Hello everyone! Travis Nunlist here with another article. I’m happy to report that I’ve finally started ramping up my playtesting recently, and am relatively happy with how the standard format is playing out. The format after a rotation always feels a bit empty due to the sheer loss of cards, but the deck diversity that has stuck around is still nice to see.
The most common complaint I’ve heard from players about the format is the lack of consistency options. The loss of VS Seeker has definitely been felt. The card was an immediate 4-of staple in the vast majority of decks as soon as it was printed, and that trend continued until it rotated. Almost 3 years of reliable access to any Supporter we wanted, whenever we wanted, through such an insanely powerful item card seems to have spoiled us a bit. The adjustment is going to be tough, but I think every archetype will figure out their own way to deal with it. The two best solutions I see right now are simply playing more Supporters and or committing to some sort of board support.
As far as “playing more Supporters,” we really don’t have a lot to work with. The two most used options currently are Skyla and Lillie, but we do still have a few other options like Sophocles, Shauna, Mallow, and Hau to keep mind should the right deck come along. My personal favorite right now is Skyla, and will probably be my go to padding for most decks until a better option comes along.
N and Professor Sycamore are already such powerful draw options that I don’t feel like there is a lot to be gained by playing Lillie as another draw option. The plays that a dedicated search card can ensure as opposed to hoping for the right draws is incredibly comforting and gives enough flexibility to value it over Lillie, especially if you make minor list considerations with this in mind. Another reason I’ve found Lillie to be less useful is because most decks will actually never get use out of the T1 play with it. If you’re going to use an Ultra Ball T1 into a Tapu Lele-GX, most decks in the game are going to grab Brigette to get all of their basics into play, as opposed to drawing up to 8.
Board support comes in a few different forms right now. For draw, the two best options we have right now are Octillery and Oranguru. Octillery is usually the go-to for slower decks, while Oranguru has found a place in more aggressive decks. The third most common support I’ve seen is Starmie, which has found its way into decks that are really only ever looking for more Energy anyway, like Volcanion and Greninja.
Garbodor rounds up the end of this list by sitting there and shutting off everything. It doesn’t benefit you in anyway or push your board forward, but works to slow down your opponent instead. Regardless, I think just about every deck in the game should have at least one of these options right now. Board support has always had more value when Supporter options are limited, and I’m sure that will continue to be true as such moving forward.
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