User blog

Caleb Gedemer

"Apple of My (Decidu)Eye"

Standard Secrets with a New Feathery Friend and Your Least Favorite Flower.

03/21/2017 by Caleb Gedemer

Caleb Gedemer breaks down Decidueye-GX/Vileplume in great detail. He includes pro tips about gameplay, matchups, and even shows off his preferred deck list for the archetype!


Hey again 60cards! A lot has changed in the Standard format since the last time I had the opportunity to write for you, and I’m excited to talk about my favorite deck in the format right now, Decidueye-GX with Vileplume. This deck has had many impressive showings since its debut in Anaheim, California in the hands of John Kettler. I have now played it myself, and I am extremely impressed. I would have to say in a metagame that doesn’t have a strong presence of counters to the deck, that it is by far the strongest deck there is against the field.


Since its release, Decidueye-GX was seen as a card that would bolster a new archetype. Players were quick to match it with the likes of Lugia-EX, Mewtwo, and even Meowth FCO, as partners in the Standard format. Many of us thought that the strength of the Feather Arrow Ability coupled with Energy-efficient attackers would be enough to build a strong offensive and score wins. However, after more testing, these strategies proved weak to Garbodor decks, even with the inclusion of Meowth. In addition, consistency remained a troubling area.

Going into the first major Standard format event that included Sun & Moon, just about everyone had written off Decidueye-GX as a proper contender. Everyone but John Kettler. Kettler saw something different in the deck, a different likeness, and matched it up with Vileplume. Now here’s where I’m sure you’re skeptical. I know I was. Vileplume with another Stage 2 Pokémon? How on earth can that work? Well, they both are Grass Pokémon, so their pairing with Forest of Giant Plants is an easy decision. With Plants, ‘Eyes and ‘Plumes can flock the field even on your first turn, and let me tell you, that combination is deadly.

Now Decidueye and Vileplume are very powerful on their own, but to complete the system, you just need to throw in a few attackers. As I mentioned earlier, Pokémon like Beedrill-EX, Espeon-EX, Hoothoot, Lugia-EX, Meowth, Mewtwo, Tauros-GX, and Trevenant-EX are all great options. When you throw all of this together, you have an Ability that spreads damage, another that Item-locks, and excellent attackers that supplement the damage from Feather Arrows every turn. With all of this in place, this deck is a deadly combination of defense and offense, which has truly taken the game by storm.


As disappointing as it may be, a lot of this deck’s gameplay is decided on your first turn. That being said, it’s almost like playing solitaire, rather than playing an interactive game. Regardless, getting the gameplay mastered in the opening turn is a skill in of itself.
Some of the main cards you’re looking to see early are things like the following: Oddish, Rowlet, Forest of Giant Plants, and Ultra Balls. Why these cards? Well, if you hit Oddish or Rowlet, for one, that means if you have a Forest of Giant Plants in play and find Dartrix or Gloom, you can Evolve right away. The goal of all of this is to keep seeing more and more cards by using Shaymin-EX’s Set Up Ability, and by cleaning out your hand, the numbers on Set Up increase. Ultra Ball, obviously, is included in the short list because it gets you another Shaymin-EX.
When I play this deck, I always prioritize Vileplume over Decidueye-GX. The logic behind this is that even under Item-lock, you can still get ‘Eyes out, but Vileplume is most effective as soon as you get it, be that your first or second turn, depending on how your draws work out.
When deciding which cards are okay to throw away with a Professor Sycamore or Ultra Ball, you may be quick to think that pitching Energy cards is frowned upon. While Energy are important for this deck, Decidueye-GX’s Hollow Hunt GX attack can get them back in a pinch. I’ll elaborate more on Hollow Hunt in a moment. I like to be as aggressive on my first turn as possible, which means sometimes I might use a Professor Sycamore instead of an N, even if it disposes of some valuable resources. Getting a Vileplume, accompanied by hopefully at least one Decidueye-GX on your first turn is the ultimate goal. If you can try to be as aggressive as possible, it is highly likely that it will happen.
Now it’s time to throw down some notes on Hollow Hunt GX. While there is never a set three cards you should choose, I like to sort through my discard pile and pick out the cards I can use to start with. This generally means I won’t be choosing any Item cards, so those get shoved to the bottom. I’m generally looking at Forest of Giant Plants, Supporter cards, or Energy cards. I would say the average Hollow Hunt GX gets a Supporter card or two, or an Energy card or two. Sometimes that changes, depending on the board state you're in.
Like I said early, much of the gameplay for this deck revolves around the beginning turn. When you are Item locked, your strategy becomes very linear: play a Supporter if you have one, use any Abilities you have, and then attack. Much of perfecting your turn one gameplay can be learned after a few hands just by yourself; you don’t even need an opponent!
Once you get the first turns down, much of your plays make themselves. Try to find a good time to use Hollow Hunt GX to get the most value out of the deck, and go from there! Playing under your own Item lock can be confusing and even feel kind of weird in the early-going, but you’ll get used to it. This deck is so good that it can absolutely function effectively under those very conditions.


