Hello PokeBeach readers! Isaiah here, and I am happy to be writing another article for you all! Last time, I talked about Chien-Pao ex decks and why they have recently started to see a surge in popularity. Since then, Chien-Pao ex has continued to see consistent success at major events, both online and offline. Towards the end of that article, I talked briefly about how Paradox Rift was going to change Chien-Pao ex going forward, largely noting Iron Hands ex as a major change, and now that the set has released, we have started to see its impact unfold. Iron Hands ex has pretty much split Chien-Pao ex into two distinct decks. One style centers around the original Cross Switcher plus Canceling Cologne play, and the other that puts Iron Hands ex as the focal point of your game plan, which means it has to care a bit less about “gust” effects in general since the opponent’s Active Spot Pokemon will always be worth two or more Prize cards. As of now, I am not entirely sure which build is superior, but one thing is certain: Chien-Pao ex decks will undoubtedly be a force to be reckoned with in the future.
The change to Chien-Pao ex decks is not the only thing that has come out of Paradox Rift, though. Decks like Roaring Moon ex and Iron Valiant ex have undeniably garnered the most attention, especially the former, which is considered one of the best decks in the format. Paradox Rift also brought the return of Counter Catcher, a fan favorite card from the Sun and Moon era. At first, I was not super sure of how good this card would be, especially since it was not too insane during its time in Standard format before, but in my testing so far, the card seems to be absolutely incredible, much more similar to Pow! Hand Extension from the mid-2000s in terms of power level. The return of Technical Machine Tool cards has also opened up many new doors, with Technical Machine: Evolution slotting itself into Charizard ex decks and its Technical Machine: Devolution counterpart starting to find its place in Lost Zone decks. To my surprise, this set has started to shape up to be one of the more impactful sets in recent memory, which is certainly a nice change of pace when compared to a set like Obsidian Flames was, which had minimal impact on the game when it released. As a result, I am super excited for the Latin America International Championships.
However, one deck I have yet to mention is Gholdengo ex. When the card was first revealed, many players were quite excited for a spiritual successor to Blacephalon, but now that the set has come out, the community seems to be quite divided on whether or not the deck is even a playable archetype. In my opinion, this deck is extremely underrated, even though it comes with its flaws, and as such, I wanted to make it the focus of my first Paradox Rift format article.
A Case for Gholdengo ex
At first glance, Gholdengo ex honestly has a lot going for it. Make it Rain having an effectively limitless damage output for just one Energy is something that is extremely rare to see, and the condition of just needing to dump Energy from the hand is an incredibly easy one to fulfill thanks to Energy Retrieval and Superior Energy Retrieval. The one issue with Superior Energy Retrieval is generally going to be having a substantial number of cards in your hand such that you are able to actually use multiple copies when you need to, but the existence of its Coin Bonus Ability to draw a handful of extra cards to find what you need and fill the hand to discard cards for Superior Energy Retrieval. Gholdengo ex’s 260 HP is also surprisingly good in this format, with one of the best benefits is requiring Mew VMAX to use three copies of Power Tablet to Knock it Out.
While this is the general idea, the more important things to look at are the deck’s actual matchups and how the deck’s strengths line up into the actual metagame. The strongest positive that I see with Gholdengo ex in this new format is that it is very good against decks that are primarily made up of multi-Prize card Pokemon, such as Roaring Moon ex. Normally, just preying on two for two Prize trades is a pretty good strategy, but it usually just comes down to who takes the first Knock Out. However, Gholdengo ex has a unique advantage over the other Pokemon ex decks, and that is the fact that it has to evolve from Gimmighoul. Normally, having to evolve would be a bad thing, but in this rare case, it is definitely a good thing. This deck always has a board of only non-Pokemon ex on the first turn, meaning that the opponent cannot easily take two Prize cards on their first turn, which results in you always winning the trade, a benefit that should not be undervalued. This upside is especially important in the Paradox Rift format, which seems to be shifting a bit further into the direction of a metagame largely centered on multi-Prize Pokemon. If you ask me, it is this strength that will make Gholdengo ex a powerful deck in the format going forward. With this being said, how about we take a look at my current Gholdengo ex deck list.
This concludes the public portion of this article.
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