Gearing Up for Regionals – The Decks to Expect!

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Double Colorless Energy (#103) from HeartGold & SoulSilver

States are long over and Regionals are this Saturday! This year, there were a heavy variety of decks used at States, with no one deck dominating any one division. Individual cards that were introduced in the new Pokémon Collector, Pokémon Communication, Pokémon Reversal, and possibly the most important of the bunch, Double Colorless Energy.

While the Supporters / Trainers could be used in almost any deck to help with consistency or disruption, Double Colorless Energy was only useful in a handful of decks. It added speed and greatly helped cards such as Garchomp C LV.X. Along with new Trainers and Energies, HeartGold & SoulSilver also brought many new Pokémon to the format, including Jumpluff and Donphan (Prime), who are both recognized for their intense speed and damage output.

SPs have been doing surprisingly well, but only one variation of the deck noticeably swept States. Luxray GL LV.X and Garchomp C LV.X was definitely the deck to beat, placing first in over half of the State Championships and placing second and third in others. I’m not saying other SP variants didn’t also do well, but Luxray GL LV.X and Garchomp C LV.X have the most wins by far. Returning decks such as Gyarados, Gardevoir, and Gengar continued to dominate States after an impressive show at the City Championships. Just how much did HeartGold & SoulSilver change the States metagame, and what does it mean for Regionals? Read on to find out! This article focuses on a few of the top decks in the format. Each deck will include a synopsis and detailed deck list. This article is intended for beginning and casual players of the game.

Luxray GL LV.X / Garchomp C LV.X

Luxray GL LV.X (#109) from Rising Rivals

Luxray GL LV.X and Garchomp C LV.X originally began as a combo during City Championships, along with Blaziken FB LV.X. Players eventually decided to drop Blaziken FB LV.X and this new, highly effective combo was born. The deck revolves around controlling your opponent’s field while dealing massive damage to whatever Pokémon you want. The combination of Luxray GL LV.X’s “Bright Look” Poké-Power make this easy, along with Garchomp C LV.X’s attack “Dragon Rush.” Cards such as Double Colorless Energy help speed up with process. The pure speed combined with the brutal disruption is the appeal of this deck, and many times it’s too much to handle for slow decks or decks with low HP Pokémon. There are few things that can stop the driving force of this deck because it gets set up too quickly, but be sure to watch out for decks like Donphan. As long as you make the right choices, this deck will perform well against almost anything. The deck has many options, and it can adapt to changing situations during a battle.

For example, if your opponent plays Mewtwo LV.X to try and stop you from attacking, you have several options, including just sending it to the Bench and pick off Prizes alternative ways, or using other possible tech cards to shut it down and/or eliminate it. Because it’s an SP deck, Luxray GL LV.X/Garchomp C LV.X (or, “Lady GaGa,” as it is commonly referred to) has many options and is definitely one of the best decks in the format. Expect to see this played quite a bit during Regionals.

This deck has many other options aside from the ones I’ll be showing you in the decklist. You can run it with Blaziken… you can run it without Dialga… you can basically do whatever you want with it. It is a very flexible deck, so don’t be afraid to tweak things.

Pokémon: 17

Trainers: 29

Energy: 14


Gyarados (#19) from Stormfront

After winning numerous City Championships, it wasn’t a huge surprise when Gyarados top cut time and time again at States. Even with its weakness, Luxray GL LV.X/Garchomp C LV.X, seeing a lot of play, Gyarados can hold its own in this difficult format. With its combination of speed and pure power, Gyarados is not only one of the most practical decks to use, but also one of the fastest.

Many people argue that it’s a bit of a risk to play, because if you have several Magikarp prized, you’re in a difficult position for the rest of the game. Luckily, there are steps you can take to prevent this from happening, and Gyarados has a few tricks up its sleeve anyway. Because of the deck’s charming simplicity, there isn’t a great deal of things to say about it. The strategy is to get a Gyarados out as soon as possible with three Magikarp in your discard pile, an Expert Belt on your Gyarados, and a good backup plan if you need one. A majority of the time though, if you can get your Gyarados set up fast enough, you’ll have taken a prize or two before you lose your first Gyarados. After that, it’s all up to you. Once again, it’s an easy deck to understand on the outside, but once you actually start playing it, you’ll need to be thinking several turns ahead and be sure you can get another Gyarados out if your current active one dies. Gyarados was one of the best choices for States and is still one of the best choices for Regionals.

Gyarados doesn’t have a huge variety of techs to choose from. There are two “main” versions of Gyarados: one that focuses on speed, and one that focuses on disruption. I’ll cover the version that focuses on speed for this article, but know the one that focuses on disruption uses Palkia LV.X, Team Galactic’s Wager, and an increased Luxray GL LV.X line. Both versions are viable, and it all comes down to preference.

Pokémon: 21

Trainers: 32

Energy: 6


Gengar LV.X (#97) from Arceus

After becoming increasingly popular during City Championships, Gengar was having a good year. In most of the previous season, a different Gengar was causing problems for the entire format. For a while, it seemed like the new age version of Gengar would be causing even more problems. At States, Cursegar definitely left a mark, taking home a few first and second places.

The secret lies in the deck’s ability to lock, spread, and survive all equally well. Early game you use cards such as Spiritomb to lock your opponent by preventing them from using Trainers, and give you the ability to evolve your Pokémon quickly; after that you set up your Gengar (Platinum: Arceus) and start getting damage all over the field, while alternating between other forms of stall. Gengar was also used excessively during States because of its positive matchups against almost every deck. It seemed like Gengar was able to put any viable tech into any list and it would take care of a whole deck. This isn’t to say Gengar didn’t have its faults, but it certainly covered its weak spots. After you’ve set up your lock and done your spreading, you can finish your opponent off with a blow from Gengar LV.X, using its Compound Pain attack, or another tech card you might decide to put in. While Gengar isn’t necessarily as fast as Luxchomp, it still is able to pump out significant damage very quickly, while damaging the opponent at the same time.

