Greetings! It’s been a while since my article last month, so here’s a short recap of what’s happened since then:
- I attended Anaheim and barely missed points with Mega Rayquaza
- I attended St. Louis and landed in Top 64 with Mega Gardevoir
- I fulfilled the dream of mine to visit Australia and finished in Top 32 with Mega Gardevoir
The last few Regionals I plan on attending are Roanoke, Madison, and Mexico City. If you see me, feel free to say hi! I’m completely open to discussing anything. I’m going to U.S. Internationals, but not Brazil because of school. Missing a week and a half because of Australia set me back in plenty of my classes, most notably calculus. I was also 20 points off of 16th place NA and a stipend for Brazil. After having this happen, I realize it’s extremely important to try as hard as possible for every tournament. I’ve had friends that missed Top 16 or their invite by 5 points in previous years because they didn’t max out League Challenges and Cities (AKA League Cups). A Top 64 at Regionals, another round won in Australia, or even winning a League Cup instead of placing Top 4 would have earned me the stipend.
Standard as a Whole
The meta is incredibly unstable looking toward the vast amount of Standard events ahead (Salt Lake City, Brazil, Roanoke, etc.). Decidueye/Plume took over Australia, but lost to Volcanion in the finals. Volcanion had never won a major tournament before, so is a favorable meta all the deck needs to succeed? I think that Volcanion, Decidueye/Plume, Mega Mewtwo, Mega Rayquaza, Lapras, and Turbo Darkrai are the decks to watch for in Standard. Other decks that may appear are Vespiquen, Mega Gardevoir, and Yveltal/Garbodor. I think all of these have the potential to win the tournament with the correct meta. Success in a Standard tournament is all about picking the deck that loses to the least popular decks. If no one in your area plays Mega Gardevoir, play Mega Mewtwo! This works for every other deck and their bad matchups. Turbo Dark and Yveltal/Garbodor are unique because they have fairly even matchups all around compared to the rest of Standard. Every other deck takes a hard loss to something, but also takes a decisive win from something.
Mega Rayquaza Rises from the Ashes!
I believe that Mega Rayquaza is an incredibly good deck in Standard. The deck has plenty of raw power that other decks can’t keep up with. It also hits incredibly good numbers against Decidueye/Vileplume. I think that John Kettler and Alex Wilson’s clash in the finals of St. Louis is indicative of the matchup. In Standard, Mega Rayquaza does not have immediate access to Hex Maniac through Jirachi-EX, but Vileplume is harder to hit on T1 in Standard. Mega Rayquaza also has good matchups against Volcanion, Mega Gardevoir, and Turbo Dark.
Pokémon – 16
Trainers – 36
Energy – 8
I believe the Volcanion-EX version is the best, unless you are running Espeon-GX to counter Mega Mewtwo (more details are below). In just a few rounds, I hit the T1 Emerald Break an extra two times because of Steam Up (which allowed for me to Mega Turbo). I didn’t have Ultra Ball in conjunction with a R Energy, but being able to grab Volcanion-EX off of Scoundrel Ring was a lifesaver. I find that there often isn’t a 3rd Pokémon I need because I already have one in my hand. Jirachi is mediocre, and I find it to be relatively useless in my games when I include it. My motto with this deck is: “If you’re not attacking with Mega Rayquaza, you’re losing.” This holds true because there is no backup strategy. Mega Rayquaza is a linear deck that succeeds because of its high damage output and speed. Situational cards like Jirachi are there as a fallback, and sometimes can be used as a saving grace to stall for a turn.
The deck handles itself well against most decks in the format. It struggles against Mega Mewtwo, Vespiquen, and Yveltal/Garbodor. Vespiquen and Yveltal/Garbodor are hard matchups because of Zebstrika/Zoroark and Yveltal BKT.
