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All Sights Set for Standard

Caleb Gedemer

Introduction

Hey again Dead Draw Gaming readers! I am back again with some more content. Last time we went through the exciting release of the new expansion of Steam Siege, but today will we be doing something vastly different in nature.

 

I recently attended a League Challenge in the Wisconsin area that is home to many competitive players. Something worth noting is that this tournament featured a variety of decks, as well as some lines of logic that would seem to hold true when analyzing the new format. In this article, we will be talking about how the metagame for this competition shaped up and if there were any decks that could have stolen the show or that were missing in action.

 

Additionally, I would like to begin with a very brief piece on how the event played out for me, what my list was like and any thoughts I had on the event in general. Normally, this information is not the most relevant of things, but considering the lack of results in the new Standard format, these experiences should be of some worth, at the very least. Let us get started!

The Tournament

The Deck List

 

“M Mewtwo-EX (Psychic Infinity)”

 

Pokemon -- 14

Trainers -- 36

Energy – 10

2 Shaymin-EX ROS 77

1 Hoopa-EX AOR 36

4 Mewtwo-EX BKT 62

3 M Mewtwo-EX BKT 64

2 Trubbish BKP 56

2 Garbodor BKP 57

4 Mega Turbo

1 Super Rod

3 Trainers’ Mail

4 Ultra Ball

4 VS Seeker

1 Lysandre

3 N

1 Pokemon Ranger

4 Professor Sycamore

2 Parallel City

2 Shrine of Memories

3 Float Stone

4 Mewtwo Spirit Link

4 Double Colorless Energy

6 Psychic Energy

 

This is the deck list I chose to use for the tournament. In retrospect, the only card I would have tried very hard to fit would be a Hex Maniac. I did not expect Giratina-EX to be all too popular and I was for the most part correct in this assumption, but it still would have been nice to have that failsafe in the event I was paired up against it.

 

I am extremely confident otherwise in nearly every card and count therein. A seventh Psychic Energy may have been neat as well, but perhaps a luxury at that. There were at least two instances if I recall correctly that I missed a Psychic Energy that would have achieved a Damage Change or Shatter Shot for a knockout.

 

Above all else regarding this deck, I am one hundred percent confident in my Pokemon lineup. I do not want to change a single thing with those guys and would put myself up to any argument defending the critter counts I chose. Now, let us get on to my tournament results!

 

The Matches

 

I did not know what to really expect from my opponents or my own deck for this tournament. I had not had any tournament experience since the World Championships and had not played the deck I chose very much. This being said, I was still confident in my ability to play the game and jumped right into it. I knew M Mewtwo-EX with Psychic Infinity was a great deck and generally a great play in almost every circumstance. This tournament was best two out of three, yes, even for a League Challenge, so hopefully that makes it a bit more interesting!

 

