Hello, everyone! My name is Luis F. López, and I’m a TCG player from San José, Costa Rica. I entered the game through the Pokemon Trading Card Game Online (back when it was browser-based) around late 2012, and started playing in unofficial tourneys a year later, as Costa Rica is unfortunately not supported by Play! Pokemon. I managed to become competitive enough to win some tournaments and have been placing in the top 4 of most tournaments held in the country. As far as my other duties go, I’m a second year chemistry student at one of the best universities in Central America and help out as a moderator on PokeBeach’s forums.
Anyway, let’s get into what we came here for! Roaring Skies brought a lot of hyped cards in the form of Shaymin-EX, both M Rayquaza-EXs, and Mega Turbo. I’m here to talk about a card that you may have initially dismissed: M Gallade-EX. When the first Gallade-EX was revealed, it was extremely underwhelming. The card was not at all playable. But everything changed when Roaring Skies arrived…
Let’s discuss Gallade-EX first. His first attack is rather underwhelming. You hit for 30, and then you may have your opponent switch their Active Pokemon with a Benched one of their choice. The only “good” part about this is that it can be used turn one via Dimension Valley. It can also disrupt your opponent’s setup. For example, you could switch a Virizion-EX out of the active spot when there’s only Genesect-EX on the Bench. Gallade-EX’s second attack is peculiar, to say the least. You are probably never going to be able to attach three Psychic Energy to Gallade to use this attack, but if you do, it’s brutal. With a base damage of 50 and 20 more for each Prize card you have left, you are hitting for 170 when you have six Prize cards left, which is a OHKO on most Pokemon-EX. It’s a nice attack to have at your disposal when you are unable to Mega Evolve. It could catch your opponent off-guard.
While Gallade-EX isn’t that good on its own, it has Mega Evolution (and a Spirit Link) at its disposal! M Gallade-EX is a 220 HP Mega Evolution that has a potentially brutal attack. With [P][P][C], you hit for 110. You can use Dimension Valley and ignore the last [C] in its attack cost, but that’s not where it ends. If any of your opponent’s Benched Pokemon have any damage counters on them, those Pokemon receive 30 damage as well! You’re looking at potentially 260 damage off one attack! But one of the best parts is that you can power it up in one turn by attaching your Energy for the turn and a Mega Turbo. And still, if you don’t, it takes only 2 Energy attachments to charge one up, so it’s actually quite fast. But, you might ask, how can you consistently damage your opponent’s Pokemon while not wasting a turn attacking (to avoid using fragile things like Spinda and cards that would erase that damage, like Rough Seas)? Well, that’s where Gallade’s partners will come in!
When looking at things that deal damage quickly, the first thing that comes to mind is Forretress. By evolving it, you place one damage counter on each of your opponent’s Pokemon. This, on paper, is actually a good combo, as it allows M Gallade to hit each of your opponent’s Benched Pokemon with Unwavering Blade. Let’s look at a list:
Theoretically, this deck is supposed to be able to pool a lot of damage quickly. However, after extensive testing, I came across several downsides for this build. For starters, it’s too predictable and can be stopped in several ways. For example, using a Lysandre on a Forretress or another of your attackers can be deadly if you don’t have immediate access to a switching card, and you can’t actually use Mystery Energy in the deck because the one Pokemon you need to retreat can’t use it. And also, by dealing only 10 damage, you’re often short when going for Knock Outs. Sure, you can use the Super Scoop Ups, but they’re not very reliable. When playing with the deck, I often wanted to target a certain Pokemon and Lysandre it for a double KO, but this was just impossible to achieve. I also found myself starting with Pineco more times than I can count, and pulling it out of the active position isn’t easy due to the [C][C] Retreat Cost. But then, when I was discussing the deck’s potential with some friends, one of them suggested something I hadn’t thought of: Crobat.
Golbat and Crobat PHF
Man, I’m so grateful I got convinced into playing Crobat, because the deck wouldn’t be what it is right now without it. The most notable changes in the list are dropping some of the alternate attackers and the Super Scoop Ups for the Bats and boost consistency to its fullest, mostly with Jirachi-EX. There are several advantages that Bats have over Forretress (and some things that might look bad at first but aren’t), so I’ll jump right on those.
