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Caleb Gedemer

"Devolving?" — The Standard Format with Evolutions

Get Caleb Gedemer's opinion on the Standard format with the Indiana Regional Championship approaching fast!

15. 11. 2016 by Caleb Gedemer

Introduction

Hey Trainers, ready to get some cool critter content for any upcoming Standard format tournaments, specifically for the Indiana Regional Championship? Well ready or not, I have a lot to share with you all.

The new set of Evolutions brings a lot of new things to the table and cranks up the potential a lot of already established decks held in the format. These decks specifically being Greninja BREAK, M Gardevoir-EX (Despair Ray) and Volcanion decks.

Anyways, let us get right into it. I hope you all enjoy!

Table of Contents

Introduction

The Standard Format (Primal Clash through Evolutions)

The Decks

Darkrai-EX/Garbodor/Giratina-EX

Greninja BREAK

M Gardevoir-EX (79)

M Mewtwo-EX (64)

M Rayquaza-EX (76)

Vileplume Toolbox

Xerneas

The Word of Warning

Conclusion

The Standard Format (Primal Clash through Evolutions)

The last time we discussed the Standard format we were all eying up the results of Florida Regionals in the United States. Darkness decks with Garbodor and Giratina-EX were all the rage. The big question is, will that change for the Indiana Regional Championship this time around? I would say no, if asked that question.

So, if anything, what will change? There will be a few changes, yes. Firstly, we have the addition of Dragonite-EX with Pull Up in M Gardevoir-EX (79) decks. This is going to be incredibly good to reuse the effects of Hoopa-EX and Shaymin-EX time and time again after Discarding the aforementioned Pokemon with Despair Ray.

Starmie in Greninja BREAK decks is pretty sick too. Getting Energy back from the Discard almost “breaks” the deck, but Garbodor still remains a problem. That is where the new Greninja Promo card with Aqua Shower comes in. This new card deals 20 damage to each of the opponent’s Pokemon, which is just enough to set up a Lysandre knockout on a Garbodor with the Greninja toting Moonlight Slash.

One last deck, or rather, lots of decks, obtain a special card in the form of Mewtwo from Evolutions. Psychic for two Colorless Energy can be a real pain for M Mewtwo-EX decks. With a Weakness to its very own Psychic type, M M2 can get hit hard when it has a lot of Energy cards on it.

Lastly before we start to delve into all the decks, I would like to call to mind that many winning lists have been made public and there are few, if any, surprises at this point when it comes to decks. Additionally, most decks have a standardized core list of cards that should always be played now, which is great for players to have to make sure they have a consistent and powerful deck.

The Decks

I will be covering my favorite decks for the upcoming Indiana Regional Championship in this section. An overview of the deck will be discussed; deck lists will be provided and matchups will be all laid out.

Darkrai-EX/Garbodor/Giratina-EX

Overview

We have been over this deck plenty of times now; it has been around for a while now. Not much changes in Darkrai-EX’s world, at least not for now. Garbodor is still a monster of a card and Darkrai and Giratina-EX are some of the best Pokemon to pair together with everyone’s least favorite pile of trash.

Darkrai-EX along with Max Elixir can get the numbers churning early and attaching Double Dragon Energy (which count as two Darkness Energy if we would like) to Giratina-EX even further promote the cause. Dark Pulse will be hitting massively in no time.

On the defensive front, Giratina-EX can lock in Stadium cards and win matchups in which Darkrai-EX and its powerful offensive capabilities are not enough to pull out games. Most lists now include Olympia, for various reasons, but namely, it is great to switch between attackers that would otherwise be a pain to Retreat.

Deck List

Matchups

Darkness/Garbodor: 50/50
The mirror match; this one is incredibly dependent on whomever starts attacking hardest with Darkrai-EX first. Giratina-EX is a subpar attacker in this matchup, and Darkrai-EX really just takes the cake. Using Enhanced Hammer at a nice time will stop the opponent from achieving one-hit knockouts, which is ultimately the goal and endgame of this match.

Greninja BREAK: 60/40
A quick Chaos Wheel with Giratina-EX is sure to spell defeat for the opponent. Not only will a Parallel City locked in play limit the opponent’s damage output, or Bench space, whichever is best in the given situation, but it will put on the pressure with some massive damage straight away. If Garbodor is to hit the field before Greninja BREAKs go online, this game is a complete and total wrap. Dark Pulse can finish the opponent’s field off and take the win to the books.

