The Best Plays For Vancouver With Matchup Descriptions

Hey everybody, Phinn again with another piece about Standard.

Daytona was last weekend and Garbodor ended up winning the event, which makes me feel great about my last piece because I clearly called Garbodor the play. In fact, Jon Eng made top 8 with the list from the site with two cards different. But now we are looking at Vancouver Regionals, and we need a new best play for the event. There are some pretty clear best decks in the format currently and in this piece I will have my lists for all of them along with explanations for why certain decks are not on the top tier list.

Personally I do not like to refer to top tier decks in numerical terms; instead, I simply have a list of decks that are in the top tier, and a list of decks that are not.

Top Tier for Vancouver

  • Volcanion
  • Greninja
  • Gardevoir variants
  • Golisopod variants
  • Drampa Garbodor/Espeon Drampa Garbodor

Not top tier for Vancouver

  • Metagross
  • Darkrai
  • Straight Espeon Garbodor
  • Ho-Oh Salazzle
  • Magnezone
  • Tapu Bulu Vikavolt

Decks I am unsure about

  • Decidueye Ninetales
  • Ninetales spread (Po Town/Espeon EX/Tapu Koko)
  • Straight Ninetales
  • Weavile spread
  • Anything else not listed here

This piece has updated lists for all decks on the top tier list. More recently my articles have been more about deck explanations and lists, so for this piece, I am going to switch it up a bit and cover matchups instead. A lot of these lists are pretty similar to lists I had already posted; I want to focus more on the content surrounding the lists rather than the lists themselves. I will also be making arguments for why each deck is a better or worse play for Vancouver through the matchup descriptions.

Tier list explanation

The first two questions I ask myself when determining what is a top tier deck, are “What is the Volcanion matchup like?” and “What is the Greninja matchup like?”. These are going to be the most relevant decks because of the results from Hartford. The next question to ask is “What decks can beat Greninja and Volcanion?”. The decks that do so are going to both be the decks we want to beat, and the decks that we should consider as potential plays for Vancouver.

Decks that do not make the top tier list most likely do not beat Greninja and/or Volcanion and therefore should not be played. For example, Metagross takes a hard loss to Volcanion and has a negative Greninja matchup. Magnezone is sort of an exception because it does not make the list simply because it is inconsistent. And then a couple options are just worse versions of other options. Volcanion is directly better than Ho-Oh Salazzle (in this meta), and straight Espeon Garbodor is worse than Drampa Garbodor or Espeon Drampa Garbodor.

Vika/Bulu is an option that I initially had as a top tier deck, but since I have done more testing with it, I don’t really think it can keep up with the other options. The deck just does not have enough room or consistency and seems to only beats decks when it draws well.

Decidueye Ninetales specifically is a deck I have a good amount of interest in. I hear it has great matchups across the board, and the deck did well in the Worlds format. I am not ready to categorize the deck yet because I have no testing with it. I actually have not tested any of the Ninetales or spread variants, and I’m not sure why…I suppose I just want to play it safe and use a deck that has proven itself on a bigger scale in this format.


Pokémon – 14 Trainers – 31 Energy – 15
 4 Volcanion EX  4 Professor Sycamore  4 Ultra Ball  15 Fire
 3 Volcanion  4 N  4 Max Elixir
 2 Tapu Lele GX  1 Lillie  4 Fighting Fury Belt
 2 Turtonator GX  4 Guzma  2 Enhanced Hammer
 1 Oranguru  2 Float Stone
 1 Giratina (PR)  1 Switch
 1 Ho-Oh GX  1 Field Blower

Ho-Oh GX

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