As I’ve already mentioned, for the most part, this deck is very much a “solitaire deck,” at least on your first turn playing the game. While it may seem very simple to pull off a successful turn one, playing cards in the right order can make or break your setup. I’m talking about playing, say, a Level Ball, before using a Trainers’ Mail, and sometimes playing a Trainers’ Mail before a Level Ball. I can better explain this by using a series of cards as an example. Take these for instance:

  • Decidueye-GX, Meowth, Professor Sycamore, Rowlet, Shaymin-EX, Trainers’ Mail, and Ultra Ball

What will you play first? Since you’re going to obviously start with the Rowlet (and Bench nothing else since this deck takes a lot of space to set up, with using multiple Shaymin-EXs and such), you should start by playing the Ultra Ball. I think throwing away the Decidueye-GX and Lysandre is a fair call for the discard options. This Ultra Ball should absolutely find an Oddish, since you already have the Shaymin-EX to keep drawing cards in your hand. Now why didn’t you play the Trainers’ Mail beforehand? Well, in this instance, you know you need an Oddish to start working on your combo of Decidueye-GX and Vileplume on the first turn. This being said, you should take one card out of the deck to insure you don’t draw into it when using Trainers’ Mail. This increases the probability of you finding other useful cards.

Now as I’m doing this, I’m actually using cards to see what happens. When I used the Trainers’ Mail, the only option for selection was a Level Ball. Now, with that, normally I would like to take a Gloom, but you don’t have the Forest of Giant Plants out yet. It would clog your hand. So, I think it is okay to use the Level Ball to find a Rowlet, which will make your Shaymin-EX draw more cards, and take another “bad card” out of the deck. Now it’s time to use the Shaymin-EX. You found a few new cards: Float Stone, Grass Energy, Oddish, and Revitalizer. None of these cards really do you any good, spare the Float Stone, which is going to go on the Oddish, for sure. I won’t recommend playing the Grass Energy, since if you find another Energy down the line it may be better to be able to actually attach it, so Shaymin-EXs can draw more cards.

All right, after playing Professor Sycamore you got Dartrix, Forest of Giant Plants, Professor Sycamore, Shaymin-EX, Ultra Ball, Vileplume, and Double Colorless Energy. Playing the Forest of Giant Plants down right away is a no-brainer, so do that. Now, you can Evolve into the Dartrix, too. I would Evolve into the one on the Bench, since it’s not susceptible to a knockout from your opponent's Active Pokémon. Since you once again have a Shaymin-EX in hand, I like attaching the Double Colorless Energy so you can draw more cards. The Shaymin-EX yields three cards, which are: Forest of Giant Plants, Trainers’ Mail, and Ultra Ball.

The Forest of Giant Plants is expendable with an Ultra Ball, and from here, you should have the rest of the setup you’re looking for. I would recommend throwing away the Forest of Giant Plants, as well as the Professor Sycamore with an Ultra Ball, getting another Shaymin-EX. I would then play the Trainers’ Mail, and grab whatever you can, and finally use the Shaymin-EX. With the next Ultra Ball in your hand, you can grab the Gloom, if you didn’t draw it, and complete the puzzle of getting Vileplume out.

I know that was an example of what I’m talking about solely based on gameplay, but I can condense it for those of you that couldn’t follow that all the way through. Let’s just talk about different cards when they’re both in your hand at some point in this deck. Say you have a Level Ball, and a Trainers’ Mail, which will you play first? Depending on your field, like if you have a Rowlet already, you are going to want to get an Oddish with the Level Ball. Obviously, in this case, you would play the Level Ball first, so that your Trainers’ Mail as better odds of not finding an Oddish in your draw of four cards, and you will hopefully have a chance to see a better array of Item card choices.