M Gardevoir-EX (79): 35/65
This matchup is a very bad one. Garbodor can stop the opponent from using Dragonite-EXs, Hoopa-EXs and Shaymin-EXs time and time again, but, it will not stop the deadly Resistance that Garde totes against opposing Darkness Pokemon. Giratina-EX may seem like a logical choice with its Renegade Pulse Ability stopping damage from M Pokemon-EX, but Garde decks play multiple Hex Maniac to counter it. ‘tina’s Fairy type Weakness will be disastrous as well. This can be won with some quick hard hitting attack shenanigans with Dark Pulse, but do not count on that as a winning strategy.

M Mewtwo-EX (64): 40/60
Another mediocre matchup. While Darkrai-EX with a Fighting Fury Belt will be hard for a M Mewtwo-EX to knock out with Resistance and all, once a M2 deck starts rolling, the ball just never stops. Giratina-EX is an easy knockout for Psychic Infinity, as with four Energy on a ‘tina and just two Energy on Mewtwo being a one-hit knockout (without Fighting Fury Belt).

M Rayquaza-EX (76): 65/35
A good matchup where M Rayquaza-EX gets its back up against a wall when Giratina-EX starts attacking early. ‘tina’s Ability will render Ray useless unless the player has a readily available Hex Maniac, and that cannot be counted on when Enhanced Hammer plays a role in stopping attacks all together from the big Colorless type dragons. Chaos Wheel will prevent reattachment of Double Colorless Energy and is sure to stop a steady stream of attacks from the opponent.

Vileplume Toolbox: 40/60
In ideal situations for the Vileplume player, this is not the best of matchups. Jolteon-EX will have an absolute field day against a Darkrai-EX and Giratina-EX deck. They both are Basic Pokemon, obviously, and their imminent Weakness to Jolt is deadly. Now it is of note to remember that ‘plume decks can be a bit inconsistent, hence the reason that I accredited this matchup with that of a bit closer to an even one.

Volcanion: 65/35
Volcanion decks are sure to struggle with anything/Garbodor. Our deck in this case is even better equipped because it can start hitting quickly, and for a lot, with a beefy Basic Pokemon when having a Fighting Fury Belt. Not only that, but Giratina-EX attacking can make things even worse by reducing Fire type damage output or limiting the opponent’s Bench. The volcanoes can still stand a chance when they can rocket off to a good start from the beginning, however unlucky that may be with Garb in play.

Xerneas: 35/65
Seeing this matchup number may be a little confusing at first, considering that we play Giratina-EX to stop Double Colorless Energy attachments, as well as Parallel City to limit the opponent’s Bench. The thing is, though, that Xerneas decks do not need Double Colorless Energy to win. They can just stack three Fairy Energy down and accomplish the same goal. The still can attach Doubles in the early turns before Chaos Wheel starts, too. This being said, Giratina-EX is super easy prey with its glaring Weakness to Fairy Pokemon, and Darkrai-EX finds it hard to hit for a lot when Xerneas resists the Darkness type. Parallel City is basically offset by the combination of Xerneas’ Resistance and Giratina-EX’s Weakness.

Greninja BREAK

Overview

When I first saw Starmie from Evolutions, I was pretty impressed over its potential in Greninja BREAK decks. Slowly, I began disenchanted with the concept of the deck overall, seeing the surge of Garbodor decks. Recently, I remembered that a new Greninja Promo card has been released. It totes a gnarly attack that spreads 20 damage to every one of the opponent’s Pokemon. Garbodor can now be knocked out with use of that attack followed up by a Moonlight Slash. With viability still hanging around with this neat new trick, this deck can really start moving the chains.

Starmie quite frankly breaks this deck when it is in play. I have played plenty a few games now with the star and jeez, it is amazing. Octillery saw play in ‘ninja decks for a bit because it could extend plays and hopefully land Energy cards to keep moving along, all the while maintaining a healthy board of frogs. Starmie does the octopus’ job even better; without even playing a Supporter card. It can recover two Water Energy from the Discard and keep Giant Water Shurikens coming. In a deck that relies on having Energy at the right times, Starmie basically opens a window to an “unlimited Energy” fantasy for Greninja BREAK players.

