“Despair Ray”-tion Tactics — Musings on Mega Gardevoir-EX for Regionals

Hello PokeBeach readers, my name is Brandon Nguyen and I am an aspiring TCG player from the Midwest! I recently attended Regionals in Orlando, FL and saw a lot of decks that stood out from what I had perceived would make up the majority of the meta. Volcanion / Volcanion-EX, M Mewtwo-EX / GarbodorGreninja BREAK, Dark Variants (Yveltal-EX / Garbodor, Darkrai-EX / Giratina-EX, Darkrai-EX / Garbodor, Yveltal-EX / Mew, and Yveltal-EX / Hammers) and Rainbow Road were the main decks that I expected to see at Orlando Regionals. One Raichu / Golbat / Banette (piloted by Matthew Brower) as well as several M Gardevoir-EX decks made Top 32. Out of all of the previously mentioned archetypes, the deck that interested me the most was the M Gardevoir-EX deck as that Pokemon has always been one of my favorites in both the trading card game and the video games.

In this article, I plan on discussing the deck in our current Standard format, a variant for Philadelphia Regionals for the Expanded format, and a potential future version for Fort Wayne Regionals that is to feature the new Evolutions set for the Standard format.

Orlando Regionals – October 15th and 16th, 2016

All of my testing for the event focused on three decks; M Mewtwo-EX / Garbodor, Greninja BREAK, and Dark / Hammers. The night before the event, I spent most of my day in airports and dealing with hotel reservation complications. I heard from various sources of a “secret” deck that everyone was suddenly playing Gyarados. I decided against frantically gathering cards from all of my friends from Georgia, Tennessee, and Arkansas to build this secret deck for the event. My logic being that I was unfamiliar with all of the nuances of the deck at the time and was not going to play a deck I’m unfamiliar with for 9 rounds of Swiss. So I stuck with Greninja BREAK, a deck with very good odds against most of the decks that I had expected to play against at Orlando.

I ended up 3-6-0 after Day One of Swiss. Normally I would have dropped and gone sight seeing if I were playing in a Midwest event with such a highly negative record. However, I kept playing to make the most of the trip as I had just spent 14 hours total travelling the day before to get to the event. After Day One, I learned that two friends of mine that ended up playing M Gardevoir-EX had made Day Two. I extensively talked with Rith Ke, a player from Minnesota, about the deck and how he felt about where it stood in the current Standard format (Primal Clash to Steam Siege). Conceptually, the deck aims to power up a M Gardevoir-EX and establish a strong board presence to Knock Out your opponent’s Pokemon in one hit. Below is an example list of such an M Gardevoir-EX deck for Primal Clash to Steam Siege.

Primal Clash to Steam Siege M Gardevoir-EX


Pokemon (17)

4x Gardevoir-EX (STS #78)3x M Gardevoir-EX (STS #79)2x Hoopa-EX (AOR #36)4x Shaymin-EX (RSK #77)1x Joltik (STS #41)1x Galvantula (STS #42)2x Hawlucha (STS #97)

Trainers (35)

3x Professor Sycamore (PHF #101)2x N (FAC #105)2x Lysandre (FLF #90)1x Hex Maniac (AOR #75)1x Giovanni's Scheme (BKT #162)1x Karen (PRXY #177)4x Ultra Ball (FLF #99)4x VS Seeker (PHF #109)4x Gardevoir Spirit Link (PRC #130)3x Trainers' Mail (RSK #92)2x Mega Turbo (RSK #86)2x Super Rod (BKT #149)1x Float Stone (BKT #137)1x Escape Rope (PRC #127)4x Sky Field (RSK #89)

Energy (8)

8x Fairy Energy (XY #140)

Card Inclusions

4 Gardevoir-EX STS and 3 M Gardevoir-EX STS

Most Mega Pokemon-EX decks typically play a 3-3, 4-3, or 4-4 split. I opted for the 4-3 split as it makes it less likely to start Shaymin-EX or Hoopa-EX which typically are liabilities to your initial board state when they are your Active Pokemon. I opted for the Link Blast Gardevoir-EX as opposed to the Life Leap Gardevoir-EX as it can help you take out a non-Fighting Fury Belt Giratina-EX with a single Double Dragon Energy attached or two Darkness Energy attached in one shot. 3 M Gardevoir-EX is a good number since you are not likely to have more than two of them in play at any given state of the game unless it is safe for you to set up three of them all at once.

