Monster from the Black Lagoon

Top 32 Orlando Regionals Report with Darkrai/Giratina/Garbodor, the Updated Standard Tier List, and Future Techs

What is up with it everyone! I’m Russell LaParre and I’m writing to you once again on the 2016–2017 Standard format. In this piece I’ll be discussing my Orlando Regionals experience and how I feel the results from Orlando will be sculpting the future of the Standard format. Let’s get into it.

Pre-Tournament Popularity Projections

Here was my “tier list” based upon the number of players I expected to pilot each deck:

Most Popular

  • M Mewtwo-EX/Garbodor
  • Volcanion/Volcanion-EX
  • Yveltal/Mew
  • Darkrai-EX/Giratina-EX

Average Popularity

  • M Rayquaza-EX
  • Rainbow Road
  • Gyarados
  • Greninja
  • M Scizor-EX/Garbodor

Least Popular

  • M Gardevoir-EX
  • Xerneas BREAK/Giratina-EX
  • Serperior
  • Vespiquen
  • Vileplume variants

The Deck

darkrai-ex breakpoint 74 16-9
“I can tell you something about this place. The boys around here call it ‘The Black Lagoon’; a paradise. Only they say nobody has ever come back to prove it.”

To start, my flight out of Washington, D.C. was delayed an extra hour and a half and I arrived Friday in Florida around 11:30 p.m. Normally, I use the Friday night before a tournament to secure my final deck-list decisions and playtest a few matchups I feel I may not have completely figured out. Since I was arriving late, I resorted to crunching out my final card choices as I sat on the plane for three hours.

I knew for about a week or two before the event that I wanted to play Darkrai-EX/Giratina-EX/Garbodor but I was torn on my 59th and 60th cards so I spent most of my time on the flight evaluating each tech and deciding which ones complemented each other to the highest degree for my anticipated field. Ryan Sabelhaus, Bradley Curcio, and Rahul Reddy (all members of the The Chaos Gym) were also discussing the idea of playing Darkrai/Giratina with me and we had similar thoughts on the techs we could add as the final cards.

Pokémon – 12

3 Darkrai-EX BKP
2 Giratina-EX AOR
2 Trubbish BKP
2 Garbodor BKP
2 Shaymin-EX ROS
1 Hoopa-EX AOR

Trainers – 32

4 Professor Sycamore
2 N
2 Lysandre


4 Ultra Ball
4 VS Seeker
4 Max Elixir
3 Float Stone
3 Fighting Fury Belt
2 Trainers’ Mail
1 Enhanced Hammer
1 Super Rod


2 Parallel City

Energy – 14

10 D
4 Double Dragon

Open Slots: 2

Key Cards

3 Darkrai-EX: I found during testing that playing only 2 Darkrai-EX put me in a bind when I’m in a 50/50 matchup. Playing the extra copy for the unfortunate moments when I would prize one was ideal and proved its worth throughout the tournament. The same logic doesn’t apply to Giratina-EX as I only attack with Giratina-EX in a few matchups. More than 70% of the time it’s sitting on the Bench collecting Double Dragon Energy for Dark Pulse boosts.

2-2 Garbodor: This is fairly straightforward but I want to highlight how important it was for me to play a 2-2 line of Garbodor going into the tournament. I anticipated running into a high number of Yveltal BKT, Volcanion-EX, and Greninja decks throughout the event. Playing the 2-2 line instead of my go-to 2-1 line helped ensure I could get my Garbotoxin online when it was critical toward success in a matchup.

1 Enhanced Hammer: The single copy of Enhanced Hammer allowed me to have a momentum-swinging play with Giratina-EX during all stages of the game. I expected to use Enhanced Hammer against M Mewtwo-EX, M Rayquaza-EX, Yveltal/Mew, Rainbow Road, and the mirror. It’s a solid card to punish an opponent’s overextension of resources and becomes easy Ultra Ball fodder for matchups where it’s a dead card.

The Last Two Slots

escape rope 16-9
I decided to switch it up.

The biggest decision with this deck was the final two tech cards I wanted to include. I was debating between seven different cards and how they would complement each other against a majority of the meta.

Escape Rope: This deck needs some sort of switch card included. If you’re attacking with Giratina-EX you’ll want a way to retreat it while keeping the Energy it has attached so your Dark Pulse progression stays intact. What else does Escape Rope do for me? Combining Escape Rope and Lysandre breaks Regice’s Resistance Blizzard and Jolteon-EX’s Flash Ray out of their respective locks that would normally give my opponent an instant win. Playing Escape Rope would allow me to forgo Pokémon Ranger and give me the ability to use my Supporter for the turn to draw into Escape Rope and play accordingly.