There are many techs for Gengar, such as Mr. Mime, which can help you against Gyarados and other low energy cost decks, Nidoqueen, which helps greatly against another Gengar deck or other spread decks, and Mewtwo LV.X, which makes the matchup against SP decks in your favor because of its Poké-Body. Once again, play around with them depending on your metagame.

Pokémon: 26

Trainers: 22

Energy: 12


Gardevoir (#7) from Secret Wonders

This deck has won countless events, and it’s little surprise it’s been winning even more now that States have come and gone. For most of its life, Plox has been a solid deck, but with the release of HeartGold & SoulSilver (more specifically, Double Colorless Energy), it became even more viable. Plox’s forte is an easy, early game lock; using DCE, you can get it setup even earlier.

Plox is short for “Psychic Lock,” Gardevoir’s attack. Both Gardevoir and Gallade can utilize Double Colorless Energy, which means you can be locking your opponent early game with Gardevoir’s Psychic Lock as early as turn two, and perform a late game sweep with Gallade’s Psychic Cut. Each attack does a substantial amount of damage for only two energy. Combine this with a simple damage booster such as Expert Belt and you’re dealing even more damage with the same great effect. Combine this with disruptive techs and a strong draw engine, and you have quite the combo going.

Plox’s biggest problem is its matchups against high-tier decks – specifically, Gyarados and Gengar. They’re not auto-losses, but they may cause problems depending on their builds. That said, States has proved that Plox can still hold its own, and Plox continues to remain a great deck to use for Regionals as well.

There are several variations of Plox, including ones that focus completely on locking, ones that focus on pure damage, ones that focus on disruption, and ones that focus on other things. For the sake of keeping this article simple, I’ll use the most universally accepted version of the deck, but please know there are others. The most popular alternate choices are a speed-focused version of the deck that does not use Spiritomb, a disruptive version that uses cards such as Dusknior and Palkia LV.X, and a lock-focused version that uses Mesprits to make sure the opponent never uses powers.

Pokémon: 25

Trainers: 22

Energy: 13


Jumpluff (#6) from HeartGold & SoulSilver

Ever since the first translation of Jumpluff appeared on PokéBeach, players have been eagerly awaiting its release and their chance to use it at States. Has it lived up to its expectations? I’d say yes, more or less. Jumpluff did quite well at States, although it didn’t necessarily do any better than what was expected of it.

Jumpluff’s game is simple: swarm as fast as you can while keeping yourself alive. Whether it be by increasing your HP, decreasing the damage you take, or just pulling a full-out offensive maneuver, Jumpluff has many tricks up its sleeve. Jumpluff only has a few threats in the metagame, the largest of which is Luxchomp, Gyarados, and arguably other Jumpluffs, due to each deck being as fast (or faster), harder-hitting, or more disruptive than Jumpluff. Because Jumpluff is so straightforward damage-wise, it has a lot of techs, but you can’t use every tech under the sun and still expect to win consistently.

Like I said before, there are many versions of Jumpluff you can use. For this article, I’ll use a very popular version that has recently been seeing more and more play, and will most likely be the best variant for Regionals. Once again, there are many other variants of this deck. One variant focuses on using the aforementioned Shaymin LV.X and Cherrim to keep Jumpluff alive thanks to the increased HP from Shaymin and the decreased damage from Cherrim, one is a damage-focused version that uses Cherrim (Stormfront), and a straightforward version that only plays Jumpluff, Claydol, Uxie, and Azelf. Try each one out to find which one you like!

Pokémon: 22

Trainers: 31

Energy: 7

Flygon / Donphan

Donphan (#107) from HeartGold & SoulSilver

Much like Jumpluff, Donphan is a card that many have eagerly awaited to be released. Because it can do 60 damage for one Fighting Energy, Donphan is one of the best donking cards in the format. Although it has its pros, players thought Donphan was too risky to run and wasn’t worth trying to set it up on the first or second turn. Donphan also has a very rough time against Gyarados, which was a big problem for players running it.

Flygon, on the other hand, is not such a new card. Flygon has been doing great the past year, but unfortunately was expected to not see much action during States. It was clear to some that Donphan needed a “backup plan” in case it didn’t get the donk on the first few turns. Flygon was the perfect backup plan. The strategy for this deck is pretty simple: try to donk with Donphan using power-increasing cards like Expert Belt, but if you can’t, get a Flygon ready on the bench so you can retreat Donphan for free and start swinging away with Flygon as you build up a swarm of Donphan on your bench. If your Flygon dies, just rinse and repeat. Both Pokémon are heavy hitters and can take out a good chunk of the format. Using techs like Nidoqueen is a good idea if you’re worried about your Flygon dying. At the same time, combine Nidoqueen’s “Maternal Comfort” Poké-Body with Donphan’s “Exoskeleton” Poké-Body, and Donphan becomes a tank that is dealing massive damage at the same time.

This is only one version of this deck, obviously, but you can run Donphan or Flygon by themselves and have good results.

Pokémon: 23

Trainers: 23

Energy: 14


As you can see, the metagame for Regionals is looking to be a good one. A large variety of decks that counter each other is a fair format, and it is definitely balanced. Of course, these aren’t all of the decks that won State Championships. There were other ones that didn’t win as many, or came in second or third, or were played, but weren’t quite ready to win. These decks might be back for Regionals, and if they are, the competition is sure to be interesting. Thanks for reading, and good luck at Regionals!