Vs. Mega Mewtwo
Mega Mewtwo is incredibly tough. Mega Mewtwo needs 4 Energies to 1HKO a Mega Rayquaza after attacking. The key to playing this matchup is to conserve resources and only focus on the Mega Mewtwo. Similar to the Mega Gardevoir vs. Mega Mewtwo matchup, attacking Shaymin-EX and Trubbish are largely irrelevant. This match comes down to who misses a 1HKO first. Hold onto your Pokémon, Sky Field, and VS Seeker to bring up a Mega Mewtwo before the opponent starts attacking. Always have an answer when they use a counter Stadium such as Shrine of Memories or Parallel City.
If I were to add a Mewtwo EVO, I’d probably also add a Professor Kukui. With a 4-Energy Mega Mewtwo, Mewtwo EVO does 200. Professor Kukui knocks it over the hump to 240 and a 1HKO. Mewtwo also acts as a threat. If Sky Field + 7 Pokémon is missed, it’s still a perfectly good play to do 200 with a non-EX. The biggest fear is Damage Change, but that puts Mega Mewtwo on odd prizing and allows an extra turn to dig for a 210-damage Emerald Break.
Assault Vest seems playable because 9 Energies between Active Pokémon are required to 1HKO a Mega Rayquaza. This will usually mean 6 on the Mega Mewtwo and 3 on the Mega Rayquaza. It will be near impossible to 1HKO a Vested Mega Rayquaza. It’s also easy to use because the first Rayquaza will be manually evolved without a Spirit Link.
Espeon-GX seems like it would be clunky in Mega Rayquaza, but to be honest it sounds alright. Someone from a group chat gave me the idea last Saturday after it won a League Cup in Florida. It can easily KO a Mega Mewtwo with 2 Energies on it. Divide-GX also has the benefit of bringing the deck a GX attack. Another niche is being able to place damage counters so that the HP remaining is 150; Sky Field is not needed in scoring a knockout.
Mega Catcher is an extremely weird idea that occurred to me on the way home of losing 0-2 to Mega Mewtwo with the list. I never drew Lysandre quickly enough; I was forced to discard too many resources and I ran out of steam. However, I drew Skyla. In hindsight, I could have grabbed Mega Catcher and used that the turn I played Skyla. It also gives me the option to dig with Professor Sycamore and still have a gust effect.
Vs. Decidueye/Vileplume and Turbo Darkrai
The other two important matchups that require a bit of thought are Decidueye/Vileplume and Turbo Darkrai. Decidueye/Vileplume is dictated heavily on who goes first and sets up. It’s a race to build a board, but the problem is a T1 Vileplume means a loss. Holding Sky Field in hand and being able to 1HKO a Decidueye-GX is extremely relevant. Also, having access to Lysandre in the late game is great for picking up easy Prizes on Shaymin-EX.
I find Turbo Dark to be close because of Silent Lab. However, most lists are opting for lower counts nowadays in favor of consistency and Wobbuffet. Like all matchups, the most important thing to do is NOT TO DISCARD SKY FIELDS. Some Turbo Dark variants also run Enhanced Hammer, so be mindful of Energy attachments.
The Importance of Turn 1
The last aspect of this deck I want to cover is the importance of a good first turn. Going against a multitude of decks, Rayquaza succeeds by taking early knockouts before the opponent can respond. Sometimes the first hand has a Professor Sycamore and 2 VS Seeker, but that Professor Sycamore has to be played. Playing risk-free with the deck will ultimately lead to losses because games don’t close quickly enough. The games that Rayquaza loses to Volcanion, Turbo Dark, and Mega Mewtwo are those that go past the first 5–6 turns. Very easy matchups can go sour by playing too reservedly.
Mega Gardevoir is in an extremely weird spot at the moment. It’s my favorite deck to play in Standard because of its ability to force opponents into an awkward position after playing Hex Maniac, clearing the Bench, and taking 2 Prizes. It acts like a slower Mega Rayquaza that can play drawn-out games. However, because of the rise of Decidueye/Vileplume, Gardevoir has been pushed to counter it. Lists that have been successful run 2–3 Hex Maniac solely for this matchup. Before Sun & Moon was released, I only ran 1 and it was lackluster against anything but Volcanion. Now, Hex Maniac is the only card giving the deck a chance against all forms of Decidueye.
