Hey guys! It’s Jimmy back at it again with another article! After winning Indiana Regionals, I attended London where I went 5-0-4 with a list that was very similar to the one I played in Indiana. In this article, I will go over what decks I think will be the four biggest threats at Texas Regionals, Yveltal-EX / Garbodor, Vespiquen / Zebstrika, Greninja BREAK, and Volcanion. This format development is truly something we have never seen before because of set release timing. It was pointed out by a lot of players recently that we have never had four major tournaments in the same format (Indiana Regionals, London Internationals, Texas Regionals, and Georgia Regionals). It is very interesting to see how a stale meta can impact deck selection.
The Tale of the Stale – Why is the Format So Weird?
As mentioned in my introduction, the current state of Pokemon has literally never happened before! The Pokemon TCG has never had four major tournaments with the same exact cardpool before. I will say that at the beginning of this cycle, I was a huge fan of this new concept. I thought I would be able to figure out the best deck or two and play them to my heart’s content, but I was definitely wrong. Despite Yveltal-EX / Garbodor being the best deck by far in my mind, it looks like more of a risky play as every day goes by. Even after Azul won Florida with the deck, followed by my win in Indiana with it, people still didn’t have the mindset of “play Yveltal or counter Yveltal”. However, I think the dominance Yveltal expressed at London might have finally changed that. Jolteon-EX / techs and Vespiquen / Zebstrika have become more and more popular, which is obviously bad news for Yveltal. If I were to go to Texas Regionals with Yveltal-EX / Garbodor, I would expect at least half of my rounds to be against an Yveltal or Yveltal counter deck. This really doesn’t leave me with a good feeling, as that means four of my rounds day one are almost surely going to be 50% or lower in terms of win percentage. This essentially makes it so that the best deck in the format is a bad choice for the event, and this is almost entirely because this is the third large tournament in a row with the same cardpool.
Yveltal-EX / Garbodor
Indiana to London – The Changes
This is the deck list I played in London, along with a few other North American players such as Brad Curcio and Azul Garcia. Michael Pramawat ended up winning the event with the riskier version of this list, removing the two Trainers' Mail for a Delinquent and an Escape Rope the morning of the tournament. It definitely paid off for him overall, but you might have noticed him having some small consistency issues if you watched his streamed games. However, Delinquent and Escape Rope are cards that can single handedly win games, which means you aren’t giving up something for nothing. The only changes I made to my list from Indiana going into London were the following two.
-1 Yveltal BKT, + 1 Yveltal-EX
I will mention that this was a last second change, but it was one that I absolutely loved! I hated using Fright Night Yveltal against Greninja, which was one of the most popular decks. The fourth Yveltal-EX is usually better in the mirror match too, as long as you don’t prize the one baby Yveltal. With me expecting these decks to be the most popular two, it made it an easy choice. The fourth Yveltal-EX also allowed for more turn one attacks due to me having an easier time getting my attacker Active because Fright Night was never in the way. Moving into future tournaments, I still think this is the correct choice because the second Yveltal is truly only better against M Gardevoir-EX and Volcanion. If you happen to get the one Fright Night Yveltal attacking quick enough, you won’t end up missing the second one. The only thing that I dislike about the one copy as opposed to two is prizing it, but that is just something Yveltal players have to deal with from now on.
-1 Delinquent, +1 Team Flare Grunt
This was a change that I made with a heavy heart, as Delinquent was one of my favorite cards in the deck during Indiana Regionals. I knew that I needed the Team Flare Grunt, but it took me a while to determine what to cut. It eventually boiled down to cutting one of the tech Supporters, Pokémon Center Lady or Delinquent, and I had found Pokemon Center Lady’s clutch healing to be too good to remove from the deck. I still think Delinquent is a great card in Yveltal-EX decks, but it is very difficult to fit everything you want into a deck nowadays.
A Second Yveltal BKT
I would really only include a second copy of this card if the expected metagame includes a decent amount of Volcanion, Darkrai-EX / Giratina-EX, or Mega Pokemon decks. It is very strong against those decks, but usually one will suffice against everything else.
This is definitely a great card in the deck, with the only reason for it not being in the deck already being space. If one of the cards in the deck is feeling relatively unimportant, I would strongly consider replacing it with this. Delinquent is very good for removing opposing Stadiums, such as Parallel City, Rough Seas, or Sky Field. In addition to this, your opponent has to be very wary of playing down cards, because making them discard three is no joke. You can end up discarding a decent amount of resources just by using Delinquent once or twice in a game, and you almost always win if you Delinquent the opponent’s entire hand away.
This is another soft counter to Jolteon-EX, but isn’t nearly as good as Pokémon Ranger in that category. Escape Rope is also really good for getting around Bursting Balloon, which is prominent in every Greninja BREAK deck. I think the Escape Rope is probably only worth it if a second copy of Yveltal is being included. The Escape Rope would add an additional out to removing Yveltal from the Active at the start of the game, which is definitely a nice tool to have.
This is mostly to counter Jolteon-EX, but it can also help out against Giratina-EX and Jirachi, which are definitely some nice side bonuses. I think this card should be heavily considered as an inclusion for all events moving forward, especially smaller ones where players are looking to get some easy Championship Points by simply countering the best deck.
Yveltal-EX / Garbodor
This matchup is actually pretty tricky despite seeming relatively simple. I always describe this matchup as reactionary, because your gameplan really depends on who goes first, and what the player going first does on their first turn. Going first, it is almost always correct to attempt to take a lead via Fright Night Yveltal. However, going second, getting out Fright Night Yveltal is not always optimal due to how easily it can die to an Yveltal-EX using Evil Ball. Key cards in this matchup are Enhanced Hammer, Team Flare Grunt, Parallel City, and Pokémon Center Lady.
Vespiquen / Zebstrika
This is definitely one of the matchups that makes Yveltal players have a bad day. Zebstrika is a direct counter to Yveltal, and there isn’t really much that can get in the way of that. All they need to do is not whiff Double Colorless Energy, which is hard to do with two copies of Special Charge, and they will almost always run away with the game. Garbodor plus N is one way Yveltal can fight back, but it is definitely still in Vespiquen‘s favor.
This is a matchup that has recently changed quite a bit due to the cards that are being included in Greninja decks. Previously, Greninja’s Stadium of choice, Faded Town, was useless in this matchup. Rough Seas has almost entirely taken over that spot in the usual Greninja lists, and the lists that still include Faded Town also play multiple copies of Enhanced Hammer and Max Potion. These techs in combination with Ace Trainer and N make it very difficult for Yveltal / Garbodor to keep up throughout the game, and create windows where the Greninja deck can make a massive comeback. I think of Greninja as one of the only control decks in the current game.
I don’t see how Volcanion players think they win this mathup. I could see it being described as winnable due to early KOs on Trubbish, but I would never describe this as favorable for Volcanion. Yveltal-EX‘s Evil Ball can easily KO a Volcanion-EX and with Garbodor in play, Volcanion-EX struggles to KO Yveltal-EX.
This concludes the public portion of this article.
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