Experts' corner

Caleb Gedemer

"Dark takes Orlando by Surprise"

Caleb Gedemer delves into the Standard format one last time before the release of Evolutions, check it out!

25. 10. 2016 by Caleb Gedemer

Caleb Gedemer delves into the Standard format one last time before the release of Evolutions — Florida Regional Championship Breakdown and More.


Hey, Caleb Gedemer back at it again with more content. This year's Florida Regional Championship has come and gone now, but what became of it? How did an under-the-radar deck have such great success? Why was Greninja BREAK such a non-factor? What happens next in the Standard format?

While I was unfortunately unable to attend this great event, but in this article, I will try my best to address all of these topics and go as in depth as possible.


The Results

Thanks to the Charizard Lounge, we have the following results:

1. Azul Garcia Greigo with Yveltal-EX/Garbodor

2. Alex Schemanske with Vileplume Toolbox

3. Brad Curcio with Darkrai-EX/Giratina-EX/Garbodor

4. Ryan Sabelhaus with Darkrai-EX/Giratina-EX/Garbodor

5. Rahul Reddy with Darkrai-EX/Giratina-EX/Garbodor

6. Igor Costa with M Mewtwo-EX (Y)/Garbodor

7. Daniel Lopez with Volcanion-EX

8. John Orgel with M Mewtwo-EX (Y)/Garbodor

Azul with his Yveltal deck with Garbodor was able to take home the first place title. This deck came somewhat out of the blue (ha, ha, azul). Going into this tournament, I personally believed that Greninja BREAK was extremely well positioned and would likely be the best deck and take multiple Top Eight finishes. I turned out to be horribly wrong on this sentiment, in fact, only three ‘ninja BREAK decks even made the second day in Orlando!

I expected Yveltal decks to be played, but not with Garbodor. Mainly, I expected Yveltal decks with Mew and things like Faded Town to counter M Pokemon-EX decks. This Darkness type builds had been garnering lots of hype in the weeks leading up to the event, so I had assumed this sentiment I held would hold true.

Another deck I expected to be big was that of M Mewtwo-EX (Y). I was, however, correct on this one, at least. Two of these powerhouses were able to find themselves in the Top Eight of this tournament. Based upon the other decks that did well, it is somewhat surprising that ‘two did not do even better than it did.

Some other decks that I originally thought were top contenders, but eventually strayed away from, made a showing, too. The Vileplume toolbox deck that took the World Championships by surprise, as well as Volcanion, found their path to big finishes, too.

Darkrai-EX with Giratina-EX was another deck that blew through the competition by some big name players. This deck, I too, had written off a little bit because of its lackluster matchup with M Mewtwo-EX. In my area, at local tournaments, the deck had waned significantly in popularity since it was repeatedly getting trounced by the aforementioned Mewtwo decks.

What This All Means

Greninja BREAK did not show up as predominantly as it could have, because of the dominance and overwhelming play of Garbodor decks. Darkness type decks with Garbodor were in absolute prime in this event and obviously preyed on the ‘ninja decks. The Giratina-EX version of this build is generally better against Greninja decks because Giratina-EX can lock in a Parallel City and reduce damage from Water type Pokemon. This makes it incredibly difficult to take knockouts on the beefy Giratina-EX, especially when Giant Water Shuriken is restricted by Garbodor.

Darkness type decks showed up in big numbers by some of the best players in the game because even in the Standard format, it is such a great deck. Max Elixir gives it an uncanny knack to blow up on the first turn of the game and generate offense.

There were some surprise decks that made a showing, like Gyarados from Ancient Origins. This mighty card is part of a complicated, but unique, strategy that revolves around using Team Magma's Secret Base and dropping Magikarp on the Bench and damaging them to beef up ‘dos’s Full Retialition deck. I think this deck is extremely dependant on draws and is not a reliable strategy to take to big events. A few players did make it to the second day of play with it, but were subsequently stifled after much success on the first day.

Another new deck, M Gardevoir-EX with Despair Ray, found some success with the release of Karen. The list that was played played a limited array of Pokemon, but included ways to continually recycle Hoopa-EXs and Shaymin-EXs, time and time again. I am a little skeptical of this concept, but it seemed to work, so I cannot question it too much.

