Get Started in the Standard Format

Each year, the Standard format rotation brings change and new life to the Pokémon Trading Card Game. Old strategies fall by the wayside as new ones emerge, and some strategies gain new relevance as their toughest adversaries leave the format. We've already discussed a Volcanion deck and a Yanmega BREAK deck that have the potential to be great, but let's take a look at some other decks that look to be promising for this new season of the Pokémon TCG.

Mega Evolution Takeover

With the notable exception of Shintaro Ito's victory with Mega Audino-EX at the 2016 Pokémon TCG World Championships, Mega Evolution Pokémon didn't have a ton of success in the previous season. Most of them were just too slow to keep up with Night March decks or had a Weakness to those pesky Joltik or Pumpkaboo. But with those out of the way, it could be time for some of these massive Pokémon-EX to rise again.

  • Mega Rayquaza
Pokémon
  • 3
    M Rayquaza-EX
    76/108
    xy6 76
  • 4
    Rayquaza-EX
    75/108
    xy6 75
  • 4
    Shaymin-EX
    77/108
    xy6 77
  • 3
    Hoopa-EX
    36/98
    xy7 36
  • 1
    Magearna-EX
    75/114
    xy11 75
  • 1
    Cobalion
    74/114
    xy11 74
Energy Cards
  • 4
    Double Colorless Energy
    xy10 114
  • 4
    Basic { Metal } Energy
    g1 82
Trainer Cards
  • 4
    Professor Sycamore
    xy9 107
  • 1
    Hex Maniac
    xy7 75
  • 1
    Lysandre
    xy7 78
  • 1
    N
    xy10 105
  • 4
    Sky Field
    xy6 89
  • 4
    Rayquaza Spirit Link
    xy6 87
  • 4
    Trainers' Mail
    xy6 92
  • 4
    Ultra Ball
    xy10 113
  • 4
    VS Seeker
    xy4 109
  • 3
    Mega Turbo
    xy6 86
  • 2
    Float Stone
    xy8 137
  • 1
    Escape Rope
    xy5 127
  • 1
    Special Charge
    xy11 105
More Info Copy Deck List

Mega Rayquaza-EXMega Rayquaza-EX has been an incredible force since its debut, but there always seemed to be something holding it back from becoming the top deck. First it was the annoying combination of Crushing Hammer and Seismitoad-EX's Quaking Punch, and then it was the Night March deck with its Lightning-type Joltik to hit Mega Rayquaza-EX's Weakness. With those hurdles out of the way, is it finally Mega Rayquaza-EX's time to shine? The combination of Rayquaza Spirit Link, Mega Turbo, and Double Colorless Energy, in conjunction with the Δ Evolution Ancient Trait, make it possible to get Mega Rayquaza-EX into play with a charged-up Emerald Break attack in a single turn. Throw in the Sky Field Stadium card to increase the size of your Bench to eight Pokémon, and Emerald Break can do 240 damage! With that kind of speed and force, it's no surprise that many players believe that Mega Rayquaza-EX is the deck to beat as we enter the new Standard format.

What to watch for: Mega Rayquaza-EX will be in the crosshairs of a lot of Trainers. Expect plenty of people to try to counter it by using Lightning-type Pokémon such as Raichu. Altaria's Clear Humming Ability is a great way to respond to Raichu, since it removes the Weakness of all of your Colorless-type Pokémon.

  • Mega Mewtwo
Pokémon
  • 3
    M Mewtwo-EX
    64/162
    xy8 64
  • 4
    Mewtwo-EX
    62/162
    xy8 62
  • 2
    Garbodor
    57/122
    xy9 57
  • 2
    Trubbish
    56/122
    xy9 56
  • 2
    Shaymin-EX
    77/108
    xy6 77
  • 1
    Hoopa-EX
    36/98
    xy7 36
Energy Cards
  • 7
    Basic { Psychic } Energy
    g1 79
  • 4
    Double Colorless Energy
    xy10 114
Trainer Cards
  • 4
    N
    xy10 105
  • 4
    Professor Sycamore
    xy9 107
  • 2
    Lysandre
    xy7 78
  • 1
    Olympia
    g1 66
  • 1
    Pokémon Ranger
    xy11 104
  • 1
    Skyla
    xy8 148
  • 2
    Parallel City
    xy8 145
  • 2
    Shrine of Memories
    xy5 139
  • 4
    Ultra Ball
    xy10 113
  • 4
    VS Seeker
    xy4 109
  • 3
    Float Stone
    xy8 137
  • 3
    Mega Turbo
    xy6 86
  • 1
    Super Rod
    xy8 149
  • 3
    Mewtwo Spirit Link
    xy8 144
More Info Copy Deck List

