Experts' corner

Jose Marrero

XY-AOR: A Look at Five Decks, Part 2

Jose goes over five more decks in the new Standard format.

10/06/2015 by Jose Marrero


Hello, 60cards readers! I'm back again with another article. This time I decided to do a part two article on five more decks for the upcoming Standard format. In my last article, I said that Standard is basically irrelevant right now because of North American Regionals being Expanded, but I totally forgot that European Regionals will be in the Standard format. So because of this, I wanted to dedicate this next article strictly to five more Standard decks as in one of my previous articles. So I'll just be making this article a Part 2 of my last Standard article. It's only right to give the European community another article on what decks to expect come Regionals. So hopefully this next article should help you decide which deck you may want to play or just to test against. This article can also help those that aren't in the European community, whether it's for a League Challenge in the Standard format or simply an unsanctioned tournament.

The first deck I'll be discussing is a deck that's been getting a little hype lately. That deck is Mienshao/Hawlucha. I actually used the Mienshao/Hawlucha deck below in one of the Florida events that was not Sanctioned a couple weeks ago. This tournament was called the MetaDeck Open. It was a lot of fun and the event was run pretty well. We had about thirty-six players with six rounds and a Top 8. I finished my Swiss rounds with a record of 4-1-1 and eventually was taken out in Top 4 by a player named Gary Robbins, piloting Aromatisse/Giratina-EX, which ultimately ended up taking the whole tournament. My buddy Harrison Leven also played the same 60 cards as me and was also taken out in Top 4, falling to Brandon Salazar, piloting Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX.

With that said, let's get into the first deck, Mienshao/Hawlucha.

Josh Squeaky Marking actually did a video on his YouTube channel, TeamFishKnuckles, on the deck so be sure to check it out here. Even though Josh talked about the deck, I still want to discuss my personal opinion on it and my motivations behind certain card choices. The Pokémon line is as simple as it gets. A 4-4 line of Mienshao is a no-brainer since it's the main focus of the deck, with Hawlucha being more of a backup attacker against EX-based decks. Against non-EX decks, of course, go aggro Mienshao since Hawlucha can only attack Pokémon-EX. The basic concept of the deck is to do quick damage, but at the same time, deny Prizes by using Focus Sash and Robo Substitutes. Mienshao's attack, Aero Turn, puts Mienshao back into your hand along with all of it's attachments, meaning every turn, you should be repeating this strategy until victory. You basically want to Aero Turn into either a Robo Substitute or a Focus Sashed Pokemon every turn. Sometimes giving up a Hawlucha is ideal too.

This deck also has the tendency of forcing the opponent to deck out due to them digging through thier deck trying to KO Pokémon but not taking Prizes fast enough. This deck's biggest problem is Giratina-EX, for a number of reasons. Not only does Giratina-EX stop you from using Strong Energy, but it also stops you from attaching Focus Sash and playing down Fighting Stadium. So, basically, it shuts down the whole deck, so you can see why Giratina-EX is a problem for Mienshao. This deck does have a lot of great matchups, though, such as Night March, Vespiquen, and Manectric-EX. These three decks are pretty popular in the Standard meta, so if you expect to see them, then I recommend giving Mienshao a try. That's basically it as far as the Pokémon lines go. Nothing too crazy going on, so let's move onto the Trainer lines, staring with Professor Sycamore. 

We run four Sycamore because it's the deck's main method of draw since there aren't any Shaymin-EX in the deck. Four Korrina only makes sense since the deck's attackers are all Fighting-types and the fact that there are so many Items to choose from, whether it's Enhanced Hammer or Professor's Letter. Two Tierno is great in this deck because sometimes you don't want to Professor Sycamore since your hands will be big at some points since again Mienshao goes back into your hand, so you can see how your hands can fill up and stay big. Unless your opponent plays Red Card or Ace Trainer, then your hands will stay huge. Tierno basically let's you freely draw three cards without having to discard resources when you have huge hands.