In the Standard format, many people have started claiming that Talonflame is not as good, like it is in Expanded. While this is true, pretty much everyone does not know why. Well, ‘flame is an amazing card, but without a way to Discard it (Battle Compressor), it is quite a clog in the drain of this deck. Drawing into them is quite literally a dead card that cannot be played, and Compressor had always taken care of that. Anyways, there is a worthy replacement in the form of Manaphy from Primal Clash. Its first attack gets a Greninja player a new hand of six cards, and the second attack gets two Water Pokemon back from the Discard. Both of this moves are stellar in this sometimes inconsistent deck.

Deck List

Matchups

Darkness/Garbodor: 40/60
Taking this matchup from the Greninja BREAK player’s perspective, Greninja can make this closer by using the new Greninja with Aqua Shower to get 20 damage on a Garbodor. Now, they must Lysandre that same Garbodor and hit it with a Moonlight Slash for 80 to take a knockout. Now, this is not sure to work for a few reasons. If a Giratina-EX starts attacking, Parallel City can simply stop Aqua Shower from doing anything and that will be it. A Jirachi with Stardust could be a worthy inclusion to counter Giratina-EX, but even that is not a foolproof strategy.

Greninja BREAK: 50/50
The mirror match is a battle of Shadow Stitching attacks. Playing a Hex Maniac or Pokemon Ranger can help this matchup and provide a viable way to take knockouts while still keeping Abilities in lockdown. This is a slow grind, but not as slow as the Expanded format mirror where both players usually use Rough Seas as their Stadium of choice.

M Gardevoir-EX (79): 60/40
Most strictly Pokemon-EX matchups are in the 60/40 range or so. Greninja BREAK should have adequate time to set up and get things going, and then start wiping the board with Giant Water Shuriken Ability uses and Moonlight Slashes. Easy prey like Shaymin-EX will be harder to come by in this one since the opponent should be Discarding them with Despair Ray, but nonetheless, that leaves the door open to just punishing the Active attacker and making quick work of it.

M Mewtwo-EX (64): 50/50
50/50 you say? Yeah, I do. Faded Town and Bursting Balloon are very good in this matchup. Shrine of Memories, though, is almost better. The key is for M Mewtwo-EX, however, is to time the Shrine at the correct point. With it, they can sometimes offset all the hard work that a Greninja player poured into winning with a simple utterance of “Damage Change”. Some M2 lists have been cutting back on Shrine counts, so this matchup can be increased that way.

M Rayquaza-EX (76): 45/55
M Rayquaza-EX hits hard and fast, and with Greninja BREAK taking quite a while to get multiple BREAKs going, the only offense for a little bit comes with Bursting Balloon. M Ray plays Hex Maniac to counter Greninja, and with so many HP, it is a real behemoth to take a knockout on. Faded Town helps our case at victory, but the repeated one-hit knockouts can usually prove to be too much. With the right plays and cards at the right times, this can swing a bit closer to a 50/50.

Vileplume Toolbox: 60/40
Vileplume has Glaceon-EX and that card singlehandedly destroys Greninja BREAK. Wrong! Actually, Glace is an awful card to use against a Greninja BREAK deck, and my friends and I have proved this time and time again. Giant Water Shuriken is super good against Glaceon-EX, and within two turns, the card, and the Energy that were attached to it, will be history. Other than that card, and it really is not that bad in of itself, this matchup is very good. Vileplume can sometimes give us a run for our money since its Item locking can just stop us in our tracks before we really have a chance to get going.

Volcanion: 50/50
This is an amazing example of an evenly matched game. Volcanion-EX can get going from the first turn onwards by using Steam Up to boost the baby Volcanion’s attack to knock out Froakies and then Frogadiers on the turns that follow. By the time that a Greninja is out, Volcanion-EX is ready to attack and take yet another knockout. Now, the Greninja player has their back against the wall and still cannot address the Volcanion-EX. With two Steam Ups, or just one and a Fighting Fury Belt, the Volcanion-EX player can one-hit knockout a Greninja BREAK and pretty much close the window on victory. Now from what I have just said this matchup might seem bleak. It is winnable though when the opponent does what they just did, even still. N can swing things back into our favor late game and the knockouts will come quickly, and easily, considering the Water type Weakness on the volcanoes.

