An Agent of Chaos — All About Giratina-EX

Hello PokeBeachers! Dalen Dockery here with another article for you. Today I’m going to discuss my absolute favorite card in the Standard format and one of my favorite cards of all time, Giratina-EX. I’ve played some sort of Giratina-EX deck ever since it was released not too long ago in Ancient Origins, so I’m going to focus on some of my favorite variants as well as others I believe have a lot of potential. Before we get into a bunch of details about specific decks, let’s take a quick look at what makes Giratina-EX such a powerful card.

Giratina-EX’s Strengths

While Chaos Wheel’s 100 damage isn’t the most astronomical damage output in the world, the disruption it provides more than compensates for the damage. Almost every single deck played now utilizes some type of Special Energy card, most popularly Double Colorless Energy, Double Dragon Energy, and Strong Energy. These cards become completely useless once the Chaos Wheel lock is established. In addition, popular support Tools and Stadiums like Rough Seas, Dimension Valley, Float Stone, Muscle Band, Fighting Fury Belt, and Spirit Links can’t be used after a Chaos Wheel. With all of these heavily played cards shut off from being used, taking a 2HKO on a Pokemon-EX doesn’t seem as bad anymore.

Giratina-EX‘s Ability is also very powerful, although not nearly as used or as effective as Chaos Wheel. Mega Evolution Pokemon only see occasional play in Standard, with M Rayquaza-EX and M Manectric-EX being the only two surviving Mega Pokemon in the competitive scene, but Renegade Pulse still protects Giratina from all damage dealt by these Pokemon or other Mega Pokemon.

The Big Three

The first three Giratina-EX variants that I will discuss are the ones that have proven themselves to be a noteworthy member of the competitive top decks. These three decks are Seismitoad-EX / Giratina-EX, Reshiram / Giratina-EX, and Tyrantrum-EX / Giratina-EX / Bronzong ; I will look at each deck on its own and then compare them at the end.

Seismitoad-EX / Giratina-EX

Ever since Giratina-EX was released in Ancient Origins, one of the first partners people have placed it with has been Seismitoad-EX. Seismitoad-EX / Giratina-EX, deemed to be “ToadTina” for convenience, was the first Giratina-EX deck I ever used, and it led me to a Top 8 finish at Fall Regionals this year, losing to an Yveltal-EX deck (something I’ve found to be unfortunately common). This familiar combination features two very control-oriented Pokemon-EX boosted by tons of disruption Item and Supporter cards; the Pokemon significantly hinder the opponent’s setup, and the powerful Items like Crushing Hammer and Super Scoop Up allow you to wipe away whatever offense they try to muster up. Four Puzzle of Time is very common in ToadTina decks, allowing you to reuse your Energy or useful Items. To further the control and disruption of ToadTina, many players opt to add in a Slowking or Garbodor line. Slowking is essentially a Crushing Hammer except the Energy is moved to another Pokemon rather than discarded, and Garbodor shuts off pesky Abilities like Greninja BREAK‘s Giant Water Shuriken, Bronzong‘s Metal Links, or Trevenant‘s Forest Curse (although you have to play down a Tool card onto Trubbish before they evolve into Trevenant for this to work). Zoroark is also occasionally seen in ToadTina decks due to its perfect use of Double Colorless Energy and infinite switching when paired with Float Stone, but Slowking and, to a lesser extent Garbodor, are more prevalent in ToadTina than Zoroark. Here is the decklist I used to win my local league’s April League Challenge:

Pokemon (11)

3x Seismitoad-EX (FFI #20)2x Giratina-EX (AOR #57)2x Shaymin-EX (RSK #77)2x Slowking (BKP #21)2x Slowpoke (BKP #19)

Trainers (41)

3x Professor Sycamore (BKP #107)2x N (NVI #92)1x Lysandre (FLF #90)1x Team Flare Grunt (GEN #73)1x Xerosic (PHF #110)1x Hex Maniac (AOR #75)1x Cassius (XY #115)4x VS Seeker (PHF #109)4x Ultra Ball (FLF #99)4x Puzzle of Time (BKP #109)4x Super Scoop Up (FFI #100)4x Crushing Hammer (GEN #60)4x Trainers' Mail (RSK #92)2x Muscle Band (XY #121)2x Head Ringer (PHF #97)2x Float Stone (BKT #137)1x Silent Lab (PRC #140)

Energy (8)

4x Double Colorless Energy (XY #130)4x Double Dragon Energy (RSK #97)

For this event, I chose to use a thicker line of Slowking than usual, 2-2 compared to 1-1, just to have fun, and it actually worked quite well! With multiple Slowpoke I was able to draw them fairly quick, and in the games I was able to get out two Slowking, I maintained complete control over my opponent’s Energy for the whole game while Seismitoad-EX slowly whittled down their Pokemon. Combined with the other disruption cards like Crushing Hammer and Team Flare Grunt and the healing power of Super Scoop Up, I was able to stop a few of my opponents from even taking a single Prize card!


ToadTina has always had one seemingly bad matchup, Yveltal-EX decks. Yveltal-EX has many annoying aspects to it that ToadTina has to work around, it can hit for massive damage in a very short period of time and it has a ton of health. Without the extra damage provided by the Hypnotoxic Laser / Virbank City Gym combo in the Expanded format, ToadTina takes significantly longer to score a KO, allowing the opponent to take almost all of their Prizes before you can get rid of a single Yveltal-EX. Arguably even more annoying than Yveltal-EX is their army of Baby Yveltal. Both Yveltal XY and Yveltal BKT plague ToadTina in their own way. Yveltal XY loads Dark Energy onto their Benched Pokemon while you slowly KO that one Yveltal, and Yveltal BKT damages multiple of your Pokemon-EX while simultaneously shutting off the extra damage of your Muscle Band with its Fright Night Ability. This matchup is certainly winnable, though. If you can steadily keep their Energy to a minimum, you can rack up quite a bit of damage over time while they struggle to find more Energy under Item-lock.

