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"Last Night Garde Took a L, but Tonight She Bounced Back" - The Circle Story of Our 2017 Standard Format

Caleb Gedemer

Last Night Garde Took a L, but Tonight She Bounced Back"

The Circle Story of Our 2017 Standard Format

by Caleb Gedemer

Introduction

Hey, Dead Drawers! It’s Caleb, and I’m back with another action-packed article for your reading pleasure. It’s been a minute since I talked about the Standard format, so I figured it’s probably a ripe time to do that again. This quarter’s series of League Cups is just starting to heat up (most of which are held in Standard), and for those of you chasing an invite, the stakes couldn’t be higher. Now is around the time of year when many of us zone in on that last heap of points, and some of us fall, intentionally, or unintentionally, off the horse and decide it’s time to wait for next season to score an invitation to Worlds.

 

All right, so where do I begin? I think it’s a great idea to talk about how the meta-game has shifted since the start of the year, and go from there. For the purposes of keeping this focused to a central point, I’ll only be covering United States events, as well as International Championship tournaments.

In conclusion, I’ll be suggesting my favorite decks for the meta-game that we find ourselves in currently. Let’s get right into it!

 

 

 

 

January 2017

 

12/31/2016 | Dallas, Texas Regional Championship

Prior to Dallas, the format was full of Yveltal decks. People were starting to complain of a dominance similar to that of Night March’s death grip on the State Championship format last year. Anyway, the point is that Yveltal failed to take a single Top 8 slot at this event. M Gardevoir-EX (79) was all the rage, and was the perfect counter to the resurgence of another M Pokemon-EX deck, M Mewtwo-EX (64). The biggest takeaway you can learn from this event’s results is that M Rayquaza-EX (76) would more than likely be making its own comeback in the future, and additionally, Darkrai-EX decks (a very solid deck with few bad match ups), might finally spring onto the scene with its all-around solidity against the field. Greninja BREAK, too, looked like it might even take it to the next level in a meta-game that’s centralizing around Pokemon-EX.

 

 

01/14/2017 | Athens, Georgia Regional Championship

Here’s an event I attended personally, and I went into it not truly expecting M Rayquaza-EX (76). I figured that not much would change from Texas, and that M Gardevoir-EX (79) would be a very solid play. In many ways, I was totally on the ball, but M Ray did, in fact, show up, and even took multiple slots in the Top 8 of the event. Vespiquen decks also had a huge showing, and one of them even took it to the finals of the tournament. Here’s where Turbo Darkrai-EX came in, though, it had lots of placings in day two, and it won the entire thing. Going forward, players would absolutely have to be on the lookout for that deck.

 

 

February 2017

 

02/18/2017 | Anaheim, California Regional Championship

The introduction of Sun & Moon to the competitive scene struck awe and wonder into many players, new cards are fun, but unfortunately, after testing, very few of them, if any, seemed poised to have any impact on the game. Players seemed set to go back to decks of the past, and just skip the whole “new set infatuation” mentality for once. While some cards did see some play, the only significant placing with a “new” deck came from John Kettler, with his Decidueye-GX / Vileplume deck. His Top 16 finish would be an opening to a new paradigm shift in the game, one that not everyone would love. In other news, Darkrai-EX decks took both places in the finals, and things seemed to be destined for the same old same old routine that we get into quite often in the Pokemon Trading Card Game competitive scene.

 

 

March 2017

 

03/11/2017 | Melbourne, Australia International Championship

Here we had one of the penultimate events of the season, and let me tell you, its results had one of the biggest impacts on the game that we’ve seen in a while. Prior to this, there was a smaller Regionals in Europe that had Decidueye-GX / Vileplume winning it all, and that placing caused a ton of high caliber players to check the deck out themselves. Nine of these decks made the Top 32 of the Oceania Internationals event alone, and four of them placed in the Top 8. This type of dominance is almost guaranteed to make waves in the community, and get everyone scrambling to find counters to the deck. The first of these counters came in the form of an Espeon-GX / Wobbuffet deck, which I personally think is dreadful. After that, Wobbuffet became kind of the counter in of itself, and Wobb has been making its way into a lot of the competitive decks we’ve seen making Top 8s at League Cup tournaments as of late.

