“Breaking Dawn with Twilight GX:” Optimizing Gardevoir in a New Standard Format

Hello again, readers! Frank here, and I thank you for joining me in my second article with Cut or Tap. If you had the chance to read my last article, you may remember I was preparing to compete in the Anaheim Open, as well as for the upcoming rotation and addition of Burning Shadows. In the few months following that time, I was able to place 15th of 613 in Anaheim, as well as earn close to half of my invite toward the 2018 Pokemon World Championships. Yet, even with a strong start headed into this new season, you can never be too prepared. So with that, let’s see how Gardevoir fares now that the 2017-2018 rotation is in full effect.

The start of this new season has brought with it many challenges, the most obvious of which being that so many good cards are no longer legal in standard format, including a former staple: VS Seeker. Initially I felt very hindered due to the fact that I, unlike most of my peers in the Pokemon community, have never played in a format without the card. However, with much time and effort, I was quickly able to adapt to not only this new format, but the new meta as well.

While I personally do not believe that the meta is fully shaped at this point in time, I must say that I do like where it currently stands for the time being. I have heard many players complain about the way this season is beginning to go, and can actually understand why many would feel this way. A popular opinion currently embedded throughout the Pokemon Trading Card Game community claims that the format is too matchup-based, essentially saying that most games are decided before cards are even drawn, in a rock-paper-scissors style of proper deck choice. While this may be true to some extent, I do believe that optimizing your list for each archetype will always produce positive results. With that being said, let’s move on to the real reason most of you began reading: Gardevoir GX.

For those of you that did not pick up on my rock-paper-scissors analogy, the three most popular decks thus far seem to be Metagross, Fire, and of course Gardevoir. While most would tell you that each of these three archetypes contain both an instant win and loss in the form of the other two decks, I am not entirely convinced. And while I have lists for all three archetypes able to combat its perceived “auto loss,” for now I’ll be focusing on my favorite, and coincidentally most popular, deck in the current standard format: Good ol’ Gardy.

While many players have either just hoped to avoid poor matchups, or pilot a completely separate deck (most likely in the form of Ninetales, Tapu Bulu, Greninja, Golisipod, or other Garbodor variants,) I’ve spent most of my time finding the best deck capable of holding the most matches with a 50% win rate or better. With Gardevoir GX’s recent first place World Championship finish, I figured that’d be a good place to start.

On paper, Gardevoir seems to have the most positive matchups. It inherently beats all of the Fire variants, due to their high cost of attack; and Garbodor variants, due to the fact that once any of their attackers reaches OHKO potential, you can reduce their damage output with Gardevoir’s Twilight GX attack. It also fares pretty well against most Ninetales decks, given a proper pilot; and only has definitely-poor matchups against Greninja, Metagross, and Espeon EX/ Tapu Koko variants, which don’t currently comprise a huge chunk of the metagame. Not only that, but I personally believe the addition of Sylveon GX can easily swing those matchups in your favor. But we will cover that a little later.

With that being said, let’s first take a look at this very generic shell for Gardevoir GX:

Pokémon – 11 Trainers – 21 Energy – 12
4 Ralts 4 Professor Sycamore 4 Ultra Ball 8 Fairy
2 Kirlia 4 N 3 Rare Candy 4 Double Colorless
3 Gardevoir GX 3 Guzma 1 Field Blower
2 Tapu Lele GX 1 Brigette 1 Super Rod/Rescue Stretcher

The 44 cards included above are what I consider to be absolute necessities in order for the deck to function. Every build of Gardevoir GX should contain these 44 at the least. The 16 cards that make up the remainder will be what separate most lists of this archetype. Of these 16 cards, there are many options for what one can include in their build. However, they can be narrowed down to a few things that the deck shell posted above is missing: deck search Pokemon, draw support Pokemon, secondary attackers, tools/stadiums, technical supporters and consistency cards. Now, let’s break down our options.

Deck Search Pokemon: 1-4 cards

This category is comprised of the Pokemon that you are using to set up, not including Tapu Lele GX. The most common options are any combination of the following: Alolan Vulpix, Diancie, Eevee and Sylveon GX. Whatever you choose should be based on preference. Some lists have chosen as little as one Diancie or Vulpix, while others have included either a 2-2 Sylveon line or all four of the previously mentioned Pokemon. Ultimately, I feel like the most popular choice is currently one Diancie and one Alolan Vulpix.

Draw Support Pokemon: 1-4 cards

This category is comprised of just three different cards: Oranguru and Remoraid/ Octillery. While any combination of these cards can be used, the most popular choice seems to be a 2-2 line of Octillery. However, when making this decision,  it should be noted that Oranguru also functions as a secondary attacker. This brings us to our next category.

Secondary Attackers: 1-2 cards

While Tapu Lele not only functions as a necessary support Pokemon, it is also able to attack and is constantly seen doing such in many games. However, I strongly believe almost all decks should have the ability to force a seven-prize game. While many Gardevoir players do this by sacrificing either Diancie or Alolan Vulpix early on, the threat of Alolan Ninetales’s “Luminous Barrier” ability creates a strong enough need for the inclusion of a non-GX attacker. Most lists opt to use Gallade, from the BreakThrough set, as it not only can do 150 damage for just one Double Colorless Energy, but its “Premonition” ability has great synergy with Octillery as well. However, as previously mentioned, Oranguru also has a similar function in terms of acting as a non-GX attacker.

Tools/Stadiums: 2-7 cards

While the inclusion of both Tool and Stadiums cards has varied, I feel like a minimum of two spots should be dedicated to this category, but would advise most lists to play around three to five. The options for this category are the most extensive. While the most popular inclusions consist of Choice Band, Float Stone, and Parallel City, there has also been a small amount of Wish Baton, Exp. Share, and Fairy Garden sprinkled throughout the meta.

Tech Supporters: 0-4

This category is pretty straightforward. There are a multitude of Supporters one could include in their list. However, I will list the ones that seem relevant. Acerola and Skyla seem to be most common. I have also seen Kukui and Lillie utilized as well, but would not advise anyone to include them. A second Brigette and/or a fourth Guzma are also very good options and make the deck more consistent; bringing us to the final category….

Consistency Cards: 0-9

For those of you confused by my use of the term “consistency cards,” basically it is the inclusion of cards that increase the deck’s chances of drawing what you need. For instance, a 3rd or 4th Tapu Lele makes the chance of drawing that card during a match more consistent. Adding more of any of the cards listed in our 44-card shell is not necessarily a bad idea, but the following are the most common: a third Kirlia, a fourth gardevoir, a third or even fourth Tapu Lele GX, a second Brigette, a fourth Rare Candy, a second Field Blower, a second Super Rod/Rescue Stretcher, a ninth Fairy Energy, or multiples of any previously mentioned cards not included in our shell.

With that, here is the build that I consider to be the best utilization of the 16 remaining spots, based on the current meta:

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3 thoughts on ““Breaking Dawn with Twilight GX:” Optimizing Gardevoir in a New Standard Format

  1. How would you feel about putting a mr mime into this deck to counter the many decks using tapu koko?
    If you were to, what card would you sacrifice?

    1. I think that isn’t a bad idea at all, but should be a specific meta call. Personally, I think I would rather play a second Max Potion because it helps more in the mirror match. But if you want to fit Mime specifically I would suggest cutting either a Float Stone or the Lillie. This list is pretty tight on space; there is not much to cut frankly.

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