Experts' corner

Franco Takahashi

A New Look at the New Standard

Now that the new season arrived, Franco looks through some of the popular archetypes in the standard format and analyzes their strengths and weaknesses.

10/03/2017 by Franco Takahashi

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Hello 60 cards readers, this is Franco. Now that the 2018 season has started and rotation is now in effect, I’d like to go over six archetypes in the new standard format that are doing well so far.

My intention is for this article to serve as a guideline for upcoming standard format events to understand what decks are currently out there.

But first, I’d like to go over once again, how rotation has changed and affected the the current format. This can provide a better understanding of the changes in the game and how they affect deckbuilding. 



First, I’d like to go over how rotation has affected decks in general. With the loss of VS Seeker, decks don't have the same consistency as before in terms of draw power. Since VS Seeker is gone, you need to play more draw supporters, in order to bump up your draw engine or play a thicker line of Tapu Lele-GX, and/or cards like Octillery or Oranguru. However, even then it seems that dead drawing can still happen to many decks in the new format.

Dead drawing happens more often due to the fact that a lot of the meta decks are becoming more stage-2 oriented or running multiple evolutions, which it makes the deck slightly clunky along with the lack of VS Seeker. In addition to this, the lack of VS Seeker also affects the use of tech supporters. With VS Seeker in the format, once the supporter was sent to the discard pile, you were able to use those supporter cards with VS Seeker at the right time, and you were able to execute your strategy more efficiently, such as playing Hex Maniac at the right timing to shut off abilities on a crucial turn or even supporters like Ninja Boy and Acerola. Now, you need to run more tech supporters to ensure you'll have them at the right time.

As a result, this means you’ll be using more slots in your deck dedicated to consistency, but in exchange, you lose space for tech attackers, making your deck less flexible.

Another meaningful card that left the format is Hex Maniac. This has helped decks that rely on strong abilities such as Metagaross-GX, Vikavolt, Gardevoir-GX, among others. Losing Hex Maniac made the format more favorable for ability-based decks, since now there are only a few cards in the format that can shut down abilities like Garbodor,  Alolan Muk, and Greninja with its Shadow Stitching attack.

Gardevoir GX


Gradevoir had huge success recently at the 2017 World Championships, proving its strength as an archetype. It requires some time to set up the board completely, but with Gardevoir’s Secret Spring ability, you can attach more fairy energies the more Gardevoir in play. In combination with Double Colorless Energy and Choice Band, you can swing for 180 damage or more on average. The deck also can play cards like Max Potion and Acerola to deny prizes while remaining aggressive, due to its energy acceleration.

Overall, the deck’s capacity to take easy knockouts is something really attractive. The deck’s strategy remains the same for most matchups: set up your board by evolving into multiple Gardevoir-GX to accelerate energy and apply pressure with its 230 HP and high damage output.

However due to loss of VS Seeker, the deck can be clunky sometimes in the setup process. Two other key losses for Gardevoir after rotation definitely are Hex Maniac and Wonder Energy. The loss of Hex Maniac for Gardevoir makes certain matchups harder such as Vikavolt/Tapu Bulu-GX and Metagross-GX. Being able to Hex Maniac to make your opponent lose a momentum was a significant match-swinging card.

In addition to Hex Maniac, losing Wonder Energy was also another very important card for Gardevoir. Wonder Energy protected from effects that can disrupt you like Espeon-EX’s Miraculous Shine, where it devolves your Pokemon, and Righteous Edge from Drampa-GX that discards your Double Colorless Energy. Wonder Energy also protected against Espeon-GX's Divide GX and Psybeam attacks, as well as Greninja's Shadow Stiching.

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