Despair Not, Mega Gardevoir is Here – Breaking Down Mega Gardevoir From Steam Siege
Are you having difficulty getting your deck up for beating off Giratina EX decks? Do you keep losing games because of Lysandre on your Shaymin EX? Does Mega Mewtwo keep kicking your ass? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you might want to go see your local gaming store about getting a prescription to the new M Gardevoir EX from Steam Siege which can help alleviate all of these problems.
When doing my set review for Steam Siege, I had put M Gardevoir EX into the “Have Potential (Medium)” category. After getting the chance to play around with M Gardevoir EX some more, I think that I underrated the card and it is much stronger than I initially gave it credit for. The card does have some weak points which may keep it from achieving Tier 1 status, but it’s difficult to see M Gardevoir EX not being able to achieve solid Tier 2 status immediately in the new Standard format of Primal Clash through Steam Siege.
In this article I take a fresh look at M Gardevoir EX from Steam Siege, go over potential cards you can play in a deck with it, and then provide two distinct lists for the deck for the Standard and Expanded formats.
Understanding M Gardevoir EX
Mega Gardevoir EX is a Fairy/Psychic dual type Mega Pokemon with a Metal weakness and a Dark resistance. With dual typing, M Gardevoir EX is able to take advantage of both Fairy and Psychic support, but players probably will choose not to pair M Gardevoir EX with most of these support cards. Wonder Energy is the most likely card that players may choose to play with M Gardevoir EX, but that also probably doesn’t make the cut into players’ decklists because it doesn’t combo with Mega Turbo.
Dimension Valley, Fairy Garden, Fairy Drop, and Mystery Energy are other possible type support options available, but none of these cards actually do anything to work with the strength of M Gardevoir EX as a card, so there aren’t great reasons to play any of them.
While it doesn’t combo well with the available support for its types, its typing is still very important, especially in the context of the new Standard format. One of the decks projected to be very popular is M Mewtwo EX (Y). M Mewtwo EX decks are very hard hitting and can make use of Damage Swap (via Shrine of Memories) to infinitely tank M Mewtwo EX against any deck that can’t OHKO a M Mewtwo EX. Unfortunately for Mewtwo, M Gardevoir EX is one of the Pokemon that can take it out thanks to its Psychic typing and Mewtwo EX’s Psychic weakness. Additionally, M Gardevoir EX is able to OHKO a Giratina EX because of Giratina’s Fairy weakness, although you need to play a Hex Maniac to shutoff Giratina’s Renegade Pulse Ability, which prevents all effects of attacks done to Giratina EX by Mega Evolution Pokemon.
Being able to hard counter both M Mewtwo EX and Giratina EX variants gives M Gardevoir EX very good positioning in the prospective PRC-on Standard format.
Against anything without Weakness, you are going to have to rely entirely on the general strength of the Despair Ray attack, which costs [Y][C] and does 110+ damage, allowing you to discard as many of your Benched Pokemon as you like, doing 10 more damage for each Pokemon that you discard in this way.
As M Gardevoir EX does more damage for each Pokemon discarded, I think the best way to make use of this attack is to play Sky Field as your Stadium Card so you can play a bench of 8 Pokemon, giving you more potential Pokemon that you can send to the discard to power up your attacks. With Sky Field, you can power up some pretty powerful attacks for just two Energy. Here is how the damage scales for Despair Ray based on how many Pokemon you discard:
- 0 Pokemon = 110 damage
- 1 Pokemon = 120 damage
- 2 Pokemon = 130 damage
- 3 Pokemon = 140 damage
- 4 Pokemon = 150 damage
- 5 Pokemon = 160 damage
- 6 Pokemon = 170 damage
- 7 Pokemon = 180 damage
- 8 Pokemon = 190 damage
When initially reviewing M Gardevoir EX I wish I had written out the damage numbers as I did now, because in doing so it makes it very clear just how powerful Despair Ray’s damage output is.
When choosing how to fill your bench up, there are three categories that I think you can divide the types of Support Pokemon that you would play alongside M Gardevoir EX. These are consistency support, tech support, and filler support.
Consistency Support are cards that help your deck get setup. These are going to be Pokemon with Abilities that let you search or draw through your deck. Tech Support are cards that typically have coming into play Abilities that you can use to add additional strategy to the deck for some matchups or situations. Filler Support are cards with Abilities that contribute some way into keeping Pokemon available for you to put on your bench.
