What’s up Some1sPC readers. For those of you who don’t know me my name is Olliver Barr, and today I’m bringing you a short and sweet article about my play for St. Louis: Gardevoir.
I know, some habits die hard.
Ever since Gardevoir GX was printed I have contended that it is by far the best deck in standard. The mixture of insane lasting power, efficient and scalable damage, and type coverage with Gallade resulted in an institution for the standard metagame. With Tord’s big win in Australia piloting Gardevoir Zoroark it seems like everyone’s ready to abandon tradition and jump on the new Zoroark craze. While myself and a few others at the Orthodox Church of Gardevoir look down at these European sinners, we understand their desire for an aggressive Gardevoir variant that can keep up with the blistering speed of the metagame.
I think that with a couple changes to the standard Gardevoir lists currently floating around we can change Gardevoir from a defensive setup deck to something more aggressive that can apply pressure and close out games before your opponent is set up.
Without further adieu, I present Ollievoir:
(Yeah, you like that name, admit it)
- 4 Ralts
- 2 Kirlia
- 2 Gallade
- 3 Gardevoir GX
- 3 Tapu Lele-GX
- 2 Remoraid
- 2 Octillery
- 4 N
- 2 Brigette
- 3 Guzma
- 3 Cynthia
- 1 Mallow
- 4 Ultra Ball
- 4 Rare Candy
- 3 Choice Band
- 2 Evosoda
- 2 Field Blower
- 1 Super Rod
- 1 Parallel City
- 4 Double Colorless Energy
- 7 Fairy Energy
- 1 Super Boost Energy
No Alolan Vulpix, Diance, or Sylveon
The focus of this deck is to maximize the chances of hitting a turn two Rare Candy Gardy. Most decks in the format simply can’t deal with a turn two Gardevoir GX, and using one of your slots to play a backup plan to not achieving that is counterproductive.
This is what makes the deck work. The idea for this came from Chris Fulop, whose idea this deck is based on. The level of draw-power this deck can achieve with 2-2 Octillery is considerably more consistent and more powerful than 1-1 or 1 Oranguru. Many Zoroark decks cripple Gardevoir by Guzma killing their Octillery, with 2-2 that becomes much easier to deal with. If you ever get both Octillery in play you will have access to almost all of your resources.
No Max Potion
While for months and months I’ve been preaching the merits of Broken Deck (4 Max Potion Gardevoir) from the hilltops, this list takes a different approach. As mentioned before this deck is a much more streamlined and aggressive build. Not having Max Potion clogging your early hands let you dig for your Rare Candies and evolutions harder. While my current build does not include any Max Potion I do think including one is very strong and could end up in the final build.
This was another one of the pivotal cards that made this variant viable. It was first suggested to me by Sami Sekkoum, but was also part of Fulop’s decklist. If your opening hand has any out to a Brigette an Evosoda guarantees you a turn two Octillery. Hitting them midgame ensures you’re not missing evolutions as well. I can’t emphasize how much this card boosts the consistency of Gardevoir in general, try it out even if you’re not in love with the build as a whole.
Another brainchild of Chris Fulop, this card has been in and out of my deck more than any other card. If you can play an early Mallow with an Octillery in play you can line up a quick Rare Candy evolution for yourself. Mid and Late-game it’s valuable for hitting, well, anything you want. My usual targets are DCEs and Choice Bands to ensure KOs.
No Float Stone
I think Float Stone in Gardevoir is almost always a waste of a space. In a deck that is designed around Energy acceleration, there are ways to maneuver yourself without the use of Float Stone. For instance, if you’re hesitant to attach a Fairy to any of your Ralts on turn one in fear of Lele DCE Guzma instead attach it to a benched Tapu Lele GX. That way if you have to Guzma you have something to send up and retreat. I’ll yield with Sylveon, Diancie, or Miltank Float Stone becomes more of a necessity, but I think the fact that you have to run Float Stone makes those variants inherently worse.
1 Super Rod, No Stretcher
Adding a second Super Rod or a Stretcher is a totally fine play in my opinion. With 12 Energy and no Max Potion you’re not typically strained for energy late-game. If one super rod feels too flimsy for you I’d recommend a Stretcher before a second Rod. Stretcher has the advantage of turning your discard pile into an immediate resource, and if you have a Gardy or Gallade discarded Rare Candy Stretcher is a deadly combo.