At first you would say “Forretress is better, you can target all of your opponent’s Pokemon!”, but damage on a single Pokemon adds up way faster than with Forretress, so KO’s are easier to achieve. With two Golbats/a Golbat and a Crobat, you are making a Benched Pokemon go from 0 to 70/80 in a turn, whereas Forretress only nets you 50 with the same amount of Evolutions. And besides, it’s not like you can’t target every Pokemon if you need to. Golbat’s attack is often overlooked, but it’s essentially Forretress’ Ability, and it can use it for free as long as Valley is in play! Another thing some would say is “Where are the Scoops? You need to recycle the damage!” Well, not necessarily true. You don’t need to keep doing damage once you play a Bat, since Gallade can still hit everyone that has any damage on it. This also helps out immensely because you can 2HKO literally everything in the format. This is the main difference between Landorus-EX / Crobat builds and Gallade ones: Landorus can only attack two Pokemon, so you need to constantly keep doing damage to everyone and boost the damage you’re dealing to the Active, since Landorus-EX’s base damage is rather low. On the other hand, since Gallade keeps hitting all the Pokemon with damage and also has a base damage of 110, Crobat’s damage is not something you’ll need repeatedly across the entire game. And you also have a 4-4-4 line, so there’s plenty of chances to get more and more into play. And, if it wasn’t enough, Crobat can actually attack! I mean, of course, if you waste 2 Energy attachments on a Forretress, then sure, waste them. However, Crobat’s attack can add damage anywhere, and for free, if it wasn’t enough. Bats just hit a lot harder than Forretress… except if they’re dropped over your head. But how many times have you seen that happen?
Forretress’ Retreat Cost hurts. In fact, it hurts a lot. It’s basically Lysandre bait. Even if you have a Float Stone on one, they can just Lysandre another Forretress in play. On the other hand, Crobat is a 130 HP Pokemon with no Retreat Cost, has no Energy attached to it, can attack for free, and gives only one Prize card if KO’d. The struggle most Pokemon would go through just to KO a Crobat or Golbat generally isn’t worth it. Anyone would love to drag Forretress into the Active and hit it as many times they can, because they know it won’t leave anytime soon. And as an added benefit, the Bats give you an out to Escape Rope (it’s actually more common than you think) and even allow you to use a Escape Rope of your own. The free motion and versatility Crobat gives you is amazing, and I wouldn’t change that for anything.
The main reason I played Wobbuffet and Deoxys in my original Gallade list was because they could deal with Safeguard if needed. However, with Crobat taking that role, you can add other attackers that can help your main strategy. That’s where Chandelure-EX and Gengar-EX take a seat in the deck. Both can work virtually the same way. Their attacks place damage counters on any of your opponent’s Pokemon, so it’s a nice way to spread damage early game. Chandelure’s attack places four damage for only one Psychic Energy and Gengar’s places three for only a Colorless. Gengar’s attack is basically free with Dimension Valley in play. It mostly comes down to personal preference. Both are very strong against Mewtwo-EX. I like Chandelure because it hits for 70 with its second attack. If you are able to use Eerie Glow twice, most non-Mega EXs are just a Bat away from death. The Burn can add damage from there in case you don’t get a 2HKO.
I’ll talk about some of the most popular decks you might run into, with the obvious note that everything from Roaring Skies is still being torn apart by the community, trying to figure out the best way to play each deck, meaning it’s hard to say how this deck will handle them. Something else of note is that pretty much any deck you have a favorable matchup against can tech in a couple Mewtwo-EX and literally turn the tides the other way around.
M Rayquaza-EX (Colorless) – Extremely Unfavorable
This is the deck that’s probably going to give Gallade the most trouble. This deck has fierce speed, potentially dealing the 170 needed to OHKO any of this deck’s Basics on their first turn of attacking. This deck cannot OHKO a M Rayquaza-EX and it will struggle way too much for a 2HKO that won’t even balance out the Prize trade, because they’ll have another one ready once the first one is gone; or if it’s KO’d at all. Gallade can only pray for the M Ray player to have the worst Supporter drought they’ll ever imagine, and it won’t even be enough because the deck has Shaymin-EX to deal with that. The route I’d take is to leave the Bats in the active spot, charge up a M Gallade and shoot for a KO on the Benched Shaymin, and hope for the best hand to be able to streamline both M Gallade and Lysandre.
Virizion-EX / Genesect-EX – Very Favorable
Virizion-EX / Genesect-EX can definitely struggle against Gallade. Not even a G Booster from a Genesect-EX can OHKO a M Gallade, and will even struggle to 2HKO. Also, since the Bats are usually the ones taking hits, you won’t be hit by Emerald Slash very often. Even if you don’t, you can Swift Lunge to disrupt their setup and guarantee yourself a faster one. But the best part of all is that most Vir/Gen decks (if not all) play Jirachi-EX to boost consistency, and Jirachi can fall be simply using one Crobat and two Unwavering Blades, while also taking care of other Pokemon. And also, not having a single Mega Evolution in the deck helps out the four-Prize turns, and it will happen more often than not.
