The Green Revolution — Green’s Exploration Decks Post-Cosmic Eclipse

Now that Cosmic Eclipse is officially released, testing for the new Standard format is in full swing all around the world, especially among players who are attending the Latin America International Championship. Tackling the whole format would be a task far too overwhelming for one article and I don’t think my knowledge of the format is good enough for that yet. In this article, I’ll be focusing on one part of the metagame, the one that I’ve focused most so far: Green's Exploration decks. To do that, we first need to understand what are these decks’ strengths and weaknesses. I’ll talk about what they gain from Cosmic Eclipse, what are the old and new threats to their success and what they can do to deal with these threats.

What’s in a deck?

To start with, let’s establish the parameters of this article. I will do my best to talk about the common factors in all Green’s Exploration decks, but these decks have different strengths and weaknesses despite a few similarities. In this article, I will focus on three decks: Gardevoir and Sylveon-GX, Charizard and Braixen-GX, and Lucario and Melmetal-GX.

Gardevoir and Sylveon-GX

Its Fairy type makes it very interesting in a format where Arceus and Dialga and Palkia-GX and Reshiram and Zekrom-GX are being hyped. It can use Fairy Charm Tools, which before Cosmic Eclipse were used to give it favorable matchups to Pikachu and Zekrom-GX, Blacephalon-GX / Naganadel and Mewtwo and Mew-GX. It can use Xerneas-GX as a way to deal with decks that don’t go for OHKOs, especially Malamar.

Charizard and Braixen-GX

This is the evolution (metagame-wise) of the Green’s Reshiram and Charizard-GX deck. The original Fire type Tag Team Pokemon-GX still has a place in this deck, but overall, Charizard and Braixen-GX’s attack works much better since it lets us search for any three cards. You can use combos such as Reset Stamp along with Jessie and James, Weezing and Power Plantaltogether, something that fits the game plan of a Green’s Exploration deck. This deck has the benefit of Volcanion, a non-GX attacker that fits fantastically in the deck that accelerates Energy and damage Pokemon such as Alolan Ninetales.

Lucario and Melmetal-GX

This deck never got too popular, but it benefits from Gardevoir and Sylveon-GX’s rising popularity since it counters it perfectly. Unfortunately, it misses Double Colorless Energy a lot, but it could still find success depending on the metagame. It has the benefit of being a very defensive deck thanks to Metal Frying Pan and its GX attack, making it strong against attacks that don’t hit for much damage. Its  Psychic resistance will give Malamar players nightmares.

Other Green’s Exploration Decks

In addition to this trio, there are more cards you can use to build a Green’s Exploration deck around. One option that I haven’t seen discussed much is Arceus and Dialga and Palkia-GX. Like the decks above, it can accelerate Energy through attacks, although you admittedly have to reach three Energy first. A Green’s Exploration variant of the deck wouldn’t use Keldeo-GX and would need some other partner. Japanese players have seen success combining Arceus and Dialga and Palkia-GX with Pheromosa and Buzzwole-GX – it’s an attacker that can do damage for only one Energy, plus you can use Beast Ring and Tag Switch as Energy acceleration in the midgame. The deck has access to some cool tricks such as Lusamine Prism Star. Although the idea is interesting, I’m afraid I’m still working on the deck right now and I’m not sure whether it’s actually good or not.

Not all Green’s Exploration decks rely on Tag Team Pokemon-GX, but these variants are the ones that gain the most from Cosmic Eclipse. Blacephalon / Green’s Exploration has proven to be a solid contender making the finals of the Paris SPE, and might survive in the new metagame, but I won’t focus on it for this article.

Key Trainers with Green’s Exploration

Green’s Exploration decks tend to play some of the same cards, which is why I group them together. All the decks above play, in addition to Green’s Exploration:

  • Pokégear 3.0 – helps find Green’s Exploration as soon as possible
  • Custom Catcher – Green’s Exploration lets you get two copies in hand very easily compared to other decks, so every Green’s deck runs four Custom Catcher.
  • Power Plant – you can run other Stadiums, but Power Plant is beneficial since Green’s Exploration decks have no  Pokemon with Abilities. It helps a lot to achieve comebacks, as you can lock your opponent out of their draw options (Dedenne-GX or Naganadel-GX) and any Ability they need to function (Mewtwo and Mew-GX, Weavile-GX, Keldeo-GX etc).
  • Reset Stamp – Although it sees play in many more decks, Green’s Exploration decks can often play three or even four copies of Reset Stamp for three reasons. One, you can access it easily with Green’s Exploration, ensuring you can play a Reset Stamp just after your opponent takes a big KO. Two, they tend not to be super fast so they’ll need to come back from a Prize deficit, and Reset Stamp is the best way to do so. Three, Reset Stamp makes a great combination with Power Plant, a card that’s already in the deck.

In addition, Green’s Exploration decks can play situational Trainer cards, including (depending on the deck): Choice Helmet, Shrine of Punishment, Tag Switch, etc.

Cosmic Eclipse Additions

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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