Greetings friends, I told y’all I would be back with another piece in about a week and boy am I excited! We’re only a couple of days from the most prestigious event of the season and literally 1 day away from having to submit decklists for us Day 1 worlds competitors. I haven’t been this excited for an event in quite sometime, and think the weekend will be filled to the brim with fun and surprises. This is the most I’ve tested for an event in quite sometime and cannot wait for Day 1 to begin.
Preparing for this event has been very fun for me, but ultimately any deck choice has to be meta dependent and getting inside the heads of my fellow Day 1 competitors has proven somewhat challenging. The ARG results of this past weekend have complicated the read a bit as well because I’ve heard everything from “My Day 1 play is ruined and I must change it!” to “The event is irrelevant” so I’m not entirely sure how to interpret the events impact on the upcoming tournament.
Before the event, I’m certain most players did not consider Gyarados AOR as a threat and we’ve found ourselves in an all too familiar sounding conundrum after being forced to acknowledge the deck as still viable: Do you play a counter? Gyarados has always been the type of deck that can absolutely breeze through a tournament X-0 if not accounted for, but as soon as anyone gets a whiff of its viability, out come the Tapu Koko and other obscure counters like those I mentioned here before Seattle Regionals when we last had to acknowledge Gyarados as a legitimate threat.
Something I do know is that I’ve narrowed my weekend down to two potential decks I’ll be playing for the event. As I’m writing this I’m still not entirely certain which deck I’ll play, and if I’ll even play the same deck for Day 1 and 2, but I’m very certain my decision is between these two concepts: Gardevoir-GX and Drampa-GX/Garbodor. We have the reigning BDIF of last format versus the new comer out of Burning Shadows. I’ve definitely played the most games with these two decks and certainly believe them to be the strongest contenders. However, grinding out the last couple of spots of the deck has proven difficult when trying to read a very undefined metagame. The following are exact lists of what my Worlds options look like so far along with everything I’m considering for the last couple of deck spots.
Pokémon – 13
Trainers – 31
Energy – 12
4 Free Spots
The above 56/60 cards are 100% what will be in the Drampa-GX/Garbodor deck that I bring to Worlds 2017. My current issue is identifying what the last couple of spots will be dedicated to and why. As you can see the skeleton I’ve outlined is relatively consistent, but balancing consistency vs techs for my last four spots is going to be my biggest concern. The ability to play an unreal amount of consistency is an aspect of this version of Garbodor that I have always been enamored with. I rarely feel like I lost a game because I ‘dead-drew’ or ‘whiffed X card right when I needed it most!’ and would attribute that largely due to the insane amount of consistency cards the deck can fit if you make it a priority. I’m still reviewing a ton of cards for these last 4 spots, and unsurprisingly it is not going to be easy to figure them out.
3rd Drampa, 4th Tapu Lele-GX
These were cards we saw featured in Tord Reklev’s North American Intercontinental Champion list, and funny enough the 56/60 cards listed above are also in Tord’s winning list. Committing to these cards is committing to consistency in an unparalleled way. While not exactly flashy they move your deck further in the direction of always having an out, and if we learned anything from the NAIC it is that Consistency is King.
The biggest and most obvious threat to Drampa-GX/Garbodor’s claim of BDIF is the newcomer Gardevoir-GX. It has a ton of HP, an efficient attack, and a GX attack that can demolish Garbodor GRI’s output. However, it also has a weakness to Metal that we can look to exploit should Gardevoir prove to be popular enough to tech against. All the of the listed options are incredibly useful against Gardevoir and help the matchup immensely. Both Magearna require M Energy to be used, but since we already run 4 Rainbow to activate Beserk this shouldn’t be too much of a deterrence. They have the added bonus of hitting any Alolan Ninetales you might run into for weakness, which can be difficult for Garbodor as well due to the effectiveness of Beacon.
This is a combination of cards I’ve seen included in a couple different Garbodor lists. The idea is that Necrozma/Koko spread (usually combined with Po Town) can wreck anything that evolves when paired with Espeon-EX. You can adopt a spread/devolve strategy similar to that of Decidueye-GX against big evolving Pokémon-GX that you may struggle to deal with otherwise. I think the combo seems good in theory, but in my testing it has been incredibly underwhelming. The issue is that the three cards by themselves are all pretty average in your deck, and their real potency comes from being used together. Tapu-Koko has been somewhat popular in the deck and has always had uses, but the Necrozma/Espeon combo is very niche and doesn’t work as well or as often as one might hope.
I listed this option by itself because it’s really the only consistency addition under the T/S/S section that I would consider adding. Everything else is either maxed or at a solid enough count that I don’t think more is warranted. I definitely want 4 N, but am not entirely sold on the 4th Sycamore yet. I usually prefer to shuffle/draw because I do not want to discard resources, and N is really the only option we have there.
These are all of the tech supporters I consider to be viable options for the deck. Acerola is our newest addition to the pool and is an incredibly useful card. Having access to pickup any Pokémon with damage counters gives insane utility, and is even compounded by the 4 Rainbow Energy in our deck allowing us to damage any Pokémon at will. Hex Maniac is a bit superfluous with Garbodor BKP, but is incredibly powerful against Vileplume decks and on T1. There are very few scenarios where you would Hex Maniac over Brigetter on T1, but having the out to Vilelpume is invaluable in the matchup.