3rd/4th Trainers’ Mail: I’m torn on playing a heavy count of Trainers’ Mail after seeing so much success with my Waterbox list for Nationals that played Energy removal tech instead of Trainers’ Mail. This was probably my reckless decision for this tournament. I choose to play 2 copies of Trainers’ Mail in hopes that the consistency of my deck trumped the necessity to have a higher count of Trainers’ Mail so I could fit all the tech I wanted. I ran a few test draws playing the 3rd/4th Trainers’ Mail and overall wasn’t all that impressed with the progression it gave me. Had I drawn a bit more poorly I would’ve cut down to play 1 tech card and included the 3rd Trainers’ Mail.

Pokémon Center Lady: I like Pokémon Center Lady in most lists as a way to turn 2HKOs into 3HKOs. As I was testing with this list and playing against unfavorable matchups that were about 60/40 in my opponent’s favor (M Scizor-EX or M Gardevoir-EX) I noticed that I could swing momentum in games where I had a decent start if I played a copy of Pokémon Center Lady. My game plan against most of these decks turned to using my 3 Darkrai-EX to trade 2HKOs for 3HKOs while powering up a Giratina-EX on the Bench which was untouchable for their Mega Pokémon. Playing a copy of Pokémon Center Lady could support this game plan in these otherwise awful matchups.

Olympia: I considered adding Olympia as a recurring switch card and a way to heal damage in matchups where the opponent’s 2HKO is done based off perfect numbers against my 220-HP Pokémon. The problem with this is it burned my Supporter for the turn and didn’t offer the same Resistance Blizzard or Flash Ray negation that Escape Rope offers.

Delinquent: Since my build only plays 2 copies of Parallel City for Stadiums, if my opponent plays down a Parallel City on me it’s going to stick for the rest of the game barring they don’t remove it. Delinquent was considered as a way to clear their Parallel City as well as drop an opponent’s hand to 0 should they play themselves down to 3 cards or less.

. . .

Ultimately, I decided to add a copy of Escape Rope and Pokémon Center Lady to counteract potential bad matchups while also having utility across the board. Ryan, Brad, and Rahul decided on the 3rd Trainers’ Mail and Olympia meaning they took a bad matchup to Regice and Jolteon-EX for consistency.

Match Summaries

Round 1: Steven Bates, M Rayquaza-EX/Raichu

Matchup Mindset: This should be a landslide victory for Darkrai-EX/Giratina-EX/Garbodor. I’m looking to set up Giratina-EX on the Bench while keeping Darkrai-EX Active and tanking until I can get a Parallel City in my hand for when I want to Chaos Wheel. Ideally, I should be attacking with Giratina-EX turn 2 but it’s better for me to be patient and wait out the Parallel City should he draw Hex Maniac and 1HKO Giratina-EX. The 1 copy of Enhanced Hammer should come into play if he rushes to toss down Double Colorless Energy once he sees Giratina-EX, so I feel confident the game will be quite easy. In this matchup I also look to put a Trubbish on the Bench with a Float Stone should I ever need to completely lock him out of the game with Garbotoxin. I don’t want to preemptively evolve into Garbodor allowing him to KO my Giratina-EX should he draw into Pokémon Ranger + Sky Field + Mega Turbo + Double Colorless, so that timing can be a little bit tricky.

Game 1: I’m dead-drawing for a while after I mulligan three times. Turn 3 I draw into a Professor Sycamore and get to a Giratina-EX with Double Dragon Energy. He takes a knockout on my Shaymin-EX and I need to draw into Parallel City and Double Dragon Energy — which I luckily do — then slowly get my deck going from there. His hand starts to fail him after a Parallel City and N then he scoops shortly after Chaos Wheel locks him down.

Game 2: I get a better start but have no draw Supporter. I’m able to make turn 2 Giratina-EX with Parallel City but he has a Mega Ray on board, a Shaymin-EX on the Bench, and 2 Raichu (one with a Double Colorless). He nets himself a Hex Maniac and Emerald Breaks for 90 then the following turn I play Pokémon Center Lady and bring the damage down to 30. We crack a good laugh over the fact that I’m playing Pokémon Center Lady and he slowly loses from this point on as neither Raichu nor M Rayquaza-EX would be able to KO Giratina-EX anytime soon.


