Persian variants in Standard

Some of you may have seen my recent post on the lists page where I have a section on Persian and why I believe the deck is now viable. With the almost endless number of ways that Cosmic Eclipse has made it possible for Persian to be played, I was (and I still am) sure that at least one build is tier one. In preparation for Worlds this year I had tested Persian more than any other deck because it had options for every match up, could take players by surprise, and required a level of skill that no deck other than Infinity Stones could match. Unfortunately I was forced to face the fact that I was not going to be ready to play such a complex deck for The World Championship. With Cosmic Eclipse’s release, the deck has gained at least 15 new cards that it can reasonably take full advantage of, which has lead me to revisit my obsession with Cat Walk. From the minute I realized this, I have been working on the deck every day.

Testing over the last couple weeks has forced me to realize there are defined versions of Persian and trying to mix those versions does not work. In fact, it makes the deck unplayable. When you are playing a list with multiple Red & Blue along multiple Roxie, you run into problems with the stipulation on Roxie that says you cannot discard EXs or GXs. The list I initially posted to the Continuously updated lists page that has two Red & Blue and three Roxie, cared less about using Red & Blue in exchange for being able to use Roxie more frequently. A thicker Pidgeotto line works because having more of an emphasis on the one-prize draw makes Roxie more consistent and effective. Silvally GX is a weak addition when you play Pidgeotto and Roxie because Air Mail is not conducive to Disk Reload. In short, trying to play 2-2 Silvally and 3-2 Pidgeotto (as I did) is a bad way to aim for a compromise. If we want to play Silvally GX, it should be in a different version of the deck that cares less about Roxie and more about Red & Blue. The divide in terms of which cards work with each other created several ways to build Persian that each stem from one of the two list-bases.

This article goes over the following:

  1. The two starting points for any Standard Persian list
  2. Variants of the one-prize package:
  3. Persian Pidgeotto Shedinja
  4. Persian Weezing Checkmate
  5. How to play Persian Weezing Checkmate
  6. Match up descriptions: ADP, Ability Zard, Malamar, Mewtwo, Baby Blowns, Pidgeotto, and Gardeon
  7. Variants of the Stage 1 GX package: 
  8. Straight Persian Silvally
  9. Persian Silvally Checkmate
  10. Persian Whimsicott GX
  11. Persian Alolan Persian
  12. Conclusion

I should note that most of this article is about the variant with Pidgeotto and Weezing that goes for checkmate. I see that list as the one with the most potential and many of the other lists ended up getting less attention because of my interest in checkmate strategies. There is plenty of information in this piece on how to play match ups for the Pidgeotto checkmate variant, but much of the information on the other lists is simply about the lists rather than about how to pilot the lists.

Where to start

For the purpose of keeping things easy to understand in this piece, I’ll define how I use the words version and variant. In this article, Variant refers to: a different iteration of one of the two versions of Persian. An example would be that Persian Pidgeotto Checkmate is one of my variants of the Roxie/one-prize Persian version. A Version refers to: one of the two structures for building Persian; namely, the version with more Stage 1 GXs/Red & Blue and the version with more Roxie/one-prize Pokemon.

This is the first version’s package:

Roxie/one-prize Persian Skeleton

Pokémon – 24   Trainers – 14   Energy – 8
 4 Meowth (147/214)    4 Roxie  4 Pokemon Communication    4 Triple Acceleration
 4 Persian GX    4 Professor Elm’s Lecture  2 Great Catcher    4 Psychic
 4 Pidgey (122/181)                
 4 Pidgeotto                
 4 Weezing/Koffing (CEC)                
 1 Inkay                
 1 Malamar                
 1 Ditto Prism Star                
 1 Mew (UNB)                

This skeleton is not set in stone because with so many ways to play the deck, it is not likely that all 46 of these cards will be needed in every Roxie variant. No matter which of these variants we are looking at, they have a goal to get Pokemon in the discard for Vengeance, which is why Roxie should be present in each list. Elm will also be needed because it is your best way to make sure multiple Pidgeotto are getting set up. Some sort of Energy support is helpful when there is no Red & Blue, which explains the Malamar line. Weezing is an amazing card in this version because spreading 10 everywhere makes your math with Vengeance better against any deck. Having a Pokemon that we always know we want to discard with Roxie also makes things easier on our brain.

The second package is far different.

Red & Blue/Stage 1 GX Persian Skeleton

Pokémon – 17   Trainers – 16   Energy – 9
 4 Meowth    4 Red & Blue  4 Pokemon Communication    4 Triple Acceleration
 3 Persian GX    1 Lillie’s Full Force  1 Stealthy Hood    5 Basic Energy
 4 Type: Null    1 Guzma & Hala  2 Great Catcher      
 3 Silvally GX        2 Island Challenge Amulet      
 2 Marshadow (UNB)    1 Chaotic Swell          
 1 Dedenne GX                

This version acknowledges that GX Ability lock is very much a threat to deal with in current Standard. Given that Mimikyu and Power Plant are around, two Marshadow along with a Swell, and a Stealthy Hood are needed for Silvally to work. Guzma Hala is there to grab the tech Stadium and Tool, but works very well in general because it is a way to search out TAE or Island Challenge Amulet (ICA for short). Speaking of which, the ICAs are a necessity at least as a two-of because Persian does not have the damage output to compete when focusing on GX attackers if it does not have Amulet to create a better prize exchange. The whole deck runs on Stage 2 GX’s, so Red & Blue makes sense as a four-of just for hitting it quickly. Lillie’s Full Force has great synergy with Silvally because shuffling cards from your hand back into your deck until there are two, means the following turn gives you a Disk Reload that is at least going to draw you two cards (probably four or five).

The reason this article has so many variants of this version of Persian, while the Roxie version only has two is because Red & Blue inherently makes tons of Stage 1 GXs playable. Before I start going deep down the rabbit hole of crazy rogue Persian lists, we should start off small with a list which only has the goal to be straight forward and consistent. If the list bellow does not satiate your craving for rogue, don’t fret; you’ll think I have lost my mind when you see some of the lists in this piece (and you’re probably right).

Variants of the one-prize package

Persian Pidgeotto

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