3 Choice Band
This is a must in my opinion and one of the strongest shifts that this deck has had. Being able to maximize your damage output with little energy investment is important for the deck while you’re setting up. In the mid-game and late-game, I’m almost never upset to see another choice band. Being able to stretch just a little bit more to get a knockout thought to be out of reach can be game-changing.
Super Boost Energy
What a card. While its 4 energy potential won’t be realized every game, when it does it can win you the game. I’d estimate that it has had an impact 10-15% of the games I’ve tested with it. Being able to come up with 60 surprise damage (if they assume your max energy attachment is a Double Colorless) can turn the game upside-down. I can see cutting this card if you’re not the risk-taking type, but I’d implore you to at least test it. This build’s consistency in setting up its stages twos makes it a strong candidate.
3 Cynthia, 4 N, 0 Sycamore
Cynthia might be the unsung hero of Ultra Prism for Gardevoir. Being able to cycle through your deck without having to discard resources unnecessarily lets you keep your deck full of the cards you want. Even with the deck’s speed it is still a stage two deck, and as such you will tend to be playing from behind. This makes 4 N 3 Cynthia the best combination in my eyes.
1/2 Clefairy EVO
Once used in Vikabulu to counter Gardy, now in Gardy to counter Vikabulu (well mostly metal, but one shotting Bulus isn’t awful either). With Dusk Mane Necrozma and Magnezone on the scene membership at the Church of Gardevoir is at an all-time low. However, relief in that one matchup in specific may come in the form of unassuming 40 hp Clefairy. With the ability to one shot a Dusk Mane, Solgaleo Prism, or even steal 2 prizes and a whole turn from Dialga GX. And it’s not just good against metal, as Clefairy is helpful in almost all your matchups, giving you an occasionally deadly 1 prize attacker. Since this Gardevoir variant rarely relies on Gardevoir’s GX attack you’re typically free to copy any good ones from your opponent.
1 Max Potion
As mentioned above I like the idea of a max potion in the deck. It keeps your opponent on their toes, not knowing exactly the max potion count of your deck. Once you play one they could assume you have 2-4 in your deck when you don’t. While relying on confusion isn’t a justification for the inclusion of a card, the game-changing ability of max potion is. Giving yourself time to stall and set up your board is super powerful for when you don’t have a great start.
This would probably take the place of Mallow. They serve similar purposes as they’re both usually going for powerful item and trainer cards from your deck. While Mallow has a higher payoff Skyla is more independent and doesn’t require Octillery support. Skyla is especially powerful If you include Max Potion.
3rd Field Blower
With the release of Ultra Prism, I see Garbotoxin coming back in a big way. If you’re the gambling type and want to nip that in the bud try a 3rd Blower. Having more opportunities to disrupt your opponent’s field is never a bad thing. If I was playing a 3rd blower I’d cut the copy of Parallel city.
I’m all for Giratina promo right now. Whenever the format is uncertain there’s a group of people that always go back to Greninja. Giratina promo is simply a tech for Greninja. Without it you are heavily disadvantaged, with it you’re heavily advantaged. If you want to play it safe I would respect dedicating a slot to Giratina.
I’ve been a proponent for 3 Kirlia for a long time, but I think with this list it’s unnecessary. You will be hitting your Rare Candy plays a lot more often which frees up the number of Kirlia you lose. However playing an extra piece in your evolution line is rarely a terrible move, and with 2 Evosoda wanting to guarantee that Kirlia is in your deck is understandable.
Mirror match is typically somewhat of a waiting game. Overcommitting hard on the first Gardevoir will typically just get you revenge killed by an undamaged Gardevoir with little energy, something you have no response to. Using an early Gallade to hunt for Kirlia and Ralts is a strong strategy, however. If you get Octillery out, Gallade’s utility doubles. Having to respond to a one prize attacker with three energy on their Gardevoir will mean you get an early advantage in the Gardevoir trade, as well as making it a 7 prize game. If you see a moment of weakness it is extremely powerful to target their draw engine (usually Octillery or Oranguru) if without it they would falter. This strategy is so powerful against Gardevoir is part of the reason 2-2 Octillery is so good. Your Ultra Boost energy is your battering ram in this matchup, letting you snag one-shots on Gardevoir before your opponent is ready.
