When a new set comes out, it almost always brings at least a few new deck building options with it. Whether these new options are useful to your own deck or to your opponents’, you’ll always need to consider what the new meta will bring. It’s important to decide how you can best adapt your deck to use these new tools, or counter the new strategies you expect to see from other players. I thought it’d be interesting to use the example of my Psychic Spread deck list to show how I’ve updated it to better compete with the release of Paradox Rift!
|Giratina||Shuppet SVI 087|
|Rocky Helmet||Banette ROS 31|
|Cosmog TEU 69||Cosmog UNM 100|
|Tate & Liza||Professor Turo’s Scenario|
|Lusamine||Guzma & Hala|
|Nest Ball||Hisuian Heavy Ball|
|Evosoda||Technical Machine: Evolution|
|Spell Tag||Capture Energy|
|Stadium Nav||Technical Machine: Devolution|
Obviously these changes didn’t all happen at once, but are the result of gradual tweaking to see what works and what doesn’t – as well as thinking during games about what options I really wished I had access to in a difficult spot. A few of these changes even have a middle step since the article, but before the release of Paradox Rift now, though most of them are adjustments to the things I expected to see in the new format.
Sometimes, a new set brings a direct upgrade to a card you’re already using. Here, the only example of this is Tulip, which for this deck is just a more flexible equivalent to Klara, since the only Pokémon and Basic Energy this deck plays are Psychic type, so it’s an obvious swap.
The main changes to this deck come in the increased interaction with Pokémon Tool cards – since Paradox Rift heralds the arrival of both Luxurious Cape and the Technical Machine cards, which will certainly have big impacts on almost every game played in the new format.
Firstly, I wanted to take advantage of some of the new Pokémon Tools myself, so I made room for Technical Machines: Evolution and Devolution by removing Evosoda and Stadium Nav – the former because it fills a very similar role, and the latter because I didn’t find myself using Stadium Nav properly during most games – often it only filled the role of thinning 0-2 cards from my deck, since I didn’t have particularly good ways to search for it.
To get these tool cards when they’re needed, I also traded out N and Lusamine for Arven and Guzma & Hala. With Marshadow in the deck, it’s easy to see how these new Supporter cards can fill a similar niche to the cards they’re replacing, while also offering new functionality. Arven can pretend to be N by finding an Item card to search for or recycle Marshadow, while also finding one of my new tool options, and although Guzma & Hala won’t let me recycle my Stadium cards anymore, it can still find a Stadium if I need one to remove a problematic Rough Seas while also being a strong option in the early game. To add even more flexibility to the Guzma & Hala play I made room for Capture Energy, losing Spell Tag, to make the routes of play through Technical Machine: Evolution stronger. With regard to searching for my Basic Pokémon, I also swapped my Nest Ball for a Hisuian Heavy Ball. I did comment during my original article that it was definitely a commitment to have absolutely no way to retrieve cards from the prizes, but since then I’ve prized Ralts (still the Basic Pokémon to my one and only engine) a few too many times. Once again, the reason to cut Nest Ball (instead of for example Quick Ball) is Marshadow – the more outs in your deck to Let Loose, the better.
One of the biggest adjustments for the new format is the addition of the Banette line, requiring me to drop Giratina and the Rocky Helmet. Banette’s Tool Concealment ability makes all Pokémon Tool cards in play have no effect, which makes cutting some of my own tools a bit less painful. This Pokémon gives me a good answer to Luxurious Cape, since the deck has neither a very good option to deal that much damage, nor a good way to take the knockout with damage to get the extra prize card, since most of the Pokémon in this deck use attack effects. By choosing to bring out Banette early, you can also deliberately shut down any plans your opponent might have had to make use of Technical Machines as well! Blocking a Technical Machine: Evolution from your opponent will keep their Pokémon’s HP totals lower for longer, and therefore more vulnerable to spread damage attacks. The added benefit of turning off Float Stone can also make it easier to strand one of your opponent’s Pokémon in the Active Spot, giving you a free turn or two to spread extra damage.
Since I intend to bring out Banette in most games to limit my opponent’s options that bit more, I also have to keep in mind that my own Float Stone probably won’t work either, so swapping to a Cosmog with no Retreat Cost makes more sense than the extra protection while on the Bench.
Finally, I’ve swapped Tate & Liza for Professor Turo’s Scenario. Though this card is almost identical to AZ (the only difference being the “Future” tag and the fact I pulled the illustration rare version at my prerelease), I hadn’t considered it before the new set. With Banette in the deck now, I wanted an extra way to pick up a Pokémon to get it out of play (in addition to Scoop Up Net). This can allow me to choose to turn Pokémon Tool cards back on later on in the game, so that I can use my Technical Machine: Devolution – since against the right board this can be just as devastating as Lunala or Aegislash. For some fun “synergy”, Banette removes all the effects of Pokémon Tool cards, I can attach the TM in advance of removing Banette from play if need be, since the part of the TM that causes it to be discarded at the end of the turn is also turned off by Tool Concealment. What’s more, Professor Turo’s Scenario is also able to fill the same roles as Tate & Liza – again in conjunction with Marshadow – providing both a switching option and a way to shuffle and draw more cards.
Hopefully this has been an interesting insight into the process of updating a deck with the release of a new set, and a good reminder to look at both new and old cards to search for answers to new threats. Older Pokémon often have interesting Abilities, which can become relevant again with the context of new cards. Thanks for reading, and I hope you have fun playing with all the new cards from Paradox Rift!