Round 2: Andy Banales, M Scizor-EX/Garbodor

Matchup Mindset: My game plan here is to set up a Darkrai-EX and apply early pressure on their Scizor-EX with a Giratina-EX in the back row with Double Dragon Energy attached. Since most Scizor lists play 4 Crushing Hammer, Team Flare Grunt, and 2 Enhanced Hammer I have to be conservative with my attachments and make sure my Energy is only attached when they count. I’m to looking hit the numbers for a 2HKO against M Scizor-EX but only if I can still accomplish the 2HKO even after my Double Dragon Energy gets removed through Enhanced Hammer. If I can’t reach this point then I can poke it with a Dark Pulse, see if they have any Energy removal during their turn, and retreat to Hoopa-EX to absorb some hits until I draw into Pokémon Center Lady. Alongside this numbers game of trading 2HKOs for 3HKOs, I need to focus on using Lysandre against any Benched Trubbish with Float Stone and use Chaos Wheel to apply pressure on any Scizor-EX he might build up on the Bench should he realize the M Scizor-EX are never going to get to my Giratina.

Game 1: Both Andy and I open with a few mulligans and ultimately start Darkrai-EX vs Scizor-EX. His hand starts fairly slow after an N and he isn’t able to get a M Scizor-EX online until about turn 4. In the meantime, I’m applying a bit of pressure with Darkrai-EX but he is able to Enhanced Hammer my Double Dragon Energy and retreat to slow down my pace using Olympia. He draws into 3 Crushing Hammer over the course of six turns and misses two of them which is good news for me but I’m still unable to keep pressure with Darkrai-EX after he gets a M Scizor-EX online. I begin to track his resource usage and notice he has 3 Scizor-EX on the Bench and he manually retreated a damaged M Scizor-EX to attack with a Scizor-EX against my Giratina-EX. I think to myself: “New game plan … deck him out!” I grab his discard pile, count how much Energy I see and how many VS Seeker are used. He has only 1 VS Seeker left and probably 1 or 2 Energy with 4 Prizes. I Lysandre up a M Scizor-EX and pass. He draws and uses Trainers’ Mail to scope through the rest of his deck and quickly realizes I’m not going to attack him and he scoops. He went 1/4 Crushing Hammer flips total so I chalk this one up to a bit of luck and his unfortunate hands.

Game 2: Andy gets a stronger start and hits a turn 2 M Scizor-EX to my awkward hand. I miss a few Max Elixir and can’t out-pressure the Mega without starting to Chaos Wheel it. He misses two more Crushing Hammer in a row and uses Olympia to save M Scizor-EX after I’m unable to find a Fighting Fury Belt to 2HKO the Mega. Scizor-EX then comes Active and pops Giratina-EX for 110. I decide to take a less aggressive route as I’m missing Max Elixir and opt to retreat and Dark Pulse for pitiful output. He makes another Mega and starts pressuring my Darkrai-EX and hits a Crushing Hammer to all but shut me out of the game. I have the deck-out option in play and ultimately go for it after thinking about how many VS Seeker and Lysandre he’ll need to close out the game. This is where I made my critical mistake. I knew the game was out of my hands; I knew the only out I had was to deck out and while he needed a lot of switching cards and VS Seeker to pry his way out of the deck-out, it’s still not an optimal win condition for me. I think my final path of thinking was: “This matchup is awful. A tie is perfectly acceptable if this deck out doesn’t work.” The deck-out doesn’t work and he hits 2 VS Seeker for Olympia during the final turns to take the win.

Game 3: We start the game and after about two turns, time is called and neither of us can take all 6 Prizes. He’s upset about having to tie which is completely understandable. He went 2/7 Crushing Hammer flips in our games and it’s quite a positive matchup for him. I wish him luck for his next round and apologize for his bad coin flips then head out for lunch.


Round 3: George Pollock, M Mewtwo-EX

Matchup Mindset: This matchup should be favored for Darkrai-EX/Giratina-EX/Garbodor if the M Mewtwo-EX deck doesn’t play Hex Maniac and Garbodor. I’m looking to use Darkrai-EX to damage M Mewtwo-EX and 1HKO any Benched Trubbish with Tools until I get a vibe for whether or not my opponent plays Hex Maniac. If I don’t see any during Game 1 then I’m safe to start using Chaos Wheel ASAP to regulate their Garbodor and Double Colorless Energy. It’s ideal to Fighting Fury Belt your Giratina-EX as you need to be able to 2HKO their M Mewtwo-EX to cut off your opponent from getting any advantage from a Pokémon Ranger into Garbodor + Tool + Double Colorless Energy + Mega Turbo turn from happening. It’s asking for a lot from them but it’s certainly plausible.

