Darkness has fallen over the TCG, and its reign of terror is intensifying. My name is Travis Nunlist and I’m here to help find the light at the end of the tunnel. Welcome to the second installment of the two-part series coordinated with Aaron Tarbell. I’m really excited to be writing my first article here on SixPrizes and hope I can prove to be a valuable addition to the phenomenal writing staff here.
In this iteration I’ll be examining a few decks that I believe are capable of going even to favorable with the Dark variants that took control of our very first Standard tournament of the season in Orlando. Anyone that knows me knows that I have always had a dislike for Dark variants due to their incredible power. I’m the kind of player that would rather beat what is good/popular rather than give in to the strength these decks often feature, and since the printing of Dark Patch, that has often included Dark variants.
Whether you’re looking to embrace the darkness or combat it, I believe this article will provide some incredibly useful information on what to expect in Fort Wayne this coming weekend.
Mega Gardevoir STS
Pokémon – 17
Trainers – 35
Energy – 8
This deck was very under the radar before Orlando Regionals but has since entered into an incredibly strange spot in the metagame that I’m not entirely certain I’ve ever seen happen to a deck in my time playing the Pokémon Trading Card Game. Even though it has no substantial finishes inside of the United States, it has already surfaced as the best and most obvious counter to the T8 decks that terrorized Orlando. I believe this information became common knowledge among competitive players rather quickly and will cause players to be prepared to face the deck despite its lack of results.
However, the deck is one of the only decks currently able to effectively counter both Yveltal/Garb and Darkrai/Giratina/Garbodor which is why it has earned the top spot as a fighter of the darkness. The strategy of this deck is incredibly similar to that of the Mega Rayquaza deck, except it doesn’t suffer from a lot of the same weaknesses as Rayquaza. While it cannot OHKO as effectively, it is much less vulnerable to Parallel City, has incredible typing, and is actually really good against Giratina-EX.
I chose these three Pokémon as tech options because of the versatility of their coming-into-play Abilities and the option to reuse them through Dragonite-EX. Gardevoir often needs to refill its Bench to continue increasing its damage output so having useful Bench-warmers is never a bad thing.
Absol is great to move damage counters back to upcoming threats in order to soften them and make them easier for Gardevoir to KO when they come Active, and helps to ensure that you never have any wasted damage from overkilling an Active threat.
Hawlucha can push a non-optimal target back to the Bench and force up something you would rather knock out, and Rattata can discard annoying Tools like Fighting Fury Belt, Float Stone, and other Spirit Links.
The potential reuse of these Abilities through Dragonite is a huge reason why I like them so much, and I encourage players to try out any and all coming-into-play Abilities in the deck.
When I first began testing the deck with Evolutions cards, it seemed like a 1-1 Raticate was a no-brainer addition to the deck. Rattata had some incredible uses and Raticate provided a much-needed out to Regice. However, testing showed me that Raticate was simply too niche and rarely provided a valuable return on the space commitment.
Other potential inclusions are 4th Trainers’ Mail, 2nd Lysandre, 3rd Fairy Drop, and more recovery through Buddy-Buddy Rescue/Super Rod. Outside of Fairy Drop, the others are mainly consistency additions that I felt needed to be excluded in order to prioritize other additions to the deck.
I’ve seen a few lists online that opt not to include Fairy Drop which I believe is a huge mistake and borderline criminal not to utilize such a powerful card. 2 is the bare minimum I would play here, and believe the card is insanely strong in the current metagame.
The Dark Matchups
Vs. Yveltal/Garbodor … 75-25
Speed, resistance, OHKO potential, massive bulk, healing through Fairy Drop, and minimal reliance on Abilities all add up to trouble for Yveltal. Unless something goes horribly wrong, this matchup should be pretty easy for Gardevoir. The biggest threat you have to watch out for is Yveltal BKT because it can shut off Gardevoir Spirit Link and trap a non-optimal target like Hoopa or Dragonite Active while spreading to your Bench. As long as you don’t draw horrendously and avoid giving your opponent opportunities to capitalize with Yveltal BKT, it should be a breeze.
Vs. Darkrai/Giratina/Garbodor … 70-30
This matchup is very similar to Yveltal/Garbodor for Gardevoir for a lot of the same reasons. The Dark player’s out to winning here is a bit different, but can be just as easy to handle with some correct and well-thought-out playing.
Generally they will lead with Darkrai-EX BKP because of how difficult it is for Gardevoir to knock out. Both attackers resist the other; however, it is a bit easier for Gardevoir to make up for the damage early on to guarantee the 2HKO than it is for Darkrai to do so.
Unlike most Mega matchups for this deck, Giratina is actually pretty useless. The Fairy Weakness allows Gardevoir to easily use Hex Maniac to achieve a OHKO on Giratina and remove 4 Energy from the Darkrai player’s field. Because of this, it is actually a better play for the player to use Giratina as a safe haven for Double Dragon Energy to increase Darkrai’s damage output and only attack with Giratina when the attack + Hex Maniac combination has a much lower chance of being pulled off.
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