"Have the Strive to Git Gud with the Hive?" — a Guide to Mastering Vespiquen in Standard
Caleb Gedemer's back, and this time he's bringing a rundown on one of the most fun and interactive decks out there, Vespiquen!
04/25/2017 by Caleb Gedemer
Caleb Gedemer's back, and this time he's bringing a rundown on one of the most fun and interactive decks out there, Vespiquen! In this article you can be sure to find some of the most helpful tips and tricks to playing the deck, as well as a complete breakdown of the deck's matchups against the most popular builds in the field. You can't afford miss out on this piece!
Hey you, 60cards, I’m back! It’s been about a month, and I’m excited to talk about another one of my favorite decks right now, Vespiquen. Regional Championships this season are starting to come to an end, and it’s more crucial now than ever to secure an invite to the World Championships for many of us players. The deck I’ll be talking about today is a supremely solid option that is sure to be a strong force in any upcoming tournaments, and you should definitely read up on it, and check it out. Enjoy y’all!
Table of contents
While much of this deck has been covered before, I don’t think anyone has gone as in depth as I’m about to. Feel free to skip this part if it bores you, but I’ve gotta talk about Vespiquen as a concept before I go any further. At first sight, a 90 HP Stage 1 Pokemon isn’t much to scoff at, but when you take a look at its second attack, then you might be taken aback for a second. Bee Revenge has a nearly limitless damage cap, but in the Standard format without Battle Compressor, it takes a bit to get going.
Klefki and Unown are both Pokemon that can “discard themselves” when placed on your Bench, so you’re going to need to heavily invest some of the space in your deck to make room for these guys. With then, you’ll be able to hit numbers faster, and they both have merits outside of just damage output, too; damage prevention from M Pokemon-EX, and a consistency boost, respectively.
While Vespiquen can most certainly do a lot of the work on its own when it comes to taking Prizes, earlier in the game it can be difficult to do enough damage to really be much of a threat. There are a few viable options to supplement the queen bee’s attack, and I’ll be covering those later on. By now, I’m sure you’ve got the jist of this build, so let’s get into how to play it!
- 1x Eevee
- 1x Flareon
- 1x Jolteon
- 1x Vaporeon
- 3x Shaymin EX
- 1x Tauros GX
- 2x Zorua
- 2x Zoroark
- 3x Klefki
- 4x Combee
- 4x Vespiquen
- 1x Mew EX
- 4x Unown
- 4x Acro Bike
- 1x Revitalizer
- 2x Special Charge
- 1x Super Rod
- 4x Ultra Ball
- 4x VS Seeker
- 2x Forest of Giant Plants
- 2x Lysandre
- 2x N
- 4x Professor Sycamore
- 2x Float Stone
- 4x Double Colorless Energy
1 Eevee SUM 101
One Eevee is just enough when you’re playing Super Rod, and it isn’t always a top priority since some of your matchups don’t require the use of one of its Evolutions. I prefer this Eevee since my logic about lower Stage Pokemon generally is like “if you’re attacking with it, you’re probably in a bad spot”, and this being said, I’m pretty sure you’d rather have the chance to draw a card with Collect, than have a chance to do 30 damage with other Eevee that’s available to you in the Standard format card pool.
1 Flareon AOR 13
Flareon is your out to Decidueye-GX / Vileplume decks, and it also has value against decks that play Lurantis-GX, as bad as those decks may be, they do give you some troubles with their higher HP.
1 Jolteon AOR 26
This Lightning kitty is good against M Rayquaza-EX, and Yveltal decks. Since you’re already playing Eevee, there’s little reason not to play it, just for the heck of it.
1 Vaporeon AOR 22
The Water Eevee Evolution is the main reason that I include the line in this deck in the first place, and that’s because Vaporeon is fantastic against one of your harder matchups, in that of Volcanion.
3 Shaymin-EX ROS 77
I used to have four Shaymins in this deck, but had to cut down on them to fit other important cards, like all three of the Eevee Evolutions. While four is great, I’ve never had an instance where I was particularly bitter about not having the extra copy while playing three. It’s a card I’d like to find room for in the deck, but it doesn’t seem very feasible with all the techs I have included these days.