Xerneas: 55/45
A slightly favorable matchup since Xerneas is a one-hit knockout, of sorts, waiting to happen. Giant Water Shuriken can set up a knockout in a pinch followed by a Moonlight Slash. Bursting Balloon helps matters out by setting up knockouts too, or addressing a Xerneas BREAK or Xerneas that has a Fighting Fury Belt on it. Once two Greninja BREAK get on the field, the only thing stopping them is a Hex Maniac and a one-hit knockout, or something like that. The game will be over soon after that, barring any setbacks.

M Gardevoir-EX (79)

Overview

I am also excited about this deck in combination with Dragonite-EX. The dragon can return two Pokemon cards from the Discard to a player’s hand. With this, M Gardevoir-EX can continually use Despair Ray and remove Dragonite-EX, Hoopa-EX and Shaymin-EX from play, all the while boosting attack power, and then reuse their effects. Karen can shuffle all Pokemon back in, and with this, a player can find Hoopa-EX once more and start all over again.

This deck is quite strong against Darkrai-EX/Garbodor/Giratina-EX as well as other Darkness type decks in general. It can be decent against Greninja builds, but lacks a competitive edge against hard hitting decks like M Rayquaza-EX and Xerneas decks.

Clunkiness can be an issue as well. Playing a M Pokemon-EX as a main attacker in a deck that requires a weird combination of Bench space and damage output can be frustratingly difficult. However, they may be a way to make it all work and with that, this deck could be stellar.

Deck List

Matchups

Darkness/Garbodor: 65/35
As mentioned earlier, the Resistance typing on M Gardevoir-EX and the Weakness on Giratina-EX make for this to be a very simple, and favorable, matchup.

Greninja BREAK: 40/60
The combination of Faded Town and Bursting Balloon make this very difficult. That coupled with Shadow Stitching stopping the Ability of Hoopa-EX makes it so that M Gardevoir-EX can struggle greatly with re-filling the Bench up to get those much needed one-hit knockouts on Greninja BREAKs.

M Gardevoir-EX (79): 50/50
This mirror match is going to be just a full-on trade of M Pokemon-EX. Whomever can attack first and whoever does not waver in building Gardes will win this game. Giovanni’s Scheme can come in clutch for some one-hit knockouts.

M Mewtwo-EX (64): 70/30
One of the best matchups in the game right now, M Gardevoir-EX absolutely bodies M Mewtwo-EX. The Weakness on M2 makes it so any use of Despair will be a knockout. Additionally, Mewtwo will be forced to take knockouts on 210 HP M Pokemon-EX that only use two Energy to attack; this is an ugly one for the opponent.

M Rayquaza-EX (76): 35/65
M Rayquaza-EX can one-shot us, and we cannot one-shot them. This alone gives valid reasoning for this to be unfavorable, but additionally, both decks play Sky Field and that being said, M Ray will quite literally (unless some weird thing happens) have a full Bench and swing for knockouts every time on every single one of our Pokemon.

Vileplume Toolbox: 30/70
Regice, Regice, Regice. This Regi is going to absolutely body us. We play no attackers other than Pokemon-EX, and without Pokemon Ranger (even if we played a single copy we could only use it once with no VS Seeker, since Vileplume stops it), it will be an absolutely awful matchup.

Volcanion: 65/35
Volcanion is going to struggle to take knockouts on our M Gardevoir-EXs, and couple that with a few Hex Maniac drops, and they have a real problem on their hands. We can usually take a one-hit knockout, either with using Rattata on a Volcanion-EX with a Fighting Fury Belt and then using Despair Ray for 180 and a knockout, or just naturally taking knockouts if they do not have Belts.

Xerneas: 35/65
Pokemon-EXs versus non-EXs, who will win? Non-EXs, duh. Xerneas is going to be rocking out with Sky Field always being in play, and this being said, it will be doing tons and tons of damage. M Gardevoir-EX is not going to stand much of a competitive chance we are forced to repeatedly Discard our Benched Pokemon to fuel our damage output.

M Mewtwo-EX (64)

Overview

M Mewtwo-EX never seems to go away, either. Unlike the Darkness type decks, though, M2 does take a severe hit in the form of the new regular Mewtwo from Evolutions. Considering the fact that that baby can be added into virtually anything playing Double Colorless Energy (which is over half of the format), the M Mewtwo decks have a bit of a target on their back that is made very clear to say with their glaring Weakness to Psychic.

Does the release of this new Mewtwo hail in the end of M Mewtwo’s reign as one of the top decks? I have yet to form a solid conclusion, but I would more than likely to say no. Yet, on another note, M Gardevoir-EX is starting to pop up a lot more in discussion and that deck absolutely manhandles Mew’s clone.