  • R1 vs. Flareon-EX/Hoopa-EX/Volcanion/Volcanion-EX 2-1; 1-0-0
    • First Game
      • This one started out slow with a Shaymin-EX Active, but my deck gained momentum and even though I was unable to get Garbodor into play, I quickly realized that Volcanion-EX and its baby counterparts are no match for the power of Psychic Infinity and Flareon-EX is just so pitifully outmatched.
    • Second Game
      • I opened with a dead hand and drew and passed for multiple turns before calling it quits and playing first in the third game.
    • Third Game
      • Starting Shaymin-EX again was a bit annoying, but I was able to overcome and this time my opponent drew somewhat mediocre and I ran over their field of volcanoes once again with relative ease. Garbodor made this one so much easier, as well.
    • R2 vs. Ditto/Hoopa-EX/M Mewtwo-EX/Shaymin-EX 1-1; 1-0-1
      • First Game
        • My first mirror-match in the new Standard format. I was confident because I knew I would be able to draw something up and figure out the best way to play this game as I went. I was able to do just this and even though I went second, I pulled ahead with some clutch Ns to lower sizes towards the end of the game and I snatched up the victory.
      • Second Game
        • I drew pitifully once again and since the first game took nearly forty minutes, I knew there was no way I would be able to win a complete third game. This being said, I tried to play it out, but I ran out of Basic Pokemon to even put out to keep taking damage from attacks.
      • Third Game
        • This one did not last. I had a very nice start but time was called within the first few minutes and neither of us had taken a Prize, so we settled for a tie.
      • R3 vs. Kyurem-EX/Manaphy-EX/Primal Kyogre-EX/Regice/Shaymin-EX 2-0; 2-0-1
        • First Game
          • When I saw a Regice start from my opponent, I was instantly thankful that I chose to include a Pokemon Ranger in my build. Unfortunately for my opponent, though, I got a Garbodor out on my second turn and stopped them from really setting up before I built a massive M Mewtwo-EX and bodied their entire field, including that very Regice.
        • Second Game
          • The second game was extremely similar, but Kyurem-EX played some trickery with its second attack of Icecalibur. This attack prevented my M Mewtwo-EX from even attacking on the next turn and I was forced to Retreat and cross my fingers that a Lysandre would not snag it from the Bench for a knockout. This did not occur and I was able to promote M Mewtwo-EX on the following turn and score the last meaningful knockout of the game before it was all over.
        • R4 vs. Klefki/Raichu/Shaymin-EX/Unown/Vespiquen 2-0; 3-0-1
          • First Game
            • This series was against Dead Draw Gaming’s very own Danny Oesterreich. Unfortunately for him, he was unable to really make use of the Vespiquen deck’s potential since his Klefkis and Unowns were disabled through the use of Garbodor’s Garbotoxin. Normally, without Garbodor, Klefki, for sure, would have been an extreme pain. Shrine of Memories also helped me out quite a bit since it allowed for knockouts on Danny’s low HP Pokemon and it even healed my M Mewtwo-EXs in the process.
          • Second Game
            • The second game was much more of a blowout than the first, Danny was unable to get many Pokemon in the Discard in the early turns and I slowly crawled to victory through lots of non-EX knockouts. Garbodor and Shrine of Memories once again played a key role.
          • R5 vs. Bisharp/Mew/Raichu/Shaymin-EX/Volcanion-EX/Xerneas 1-1; 3-0-2
            • First Game
              • Going into this one, I knew that if I were to win, I would take home the first place title. My opponent was running a “Rainbow Road” deck and I was sure that Parallel City would come in handy in disarming their arsenal of different type Pokemon on the Bench. The only problem with this was that my opponent ironically played their own Parallel City and prevented me from playing mine in turn. They played Faded Town as well, which allowed Xerneas to attack for less damage but still score knockouts and it turned both the Bisharp and Raichu they played into viable attackers. This was a slow back and forth trade, but the non-EX Pokemon came out on top in the end with a Lysandre knockout on a Shaymin-EX with Raichu’s Circle Circuit.
            • Second Game
              • Now my back was up against the wall and I would have to win and hope a tie, which was likely to happen, would net me a place in the Top Four for Championship Points. This game was a bit more in my favor, as I set up more comprehensively and was able to address every attacker my opponent sent into battle. I won by a considerable margin and hoped to play a super quick game three and win the tournament.
            • Third Game
              • While my start was all I hoped for and more, time was not on my side and with neither of us having taken a Prize, another tie was logged in the books for my record.

 

I ended up taking fifth place and while I am not happy with this, I learned a lot about the new format, especially about what people were mainly considering and actually playing for a tournament. My deck ran well and I am happy about that. We will save more discussion on the happenings and results for the next portion, but a lot of relevant ideas and thoughts were collected.

The Top Decks to Expect

I do not believe in tier lists. Decks are decks and they all vary in competitive value depending on their consistency and what decks our opponents play for a tournament. Too many variables go into the end result for such a thing to truly exist. Regardless, the following are the “top” decks we should expect in future tournaments. They have been proven as contenders through their tact to win games and maintain positive matchups against most decks.

 

The Decks

 

  1. Darkrai-EX (Garbodor, Giratina-EX)
  2. M Mewtwo-EX (Psychic Infinity; Garbodor, Zoroark)
  3. M Rayquaza-EX (Emerald Break; Manaphy-EX, Zoroark)
  4. Vespiquen (Garbodor, Raichu, Zoroark)
  5. Xerneas (Rainbow Force)

 

The Takeaways

 

First off let us start by saying these are likely to be the best decks in the Standard format. They have an opportunity to win any matchup and will likely be bursting into the spotlight once Regional Championship results start to pour in. At any rate, these are the decks we should be most concerned about when heading into a tournament wanting to win.

 

“Darkrai-EX (Garbodor, Giratina-EX)”

 

This is a hard hitting deck with a great defensive edge. At the League Challenge, for instance, there were two people I spotted piloting it. Darkrai-EX with its Dark Pulse attack has been a strong attacker since its conception and the defensive edge of Garbodor and Giratina-EX, if we were to choose to play that, gives us another aspect that we can capitalize upon for wins.

 

I expect this deck to gain some popularity since M Pokemon-EX decks are all the rage right now. Giratina-EX gives those builds quite a big headache in most cases with its Ability. Chaos Wheel is still as strong as ever, albeit slightly weaker since Pokemon Ranger now exists. Nearly every new Standard format deck relies on a Stadium card or Special Energy cards, namely Double Colorless Energy.

 

Along with Parallel City, Darkrai-EX builds can counter powerhouses like the M Rayquaza-EX with Emerald Break and the Xerneas with Rainbow Force. This deck is just naturally good because it brings both a powerful attacker and a powerful defensive concept together which cumulates in a great Pokemon Trading Card Game deck that we should all be on the watch for this year.