Mega Mewtwo-EXMega Mewtwo-EX is another Mega Evolution Pokémon screaming with potential, but because of its Weakness, it was held back by Trevenant and the Pumpkaboo in Night March decks. The Psychic Infinity attack can reach absurd amounts of damage very quickly with the help of Mega Turbo and Double Colorless Energy. And if your opponent can't Knock Out this massive 210-HP Pokémon in one attack, they're in for a headache. Another way Mega Mewtwo-EX can do major damage is with the Shrine of Memories Stadium card, which allows it to use Mewtwo-EX's Damage Change attack. Against a Pokémon that has no damage, Mega Mewtwo-EX essentially heals itself by moving all of its damage onto the opponent's Active Pokémon. Garbodor further adds to the disruption, shutting down all Abilities with Garbotoxin. Against a Mega Rayquaza-EX deck, playing a Parallel City to reduce your opponent's Bench to three Pokémon combined with Garbotoxin shutting down Hoopa-EX's Scoundrel Ring Ability can cripple their strategy.

What to watch for: Mega Mewtwo-EX has a hefty 210 HP, but it's still vulnerable in some specific situations. Attaching an Assault Vest Tool card to Mega Mewtwo-EX can reduce the damage it takes from Mega Rayquaza-EX's Emerald Break attack to a maximum of 200, just short of a Knock Out.

  • Mega Scizor
Pokémon
  • 3
    M Scizor-EX
    77/122
    xy9 77
  • 4
    Scizor-EX
    76/122
    xy9 76
  • 2
    Garbodor
    57/122
    xy9 57
  • 2
    Trubbish
    56/122
    xy9 56
  • 2
    Shaymin-EX
    77/108
    xy6 77
  • 1
    Hoopa-EX
    36/98
    xy7 36
  • 1
    Cobalion
    74/114
    xy11 74
Energy Cards
  • 9
    Basic { Metal } Energy
    g1 82
Trainer Cards
  • 4
    Professor Sycamore
    xy9 107
  • 2
    Lysandre
    xy7 78
  • 2
    N
    xy10 105
  • 1
    Skyla
    xy8 148
  • 1
    Team Flare Grunt
    g1 73
  • 2
    Parallel City
    xy8 145
  • 4
    Ultra Ball
    xy10 113
  • 4
    VS Seeker
    xy4 109
  • 3
    Crushing Hammer
    g1 60
  • 3
    Float Stone
    xy8 137
  • 3
    Scizor Spirit Link
    xy9 111
  • 3
    Trainers' Mail
    xy6 92
  • 2
    Mega Turbo
    xy6 86
  • 1
    Escape Rope
    xy5 127
  • 1
    Super Rod
    xy8 149
More Info Copy Deck List

Mega Scizor-EXMega Scizor-EX didn't see much action last season, but the rotation has breathed new life into it, too. The Iron Crusher attack doesn't hit for as much damage as the attacks of the other Mega Evolution Pokémon we've looked at, but it's certainly disruptive. Nearly every deck uses Stadium cards and Special Energy, so this attack will discard your opponent's cards pretty frequently. Combine this with Crushing Hammer to discard your opponent's basic Energy and Garbodor to shut down Abilities, and you have quite a powerful deck that really limits your opponent's options.

What to watch for: Fire-type Pokémon will make short work of pretty much any Pokémon in this deck, but Weakness Policy can give you a fighting chance against them. Without it, your poor Mega Scizor-EX will be melting quickly if you happen to come across any Volcanion decks.

