Hello again everyone! My name is Darin O’Meara and I’m back again for my second Pokemon article! Thank you so much to those of you who read the first, I received a ton of support in real life and online! I hope you enjoy this article just as much as the last.

Today we’re going to take a look at the Anaheim Regionals results, including what succeeded, what flopped, and what we learned.

Anaheim Regionals

regionalsAnaheim set the scene for the first regional championships in the PRC-SM format after what feels like forever in the PRC-EVO format. Coming in, there was a lot of uncertainty and discussion circulating around what would be the top decks at Anaheim. New cards like Decidueye-GX, Umbreon-GX, and Tauros-GX had theorists running rampant creating new ideas. Many opted to stick with the testing, tried, and true decks the metagame had to offer, which turned out to be the correct choice in the end.

Over 500 players battled it out for 32 slots in Day 2, meaning 6-1-2 was guaranteed cut and 6-2-1 was on the bubble. At the end of Day 1, the breakdown for the next day’s Day 2 included a small amount of new Sun and Moon decks, and a lot of Turbo Darkrai decks and Mega Mewtwo decks. The total Breakdown is as follows –

Deck Placements
Turbo Darkrai EX 7
M Mewtwo EX 6
Vespiquen 4
Yveltal EX 3
M Rayquaza EX 3
Volcanion EX 2
Gyarados 1
Solgaleo GX/Lunala GX 1
Decidueye GX/Lugia EX/Tauros GX 1
Water Toolbox 1
Rainbow Road 1
M Gardevoir EX STS 1
Darkrai/Dragons 1
anaheim-graphic
Graphic credit to Complexity Card Gaming

As you can see it was mainly the known archetypes from the PRC-EVO format that were able to take the top spots in Day 2. Only a few completely new decks managed to take slots in Day 2 – Drew Kennet’s Lurantis/Solgaleo, John Kettler’s Decidueye/Vileplume, and Edgar Garcia’s Lapras-GX WaterBox. Everything else in Top 32 were existing archetypes with small changes here and there, like Yveltal/Tauros/Garbodor and Vespiquen/Herdier/Zoroark.

Top 8 included none of these new archetypes and included only previously known ones with new additions –

1. Kenny Britton – Darkrai EX/Giratina EX/Salamence EX
2. Tony Jimenez – Turbo Darkrai EX
3. Lawrence Xu – Turbo Darkrai EX
4. Jeffrey Cheng – Vespiquen AOR/Zoroark BKT
5. Igor Costa – Yveltal EX/Garbodor BKP/Tauros GX
6. Ryan Sabelhaus – M Mewtwo EX/Garbodor BKP
7. Rahul Reddy – Vespiquen AOR/Zoroark BKT/Vaporeon AOR
8. Travis Nunlist – M Mewtwo EX/Espeon GX/Garbodor BKP

smWe learned from Anaheim that Sun and Moon didn’t change much in the metagame (Kenny Britton’s winning list ran no cards from Sun and Moon). However, one should expect to see several Sun and Moon decks at their nearby tournaments in the early stages of its addition to the format, as people are always eager to try out new cards.

In the end, Kenny Britton came out on top with Darkrai/Giratina, taking the tournament by storm with a deck most people had forgotten about. Alongside him in Top 8 were two versions of Mega Mewtwo, two versions of Vespiquen, two versions of Turbo Darkrai, and one version of Yveltal/Tauros/Garb. Let’s take a look at each of these decks, what changed from their initial renditions, and where they stand in today’s metagame.

Mega Mewtwo/Garbodor

mewtwoMega Mewtwo/Garbodor was hyped among some of the top players to be the deck to look out for going into Anaheim. It’s consistent and had good matchups across most of the predicted metagame. It has a strong damage output that continued through the entire game along with a secondary option in Damage Change. Travis Nunlist decided to include a 1-1 Espeon-GX line in his Mega Mewtwo build to counter the mirror as well as Vespiquen, while also providing a GX attack for the deck and another strong attacker which can be useful in certain situations. Here is his list (credit to Hovercast TCG and Travis Nunlist).

