Considered a mainstay of the Standard format headed into the season, Gardevoir GX has somewhat fallen out of the meta with it becoming rarer and rarer to be paired against it at tournaments. Some of this is the result of Ultra Prism, which strengthened up the Metal type with the release of cards like Magnezone, Dusk Mane Necrozma GX, and Alolan Dugtrio. No one really wanted to bring Gardevoir GX into the early Ultra Prism tournaments just to get blasted by Metal for a few of your rounds.
However, with the underwhelming performance of Metal in the tournaments since Ultra Prism became legal, the meta share of Metal decks is once again much smaller which makes it quite a bit safer to play Gardevoir in tournaments again.
Despite gaining some new enemies from Ultra Prism, Gardevoir also is a deck that made out with some new tools for itself that really help to improve the deck. In this article I am going to take a look at my new Gardevoir GX list for the BKT-UPR format, a list that has been testing very well for me.
Pokemon – 19
Trainers – 29
Energy – 12
Super Boosting Gardevoir
The big new card that helps take Gardevoir up a level is Super Boost Energy. When you have three Stage 2 Pokemon in play it counts as four Energy, which in the context of a Gardevoir deck means 120 damage on Infinite Force which is a huge amount of damage to get out of a single attachment. When Super Boost Energy is activated for maximum effect you will almost always be taking a OHKO.
Super Boost Energy works very well after using a Max Potion. You can use Max Potion to erase your opponent’s previous attack and then with the Super Boost Energy, a Secret Spring, and a Choice Band you will already be back up to 180 damage.
To make Super Boost Energy work effectively within your strategy you will need to make some deck construction decisions to let the deck effectively work with it.
The first thing to take note of is that if Super Boost Energy were to be discarded it would go in the Lost Zone and be unable to be recovered. The solution to this issue is to not play Professor Sycamore and instead play a deck engine built upon Cynthia and N. I think regardless of Super Boost Energy this would be the way to go with the deck now that we have Cynthia. Taking a more conservative approach to resource management works out very well in Gardevoir. Not having to discard your Rare Candy or Energy off of Professor Sycamore anymore makes it so they’re actually there in the deck when you need them in the later stages of the game.
The other thing you need to do to unlock the full potential of Super Boost Energy is to get three Stage 2’s in play. I tackle this in a few different ways with this list.
I chose to include a single copy of Talonflame STS in the deck. I had wanted to add another Stage 2 line in the deck to give me more opportunities to get Stage 2’s in play, but there weren’t really any Stage 2’s that really stood out to me as having useful Abilities that could be used in a 1-0-1 line. Gengar from Crimson Invasion and Solgaleo GX seemed to have the most potential for this. However, in my search I remembered Talonflame and started using this to fill in an extra Stage 2 line into the deck to be able to make use of Super Boost Energy’s full effect.
Talonflame’s Gale Wings Ability lets you start the game with it as your opening Active Pokemon if you start it in your opening hand. With this current list, there is a 15.74% probability of starting it in your opening hand. In the games where you start Talonflame it’s extremely easy to activate Super Boost Energy’s full effect. In games where you don’t start it, you discard it with Ultra Ball when you get the chance. This is definitely a luck card, but if you’re on a positive variance streak in a tournament and starting Talonflame a larger than average amount it can positively boost your tournament performance. Cards like this played in this type of role give you the opportunity to get lucky in a tournament.
When you do start it, Talonflame is about as good of a starter as you could ask for in a deck like Gardevoir. It not only sets up knockouts for Gardevoir GX and Gallade with the 40 damage with Aero Blitz, but it also lets you search your deck for any two cards. Being able to search out cards like Rare Candy or the Pokemon you want to evolve into makes it very easy to get a fast setup in those games.
The last aspect of the list that helps you use Super Boost Energy is playing Rescue Stretcher instead of Super Rod. Being able to put Pokemon back into hand instead of the deck makes the deck a lot more consistent at keeping the Pokemon you want on your field in play.
You do lose the ability to bring Energy back into the deck, but with the more conservative Supporter approach that doesn’t discard cards, less reliance on Max Potion, and the big swing attachment from Super Boost Energy I haven’t really found myself pressed for Energy as often as I did when playing Brokenvoir.
The last thing that should be said about Super Boost Energy is that utilizing it effectively takes reading the game state properly to get the best use out of it from game to game. The big thing that you need to read is the likelihood of at what points in the game will you be able to have three Stage 2 Pokemon in play.
For example, in games where you don’t start Talonflame and prize a Ralts you may want to focus on getting your use out of Super Boost Energy in the early or mid game. If you have three Stage 2’s in play, but can’t get the 4th Ralts down because it’s in the prizes, then at some point if your opponent is able to take a knockout on one of your Stage 2 Pokemon, you won’t be able to immediately get a third Stage 2 in play.
Teching Against Buzzwole
One of the biggest reasons that Gardevoir stopped seeing play was because Buzzwole was too fast for the deck to keep up with. For whatever reason, counters to Buzzwole were rarely played in Gardevoir decks (prior to Tord’s Zoroark GX/Gardevoir GX with Mew EX at the Oceania International), with most people just choosing not to play the deck instead of trying to counter Buzzwole.
Like pretty much every other deck in the format, I think to survive in the current meta Gardevoir also needs to play a tech. I like Mewtwo as the tech in here as Buzzwole GX is going to need to have the maximum of three Energy attached to do anything too impressive against Gardevoir.
