Goin’ Berserk — Four Plays for the World Championships
Hey there PokeBeach! Worlds is just around the corner, so now is as good a time as ever do to a mega article. Instead of the normal two decks that I focus on, I’ve decided to write about the four decks I’ve considered the most leading up to Worlds: Decidueye-GX / Golisopod-GX, Gyarados, M Rayquaza-EX, and Drampa-GX / Garbodor. Without further ado, let’s just skip the rest of the intro and get right into the meat of the article.
Decidueye-GX / Golisipod-GX
Golisopod-GX is a card from the newest set that can work with many different partners; from Eevees to Zoroark to Lurantis, Golisipod has been partnered with seemingly everything. If you want to read more about these different types of Golisipod decks, be sure to check out Caleb Gedemer’s most recent article all about Golisipod. However, the build I’ve been most enamored with has been Decidueye-GX / Golisopod-GX. While this deck lacks the Item-locking power that Decidueye-GX / Vileplume has, it certainly makes up for it in pure damage. Let’s now take a look at my current list.
This list looks pretty standard from a quick glance, but there are definitely a few things that make it stand out. However, even with its few quirks, the deck is still streamlined as much as possible in order to ensure a consistent setup. Let’s take a look at my card counts and discuss my reasoning for them.
I don’t think I need to say much about this line. Decidueye-GX‘s Feather Arrow is extremely important for racking up passive damage that allows Golisopod-GX to hit for knockouts, so maxing out the line was a no brainer to me. Plus, as we all know from Decidueye-GX / Vileplume in the past, Decidueye is also a strong attacker in its own right thanks to its incredibly beefy 240 HP. Running a full 4-4-4 count is an absolute must.
At first glance, it might seem weird to only run a 2-2 line when Golisopod-GX is usually our first attacker, but it actually works perfectly. This deck is built to handle Garbodor, so there isn’t much of a rush to get your Golisipod going on turn one. Thus, because you should be focusing on getting your Decidueye out early, a 2-2 Golisipod is all the deck needs.
While the card is played for its first attack, be sure to remember its GX attack as well. However, this requires careful planning, as you do not want to burn your GX attack when you might need to Hollow Hunt to recover resources later. The second attack is pretty forgettable, but I’ve had situations occur where the minus 20 damage has saved me from a knockout, so it’s definitely an attack that you should keep in the back of your mind.
2 Tapu Lele-GX
As I mentioned earlier, I built this list with the intention of beating Garbodor, so with that in mind I ended up deciding on playing Tapu Lele-GX over Shaymin-EX. While Shaymin helps you set up quicker, it also burns through your deck much quicker, making you much more susceptible to Trashalanche. Thus, I’ve chosen to sacrifice some speed in order to improve the Garbodor matchup. However, I should note that Tapu Lele isn’t a clear downgrade, as it is still an incredibly strong Pokemon that also offers a viable additional attacker unlike Shaymin.
1 Tapu Koko and 1 Alolan Vulpix
Normally I’d discuss these two separately as they usually don’t serve similar roles, but in this deck they’re your ideal starters, so I’ve chosen to group them together.
If you anticipate having a slow start, your ideal starter is Alolan Vulpix, as you can set up behind it while grabbing all of your Evolutions.
If I think I’m going to have an explosive start, I usually lead with Tapu Koko and start spreading, as every attack done with Tapu Koko lets me use a Feather Arrow on a different target to start chipping away at something else. Tapu Koko’s free retreat is even more important in this deck than in most other decks due to Golisopod-GX and the reliance on Guzma mid game.
4 Sycamore and 3 N
This really doesn’t need to be explained. These are staples in nearly every deck.
This card is crucial in this deck, as it’s the main out to resetting the damage output of Golisopod-GX‘s First Impression. While Guzma isn’t always a clear upgrade in every deck over Lysandre, as some decks don’t always benefit from the switching effect, this is an obvious case where Guzma is strictly better than Lysandre.
