Hello everyone! I am back with my second article this month, and I finally got to play in my first tournament of the 2017-2018 season! I ended up getting top 32 at Ft. Wayne Regionals with Sableye/Garbodor. The deck was a ton of fun to play, and I wish things had not gone so poorly day two, but I am glad I got a solid start to the season. I am already in the zone for the Standard format, and have been putting a lot of time into deckbuilding. Unfortunately, I have not played very many games yet, but I assure you that will change heading into Connecticut Regionals. Without further ado, lets hop into things with a look at my Ft. Wayne experience.
I always try to play a deck that gives me a chance against everything, even if all of my games are close ones. I hate the feeling of sitting across the table and knowing I will almost certainly lose before the match has even started. In my early testing, Sableye was immediately very impressive against the popular decks. The only thing that I was worried about was Turbo Darkrai, but that matchup became significantly easier after I thickened the Garbodor line. After tweaking the list and playing a bunch of games with Igor Costa, I was convinced I could beat anything I might run into at the tournament. Here is the list Igor and I ended up playing:
Pokémon – 14
Trainers – 40
1 Team Rocket’s Handiwork
3 Trainers’ Mail
1 Life Dew
Energy – 6
As you can see, the deck plays a ton of tech cards that help to lock your opponent. Despite this, the deck is actually very consistent and I only had one dead hand throughout the tournament. At the end of your first turn, you usually Junk Hunt, which means you don’t have to worry about discarding too many resources turn one or leaving yourself without a supporter for the following turn. After that, the early game is actually relatively scary if you are inexperienced with the deck because it seems like your opponent is just going to run you over. This was my first tournament with the deck and, despite my tons of testing, I still had that worried feeling during my first few rounds of the event. While some decks, such as Greninja or Turbo Darkrai, are harder to lock than others, this deck can get the lock established and win against any deck in the format. The only deck I really struggled against in testing was Trevenant, but that matchup was fixed with the inclusion of Latias-EX.
This card’s release is what I think gave this deck the final push it needed to be a huge threat in the Expanded format. Previously, the deck struggled against Turbo Darkrai because it could just having a very aggressive start and flood the board with Energy. While that still can happen, Trashlanche punishes these aggressive starts, and can usually allow you to take six Prizes long before Darkrai can pressure you out of the game.
This card was included just for the Trevenant matchup, and I was glad it was in the deck when played against Trevenant twice during the tournament. Igor mentioned that he used this to win a match against a Gardevoir-GX player who did not have a Hex Maniac in his deck.
Team Rocket’s Handiwork
This card is one of my favorite cards in the deck, and I would absolutely not remove it like some people have in the past. My ideal turn was VS Seeker to use Handiwork, Trick Shovel the opponent, and then Junk Hunt. Handiwork helps to discard a ton of the opponent’s resources, and ends games a lot faster. While sometimes winning faster is unnecessary, it can open the window for some insane comebacks, and of course helps with the time constraint.
At first, I was not confident that this would be a good inclusion in the deck, but I was pleasantly surprised with how much it helped in the early game. Not only can Battle Compressor discard useless stuff like Latias-EX, but it can give you easy access to crucial cards. It can be used as a consistency card when combined with VS Seeker on turn one. In addition to this, a play I frequently made was to discard two Puzzle of Time, and then Junk Hunt them back immediately.
The superstar of the deck! Trick Shovel is how you lock your opponent out of the game, as once you stick them with a dead hand or discard it with Delinquent, Trick Shovel can check their topdeck every turn to keep them drawing dead.
While this card has a lot of uses in theory, I barely used it during the tournament. I would probably remove it for future tournaments, despite it occasionally being a game winning card. It just seems too situational for me to justify it staying in the deck. Target Whistle used to be played as an answer for Primal Groudon-GX, but that deck now has several answers to a Wobbufett being trapped active and is seemingly non existent.
I had this in the deck during a lot of my testing, and actually removed it just before I left for Ft. Wayne. I found it to be useful a decent amount of my games, but it always felt like I could win the game without it. I very rarely thought “wow I would have lost if I did not get to use Tapu Storm that turn”. The only matchup where Tapu Fini seemed to consistently change the outcome of the game was Primal Groudon, which I did not expect to be very popular. Tapu Fini-GX definitely felt more like a win-more card, which made me cut it in order to gain more space in my list. Another bonus to removing Tapu Fini-GX was being able to play a couple of basic Dark Energy, which go very well with Super Rod. I believe it was removed in favor of the second Battle Compressor.
This is not a card I tested with, as I thought it was a relatively weak card heading into Ft. Wayne. After seeing the results of the first big Expanded tournament of the season, along with gaining some more experience in the format, I would say that Ghetsis should be considered as a tech in several decks moving forward. As of right now, I would say that Target Whistle should be removed for either Ghetsis or the next option im about to talk about, the fourth copy of Trainers’ Mail.
4th Trainers’ Mail
This card was in the first list I built, but was quickly removed for a Battle Compressor. As I mentioned earlier, I was not super confident in this change at first, but I was quickly impressed by the amount of options Battle Compressor provided. The purpose of Trainers’ Mail is to increase the early game consistency of the deck, and find crucial tools such as Puzzle of Time or situational supporters. Now that the deck has two Battle Compressor in it, which heavily boosted the consistency of the deck, the fourth copy of Trainers’ Mail should be considered.
2nd Trick Shovel
This is something I wanted in my original list, but never really found the space for. I believe that this would be a nice addition to the deck, but it always feels like a luxury card when I think about putting it in. The main purpose of putting in a second one of these would be to avoid losing games by the one copy being prized. I saw that in previous lists, such as Sableye extraordinaire Alex Koch’s top 8 Portland list, two copies of Trick Shovel were included. I believe that since he did not play Battle Compressor, having two was more important because it made the card a lot easier to access. While being able to Trick Shovel twice in one turn more often is also a nice bonus to adding the second copy, it is unrealistic that you would be able to consistently pull this off on consecutive turns while still doing everything else that needs to be done that turn.
