Experts' corner

Alex Wilson

The Dark Side Has Risen Again

Alex Wilson is back to share his opinions about one of his favorite decks in the standard format; one that’s sure to make an impact at the Virginia Regional Championships.

04/24/2017 by Alex Wilson

Hey 60cards readers, I’m really excited to be back to discuss with you my opinions about a really consistent, fun, skill-intensive deck, Yveltal/Garbodor! As you all know, Yveltal has been around for what feels like a century. Since it was first introduced in the XY base set in 2014, Yveltal has seen play in every meta, both standard and expanded. Azul Griego won the first standard regionals this season with Yveltal. Yveltal then won Indiana in November, San Jose in December, and Portland earlier this month. Needless to say, Yveltal-EX has seen major success, and refuses to die.

While it’s a little too soon to predict the play for Virginia Regionals, it never hurts to talk about a deck that may see success. And even if it isn’t “the play” for Virginia, it’s a strong deck that may help you in grabbing some last-minute championship points from your local league cups. My area, North Carolina, is a perfect environment for Yveltal to thrive in, which is why it’s fresh on my mind. Please note however, that I wrote this article prior to the Brazilian International Championships, so I apologize if I mention a thing or two about a tournament that has concluded at the time of this article’s publication. Let’s get to it!


Below is a 1-card-off list I used to finish Top 4, for the fourth time this quarter, at my most recent league cup. Fortunately, yet unfortunately, I put myself in an early position this quarter of having to make the finals of a league cup in order to earn any additional championship points. Being as persistent as I am, I went to three additional league cups after finishing 2nd and 3rd to try and earn an extra 10 or 20 championship points, but could never seem to make it past Top 4. Anyways, I used this list to go undefeated at a fairly small league cup, playing my good friend Caleb Rice in Top 4 who piloted my beloved, Mega Rayquaza. He won the first game in a close match, I won the second, and we went to sudden death! Sudden death consisted of Caleb pulling out an amazing start followed by five or six back to back N’s to one. I could never get my Trubbish out of the active spot to two shot his Mega Rayquaza prior to Caleb top decking the energy he needed for the KO and win.


The main attacker of the deck, it can pull off crazy massive damage with Evil Ball, and can rotate energies while hitting for 100 damage (with Fighting Fury Belt) with Y-Cyclone. An ideal start would be with your Wobbuffet or an Yveltal BKT in the active spot, with an Yveltal-EX on your bench getting built up by Max Elixirs.

Yveltal BKT

Thanks to its Fright Night ability, nulling all effects of tools in play, Yveltal BKT is easily my favorite Pokemon in the deck. One of my favorite go-to strategies is using a Lysandre on an opponent’s Hoopa-EX, Volcanion-EX, or any heavy retreat cost Pokemon, and dealing 60 damage to both the “stuck” active and benched Pokemon-EX. Although 60 damage might not seem like much, it can add up in the long run, allowing Yveltal-EX to take knock outs a lot more efficiently. I have found that an Yveltal BKT is usually able to pull off two Pitch Black Spears before getting knocked out, leaving plenty of room for your second Yveltal BKT to steal 4 prize cards the following turn, or at the very least, leaving two gravely wounded Pokemon on your opponent’s side of the field.


Wobbuffet is the one card I changed from the list I used at the above-mentioned league cup. Instead, I played a one of Mewtwo EVO. There were two Mewtwo decks at the event, and I wanted a way to put a lot of pressure on my opponent if I found myself paired against one of them. Wobbuffet is a great Pokemon to start with in the active spot if your opponent won the coin flip. By having a lone Wobbuffet in play, your opponent has no way of using any abilities, usually leading to a much slower start. It’s a little counter-intuitive when you want to use your own Shaymin-EX, but that’s what Float Stone and Olympia are for if you absolutely need to Set Up for additional cards.

Parallel City

By far the optimal stadium choice for the deck, Parallel City gives you sooooo many options. You can limit your opponent’s bench space to three, which is amazing in matchups like Rayquaza, Rainbow Road, or any player who has yet to play a Shaymin-EX. You can limit your own bench, discarding your Shaymin-EXs or any damaged Pokemon, all while weakening the attacks of your opponent’s Grass, Fire, and or Water type Pokemon. Okay, so that might not sound like “a lot of options,” but what I meant by that was, there’s always a use for the stadium. In any situation, it’s useful, and can massively swing the outcome of games alone.