Game 1: We play a fairly downtempo game with me finally sticking a solid lock with Chaos Wheel and I’m able to follow up with Darkrai-EX to Dark Pulse my final knockouts on his Shaymin-EX and Benched Mewtwo-EX. He never really got much going but we played at a semi-slow pace so I’m hoping we can finish without tieing.

Game 2: I start decently and am able to take control of the game state with Chaos Wheel until he makes a M Mewtwo-EX then plays Mega Turbo + Hex Maniac to take out Giratina-EX. He then proceeds to run through my attackers and snowballs the game in his favor. I realize this a bit late after attempting to mount a comeback, but I should’ve just scooped.

Game 3: George gets a fairly dead hand and I’m able to take quick control with Dark Pulse and Chaos Wheel. He draws into a Professor Sycamore and is able to bench a few Pokémon-EX in hopes of coming to a tie and I start rushing to attach then draw into a Lysandre to finish the game. Time is finally called and I’m at 6 Prizes with Dark Pulse hitting for around 180. We came to a point where I needed one more turn and I’d be able to walk away with a win.

Lesson Learned: Scoop against M Mewtwo once the game feels outside my control. No point in wasting time, especially when the first game finished quickly.


Round 4: Chad Truong, M Mewtwo-EX/Garbodor

Same game plan as the previous M Mewtwo-EX/Garbodor matchup. I’m going to play this matchup quite a number of times so please reference the game plan from Round 3 whenever needed.

Game 1: I open strong to his Trubbish and Hoopa-EX for 2 Mewtwo-EX and Shaymin-EX. Shaymin-EX nets him nothing and he has a pretty dead hand until he finally draws into an N on turn 3. By the time he hits the N, I have 3 D Energy and Double Dragon Energy on board with a Parallel City clearing my set-up Pokémon. The N doesn’t get much started for him besides being able to Mega Evolve so he scoops shortly after Chaos Wheel starts coming into effect.

While we’re shuffling up for Game 2, Chad mentions he used to play Pokémon TCG back in the day and decided to start up again. He actually used to read SixPrizes a while back and was happy to find it here still to help him make his deck decision for Orlando. If you’re ready this Chad, “Whats up!?!”

Game 2: Similar to Game 1, Chad opens with a very mediocre hand and I’m able to get a turn 2 Chaos Wheel going and slowly grind out a win since he’s never able to deal with the pressure of 5 D Energy and 3 Double Dragon Energy on board.


Round 5: Robert Midkiff, Xerneas BREAK/Giratina-EX

Matchup Mindset: Xerneas BREAK/Giratina-EX is quite possibly the worst matchup I could play against in the entire tournament. Since Xerneas hits Giratina-EX for Weakness, I’ll need to be conservative about placing it on the Bench and hope that I can replace his Fairy Garden with Parallel City, use Lysandre to bring up one of their Giratina with a Double Dragon Energy and 2HKO it. This way they can no longer 1HKO Darkrai-EX and I can stand somewhat of a chance in trading attacks.

Game 1: Robert starts with a ridiculous opening hitting Giratina-EX, Double Dragon Energy, Fairy Garden, Repeat Ball, and Max Elixir on his Benched Xerneas then free retreats and uses Geomancy. I get a decent start but opened Giratina-EX so I’m forced to retreat it back with Float Stone and put a Darkrai-EX Active with a D Energy. He plays Professor Sycamore after attaching second Double Dragon Energy and discards 2 Fairy Garden in the process. Three more turns go by where he has complete control of the game state and is using Life Stream for 180. I look at his discard pile with 2 Fairy Garden, 3 Y Energy, and 1 Fairy Garden on the field then decide I should go for a deck-out against his Giratina-EX. I play Parallel City, bringing his Bench down to three, and he’s forced to discard either a Giratina-EX with 2 Double Dragon Energy, Giratina-EX with 1 Double Dragon Energy, or a Xerneas BREAK. He opts to pitch a Giratina-EX and I use Lysandre to bring the other Active and hit it with an Enhanced Hammer then pass. He passes for two turns after drawing and realizes there’s no solid way for him to retreat as all his Energy is on board and when he finally does I can just use a Lysandre to bring it back Active and end the game. He scoops shortly thereafter.

