Happy holidays Some1spc family! It has been a while since my last article. With competitive play, the holiday season and my work nearing down to the year end, I finally have some time to write for you all. In this article, I will open with an update on my competitive season, a summary of my experience at the largest Pokémon Regional Championships, a deck profile on what I think the best deck in the Standard format is, Buzzwole/Lycanroc, and a deck profile on a very fun and under the radar deck in the Expanded format.

Can I just say that it has been such a great time for Pokémon? I don’t play as much as I have previously, so these past two months were the best. I am currently sitting at 292 points having gone to three Regionals and three League Cups. I had just come back from Memphis Regionals and I loved it. Even though I did not make it to day two, the other days were just amazing. The Some1spc team stayed in the same hotel and began the weekend playing the team matches.

For those who weren’t following Friday’s team matches, we had four sponsored teams play a Standard format with chaos rules (pretty much a list of fun game state updates that the judge can say at any point of the match). The goal was to rack up as many points (prizes taken in a game) as you can during the match to contribute to the team’s overall score. It was something new and fresh with a lot of areas to grow from. Shout out to Jimmy Ballard for running the event and team CCG Castle for winning it all! Friday ended with the Some1spc team participating in white elephant. I initially stole the portable charger that Drew opened but that got stolen from me. I ended up with this amazing, retro video game pack.

Saturday was the first day of the Memphis Regional Championship with the Master’s division breaking the attendance record. I knew I would be in the largest Regionals so I had my mind already set for my deck choice. The last Standard tournament I played in was Vancouver Regionals where I placed in the Top 4. Even though the format had changed completely since then, I was still confident that Gardevoir would be a heavy contender. Why fix what’s not broken J

Here was my list that I managed to get top 128:

Gardevoir

Pokemon (19)

  • 4 Ralts
  • 2 Kirlia
  • 3 Gardevoir GX
  • 1 Gallade BKT
  • 2 Eevee
  • 1 Sylveon GX
  • 3 Tapu Lele GX
  • 2 Remoraid
  • 1 Octillery

Trainers (29)

  • 4 Professor Sycamore
  • 4 N
  • 3 Guzma
  • 1 Brigette
  • 4 Ultra Ball
  • 4 Rare Candy
  • 2 Choice Band
  • 2 Max Potion
  • 2 Field Blower
  • 1 Rescue Stretcher
  • 2 Parallel City

Energy (12)

  • 8 Fairy Energy
  • 4 Double Colorless Energy

 

As you can see, it was very similar to my Vancouver list with the two Max Potion and two Parallel City version. With all the hype regarding the latest Gardevoir builds such as the four Max Potion deck (Brokenvoir), I feel like this version of the deck has a lot of options with the availability of Sylveon GX. However, what was new was the Giratina promo that was meant for Greninja. Of little or no avail, I did not face a single Greninja in the tournament. My thoughts on Gardevoir have always been at the highest of likings. I feel like it offers so many answers to the top decks and can be played at the pace of the holder. What that means, as a Gardevoir player, you don’t necessarily have to swing right off the bat with a Gardevoir GX as you can opt to build a Gardevoir GX on the bench and continue to one shot your opponent’s active Pokémon. Vice versa, you can play conservatively and swing with a single Energy and opt to use Max Potion to heal without exhausting so much Energy. There are so many ways to build and play the deck where it has answers to almost everything in the Meta. As many competitive Pokémon players have known already, Gardevoir GX should always be part of your testing circle as your deck should always have at least a 50/50 matchup to Gardevoir. With the Standard format picking up pace as Buzzwole GX decks can quickly disrupt your set up and cards like Lycanroc GX and Zoroark GX to get an easy turn one or turn two knock out, this had sped up the format just a few. I still love Gardevoir as a deck but the deck needs to be played differently and built differently to accommodate for this shift in the format. Also, I just have mad respect for a deck that contributed to almost all my point total thus far.

As a recap to Memphis Regionals, there are a couple of highlights I’d like to point out before I start diving into the heart of this article.

One, I have to give a shout out to the staff and organizers of this tournament. Yes, it was the biggest Regionals ever, but the flow of the tournament was at a great pace. From my point of view, the tournament was run beautifully with little to no repairs or pairing malfunctions. Also, to point out, there was a great level of communication between staff to players in between rounds and there was also a lunch break!

