Blade Runner – Three Gallade Variants For State Championships
Hello everyone! My name is Alex Koch. I’m a cute little Pokemon player from Spokane, Washington. I am originally from Kent, Washington, a half hour south of Seattle. I moved over to Spokane for school and loved it enough to stay! I even met my beautiful girlfriend Sabrina in Spokane! I have been playing / collecting Pokemon since Base Set, but didn’t get into the competitive scene until Heart Gold and Soul Silver. At first, my success stayed mostly at the local level, winning a few City Championships and doing well at States. Two years ago, I started making Pokemon my main focus, playing three hours a day to get better. Now, I am one of the Top 16 players in the U.S. and Canada region! I’m thankful for the opportunity to share some of my thoughts on the Pokemon Trading Card game on PokeBeach! Hopefully I can be a solid source of quality insight every time I write. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of me either related or unrelated to my articles! I am always willing to help!
The best part of Pokemon is the people. Not the love of Pokemon, or the amount of nostalgic feelings, or even the game itself. Large portions of joy come from meeting new people, creating friendships, and sharing memories with the people you grow to love.
I came into this game many years ago without knowing anybody. College life had become stale and boring, and I was in need of something to do with my time outside of school work. After a trip home to grab some clothes that I had forgotten, I stumbled on a dusty old box of cards that I had neglected in the closet. A couple of friend and I gathered and started building decks. These decks were the kind of decks you would expect any starting player to build. Yes, I’m talking 20+ Energy cards, Pokemon from all different formats, and maybe five or six half-playable Trainer cards. We would build 16 decks and play them against each other in a single elimination tournament, with the best four decks moving on to another random tournament, while the other 12 would be taken apart and turned into new, equally as bad, decks.
It dawned on me that there had to be a way to make these things better. I so badly wanted my decks to be the ones to stay together. Proving to my friends that I was the best deck builder became all that I could think about. My textbooks were quickly replaced with stacks of Pokemon cards. My browser history was no longer math helper websites, and instead were premier Pokemon sites (PokeBeach was a big one.) This obsession got so big, that I started spending my food money from the school on Pokemon cards from the student store.
Fast forward four months. I was on my drive back home from my first State Championships, having had gone 5-3, losing in the 8th round to miss cut. I visited my first League and start to make those connections. Friends turned into more friends and pretty soon my entire social circle was all Pokemon players. These are the people that I hold so near and dear to my heart, all because of a dusty box of cards I decided to take out of my closet.
So why the history lesson? Well because as many of you might know, travel is a big part of how players achieve their invitation to the World Championships. It is near impossible to get to the ultimate tournament without spending a few long days in cars, or a painstaking journey through an airport. It is on these trips, that good ideas go to die, and bad ideas come to life. Brothers, best friends, and even significant others all yelling at each other about his or her ideas about “how to save Virizion-EX / Genesect-EX.”
One of those friends I met through Pokemon is my roommate Grady. He and I have been on many adventures to various card shops over the years. Every once in a blue moon, one of our bad car ride ideas actually turns into a successful deck. During the most recent City Championship series, we came up with a Gallade deck that gained our team a couple of Championship Points. Which leads me to the subject of this article: Gallade! I’ll be going over three unique ways to play Gallade: Gallade / Octillery, Gallade / Raichu, and VespiBox.
All About Gallade
There are many ways that Gallade can be played. It can be played as the main attacker, using its cheap, powerful attack to swing for 130 damage over and over again, while staying consistent with Premonition. Another way is as a secondary attacker, taking advantage of that ever-looming threat to take some quick Prizes. And the last as a tech, to help a Lightning-weak deck deal with some bad matchups. But before we get into any of that, let us take a look at Gallade and what awesome things it can do!
Gallade is a Stage 2 Fighting type Pokemon coming out of the BREAKthrough expansion. It has 150 HP, a Weakness to Psychic, no Resistance, and a Retreat Cost of two. It evolves from Kirlia and its nickname is “The Blade Pokemon.” Gallade is just over five feet tall, and weighs about as much as three Verne Troyers. The reason I’m giving you more information than necessary is because I want you, as the reader, to fully understand how good this Pokemon is.
I’m not convincing you with just my the specs of the card? Fine. How about the fact that it can OHKO Shaymin-EX, Manectric-EX, Darkrai-EX, Manaphy-EX, Greninja, Trevenant, and the Night March Pokmon? Or with the aide of a Muscle Band or Giovanni's Scheme it can reach numbers to Knock Out Yveltal, Yveltal, and opposing Gallade. Being able to hit big numbers for just a single Energy attachment has always been good, and Gallade is no exception. Take a look at how successful Night March decks have been. One Double Colorless Energy and down go big Pokemon-EX. Gallade not only hits those big numbers, but also has a great Ability to go with it.