1 Tauros-GX SUM 100
I originally was extremely skeptical of this card in this deck, but it’s really proven itself to me. I love Tauros in here for a few reasons, one being just the wall it provides when using Sky Return in the beginning of the game. Simply slap a Float Stone down on it, and you have something that most opponents will be terrified of attacking into. It’s particularly useful against Darkrai-EX decks, a deck that you struggle with otherwise, in my opinion. One copy is perfect, and I don’t see this changing anytime soon for me.
2 Zorua BKT 89
You’ve gotta chose a Zorua for this deck, and while this is super far out, if your opponent uses an attack that allows them to copy one of your own attacks, you would rather be Confused than have a random card shuffled away from your hand, that card could be something useful. If you have a Zorua Active, too, you won’t be attacking with it and you can just Evolve, or Retreat out of the Confusion that was inflicted upon you, rendering your opponent’s turn of attacking useless.
2 Zoroark BKT 91
Two of these is just the right count, since you don’t always use it every game. Mind Jack is a fantastic attacking option for this deck, and Zoroark definitely deserves a place in here.
3 Klefki STS 80
The fourth Klefki was another space casualty along the line, but three is more than enough to suffice. I even play a card to make up for this cut, which I’ll get into later. Four would definitely be nice, and it’s something worth exploring at some point once again.
4 Combee AOR 9
You’d really cut one of these?
4 Vespiquen AOR 10
It’s your main attacker, you’d be crazy to play less than four in any circumstance.
1 Mew-EX DRX 46
I love Mew in this deck, and it’s a great way to flip the script in the M Mewtwo-EX matchup, a match you formally were on the losing side of things. Additionally, Mew is sweet against Glaceon-EX, if you even run into that card. It provides an out to attacking against an otherwise impenetrable wall. One is just enough to get the job done in all the tasks that you desire this card for.
4 Unown AOR 30
Maxing out on Unowns makes perfect sense when it serves as both a damage modifier, as well as a consistency card. I wouldn’t change this count at any point, and only wish I could play more, but alas, the rules don’t allow that.
4 Acro Bike
Here’s your substitute for Battle Compressor in the Standard format, aside from that, it’s a nice consistency boost, too. Nothing to change, or think about changing, here.
The norm is two of these, but you’ll see shortly why I like something a little different. This is a great card, and one is fine with the card that I use instead.
2 Special Charge
You won’t be attacking consistently every game if you’re not playing two of these! I could maybe, maybe see playing one, but that would be sketchy in games where you have to dispose of a Charge early on without getting a chance to use it. Playing two is great insurance to make sure you’re never locked out of attacking.
1 Super Rod
Here you have the replacement for the second Revitalizer. I think it’s an awesome option, and allows for more flexibility and recovery in the deck. Not only can it get back Vespiquens, you can get back the Eevee stuff, as well as Zoroark pieces. You can even reuse Klefkis with it, which is pretty amazing against M Pokemon-EX decks. I won’t play more than two of any combination of Pokemon recovery cards, be that Buddy-Buddy Rescue, Revitalizer, or Super Rod, so this is perfectly fine, and justified.
4 Ultra Ball
Playing less than four Ultra Ball in a deck that likes to have as many discarding options would be foolish, how else would you reach the numbers you need to hit with Pokemon in your discard pile?
4 VS Seeker
Playing three seems okay sometimes, but when you have to discard a couple VS Seekers early in a stroke of bad luck, you’ll be regretting the instant you decided to part with the fourth. Don’t do it, please.
2 Forest of Giant Plants
I love two Stadiums in this deck, and wish I could play more. However, that would be a pricy luxury. Anyways, Forest of Giant Plants is the best gym in this deck, as it allows for a speedier attack, and it’s always nice to be able to play a Vespiquen down in its entirety after a Revitalizer play.
One would be silly, since you want to prey on Pokemon you can actually knock out earlier on in the game when you aren’t reaching the numbers you will later on in a match. Two is the perfect number for this deck.
One might be all right sometimes, but I personally like the consistency boost, and having two N serves as a way to prevent discarding useful resources in games where your hands clump in unfortunate ways. I wouldn’t go higher than two, since Professor Sycamore is more often than not the best Supporter of choice.
4 Professor Sycamore
Please, don’t go lower than four, don’t do it. Your Pokemon need to find their way to the discard pile, and without Sycamore to guide them, they might not make it there in the numbers that you desire.
