Build It Better — Revolutionizing Expanded Gardevoir-GX
Puzzle of Time took Zoroark-GX to new heights in the Standard format. What about using Zoroark-GX and Puzzle of Time in Gardevoir-GX decks in Expanded?
01/17/2018 by Caleb Gedemer
Expanded Format Gardevoir-GX
Gardevoir-GX has been a polarizing icon in the Pokemon Trading Card Game ever since its August 2017 release. It immediately won the World Championship and has been at the forefront of the metagame ever since. In the Expanded format, though, it hasn’t had as much success. In the three Expanded format Regionals so far this season, it’s had two Top Eight finishes and a handful of day two placements. It has yet to go further than that, though. Any time I hear someone say they lost playing a Gardevoir-GX deck, it always seems to be that he or she drew poorly, or maybe faced a Night March deck. There’s a pretty simple fix to this; something that everyone has been sleeping on.
To compete with Zoroark-GX, why not play Zoroark-GX yourself? How about it? It’s pretty darn good! Gardevoir-GX is well positioned going into Dallas Regionals since Gallade can hit opposing Zoroark-GX for one-hit Knockouts so easily. Octillery is too easy of a Knockout in the speedy Expanded format, so I really like having the option to use Zoroark-GX instead since it can’t be taken down as easily.
Ever thought about playing Puzzle of Time in Gardevoir-GX? It’s pretty sick, honestly, and my list today is going to highlight how great they can be. You get to open spots for a lot of different things when you play a list like this, and you’re built for the late game when N starts to hit you harder. Sometimes decks need to go through a massive change of face to hang with the rest of the crowd out there and I think this is a perfect example of that. We can rebuild Gardevoir-GX; we have the technology.
Zoroark-GX / Gardevoir-GX
- 4x Ralts
- 3x Gardevoir GX
- 1x Gallade
- 3x Zorua
- 3x Zoroark GX
- 3x Tapu Lele GX
- 1x Shaymin EX
- 1x Oricorio
- 1x Alolan Vulpix
- 3x N
- 2x Professor Sycamore
- 2x Brigette
- 1x Teammates
- 1x Guzma
- 1x Colress
- 4x Ultra Ball
- 4x Rare Candy
- 4x Puzzle of Time
- 3x VS Seeker
- 1x Super Rod
- 1x Max Potion
- 1x Computer Search
- 1x Choice Band
- 1x Sky Field
- 6x Fairy Energy
- 4x Double Colorless Energy
4 Ralts PLS 59
Four Ralts is a must in every single Gardevoir-GX deck out there. This one is the best because you can potentially Paralyze your opponent and an effect like that can win you games or stave off elimination in tough situations; don’t sleep on an incredible effect like that.
3 Gardevoir-GX BUS 93
Wait, where’s Kirlia? That’s right, I don’t think Kirlia is even worth playing in this deck in the Expanded format. If you’re not getting Rare Candy plays off efficiently, then you’re going to be losing games from being blown out too quickly. So many decks know that they need to target down Ralts and Kirlia before they get to Evolve, so wasting time with a Stage 1 is simply foolish with this list. Aside from all of that, three Gardevoir-GX is the optimal number to play in any Gardevoir-GX deck.
1 Gallade BKT 84
Two Gallade is fancy; I really don’t think two are needed. I think a single Gallade can be really all it takes to down a Zoroark-GX deck, and Gardevoir-GX itself is strong enough against Zoroark-GX from the start anyways since it can’t take a one-hit Knockout on a Gardevoir-GX. Premonition is very cool in combination with Zoroark-GX and Trade, so I like that aspect that Gallade brings to the deck, too.
3 Zorua DEX 70
There isn’t quite enough room to fit a full set of four Zorua in this deck, but I haven’t had a problem with just three. If you’re able to get out even two Zoroark-GX in a game, it should be smooth sailing from there on out. This is the best Zorua to play as well because of the chance to Paralyze your opponent just like with Ralts.
