All right people, I am back with another article for, yes you guessed it, Standard. I know that most of you are like me and are completely sick of this stale format. In order to add a little bit of excitement into your locals, and maybe Virginia Regionals, I will be talking about two decks that are not talked about very often. Much like you all, I am so bored of all the top decks, and I cannot wait for Sun and Moon 2: Guardian Rising, but there is still Virginia Regionals, as well as League Cups, that have to be worried about before then. So today, I will be talking about the deck that I played for Utah Regionals, Gyarados, and a deck that I believe is extremely fun and that, in the right meta, could be a serious contender, Golduck.

I.Gyarados
II.Deck Breakdown
III.Matchups
IV.Golduck
V.Tech Options
VI.Matchups
VII.Closing Thoughts

First, let’s talk about why I decided to play Gyarados in Utah. This deck’s power level is through the roof, as it is extremely consistent thanks to the lack of Pokémon and the abundant amount of consistency cards. If you do not expect a lot of Decidueye, or you just do not care about that deck, which is how I felt going into Utah, then there should be nothing stopping you from playing Gyarados. This deck has positive match ups across the board, with the exception of an extremely unfavorable match up against Decidueye of any type. This is kind of how I tend to pick my decks for most big tournaments, if you haven’t been able to tell yet. I like to have extremely favorable matchups and then just take an auto loss to something that I am not expecting to see a lot of play. This is what I did with Solgaleo/Lurantis (Shout out to Ahmed) in Anaheim and finished in the top 16. I felt like Utah was the perfect storm for Gyarados and feel like it could be a dominant play for Virginia. People tend to dislike Decidueye more than they want to play it, and that is why I did not play a single match against Decidueye all day in Utah. Unfortunately, I lost two Win-and-Ins into Day 2 in a row. I believe the other Gyarados player there also did not play against one, until the last round of day two. All right now, let us talk about the list I would use, and why I picked some of the cards in the deck, because I know that’s what you really want to read.

Gyarados Utah Regionals

Pokémon(10)

  • 4 Magikarp
  • 3 Gyarados
  • 1 Remoraid
  • 1 Octillery
  • 1 Shaymin EX

Trainers(46)

  • 4 Professor Sycamore
  • 2 N
  • 2 Lysandre
  • 2 Teammates
  • 1 Pokemon Ranger
  • 1 Professor Kukui
  • 4 VS Seeker
  • 4 Puzzle of Time
  • 4 Dive Ball
  • 4 Trainers’ Mail
  • 3 Ultra Ball
  • 3 Buddy Buddy Rescue
  • 2 Float Stone
  • 1 Level Ball
  • 1 Lucky Helmet
  • 1 Super Rod
  • 1 Special Charge
  • 1 Town Map
  • 4 Team Magma’s Secret Base

Energy(4)

  • 4 Double Colorless Energy

 

Key Techs

Octillery

This card has been in and out of this deck for some time now. I firmly believe that playing at least a 1-1 Octillery is too good, and taking them out for more Lucky Helmet just does not get the job done most of the time. Having the assurance against N late game is too important, and against Garbodor decks, you typically have a good enough match up to where it won’t be a hindrance. Playing this card also lets you play other cute cards, like my Ilima that most people did not believe that I actually played. Which brings me to the next card…

Ilima

Yes, this is the card that I know you just Googled to find out what it does. I decided last second to play this card mainly as a joke, but it turned out to be an amazing tech in the deck. When you are playing Octillery, you are able to use Ilima and even if you flip tails, you will be able to draw up to five because of Abyssal Hand. The other application of this card is against Quad Lapras. They really can’t do anything if they have been using Collect, and then you Ilima them and they flip tails. All of their resources are gone and they have to start again. When I played against Michael Pramawat in the last round of the tournament. he N’d me knowing that I had Ilima and told me it was because he could not afford to flip tails. That is actually a pretty powerful effect. “Would Judge have been a better card because it guarantees them at four cards?” I was asked this a lot during the weekend and the answer is simple, yes it is better, BUT it is not so much better to warrant playing it, because dropping down an Ilima at the top tables and seeing everyone’s reactions was the greatest feeling in the world. This format is stale and sometimes we have to put in special cards to make our tournaments more enjoyable.

