Hey everyone! I’m Sydney Morisoli, and this is my first article on The Charizard Lounge. For those of you who don’t know me, I’ve been playing for the past ten years, and this is my first year in Masters. Today, I’m going to be talking about adapting one of the best decks from the World Championship into post-rotation Standard: Gardevoir GX.
I have yet to play in a Standard tournament since the Anaheim Open [Sydney finished in the Top 32 at the Anaheim Open], but with Gardevoir’s stellar performance at the World Championship and all-around strength, it’s easy to say that it will remain one of the best decks. Gardevoir doesn’t lose much from the rotation except a few techs, such as Hex Maniac, Wonder Energy, and Lysandre. With the format slowing down due to the loss of Shaymin-EX, VS Seeker, and other speed/consistency cards, it gains more viability. The loss of these consistency cards allows decks to take their time setting up, letting Stage 1’s and Stage 2’s slowly make their way back into the format again.
I am going to be sharing two different versions of Gardevoir: one with Sylveon GX and one with Octillery. So far, Sylveon GX seems to be stronger than the Octillery variant because you choose which cards go into your hand, rather than having to use Abyssal Hand and hoping for the best in drawing what you need. Sylveon GX also has two strong attacks: one that applies decent pressure, and another that can potentially disrupt your opponent, whereas Octillery sits on the bench with a Float Stone and never attacks. However, the Octillery version has more room for consistency cards and Diancie guarantees an evolution in play on turn one (going second) when using Sparkling Wish, while the Sylveon variant has you hoping you aren’t N’d out of the cards you searched for with Magical Ribbon. Both variants have their own strengths and weaknesses.
Gardevoir GX with Sylveon GX
Pokemon – 18
Trainers – 30
Energy – 12
In my opinion, Sylveon GX brings a lot to the table. It helps you set up early game with Magical Ribbon and Plea GX is an incredibly strong attack, especially when paired with Parallel City for additional disruption, making some of your harder matchups, such as Metagross GX and Golisopod GX, somewhat more winnable. Three Eevee also gives you a better chance of starting with it as your active, which is important in getting to attack with Magical Ribbon on turn one as my list only has two Float Stone.
1 Gallade BKT
In the Anaheim Open, I chose to play a fourth Gardevoir GX over a Gallade because it never seemed to have a purpose. It didn’t help me get more Energy in play, it didn’t have an insane amount of HP and could easily be knocked out by an Espeon GX or a Garbodor GRI due to weakness. However, it seems essential to play a Gallade in this deck now. Because of the rotation, the deck loses Hex Maniac, which the deck used to shut off Alolan Ninetales’ Luminous Barrier Ability. If no Gallade is played in the deck, the deck does not have a good answer to Luminous Barrier, except to use Guzma to get around the Alolan Ninetales. Gallade is the only solid non-GX/EX attacker in the deck, and it is necessary to play in the the deck due to Alolan Ninetales’ strength as a deck. Lastly, it is a strong single prize attacker with a strong ability, Premonition, that could potentially turn the game in your favor by manipulating your top decks and it can turn the game into a seven prize game for your opponent.
Acerola is such an important card, not only in the mirror, but in other matchups where decks aren’t one-shotting your Gardevoir GXs, such as against Alolan Ninetales. It is also beneficial in the Gardevoir mirror match: it allows you to return attacks with a ‘fresh’ Gardevoir GX so that they have to load up their Gardevoir GX with a good amount of Energy to knock your Gardevoir GX out, to which you can return the knockout with another ‘fresh’ Gardevoir with fewer Energy. Lastly, it is also helpful against Garbodor decks. If you set up more Kirlia on the bench, using Acerola can also allow you to use Secret Spring an additional time. If the deck had more room, I would definitely be running two, because I think it can be utilized in so many different situations.
Alolan Ninetales GX
In this matchup, your opponent will either go one of two ways: the devolving route with Espeon EX, or the early spread route with Tapu Koko’s Flying Flip twice and then using Alolan Ninetales GX’s Blizzard Edge to knock out Gardevoir GX’s. When they attack with Tapu Koko, if you’re in a safe position in which Magical Ribbon isn’t 100% needed, you can attack with Sylveon’s second attack, Fairy Wind, to OHKO it. If you have two Gardevoir out fast enough (by turn two, three at the latest), you’re most likely in a good position to win. Although Alolan Ninetales GX has Ice Path GX and discards its Energy to hit hard with Blizzard Edge on its side, I think the matchup is in Gardevoir’s favor. Gardevoir is able to outspeed Alolan Ninetales in most cases.