3 Zoroark-GX SLG 53
This is the heart and soul behind this deck and the new engine. I’m sure you know how strong Trade is, and coupled with Gardevoir-GX you can make a lot of magic happen. It’s not uncommon to rocket through your deck once you get a few Zoroark-GX down and keep healing a Gardevoir-GX with a Puzzle of Time chain for Max Potion. Riotous Beating can still be decent in this deck with a copy or two of Sky Field, so keep that in mind.
3 Tapu Lele-GX GRI 60
Setup consistency is what this deck is all about, so getting a first turn Brigette is super important. Three Tapu Lele-GX greatly increase your odds of doing that and they can help you in the late game too to recover from bad draws.
1 Shaymin-EX ROS 77
Having the ability to play three Tapu Lele-GX and a Shaymin-EX is amazing, since Set Up can get your Rare Candy plays off even easier. They can help you draw into more Energy too to keep things going. It never hurts to dig for more Energy sometimes, too.
1 Oricorio GRI 56
This is your Night March counter and with Gardevoir-GX having so many HP, you can reliability count on Supernatural Dance packing a big punch every game. In order to take a one-hit Knockout on a Gardevoir-GX, your opponent will need to have ten Night March Pokemon discarded and a Choice Band. If your opponent ever hits eleven Pokemon in the discard pile, you’ll be able to take one-hit Knockouts on Shaymin-EX on your opponent’s Bench.
1 Alolan Vulpix GRI 21
This is probably the most cuttable card in this list, right now I’m thinking about taking it out for another Max Potion. Using Beacon to start things off is very nice to get going and Alolan Vulpix also serves as something that can get knocked out to activate Teammates. Obviously N negates your search on Beacon, but forcing your opponent to play an N is amazing too. The turns that he or she can’t are fantastic, since you’re able to set up very well.
This deck plays a Stage 2 line so it’s a little more clunky than other decks. This being said, having access to a thicker line of N is strong since it will be able to bail you out of bad hands more often. N is always strong with Zoroark-GX in your deck too, since Trade can offset lower card draws while still punishing your opponent with a smaller hand size.
2 Professor Sycamore
I don’t like to Professor Sycamore often with this deck since so many of the cards are valuable and you don’t want to discard many of them. However, there are times where you’ll be okay with tossing a few cards. Thinning your deck as you go is nice as well, so being able to chuck some useless cards is a very nice option to have in a pinch. When you have a small hand, then it’s often better to extend for a larger draw with a Professor Sycamore play as well.
Starting the game with a Brigette is one of the best possible outcomes. I love filling my Bench with important Basics and getting them down increases your odds of a turn two Gallade or Gardevoir-GX quite a bit. Having two copies of Brigette also increases your odds of starting with it, and removes much of the chance of landing a single copy in your Prizes.
Teammates can dramatically help you get out more Gardevoir-GX, especially after your Alolan Vulpix gets knocked out. This is a card I could see cutting, perhaps in favor of a Pokemon Communication to increase your outs to the first turn Brigette and to help get Gardevoir-GX out sooner. Teammates is always generally useful in most decks since it can get you any two cards following a Knockout, so if you’re ever just an Energy off of winning the game it can be splendid.
You always want at least a single “gust” Supporter card in the expanded format, and you have to pick between Guzma and Lysandre. I think Guzma is better because it has more utility when you want to get out of the Active spot, and since this deck doesn’t have room to play Float Stone, it’s a whole lot more important.
Drawing a ton of cards is fun, and super powerful. This deck plays a copy of Sky Field to fit things on your Bench that you otherwise couldn’t, especially if you have to play a Shaymin-EX or Tapu Lele-GX early. You’re almost always going to have a full Bench of Pokemon, so using Colress to keep things working well is a must to building a consistent deck that can draw out of low N sizes in the late game while getting all the cards you want to keep pressuring your opponent and taking Prizes.
4 Ultra Ball
These are a must in every deck and help with starting odds of getting the Brigette you want to get and getting Stage 2 Pokemon into play.
4 Rare Candy
Without Kirlia, having four Rare Candy is needed. You’re going to want to be as aggressive as possible and try to pressure your opponent. With Zoroark-GX, you can keep using Trade until you complete the puzzle of having a Stage 2 Pokemon in hand as well as a Rare Candy. I definitely think this count is a must for this deck.
