Hello PokeBeach readers! Isaiah here, and I am happy to be bringing you all another article!
Recently, the final Regional Championship of the Silver Tempest format occurred in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I did not do as well as I’d hoped, finishing in the Top 256 with Lugia VSTAR, but I am now at 280 of the 350 Championship Points needed to be invited to the World Championship, so the event wasn’t a complete loss.
In almost anti-climactic fashion, with all eyes on Lugia VSTAR to close out the format with one last Regional Championship win, it was ultimately Hisuian Goodra VSTAR with the Comfey-focused Lost Zone engine that came out on top. With that event marking the end of the Sword & Shield–block format, we can finally say goodbye to decks like Lugia VSTAR, Lost Zone Box, and Mew VMAX …
Although rotation means the departure of some of Standard’s most powerful cards, such as Aurora Energy and Scoop Up Net, many of the same faces will stick around as top decks. However, to say that the format is identical would also be wrong, with so many new variants and archetypes emerging with the release of Scarlet & Violet. Before we get too deep into this article’s main topic, how about we take a look at some of Standard’s new faces?
The Early Scarlet & Violet Metagame
This format can be split into two categories: new and old.
The old is the stuff we already know. Lost Zone Box is expected to maintain its place at the top of the metagame, possibly even claiming the title of best deck in format. With so many powerful attackers available to it, such as Raikou V and Dragonite V, thanks to Mirage Gate, the deck is able to answer almost everything that threatens the deck’s true main attacker, Sableye. With the departure of Scoop Up Net from Standard, nothing is safe from Sableye anymore, and the card can now completely upend board states in a way it could never do before.
Unlike most decks, Lost Zone Box lost basically nothing to rotation — the most significant loss was Scoop Up Net, which can just be replaced by extra switch effects. Mew VMAX also saw few changes with rotation, basically just losing Quick Ball. However, Lugia VSTAR lost a lot. In the last format, it had a legitimate case for being one of the best decks in the game’s history, but it loses a lot of its power to rotation. Nowadays, the deck focuses on a Single Strike package centered around Tyranitar V. While this version is not nearly as potent as the old version, the inherent strength of Archeops is enough to keep the deck at the top.
Now, naturally, we must explore the new side of the format. One deck that seems to be on everyone’s mind, for better or for worse, is Miraidon ex. With a remarkable Ability and with Electric Generator to support it as Energy acceleration, it is hard to see a world where Lightning is bad for the foreseeable future, but some people disagree. The deck, ironically, does have some consistency issues, largely due to the lack of a good draw engine among Lightning-type Pokemon. Additionally, having no way to swing a favorable Prize exchange against decks like Lost Zone Box gives Miraidon ex a lot of issues in the current metagame. With that being said, it does have raw power in a way similar to Buzzwole-GX back in 2018, so it’s bound to see some success.
Speaking of popular decks in 2018, one deck in our post-rotation Standard format evokes a similar feeling to the classic Greninja BREAK: a seemingly inconsistent mess of a Stage 2 deck that is absurdly good if it gets set up. Yes, I am talking about Gardevoir ex!
Why Gardevoir ex?
It has been a long, long time since I have seen the Pokemon community so divided over the viability of an archetype in the same way that they are about Gardevoir ex. I am in the camp that thinks it’s one of the best decks in the format, so allow me to explain.
First, I want to take a look at the arguments against Gardevoir ex. Generally, the issues that people have are that the deck is inconsistent and that it’s slow. It is pretty hard to refute the former claim. However, I think that some of the consistency issues come with the way lists are being built. Many lists that I see online play Battle VIP Pass, which I think is a terrible card in Gardevoir ex. The deck does not need to get four Basics in play on turn two like most decks that play Battle VIP Pass — it just needs two Ralts, and it’s already in a good spot. Battle VIP Pass literally makes zero sense in the deck, and should be replaced with draw Supporters and more viable search cards, such as Ultra Ball. If you do this, the consistency spikes dramatically.
As for the issue of being slow, I think this comes from people’s reluctance to abuse the insane power of Kirlia‘s Mirage Step. More often than not, I see people skipping this attack in favor of playing one or maybe two Refinement Kirlia on as soon as possible. However, I cannot disagree with this line of play more. Establishing a board full of Kirlia with Mirage Step is far more efficient because it leaves you with the option to evolve any Ralts you leave in play on future turns, including with Rare Candy. In general, I have found the most effective strategy to be using turn two as an “explosion” turn: fill up the discard and draw tons of cards with Refinement and Gardevoir‘s Shining Arcana. It is not uncommon to draw around ten cards on turn three (and that’s without playing a Supporter!) and then close out that turn with a huge swing from Gardevoir CRE. The deck’s power once it gets rolling is honestly incredible, and it’s also a blast to play in the process.
Currently, Gardevoir ex would be my number one play for the Europe International Championship this week, so how about we take a look at the list I am currently working with?
This concludes the public portion of this article.
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