04/20/2017 by Aaron Tarbell
Welcome 60cards readers to a formal, in-depth review of the current standard format. This article is aimed at helping people interpret the results of Utah regionals through the perspective of someone who performed well there with Vileplume/ Decidueye-GX. This article will provide my personal experience at Utah followed by my thoughts on the current format in order to offer insight to readers for upcoming events including Brazil and Virginia.
Utah Regionals Recap
Prior to Utah Regionals, I had won three out of five league cups that I had attended while playing pretty similar lists for Vileplume/ Decidueye-GX in both expanded and Standard formats. For the standard league cups, my finishes were two firsts at three league cups with attendees between 24ish and 68 players. Before these league cups, I had no experience with the deck. In each of the league cups, there was a huge turnout for Volcanion, and my final record prior to the Regionals against it was 10-1, so I was fairly convinced of my deck choice, enough that I had chosen my deck before I had purchased my plane tickets to the event. In standard, there was only one spot that I was unsure of with the deck, because in the two events that I had won with it, I had played a Beedrill-EX; however I had never attacked with it and never benched it of my own accord.
The night before the event, I stayed with two of the best players in the game, Travis Nunlist and Kevin Baxter. Kevin was also sold on Decidueye/ Vileplume prior to my arrival, and Travis was devoted to beating it with a M Mewtwo/Garbodor deck with three Shrine of Memories. The concept behind the Shrine of Memories was that, after abilities had been locked, Vileplume /Decidueye-GX had no way to knockout the M Mewtwo-EX in one attack, so they would just heal the large amounts of damage from M Mewtwo with Damage change and be able to load up huge Psychic Infinity attacks to knock out Decidueye-GX in one hit. Kevin’s Vileplume/ Decidueye-GX list, with the baby Mewtwo from Evolutions, a Trevenant-EX, and a Tauros-GX, was more teched out than mine. While I think his list is better suited for the meta, he ran a few less consistency cards, and it ended up that every game I lost before top 4 was due to severe dead draws. Their combined fascination with Mewtwo, the mega for Travis and the baby for Kevin, was what prompted my switch from a bad Beedrill-EX to a bad Mewtwo EVO. The list I played is below. Some of the rounds tended to run together, but this is my recollection to the best of my ability of the tournament. All of the opponents’ records listed are updated to round 12.
T4 Utah Regionals
- 4x Rowlet
- 4x Dartrix
- 4x Decidueye GX
- 2x Oddish
- 2x Gloom
- 2x Vileplume
- 2x Lugia EX
- 2x Shaymin EX
- 1x Shaymin EX
- 1x Mewtwo
- 3x Level Ball
- 3x Trainer's Mail
- 4x N-supporter
- 4x Professor Sycamore
- 4x Ultra Ball
- 4x Forest of Giant Plants
- 2x Lysandre
- 2x Revitalizer
- 2x Float Stone
- 4x Grass Energy
- 2x Double Colorless Energy
- 2x Double Colorless Energy
Round 1: In this round, I played against Morgen Morin, a player from Iowa, playing M Mewtwo/ Garbodor. I was disappointed with hitting this early on a matchup I was not very confident in, but I was excited that I had put the Mewtwo EVO in minutes prior to turning in my deck-list. Unfortunately, game 1 want fairly poorly. I got out Decidueye-GX early going first I believe, but I missed the Vileplume, and other than having the one Decidueye-GX, I drew fairly badly. Even though I was able to put 20 damage on the Trubbish with the Feather Arrow, I was not able to answer it early enough, and he was able to set up a second Garbodor by the time I knocked it out. Game 2 I locked early and prevented the Garbodor from getting online. Game 3 was pretty stressful since I went second and wasn’t able to get Vileplume out for a while, but he was missing energy drops and having to evolve without spirit links, so I was eventually able to knock out the one Garbodor, and I was able to win the game after from a combination of three Feather Arrows every turn and Lugia-EX applying a ton of pressure with Deep Hurricane. In the matchup, the only time the Mewtwo EVO was used was to get knocked out one turn to attempt to force my opponent to have to take odd prizes. My opponent’s final record was 5-4.
