Hey all! I’m back from Melbourne after an amazing time at the 2nd International Championship of the year. I felt sorely unprepared for this tournament, even though I tested the Standard format a ton before Anaheim. This is mostly due to the success that Decidueye-GX/Vileplume decks saw at Anaheim Regionals (John Kettler, Top 16), Sheffield Regionals (Gonçalo Ferreira, 1st place), and even John Kettler’s 2nd place finish at the Expanded Regionals in St. Louis. The deck came out of nowhere as a top contender and made me completely reconsider which decks I believed to be viable.
Despite this, I was able to actually pilot this Decidueye/Vileplume deck myself to a Top 8 finish in Australia. For today’s piece, I’ll be going over my testing mentality (and how to maximize that even while you’re in a brand new country you want to explore like Australia), my tournament experience (including some tips on how I stayed mentally invested in the tournament when things didn’t go according to plan), and how I think the Standard format will shape up in the coming months. There’s a lot to talk about so let’s jump right in!
- The Testing Process
- Game Day Down Under
- Day 1: Just Like London
- Day 2: Better than London
- Day 3: All Good Things Must Come to an End
- The State of Standard
- Counters to Decidueye
The Testing Process
Leading up to Melbourne, my thoughts on the Standard format drastically changed in two weeks. I thought Vespiquen was far and away the best deck for Anaheim, with favorable or even matchups against Yveltal, Mewtwo, Rayquaza, Turbo Dark, and Gardevoir (without Karen). While the same would be true moving forward, I thought the popularity and success of Vespiquen could lead to Karen being teched in some decks. I even heard players contemplating this in their Yveltal and Mewtwo decks during Anaheim.
In Theory …
My first thought for what to play in Melbourne was M Gardevoir. Yveltal, Mewtwo, and Turbo Dark were the three decks I expected to see the most play and Gardevoir had a favorable to even matchup against all of them. However, things changed drastically the weekend before the International event with the dominance of Decidueye/Vileplume at St. Louis and Sheffield Regionals. The deck was seeing little hype but was quickly forced onto my radar with 1st and 2nd place finishes at large events in two continents. I didn’t know how much play the deck would see but I typically don’t like taking a loss to the new deck on the block.
For the 11 days between Anaheim and the Thursday before Melbourne, my Standard testing was mostly “theorymon” as I didn’t have much time to work on any decks, and also had to prepare a bit for St. Louis’s Expanded event. I relied on the opinion of friends as I bounced ideas off of them and sought out any deck ideas I was overlooking. Typically, I sought the opinions of friends who weren’t going to the event to avoid any “hive mind” mentalities that would distort my judgement, and I thought I’d be able to get a good idea of what the players attending the Melbourne International were thinking once I got there.
After talking to a wide range of people, one notion stood out: play something that beats Decidueye/Vileplume. Everyone echoed that sentiment and typically agreed with my thoughts on Gardevoir, provided that it could somehow beat the new Decidueye deck. Past that, I started compiling a list of decks that could possibly beat Decidueye to test out, including Yveltal/Garbodor, Volcanion, M Rayquaza, and Vespiquen/Flareon AOR. These would be my focus during my testing session on Thursday before Melbourne.
Sightsee or Playtest?
After arriving in Melbourne, I faced a bit of a dilemma. I wanted to explore the new city I found myself in but I also knew how important it would be to prepare for the tournament ahead. I settled on this compromise: sightsee for a bit during the day, then buckle down and test for the evening. This made a lot of sense as I would be playing in the tournament during the daytime for at least one of the next three days, and hopefully more. I would be able to experience at least some of the nightlife in those days so I wouldn’t be sacrificing that by using that time to test on Thursday. In reality, the tournament was run incredibly well and I had plenty of time to see the city on Friday night, Saturday afternoon/night, and most of Sunday as well. This schedule worked out super well for Thursday and I plan to stick with it for most Internationals in the future.
