Experts' corner

Gabriel Semedo

A Deep Look at YZG and other Yveltal Variants for Standard Nationals

Gabriel gives an in-depth analysis of four different Yveltal variants for upcoming National Championships in the XY - Generations Standard format.

05/20/2016 by Gabriel Semedo

Hey! Here I am again. This time my article will focus on Yveltal for Nationals this weekend in the Standard format. I've decided to discuss deeply the position of Yveltal in the metagame to show you if it still a good call.

My first opinion is that the classic Yveltal/Zoroark/Gallade is not the best choice for a big tournament like Nationals, mainly if you don't know what to expect in your country.

Why YZG isn't a good call?

Of course YZG is a good deck, with something special and unpredictable that Yveltal decks always have. It's just impossible to underestimate a deck so versatile, which makes it a very strong deck by itself. 

However, since the begining of the 2015-2016 season, the actual format has become the most unfavorable for the big dark hawk. In previous formats we could consider YZG a good call and very balanced choice against the best decks in format, mainly Night March, but now things have changed. Before BREAKpoint, we could say that Night March was a even or a good matchup, but now the matchup is 40/60 for Night March.

A new weakness of the deck is Greninja BREAK, which is here to stay with a lot of good results in States and Regionals. Another old but gold bad matchup is Mega Manectric, which is seeing some play now because of the lack of Fighting decks, the power of Rough Seas against Trevenant, a good type against some Pokémon like Yveltal and Mega Rayquaza, the new friend Jolteon-EX, and the return of Max Potion.

About the deck building, we can check elements in the deck that look bad against the new threats of the actual format.

Now I will explain some weakness of the deck in current metagame.


The great protagonist of Expanded is not going through a good moment in Standard. I will do a basic analysis of its presence against the five biggest decks in format:

Night March: All you want in this matchup is to have an Yveltal-EX on the Bench or in the discard pile. Yveltal can ensure your defeat against the best deck in format because offers two easy Prizes for the little Joltik.

Greninja: It can be useful in early game, mainly if its a version with Max Elixir, but when Greninja Break comes to the field, Yveltal can't do much once that Greninja has the option to attach while leaving no Energy attached, forcing Yveltal-EX to have at least seven Energy plus Muscle Band to get the knockout.

Trevenant: It's a solid attacker thanks to the Darkness type, but because of Bursting Balloon, Yveltal can receive a lot of damage and be knocked out by Wobbuffet. Baby Yveltal (XY and BKT) and Zoroark are better attackers because they are non-EX Pokémon.

Mega Manectric: Yveltal is an easy knockout and doesn't offer much danger. Gallade will be your best option by far in this matchup, in fact.

Mega Rayquaza: Another matchup where Yveltal can't be too useful. In this case Zoroark and Zoroark BREAK are the stars in the match.

Few Supporters, Many Items

This is good against decks like Night March and Vespiquen, where the game becomes fast with knockouts almost every turn, however, it's pretty bad against Item-lock decks like Vileplume, Seismitoad, and Trevenant.

Against Item-lock, the deck is much more punished than a balanced deck in this aspect, and unfortunately for YZG, the three variants of Item-lock being played in the format are getting good results around the world. The matchup is good in theory, but the Item-lock can be a crucial problem sometimes and you can't do so much about it with a low count of draw Supporters.

Greninja BREAK

It's a big, bad matchup and there is no much that you can do about it. Gallade is your best attacker since you can OHKO Greninja Break with a difficult combination of Muscle Band + Giovanni's Scheme but in general your others attackers just don't do big things against Greninja BREAK.

It's time to say goodbye to YZG?

With all that said, it's easy to say that there exist more suitable decks in format that have a lower number of bad matchups. I would say that I consider Greninja and Trevenant better calls.

But don't be so sad because YZG has good reasons to still be a good deck as well. Scot Burgess from the UK was able to prove this and got 2nd Place in UK Nationals.