Professor Kukui

A new addition to the deck since the introduction of Sun and Moon, Professor Kukui allows you to draw two cards from your deck, AND deal 20 extra damage to your opponent’s active Pokemon that same turn. It’s essentially a better Giovanni’s Scheme. Combined with Fighting Fury Belt, an Yveltal-EX’s attacks deal an extra 30 damage. Even Yveltal BKT can deal an extra 30 damage if its ability is turned off. Which helps if your opponent happens to play an Olympia, meaning Yveltal BKT will still 3 shot a Pokemon-EX with 170-180 damage.

Hex Maniac

Hex Maniac can be a very sneaky card in opportune situations. Not only is it a great way to end your first turn, by insuring that your opponent can’t use abilities if you didn’t start with your Wobbuffet in the active spot. But it can turn off your Yveltal BKT’s Fright Night ability. Why can that be good? In situations where your Yveltal BKT is in the active spot with no energy, but can’t retreat without Olympia, Hex Maniac and a Float Stone allow you to continue attacking. Or if your opponent’s active has 70 HP left, rather than KOing it with an Yveltal-EX. Playing Hex Maniac with a Fighting Fury Belt attached to your Yveltal BKT, you’re able to KO the active and deal an extra 60 to a benched Pokemon-EX. You may have Garbodor set up in half of these situations, but I find a one of Hex Maniac in the deck worth it. With only one Garbodor in the deck, and only a few tools, you won’t always have a Garbodor’s Garbotoxin ability set up.


Another option is an Escape Rope; personally however, I like the added effect of healing 30 HP from the Pokemon I’m switching out of the active spot. It makes math awkward for my opponent, especially in matchups like the mirror, Decidueye, and even a Parallel Citied Rayquaza. With two Float Stone and an Olympia in the deck, it shouldn’t be too hard to promote whichever Pokemon you’d like in a game.


I’m in a love/hate relationship with this card. (No, it has nothing to do with Delinquent being a girl…) Delinquent hasn’t seen too much play in recent successful decks, so a lot of players don’t usually see it coming. Which is the best time for Delinquent to swoop in and kick your opponent in the balls, so to say. If an unsuspecting player ends their turn with three or fewer cards in their hand, Delinquent can destroy all hopes of your opponent playing the game they intended. For the next few turns, and perhaps the entirety of the game, your opponent is relying on nothing but top decking a useful card. Here’s where the hate part of our relationship comes into play: What feels like eight times out of ten, my opponent has top decked a Professor Sycamore, or VS Seeker for the Professor Sycamore. Realistically, Delinquent has crippled my opponent more times than top decking a Professor Sycamore, but when multiple opponents pull it off in one day, it’s really discouraging and makes me want to rip her in half. It’s still arguably my favorite “tech” in the deck!

~ "What ever..."


Rayquaza--Slightly Favorable

Statistically, Yveltal/Garbodor should have the upper hand in this matchup, but it’s a little closer than most people think. Yveltal BKT is a huge asset in this matchup. Even if the opponent is going first, starting with an Yveltal BKT prevents your opponent from mega evolving without ending their turn or using Hex Maniac. Wobbuffet too is a great starting active Pokemon, with a lone Wobbuffet in play, the Rayquaza player can’t use their Shaymin-EX’s Set Up abilities to build up their side of the field. Yveltal BKT can spread damage around to other Rayquaza’s, making it easier for Yveltal-EX to knock out a M Rayquaza-EX. You can even take a huge lead by Lysandreing a Hoopa-EX, Dragonite-EX, or Volcanion-EX, taking four prizes with the combination of sniping a benched Rayquaza-EX or Shaymin-EX. Parallel Cities need to be saved for when they’re truly needed since they play four Sky Fields. Garbodor also plays a huge role in this matchup. Like the Gardevoir and Rainbow Road matchups, this is one matchup where Garbotoxin must get set up! With the overall speed of Rayquaza, and its utility in Hex Maniacs and Lysandres, this matchup can make for a tough opponent. 

Is Rayquaza constricting Yveltal? Or does Yveltal have Rayquaza locked in its talons? Who knows, the matchup's so close!