Finally, Raichu made an unexpected showing as well. Just a single player with a version of the deck continued with play on the second day, but their build was pretty interesting. I am displeased with myself in that I did not think of the idea to play Banette with Tool Concealment. That Ability is very clever when trying to counter Fighting Fury Belt. Belt was a major hurdle for this deck to climb and the Banette solves just that. M Pokemon-EX can still remain a problem, but for the most part, I think this deck is much better with the release of Karen and should be poised to make some other showings down the road in competitive play.

The Future

This really seems like a trend, but Darkness type decks seem to really have a strong grip over both the Expanded and Standard formats now. I would say going forward that the big bad Darkrai-EXs, Yveltals and Giratina-EXs of the world are the main decks to beat. However, with a new set coming out in time for the next Regional Championship, that could be up to change.

For the purposes of this article, however, we will be discussing the format currently. League Challenges and smaller tournaments like that are still relevant and continually happening in the coming weeks and months. Who knows, maybe League Cups will start up finally, too!

As previously stated, Darkness type decks are definitely the decks to beat heading into Standard format tournaments. A few new decks have been uncovered by the Florida Regional Championship and all that in one bundle makes for a very exciting and vibrant format of play.

The Top Decks (Primal Clash through Steam Siege, including Karen)



When this deck popped up just before the United States National Championship last year, it definitely was interesting. The concept was a little offsetting to me originally, with the idea of playing Double Dragon Energy, an Energy exclusive to Dragon Pokemon types. Being forced to pitch some of these Energy was frightening and in testing, it seemed to happen a lot.

Luckily, members of the community have figured out how to get this deck to run smoothly and have proved it with great results at the biggest Regional Championship ever.

Darkrai-EX with Dark Pulse clocks in as a super heavy hitter when combined with Max Elixir. Elixirs are able to get a beefy Dark Pulse attack in no time. Double Dragon Energy even further speeds up the process by counting as two Darkness Energy at once. This being said, the damage stacks up fast and is sure to pressure any deck.

Fighting Fury Belt makes it even worse for the competition because there is currently no way to deal with Pokemon Tool cards. 220 HP on a Basic Pokemon is something to gawk at and with powerful attacks behind a wad of HP, nothing is safe.

Giratina-EX rounds up the deck by covering other bases and addressing M Pokemon-EX and Special Energy reliant decks. It also provides a way to deal with decks that revolve around playing Sky Field to increase damage output like M Rayquaza-EX and Raichu. Chaos Wheel can lock Parallel City in play, capping damage output by restricting the opponent’s field to only three Benched Pokemon at once.

Deck List

This deck list found its way to three Top Eight places at the end of play in Florida, so there is no reason to argue with anything in this deck.

The rest of the article is only available to PRO Members. Sign up for PRO Member today to view the rest of the article!

In order to maintain a high standard for our content, we have created a subscription service. To get you the best possible articles from the top players we pay more than $25 000 every year to our authors and editors. There are endless hours of playtesting and research behind each article. Our goal is to be able to publish an article every day and make even more competitions for everyone. Thank you for considering our subscription.

More information here.

60cards article competition is here! Join our competition to win cash prizes or playmats! Support your favorite author with your (+)vote.


Buy any cards you need on 



Chris Fulop

Rayquaza Went Down To Georgia

12. 01. 2017 by Chris Fulop // Chris Is Forced To Play Volcanion, And Has A Full Primer On His Choice For GA Regionals! (+10)

Jose Marrero

A Closer Look at the Dallas Regional Finalist Decks

09. 01. 2017 by Jose Marrero // Jose goes over the two decks that made the Finals at the Dallas Regional Championship last weekend. (+10)

Caleb Gedemer

"Making Me" — My Pokemon Life and an Aside on Standard

04. 01. 2017 by Caleb Gedemer // Who is Caleb Gedemer? How did his journey to the top of the leader-boards begin? What looks good in the Standard... (+10)

Welcome in our Pokemon Community Portal. Have a look around and enjoy your stay!