This matchup is in Gardevoir’s favor as long as you can set up quickly. Since Ho-Oh GX and Turtonator GX both require a good amount of Energy to attack, they’re able to be one-shot pretty easily. Plea GX doesn’t help too much in this matchup, as they have multiple ways to replenish their Energy onto their Pokémon. Nevertheless, Magical Ribbon will always be a strong setup option. Parallel City is also super helpful in reducing their damage output by 20 to make it harder to OHKO your Gardevoir GX’s.
On paper, this matchup seems to be in Gardevoir GX’s favor because Twilight GX can prevent them from hitting hard late game with Trashalanche, but in testing the matchup is actually very close. In order to one-shot a Golisopod GX, there have to be seven energies between the two active Pokémon: typically one on their Golisopod GX and six (or five and a Choice Band) on your Gardevoir GX. If you are not able to one-shot their Golisopod, they are usually able to Acerola the Golisopod back into their hand and attack for 120 with a new, fully healed Golisopod with First Impression. Additionally, your opponent will most likely have a Garbotoxin Garbodor in play, which will hinder your Energy acceleration that powers Gardevoir GX up to start knocking out Golisopod GX. Your best strategy is to Field Blower the turn that you need Abilities the most (i.e. to one-shot a Golisopod, grab a supporter from Wonder Tag, etc), or use Plea GX. When paired with Parallel City, Plea GX can also set them back majorly.
I believe this variant of Gardevoir beats the Octillery version because of Sylveon’s attacks. As usual, you want to be setting up with Magical Ribbon, and try to lead with Gallade. Since you usually are not knocking out a Gardevoir too early in the game, Gallade can do the job just as well as a Gardevoir while forcing them to attack into a one prize Pokemon. It’s important to hit their Gardevoir for a considerable amount of damage without making it too easy to OHKO yours in return. Plea GX can also disrupt them immensely, especially if you put two Gardevoir GX back to their hand.
There are so many factors that contribute to Gardevoir variants having an edge over Garbodor variants. This matchup is pretty straightforward: play slightly conservatively, and set up multiple Gardevoir GX. Because of Magical Ribbon, the number of items that are played is significantly less. For example, you could search for a Gardevoir GX with Magical Ribbon instead of having to use Ultra Ball to search for it. If there are ever too many Items in discard pile, you can always use Twilight GX to reset and shuffle them back into your deck. It is usually an uphill battle for the Drampa player, but if they can start hitting with Berserk quickly, it may go south for the Gardevoir player.
Vikavolt/Tapu Bulu GX
With Sylveon GX, you have many ways to go about this matchup. You can use Parallel City to limit their bench to three Pokémon, then Plea GX to reset their board, or use Parallel City to limit their Tapu Bulu’s damage output by 20, so even with a Professor Kukui, they still cannot OHKO you. Even though they’re usually discarding all their Energy with Nature’s Judgement, you can either knock them out with a Gardevoir with six energies (or five and a Choice Band), or use Guzma to knock out a Vikavolt so they have a hard time recovering Energy onto their Pokémon. The matchup can be tricky, but is overall favorable.
Overall, Plea GX and Magical Ribbon both make Gardevoir even stronger than it was before. For the most part, the deck has mostly good matchups, with the only exceptions really being Decidueye GX/Alolan Ninetales GX and Metagross GX, the latter not being totally impossible to beat as you can outspeed them or use Plea GX to reset their board.
Now that I’ve covered the Sylveon version, it’s time to take a look at the Octillery version.
Gardevoir GX with Octillery
Pokemon – 17
4 Ralts BKT 100
Trainers – 31
Energy – 12
Differences from Sylveon variant:
2 Diancie BUS
Diancie’s attack, Sparkling Wish, ultimately takes the place of Sylveon GX’s turn one Magical Ribbon. Evolving into Kirlia through Sparkling Wish can save you a Rare Candy, so you then only need to draw into the Gardevoir. It can also get you Octillery into play, which is also important to help accelerate your setup. I chose to play Diancie over Alolan Vulpix because it seems to be more beneficial to have an evolution, whether it be a Kirlia or Octillery, on your board on turn one than to Beacon for two Pokémon and hope your opponent doesn’t play N.
