Foul! — The Return of Zoroark / Drampa-GX & a Daytona Regionals Top 8 Report
Hello readers! I am here again to write about Standard. I said this in the last article, but both formats are extremely healthy, and I am glad to be able to play in this time period. There appears that there is, however, a dominant deck in both formats. Necrozma-GX / Garbodor is toppling all competition in the Expanded format whereas Gardevoir-GX is seemingly unstoppable in Standard. Though I think there is some merit to these claims, players big and small are adjusting to an ever-evolving format.
In this article, I will mostly focus on an innovative Standard deck that is geared to beat nearly anything you can throw at it, centered around my favorite type in the TCG: Darkness. That deck is of course Zoroark BREAK / Drampa-GX. But first, I would like to give a tournament report for my Gardevoir-GX Top 8 at Daytona, along with an analysis of how I think this deck can be tweaked to beat the newly crowned best deck in format (BDIF).
Daytona Beach Top 8 Report
Daytona Beach is a great idea for a venue. I was not afraid, and actually hoping, to do poorly and drop the tournament as I could enjoy the beach for the rest of my time. I had chosen Gardevoir-GX as my deck weeks in advance because I like to choose decks that might not have many great matchups, but do not have any highly played bad matchups. In my last article, I discussed how I believed the matchups went, so I won’t go into that here, but I did tweak the list by about ten cards due to heavy testing with my teammates. My list can be found on Pokemon.com.
Testing with my group revealed that, even with Karen, Night March was an abysmal matchup. I was worried because I thought that I would have to go back to the drawing board. However, after adding Seismitoad-EX, the matchup became much easier to deal with. Being able to completely lock out their Items and taking their damage away makes the matchup unimaginably easy. If they manage to take out the Seismitoad-EX with a Tauros-GX or Marshadow-GX, you can always follow up with a Gallade KO and repeat the cycle with more Quaking Punches and Karen. This lead me to switch out the Muscle Bands in my old list for Choice Bands, and play more of the Psybolt Ralts.
My other big change was Comfey; which was added because of how people were reacting to the Night March win. Some were just adding Karen or Oricorio, but there were a lot of people who just wanted to play Seismitoad-EX with Hypnotoxic Lasers like fellow PokeBeach author Grant Manley. To avoid that and any Accelgor that might pop up, I took out the Giratina for Comfey. This ended up being the best change I made to the deck.
Overall I played a lot more Gardevoir-GX than expected. I also completely underestimated the Garbodor matchup.
Round 1: Turbo Dark (LWW) — 1-0
My first game of the tournament, my opponent goes first, hits a Hypnotoxic Laser heads on my lone Psybolt Ralts, N’s me into a dead hand, gets four Energy on board and passes. When I flipped tails on the sleep flip to open my turn, I swore I could smell the beach already. I was donked the next turn.
Games two and three were completely different. I absolutely dominated my opponent with my monstrous 230 HP Stage 2s that one shot his entire board and a one-Prize Gallade that provided beautiful consistency. To add insult to injury, his Dead End-GX attack was useless with Comfey on my Bench, requiring him to find a Hex Maniac plus Hypnotoxic Laser to get the one KO off, only to be overpowered by even more of my fearsome Stage 2s. After this complete turnaround, I remembered why I had chosen this deck.
Round 2: Drampa / Garbodor (WW) — 2-0
When my opponent flipped over Drampa, then Brigette‘d for another one and two Trubbish, I knew this would be an easy match. At first, I was only able to get Gallade out, but that didn’t matter because Drampa is weak to Gallade anyway. The following turns all consisted of me using Teammates to pull the exact pieces out of my deck to seal up the game.
Round 3: Gardevoir Mirror (WW) — 3-0
The Gardevoir-GX mirror is something I didn’t test against too much. I didn’t really see the point, as I didn’t hear much about it going into the tournament, and I felt it was more luck-based than skill-based. However, after playing it several rounds, I saw that skill does matter in this matchup, even in Expanded.
My strategy going in was to abuse Gallade in the early turns to weaken my opponent’s Gardevoir-GX and to follow this up with a Energy-light Gardevoir to clean up. Gardevoir needs three Energy to KO a two-Energy Gallade. After hitting a three-Energy Gardevoir with Sensitive Blade for 130, a one-Energy Gardevoir-GX follow up will finish it off. However, in these instances, I used a Double Colorless Energy on Tapu Lele-GX to bait my opponent to over extend, then I followed up with a critical N to three and a OHKO on their Gardevoir-GX. This sealed up the game for me both times.
Round 4: Necrozma / Garbodor (LL) — 3-1
I faced Xander Pero in this round and completely underestimated the deck. This round was after lunch, so I wasn’t at my sharpest with the post-food drowsiness that I was experiencing. Necrozma-GX decimating your GX/EX’s HP with other tools like Mimikyu and one-Energy Tapu Leles makes the matchup pretty difficult. I got swept up pretty hard, but definitely could have won the match if I played better.
Round 5: Archie’s Blastoise (WW) — 4-1
I was pretty scared when my opponent got a turn one Blastoise. However, they were not able to find their Articuno, or didn’t think of it, to build early pressure in either game. They did manage to take a OHKO with Wishiwashi-GX‘s Blue Surge GX, but I was able to Guzma where the Energy went for some easy KOs. At the end of game two I had a Ralts with five Energy and a Choice Band attached, and I decked myself out to draw my last DCE, Gardevoir, and Rare Candy to OHKO a Wishiwashi-GX with a Fighting Fury Belt.