I think that Mega Gardevoir has an important place in the meta because of its unparalleled ability to check Mega Mewtwo. Mega Mewtwo is an insanely strong deck against everything except Mega Gardevoir and Yveltal/Garbodor. All of its other matchups are favored with little luck involved. Since Orlando, Mega Mewtwo has survived the meta changes and continues to succeed. It also boasts a fairly good Decidueye/Vileplume matchup because of Espeon-GX, Wobbuffet, and Garbodor.
Pokémon – 16
Trainers – 37
Energy – 7
After reflecting on my League Cup performances I’ve come to this list. It is surprisingly different from my list I played in Australia. I chose there to play 0 Trainers’ Mail because of Decidueye/Vileplume. I also expected Yveltal/Garbodor to make a resurgence, but that fell through. To create my Australia list from my current list above, do these changes:
Skyla was insanely helpful when I drew it because I could search for whatever I needed. Worst case it acted as a means of getting Ultra Ball. No Trainers’ Mail let me up my consistency against Decidueye/Vileplume by adding the Professor Sycamore and Skyla. Looking back on the tournament, the 3 Fairy Drop I played were useless. It’s an extremely good card against Decidueye decks, but I only played one in all 14 rounds! I played against Takuya Yoneda’s Decidueye Box deck on Day 1, and I lost handily. However, if you go back and watch the streamed games you will see it’s because I couldn’t get anything going. I was donked on T2 of the first game, and during the second I struggled to keep up.
With a pair of both Hex Maniac and Fairy Drop, there is a decent chance of beating Decidueye/Vileplume. Fairy Drop is necessary to mess with Feather Arrow math. The logic used for Fairy Drop against Yveltal/Garbodor is the same against Decidueye/Vileplume. The double Hex Maniac makes it easier to draw into throughout the game. An extra benefit of the Hex Maniac is being able to play it on T1 against all decks. Going first and Hexing Mega Rayquaza is one way to win that typically unwinnable match.
I ultimately removed Skyla because I could have achieved the same or better with a draw Supporter. Like I stated in the Mega Rayquaza section, this deck has to dig. Simply using Skyla for an Ultra Ball was barely not enough. I usually needed a combination of 2–3 cards to have an optimal turn, but Skyla could only get me one. There were also times where I only needed 1 card, but had to play Professor Sycamore and missed. Skyla may be re-included soon, but it is currently too slow against decks like Decidueye/Vileplume and Volcanion. I lost my match against Pedro in Australia because I missed knockouts on Volcanion-EX 3 times throughout Games 2 and 3. If I had Skyla, I could have used Ultra Ball and been fine. The flipside also applies because I had to Skyla for Ultra Ball earlier in the game and hope to draw Gardevoir Spirit Link or Y Energy.
From 2 to 1 Escape Rope
I removed my 2nd Escape Rope because other cards are too important now. Hex Maniac and Fairy Drop were unnecessary after the death of Yveltal/Garbodor from Dallas to Anaheim. Decidueye/Vileplume has forced me to devote an extra 3 spots, and Escape Rope was the first cut. My main concern with removing the 3rd switching card is the early game; getting stuck with a Hoopa-EX or Dragonite-EX active can lose the game on the spot.
Hawlucha on the Fence
Hawlucha is another card that is on the chopping block. It’s performed well in the games where I’ve used it, but it’s useless otherwise. My only means of searching it is with Ultra Ball, and it’s hard to pull it off at the right time. If I ever were to cut Hawlucha, I would add another non-Pokémon-EX. Stalling with a Rattata or Hawlucha active is important against Mega Rayquaza because it creates an odd Prize situation. I’ve experimented with Jirachi promo, and it shows some level of success. In the fringe case where you’re matched against Gyarados, it’s also another Pokémon that does 10 damage to Lysandre and KO a Magikarp.