1 Joltik and 1 Galvantula

This 1-1 Galvantula evolution line is included in this list to help do Bench snipe damage to either soften up Pokemon with large HP numbers (anything above the 180 HP threshold) or to Knock Out opposing Froakie or Magikarp to deter your opponent’s set up. An interesting side note about Joltik is the fact that it has free retreat, which can help with the mobility of the deck to get your M Gardevoir-EX into the Active position.

2 Hawlucha

This tech card is a neat inclusion to the M Gardevoir-EX deck as its Sudden Cyclone Ability allows you to force your opponent Active Pokemon back to their Bench. This Ability is very useful to force Yveltal out of the Active, which typically is the bane of any Mega Evolution deck as its Fright Night Ability shuts off all Pokemon Tool Cards as long as it is in the Active position. Being able to Mega Evolve into M Gardevoir-EX without having to end your turn is ideal and allows you to still establish your board and force your opponent to respond to a bigger threat.

1 Giovanni’s Scheme

This tech Supporter is included to help give your Despair Ray attacks more firepower and allow you to possibly turn a guaranteed two shot Knock Out into a one shot Knock Out without having to discard all of your Benched Pokemon and risk getting Benched Out (losing based on not having any more Pokemon in Play). Note that Giovanni's Scheme only boosts the damage done to your opponent’s Active Pokemon, so do not use it in the event you are going to use Galvantula‘s Double Thread attack.

2 Super Rod and 1 Karen

These cards are included to help you abuse Despair Ray multiple times throughout the game. Super Rod is nice because it allows you to shuffle more Pokemon to fuel Despair Ray’s damage output without having to use your Supporter for the turn or to recuperate Fairy Energy that have been discarded throughout the game. Karen, a watered down version of the infamous Lysandre's Trump Card, shuffles all of the Pokemon in both player’s discard piles back into their decks. Using Karen is okay if you do not need to take a crucial Knock Out on any major Benched threats on your opponent’s board via Lysandre, limit your opponent’s options with a late game Hex Maniac or a N, or take a juicy Knock Out on the Active with a Giovanni's Scheme.


The decks that will be discussed in this section are four common matchups that you would most likely play in this format.

Darkrai-EX / Giratina-EX / Garbodor – Slightly Favorable

Set up while you can before Garbodor‘s Garbotoxin Ability can impede your board presence. Take easy Knock Outs on opposing Shaymin-EX, Hoopa-EX, or Giratina-EX. They will most likely end up having to rely on Darkrai-EX as their main attacker as you cannot easily one shot it, especially if they have a Fighting Fury Belt attached. However, you can take advantage of the fact that Gardevoir-EX and M Gardevoir-EX resist both of Darkrai-EX‘s attacks, Dark Pulse and Dark Head. Be cautious of the exponential damage output Darkrai-EX is capable of with Max Elixir at and Double Dragon Energy attachments throughout the game, especially in the parts where you do not have a M Gardevoir-EX set up.

A good example list for this deck can be found here. Shout out to the guys (Rahul Reddy, Ryan Sablehaus, and Brad Curcio) for cooking up this list and taking three of the eight Top Cut spots at Orlando!