  • Primal Groudon
Pokémon
  • 3
    Primal Groudon-EX
    86/160
    xy5 86
  • 3
    Groudon-EX
    85/160
    xy5 85
  • 4
    Wobbuffet
    RC11
    g1 RC11
Energy Cards
  • 9
    Basic { Fighting } Energy
    g1 80
  • 4
    Strong Energy
    xy10 115
Trainer Cards
  • 4
    N
    xy10 105
  • 4
    Professor Sycamore
    xy9 107
  • 2
    Lysandre
    xy7 78
  • 1
    Hex Maniac
    xy7 75
  • 1
    Olympia
    g1 66
  • 1
    Pokémon Center Lady
    g1 68
  • 1
    Pokémon Ranger
    xy11 104
  • 1
    Skyla
    xy8 148
  • 1
    Steven
    xy6 90
  • 3
    Scorched Earth
    xy10 110
  • 2
    Shrine of Memories
    xy5 139
  • 4
    VS Seeker
    xy4 109
  • 3
    Heavy Ball
    xy8 140
  • 3
    Mega Turbo
    xy6 86
  • 1
    Assault Vest
    xy8 133
  • 1
    Escape Rope
    xy5 127
  • 1
    Float Stone
    xy8 137
  • 1
    Heavy Boots
    xy8 141
  • 1
    Super Rod
    xy8 149
  • 1
    Ultra Ball
    xy10 113
More Info Copy Deck List

Primal Groudon-EXIf there's one Pokémon that embodies the pure power of Mega Evolution Pokémon, it's the monstrous Primal Groudon-EX. This 240-HP behemoth has the Ω Barrier Ancient Trait to protect itself against most of the opponent's Trainer cards, and its Gaia Volcano attack can deal colossal amounts of damage with the help of Strong Energy. Without Battle Compressor in the Standard format, the popular Vespiquen might not see as much play, opening the door for the return of Primal Groudon-EX (which is weak to Grass types). In an environment full of Mega Evolution Pokémon, one that can withstand an attack while being able to one-hit KO the other Pokémon could be powerful.

What to watch for: Giratina-EX's Renegade Pulse Ability can be a pain for Primal Groudon-EX, and it gets even worse when the Chaos Wheel attack prevents you from playing a Stadium card to boost Gaia Volcano's damage. If you're worried about Giratina-EX, try to slow it down by adding cards such as Team Flare Grunt or Jirachi to discard its Double Dragon Energy.

  • Darkrai/Giratina / test
    test / test
Pokémon
  • 3
    Darkrai-EX
    74/122
    xy9 74
  • 3
    Giratina-EX
    57/98
    xy7 57
  • 2
    Shaymin-EX
    77/108
    xy6 77
  • 2
    Yveltal
    65/114
    xy11 65
  • 1
    Hoopa-EX
    36/98
    xy7 36
Energy Cards
  • 10
    Basic { Darkness } Energy
    g1 81
  • 4
    Double Dragon Energy
    xy6 97
Trainer Cards
  • 4
    Professor Sycamore
    xy9 107
  • 3
    N
    xy10 105
  • 2
    Lysandre
    xy7 78
  • 1
    Hex Maniac
    xy7 75
  • 1
    Pokémon Ranger
    xy11 104
  • 2
    Parallel City
    xy8 145
  • 4
    Max Elixir
    xy9 102
  • 4
    Trainers' Mail
    xy6 92
  • 4
    Ultra Ball
    xy10 113
  • 4
    VS Seeker
    xy4 109
  • 3
    Fighting Fury Belt
    xy9 99
  • 2
    Float Stone
    xy8 137
  • 1
    Escape Rope
    xy5 127
More Info Copy Deck List

Giratina-EX

Don't Forget about the Rest

Mega Evolution decks are sure to be strong, but they aren't the only game in town. Plenty of other strategies are expected to make waves in the Standard format. Let's look at a few of them.