As you want to continuously keep your bench full of Pokemon, you want to max out the best Pokemon recovery cards, such as Super Rod in Standard and Sacred Ash in Expanded. This allows you to make use of these cards multiple times throughout a game and most importantly continue to keep your bench full to do lots of damage.
As M Gardevoir EX falls short of taking OHKO’s on Mega Pokemon, it will likely struggle to deal with any Mega Pokemon that are able to knock it out in one hit. This means that M Rayquaza EX, as well as Metal Pokemon, such as M Steelix EX and M Scizor EX, will be problem points for the deck and could make it an unwise play if they get too popular.
Lastly, it’s worth talking about which Gardevoir EX should be played with the deck. I think that the Primal Clash Gardevoir EX is the correct play in this deck as it can attack for a single Energy attachment. If you find yourself in a situation where you’re making two attachments and then aren’t attacking with a M Gardevoir EX then something has already gone gravely wrong as this is one of the most consistent decks you can make. I don’t think there will ever be a reason to play the new Gardevoir EX in here as the old one was reprinted in Generations, meaning that it is unlikely to rotate out of Standard prior to the new one also rotating out. This is a shame, as the secret rare art of the new one is very cool. The 20 damage from Life Leap isn’t amazing, but it could be the difference between taking a knockout and not taking one later in the game.
Cards to Play With M Gardevoir EX
In this section I will be going over the cards that are able to combo well with M Gardevoir EX and explain why you would choose to play them with a M Gardevoir EX deck. While you won’t be able to find room in your M Gardevoir EX deck for all of these cards, all of these cards could be played in the deck at some point, some taking the place of others depending on what the current meta game is looking like and what cards need to be countered.
I should also say that the full list of cards you can play with M Gardevoir EX is much larger than this. There is a wide range of bench sitters that I won’t be covering that you could theoretically play with M Gardevoir EX, such as Keldeo EX for its Rush In Ability, Mr. Mime to prevent bench damage, Jynx for healing, Carbink for Energy Keeping, Sigilyph for Safeguard…and many more. These cards are good, and could end up in a M Gardevoir EX deck at some point depending on if the meta desperately needs to counter bench snipe, or if there is a popular Enery removal deck. However, in this section I am only going to be covering cards that I feel like are essential complements to M Gardevoir EX.
To start off I am going to be taking a look at the consistency support Pokemon that you can play with M Gardevoir EX. These are Pokemon that help you setup your field and they should already be familiar to competitive players as we use these cards in a lot of decks already. However, one of the neat things about the new Mega Gardevoir deck is you are able to rid these Pokemon from your bench, which helps give you an advantage as these Pokemon are nothing except liabilities as soon as they hit your bench under normal circumstances. Additionally, since you will play so much Pokemon recovery in this deck, you can use these Pokemon for consistency on almost every turn of the game making this one of the most consistent decks in the format.
This should go without explanation, but I will add a short explanation anyhow for new players. Shaymin EX has the best draw Ability in the game. Being able to continuously use Shaymin’s Set Up Ability throughout a game lets you get setup very quickly and then not whiff much of anything ever once the game gets going.
Hoopa EX is terrific in this deck for a variety of reasons. First, on turn 1 of the game, Hoopa EX allows you to get multiple Gardevoir EX in play as well as a Shaymin EX to start drawing through your deck, all for a single Ultra Ball. On the second turn of the game and beyond, any Hoopa EX that you play can be used to search out M Gardevoir EX. Finally, in the later stage of the game when you’re just looking at Pokemon, a single Hoopa EX lets you search 3 Pokemon out of your deck to put on your bench, giving you a +40 damage boost with your Despair Ray.
This is an Expanded inclusion only. Sometimes you just want to go and grab the Supporter you want instead of hoping to draw into it with your Shaymin EX’s. It can be used to search out a draw supporter early, or to get the clutch Lysandre or Hex Maniac when you need it.
Dragonite EX (Evolutions)
Dragonite EX will be coming out in the November set, XY Evolutions, and is something that will work well with this deck when it comes out. It has an Ability, tentatively translated to be Elevation, which says, “When you play this Pokemon from your hand onto your Bench, you may search your discard pile for up to 2 Basic Pokemon (excluding Dragonite-EX) and put them in your hand.”
This Ability is great for this deck as it lets you get +2 Pokemon onto your bench for a single card play. It also gives you an additional form of recursion. While the Expanded version with Sacred Ash and Exeggcute generally is fine at keeping a flow of Pokemon, the Standard version, which is forced to play Super Rod, sometimes runs out of Pokemon fuel towards the end of the game. This also gives you an easy way to search out and re-use your tech non-EX Pokemon.