Outside of these newly added threats, M Mewtwo-EX boasts a powerful combination of both power and tact. Its high HP is sure to withstand an attack or two against most popular decks. The addition of Mega Turbo is pretty stellar as well. Mewtwos can come out of nowhere with a low Energy count to a beast of a Pokemon with Energy stacking a lot.

Deck List

Matchups

Darkness/Garbodor: 60/40
Darkrai-EX cannot hit near the damage potential that M Mewtwo-EX can and Giratina-EX is a Hex Maniac away from a knockout. Enough said?

Greninja BREAK: 50/50
Shrine of Memories is going to be huge to heal us back to full health, as mentioned earlier. This game is going to be a trade of cards like Faded Town and Bursting Balloon for powerful Psychic Infinity attacks.

M Gardevoir-EX (79): 30/70
Well, this one is not going to be good no matter how we look at it. 110 damage, doubled, is always going to be 220, and M Mewtwo-EX’s HP is always going to be 210. Shucks.

M Mewtwo-EX (64): 50/50
The mirror match is crazy, in tournaments, I have never played a series where one of us did not draw dead in two matches and the set was decided like that. The one good game that I would have was always a battle of Energy conservation and sometimes using Shatter Shot with the regular Mewtwo-EX to abuse each other’s Weaknesses. The new Mewtwo from Evolutions is sure to shake this one up, depending on if each player decides to play it in their build.

M Rayquaza-EX (76): 60/40
Parallel City is clutch in this matchup and having four Energy down on a M Mewtwo-EX is enough to one-hit a M Ray. That may seem like a lot, but once you take a knockout on one, along with Garbodor in play and at the same time play a Parallel City, the game comes to a halt, and a victory.

Vileplume Toolbox: 40/60
Regice is really good against M Mewtwo-EX and not much really changes that. Playing Shrine of Memories helps, slightly. The only winnable scenario that can come from using the Shrine is a deck out from the opponent. Usually, that will not happen and the ‘plume box player will win the game.

Volcanion: 65/35
Get Garbodor out and attack, that is really all there is to it. This match is quite simple in that Volcanion-EX will never do sizable damage enough to put on enough pressure for a win. On the flipside, Mewtwo will.

Xerneas: 55/45
Xerneas can take an early lead before Parallel City makes an impact, but when the City does, oh, it will alright. Mewtwo can easily knockout a Xerneas with just two Energy, unless a BREAK or Fighting Fury Belt is down in play. Garbodor is really not as great as one may think in this match, so do not be overly concerned with its usage. If a Xerneas’ attack ever misses a knockout, Shrine of Memories is sure to make the opponent pay for their slip up.

M Rayquaza-EX (76)

Overview

I quickly wrote this deck off in the beginning of the “last” Standard format variation, but someone was able to prove that wrong of me with a European Regional Championship win with the deck. Their list was nothing special as far as techs go, but was very consistent looking and seemed to be more condensed and perfected in comparison to previous M Rayquaza-EX lists that I have had the misfortune of seeing in action.

Anyways, the winning list did not even include Karen, which was somewhat surprising. Considering this, this deck really must be better than most people, myself included, have been giving it credit for all along. Regardless, the insane potential of 240 damage for three Colorless Energy remains with Emerald Break on M Ray at all times.

With the format shifting towards a Garbodor infested scene, though, I still find it hard to believe that this deck could really thrive. Perhaps the Euro scene was a little light when it came to Parallel Cities and things like Garbodor and Giratina-EX. This deck is definitely worth giving another look, but should not be extremely considered over better decks like some of the few we have already mentioned.

Deck List

Matchups

Darkness/Garbodor: 35/65
Chaos Wheel is going to ruin our day, end of story. There is not much we can really do when we cannot even play our Sky Field to do the damage we need to. Parallel City is devastating in of itself, but now this?

Greninja BREAK: 55/45
This one is close, but it depends on the usage of Hex Maniac. We can handle the annoyance of Faded Town and Bursting Balloon, provided we can pressure the opponent to the breaking point. Hex will help us get there.

M Gardevoir-EX (79): 65/35
Time to take some easy knockouts and lick our lips. This is a super easy matchup and there is nothing the opponent can do about it.

M Mewtwo-EX (64): 40/60
Their Garbodor makes this difficult to navigate and Parallel City further complicates things. How can we win if we have to keep Discarding Pokemon when Parallel comes to play?

