Broken Yveltal — NAIC’s Surprise Deck and Improved Gardevoir-GX

What’s up Beachers! Having just finished up the North American International Championships, we are now in that awkward lead up to the World Championships. As they have done in the past couple years, Pokemon is releasing a brand-new set to be legal just in time for the World Championships, which means players will have little time to prepare. In fact, the latest set, Celestial Storm, will not even be released for over two weeks! Until then, it will not be available on Pokemon Trading Card Game Online, which leaves competitors to testing with paper proxies.

When choosing a deck for this undefined metagame, I decided to look back toward the North American International Championships for some inspiration. One of the coolest decks I saw in the top 64 was one featuring Yveltal BREAK. Interestingly, four players came up with the deck independently of each other, built wildly different lists, and piloted them to day two finishes — Aaron Tarbell even took the deck all the way to Top 8! Most players, myself included, had to look up the card when hearing this to figure out why it was so good.

Yveltal and Yveltal BREAK fill a unique position in the “triangle” of top decks. Yveltal is a Dark-type Pokemon, which allows it to hit Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX for Weakness, but it is also resistant to Fighting, which allows it to take a beating from Buzzwole-GX. Combined with Latios and Tapu Koko, Yveltal BREAK can do some serious damage to the top decks in the format.

Looking onward to the World Championships, I believe Yveltal BREAK is in a phenomenal position. It was a powerful play for NAIC, and its prospects only improve with Celestial Storm. One of the best cards from Celestial Storm, Shrine of Punishments, is practically written with Yveltal BREAK in mind. It gives Yveltal BREAK that little bit of extra damage to take Knock Outs on Pokemon-GX/EX and, more importantly, it places damage counters on Benched Pokemon-GX and -EX so that Baleful Night does Bench damage to them.

Another deck I have been testing is an old favorite: Gardevoir-GX, but with a few techs and twists to help the deck compete with the insane speed of Buzzwole-GX.

First, let’s start by taking a look at Yveltal BREAK:

Yveltal BREAK

Pokemon (13)

2x Yveltal BREAK (STS #66)3x Yveltal (STS #65)1x Yveltal (SHL #54)2x Hoopa (SHL #55)1x Mewtwo (EVO #51)1x Latios (SHL #41)1x Tapu Koko (PRSM #SM30)1x Oranguru (SM #113)1x Tapu Lele-GX (GUR #60)

Trainers (33)

4x Guzma (BUS #115)4x Professor Sycamore (BKP #107)4x N (NVI #92)3x Cynthia (ULP #119)4x Ultra Ball (DEX #102)4x Max Elixir (BKP #102)3x Choice Band (GUR #121)1x Float Stone (BKT #137)1x Super Rod (BKT #149)1x Nest Ball (SM #123)4x Shrine of Punishments (CLS #143)

Energy (14)

10x Darkness Energy (DP #129)4x Double Colorless Energy (NXD #92)

As mentioned above, multiple players built lists for the deck that they piloted to strong finishes at the North American International Championships. Having tested different versions, I found Aaron Tarbell’s list to have the most options, and my list ended up looking closer to that version than any other. The biggest change with Celestial Storm is the addition of Shrine of Punishments. This is such a powerful card that I added four copies to the deck. To accommodate this change, I started by cutting down on the Pokemon counts. While it is nice to have additional copies in case one is prized, I usually prefer lower Pokemon counts to keep my deck streamlined.

Card Choices

Shrine of Punishments

Shrine of Punishments from Celestial Storm

Shrine of Punishments is an incredible addition to this deck! We want to draw into this card as early as possible to start racking up damage early. Beyond that, we also want to counter any other Stadiums in play that can keep this effect away. If we can run our opponent out of Stadiums and win the Stadium war, this is a guaranteed two damage counters for every turn we take. It cannot be overstated how important that is.


One of the great things about running Dark Energy is that we can utilize Hoopa to help in one of our harder matchups: Zoroark-GX. If our opponent has little to no counters to Hoopa, we can shut them out of the game.


Almost every deck needs some sort of draw engine. The main contenders lately have been Zoroark-GX and Octillery. Unfortunately, neither of these engines work with our deck’s strategy. Zoroark-GX is a Pokemon-GX, which doesn’t mesh at all with our strategy. Octillery is an option, but since we are not playing Brooklet Hill it is too slow and inconsistent for us to rely on. This leaves us with Oranguru as our draw support.

The three cards from Instruct aren’t enough to bail us out of every situation, but they’re enough to save us from a late-game N completely destroying the game for us.

Tapu Koko and Latios

Tapu Koko and Latios are our two spread attackers that enable Yveltal BREAK to hit the high numbers required for Knock Outs. Shrine of Punishments removes some of their necessity, but it only functions on Pokemon-GX and -EX. Some of the bigger threats in the game right now are one-Prize Pokemon. For example, Latios can spread damage onto a Buzzwole and allow us to slowly Knock Out several of them using Yveltal BREAK.

Yveltal BREAK

Yveltal BREAK is the unique component of our deck that brings it all together. The extra 20 HP takes Yveltal out of Knock Out range from some of the biggest threats in the format. As mentioned before, the attack is great in combination with our spread attackers and Shrine of Punishments.

Nest Ball

Nest Ball was not included in Aaron Tarbell’s NAIC list, but from my testing it has been a helpful addition to the deck. Our deck has a bit of a toolbox element, where we only use some of our attackers in specific matchups. We also play a tight list where we can’t always afford to discard everything away with Ultra Ball.

Most importantly, Nest Ball becomes a consistency card since we are playing Oranguru. If most of our hand is playable but we are missing a Supporter, we can use Nest Ball to grab our monkey and get back into the game. Finding Oranguru early can be huge to respond to an N to a low hand size.

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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