Matchup-wise, Mega Gardevoir excels against everything but Decidueye/Vileplume, Yveltal/Garbodor, and Mega Rayquaza. I’ve already talked about Decidueye/Vileplume, so I’ll focus on the other two.
Yveltal/Garbodor is fairly winnable with Fairy Drop. However, I took out my 2nd Escape Rope so it’s harder to deal with Yveltal BKT. Hawlucha is extremely important before they set up Garbodor. Also, getting the nuts (AKA 6–7 Pokémon + Rattata) to 1HKO a Tauros-GX or Yveltal-EX is necessary to win. Garbodor is an issue, so picking that off is important.
I usually try and lay down all 3 Gardevoir-EX so I can pick which one to load up. After your opponent uses Pitch-Black Spear, 2 Gardevoir-EX at most will be damaged. You can load up the 3rd one instead of the others. This helps save HP in case of a large Evil Ball. Other than that, focus on the attackers. One common mistake to is to take out Garbodor first when given the opportunity, then deal with Yveltal-EX. The best play is to discard Pokémon efficiently; If you have a full Bench try and take out an Yveltal-EX or Tauros-GX.
Vs. Mega Rayquaza
It’s possible to win the Mega Rayquaza matchup by taking Prizes off of 3 Shaymin-EX or Hoopa-EX with Lysandre. This requires 3 Mega Gardevoir because the opponent will Knock one Out each turn. In addition, if the opponent takes 2 Prizes before you do, the game’s over. It’s impossible to continue to trade Prizes because the opponent wins first.
Here’s my checklist for this match:
- Do as much as possible on the first turn and hope for Hex Maniac. Going first and playing Hex Maniac puts you in the driver’s seat. You can potentially steal the game by chaining it.
- Dig through the deck as much as possible to limit the effects of an N to 4/2. Every card is useless in this matchup except for Gardevoirs, Mega Turbo, Spirit Link, VS Seeker, Lysandre, and Y Energy. Everything else can be used as fuel.
- Put Hawlucha and Rattata on the Bench. Pushing one to the Active prevents a Mega Rayquaza from taking 2 Prizes without Lysandre. Leaving an extra on the Bench prevents an Escape Rope play.
- Be patient. This is a match of wits and reading the opponent. Do not initiate the war unless you can create another Mega Gardevoir and chain VS Seeker for another turn. Once you see an opportunity, initiate.
- Discard everything with Despair Ray except for the Gardevoirs and Hawlucha/Rattata. Keep one of these on the Bench in case you miss the combo.
I write this in detail because it is extremely rewarding to win this matchup. Also, don’t expect to win just because you play perfectly! There is nothing that can be done about getting paired badly, so do your best.
The Loch Ness Monster: Lapras
Who knew that this deck would emerge? After seeing it perform so well in Europe, I was intrigued. Right now I think it has a great place in the meta as an unexpected play. With a good pilot, this deck can beat almost anything. Vespiquen is impossible, but everything else is manageable. I’m going to go extremely in-depth on this deck because this is the first time it’s appeared in the meta.
Pokémon – 5
Trainers – 44
Energy – 11
This deck is designed to run the opponent out of resources. However, if they try and conserve them by playing slowly, Lapras-GX can run them over with Blizzard Burn. It’s perfect! The deck has the tools to do both. It plays similarly to Wailord, but instead of passing, the deck focuses on using Collect. Collect is amazing at drawing into the correct cards and situational Supporters. You’ve probably noticed the plethora of options, and all of them have a unique purpose. The deck is designed to constrict the opponent into using their resources, then run them dry or overrun their weakened board with Blizzard Burn.
Looking at the list, it is different from the one played in Europe. I choose to play a Wobbuffet. It acts as a 7th Prize, but also a tool to use against Decidueye/Vileplume. Sometimes 1 Hex Maniac isn’t enough, but being able to promote Wobbuffet solidifies that matchup. It is annoying to start Wobbuffet without a Supporter in hand, meaning you can’t use Collect. The good thing is that Lapras is built to be reactionary; it doesn’t matter what you do until your opponent does something.