Game 2: Robert gets a similar setup to Game 1 but this time I’m unable to mount an actual comeback with a deck-out. I stall for a bit with Darkrai-EX and Giratina-EX and manage to KO a few Xerneas but once he gets a Giratina-EX down with 2 Double Dragon Energy I lose.

Game 3: I start for Game 3 and get a strong start with 3 Max Elixir. Then time gets called as I pass my turn and neither of us can take 6 Prizes for the win. Robert and I discuss the concept of the tie and we both know we can make Day 2 if we win out so I wish him good luck and hope I can mount a comeback from here.


Round 6: Joshua Frink, Volcanion/Volcanion-EX

Matchup Mindset: Volcanion-EX is a matchup decided entirely upon how quickly you set up Garbodor vs how early can your opponent can 1HKO Darkrai-EX. If their version plays Max Elixir (which after a few more rounds of testing proved to be best build of Volcanion) then you might be in for a rough time but I still think the matchup is 50/50 because of Parallel City. In this matchup I’m looking to use a Darkrai-EX to trade attacks with Volcanion while I establish a Garbodor and Giratina-EX on the Bench. Since Volcanion can put out such absurd turn 1 damage I ideally want to leave them a Darkrai-EX or Giratina-EX with a Float Stone Active while I build up attackers on the Bench. They’ll probably burn a few Steam Ups to bring your Active Pokémon-EX within 2HKO range but this is great for your game plan as you’ll want to retreat it the following turn, make your Garbodor, and throw down Parallel City — discarding your set-up Pokémon-EX and the one that absorbed damage. This is asking for a lot of cards but this is the ideal scenario you want to put yourself in anytime between turns 2–4. Since they’ll deal 20 less damage from Parallel City, Volcanion essentially becomes an attacking Energy attachment. Once they start damaging your Darkrai-EX, you should retreat to a Giratina-EX, use Lysandre on a Benched Volcanion-EX without Float Stone and 1 or less Energy, then Chaos Wheel them. This puts them in a situation where they need to hit a switch card or they lose 2 Prizes for free all while protecting your Garbodor from danger.

Game 1: Joshua gets a strong start and I’m drawing somewhat dead. I try to slowly grind back in the game with Lysandre, Giratina-EX, and Garbodor but I’m far behind so once he hits a switch card and Lysandre on my Shaymin-EX I lose.

Game 2: I get a better start with Darkrai-EX, Garbodor, and Giratina-EX with Double Dragon Energy and I’m able to start controlling the game state. He’s able to KO my Darkrai-EX and I’m drawing a bunch of Energy off his previous turn’s N so it takes a while before I’m able to Chaos Wheel my way to victory.

Game 3: We start the game and try to speed rush into it so we don’t tie. Time gets called when I’m at 5 Prizes to his 6 and he decides to be a great guy and give me the win. The dream is still alive!


Round 7: Ben Marles, Volcanion/Volcanion-EX

Same matchup mindset as my previous round.

Game 1: I get a ridiculous start with 2 Max Elixir, Double Dragon Energy, and Double Fury Belt. Ben is sadly dead-drawing while I string back-to-back Professor Sycamore and I manage to win around turn 5.

Game 2: We completely switch luck from Game 1. I draw 5 or 6 D Energy with Shaymin-EX against his field of Sky Field, 3 Volcanion-EX, Hoopa-EX, Shaymin-EX, and 2 Volcanion. I scoop around turn 4 and we start cracking jokes about our garbage hands.

Game 3: I get a solid start with Hoopa-EX for the standard trio of Darkrai-EX, Giratina-EX, and Shaymin-EX. Two Max Elixir hit and I draw a Professor Sycamore to hit Trubbish and Float Stone. He gets a somewhat slow start and has to play N then bench a Shaymin-EX for 2 and attach to a Volcanion-EX. I’m able to make Garbodor around turn 3 and start to swing momentum from there as he’s unable to get anything going before I have Dark Pulse for 180, Parallel City, and Garbodor in play.


Round 8: Bryan Hunter, Volcanion/Volcanion-EX

Same matchup mindset as my previous two rounds.

Game 1: Bryan gets a ridiculous start hitting Hoopa-EX, 2 Max Elixir, and following up with a Volcanion that hits my Giratina-EX for 120 with Power Heater. I get a Trubbish down and have to play N into a hand full of Energy and another Giratina-EX. He KOs the Active Giratina-EX and I try to stall out for a few more turns with N just to gain knowledge of his list like switch cards, Energy count, Stadium count or number of Energy Retrieval. Ultimately I lose but get some information that I need.