Round 2: This round I played against a relatively new player by the name of Ryan Putnam. I won the coin flip, he flips over a Formantis, and it is off to the races. I open Rowlet and he claims something along the lines of, “I lose to this deck all of the time,” which makes me feel a little more confident, but when he sees that I discarded Vileplume pieces, he claims something along the lines of, “I’ve never seen Decidueye-GX paired with Vileplume before.” I end up getting out a lot of Rowlet and an Oddish, but I miss the Forest and pass. He ends up to have been playing a Lurantis GX Vileplume deck with Tauros-GX, and he hits two Lurantis-GX a Vileplume, and a Tauros-GX on the first turn. After he opts to put three grass energy on his active Lurantis-GX, I’m never able to really establish board position, and he wins shortly after. I misplayed at one point, having forgotten about Chloroscythe-GX, but the extra turn wouldn’t have mattered. Game two, I set up the Vileplume and get out a Decidueye-GX before he gets a turn. He hits a Lurantis GX but could not get energy in the discard, so my board state ends up overwhelming him. Game 3 was crazy good. He got pretty set up, but he missed the Vileplume. I end up getting two Decidueye-GX in play, and he put down the Vileplume. He ends up taking five prizes when I had only taken two, and I then had to Lysandre his Vileplume and only use Feather Arrow on he benched Lurantis-GX. He ends up attaching two grass energy to Vileplume, and he had enough energy on both Lurantis-GX to Lysandre and knock out a damaged Decidueye-GX. From there I took 11 turns to knock out two full HP Lurantis GX, and he had prized his last energy which would have allowed him to retreat to win the game. I was super lucky to have escaped 2-0. His final record was 4-5.
Round 3: I played against Brandon Jones. He was playing an Yveltal variant that used Ninja Boy, two Tauros-GX, and Wobbuffet to gain the advantage against Decidueye-GX. The first game went super well. He ended up dead drawing for the most part, and I was able to deal with the Tauros-GX pretty fast with two Decidueye-GX and Deep Hurricane while he was not able to build up Yveltal-EX very well. Game two, he just overwhelmed me by hitting most of his Max Elixir, and I was never able to set up Vileplume. Game three, I went first but was not able to get as set up as I did in game one. He hit most of his Max Elixir again, and he started Tauros-GX with another on the bench. I set up Vileplume relatively early, and since I could not make a board state where I was able to safely Deep Hurricane and have Lugia-EX not get immediately knocked out by an Yveltal-EX, I went for the two shot with Razor Leaf and started putting damage on Yveltal-EX in order to get his GX attack out of the way. He takes his two prizes, but I’m able to knock out the Tauros-GX with an Aero Ball and prevent getting knocked out by the benched Yveltal-EX. I eventually win the trade because of it, and I move on 3-0. His final record was also 4-5.
Record WLW, 3-0
Round 4: I play against another Yveltal designed to counter Decidueye-GX, but Dillon Carter focused more on energy control with Enhanced Hammer, Team Flare Grunt, and Garbodor. Game 1 goes poorly, and I believe I dead draw hard as he just sets up two Yveltal-EX with a lot of energy as I draw/ pass and never get anything too good on board. He also keeps them just large enough to do a ton of damage but prevent one hit knock outs with just a Double Colorless Energy on Lugia-EX. Game 2, I drew very well and got a few Decidueye-GX out early. He missed a few Max Elixir, and, though he is able to get a few Yveltal-EX in play to Y-Cyclone with and was able to Team Flare Grunt some energy away, I was able to hit energy each turn by popping Hollow Hunt-GX for three energy while he missed the Float Stone on Garbodor, and I end up winning. Game three, he basically drew/ passed, and I drew pretty well to abuse his bad start. His final record was 3-4 when he dropped, and I was 4-0 after our game.
