The meta is more defined now that we have had some time to mull over different variants and decide what cards are actually worth playing. With confidence, I can say that the top (or at least most commonly played) decks right now are Gardevoir, Buzzwole, Zoroark, Garbodor and (possibly) Greninja.
My goal with this piece is to challenge what you think you know about these decks and to give a different perspective on the dogma of the current format. We try to put decks into certain categories, and label decks in certain ways to help us make decisions. In reality what one might think they know is true can be completely contradictory to what a different player knows.
- “Greninja is an inconsistent deck.”
- “Gardevoir is the best deck in the format.”
- “Gardevoir has an optimal list already that needs little to no changes.”
- “Garbodor gains a lot from Shining Jirachi”
These, among others, are ideas that I explain are untrue. In this article I explore these ideas with a somewhat psychological approach to the game. There is a good amount of human error involved in these theories that I feel needs to be brought to light. I also have some very interesting updates on Garbodor and Gardevoir that I cover, with new lists for both of these decks aimed at beating the London Intercontinentals meta.
I recognize that not everyone is interested in my concepts, so I have three great lists in here if you simply want to skim and take those. I have nothing against that, so please net-deck me; seeing people play my lists makes me ecstatic!
“Greninja is inherently inconsistent.”
Greninja is the deck with the most scrutiny in general. So much so, that the banner on HeyFonte is “Greninja Sucks”. Why does Greninja suck? Well, frankly it doesn’t. Greninja is one of the most underrated decks in the format, with positive matchups against the two most popular decks (Garb and Garde). This idea that Greninja is inconsistent and loses it itself has some truth to it, but that is mostly because of the way people build the deck and pilot it. There is also a confirmation bias with this idea now:
- The tendency to interpret new evidence as confirmation of one’s existing beliefs or theories.
Because people always hear that Greninja is inconsistent, they expect it to be. When they dead draw on their fifth game using it, they say “Yep, everyone was right. Greninja is inconsistent!”. Once this idea is planted in people’s heads, they tend to only see the same outcome. Even if only one out of ten games is a game where the deck dead-draws, a player will exaggerate that game and think it is the norm for the deck because that is what they have been told is the truth, or if you will, dogma.
Still, it goes further than this. Players will misplay and these misplays will be the reason they dead-draw. In many cases, they will not realize their mistake and blame the negative outcome on the deck. But the far more astounding truth is that players will realize they misplayed leading to dead draw, and continue to believe it was the deck’s fault! Many players will focus on how they feel about decks, rather than focussing on reason. Humans are not rational without a very conscious effort to be.
Players make this inconsistency notion worse because they will simply accept this notion of the deck being inconsistent and then add techs to it making it even more inconsistent. They do this with the notion that the deck is inconsistent no matter what you do, so why not tech more? This is the opposite of what they should be thinking. Greninja has room for consistency cards right now, but players take that room and use it for techs instead because of this false notion. If they increased Supporter counts and played an ample number of recovery and search cards, they may actually find that Greninja can be consistent. This is my experience with the deck, in fact.
The way people have been building Garbodor is just as, if not more inconsistent than Greninja. Garbodor dead draws very frequently, and people write this off for reasons I do not understand. I make a conscious effort to fix this problem personally, but I will get to that later. The point here is that Greninja is at about the same level of consistency if built in a decent way. This implies that Greninja is not inherently inconsistent. The hypocrisy does not end here. People will build Metagross decks or Solgaleo decks, and will not consider that these decks are more inconsistent.
There is this special aura surrounding Greninja fortuitously; this idea that is embedded into Greninja Break that makes the deck inconsistent no matter what you do. Consider that Gardevoir is a deck playing TWO different Stage 1 lines and a Stage 2 line. Consider that Metagross plays one Vulpix for consistency and virtually no other set up Support. Consider the fact that Garbodor has no extra draw cards aside from the eight standard draw supporters. Greninja, on the other hand, plays three Lillie for some extra draw (in my build), has Water Duplicates which is an amazing setup attack, and Splash Energy to keep the deck running. Greninja does have potent, exclusive, consistency benefits that other decks lack.
The idea of Greninja being inconsistent, ironically, makes it inconsistent. Players seal the fate of the deck by putting it into a box. Once we can accept that the deck actually can be consistent and that it does have huge potential right now, maybe we can actually make the deck strong. This is my list.