Hola 6P readers! It’s been a while since my last article, right before San Jose. Since then, there haven’t been any big Standard tournaments, but we now have Memphis Regionals this weekend. Unsurprisingly, a record breaking attendance is expected this weekend, with well over 1,000 TCG players registered to play between all divisions. I’m very excited to compete in such a big tournament once again, as I always am, and get back on track after a couple disappointing results in London and San Jose.
Since London, I’ve been doing daily 6-9 hour days of coaching sessions and, therefore, 6-9 hours of practice in preparation for Memphis. I’ve narrowed down my deck choices to 3 decks, as the rest of the field just doesn’t feel as good or with as much potential as these 3 decks. They are Gardevoir-GX (the Max Potion version), Golisopod-GX/Zoroark-GX and Buzwole-GX/Lycanroc-GX.
With so many hours of practice, I feel confident that I could pilot any of the 3 decks without misplaying at all throughout the day. So how will I choose which deck to bring up against a field of 1,000+ players? A lot comes down to a personal preference of style of play. These 3 decks have very different play styles and I will be borrowing from Hearthstone terms in order to classify each one.
“A midrange deck is a type of deck somewhere between an aggro deck and a control deck in pace, seeking to attain victory during the midgame. Midrange decks generally try to control the board during the early game, before moving into a more aggressive role mid-game, (…) with the goal of winning before the late game.”
Buzzwole-GX is a fantastic attacker which, when paired with Strong Energy and Regirock-EX, can OHKO the plethora of 60 HP Basics out there—Ralts, Remoraid, Rockruff, Zorua, Beldum, Alolan Vulpix, Type: Null (weak to Fighting) and Tapu Koko (weak to Fighting). Thus, from the very first turn, you can start ‘controlling’ the field by KO’ing these key Pokémon before they evolve into big threats. This is how the deck controls the early game and establishes a strong presence in the first couple of turns.
By turns 3-5, with the help of Max Elixir, Buzzwole-GX or Lycanroc-GX are able to take on the big threat that your opponent has probably managed to set up by then (through Knuckle Impact or their respective GX moves). This is where the deck takes a more aggressive approach and goes for big consecutive KOs, against the big threat and most likely a Tapu Lele-GX on the bench to close out the last 2 prizes.
The deck tries to accomplish this before reaching a late game stage where more than one big threat has been set up. The deck usually struggles to cope in the late game after it has used up a lot of resources. More importantly, it heavily relies on Max Elixirs to help it attain that boost of energy to use the costly FFF attacks.
In other words, the decks usual game plan is the following: take out one or two low HP basics, build up a 3 energy Buzzwole-GX or 2 energy Lycanroc-GX, take out their big threat, take out a Tapu Lele-GX for game. Of course there are many things that can happen to make you deviate from this plan, but that’s usually how an average game for the deck pans out.
Moving forward from the Top 8 list from London, I’ve toyed with a few changes and settled on the following:
Pokémon – 16
Trainers – 31
Energy – 13
The 2 new cards included in the list are Sudowoodo BKP and a second Regirock-EX. Sudowoodo offers the non-GX attacker that every deck needs to handle the likes of Hoopa and Alolan Ninetales. Coincidentally, it’s also amazing to leave on the bench with one Energy and let it draw a lot of attention against Gardevoir-GX and Zoroark-GX decks. It can easily take a return KO, especially against Gardevoir-GX with the help of Strong Energy, Choice Band and the multiple Regirock-EX to increase its damage output.
The second Regirock-EX offers the following benefits over running just 1:
- Increases chances of finding it on turn 1/2 for a KO with Strong Energy.
- Decreases chances of prizing it for key numbers/early KOs.
- 2 Regirock-EX allow for KOs on 70HP Wimpod and Trubbish.
- 2 Regirock-EX allow for the following scenario: one Strong Energy with 2 Fighting + 2 Regirock-EX +1 Choice Band OHKOs a full health Gardevoir-GX with Knuckle Impact
I’m sure there are other important numbers that a second Regirock-EX on the bench offers, therefore, having the second copy was a no brainer for me.
I took this list to a League Cup win, only dropping a game to Greninja in the whole tournament due to a late game dead draw. The downside to this deck is how much trouble it has dealing with both Mewtwo EVO and Mr. Mime tech inclusions in various decks, along with an atrocious Garbodor matchup which, although not quite the popular deck right now, is still bound to have some appearance.
“A control deck, also known as a late game deck, is a deck that attempts to attain victory in the late game, through a combination of (…) powerful cards in the later rounds of the game. These decks focus on controlling the early game in order to survive through to the later rounds, where they can use a string of powerful spells, or a steady flow of larger minions to overwhelm the opponent.”
The overall winner of London is a very real threat in the current metagame, as it seems to be challenging Gardevoir-GX decks for first place in terms of total CP earned every weekend. The deck has two modes and is a very adaptable deck to many different situations.
It can either rush down a set up style deck since turn 2 with really good and bulky attackers, or it can play a long, drawn out game where you try and out-resource your opponent with your Acerola’s and Puzzle of Time, which allow you to eventually overwhelm your opponent in the later stages of the game.