I met up with Drew Bennett-Kennett and Kenny Britton on Thursday and we settled into our Airbnb, ate a delicious kangaroo burger, and wandered around the city for a few hours. We made our way over to the convention center around 5 PM to check in and talk with the other North American players. Most of them were pretty set on playing Decidueye/Vileplume, further perpetuating my thoughts that I needed to beat it with whatever deck I chose.
Running the Gauntlet
The first deck we tested was Gardevoir, to maximize the time we had to perfect the list since we favored it the most at this point. However, it was very weak to Decidueye/Vileplume, just on the basis of Item lock and a 240-HP attacker. We tried lists with 2 copies of Hex Maniac and even Wobbuffet, but had no luck with anything.
Next, I moved on to Volcanion — not necessarily as a play, but more so to test out the fragility of Decidueye in a diverse metagame. My thought was that if the deck couldn’t hold up against the field in general, maybe I didn’t have to worry about it that much. However, Decidueye was more resilient than I initially imagined, and the combination of Vileplume with Tauros-GX and Lugia-EX, plus Feather Arrow damage gave it a fighting chance against Volcanion. Even when the Volcanion player plays the matchup right by not benching Hoopa and refraining from benching Volcanion-EX without attaching 1–2 Energy to them, it’s 60/40 in Volcanion’s favor at the very most.
M Rayquaza was a promising pick for a while, as 2 Hex Maniac and a quick Emerald Break for 240 gave me the tools to beat Decidueye. I went 3-2 with it against Decidueye, but Drew wasn’t drawing too optimally with Decidueye so I took the results with a grain of salt. I didn’t feel too good about Rayquaza’s potential against Mewtwo and Yveltal, and even saw it lose some games to Turbo Darkrai in the past few months. I kept it in the back of my mind as a possible option but was far from sold on it.
The next deck on the list was Vespiquen/Flareon AOR. I loved Vespiquen after playing it for a good chunk of the season, even though I was uninterested in being known as a “Vespiquen player.” This happened a few times in Anaheim as my opponents remarked “I think I know what you’re playing” before our match started, just due to the fact that I played the deck in London and at a League Cup. Typically, I would just rather my opponent not know which deck I’m playing for as long as possible as to not give them advantage when choosing their starting Pokémon or as they make decisions on their first turn. However, I still want to always play the best deck in the format no matter what it is so I considered Vespiquen. This was short-lived after I got the “perfect” setup with a T2 Vespiquen + Flareon + Bee Revenge for 240 in the first game, but still handily lost due to Item lock and slowly-placed Feather Arrow damage. I unsleeved the deck immediately after that.
The last deck I tested was Yveltal/Garbodor. I was very close to playing the deck in Anaheim as I thought Tauros-GX + Ninja Boy gave Yveltal a lot of interesting options to complement the raw power and consistency it thrived on before. Earlier in the day, I watched Michael Pramawat’s Decidueye fall to Kian Amini’s Yveltal/Garbodor several games in a row, where Pram remarked “I don’t think it’s a very good matchup.” This led me to believe Yveltal would be a safe call for the event and I resigned myself to playing it at this point.
I sleeved up the list I showed off in “The Joey Report” from last week and played a handful of games against Decidueye just to see how it goes first hand. I learned a lot about the matchup in the first three-game set even though I lost 2-1. The two keys were that Trubbish couldn’t be benched without Float Stone and that I couldn’t be afraid to load up a giant Yveltal-EX, even with the threat of Lugia-EX’s Aero Ball. We ended up playing two more games where I had a better game plan going in and even got Garbodor online with a Float Stone in both games. However, I still lost both due to either Beedrill-EX + Lysandre or just the consistent 90 damage from Razor Leaf combined with Decidueye’s massive 240 HP.