Two Lysandre, of course, since all the attackers are one-Energy attackers, making it easier for you to attack things on the Bench. Four Level Ball since all the Pokémon in the deck have 90 HP or less, and since there aren't any Shaymin, there's no need for Ultra Ball. Four Robo Substitutes since it's what you want to Aero Turn most often, just to preserve Focus Sashes. Three Enhanced Hammers were added in mainly to help fight off Giratina-EX, but they proved to not be as effective as I thought, because even if you Enhanced Hammer off three Double Dragon Energy, then the fourth one is all they need to beat you down.

Because of this, I recommend either adding a fourth Enhanced Hammer or a Xerosic. I debated Xerosic before The MetaDeck Open and decided against it, but I ultimately regretted it after getting manhandled by Giratina-EX in Top 4. Four Focus Sash because you want to deny Prizes as much as possible. When you Aero Turn, you want to go into a Focus Sash'd Pokemon or a Robo Substitute, so running four Focus Sash helped pull this off and maximized the deck's Prize-denial. Two Muscle Band also to help do more damage. You can always just reattach Muscle Band onto something else if need be since it goes back into your hand anyway after attacking with Mienchao, which is awesome. I saw a list running four Eco Arm, which seemed like overkill, so I went with just two to make room for the Enhanced Hammers. My initial thought was that I'd much rather open Enhanced Hammer than Eco Arms. Opening Eco Arms are useless and even running two seemed like it was too much since I barely even used them, to the point where they were irrelevant. I still think you need to run at least two just in case you have to discard one early on, but I can't see using more than two where it actually matters.

One Professor's Letter since the deck only runs four Basic Energy and since the deck runs four Korrina to make finding it easier. One Sacred Ash just in case you have to discard Mienshao early on or if you want to recycle more Hawlucha. Obviously Fighting Stadium is the Stadium of choice since all the attackers are Fighting-types, which is why I decided to go with three. Four is also good, but I needed room for the third Enhanced Hammer. As I said, four Basic Fighting Energy since the deck doesn't need to run that many since your Energy go back into your hand because of Aero Turn. Four Strong Energy as well, to help dish out more damage. Hawlucha can actually one-hit KO Shaymin-EX with a Muscle Band, Strong Energy, and Fighting Stadium, which is a nice option to have which you should keep an eye for should the play presents itself.

With that said, let's get into the next deck, Night March.

This deck lost a few things since the new rotation such as Mew-EX and Computer Search, but it's still really strong. I think a lot of people just dismissed Night March just because of Mew-EX, to be honest, and while it would make sense, I still think it has its place in the Standard format. A buddy of mine actually ended up placing in Second Place at three consecutive League Challenges in Florida with Night March. It did, however, have Hawlucha as a backup attacker with Fighting Energy over Psychic. The list I presented above doesn't have Hawlucha, as you can see, but it's a similar list from another one of my buddies who actually did win a League Challenge in Florida. Basically what I'm trying to say is that Night March is still a force to be reckoned with even in Standard and should be accounted for when deck building. Hopefully I've convinced you enough on Night March, so let's dive into the Pokémon counts even though most of it is nothing new.

A 4-4-4 line of Pumpkaboo, Joltik, and Lampent is a staple and you should never use anything less in a Night March deck since they are your damage output. Three Shaymin-EX help dig for that turn-one attack. One Latios-EX is a new inclusion, which helps you get those clutch turn-one donks off. You just never know when you can get a free win just because of one card. Because Night March lost Mew-EX, running Bunnelby is more viable to make sure you don't run dry on Double Colorless Energy, which is why I've included a one-of. That's basically it as far as the Pokémon lines go. The Supporter line is quite simple with three Professor Sycamore, two Lysandre, and one Teammates. The Teammates is interesting in this deck since when your going for KOs, all you really need is probably either a Double Colorless or possibly a Dimension Valley to revenge-KO something. Four VS Seeker, of course, as well as four Ultra Ball. Easily staples in any given Night March deck.