Game 2: I get a solid start with Trubbish and Float Stone, Darkrai-EX, Giratina-EX, and hit a Max Elixir. He has a mediocre hand and is forced to attach to Volcanion-EX after using a Professor Sycamore. I manage to get my ideal setup around turn 4 with Garbodor, Giratina-EX, and Parallel City then slowly win from there.

Game 3: I get a bad start against his Hoopa-EX setup with Volcanion Active and double Max Elixir on his Volcanion-EX. I have a Giratina-EX Active, a Giratina-EX with a Double Dragon Energy, and Darkrai-EX on the Bench. I’m able to hit 2 Max Elixir on my Darkrai-EX then attach a Fighting Fury Belt to it and play Parallel City putting him at minus 20 damage. I pass for the turn and he’s able to 1HKO my Active Giratina-EX with Steam Up and Volcanic Heat. I draw for the turn attach a D Energy to Giratina-EX and Dark Pulse hoping I can 2HKO this Volcanion-EX. He draws and plays VS Seeker for Pokémon Ranger, uses it, and then Steam Ups three times but realizes he doesn’t have the Stadium to clear Parallel City so Darkrai-EX lives. I draw for the turn and attach another Double Dragon Energy to Giratina-EX, play N, and take the knockout with Dark Pulse. Bryan is pretty frustrated with himself at this point thinking he may have tossed away the win with the two early knockouts but he manages to hit a Shaymin-EX off the N and draws into a somewhat playable hand. Volcanion comes down but he has no way to retreat so I draw for the turn and use Pokémon Center Lady on Darkrai-EX and Ultra Ball to set up my Trubbish. I slowly grind out the win from here as he’s never able to get much going after I stream Dark Pulse for 180.


Round 9: Alex Hamilton, M Mewtwo-EX/Garbodor

Same matchup mindset vs M Mewtwo-EX as before.

Game 1: I start off strong to my opponent’s somewhat dead hand. I’m able to start using Chaos Wheel by turn 2 and he can’t make a huge comeback against Giratina-EX besides using Shatter Shot a few times and ultimately he realizes the game state and scoops early. When he scooped he said the words, “I’ll be on the play Game 2.” I knew this was a common Magic: the Gathering phrase so I start to chat with him about how long he’s been playing Pokémon and he said about 3 months due to prize increase. I think it’s great someone who enters the game is able to make it to a win-and-in situation at the largest Regionals ever so I figured I’d point this out.

Game 2: I get a solid start to his somewhat dead-draw until he’s finally able to draw a Professor Sycamore turn 2. A Hex Maniac comes down to 1HKO my Giratina-EX and I go from having control of the game state to having next to no damage output to win the game with Darkrai-EX. I try to fight back with Lysandre on Hoopa-EX and piece together a game plan to take a KO on Hoopa-EX then a 1HKO on his Benched Shaymin-EX but he gets a M Mewtwo-EX with 2 Double Colorless and 3 P Energy to sweep my board.

Game 3: I get an early Enhanced Hammer down on turn 2 and start Chaos Wheeling early to his mediocre draw. We’re both playing somewhat fast so we don’t tie and I’m in total control until he’s able to use Shatter Shot twice to KO Giratina-EX. He N’s me to 3 after I KO a Trubbish early and I manage to draw into Max Elixir, Double Dragon Energy, and 2 VS Seeker with a Lysandre in the discard pile. Time finally gets called, I’m at 3 Prizes to his 4. I use a Lysandre on his Shaymin-EX and KO it with Dark Pulse for 140 and hope he doesn’t have the N to remove the other VS Seeker from my hand then I can Lysandre for game. He draws for the turn and plays Lysandre on my Shaymin-EX for the 1HKO and I play a Lysandre to finish it. He smiles and tells me, “Great game! I had a Lysandre next turn too,” then flashes me the Lysandre in hand.



We did it! Day 2, boys!!

