Hello everyone! Bryan Hunter of Dead Draw Gaming here bringing you to my first article for the team. Today we are talking about Sylveon GX. I recently got 2nd place at a league cup using the list Sam Chen and Pablo Meza used for Portland. I felt it would be nice to talk about the deck and possible techs for the deck.
Here is the List Sam Chen And Pablo Meza used for Portland Regionals to get T16.
Pokemon - 10
4x Eevee SUM 101
3x Sylveon-GX GRI 92
1x Ralts BUS 91
1x Gardevoir-GX BUS 93
1x Hoopa SLG 55
Trainer - 37
4x Team Flare Grunt
1x Team Rocket's Handiwork
4x Puzzle of Time
4x Max Potion
4x Nest Ball
3x Crushing Hammer
2x Enhanced Hammer
1x Counter Catcher
1x Field Blower
1x Rare Candy
1x Pal Pad
2x Bodybuilding Dumbbells
1x Parallel City
Energy - 13
11x Fairy Energy
2x Double Colorless Energy SUM 136
Sylveon is challenging and fun (no really!) to play. Control and mill decks have a reputation of being boring to play. Games can get grindy and long and who would subject themselves to that for a whole tournament? While it’s true that your opponent won’t think it’s any fun, Sylveon actually has has a complex decision tree and the fact that the deck can win in several ways makes it a very rewarding deck to play.
Sylveon’s engine is, of course, to use magical ribbon to search your deck for any three cards. But knowing which cards you need for different matchups and situations leads to some difficult decisions. Let’s talk a bit about your first couple of magical ribbons. Typically your first magical ribbon will be to start establishing a strong board presence and to figure out what you need, but typically you search out your nest ball, a supporter, and something for the following turn depending on your match up and what's already in your hand. Turns two and three can be the most tenuous for the deck. If you will be attacked you want access to max potion or Acerola. If you can safely do so, you’ll decide how much energy denial or mill you want to go for and grab those cards.
Late and mid-game decisions can occasionally get complicated if you’re in a tight matchup but can also be pretty easy. By around turn four your energy denial should be in full swing and your opponent will be struggling to attack and possibly will have trouble switching their Pokemon.. At this point you are hoping you have locked your opponent out of doing much and can just starting chaining Team Rocket's Handiwork. Sylveon’s primary paths to victory are energy denial and mill. But this deck can definitely take six prizes. However, even when you may not need to use Magical Ribbon, you don’t always want to do damage. Most of time you are hoping to get something stuck in the active so you can continually mill them. This gives us a rough general map for a Sylveon game:
Early game: Establish your board (getting a Sylveon up, getting one on the bench if appropriate, getting out a Ralts if needed), react to your opponent’s board and deck. Mid-game: Energy denial and control (with the concurrent goal of mobility denial). Late-game: Mill, mill, mill.
Sylveon is a good meta-call at the moment. Some of the best match ups for Sylveon are Zoroark/variants, denying their limited energy and having the dark resistance goes a long way. Typically nothing in their deck will ever be able to OHKO you. Decks that can’t hit 200 will usually be layups for Sylveon. Buzzwole feels like a comfortable match up with its typically low damage outputs and its heavy retreaters. The fact that Buzzwole requires multiple attachments for its larger attacks definitely helps. Even if they get off one Absorption GX KO, they’ll often have trouble following it up. A few lucky heads flips on crushing hammer will make the Buzzwole match up a breeze at times. Greninja feels like it’s 50/50 depending on what cards you choose to add to your deck. Typically killing the Starmie is the best option to beating it because it limits their energies, but on the other hand if you bring up Starmie they have to waste an energy attachment to be able to retreat. Garbodor Espeon can be a bit tricky. The ability to constantly confuse you can slow you down on getting set up and late game Garbodor can just come in and swing the matchup. Typically you want to Twilight GX your items back into your deck at some point so they can’t Trashalance for big numbers. Metal, Bulu, Fire decks feel the most unfavorable, they all have quick ways to easily OKHO things. I find you want to use hoopa in these match ups causing them to either need a non gx to attack with or having to get multiple Guzmas to get around it. It’s often possible to run Bulu out of energy if you can force them to use Vikavolt to KO Hoopa several times. Parallel City and Plea GX can help in each of these.
