Experts' corner

Gabriel Semedo

Unraveling Some Myths of the Format and 3 interesting deck choices in standard

In this article, Gabriel talks about some cards, strategies and decks that got hyped ...

04. 10. 2016 by Gabriel Semedo

In this article, Gabriel talks about some cards, strategies and decks that got hyped without a big reason for it. Besides this he shows 3 interesting decks to play in Standard format.

Hello everyone! Today I will talk about some truths and myths about the format. The community takes it for the absolute truth but in reality it’s a big mistake. For example, is Greninja unplayable because of Garbodor? Is M Rayquaza one of the strongest decks in format? Is Giratina-EX effective in a format with Ranger, Hammers and Garbodor? Is Xerneas Rainbow Road the "Night March of the New Era"? Well, I have all these answers and I will tell you my opinion and explain everything. Besides this, I have some interesting decks that I want to talk about. I think they are good and interesting calls for the metagame.

Unraveling the Myths and Truths of the Metagame

It’s common to see a hype on some decks or cards when we have new formats or leaks of new cards. The biggest hypes of the format were M Rayquaza-EX and Garbodor, because of these cards every strategy and new concepts was planning around then. Some big plays in format were discarded just because the theory of how powerful Garbodor is and how it neutralizes that idea, or how M Rayquaza-EX hit tons of damage since turn 1 and how difficult is to get a knockout on a 220HP Pokémon. But the reality is very different when we go deep in format and stop to take a superficial look of the meta. There is a thing I noticed when I started to study the format: there is a difficulty of some players in predicting the metagame and the worrying of some players to immediately counter strategies that they haven’t even played against – to learn if they really need to be countered or how it can be countered without spending so many slots in a deck or to build a dedicated deck only to beat a “big threat” in meta. These problems are the main reason that made me to come here to talk about some myths that have been created in the format. So let’s start to discover some truths of the format.

M-Rayquaza EX: one of the strongest decks in format?

M Ray is strong but unfortunately isn’t a good call for Standard. It seems weird to say but it’s the truth. Every deck in format has at least a soft counter against M Rayquaza that hurts a lot. Some of the best “techs” against M Ray are cards that are already good by themselves and are welcome in a lot of decks in format even if M Rayquaza-EX didn’t exist in the game. For example, every deck in format with Garbodor and Parallel City together like M Mewtwo-EX, M Scizor-EX and some Darkrai/Giratina builds are good counters against M Ray. Reducing the bench for 3 and shutting down abilities like Hoopa-EX and Shaymin-EX to rebuild the setup for Emerald Break is too much for the deck. Just Parallel City is already a good counter but M Ray still can deal with it. The other big counter is Giratina-EX. If you are under Chaos Wheel, so you can’t change Parallel City or others stadiums, you can’t attach Double Colorless on Rayquaza or put Rayquaza Spirit Link. Ok, if you use Pokémon Ranger so you will be able to do all of those things, but you still have to deal with the Ability of Giratina-EX that prevent attacks/effects of Mega Pokémon-EX. In other words, it’s impossible to use Pokémon Ranger and Hex Maniac at the same turn, so you are almost in a check mate. To escape of this situation you need to use Jirachi Promo to remove Double Dragon Energy and pray that Giratina-EX doesn’t play Pokémon Ranger and attach another DDE. Another way to counter Giratina-EX is to play Marowak FCO and shut down effects of Chaos Wheel, but if you go for this rote, Marowak will be almost a tech only for Giratina-EX. Some decks with hammers give some nightmare to Rayquaza as well, like M Scizor/Garbodor and Hammers. To close the topic, there are some Pokémon that can beat easily M Ray like Raichu, Zebstrika and Zoroark / Zoroark Break can be tough as well.


Greninja: dead because of Garbodor?

Absolutely not. Before my training I thought Greninja became unplayable and lost about 50% of its power because of Garbodor, but the truth is that Greninja is tough and amazing even with Garbodor on the board and I will tell you why.

This is a list of my teammate Augusto Lespier that I liked very much. He beat me some games in our training with this very consistent and smart list against some decks with Garbodor that I used.

Card Explanation:

4-4-4-3 Greninja Break

Standard. Many players play just 2 Greninja Break in order to play some tech cards, but the beauty of Greninja Break right now is your high HP, your great attack hitting for 80 with just 1 Energy and the fact that it only give one prize when knocked out.

1-1 Octillery

I think this is the exact number in a metagame where Garbodor is in everywhere. You still have the option to put Octillery in play in matchups without Garbodor and you only lose 2 slots when you paired against Garbodor.