M Rayquaza-EX (76): 50/50
The mirror, much like with the M Gardevoir-EX mirror, is a dumbed down trade of M Pokemon-EX. Time to power up as many M Rays as possible and hopefully outspeed the opponent. Perhaps they will eventually whiff an attack and we will find an opening to strike and get ahead of Prizes. Whoever attacks first should should have the win in sight.

Vileplume Toolbox: 35/65
Regice is going to be a major pain, a pain that will probably not be silenced. The ‘ice can tear up our board and nothing we have can even hit it. Using Lysandre to take Prizes will eventually come to an end and Regice will get the victory. As always with ‘plume decks, consistency is an issue and sometimes we might just be able to outspeed them. A turn one Hex Maniac going first always helps.

Volcanion: 70/30
M Rayquaza-EX is super hard to hit, and with multiples of them, there is no way they will be able to win. Hex Maniac will at some point render their Steam Ups useless and the path to victory will be clear as day.

Xerneas: 35/65
Similar decks in structure, but one is a non-EX deck, that being Xerneas. That being said, Xerneas is going to be with the clear advantage in this match since Sky Field is not going anywhere. Rainbow Force is an even more powerful attack than Emerald Break and Xerneas will be right there in the centerfold taking knockouts every turn.

Vileplume Toolbox

Overview

I covered this deck quite extensively back in September, and seemingly the deck did not pick any hype up as a result. However, Florida Regionals proved the haters wrong and the deck showed up, placing in the second day of play and even claiming a second-place finish. Clearly, now the masses should understand that Vileplume toolbox is still a great deck, even in the Standard format.

This deck has so many options for Pokemon attackers. With them, nearly every matchup out there can be answered swiftly. Additionally, the new Beedrill-EX Promo provides a real answer to Garbodors that have made their way into play before Vileplume could get online. The bee can just remove two Tool cards and then with Vileplume in play, the opponent can no longer play any more down and they will be trapped.

‘plume now has the option to limit nearly every other deck’s potential with its array of colored attackers. Glaceon-EX stops Evolution Pokemon, Jolteon-EX stops Basic Pokemon, Regice stops Pokemon-EX, and so on. Pokemon Ranger cards can no longer be used multiple times and Escape Ropes cannot be played as well. This deck looks primed for a huge showing.

Deck List

Matchups

Darkness/Garbodor: 60/40
The addition of Beedrill-EX to this deck is a great medium to up the matchup percentage for this one. Jolteon-EX already provides an super solid way to win, but the bee being able to get Vileplume to last is even better.

Greninja BREAK: 40/60
Giant Water Shuriken is great against Glaceon-EX, and unfortunately, that is the only real way we have to counter Greninja BREAK decks. Everything else is just Pokemon-EX fodder that will undoubtedly be knocked out in a few turns for two Prizes. A Trevenant-EX could perhaps be worth playing if Greninja BREAK was upped in terms of hype, but even the tree is not the greatest in countering the deck.

M Gardevoir-EX (79): 70/30
Use Regice, and win! M Gardevoir-EX decks have no answer to it, so it should be smooth sailing.

M Mewtwo-EX (64): 60/40
Regice, again! Shrine of Memories may be a bit of a pain, but it cannot hurt us, so stand your ground. Eventually they should lose because Mewtwo is no match for its Pokemon-EX being rendered useless.

M Rayquaza-EX (76): 65/35
Jeez, Regice again! They should not have a counter, and even if they do, it will probably be Pokemon Ranger. Ranger cannot be played more than once, in theory, because Vileplume will stop its reuse with VS Seeker, sick!

Vileplume Toolbox: 50/50
Go with Jolteon-EX and cross your fingers to deck them out, or, use Jirachi to start wailing on their Energy cards. Jirachi is the best option and whomever gets the best use out of it will likely win the game. This is a very weird matchup and very much depends on how each player draws and the contents of their deck list. In the Expanded format, it is a bit simpler since Malamar-EX can be used to put a Pokemon to sleep and hopefully stop them from reusing something like Jolteon-EX’s attack. Then, we would be able to hit them for damage with our own Jolteon-EX.

Volcanion: 65/35
Jolteon-EX and/or Regice is going to ruin our opponent’s day in this matchup. They really have no answer, just as many of the above decks did not, and that is just dirty.