Pokémon Ranger

This card was absolutely worthless and should have not been played. I was expecting a lot more Darkrai Dragons then what actually popped up. Most people switched to regular Turbo Dark last second, which made my Ranger completely useless, as I included it just to counter Giratina EX’s Chaos Wheel. If I could redo the tournament, I would definitely have taken it out for a second Lucky Helmet, because that card is unbelievably good. If you are expecting a lot of Giratina though, this card is very helpful and will actually win you the match up. You one shot Giratina if you surprise them with Ranger, which makes it too difficult for them to recover.

Match Ups

Decidueye/Vileplume 10-90

This matchup is horrible. You stand barely a chance of winning, but you do stand a 10% chance of getting a tie out of the game. You have to hope that the inconsistency of Decidueye gets the better of them and you can get a T2 210 knockout on an ex of theirs. If they get a Decidueye and a Vileplume out though then you will just lose the game. Sam Hough was actually able to tie against a Decidueye in Brazil because of the inconsistencies of that deck, but if you are expecting a lot of Decidueye then you should not play this deck.

Volcanion 75-25

This matchup is extremely favorable, as you could probably assume. This is based mostly on the fact that they are weak to you. You do need to be careful though, because they can trade their baby Volcanion with your Magikarp, then kill a Shaymin to be ahead on the prize trade. Typically, however, you are able to just kill three EXs and win the game by chaining Lysandre. I have had a couple close calls against Volcanion, but it is just a favorable matchup in every way.

Mega Mewtwo 75-25

This matchup is also very favorable, because you can one shot their Mega Mewtwo very easily. They can try to do some sort of N play late game and hope you dead draw when they have Garb out, but that’s where the magic of cards like Lucky Helmet come into play. You should always be drawing cards late game, and you should have a very small deck by turn three or four, to minimize the damage of a late game N. If they do play Espeon GX then that, or the Eevee, have to be your first priority of what you kill. That card can do a lot of damage and kill all three of your bench Magikarp thanks to its GX attack. It usually is not a problem though, because they do not have the ability to surprise GX attack as it takes two turns to fully charge up the attack, which will always give you a turn to kill the Eevee of the Espeon. It is still a card to be worried about.

Yveltal/Garb 80-20

This is the exact same as the Mega Mewtwo matchup, but they do not have the utility of using Espeon GX’s Divide GX. However, they do have the ability to trade with Magikarp effectively, thanks to baby Yveltal, which they may use to try to win the trade against you. You are able to kill Yveltal EX even if they have a Fighting Fury Belt attached, and it is actually sometimes difficult for them to kill a Gyarados while trying to conserve their energy. Once again, you have to be careful of getting N’d and Garb locked during the late game, but as long as you are aware of that you will be able to win easily.

Vespiquen 55-45

This is the most even match up for this deck other than mirror match. You are both stage one decks and you both rely around your DCEs to attack. The reason that it is 5% in Gyarados’ favor is because you are much less reliant on Shaymin then they are. If they have to play down a Shaymin (which they usually do) and cannot get rid of it with a Parallel City, then you are ahead in the prize trade. They also do not have as good of a late game recovery as you do, because you have Lucky helmet and Octillery and they will more than likely only have Oranguru, if they even play it. One cute play that you can do late game is use your Ilima to deck them out. I would have won against the Vespiquen I played against if he flipped Heads once out of two Ilima. Vespiquen is trying to get their deck as low as possible to prevent any dead drawing from happening and, thanks to that, if they flip heads on Ilima then you can potentially get the deck out. This match is extremely close, all I can say is Shaymin is your worst enemy, and you should not play it down against them unless it is absolutely needed.

Mega Rayquaza 60-40

This is an extremely close set, but we do have the advantage because we are attacking for less energies and we are able to take easy prizes on Shaymin all day long. The biggest concern for this match is the fact that if they have 220 HP and we only do 210 damage, but that is why we play a copy of Professor Kukui. It lets us hit that 230 which is enough to Knock out the Mega Ray, and like I said, we also can kill Shaymin left and right because they will always have them out. This is one of the closest matches I had to play all day. He played Espeon GX which made it even harder to play against. I had to focus on killing the Espeon GX, which I did twice, but he was still able to get off the GX attack. It was too late though, because I had already been trading 2 for 1 prizes the entire rest of the game. It may seem like you have to be doing a lot of stuff in order to beat them, but they also have to do just as much, if not more, just to be able to take one prize against you, and that makes it a favorable matchup.

