Fairy and Fire for Hartford — Gardevoir-GX and Ho-Oh-GX / Salazzle-GX

Hello friends, fans, and Subscribers. Hartford Regionals is right around the corner and I’m ecstatic to compete in it! This new format with no VS Seeker and lack of many strong Stadiums and Supporters has been interesting, to say the least. No longer can we run one-of tech Supporters that can be so easily re-used. We also need to be more careful about just discarding Supporters when using Professor Sycamore or Ultra Ball, because most decks will not have a way to recover them. I’m going to briefly go over a League Cup experience of mine with Gardevoir-GX and talk about a couple decks I like going into Hartford and why I think they’re good options for the tournament.

League Cup Top 8 with Gardevoir-GX

Recently I attended my first League Cup of the season; I hadn’t tested as much as I would have liked, so I went with a deck I’ve tested a lot in the past — my friend Austin Bentheimer won a cup with it a weekend or two before — Gardevoir-GX. We talked together to change up the list from what he used to win, and made it more suited for what we expected to face. We cut Giratina, the second Brigette, Diancie, and a 1-1 Octillery line to fit in a second Max Potion, an Oranguru, a fourth Rare Candy, and a 1-1 Sylveon-GX line. We realized that a 1-1 Octo is fine and still necessary though, and a second Max Potion would help because we expected a decent amount of the mirror. Oranguru is nice because it helps if you prize a piece of your Octillery line, and serves as a solid attacker in the mirror, and can OHKO a fully powered Alolan Ninetales. A fourth Candy was for added consistency by getting Gardevoirs up as soon as possible. Sylveon is for added consistency, and Plea GX helps in any matchup potentially, but mostly is for the Metagross-GX, Greninja BREAK and against any Fire variant.

Round 1 – Drampa-GX / Garbodor (0-1)

I have no clue if my opponent played Tapu Fini-GX or Espeon-EX, but it didn’t matter. I had a poor start because I went second and had the option to either Wonder Tag for N or Brigette. If I choose Brigette and he gets Garbotoxin, I have no guaranteed Supporter or way to draw more cards next turn, so I chose N and I ended up not getting the best set up from that. My opponent ended up just using Guzma after Guzma to KO my Ralts and Kirlia and by the time I got a Gardevoir into play it was basically too late.

Round 2 – ??? (1-1)

I’m having trouble remembering what I played this round for some reason but all I know is I won round two.

Round 3 – Rainbow Road (2-1)

Not much to say about this matchup because my opponent just dead drew and I just took consecutive KOs to win. If he had drawn better though, I had Parallel City, Oranguru, and Gallade which all help a ton in this matchup.

Round 4 – Vikavolt / Tapu Bulu-GX (3-1)

My opponent made the mistake of leaving the Energy on his Tapu Bulu-GX  when he took a KO on either a Ralts or a Kirlia, and that allowed me to OHKO it and get ahead in the Prize lead. From there on out I had an established board state and remained ahead on Prizes by taking a KO each turn.

Round 5 – Golisopod-GX / Garbodor (3-1-1)

This round I played against my friend Joe Baka, who I haven’t played against in some time. I was bummed that one of us would potentially get knocked out of cut, and even though I would have liked to win to guarantee I would be in cut: we tied after a long game and we both had a chance to make it.

This game was very close, due to awkward hands he had to use all four Guzma in his deck early on, so later game I could just switch between attackers and know my Bench was safe. I had a slow start but ended up making a comeback — knowing he had no Guzma left. At the end, time was called on my turn and I was put in a weird spot. I knew he needed his last Double Colorless Energy to win with Armor Press because that’s the only way he could do enough damage to KO any of my attackers (which were all in range of being Knocked Out by Armor Press). I also needed to take a KO that turn on the active Lele that had a Double attached to have a chance to win on my following turn. So, I should have played N to put him to one card, take the KO and hope he doesn’t draw the Double. I instead discarded the N with Ultra Ball thinking I had another play that could have worked out but I had realized it wouldn’t have after doing that. Instead I just used Guzma to bring up something else knowing he couldn’t Guzma to just insure it would be a tie.

Round 6 – Espeon-GX / Garbodor (4-1-1)

My opponent didn’t draw well this round. When he got Garbotoxin up, I had Field Blower so it ended up being a swift game.