Originally I didn’t have this card in the list because I don’t play VS Seeker (more on that below), but after playing with it for a few games I realized it was too good to not have in the list. Like Guzma, it gives you another way to reset Golisopod-GX‘s damage output. It is also a great way to deny Prizes, much like AZ in the past. Finally, thanks to Forest of Giant Plants, you can instantly put the Evolution line you just picked up back down, completely removing the typical downside of using Acerola. I’ve considered putting in a second, but there really aren’t many cards I’d consider cutting at the moment, so I’m stuck with only one.
4 Ultra Ball, 3 Level Ball
While I tried my best to minimize my reliance on Items, I could not bring myself to cut these from the deck. You need all the Ball search you can get to help set up all of your Evolutions, so these spots begrudgingly, but rightfully, went towards my Item search cards.
3 Trainers Mail
Normally I’d have included Trainers' Mail in the above section, as these slots are absolutely necessary for setting up, but I wanted to highlight it as these are the slots I originally had VS Seeker in. I chose to cut VS Seeker for Trainers’ Mail as, while VS Seeker helped me more late game, I found myself struggling to set up consistently without the help of Trainers’ Mail, making the late game help of VS Seeker pointless. Thus, I chose to dedicate these spots to cards that would help me get past Decidueye-GX / Golisopod-GX‘s weak early game to its late game, where the deck really shines.
2 Choice Band, 2 Float Stone
As much as I’d love three copies of each of these cards, the space isn’t there currently. If I were to add an additional Tool, I’d add the third Float Stone over the third Choice Band, as Golisopod-GX needs the free retreat more than it needs the extra damage because of Decidueye-GX.
These occupy my recovery slots. While one Super Rod or Rescue Stretcher could be considered to get back Energy or your non-Grass Pokemon respectively, I chose two Revitalizer as, in testing, I found myself almost always trying to recover my Grass Pokemon lines whenever I used a recovery card. There were a few times I wanted to recover Tapu Lele-GX, but I was usually able to use Hollow Hunt to do this instead.
1 Field Blower
Without Field Blower, Garbodor becomes extremely tough to beat, as you really need Decidueye-GX‘s Feather Arrow to keep up in the Prize trade when they start attacking with Drampa-GX. I’d love a second Blower, but I currently have more cards higher up on my priority list to add, so I suspect this count will not change in the future.
4 Forest of Giant Plants
While this deck could certainly get away with only running three Forest of Giant Plants, I highly recommend you don’t do it. With four Forest, you give yourself the best odds of hitting them when you need them to evolve your lines, and trust me when I say you’ll need them all game as they’ll constantly be discarded, either through counter Stadiums or Field Blower.
4 Grass, 4 DCE
This is the bare minimum Energy I’d consider running in any Decidueye-GX deck. While three Grass Energy was popular a few formats ago, I like what the extra Grass Energy gives you, as it means you don’t need to Hollow Hunt for basic Energy as often. Plus, with Golisipod in the deck, you’ll almost always use all four Grass Energy every game.
This section would normally be somewhat long, but since I’ve mostly discussed the possible card inclusions above, I only have one other possible tech card I’d like to talk about before getting into the matchup section. That card is Espeon-EX.
Espeon is really helpful against three specific decks; Gardevoir-GX, Metagross-GX and Vikavolt, as it can devolve their GXs and almost instantly win you the game, as all of their Stage 1s or Basics will be Knocked Out thanks to previous Feather Arrows. I’ve chosen not to include this card because I feel as though Metagross and Vikavolt are nonexistent in this format and not good plays in general, making this card essentially a tech for a single deck. Since I already think the Gardevoir matchup is winnable (see below), I’ve chosen not to include this card. However, if you’re really struggling with Gardevoir or fear Metagross and Vikavolt more than I do, Espeon is a great one-of tech that can swing those matchups.
This concludes the public portion of this article.
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