Record LWW, 4-0
Round 5: I hit the only Dark Decidueye-GX I knew of at the tournament. The player’s name was Parker Keuma, and his final record was 7-4-1 with a Day Two appearance. The deck played no Vileplume or Grass Energy (and maybe no Forest of Giant Plants too). It was based primarily around Energy control with Umbreon-GX’s attack, Team Flare Grunt, and Enhanced Hammer while using Decidueye-GX to help fix knockouts for Umbreon-GX’s Night Spear attack. It also played baby Yveltal. Game 1, he wins through me missing energy and Vileplume early. Game 2, I get the Vileplume before he gets a turn, and though he is able to control my energy with Umbreon-GX’s attack and Team Flare Grunt, I never missed energy due to Hollow Hunt GX, and I out pace him. Game 3, I get N’d into the baby Mewtwo and nothing else, so I drew/ passed for three turns and lost. I think, overall, the matchup was probably even to favorable due to being able to lock board state whenever Vileplume Decidueye is fully set up, but it is still not a matchup I know a ton about.
Round 6: I play against Tyler Ninomora with Gyrados, and I start to get excited. In my head, there is not a way for Gyrados to really win against Decidueye-GX due to Magikarp having so little HP and being required to be damaged for the deck to have any damage output. The deck can obviously win off of super bad dead draws on the Vileplume/ Decidueye-GX’s part, but, even then, the Gyrados deck has to wait a turn to attack. Game 1, I got a Decidueye-GX on turn one or two and eventually locked the board state with Vileplume. After two Decidueye-GX and a Vileplume are in play, there really isn’t a way for Gyrados to win. Game 2 went very similarly, and I moved on to be 5-2. Tyler went on to lose his win and in to top 8 with a final record of 8-3-1.
Round 7: I played against Mitchell Anderson with Darkrai/ Giratina. This game was pretty awkward. I started with just a forest and a Decidueye-GX with basically nothing else, and he started pretty well, getting a turn two Giratina-EX loaded up. I continue to draw some Rowlet, and I eventually offer an intentional draw rather than playing out the match. While I believe Darkrai/ Giratina is a wonderful matchup for Decidueye Vileplume, the awkward draws were spooking me, and I was hoping to get into a position where I could play against Drew Kennet playing Gyrados in the next few rounds. My opponent accepts neglecting his demanding position, and we check the next few cards of my deck seeing that I would have been able to draw an N to stay in the game, but we both got a chance to relax before the next round. We were both fairly confident in winning one of our next two rounds to make T32. His final record was a heartbreaking 5-3-1, and I escaped with a 5-1-1 record.
Round 8: I got a chance to play against Azul Garcia Griego on stream. I was stoked since I am one of Azul’s biggest fans, and I was not able to play against him since Philadelphia Regionals over two years ago. Unfortunately, day one’s stream was not saved so I will not be able to give as detailed of a synopsis of the match as I had hoped. Game one, I draw completely dead and get WAXED as I draw Rowlet and Oddish till I lose, and by the time I get anything going, I am so far behind I forget to use Feather Arrow. Game two I get two Decidueye-GX and a Vileplume before Azul gets anything going, and it’s a shutout. Game three, he goes first, but he does not get the chance to play many Max Elixirs before I lay down Vileplume and a few Decidueye-GX. While game three was much closer than either of the other two games, the entire match was just one deck getting so far ahead in board state that the other had no chance to catch up. Azul ended up getting 4th overall, and I was moving on.
LWW with a 6-1-1 record.
