Experts' corner

Nikolas Campbell

"The Light at the End of the Tunnel" 2016-2017 Standard Format

Now that Worlds is over and done, it's time to look forward to the new season! Check out those two most discussed deck online right now.

09/07/2016 by Nikolas Campbell

Hello, 60cards readers, it’s me, Nik, again and I hope everyone that went to Worlds had a great time. If you didn't go to Worlds, I hope you had a great time watching all the streams and the coverage. Now that Worlds is over and done, it's time to look forward to the new season! Rotation has always been a favorite time of the year for me because I love coming up with new deck ideas that haven't been seen before. This Standard rotation season though is a welcome one for most people because of how bad it got with the cards that were around. I'm looking at you, Battle Compressor and Night March. This new Standard will allow for cards that had bad matchups against Battle Compressor decks to have a chance of setting up now and they should come back in full force. Today we will go over some of these cards. Also, I will have some decklists of what I think should be strong choices in this new Standard format. Should be awesome. Let’s get into it.


Like I was saying, in the new Standard format we lose cards like Battle Compressor and Night March attackers. These cards have been a major reason for the staleness of the past format. Battle Compressor just allowed for insane one-turn setups by just allowing you to burn through your whole deck and set up either a crazy knockout with Night March or a more consistent turn-one Vileplume. The card was just absolutely insane in power level and I'm glad it is gone at least in Standard. While Battle Compressor was the biggest loss in Standard, we also lost some other key cards. One of the biggest Pokémon we lost was Seismitoad-EX. Seismitoad-EX has been the most polarizing card in the community, but love it or hate it, you can't deny the power of Quaking Punch. While I was on the side of players that though the card was okay to have in the game, I'm also ready to have this card removed from the Standard format just to shake up the metagame.

While these powerful cards are being removed from this Standard format to shake it up, we are also losing two cards that we probably need. These two cards are Startling Megaphone and Xerosic. Not having these cards is probably the biggest reason the new Standard format might be a problem because without them, we do not have a good way of interacting with Pokémon Tools in the format. The only card that can kind of interact with them is Giratina-EX with its Chaos Wheel attack, but its attack might take a while to set up, allowing for your opponent to attach Tools as much as they want without repercussion. We haven't seen a format without good Pokémon Tool removal since 2012 so it will be interesting. We have so many good Tools in Standard like Fighting Fury Belt, Spirit Links, and Float Stone that you can just freely attach with no way to get punished. Plus, the Garbodor from BREAKpoint gets so much better because the only answer to the card now is Lysandre. This could be the biggest problem with the format, but we will see how much Abilities will matter in the new Standard.

Other than the cards I mentioned, there really hasn't anything else notable we lost in Standard rotation. We lose some small cards like Greninja XY and Blacksmith, but these cards were ultimately replaceable roleplayers in the decks they were in. Now that we have gone over what cards that we are going to lose, let's go over some cards that become better with the new format and the best way to that is by looking at some decklists.

Mega Rayquaza-EX

If I had to pick a deck for the new season that every player had on their mind to playtest, it would be a Mega Rayquaza-EX variant. Mega Rayquaza-EX has always been in the back of players’ minds as a deck that can come out of nowhere and win a tournament if things go right for it. In the past, for things to “go right for it” usually required Night March and Giratina to either not show up or to do poorly at the event. Now with Night March rotating from Standard and Giratina-EX getting a legitimate counter in Pokémon Ranger, Mega Rayquaza seems like it lost some of its biggest counters. Let's take a closer look at a sample list that you might see at a Standard tournament this season. 


3 Rayquaza-EX 60 ROS/1 Rayquaza-EX 75 ROS

While you can pretty much use any combination of these Rayquaza-EX right now, this is the line I was using in my testing. The reason for this line is because right now I'm always a fan of having evolving Basic Pokémon with the most HP. That’s the only reason I have more of the Dragon Rayquaza-EX in the deck. If there was a ton of Fairy-type decks running around or the Colorless Rayquaza was performing really well in testing, I would switch them out. In my testing it seemed like the Colorless type Rayquaza and the Dragon type Rayquaza were about the same so I will always go with the Pokémon with more HP.

3 M Rayquaza-EX ROS

The heart and soul of this deck. With its Emerald Break attack and Δ Evolution Ancient Trait, it’s hard not to see why this card is a powerhouse.