Premonition is consistency at its finest! There are a couple of cards that can easily be fit into any Gallade deck to take advantage of this great Ability! First and foremost is Shaymin-EX. Being able to rearrange your top deck, and then immediately take a few of those cards boosts the consistency of your deck by a whole bunch! If a Supporter card would have been five cards down, you can Premonition it to the top and grab it using Set Up. This same effect can also be achieved with Acro Bike, Trainers' Mail, and Unown. These cards are staples in nearly every deck, so playing them with Gallade helps to give you that feeling of being able to grab any card at any time.
Gallade / Octillery
One other card I would like to mention that goes great with Gallade’s Ability is Octillery. The other cards are one-time use cards, and require you to play higher counts to fully take advantage of Gallade’s Premonition. Octillery stays in play, and allows you to keep taking cards off the top of your deck turn after turn. Pairing these two together leads us to our first deck. This strategy shows how Gallade can be used as a main attacker, abusing the high HP, heavy hitting attack, and non-EX Prize-trade.
There is a lot of stuff going on with this list! The first thing you may notice is the lack of Basic Energy. This is because of space issues. Gallade / Octillery has a lot of options in terms of what to tech and what to keep for consistency. The cool part though, is that with the inclusion of Puzzle of Time, you always are going to have access to more Double Colorless Energy in case you lose too many in the early parts of the game!
Puzzle of Time is not only included as a way to get back Double Colorless Energy, but also as a way to get back some of your wacky tech ideas. This version of Gallade / Octillery has a low count of one-ofs, surprisingly. There are many other choices you can include. But first, let me explain my choices for the current one count cards in the deck.
Now surprisingly, this is actually considered a one card tech in this deck. Usually players opt to play a high count of Professor Sycamore to help boost consistency. In general, Korrina can grab us all we will ever need in a turn because of the built in draw-power that Premonition and Abyssal Hand provide. I choose to play a single copy of this card in those situations where you have a low hand count and just need to resupply your choices. Another reason to have this card and an out is in those situations where you cannot use Abilities. Garbodor, Wobbuffet, and Hex Maniac can all render you without a way to get more cards. Professor Sycamore give you that quick shot to dig through more of your deck.
A lot of the Pokemon in this deck have very low HP, and as such, tend to bite the dust early on in the game. Teammates offers up that chance to grab a Double Colorless Energy without having to use your Abilities to draw into it. The Supporter card also can grant you that quick Rare Candy / Gallade combo to instantly grant you access to Premonition. Late game after a Pokemon gets Knocked Out, you can use Teammates to grab two Puzzle of Time and get back lost resources used in the early game.
Xerosic and Hex Maniac
I put these cards together because they’re really used for the same thing. They cover bad matchups that would be near auto-losses otherwise. Hex Maniac helps get around Trevenant‘s Ability and allows you that one turn of freedom to play Item cards and get back into the game. Xerosic helps catch back up against Garbodor-based decks, and Giratina-EX‘s attack. Since this list doesn’t play any Basic Energy, one Chaos Wheel can be a big issue to get around. Xerosic helps you to get rid of Double Dragon Energy quickly. It’s not only used for disruption and tricky situations, these cards also double as easy-to-play Supporters that trigger Gallade’s requirement on Sensitive Blade.
This card is like Butter, it goes in everything. So much can be and has been said about this card. It allows Gallade to hit some pretty fat numbers. With a Muscle Band and a Giovanni's Scheme drop, our titular Pokemon can OHKO any non-Fighting-resistant Pokemon with 170 HP. Not only that, but the card can be used to help boost consistency. If your opponent takes a Knock Out on your only Octillery, you can still use Premonition to reach into your deck and pick out cards using Giovanni’s Scheme’s draw effect. Butter!
Float Stone is the only easy way to get Octillery out of the Active spot. Sure, you can always attach a Double Colorless Energy to it and manually Retreat it, but that burns one of your precious Energy attachments. I prefer Float Stone over Switch, AZ, and Cassius because it can be hard for an opponent to Lysandre and scrap the Tool in the same turn in back-to-back turns. Plus, having a Pokemon with free-Retreat is never a bad thing, since it allows you to promote Octillery (or any other Pokemon with the Float Stone) when your Active gets Knocked Out, and allow you to play your turn without committing to a choice.
It should also be noted (and I’m getting ahead of myself here) that a really good sneaky play is Olympia from Generations. While I’m still going to favor Float Stone, Olympia not only frees Octillery from being in the Active, but it also satisfies the Supporter requirement for the turn! It also can be played under both Item-lock and Chaos Wheel-lock, something that out classes Float Stone. It might be worth the spot if you want to get creative!
Muscle Band and Enhanced Hammer
I’ve already touched on these two cards a little bit. Muscle Band, like Giovanni's Scheme, helps Gallade hit some great numbers. However, a high count of this card isn’t needed because 130 damage is already one of the “Magic Numbers,” of the game. As long as Gallade can still OHKO Shaymin-EX, you don’t need to add more damage all the time. Enhanced Hammer is mainly just for Giratina-EX, since only playing Double Colorless Energy can be troublesome. The other big use for the card is for Flash Energy on M Manectric-EX. Being able to OHKO M Manectric-EX and Manectric-EX is such a big deal in the matchup. Enhanced Hammer just increases your odds of being able to take advantage of their Fighting-type Weakness.