Pokemon – 15 Trainers – 34 Energy – 11
4x Mewtwo-EX BKT 62 4x Professor Sycamore 7x Psychic Energy
3x Mega Mewtwo-EX BKT 64 3x N 4x Double Colorless Energy
2x Shaymin-EX ROS 77 2x Lysandre
1x Hoopa-EX PR XY71
2x Trubbish BKP 56 4x Mega Turbo
1x Garbodor BKP 57 4x Mewtwo Spirit Link
1x Eevee SM 101 4x Ultra Ball
1x Espeon-GX SM 61 4x VS Seeker
3x Float Stone
2x Trainers’ Mail
1x Super Rod
2x Shrine of Memories
1x Parallel City

In the Meta

garbledorMega Mewtwo has a pretty good hold on the meta, boasting pretty even matchups across the board. The key idea is to essentially out-power the opposition through Mega Mewtwo’s Psychic Infinity attack, while also gaining the ability to heal with Damage Change through the use of Shrine of Memories. Espeon-GX gives the deck an alternate and GX attacker as well as a utility option for several matchups. Let’s examine some of these matchups.

Turbo Darkrai

Mega Mewtwo and Turbo Darkrai essentially go back and forth taking 2-hit KOs in this matchup. It is a bit tough, since there is a point where Darkrai can take OHKOs, which is when the Mega Mewtwo player loses control of the game. However, by abusing Damage Change to transfer damage and by staying ahead in the prize trade, the matchup can be won.

Vespiquen

Vespiquen is iffy for both players, and a lot depends on if the Vespiquen player plays the Mew-EX tech or not. If they do, the matchup is split or in their favor. If not, smart Damage Changes to heal as well as KO an attacker in addition to Espeon-GX’s Divide-GX attack to take out Combees and Zoruas make this matchup favorable for Mega Mewtwo so long as a Garbodor is established to prevent their Klefki from taking effect.

Mega Rayquaza

Garbodor and Parallel City are what is going to save you from this matchup. If you can hit the Garbodor and then Parallel a large amount of Pokemon off of the Rayquaza player’s bench, it is hard for them to recover to the degree that they need to in order to regain control. If the Parallel/Garb combo can’t be hit at the right time, the match is a slippery slope to defeat, as they can OHKO your Mega Mewtwos, giving you a small chance at getting back up.

Mega Mewtwo

This specific list has a great matchup with the mirror due to Espeon-GX. Espeon-GX can OHKO an opposing Mega Mewtwo that has a DCE on it, while it takes four energy cards on an opposing Mega Mewtwo to return the KO since Psychic Infinity does not hit for weakness. If Espeon-GX and Eevee aren’t prized, this matchup is fantastic.

Yveltal/Tauros/Garb

This matchup is also tricky, as the threat of a Ninja Boy/Tauros-GX play is always there. Usually Mega Mewtwo can stay ahead, since it takes less energy to deal more damage to an Yveltal-EX. Being able to OHKO an Yveltal-EX can put you ahead massively, as they will have no option to use their Tauros-GX if there isn’t damage on it. A Mega Mewtwo-EX with four energy can OHKO an un-belted, two energy Yveltal-EX, and these numbers can be adjusted depending on the situation. Be smart about energy placements and the matchup will go your way. Also be aware of the new Mewtwo tech that Yveltal has begun to use, as it can swing the matchup heavily in their favor if used correctly.

Volcanion

This matchup is basically autowin. Garbodor prevents the Volcanion player from taking OHKOs due to the loss of Steam Up, while their need for high amounts of energy to do any sort of reasonable damage makes it easy for you to OHKO them. As long as you can establish Garbodor and keep up a steady stream of Mega Mewtwos to return whatever KO they might muster up, the matchup goes in your favor.

Expect Mega Mewtwo to make a presence at any tournament you attend, as it’s definitely a strong one to look out for. It’s sole hard-counter, Mega Gardevoir STS, is seeing a decrease in play lately, so Mega Mewtwo should see an increase in play until Mega Gardevoir returns to popularity.