Let’s do another example, you have a Shaymin-EX, a Trainers’ Mail, and an Ultra Ball in hand. You don’t already have a Forest of Giant Plants down, but you have an Oddish and Rowlet in play. Here’s a time where you would want to play the Trainers’ Mail first, seeing if you can find a Forest of Giant Plants, and then debating whether to play the Ultra Ball for a Gloom (remember, always prioritize Vileplume over Decidueye-GX, unless you have a great reason not to).

I’d like to touch on one neat play before I conclude this section. So, Revitalizer, it’s a nice card for any Grass Pokémon cards that you discard in the early game, but it’s also great late game. How is that, you’re going to be Item locked? Not necessarily, if you choose to let your Vileplume get knocked out on purpose. I’ve made use of this play repeatedly, since your opponent knocking out your ‘plume not only unlocks the door to get more Decidueye-GXs into play, but it can serve as a “wasted knockout” for them, which really doesn’t matter. Revitalizer can bring back the Vileplume pieces, you can play your Items, and then drop the dreaded flower back down, much to your opponent’s surprise. Using this play to your advantage can prove to be game-winning, so I would remember it and think about it often during the course of a match.

Playing cards in the right order really makes or breaks this deck, since you need to work to maximize the number of cards you draw with Shaymin-EX Set Up drops. Doing things out of order can get you to run the risk of clogging your entire hand up, and that’s something you never want. Next, I’ll chat about how to maximize Set Ups.

Maximizing Shaymin-EXs

Shaymin-EX is a huge part of this deck, not only does it serve as your primary way of getting set up, but it is probably the Pokémon that you attack with most often. While with other decks it is often preached “conserve your resources”, with this deck, you sometimes need to break that vow and be more “risky”. As you play more, you’ll realize that that “risk” really isn’t risk at all, and it’s a necessary part of playing the deck and getting set up.

So, let me start by saying that Energy cards are very expendable in this deck. Most lists play four Double Colorless Energy, and four Grass Energy. That’s not all that many, but often, you only need something like three of them: two Double Colorless Energy, and a single Grass Energy, for instance. Decidueye-GX’s Hollow Hunt attack comes in clutch a lot of the time, providing you a means to recovery lost resources, like those Energy cards.

While Ultra Balls in other decks often try to avoid throwing away cards like Energy, in this deck, you often need to get rid of them to draw more cards with Set Up. Likewise, many of the Pokémon in this deck need to be put in the backseat when it comes to setting up. Revitalizer can recover your Grass Pokémon, so never be too afraid to discard any of those. When it comes to tech attackers, Lugia-EX, Meowth, and Tauros-GX, for example, much of the time you need to part ways with those, too. Decidueye-GX is pretty much the best attacker in the deck, and a lot of the time you can win by simply using a flurry of Razor Leaf attacks.

Before I conclude this short aside, I’d like to talk some about Energy attachments. Sometimes it is wise to not play an Energy before using a Professor Sycamore with this deck. This is because if you draw another Energy off the Sycamore, as well as an out to get a Shaymin-EX, then you’re going to wish you didn’t play it. Drawing more and more cards is the name of the game for this deck early on, and you really need to be careful to maximize your odds of not drawing into a completely unplayable hand that will lose you the game.

This deck is dominant when it sets up, but if you don’t, then you tend to be very fragile. All the dominoes can fall at once if things don’t go correctly. That’s why I personally put so much emphasis on getting the most out of Shaymin-EXs and Set Ups. You need them to get things going, so sometimes it is wise to be a little reckless and toss some resources in your discard pile. Taking your time on your first turn to really think things out is never a bad idea, since games with this deck are generally very quick once things start progressing when you are set up, or likewise if you don’t set up, you’re probably going to lose very quickly.

My Preferred Deck List

To start off, most of the deck lists for Decidueye-GX/Vileplume are identical, or nearly identical. Pablo Meza just recently finished in second place at the Oceania International Championship with a list one card of the one I have shown above, playing a second Lugia-EX instead of Tauros-GX. He cited that “good players know how to play around Tauros-GX”, and while is absolutely is true, I personally feel that sometimes Tauros is impossible to play around, and it’s always wise to remember that there are “bad players” out there, too, that won’t have any clue what to do with the big bad bull. Regardless, I think it deserves a spot in the deck, and it’s been pretty good for me. Without further ado, let me tell you why the cards that are in this deck, are in this deck!