Volcanion--Slightly Favorable

I like to think that this matchup is also in Yveltal’s favor. Just like in the Rayquaza matchup, Yveltal BKT is important in using Lysandre a heavy retreat cost Volcanion-EX, and sniping a benched attacker. Garbodor is also a huge asset, preventing your opponent from ever using a Steam Up ability is key, otherwise their Volcanion-EXs will swing for a 1HKO every turn. Again, Wobbuffet and Hex Maniac have the same uses as they do in the Rayquaza matchup. One thing that helps Yveltal in this matchup is that many Volcanion lists have lowered the total amount of switching cards in their lists, allowing Yveltal BKT to successfully pull off its four-prize knock outs. And unlike in the Rayquaza matchup, Volcanion-EX’s 220 HP is only thanks to the tools attached to it, and so long as Yveltal BKT is active, Volcanion-EX only has 180 HP. Additionally, Parallel City's usefulness maxes out in this matchup. You have the option to reduce their Volcanion’s attacks by 20 damage, all while getting rid of your fragile Shaymin-EXs.

Gardevoir--Close to even

This matchup is a tossup thanks to Gardevoir’s resistance to dark type attacks and the ability to easily 1HKO an Yveltal BKT on the second turn, though I still feel Yveltal has the slight advantage in this matchup. Just like in the two matchups above, Yveltal BKT prevents Gardevoir from mega evolving without ending their turn, and Garbodor completely shuts down their deck! With the combination of Parallel City, it becomes even harder for Gardevoir to do much of anything. While dealing 60 damage to a benched Pokemon-EX isn’t as effective since Gardevoir’s Despair Ray attack can just discard the damaged, benched Pokemon. Dealing 60 damage to another Gardevoir can go a long way in the long run.

Mewtwo--Close to Even

I’ve had many friends argue that this matchup is strongly in Mewtwo’s favor, but with two Yveltal BKT and even a Mewtwo EVO, if you so choose to include one, this matchup is very evenly matched. As always, Yveltal BKT prevents their Mewtwo’s from mega evolving without ending their turn, and placing 60 damage on both the active and a benched Mewtwo makes math really easy for your Yveltal-EX. Using Lysandre on their Hoopa-EX is yet another way to take four prizes in one turn. The two biggest threats in this matchup are Mewtwo’s Psychic Infinity attack dealing 30 damage times the amount of energies, over Yveltal’s 20 damage times the amount of energies. And the possibility of Mewtwo using Damage Change thanks to Shrine of Memories. Sometimes, if Yveltal-EX can’t one shot a M Mewtwo-EX, it’s best not to attack it at all… Both Wobbuffet and Garbodor are fairly useless in this matchup, because by the time you get Garbodor set up, they’ve more than likely already played both of their Shaymin-EX and Hoopa-EX, or have their own Garbodor set up. Parallel City is also a great way of discarding your Shaymin-EX before they do, or even bumping a Shrine of Memories is all you may need to do. Honestly, this matchup comes down to the smarter player, so practice!

Turbo Darkrai--Slightly Unfavorable

This matchup is a tough one! Yes, Yveltal BKT can come in handy by spreading damage to their benched Darkrais or Salamence-EX. But Turbo Darkrai is usually able to pull of turn two KO’s thanks to Max Elixir. Even when you’re able to pull off a knock out with Yveltal-EX, their dark energies never go away thanks to Exp. Share. By looking at this matchup, most would predict it to be in Yveltal’s favor, or at least 50/50. But in my testing, this is not the first matchup Yveltal wants to see in a nine-round tournament.

Closing Thoughts

I only scratched the surface of Yveltal/Garbodor and its matchups. Mainly, I just wanted to help persuade those who may think Yveltal is dead, that it’s very much alive, and will be a front runner in upcoming tournaments. I’ll be attending Virginia Regionals in a couple of weeks, immediately followed by attending the last expanded regionals of the year in Toronto! (Gee, I wonder what I’m going to play…) My next article will be published shortly after I return from Canada, and I’ll be sure to recap both of my regional experiences.

If you see me at either event, please come say hey! The best part about the Pokemon community is meeting all the cool people! And hopefully I’ll be rocking my new Pokemon-themed tattoo in time for Virginia!

Until next time guys, thanks for taking the time to read what I had to say! As the Japanese guy from the Roaring Skies commercial says, Emaruldabreaku!

[+14] okko


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