The only thing that is a little uncomfortable with Mewtwo is that you only play two Choice Band, and if you don’t have the Choice Band you only hit Buzzwole GX for 180 damage, which is short of a knockout by 10 HP. If you keep this in mind as you approach this matchup it becomes easier to work around. You can conserve your Choice Bands with the Cynthia/N engine and you can use Gallade’s Premonition to make it a little easier to find one of the Choice Bands.
Mew EX would be solid too. Copying Infinite Force or Sensitive Blade with Versatile would easily OHKO a Buzzwole GX. My concern with Mew EX is that you need a Stage 2 in play to get the OHKO (versus a Stage 1 in the Zoroark GX decks), so it would be a little slower in tempo in here than in a Zoroark deck. If you were to fall too far behind, having a Mew EX knocked out for two prizes would put you on the brink of losing the game.
I’ve been loving the 2-2 Octillery line. It makes it so easy and consistent to get the Octillery out, and sometimes you even get both out in the same game and start seeing tons of cards each turn.
I think the 2 Field Blower are necessary in here right now. There is a fair amount of Garbodor BKP, so making sure that you can use your Abilities is very strong. Fighting Fury Belt has also made a comeback so it’s nice to be able to remove those as well. Of course, Field Blower is still very good for removing an opponent’s Parallel City from play so you can play more stuff down on your bench.
A Parallel City of your own could be very strong, but I don’t think it’s essential and having the Field Blower to remove opposing early game Parallel City takes precedence over it. If you’re not feeling very adventurous, you could take out Talonflame for a Parallel City.
Gardevoir versus the Meta
I think the meta game is shaping up solidly for Gardevoir GX headed into Charlotte, in no small part because most players aren’t really taking the Gardevoir matchup into consideration when making their own deck decisions.
Gardevoir is inherently strong against Zoroark GX decks because you can create a positive prize trade against Zoroark by using Gallade to OHKO Zoroark GX’s. With the Super Boost Energy build of Gardevoir, it now is also much easier to get the OHKO’s on the 1 Energy alternate attackers that are partnered with Zoroark GX, such as Golisopod GX and the newly released Lucario GX. (Which will become legal some time after Charlotte).
I think that Zoroark GX/Golisopod GX should be considered the BDIF at the current moment, so having a favorable matchup against it is a good thing to bring into Charlotte.
I think the matchup against other Zoroark variants is also pretty strong. Against Zoroark/Lycanroc you use Gallade to OHKO Zoroark GX’s and then load up a Gardevoir GX to knock out Lycanroc GX after they inevitably use Dangerous Rogue GX. Against the Garbodor variant you have Twilight GX to get Items out of your discard pile to minimize Trashalanche while getting back Max Potion and Field Blower to use throughout the game.
The Weavile variant might seem a little scary just because all of your final stage evolutions have Abilities, but if you show a little restraint they won’t be hitting you with OHKO’s, and with their low HP, it’s easy to OHKO their non-GX attackers with a Gardevoir GX. You can then use Max Potion to heal your Gardevoir GX to create a positive prize trade for yourself, and then of course Gallade will OHKO the Zoroark GX’s for you.
The biggest concern is probably still the Buzzwole GX matchup. Both the Lycanroc GX and Garbodor variants are super aggressive so if you are too slow to setup it can be easy to lose. This matchup is tough, so this is why I have Mewtwo EVO in the deck to help bring the matchup close to even.
The matchups against the Fire decks and VikaBulu still remains favorable. It actually is a little better for Gardevoir now as Super Boost Energy can be used to make it easier to OHKO a Tapu Bulu GX or Turtonator GX after they discard Energy with their attack. The Tapu Bulu matchup can be made better on their side if they tech against you with something like Clefairy EVO.
The Glaceon GX matchup isn’t nearly as bad you might think with this style of build as you have plenty of draw power with Octillery that isn’t based on using a GX’s Ability and you can easily 2HKO a Glaceon GX, even with single attachment Infinite Forces. You can then use Max Potion to prevent them from getting the 2HKO. They need a Choice Band on both Frost Bullets to get the 2HKO against Gardevoir GX, and they also need to snipe a benched Gardevoir GX twice to be able to OHKO it with Polar Spear GX (and also double snipe to KO with Lapras GX’s Blizzard Burn). Gallade is also strong as an attacker against Glaceon GX as it will 2HKO Glaceon GX for you, while they need to 2HKO you back. Super Boost Energy also can be used to OHKO a Glaceon GX with a single attachment.
The Espeon GX/Garbodor matchup is going to be dependent on how the opponent chose to build it. I think you will be a little unfavored against the Po Town variants, but favored against the variants without Po Town. Mewtwo EVO also helps against this too giving you a non-GX that can OHKO a fully powered Espeon GX.
Outside of Buzzwole, probably the biggest thing to worry about if playing Gardevoir is Metal decks lingering around. If you play against either a Magnezone or Metal/Garbodor deck you most likely will be walking away from the table with a loss. There’s not really a ton you can do when they hit you for Weakness. About the best you can do is to try to trade against these decks with Gallade in the early and mid games before trying to finish them off with a big Gardevoir GX or two.
A lesser concern would be running into Cobalion against Counter Energy decks. This isn’t that big of a deal though as it’s typically difficult for them to stream Cobalion, and with Glaceon GX and Gardevoir GX being such small parts of the meta right now, most people typically don’t include the Cobalion in their Counter Energy decks.
Gardevoir has been seeing a lot less play lately, but with the addition of Super Boost Energy, Gardevoir can take itself up a power level to compete better with some decks that had either surpassed it or were catching up to it with their own new additions.
The failure of Metal at the early Regionals and the continued prevalence of Zoroark GX in the Standard meta will make Gardevoir GX an interesting deck for the Regional Championship next weekend in Charlotte.