Hey everyone! You’re probably excited to read another article about today’s wonderful Standard format! I’ve had my reservations about Standard because it lacks my two favorite cards, Garbodor BKP and N—no sarcasm. They add comeback potential and prevents Ability-heavy decks from running rampant. I argue that this describes our Standard quite well, and therefore the format is unappealing in my eyes. However, I know many people prefer this kind of format than what we had at Worlds, or even earlier in the year. A format without counter-play is good in some ways, but also atrocious in others. Games aren’t lost by N, but that means a strong start is required to win a game. Moreover, a bad start is incredibly more detrimental now than it was before.
I’m going to be looking at an archetype that carried over from last format, non-GX/Shrine of Punishment. The non-GX can be filled by multiple things, with Buzzwole FLI, Weavile UPR, Garbodor GRI, and Hoopa SLG being the most popular options at the moment. I think Buzzwole and Weavile are the strongest two because they complement each other nicely. Buzzwole is a great attacker early in the game, but also packs a big punch with Sledgehammer. On the contrary, Weavile is the mid-game beast that crushes the Ability-based decks.
It’s also good for me to explain why I dislike the other two. In short, Hoopa is too easy to play around and is difficult to set up without Max Elixir. Many decks are running multiple copies of non-GX Pokémon, in some form or another. Zoroark-GX decks have Tapu Koko, which can become somewhat of a pain depending on how slow your start is. But in general, the problem is no Max Elixir. Hoopa will always take two attachments, which means other Pokémon are easy picking when your board is clear of Energy. If Hoopa is to truly shine, I think it’s on its own rather than paired with any of the above partners.
Garbodor GRI seems great in the format of Item engines without Brigette, but once again, it’s easy to play around. Many decks are fine once they set up, and that leaves very little reason to continue to play Items. In the Worlds deck, Buzzwole FLI was able to pressure because of the 70 damage output in that format. Without Strong Energy, its damage is smaller and can be contained. Also, Garbodor GRI falls to Zoroark easily. A Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX with a counter to Shrine of Punishment should match up quite nicely against Buzzwole/Garbodor/Shrine.
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