 

 

Now

So here we stand, in an abyss of players playing Decidueye-GX / Vileplume, or Wobbuffet / something. The fact that Wobbuffet is so extremely neutralizing to the Grass decks balances out those decks’ toxicity with Vileplume Item lock. Now to take this a step further, since Wobbuffet with random decks has become the norm, some decks of old have come back. With many players being scared away from playing Vileplume anymore, the game has shifted back to something closer to the meta-game going into Georgia Regionals, with people not expecting Vespiquen decks to see any play, but seeing an opening for Darkrai-EX and M Rayquaza-EX (76) builds to shine. This in mind, M Mewtwo-EX (64) will assuredly find its way back into the fold, too, and then there’s M Gardevoir-EX (79) to punish players that choose to do that. This convoluted mess is really hard to sift through!

 

 

Darkrai-EX

I’ll start off with one of my favorite decks, Turbo Darkrai-EX. The strategy is very straightforward, just get as many Darkness Energy as you can into play to increase your damage output, and aim for taking one-hit knockouts by the end of the game. I would play this deck in a meta-game where Decidueye-GX / Vileplume is on the way out, like if players are getting scared away from playing it themselves, and heading to counter decks like M Mewtwo-EX (64) with Wobbuffet, and such.

 

Pokemon -- 9

Trainers -- 39

Energy -- 12

2 Shaymin-EX ROS 77

1 Tauros-GX SUM 100

4 Darkrai-EX BKP 74

1 Yveltal XY 78

1 Hoopa-EX AOR 36

2 Escape Rope

4 Max Elixir

1 Switch

3 Trainers’ Mail

4 Ultra Ball

4 VS Seeker

1 Parallel City

3 Silent Lab

1 Hex Maniac

2 Lysandre

3 N

1 Ninja Boy

1 Professor Kukui

4 Professor Sycamore

3 Exp. Share

2 Fighting Fury Belt

12 Darkness Energy

 

Decidueye-GX / Vileplume / Toolbox

After seeing the results of one of the most recent European Regional Championships, this deck really intrigued me. It’s your normal run of the mill skeleton of this deck, but tosses in some tech attacker Pokemon to shore up challenging match ups, match ups that you generally lose if you have a poor start, or go second in. This is probably the riskiest deck to play that’s out there right now, but with high risk, there’s often high reward.

 

Pokemon -- 25

Trainers -- 28

Energy -- 7

1 Lugia-EX AOR 68

3 Shaymin-EX ROS 77

2 Oddish AOR 1

2 Gloom AOR 2

2 Vileplume AOR 3

4 Rowlet SUM 9

4 Dartrix SUM 10

4 Decidueye-GX SUM 12

1 Trevenant-EX PRC 19

1 Jolteon-EX GEN 28

1 Espeon-EX BKP 52

3 Level Ball

2 Revitalizer

4 Trainers’ Mail

4 Ultra Ball

4 Forest of Giant Plants

2 Lysandre

3 N

4 Professor Sycamore

2 Float Stone

4 Double Colorless Energy

3 Rainbow Energy

 

M Gardevoir-EX (79)

I’d love to be “able” to play this deck again, but fear of running into M Rayquaza-EX (76) will almost always scare me off. Garde stands firm against most of the meta-game, and has one of the most tantalizingly good match ups out there, in the form of M Mewtwo-EX (64). This deck’s match up with Decidueye-GX decks is tricky, and that’s another reason of putting off for me, at least. Regardless, though, in a meta-game where players are shifting back to decks they used to frequent before the ‘plume outbreak, M Gardevoir-EX (79) is definitely a solid play.