I currently am at 2 Max Elixir, but am dissatisfied with the count. Currently I’m losing games because I fall behind on Energy. The deck can win by trading Lapras-GX against other decks, but without Max Elixir I don’t think that’s possible. However, if you want to remove it, make these changes:
An extra N helps smooth over the consistency of the deck. Delinquent is nice in scenarios where the opponent plays down to a low hand to play around Skull Grunt. It also is nice to discard resources such as Mega Turbo and VS Seeker. Energy Recycler is a good card for the mirror match. It shuffles 5 basic Energy cards back to the deck. Lapras sometimes misses the Switch or Olympia and has to manually retreat. Doing this multiple times can run the deck out of Energy.
2 Grunt + 1 Handiwork
2 Team Skull Grunt and 1 Team Rocket’s Handiwork are my niche cards at the moment. Skull Grunt is insanely good on the opening turns of the game before your opponent can react. I typically only play it after the opponent has attached an Energy card, then drawn a fresh hand. An example is this: My opponent attaches a Psychic and uses Mega Turbo to a Mega Mewtwo. They then play Professor Sycamore, other miscellaneous cards, and pass. If Team Skull Grunt hits 2 Energy, it’s insanely good because it forces the opponent to dig for one. If it misses, at least it gives you information about the opponent’s hand.
Team Rocket’s Handiwork is important for the mirror match and long, drawn-out games. The Lapras mirror match is about Energy denial and decking the opponent, so whoever uses Handiwork more effectively will win. Against other matchups, it functions as a dummy Supporter; one that can be used when no other Supporter has a benefit. It has the chance of removing important cards, so why not play it!
A single Professor Kukui is in the list to deal with Pokémon that have more than 170 HP. Examples of this are Tauros-GX and Darkrai-EX. Professor Kukui also acts as a way of doing 190 HP for the mirror match if that ever occurs. I don’t know if I’ll keep Professor Kukui in the least because it is worthless a lot of the time. It only works during these scenarios, but most of the time these Pokémon are out of range because of Fighting Fury Belt. If I were to take out Professor Kukui, I’d add in a 3rd N.
I love Puzzle of Time in this deck. Even if it never works, I love it. The sheer power and flexibility of a double Dowsing Machine is insane. Crushing Hammer, Enhanced Hammer, VS Seeker, Max Elixir, anything! It also can grab back W Energy. In testing, I find Puzzle of Time to be most useful in getting back Crushing Hammer, Enhanced Hammer, and W Energy. In a pinch, Puzzle of Time also can look at the top 3 after using a situational Supporter like Team Flare Grunt or Olympia.
Against Decidueye, Wobbuffet and Hex Maniac are extremely important cards. The win condition is to run them out of Energy. Razor Leaf is devastating to a Lapras because of the Grass Weakness. The most important thing to do is always to remove Energy first. I typically focus on using Collect instead of taking early Prizes because of this. Team Skull Grunt is also really good in this matchup after they take their first turn. Decidueye/Vileplume typically has clunked Energy in their hand after the first turn because they dig with Shaymin-EX for Pokémon. Throughout this process, they are backloaded with Energy. Removing an Energy (or even guaranteeing they don’t have one in hand) forces the opponent to play Supporters that they might not want to in pursuit of an Energy.
Vs. Mega Rayquaza
This matchup is all about stalling and Stadium wars. Mega Rayquaza has 4 Sky Field to work with. Once they run out of Sky Field, the most they can do to Lapras is 150. Standard Rayquaza lists run 1 Olympia and 2 Float Stone; use Lysandre effectively to burn Energies or VS Seeker. I start out the game with Collect to guarantee I have Rough Seas whenever they play Sky Field. I also draw into Hammers and N to punish the Rayquaza player for taking knockouts. This is an extremely patient match; use Ice Beam-GX in combination with Blizzard Burn to remove a Mega Rayquaza after they’ve attacked. Wobbuffet can be used as a starter in this match, but not much else. It can be used as a wall which forces the opponent to play down Energies while you play Team Rocket’s Handiwork or draw.