4 N / 3 Professor Sycamore / 3 Trainers Mail / 4 VS Seeker


4 Bursting Balloon

This is why Greninja can beat Mega Pokémon-EX decks with Garbodor’s Ability in play. Bursting Balloon gives the exact math to knockout every Mega Pokémon with at least 220HP. With two attacks for 80 plus 60 of Bursting Balloon, Greninja can knockout a Mega. In other words, against a Mega Pokémon like M Scizor that can’t OHKO Greninja, you are trading 2-hit-knockout against 2-hit-knockout, but with the difference that Greninja is a non-EX Pokémon and Scizor-EX is one. Against M Mewtwo-EX / Garbodor it’s a little bit difficult, because M Mewtwo-EX has an unlimited damage but you force Mewtwo-EX to drop 6 Energies on board to get a knockout. Besides this, M Mewtwo-EX has the option of Damage Change that can destroy the strategy of Greninja to get a knockout in 2 hits.

1 Float Stone

This tool is exclusive for Octillery. It seems a perfect count because it can’t be discarded.


4 Dive Ball / 3 Ultra Ball / 1 Level Ball

Standard. Three Ultra Ball are needed to thin your hand, throw cards that you won’t need in the game and draw more cards for Octillery’s Ability.

2 Super Rod

This deck misses Sacred Ash a lot because you need to recover so many cards of Pokémon, so you need to cover this with an extra copy of Super Rod even if it isn’t good as Sacred Ash.

2 Rough Seas

This card is overpowered in my opinion, but now in format you don’t need 3 or 4 copies, just because the game has a lot of decks that hit for big damages to get one hit knockout. M Rayquaza, M Mewtwo, Volcanion and Darkrai/Giratina are examples of tier 1 decks that can knockout Greninja in one hit.

1 Faded Town

With so many Mega Pokémon decks playing in the metagame, Faded Town becomes very good. In case of Greninja, Faded Town corrects the math to get knockout on Megas. If your opponent plays Parallel City and you don’t have any Stadium to counter it, so you must do only 60 damage and your math you be reduced for 3-hit-knockout with the damage of Bursting Balloon. To recover the math to 2-hit-knockout, you will need to hit for 100 in next turn, so you can break Parallel with Faded Town and then for 80 + 20 to get the knockout. Another play with Faded Town is to get 2-hit-knockout without Bursting Balloon. If you hit 80 + 20 of Faded Town and your opponent doesn’t find a way to break Faded Town, so your opponent will take plus 20 between his turn and you have the chance to do a second hit of 80+20, and get 220 damage in two turns.

1 Professor’s Letter

It’s good to get 2 Energies at the same time in a deck where you have only 8 Energies and you need multiples Energies in hand to work. Trainer’s Mail plays well with Professor’s Letter.

8 Water Energy


Deck Analysis:

This version is very focused on raw damage and I never thought in a Greninja like this. Since Greninja came to the game, the biggest worry of the players is to find the best way to use Greninja’s Ability Water Shuriken with consistency and no big threats. The first famous version of Greninja was a build with two or three copies of Jirachi Promo, with some techs like Startling Megaphone and a bunch of Rough Seas. Then with Steam Siege release, a straight forward version with Talonflame and Bursting Balloon splashed at Worlds 2016. Now I think the focus of Greninja deck your attack and your high HP. If you see Greninja Break without your Ability, we are looking for an amazing attacker that hits 80 damage for one Energy and retrieves it back to your hand (which is nice) and Non-EX Pokémon with a Pokémon-EX HP of 170. In a format where the best strategy is to play a powerful Pokémon with no Ability and a great attack like M Mewtwo-EX and M Scizor-EX and paired it with Garbodor, Greninja can be a great attacker and play without your Ability as well. So, in this list we trade Talonflame, Jirachi Promo and techs cards in order to play a full set of Bursting Balloon and tons of cards to bring a lot of Greninja hitting hard to the game as fast as we can and for the entire game. As long as we can hit for 80 every turn and bring new Greninja on board to keep attacking, we will be fine.

In matchups where Garbodor isn’t in play, Greninja is one of the best decks in format so far. With only way of item lock (Vileplume) and I don’t see it being popular in the metagame yet, so Greninja can abuse of it ability in matchups like M Rayquaza to knockout out Shaymin-EX and Manaphy-EX (depends on the version of M Ray).