2 Float Stone
Having two Float Stone is Prize assurance, and is especially useful in situations where you want one on your Tauros-GX, and maybe one on another Pokemon that you had to Retreat at some point. Trust me, you’ll use both most games. No need to go higher, or lower, with this one.
4 Double Colorless Energy
Yeah, let’s leave all four of these in here, that seems good. I like to attack sometimes, attacking is good.
Banette ROS 31
This spooky Pokemon serves the same purpose as the Rattata I’ll be talking about shortly, and that’s to stop your opponent’s Fighting Fury Belts from doing their job. Without the extra HP, many Basic Pokemon are much easier to knock out, and that’s the name of the game. It’ll make your Prizes come to you faster, which is pretty swell. Banette is worth a shot as a thin line in your deck, if you’re looking for something nifty, and out of the ordinary to bolster your Vespiquen deck.
Espeon-GX SUM 61
Playing Espeon would require Psychic Energy, but it’s a worthy option, still. Divide GX can finish off Pokemon that you were just shy of knocking out, and Psychic is a nice attack, too. Playing this card makes this deck a little more clunky than it ought to be, so I wouldn’t recommend it, but the option is there if you want to test it out.
Milotic PRC 44
While many people have been playing Herdier instead of Milotic, Milo is by far the superior card. I don’t care if players are using Umbreon-GX, or anything silly like that, getting just Item cards as opposed to any card from your discard pile is a trade that I don’t want to make. This card has use in a Vespiquen deck since it can get cards back that will fuel your damage output further, and it goes hand in hand with the Paint Roller, Parallel City, and Sky Field combination. All those cards in conjunction allow you to play down superfluous Pokemon, and then discard them away, which builds up the number of Pokemon you have in your discard pile, and turns on the heat with your Bee Revenge attacking power.
Passimian SUM 73
The little monkey is a nice attacker against Darkrai-EX decks, but that’s about it. I would avoid this card at all costs, since it doesn’t really flow well with a Vespiquen deck, and you barely have enough Bench space to house enough of the Passimians to do much of anything. Finding them, too, will be a problem, since you generally require Shaymin-EX to set up, and getting all of your Passimians on the field is almost impossible with that stipulation.
Rattata EVO 66
This little rat isn’t only good in M Gardevoir-EX decks, it can be decent in Vespiquen, too. It serves as a way to get rid of Fighting Fury Belts on your opponent’s Pokemon, and it’ll make Knockouts easier for you, in that. It’s worth an inclusion if you’ve been having trouble hitting the numbers, but it’s not a necessity by any means.
Wobbuffet GEN RC11
Wobbuffet is a worth adversary against Decidueye-GX / Vileplume decks as a counter, but I’m afraid it doesn’t really do enough. Without your Abilities, you can’t do very much setting up, and you’re almost better off just taking the loss and going on your way. However, if you can find a way to make it work, then all the more power to you to play everyone’s favorite blob, Wobb.
Zebstrika BKP 49
This feisty Pokemon has been in and out of my list, time and time again. It’s really only good in matchups where your opponent is playing Pokemon that have Weakness to it, so it’s use is somewhat limited, and I prefer having Eevee Evolutions instead, since they have more use overall in a variety of matchups. If you’re going into a metagame where you specifically know you’ll be facing a lot of M Rayquaza-EX, or Yveltal, then it might be a good idea to make the switch to Zebstrika, just to insure those wins, but only if you’re not expecting as much of the other decks that the rest of the Eevees are good against.
I like Super Rod way more than this card, and I don’t think it’s particularly any good. Yes, sure, sometimes I’m sure you do wish you could get one certain Pokemon out of your discard pile, but in this deck, I think that Super Rod is still almost strictly better, and you shouldn't waste your time with a Buddy-Buddy.
Having trouble against M Pokemon-EX decks? I can’t see why, since you already are playing Klefki, but if you want to be a little overzealous, you can play Faded Town! Go for it, it’s not like Forest of Giant Plants is any good or anything!
This is a big piece of the combo that I talked about just a little earlier with Milotic, and it’s an all right inclusion. I don’t like it too much, though, since it can backfire on you sometimes if your opponent is playing Parallel City themselves and you don’t have a different counter Stadium to it, leaving you with either a damage reduction, or a Bench reduction. Either one of those are not fates that you should be out looking to get suckered into.