Vs. Mega Gardevoir
Mega Gardevoir plays out very similarly to Mega Rayquaza. They have 3 Sky Field instead of 4, have a hard time Knocking Out a Lapras, but have more Energy. The trick to this matchup is to Lysandre Hoopa-EX or Dragonite-EX. Mega Gardevoir runs 2–3 switching cards; once they are gone, they lose. If they are smart, they will discard them with Despair Ray. However, once you use Energy removal, they will be forced to play Hoopa-EX again to dig. Running them out of Mega Turbo is extremely important. Once all 3 of them are gone, there is no risk of a surprise attack. Brock’s Grit can be annoying because they will reshuffle plenty of Energy. To counter this, spam Team Rocket’s Handiwork or Team Skull Grunt after they play a Professor Sycamore.
Vs. Mega Mewtwo
This is the hardest match to play with Lapras in my opinion. I will go into full detail because there are many minute plays that seem counterintuitive, but are specifically correct to counter the capabilities of Mega Mewtwo. The win conditions are: 1) successfully remove all of their Energies and deck them out, and 2) cripple their board state to the point where easy Prizes can be taken on Shaymin-EX and Hoopa-EX. Usually, the first option is best. Team Skull Grunt, Crushing + Enhanced Hammer, and Team Flare Grunt are the important cards.
Starting off, Wobbuffet is the best Pokémon to have Active. If that doesn’t work out, have a lone Lapras-GX with no Tool. While you leave this Pokémon active, prepare 2 equally charged Lapras-GX on the Bench. The first will be used as bait, while the second will be used as the follow-up. If they Mega Mewtwo player is smart, they will split their Energies between two Megas. This is to prevent a Lysandre + Ice Beam-GX from doing too much work. While your opponent is setting up, find opportune times to use Team Skull Grunt after they play a draw Supporter and attach an Energy.
Next, once you feel confident, prepare to either unload mass Hammers or to Lysandre a Mega Mewtwo. Unloading mass Hammers is effective if you’ve hit a juicy Team Skull Grunt. This option is good because it forces your opponent to overextend onto one Mega Mewtwo to 1HKO a Lapras. If they opt to do 160 instead, simply retreat into a different Lapras, use Team Flare Grunt, and Collect. Being proactive by using Lysandre on a Mega Mewtwo is good because it resets the opponent’s progress. I would do this if I can catch 4+ Energy on this Mewtwo. Keep in mind, as you Knock Out the Active with Ice Beam-GX + Blizzard Burn, the opponent will load up a Mewtwo on the Bench. Keep Crushing Hammer ready to prevent a counterattack. I typically hold Crushing Hammer in my hand if I am trying to target the Mewtwo. Using Crushing Hammer on this first Mewtwo along with the GX attack is a waste.
At this stage of the game, Mega Turbo becomes problematic. Team Skull Grunt becomes worse as the game goes on; it also can’t remove Mega Turbo. The main problem caused by Mega Turbo is the explosiveness. 3 Energy being put into play by 2 Mega Turbo and an attachment is hard to deal with as Lapras. In order to fully remove them, 2 Crushing Hammers need to hit heads along with a Team Flare Grunt. In order to prevent your opponent from picking up surprise knockouts, I like to cycle Lapras with 0–1 Energy. Denying the opponent Prizes is important in this part of the game because they are on their last legs. They have 6–7 Energy left in total, but are trying to use them efficiently. Attacking with Lapras is useless because Blizzard Burn only does 160–170. Without a Fighting Fury Belt, Mega Mewtwo only needs 3 Energy to KO a Lapras with 3 Energy itself. By manually retreating and using Collect, I give myself the Hammers, Puzzles, and VS Seekers I need to outlast them.