1 Lugia-EX AOR 68

This guy is a monster, Aero Ball is quite the attack when paired with a supplemental source of damage (Decidueye-GX’s Feather Arrow), and Item lock to prevent the opponent from being able to make plays that would otherwise knock you out. Deep Hurricane is a fantastic second option of an attack, and along with Feather Arrow, provides some very vanilla damage that can score plenty of knockouts. As Pablo Meza did, two Lugia-EX is a viable option over the Tauros-GX, and might come down to what you expect out of your opponent’s as far as their skill level goes, as well as the practicality of favoring Mad Bull GX over a Hollow Hunt GX.

1 Meowth FCO 74

This little cat is a great tech, which I knew about even before it found the limelight in the second-place Oceania Internationals deck list. A friend of mine back in September ran a Meowth in his Vespiquen list to get back at Pokémon that you couldn’t quite knock out. It wasn’t foolproof, but was a decent attacker to have in the deck. Andrew Mahone brought Meowth back to my attention with the release of Decidueye-GX, citing that it was a “great counter to Trubbish”, since you create perfect addition with a single Feather Arrow drop on a Trubbish, followed by a Turmoil Strike attack to finish it off and remove the potential threat of Garbodor. Not only that, but Meowth provides a great means to punish your opponent’s Bench against a deck like Volcanion where your goal is to trap a hefty Pokémon in the Active spot and go to town on your opponent’s Bench.

3 Shaymin-EX ROS 77

It would be fantastic to be able to play four copies of Shaymin-EX, but since Bench space is extremely tight, it wouldn’t make the most sense. Three is a happy medium, as two would be too little in the event that you had a Shaymin-EX in your Prize cards. I’ve already talked oodles about how important Shaymin-EX is to this deck, so I don’t think it requires further explanation.

1 Tauros-GX SUM 100

I already got to touch a bit on this card in the Lugia-EX section, but Tauros-GX is a great wall to put up as your Active while you attempt to set up multiple Decidueye-GXs, and obviously, your Vileplume. The threat of getting hit with a Mad Bull GX is often enough to scare opponents off from attacking you at all, and that extra couple of turns can be fantastic. Not to mention, just a Horn Attack for 60 damage is a nice number, and with the extra utility from Rage and Mad Bull GX, Tauros-GX is sometimes a better option than Lugia-EX, itself.

2 Oddish AOR 1

There isn’t much space for a thicker line of Vileplume in this deck, and that is perfectly fine, since two of each Stage is really all you need. Oddish isn’t anything special by itself, so there’s not much else to say other than two is the best number for this deck.

2 Gloom AOR 2

Two Gloom is really all you need, not much else to say.

2 Vileplume AOR 3

As I just mentioned with both Gloom and Oddish, two Vileplume is just enough. Whenever you discard any of these pieces, you’ll have Revitalizer to bring them back, but I’ll get into that in just a little bit.

2 Rowlet SUM 9

Here is the Rowlet that just about everyone is used to, but there’s another one that is so under-the-radar, that we don’t even have it on our deck builder right now at 60cards! That’s the next card on our list here, so I won’t get too far into it, but this Rowlet is nice to have the option for, with its 60 HP, and an attack that deals a guaranteed 10 damage. You hopefully won’t ever have to attack with it, since you’ll be Evolving into Decidueye-GXs, but you never really can say for sure. Anything is possible in Pokémon!

2 Rowlet SM01

All right, here it is, my secret weapon! Well, not really, but I do like this Rowlet a little better than the other one that’s native to the Sun & Moon set. This Rowlet has an attack that costs a single Grass Energy, which lets you flip three coins, and do 10 times the number of heads. Other than all of that, it has the same stats, aside from coming at you with 50 HP. Depending on the situation, this might end up mattering, and that’s why I like to play a split of two copies of each Rowlet in this deck. Each might have their own fringe use at some point in the game, and I don’t want to overlook that.

4 Dartrix SUM 10

There’s only one Dartrix out there right now, and it has an attack that might matter occasionally in Sharp Blade Quill. I play four since I also have four Decidueye-GXs, I don’t know why you’d ever play less.

4 Decidueye-GX SUM 12

Here’s the star of the deck, and it doesn’t make sense to run any less than four, since it’s going to be serving as your main attacker, and your main source of supplemental damage with Feather Arrow. Playing three wouldn’t be awful, but you don’t want to have to throw one away with a Professor Sycamore or Ultra Ball, which frequently happens as it is. Having four gives you more outs to draw them under your own Item lock once you get a Vileplume out, which is fantastic.

