Discussion Even matchups in the Sword and Shield era of the Pokemon TCG.


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A while back I discovered a website called Retro Pokemon TCG (https://jklaczpokemon.wordpress.com), which is best summer up by the statement underneath the website title, which reads "History, decks and strategies for formats from 1999 to 2016, written by 3-time World Champion Jason Klaczynski." Each article features a breakdown of the history of each format mentioned, as well as a series of deck lists, each with a description. But one of my favorite parts is the list at the end of almost all of the articles... a list of each of the near-even matchups in that format. The last era that Klaczynski covered was the XY window, when standard became the insane absolute unit that it is now. It was also the last format he played; he dropped out of the competitive scene in the early Sun and Moon era after rediscovering vintage formats. He concludes his last article by saying that he has recorded the TCG as it was in the past, and that he is passing the baton onto more recent players who will record the subsequent history of the TCG. And that is why we are writing this thread. Pokebeach does a great job giving us a blow-by-blow breakdown of standard with its strategy articles program, but what Pokebeach has never claimed to have done is to create a list of fun and fairly level matchups. What I hope to accomplish with this thread is to create a list of even matchups for various eras of the Sword and Shield era, in the hope of giving future players who want to experience the historical Sword and Shield format for themselves can find out what decks to build in order to experience the most enjoyable and balanced gameplay experience possible.
While I hope to cover most of the Sword and Shield era's various formats, I would like to start with just three:
1. Team Up through Evolving Skies
2. Sword and Shield through Evolving Skies.
3. Sword and Shield through Fusion Strike.

Here is why I chose these formats:
1. This was the last standard format in which Sword and Shield and Sun and Moon cards coexisted. It also, however, saw an unheard of diversity of decks for a Sword and Shield era format. Part of this, of course, was due to the most recent expansion in the Sword and Shield format. Most of the Eeveelution VMAX's were viable, as was the Suicune V that was initially championed by one of Pokebeach's very own strategy program authors. We also saw Dark Box's first successful Standard campaign, as well as the revival of Single Strike as an archetype. We even had Malamar Rapid Strike for anyone who was sick and tired of playing the absolute units that have overrun the modern TCG. All this diversity may make this format appealing to play as someone who is looking back at the history of the Pokemon TCG, but it could also make this format extremely hard to navigate. (Not to mention many people will have false impressions of how good Rayquaza VMAX was.) And of course, Sword and Shield as an era is infamous for its auto-losses. Which is part of why I wanted to launch this thread.
2. This format retains much of the diversity of the pre-rotation format that preceded it, but was comprised entirely of cards from the Sword and Shield era. Not much for me to say that I haven't already said.
3. On the one hand, Mew VMAX has completely reshaped the standard format. I've counted at least nine Darkness type decks while reading Pokebeach's article's program, and every deck has to have some way to deal with Mew. However, Mew VMAX has also opened the door for single prize Pokemon. With ADP long gone and Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX huddling and quivering in the corner, we have seen the re-emergence of Malamar and the rise of Single Strike Morpeko, Fusion Strike Dragapult, and the new Obstagoon. This sets this format apart from other Sword and Shield era formats, but it also makes this format hard to find even matchups for. "To Mew or not to Mew, that is the question." Which isn't easy if you just want to casually experience a piece of history by singling out two equal decks to play in a vaccum. Which is where having a list like the one I hope to make here would come in handy.

To sum it up, I'm writing this thread in the hopes that we can give future generations a reference point for finding fun and level matchups when they return to this era for the purpose of recreation and of understanding the history of the Pokemon TCG better. Now, we're not posting any deck LISTS... there are already plenty of articles that do that quite well. Now, even though I am starting this initiative, I myself possess very little personal experience with the current standard format. Which is why I need the help of those of you with more experience. Please name at least one pair of decks from one of the above Sword and Shield formats (being careful to specify which format) and provide a brief summary of how those decks work and how you would play them in that specific matchup. If you could site a Pokebeach article about a deck published in the era you are submitting the matchup under, that would be great. Feel free to discuss other people's recommendations. At some point I will update the OP with a list of matchups and descriptions that have been satisfactorily unchallenged, amended, or defended. And remember, this information could be of service to future generations of Pokemon fans.
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