The matchup ratio heavily depends on the variant you’re sitting across from. Against four max potion builds you typically can’t outlast them, so you’ll have to try and aggressively focus down their Ralts and Kirlia before they become Gardevoir. Luckily your deck is a lot more consistent and quick than theirs. However, if you let them set up more than one Gardevoir GX it’s going to be hard to take all six prizes.
If they’re playing a 2 or less max potion variant you can typically brute force through them and win. In general with this build, you’re more likely to get to your stage twos, and you’ll be getting them quicker. Play every turn with the assumption your opponent has access to Parallel City, and only play greedily with your bench when you have to.
This matchup would be really close if each Zoroark in play wasn’t a two prize Guzma for your Gallades. While their deck is undeniably faster, if you’re able to weather the storm and set up your path to victory is laid out for you. Max potion helps make sure the game goes later, which typically favors you. Use an early Gardy to tank their aggression, and focus on getting as many Ralts on your bench as possible. Double Gallade should hit the board against this deck every time, as their deck depends on Zoroark draws. If their Gardevoirs start to hit the board you might be forced to do the mirror match Gardevoir trade. Once against be cognisant of your super boost energy. Tapu Lele is a very powerful attacker in this deck. If they get an early Zoroark kill try and respond with Lele DCE. They’ll be unlikely to have an answer that turn, and 80 damage puts it in one shot range from almost all of your attackers.
This matchup can get out of hand very quickly if your start isn’t explosive. If you can manage to string together Gardevoirs they typically can’t keep up. Focus on poking with Leles until you can put together a strong Gardevoir. Gallade is also strong against Buzzwole as it is awkward to kill. Dedicating a Knuckle Impact seems like a waste, but if it’s not dealt with the Buzzwole will get knocked out. Once your Gardevoir start streaming they have a harder and harder time dealing with them, needing multiple damage modifiers to get a knockout with Knuckle Impact. Make sure not to over-bench, as without Parallel City you have no way to artificially limit your bench later. If you have more than 3 benched pokemon Lycanroc GX’s Dangerous Rogue will easily take down one of your Gardevoir, something you’d rather avoid.
While you’re under less early-game pressure than the Lycanroc variant, Garbodor has the potential to completely lock you out of the game. Focus on sniping Garbotoxin Garbodors with Gallade. Play carefully, and if they play Rainbow Energy be aware of your item usage. If they use Trashalanche and score a big knock out you can neuter their damage output next turn by using Twilight GX and shuffling back your item cards. Conserve resources, especially field blower. Clefairy can help blow up Buzzwole, and a third blower can be a boon in this matchup.
Double Gallade puts in work in this matchup. Take every opportunity you can to take string together Gallades, as they have little to no way to deal with them. Similar to most matchups weathering the storm is important, but an early Rare Candy Gardy will put them on the backfoot. Never underestimate the ability of this deck to hit the resources they need to. With Zoroark and Puzzle I wouldn’t ever bet on them missing the cards they need to make their plays, so try and always assume they’ll have card access. Don’t play greedily or overextend, if you get set up you’ll usually be winning. Keep your bench under control, if they can’t one-shot your Gardevoir you’re heavily advantaged.
This matchup is similar to Zoroark Lycanroc except they have no way to one shot a full hp Gardevoir. Once again, always assume they’ll have the cards they need. Once they get set up you’ll usually have to burn through their stash of Acerola before you start taking prize cards. This deck has an incredibly hard time taking their last two prizes against Gardevoir. If they have used their GX attack you’re free to keep Leles on the bench, but if they haven’t just realized they will be focused down for easy prizes.
Garchomp Lucario- 80-20
Poor Garchomp. This matchup does seem incredibly scary until you notice Garchomp’s fairy weakness. Being one shot for one energy isn’t a good look. Obviously, once they get set up they can one-shot your Gardevoir. However, since they need two attachments to attack they will be typically slow to move. Gallade isn’t as useful in this matchup, as Gardevoir trashes everything they’ll throw at you. Focus on their energy attachments rather than their evolutions when you have the option to kill something on the bench.
