opp has 3 or less security cards)

  1. You can start this combo with a completely empty board, as long as you have at least 2 memories and 1 available card to recycle on trash and the needed pieces in hand.
  2. Play Wings of Love for 2 cost, play Sora with its effect, then recover a piece from trash
  3. Use Sora’s All Turns effect to return her to the hand and play either Garudamon ACE
  4. Use Garudamon ACE effects to play again Sora and delete an opponent’s Digimon with Blocker
  5. Evolve into Garudamon X for 0, deleting another Opp Digimon with 8k or lower Digimon and recovering another piece (Notice that there could be king of a loop here for as long as you have enough Garudamon ACE and Garudamon X on hand)
  6. Garudamon X second effect gives rush to itself
  7. Use X-Protoform to evolve Garudamon X into Phoenixmon X for 4 cost, swing with blitz
  8. Use Phoenixmon X power to keep comboing as seen in the first two combos mentioned

Deck Weaknesses and Possible Responses

Pillomon / Crimson Blaze

As a deck hard focused on playing Digimon by effects, any floodgate or effect that denies you from doing so is a direct counter. Luckily, floodgates like Pillomon can easily be deleted with your Saberdramon / Garudamon X / BT13 Garudamon’s inheritable / Crimson Blaze

.

As for Crimson Blaze, you usually start to swarm the board from a single body, so your opponent must pay a high cost in order to play Crimson Blaze (probably 4 or 5 memories minimum) on the previous turn. You can use that memory to just further develop and wait for the turn to end. If your opponent is a single turn late, you will already have easily 2 Lv.6 and a Lv.5 Digimon that can end the game on their own. Worst case scenario is you checking Crimson Blaze with your Phoenixmon X attack, which you can’t control and will ruin your plans completely.

ACE Digimon

Phoenixmon X is really vulnerable during its attack, as it needs to wait for it to end before unleashing all the effects. If you get blast Digivolved into a Digimon that can ruin the stack like Vikemon ACE or Zudomon ACE (by trashing Phoenixmon or X-Protoform you will lose the End of Attack effect) you are probably done for the game. 

Remember that Garudamon X’s job is to delete potential threats that can evolve into ACE Digimon before swinging with your stack.

Immune Digimon

For the time being, we are talking here about Magnamon X and Tyrantkabuterimon. The birds deck can control and delete a ton of bodies on a single turn, but as these beasts just don't care it will be a tough match.

The key here is to swarm the board so much that they become unable to block all the incoming attacks. Don't build your stack using Garudamon ACE if possible, and just swing even if they block and delete your Phoenixmon X, then spam as many Digimon as possible.

Security Bombs

You can trash a lot of security cards with both Garudamon X inheritable and BT15 Phoenixmon On Play / On Deletion, but you are reliant on landing first a safe hit with Phoenixmon X. You will be fine even if you die to something such as Wyvern's Breath or Trident Gaia, but if you check any Security Bomb that is not based on deletion (Full Moon Meteor Impact / Chaos Degradation / Trident Arm) then you are wrecked.

Matchups

In this section I will talk about the most common matchups on the current meta and the game plan you should have against them, as well as an estimated guess on your % of winning.

Magnamon X (Blue)

40:60 (Slightly Disadvantageous)

ST17 Magnamon is one of the most infuriating cards to play against with this deck, being able to return your recently played Lv.6 Digimon to the hand and de-digivolving your Phoenixmon X mid attack with its Security effect. Magnamon X also forces you to drive your gameplan around a swarm style one, and in that scenario Zudomon ACE can be really nasty too.

However, if you keep enough momentum after the first Phoenixmon X attack, they most probably won't be able to answer all the bodies on your board on time.

Yellow Vaccine Armor

60:40 (Slightly Advantageous)

Pillomon can give you a hard time if you cannot answer it quickly enough, and the game can quickly run out of your hands if they reach a second Magnamon X before you overwhelm the board. 