Takeaways from Day 1

My initial thought after looking at the top 32 standings was, “WOW! This top 32 is stacked with talent. I recognize over 25 of the names on the list and believe all of them can take home the win.” There were quite a few M Gardevoir-EX decks that made Day 2 and should shake up the high number of M Mewtwo-EX there. The Vileplume Toolbox list is probably going to place 1 or 2 players into top 8 and I’m hoping I dodge it since it has an easy time handling Darkrai/Giratina. Seeing only 2 Gyarados decks in the top cut was not surprising. People keep calling it “the secret deck from Orlando” but honestly it took up around 10% of the field and had around 80 to 100 players piloting it. I tested it for quite some time and wasn’t impressed with how it functions in the late game so I took it as an inconsistent replacement for Night March. Let’s see how Day 2 goes!

Round 10: Azul Garcia Griego, Yveltal/Garbodor

Matchup Mindset: Yveltal/Garbodor is a pretty awful matchup as Yveltal BKT wins them the game through Pitch-Black Spear and control over your Float Stone. Yveltal-EX is one of the strongest anti-Giratina-EX cards in the game so I can’t use Chaos Wheel at any point without expecting a Yveltal-EX to come up and 2HKO it without wasting much Energy. I’ll need to establish Garbodor early then overwhelm him with Dark Pulse and try to pick off Shaymin-EX on his Bench as trading with Yveltal-EX will more than likely end with him dealing enough damage to Lysandre up a Benched Pokémon and hitting Darkrai-EX with Pitch-Black Spear for a KO off the Bench.

Game 1: We both start off with mediocre starts and I’m missing a few Max Elixir so I’m always a little short of getting the 1HKO on Yveltal XY or Yveltal BKT. We get to a game state where I’m at 3 Prizes to his 2 Prizes. I play N and I hit him with a Fighting Fury Belted Chaos Wheel for a KO. He has a Yveltal BKT with 1 D Energy, a Yveltal-EX with a D Energy, and a Benched Shaymin-EX with a D Energy. He notices my optimal win condition is to Lysandre up the Shaymin-EX for game so off the N he draws a Max Elixir and opts to Sky Return then promotes a Yveltal to be fodder. I N him again and he draws the D Energy he needs to attack with Yveltal-EX and follows up with an Enhanced Hammer so I can’t retreat my Giratina-EX without losing all my Energy. He cleans up the final turns with Y Cyclone.

Game 2: My hand is a complete brick and I pretty much attach an Energy and pass for about three turns while Azul sets up 2 Yveltal BKT and a Yveltal-EX. He then Pitch-Black Spears for 6 Prizes and I lose without playing a draw Supporter.


Round 11: Conner Lavelle, M Mewtwo-EX/Garbodor

Game 1: Conner gets a pretty bad start and I’m able to Chaos Wheeling after turn 2. He sticks around for a bit using Set Up to net a few cards but opts to scoops early to conserve time.

Game 2: Conner gets a decent start this time and is able to establish 2 M Mewtwo-EX while I try to stall him out with Chaos Wheel. Eventually he gets to a Hex Maniac, which I was hoping he didn’t play, then slowly takes control of the game. He finally N’s me to 4 semi-dead cards and I scoop early knowing that M Mewtwo-EX was just going to snowball on me.

Game 3: Conner once again gets an awful start and just sits around using Sky Return for 1 or 2 turns and can never really get stuff going. I have a decent start and use Dark Pulse on turn 3 and 4 to 1HKO the few Mewtwo-EX he has in play but he never gets established.


Round 12: Andrew Delao, M Mewtwo-EX/Garbodor

Instead of making some madness up I’m going to say I honestly don’t remember how this match went. I know I won 2-1 and I think my opponent did not play Hex Maniac so once I used Chaos Wheel and took out Trubbish the game was over.


Round 13: Igor Costa, M Mewtwo-EX/Garbodor

Game 1: I mulligan 5 times and Igor is going first so I knew I was in for a bad game. He gets down 2 Trubbish with 2 Float Stone, Parallel City’s me to 3 Bench, and has 2 Mewtwo-EX with 2 Spirit Link on turn 1. I have a mediocre hand and try to get Dark Pulse a Trubbish and hopefully Chaos Wheel the Garbodor with a follow-up Lysandre. He plays N after I KO a Trubbish and I’m unable to get to the Garbodor before Giratina-EX goes down.

Game 2: We play a long drawn-out game where I have a decent start and I’m able to take out 1 Trubbish but now I have to play around him using Lysandre to clean up my entire Bench. We grind out through mid game but I’m finally able to Lysandre Hoopa-EX and control it with Chaos Wheel until I build up enough damage to 1HKO with Dark Pulse even if he uses Shatter Shot to KO Giratina-EX.