Four Battle Compressor as well, so you can get your Night Marchers in the discard easier and discard Supporters for VS Seeker plays. To help dig through the deck faster for those turn-one attacks, there is also four Trainers' Mail and four Acro Bike. With all this consistency and draw power, odds are you're donking whatever is Active assuming it's necessary to go for it. Three Muscle Bands help dish out more damage since Silver Bangle was rotated out. Muscle Bands also help when discarding Night Marchers making you have to discard less for a KO. Two Switch just in case you don't open with a Night Marcher so you can get a turn-one attack off if need be. I've added a one-of Revive just in case you need to get back a Pokémon. And finally, four Dimension Valley to help Pumpkaboo attack for a single Double Colorless Energy. The Energy count is simple, with four Double Colorless and three Psychics for Latios-EX, since everything else doesn't need a specific kind of Energy.

With that said, let's move onto the next deck, Speed M Rayquaza-EX (Colorless).

Ever since Ancient Origins came out, it made M Rayquaza-EX decks much faster and more consistent. Hoopa-EX and Unown make this deck crazy fast and much more viable than it was before. A buddy of mine by the name of Luis took Second at a 50+ person event in Florida playing a similar list to the one I presented above; the only difference was that he ran a 1-1 Ariados line instead of the 1-1 Altaria. This is due to Mienshao getting more popular, since Ariados can use Poison to break Focus Sash. Spoiler alert: he ended up losing to me in the Finals. I was piloting the same Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX list I'll be discussing later on. But for now, let's get into the Pokémon lines of this deck, starting with the standard 3-3 M Rayquaza-EX. Running any more than a 3-3 line may be too much since you have to make room for other things. Like I said, my buddy took second place at a 50+ player event, so the deck does work. Of course, four Shaymin-EX in this type of M Rayquaza-EX build because you almost always are trying to go for the turn-one attack, so maxing out on Shaymin-EX is ideal. One Hoopa-EX just to make it easier when searching for your Pokémon-EX.

A turn one Hoopa-EX is all you really need to get going. Maybe adding a second one is ideal just in case one is Prized. The 1-1 Altaria line, of course, is for your Lightning matchups, but if you expect slim to none on those types of decks, then drop it for something else such as Ariados if you think Mienshao will see play, or just more consistency Item cards. Since this deck is so fast and sometimes you may be reckless when discarding resources, that's where Bunnelby comes in to hopefully get back important resources. Unown is also a new addition from Ancient Origins. There are three in the list since they help with consistency and they don't clog up Bench space since you can just use its Ability to make room for a Shaymin-EX or whichever Pokémon needs that Bench spot at the time. That's it for the Pokémon lines since you don't want too many unique things in the deck since they can slow your turn-one attacks down. As far as the Supporter lines go, they are quite standard, I believe, aside from maybe Hex Maniac which is in here for Aegislash-EX, but more importantly Giratina-EX. If you can get a turn-one attack off as well as a turn-one Hex Maniac then that's the best of both worlds.

Three Professor Sycamore, but you can drop it down to two since you can always just Battle Compressor them away for VS Seeker leaving room for another potential addition. One Professor Birch's Observation just in case you open with those dreaded hands that you can't afford to Sycamore away. One AZ to help reuse Shaymin-EX or Hoopa-EX or even to just pick up the Active, assuming you don't open with Rayquaza-EX and need a way to put it in the Active spot. One Lysandre, but like I said, you can drop one of the Sycamores for possibly a second Lysandre just to pick off things on the Bench just in case your lone Lysandre is Prized, which can make a huge difference at times. Four VS Seeker, especially in a deck like this because you want to make sure you can abuse your one-of Supporters to the max if necessary. Four Ultra Ball as well to help maximize finding either Hoopa-EX or just Shaymin-EX. You always want to see an Ultra Ball in your opening hand with this deck. It gives you that hope of trying to get that turn-one attack off. Three Trainers' Mail as well for consistency, of course. You can add a fourth one to help maximize drawing into one early on since Trainers' Mail can basically grab anything in this deck, which makes finding specific things easier, whether it's a Sky Field or Mega Turbo.

