Experts' corner

Jose Marrero

A Closer Look at the Puerto Rico Special Event Finalist Decks

Jose analyzes the two decks that made the Finals at the Special Event held in Puerto Rico.

04/14/2017 by Jose Marrero



Hello again, 60cards readers! Now that the Special Event in Puerto Rico has concluded I want to go over the two decks that made the finals. I know this article is going to be posted after Utah Regionals, however, I'll be going over those two finalists' decks in the next short article in a couple days as well. I've just been a tad bit busy, so hopefully, I can get back to my regular schedule again.

My Puerto Rican Report

As we can see, Tristan Macek ended up winning the event with his Yveltal-EX/Garbodor deck over Hector's Vespiquen/Zoroark deck. As for myself, I attended the event given that some of my family actually lives forty minutes from the location. It would have been silly for me not to go especially since I knew I would see family I haven't seen in years. My buddy Rahul Reddy and fellow ARG teammate stayed with me for the duration of the weekend. To no one's surprise, I ended up playing M Rayquaza-EX/Espeon-GX again, which was the same list in my previous article I used to win a six round League Cup.

I started the day strong with a victory against M Gardevoir-EX. Then I hit Vespiquen/Zoroark, which was the only deck I didn't really want to face, and the only person I knew playing it was Rahul Reddy; however, to my surprise, I hit a different one and I was bummed. It was actually Hector who I faced (he placed second overall). I actually took it to game three where I would open Hoopa-EX into a draw/pass into Professor Sycamore into zero Basics or Ultra Ball into me getting turn-three KO'd by my opponent's Mew-EX. Unfortunate way to lose game three, but what can you do.

I was now 1-1-0 and now I was facing another M Gardevoir-EX, which I made quick work of taking another 2-0 victory.

The following round I faced Darkrai-EX/Giratina-EX/Salamence-EX which I knew I can beat since I play Espeon-GX. I take a 2-0 victory yet again and now I'm 3-1-0 going into the second-to-last round. I'm now against Vespiquen/Yanmega which I figured wasn't so bad of a matchup if I could Hex chain, shutting off Yanmega. It went to game three and although my board state was winnable, we tied, putting both of us in the win-and-in situation.

Last round, I went up against Decidueye-GX/Vileplume, which for M Rayquaza-EX I would say it's a fairly 50-50 matchup. It went to game three, but a surprise Tauros-GX was able to take out my M Rayquaza-EX after I KO'd Lugia-EX to lose a close game three. Funny enough my last round opponent's name was Jose (there were 7-8 of in a field of 43). That was the meme that weekend which was pretty funny. So I missed the cut which would have put me at a solid 470 CP minimum, but now I'm still at 415 CP, which isn't too bad given that I can get the invite off League Cups last quarter. Although it would be nice to pick up a couple more points before then to make it easier. I'll be at Virginia Regionals and from there, we will see where I am sitting and whether or not I should attend other events. Of course, I'll be at the US International Championships no matter what.

With that said, let's go over Tristan's winning list.


As you can see, Tristan's list is super consistent given that most of the deck consists of three of's or four of's. Tristan went with a max Yveltal-EX line, and I can see why. Right now Yveltal-EX tends to do more than Yveltal BKT. Putting pressure right away with Evil Ball and eventually setting up lethal one hit KO's is the way to go at the moment. I see many players opting to lower their Fright Night counts and I can see why. Against decks like M Mewtwo-EX, Yveltal BKT can be KO'd pretty easily and to combat against them you have to Evil Ball for big damage to have a fighting chance. You still should run at least one Yveltal BKT because it can still do wonders in certain matchups. A quick Garbodor with Yveltal-EX attacking while having Parallel City out can make any deck struggle. The addition of Hoopa-EX makes sense because Tristan plays six EX Pokémon and you want to be able to swarm Yveltal-EX after Yveltal-EX especially for when you Y Cyclone into another one. If we take an even closer look, we can see that Tristan actually decided to play not two but three Lysandre. This is probably to help against Vileplume based decks even more. Your opponent won't likely expect a third copy of Lysandre which can ultimately catch them off guard.

Another interesting inclusion is Professor Kukui. Now I know many players dislike this card, however in a deck like this where you are basically attacking for just two energy for a solid amount of damage it makes running Professor Kukui more useful especially for hitting better numbers. The extra draw is just a plus which usually isn't the reason you are playing it, but more so for the extra 20 damage.  Can a deck be too consistent? I have no idea, but just take a look at Tristan's numbers. Four Max Elixir and Float Stone as well as three Trainers' Mail and Fighting Fury Belt. It may seem like playing seven Tools seems like too many, however with Hoopa-EX you shouldn't have trouble finding targets for Tools. With Four Float Stone a Garbodor should be easily attainable and by running four you have a better chance at finding one on the first turn of the game with Trubbish which is ideal for Vileplume decks or any deck in general really. Two Parallel City seems to be the way to go about Yveltal-EX/Garbodor these days because once Garbodor is live you can then Parallel City then N and win from there. The rest of the list is pretty standard so we will leave it at that.