Round 9: I was paired down, and I played against Brian Ortiz at 5-0-3. Prior to the match he offered an intentional draw; I declined because I was hoping to get into a better position for day two. He was playing a cool Quad Tauros-GX Hammers build with four Delinquent and a Bunnelby. Honestly the matchup seems pretty fun in a less stressful environment. Having to play around multiple Tauros GX is normally fine due to being able to Deep Hurricane with multiple Feather Arrows to follow up, but dealing with Tauros-GX coupled with Fighting Fury Belt, multiple Team Flare Grunts, and Pokémon Center Lady while having to item lock before attaching energy to mitigate their energy control to just Team Flare Grunts and knock outs is pretty tough. It is also nearly impossible to play around delinquent with Vileplume Decidueye-GX early in the game due to the combo taking so many cards; for example, a Forrest of Giant Plants is absolutely required to go off, it takes three cards to make a Decidueye-GX, and it takes three more cards to make a Vileplume. There is almost no point in the matchup to lock yourself before getting two Decidueye-GX in play as well due to needing at least two Decidueye-GX to deal with a Tauros-GX, let alone multiple Tauros GX. That’s a 10 card combo without accounting for the consistency cards that make it easier, but after seeing 14 to 24 cards based on a Sycamore and a likely amount of cards from two Shaymin-EX, it is difficult to end the first few turns with four or more cards in hand after benching necessary cards like Lugia-EX and probably attaching energy. Game 1 went relatively well. I went first and was able to play multiple Decidueye-GX, but I missed Vileplume, and my hand ended on three dead cards. He used Enhance Hammer to get rid of my attachment and hit a turn one Delinquent, and he started to hit for 70 damage. I space out my Feather Arrows onto multiple Tauros GX to set up for future Lugia-EX knock outs. I draw into a supporter in two to three turns, and I end up hitting a Vileplume and energy. He ends up using Delinquent to put my hand down to zero three times in game one, but I got super lucky to draw out of them, and I get enough Decidueye-GX in play to be able to deal with Tauros-GX without a Lugia-EX by just forcing the Mad Bull GX early. He takes the time to pile shuffle three times and riffle for a while before game two, and game two, I start poorly. I end up conceding in the first few turns for a chance to win game three. Going into game three, he takes the time to do three pile shuffles and riffle for a while again, and time seems to be short. I play relatively quickly, and get super set up turn one with two Decidueye-GX and a Vileplume. He gets the turn one delinquent to zero again. After I draw out of it, he pops his Mad Bull GX to knock out a Decidueye-GX, but I ended up getting another one on the turn after. With very little time left, he Lysandres a Vileplume when he still had a relatively strong chance to come back, and he lets the clock run out as I attempt to Feather Arrow two Tauros-GX to knockouts with only a minute or two left in time. The match ends as a tie, but usually he probably wins the matchup pretty hard. I end day one as 6-1-2, and he goes on to a record of 5-1-6 in day 2.
Utah Day 2 Report
Round 10: I arrive a little late to finally play against my first true Vileplume Decidueye-GX mirror match against Luis Gadea. I remember him saying something along the lines of the mirror match typically being a long game where the second game would most likely not end. I want to take a moment to address the stigma around decks like Trevenant and Vileplume Decidueye-GX being viewed as slow decks. It is true that decks such as these tend to have lower damage outputs than other decks that are able to compete in both Standard and expanded metas, such as Night March, Rayquaza, Turbo Dark, Volcanion, etc., and item lock is used to slow down the pace of a game in order for the decks to be more deliberate on what takes damage and take prizes faster than decks that have potential to deal more damage overall. Item lock, though, also prevents the locked players from having options, so less time is used waiting for them to make their decisions. Due to this, the pace of the game falls on the person who has more options by either being able to play their own items or dictate where to place damage. So, rather than being decks that are forced into long drawn out games, the decks are really just decks that have games take just a few more turns, but the turns should generally be shorter, and the players that induce item lock typically have more control over the pace of play. These cheap forms of item lock also have the advantage of being able to lock the opponents out of the game entirely much easier than having them dead draw without item lock which provides these types of decks the ability to end games much faster by effectively donking opponents.