Three Super Scoop Ups to help with reusing Shaymin-EX for more draw since this version of M Rayquaza-EX wants to dig through the deck for a turn-one attack as I said before. Super Scoop Up can also be used as a Switch card if need be, but there is one Switch just in case. You can fit a fourth Super Scoop Up for more consistency if you wanted. Three Mega Turbo, of course, because that's how turn-one attacks are possible in this deck. I can see a fourth one in here just in case you had to discard them early. You just have to make sure to not waste them if it isn't necessary because they are key cards in this deck since it's the deck's only source of Energy-acceleration. Two Battle Compressor to help put Basic Energy and Supporters in the discard for Mega Turbo and VS Seeker plays. Three Rayquaza Spirit Links, of course, since, again, that's how you're able to get turn-one attacks off.

Both Mega Turbo and Spirit Links are key cards for achieving a turn-one attack. One Sacred Ash just in case you are forced to discard Megas when you couldn't find a Spirit Link early on or simply to reuse Unowns after you use them to draw an extra card. Lastly, four Sky Fields to make sure you're able to one-hit KO Pokémon-EX and to make sure you have enough Bench space to use all your Shaymin if needed. As for the Energy, I went with four Double Colorless, which is standard, and then I went with four Basic Psychics even though the Basic Energy choice is pretty irrelevant, but I went with Psychic just because Hoopa-EX uses Psychics, but like I said you're almost never going to attack with it anyway so picking your Basic Energy is almost irrelevant in this build unless you change Pokémon accordingly.

With that said, let's get into our fourth deck, Speed Giratina-EX/Hydreigon EX with Reshiram.

This next deck is also similar to Speed M Rayquaza-EX only this time you're attacking with Giratina-EX. Basically the concept of the deck is to try and get a turn-one Giratina-EX, assuming it's necessary. To do this, you need two Reshiram (one in the Active spot and one on the Bench). This now gives you the option of attaching two Fire Energy to your Benched Giratina-EX. Now you either need two Switch or one and Hydreigon-EX to make sure you can get Giratina-EX Active. After that's all said and done, then you need a Double Dragon Energy to attack since Giratina-EX needs four Energy. It's actually easier then what you may be thinking especially with how the Item lines are. Now you should know how the deck works, but let's talk about the Pokémon some more. Four Shaymin-EX to help dig and dig for resources to make attacking with Giratina-EX on the first turn possible.

Three Giratina-EX since it's the deck's main attacker but you don't need four because if three get KO'd, you lost anyway and they won't go down that easy, especially if you do get a turn-one Giratina-EX off. It will slow your opponent down tremendously which helps you predict your opponent's next turn more easily because they are limited. Locking your opponent out of Special Energy, Stadiums, and Tools on the first turn can put them on tilt. Two Hydreigon-EX help make it easier to Retreat your Dragon Pokémon such as Reshiram.  One Hoopa-EX is great in this deck since it can grab your main attacker, Giratina-EX, a Hydreigon-EX, and a Shaymin-EX. One Bunnelby just in case you need to get back resources, mainly Double Dragon Energy. Four Reshiram since you want to open with it every time to make for easier turn-one attacks with Giratina-EX. That's it for the Pokémon lines now let's jump into the Trainer counts. Four Professor Sycamore just to maximize our odds of drawing through the deck even more. Two Professor Birch's Observations for those times where you just can't afford to Sycamore things away.

One Hex Maniac just in case you face up against Aegislash-EX as I said before. You also just never know when a clutch Hex Maniac can shut down your opponent's next turn essentially making them draw-pass because in today's format, shutting off Shaymin-EX for a turn is huge. One Lysandre as well, but you can add a second one if you feel it's necessary. Four VS Seeker, of course, and now comes the consistency Item cards that makes getting a turn one Giratina-EX attacking that much more viable. Four Trainers' Mail and four Acro Bike help draw through your deck and find specific cards you need, whether it's a Switch or simply a Supporter. Four Ultra Ball for more consistency on finding your Pokémon easier. A turn-one Hoopa-EX basically gets you half of the Pokémon your looking for.