Possible Techs for Sylveon
4 Pal Pads
I ended up playing a cup in Toronto and faced the mirror against Former World
Champion Andrew Estrada. In his deck he was playing four pal pads with two Team Rocket’s Handiworks. This allowed him to be super aggressive with milling. The idea is to be able to play both Handiworks then shuffle them back in with Pal Pad and then search them out with Sylveon. Doing this you don’t have to was continuously swap between Lusamine and Handiwork every turn, which can be too slow at times. 2nd Team Rocket’s Handiwork. Once you get something stuck active with no out you should be able to chain Handiwork and deck them with plenty of time to spare.
As I said playing multiple Pal pads allows for a more mill aggressive approach to Sylveon. I’d say if you’re putting the pal pads in, definitely put in a second Handiwork. You still might want to consider a second handiwork without the pal pads if you expect to need to employ this strategy in your local meta.
Mars is a fun tech card to use. Allowing you to draw some cards and randomly discard a card from your opponent’s hand. Opponents will often keep an important card in hand, attempting to play patiently against you. Mars on the turn following a delinquent can punish your opponent for their patience. Anytime you don’t need to play another card and your opponent has a very small hand Mars has a chance to be a killer. Mars after an N can be good since it can net you two cards and can occasionally help bail you out if you don’t hit what you need off the N, and if they’ve N’d themselves down to a low hand size it can shift momentum.
The Oranguru killer. At this point if you consider playing Sylveon just throw in a Kukui to deal with those pesky Orangurus, the people have been adding to their decks. The ability to one-shot the Oranguru is pretty big, especially considering your opponent won’t see it coming the first time. If you’re not playing Kukui, having to two-shot it with Sylveon or use Gardevoir-GX to knock it out can use a lot of your resources, especially energy. If they don’t attack into you, you can’t use Acerola and will have to hard retreat at times. Your puzzles and Twilight GX attack are better used on your primary disruption and denial cards than on energy.
When players try to play patiently and conserve their energy, Team Skull Grunt can really ruin their day. It can also be good after and Acerola when you know they have at least one energy or after a double puzzle of time when they grab two DCEs. Enhanced hammer + Skull Grunt can be pretty deadly. This also can help your Greninja match up if they attempt to just keep hitting moonlight slash hoping to keep the energy safe.
Unlike Team Flare Grunt, Plumeria can remove an energy from anywhere on the board. If your opponent is trying to build up something on the bench Plumeria can stop them in their tracks. Plumeria is also nice because it helps discard cards from your hand that you might have included for other matchups that are dead cards for other games.
Big Malasada / Full Heal / Comfey / Pokemon Center Lady
Special conditions (especially confusion from Espeon GX) can be a bit of an annoyance for Sylveon. Comfey is problematic if you start it. Pokemon Center Lady counts as your supporter for the turn when you really want to be playing Flare Grunt, but of these choices Pokemon center lady is probably the best because it’s easy to be able to recover and continually use it. However, I think the matchup with Espeon is fine anyway and none of these are probably worth a spot. Acerola and advance planning deal with Espeon’s confusion (or the rare poison you may face) better than these can. Espeon deals little enough damage that you can risk a couple of confusion flips at times anyway.
Whenever I talk to players about including a 1-0-1 Charizard line their eyes light up. That’s just because players love cheese and memes. No one would see it coming and before they know it they lose 10 cards from their deck. It's pretty hard to two-shot the Charizard so usually you will be able to use its gx move. While I did have a lot of fun toying with this on PTCGO, I decided against it in the end. Since Charizard’s GX attack required two attachments, it’s hard to pull off as a surprise. But it sure sounds fun for a League Cup or something!
With Greninja popping up again it can be a solid addition to your deck. Tormenting Spray. The dream combo of opponent four card hand and Delinquent into tormenting spray can essentially end games. It’s fun but less reliable than the strategies above.
With Brazil coming up and Toronto next month I think Sylveon is a great choice.
Hopefully you enjoyed my article and I hope to write some more soon! Make sure to keep up with us by liking our team page on Facebook!