Greninja BREAK – Slightly Even

It’s imperative that you try to establish a strong board presence before the onslaught of multiple Greninja can appear. Ideally, you should try an get your Galvantula out so you can get some potential double Knock Outs on any Froakie on your opponent’s Bench to prevent them from getting out multiple large HP one prize attackers in the form of Greninja BREAK. If you cannot deter the inevitable set up, you’ll learn quickly just how a single Greninja BREAK can take multiple prizes. A free six damage counters from the Giant Water Shuriken Ability every turn, upwards of 80 damage from Moonlight Slash, and two damage counters in between turns from Faded Town (the Stadium card of choice for Greninja BREAK decks in the current Standard) equates to 160 damage without accounting for additional Giant Water Shuriken going into your turn. Hex Maniac can help mitigate some of the potential damage output from Greninja BREAK and possibly allow you to turn the tides.

In my opinion, the best Standard Greninja BREAK list has been made by Travis Nunlist. You can see his thoughts on Greninja BREAK and some other Stage 2 decks in this article.

Volcanion / Volcanion-EX – Slightly Unfavorable

This matchup is rather shaky. Volcanion can go off on its first turn and continue that momentum throughout the entire game. Abusing the Steam Up Ability of Volcanion-EX, they can stack up large amounts of damage with a one prize attacker while establishing a strong stable board via Power Heater. Many lists either play Faded Town or Parallel City which really puts us between a rock and a hard place. You can try your best to slow them down with Hex Maniac, but its not ideal. The best approach to this matchup is take cheap Prize cards off of their Shaymin-EX or hope to hit into non-Fighting Fury Belt Volcanion-EXGalvantula is interesting in this matchup as it can help you set up potential Knock Outs onto their Volcanion-EX with some prior damage, but it also gives them an easy Prize card.

A good reference for Volcanion / Volcanion-EX in the current Standard Format is this article written by Dalen Dockery.

M Mewtwo-EX / Garbodor – Very Favorable

The best matchup for M Gardevoir-EX in this format is M Mewtwo-EX / Garbodor. You hit for Weakness and can Knock Out their Mega Evolutions without having to discard any Pokemon off of your Bench. The best approach is to get the most use of your Shaymin-EX and Hoopa-EX before the inevitable Garbotoxin lock is in Play. Set up as fast as you can and maintain at least two M Gardevoir-EX on board at all times. Discard any liabilities that you have on your board with your Despair Ray attacks and just out trade your opponent. The only way that M Mewtwo-EX that remotely come close to beating M Gardevoir-EX is if and only if you dead draw for several turns as they build up a high Energy M Mewtwo-EX.

Jimmy Pendarvis has a great article that outlines M Mewtwo-EX / Garbodor and some other Mega Evolution decks in our current Standard!

Philadelphia Regionals – November 5th and 6th, 2016

I have been pondering of some ways to make M Gardevoir-EX somewhat playable in Expanded Format. This format has many more archetypes at its disposal. I feel that M Gardevoir-EX can afford to play slower and two shot for your Knock Outs. This current build that I have for M Gardevoir-EX in Expanded will focus on attacking for only a single Fairy Energy by abusing the recently rotated Dimension Valley. This list is more of a rough draft than a finalized product. However, I feel that it is a good starting place for the deck in this format. In the event that I could attend this Regionals in Philadelphia, I would highly consider either playing a variant of this list or just stick with classic Yveltal-EX / Maxie's Hidden Ball Trick.

Expanded M Gardevoir-EX


Pokemon (15)

4x Gardevoir-EX (STS #78)3x M Gardevoir-EX (STS #79)2x Hoopa-EX (AOR #36)4x Shaymin-EX (RSK #77)2x Exeggcute (PLF #4)

Trainers (38)

3x Professor Juniper (PLF #116)1x N (PRBW #BW100)1x Hex Maniac (AOR #75)1x AZ (PHF #117)1x Lysandre (FLF #90)1x Karen (PRXY #177)4x VS Seeker (PHF #109)4x Ultra Ball (DEX #102)3x Gardevoir Spirit Link (PRC #130)3x Trainers' Mail (RSK #92)3x Max Potion (EPO #94)2x Battle Compressor (PHF #92)2x Mega Turbo (RSK #86)2x Super Rod (BKT #149)2x Escape Rope (PLS #120)1x Dowsing Machine (PLS #128)4x Dimension Valley (PHF #93)