A Final Decision
It was at this point where I first contemplated playing Decidueye/Vileplume myself. The deck held its own against everything I threw at it, as well as against Turbo Darkrai in some matches I wasn’t part of. I was a little bit concerned as it was almost 1 AM at this point and I hadn’t played a single game with the deck, so I questioned my ability to properly pilot the deck. Decidueye-GX’s Feather Arrow Ability requires you to think several turns ahead and there are a lot of decisions to make when you play with 2 GX attacks in a deck, one of which lets you pick 3 cards out of your discard, introducing more and more crucial decisions.
I also thought the metagame would be incredibly favorable for Decidueye. The American players seemed to be mostly favoring Decidueye or Turbo Dark, giving me at least 50/50 matchups there, but they weren’t a large portion of the metagame. I guessed European players would stick with Dark decks after the best players were known to play them in their most recent tournaments. Yveltal and Mewtwo were the most popular decks in the Oceania region for the past 2 months, and I heard that many of them would be playing Darkrai or Yveltal. Volcanion had seen little to no play, further reinforcing Decidueye’s strong spot in the metagame.
In the end, I decided that I would be able to play the deck decently at least. I’ve had a lot of experience with Vileplume decks in the past 12 months which paid off in the tournament as I had to decide when to and when not to set up a Vileplume in several games. I also had just played 20+ games against Decidueye, which gave me a really good idea of how the deck wants to function. Playing against a deck is one of the best ways to get the full picture of how it operates, and I always suggest players do this before playing a deck in tournament. Drew and I played one game of the mirror match, contemplating when it was/wasn’t beneficial to get out Vileplume, came to few conclusions other than “feel out the situation,” and went to bed, satisfied with our list.
Game Day Down Under
I woke up in the morning and felt very confident in my deck choice. Drew Bennett-Kennett and Jay Lesage had worked together on perfecting the list on Thursday and I really liked how it turned out. For the most part, it was almost identical to the list that John Kettler piloted in Anaheim. I knew that they tested all kinds of card counts like 2 Shaymin, 3 Lysandre, 4 N, and more, so I felt very comfortable that the list was as optimized as could be.
Here’s the list that Drew and I played:
Pokémon – 25
Trainers – 28
Energy – 7
The card that stands out the most is the single copy of Unown AOR. I had more questions about this inclusion than almost any other card I’ve ever played. The thought behind it was to never have to waste a Level Ball (or Ultra Ball for that matter). In some of our games, the Decidueye player ended up with a board of Rowlet + Oddish + Tauros/Lugia + Shaymin-EX/Rowlet or similar without finding a Forest of Giant Plants. Typically, I want to save the remaining 2 Bench spots for a Shaymin-EX and another Rowlet or attacker, depending on what I draw off of my upcoming Sycamore/N. If I have a Level Ball in hand, I can’t use it to put a Gloom or Dartrix in play since I didn’t find the Forest. Instead, you can grab the Unown to keep your options open with your Bench space, and dig one card deeper after playing your Supporter card, helping to find your Forest, Energy, or Evolution card.
In hindsight, this spot may have been better served as one part of a Trevenant-EX + 3rd Lysandre combination. We gave the list to the US Senior players to play on Saturday and they chose to include the Trevenant over the Unown, making decks with Garbodor or Hoopa even better matchups. It also helps against the mirror match (Lysandre Vileplume, snipe around it, KO Vileplume with Feather Arrow, get Items back on your turn while setting up a Vileplume of your own so your opponent doesn’t get a turn of Items). However, I’m not upset that I played the Unown as it bailed me out of some bad situations throughout the day.
Let me know if you have any other questions; the list is pretty standard but I can go over gameplay and matchup tips where requested.