Continuing on with the matchup itself, it went pretty typically. The matchup is pretty lackluster and lacks skill whenever a Vileplume is played in the first four turns of the game. If you jump down to my favorite decks in this format, you can read where I describe Vileplume as a lock. Whenever it’s set up, the board state typically ceases to advance significantly, so, in mirror, the Vileplume should generally only hit the field when the player that is playing the Vileplume down has a significantly better board state. Specifically I mean, the Vileplume should not be played unless it’s the very first turn of the game, and some items have been burned, or it should not be played until the person playing it has more Decidueye-GX in play. I went first, but rather than getting a turn one Vileplume, I got out two Decidueye-GX. This was not a choice of mine; I just happened to draw into two full Decidueye-GX lines and would not have been able to get the Vileplume. I would have preferred to just have had A Decidueye-GX and then go ahead and get the Vileplume, and try to prevent my opponent from playing down any item cards to set up. On my opponents first turn, he opened with an entire Vileplume line in his hand, and he opted to play it down before even having Rowlet on the field. This allowed me the opportunity to place a lot of pressure on his board over a few turns without him ever getting more than one Decidueye-GX, and the game ended in four or five turns. Game two, we fumble around a bit, and I end up dead drawing off of early N’s before he even had a Vileplume down. Game three, I open the nuts, and I drop down a Decidueye-GX and a Vileplume. On his following turn, he passes with just an Oddish and a Rowlet, and I was able to hit another Decidueye-GX to knock out the Oddish with Feather Arrows and Razor Leaf the Rowlet. His record going into round 13 was 6-4-2, and I left the round 7-1-2.
Round 11: I played against Roberto Lozada playing Darkrai Giratina. These games were both pretty neat. I remember that my set up each time was pretty near perfect, but both games were super close. Game one I was able to get a pretty nice set up with at least a Decidueye-GX and a Vileplume turn one, but he was able to hit an early Hex and was able to hit a few Max Elixirs to keep up. The game came down to me having to N to prevent him from hitting his Hex Maniac again to finish knockouts with Feather Arrow to prevent his Exp. Shares from going off. Game two went prey similarly, but he was able to hit more Max Elixirs, so he had a lot of early pressure, and got to the point he was hitting for 240 to knock out Decidueye-GX in on hit. At the end, I messed up my math when turns were called, and thought I would have been able to knock out a Giratina-EX on the bench to take my final prizes with four Feather Arrows, but I ended up needing five. There was a play where I could have gambled by putting a Double Colorless Energy on an active Decidueye-GX with no energy on it rather than promoting a Shaymin-EX to sky return. My deck was super thin, so the idea would have been that I could have attached my last Double Colorless to a Dartrix I had on the field to use his attack to deal 20 more damage on the final turn to the Giritina-EX on the bench to take my final prizes, but I didn’t, and he knocked out a clean Decidueye-GX with no damage on it that I retreated to on the final turn of time. Roberto Lozada went on to lose his win and in to top 8 in his final round against what I believe was a Turbo Dark deck than ran hot.