Energy (7)

7x Fairy Energy (XY #140)

Card Inclusions

4 Dimension Valley, 3 Max Potion, 2 Mega Turbo

Dimension Valley allows you to use Despair Ray for a single Energy. Attacking for a single Energy is a luxury that several decks in the Expanded format can afford. This stadium card allows you to abuse a decent damage attack without having to invest too many resources. Max Potion and Mega Turbo combo very well with Dimension Valley. Being able to heal off all the damage on a Mega Evolution Pokemon and then reattach the discarded Energy is interesting. It allows you to invest your traditional one Energy card attachment to a different Pokemon while giving you a way to still attack with your freshly healed M Gardevoir-EX.

2 Exeggcute

Exeggcute combos very well with M Gardevoir-EX in the Expanded format. You can abuse the Propagation Ability to fuel the discard costs of Ultra BallDowsing Machine, and most importantly Despair Ray. It provides a stable damage boost for Despair Ray without having to reshuffle them back into the deck and re-draw them as you would with Shaymin-EX and Hoopa-EX. Also, it serves a purpose for resource conservation as they can be abused as many times as you want per turn.

1 Dowsing Machine

There are many viable ACE SPEC cards that you can play in Expanded. I have chosen to play Dowsing Machine because it allows you reuse any Trainer card in your discard pile. Need a 5th VS Seeker? What about another Max Potion? There are many cards that you can reuse to your advantage in this deck! It gives you more options and outs to win the game.

Other ACE SPEC cards that you could consider playing over Dowsing Machine are Computer SearchGold Potion, and Rock Guard. Computer Search is easily the most optimal substitute for Dowsing Machine as the coveted ACE SPEC position. It allows you to grab any card you need from your deck without having to reveal it to your opponent. It is very helpful in a pinch if you couldn’t get what you exactly needed off a Trainers' Mail, draws from Shaymin-EX‘s Set Up Ability, or even off of a draw Supporter. Gold Potion is interesting option to allow you to make M Gardevoir-EX more bulky and give yourself more chances to Despair Ray with a single M Gardevoir-EX rather than switching to a newer one. I wouldn’t put too much stock into Gold Potion as your ACE SPEC card, but just wanted to note that it is an option available to you. Rock Guard, the permanent Bursting Balloon, punishes your opponent’s offense while allowing you to get easier Knock Outs with additional damage placed by the effect of this particular ACE SPEC. It isn’t as big of an issue in Expanded due to the presence of Tool removal, but is a very rogue option that could possibly played in this variant.


The decks included in this section are decks that should see some sort of play at Philadelphia. This article written by Eric Gansman does a great job of metagaming for this upcoming event! This deck has the potential to be good in Expanded, but is not fully documented at the moment. Anyways, let’s dive into the matchups!

Dark Variants – Slightly Even

The bread and butter of the Expanded Format. Whenever the Expanded Format is being discussed, Dark is always a contender to win it all. There are two primary approaches to playing Dark in Expanded, Maxie's Hidden Ball TrickYveltal-EX and Turbo Dark. Both decks have the capability of beating every other deck as they have the most options to deal with everything place in the Expanded format. We will go over both matchups in this section, but let’s start with Maxie’s Yveltal.

The Maxie’s build, highlighted by Treynor Wolfe and his Madison Regionals Champion List, plays Archeops and Gallade which are brought out into Play via Maxie's Hidden Ball Trick. They will abuse the Ancient Power Ability of Archeops and Fright Night Ability of Yveltal to prevent you from Mega Evolving your Gardevoir-EX. These two Pokemon alone can shut down our entire game plan, so be prepared to play Hex Maniac to work around these hurdles. It doesn’t help that they play both Silent Lab and Parallel City. One shuts off our Abilities that help us set up our board and the other limits out damage output. Between the two Stadium cards, I’d prefer Parallel City to be in Play over Silent Lab as we can still use our Abilities to get our board set up. However, you can win the Stadium war if you force your opponent to play them first. Maxie’s Yveltal has a better matchup against M Gardevoir-EX than its counterpart, Turbo Dark, however it is not impossible. You resist their attacks. You have forms of healing that can mitigate the snipe damage from Pitch Black Spear and Night Spear. Evil Ball does not do too much damage given that you are only attacking for a single Energy! Just hope you can go first or that they miss the turn one Archeops and this matchup can swing more favorably for M Gardevoir-EX.