4 Puzzle of Time
This is one of the neat additions I’ve made to this deck. I love Puzzle of Time in general, and having them in a Gardevoir-GX deck is really cool. It’s just another consistency card for the late game, helps you get back Max Potion, can recover Double Colorless Energy, and best of all, it works amazingly with Zoroark-GX and Trade! Twilight GX can recover four Puzzle of Time, which is also insane. You can get things back like Rare Candy to keep spamming Stage 2 attackers and keep the damage up. This card is busted in this deck.
3 VS Seeker
I don’t think that most Stage 2 decks want to play four VS Seeker since they sometimes have weird discards with Professor Sycamore and Ultra Ball. This said, playing one less will help you avoid having VS Seeker in hand when you don’t want it. Puzzle of Time compensates for this cut a little bit too, since you can get back Supporters with them if you really wanted to as well.
1 Super Rod
Without room to play Rescue Stretcher and Superior Energy Retrieval, Super Rod becomes the better option to play in this deck. Being able to get back Pokemon and Energy cards is sweet, and you can always get this card back with Puzzle of Time if you ever have to.
1 Max Potion
Part of this deck’s strategy is healing your Gardevoir-GX and avoiding Knockouts. While I only have one Max Potion, this strategy is still possible since you can use Puzzle of Time to recover the Max Potion. I wish I could fit more, but for now it’s not looking very likely. This deck aims to be aggressive a lot of the time too, since you can fly through your deck with Zoroark-GX. All that being said, one seems like a solid number, and I’d probably look to play two at most if I could fit another in.
1 Computer Search
This is the optimal Ace Spec for this deck since you’re playing Stage 2 Pokemon and you want to get them out as soon as possible. Getting the missing piece of a Rare Candy play is amazing, and Computer Search does a better job of that then something like Dowsing Machine which also won’t bail you out in the early game if you’re not drawing the greatest. In a deck that isn’t naturally that consistent, I would always rather play the card that gives me an out to bad draws when I can. In this case, that card is Computer Search!
1 Choice Band
You want a damage modifier in pretty much every deck, and Choice Band is the best one out there right now. Since you have Puzzle of Time, you can afford to cut one from this deck. Much of the Expanded format consists of lower HP Pokemon anyways, and Zoroark-GX can be taken down in one attack with Gallade and Sensitive Blade anyways. This card is a logical cut that I can certainly live with.
1 Sky Field
So, this card might confuse you at first, but I think it’s very good. When you’re setting up with pretty much any deck, you often have to play down a Tapu Lele-GX, and then you don’t have room for more Pokemon that you really want in play like Ralts and Zorua, in this deck, for one. Sky Field can open those extra spots up, and if your opponent decides to discard the Sky Field in some way, then you can discard those pesky Tapu Lele-GX and say goodbye to them. This card can also make your Zoroark-GX into a formidable attacker, too, which is pretty cool.
6 Fairy Energy
You don’t need as many Fairy Energy when you’re going through your deck as fast as you will be. You can get these back with Puzzle of Time and Super Rod anyways, so again, this is a reasonable cut to make to make sure that you can fit everything you want in this deck versus playing the customary seven or eight copies of Fairy Energy.
4 Double Colorless Energy
Nothing new here, four Double Colorless Energy is perfect for Gardevoir-GX decks since it boosts the damage output of Infinite Force and can power up Gallade in a single attachment, too.
Seismitoad-EX FFI 20
This card would get packaged with Karen, of course, which is more of a conclusive answer against a Night March deck as opposed to Oricorio which kind of depends on what your opponent does before that. This card can have some fringe use in other matchups too, but I have to say that overall I think Oricorio is better.
I don’t actually even play a Field Blower right now. I think that Garbodor is literally nowhere to be seen and there isn’t much need for it. It can be nice to bump a Parallel City, but having a Stadium like Sky Field that isn’t a Parallel City itself accomplishes much of the same thing.
Sudowoodo is awkward to play around with this deck, since ideally you want to get out at least two Zoroark-GX. Parallel City could force an opponent to discard it, and it is generally strong in other matchups too. I think there are other cards that I’d rather add first, like more Max Potion, instead of this one. I will have to keep testing though to figure that out for sure.