Another part of the puzzle with the aforementioned combination. Build a big Bench, and then discard it down back to reality with Parallel City. It’s a tantalizing thing, but it sounds better on paper than it shows in practice. It’s a little on the “too good to be true side”, and requires you to draw the Sky Field first, and then the Parallel City. It doesn't always work, and I for one don’t like to waste space on a card that isn’t going to help me every single game.
I love this card, but I love it more in the Expanded format. In Standard, without Battle Compressor, your options are severely limited when it comes to choosing cards with Teammates. While you may be able to fuel your discard a little more with Pokemon, more often than not I’ve found that a Professor Sycamore will do the same thing, if not better, since you get to see more cards. Taking the very slight risk with a Sycamore is almost always better, or even playing an N, so I wouldn’t waste the time playing Teammates, unless you’re expecting oodles of mirror matches in a tournament, which isn’t a common occurrence these days.
I absolutely love explaining how to play decks that I know well, and this one is no different. To properly explain it, let me walk you through the first few turns of a game I played with the deck. Afterwards, I’ll cover some of the more questioned frames of a game with a Vespiquen deck.
Opening Hand (Playing Second)
- Float Stone
- Professor Sycamore
- Super Rod
With this hand, I’m obviously going to be starting with Combee. Since I don’t want to limit this walkthrough to a certain matchup, I’m going to be covering what I think is a moderated approach to getting your Bee Revenge output to a healthy level that can Knockout most popular Pokemon in the game, without help from any Eevee Evolution multipliers.
To start my turn, I drew another Combee. I’m going to go ahead and play a few things down, those being the new Combee, Kelfki, and a Float Stone on my Active Combee. Now I have a hand of just four cards, which puts me in prime territory to use my Shaymin-EX’s Set Up, and hopefully draw a few more Pokemon to discard with my Professor Sycamore.
With my Set Up, I actually got somewhat unlucky, and pulled an Acro Bike, Revitalizer, and Special Charge. I went ahead and played the Acro Bike, choosing between two Unowns… After obviously picking an Unown and Benching it, I played my Sycamore.
Hand after Professor Sycamore
- Professor Sycamore
- Professor Sycamore
- Professor Sycamore
- Special Charge
- Ultra Ball
I used the Ultra Ball to pitch the Vaporeon and one of the three Professor Sycamores and got a Zorua. During my search, I noticed that I Prized my second Zorua, and that being said, discarding the Zoroark I have in my hand became a workable option. To end my turn, I used Klefki’s Wonder Lock on my Shaymin-EX, and Retreated the Combee for the Shaymin-EX, since it was under no threat of a Knockout, and I planned to Sky Return it on my following turn.
Start of Second Turn Discarded Pokemon Count
On my second turn, I started by drawing another Acro Bike, and played it. I was stuck with a choice of an Ultra Ball, or a Zoroark. I took the Ultra Ball, and now that my second Zoroark made it in the discard anyways, it was time to Evolve my Zorua. With my Ultra Ball, I just got an Unown, to keep digging after my next Professor Sycamore, and also as a way to increase my Bee Revenge damage output.
Hand after Professor Sycamore
- Float Stone
- Forest of Giant Plants
- Ultra Ball
With this hand, I was in decent shape, and decided to start with the Ultra Ball. With it, I got a Shaymin-EX. That tossed the Eevee and the Mew-EX, and I put my Float Stone on the Zoroark. My Benched Combee Evolved into Vespiquen, and it was time to clear a Bench space by using a Farewell Letter from an Unown. I drew a VS Seeker, which wasn’t of much use, and played my Klefki, using Wonder Lock on my other Unown. I Set Up for four cards, holding the Forest of Giant Plants, and got another Vespiquen, Acro Bike, Ultra Ball, and another VS Seeker.
My Acro Bike turned up a weird decision between a Shaymin-EX and a VS Seeker, but I had to take the Shaymin-EX to keep digging for a Double Colorless Energy. I used the Ultra Ball to pitch the Vespiquen, and a VS Seeker, getting another Vespiquen. I had to use another Farewell Letter, and drew a Jolteon. Now with a hand of four, I wanted to draw as many cards as possible with Set Up, so I dropped the Forest of Giant Plants.
Set Up yielded an Acro Bike, Forest of Giant Plants, Lysandre, and an N. With the Acro Bike, and just eight cards in my deck, I had better draw a Double Colorless. I got a Klefki, or an Unown, and took the Unown. Without a Double, which I think is just dumb luck at this point, I ended with a very nice bounty of Pokemon in my discard pile.