In this section I am going to look at some tech options that you can play alongside M Gardevoir EX. These are Pokemon that do some unique thing that add additional depth to the strategy of the deck, allowing it to pull off new moves or counter specific decks or situations.
Sudden Cyclone is essentially a one-sided Escape Rope (or a Pokemon Circulator for people playing since Heart Gold Soul Silver). Sometimes it will do more harm to your opponent if you were to attack into anything on their bench over their Active Pokemon, and Sudden Cyclone gives you an easy way to accomplish this. You have the option whether you want to trigger Sudden Cyclone, so if you’re better off hitting into their Active Pokemon, then you can simply play Hawlucha down onto your bench and leave it at that.
This is a more low key option for the deck that is probably flying under most people’s radars, but Klefki is a solid option in this deck to counter the expected Mega Evolution meta game. The way you would play Klefki is by choosing to play it down on your Gardevoir EX when you want to Mega Evolve. Then on the next turn, when you start attacking, you would choose to attach another Klefki and attempt to continuously stream Klefki long enough to give yourself an advantage in the game. If you’re not in a matchup or situation where denying damage from Mega Pokemon isn’t important, you simply leave the Klefki on your bench to be discarded.
Sometimes you won’t be able to OHKO an opponent’s Pokemon, however you certainly are able to 2HKO every Pokemon in the game. Instead of letting that damage go to waste, you can play Absol and use its Cursed Eyes to setup damage elsewhere to make sure you can take down some other Pokemon in one hit later in the game.
This is a card I initially kept out of my Expanded list as it doesn’t stay on the bench when you use its Busybody, but I found it too good not to run in Expanded because of the prevalence of Hypnotoxic Laser. In situations where you need to get rid of a status condition, use Busybody, otherwise toss it on your bench and use it to power up your Despair Ray.
This is another Pokemon that will be releasing in the XY Evolutions set in November. It has an Ability tentatively translated to be Facetious Fang, which says, “When you play this Pokemon from your hand onto your Bench, you may discard all Pokemon Tool cards attached to your opponent’s Active Pokemon.” This will be great for removing your opponent’s Fighting Fury Belts to ensure OHKO’s and to remove Klefki to make sure you’re not locked out of doing damage. Upon release, this will be the only form of Tool removal that doesn’t end your turn available in the Standard format. While it doesn’t do anything to help you against Garbodor, it still will be very solid for dealing with Fighting Fury Belt and Klefki as mentioned above.
Lastly, I will be going over Pokemon that provide filler for the deck. These are Pokemon that you are able to continuously re-fill your bench with at no cost. As of right now, I think Exeggcute is actually the only such Pokemon available for this deck, although more may release in the future. Cards like Archen and Tirtouga from Plasma Blast almost fit the bill, but unfortunately they aren’t Basic Pokemon so you can’t play them down, even though you could infinitely replenish your deck with them.
This is a very simple damage booster that helps make the Expanded variant of the deck much more powerful than the Standard variant. For any empty bench slots you have, you can simply use Propogation to put Exeggcute in your hand, play them down to your bench and discard them for additional damage. Exeggcute also helps you not discard too many resources by allowing you to discard only what you want to with your Ultra Balls once you have Exeggcute available in the discard pile.
Deck List (Expanded)
Pokemon – 18
4 Gardevoir EX PRC
Trainers – 35
1 Computer Search
4 Sky Field
Energy – 7
To start off I am going to go over the Expanded list I have built for the deck. I am going over this one before the Standard variant as I built this version first.
This deck is very similar to Zander Bennett’s Hex Ray deck from last season in terms of the draw engine that it chooses to play. It is going to use Hoopa EX and Shaymin EX to quickly draw through your deck, and then since you are going to be filling your bench very quickly, you play Colress to draw large numbers off the Supporters that you do play. The Supporter count is very low, but you really aren’t reliant on your Supporter cards for draw since you’re able to continuously re-use Hoopa EX and Shaymin EX’s on almost every turn of the game.
Exeggcute is very strong in this version of the deck, always giving you an option of +20 damage when they’re in your discard pile. I originally had 3 Exeggcute in the deck but ended up cutting one in favor of the Audino because my opponent’s were gaining too much of an advantage from their Hypnotoxic Lasers. I think a 3rd Exeggcute would be terrific in here, but I’m not really sure where you would find room for it.