Day 1: Just Like London
Melbourne Internationals // Day 1 // 272 Masters
R1 Passimian (LWW)
R2 Turbo Darkrai (WW)
R3 Turbo Darkrai (WW)
R4 Decidueye/Vileplume (LL)
R5 Turbo Darkrai (WW)
R6 Turbo Darkrai (WLW)
R7 Volcanion (WLW)
R8 Turbo Darkrai (WLW)
R9 Vespiquen (WW)
Final: 8-1 // 2nd Seed
My Day 1 was serendipitously similar to my Day 1 in London. I lost the first game of the day, won all but one match, and played almost every round against a Dark deck. I ended up at 2nd seed with an 8-1 record once again as well.
I quickly realized that Turbo Darkrai is an incredibly favorable matchup, as they have a lot of trouble dealing with a quick Vileplume and their damage output is relatively low when compared to Decidueye’s 240 HP. I also don’t think that most of my opponents approached the matchup optimally as they usually chose to bench a Hoopa-EX and give me an easy target to Lysandre up to stall, take free Prizes on while also placing Feather Arrow damage on the Bench or on the Hoopa to KO it on my opponent’s turn and force an attacker into the Active Spot to take a Razor Leaf.
Side Note: I ended up being right about my metagame prediction as 14/18 US/CAN/MEX players played Decidueye or Dark decks, 7+ strong European players played Dark, and almost all of the Australians I saw played Dark decks. I didn’t make any terribly risky metagame assumptions, but it was good to know that I was on the right track.
Mental Stability (Part 1: The Deck Check)
During the first day’s matches, I found myself in a potentially stressful situation after my deck was taken to be deck-checked right before Round 2. I ended up sitting at my table across from my opponent for 23 minutes while my deck was checked. In the past, if something like this happened to me I would be incredibly nervous, constantly asking myself “What’s wrong with my deck?” and “Will I have enough time to play my match?” Instead, I took the proper precautions earlier in the day to prevent unnecessary worry.
First, I meticulously checked my deck and decklist 5+ times. Depending on how big/prestigious the tournament I’m about to play in is, I spend a certain amount of time just making sure that my deck matches my decklist and is exactly 60 cards. Many events have a player meeting and this is the perfect time to do this instead of browsing social media or talking to friends. You’ll thank yourself for “wasting” the 5 minutes of your time if you ever find yourself in such a position. I also always play with a fresh set of sleeves at Internationals and Worlds, and won’t use a set of sleeves for a Regional unless they’re completely devoid of any markings, consistent across all sleeves or not. This might be a bit overbearing but it kept me in a good state of mind.
Second, I brought a watch. This allowed me to immediately note the time that the round started and know exactly how much of a time extension to ask for when my deck was returned. I also knew the rules for time to set up between games in a top cut match (2 minutes) so I could add that on to how long I was going to ask for with my time extension. I got my deck back 23 minutes after the round started and asked for 26 minutes, with the extra minute to compose myself and pile shuffle again in case my deck was in decklist order. I was granted a 25-minute time extension which I graciously accepted and I felt very confident going into my match.
Day 2: Better than London
After the first day, I was elated with my performance but I knew I had to stay focused on the next day’s competition. I was in this exact same position after Day 1 in London but I failed to make Top 8. Since there were over 200 less players than London, I figured that 30 match points would be safe to make Top 8 so I only needed to win 2 rounds on Day 2. I also knew I would be playing Javier’s Decidueye/Vileplume (my only Day 1 loss) in Round 10, but chose not to test the mirror match as it seemed to mostly come down to who got the better setup. Instead, we used the time to relax and unwind after a long day of Pokémon, something that I often lose sight of in my incredibly competitive mindset.
Mental Stability (Part 2: Calming Effects)
I chose to walk to the venue instead of taking an Uber in the morning, even though it was a fairly long walk (~30 minutes). I thought this would give me time to pump myself up but instead it ended up being a bit detrimental to my mental state. My other roommates didn’t make Day 2 and were planning to meet me at the venue later in the day to cheer me on. So instead of having someone to talk to, I was alone with my thoughts leading into the 2nd day. I’m not a very optimistic person overall, and was putting a lot of pressure on myself to finally make Top 8 after coming so close in Orlando and London. It was a bit overwhelming for me to be so close to accomplishing something that would mean a lot to me and I could only envision myself failing to meet my goal. I noticed myself getting this emotional a bit too late and it took me a while to calm myself down with my typical “pump up” playlist.
