In this article I take a look at perhaps the single most hyped deck to come from Guardians Rising, Quad Sylveon GX, as well as an old contender which seems to have been given new life: Greninja.

 

Quad Sylveon GX

 

Sylveon

 

A few weekends ago, there was a Regional Championship in Japan in the unique XY-on format (which Japan uses for all or most of its tournaments, from what I understand) which was taken down by reigning World Champion Shintaro Ito’s version of Quad Sylveon GX.

You can see the winning list in a few different places on the Web, including the Team Fish Knuckles YouTube channel and pokeplayer.com. I was intrigued and inspired by Ito’s approach to the deck, which is considerably different from the other Sylveon lists I have seen, and while I understand that XY-on is a completely different format than PRC-on, I think that there are a lot of choices Ito made that make sense ported over into our Standard format as well.

 

Here is my take on Ito’s winning list for the PRC-on Standard format: 

 

Pokemon: 8

4 Eevee SUM
4 Sylveon GX

 

Trainers: 39

4 Team Flare Grunt
4 Delinquent
2 Team Skull Grunt
2 N
2 Lysandre
2 Team Rocket’s Handiwork
2 Hex Maniac
4 Puzzle of Time
4 VS Seeker
3 Max Potion
2 Nest Ball
1 Enhanced Hammer
1 Field Blower
3 Silent Lab
2 Team Aqua’s Secret Base
1 Parallel City

 

Energy: 13

12 Fairy
1 DCE

 

Basic strategy

 

Like the Quad Lapras GX deck that won a Regional a few weeks ago, Quad Sylveon GX aims to win the game by depleting the opponent of resources to the point where one of two things happens: a deck out occurs, or the opponent is forced to sit back in resignation as you slowly but surely take all six Prizes with Fairy Wind.

The deck is loaded with just about every type of disruptive card available in Standard, with a focus on energy removal, and healing is also included in the form of Max Potion. Your mission is to endure whatever the opponent throws at you for however many turns it takes to discard all of their energy and, when necessary, wipe off accumulated damage to prolong the life of your Sylveon GXes. The opponent may take out one or two Sylveons, which is fine – you simply have to deplete the opponent’s resources before your opponent can put 200 damage on your last Sylveon GX and you’ve won the game.

 

Explanations of card choices/counts

 

Delinquent

 

4 Team Flare Grunt

 

This is the most valuable single card in the deck, the one that allows you to eventually halt the opponent’s offense, and so it gets maxed out.

 

4 Delinquent

 

When is the last time you saw anyone running even two Delinquent in a deck? In this deck, I think running a high count of Delinquent is ingenious. Unlike Quad Lapras GX, this deck does not try to keep a single Stadium in play all game, at least not necessarily, so both your Stadiums and the opponent’s can be used as Delinquent fodder. The deck runs a whopping six Stadium cards on top of Puzzle of Time, so you will be able to Delinquent with whatever frequency you require.

The effect of Delinquent is amazing here: you force the opponent to give up potentially valuable resources, you have the means to reduce the opponent’s hand to absolutely nothing (or nothing playable), and you reduce the effectiveness of N as a means of deck replenishment for the opponent all at the same time. You also, between the Delinquents and your own counter-Stadiums and Field Blower, basically ensure that your opponent will never win the Stadium war against you, which is huge versus potentially problematic matchups like M Rayquaza EX.

 

2 Team Skull Grunt

 

This card is hit or miss by its nature, but it has the power to devastate and it gives you knowledge of the opponent’s hand even if it does whiff, which is powerful by itself.

There are two specific reasons why I think Sylveon has to run this card. One is the synergy with Plea GX. Usually you can’t guarantee that Skull Grunt finds a target, but with Plea GX, you do have the potential to stick the opponent with 3+ energies in hand, only one of which can come back onto the board before you have the chance to strike with Skull Grunt. It’s a sickening combo.

The other major compelling reason to run Skull Grunt is to counter the revived Greninja. If you don’t have Skull Grunt, your opponent will be able to return energy to their hand every turn with Moonlight Slash; with Skull Grunt, you put the opponent into a lose-lose situation in which you can capitalize on wherever the energy ends up.

 

2 N

 

A lot of other lists for the deck are running 4 copies of this card but with this version’s focus on creating dead hands via Delinquent and Silent Lab, as well as the fact that Magical Ribbon provides consistent board development for you (reducing your need to use a draw Supporter), 2 seems appropriate. N is an essential card for a lot of reasons that I don’t need to explain.

 

2 Lysandre

 

The card speaks for itself as always but do note how powerful this is with Plea GX and Parallel City. Your opponent is never safe from having their most invested-in Pokemon being reset.

 

2 Team Rocket’s Handiwork

 

This is the Supporter to fall back on when you have no need to use something else more specifically disruptive, and it gives you a way to accelerate the deck-out process while also discarding resources. You can get lucky sometimes and end up trashing critical things off the top; any time you hit double heads is sure to put the opponent into a bad mood regardless of what you end up discarding.