With all this talk about Mega Evolution Pokémon, why not use a card that can stop them in their tracks? Giratina-EX is just that card: its Renegade Pulse Ability protects it from the attacks of Mega Evolution Pokémon. Its Chaos Wheel attack can disrupt all sorts of strategies, particularly ones that rely heavily on Special Energy cards. We saw this Pokémon used in a variety of strategies last season, and there's no reason to believe that success won't continue this season. Its partner for this deck is Darkrai-EX with its impressive Dark Pulse attack. Use Max Elixir to get as many Darkness Energy into play as possible, and then hit for big damage. Double Dragon Energy attached to a Giratina-EX counts as two Darkness Energy, so these Pokémon pair together rather well.

What to watch for: Some Abilities, such as Volcanion-EX's Steam Up, can pose quite a problem for this deck. Adding a couple of Garbodor for its Garbotoxin Ability can give you the edge you need in certain matchups. Just be careful not to activate it against Mega Evolution Pokémon, or you'll shut off your own Renegade Pulse.

  • Greninja BREAK
Pokémon
  • 3
    Greninja BREAK
    41/122
    xy9 41
  • 4
    Greninja
    40/122
    xy9 40
  • 4
    Frogadier
    39/122
    xy9 39
  • 4
    Talonflame
    96/114
    xy11 96
  • 3
    Froakie
    38/122
    xy9 38
Energy Cards
  • 8
    Basic { Water } Energy
    g1 77
  • 2
    Splash Energy
    xy9 113
Trainer Cards
  • 4
    N
    xy10 105
  • 4
    Professor Sycamore
    xy9 107
  • 1
    Ace Trainer
    xy7 69
  • 1
    Fisherman
    xy8 136
  • 2
    Rough Seas
    xy5 137
  • 4
    Bursting Balloon
    xy9 97
  • 4
    Dive Ball
    xy5 125
  • 4
    VS Seeker
    xy4 109
  • 3
    Trainers' Mail
    xy6 92
  • 2
    Ultra Ball
    xy10 113
  • 1
    Professor's Letter
    xy8 146
  • 2
    Super Rod
    xy8 149
More Info Copy Deck List

Greninja BREAKFresh off a second-place finish at Worlds, Greninja BREAK doesn't lose much from the Standard format rotation. The older Greninja with the Water Shuriken Ability is no longer available, but the rest of the deck remains intact. The strategy is relatively straightforward but quite powerful: hope to start with Talonflame, use Frogadier's Water Duplicates attack to set up, and get a bunch of Greninja into play. Once Greninja BREAK is up and running, it's all about using Giant Water Shuriken to wear down the opponent. In the right environment, this deck can be a top contender.

What to watch for: The grim news for Greninja BREAK is that Startling Megaphone and Xerosic both rotated out of the Standard format, leaving no simple solution to deal with Garbodor's Garbotoxin shutting down your deck's entire strategy. Minccino can discard a Pokémon Tool from Garbodor, but it uses up the attack for the turn, and your opponent can just attach another Pokémon Tool on their turn. Perhaps a better method is to add Lysandre and a Pokémon with a big enough attack, such as Ash-Greninja-EX, to take down Garbodor. For the time being, Greninja BREAK might have to sit on the sidelines if Garbodor is getting used a lot.

  • Vileplume
Pokémon
  • 3
    Vileplume
    3/98
    xy7 3
  • 3
    Gloom
    2/98
    xy7 2
  • 3
    Oddish
    1/98
    xy7 1
  • 3
    Shaymin-EX
    77/108
    xy6 77
  • 2
    Jolteon-EX
    28/83
    g1 28
  • 2
    Regice
    24/98
    xy7 24
  • 1
    Glaceon-EX
    20/124
    xy10 20
  • 1
    Manaphy-EX
    32/122
    xy9 32
  • 1
    Lugia-EX
    68/98
    xy7 68
  • 1
    Magearna-EX
    75/114
    xy11 75
Energy Cards
  • 4
    Double Colorless Energy
    xy10 114
  • 4
    Rainbow Energy
    xy8 152
  • 1
    Basic { Lightning } Energy
    g1 78
  • 1
    Basic { Water } Energy
    g1 77
Trainer Cards
  • 4
    N
    xy10 105
  • 4
    Professor Sycamore
    xy9 107
  • 2
    Lysandre
    xy7 78
  • 2
    Ninja Boy
    xy11 103
  • 2
    Olympia
    g1 66
  • 1
    Pokémon Center Lady
    g1 68
  • 4
    Forest of Giant Plants
    xy7 74
  • 1
    Parallel City
    xy8 145
  • 4
    Trainers' Mail
    xy6 92
  • 4
    Ultra Ball
    xy10 113
  • 2
    Level Ball
    xy7 76
More Info Copy Deck List