Round 6: Gardevoir Mirror (LWT) — 4-1-1
Game one of this series is why I kind of hate this mirror. I started Tapu Lele, and scooped only a few minutes later when my opponent had three Gardevoir-GX’s on board by turn three and all I had was one Kirlia. Game two we both got equal setups and I was able to grab a win by out-playing my opponent, and time was called in the middle of game three.
Round 7: Turbo Dark (WW) — 5-1-1
With my day two life on the line, I was happy to be paired up against Turbo Darkrai-EX. This matchup was, again, easy. My opponent knew that I was playing Gardevoir-GX and was pretty pessimistic about his outcome. He even told me his friend saw my secret tech, but he thinks he can get around it. His friend was referring to Seismitoad-EX — he had no idea I was playing Comfey or even what the card did. I showed him in a quick 2-0 series, putting me in my win-and-in match.
Round 8: Gardevoir Mirror (WW) — 6-1-1
This round, I played against PPG B-Team member Stephen Roche in the Gardevoir-GX mirror again. I had a rocky start, but I was able to turn it around when I attacked with Gallade three times, and followed up with an N. For N insurance my opponent played a sole Oranguru. After dead drawing with such a huge lead, perhaps Octillery would have been the better play for him.
Shaymin-EX also came clutch in this matchup, as it let me dig for my DCE to close out game two of the series.
Round 9: Necrozma / Garbodor (ID) — 6-1-2
I was facing Brad Curcio whom I was talking to right before the round started. He said he wasn’t going to ID unless his opponent was playing a bad matchup for him. Once we realized him and I were paired, I put my poker face on because I was also pessimistic about the matchup, and he signed the slip. Unfortunately, he bubbled out, and I appreciate his sacrifice. He later gave me his Top 8 powers via text message, and I was excited to roll on to day two.
I ended the first day at 26th seed. I was pretty happy about my performance as my game record was overwhelmingly positive at thirteen wins and only four losses.
Looking at the standings and what decks were present in day two, I realized that there wasn’t many easy matchups for me. Luckily, I hit most of the people I wanted to hit, starting with two Seismitoad decks.
Round 10: Seismitoad / Garbodor (WW) — 7-1-2
As I mentioned earlier, I played Comfey specifically for this matchup. I made sure to Brigette for it quickly, and find my Seismitoad-EX. With my own Quaking Punch, I stopped my opponent from activating Garbotoxin so that I could build up a couple of huge Gardevoir-GX to completely take the game. I repeated this strategy game two, but couldn’t find my only Field Blower to remove the Float Stone off of their Trubbish turn one. He Poisoned my Seismitoad before I attacked with it, so the game was a little rougher, but my opponent threw the game away when he decided to heal his Seismitoad with Acerola over Lysandre-ing my damaged Tapu Lele to win the game.
Round 11: Seismitoad / Seviper (WW) — 8-1-2
Grant didn’t even play Garbodor; this matchup was pretty free. Before the match, we joked about how he would win the coin flip and get three Seviper and Virbank City Gym to KO my lone Ralts before I even got a turn. This actually scared me into benching a Lele game one, and a Shaymin game two. After getting Comfey out with a Brigette and attaching a Fairy Energy to it preventing itself from being afflicted with Poison, the match was sealed.
Round 12: Necrozma / Garbodor (WLL) — 8-2-2
I mentally prepared myself for this matchup so that I would be able to handle the Necrozma-GX drop well. Game one I had a slow start and came back, and my opponent did the same game two. In the second game, I over extended with a Shaymin-EX which became an easy two Prizes after a Black Ray GX. Game three I was donked. I would probably have scooped if I was losing anyway, because a tie just makes it harder to bubble into Top 8.
Round 13: Turbo Darkrai-GX (WLW) — 9-2-2
Danny Altavilla was the second PPG player I knocked out of top 8 contention. He got a win against me game two because of slow draws, but not even playing the Dark Pulse Darkrai meant he only had one option to deal with my Gardevoir-GX. After using Hex Maniac plus Hypnotoxic Laser plus Darkrai-GX‘s Dead End GX, he had few options to win and I swept the game.
Round 14: Necrozma / Garbodor (WLW) — 10-2-2
My final match in Swiss was against Russell LaParre with the deck I didn’t want to play against — again. Game one I had a slow start, but I did start Seismitoad, so it forced my opponent to play at my pace. After setting up, and using Twilight GX, I easily swept the game. Game two I started dead slow and didn’t set up at all. Game three was completely the opposite. My hand was excellent, but it was Ghetsis’ed away. Left with only a Gardevoir in hand, I top decked a VS Seeker to pull the Teammates from my discard to get cards I needed to carry on. It was lucky, and happened again when I top decked a Professor Sycamore after being Ghetsis’ed to zero.
I was exhausted. I hadn’t played this much Pokemon in a while. Still, I pressed on, and was ready to get into Top 8.
Top 8: Necrozma / Garbodor (LL) — 10-3-2
Ryan Sablehaus absolutely rolled me. I think he played 59/60 of Russell’s cards, so there weren’t any surprises. I just didn’t play well — I definitely need to work on my stamina, and have a steady flow of caffeine to deal with the crashes. Excuses aside, Ryan is a great player, and he definitely deserved the win. He got me with a combination of Necrozma and Oricorio, and had so many outs to win I couldn’t keep up with them all.
This concludes the public portion of this article.
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