 

2 Hex Maniac

 

The applications are endless, but a few key uses for this card are: shut off Vileplume to allow for a turn of Items; prevent OHKOs from Pokemon like Volcanion EX; stifle Greninja BREAK; slow down any deck on turn one (by preventing Shaymin EX, Hoopa EX and Tapu-Lele GX from doing anything); and, perhaps surprisingly, swing the mirror match.

The way you swing the mirror is simply to use Hex Maniac going first if you are lucky enough to draw into the card. This deck relies on Energy Evolution, has only a few Basic Pokemon and plays few Ball or draw cards, so you have a realistic chance to set up a Bench-out scenario with Hex Maniac (chained, if necessary) and an eventual Fairy Wind or two. Even if the opponent gets multiple Eevees down, they still may whiff finding Sylveon without the help of Energy Evolution and with a Hex chain you may find yourself taking a fast win in what would otherwise be a grueling mirror.

 

4 Puzzle of Time, 4 VS Seeker

 

No explanation needed here for either card.

 

3 Max Potion

 

Ito ran four but I cut a copy for a Nest Ball. The deck runs a high count of Fairy energies plus Puzzle so the discarding should not hurt. The ability to wipe away all damage from a 200 HP Pokemon in a deck that makes the opponent work very hard to take six Prizes already is very strong.

 

2 Nest Ball

 

I like Nest Ball as a consistency booster and insurance card here. The deck can get donked even with a turn one Sylveon GX by things like an explosive M Rayquaza EX or Volcanion EX, or it can simply be Benched before a second Eevee can be searched out with Magical Ribbon, or Eevee can be foiled by Hex Maniac or an opposing Silent Lab (no instant Evolution), also threatening a quick loss.  Nest Ball can bail you out in all of these situations and aside from that it simply sets up additional Sylveons for you without use of Magical Ribbon throughout the game.

 

1 Enhanced Hammer

 

The deck only runs 1 copy because there are a lot of Basic-energy-only decks out there, like Volcanion, and Flare Grunt is already a champion, but this card is still amazing in any matchup that does include Special energy.

 

1 Field Blower

 

There are so many things you can do with this card to disrupt the opponent’s gameplan:

– Remove Float Stone to enable Lysandre lock.

– Remove Choice Band or Fighting Fury Belt to make KOs harder to come by.

– Remove Spirit Links to put the opponent back one or more turns (especially brutal in conjunction with Plea GX and Lysandre – strip two Megas of their Links then return them to the opponent’s hand).

– Remove any Stadium you can’t already remove with one of your own or Delinquent.

– Shut off Garbotoxin so your Eevees can Evolve via Ability.

 

3 Silent Lab

 

First of all, I just want to point out that you have to be careful when you drop this Stadium because in doing so, you do disable your own Energy Evolution. Now that that is out of the way, let me also point out how strong Silent Lab is against virtually every deck in the format.

Tapu-Lele GX is the new Most Hyped Card on the planet and, hey, it gets shut down by Silent Lab. Shaymin EX is still around and it’s shut down. Manaphy EX, Volcanion EX, Dragonite EX, Hoopa EX, Oranguru (one of the best Delinquent counters), Tapu-Koko GX – all of these are shut down, and many more. Silent Lab after a brutal Delinquent is potentially game-sealing, and in general this Stadium makes life very hard for a lot of decks, foiling set ups and/or preventing the opponent from KOing you (with Steam Up, for example).

Silent Lab also does what Hex does in the mirror except without the ironclad lock (as the Stadium can be bounced numerous ways). Still, if the opponent is stuck leaving the Lab in play and can’t access Energy Evolution, the game could be quickly over as I detailed in the Hex section above.

 

2 Team Aqua’s Secret Base

 

This is a card we don’t often see in either Standard or Expanded, but it fits perfectly into Quad Sylveon GX as a means of trapping something undesirable in the Active spot. Field Blower allows you to knock off the Float Stones that otherwise completely counter this Stadium.

 

1 Parallel City

 

I am not sure why Ito did not run any copies of Parallel City, but I think the card is too good not to include. The synergy with Plea GX is unfair. More crucially, this card helps tremendously against M Rayquaza EX and any other Sky Field decks. The damage reduction side can come in handy versus Volcanion, Greninja and various other decks as well. Magical Ribbon allows you to pull it out when you need it, and then Puzzle is always there to get it back for additional uses.

 

12 Fairy, 1 DCE

 

The lone DCE is important for enabling a faster Plea GX or Fairy Wind and it can be recycled with Puzzle of Time as well as retrieved via Magical Ribbon. The deck needs to run a high count of Fairy energies to maximize the odds of having one on hand for Energy Evolution and also to reattach following Max Potion.

 

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