Turbo Dark features Darkrai-EXMax Elixir, and Dark Patch which can build up a lot of Energy on turn one for massive damage with Dark Pulse. Some builds include Hypnotoxic Laser to help rack up more damage! This deck is very aggressive and can out pace you. This matchup is very hard if you cannot keep up. Well-timed Max Potion will help keep us in the game. Play them only when necessary! You’ll also need to be wary of Fighting Fury Belt Darkrai-EX as you cannot one shot them. If you can take a cheap Knock Outs on any Shaymin-EX or any of the deck’s other attackers (YveltalYveltal, or Yveltal-EX) that have some Energy cards attached, go for it. This approach ultimately gives your M Gardevoir-EX more longevity against Darkrai-EX as you are reducing their overall damage output. Resistance plays a small role in this matchup, but can make the difference if they whiff an attachment with Max Elixir or Dark Patch.

Item Lock- Very Unfavorable

Another popular strategy in Expanded is item lock. There are several archetypes that revolve around this strategy in the Expanded format (Trevenant / Trevenant BREAK, Vileplume Toolbox, and Seismitoad-EX variants). Item lock is ridiculously strong, especially against Mega Evolution decks as Item cards are essential to their set up. I’ll be going over Trevenant / Trevenant BREAK first, followed by Vileplume toolbox, and lastly Seismitoad-EX / Bats. The best approach to countering this strategy is going first and using as many Item cards as you can before they establish their respective locks!

Trevenant / Trevenant BREAK is not an impossible matchup as you can easily knock them out. The issue is whether or not you can go first or they whiff the turn one lock. Aaron Tarbell’s list from Florida Regionals (2015-2016 season) is one of the most consistent lists that I have ever played. It hardly ever misses the turn one lock if you happen to go first with it. Being able to grab a Jirachi-EX with an Ultra Ball to use Stellar Guidance or just using Computer Search for Wally the turn one Trevenant is powerful. If this happens, it can be very hard to counter unless you are able to set up without the aid of Item cards. Your best chances of winning are going to be taking easy prizes from any of their benched Shaymin-EX or Jirachi-EX as well as taking out any of their highly invested Trevenant or Trevenant BREAK.

Sam Hough took Worlds 2016 by storm with his innovative Vileplume / Ninja Boy Toolbox deck (affectionately referred to as Sammybox). It didn’t take too long for players to adjust the deck for the Expanded format. It had a popular showing at Arizona Regionals and could keep seeing play due to its strength as a lock deck with several situational attackers (Jolteon-EXYveltal-EXGlaceon-EX, and Aegislash-EX) coupled with Vileplume‘s Irritating Pollen Ability. In this matchup, their best attacker is Glaceon-EX due to its Crystal Ray attack preventing all damage done to Glaceon-EX by Evolution Pokemon which would include M Gardevoir-EX. The only outs to this Crystal Ray lock are Lysandre and a combo involving Hex Maniac and Escape Rope. Conserving these resources will be important in this particular matchup. AZ presents another problem. As it stands, our build is set to two shot opposing Pokemon that have more than 150 HP. With AZ, your opponent can returned a damaged Pokemon-EX on the brink of death to their hand and replay it without risk of giving you any Prizes. It can be an uphill battle, but M Gardevoir-EX can potentially pull through for us. An interesting tech card for this sort of matchup is Pokémon Ranger as it removes the effect of Crystal Ray, however it isn’t enough as we cannot one shot the Glaceon-EX without playing the Sky Field variant.