Xerneas: 55/45
Jolteon-EX is going be a great card in this match. The only thing we have to worry about now is a random Xerneas BREAK drop for a knockout on Jolteon-EX, or use of Galvantula to steal some knockouts on things like Shaymin-EX. Just be careful about playing those Colorless hedgehogs and all should be fine, unless, of course, the Xerneas BREAK decides to come and play.

Xerneas

Overview

Xerneas has claimed a top spot in the Expanded format, but can it do the same with Standard? Everyone’s favorite rainbow deer thing underperformed greatly in Florida, and many people do not have a clue why! Well, I think, personally, not enough top level players played the deck. Regarding the few that did, though, I would happen to guess maybe they got incredibly unlucky to stop them from making Top Eight or even the second day, potentially.

Rainbow Road is a really good deck right now and I think it should be seeing more hype and play that it currently is. It can take big knockouts against every card in the game, including a Wailord-EX with an Assault Vest (as if that would ever happen). Xerneas is effectively a better M Rayquaza-EX. With Ray’s Pokemon-EX attributes, Xerneas can do the same things but almost even better, all the while only giving up a single Prize.

Xerneas decks do have some minute problems, though. Exp. Share is integral to keeping the strategy running, and if that Tool card were to wind up on the wrong Pokemon or get Discarded, we could be in for some big trouble. Additionally, Max Elixirs are insanely important, too. Without them, the deck can crumble. Sometimes, even with Elixirs, they can miss an Energy and the wheels fall of the Xerneas wagon for a loss. I really like this deck but the inconsistencies can tend to be a big turn off.

Deck List

Matchups

Darkness/Garbodor: 65/35
Resistance to Darkrai-EX and Giratina-EX’s Weakness combine for a solid matchup.

Greninja BREAK: 45/55
The can put us in really bad spots with the use of Bursting Balloon and Giant Water Shuriken, but the road does not end there. If we can get some offense churning with a side of Hex Maniac, all should be well.

M Gardevoir-EX (79): 65/40
Sky Field is always going to be in play, so we should always be taking on-hit knockouts on M Gardevoir-EXs and winning the Prize trade.

M Mewtwo-EX (64): 45/55
Parallel City bites, man, hopefully they just do not get it at the right times and we can overwhelm them quickly. Xerneas packs a punch at its full potential. Hopefully we do not just miss a knockout, because Shrine of Memories will then laugh at us with a Damage Change knockout.

M Rayquaza-EX (76): 65/35
Sky Field is not going anywhere, and because of that, Xerneas’ knockouts are not going anywhere either. Try as they may, Pokemon-EX will never out trade non-EX critters.

Vileplume Toolbox: 45/55
Jolteon-EX is super frustrating for a nearly all-Basic Pokemon deck. Using Galvantula and a Xerneas BREAK, if we play it, may give us a slim, but real, chance.

Volcanion: 60/40
Knocking out some middle of the line Pokemon and Pokemon-EX will not be a problem for this pink deer! Xerneas should be able to consistently take knockouts on the Rainbow Road to victory.

Xerneas: 50/50
The mirror match is mostly a trade of Xerneases, but Galvantula will play a role as well. Limiting use of Shaymin-EX will be a great idea, as it may come back to bite a player that goes crazy with them.

The Word of Warning

Think for a moment, what is the one deck that I did not include a detailed breakdown of?

Volcanion would answer that question. Mind taking a moment to go back and review the matchup percentages for each of the Volcanion matchups? From this list, the seven best decks in my eyes have all have a positive matchup against it, except for one. That one? I would say that matchup is even, in the form of Greninja BREAK.

Volcanion is definitely a solid deck. It runs well, does what a player wants of it, but its downside is the lack of a solid percentage-based table of matchups. Sure, it can give nearly every deck a run for its money, but when it really is not favored to win any of those games, playing it has to be a mistake.

Conclusion

Vileplume Toolbox is the best play for the Indiana Regional Championship, in my eyes. With a great array of matchups, the deck is poised for another big run at a Regionals (it placed second in Florida back in October). Now with the newfound tool of Beedrill-EX, it can even contend with the likes of Garbodor.

Above all else, though, play a deck that you are comfortable with for the event. Playing decks we know is always the main key to success. It ensures that even if we face bad matchups and get unlucky that at the end of the day we played something that we could have succeeded with in ideal situations.

Good luck, Trainers!

[+4] okko


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