Is Giratina-EX effective in a meta with Pokémon Ranger, Garbodor and Hammers?

The answer is yes. Of course - Pokémon Ranger, Garbodor and Hammers are big threats for Giratina-EX, but all these techs Giratina-EX can play around. Let’s start with Pokémon Ranger. In Worlds we almost didn’t see Giratina-EX in the field because the afraid of Pokémon Ranger. Now I think the things has changed. Without Battle Compressor it’s hard to find Pokémon Ranger right on time to use and even if you have the chance to use Pokémon Ranger, depends on the situation only one turn without the effect Chaos Wheel won’t be enough to deal with the Giratina-EX lock. Like I said before, against M Rayquaza if your opponent is under of Chaos Wheel, you will be fine, because it will be hard to deal with the effect of the attack and Giratina-EX Ability at the same time. Now let’s talk about Garbodor. In theory, decks like M Scizor and M Mewtwo-EX are safe against Giratina’s Ability because of Garbodor, but in practice it’s just knocks out Garbodor with Chaos Wheel to win the game. Most decks plays a line of 2-2 Garbodor, with a line like this, in most of cases only one Garbodor is setup for the entire game, so in most of cases if you are able to Lysandre and knockout Garbodor with Chaos Wheel, it means that will be impossible for your opponent to hit Giratina-EX for the next turns, because Giratina’s Ability prevent damage/effect from megas and Chaos Wheel blocks your opponent to put float stone in a Trubbish. The only way of Megas/Garbodor decks avoid this situation is to play down 2 Trubbish with 2 Float Stone attached before Chaos Wheel. There is a chance of those Mega decks run Pokémon Ranger, so in this case it’s possible to your opponent to attach a float stone in a new Trubbish. I already saw some Mega/Garb decks that play Hex Maniac even with Garbodor. It seems weird but make sense, not only in situations that Giratina-EX is able to check mate the game, but against Vileplume is very clever, since you can Hex Maniac your opponent and play tools on your Trubbish/Garbodor and stop Vileplume’s Item lock ability. The last and biggest threats are Hammers. Hammers always will be painful for Giratina-EX (except if paired with Vileplume) since Giratina needs 4 Energies and probably one of them will be a Double Dragon Energy. I think hammers are returning to the metagame because the biggest decks in format like M Mewtwo and Darkrai/Giratina have the Energies like the main focus of the power of the deck. With this on mind, Giratina-EX can cover this situation with Special Charge and Pokémon that put Energy on board, like Baby Yveltal to recover discarded Energies and put one more Energy on board and Baby Xerneas to Geomancy for two more Energies on board.

Is Xerneas Rainbow Road the Night March of the new Era?

It’s funny to say but some players are looking for Rainbow Road like a Night March deck, because it’s a non-EX attacker that can hit for 200+ damage. The things are so much different, because Rainbow Road needs a setup to do this and Xerneas need three Energies to attack (one fairy plus one Double Colorless Energy). I think this deck is inconsistent and Parallel City hurts the strategy. I know that even with Parallel city on board, you have the option to let on the bench Galvantula, Bisharp and Volcanion-EX and still hit for 190 if you already have all the setup. But in pratice you still need the slots on the bench mainly to setup a new Xerneas or just to have a Xerneas on the bench with Exp. Share waiting to receive the basic Energy to attack next turn. About the consistency we are talking about a deck that plays 2 lines of evolution and an attacker that depends on Special Energy plus basic Energy, this is not easy to get fast and I don’t think that is easy to keep energizing and attacking with Xerneas if your opponent is able to knockout one Xerneas per turn. Even all those things setup, Xerneas can miss some knockouts against Megas or-EX with Fighting Fury Belt.

Well, those are the biggest myths of the format right now for me. If you know some case of deck, card or strategy that got hype with no reason in this format, please tell me in the comments! Now let’s talk about some good and interesting lists that I prepared for you guys.


Three Interesting Deck Choices for Standard

Now that I have been training a lot this format, there are 3 deck choices that I think it’s good and out of the spotlights in the metagame right now. I bring to this article a rogue deck, that is a Xerneas Break / Lugia / Garbodor deck, a known but underrated Zygarde / Carbink deck and a known and tier 1 metagame Darkrai/Giratina-EX deck. In case of Darkrai/Giratina-EX deck, I think the deck is out of spotlight because M Mewtwo-EX/Garbodor, M Rayquaza (with no reason) and M Scizor-EX are the biggest star right now and Darkrai/Giratina-EX still has some free path to shine.

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