One of the more difficult matchups for Gardevoir coming out of Ultra Prism. The combination of 160 hp, 1 prize, and one shot damage makes this scary for Gardevoir. If you can outdraw them they have a similarly difficult time dealing with your Gardevoir, but when they do they get two prizes for their troubles. Try to eliminate their Octillery early to prevent their setup from getting out of hand. If you play Parallel City this matchup becomes marginally more bearable. They don’t like having their bench restricted, and using the opposite side of Parallel limits your bench and takes 20 off their attacking power.
This is a hard matchup. Espeon is a threat from turn one, and it keeps your setup from being as strong as it could be. An early Garbodor can shut off the Octilery and Lele we rely upon to set up. Even when you do get set up one Psybeam render your Gardevoir unreliable. However, if you’re able to get set up their damage output isn’t high, and you are able to two shot their Espeons for little energy. Use Gallade to take out Garbotoxin Garbodors quickly, and don’t risk confusion flips unless they risk to reward ratio is looking really good. Keep track of your energy and Guzma usage, as this deck isn’t scared to Guzma your Octillery to stall you.
Golisopod Garbodor- 55/45
While in theory, a fully set up GoliGarb board looks scary, it’s just that, a theory. I’ve yet to see any evidence that GoliGarb actually can draw well. However, when that day comes I’m scared because even off little resources this deck can be difficult to deal with. Quick Golisopods apply pressure while Garbodor puts us in a bind. However, once Gardevoirs enter the field Golisopod just can’t keep up damage wise. Mid to late-game Ns cripple their draws, and they’ll be reliant with what they have in play.
Glaceon Gx and red card pretty much cripples Gardevoir’s setup. Bar hitting one of your two Brigette and an out to Octillery next turn, you’re not going to be setting up the way you’d like to. Access to turn two 90/30 snipe means you need to come up with an answer quickly. However a quick rare candy gives you breathing room, and with only one energy Gardevoir GX will be hitting their attacking Glaceons for 120 damage. Also, energy denial is generally ineffective against Gardevoir due this. Once you start taking prizes expect your opponent to play an N every turn. Also, remember that Tapu Lele GX with a DCE two shots a powered up Glaceon.
Glaceon Zoroark 60/40
Zoroark simply makes this matchup easier for us, as the turn one Glaceon becomes a possibility instead of a certainty. Once again Zoroark becomes free prizes for us, and while active your Gardevoir are free to secret spring. Gallade works almost as well against Glaceon, but are susceptible to enhanced hammer rendering it vulnerable.
At this point, it seems like most VikaBulu lists have given up on trying to one shot Gardevoir GX in favor of a more consistent build. Being able to match that consistency renders any advantages they’d have moot. Double Gallade increases the likelihood of a Guzma kill on a Vikavolt. Once your Gardevoir start hitting the board they’ll be scrambling to have an answer. Most turns they’ll be discarding all energy attached to their Bulu with Nature’s Judgement to avoid being one shot. Because of this, their energy count in deck will be strained, so be conscious of how many energy your opponent has left. I’d be happy to see my opponent flip over a Tapu Bulu GX.
This matchup is really hard. Gardevoir doesn’t handle being one-shot very well, and almost everything in the deck can. Solgaleo prism becomes a 1 prize kamikaze, and Magnezone can even get a piece of the action sometimes. Like any stage two deck, however, Magnezone is susceptible to poor starts. Any hesitation needs to be taken advantage of, as denying them Magnezone is a sure path to victory. If you’re expecting this matchup a lot add 1/2 Clefairy. I’d say each Clefairy gives you a 10% win rate boost in the matchup.
Unfortunately, there’s little you can do in this matchup. Go all out on killing their support pokemon of choice (Starmie or Ribombee). If you can deny them a stream of Metal energy you stand a chance, but once they get any semblance of a board state there’s little you can do. However, I think if you start 3-0 or better at any given tournament your chances of hitting Dugtrio are low.
Heading into the first Regionals with a new set is always scary as there’s no laid out metagame for you to prepare for. However, if you seize the opportunity and put in the work you have the ability to arrive the day of the tournament with a huge advantage. The Gardevoir list I’ve provided today is a great starting place, and with a few tech card additions, you can adapt it to prepare for whatever you expect for St. Louis.
Edited by Neil Essymer