Start of Third Turn Discarded Pokemon Count
My draw for the turn was once again useless, and I had to use an N to save myself from decking out. With the N, I finally got the Double Colorless Energy I was looking for, and that was just about all I needed to take the game under my belt. From there, I was able to start using Shaymin-EX’s Sky Return, and start building up Knockouts.
Using just the first three turns of the above game as a reference point, it’s plain to see that this deck is absolutely lethal as early as the second turn of the game! A Bee Revenge attack for 140 damage is very, very good! My goal writing the above piece out for you is to give you as a player a better idea of what it’s like to be both aggressive, and conservative, with this deck in a competitive game. Additionally, it’s nice to see firsthand some examples of where to make a concession as far as discarding a certain Pokemon (be that an attacker, or even a supporter Pokemon) in attempts to bolster your offensive power. This deck takes a certain eye for constant detail that is truly unrivaled by really any other deck available in the Standard format.
Knowing When to Save Unowns
This is something a lot of people just don’t realize, I think. When playing quite frankly, any, deck that uses Unowns, save them for when you need to bolster your damage output to hit a certain number, or for when you need to draw cards! So often do I see players just draw an Unown and immediately burn it for an extra card. So many times they didn’t even need that extra card, and they go around and discard it, or shuffle it away a turn or so later. The simple message I want to preach here is to save your dang Unowns for when they fill a purpose. This can be a few things, but don’t just be using them to use them. Be careful, and mindful of their purpose in the deck! Not only do they add to your damage output, but they serve as a great way to recover from a late game N, among other uses.
Properly Thinning the Deck
I feel like this shouldn’t really need much explaining, either, but for many players, they don’t have this skill mastered. I would say in a head to head match with Vespiquen, towards the end of a game, you’re going to have a thin deck, somewhere in the ballpark of five or so cards, if you do it right. With something like this, it will be nearly impossible to whiff a card you’re specifically looking for, even when an opponent uses an N to shuffle away your hand for a lower amount, even one or two cards, plus your draw for your turn. What I mean by “properly thinning”, is letting go of false barriers that are sometimes imposed upon important cards. Like for instance, instead of using a Special Charge when you already have enough Energy in play to win the game, just discard it if you’re using a Professor Sycamore. On the flipside, see that Double Colorless Energy in your hand? All you need to win the game is an out to a Lysandre, so before using your N, discard that Double Colorless and something else to get rid of those cards. That way, you won’t draw back into them when you get your cards from your N. Every card has an implied value, and it’s up to you as a player to evaluate that in the moment, depending on your board state, and whatever cards you’re looking for to win a game, or get closer to doing so.
Sacrificing Attackers for Damage Output
Many decks have lulls where you need to sit back and relax and come from behind, and Vespiquen is just like that. In fact, it’s nearly the most perfect example of that sort of thing. Anyways, sometimes the best medicine is to just wait things out. In a game where you aren’t getting enough Pokemon in your discard pile quick enough, you can just do something like using Sky Return into a Pokemon you don’t need very much, like say, an Eevee, in a matchup where you don’t need one of its Evolutions. This will get your Bee Revenge attacks doing more damage, and it will feed your opponent meaningless Pokemon, as opposed to him or her taking Knockouts on your important attacker Pokemon, like Combee or Zorua, and their Evolutions. Don’t be afraid to give up a Prize, when it's for a good cause.
Darkrai-EX | Even or Unfavorable
Let’s start off with one of the most interesting matchups out there right now, one that is certainly a nail biter. I’ve had success on both sides of the board here, both playing Darkrai-EX, and playing against it with Vespiquen. All in all, I do think it’s a evenly matched battle. To start off, your biggest hurdle to jump is going to be Silent Lab. As mentioned earlier, much of your damage output is dependent on successfully using the Abilities of both Klefki and Unown, and Lab stops that from happening. This means you’ll have to be very frugal with your Stadiums, and hopefully you let your opponent play one of his or hers before you play your own. As long as Silent Lab doesn’t hinder you much, getting higher in the numbers will be no problem.