4 Shaymin-EX ROS

I’m not going to explain why this card is good or explain why pretty much every deck plays at least one copy of this card, but I want to emphasize this is the only deck that plays four Shaymin-EX and you will need all four copies. There really isn't a replacement for Shaymin-EX in this deck; you need to be quick and fill up your Bench, which Shaymin-EX fulfills. If you can only find three Shaymin-EX, I wouldn't even play this deck. You need the four copies.

2 Hoopa-EX AOR

Another pretty obvious inclusion. The deck is pretty much all Pokémon-EX and Hoopa-EX will allow you to fill your Bench more easily for Emerald Break.

1 Manaphy-EX BKP

Since this decks needs to run some Basic Energy for Mega Turbo, you can run some Pokémon in the deck that support the Basic Energy you choose. Like, if you choose Metal Energy, you could run Magearna-EX for the Mystic Heart Ability to stop attack effects, but in my testing I went with Manaphy-EX for the free Retreat The Aqua Tube Ability on Manaphy-EX will always be decent, unless you are playing against Garbodor.

2 Bunnelby PRC 121

Probably the weirdest addition to the deck, but I think this deck really needs it in this format. The only real counter to this deck is Parallel City to limit your Bench size. Now when that card comes into play when you have a Sky Field in play with a full field of eight Pokémon, you will have to discard five Pokémon. That can be way too much sometimes, so you need a way to recover from that loss. Bunnelby and Super Rod are the only two ways to recover Pokémon in the format. Even though it is a slow attack in this really quick deck, if you can Rototiller once for a Super Rod and a Shaymin-EX after a Parallel City, it should be good enough to fill your Bench again. Plus this is better than Puzzle of Time because Bunnelby can be searched out and Benched preemptively so you won’t have to worry about finding it once your Bench has already been hit.


2 Hex Maniac

Usually this card is only played as a one-of in most decks, but in this deck has the room to run another copy. Hex Maniac is probably the best in this deck because if you can go first and have a crazy setup like the deck is supposed to do with a full field and an attacking Mega Rayquaza, having a card like Hex Maniac to stifle your opponent on their first or second turn can just be gamebreaking. Another reason for the second copy of this card is my theory that Giratina-EX will still be a very popular card and it’s a very good answer to it.

1 Pokémon Ranger 

Just another card for Giratina-EX. As you might notice I have the utmost respect for Giratina-EX and I will even play a card that can be slow in the matchup, but there is no other card in the format that will help you get past a Chaos Wheel when you do not have a Double Colorless attached. Also if cards like Regice AOR or Jolteon-EX see play, you will have an answer for those cards.

1 Special Charge

This is a brand new card from Steam Siege and it should be an awesome fit in this deck. This deck relies on Double Colorless Energy, but sometimes this deck will have to ditch them early to get a really good setup. Special Charge will help you recover these Energy so you don’t lose the late game.


1-1 Altaria ROS 70

Another tech card you could play is this Altaria with the Clear Humming Ability. As of right now, the Lighting-type that might see some competitive play is Raichu with Circle Circuit. If this card sees a good amount of play I would make space for Altaria, but as of right now, my testing suggests there is no need.

Now Mega Rayquaza is going to be a very powerful deck coming out in this Standard format, but it's not the only deck people are talking about. Let's take a look at another deck that should see play now.

Mega Mewtwo-EX

This deck is probably the second most discussed deck online right now behind Mega Rayquaza. This deck really hasn’t seen any play during the time of Night March. It was too slow for the format and being Weak to Psychic when Pumpkaboo is a main attacker is not a great time for Mewtwo-EX to see play. Now if you take Night March away, this deck becomes a real powerhouse. Now there are two different Mega Mewtwo-EX that were released in BREAKthrough and both of them really have a chance to shine, but I think the Mega Mewtwo-EX with Psychic Infinity will have the greatest success and I will go over why I think that. Now let's take a look at the list.


4 Mewtwo-EX BKT 62

Now like the Rayquaza-EX that you can play, you can play any combination of Mewtwo-EX that you want in your deck. I chose this one because of the amount of Psychic Energy this deck plays. You could play the Photon Wave Mewtwo-EX if you want or if only have those ones available and shouldn't make that huge of a difference.