Against any deck that is not able to OHKO you, you’ll always have the advantage with the continued use of Acerola, as well as Puzzle of Time to essentially “cheat” the 4 copies maximum per card. Puzzle of Time give the deck so much flexibility and it is especially powerful when combined with Zoroark-GX’s Trade. The reason Puzzle of Time is not as effective in other decks, is their inability to draw into them without the use of a Supporter. However, there are games where this deck ends up never actually using any draw Supporter, and Trade just carries you throughout the whole game, finding you all the resources you need as the game progresses.
With such energy efficient attackers, this deck has barely any bad matchups, with the worst probably being Volcanion or other Fire type decks. These decks thrive on achieving easy OHKOs, and this is worsened by Golisopod-GX’s weakness.
What approach you take, aggressive or late game control, depends on the matchup. Gardevoir-GX decks call for an aggressive approach where you target down Ralts and other key attackers before they become problematic, whilst hopefully getting a KO on Tapu Lele-GX with Crossing Cut GX, in order to close out a game. In opposition, mirror and Buzzwole call for a more control-oriented approach where every resource makes a big difference and OHKOs are not that common. Sure, Buzzwole-GX can take OHKOs, but it does require a hefty energy investment and its use of Regirock-EX is restricted throughout the game as it has a Grass weakness.
So far, this is the list that I’ve settled on for the deck:
Pokémon – 19
Trainers – 33
Energy – 8
An extra Grass just increases the odds of having it at the right time, and usually leftover ones end up getting discard by Trade. I do think though, that the deck gets significantly stronger any time you’re able to Brigette for 2 Wimpod and immediately attach a Grass on your first turn of the game.
A third Choice Band means you don’t have to be as careful with them as you would have to with only 2. It also opens up an easier way to take KOs with Crossing Cut GX, but more importantly, it allows the Zoroark BKT to take OHKOs on careless opponents who fill up their bench. You could always take these KOs with 2 Choice Bands in the deck, but having 3 just gives you more chances at having it at the right time.
Finally, the 4th Acerola was an adaptation to the huge amounts of mirror matches I expect in Memphis. Basically, these games become a war of attrition of resource management, and you will simply always win out a game where you get to use 8 Acerola vs their 7: it’s as simple as that. The extra Acerola also means you’ll have it more often at the exact time you need it, and in any matchup where it’s not as good, it can easily be Trade’d away for an extra 2 cards.
“A combo deck is a deck that revolves around executing one or more specific combinations of cards, to great effect. (…) However, most combos aim to win the match, either through direct damage or through establishing an overwhelming advantage, usually in one or two turns.”
My third choice for Memphis falls into the category of a combo deck. You try to set up your board as much as possible, in order to overwhelm your opponent’s with the incredibly strong cards you have. Gardevoir-GX and Gallade are phenomenal and cost effective attackers, and once the deck is set up, there’s very little other decks can do about it. However, getting to that point requires a lot of turns, and the deck is very fragile early on.
With the addition of Max Potion, the deck gets even more resilient in the late game against decks that do not have a way to OHKO or Abilities. With Secret Spring, any energy loss is usually easily mitigated, thus, healing X amount of damage from Gardevoir in order to turn a 2HKO into a 3HKO becomes game breaking due to Gardevoir’s immense damage output.
The loss of Sylveon-GX can definitely be uncomfortable for players to get accustomed to, as Sylveon is an incredible safety net to set up behind and can even be an aggressive attacker as well. Having said that, any time you’re up against a Max Potion version of Gardevoir with the Sylveon version, you will be at a disadvantage in terms of resilience, and will end up losing the battle.
However, there might still be some hope for the Sylveon version, as the metagame changes and Gardevoir lists are adapting to using 3 Max Potion to fit in extra Parallel City and Mr. Mime. Sylveon also offers a nicer wall against the new more aggressive decks such as the ones I elaborated on first, as well as a nice attacking option against them.
Ultimately, in the upcoming 1,000 Masters players tournament, depending on which matchups you get, one version might be better than the other. However, I think there’s room for the Sylveon-GX version to possibly make a comeback.
This is what my current list looks like, without Sylveon-GX, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I ended up reverting back to Sylveon-GX to have a “safer” Gardevoir deck as we head to the last big event of the year:
Pokémon – 18
As I mentioned, Mr. Mime and the second Parallel City are inclusions which help out against the Midrange and Control decks we discussed first, with the former helping vs Buzzwole-GX and the latter with Zoroark-GX decks.
Are they game breaking cards that will swing the matchup 100% in your favor? Definitely not, but they are cards that will objectively help you every time you play against those decks. Mr. Mime I’m actually not 100% sold on yet, seeing how bench space is at a premium in Gardevoir decks, and the loss of the second Gallade is very noticeable.
If I were to revert back to the Sylveon-GX version of the deck, I definitely think I’d drop the 3 Max Potions and the 2nd Parallel City for the 2/2 line, drop a Super Rod for an 8th Fairy, and finally, one Field Blower for an Acerola, as you do need some form of healing in the deck if possible. Dropping the Field Blower is OK at this point in the metagame as Garbodor should not see a lot of play in Memphis, therefore you don’t have to worry too much about Garbotoxin.
Muchas gracias once again for reading my article. I hope to see many of you in Memphis, and for those of you who won’t be going, I hope you enjoy watching the stream of the tournament over the weekend! Until next time!
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