To start off the game, though, you want to use Shaymin-EX’s Sky Return and send up your Tauros-GX. Darkrai-EX is never able to one-hit a Tauros early, and in doing so, your opponent will either be forced to continually pass, which buys you time, or regrettably attack into the ‘ros, and run the risk for a Mad Bull GX one-hit Knockout.
Shaymin-EX’s Sky Return is a great way to set up easier Knockouts with Vespiquen, but more importantly, it often times can be the perfect supplement to Zoroark’s Mind Jack in setting up a Knockout on a Darkrai-EX. Overall, by the end of the game, you should be using Bee Revenge for a sweet one-hit pop on a Darkrai-EX even with a Fighting Fury Belt. Just cross your fingers and hope that Silent Lab doesn’t foil your plans! As a side note at the end of this matchup, the Darkrai-EX variant that uses Dragon Pokemon, specifically Giratina-EX, absolutely wreaks you. Chaos Wheel is all your opponent needs to do for you to effectively lose the game, so be on the watch for that.
Decidueye-GX / Vileplume | Unfavorable
Here’s your toughest matchup, something that is the main reason that Vespiquen drifted under the radar in the past few months. Without the existence of Decidueye-GX / Vileplume, I would say that Vespiquen is probably amongst the best decks in the format. Anyways, Decidueye-GX’s Feather Arrow can punish Combees and Zoruas alike, before they even have the chance to Evolve. Even if those little guys get to Evolve up, Feather Arrow will still be disastrous for a Vespiquen player. Under Item lock, it’s going to be nearly impossible to get enough Pokemon in your discard pile to Knockout really anything of your opponent’s, and that’ll be that. Your best bet at a shot of winning would be to play a Flareon, but even that is a long shot, since your opponent can just target it down before it becomes a threat with Feather Arrow drops. Good luck winning this one if you’re paired up against it!
Lapras-GX | Extremely Favorable
Not too much to say about this matchup, I played it once, and the game was over in under ten minutes. I heard Eric Gansman met a similar fate when he was paired with our own Rahul Reddy in the same match in the Puerto Rico Special Event Top Eight. Lapras is glaringly weak to Grass Pokemon, and Vespiquen can use Bee Revenge in just a matter of a few turns for a one-hit Knockout, and completely run over the deck. With four Double Colorless Energy and two Special Charge, it’s nearly impossible for a Lapras deck to prevent you from attacking at any point, and you’ll have an abundance of firepower for the complete duration of a match, assuring victory.
Lurantis-GX / Solgaleo-GX | Favorable
This deck is designed to prey on Pokemon-EX/GX decks, not the likes of an almost completely non-EX/GX deck, like Vespiquen. Solgaleo-GX normally serves as your opponent’s main attacker, but since it isn’t practical to use Sunsteel Strike six times in a game, he or she will more than likely try to utilize Lurantis-GX as an attacking option, instead. Solar Blade can one-hit any of your Pokemon, aside from Tauros-GX, and that’s definitely what your opponent should be doing. When you reach the number to take a Knockout on your opponent’s Lurantis, the game will be just about over, with no hopes for recovery from your opponent’s end. Fear not, as this deck is easily defeated by Vespiquen.
M Gardevoir-EX (79) | Slightly Unfavorable
At first sight you might think this matchup is favorable, just because of Klefki, but you have to remember that your opponent should be playing Rattata, which can remove a Tool card from your Pokemon. This being said, you opponent should be able to repeatedly remove your Klefkis, and getting your Bee Revenge damage up to 210 will be a tough task to complete. Some Gardevoir lists have even made the switch from Brock’s Grit to Karen as their Pokemon recovery Supporter of choice, and if that’s the case, you should pack your bags really fast, because a lost is imminent. All in all, this is going to be an uphill battle that you’re unlikely to win, mainly because of the Rattata problem as far as Klefki goes.
M Mewtwo-EX (64) | Slightly Favorable
While many players opt not to play a Mew-EX, I love it in Vespiquen, and think it’s an extremely important piece to the deck, as it completely flips this matchup on its head. Without it, Garbodor will be sure to give you aches and pains, and if you ever miss a Knockout, M Mewtwo-EX will go back to its roots with a Damage Change Knockout, thanks to Shrine of Memories. Having the opportunity to use Klefki in the early game will be clutch, and making fine use of your Abilities before Garbodor hits will be key. If you can climb to the 210-damage mark, you’ll be in fantastic shape, even if you don’t have the opportunity to use Mew-EX. Aside from the usual Mewtwo, Espeon-GX can be annoying if you don’t get to Evolve your lower HP Pokemon before your opponent manages to use a Divide GX attack. Make sure to be wary of that option for your opponent as you progress in a game! While on paper this one might seem challenging, it isn’t as difficult as it may seem, provided you play aggressively, and to the point.