4 Trainers' Mail

Maximizing your odds to draw into Trainers’ Mails, which will in turn get your more cards to help you set up, is never a bad idea.

2 Lysandre

Here is how you can beat some of what would be your worst matchups, like M Mewtwo-EX, or Volcanion. Lysandre is a great way to trap big Pokémon in your opponent’s Active spot, and then chip away at his or her Bench. Not only that, but it can help you out in the Prize trade, if your game develops into that kind of race.

4 Professor Sycamore

The best draw Supporter in the game, in a deck that needs all the draw it can get. It would be crazy to play any less than four copies, especially when you’re trying to dump off useless cards that can’t be played in the late game, like Item cards, since you have Vileplume in play.

4 Forest of Giant Plants

Once again, another no-brainer. None of your Stage 2 Grass Pokémon are going anywhere fast without this fantastic Supporter card to speed things up and get them into play as soon as possible. Having more outs to get them just makes sense.

3 Level Ball

Level Ball can grab thirteen of the sixty cards in this deck, and once again, that makes for an obvious inclusion in this deck, with a count on the higher side, of three. If you could play four, you probably would, but there isn’t the space to do that.

2 Revitalizer

Earlier in this piece, I mentioned a sick play you can make with Revitalizer, by letting your Vileplume get knocked out and letting you play Items again. Two Revitalizer is a great count, since you can maybe use on in the early game, and one in the late game. Or better yet, just use both in the late game!

4 Ultra Ball

If you cut an Ultra Ball from a deck like this, I’d call you crazy. I think just about every other Pokémon Trading Card Game player would, too.

3 N

N serves a dual purpose in this deck, but giving you a Supporter that lets you shuffle valuable resources back into your deck, and a disruption card in the late game. N along with Item lock has always been devastating, and that will never change.

2 Float Stone

I’ve honestly thought about taking Float Stones out in exchange for more consistency cards, because with Feather Arrow providing a source of damage, you don’t always even need a Float Stone on your Vileplume. However, I do like that when Float Stones give you a Pokémon that you can promote after a knockout on one of your Pokémon, and it makes the game flow easier, since you can keep hitting hard each turn. I think that Float Stone does belong in the deck, and two is just enough to make it work.

4 Double Colorless Energy

In a deck that has tons of two Colorless Energy attackers, why wouldn’t you play four Double Colorless Energy?

4 Grass Energy

While the Decidueye-GX/Toolbox decks gets to play Super Rod since it doesn’t play Vileplume, this deck doesn’t have that luxury, and should be playing four Grass Energy, instead of three, to ensure you have enough outs to be able to use Hollow Hunt GX and Razor Leaf attacks, when the time is right.


Good Decks

Darkrai-EX | Highly Favorable Playing First; Even Playing Second

Let’s start off with turbo Darkrai-EX decks. These baddies like to get off to quick starts, throwing Darkness Energy wherever they can with hand attachments and Max Elixirs. Vileplume is going to be key here, since it slows them down significantly and prevents them from truly setting up effectively. ‘Plume can also hinder the flow of Supporters, which hopefully will prevent them from attaching Darkness Energy each turn.

If you play first and get the turn one Vileplume, especially, you should be able to enjoy a “free win”. If Darkrai goes first and has a chance to pop off some nice Max Elixirs, then the table shifts a little in that player’s favor. Depending on the number Darkrai is hitting for, it can be problematic. Let’s say Dark Pulse is doing 100 to 120 damage, or so. That means Decidueye-GXs will likely fall in two hits, assuming another Darkness Energy gets attached on the following turn, and that is not good at all. Outside of ‘eye, your other attackers will either be knocked out in one hit, or they will fall victim to a two-hit knockout.

Removing attackers with Energy is priority number one if you end up playing second. Getting them to the point where knockouts must come from three attacks is the goal. Using Lysandre effectively to bring up Pokémon that are not in Retreating range is a great strategy, because you can then use Feather Arrow to punish the opponent’s Bench.