Vespiquen

vespiI went over Vespiquen in-depth in my last article, so I won’t go too in depth now. The main focus of the deck is to discard Pokemon and swing for massive damage with a low-HP, one-prize attacker, while using utility Pokemon to back it up. The main partners of choice lately have been the Eeveelutions from Ancient Origins, in order to provide more type advantages against several matchups, as well as Zoroark from Breakthrough, which provides utility in its Stand In Ability as well as a solid attack for just a DCE in Mind Jack. Another new partner for Vespiquen which recently arose form Anaheim is Herdier from Sun and Moon, which returns an item card to your hand upon its evolution (Milotic from Primal Clash could also be considered as its ability can take any card from the discard, but players have been dissuaded from using it due to Feebas’s measly 30 HP and Umbreon-GXs presence). Rahul Reddy ran a Vespiquen/Zoroark/Eeveelutions deck at Anaheim to attain a Top 8 finish, unfortunately facing Kenny Britton’s Darkrai/Dragons in the first round of Top 8. He opted to include Tauros-GX as an early game and GX attacker as well as Oranguru for added consistency as well as a safety net from N and Delinquent.Other than that, his list makes little deviation from the normal consistent build, including all the standard trainers you’d see in Vespiquen; nothing less and nothing more. Here is his list (all credit to The Chaos Gym and Rahul Reddy).

Pokemon – 28 Trainers – 28 Energy – 4
4x Combee AOR 9 4x Professor Sycamore 4x Double Colorless Energy
4x Vespiquen AOR 10 2x N
2x Zorua BKT 90 2x Lysandre
2x Zoroark BKT 91
2x Eevee AOR 63 4x Acro Bike
1x Vaporeon AOR 22 4x VS Seeker
1x Jolteon AOR 26 4x Ultra Ball
4x Unown AOR 30 2x Revitalizer
2x Klefki STS 80 2x Float Stone
3x Shaymin-EX ROS 77 2x Special Charge
1x Oranguru SM 113
1x Tauros-GX SM 100 2x Forest of Giant Plants
1x Mew-EX LTR RC24

zoroarkIn the meta

Vespiquen boasts strong matches against several decks in the metagame, with 50/50s or better in several others. In its more unfavored matchups, Vespiquen can sometimes steal away wins due to its sheer power and damage output. Let’s examine these matchups a bit (for a more in depth coverage of its matchups and the deck, see my last article).

Turbo Darkrai

Vespiquen is favored against Turbo Darkrai, but it is a very hectic and back and forth battle. Darkrai can start swinging at your Vespiquens as soon as turn 2, so getting numbers in the discard early is important. Tauros-GX is great for softening targets as well as acting as a wall that can easily dish out an early game two-prize KO with Mad Bull GX. Once you start hitting for high numbers, Turbo Dark loses the prize trade, meaning it should be smooth sailing from there unless a late game N comes, in which case Oranguru helps out.

Vespiquen

The most back-and-forth mirror you could get. It’s all about swinging for OHKOs back and forth every turn. Avoiding playing down Shaymin-EXs is key, N timing is key, and preserving resources (especially Vespiquens) is especially key. Whoever takes the first knockout is at a huge advantage. This mirror is an extremely stressful one, as there is almost never a turn without important action.

Mega Rayquaza

This matchup is fantastic for Vespiquen. Not only do you have Zoroark, who abuses their need for a huge bench, but you have Jolteon, who makes all your Stage 1 attackers electric type, letting you hit Rayquaza for weakness, along with Klefki to prevent Jolteon from falling victim to a Lysandre KO. Vespiquen’s raw power and utility in Klefki and Jolteon makes this matchup a cakewalk so long as your deck works as it should.

Mega Mewtwo

This one is tricky, but should lean in your favor so long as they don’t play Espeon-GX (it’s more even if it’s included). Mew-EX is crucial early game to take an easy KO on a Mewtwo-EX, and attaching a Klefki to it before they can get a Garbodor out is even better. Avoiding Damage Change is crucial in this matchup, as they can easily Damage Change away all your hard work and OHKO you in the process so long as they have 90 or more damage on them (or 100 if Zoroark is active, or 120 if Mew-EX is active). Abusing Shaymin-EX’s Sky Return to soften up targets helps with this, as it ensures that they won’t have enough damage to Damage Change effectively, while Mega Mewtwo becomes prime and ready for Vespiquen KOs.