As I mentioned earlier, Acerola is a strong card in many situations. The advantage to running this variant of Gardevoir is that you have more space, so I was able to have space for a second Acerola.
2 Field Blower
With Sylveon GX’s Plea GX, if you had played your Field Blower or didn’t have access to it, you could just put your opponent’s Garbotoxin Garbodor into their hand and slow them down, but since this version doesn’t have that as an option, a second Field Blower is needed to be able to shutoff Garbotoxin when needed. Additionally, I chose not to run Parallel City, since it seems to be good, but not good enough without Plea GX. Field Blower can also discard your opponent’s stadiums, such as Po Town or their own Parallel City.
1-1 Octillery BKT
Running Octillery is pretty self-explanatory: since you don’t have Sylveon GX’s Magical Ribbon, it gives you a way to draw more cards per turn. There are pros and cons to running Octillery over Sylveon GX. With Octillery, since Abyssal Hand is an Ability rather than an attack, it can be used every turn, which is super important late game, especially when Ns are being played. However, the amount of cards you draw and what you draw is up in the air, whereas Sylveon GX guarantees you three cards of your choosing, as long as you aren’t N’d by your opponent after you use Magical Ribbon.
The matchup isn’t hurt too much by the loss of Sylveon GX. In fact, it’s usually better to have the second Acerola due to all of the damage being spread around your field. Just as you would with the Sylveon variant, your best bet is setting up two Gardevoir GX’s by turn two and outspeeding them. If you already have a decent amount of damage on your Gardevoir GX, it’s safer to hit for a smaller amount of damage (when you can’t take a knock out) due to the threat Ice Path GX poses. It’s also important to remember to have a Kirlia or Ralts/Rare Candy ready for a Gallade in case they decide to start attacking with the non-GX Alolan Ninetales.
Although you don’t have Parallel City in this version, the matchup is still very winnable. Two Field Blowers is helpful to discard their Choice Bands (or Fighting Fury Belts) more than once. Additionally, two Acerola is also helpful for when your opponent hits your Gardevoir GXs for heavy amounts of damage, just short of knocking you out. Always try to have multiple Gardevoir GX set up, because a Guzma and Ho-Oh GX or Turtonator-GX paired with a few Steam Ups and a Choice Band can OHKO a Gardevoir GX.
Similarly to what I said above for the Sylveon variant, this matchup is still a little shaky, but with a second Acerola and Field Blower, I believe it’s somewhat better than the Sylveon version’s matchup. With two Acerola, your Gardevoir GX are able to take more hits from Golisopod GX. When you Acerola with a Kirlia on your bench to evolve back into Gardevoir GX, you can utilize Secret Spring an additional time. If you are not able to one-shot their Golisopod GX, they can also Acerola to remove damage. With two Field Blower, you can have more turns of Abilities, which is important in this matchup, especially since Octillery’s Abyssal Hand can help you draw more cards. Twilight GX will be super helpful because it can recycle your Acerola and Field Blowers, and eventually run your opponent out of healing options.
In this matchup, having two Acerola can really turn the tide. Although Plea GX can hurt if they get rid of multiple Gardevoir GX from your field, the matchup is still winnable. If your opponent is running Sylveon GX, just be aware of the threat that Plea GX poses, and that it could potentially ruin your board setup if combined with a Parallel City. Leading with Gallade and winning the Gardevoir war with Acerola are both important strategies to execute.
Similarly to the Sylveon variant, this matchup should be simple. The only downside to running this variant is that you will most likely have to play more items since you don’t have Sylveon to grab whatever cards you need. Setting up with Diancie is important in this matchup so you will not have to play as many Rare Candy. Two Field Blower and two Acerola will also be key in this matchup to set them back bit by bit. Of course, Twilight GX is also a viable option in this matchup to get Items out of your discard.
Vikavolt/Tapu Bulu GX
Although the loss of Sylveon’s Plea GX and Parallel Cities hurts, the matchup is still winnable. Your best strategy is usually going after the Vikavolts and using Acerola when a Gardevoir is heavily damaged. Vikavolt is weak to Fighting, so Gallade is also a good attacker for knocking it out in one hit, and it also helps turn the prize trade into your favor.
At the end of the day, both variants are extremely strong, and it comes down to preference or matchups. In general, Gardevoir GX is one of the strongest decks in Standard right now, and is definitely the deck to beat. If Hartford Regionals was tomorrow, I would most likely being playing one of the two lists above. Thanks to everyone for reading, see you next time!