Decidueye-GX/Toolbox | Favorable Playing First; Unfavorable Playing Second

Here we have a “newly discovered” deck, which was piloted by a Japanese player, Takuya Yoneda, at the Australian International event. He effectively paired just Decidueye-GX with an array of attackers that all have their own place in the deck. This deck took the tournament by surprise, and even it didn’t play Vileplume, it included Hoothoot to shore up the matchups that Vileplume shines. Given that a straight Decidueye-GX deck plays more Item search cards to get ‘eyes up, the deck is naturally going to have the advantage if it goes first. Additionally, without playing a Vileplume line it has that extra consistency as well from just not having other cards that get in the way of setup.

Aside from that, the tech attackers play a large role, too. Matches like this, basically mirror matches, are decided by the number of Decidueye-GX that each player gets out. The one with more will often get the win. Espeon-EX, if your opponent plays it, will throw you for a loop, also. A smart player will get each of your own Decidueye up to 80 damage with Feather Arrow uses and such, and then use Miraculous Shine to Devolve each of your Evolved Pokémon. This will score multiple knockouts at once, if used correctly, and might lose you the game on the spot to be quite frank about it.

Playing Vileplume down depends on your board state in each game. Sometimes it is a good idea, other times not. It really depends on the number of Item cards your opponent has used, too. If he or she has used many search effects, Level Balls, Ultra Balls, etcetera, then it might not even be worse hindering your own Item card usage in turn. If ‘plume doesn’t have a Float Stone on it, I would beg you not to play it down, unless perhaps if you’re going first and have the turn one Item lock. This matchup depends a lot on the board strength of each player, and from there you can dictate what moves might be better. Placing damage counters in effective spots can be challenging, too. I personally like to target attackers if they are knocking me out, but otherwise trying to score knockouts on Decidueye-GX lines is a much better strategy, since it spots the opponent’s flow of Feather Arrow uses.

Decidueye-GX/Vileplume | Favorable Playing First; Unfavorable Playing Second

The glory of mirror matches, or rather the disgust of playing one of these. Whoever goes first is pretty much going to win if he or she gets a turn one Vileplume out. The fact of the matter is that this deck is very hard to set up under an immediate Item lock, and to further that, it is pretty much downright impossible. When you play a deck with two Stage 2 Pokémon, it is just a disaster to not be able to play the Item cards that would normally help you find them.

Now if one player goes first and misses the turn one ‘plume, then this matchup can turn into a battle of Decidueye-GXs on the field, like the previous matchup I just discussed. Swarm the field with them, and place Feather Arrows on weak Pokémon, or target down your opponent’s Decidueye-GXs.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much room for skillful play in a matchup that generally is decided before the opposite-seated player gets to even play a card. But, that’s just the way things are though sometimes in the Pokémon Trading Card Game.

Garbodor/M Mewtwo-EX (64) | Favorable Playing First; Slightly Unfavorable Playing Second

This deck, just like any other deck that plays a Garbodor line, is going to be very difficult to beat if that player can get a Trubbish out with a Float Stone before you can get a Vileplume up. Decidueye-GX’s Ability is just far too important and it’s really what makes this deck work. Regardless, let’s start with some thoughts on if you play first. Vileplume hopefully will make its way onto the field on your first turn, and right then and there Garbodor will more than likely never be a problem. Your opponent must get a Trubbish, Hex Maniac, and a Float Stone, a hard task to complete indeed. From there, just attacking with a solid hitting Pokémon like Lugia-EX, accompanied by a few Feather Arrows is all you’ll need to win the game.

Now let’s say you go second and your opponent does get a Trubbish down with that dreaded Float Stone. You will need to dig hard to get a Meowth, as well as a Decidueye-GX. When you get both of those, you can use a Feather Arrow on the Trubbish, and then finally take a knockout on it with Meowth’s Turmoil Strike attack. Now it may be too much to ask, but if you can do all of that and get a Vileplume out, the game will more than likely be over, however, if you don’t get a Vileplume, then you might need to knock out another Trubbish before all is said and done.

Needless to say, this matchup is very tough if you go second, but, playing first, you have a great advantage. There is room for some skillful play in this match, with use of Lysandre for Pokémon that are not in attack range, or even just a Bench-sitter like Hoopa-EX to buy yourself time. Meowth is also a fantastic Pokémon to attack with if you have the fortune of trapping one of your opponent’s Pokémon in the Active spot, since it can punish his or her Bench with no downside to you.

