Minds, Unified — A Standard Recap Before Paris SPE

Once again, we find ourselves at the border between the current format and the next one—that border being a massive Cosmic Eclipse set full of new concepts and powerful cards that will change the game. I’m in a particularly strange situation where I’m trying to juggle between three formats:

  • Pre-Cosmic Eclipse Standard for League Cups and the Paris SPE on the first weekend of November
  • Post-Cosmic Eclipse Standard for the Latin America International Championships that I’ll be attending
  • Pre-Cosmic Eclipse Expanded to help my students prepare for the upcoming North American Regionals, though I’m not attending the event

What about post-Cosmic Eclipse Expanded, you might jokingly ask? I’ve actually taken a look at that format out of curiosity. It’s far too early to talk about it, but I hope you have Double Dragon Energy because Arceus and Dialga and Palkia-GX is going to be a thing.

As in real life, I’m terrible at juggling and so it’s impossible for me to talk equally about all three formats in this article. I’ve chosen to focus on Standard, which is the most relevant format overall for the average reader.

The Standard format has mostly been figured out by now. There isn’t an absolute consensus on how good each deck is but I think we’re getting as close to it as we can be. That said, surprises can happen. Decks like: Pikachu and Zekrom-GX, Mewtwo and Mew-GX and Pidgeotto Control making top cut of Knoxville Regionals was to be expected, but nobody predicted that Lucario and Melmetal-GX would make Top 16. If you’re a fan of rogue decks, this should give you hope.

In preparation for the Paris SPE, here is my guide to the current pre-Cosmic Eclipse Standard format. I will be going over plenty of decks, and reasons to play or not to play them, as well as give some lists that I consider optimal. I don’t claim I have discovered anything revolutionary, but I think this article should make for a good summary of the UPR-HIF Standard format and a way to close this chapter of the TCG history. For those of you who are looking forward to Cosmic Eclipse, I’ll try to give my opinion on where these decks are headed in the new format.

Mewtwo and Mew-GX

The World’s winning deck that everyone claimed was Tier 1 turned out to stay Tier 1 until the end of the UPR-HIF format, winning two Regional Championships in North America and one in Europe. Mewtwo and Mew-GX was adopted by some of the best players in the world and for good reason—the deck has amazing versatility thanks to its Perfection Ability. With Charizard-GX‘s Flare Blitz GX to overpower other Tag Teams and Espeon and Deoxys-GX‘s Cross Divide GX as a devastating option against small Pokemon like Pidgeotto, Mewtwo and Mew-GX can overcome a wide variety of problems.

Mewtwo and Mew-GX is strong against Pikachu and Zekrom-GX and Pidgeotto Control, the other top-performing decks in Atlantic City and Knoxville. However, it can struggle against some less hyped decks, like Gardevoir and Sylveon-GX, Malamar with Latios-GX or Baby Blacephalon, and I think that these decks’ popularity is higher in Europe than in North America. This doesn’t mean that Mewtwo and Mew-GX can’t win in Europe, but it needs to adapt. In my opinion, Mewtwo and Mew-GX should accept the bad Gardevoir and Sylveon-GX matchup—there are ways to improve it, like Muk and Alolan Muk-GX but they don’t do enough to matter. However, it’s matchup against other decks can be fixed by playing a less all-in variant of the deck. Tord Reklev showed the way when he won Cologne Regionals. The inclusion of Shedinja in the deck improves the Prize trade against non Pokemon-GX decks, as well as in the mirror match. In my opinion, it’s the right way to play the deck, at least in Europe.


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