Round 12: This was probably the round I played against the craziest deck of the tournament piloted by John Foster. He had a record of 8-4-0 at the time with a super cute Rayquaza build that had beat Travis Nunlist earlier in the tournament. The list played an Espeon- GX, which was good for the meta, at least a 1-1 Zoroark, which was what my Rayquaza lists were playing at the time, two Professors’ Letter, unique to this build, two Professor Kukui, which spooked Travis, and a Delinquent, which I said should be in every deck that does not item lock itself prior to the tournament but never imagined in Rayquaza. Together, these cards made the list a little inconsistent, but the synergy was there. He had the potential to Delinquent people to get them on hands of zero and roll them with high damage output by playing down another Sky Field, and he had the potential to hit for a magic 170 with his Professor Kukui when there was no Sky Field in play. The Professor’s letter were unique, and I think I would probably make his Zoroark line an Espeon GX line or vise via for added consistency if I were to pilot Rayquaza in the future. Nonetheless, we had some pretty intense games. Game one, I went first and missed everything but basics and a supporter, and on his first turn he popped two Professor’s Letter and manually evolved into a M Rayquaza-EX. On my turn, I hit a Decidueye, Double Colorless Energy, and a Vileplume, and opted to play the Vileplume even with a dead hand of three cards so I could hope to mitigate his setup. He then played Delinquent leaving me to zero, and he hit me for 150. I top decked a supporter, and later in the game, I Lysandre a Hoopa-EX three times with him having had to manually retreat it and me having had to pop Hollow Hunt GX for Lysandre. He was never able to hit for 240 to knock out a Decidueye-GX in that game. In game two, he was able to get very set up early, and I was able to get the usual board state of two Decidueye-GX and a Vileplume Eventually, but he was able to knock out Lugia-EX with a Professor Kukui and hit two different Decidueye-GX for 240. Game three goes very similarly to game one-EXcept he did spook me by having knocked out a Decidueye-GX with one Emerald Break. I do not know his final record, but after this game I was 8-1-3 and needed one more win to make top eight.
Round 13: I played against the fire boy Mike Newey. Prior to this I had not played against Volcanion all tournament, and having hosted a record of 10-1, I was stoked to hopefully show people how good of a matchup it was. Game one went pretty solid. I opened with some Rowlet on the field, and by turn two I managed to get up a Decidueye-GX and a Vileplume. He hit two Max Elixir on his first turn, but then we were done with those shenanigans. I end up having to attack with Mewtwo early because I started with it, and he was starting to load up an active baby Volcanion instead of knocking it out with Power Heater, so it did a full 60 damage this game. I then went in with two separate Lugia-EX to deal large amounts of damage while I missed my Decidueye-GX while digging through my deck. I end up getting a Razor Leaf off to knock out a Shaymin or Hoopa in the final turns, I believe, to take my final prizes after he had taken five, and during the game, three of my Decidueye-GX were in the bottom four cards of my deck. It was close a close game, but it showed that off of dead draws, the decks were pretty evenly matched. Game two, he hit some max Elixirs early, and I don’t get a chance to establish a better board state than him, and he is able to knockout my Lugia-EX in one hit. Game three, I got out one Decidueye-GX and attached a Double Colorless Energy to a Lugia-EX and passed. He drew, attached a Fighting Fury Belt to his active baby Volcanion, and passed. I used Deep Hurricane on it the next turn to win.
Round 14: I said hi to Kenny Britton, and we tied our way into top eight.
I hope to update both this round and the next whenever the Day 2 stream gets posted since both matches were streamed. This round in particular had super unexpected results. I played against the mirror piloted by Joseph Parez. In the match up, the game is typically decided as soon as someone lays down a Vileplume depending on the board state before the Vileplume was played. This game defied all of that logic. Game 1, I go first and, while I get out some grass basics, I miss the Forest of Giant Plants and am forced to pass. On his opening turn, he plays down either a Decidueye-GX and Vileplume or two Decidueye-GX and ends up going super far ahead. We were both forced to lay down Multiple Shaymin-EX early. He took his 4th and 5th prize cards on a Shaymin-EX, and I managed to Sky Return my last Shaymin-EX and make my board state just 3 clean Decidueye-GX after he had taken five prizes, but before I had taken one. With just Feather Arrows I knocked out two undamaged Shaymin-EX while he only had one Decidueye-GX on board, and knockout one of his two Decidueye-GX with Razor Leaf in order to mitigate his damage while doing so. Game two, he went first, I started Oddish, and he opened with a Rowlet and an entire Vileplume line. He opted to lay down the Vileplume after only having played a few item cards, but off of his N he hit the rest of his Decidueye-GX line. Typically that just ends the game, but I got super lucky and drew into an entire line of Decidueye-GX under item lock. We both stumble across a second Decidueye-GX line eventually, and this time he went up 5 prizes and I had managed to keep pace relatively well. Unfortunately, on the turn I promoted a Decidueye-GX instead of a Shaymin due to not having energy to Sky Return, I managed to Lysandre his Vileplume without a Float Stone and hit the Double Colorless Energy. I was forced to put it on the active Decidueye-GX, and had a six turn clock to take three prizes since he was going to Feather a Shaymin-EX six times to win. At one point early on, he used N and I had grass energy in my hand and a Double Colorless Energy already attached to my active Decidueye-GX. I declared Razor Leaf, we put the damage on, and when I realized that I hadn’t attached, we removed the damage, I told him that I just forgot to attach it, and he used N to get it out of my hand. I then had a much more stressful game for the cameras, and needed to hit both a Grass Energy and a Lysandre to take the game, but I did in the nick of time, and we were on to Top 4.