Yveltal/Tauros/Garb

This one is a lot like Turbo Darkrai where they can start rolling through Vespiquens Turn 2. Tauros-GX is huge here, as 9 times out of 10 in the early game it won’t be knocked out, allowing you to return with a huge Mad Bull-GX to take an easy two prizes in the early game, all the while preparing your army of Vespiquens for an offensive. Jolteon also helps a ton in this matchup if your opponent decides to give up setting Garbodor up, making it way easier to OHKO opposing Yveltal-EXs.

Volcanion

This matchup can be worked around by your Vaporeon. If you are unable to get out Vaporeon, or if it takes an early game Lysandre KO before it can become effective, it’s very difficult for Vespiquen to pull it out, as the non-EX Volcanion can OHKO Vespiquen with only one Steam Up, all the while setting up other attackers on the bench to cause more problems. If Vaporeon can be set up and maintained, the matchup can easily be handled, as it becomes much easier for Vespiquen to take OHKOs on opposing Volcanions.

For some reason whenever I attend a tournament, there are only a handful of Vespiquen decks that show up. I think that after these results, more people will start picking the deck up, as it is incredibly strong. I believe that eventually, certain decks that benefit from the use of Karen to shut down Vespiquen will begin to use it as it grows in popularity, but for now all seems well for Vespiquen to thrive.

Turbo Darkrai

darkraiTurbo Darkrai is simple and effective. Simply load up some Darkrai-EX with Yveltal’s Oblivion Wing attack, use Max Elixirs, and swing for huge damage. Tony Jiminez piloted his version of Turbo Darkrai all the way to the finals, where Kenny Britton ended his tournament. He decided to include a Lillie as an aleternate draw option and a great asset Turn 1 and a Professor Kukui to swing for even bigger numbers and hit for OHKOs more often, along with the normal trainers, supporters, and energy you’d expect from a PRC-EVO Turbo Darkrai list (with the exception of one Lille over one N). For his tech supporters, Jiminez selected Hex Maniac and Team Flare Grunt for disruption in order to allow him to take advantages in every match he plays. Here is his list (all credit to Tony Jiminez)-

Pokemon – 9 Trainers – 39 Energy – 12
4x Darkrai-EX BKP 74 4x Professor Sycamore 12x Darkness Energy
2x Yveltal XY 78 2x N
2x Shaymin-EX ROS 77 2x Lysandre
1x Hoopa-EX AOR 36 1x Hex Maniac
1x Lillie
1x Professor Kukui
1x Team Flare Grunt
4x VS Seeker
4x Ultra Ball
4x Max Elixir
3x Trainers’ Mail
2x Escape Rope
2x Fighting Fury Belt
2x EXP. Share
1x Enhanced Hammer
1x Float Stone
1x Switch
2x Silent Lab
1x Parallel City

oblivionIn the meta

Turbo Darkrai can beat anything with its sheer power of being able to OHKO any opposition if it has enough energy on the field. It has fairly difficult matchups against decks that can OHKO Darkrai-EX early, as the prize trade advantage slips when Darkai-EX is unable to meet the necessary energy to return KOs. However, get enough energy on the board, and Turbo Darkrai can take out any deck without a second thought.

Turbo Darkrai

This mirror match is hectic, with KOs going back and forth. The game essentially comes down to whoever can take the first KO on an opposing Darkrai-EX. After the first prizes are drawn, it’s a back and forth prize trade until one person wins. Take the first Lysandre KO and you should win, as a late game N doesn’t hurt Turbo Darkrai as much as other decks.

Vespiquen

In this matchup you want to start swinging for OHKOs as soon as possible. One Oblivion Wing should get you enough energy to start hitting; you only need four energies on board. Otherwise the game is largely out of your control, and it mostly comes down to whether or not Vespiquen can manage to get their discard pile big enough to start taking OHKOs on Darkrai-EXs. Be careful about your bench size to avoid taking big hits from Zoroark, and use N effectively, as a late game N can devastate them if they don’t play Oranguru.