Seismitoad-EX Variants – Even to Unfavorable
This changes based on the variant in question. With disruption-heavy variants such as Slurpuff or Crawdaunt, you’re not going to get set up unless your opponent misses a turn of attacking for some reason. Against more aggressive variants though, like Crobat, the match is very even. You can afford to waste a turn with Mega Evolution if you don’t attach a Gallade Spirit Link before the Item lock, and the Crobats can actually make sure their twin brothers stay at low health. It’s a tricky situation without a doubt, but it’s not completely unwinnable.
Primal Groudon-EX / Fighting Variants – Favorable to Even
Fighting decks are well known for being able to apply early pressure and threaten a OHKO on most Pokemon, but have been decreasing in play since the format became very Mega Evolution-heavy. The damage output just isn’t enough to keep up with the tanks Mega Pokemon-EX are, and Gallade can take down most of the deck’s attackers with an Unwavering Blade, and Bats help out with those that could escape the OHKO. And I think it’s given that Lucario-EX would be the deck’s own ruin. However, if you add Primal Groudon-EX into the mix, it gets complicated. It’s another type of tank that won’t ever be OHKO’d by a Gallade. It can be overwhelmed pretty easily with the deck’s damage output, but once a P Groudon gets off a Gaia Volcano, you can get rolled over quickly if you don’t respond with an immediate KO. With both decks abusing Mega Turbo it can get tricky, so it’s just a matter of who can deal the most damage the fastest.
Yveltal-EX Variants – Very Favorable to Favorable
Yveltal-EX decks mostly rely on attacking with a high Energy requirement in order to OHKO, but this is extremely difficult for them while dealing with a 220 HP Mega that only needs two Energy to attack. With a Double Colorless Energy and a Darkness, a Muscle Band, Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym, and Gallade’s two Energy for an Evil Ball, they’re dealing 170 damage, which won’t even KO a Mega Gallade coming back into their turn, and they’d have to rely on Y Cyclones way too much to 2HKO, The only reason why this matchup can get really tricky is against Seismitoad-heavy variants, but since disruption in this case is at its minimal, you’ll be fine most of the time.
Flareon / Night March – Very Favorable to Even
Against Flareon, it’s fairly easy because most of their Basics will fall to a Crobat plus Unwavering Blade’s spread, and everything in the deck dies if active; even Empoleon after a Surprise Bite. But the matchup that can be really tricky is Night March, since they run Mew-EX. It’s a wild Prize exchange, since they can OHKO you as easy as you can OHKO them, so the victory is often with whoever attacks first. However, the fact that you can literally snipe all of their Bench-sitters to death potentially in one turn can turn the match in your favor.
There are better decks in the format. Seismitoad-EX is still pretty strong and blocks Spirit Links, M Rayquaza-EX is just faster than this deck, and Virizion-EX / Genesect-EX is still a solid play in most scenarios because of the type matchup. But what basically renders this deck almost useless for the time being is that Gallade is weak to Psychic, and Mewtwo-EX is Psychic. If it ever reaches a level of play where it is a threat in tournaments, all of the decks above can splash Mewtwo with no drawback. The only way I see this deck having a chance to shine is after both Sigilyph (not that big of a deal, though) and Mewtwo-EX are gone from the Standard format. In the XY-On format (unconfirmed but extremely likely), the only notable Psychic-type attackers left would be Wobbuffet, Deoxys and Gallade (let’s face it, the upcoming Hoopa-EX won’t ever attack), so chances are Gallade can fight on its own without fearing Weakness. However, would it be able to keep up with the mighty Rayquaza decks, strong Primal Groudon-EX builds, and the annoying Toads that will remain being played after rotation? Only time will tell.
Mega Gallade is definitely a force to be reckoned with. It has enough speed, consistency, and sheer force to quickly overwhelm most decks. Once rotation occurs, I can see Gallade taking a portion of the metagame. But, there’s a huge doubt if it’ll be strong enough to take down the heavy-hitters of the format. My biggest hopes are that it will, of course, but there’s nothing I can personally do to avoid Pokemon Card Laboratories from breaking the format even further. I mean, we got Shaymin-EX, what else could happen? The most I can do is pray that Mega Mewtwo-EX isn’t released anytime soon.
Anyways, I want to thank you all for reading this article! I can’t thank the whole PokéBeach team enough for editing my article and letting me write for the site I’ve been helping and taking care of for a year already. It really does mean a lot to me. Hope you guys enjoyed it and I’m looking forward to writing again in the future! Any type of comments are appreciated, so don’t hesitate to drop by the comment section or hit the “Like” button. Thanks again, and I’ll see you next time!