I’ve chosen double Guzma over Lysandre in the deck because I’ve had more scenarios where I wished the Lysandre was a Guzma than vice versa, but the solo gust effect is still worth considering. Professor Kukui is a card I love and hate at the same time. I love it because in theory it’s one of the most powerful tech supporter options in the game, but in practice it is rarely as useful as I want it to be. It can help to reach numbers that you otherwise are incapable of hitting against the likes of Greninja BREAK or Espeon-GX, but timing it correctly can be a pain.
Plumeria/Team Flare Grunt can almost be lumped together as they are incredibly similar cards. The only difference is Plumeria comes with a cost of discarding two cards while allowing you to choose any Energy on their board. Plumeria seems much better in theory, but in practice has been underwhelming. The discard 2 is much more annoying than you might think, and most of the time I want to remove the Energy from the Active anyway. Removing from the Active is incredibly potent when combined with Righteous Edge, and is just one more reason why I prefer Team Flare Grunt to Plumeria if I were to play one.
These are the only 3 stadiums I would consider viable in the deck. Po-Town and Magma serve a similar purpose of activating Beserk, but in much different ways. Po Town requries a bit more resources to damage yourself (evolving vs just having a Basic), but is all around a much more useful card. Forcing big Pokémon-GX like Gardevoir-GX and Decidueye-GX to take damage as they evolve makes their massive HP much more manageable, and can even be the difference between a key KO or coming up just short if they’re unable to remove it from play.
Magma Base is still more useful against basic focused decks like Volcanion, but those are in short supplies these days as it seems like evolution Pokémon are becoming more and more popular. Parallel City is a card I’ve become quite enamored with heading into the event because of how versatile it is. It is definitely not in the forefront of everyone’s minds like it was pre-Field Blower, and I would not be surprised to see the card be a part of some very successful concepts at Worlds.
More or Less, Rainbow or Nah
While I personally won’t be touching the energy count, it seemed worth going into it a bit. The energy line is very flexible based on the rest of the list. You can play less Rainbow and more Psychic if you opt to play some of the damaging stadiums or if you’re worried about opposing special energy hate. Tord’s list played a 5th Psychic, and having more energy is usually much better than not having enough, but I’ve found 12 to be sufficient.
Pokémon – 17
Trainers – 27
Energy – 12
4 Free Spots
This list is pretty similar to the one I posted in my initial Gardevoir-GX analysis, and apologies for any information that may end up repeating itself from that article, but I am still a huge fan of the deck.
It has everything a player could ask for in a deck: massive HP, unlimited damage cap, insane consistency options, and is versatile enough to focus on disruption or pushing your setup depending on the scenario.
However, the biggest issue is that the deck seems to have a major target on its head despite having no results in official organized play. It did quite well at the ARG tournament over this past weekend, but even there it was unable to make it passed T16 due to bad matchups and sub-optimal builds. People are still fleshing out their lists for Gardevoir-GX, and sub-optimal builds combined with a hostile meta can prove troublesome. However, if the meta shifts its focus away from Gardevoir-GX and/or an optimal list can be settled on then it may prove to be the best option for the tournament. The following are all legitimate contenders for the final few spots in my list.
Octillery BKP, Oranguru SUM
Deciding between these two options is something I’ve been back and forth on for a while now. While the draw of Octillery is clearly superior, it takes up a lot more space, evolves, and can’t even attack! During an optimal setup Octillery is generally not too difficult to get out, but Oranguru is much more low maintenance and can double as a decent attacker in a pinch. The Gallade/Draw combo can work just as well with Oranguru to get you the exact 1 or 2 cards you need if you’re able to play your hand down, but is definitely weaker than Octillery when fully setup. Octillery is also much weaker against Garbotoxin should it prove itself to maintain a dominant position within the meta.
I still haven’t decided which I think is superior, but ultimately it will come down to preference and desire for space. If there are other cards you want to fit that you value over Octillery then Oranguru is your boy, but if you’re happy with what the list has right now then committing to consistency with Octillery may prove more useful.
Committing to consistency is always good, and if you find yourself disliking Octillery then cramming in more consistency outside of board draw may prove more beneficial. Evolving is hard enough without having to evolve multiple things at once, and committing to more of the cards you already have is always helpful in streamlining that process.
Diancie BUS, Vulpix GRI
I genuinely think these cards are strictly inferior to Sylveon-GX, but are still worth mentioning. Diancie getting a guaranteed effect and Vulpix attacking for free are both different enough to consider, but ultimately the power of Search 3 with 200 HP has been insanely good in my testing. There aren’t many situations where I would prefer Diancie/Vulpix to Sylveon.
