Hello everyone! Travis Nunlist here back with another pre-Regional/post-new set piece. Last time I wrote for SixPrizes I discussed which decks I liked after the Evolutions set was released and which ones I liked the most for Fort Wayne Regionals. I ended up placing 12th at the event with a Scizor/Raticate deck I showcased in the last article. Since then I’ve also placed 1st/3rd/3rd at three local League Cups and managed to end 6-2-1 for T64 at Athens after an unfortunate tie for my win-and-in round. After recently being kicked out of T16 in North America I’ve been itching to get on with the new format and to do my best to blow it wide open at Anaheim.
The period after a new set drops and before the first big event is always the most exciting to me and definitely a time where I have the most fun playing Pokémon. Discovering new cards and their interactions with existing cards is always something I’ve really enjoyed doing, and the first big events always seem to reward players that have actually tested and properly prepared for the impact of the new set.
This time around I’ll be discussing how the new Sun & Moon set affects currently existing archetypes and how I believe decks should be updated to handle new cards and threats. I’m going to be focusing less on matchups and more on the decks themselves because Sun & Moon looks to introduce a lot of new concepts into the metagame, and without specific threats to focus on, discussing a matchup spread proves to be long-winded and less helpful than desired.
I believe the following decks are currently top contenders in the Sun & Moon format so be on the lookout for similar concepts at Anaheim!
The Bully: Yveltal/Garbodor
Pokémon – 13
Trainers – 34
Energy – 13
Here we have an updated version of the undisputed BDIF of the PRC–EVO format. While it may not have had very strong showings at the last two major Standard events of the season (Dallas and Athens), this is absolutely a deck you should not forget exists. While the deck has not received a drastic overhaul from Sun & Moon, it has received a couple of new options that I believe will help to solve major issues that were being exploited and catapult the deck back to the forefront of the metagame. Garbodor is an incredibly safe play going into a new format because the best way to not have to deal with all of the new Abilities is simply to shut them all off.
I’m going to go ahead and get this out of the way: I believe Tauros-GX is the best card to come out of the entire Sun & Moon set. It has three attacks that all cost 2 Colorless Energy. The first is a vanilla 60. The second is a classic Rage attack that does 20 + 10 for each damage counter on Tauros-GX. The third is the GX attack and a beefed-up Rage that does 30× the amount of damage counters on Tauros. The splashability and versatility of the card is unmatched and I would not be surprised to see the card pop up in a lot of decks that already run Double Colorless Energy.
With 180 HP (220 with Fighting Fury Belt) and Garbodor lock behind it, there is very little in the format that can consistently OHKO a Tauros-GX. This helps to guarantee it can not only trade well, but can also score at least one free OHKO per game with its insanely powerful GX attack. The ability to do 60–70 damage for a single attachment helps the deck put on early-game pressure much easier than before since you have an attacker that does not require a successful Max Elixir to do significant T1 damage. Tauros-GX is also the only reason that Ninja Boy is included in the deck. If your opponent is playing suboptimally to try and play around the Rage effects of Tauros, you can simply switch into a better attacker for the situation. You can also go the other way and switch from something damaged into a Tauros-GX to pull off a surprise KO.
A very underrated aspect of the card is the different typing. Yveltal was taken advantage of rather well by exploiting not only the deck’s inherent weaknesses, but also the Weakness/Resistance of Yveltal itself. Having a non-Lightning-weak attacker helps make the deck less vulnerable to hard counter options like Zebstrika, and having a non-Dark-type attacker makes Fairy-type Pokémon much less difficult to handle.
I believe I am currently following a similar line of thought to SixPrizes’ own Michael Slutsky when it comes to this card. I am simply enamored with Kukui and the options it brings to the table. +20 is essentially a free Energy in Yveltal and is often the difference between taking a knockout or not. I can think of a million scenarios where the extra 20 can be game-changing, and am excited to try this card out in many different decks. I would not be surprised to see it pop up quite often in Anaheim so be prepared for the new Pokémon Professor to make his debut.
These are all cards that have found their own success in Yveltal/Garbodor at one point or another. Trainers’ Mail is a commitment to consistency and speed that is not to be underrated at a big event like Regionals, especially in a new format where people could show up with all kinds of crazy concepts. This is a card I have always enjoyed having in Yveltal, but it is also something I almost never find myself having room for.
Enhanced Hammer is too situational for my taste, but against decks using Special Energy it can be game-changing.
Team Flare Grunt was cut in favor for Ninja Boy, but if that proves unreliable or inconsistent then fitting TFG back in is a pretty easy switch. Team Flare Grunt is a card I’ve grown to really like in our current Standard format. Draining your opponent’s resources and forcing them to recommit Energy attachments to a damaged Active can flip tempo into your favor or even secure a game by limiting your opponent’s options.
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