I played against Mike Newey in a rematch. I was pretty confident in the Volcanion match-up still beforehand, but, though the games were bland, the results were not what I expected. Game one, he hit multiple Max Elixirs Early, and he was able to take four prizes before I had used Hollow Hunt. Usually there is a cool strategy against Volcanion where the Decidueye-GX player can use Hollow Hunt whenever the Volcanion player is on odd prizes, so even if the Decidueye-GX gets knocked out, the Hollow Hunt allows the player to stay in the game. Without being able to do that and with Lugia-EX having been already knocked out, there was not a chance to win at that point even once I put three Decidueye-GX in play on my last turn. Game two, I shut him out with two Decidueye-GX and a Vileplume on turn one. Game three was just a repeat of game one with me not being able to keep up with his strong start.
They would not let me participate.
The Best Deck in Format: Vileplume/ Decidueye GX
Although Vileplume/ Decidueye-GX did not win the most recent regionals, its dominance as the best deck in hard to dispute.
First and foremost, the best hands with this deck can be appropriately viewed as the coconuts of the current standard meta. Being able to set up multiple stage 2’s on turn one that can apply pressure to anywhere on the opponent's board without even attacking is absolutely crazy. Taking knockouts on low HP support Pokémon such as Shaymin EX and Magikarp allows the deck to trade evenly with almost any deck that has to use their support Pokémon to keep up. The main Pokémon in the deck has almost as much hit points as a Wailord-EX that has an entire archetype dedicated to decking opponents out due to them struggling to take knockouts on it. Because items are so strong right now and integral to decks establishing strong board states through the use of Max Elixers, VS Seekers, and Trainer’s Mail, the item lock that Vileplume provides acts as a way to lock the board state of both players to keep either from progressing too much more. This means that whenever the coconuts are hit, possibly three Decidueye-GX and a Vileplume before the opponent's first turn, but realistically two Decidueye-GX and a Vileplume, it is nearly impossible for the opponent to keep up--except with a long string of ability lock. Even then, Vileplume/Decidueye GX is usually able to keep up with that after a perfect first turn. The deck even has the ability to cope with the weaknesses of Vileplume based decks. The deck is able to overcome its largest liability, being unable to retreat Vileplume due to its large retreat cost, by continuing to deal damage to threats with Feather Arrows, and this results in board states where opponents either have to Lysandre another Pokémon after having already used Lysandre on Vileplume.