Your opponent probably won't blast evolve into their Lv.5 ACE Digimons as they are easy targets to delete with Garudamon X or BT15 Phoenixmon. 

You usually don't care enough about DP- as you don’t care about your Phoenixmon getting deleted though, so you can play more or less in a conventional way.

Numemon

50:50 (Game of Speed + Luck)

I will say it in a single phrase: you win vs Numemon, you lose against Ukkomon rush. If you are able to get to your Phoenixmon X before you are left with 0 security cards, you will probably be fine. 

Try to prioritize building a quick and complete stack on your breeding while having answers against low DP Digimon swarms (Crimson Blaze / Valkyrimon ACE / BT13 Garudamon inheritable).

Imperialdramon

30:70 (Disadvatageous)

Now this is one hell of a matchup. Paildramon will easily freeze any Digimon played by an effect, the dual tamer can trash the most important sources out of your Phoenixmon X, Imperialdramon Dragon Mode will lock you out of playing bodies and even using training cards and the Fighter Mode ACE can easily send your Phoenixmon X to bottomdeck even if you max the amount of possible sources.

My advice in this matchup is to use Saberdramon to delete any small body left by your opponent in the early game. Use Garudamon X to delete any left Paildramon on board, and take care of the Lv.4 spawned due to partition later on. If Dragon Mode is on the field, lure out the Fighter Mode ACE in the safest way possible, using Saberdramon again for example. Once Fighter Mode ACE is on the field, you are free to go on your game. Deleting it will give you back 4 memories, and even if they use Partition, you can take both of the new Digimon out easily.

Miragegaogamon

50:50 (Skill + Luck game)

The Miragegaogamon deck is full of bouncing removal effects that will mess up your On Deletions, so I suggest you protect your stack in the Breeding Area until you are able to combo. If Miragegaogamon enters the field and does not OTK you, you will be probably fine for the rest of the game.

Try to start with a good opening hand that does not rely on searching many pieces, as you will be giving Miragegaogamon not only more memory but also enabling their OTK. Once you move out from Breeding, be prepared to use as many cards from your hand as possible. Even if your opponent manages to bounce some of them back, if you don’t have 8 or more cards their OTK won’t work.

Keep in mind to resolve in the correct order your On Deletion effects, as you want to get rid of any BT11 Miragegaogamon before drawing and / or recycling pieces from trash.

Fenriloogamon

70:30 (Advantageous)

Fenriloogamon has a really big exploitable weakness in this matchup. As they are heavily reliant on having Eiji underneath their stack, and he gives Blocker on All Turns to the Digimon he is mind-linked to, you just need to blast Digivolve into a Garudamon ACE and play a tamer in order to delete it, and most probably end the opponent’s turn.

Take into account that the new BT16 Soloogarmon can delete a Digimon with 6k DP or less mid combo, so plan ahead by just leaving 2 Lv.4 Digimon (be mindful of a possible Crimson Blaze, so don't get too greedy).

Security Control

80:20 (Very Advantageous)

This is one of your most comfortable matchups. SecCon will give you enough time and memory to build a nice stack. You will be completely fine unless you hit a Chaos Degradation on first security, and from that moment on you will overwhelm the board with many Digimon that can also spawn more Digimons when deleted. You won’t have any problem losing important pieces either as the deck can recycle almost every card, with the exception of cards sent to security due to Chaos Degradation / Lónke Adistakto.  

Conclusion

The Phoenixmon X deck, although having a relatively high entry level skill and having some troublesome matchups, is a really fun combo deck that can stand on its own on the meta. The deck may be underestimated or even be unknown by a large group of players, but remember, the surprise factor will only play in your favor. 

I hope that after reading this article your thoughts about the deck have changed or improved, and I encourage anyone to try out the birds! Thanks for reading the article and see you all! For any question, doubt or comment, feel free to contact me on Twitter / X at @_hectormr98

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