Sylveon: I need a 12 step program

I have played 66 games with Sylveon so far this month.  It is all I want to play.  I have very little interest in playing anything but this deck even though I barely win half the time with it (34 W 32 L).  I am not sure exactly what it is about this archetype that I am totally addicted to.  Maybe part of it is the forward looking aspect – you have to be able to anticipate what your opponent will do next turn in order to grab the correct cards from Magical Ribbon.  Maybe part of it is that against many of the best decks in the format, you can completely shut them down.  And maybe part of it is that dark side of the game where you can really frustrate your opponent by taking every energy he puts down on the board off and knocking it into the discard pile.  It must put a tremendous pressure on opponents to see every one of their energies come off turn after turn after turn.

I played Sylveon at NAIC last June, but my version back then was less energy denial and more hand disruption.  I built it around the Red Card, Stadium, Delinquent combo.  I also tried that combo with Tormenting Spray, and it does actually work fairly well.  The problem is that with Octillery, Oranguru, and Zoroark GX, the hand denial approach simply isn’t effective enough.  In matches where your opponent does not play those Pokemon, that combination is devastating – but take a look at how many people are playing those Pokemon.  Since Ultra Prism, those three cards are the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th most common Pokemon I come across on PTCGO.

Last June I eschewed the energy denial archetype because it simply wasn’t effective enough.  After revisiting it here in today’s meta, I will still say that it’s not very effective.  It’s done well in some tournaments because those tournaments were filled with matchups that were very favorable for Sylveon.  I will say that success with this deck is VERY matchup dependent.  For many of the matches I play, I can tell you whether or not I’m going to win when my opponent flips over his starting Pokemon.  You’ll see below, that there are a number of matchups that are very one sided – some are fifty fifties, but the majority of opponents are either easy wins or guaranteed losses:

The biggest disparity by category is when opponents run SPE.  I am 26 W 15 L when they run SPE.  I am 8 W 17 L against decks that don’t run SPE (obviously, Metalcrozma, Greninja, and Buluvolt make up the majority of those losses).  Now, a few of these matches are competitive: Espeon GX, Gardevoir GX, Buzzwole GX.  And I probably should focus on adding cards that might help me win those matchups (Chaos Tower was my play last June at NAIC to counter Espeon GX… I still remember the look on my opponent’s face when I played it down.  He had never seen that card before!).  But you can see that I dominate Zoroark anything (well except Zoroark Metalcrozma), completely destroy Glaceon GX, and (most importantly) have an autowin against those annoying Garchomp decks (where are all of them now?  55 times I’ve seen it in Feb and March, only twice so far in April).

Here’s the decklist that I’m currently using (this is my fifth different incarnation):

A few word briefly about the deck itself:

  • I almost never attack with Fairy Wind or Plea GX.  I think maybe twice in 66 games did I actually take 6 prizes.
  • You always want to make sure you have a Max Potion and energy in hand.  Then you want to make sure you have either Flare Grunt or Plumeria.
  • Plumeria is really starting to grow on me.  You can use it to dump the extra Talonflames, and you don’t have to rely on Crushing Hammers to knock off energy from your opponent’s bench.  No energy anywhere is safe with Plumeria!
  • Love the inclusion of TF.  Cuts down on the mulligans so much.  And if your opponent wastes time KO’ing it, it really doesn’t matter because it’s then a seven prize game.
  • I’m running 4 Sylveon because I kept getting two prized.  I prized two Sylveon seven times in 66 matches.  I know I’ve got Gladion, but I don’t want to have to use Gladion early.  And you want to get out two Sylveon early just in case your opponent gets lucky and KO’s one.
  • Probably will drop Hoopa.  It just doesn’t help me beat any of the decks I have autolosses against.  Bulu has Vikavolt, Metalcrozma has Magnezone or Solgaleo Prism.  I just think I can find a card that will help me more than Hoopa.
  • I originally had Gardy GX, but I found I never used it.  With Puzzles, Pal Pads, and Lusamines, recycling resources usually isn’t a problem.  I’ve never run out of energy.  Pal Pad is great for recycling Supporters.  With Puzzles, you can recycle Pal Pads as well.
  • Energy denial is most of the game.  I usually don’t play the Rocket’s Handiworks until late.  But I play them a lot!  Sometimes I play them 8 or 9 times.

If you’re going up against a favorable matchup, this is a super fun deck to play.  If not, well, it’s still fun to try.  It’s not the best deck in the meta, but if you really want to dominate Zoroark or Garchomp, this is your deck.