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Ryan Sabelhaus

"Who Ruffled Your Feathers?" - A 2nd Place League Cup Report

Ryan's back and goes over his Yveltal-EX/Garbodor deck that earned him a 2nd place finish at one of the first League Cups in the United States...

29. 12. 2016 by Ryan Sabelhaus

Ryan's back and goes over his Yveltal-EX/Garbodor deck that earned him a 2nd place finish at one of the first League Cups in the United States. He also goes over some top deck choices for future Standard events that could perform well!


What’s happening, 60cards readers! It’s been quite a while since the last time we talked about Pokémon. I knew that I was writing a lot of content and wanted to take a little break to assure that my writing wasn’t getting repetitive, but now I’m refreshed and ready to discuss the exciting Standard format for anyone that is going to Dallas Regionals or perhaps just a Standard format League Cup. To help any players that haven’t already attended any League Cups of their own, I’ll also use the first half of this article to go over my recent League Cup that I attended in Georgia (during which I ended with a 2nd place finish). This could help to give everyone a feel for what kind of tournaments League Cups are, while also showing the strength of a deck choice that I will be covering, so it should be immensely helpful to any readers that are nearing a Standard format tournament.

After the tournament report is done, along with reviewing the 2nd place Yveltal/Garbodor deck that I piloted, we’ll discuss two other deck choices that I was considering for Dallas Regionals and other Standard League Cups. Although you’ve probably seen some of these decks before, the small differences in each build are what should set them apart. Whether it be tech cards being used in the Supporter card or Item slots, or perhaps just a heavier amount of draw Supporters to add consistency, these decks can run completely differently from other builds that you’ve seen online. Even with this format not having a multitude of decks to choose from, every option and tech card being played can have a big impact, which makes the deck-building process more important than ever.

One of my favorite things that I have done in past articles was to show thought processes for approaching each matchup during a tournament, which is something that I’ll do for this tournament report as well. Picking Yveltal/Garbodor to play in a tournament is a great choice since it’s the clear “best deck in format,” but knowing how to play each matchup can decide whether you finish the tournament with Championship Points or not.

Let’s jump into the article!

Roswell (GA) League Cup – 2nd Place Finish

Going into this tournament, I already knew what the top contenders were going to be. The format hasn’t changed much at all throughout the past month or so and we’ve had some huge tournaments occur with this same exact format (London InterContinentals, Ft. Wayne Regionals, etc.). Everyone knew the deck to beat was clearly Yveltal-EX/Garbodor, especially with the 1st-5th place finishes at the first ever InterContinental Championship. Upon arriving in Georgia, I was trying to build a list for a “Brilliant Arrow” M Gardevoir-EX/Garbodor deck that could hypothetically do very well in this format, but just couldn’t find the room to feel confident with how it looked. With 65 cards, I could easily build the deck and feel good about matchups, but the task just couldn’t be done with 60 cards. With a slightly crazy rogue deck now being thrown aside, the choice would come down to a popular archetype with some tech cards to help against certain matchups. It was either Volcanion/Entei or Yveltal-EX/Garbodor, and I inevitably ended up choosing the more consistent deck. Let’s take a look at the list I used:


Although this list probably looks very similar to some of the builds that have done well at larger tournaments lately, it’s simply because those 55-card skeletons are the best possible way to build a Yveltal-EX/Garbodor deck. The only real difference between Yveltal-EX builds right now are those 5 extra cards that are used for the tech Supporters and extra Item slots. Some decks play Trainers’ Mail to add extra consistency and hopefully to help hit Max Elixirs early and swing the board in their favor. Other builds play zero Trainers’ Mail and just add extra tech cards to help against certain matchups. This version would be the latter of the two choices and opts not to play Trainers’ Mail for more flexibility against difficult matchups.

The Olympia and Pokémon Center Lady are specifically added into this deck in an attempt to swing the mirror match. With extra healing and an ability to switch out unwanted attackers, an opponent’s attempt to trap Pokémon with their “Fright Night” ability could become pointless and invalidated with just one Supporter card. Obviously healing even the slightest amount of damage can be a big game-changing moment as well for this mirror match. Imagine a scenario in which an opponent used Evil Ball to hit an Yveltal-EX for 130 damage in preparation to use a Y-Cyclone on the following turn to preserve energy. With either Olympia or Pokémon Center Lady, they are now forced to attack with Evil Ball once again and can’t keep those precious energy cards on the board to gain an advantage later in the match. The entire game is going to be a chess match, and even the slightest wrench to throw in an opponent’s plan could result in winning the series.