Top 8 – Ho-Oh-GX / Salazzle-GX / Mew (4-2-1)

The first game I had a slower set up: I tried to fight my way back but couldn’t do it. Game two I was able to win because I had an okay set up but mostly because I used Plea GX to pick up two Ho-Oh-GX that had three Energy each after my opponent used Nitro Tank GX. Game three was close, but our games took quite some time and unfortunately my opponent was one Prize ahead of me by turn three of time so he got to advance. I may have gotten ahead on prizes on my last turn but he used Salazzle-GX Queen’s Haze GX on my active Sylveon which made it impossible from me to retreat and take a KO. I’m not entirely sure how that game would have panned out, but it looked like it was going to be in my favor.

Gardevoir is one of my favorite decks in the current format: I enjoyed playing it and didn’t wish I played anything else for the tournament. Here is the list I played:

Pokemon (20)

3x Gardevoir-GX (BUS #93)1x Gallade (BKT #84)3x Kirlia (BUS #92)4x Ralts (BUS #91)1x Sylveon-GX (GUR #140)1x Eevee (SM #101)1x Octillery (BKT #33)1x Remoraid (BKT #32)3x Tapu Lele-GX (GUR #60)1x Oranguru (SM #113)1x Alolan Vulpix (GUR #21)

Trainers (28)

4x Professor Sycamore (BKP #107)4x N (FAC #105)3x Guzma (BUS #115)1x Brigette (BKT #134)4x Ultra Ball (SM #135)4x Rare Candy (SM #129)2x Choice Band (GUR #121)2x Field Blower (GUR #125)2x Max Potion (GUR #128)1x Rescue Stretcher (GUR #130)1x Parallel City (BKT #145)

Energy (12)

8x Fairy Energy (BUS #169)4x Double Colorless Energy (FAC #114)

What Decks are a Good Play?

Gardevoir-GX

Gardevoir has so many things going for it and I believe it is the best deck if it sets up. It really only has two bad matchups, and that would be Greninja and Metagross-GX. Sylveon’s Plea GX helps immensely with both matchups, and you can play Giratina to help with Greninja a bit, but they’re still both going to be hard deal with and unfavorable overall. Now I’ll go over the matchups against the decks I expect to be most popular and talk about some techs and strategies to help you conquer them.

Versus Drampa-GX / Garbodor

This is a positive matchup overall, but a few things can give you trouble and those are Po Town, Tapu Fini-GX, Garbotoxin, and Espeon-EX. Max Potion helps a ton by negating any damage done by Po Town and makes it so Espeon-EX doesn’t get you. Now Espeon-EX isn’t the most popular inclusion in Drampa / Garb, but it’s possible to see. The best thing you can do is get as many Gardevoir set up and a Gallade as soon as possible using the least Items possible. If you must use a lot of Items, you can always use Twilight GX to return them to your deck.

Plea GX can be a good option in this matchup too, but typically you want to use Twilight. Sylveon-GX helps you get set up very well because of Magical Ribbon, and you can get everything you need to get going without the overuse of Items. If you can get a Gallade right away you can start stomping their Drampa-GX and if they do return KO you only give up one Prize. Garbotoxin can give you some trouble when you can’t use Secret Spring or if they N you down to a low hand and you can’t use Octillery or Oranguru to draw out of it. That’s why at least two Field Blower are necessary for this matchup, but even three would be great if you expect to see a lot of Garbodor. Overall, due to Twilight GX and the high HP of Gardevoir, Drampa / Garb Struggles to take KOs as easily as you can and that’s why this is a favorable matchup.

Versus Ho-Oh-GX / Salazzle-GX

This is another positive matchup, but because of how fast the deck is due to Kiawe and Max Elixir, and the late game strength of Salazzle-GX, it can lead to some close games. Although the deck is faster than you, if you get a good set up, it shouldn’t matter because chances are you will get a OHKO and they might not be able to. It all depends how you draw, because if you let them get more than one Kiawe off early game you could be in trouble: if they’re using Ho-Oh-GX, all they need is a Choice Band and one Steam Up to OHKO you. You always do have the option to use Plea GX, if they get too many things powered up and that can really put you ahead when you leave them with no attackers. Salazzle will likely be their last attacker to take their last two Prizes since all they need is two Fire Energy on it and Choice Band and they’ll hit for a perfect 230 to KO your Gardevoir.

If you get at least one Gardevoir out right away, you shouldn’t worry too much because chances are you can KO their first Ho-Oh before they can KO a GX of yours. Something else that can help this matchup out is Parallel City. Using it either way can be helpful to either reduce their damage that they do, making it harder to KO you; at the same time, you can eliminate easy two Prizes like Tapu Lele-GX off the board, or limit their Bench making it so they have fewer attack options on board.


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