Four Switch as well so you can Switch out of the active Reshiram so Giratina-EX can start attacking. Two Muscle Band so that Giratina-EX can two-shot Mega Pokémon as well as one-shot non-EX Pokémon such as Regice. One Professor's Letter just because it can get you the two Fire Energy you need to power up Giratina-EX. You can also drop the Letter and go with Energy Retrieval. Both have their merits, but I think Professor's Letter may be slightly more viable. That's it for our Trainers. The Stadium I chose to go with is four Sky Field, but this deck can run a number of Stadiums such as Shadow Circle if you think Fairy decks are popular so Giratina-EX has no more Weakness. Or Faded Town to help KO Megas faster. You can do a split of each, but Sky Field is the best out of the three because you're going to have to have a big Bench when trying for the turn-one Giratina-EX. As far as the Energy count goes I went with six Fire and four Double Dragon Energy. A seventh Fire Energy I can see fitting in, but I think for now six should be fine.

With that said, let's get into our last and final deck, Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX.

Finally we get down to the last deck, which is my personal favorite in the Standard format and possibly even the Expanded format. The list I presented above is actually the same exact list I used to win a 50-player event in Florida about three weeks ago, which had six rounds and a cut of Top 8. My buddy Brandon Salazar also used my list which you can see down below from our Top  8 match. My only loss was against Aromatisse/M Gardevoir-EX, as you can see, simply due to the fact that Giratina-EX is weak to Fairy types so it gets one-shotted by a non-Mega Gardevoir-EX. I do have two Shadow Circle specifically for this matchup, but it's still tough because you have to find a Shadow Circle before attacking with Giratina-EX so you can lock in it place. But sometimes it may take a while to get the combo going so your opponent may just Lysandre up your Giratina-EX first and one-shot it, which is what happened to me. This is how my rounds and top cut looked like:

I apologize if I forgot your name.

Round 1: Gilbert Santa Rosa, Wobbuffet/Trevevant, 1-0-0
Round 2: Manectric-EX/Bats, 2-0-0
Round 3: Veronica LaCour, Aromatisse/M Gardevoir-EX, 2-1-0
Round 4: Vespiquen/Eeveelutions, 3-1-0
Round 5: M Manectric-EX/Pyroar (Flare Command), 4-1-0
Round 6: Mike Canaves, Speed Giratina-EX/Hydreigon-EX/Reshiram, 5-1-0
Top 8: Brandon Salazar, Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX, (60 card mirror), 2-1
Top 4: Rahul Reddy, Vespiquen/Bronzong, 2-0
Finals: Luis Zambrana, Speed M Rayquaza-EX (Colorless), 2-0

You can clearly see that Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX still has its place in the Standard format as well as the Expanded format. This proves that Item-lock just won't go away. Even with this deck losing Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym as well as Keldeo-EX and Float Stones, it's still a force to be reckoned with and for good reason. Let's start with the Pokémon counts. Three Shaymin-EX to help find Double Colorless or Double Dragon Energy early on. Which brings me to the three Seismitoad-EX which are simply the deck's main attacker early on until you're able to get Giratina-EX ready, assuming it's necessary. Giratina-EX is more of a backup attacker against Special Energy and Mega Pokémon-heavy decks; otherwise, going aggro-Seismitoad-EX is ideal since Item-lock still is huge which is why there's only two and not three like Seismitoad. I've also included a one-of Latios-EX because why not? The deck already runs Double Dragon Energy so having the option of potentially getting a free win on the first turn is definitely worth it in my eyes. Basically against decks that run low-HP Pokemon such as Vespiquen and Night March is where Latios-EX can come in clutch.