Game 3: He once again opens with Mewtwo-EX with a Spirit Link and 2 Trubbish but has Float Stone on one and Spirit Link on the other. I bring up Darkrai-EX to Dark Pulse and KO the Float Stone Trubbish but I don’t have a Fighting Fury Belt on it meaning it’ll go down quickly if he draws into another Double Colorless Energy and Mega Evolves. He gets a Professor Sycamore, makes Garbodor, and M Mewtwo-EX then attaches to it for the 1HKO. I Lysandre up the Garbodor with a fairly dead hand and attach a Double Dragon to my Giratina hoping he just whiffs on the Energy. He draws and attaches P Energy to the Garbodor and plays Professor Sycamore. I draw and play N hoping to hit Double Dragon Energy but end up drawing into a bunch of dead Pokémon and D Energy. I attach the D Energy and pass. He draws for the turn and hits the Double Colorless Energy to retreat and KO Giratina-EX and I lose from there.

The top 8 dream is dead and the best I can do is finish top 16.


Round 14: Jimmy Pendarvis, M Mewtwo-EX/Garbodor

Game 1: I dead-draw similar to my hand against Igor in Game 3 and Jimmy basically wins it by turn 3 once he makes a Garbodor and a M Mewtwo-EX with 2 Double Colorless Energy on it.

Game 2: Jimmy now dead-draws and is forced to attach Energy to a Trubbish and try to discard by Double Dragon Energy but he misses and I just donk him with Chaos Wheel.

Game 3: I dead-draw again similar to Game 1 and lose around turn 4 having 5 or 6 D Energy in my hand.



This tournament was amazing. Hands down the best-run tournament I’ve ever been to. The staff was great, the judges were constantly on point with keeping up with time, and the people at the results slip boxes were energetic and fun. We finished Day 1 around 10 p.m. and Day 2 around 2 p.m. which is insane compared to the rest of the Regionals I’ve been to over the past two years. Props to the Krekelers and all of those who staffed because you made this event incredibly enjoyable for hitting record-breaking Regional numbers.

Updated Standard Tier List

Here’s my tier list for Standard after the tournament (taking into account the tournament results):

Tier 1

  • M Mewtwo-EX/Garbodor
  • Yveltal/Mew
  • Darkrai-EX/Giratina-EX
  • Vileplume variants

Tier 2

  • Volcanion/Volcanion-EX
  • M Gardevoir-EX
  • Rainbow Road
  • Gyarados

Tier 3

Future Techs

Tech takeaways from Orlando and what you should expect to see in the future.


Olympia was the MVP of this tournament. Azul, Brad, Rahul, and Ryan all played it to success and I believe it was critical toward them taking wins against unfavorable matchups throughout the tournament. I expect most decks to start including a single copy of this card in the Standard format from now on and it should push some decks to be less reliant on Float Stone.


Many top players, myself included, saw the strength of playing Delinquent throughout the tournament to clear off Parallel City. I wish I had included in my deck as being put to 3 Bench and sitting with dead Stadiums in my deck held me back on winning some fairly easy games. Tons of players still dropped their hands down under 3 cards going into my turn and I believe most players haven’t completely tailored their game to play around it.

Garbodor BKP

Garbodor was anticipated to be everywhere for Orlando and with good reason. It gives decks a fighting chance against Vileplume Toolbox and all but shuts Greninja out of the format. I expect Garbodor to stay around for a few more months and if players aren’t playing their own Garbodor line they’re just taking a risk of losing against all the Volcanion-EX decks that flooded Florida.

Enhanced Hammer

The single copy of Enhanced Hammer earned its place in my build five times over. This card is ridiculous in this format filled with Double Colorless Energy and Double Dragon Energy. Decks will continue to play 1 or 2 copies of it to punish players that are overeager to play their Special Energy down as soon as they draw it.

Spinda PRC, Celebi XY93

The anti-Gyarados cards are not needed. A ton of Gyarados decks were played at Orlando and none placed so high that it should take over the format. It’s a fragile deck that can draw awkwardly at times and even lead to easy donks through Sky Return so I don’t expect players to keep playing these two counters.


That’s all the time I have for today! I wrote quite a lot of detail so I apologize it was a longer read than you’re used to. Please check out my YouTube channel Some1sPC if you have the time and comment/message me any questions or thoughts you may have for your upcoming tournaments. I’ll be playing in Philadelphia Regionals coming up Nov. 5–6 so if you see me please stop by and say hi.

Take it easy!

Russell LaParre

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