The last item lock deck to be assessed is Seismitoad-EX / Crobat. Pokebeach Writer Eric Gansman took the deck to a Top Four finish at Arizona regionals this year and his most recent list can be found here. There are other Seismitoad-EX decks in Expanded, but I will only talk about Seismitoad-EX /Crobat due to its popularity and viability in comparison to the other builds. The deck puts on so much pressure with the Quaking Punch lock, additional damage from Surprise Bite Crobat, Sneaky Bite Golbat, and poison from Hypnotoxic Laser, and shutting down Abilities with Silent Lab. This combination is the worst for M Gardevoir-EX. Healing in the form of Super Scoop Up is deadly and ultimately spells the loss for us. Imagine getting a Fighting Fury Belt Seismitoad-EX just short of a Knock Out, they play this flip based healing card and get “Heads”. Everything you worked so hard for… gone. This deck is the perhaps the worst matchup for M Gardevoir-EX to face off against in a series. Making room for a Pokémon Ranger would be very helpful in this matchup. Approach this matchup as you would do with the other item lock decks and also hope for them to just flip “Tails” whenever they play one of their Super Scoop Up or Hypnotoxic Laser.

M Manectric EX / Garbodor – Slightly Even

With the success of Greninja BREAK from Arizona Regionals, many players are looking to M Manectric-EX / Garbodor / Wobbuffet as a counter to the Shuriken spamming Frog. This older article has an example list of the deck, but it has not been adjusted for the additions from all the sets following Ancient Origins. So this is a very limited reference, but it is still a decent skeleton list to consider for this archetype. A Wobbuffet start doesn’t entirely spell doom for you as you can still use Scoundrel Ring to get all of your Pokemon-EX out into play, but it isn’t the most helpful to you either as you cannot use Set Up to draw more cards or Propagation to fuel all of your discard cost Item cards. I feel that this matchup boils down to who can conserve their healing cards and get more Knock Outs with their respective Mega Evolution Pokemon-EX. Some benefits that M Manectric-EX has over M Gardevoir-EX is that it has a better Basic Pre-Evolution (Manectric-EX) and free retreat. They can freely cycle in between attackers and can use a one prize attacker to take Knock Outs after using a Turbo Bolt or Assault Laser to soften up your M Gardevoir-EX. Also, they have the benefit of Ability lock without having to expend a Supporter for the turn. This means you are less likely to use Despair Ray for more than the base 110 damage, but you can still one or two shot every one of their Pokemon regardless.

Fort Wayne Regionals – November 26th and 27th, 2016

With recent changes in set legality, the Evolutions expansion (set to release November 2nd,2016) will be legal for Fort Wayne Regionals this year. Before the overhaul on the Pokemon Tournament structure, Regionals used to be held in the Autumn (October), Winter (Feburary), and Spring (May) and new sets were always legal for the last weekend of the Regionals block. This set features over 100 new cards that can possibly change the Standard format in drastic ways. The cards that stand out the most from this set are Dragonite-EX and Rattata, but you can view the scans and translations for the entire set here. Let’s explore what the M Gardevoir-EX deck gains from Evolutions and how to incorporate those cards into a working decklist for this updated format!

Primal Clash to Evolutions Standard M Gardevoir-EX

Pokemon (14)

4x Gardevoir-EX (STS #78)3x M Gardevoir-EX (STS #79)2x Hoopa-EX (AOR #36)4x Shaymin-EX (RSK #77)1x Hawlucha (STS #97)

Trainers (34)

3x Professor Sycamore (BKP #107)2x N (PRBW #BW100)1x Lysandre (FLF #104)1x Hex Maniac (AOR #75)1x Giovanni's Scheme (BKT #162)1x Karen (PRXY #177)4x VS Seeker (PHF #109)4x Ultra Ball (DEX #102)4x Gardevoir Spirit Link (PRC #130)3x Trainers' Mail (RSK #92)2x Escape Rope (PLS #120)2x Super Rod (BKT #149)2x Mega Turbo (RSK #86)4x Sky Field (RSK #89)