It was actually funny, in one of my rounds against Vespiquen my opponent knew I ran Latios-EX so he decided to start with Shaymin-EX, which was the right call because I would have donked his Combee. One Hoopa-EX in this deck as well because the deck only runs Pokémon-EX so Hoopa-EX is perfect in this deck. Being able to search out Shaymin-EX and Latios-EX makes for easier turn-one attacks. Now comes the Trainers, starting with four Professor Sycamore. A lot of the times in this deck you're trying to dig for specific things such as Energy so if you're still not finding what you need off Shaymin, then hopefully Sycamore can find it. Two Professor Birch's Observation and two Shauna as well, just in case you can't afford to toss away resources such as Crushing Hammers or Super Scoop Ups. Two Lysandre since Seismitoad-EX loves locking Pokémon in place. One Xerosic and Team Flare Grunt mainly for the mirror match, but at the same time just to dry your opponent out of Energy. One Cassius and AZ to help get the Active Pokémon out to make room for Latios-EX for turn-one donks. Or simply to save your Pokémon from being KO'd. As I mentioned numerous times, one Hex Maniac for Aegislash-EX and Pyroar as well as Safeguarders.

You never want to put yourself in a lock position unless you're doing it to your opponent. Four VS Seeker so you can reuse your one-of Supporters more, which is why there are four Sycamores. Four Ultra Ball helps with finding Hoopa-EX and Shaymin-EXs. Four Super Scoop Up helps with reusing Shaymin and healing off your Pokémon. Four Crushing Hammers help against decks that can give this deck trouble such as Manectric-EX. If you can slow them down and force only Overrun plays, then it should make for a simple matchup. Two Enhanced Hammer as well, to Hammer Energy off the Bench while at the same time attacking and KOing the active Pokémon with another Special Energy on it this way you now cleared all Special Energy off the board and should now have your opponent locked. The Enhanced Hammers are also great against other Giratina-EX decks since once you clear four of their Double Dragon Energy then it's good game from there.

Three Muscle Band to give your attackers more damage since Hypnotoxic Laser is rotated. Two Head Ringer because why not? Slowing your opponent's Pokémon-EX can buy you time to power up a Giratina-EX. One Switch just in case you can't seem to flip heads on Super Scoop Up then the one Switch can be used as a secondary insurance. Since this deck runs so many unique Supporters, I've added a one-of Battle Compressor, which is great should you find it early. Now the Stadium I chose to go with is two Shadow Circle because in Florida, Fairy decks are popular, but if you don't expect them then just go with Faded Town to help take down Megas easier. And of course my Energy count if four of each on Double Colorless and Double Dragon Energy. Expanded lists of this deck I've seen only run two or three Double Dragon Energy. But since I've included Latios-EX, I upped it to four. Even Latios-EX's second attack isn't too bad.

                    Closing Thoughts

Well that will conclude this article all about Standard decks. I hope these five decks give you great results, should you decide to play one of them at upcoming League Challenges. All of these deck options have had success in the Standard format so hopefully with a little bit of testing and good luck you should be able to have good results with them. Right now my favorite deck in Standard is of course Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX simply because of how strong it still is. Giratina-EX right now is ridiculously strong and I think people don't give it as much credit as it deserves.

My second favorite deck I would have to say is Mienshao/Hawlucha. Its only biggest problem is Giratina-EX based decks, and you can run Enhanced Hammers and Xerosic or even Team Flare Grunt to help with that matchup as I've said before, but other than that, I think the deck is really strong and people should take it into account when deck building. Focus Sash and Robo Substitutes are extremely annoying to deal with especially when it's four of each. With that said, if you have any questions about any of these decks or lists, feel free to ask down below in the comments or message me on Facebook and I'll be sure to get to them as soon as possible. As usual, if you enjoyed reading this article, then please consider giving it a thumbs up. If you want to see a specific type of article or topic next time, then don't hesitate to give me ideas down below and I'll consider them. As always, keep an eye out for more articles to come. Until next time!


[+12] okko


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