Since obviously healing cards are fantastic during the mirror match, they have rightfully earned their place in this build. In addition to helping the mirror match, these healing cards also help to completely swing the Greninja matchup in Yveltal-EX’s favor. That matchup is also reliant on perfect math, as a Greninja player aims to swing for 80 damage, have a Bursting Balloon hit for 60 damage, and then swing for a final 80 damage to hit the needed 210 HP of a Yveltal-EX with Fighting Fury Belt. With any amount of healing cards being used on a Yveltal-EX, the math is completely messed up and now takes another turn or Bursting Balloon to achieve a knockout.

Team Flare Grunt was initially added in for the mirror match, but ended up working perfectly against a Jolteon-EX deck that I found in Top 8 of this tournament. With more ways to discard energy and prevent attacking, I could prevent Jolteon-EX from just running through me with a consistent 70 damage attack that couldn’t be stopped. The Escape Rope also helped during this matchup, while concurrently being a reliable switching card to get unwanted Pokémon out of the active position.

Now that we’ve gone over the tech cards and reasoning behind their addition to the deck, let’s jump into the matchups that I faced during this tournament. With around 70 players showing up for the Masters division, it was going to be a 7-round tournament that would surely need at least 5 wins to make the top cut. The League Cup was also a best of 1 series, which meant that any bad hand could spell out doom for every player in the building. There were many well-known Masters from the Southeast at this tournament, which only made sense with this being the first ever League Cup in that area. The round 1 pairings went up and I immediately had to face a friend that was playing the same deck as I. Let’s see if those tech cards would come to fruition!

Round 1: James Hart - Yveltal-EX/Garbodor (W)

Initial Thoughts: As stated in the Introduction, this will be where I discuss my thought process going into each matchup and how I plan to win the game. With any Yveltal-EX mirror, Yveltal BKT is the desired starter in the active position to punish any opponent that doesn’t have a great starting Pokémon. I planned on getting down early damage with the baby Yveltals and spreading all excess damage to the Yveltal-EX’s that he was setting up on the bench. Softening up these attackers would allow me to get easy prize cards with my Yveltal-EX, along with possibly allowing me to save extra energy by using Y-Cyclone to take these knockouts. In the end, my healing cards should be able to help mess up the math of my opponent and possibly force an Evil Ball to be used instead of Y-Cyclone.

The game began with me going first (which is huge in the mirror match) and also starting with Yveltal BKT to my opponent’s Trubbish. After attaching an energy card to my Yveltal and hitting some other basic Pokémon, the pressure was on James to start setting up attackers on his bench. Since Float Stone couldn’t get him out of the active position, there was no way for him to get anything going on his first turn. The game progressed with me taking a turn two knockout on his Trubbish and placing 60 damage on a Shaymin-EX (since he didn’t have any Yveltal-EX down), with James then using a Super Potion on his Shaymin-EX and hitting me with a Pitch-Black Spear of his own. I managed to draw into my Olympia and switched into a Yveltal-EX to hit the knockout and wipe the board of energy, which ultimately ended the game a few turns later.

(1-0-0) 3 points

Round 2: Rainbow Road (W)

Initial Thoughts: When approaching the Rainbow Road matchup, the most important cards to use are going to be Enhanced Hammers and Parallel Cities. When these cards are followed by an N, they can swing the matchup completely into Yveltal-EX’s favor. As with many other matchups, Yveltal BKT is the preferred starter to punish any bad starting Pokémon on the opponent's side. Different from the mirror match, I usually like to start this game by using Lysandre to bring up heavy retreat cost Pokémon-EX to Pitch Black Spear without repercussion. This strategy forces an opponent to find one of their possibly two switching cards to escape the damage coming down, which isn’t very easy to accomplish and may force them to waste resources.

Once they have established a good board with plenty of Pokémon down on their bench, the time has come to hit them with an Enhanced Hammer + Parallel City + N combo to slow them down for a while. If they can recover from the first combo, you just have to wait until an opponent gets set up again before hitting them with the same exact combo later on. It’s very difficult to consistently find ways of hitting for 210 damage after the first Parallel City, nonetheless after the second one.

This game was extremely close and came down to the very last couple of turns. I didn’t start with the Yveltal BKT and was forced to set up some attackers behind a Trubbish. My opponent got off to a decent start, but ended up going through some resources early in the game that he didn’t want discarded that quickly. The main card that he lost was his Super Rod, which needed to be discarded off a Sycamore to keep the tempo of the game. This would end up costing him later on in the game, as the second Parallel City + N combo left him without a big attack for a turn (only mustering up 130 damage with his Xerneas). I drew into an Enhanced Hammer and discarded his 3rd Double Colorless energy, along with 7 Fairy energy in his discard pile. With only one more fairy energy to use for this game, he stated that he didn’t have enough energy to attack anymore and flipped over his last 3 prize cards to show the 4th Double Colorless energy. With the Super Rod, my opponent could have had a chance to win the game through shuffling in some Fairy energy and helping to hit some more Max Elixirs, but that’s just how the game goes sometimes.

(2-0-0) 6 points

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