Other card options

Tauros-GX+Ninja Boy:

This combo can catch players off guard which can ultimately win you games. Usually, if the opponent sees you are playing Ninja Boy then they surely know you are playing Tauros-GX and they will now play around it accordingly. Just be wary when deciding to discard Ninja Boy because concealing it as long as possible is ideal.


Great against Vileplume for when they either go first and don't give you a chance to Tool your Trubbish. Or just overall solid against decks that rely on turn one abilities such as M Rayquaza-EX making Wobbuffet help stall until you get Garbodor out. You can still use your own Hoopa-EX.

Pokémon Center Lady:

Great in the mirror match because you are basically negating a Y Cyclone forcing the opponent to three-shot instead of two-shot your Yveltal-EX.

Team Flare Grunt:

This card can be clutch at times especially once Garbodor is out because now the opponent can't Set Up into Energy.



Let's now go over Hector's second place list.

This list is almost identical to Rahul Reddy's Top 8 list from Anaheim Regionals. It's only a couple cards off and I'm sure Hector had to base his off of Rahul's. When playing against Hector in swiss, I pretty much went by Rahul's list. There were a couple differences I noticed after playing Hector, such as Professor Kukui, Super Rod, and Flareon. Rahul's Top 8 list did not run these cards.

Let's start by going over some of the unique Pokémon. The addition of Zoroark with Vespiquen makes sense because Zoroark can put the opponent in odd situations in which Zoroark can take cheap KO's on Shaymin-EX while Vespiquen takes the bigger KO's late game. Zoroark is especially good against M Rayquaza-EX which is no surprise there. However, M Rayquaza-EX doesn't need a big bench to one-hit KO Zoroark and Vespiquen which is where Jolteon comes in. The inclusion of Eeveelutions makes M Rayquaza-EX struggle even more because not only do you have to deal with Klefki, but now you get one hit KO'd easily because of Jolteon. Tauros-GX and Mew-EX are interesting in this type of deck. Tauros-GX; I'm unsure why it's in the deck, but I can see it being a nice waller against Turbo Darkrai-EX and Mew-EX actually seems very good against M Mewtwo-EX given that you can also Klefki it assuming Garbodor is not out.

Oranguru overall can easily fit in the deck so no reason not to play it honestly since it speaks for itself. Vaopreon is obviously for Volcanion, however, I still think that matchup is rough even with it, although Zoroark can do wonders because Volcanion usually has a full bench. Flareon is the only iffy one because sure it's good against Decidueye-GX, however, if you are under item lock then your damage output is probably small anyway. Against Lurantis-GX I can see Flareon being a lot more useful, but honestly, this deck can pretty much fit anything so no reason not to run Flareon seeing as the deck plays the other two anyway. Moving out of the Pokémon we can see Hector ran Professor Kukui which was a card Rahul didn't play. I think Professor Kukui is a solid card in this type of deck. The rest of the list seems to be pretty standard except that Hector ran Super Rod over Revitalizer. Sure you get an extra Pokémon with Super Rod, however, Revitalizer get's two Grass Pokémon which go straight into your hand meaning a line of Vespiquen which with Forest of Giant Plants makes sense running Revitalizer instead or one of each if anything.

Other card options

Espeon-GX+Psychic Energy:

The list would have to be changed quite a few if you wanted to play Espeon-GX honestly. The option of having a GX attack that's not Mad Bull GX seems more useful for setting up one hit KO's. Not to mention that Espeon-GX is great against M Mewtwo-EX which is seeing more and more play.


I know players are opting to now play Zebstrika the more Yveltal-EX and M Rayquaza-EX decks start to rise.


Against a quick Vileplume lock you need to be able to ditch Pokémon to fuel Vespiquen so with Wobbuffet you can now Ultra Ball away Pokémon and still use Unown to draw more.


I know Rahul's list ran two of these which means having the option of slamming down a Vespiquen at a moment's notice can be very good especially when your opponent doesn't see it coming.


Closing Thoughts

That will conclude this short article on the finalist decks of the Puerto Rico Special Event. Both decks are still very strong in the current Standard format as you can see. I won't be surprised to see these two decks at the top tables. With Vileplume's popularity increasing it makes Garbodor decks even more viable given that shutting off abilities is useful against basically every deck. After Yveltal-EX/Garbodor's success at Florida Regionals it definitely died down, but now it has risen again to be one of the best decks yet again. I've never been a fan of Vespiquen other than with Night March last season, however, that doesn't mean that it can go far in the right meta this season. As for Yveltal-EX/Garbodor it still sees play here and there, but now I feel it will see more and more play especially after Tristan's win and many other players winning League Cups with it.

With that said, don't forget to check out The Chaos Gym on YouTube and Twitch for updates and player interviews, as well as live streaming from Grafton Roll and Rahul Reddy. As always, be sure to check out Team ARG's Pokémon page on Facebook, Team ARG Pokemon-TCG for tons of deck lists and interviews from great players. If you have any questions about these lists or decks in general or about Team ARG then please feel free to leave me a comment below 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, don't hesitate to give me ideas down below and I'll consider them, or if you have any other deck ideas and want to see an analysis on it, then, by all means, post it and I'll take a look. As always, keep an eye out for more articles to come. Until next time!


[+16] okko


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