Spring in My Step — Gardevoir-GX in Standard

Hey all! The new season is upon us and many decks have fallen off, but others have improved as a result of the rotation in the Standard format. Gardevoir-GX is an archetype that made its debut at this season’s World Championship, where it won the whole event! While the deck lost VS Seeker from the rotation, the heart of the build is still intact, and it’s been doing amazingly well at League Cup events all around the United States. The power of Infinite Force doesn’t look like it’ll be slowing down anytime soon, and for that reason, Gardevoir-GX is exactly what I’ll be talking to you about today. Let’s (Secret) Spring right into it…

To Infinite Force, and Beyond

Why is Gardevoir-GX so good? Well, really, it’s simple! Infinite Force can do tons of damage, and with the built-in Ability to use Secret Spring, Gardevoir-GX can literally take one-hit knockouts on anything in its path. Diego Cassiraga won Worlds with the deck, like I mentioned before, so this deck is in the prime position to keep winning events. It’s got all sorts of tools to allow it to run smoothly, and my favorite part about the deck now is the rotation of Vileplume, as well as Forest of Giant Plants!

The key to making this deck work to its full potential in the Standard format is maximizing consistency! Playing thick lines of your main Pokemon, supporting cast, and Trainer cards is integral to success. While most other decks in the format are going to be using a similar model to this, Gardevoir-GX is the deck with the highest-hitting attack, and the biggest potential to dominate a game.

I love how simple Gardevoir-GX is as a deck, and how you just need to establish a setup to win a match. Recently, my friend Austin Bentheimer, a player from Wisconsin, took his Gardevoir-GX to a first place finish at a larger League Cup. While the finish isn’t a Regional Championship or anything incredibly meaningful, it’s nice to look at a tested version of the deck. Let’s take a look at Austin’s matches to begin with:

As you can see, he played against most of the big decks that are out there right now! With the exception of his finals opponent, everything was pretty standard, and something you could expect at a coming Regional Championship. He even managed to beat his toughest matchup: Metagross-GX. That matchup is close to unwinnable, but by taking it down, Austin showed that Gardevoir-GX can truly beat anything, which is why I think it’s the best deck in the Standard format.

When I define a deck as the “best deck in the format”, it needs to be able to do two things: have the ability to beat anything (along with generally accepted fifty-fifty or better matchups against the rest of the field), and also be able to set up consistently. Gardevoir-GX most certainly fits the bill on both of these requirements for me! Without further ado, let’s take a look at Austin’s deck list, explore some of my suggestions, and talk about the deck’s matchups.

I Came Here for the List!

Pokemon (21)

4x Ralts (BUS #91)3x Kirlia (BUS #92)3x Gardevoir-GX (BUS #93)1x Gallade (BKT #84)3x Tapu Lele-GX (GUR #60)2x Remoraid (BKT #32)2x Octillery (BKT #33)1x Giratina (PRXY #XY184)1x Diancie (BUS #94)1x Alolan Vulpix (GUR #21)

Trainers (27)

4x Professor Sycamore (BKP #107)4x N (FAC #105)3x Guzma (BUS #115)2x Brigette (BKT #134)4x Ultra Ball (SM #135)3x Rare Candy (SM #129)2x Field Blower (GUR #125)2x Choice Band (GUR #121)1x Rescue Stretcher (GUR #130)1x Max Potion (GUR #128)1x Parallel City (BKT #145)

Energy (12)

8x Fairy Energy (GEN #83)4x Double Colorless (SM #136)

Whoa, Whatcha Got Here?

4 Ralts, 3 Kirlia, 3 Gardevoir-GX, 1 Gallade

This Gardevoir-GX lineup is rock solid. Four Ralts is quite obvious, since you need them as a base to getting Gardevoir-GX out, and prizing one would be disastrous! Three Kirlia isn’t as common as four Ralts, but I love having three for the times where Rare Candy plays don’t pan out. It’s an awesome option to have to take it slow and set up the old fashioned way.

While four Gardevoir-GX would be nice, it’s generally seen as a luxury, and I most certainly have to agree here, too. Gallade is a must have in any Gardevoir-GX deck, since its utility as a support Pokemon with Premonition and powerful attack are unrivaled by other possible inclusions. These eleven spots are the most space-consuming in the deck, but without a doubt the most important!

3 Tapu Lele-GX, 2 Remoraid, 2 Octillery

It’s support Pokemon time! Here you have three Tapu Lele-GX, instead of what is occasionally two, because in the new Standard format, without VS Seeker, having other outs to Supporter cards is super nice to have. I love having three of them for the times that you prize one, and it also becomes another out to getting off the first turn Brigette, something I’ll discuss in just a second.