What should you take away from this? If you’re like me, I’d suggest staying with a group as much as possible when finding yourself in high-pressure situations. Being able to talk to others calms me down, as I found out after winning an incredibly close set in my 7th round against Volcanion on Friday (I was literally shaking). If that doesn’t work for you, or you find yourself without someone to talk to, there are some other techniques that might help like listening to music, chewing gum, sitting down and taking some deep breaths, etc. This all depends on you personally as some players like chill, instrumental music in these situations while others like myself prefer rap music to keep the competitive mindset strong. Overall, try to stick with something that you do or listen to in your everyday life, as we don’t often find ourselves in these situations, so the feeling of something familiar will help you to return to a healthy mental state.
In hindsight, I should have either minimized my time that I spent alone by either taking an Uber to the venue or listening to my playlist the entire time to the venue. This is no one’s fault but my own and something I’ll learn from in the future. Be sure to figure out what works best for you before you find yourself in a similar situation.
Melbourne Internationals // Day 2 // 32 Masters
R10 Decidueye/Vileplume (LL)
R11 Zoroark/Yveltal (WW)
R12 Volcanion (LL)
R13 Mewtwo/Garbodor (WLW)
R14 Decidueye/Hoothoot (ID)
Final: 10-3-1 // 5th Seed for Top 8
Day 2 got off to a rough start, where I lost to my R4 and R7 opponents from the first day in the first 3 rounds and started to doubt my chances to make cut. However, I was able to win a very close match in R13 and locked up my spot in Top 8! I was incredibly happy at this point and felt completely satisfied with my performance no matter what happened in my Top 8 match.
Mental Stability (Part 3: Slip & Recover)
In R13, I received the first Prize penalty I’ve ever received in competitive Pokémon. I used a Level Ball to search out a Pokémon, then used a Trainers’ Mail to grab an Ultra Ball, but looked through my deck before playing the Ultra Ball. The combination of 13 long rounds of Pokémon as well as the time zone change led to me forgetting that I was playing a Trainers’ Mail instead of a search card, so I wasn’t allowed to search through my deck. My opponent and the table judge caught my mistake rather quickly, and the Masters Head Judge was called over to make a ruling. I was given a Prize penalty for searching my deck when I should not have been able to which my opponent took as he had every right to.
I had the opportunity to appeal this ruling to the overall head judge but I chose not to for two reasons. For one, I thought this was a fair ruling. The Masters Head Judge quoted the rule to me as well as the reason to escalate to a Prize penalty (as it was a Tier 2 event) so I had no basis to argue on. Second, I wasn’t completely convinced that I would be awarded all of the time that was spent on the ruling as a time extension. While judges try their best to be fair with time extensions, I’ve seen rulings take 8+ minutes and only 5-minute time extensions are offered. Instead of worrying about how long I would have for the rest of the match, I noticed that there were only 13 minutes remaining for the match, accepted the ruling, and asked for a meager time extension, which was granted.
From here, I took a moment to compose myself and put my sweatshirt and hood on, something that comforts me and keeps my body temperature at a good level. I apologized several times to my opponent and finished the game. Although I lost, I had enough time to complete Game 3 and put all of my energy into minimizing mistakes with my gameplay and the prior game’s sloppiness. This is not a situation that I hope to find myself in again, nor that most people often face, but it’s good to have a game plan if you are unfortunate enough to receive a similar penalty.