The release of BREAKpoint brought ToadTina another bad matchup, Greninja BREAK. Frankly put, this matchup is dependent on one thing: whether or not Greninja can manage to set up decently under Item-lock. Once evolved from its weak Basic and Stage 1 forms, both Greninja and Greninja BREAK can tank a handful of Quaking Punches, especially with their Rough Seas to heal themselves, and between attacking and using their Water Shuriken Abilities, they can KO a Seismitoad-EX in as little as two turns! However, Greninja decks can easily draw dead under Seismitoad’s Item-lock, allowing ToadTina to sweep the game with no effort. One tech that would greatly boost this matchup for ToadTina is using Garbodor instead of Slowking. Once Garbodor gets a Float Stone attached to it, Greninja’s Water Shuriken and Giant Water Shurikens are permanently disabled, putting the two decks on more equal ground. While Greninja still deals more damage than Seismitoad-EX, Garbodor’s Ability lock allows the disruption of Crushing Hammer and Super Scoop Up to be impactful, slowly grinding down both Greninja’s HP and resources.

One good thing ToadTina has going for it is its very positive matchup against the most dominant deck by far in the Standard format, Night March. Seismitoad-EX is a wonderful attacker against Night March since they rely on Item cards like Trainers' Mail and Battle Compressor to set up as well as Puzzle of Time to recover their Double Colorless Energy, greatly limiting them in the number of things they can do. Even if a Night March deck manages to set up well before Seismitoad’s Item-lock begins, the tons of Energy removal ToadTina is equipped with can discard all four of Night March’s precious Double Colorless Energy, leaving them with no way to attack. Not only is Seismitoad a powerful attacker against Night March, but so is Giratina-EX!  Chaos Wheel’s Special Energy lock flat out stops Night March from attaching any Energy at all, in exchange for letting them use Item cards. Allowing Night March to play Item cards can be quite pesky, though, since most Night March decks play a copy of Xerosic to discard Special Energy. Xerosic wouldn’t be too big of a deal with Seismitoad since you can simply reattach another Double Colorless Energy the following turn, but attacking with Giratina lets them reuse that Xerosic with both VS Seeker and Puzzle of Time until you can no longer find another Energy to attach. For this reason, Seismitoad is generally the preferred attacker in the Night March matchup, but Giratina is certainly very effective too, especially if the opponent doesn’t use any Xerosic .

Other than Yveltal-EX, Greninja BREAK, and Night March, ToadTina does not have any very favorable or unfavorable matchups. Giratina-EX provides a powerful edge against decks like M Rayquaza-EX and M Manectric-EX with its Mega immunity, and Seismitoad-EX can slow down any deck’s setup greatly. ToadTina can also “steal” many wins, that is, you can get very lucky on Crushing Hammer and Super Scoop Up coin flips while they draw dead under Item-lock. One tech that does hurt ToadTina considerably though is Jirachi. Stardust is an incredibly annoying attack for ToadTina, a deck that plays only Special Energy. Jirachi breaks whatever lock you have, whether Quaking Punch or Chaos Wheel, until it is Knocked Out, a process that is made difficult by the protection Stardust gives it. If you ever have the opportunity to Lysandre a Jirachi for the KO at any point, it is almost always advisable to do so in order to eliminate the threat it poses immediately.

M Manectric-EX decks are usually very close games for ToadTina. M Manectric-EX’s Turbo Bolt attaches more Energy than Crushing Hammer can discard, and its Lightning-typing allows it to utilize Rough Seas which, combined with its naturally high HP, makes it very difficult to score a KO on a M Manectric-EX. For this reason, Seismitoad-EX is a very bad attacker in a Manectric match, putting all of the heavy work on Giratina-EX; fortunately though, Giratina-EX can usually handle this pressure. Giratina-EX is immune to damage from M Manectric, making them resort to Manectric-EX ‘s Assault Laser to deal damage. If you don’t attach a Muscle Band to Giratina, Assault Laser caps out at 60 damage, allowing you to 2HKO Manectric-EX while it 3HKO’s Giratina-EX.

Although this is not necessarily a matchup, ToadTina sometimes struggles in very long games. In a drawn-out game, ToadTina is likely to run out of its VS Seeker, Super Scoop Up, and Crushing Hammer, allowing the opponent to begin finally building up a notable field. If this occurs and you aren’t extremely close to winning, your opponent can sweep through your Pokemon-EX with almost no effort. Since these resources are so important in this deck, we use four Puzzle of Time to get back whatever we need. Typical targets of Puzzle of Time include Double Colorless Energy / Double Dragon Energy, Crushing Hammer, Super Scoop Up and VS Seeker, that’s what makes Puzzle so powerful- you can get back anything you need! The only downside to Puzzle of Time is occasionally only getting to use it one time, since you are required to play two Puzzles of Time at the same time to get back two cards and may have to discard a lone copy with Ultra Ball or Professor Sycamore or have the last copy stuck in your Prize cards, but the power Puzzle of Time provides is much greater than the small setback not even found in every game.

ToadTina is by far the most controlling Giratina variant there is. With the despised Seismitoad-EX as its partner and its army of Item cards, it can cause any deck to crumble and shut down. If you want to play a Giratina-EX variant and like control decks, then ToadTina is the deck for you!

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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