1 Giratina

This is a tech for Greninja BREAK. Austin thought the deck would be popular at the League Cup that he played his Gardevoir-GX deck, but he couldn’t have been more wrong. I personally think you can beat Greninja BREAK without Giratina as is (Gallade and its Sensitive Blade are super good against it), and I wouldn’t include it in the deck going forward. I’ll go over some fine replacements a little later on!

1 Diancie, 1 Alolan Vulpix

These are your setup Pokemon! I am a huge fan of this split, and it’s exactly what I played at the World Championships, myself. Each card has its own set of merits, and depending on the situation, you might want to attack with one over the other. Playing additional copies of either could be nice, since it can increase your odds of starting with it minimally, but I’m afraid that change would be too small to truly warrant more space being devoted to them.

4 Professor Sycamore, 4 N

Consistency is king! Especially now without VS Seeker… Gone are the days of blowing through your deck recklessly; every Supporter matters! Be careful with each of these you play, and be sure to consider how many are left available to you, either in your deck, or in your Prizes. N is especially valuable in the late game, so holding on to them can be crucial. I wouldn’t budge on either of these counts, unless you were adding some other consistency option.

3 Guzma, 2 Brigette

For fancy Supporters, there are three Guzma and two Brigette. Three Guzma is quickly becoming the industry standard without VS Seeker in the format anymore. Two Brigette is a bit of a luxury, something that I’ll touch on soon. One is a must, since it’s integral to your setup, however.

4 Ultra Ball

Obvious choice for a deck that aims to have as many ways to grab a Tapu Lele-GX on the first turn to use Brigette.

3 Rare Candy

Four would be nice, but you really don’t need the fourth! Having three Kirlia is a great gateway to getting Gardevoir-GX as it is, so having a fourth Rare Candy is generally unnecessary. If you’re trying to play a more aggressive deck list, then a fourth could be a nice option for you because you can get attacking quicker if you’re able to get a turn two or turn three Gardevoir-GX.

2 Field Blower

Garbodor and Garbotoxin are still alive and well in the Standard format, and because of that, Field Blower is an essential part to any Gardevoir-GX deck, even still. With two, you can get multiple turns of Abilities, and to use even more, you can use Twilight GX to recover a single copy, or both! Against decks using Fighting Fury Belt, Field Blower can remove it and make Infinite Force one-hit knockouts much easier to accomplish, which is super nice.

2 Choice Band

Hitting higher numbers in a deck that relies on getting one-hit knockouts is crucial! Having two Choice Band increases your odds of getting them early in the game, and is a much better count than one, which is something that some players used immediately upon Gardevoir-GX and its release in Burning Shadows. A third could even have some merit, but it’s much more luxurious than some of the other potential options I’ll talk about real soon.

1 Rescue Stretcher

Pokemon recovery is a key part of almost every deck, and that sentiment is no different in Gardevoir-GX! It might even be more important, since as a Stage 2, there can be some clunkiness in the setup process. That means you may have to play an unfortunate Professor Sycamore down, discarding a few of your Pokemon that you may have wanted to get into play. That being said, getting them back from the discard is awesome, and it can be especially good in games where you need more attackers, and just so happened to land a Gardevoir-GX or two in your Prizes. Two could most certainly be nice, but I’ve never had a problem with one in the many games that I’ve played with the deck.

1 Max Potion

Here’s a card that’s a big favorite of mine in this deck, and something that Austin saw necessary, too. Gardevoir-GX can be a real tank, and with Max Potion, it can stay out and hitting for longer than usual. Twilight GX can recover some of the Energy that you may have lost in the process, which makes Max Potion a super good inclusion. In my Worlds deck list, I actually played two, which is something I would certainly consider in this deck going forward, as well.

1 Parallel City

Some lists opt to not play a Stadium card, and instead, something like a third Field Blower, or something entirely different. Parallel City is a nice card in this deck for a variety of reasons. One, it’s nice to limit your opponents when you’re putting on so much pressure with a powerful deck like Gardevoir-GX. Second, and lastly, you can even remove damaged Pokemon from your Bench! Tapu Lele-GX can be a liability in some matchups where the Prize trade is really important, and also keep in mind that you can even discard a Gardevoir-GX that you were attacking with and want to remove from the board so your opponent can’t take an easy two-Prize Knock Out.

8 Fairy Energy, 4 Double Colorless Energy

I think this is most certainly the optimal count of Energy in Gardevoir-GX decks right now. I wouldn’t touch the Double Colorless Energy  count, and as for Fairy Energy, while nine could be nice, I don’t think it’s worth the spot in a deck list like this one. Some versions opt to play Sylveon-GX, and in those builds I do like the extra Energy for the better odds of getting a Fairy Energy onto an Eevee to use Energy Evolution right away to evolve into a Sylveon-GX from your deck!

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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