3 M Mewtwo-EX BKT 64

The main attacker for this deck and its attack is very similar to that of the old Mewtwo-EX from Next Destinies. With its Psychic Infinity attack, it can Knock Out pretty much everything if you keep attaching to it, just like the old Mewtwo-EX. Now like I said, there is another Mega Mewtwo-EX you can run right now, but I don't think it's as great as this one, but it is getting a lot of hype. The other Mega Mewtwo has the attack Vanishing Strike, which, for one Psychic, two Fighting, and a Colorless, hits for 150, but if there is a Stadium in play, it does 50 more damage and gets through any effects and Resistance on the Defending Pokémon. This attack is pretty good and it has 20 more HP than the other Mega Mewtwo-EX. The reason I don't have it in here is because one it doesn't run off of Double Colorless, so you will have to attach or Mega Turbo four times to attack and you will have to run some Fighting Energy in the deck. This is not a huge problem, but it can be a nuisance trying to find the specific Energy you need at the right time. Now, people have been playing with this card with Shrine of Memories to use Damage Change on the Basic Mewtwo-EX. To me, this seems like a win-more strategy and really takes away from the consistency of the deck. Most of the time I would just rather build up Energy and one-shot anything with Psychic Infinity than try to set up this weird combo of cards, and people will see that in testing with the Vanishing Strike M Mewtwo-EX.

2-2 Garbodor BKP

The most talked about tech card in the format. Garbodor from BREAKpoint with its Garbotoxin Ability will shut off all Abilities for all players if it has a Pokémon Tool attached. This is better than it has ever been in the past because the only way to deal with it is to Lysandre it and Knock it Out. There is no way to remove Tools in this format and that might be a problem. While testing, you really can't play any deck that really rely on Abilities to win, like Greninja BREAK, but decks that just Shaymin-EX as a set up Pokémon should still be fine, like Darkrai-EX/Giratina-EX. Will see later on how bad of a decision it is to not have any Tool removal in the format, but it is too early to tell as of right now.

2 Shaymin-EX ROS

The best "setup" Pokémon in the game. Even with Garbodor in the deck to shut off Abilities, you should still run this card. There is no replacements for Shaymin-EX if you want to be competitive, don't ask and don't even try.

1 Hoopa-EX AOR

The next best setup Pokémon in the game. This deck has nine Pokémon-EX in the deck aside from Hoopa-EX, so it will be a great addition to the deck.


1 Hex Maniac

Even though this deck runs Garbodor, I still want this card in case of a Giratina-EX knockout on Garbodor. Also this just a great card to have if you’re going first and don't have any other great plays.

1 Pokémon Ranger 

Just another card for Giratina-EX. If you have Garbodor up and you need a way to attach your Double Colorless Energy, this is the card for you. Also if Regice or Glaceon-EX see some play, you have an answer to those cards.

3 Parallel City

Yes this card is pretty much in every deck right now that isn't Mega Rayquaza-EX, but most lists only play two copies. I added another because there was room and I think this deck has a pretty bad matchup against Mega Rayquaza-EX and just having that extra copy is good enough to help the matchup.


7 Psychic/4 Double Colorless

This Energy line is pretty self-explanatory, but it is the minimum you can play in this deck to run well in my opinion.


Shrine of Memories

I brought this card up when I was talking about the other Mega Mewtwo-EX. It seems like a cool idea to use Damage Swap to basically fully heal and maybe one shot your opponent’s Active Pokémon. While this is a really cool idea, I just don't find it very consistent. Also, with all the Parallel City in the deck and you really don't want to cut any of those Stadiums, I don't think you really have the room. You can try to cut cards if you want, but I just don't think it is a very good idea.


This format is really shaping up to be way better than past one with Battle Compressor and Night March getting rotated out. I'm really having fun testing out new decks with the cards we have now and I hope you guys are too.

Now I want to get a little serious. Recently we lost a member of the Pokémon community and I want to pay my respects. My friend Nicholas Bailey died on August 22 after a long battle with glioblastoma, which is the most aggressive form of brain cancer. For the time I knew Nick, he lived with great happiness and always tried to make everyone feel welcome. He was one of my great friends in my life and I’m going to miss him for the rest of mine. I tried to help his family as much as I could during his final days and they still need some help, so if you want, please donate to the family’s GoFundMe page to help cover the bills that were occurred over time with Nick's disease. I will add the website at the bottom of the page. Thanks for your time, 60cards readers and until next time, this is Nik. Hope you enjoyed the article.

[+15] okko

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