Mega Gardevoir 80-20

I will be completely honest; I forgot this deck even existed. No offense to anyone who plays it but the deck just has not been on my radar because of how many other decks just beat it. I feel like this is no exception, as Gyarados just does too much damage as a one-prize attacker for Gardevoir to beat. Obviously if you do not set up though then you will lose the game to a Gardevoir player that is able to get going. I feel like that is not the case the majority of the time. You are able to trade extremely effectively and should always come out on top.

Quad Lapras 60-40

I went 1-1 against this deck in the tournament and should have went 2-0 against it, but thanks to a couple mistakes, I lost the last match against Pram. Lapras is able to control your energies and if you do not find your Kukui in time they will be able to run you out of energies and deck you out. You cannot hold onto the Double Colorless Energies in your hand because then they will just Team Skull Grunt you and hit two of them instead of just Hammering away one of them. The other scary thing is we do not have a way around Ice Beam GX, which can allow them to stall an extra turn. If you are able to hold only your Puzzle of Time, and find your Kukui when they have a Fury Belt on a Lapras, then you are in a very good position. As I said earlier too, Ilima is very good at disrupting them and getting rid of their resources that they have been stockpiling all game, thanks to Collect. This is a favorable match up and as long as you do not get extremely unlucky then you should be fine to win the match against them.

Turbo Darkrai 60-40

I saved the most exciting deck for last. This match up should be very favorable but, because of the fact that Turbo Dark is a super consistent and powerful deck, it makes it a close match. When they get a Fury Belt on a Darkrai, you have the same problem as when you played against Mega Ray, because they will be out of one-shot range. This is where Kukui comes in and why a second Kukui could be a good call. They will do the typical thing that Turbo Dark does and use Baby Yveltal to kill your Magikarp while attaching energies everywhere on their board. If you keep up with their speed and are able to kill their Shaymin or Hoopa, then you will win the game easily. As long as you keep up with them and are able to trade effectively you will win the match though. The games can end up being very long, and can easily go to time, so keep that in mind when playing against Turbo Dark.

As you can see, I believe Gyarados has a lot of positive match ups and very few bad match ups. This deck is an amazing deck in a large tournament where you may only play against any given deck once or twice, which is why it is the perfect deck to play for Regionals. I understand that it will always be a risky play, but I also personally think that even though Decidueye just took three out of top four spots in Brazil, that the deck is still bad and people will avoid it like the plague. I would not change anything about the list above other than taking out the Ranger for a second Lucky Helmet, if I do not expect any Giratina.

I know typically we only talk about one deck in our articles, but this is going to be an exception. This format is so dry and stale that I feel like we should talk a little bit about a deck you can take to VA Regionals, or to your local League Cup/Challenge, and have a fun time playing it. This deck is going to be Golduck. This is a deck that I have actually tested a bunch, and almost played for Anaheim Regionals instead of Solgaleo/Lurantis, I just felt that the weakness to Garbodor was too much of a risk at the time. This is a deck with a lot of utility, because you do not have to worry about playing any EXs at all. You do not need to play Ultra Ball, because you have other search cards for everything you need. Without further ado, let us get into the juicy list with tons of room for whatever you want

Golduck!

Pokémon(20)

  • 4 Psyduck
  • 4 Golduck
  • 2 Remoarid
  • 2 Octillery
  • 2 Staryu
  • 2 Starmie
  • 2 Eevee
  • 1 Jolteon
  • 1 Flareon

Trainers(29)

  • 4 Professor Sycamore
  • 3 N
  • 2 Lysandre
  • 1 Fisherman
  • 4 VS Seeker
  • 4 Trainers’ Mail
  • 4 Level Ball
  • 3 Dive Ball
  • 1 Float Stone
  • 1 Super Rod
  • 2 Faded Town

Energy(11)

  • 9 Water Energy
  • 2 Splash Energy

Like I said, this is a weird deck with a pretty good amount of room in it. Here are some key factors to the deck.

Starmie

This card obviously is what makes the deck work properly, as you need to have two basic water energies in your hand every turn when you are ready to attack, which is where Starmie comes in handy. You will always have at least one card in your hand to discard in order to use Starmie’s Space Beacon ability, which will get two water energies back into your hand. This card keeps the deck going every turn, and without it on the field, you are in a terrible spot to try to win the game.

Fisherman

This is a card that seems obvious at first, but then you realize that with a 2-2 Starmie line, why would you ever want to play Fisherman. The answer is simple, Garbodor. That card really gives this deck trouble, and has to be answered immediately before you run out of energies. If you are not able to kill their Trubbish during the first couple turns and they get it out, then that is where your Fisherman will come in handy. It is a worse Space Beacon, but can prove useful at some points of the game.

