Format Convergence – On ADP’s Dominance in 2020 Standard

Hey everyone! I’m happy to be back here with another article. Since my last article, the Player’s Cup II has kicked off, and just like many people predicted, Arceus and Dialga and Palkia-GX has dominated the event in pretty much every way. Players have found even more ways to further optimize decklists and exploit the card’s power as much as possible, now to the point that pretty much every deck is at least a slightly favorable matchup. Never before in my Pokemon career has a format been so centralized around one card; not even the Mewtwo-EX wars of 2012 States or Seismitoad-EX dominance of 2015 Spring before the ban of Lysandre's Trump Card. Not even dedicated hard-counter decks have been able to pull off a highly-favorable Arceus and Dialga and Palkia-GX matchup, the card is just too strong and opens up too many options for the player to take advantage of.  Thus, I almost feel like there are really only three options in regards to the Players Cup II right now: play Arceus and Dialga and Palkia-GX (and probably have no fun), try to counter Arceus and Dialga and Palkia-GX (and probably lose to everything else if you can even beat Arceus and Dialga and Palkia-GX in the first place, like my Whimsicott-GX deck from the last article), or don’t play at all. The sad truth is I am probably going to take the third option. I have enough other things to worry about with the beginning of my college career and I’d much rather put all of my time and effort into Pokemon when the format is more fun. However, I am still working with some highly successful testing groups right now, and I can share the latest information on new lists we’ve been building and they have been playing to a lot of success in online tournaments.

I will say it pains me to write about this deck. I just feel as if ADP is so much better than everything else in the format right now that I would be doing the readers a disservice to write about anything else. Every single deck I have built right now other than ADP cannot beat AADP consistently, and every deck I have tried to build as a pure ADP counter not only fails in that objective, but loses to everything else.  So, here I am, sharing with you my latest list for what I believe is the most dominant deck of all time. Nothing defines the format like this card does, and nothing makes me want to play less than seeing Altered Creation GX announced in every game and watching players mindlessly throw Boss's Orders on the table to pick off the Dedenne-GX and Crobat V that this format forces you to play. I expect we will look back on this deck in 10 years and realize that ADP would still be an overpowered card in a format with 500 HP Basics.

Pokemon (11)

3x Zacian V (SWSH1 #138)3x Dedenne-GX (UNB #57)2x Arceus and Dialga and Palkia-GX (COE #156)1x Crobat V (SWSH3 #104)1x Mawile-GX (UNM #141)1x Oricorio-GX (COE #95)

Trainers (38)

4x Boss's Orders (SWSH2 #154)4x Professor's Research (SWSH1 #178)4x Quick Ball (SWSH1 #179)4x Metal Saucer (SWSH1 #170)4x Energy Switch (SM #117)3x Pokémon Catcher (SM #126)3x Switch (SWSH1 #183)3x Cherish Ball (UNM #191)3x Air Balloon (SWSH1 #156)2x Energy Spinner (UNB #170)1x Tool Scrapper (SWSH2 #168)1x Great Catcher (COE #192)2x Viridian Forest (TEU #156)

Energy (11)

8x Metal Energy (HS #122)3x Water Energy (HS #117)

I truly believe this list is within 5 cards of what everyone should be playing if they expect to win games. Arceus and Dialga and Palkia-GX’s ability to set up extremely fast and pull off an Altered Creation GX almost immediately ensures that no deck has time to set up a winning strategy against it.  Below, I’ll go into all of the card choices and how they help this deck win a vast majority of its games, regardless of opponent.

3 Zacian V, 2 Arceus and Dialga and Palkia-GX

The two best Pokemon printed in my entire career combine here to create a truly unstoppable force. Since Arceus and Dialga and Palkia-GX is only really used in the early game, you can get away with playing two copies and still reliably set up. Similarly, I considered playing 4 Zacian V, but in a format like this, you will rarely ever need more than two and I play enough other consistency options to go without the extra out to Intrepid Sword. Beyond possibly testing a third Arceus and Dialga and Palkia-GX or adding a Zamazenta V, I don’t think this count should ever change. These five cards are absolute staples in this format and no deck should expect to be successful without them.


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