Fighting / Variants | Even
These decks can be a problem for you for a variety of reasons. Some of them do include Garbodor with Garbotoxin. Buzzwole-GX and Landorus-EX can spread damage to your Bench, which makes it super easy to pick off your poor Ralts with just 60 HP. Setting up nicely will be important for you so that you can get cracking quickly. Once you get Gardevoir-GX out you shouldn’t have a problem, but until that happens you’ll be scraping to stay alive. Zoroark-GX is weak to Fighting too, to make matters worse, so this matchup comes down widely to how well you can set up.
Garbodor / Golisopod-GX | Unfavorable
Without Field Blower this is tough. Luckily, though, this deck isn’t popular. Putting in a Field Blower will make this matchup a lot easier, closer to the even range of things. Assuming you have Field Blower, you just want to work to build up one-hit Knockouts and get multiple Prizes with the same big Gardevoir-GX.
Garbodor / Necrozma-GX | Unfavorable
Again, the lack of Field Blower is going to make this rough. With one, you just run your opponent over by healing off damage and avoiding Knockouts. I don’t think any of these Garbodor decks are worth playing techs for, so I wouldn’t worry about it.
Garbodor / Sableye | Unfavorable
This disruption deck is pretty tough for Gardevoir-GX to beat. You need two Energy on a Gardevoir-GX to use Infinite Force for a one-hit Knockout on a Sableye, so your opponent will try to remove your Energy early and often. Counter Catcher can snag things on your Bench that are difficult to move around, and even a Twilight GX can’t save you sometimes. Here, again, a Field Blower could help a lot since you do have Puzzle of Time to recover it. Perhaps a Field Blower has been an oversight in my testing thus far, as I built this deck to focus on beating Zoroark-GX.
Garbodor / Seismitoad-EX | Unfavorable
This matchup is really rough no matter what. Garbodor stops your Abilities and Seismitoad-EX doesn’t even let you play a Field Blower to get your Abilities back. Item lock and Poison from Hypnotoxic Laser really hurt your strategy, so I would hope to avoid this matchup.
Gardevoir-GX | Even
With Max Potion and Puzzle of Time to get it back, you can be favored on paper in the mirror match. Zoroark-GX is kind of risky to put down in the mirror match, but it can also help you get ahead with a spam of Rare Candy and a better consistency approach where you find the things you want earlier and more often. Using your Twilight GX to recover Max Potion and Puzzle of Time is advisable to keep things running smoothly and according to the healing strategy.
Giratina-EX / Darkrai-EX | Favorable
Darkrai-EX decks are pretty easy for Gardevoir-GX to beat, since Gallade can just take them down easily. Not only that, but Gardevoir-GX is very difficult for a Darkrai-EX deck to knock out, so you can usually hang with your opponent for at least one or two attacks with the same Gardevoir-GX attacking.
Giratina-EX / Seismitoad-EX | Unfavorable
Here, Item lock hurts you again, but it’s a little easier than the Garbodor version of Seismitoad-EX since you will be able to use your Abilities to draw. Without Kirlia, you need to try to break the Quaking Punch lock and attack with Zoroark-GX. If you can get a Gardevoir-GX down though, you might be able to win.
Greninja BREAK | Unfavorable
Greninja BREAK always gives Gardevoir-GX a hard time no matter what. Giant Water Shuriken sets up Knockouts and Shadow Stitching stops your Abilities with no downside for your opponent. All of this adds up to one super poor matchup that’s hard to win. You want to approach it by starting with a Gallade to take Knockouts on Greninja before they Evolve into the BREAK and once the BREAK is out then you want to have a big Gardevoir-GX ready to take one-hit Knockouts. Obviously, that won’t last very long, either, so it’s going to be tough.
Gyarados | Unfavorable
Gyarados hits you hard and fast, and is actually sometimes tough for a Gardevoir-GX to knock out while under pressure. You can try your best to use Gallade and trade Prizes, but it’s going to be rough. Oricorio can snag Prizes on Magikarp on your opponent’s Bench if there’s ever too many Pokemon in his or her discard pile, but that will be unlikely with so many Rescue Stretcher in Gyarados decks.