If we’re looking for more consistency in the Trainers department then any combination of these cards is the way to go. The N and Sycamore help ensure we’re able to keep drawing with the supporter we want, while Skyla and Teammates give the deck an extra layer of consistency through targeted search. The Skyla gives you a mid-turn search out whenever you need it while Teammates is an incredible tempo card that can search key pieces to ensure a response after a knockout. The 4th Rare Candy can help ensure a more explosive T2 by maximizing your chances of hitting it+Gardevoir in the same hand, but this isn’t something that is very high on my list of wants right now.
These are the only tech supporters worth considering at the moment beyond the ones that are already listed. I think Lysandre is probably last on the list because I’ve never found myself really wanting a second gust effect beyond that of Guzma, and if I were to play a second one then I’m currently leaning toward Guzma because of the additional switching effect being incredibly useful for Gardevoir. I’m sure there are times where I want to gust something up for a KO but can’t because I cannot switch, but in all of my testing it has never lost me a game and would much rather ensure mobility.
Shutting off Abilities is incredibly powerful going into Worlds, and Hex Maniac lets us do just that. I could spend a whole day listing off all of the abilities that Hex Maniac can shut off and the situations where limiting your opponent for even one crucial turn can win you the game, but instead of wasting all that time just know that Hex Maniac is crazy good going into this event because of all the different abilities flying around.
After initial testing something I quickly realized is that damage output is not an issue with the deck. Because of Secret Spring and Infinite Force you can almost always reach for a knockout when you want one, and Choice Band always felt like a luxury. I still enjoy the 1 to help ensure numbers are hit if Secret Spring can’t get us there, but adding in more has never felt necessary. Float Stone is something I’ve really enjoyed in testing.
The deck can have some mobility issues from time to time, and Float Stone can really help to mitigate any potential problems that can’t be solved by manually retreating. Wishful Baton is something my friend Frank Percic mentioned to me once when we were testing Gardevoir. It seems very good in theory to get to keep all of your energy in play once a Gardevoir gets Knocked Out, but like all defensive/reactionary tools in the game it suffers from the existence of Field Blower. If your opponent can time it correctly then you lose any value you might have gained out of the card, but if they don’t then the potential upside is incredibly powerful.
The 2nd Field Blower inclusion is admittedly only a consideration for Garbotoxin. Getting your abilities back for even just one turn can be game changing in the matchup, so playing a second ensures access to it and gives you a potential 4 uses (!) when you factor in Twilight-GX. While it may be a ‘win-more’ card for a matchup that is already fine, it can be the difference between a tie and a decisive win in a 50 minute Bo3 format.
Fairy Garden is a stadium I haven’t seen a whole lot of discussion about in the deck, but is certainly worth considering. As mentioned before mobility can be a bit of an issue in the deck at times, so giving all of your Pokémon with Y energy attached free retreat does wonders for solving that problem. 2nd Blower and Fairy Garden are also both very solid outs to opposing Parallel City should they find themselves in play before you can get your own down.
You may have noticed that I’ve added a second Parallel to the list since my last article, and this is just a testament to how strong I believe the stadium is in conjunction with Sylveon-GX’s Plea-GX attack. Having the option to drop your opponent’s bench down to 1 from 5 is insane to me, and being able to pull all the crucial pieces with Magical Ribbon is something I’ve loved about my list. I mentioned earlier that this is a card I love going into the tournament, and if nothing else at least I know I want to be packing this powerful stadium going into the weekend.
To Wonder, or not to Wonder?
After extensive testing I’ve concluded that 1 Wonder Energy is the absolute maximum I would play. The card has niche uses that can be incredible when timed well, but I’ve been finding myself getting burned more often than helped by having the special energy instead of a normal fairy. If I were to play one I would probably add the Wonder Energy instead of cutting a Fairy for this exact reason. Having more energy is never a bad thing, and ultimately Wonder Energy has proven frustrating to me because the potential upside seems amazing but testing has shown the card rarely living up to this potential.
While all the cards listed above are by no means an extensive list of the options for both decks, it is an extensive list of the options I’m considering for my Worlds deck choices. Unless something dramatic happens and I fall back on my distant 3rd choice of Decidueye or something even crazier in the next day or so expect to see me sleeving up some combination of the mentioned cards Friday morning.
If I had to make a game-time decision right now my gut tells me Garbodor for Day 1 and Gardevoir for Day 2. I’ve become a bit more apprehensive about playing Gardevoir for Day 1 because of the ARG results. With Gyarados and Gardevoir having the most success numbers wise it makes sense for Decidueye variants to creep up in popularity due to the low number of Volcanion and their good matchups against both decks. With Decidueye being a bad matchup and Gardevoir generally having a target on its back it has made me a bit more nervous about pulling the trigger than I had been before. Garbodor feels like a deck I can do fine and go 4-2 with while Gardevoir feels like a deck that will either win the whole tournament or flop abysmally.
All the competitive aspects aside I am beyond hyped for the event this weekend and am looking forward to reconnecting with some old friends, making lots of new ones, and of course enjoying all things Pokémon! If any of you happen to see me at the event please come up and say hello! I love meeting readers and always enjoy hearing the communities thoughts on SixPrizes as a whole. Until next time, good luck to everyone attending the 2017 Pokémon World Championships (unless you’re playing me)!
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