Day 3: All Good Things Must Come to an End
I lost my Top 8 match 2-0 to Pablo Meza in the Decidueye mirror. We both had bad setups Game 1 but he hit the Vileplume and 2 Decidueye before I even hit 1 Decidueye. I almost made a comeback but whiffed a Lysandre on the final turn which would have won me the game. Game 2 I went for a risky play, setting up a Decidueye and Vileplume on T1 while leaving my Decidueye with DCE and Float active against his board of Lugia and Rowlet. I could have retreated to my Tauros but I was afraid it would be stuck there as 2-of my 4 DCE were unavailable after a T1 Sycamore and it would be hard to find another one. Instead, I had a G Energy in hand to use Razor Leaf and put a ton of pressure on Pablo’s board on T2. The only way I would be punished by this play is if Pablo found a DCE and a Decidueye line on his first turn, giving him the damage output to KO my only Decidueye T2. These were the first 3 cards he played on his first turn and the game only went downhill from here. I was still elated with my performance and happy to see Pablo take 2nd in this tournament after he was unsuccessful in making Day 2 at any event all year.
Australia was an amazing experience that I’m sad couldn’t have lasted longer. Melbourne was a very interesting city with tons to see and even a giant festival that we were able to experience, complete with the national skateboarding and wakeboarding championships. I spent a lot of time with American players I otherwise usually wouldn’t, and felt incredibly welcomed by the local players. The tournament was also run incredibly well, giving us tons of time to sightsee on Saturday and Sunday afternoon and evening. I hope to go back soon!
The State of Standard
As many players at the event and back home noted, the metagame has completely changed and is centralized around Decidueye/Vileplume right now. If you’re preparing for League Cups, Salt Lake City Regionals, or Brazil Internationals, I wouldn’t play anything with an unfavorable matchup against Decidueye. Personally, I’d be unsurprised to see and would even welcome a ban of Forest of Giant Plants in the coming months. Rarely do we see a format so centralized around one deck and some of them have even seen bans or mid-season rotations (Sabledonk in 2011 –> mid-season rotation to HGSS-on, Seismitoad/Shaymin in 2015 –> Lysandre’s Trump Card ban). Decidueye/Vileplume combines raw power with stopping your opponent from playing the game (to an extent), making it unhealthy for the format in my opinion.
However, in the meantime, it’s important to focus on decks that have chances to beat Decidueye. I’ve seen tons of things like Umbreon/Wobbuffet or Groudon floated because they can play high numbers of Wobbuffet. This is a bad idea for two reasons. One, I don’t think either of these decks are very strong against the format as a whole. Decks like Volcanion, Mewtwo, Yveltal, and Rayquaza will all see play moving forward.
Two, I don’t think Wobbuffet is really that good of a counter to Decidueye/Vileplume without the proper support and purpose. It needs to be either used to facilitate your Ultra Ball or Tool placement to get things like Garbodor online or to reactivate your VS Seeker which can grab your Lysandre or Hex Maniac for reuse on later turns. You need strong and quick attackers to deal with Decidueye’s 240 HP and 90 damage output, which is not something that most decks that I’ve seen with 3–4 Wobbuffet have. You also really need 2+ Float Stone so your Wobbuffet doesn’t get stuck in the Active Spot, keeping you from using Abilities like Shaymin’s Set Up. Jay and Zach Lesage ran 1 Wobbuffet in their Turbo Dark deck as a soft counter to Decidueye decks, but when we played in Round 6, Jay ended up starting with it and no Supporter in his starting hand. He no longer could use his Ultra Ball for a Shaymin until he found the cards to move the Wobbuffet to the Bench, giving me the time I needed to set up and win a relatively easy game.
This isn’t to say that you can’t splash Wobbuffet in some decks as a counter to Decidueye, just that you need to be deliberate when including it. In fact, here are some decks that I think make good use of Wobbuffet and also hold their own in the format as we move forward.