Deck List (Standard)
Pokemon – 19
4 Gardevoir EX PRC
Trainers – 34
2 Professor Sycamore
4 Trainers’ Mail
4 Sky Field
Energy – 7
The Standard version of the deck naturally isn’t quite as good as the Expanded version of the deck, primarily because it loses access to Exeggcute, which lets the Expanded version continuously pump out huge attacks. Additionally, assuming you maximize the use of all of your recovery cards, Super Rod nets you 8 less Pokemon being put back into your deck than Sacred Ash. Having a less powerful recovery card alongside losing the automatic bench filler of Exeggcute makes it very easy to run out of Pokemon in Standard so you will have to know when to lay off the gas, at least until Dragonite EX comes out.
In this variant I opted for 3 Klefki STS. This can be used to give you an out against M Rayquaza EX. While they can use Hex Maniac to deny you from being able to play down your Klefki, it’s important to remember that they can’t Battle Compressor for Hex Maniac in Standard making it very possible that they don’t find it until they’re too far behind in a game to come back. If you don’t feel like the Klefki strategy is sufficient then you can simply play more Hawlucha and Absol to fill up the Pokemon slots of your deck.
The Klefki are primarily in there because I think M Rayquaza EX will be seeing lots of play initially in Standard. If M Rayquaza EX falls in popularity I would instantly fill all of the Klefki spots with more Absol to try to get the most out of the damage that I put on my opponent’s field.
One thing that does sketch me out a little bit about both the Standard and Expanded lists I have for the deck is playing only 1 Escape Rope. I have considered adding an additional switching out, such as AZ or Olympia, or even a second Escape Rope, but have found little reason to do so as I’m not being punished for only playing one switching card in the games I’ve played. I think the reason you can get away with one Switch card is that you are discarding liabilities from your bench with Despair Ray. Most of the deck is either part of a M Gardevoir EX line, or has one retreat, so you can simply retreat your Pokemon to get the right one Active. The only bad starter in this regard is Hoopa EX (and Audino in Expanded), with its two retreat cost, and you won’t start it in that many games, and the only games you get punished are the games where you start it, but can’t find your Escape Rope.
Mystery Energy and Double Colorless Energy are potential 1-of inclusions that you can play if you want to add another retreat option. Simply remove one of your Fairy Energy to make room for one of these cards.
Karen – Coming Soon
Lastly, it’s worth mentioning the Supporter card Karen, which will be releasing in the Keldeo EX vs. Rayquaza EX Battle Arena decks in September. Karen shuffles all Pokemon in both players’ discard piles back into your decks. As soon as Karen comes out, the Standard variant of the deck no longer will have an issue with running out of Pokemon as it can simply VS Seeker for a means to put them back. I would probably cut a Pokemon to make room for Karen, but cutting a Super Rod is also an option. I’d probably opt to not play Karen in the Expanded version unless I was playing it solely to counter Night March and Vespiquen/Flareon decks.
Karen will be legal for the first Standard Regional Championship in Orlando, Florida, so I would test for that Regional Championship with Karen in mind, but for any League Challenges or League Cups prior to its legality you will have to learn to play without Karen.
M Gardevoir EX should be a Tier 2 deck in the Standard format upon release. Being able to hit both M Mewtwo EX and Giratina EX for weakness give it solid positioning against two cards that project to be popular in the new Standard format. Beyond decks it hits for weakness, M Gardevoir EX is able to swing for big damage numbers against anything for just two Energy, and it is able to rid its bench of any liabilities like Shaymin EX forcing you to actually take down your opponent’s M Gardevoir EX to beat the deck.
The deck will have some struggles against M Rayquaza EX, but I question how much of the meta game will be made up of M Rayquaza EX as it is a deck easily countered by the splashable tech of Zebstrika. In Expanded, the deck surely would struggle against anything playing Archeops. Night March and Vespiquen/Flareon also are tough for the deck, but those can be countered with Karen when it comes out. Karen won’t be legal for the Arizona Regional Championship, so if you were to play M Gardevoir EX in that Expanded tournament, you’re probably going to have a rough time.
Overall I think M Gardevoir EX is a fairly strong card in a vacuum and will have a great opportunity to do well throughout its lifespan. Any Pokemon that comes out with a coming into play Ability will have the potential to combo with this card, so players should be on the look out for future cards in upcoming expansions to see if there is anything coming out that can strengthen the power of the M Gardevoir deck.