 

“M Mewtwo-EX (Psychic Infinity; Garbodor, Zoroark)”

 

Now for what I believe is the best deck in the Standard format right now: M Mewtwo-EX with Psychic Infinity. This deck is insanely strong and only snowballs on its position each coming turn with each Energy attachment. This deck has very few bad matchups and is naturally very consistent when running Hoopa-EX and a handful of Shaymin-EX as well as draw Supporters and Trainers’ Mail.

 

Garbodor is a very powerful card as the game stands right now, rendering a few decks completely useless like Greninja BREAK and Volcanion-EX builds. With so many decks struggling without Shaymin-EX’s Set Up, that Ability shutdown is very pertinent as well. The pile of trash is also very nice against pesky Vespiquen decks that utilize both Klefki and Unown. Most of Vespiquen’s damage output is generated by these Discardable Pokemon, so it becomes quite obvious how good shutting these Abilities off is.

 

Shrine of Memories has made this deck even better off. Most builds, like mine, use both Parallel City and the Shrine. The Shrine as I touched on slightly in my short report, is very good against lower damage output decks. Good examples of these include: Raichu, Vespiquen and Xerneas with Rainbow Force, although in the case of Xerneas, the sometimes will hit for one hit knockouts, but the option still remains in the case they fall short. Shrine of Memories is absolutely amazing to heal and also score knockouts. This deck has a huge damage ceiling, a degenerate Ability from Garbodor and the ability to heal off damage. What more could we ask for?

 

“M Rayquaza-EX (Emerald Break; Manaphy-EX, Zoroark)”

 

Personally in my opinion, this deck is not all that great, but that sentiment has not stopped the masses from discussing it, as well as playing it. It still is a force to be reckoned with, but it just has such a target on its back for me personally to think all too highly of it. Nevertheless, it is a powerful deck and should be addressed in any deck we decide to pick up for a tournament. M Rayquaza-EX can knockout any Pokemon in the game, provided they do not have some kind of damage reducing measure attached or in play. That of course is pretty dang good.

 

Parallel City’s newfound popularity is namely the reason this deck’s future does not look much more than abysmal. The card can be placed with the Bench limiting side towards M Rayquaza-EX and cap their damage output at a whopping 90 damage. That is not good at all. With Sacred Ash removed from Standard format play, Super Rod can only replenish the deck with three Pokemon at max. This being said, when M Rayquaza-EX is pitted against M Mewtwo-EX with Psychic Infinity, for instance, when they play a Parallel City after M Ray-EX had a full Bench, the process of getting back up to that stature is going to be an uphill battle.

 

Ninetales from Primal Clash has become a counter to Parallel City in this type of deck and is a very good idea to try and prevent the degenerate Bench limitations from ever being conceived. Regardless of whatever happens, this deck is to be expected at upcoming tournaments because of its simplistic deck design and high damage output. Many players flock to these two bullet points of intrigue and it is sure to be continue being a popular competitive deck for most of the season.

 

“Vespiquen (Garbodor, Raichu, Zoroark)”

 

Vespiquen has had an uncanny resurgence after most people concluded it was “dead” in the Standard format after Battle Compressor was rotated out. Along with Klefki and Unown, the queen bee has found new ways to get the critters where they need to go: the Discard pile. This deck gets rolling more slowly than it has in the past, but with some patience, we can get Vespiquen swinging for the numbers it would reach back in the glory days of the dreaded Compressor.

 

At any rate, this deck is still very strong, even if we are hitting for 90 a pop on average. Those numbers add up and Klefki packs an amazing utility that will prevent damage inflicted upon us from M Pokemon-EX! Revitalizer and Special Charge work in tandem to keep the ball rolling and keep the bees flying out from their hive of origin.

 

This deck should continue in its popularity due to Vespiquen just being a gosh darn popular card. People seem to swarm to it and enjoy playing variants of the deck. It is a cheap attacking, but hard hitting Pokemon, all key components to a winning deck! We need to make sure we have our fly swatters ready because this deck is not going anywhere fast.

 

“Xerneas (Rainbow Force)”

 

Rainbows for days! This deck is really pretty and really fun to play, too. Xerneas is a super cute Pokemon with an attack that is far from cute. Rainbow Force is a very unique concept and brings a lot of different Pokemon and the colors that accompany them to the playing field. Xerneas on its own is not too great, but the nifty new dual type Pokemon that have been released in Steam Siege bring a whole new prowess to this deck that has never been seen before.

 

Most notable inclusions are Pokemon like Bisharp, Galvantula and the best new inclusion, Volcanion-EX. In the case of the volcano, simply play it down for a 60 damage boost in the attack of Rainbow Force. It is that simple! Bisharp and Galvantula might need to hang out on the Bench for a couple turns as their previous stages of Pawniard and Joltik, respectfully, but it will be all good. Soon we will be swinging for 190 with just these three Pokemon in play! That is not to even count a Mew, Shaymin-EX, or even another Xerneas getting powered up on the Bench.