Two, there has been discussion in online forums about the team stages. For those who were not aware of this team stage aspect, the four sponsored teams (CCG Castle, No Limit Gaming, ARG and Some1spc) were given an actual team stage (sort of like a VIP area) to play their games. As such, players who were paired up to one of the players on these teams were to play their match up on the team stages. While playing in the team stages, I loved it. I loved being around the Some1spc family throughout the whole day and not having to scramble to talk to the team. The judges walking around our table were friendly and it gave a platform for players to see what the sponsored players were playing. I made so many new friends playing in these team stages with people who were just excited to be playing a match with me. There was no point during the day where I felt that any of my matches were hostile or unfriendly. For any of my opponent’s during the day one of Memphis that are reading this article, I thank you for an amazing match! However, the biggest argument against these team stages is that it proposed an intimidating and elitist environment. From my experience, I didn’t feel as if the Some1spc family gave out that stigma. To be fair, all the members of the team were playing with Santa hats. While I can see how a newer player in the community can be intimidated by a more experienced player, the team stages intention was not to bring forth an intimidation factor. It did, however, bring forth a spotlight to those who were part of the team and the supporters of these teams. Once again, many people have different opinions on this topic and I love the activity from these discussions. Growth of this game is essential and it starts with the people in the community.

Lastly, I appreciated the new online deck list submissions. RK9Labs was amazing to participate in. I was very skeptical about using this online database to submit my deck list because it can incorrectly submit my deck list from a faulty system or someone can find a way to hack the system to have knowledge of the deck lists already submitted. Fortunately, all these doubts were quickly diminished because the system provided much more than I had imagined. The morning of the tournament was smooth because there was no need to collect deck lists or anyone scrambling to write their deck list last minute. There were a couple of people who hadn’t submitted their deck list by the cut off time but those people were quickly accommodated at the players’ meeting. This is the best part, after the tournament, RK9Labs was able to post the Top 32 deck lists as they were submitted in the system. This provided an efficient system for organizers to use for the upcoming tournaments. As a competitive player for the past eight years, this system is a great tool for this game and I can see this becoming a positive trend.

The Standard Format

As a Gardevoir enthusiast, I must say that I was surprised about the matchups between certain decks. I knew that Gardevoir had a decent matchup against the field but I wasn’t so sure how much it needed to sustain those positive matchups. In particular, one matchup I was very intrigued in was the Lycanroc decks. I underestimated Lycanroc’s GX attack and its normal attack.

Lycanroc GX – Fighting – 200 HP

Stage 1 – Evolves from Rockruff

Ability: Bloodthirsty Eyes

When you play this Pokémon from your hand to evolve 1 of your Pokémon during your turn you may switch 1 of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon with their Active Pokémon.

[F][C][C] Claw Slash: 110 damage.

[F][C] Dangerous Rogue GX: 50× damage. This attack does 50 damage for each of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon. (You can’t use more than 1 GX attack in a game.)

Pokémon GX rule: When your Pokémon GX is Knocked Out, your opponent takes 2 Prize cards.

Weakness: Grass ×2

Resistance: none

Retreat Cost: 2

As soon as this card was printed, the hype revolved around its ability. This would bring a flashback to Luxray Lv.X during the 2009 SP format. However, it was the attacks of this card that stood out for me.

Let’s start with Lycanroc’s GX attack. For two Energies, it can deal out massive amounts of damage. With a Choice Band and your opponent benching four Pokémon, the GX attack can one hit knock out a clean Gardevoir GX. In Memphis, this was one of my concerns against Lycanroc decks. The threat of being return knocked out after setting up a Gardevoir GX can really set one back. To put things in perspective from the Gardevoir GX player’s perspective, Buzzwole is registering a turn one KO on any basic Pokémon if it has a Strong Energy and a Regirock GX in play. By turn two, another of your basic Pokémon will be knocked out by either Guzma or Lycanroc’s ability. From this assumption, this will put the Buzzwole/Lycanroc player at four prizes left without using its GX attack. After Lycanroc’s GX attack on a Gardevoir GX, there will be two prizes left. This will allow the Buzzwole/Lycanroc player to essentially pick off a Tapu Lele GX from the bench for the last remaining prizes. This was my dilemma every time I had faced a Lycanroc deck.

For three Energies, dealing out 110 damage seems very mediocre. First of all, this attack is sub-par without its additions. However, I found this attack very useful after watching players deal this attack at the right moments in the game. With Choice Band, Strong Energies and a Regirock GX, this attack becomes more of a threat. In my testing, I have used “Claw Slash” for my final prizes after exhausting the GX attack. This attack can also pose a threat to the opponent’s Gallade or Zoroark GX. In a scenario where you have used your GX attack, you can deal 170 on a Tapu Lele GX with a Choice Band, one Strong Energy and a Regirock GX. These are just options in the deck that can be a surprise factor in the games.

This has led me to believe that Lycanroc GX paired with Buzzwole GX is one of the top options in the Standard format. In recent standings, both Pablo Meza and Andrew Mahone piloted Buzzwole/Lycanroc to a Top 4 finish in the Memphis Regional Championships. As you will see, the list below is very similar to the list that they both used:

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