Hello everyone, this is Grant Manley with another article about some Standard format decks. Hot off the heels of EUIC, Indianapolis (and some other) Regionals, I was trying to figure out what I wanted to play for the event, so I’m going to go over two of my top picks today. They both just so happen to be single-Prize decks, and they are surprisingly cracked in the current format. Let’s get into it.
My Hoopa / Galarian Moltres Deck
This is the exact 60 that I played at EUIC, though I unfortunately barely missed day two with a record of 5-2-2. I hit some unfortunate and unexpected matchups such as Duraludon VMAX, but I still think this deck was a good play for the event. This deck has strong matchups in the meta with its only real weakness being to well-timed Marnie .
This deck is still a strong contender in the format going forward. If you want a better Arceus VSTAR / Inteleon matchup, you could play the version that leans heavily into Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX, which is what I wrote about last time and what won EUIC, however, I don’t value Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX as highly now that it is a popular deck and everyone is playing Manaphy. It also makes your Mew VMAX matchup weaker.
The Deck List
This list is deck is a little similar to the one I wrote about last time, keeping the same Hoopa and Galarian Moltres package, but there are several differences as well. This deck has Rowlet, which is actually an incredible tech. Sure, it doesn’t work if your opponent has Manaphy on their Bench, but in Game 1 they’ll have no inclination to go for Manaphy right away without any reason to expect a snipe attack out of nowhere. Even if they do, it’s quite possible that you will be able to attack with Rowlet before they even get a chance to put Manaphy down.
Rowlet does several things for the deck. It snipes down Sobble and Dunsparce in the early game (among other things), which is handy. This is particularly useful for this deck, which has little in the way of early-game aggression — this deck is passive and not proactive, so being able to take an early Prize or two when you have nothing better to do is extremely helpful. Additionally, Bird Keeper is a useful draw Supporter for the deck. Inteleon decks like this are the opposite of churn-and-burn, preferring to search out specific pieces at the cost of not being able to ditch your entire hand. As such, it can be difficult to find draw Supporters for these kinds of decks. Bird Keeper is the perfect card because it is a Supporter that draws cards, but it also gives you a switch effect and activates Rowlet too! This is the perfect deck to get maximum value from Bird Keeper as a card.
I talked about Pokemon like Snorlax and the Darkness-types when I wrote about a similar deck in my last article, so check that one out. I’ve added a second copy of Shady Dealings Inteleon as I found it to be needed in every game — if it’s prized, you outright lose. This deck takes most of its Prizes at the end of the game anyway. The second Inteleon improves overall consistency, allows you to attack with one when it’s convenient and still have one in reserve, and also improves your chances of drawing out of opposing Marnie. I also added Manaphy in anticipation of the rise of Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX. Manaphy single-handedly swings the Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX matchup, and there are several easy ways to recover it.
Galarian Zapdos V is the sole two-Prize Pokemon in this deck and it is remarkably efficient and is almost always used alongside Raihan. Once you’ve removed opposing Dunsparce, or if they simply don’t have it, Galarian Zapdos V easily OHKO’s Arceus VSTAR. We do not play Cape of Toughness for the Galarian Zapdos V — it’s is only useful if Path to the Peak is not in play, and we only have one counter Stadium, so even if we have Cape of Toughness, they can play Path to the Peak and neuter the Galarian Zapdos V anyway. We only need one copy for one KO in our path to victory against Arceus VSTAR, which I will elaborate on later. Even if Galarian Zapdos V gets immediately return-KO’d, it’s done its job anyway. Even better, that KO powers up Galarian Moltres. Galarian Zapdos V is mostly used against Arceus VSTAR, but it’s quite handy in many other matchups as well.
I play three copies of Energy Switch after mostly testing with two — I found that two was simply not cutting it, especially if one happened to be prized. Energy Search is extremely useful and efficient, so I would even consider adding a fourth copy. Energy Retrieval allows for important Galarian Moltres plus Boss's Orders plays that would be otherwise unavailable with a reliance on Klara. I play one Training Court, though I don’t find it to be that useful. I only have it for Galarian Zapdos V’s counter to Path to the Peak.
Rescue Carrier was a late addition to the deck because you need to ensure a board full of Sobble and Drizzile. If your opponent targets them down, Rescue Carrier is an easy way to get them back and establish your board. Additionally, Rescue Carrier can provide an extra copy of Rowlet and Manaphy in the matchups where they are useful. Klara is usually best reserved for Galarian Moltres plays, and you cannot always afford to use it over other Supporters, so Rescue Carrier proved to be extremely helpful.
Capture Energy helps with early game consistency. For the most part, this deck’s win condition is setting up a board of Sobble and Drizzile. Its lose condition is bricking off the opening hand and not getting Sobble into Drizzile. Capture Energy is also fantastic for finding Snorlax or Rowlet on the turns that you need them.
This concludes the public portion of this article.
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