 

Xerneas with Rainbow Force is sure to appeal to many different players due to its low skill cap and fun to use style of play. Utilizing different types of Pokemon on the Bench is a newer concept and until now, Xerneas has not been all that great. Along with the aforementioned Pokemon and Max Elixir, it is sure to pack a punch and find its way to the top tables.

 

The Deck Lists

 

“Darkrai-EX” | Caleb Gedemer

 

Pokemon -- 10

Trainers -- 36

Energy -- 14

2 Shaymin-EX ROS 77

2 Darkrai-EX BKP 74

1 Umbreon-EX FCO 55

1 Yveltal XY 78

2 Giratina-EX AOR 57

1 Hoopa-EX AOR 36

1 Mew FCO 29

1 Enhanced Hammer

1 Escape Rope

4 Max Elixir

1 Super Rod

3 Trainers’ Mail

4 Ultra Ball

3 VS Seeker

1 Hex Maniac

2 Lysandre

3 N

1 Ninja Boy

1 Pokemon Ranger

4 Professor Sycamore

3 Parallel City

2 Fighting Fury Belt

2 Float Stone

4 Double Dragon Energy

1 Double Colorless Energy

9 Darkness Energy

 

“M Rayquaza-EX (Emerald Break)” | Pablo Meza

 

Pokemon -- 18

Trainers -- 34

Energy -- 8

4 Rayquaza-EX ROS 75

3 M Rayquaza-EX ROS 76

4 Shaymin-EX ROS 77

2 Zorua BKT 89

2 Zoroark BKT 91

1 Magearna-EX STS 75

2 Hoopa-EX AOR 36

2 Mega Turbo

1 Special Charge

3 Trainers’ Mail

4 Ultra Ball

4 VS Seeker

1 Hex Maniac

1 Lysandre

1 N

3 Professor Sycamore

1 Winona

4 Sky Field

3 Float Stone

4 Rayquaza Spirit Link

4 Double Colorless Energy

4 Metal Energy

 

“Vespiquen” | Andrew Wamboldt

 

Pokemon -- 26

Trainers -- 30

Energy -- 4

4 Shaymin-EX ROS 77

3 Zorua BKT 89

2 Zoroark BKT 91

1 Zoroark BREAK BKT 92

4 Klefki STS 80

4 Combee AOR 9

4 Vespiquen AOR 10

4 Unown AOR 30

4 Acro Bike

2 Revitalizer

2 Special Charge

4 Trainers’ Mail

4 Ultra Ball

4 VS Seeker

2 Lysandre

2 N

1 Pokemon Ranger

4 Professor Sycamore

1 Forest of Giant Plants

2 Float Stone

4 Double Colorless Energy

 

“Xerneas (Rainbow Force)” | Josh Marking

 

Pokemon -- 15

Trainers -- 34

Energy -- 11

2 Shaymin-EX ROS 77

2 Pawniard STS 63

2 Bisharp STS 64

4 Xerneas BKT 107

2 Joltik STS 41

2 Galvantula STS 42

1 Volcanion-EX STS

1 Level Ball

2 Max Elixir

1 Super Rod

2 Switch

4 Trainers’ Mail

4 Ultra Ball

4 VS Seeker

1 Lysandre

3 N

1 Pokemon Ranger

4 Professor Sycamore

3 Sky Field

2 Exp. Share

2 Float Stone

4 Double Colorless Energy

7 Fairy Energy

 

The Outliers

 

These decks are listed in no particular order of strength or anything, but they are all still decks to consider. We will not be getting into any detail on them today, unfortunately, but they are all concepts that we can test out and try for ourselves. They can generally be regarded as less popular decks with worse overall matches that the decks we have discussed above, but nonetheless that is no reason to deter ourselves from still giving them a go. Enjoy!

 

  • Greninja BREAK (Talonflame)
  • M Gardevoir-EX (Brilliant Arrow)
  • M Gardevoir-EX (Despair Ray)
  • M Mewtwo-EX (Vanishing Strike)
  • M Rayquaza-EX (Dragon Ascent; Giratina-EX)
  • M Sceptile-EX
  • M Scizor-EX (Garbodor)
  • Primal Groudon-EX
  • Primal Kyogre-EX
  • Raichu
  • Volcanion-EX
  • Xerneas BREAK
  • Yanmega BREAK
  • Zygarde-EX

Conclusion

Now it is time to wrap things up. The new Standard format is certainly a healthier environment for a plethora of competitive, but fun, decks to thrive all together. I hope this piece clarified some things for you all and brought some interesting information to the table. That is all for today, good luck everyone!



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