 

Pokemon -- 16

Trainers -- 37

Energy -- 7

2 Dragonite-EX EVO 72

1 Hawlucha STS 97

1 Rattata EVO 66

4 Shaymin-EX ROS 77

3 Gardevoir-EX PRC 105

3 M Gardevoir-EX STS 79

2 Hoopa-EX AOR 36

2 Escape Rope

2 Fairy Drop

3 Mega Turbo

1 Super Rod

1 Switch

3 Trainers’ Mail

4 Ultra Ball

4 VS Seeker

3 Sky Field

1 Brock’s Grit

2 Hex Maniac

2 Lysandre

2 N

3 Professor Sycamore

4 Gardevoir Spirit Link

7 Fairy Energy

 

M Mewtwo-EX (64)

I recently played this deck to a modest Top 8 finish at a League Cup, and beat a Decidueye-GX / Vileplume deck on the way there. I think it’s a good deck as a counter to ‘plume, at least, when you play a Wobbuffet in addition to the generally accepted skeleton of the deck. Its match ups all around are very solid, and you’re basically trading a bad M Gardevoir-EX (79) match up for a good M Rayquaza-EX (76) match up. I think both Gardevoir and Mewtwo are very similar with match ups, and determining if you expect more Gardevoir, or Rayquaza decks in your area, is the best way to decide between the two builds for an upcoming tournament.

 

Pokemon -- 15

Trainers -- 34

Energy -- 11

1 Eevee SUM 101

1 Espeon-GX SUM 61

2 Shaymin-EX ROS 77

1 Hoopa-EX AOR 36

3 Mewtwo-EX BKT 62

3 M Mewtwo-EX BKT 64

2 Trubbish BKP 56

1 Garbodor BKP 57

1 Wobbuffet GEN RC11

4 Mega Turbo

1 Super Rod

2 Trainers’ Mail

4 Ultra Ball

4 VS Seeker

1 Parallel City

2 Shrine of Memories

1 Lysandre

3 N

1 Olympia

4 Professor Sycamore

3 Float Stone

4 Mewtwo Spirit Link

4 Double Colorless Energy

7 Psychic Energy

 

M Rayquaza-EX (76)

Lastly, I’d like to touch on the most explosive deck, when it runs well, out there. M Ray can beat Decidueye-GX / Vileplume if it goes first, and it can go toe to toe with most of the other decks out there, spare Vespiquen decks. Strong decks with lots of HP that also play Parallel City can be extremely tricky, and that’s a point of concern that will almost assuredly bar me from ever playing this sometimes frustratingly inconsistent deck. I like this deck as a play in meta-games that have almost entirely steered away from Vileplume, and have returned to the roots of a Darkrai-EX-centralized field.

 

Pokemon -- 16

Trainers -- 36

Energy -- 8

1 Dragonite-EX EVO 72

1 Rattata EVO 66

3 Rayquaza-EX ROS 75

3 M Rayquaza-EX ROS 76

4 Shaymin-EX ROS 77

3 Hoopa-EX AOR 36

1 Volcanion-EX STS 26

1 Escape Rope

3 Mega Turbo

4 Puzzle of Time

3 Trainers’ Mail

4 Ultra Ball

4 VS Seeker

4 Sky Field

1 Hex Maniac

1 Karen

1 Lysandre

1 N

3 Professor Sycamore

1 Skyla

2 Float Stone

3 Rayquaza Spirit Link

4 Double Colorless Energy

4 Fire Energy

 

Conclusion

That’s all I have for today, readers. The Standard format is just going to keep looping back around until new cards come out, and it’s going to be very interesting to see what pops up next. Picking decks for tournaments is never an easy task, but hopefully this piece was able to give you a basis to help to build a conclusion from. If there’s one thing you should take away from this, it’s that Decidueye-GX / Vileplume might be on towards the end as far as its widespread popularity goes. The format is going to start looking more diverse again, and that will open doors for decks we as players haven’t played anymore. As always, though, just because a deck isn’t popular anymore, doesn’t mean it’s gone entirely. Decidueye-GX / Vileplume is sure to pop up again here and there, and those not expecting it will be in for a rough time. Good luck out there, Trainers, and be sure to check out Dead Draw Gaming’s expansive selection of reasonably priced sealed product, and singles. See y’all later!

 



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