Mega Rayquaza

Probably your worst matchup. It takes an absurd amount of energy for you to be able to OHKO their Mega Rayquazas, while it takes them little effort to OHKO your Darkrai-EXs. A well-timed Parallel City and N can help you win the game, but it ultimately comes down to getting as many energy on the board as quickly as possible and praying that they don’t Lysandre around your Yveltal. 10 energy are needed to OHKO a Mega Rayquaza-EX, so you’re in for a rough day if you run into this matchup.

Mega Mewtwo

If you can swing for OHKOs on Mega Mewtwo-EXs, you basically win this matchup. If not, you start exchanging 2-hit KOs, which allows them to use their Damage Change to heal themselves and take advantages in the prize trade. If you’re careful about stadium placements and remove their Shrine of Memories whenever it hits the field, or you can simply hit Mega Mewtwo-EXs for OHKOs, the matchup is great for you.

Yveltal/Tauros/Garb

This matchup is iffy and can go either way. The Fright Night Yveltal makes this matchup painful for you, as it can soften up targets easily without punishment early on as Turbo Dark needs to wall with Yveltal initially to set up for higher damage numbers. If you can manage to get ahead in the prize trade early and take two early prizes, the damage from Fright Night Yveltal won’t matter as much. This matchup is very 50/50 and heavily depends on each player’s setup.

Volcanion

Silent Lab and Hex Maniac are key. If Silent Lab can be played and maintained, the matchup easily sways to the side of the Turbo Dark player, as you can easily take out Volcanion-EXs. Without these two tools, Volcanion gets Steam Up access, allowing them to take out Darkrai-EXs completely unchecked.

Yveltal/Tauros/Garbodor

baconbirdYveltal/Tauros/Garbodor takes a twist on the dominant archetype of the past by adding Tauros-GX and Ninja Boy. This gives the deck a threat of a OHKO at any time, giving the opposition second thoughts about every attack they announce. Yveltal has always been a very skill based deck, as it has so many tools at its disposal. It has the Fright Night Yveltal, two different attacks for Yveltal-EX to use, Garbodor, the Ninja Boy/Tauros-GX combo, and even Mewtwo from Evolutions. Jimmy Pendarvis and Igor Costa played the same 60 at Anaheim Regionals, earning themselves a Top 32 and Top 8 finish respectively. They decided to include Mewtwo from Evolutions as a check to Mega Mewtwo as well as a secondary non-EX attacker that can swing for solid damage for just a DCE. Here is their list (all credit to Jimmy Pendarvis and Igor Costa) –

Pokemon – 12 Trainers – 35 Energy – 13
4x Yveltal-EX XY 79 4x Professor Sycamore 9x Darkness Energy
2x Trubbish BKP 56 3x N 4x Double Colorless Energy
1x Garbodor BKP 57 2x Lysandre
2x Shaymin-EX ROS 77 1x Ninja Boy
1x Tauros-GX SM 100
1x Yveltal BKT 94 4x VS Seeker
1x Mewtwo EVO 51 4x Ultra Ball
4x Max Elixir
3x Fighting Fury Belt
3x Float Stone
2x Enhanced Hammer
2x Trainers’ Mail
1x Super Rod
2x Parallel City

taurosIn the meta

One of the top appeals of the Yveltal/Garbodor deck of the past was that it boasted 50/50 matchups or better against everything in the metagame. Nowadays, with Yveltal/Tauros/Garbodor, that hasn’t really changed much. The deck can handle everything that is thrown at it one way or another.

Turbo Darkrai

This matchup is pretty 50/50. Fright Night Yveltal is your best friend in this matchup, as it softens up targets to allow you to KO them with Yveltal-EX easier later in the game during the time your opponent sets up with their Oblivion Wing Yveltal. After the initial stages of the game, the prize trade goes back and forth, so starting ahead with the help of Fright Night Yveltal and taking the first one or two prizes is important.

Vespiquen

Probably your worst matchup, but it isn’t nearly that bad. If Garbodor can be established early on, it gives the Vespiquen player a hard time as they try to manually discard their Klefki and Unown while being unable to use Shaymin-EX. This can allow you to take an early lead, but be aware of Tauros-GX if they choose to play it and try to avoid it if possible in order to prevent giving them from taking an easy two prizes.