Counters to Decidueye
Pokémon – 14
Trainers – 35
Energy – 11
This list is pretty standard with a few notable changes to deal with Decidueye. Wobbuffet and Hex Maniac give you the turns you need to set up your board or stop a few crucial turns of Feather Arrow damage when necessary. Just remember that you don’t have an unlimited supply of VS Seeker for Hex Maniac or Lysandre so it’s necessary to plan out when you use these cards to take your 6 Prizes as efficiently as possible.
I also definitely recommend playing 2 Shrine of Memories and 1 Parallel City instead of the other way around as I’ve seen in some lists. Shrine of Memories is a super scary card for Decidueye to play against as you rarely 1HKO a M Mewtwo (sometimes even failing to 2HKO it) and one good Damage Change can end the game before it starts. Try not to discard them whenever you can help it, and even think about playing 3 if you expect a lot of Decidueye.
Unfortunately, I don’t see any space in this list for Espeon-GX, the current tech of choice for the mirror match. If you expect a few other Mewtwo decks, I’d add the 4th Mega Turbo back to give you a bit more of a chance in the mirror. However, if you expect a lot, the Wobbuffet and a Trainers’ Mail should be cut for a 1-1 Espeon-GX line. Sam Chen played Mewtwo in Australia after telling me that the Decidueye matchup was slightly favorable for Mewtwo if played correctly. I would want the Wobbuffet just to be sure, but I don’t think Decidueye will thrive in a metagame full of Mewtwo.
Pokémon – 17
Trainers – 36
Energy – 7
This list is pretty heavily teched against Decidueye and Vileplume decks in general without sacrificing consistency. 2 Wobbuffet and 3 Float Stone mean you should be able to get one on the board quickly and reuse it whenever you need to to grab Hex Maniac and Lysandre to keep the pressure on in the early game. Some of the speed cards like the 4th Spirit Link, 4th Mega Turbo, and 4th Trainers’ Mail were sacrificed for the necessary space but you won’t need them as much against Decidueye since it’s a fairly slow deck in most games.
In my testing on Thursday before Melbourne, the games I lost to Decidueye with Rayquaza were due to an N to 1 or 2 that I couldn’t draw out of in time. By keeping a Wobbuffet on your Bench and promoting it at the right time, you typically double the amount of cards you have left in your deck that can bail you out of a Supporter-less hand in the late game. The Wobbuffet also slow down other decks like Volcanion that can put pressure on you when you have start that’s just not fast enough.
These are of course not the only decks that can beat Decidueye. Here are some other options:
- Yveltal/Garbodor could be built in a similar way to the Mewtwo list that I showcased above. Hex Maniac would be a cool inclusion, but I’m not sure if Wobbuffet is also necessary. Test them out independently and also together.
- Volcanion has a slightly favorable matchup against Decidueye but I don’t particularly like it against the rest of the format, especially if Ability Lock gets as popular as I expect to counter Decidueye. If you must play Volcanion, I’d be playing 4 or more in combination of Catcher and Lysandre to account for things like Wobbuffet and Garbodor.
- Vespiquen could also splash in a couple of Wobbuffet and Float Stone, but I’m wary of the low HP and relatively low damage output that it has. My friend Grafton Roll played a list with Wobbuffet and Espeon-GX that probably warrants some testing to see how the Decidueye matchup shakes up.
- Espeon-EX is an interesting option if you’re playing a spread deck that could put 80 damage on several Decidueye and/or Vileplume or just otherwise can make good use of Lysandre. It can be dropped out of nowhere to catch an opponent off guard and completely destroy their board state.
Although I’m not completely sold on the format being healthy right now, I’m excited to see how things shape up in the next few months. It’s a time where creativity can really shine so try to make the most of it!
That’s all for today! I’m excited to have some time at home and away from the major tournament circuit, even though I’ll be playing a lot of League Cups in the next few weeks. My next big event will be São Paulo Internationals in April and I’m very excited to explore another new country.
How did you like today’s article? I’ve tried to work a lot on how I present information in a tournament report to only give you the most important details so I especially welcome feedback on this kind of writing.
Until next time!
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