Faded Town

Honestly the stadium spot is very versatile, you can play Faded Town, Silent Lab, or just about anything you want except for Parallel City. That is the main reason that there is even a stadium in this deck, because Parallel City is a pain to deal with no matter which side they put on you. I chose Faded Town over Silent Lab though, because the extra damage that you get to deal to their Mega Pokémon can really come in handy when trying to one shot them. Mega Mewtwo is also one of the harder match ups, and you need to be able to get as much damage as you can on board as fast as possible, which Faded Town helps with tremendously.

Eeveelutions

I am just going to bunch these together, because they all have the same idea behind them. Golduck is a Stage 1 that is able to do 120 damage every turn, and making it a Fire or Electric Type, depending on the match up, will make one shotting anything easy. There is not anything that is viable in the format right now that has above 240 HP, so a Golduck hitting for weakness will be able to one shot the entire format. This, once again, is something that Garb hurts.

Potential Tech Cards

Beedrill EX

I have said over and over that Garb is the reason this deck is not as viable as it should be. Beedrill EX is a very efficient way of dealing with Garb and winning the game. During the late game, you will be able to use Beedrill EX’s Double Scrapper attack to discard the Float Stone off Garb, Lysandre it up and usually stall your opponent until they deck themselves out. This was a tactic I used a lot when playing Greninja, in order to counter Garb.

Mew EX

This card is obviously for the Mega Mewtwo matchup and I believe should be played if you are expecting to play against that deck multiple times in the tournament. Yes you have to change the list around a little bit to fit in this card because it is a non water EX pokemon with more than 90 HP. You will have to add in Ultra Balls and might as well add in a Shaymin EX. I will show you another list with a couple of EX Pokémon added in. This card could turn the match up against Mega Mewtwo, being able to kill a Mega Mewtwo with the Mew can swing the match up after Knocking out a Shaymin or two on their side of the field.

Brock’s Grit

This was a card that I did not think of playing in this deck until I saw a local player trying it out. It kind of has the same effect Fisherman would have, but with the added bonus of being able to get the Golduck back as well. Late game, when all you want are energies, you can use your Brock’s Grit and make sure that that is all you have left in your deck. It also acts as insurance to your Starmie being knocked out late game.

Bursting Balloon

This card seems obvious at first, but after testing it, the card is very situational. Most the time you will be dealing 120 with your Golduck and then, if they have a Fighting Fury Belt on their EX, Bursting Balloon won’t be enough to get the knock out. I say its situational, because they have to not have the Fury Belt and they have to not be able to retreat into another attacker. I feel like the card seems good, because we have the room to play four of them, but in the long run being more consistent and teching other cards will just be a better decision.

Silent Lab

This card can actually just lock people out of the game. We have seen the power it has all format, and this is no different. If you can stick it turn one and your opponent was going to rely on Shaymin or Hoopa in order to get their set up, you will be extremely far ahead the rest of the game. It also does not hurt you at all, because all of your abilities are from evolution Pokémon and you have no problem dealing with a Silent Lab.

Here is the list I have tested that features a limited number of Pokémon EX. It is a very similar list, but with a few changes that would be needed to make the deck flow better with the inclusion of EXs.

 

Golduck Pokemon EX

Pokémon(20)

  • 4 Psyduck
  • 4 Golduck
  • 1 Remoarid
  • 1 Octillery
  • 2 Staryu
  • 2 Starmie
  • 1 Eevee
  • 1 Jolteon
  • 1 Flareon
  • 1 Mew EX
  • 1 Shaymin EX
  • 1 Beedrill EX

Trainers(29)

  • 4 Professor Sycamore
  • 3 N
  • 2 Lysandre
  • 1 Fisherman
  • 4 VS Seeker
  • 4 Trainers’ Mail
  • 4 Ultra Ball
  • 3 Level Ball
  • 1 Float Stone
  • 1 Super Rod
  • 2 Faded Town

Energy(11)

  • 9 Water Energy
  • 2 Splash Energy

Match Ups

Volcanion 90-10

This Matchup is almost free, as they really cannot do anything to you. I feel like the Non-EX version is better suited in beat it, but the EX version will still get the job done. There isn’t much they can do once you start taking OHKO’s, usually on Turn 2. They will take one prize against you while you stream Golduck and win the game in a few turns.