Mega Rayquaza

This matchup is in your favor due to three cards: Parallel City, Garbodor, and Enhanced Hammer. After hitting them with a Parallel City, often times the Rayquaza player won’t be able to recover under Garbodor lock, allowing you to take a huge lead and advantage in the game. On top of this, Enhanced Hammer disrupts them even further, making it so they can’t even attack often times. If they are able to recover, or if Garbodor or Parallel City can’t be established, Mega Rayquaza can potentially steamroll you with its sheer strength.

Mega Mewtwo

This matchup is made better by the Mewtwo tech. If your opponent’s Mega Mewtwo has 4 energy on it, which shouldn’t be too uncommon, a Fury Belted Mewtwo can take it out in one hit, giving you a huge advantage. Not to mention the benefits of Fright Night Yveltal, which locks your opponent’s Mewtwo Spirit Links from working if they can’t muster a Garbodor while also softening targets for easier KOs later. Otherwise, exchanging 2-hit KOs both ways, punishing large energy Mega Mewtwos, and Enhanced Hammers can win this matchup for you without too much of an issue.

Yveltal/Tauros/Garbodor

Oh boy, the most skill intensive mirror of the game at the moment. So much goes into this matchup. The Tauros-GX factor is huge from each side, and each side should be able to take a OHKO with it at some point. Every single decision matters in the mirror, as each action can be punished, and announcing the wrong attack can mean your demise. Y-Cyclone is great in the mirror, allowing you to preserve energy while giving your opponent less of a chance to KO you with Evil Ball. Overall, it takes a lot of smart play and forward thinking to win this matchup.

Volcanion

Garbodor makes this matchup relatively easy. They can’t use Steam Up, which allows you to take advantage of the three energy needed to attack in the first place to hit a large Evil Ball. Also, Mewtwo can be great as a non-EX attacker capable of dishing out solid damage while not taking a OHKO so long as it has a Fury Belt attached. Tauros-GX can also be great to return a Volcanic Heat. Fright Night Yveltal is the perfect starter, able to easily dish out large amounts of damage early on while shutting down Float Stone, alowing you to strand a heavy Volcanion-EX in the active.

Despite only taking one slot in Top 8, I strongly believe that Yveltal is one of the top decks in the metagame right now, as it has ways of handling anything that’s thrown at it. I will personally be testing this deck a lot in the coming weeks and I expect it to return to the top.

Darkrai/Dragons

tinaFor sure the biggest dark horse of the whole tournament was Darkrai/Dragons, which gave Kenny Britton his first place finish. He ran an engine very similar to a Turbo Darkrai build, but without several of the common features in order to make room for two Giratina-EX, a Salamence-EX, and four Double Dragon Energy, among other inclusions. Kenny played no cards from the new Sun and Moon set, so sticking to what worked previously was the winning strategy of the tournament. Here is his list (all credit to Kenny Britton) –

Pokemon – 11 Trainers – 35 Energy – 14
3x Darkrai-EX BKP 74 4x Professor Sycamore 10x Darkness Energy
2x Giratina-EX AOR 57 3x N 4x Double Dragon Energy
1x Salamence-EX PR XY170 2x Lysandre
2x Yveltal XY 78 1x Olympia
2x Shaymin-EX ROS 77 1x Pokemon Center Lady
1x Hoopa-EX AOR 36
4x Ultra Ball
4x VS Seeker
4x Max Elixir
3x Trainers’ Mail
3x Escape Rope
2x Fighting Fury Belt
2x EXP. Share
2x Parallel City

darkraiIn the meta

Kenny may have made the best decision of Anaheim Regionals to bring back an old favorite. Darkrai/Dragons has the potential to take down any deck it faces, as it has multiple attacking options which can swing for massive damage or lock your opponent out of attacking altogether.

Turbo Darkrai

Darkrai/Dragons has the advantage over Turbo Darkrai since it can abuse Double Dragon Energy to load up more power on its field than Turbo Darkrai can. This allows it to start hitting for knockouts a lot earlier, which swings the trade in its favor. It’s a pretty simple matchup and is a lot like the Turbo Darkrai mirror match, except Darkrai/Dragons has to keep a dragon-type Pokemon on the bench to use Double Dragon Energies on (likely Salamence-EX) to boost damage output more and more. Salamence-EX can also punish a carefree Turbo Darkrai player with Salamence-EX, as a Fury Belted Salamence-EX can OHKO a Fury Belted Darkrai-EX if the opposition has four or more EX Pokemon in play.