This deck can’t always rely on Puzzle of Time for recovery, so an inclusion has to be made elsewhere to get back resources. We could play cards like Bunnelby, but that would require the use of one of the limited Double Colorless Energy. If you think about the Prize-trade, and the fact that the game could be over before you would need more than four Double Colorless Energy, the only thing that you’re going to need to recover is Pokemon. Sacred Ash is better than Super Rod in this situation because we don’t play Basic Energy. Most of the time, I prefer Super Rod, but it doesn’t make sense in this list.
This card brings Gallade from good to great. A big part of the Standard format seems to be KO’ing Shaymin-EX. Target Whistle helps to achieve this combination over and over again. Late game, if you have a Lysandre and a Target Whistle in your discard pile, having two Puzzle of Time instantly turns into a quick two Prizes in the form of Knocking Out another Shaymin-EX. This is why we see less and less decks in the Standard format playing higher counts of Shaymin-EX. The other deck you commonly see Target Whistle in is Night March decks. This is because the Prize-trade that deck hopes to achieve is similar to the one in Gallade. However, since Gallade doesn’t play any Shaymin-EX, Night March can sometimes struggle to take all six Prizes against this build. With the popularity of Night March as displayed in week one and week two of State Championships, Gallade could be a very powerful option heading into week three.
There are many other options that you can include as techs in this deck. With the ease of access this deck has to Puzzle of Time, and the built in consistency of the Premonition / Abyssal Hand draw-engine, this deck give the feel of always being able to grab any card you want at any time in the game. Here are a few more cards to think about when building the deck.
I mentioned this before under the recovery option section of Sacred Ash. While using a Sacred Ash on anything that isn’t Gallade could be worry-some, it could prove to be useful in the long run. Being able to Rototiller twice and recover lost Double Colorless Energy or even two Puzzle of Time cannot be underestimated. If this deck falls behind and needs to recover extra resources quickly, this might be a good option to include, especially if you can get off more than one rototiller before the Bunny hits the discard.
I cannot stress enough how well this deck can Prize-trade with the heavy hitters of the format. Max Potion just adds an extra dimension to that trade. Over the years, cards that have benefited from Max Potion abuse have been those of low Energy requirements to attack. Playing this card does require a higher level of resource management when it comes to the Double Colorless Energy, but playing it can also win you close, nail biting games.
There are many good Stadium options that Gallade can play, with the best option being Fighting Stadium. However, I elect not to play one because it isn’t strictly needed. Fighting Stadium does help hit that 170 and 190 damage threshold, which can win games on its own, but like I said, it isn’t truly needed. An inclusion of one Stadium of your choice is never a bad idea though, since we play so many single card techs anyway. If you decide not to play a Stadium, then Delinquent can be a great option to get rid of opposing Stadiums, while also adding the 70 damage to Sensitive Blade. There isn’t a lot of Stadiums that Gallade fears though, so that is why it is not included in my original list.
This may seem silly to include in a “tech options” section, but with this deck it truly is. There is only one Pokemon here that can’t be searched with a Level Ball, and that’s the title character of Gallade. Ultra Ball gives you that option of being able to search for Gallade without having to use a Korrina for the turn. I generally find that once you get one Gallade up and running, the others tend to come out through the natural flow of the game, so that is why I don’t include one.
Other options that I want to mention but not dive into too much detail over are Escape Rope, Switch, Team Flare Grunt, Battle Compressor, Misty's Determination, and Repeat Ball.
Gallade / Octillery has everything you would want in a deck: a heavy hitter, many tech options, favorable Prize trades, and plenty of room for disruption. Also a lot of favorable matchups! I won’t dive into the specific matchups in this article, since I do want this section to be more focused on deck building. If you have any questions related to how this deck does against other popular decks, you can either drop me a message, or play the deck yourself! I will always reply and answer any questions you may have! There is no such thing as a perfect deck list.
So what if Gallade / Octillery just isn’t cutting it for you? What if you’ve tried and tried to make it work for you, but seemingly just haven’t found that right combination of cards to satisfy your ever dying need for Championship Points? Yet you still want to play Gallade? Well then how about I throw two new options at you: Gallade / Raichu and an extremely unique VespiBox deck.
This concludes the public portion of this article.
If you'd like to continue reading, consider purchasing a PokeBeach premium membership! If you're not completely satisfied with your membership, you can request a full refund within 30 days.
Each week we post high-quality content from some of the game's top players. Our article program isn't a corporate operation, advertising front, or for-profit business. We set our prices so that we can pay the game's top players to write the best content for our subscribers. Each article topic is carefully selected, goes through multiple drafts, and is touched up by our editors. We take great pride in our program!