Round 1: M Gardevoir-EX/Dimension Valley WW (1-0)
Round 2: Golisopod-GX/Garbodor L (1-1)
Round 3: Turbo Darkrai WW (2-1)
Round 4: Espeon-GX/Garbodor WLW (3-1)
Round 5: Turbo Dark WW (4-1)
Round 6: Night March WL (4-1-1)
Round 7: Trevenant BREAK (No Latias Counter) WW (5-1-1)
Round 8: Trevenant BREAK (1 Silent Lab) WW (6-1-1)
Round 9: Gollisipod-GX/Techs WW (7-1-1)
Round 10: Carbink BREAK/Lycanroc-GX LL (7-2-1)
Round 11: Gollisipod-GX/Seismitoad-EX WLL (7-3-1)
Round 12: Garbodor GRI/Techs LL (7-4-1)
Round 13: Sableye/Garbodor (Same 60) L (7-5-1)
Round 14: Bye (8-5-1)
Round 15: Garbodor/Friends ID (8-5-2)
After a great day one, things really fell apart on the second day of the tournament. I felt like my matchups and opponents were slightly tougher than the first day, and my deck was running much less smooth. I often found myself whiffing energy attachments and not finding Battle Compressor in the early game, which are very detrimental to Sableye’s gameplan. In addition to this, I flipped a slew of Crushing Hammer tails in my first two rounds, which is just the nature of the deck I suppose. While I definitely had a very poor day two performance with the deck, I am still very glad I played it, and I think it has potential for future Expanded tournaments.
With Gardevoir being released, and almost immediately winning the World Championships, it is safe to say that the deck is very good. Not only is Gardevoir a very strong deck, it is one of the few decks that remains very consistent and does not lose anything major to the rotation. In the few games I have played, I noticed that when games go long, both players start to run out of N and other resources very easily. Twilight GX absolutely wins you the game if you get into a late game resource battle, which is something that really appeals to me. I have seen people making the argument that Gardevoir is going to be heavily countered, but I have to say that I don’t think many realistic counters exist. While Metagross will obviously tear this deck apart, Metagross struggles against almost every other deck in the format. Let’s take a look at my current list:
Pokémon – 19
Trainers – 29
Energy – 12
My first games of the standard format were some casual ones with Frank Percic right after Ft. Wayne had concluded. This is where I quickly learned that Sylveon-GX is very good in the mirror match, and that Gardevoir-GX is incredibly consistent. Using Sylveon to setup puts your opponent in an awkward spot, as they need to use N to prevent you from popping off after a Magical Ribbon. With the rotation taking away VS Seeker, the opponent will quickly run out of N, and won’t have them for the late game.
While the deck does not lack early game consistency by any means, the removal of Octillery does mean that the deck does not have any “built in” drawpower. Oranguru helps to fill the role that Octillery used to, and so far I have liked the inclusion of this helpful orangutan.
I slightly touched on why I think Acerola will increase in popularity in my last article, but I think this card is especially good in Gardevoir. Acerola can be used to effectively “heal” a Gardevoir-GX that has a decent amount of energy committed to it, which can be a game changing play. Due to the removal of VS Seeker, resource conservation has become even more important, which is exactly what Acerola provides.
Even though I have only included one copy, Twilight GX can shuffle it back in against decks that it is really needed against, and a one time Acerola can still make all the difference. I have seen some players choose to include cards like Judge, Skyla, or a second copy of Brigette in this deck. While I don’t think those choices are necessarily bad, I do think that having the Acerola gives us a slight advantage in the mirror match.
8 Fairy Energy
With the rotation of Wonder Energy occurring, Fairy Energy is all this deck has left. This is another reason why I believe Sylveon-GX is the ideal early game Pokémon for this deck, because you no longer have to miss out on Wonder Energy in order to consistently Energy Evolution in the early game. The increased amount of Fairy Energy makes the deck more consistent as a whole, with Gardevoir-GX’s ability becoming slightly easier to use.
Octillery, Alolan Vulpix, Diancie
ebay.comThis would mean removing Sylveon-GX, and converting to the engine that Diego won the World Championships with. I really like Sylveon-GX in the deck at the moment, but I could see the more established engine being the better choice further down the line. The engine that Diego used is arguably more consistent, as it is easier to use when going second because you don’t have to find a Float Stone or Guzma immediately, but it is also significantly less rewarding overall.
While I am a huge consistency freak, this feels like a very awkward inclusion. While it does prevent you from prizing your one copy of Brigette, it feels like that is basically the only effect it has. With nine outs to a turn one Brigette, I don’t think your odds of accessing it turn one improve significantly by adding the second copy. Outside of the first Brigette, which is ideally turn one, the card will never be useful enough to take up your supporter for the turn.
Space is the only thing preventing me from making this inclusion as things currently stand, but I really think a second copy of this card has potential. Acerola just seems so strong in the new format, and I want to be playing multiples in almost every deck I build. Acerola is just such a good option in the late game, especially with this deck, and I feel like a lot of people are underestimating that right now.
That is all for today guys! I will be back later this month, and I should have a lot to talk about as I will be playing a lot of Pokémon between now and then! Unfortunately, I probably won’t be attending League Cups this weekend due to Hurricane Irma, but I will be playing in Connecticut and Florida Regionals in a few weeks. I am excited to play some more games in the Standard format as I definitely liked it better than Expanded last year. See you next time everyone!
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