Volcanion may seem like an easy matchup because of Weakness, but it can be tough before Hex Maniac is drawn. Baby Volcanion can severely damage the starting Lapras, and accelerate Energies. I believe that Team Skull Grunt is more important than using Team Flare Grunt in this matchup. Preventing Steam Up (and 1HKOs) removes all of the danger from this matchup. I would go about this match by starting with Collect or Wobbuffet. Wobbuffet is great because the opponent can’t do anything until they Knock Out Wobbuffet, or use a Lysandre. Max Elixir is important in this matchup by making sure there is always a Lapras ready to attack. Puzzle of Time for Max Elixir might also be a good play depending on the amount of Energy left in the deck. Otherwise, simply spamming Hex Maniac or Team Rocket’s Handiwork are effective.
Vs. Turbo Dark
This is what I believe the deck’s hardest matchup to be other than Vespiquen. Baby Yveltal is a problem. While both decks do nothing, Turbo Dark will eventually do something when they have 2 Darkrai-EX swinging for 230 with Fighting Fury Belt. At this point, there’s nothing to be done. To prevent this, go aggressive at the start of the game. Knocking Out the first Yveltal is important in slowing their set up. Once they initiate with Darkrai-EX, focus on switching around Lapras and healing with Rough Seas. Ice Beam-GX is insanely good against Turbo Dark, but only after they’ve used all of their Escape Rope. A good way to prevent this is to use Team Skull Grunt to look at their hand. If they don’t have a way to get Escape Rope or a Supporter, Ice Beam-GX is safe. Another option is to N them to 1/2 cards and pray. Professor Kukui is a necessary card to 1HKO a Darkrai-EX that doesn’t have a Fighting Fury Belt.
This match is a lot easier than Turbo Dark because there is no late-game threat. The consistent streaming of a 230 Dark Pulse doesn’t exist because all of the Energies have to be on 1 Yveltal-EX. The key to winning this matchup is negating the large Yveltal-EX. This can be done through Lysandre or Hammers. The second obstacle besides a large Yveltal-EX is an angry Tauros-GX. Professor Kukui is once again the saving grace. A belted Tauros-GX is impossible to 1HKO, so continue to use Team Flare Grunt to remove the Double Colorless. Once they have none left, it’s safe to attack, even if it’s not a knockout. Horn Attack for 70 is extremely weak considering Rough Seas. There is plenty of time to use Collect and heal for 30 every turn while trying to draw Team Flare Grunt or Hammers.
After analyzing all of Lapras’ weaknesses and strengths, I truly believe it can be a contender in the format. However, all of these took games of testing to familiarize myself with the deck and come up with the best strategy. After another 10–15 games of testing a certain matchup, there may be a better way to execute the deck for said matchup.
Update: April 5th
I got 2nd at a League Cup this past weekend with the list below. I decided to remove the Max Elixirs and Professor Kukui because I didn’t expect Turbo Dark. I also thought the Max Elixirs were useless after more testing with Lapras.
Pokémon – 5
Trainers – 44
Energy – 10
I really like this new version of the list. It’s incredibly versatile in its execution, even without Max Elixir. Going forward, I might experiment with a lower Professor Sycamore count because discarding cards is terrible for the deck. Collect is a great attack, but it can be seen as “Discard 3 cards” if a Professor Sycamore is played immediately after. I would play 4 N instead, or potentially a 4th Team Flare Grunt.
Standard has the most diverse meta since rotation. I’m glad to say that 8–9 decks are viable; albeit not as many as Expanded. Also, don’t be afraid to try a rogue idea! League Challenges and League Cups are made to be testing grounds for those kinds of decks.
Going into my Standard League Cups this weekend, I’m probably going to play Lapras. Despite every point I’ve earned this year coming from Mega Gardevoir, I can’t ignore Lapras’ viability and enjoyment from playing. I should be able to secure my invite from League Cups, and if not those then Regionals. The dream of Top 16 NA may happen, but I don’t see it happen unless I have another deep run at Regionals or U.S. Internationals. I’ll see you all in Roanoke!
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