Hey Some1sPC readers! My name is Russell LaParre and I'm back with another Elite PC article. In the past few months, we've seen the Standard Format metagame slowly develop around Dallas, Athens, and Anaheim Regionals. Ultimately, we ended with our latest tournament in the Standard Format, Sheffield Regionals. Turbo Darkrai, Vespiquen, Darkrai Dragons, and Espeon GX/M Mewtwo EX seemed to have ruled the format. That is until Sheffield Regionals showed us the strength of one particular deck, pioneered by veteran player John Kettler, Decidueye GX/Vileplume. While he may have only finished top 16 at Anaheim Regionals, his performance inspired Sheffield Regionals' Winner, to pilot the deck to victory. I think Decidueye GX/Vileplume will be the deck of choice for a majority of the top players at this weekend's League Cups. If they don't pick Decidueye GX/Vileplume, they'll more than likely play Turbo Darkrai or M Mewtwo EX/Espeon GX. Thus, we'll need to prepare a deck that can go against both of them. To start, let's assess each of the three deck's strengths and weaknesses to develop a deck that can stand against them.
To most players, piloting Decidueye GX/Vileplume means you're in a huge rush to hit your turn 1 Vileplume. While this strategy isn't completely awful, I think the way John Kettler built his list is less dependent on the turn 1 Vileplume. The emphasis should be more on establishing your Decidueye GX and Gloom line, so that you’ll usually finish turn 1 with a Tauros GX or Decidueye GX in the active. With the Sheffield list not currently online (meaning players will have to watch the stream and mark down cards to get an exact list), I think most players are going to build a card for card or 58 card copy of John's Decidueye GX/Vileplume deck. This decision may prove players costly as they'll over dedicate resources to fish for a turn 1 Vileplume when it isn't necessary or detrimental to winning the game. We'll need to play a deck that can hit Decidueye GX hard or shut off its abilities to give ourselves the opportunity to play items. Most of the time, this means playing Volcanion EX or a deck packed with Garbodor or heavy Hex Maniac.
Turbo Darkrai is the next most played deck in the format and for good reason. Darkrai EX hits incredibly hard and has an absurd amount of HP when equipped with Fighting Fury Belt. Above all else, it has a simplistic game plan for victory. Get your Dark Energy in play, attack with Dark Pulse for OHKOs or 2HKOs, and keep your Energy in play using EXP Share. This simplicity is what makes Turbo Darkrai the most attractive deck for inexperienced or lazy players to pilot during their League Cups. Turbo Darkrai showed to have a few issues with Tauros GX, but ultimately taking a slower game plan against it by just waiting to build up Energy for Dark Pulse allows you overcome any deck using Tauros GX as a main attacker. Crazy enough, I think this deck without Garbodor is severely held back by the strength of Decidueye/Vileplume. People piloting this list will need to add in extra Hex Maniac or the Garbodor to consistently beat Decidueye GX/Vileplume throughout the course of a high round League Cup. To best Turbo Darkrai, we'll need to play Fighting Pokémon, higher damage output to overwhelm it early, or use an efficient attacker that can keep up the 2HKO war with a Darkrai EX.
M Mewtwo EX/Espeon GX will be the final hurdle to overcome for your typical League Cup testing. M Mewtwo EX has always been a force in the Standard Format and with M Gardevoir EX underperforming as of late, I think the deck is in a prime position to stay in the top tier of the meta. Espeon GX added a new flavor for the deck to deal with the mirror match and gives the deck a nice GX attack in Divide GX. This GX attack will help set up knockout numbers for Psychic Infinity, as overwhelming resource commitment to a single M Mewtwo EX to achieve the same result could easily be punished. To beat M Mewtwo EX/Espeon GX, we'll need to play Mewtwo EVO or control cards to deal with its Mega Turbo and Double Colorless Energy ramp up. Darkrai EX could keep up with M Mewtwo EX with its resistance and heavy mid-game swings, but with Confusion and Divide GX in the equation, I think the match up has slowly come closer to 50/50.
With the top decks established, let’s get to the deck that I wanted to discuss today, Espeon GX/Wobbuffet. I figured we couldn't make a deck that has a positive matchup against all 3 of the decks mentioned above so taking a tough 40/60 to Darkrai but a severe advantage over the other 2 decks would be the best course of action.
Table of Contents
At first glance, I thought Espeon GX was a rather underwhelming card. Its first attack seemed to have an underwhelming damage output as well as a mediocre effect. Psychic was reliant on opponent's Energy attachments and the GX attack felt like it didn't do enough to be so strong. Boy, was I wrong! Let's break down the card piece by piece to get a better observation.
[P] Psybeam: 30 damage. Your opponent’s Active Pokémon is now confused.
Psybeam, while underwhelming in damage output, puts an absurd amount of control on your opponent's plays through its Confusion status condition. You can even get this attack off on turn 1 by means of Eevee SM1's Energy Evolution. When I theorized it before testing out SM1, I thought "ehhh, that's not that good." It wasn't until I played against 3 Espeon GX variants at Anaheim Regionals until I realized how incredibly annoying it was to play against. If I left my attacker Active, I'd put myself in a position where I'd need to have a Pokémon Center Lady or Switch effect to put any damage on Espeon GX. Just attempting to attack through the confusion is a risky play and could put my overall game plan on a coin flip. While some players may just "risk it for the biscuit", I favor playing the patient game which only added to the control that Espeon GX put on my deck. Psybeam adds a new flavor of control to the format and I think a majority of players would be unprepared to deal with consistent turns of Confusion.
[P][C][C] Psychic: 60+ damage. This attack does 30 more damage times the number of Energy attached to your opponent’s Active Pokémon.
The Energy cost for Psychic is incredibly efficient. Typically, on turn 1 you'll get a Psychic Energy on your Eevee, turn into it an Espeon GX, hit for a Psybeam then if you get to a Double Colorless Energy you can start pressuring your opponent with Psychic. While the damage output is dependent on your opponent's Energy attachments, Psychic hits for a solid amount of base damage to force 2HKO and 3HKOs. It also regulates the amount of Energy your opponent puts down on their Active Pokémon. This means they'll need to have a cost effective attacker to chip away at Espeon GX without getting blown up for a 2HKO by Psychic.
[P][C][C] Divide GX: Put 10 damage counters on your opponent’s Pokémon in any way you like. (You can’t use more than 1 GX attack per game.)
Espeon GX's best attack and the deck's most skill intensive play, Divide GX is well worth using as the deck's GX attack. It's hard to discuss this attack without breaking it down matchup or exact scenario but Divide GX should setup both future KO's and current KO's. Typically, I've used it to take a KO on a previously damaged Pokémon, set up the exact numbers I'll need to KO with Espeon GX’s Psychic or Wobbuffet’s Psychic Assault, or hitting the Pokémon on board that I felt was the largest threat to Espeon GX.
Next, we want to pair Espeon GX with the best possible combination of cards to fight against Turbo Darkrai, Decidueye GX/Vileplume, and M Mewtwo EX. I personally like having a more aggressive approach with the deck. This way you can immediately capitalize on an opponent's mediocre hand when they're held down by Wobbuffet. Here's what the first list looks like:
Thanks for reading the free portion of this article! The rest of the article can be viewed by Elite PC members only. Click on the Ultra Ball below to catch this article and become an Elite PC Member today!