Hey guys, today we’re talking about what I think is easily the coolest Pokémon from Sun and Moon, but more importantly one of the best decks in format: Decidueye/Ninetales.
Here’s a deck list:
Pokémon – 20
2 Alolan Vulpix
1 Alolan Ninetales-GX
2 Tapu Lele-GX
1 Tapu Koko (Flying Flip)
TSS – 32
4 Professor Sycamore
4 VS Seeker
2 Rescue Stretcher
3 Choice Band
4 Ultra Ball
2 Field Blower
2 Float Stone
4 Forest of Giant Plants
Energy – 8
4 Grass Energy
4 Double Colorless Energy
Decidueye/Vileplume was undisputably the most dominant deck of the pre-Guardians Rising format, especially at Australian Internationals. Since Guardians Rising it hasn’t been as popular, but the owl is still more than viable.
This deck has the best spreading capability out of any deck out there: you’ve got Tapu Koko to put 20 on everything (a very nice answer to an opposing Brigette), Ninetales GX to put 50 wherever you like for a Double Colorless using Ice Blade, and of course Decidueye GX’s Feather Arrow to put 20 damage on any Pokémon of your choice. When it comes to straight up, raw damage output, this is not a deck that’s going to keep up very well. It’s one of intricate, long-term plays setting up multiple prizes at a time.
That’s why Espeon EX is such a perfect fit for this deck. It’s a tech that not many people knew of until Goncalo Ferreira showed it off at Mälmo Regionals, but right now it should be seeing a lot more play than it used to since evolution is so prominent in our format now. There’s 60-70 HP basics evolving into monstrous 200+ HP GXes, as well as a lot of non-GX evolutions such as Zoroark and Garbodor. The comeback of Rare Candy in decks such as Metagross also bodes good news for Espeon EX: you can devolve a 250 HP Metagross GX into a 60 HP Beldum, saving yourself 190 damage. Even if you didn’t put the required 60 damage beforehand to KO it, the fact that you’re wasting your opponent’s Rare Candy can be quite beneficial. Since Espeon EX devolves all of your opponent’s Pokémon, you can even use it to slow them down by devolving a Metang into a Beldum to stop it from progressing into Metagross. Preferably though, Espeon is saved for late in the game, when can nab your final prizes with it.
Other than Tapu Koko, your main attacker in most situations should actually be Tapu Lele GX. Its Energy Drive synergizes surprisingly well with Decidueye’s Feather Arrow and Choice Band, letting it 2HKO almost anything with relatively little energy investment. Decidueye’s Razor Leaf can hit for 90 as well, of course, but you want to keep your Decidueye alive as long as possible so that you can use Feather Arrow more often over the course of the game.
The 2-1 Ninetales line is fairly standard in Decidueye/Ninetales decks, even though the name would suggest it features more prominently. Beacon is really the main feature of this line. Usually, my turn 1 consists of using a Tapu Lele for Brigette to find 2 Rowlet and a Vulpix, and then using Beacon to find some more pieces of a Decidueye line. Generally I’ll get a couple of Dartrix, since they can be played even if you do not have Forest of Giant Plants, but if you suspect your opponent might be able to Lysandre one of your 2 Rowlet it might be good to instead Beacon for Dartrix plus a replacement Rowlet.
Once Beacon has outlived its usefulness, you can evolve your Vulpix into Ninetales and place 50 snipe damage wherever you want. Ninetales is a Pokémon your opponent likely can’t OHKO, but they also won’t want to put a lot of damage on it at once due to Ice Path GX, as that’s basically a free KO for you. This will buy you more time to get more Decidueye out and spread more damage around. Generally you’ll want to try and give up some kind of single prize Pokémon to your opponent, and then evolve all of your non-GXes into GXes so that they’ll be forced into a 7-prize game and are more vulnerable to N.
Ninetales is also your main line of defense against Fire Pokémon. It can OHKO the Flareon techs that a lot of Stage 1 decks are playing right now with a Lysandre plus Ice Blade, and with a Choice Band it can deal a pretty beefy 160 damage to something like Volcanion EX or Turtonator GX.
If you aren’t finding your Ninetales GX early enough to threaten the Ice Path GX, there’s always that other really good GX attack: Hollow Hunt. I usually Hollow Hunt for at least one energy card, since they’re pretty sparse in this deck and you’re likely to have to discard at least one or two with Ultra Ball or Professor Sycamore along the way. Other good targets for Hollow Hunt are Items like VS Seeker (especially against Garbodor) and recovery cards in general.
Since this deck plays so many Pokémon it’s only natural that we play 2 Rescue Stretcher to get back whatever we need. If we urgently need something like a single Decidueye that’s a possibility, but you can also choose to shuffle back a group of cards for later use. You can choose to run Super Rod if you’re afraid of running out of Grass, which can happen if you’re trying to be aggressive while attaching Double Colorless Energy. Revitalizer is also interesting, since it lets you get back two Decidueye pieces at once, but I would never go below 1 Rescue Stretcher since it’s just so versatile.
2 Field Blower is a necessity in a deck that relies as heavily on prolonged use of abilities. It can be gotten without digging through your deck with the tech Skyla, which will help your Garbodor matchup quite a bit. You’ll still have to deal with the use of Hex Maniac though, which many people will have fairly easy access to with Tapu Lele. Try to plan your spread damage in a way that takes Hex Maniac into account: put your Feather Arrows on the most urgent target to make sure you can pull off the play you want to next turn, instead of trying to widen your options by spreading onto your next most important target only to get stopped by Hex Maniac.
This deck is rather tricky to play, since you not only need to worry about the allocation of your own resources like energy, but also the way you spread your damage around. It does have a high payoff if you manage to do this properly. Spread decks have a certain resistance to N, since they can choose when to take their prizes. That’s especially the case for Decidueye’s Feather Arrow. Remember you’ll also have to take into account cards like Max Potion and other healing options like Rough Seas: during game 1 when you don’t know whether your opponent plays them, and perhaps afterwards once you’ve confirmed they do.
Enjoy spreading the love and until next time!