M Rayquaza-EX (76) | Extremely Favorable
Can someone say auto win? Well, maybe not quite, but super close. Klefki absolutely smashes M Rayquaza-EX decks, and if you’re playing Jolteon or Zebstrika, then it’ll be that much more of a blowout in your favor. Klefki is just that much of a dominating force, that even if your opponent uses a Karen, or even two in a game, you’ll just be able to use your Klefkis again, and stop your opponent from doing a single scrap of damage to any of your attackers. As always, Sky Return early on is your go-to in turns of shoring up for the lower damage output starting off. Good luck in this one, still, but you probably won’t need it.
Vespiquen | Even
The mirror match is very similar to how it goes in the Expanded format, even still, where players trade attackers, one for one, until one player or the other finds a chance to prey on a Pokemon-EX/GX, and turn the Prize trade in his or her favor. That sentiment still holds exactly the same, although a few other circumstances apply early on for both players. Since Battle Compressor isn’t an option in the Standard format, you’ll have to “get lucky” with discarding Pokemon, be that with Acro Bike, Professor Sycamore, Ultra Ball, or just using Klefki’s Wonder Lock, or Unown’s Farewell Letter. Regardless, if either player is on the slower side of things in accumulating damage, he or she will be at a great disadvantage and fall behind the punch in the Prize race, probably resulting in a loss. Above all, try to keep Shaymin-EXs off of your Bench, and make sure you thin your deck properly to not fall victim to late game Ns. Save your Unowns for later, if you can, too!
Volcanion | Even
Let me talk about what your opponent will be doing first. So, regular Volcanions are obviously going to be his or her go-to attacker first, with its Power Heater attack. In order to reach one-hit Knockouts, Volcanion-EXs will have to be played down on the Bench. This is good for you, since Pokemon-EX are tasty treats in the Prize trade for a non-EX/GX deck like Vespiquen. Throughout the game, it’s best to just avoid attacking the baby Volcanions, but if you have to, Zoroark’s Mind Jack is the best attack option, since it knocks them out in one attack (if there isn’t a Fighting Fury Belt attached) as long as your opponent has just four Pokemon Benched. Your opponent will more than likely have to Bench at least one Shaymin-EX at some point in the game, and that’ll be easy pickings for you. Sometimes you can scrape together six Prizes without Vaporeon, but if you can get the Vape down, the game will progress much faster, and it’ll be very easy for you. By the end of the game, as usual, Vespiquen should be doing enough damage to take out anything in one attack, and the game will be yours for the taking. Obviously, this doesn’t always go according to plan, and you might draw sub optimally where your opponent’s sheer consistency will overwhelm you, and you’ll take the loss. This matchup goes either way!
Yveltal | Favorable
While Yveltal may play Garbodor, which is going to screw with your Ability use, and with that, damage output, Garb isn’t going to render Zebstrika useless, and that spunky zebra is going to have an absolute field day. Aside from the Lightning zebra, Vespiquen and Zoroark, themselves, are also formidable attackers in their own rights. Not much else to say here, other than that if you’re not playing Zebstrika, the matchup is closer to fifty-fifty, and you’re going to rely on the same combo as usual, some Sky Returns, followed by Bee Revenges and maybe some Mind Jacks. In the list I’m featuring today, I prefer Jolteon, and with that, Garbodor can pose a problem, but you might be able to get some punishing cracks in before Jolteon’s Ability is shut down.
Thanks for stopping by, Trainers. I hope this was a good read, and provided a nice perspective on an under the radar deck that has some true potential for success at upcoming tournaments. While Decidueye-GX / Vileplume might be the true front runner in any Standard format event, its successes always bring around new counters, and those new counters are generally weak to Vespiquen decks. Regardless, much of the game lately is decided by matchups, so choose wisely, and to quote The Hunger Games, may the odds ever be in your favor. Catch ya next time!
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02/22/2019 by Jose Marrero // Jose goes over his outstanding Top 4 finish at this past Oceania International Championships. (+36)