Trevenant BREAK | Even
Zoroark-GX fixes this matchup to an extent and gives you a fighting chance. Since you not only have four Double Colorless Energy but six Fairy Energy, you can even attack with Fairy Energy on a Zoroark-GX for Knockouts and get ahead against the Darkness-weak Trevenant BREAK. Gardevoir-GX likely won’t come out at all, so I would avoid putting Ralts down at all unless you have to. Remember to stagger your Zorua so that they are not all knocked out at once by an Espeon-EX and Miraculous Shine.
Wailord-EX | Highly Favorable
This matchup is a free win if you don’t mess up. Not only do you have Puzzle of Time, but you have Twilight GX to get back those Puzzle of Time. You want to set up one Gardevoir-GX and one Gallade for dealing with Hoopa. The Gardevoir-GX wants to get loaded up so that you can take one-hit Knockouts on Wailord-EX when you can. Be careful and don’t lose too many Energy in the process of getting to that point.
Zoroark-GX / Golisopod-GX | Slightly Favorable
Golisopod-GX gives your opponent an attacker that isn’t weak to Gallade, but you will be free to put a bunch of Energy on a Gardevoir-GX and take it down in one attack. Watch out for Enhanced Hammer and be prepared to use your Max Potion quite a bit. Getting out a lot of Zoroark-GX will be nice to draw what you want when you want it.
Zoroark-GX / Lonzo | Slightly Favorable
This is easier than the Golisopod-GX version since you literally only have to deal with Zoroark-GX. Your opponent does have a Seismitoad-EX, but you can take it down with Zoroark-GX if you have to. Zoroark with Foul Play can do a couple cute things against a Gardevoir-GX by copying Infinite Force, so don’t put too many Energy down. Max Potion is amazing in this one as well.
Zoroark-GX / Lycanroc-GX | Slightly Favorable
Watch your Bench size starting off because Lycanroc-GX can use Dangerous Rogue GX for a one-hit Knockout on a Gardevoir-GX if you’re not careful. As always, Gallade is amazing against any Zoroark-GX matchup, too. Your own Zoroark-GX can be sitting ducks for Lycanroc-GX, but that’s not a bad thing necessarily, because if your opponent is targeting your Zoroark-GX, then he or she isn’t targeting your Active threat (Gallade or Gardevoir-GX). Watch out for Zoroark with Mind Jack in these matchups too, since you could lose a Pokemon-EX/GX to a Knockout from it if you overextend.
Zoroark-GX / Night March | Slightly Unfavorable
Night March can take one-hit Knockouts on Gardevoir-GX, but if you start quickly enough and your opponent isn’t able to take that one-hit Knockout immediately then you can actually trade Prizes evenly with him or her. After your first Gardevoir-GX you can use Gallade and then finish the game with a stream of Oricorio by using your Puzzle of Time to get it back after it is knocked out the first time. Marshadow-GX can take down your Zoroark-GX, so be careful not to walk into that.
Zoroark-GX / Seismitoad-EX | Slightly Unfavorable
Item lock is super annoying, but this matchup isn’t great even with Kirlia. Disruption cards hurt this deck quite a bit. You’ll want to go for Zoroark-GX and hopefully get a Gardevoir-GX at some point that might give you an edge.
Zoroark-GX / Vespiquen | Even
Oricorio should be able to win you the game if your opponent ever gets to the point of taking down a Gardevoir-GX in one attack. This matchup is really close, and I like both of these decks for different reasons. Use Gallade early and try to deny Knockouts with your Gardevoir-GX. Oricorio gets better the more your opponent has to overextend for Knockouts so try to draw that from him or her.
This deck beats the decks it was designed to beat, but struggles against other ones. Item lock is a big problem, even if you did play Kirlia. I like this deck to smooth the edges on Gardevoir-GX and give it a very consistent means to beating Zoroark-GX each time you play it. Bricking is not as common with this deck since you do have a Zoroark-GX package and that is the thing I love the most about it. If you want to play Gardevoir-GX for an Expanded format event, I suggest trying this list out to see how powerful it can be for yourself. With that, see you next time, I should have one more Expanded format piece to finish off my preparation series for Dallas, Texas Regionals. Catch ya later, take care!
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