Hello everyone, I’m back with another article! While Gardevoir ex looked like the clear best deck coming out of LAIC, several shifts in the metagame have happened since then, with Turbo Miraidon ex and Snorlax Stall becoming real contenders. Many players at the Brisbane and Gdansk Regionals went all in on trying to counter Gardevoir ex, which resulted in Charizard ex having a ton of success feasting on all the Miraidon ex and Iron Valiant ex decks. This creates an interesting conundrum for players heading to San Antonio Regionals soon: do you just play Gardevoir ex because of its inherent power and consistency, or do you try and counter the expected metagame? This question has made me revisit a deck that, initially, I wouldn’t have said I liked a lot before LAIC: Lost Zone Giratina VSTAR.
When I first looked at the scans of Paradox Rift, two assets for Lost Zone Giratina jumped out: Counter Catcher and Path to the Peak. Counter Catcher was an incredible boost to Lost Zone Giratina, since its game plan already involves falling behind in Prize cards, and combining Counter Catcher with Roxanne results in a lot of wins, even in games where all hope seems lost. Some Lost Zone Giratina decks in the past even used to play Cross Switcher to try and combine bringing up opposing Benched Pokemon with hand disruption Supporters like Iono or Roxanne. However, the pair of Cross Switchers ended up being too difficult to piece together and ultimately not worth the deck space. This is where Counter Catcher comes in. Because you only have to find the Counter Catcher itself and not piece together two cards, you get much more use out of it. It’s also a significantly lower commitment than Cross Switcher, as you only need to play one or two in your deck for the same effect.
While Path to the Peak isn’t a new card, it gained a lot from the introduction of Paradox Rift. The metagame has shifted in such a way that the two-Prize Basic decks all rely heavily on Abilities. Decks like Miraidon ex, Iron Valiant ex, Entei V, and Roaring Moon ex are all extremely weak to Path to the Peak. Meanwhile, Charizard ex is the main deck players use to counter the two-Prize Basic decks, and Charizard ex is also very weak to Path to the Peak, as its Infernal Reign and Quick Search Abilities get shut off. Going first and playing a Path to the Peak is one of the strongest plays you can make in the current format, since so many decks rely on Squawkabilly ex. A lot of these more aggressive decks will opt to go second if the matchup is blind, allowing you to get in under them with a first-turn Path to the Peak.
The reason I dropped Lost Zone Giratina before LAIC was its matchup against Gardevoir ex. If your Gardevoir-playing opponent plays the matchup well, you have a very low chance of winning, as they can sit there and not take Prize cards until they have set up a Gardevoir with a bunch of Energy and no damage. They can also use Cresselia‘s Moonglow Reverse attack to damage your Giratina V and attach extra Energy to their Gardevoir without damaging it. This gets even worse if you take the first Prize card, as they can use Reversal Energy to deal significantly more damage. While you can play Jirachi to prevent Moonglow Reverse from damaging your Benched Pokemon, it’s difficult to keep Jirachi in play if you get hit with an Avery.
If your opponent just takes their time and doesn’t go ahead in Prize cards, it’s almost impossible to defeat Gardevoir ex with Lost Zone Giratina. However, when I discussed the problem with fellow Australian players Kaiwen Cabbabe and Brent Tonisson, we came up with this idea.
This concludes the public portion of this article.
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