Besides that, like everything in life, it's always possible to improve and adapt a list that is already good. And this is exactly what 60cards' own Kevin Baxter did with a different version of YZG.

This is the version that I consider the best for the current meta, because it has a better matchup against Night March and brings more chances against Item-lock matchups. Even with the changes on this YZG, it was possible to fit 1-1 Maxie/Gallade, to still have a great tech to win Mega Manectric. The main change in this version is the lack of Yveltal-EX, which you certainly will miss in some situations, but like I said before, the format is bad for Yveltal-EX against most of the Tier 1 decks. In Kevin's list he opted to run Ace Trainer, which helps a lot in some matchups, mainly against Night March because you can make it much more difficult for your opponent to assemble two pieces of Puzzle of Time. Lastly, the best cards in deck for me are the two copies of Target Whistle, which bring a surprise game-changer factor, along with an extra 30 damage for your Zoroark. The Target Whistles are able to create nice opportunities to win. There are games against Mega Manectric that I could win just Knocking Out Shaymin-EX through the Whistles, without the need to Knock Out a Mega Manectric.

The biggest thing that I dislike in this deck is the inconsistent damage of Mind Jack. There are some matches that my main attacker (Zoroark) was just hitting for a poor 40 damage and sometimes I was only hitting for 10. The fact that you depend on the opponent's Bench is a double-edged sword and there will be situations where Zoroark won't help. In these situations you will cry for an Yveltal-EX.

Now I will cover two other versions with focus on the Darkness type:

With this version of Yveltal I got the majority of my CP in XY-AOR and XY-BKT. Now in BREAKpoint, I felt the deck isn't that good anymore since I really want to win against Night March and Greninja. The Night March matchup before BKP was good but now I see the matchup like 40/60 in favor of Night March. Against Greninja you have a chance if you go agressive with Yveltal-EX and Max Elixir on the first turn and then spam some Hex Maniac through the game, but the matchup is still 20/80 for Greninja.

The main difference in this version obviously is Regirock, but I like Regirock because it's a much more consistent option to counter Mega Manectric decks, just because you don't need to dig for the right combinations of card to use the Maxie's Hidden Ball Trick. Besides that, Regirock is useful in other matchups. Even against Night March you will need Regirock to deal with Joltik with Fighting Fury Belt, to hit for 80 with two Energy because of the Weakness.

This deck has a lot of Supporters, which is great for matchups where you can't use Items, but it's bad against fast decks like Night March. To solve this problem I use Teammates, which in my opinion is the best card of the deck by far. Thanks to this card you can deal with the speed of knockouts in a matchup like Night March and Vespiquen, without the need to throw valuable resources or Pokémon-EX in the discard to avoid Target Whistle from your opponent.

Another great thing about this deck is the three copies of Max Elixir that makes Yveltal-EX much better and faster. It's possible to do a turn-one Evil Ball and put big pressure on your opponent. The fact that the deck has only ten Energy means you could whiff some Max Elixir, but it's worth the risk.

Now let's go to the last variant of this article:

Among all the variants I presented here, this is the worst against Night March and that's why I don't like it too much, but it has resources to win, and Baby Yveltal, Zoroark, and Druddigon are still there. The good part of this deck is its speed and its well-balanced strengths and weaknesses, not leaving all responsability with Yveltal-EX, but with Darkrai-EX too. In this way, it's possible even win against Mega Manectric thanks to Darkrai-EX that hits good damage fast and doesn't have Lighting Weakness. The second attack of Darkrai is good as well, with the help of Malamar-EX.


I hope I could help you guys to understand the place Yveltal decks have in the current metagame and if it's worth the risk to choose this deck for a big tournament. In my opinion the deck has seen better days and today it wouldn't be my first choice for Nationals. Of course, everything depends on the metagame in your country; depending the field, Yveltal obviously can be a good call. In general, every version of Yveltal will have good chances against Trevenant, a solid play against Night March, and bad matchups against Greninja and Mega Manectric.

That's all, folks.


[+13] okko


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