The Fountain of Secrets — Explaining Volcanion and Gardevoir-GX for Worlds

Howdy, PokeBeach readers! I’m back with another article (very quickly this time I might add) for you all, this time focusing on the Worlds format: Primal Clash through Burning Shadows. Since I unfortunately was not able to attend U.S. Internationals due to work (also shoutout to the Beach crew for representing so well), I’ve been working on lists for Worlds with my good buddy, Travis Nunlist. The lists you’ll see below are of the two decks that, after our initial testing, I am most enamored with and most likely to play at Worlds if the tournament was today. While these lists certainly aren’t perfect yet (Worlds is still more than a month away), the decks themselves have proven themselves to be very strong and worth perfecting. Without further ado, let’s get right into them.


The first deck I’d like to talk about is Volcanion. Volcanion is a deck that is already incredibly strong in the current meta that gets significantly better with the next set, mostly thanks to the new Fire Supporter, Kiawe. This card allows you to put on an absurd amount of turn one pressure, immediately setting up your board for the rest of the game while not using Items to do so. Let’s take a look at the list I’ve used for my initial testing.

Pokemon (12)

3x Volcanion-EX (STS #26)3x Volcanion (STS #25)2x Turtonator-GX (GUR #18)2x Tapu Lele-GX (GUR #60)1x Starmie (EVO #31)1x Staryu (BKP #25)

Trainers (34)

4x Professor Sycamore (BKP #107)4x N (FAC #105)2x Lysandre (AOR #78)2x Guzma (Burning Shadows)1x Professor Kukui (SM #128)1x Kiawe (Burning Shadows)4x Ultra Ball (SM #135)3x VS Seeker (RSK #110)3x Choice Band (GUR #121)2x Float Stone (BKT #137)2x Switch (SM #132)2x Field Blower (GUR #125)4x Brooklet Hill (GUR #120)

Energy (14)

14x Fire Energy (EVO #92)

Card Explanations

Three Volcanion-EX

While this is becoming a trend recently, it is still not the common Volcanion-EX count, so I’ll explain the reasoning behind not playing four. By playing two Turtonator-GX, we expect to be attacking with Turtonator much more, and thus need less Steam Ups to hit for Knock Outs. Because we rely on it less and it is a poor starter, a lot of top players have started cutting their Volcanion counts to three. I highly recommend you give it a try!

Three Volcanion

Baby Volcanion is still really good. It’s definitely justifiable to cut one now that Kiawe is in the deck, but I still like this card for the Vespiquen and Alolan Ninetales-GX matchups, where Ninetales can use the new Ninetales to wall all your Pokemon-EX/GX. If you do choose to go down to two Baby Volcanion, I’d highly recommend adding in a Rescue Stretcher; it is already good in the deck, and only gets better with the less copies of Pokemon you play.

Two Turtonator-GX

Turtonator-GX is really the star of the show now that we only play three Volcanion-EX. Your ideal turn one is to start Turtonator or get it to the Active somehow, Kiawe to it, attach to a Benched Volcanion, and pass. Kiawe lets you threaten back to back turns of Bright Flame, as you only need to attach one more Energy every time you use it after a Kiawe. Plus, if you go second, Nitro Tank GX is an incredible way to get even more Fire Energy on board if you don’t get Kiawe. You don’t need to run more than two Turtonator, as they are fairly bulky and usually are able to get off multiple attacks before going down, so two is definitely the right number.

Two Tapu Lele-GX

This is standard and should be in basically every deck. There isn’t much more that needs to be said about Tapu Lele-GX. The card is just that good.

One Starmie

I’ve been pretty skeptical of Starmie, but it’s surprisingly really good. Starmie allows you to stop playing Fisherman, as well as ensures you have Steam Ups (as well as Energy) every single turn. Another use for Starmie is that you can discard unneeded resources with it, giving you a chance to thin your deck before late game N. This is usually overlooked, but probably my favorite aspect of Starmie. I highly recommend you try using it, as my opinion on the card has significantly changed since testing it.

One Staryu

I figured I’d mention the Staryu briefly, as Travis had no idea that there is a Staryu with free Retreat. That’s obviously the best Staryu to use, so go with this one.

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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