Energy (7)

7x Fairy Energy (GEN #83)


Free Slots: 5

Card Inclusions

2 Dragonite-EX from Evolutions – Absolute Must

This amazing new card from Evolutions allows us to recycle any two Basic Pokemon except Dragonite-EX from our discard pile. Basic non-EXs or Pokemon-EXs can come back into the fray via its Pull Up Ability. This card allows us to continuously utilize other basic Pokemon to help us set up (Hoopa-EX and Shaymin-EX) or to disrupt using Hawlucha or Rattata from Evolutions. Dragonite-EX combos very well with Sky Field decks like Rainbow Road, M Rayquaza-EX, and M Gardevoir-EX. The strength of this card’s Ability comes from being able to immediately grab any two Basic Pokemon (excluding Dragonite-EX) without having to play Super Rod or Karen to put those Pokemon back into the deck and then searching them out again via Ultra Ball.

1 Rattata from Evolutions – Absolute Must

When rotation was announced for the 2016-2017 Season, we lost both non-attack forms of Tool removal in the format (Startling Megaphone and Xerosic). This loss meant that any attached Pokemon Tools would remain in Play once they were used, excluding those Tool cards that have effects that discard themselves (Klefki and Bursting Balloon). Rattata from Evolutions brings us a form of Tool removal without having to commit to using an attack in its Ability, Mischievous Fang. Unfortunately, it is an Ability that only gets shut off by Garbotoxin. Rattata is not a perfect Garbodor counter, but it is a good stalling tactic if you can keep removing any Float Stone or any other tool your opponent tries to play down on their Trubbish. However, Rattata is a very good card that can remove any other Tool cards attached to any other played Pokemon in this format!

2 Tech Cards – Pick and Choose

After making the new additions from Evolutions, there are still two empty slots for some additional tech cards that can help you in certain situations. The first two cards that I would like to suggest for the remaining two slots are 1 Joltik and 1 Galvantula. This 1-1 evolution line serves the same exact purpose as it did when we ran them for the Primal Clash to Steam Siege Standard format. They can Bench snipe and take essential Knock Outs on Froakie and Magikarp as well as soften up Pokemon with larger HP numbers to make our Despair Ray guaranteed Knock Outs on big threats.

Following similar logic as playing the 1-1 Galvantula evolution line, we could consider playing one Hoopa. It is slightly weaker against Froakie, but it can still take Knock Outs on Magikarp (assuming they have prior damage from the effect of Team Magma's Secret Base). It can also soften up bigger HP Pokemon to make it easier to take Knock Outs with Despair Ray. A minor concern with this tech card is its larger Retreat cost of Two Energy. If you consider running Hoopa, I would consider running another switching card to give yourself more mobility (Float StoneEscape RopeSwitch, or Olympia).

We can also consider teching in Absol for its Cursed Eyes Ability. If you are forced to hit into something that you cannot Knock Out in a single attack (Fighting Fury Belt 180 HP Pokemon-EX or larger HP Mega Evolution Pokemon-EX), you can move three damage counters from that Pokemon to another to make a second target for yourself when you eventually Knock Out the first threat on the board. You can prioritize taking out the things that can deter your ideal board. Cursed Eyes is a cute tech Ability can hinder an unprepared opponent as they will try to just remove the thing you can threaten a Knock Out on from the Active position. You open up more plays for yourself and can swing the game in your favor. An interesting thing to note is that Cursed Eyes goes through Mr. Mime‘s Bench Barrier Ability (as Cursed Eyes is an Ability and it involves damage counters, not damage). Mr. Mime is a popular tech card in Gyarados as it prevents Bench snipe attacks like Galvantula‘s Double Thread or Spinda‘s Uproar that threaten Knock Outs on their Magikarp, the source of that deck’s damage output.