Volcanion | Favorable Playing First; Slightly Unfavorable Playing Second

Volcanion proved me wrong, as it often does in the Standard format, once again. I really don’t like the deck, and I honestly still have to hold that sentiment. I absolutely despise its strategy, and think it’s far more inconsistent than most people dictate. However, it did just take down the Oceania Internationals, so maybe I should reconsider it a little bit. If you go first against Volcanion, your number one priority has to be to get a ‘plume down. Why? Well, Volcanion decks heavily rely on Hoopa-EX to set up, and if your opponent cannot use an Ultra Ball to grab the Hoopa, he or she is going to be in a lot of pain for the rest of the game.

Likewise, since Volcanion decks play lots of Pokémon with hefty Retreat Cost, your opponent is going to have to manually attach three Fire Energy one at a time to get out of the Active spot, at least with a Volcanion-EX. That brings me to my next point, which is that Lysandre is the ultimate tool against this matchup. Using it effectively if your opponent puts down Volcanion-EXs on the Bench that have no Energy is imperative, and can be game-winning. Using Lysandre to “stall” in this one is generally the goal. It’s how you pull off wins in what most people would deem a negative matchup with a blind eye to how it actually goes. Anyone that thinks that more than likely is just zoning in on the type advantage of both decks, and how a mostly Grass deck has a glaring soft spot to a deck consisting of mostly Fire Pokémon.

When you go second, depending on how your opponent sets up, you could be in for a world of hurt. Relying on your opponent playing down Hoopa-EX and superfluous Volcanion-EXs is going to be your wish when you go second. Once again, trapping those big guys up in the Active spot with a Lysandre will be the best option, and then just punish your opponent’s Bench with Feather Arrows, and Meowth’s Turmoil Strike. For some other side notes, Shaymin-EX’s Sky Return is highly effective in this matchup, since your opponent will more than likely not have easy access to Steam Ups, since he or she won’t be able to use Energy Retrieval to get back Fire Energy from the discard pile. This means you can “Shaymin-EX loop” them, by using Sky Return and just putting up another Shaymin-EX. Since it will be near impossible for your opponent to take a knockout, it is a safe bet to continually rinse and repeat this cycle. Additionally, Lugia-EX is a very strong attacker since it is difficult to knock out as well. This matchup overall has a lot of rash stereotypes tabbed on it, and isn’t nearly as bad as logic would dictate.

Average Decks

Garbodor/Jolteon-EX | Favorable Playing First; Slightly Unfavorable Playing Second

Lurantis-GX/Solgaleo-GX | Highly Favorable Playing First; Favorable Playing Second

M Gardevoir-EX (79) | Favorable Playing First; Slightly Favorable Playing Second

M Rayquaza-EX (76) | Favorable Playing First; Slightly Unfavorable Playing Second

Vespiquen | Highly Favorable Playing First; Favorable Playing Second

Yveltal/Garbodor | Favorable Playing First; Slightly Unfavorable Playing Second

Yveltal/Zoroark | Slightly Favorable Playing First; Slightly Unfavorable Playing Second

Bad Decks

Greninja BREAK | Highly Favorable Playing First; Favorable Playing Second

Gyarados | Highly Favorable Playing First; Highly Favorable Playing Second

Houndoom-EX | Highly Favorable Playing First; Favorable Playing Second

Lapras-GX/Toolbox | Highly Favorable Playing First; Favorable Playing Second

M Scizor-EX | Favorable Playing First; Slightly Favorable Playing Second

Passimian | Highly Favorable Playing First; Highly Favorable Playing Second

Raichu | Highly Favorable Playing First; Highly Favorable Playing Second

Vileplume/Lurantis-GX | Favorable Playing First; Slightly Unfavorable Playing Second

Vileplume/Toolbox | Favorable Playing First; Slightly Unfavorable Playing Second

Wobbuffet/Espeon-GX | Unfavorable Playing First; Highly Unfavorable Playing Second

Xerneas | Highly Favorable Playing First; Favorable Playing Second

Zygarde-EX | Highly Favorable Playing First; Favorable Playing Second


As you can clearly see, this deck is very, very good. It’s so great that it took multiple places in the Top 8 at the most recent International Championship in Australia! It is a great play for any upcoming Standard format tournaments, even with the newly introduced counter decks that some people have been playing. While those counter decks play Wobbuffet, and that card is truly this deck’s worst enemy, those same decks don’t stack up as well as they should against the rest of the field, and that rest of the field are decks that Decidueye-GX/Vileplume handles with ease. I highly recommend this deck to you, so try it out, and see how you like it. Good luck everyone, until next time, take care!

[+15] ok


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