Vespiquen

Giratina-EX essentially makes this matchup an autowin. Lately, with 90% of Vespiquen lists cutting Pokemon Ranger, Giratina can Chaos Wheel all it wants, and the Vespiquen player can’t do anything about it. All they can hope to do is Lysandre around the Giratina and pray that it misses a Chaos Wheel, but by preserving switch cards and ensuring the retreat every time the matchup should go your way almost all the time.

Mega Rayquaza

Mega Rayquaza can’t do much against Giratina-EX. An early Giratina-EX and Parallel City can spell disaster for them, as once both are down, they’re forced to use Hex Maniac to attack you, and with Chaos Wheel locking out their stadium cards they can’t rebuild their bench with Sky Field. Once the first Mega Rayquaza-EX is dealt with, it’s essentially smooth sailing from there, as they won’t be able to attach DCE again and will be forced to attempt to power a Mega Rayquaza-EX with Mega Turbos and manual basic energy attachments, while also needing Hex Maniac to attack.

Mega Mewtwo

Another matchup where Giratina-EX shines. Not only does Chaos Wheel prevent them from using their much wanted Double Dragon Energies, but using it early game can prevent them from even touching you due to Giratina-EX’s Renegade Pulse ability. However, if your opponent can get a Garbodor out early, Giratina-EX may not be your best option, as a powered up Giratina-EX is an easy target for Mega Mewtwo-EX to take two prizes and remove four energy from the field. Should this be the case, Darkrai-EXs power should be able to carry you through the matchup. Using a Lysandre on Garbodor could also swing the matchup your favor, as most lists lately have only played one Garbodor, allowing your Giratina-EX to cause chaos (pun intended) as it pleases for at least a turn or two while they scramble to set another up.

Yveltal/Tauros/Garb

This matchup is slightly tricky due to Yveltal’s increased usage of Enhanced Hammer, but the sheer damage output of Darkrai-EX can often carry you through this matchup. Fright Night Yveltal can be a burden, as it can easily soften up targets for them to KO, but Darkrai-EX can still take huge advantages by dishing out huge numbers in the early game. Pokemon Center Lady is fantastic in this matchup as it messes with their math, often times preventing them from landing 2-hit KOs and buying you time to get ahead in the matchup.

Volcanion

Without a way of shutting off Steam Up, this matchup is a bit hectic. However, Darkrai-EX’s damage output can OHKO Volcanion-EXs without much of a problem. Salamence-EX can punish Volcanion if it sets up multiple Volcanion-EX on the bench, as it an OHKO a Volcanion-EX if the opponent has four EXs in play.

I wouldn’t expect to see a ton of Darkrai/Dragons at your local events, but it is still a deck that can take any tournament by surprise (as shown by Anaheim).

Overall Thoughts

I believe that in a small bit of time, Yveltal will return to its former glory and be the top deck in the format. It boasts 50/50 or better matchups with almost everything and has ways of beating any deck it faces. It rewards a truly skilled player, as the deck has a high skill ceiling. A skilled Yveltal player can take out any deck and take a tournament by storm. It will not be as strong as it was before I believe, but it’ll become a force to be reckoned with, and players will once again tech for it. For example, I believe that Vespiquen will begin using Zebstrika once again in time. Yveltal gained a huge new partner in Tauros-GX that makes its matchups even better and adds a whole new element into the deck, making it a bigger threat than it has been previously.

The Standard format right now is super healthy. Every top deck has a lot of 50/50 matchups or at least matchups that can be managed, and skilled players are rewarded for their time and efforts. This can easily be observed by recent Day 2 Regionals results, as its often the same people making it into Day 2 and often the same people in Top 8. Unfortunately, Standard is going to be sidelined for a bit with the lack of February League Cups and the St. Louis Expanded Regionals coming up.

Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed. Tune in on Saturday for a new Gaming related article, and next week on Wednesday for another Pokemon TCG article. Please do leave feedback; it is always welcome.

All lists were used in this article with permission from their respective creators.

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