Next, it is also very resilient to changes to the meta game. The deck has no auto losses. Even in scenarios when Vileplume/ Decidueye-GX is forced to play against strategies that can be scary--such as abusing its weakness, preventing the usage of the deck’s strong abilities, being overly aggressive, and removing the small amount of energy it plays--Vileplume/ Decidueye-GX is still able to have large amounts of success. This was shown both in the results of Utah coupled with my own personal experience with the deck outside of Regionals. The Results of Utah hosted 1/4th of its top 32 being Vileplume/ Decidueye-GX despite of the large amount of decks that could be considered bad matchups such as M Mewtwo-EX/ Garbodor decks and Volcanion decks. The top 8 also had 25% of it comprised of Vileplume/ Decidueye-GX, with the two decks playing in top 8, preventing one from progressing. Throughout my personal experience playing the deck in five league cups, Utah regionals, and some mild testing, my personal record against Volcanion is now 13-4, with three of the wins and losses both being against Mike Newey. My record against M Mewtwo-EX/Garbodor is now 6-3. My record against "Anti-Vileplume Decidueye GX" Yveltal is now 6-2. Though these games would not be enough to prove that these matchups were very positive for Vileplume/ Decidueye-GX, it does show that these matchups that are viewed to be very bad for Decidueye GX Vileplume by a large portion of the community are winnable.
Finally, the deck just has a good place in the meta. There are almost no rogue decks other than Tauros-GX/ control that is able to compete with it. Some of the strongest decks in the format such as Turbo Dark, Rayquaza, Vespiquen, and Gyrados are known to be very favorable matchups for Decidueye-GX. Some of its harder matchups such as M Mewtwo, Lapras, and Volcanion struggle against its good matchups, meaning that when people attempt to counter the counter of the best, Vileplume/ Decidueye-GX will prosper. The deck is very easy to pick up for new players that can easily abuse its insane coconuts, and the deck favors more experienced players by forcing more turns in close games because item lock limits the ability of decks to explode. This was some insight from Frank Diaz I got at Canada Regionals last year when he told some people that older formats favored the more experienced players due to there being longer games with more chances to misplay, and it seems to hold up in my opinion.
THE ALL STAR- GYRADOS
This is a deck that I’m forced to bite my tongue a bit about since I have not had much experience with it, but boy is this deck amazing right now. There were only two in the entire field that I noticed, but Both Tyler Ninomora and Drew Bennet were able to pilot the deck to almost success. Drew lost his win and in to top 32 and Tyler lost his win and in to top eight, both to Vileplume/ Decidueye-GX. If Vileplume begins to get hard countered to the extent it cannot do well, this deck will thrive in this format. It has favorable matchups against basically the entire field other than VD, including Turbo Dark, M Mewtwo, Lapras, Tauros stuff, Gardevoir, and Volcanion. I’m convinced that if Tyler Ninomura would have dodged the Decidueye Vileplume for his win and in and in cut, he would have won the tournament. This is definitely a deck to keep a close eye on and watch out for in the future. Tyler Ninomura gave me his list to share with you!
- 3x Gyarados
- 4x Magikarp
- 1x Octillery
- 1x Remoraid
- 1x Shaymin EX
- 4x Professor Sycamore
- 1x N-supporter
- 1x Professor Kukui
- 2x Teammates
- 1x Lysandre
- 4x VS Seeker
- 4x Trainer's Mail
- 4x Dive Ball
- 3x Ultra Ball
- 1x Level Ball
- 4x Puzzle of Time
- 3x Lucky Helmet
- 1x Float Stone
- 1x Enhanced Hammer
- 1x Escape Rope
- 4x Buddy-Buddy Rescue
- 1x Super Rod
- 1x Special Charge
- 1x Town Map
- 4x Team Magma's Secret Base
- 4x Double Colorless Energy
The Counter and Counter-Counter: M Mewtwo
M Mewtwo has one of the best Vileplume/ Decidueye GX matchups, and it also can consistently compete with the other top tier decks including Darkrai, Volcanion, M Rayquaza, and Lapras. Other than its iffy Turbo Dark matchup that’s still winnable, the deck is able to deal with most of the attempts to counter the best deck in format and can effectively compete against it as well. This deck was one of the most represented decks with good reason in Utah, its ability to hit hard and ability lock opponents is very strong. Personally, I prefer the builds with Espeon GX in this meta to take easy wins against unprepared mirror matches and to provide a solid GX attack.
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