Yveltal/Garb 40-60

This matchup is not favorable because of the Garb that they play. This is a match up that I believe the EX version is much better suited to beating. You will be able to pull out some perfectly timed Double Scrappers, and that will make it so you can beat them when they no longer have a Garb with a tool. Having Jolteon’s ability active to make your Golduck Electric again will allow you to dominate the rest of the game, as long as they are unable to establish another Garb.

Turbo Darkrai 60-40

This matchup is favorable because of the prize trades. It is kind of like the Gyarados analysis, because you are a non-EX attacker. The difference is that they cannot use their Baby Yveltal to pick off your Magikarp every turn, and that you trade effectively with their Darkrai. It is in our favor, because we also get to kill a Shaymin whenever we see one, and they most likely will never see one on our side of the field. If you were playing the Bursting Balloons we talked about earlier in this article, then it will make this match up a little bit better. If a Darkrai does not have a Fury Belt on it, you will be able to knock it out with just one attack and a Bursting Balloon. This only works though with an extremely high count of Balloons. They will be able to Lysandre around them or Escape Rope around them, but if you are able to keep them on your Golduck every turn of the game, they will eventually run out of ways around it and will be forced to take the 60 damage.

Decidueye/Vileplume 35-65

This matchup is bad, unless they do not get Vileplume turn one or two. If we are able to get set up, which we usually do by turn three, then we will win the game. Having the utility of Flareon behind Starmie every turn will make sure that they lose. The tricky thing here is the Lugia EX, sometimes it might be worthwhile to get out the Jolteon, or at the very least the second Eevee, in order to one shot that Lugia on command. If they lock us out of the game by getting a turn one Vileplume, then we will just lose from there.

Mega Rayquaza 70-30

This matchup is very favorable because we play Jolteon, and attack for one energy. All they can really do is hope to play Hex Maniac every single turn of the game. If they cannot, then we will just run them over by dealing 240 every turn. They are an extremely fast deck, but because we only play Stage Ones and a bunch of consistency cards, we will also be able to keep up with them easily. We are also a little bit more consistent, because they need three energies to attack and we only need one basic energy. Even if they are able to shut off our abilities every turn thanks to Hex Maniac, we will still be trading effectively and can pick off Shaymin EX from the bench.

Vespiquen 60-40

This match is surprisingly favorable. Vespiquen does not need very much to kill us, but we also do not need very much to kill them. This turns into a prize trade back and forth much like Gyarados, but because we have Octillery and are less reliant on EX Pokémon, we should be able to win the prize trade the majority of the time. It will be a close back-and-forth game, but it should turn out with you winning most of the time.  

Quad Lapras 80-20

They are such a slow deck and you completely counter them. They will try to discard all of your energies, but you have Starmie so that will not work. They will try to Delinquent you to make you dead draw, but you have Octillery to ensure you never run out of cards. They will try to make it so you do not have enough energy on your Pokémon to attack, but you attack for just one basic water energy. It is a terrible match up for Lapras. They will have to try and take six prizes against a non EX deck, which is something that Lapras really cannot handle.

Mega Mewtwo 25-75

This matchup is very bad for us, especially if we are playing the non-EX version of the deck. We have to hope that Mewtwo’s consistency issues can help us win. Even then, they just need enough energies to Damage Change in order to beat us. If we are playing the EX version though, then we have to hope they go for the Garb and then we can Double Scrapper, much like we do in the Yveltal/Garb matchup. The Mew EX will also be able to swing the percentage by a very large amount. Faded Town is our saving grace, but once they are all gone we do not stand much of a chance with the non-EX version.

Mega Gardevoir 60-40

Once again, this deck probably won’t see play, but even if it does you have a favorable match up against them. It is slightly less favorable than Mega Ray, because you will not be able to attack them for weakness and you also will not be able to pick off any Shaymin, but you will be more consistent than them and you will be able to take advantage of you being a one prize attacker.

Closing Thoughts

If you are as sick of this Standard format as I am, but still want to go to tournaments before Guardian Rising is legal, then I highly suggest you play one of the decks I have listed in this article. Test them out and see if you like them, because I know I have had so much fun playing both of these decks. Gyarados could easily win you your tournament, and Golduck could make a run for a great finish. You will need a little bit more luck to win a tournament with Golduck, but in some metas around the world it will be able to just dominate the tournament. Virginia Regionals and League Cups are coming up, and I hope to see more people playing some of these types of decks to mix up the last couple of weeks of this format. Thank you once again for reading my article and supporting Some1sPC.

-Drew