Pokémon Ranger is another card to consider for finishing up the deck. It eliminates all effects of attacks on each player’s Pokemon. The attacks that are most relevant in the Standard format that applies an effect are the following: Chaos Wheel, Shadow Stitching, Crystal Ray,  and Flash Ray. The attacks that are the most problematic for M Gardevoir-EX are Glaceon-EX‘s Crystal Ray and Greninja‘s Shadow Stitching. These attacks prevent us from attacking with M Gardevoir-EX effectively by blocking any damage done by it or not allowing up to re-establish a large enough Bench to take crucial Knock Outs on their attackers. With the inclusion of Pokémon Ranger, we can avoid these sort of situations and keep pushing ahead in the game.

Parallel City seems counter intuitive considering it limits our damage output. However, this change allows us to discard some of our set up Pokemon and focus on just maintaining more attackers throughout our games. This stadium would replace the Sky Field stadiums that we currently play in the list. Reducing our Bench in any sort of way can limit the total amount of liabilities present on our board at any given time. Parallel City also helps us in certain matchups like Volcanion / Volcanion-EXDarkrai-EX / Giratina-EX / GarbodorM Rayquaza-EX, and Xerneas (Rainbow Road). Limiting your opponent’s options is always a good way of making the game more favorable for yourself and you can cap their damage output to guarantee that you win the game.


I covered a a decent number of matchups in the previous section on the Primal Clash to Steam Siege build of this deck. I will discuss some of the matchups that might be more prevalent with newer inclusions from Evolutions.

The Sky Field Decks – Very Unfavorable

Rainbow Road and M Rayquaza-EX both get better with Dragonite-EX from Evolutions. It allows them to recover from Parallel City plays more easily and immensely rebuilds their damage cap. They can out damage you and set up faster than you. They operate quite similarly to one another and can easily overwhelm you if they get their ideal two turns. It is very hard to overcome this kind of immediate pressure, especially if you have to face off against M Rayquaza-EX as they can threaten one hit Knock Outs, while you cannot. Xerneas is also tough for us, since they only give up a single Prize. These matchups are not impossible but are very hard to overcome given our current build. The best build of M Gardevoir-EX that could come close to contesting these two decks would be a list containing Parallel City and perhaps Pokémon Catcher that can bring up Pokemon like Shaymin-EX or Hoopa-EX that M Gardevoir-EX can Knock Out with ease.

Yveltal-EX / Garbodor – Slightly Favorable

Yveltal-EX Garbodor just came off a Regionals win in Orlando. Even without gaining anything spectacular from Evolutions, it has strong plays and options against almost every deck in Standard. It has Yveltal for recovering Energy from the discard and softening up Pokemon for future Knock Outs with giant Evil Ball attacks or conservative Y-Cyclone attacks. Yveltal is amazing as its Fright Night Ability hinders decks that rely on Pokemon Tool cards (particularly Mega Evolution Pokemon-EX decks such as M Gardevoir-EX) and can do a lot of spread damage with Pitch Black Spear. This deck as a lot of options and can outplay almost anything. However, our biggest advantages in this matchup stem from our resistance to Darkness Type Pokemon and our ability to take easy Knock Outs on the non-EX Yveltal and Yveltal that they will use while building up a big Yveltal-EX with a lot of Energy attachments. Garbodor slightly hinders our set up if it comes out, but can easily dealt with via Lysandre. Also, we can afford to take two hit Knock Outs on Yveltal-EX

The best reference for this deck is Azul Garcia Griego’s list from Orlando Regionals. It exemplifies the true power of Yveltal-EX, being one of the best cards in between both formats. It is a very thorough list that I would consider to be the best “stress” test for any deck to face off against when you are considering decks for a tournament.

Final Thoughts

Well, that’s everything I have to say about M Gardevoir-EX for the time being. I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts on the deck. I would really appreciate any feedback that you might have for me. Feel free to discuss with me in the comments section of this post!

I am super stoked for Fort Wayne Regionals and hope to see a lot of people there! Feel free to talk with me if you see me.