Team Play — Three Established Archetypes Sporting New Tricks

Hey there PokeBeach! It’s been less than two weeks since my last article, but I’m back with another one for you guys. While I focused on Expanded decks (as well as gameplay mechanics) in my previous article, I’ll be spending the majority of this article talking about the Standard format. With Anaheim Regionals less than a week away, I’ll be discussing the two decks I’ve enjoyed the most in our new format: Yveltal / Tauros-GX / Garbodor and Vespiquen / Eeveelutions. After that, I’ll be updating my Exeggutor / Decidueye-GX list, as well as talk about some strategy and matchup information I’ve gathered. Without further ado, let’s get started!

Yveltal / Tauros-GX / Garbodor

Yveltal / Garbodor was the best deck of our previous Standard format. The deck became so good and so meta centralizing that the Top 8 of the final two Regionals in the PRC – EVO format were filled with decks that hard countered Yveltal; the format had come down to either playing Yveltal, or playing a deck that outright beat it. Unfortunately because of this, Yveltal / Garbodor fell off hard, and no Yveltal deck made Top 8 at either of the last two Regionals. However, Yveltal now has a new toy to play with that really brings it back into the meta: Tauros-GX. Before I go into any more strategy, let’s first take a look at my current deck list.

Pokemon (13)

3x Yveltal-EX (PRXY #XY08)2x Tauros-GX (SM #100)2x Garbodor (BKP #57)2x Trubbish (BKP #56)2x Shaymin-EX (RSK #106)1x Yveltal (BKT #94)1x Yveltal (PRXY #XY06)

Trainers (34)

4x Professor Sycamore (STS #114)3x N (NVI #101)2x Lysandre (AOR #78)1x Ninja Boy (STS #103)1x Professor Kukui (SM #148)1x Pokémon Center Lady (GEN #68)1x Delinquent (BKP #98)4x VS Seeker (RSK #110)4x Ultra Ball (SM #161)4x Max Elixir (BKP #102)3x Float Stone (BKT #137)3x Fighting Fury Belt (BKP #99)2x Parallel City (BKT #145)1x Reverse Valley (BKP #110)

Energy (13)

9x Darkness Energy (HS #121)4x Double Colorless Energy (EVO #90)

A few cards have changed since I last posted my list, some due to the release of Sun and Moon while others changed due to meta shifts. I’ll discuss the changes below, but please refer to my previous article if you’re interested in seeing why I play some cards, as well as Andrew Mahone’s fantastic new article if you want an alternate take on the deck.

Three Yveltal-EX

In the PRC – EVO format, I had four copies of Yveltal-EX because it helps stream attackers in the mirror matchup. Now, since Yveltal still hasn’t reclaimed its title of best deck in the format you don’t need to focus nearly as much on the mirror match. Thus, the Yveltal count was lowered to three.

Two Tauros-GX

Tauros-GX just fits so seamlessly into this deck it’s incredible. First, it gives you the ability to donk non-EX decks such as Greninja and Vespiquen, as well as Rowlet, Rattata, and other low HP Basics. This gives you a win condition, especially against Vespiquen, where a win would otherwise be extremely difficult to achieve (unless of course, they dead draw). Second, the combination of Tauros and Ninja Boy allows you to pull off a ton of surprise plays that can punish decks that trade two hit Knock Outs with you. This strategy is especially helpful against Darkrai-EX. As soon as one of your Pokemon takes 70 damage from an attack (something that will probably happen on turn one or two), you can Ninja Boy into Tauros, attach a Fighting Fury Belt, and use Mad Bull GX for a Knock Out on anything on their field. Because of the threat of being return Knocked Out from Tauros, either from just attacking into it or anticipating a Ninja Boy play, many decks will refrain from attacking until they are able to pick up a clean OHKO on Tauros. This passivity allows you to build up your other attackers while still hitting them for 60 or 70 damage a turn with Horn Attack, allowing your Yveltal-EX and Fright Night Yveltal to pick up cheap Knock Outs later.

One Fright Night Yveltal

Yes, I know it’s going to seem weird including this card when I’ve been arguing that it isn’t necessary in Yveltal for the past month. The reason I did not like this card when I last wrote about it was due to it being a liability in the mirror matchup. But, since the amount of Yveltal per tournament has been decreasing, along with the rise of decks where Fright Night is incredibly helpful against (Darkrai-EX and the Mega Pokemon matchups in particular), Fright Night has found its way back into the deck.

One Ninja Boy

I’ve already discussed this, but the main reason this card has found its way into the deck is because of the threat it provides with Tauros-GX. However, Ninja Boy provides so much more to the deck than just the threat of Tauros. When your opponent starts a heavy Basic, such as Hoopa-EX, or you go against a Mega deck, you can Ninja Boy into your Fright Night Yveltal to slow your opponent down significantly. Another underutilized aspect of Ninja Boy, that a lot of people overlook, is the ability to clear your field of Shaymin-EX. If you don’t need to draw through your deck mid game, you can Ninja Boy a Shaymin back into your deck, clearing two easy Prizes off the field, giving you another Shaymin use later in the game, as well as replacing it with an attacking threat. Because of all of the utility it brings, as well as its incredible synergy with Tauros, Ninja Boy has taken one of the tech Supporter slots.

Zero Team Flare Grunt

Like the fourth Yveltal-EX, the Team Flare Grunt were dropped due to a shift in the metagame. With Yveltal mirrors becoming less and less common and matchups such as Darkrai-EX and Vespiquen becoming popular, as well as new decks such as Umbreon-GX and Lurantis-GX not really being as affected by Team Flare Grunt, its effectiveness has really decreased. As with all the other cards that have been removed from the deck, Flare Grunt could make its way back into my list if matchups where it is useful become prominent again.

One Professor Kukui

With beefy Pokemon sporting low Energy attacks (such as Lurantis-GX, Darkrai-EX, Solgaleo-GX, etc.) becoming the new “flavor of the month”, Professor Kukui helps Yveltal hit Knock Outs it previously would have needed to wait another turn to hit with Evil Ball, as well as gives it access to some crucial Y Cyclone numbers. For example, you can now OHKO a Shaymin-EX with a Y Cyclone without needing to hit the combination of Fighting Fury Belt and Reverse Valley, a baby Volcanion if you hit Kukui plus either Fury Belt or Reverse Valley, as well as Talonflame, Greninja, and opposing Yveltal if you’re able to hit all three. The extra damage Kukui provides is greatly appreciated and is the main reason the card is played; the draw effect is really just an extra benefit (although it can certainly help you draw out of a poor hand or hit a game winning card).

Zero Enhanced Hammer

The final change I’ve made since I last posted my list was dropping both Enhanced Hammer. Again, like almost all of my other changes, these were taken out as I shifted my deck list’s priority away from beating the mirror and more geared towards combatting a blind metagame. If Enhanced Hammer weak decks start popping up in significant numbers as this format progresses, Enhanced Hammer will almost certainly find its way back into the list.

Vespiquen / Eeveelutions

The second deck I’ll be talking about today is probably my favorite deck so far in the new Standard format. Vespiquen rose up in popularity following its breakout performance at the Georgia Regional Championship, where three variants of the deck made Top 8. While those Vespiquen decks were all partnered with Zebstrika in order to hard counter Yveltal-EX, I’ve chosen to partner Vespiquen with Eevee and its evolutions. Travis and I made our initial list for this deck together over three weeks ago. Since then, we’ve updated it to include Espeon-GX, a discovery Travis made that I was quick to jump on board with after a few test games with the card. Without further ado, let’s jump into the list.


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