VileplumeSam Hough had success at Worlds with a rather unusual deck that could remain strong this season. The strategy starts with Vileplume's Irritating Pollen Ability, which prevents all Item cards from being played. Then it's all about picking the correct Pokémon for the situation: Regice can fend off Pokémon-EX with its Resistance Blizzard attack, Jolteon-EX can fight off Basic Pokémon with its Flash Ray attack, and Glaceon-EX can shut down Evolution Pokémon with its Crystal Ray attack. And with the unique Supporter card Ninja Boy, you can swap between these Pokémon at will. The loss of AZ really hurts this strategy, but perhaps a combination of Olympia and Manaphy-EX's Aqua Tube Ability can fill the void of that versatile card. Whenever Vileplume is involved, there's always a chance to lock down your opponent and win.

What to watch for: Thanks to Rainbow Energy, you can use pretty much any Pokémon you want in this deck to adapt to the current metagame. To really surprise an opponent, give Umbreon-EX a try. If its Endgame attack can Knock Out a Mega Evolution Pokémon, you'll take a whopping 4 Prize cards!

  • Rainbow Force
Pokémon
  • 4
    Xerneas
    107/162
    xy8 107
  • 2
    Shaymin-EX
    77/108
    xy6 77
  • 1
    Galvantula
    42/114
    xy11 42
  • 2
    Joltik
    41/114
    xy11 41
  • 1
    Umbreon-EX
    55/124
    xy10 55
  • 1
    Hoopa-EX
    36/98
    xy7 36
  • 1
    Volcanion-EX
    26/114
    xy11 26
  • 1
    Jirachi
    XY67
    xyp xy67
Energy Cards
  • 10
    Basic { Fairy } Energy
    g1 83
  • 4
    Double Colorless Energy
    xy10 114
Trainer Cards
  • 4
    Professor Sycamore
    xy9 107
  • 3
    N
    xy10 105
  • 2
    Lysandre
    xy7 78
  • 1
    Ninja Boy
    xy11 103
  • 3
    Sky Field
    xy6 89
  • 4
    Max Elixir
    xy9 102
  • 4
    Ultra Ball
    xy10 113
  • 4
    VS Seeker
    xy4 109
  • 2
    Exp. Share
    xy5 128
  • 2
    Fighting Fury Belt
    xy9 99
  • 2
    Float Stone
    xy8 137
  • 1
    Escape Rope
    xy5 127
  • 1
    Super Rod
    xy8 149
More Info Copy Deck List

XerneasIf you've ever wanted to just play a deck with tons of different types of Pokémon, then this is the deck for you. Xerneas's Rainbow Force attack does 30 extra damage for each different type of Pokémon on your Bench, and that damage can reach extraordinary numbers with the additional Bench space from Sky Field. Use Max Elixir and Double Colorless Energy to power up the Life Pokémon quickly, and start attacking as soon as you can. The new dual-type Pokémon from XY—Steam Siege offer quite a boost to this strategy, providing two types in a single Pokémon! Volcanion-EX and Galvantula won't attack very often, but they play a major role in this deck. There's no telling if this deck has what it takes to succeed in tournament play, but anything that packs a punch like this certainly has potential.

What to watch for: You could replace all of the Pokémon-EX in this deck with regular Pokémon, but it will make the deck considerably slower. Some potential candidates are Octillery, Bisharp, Mew, Carbink, and Hawlucha. There are plenty of Pokémon to pick from.

This only scratches the surface of the decks we could see in the upcoming Standard format. The metagame is always a mystery at the start of the season: plenty of other Pokémon have the potential to make some noise, and there might be excellent strategies that haven't even been thought of yet. The first major event using the new Standard format will be the Regional Championships in Orlando, FL. After that, everyone will have a better idea of what decks to expect. But until then, it's all about preparation and practice. Good luck, Trainers!

Back to Top