The Legendary Trio – A Look at the 2018 Standard Format

Hello ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, aliens and robots, competetive Pokémon players everywhere, PikaPoster here, bringing you a look at the current standard format, and what decks to bring before rotation.

The Epic Triangle

As Zakary Krekeler said in his article on PokéBeach, the current meta is somewhat like a game of rock-paper-scissors. You have Zoroark-GX variants at one corner of the triangle, Buzzwole-GX at another, and the new Malamar card, usually paired with Ultra Necrozma at the last point. Each deck has it’s uses, and I will be reviewing each one to see which one is ultimately the best (in my opinion).

Zoroark-GX Variants

Zoroark-GX is an amazing card, there’s no denying it. However, on it’s own, it does max 120 base. This is fairly mediocre, even for just a DCE. This means it usually runs a nice alternate attacker, such as Lycanroc, Lucario, or Golisopod.


This card is probably the most common partner. With the ability to Lysandre your opponent’s Pokémon without playing a supporter, it gives some serious mobility, as well as being able to take advantage of strong energy to hit for good numbers. With 2 strong and a Choice Band, or 1 strong energy, a Kukui boost, and a Band, this card can OHKO Buzzwole, and it auto-KO’s opposing Zoroark-GXs. It also has a nice GX attack that can easily take the game by OHKOing an unsuspecting GX.


A recent addition to the game, Lucario-GX took the meta by surprise. It can evolve, equip a strong energy and Choice band, and hit for 170 to GXs T2. This card’s low energy cost truly makes it good. It can even use Kukui to OHKO a Buzzwole, if needed. The only minor problem with this deck it the fact that Lucario only works the turn it evolves. This makes Acerola and Super Scoop Up valuble cards indeed. If you really wanted to, you could use Cyclone Kick, but I doublt you would be able to get the energy up in time. It’s main attacks are Aura Strike and that sweet GX attack, nearly if not completely identical to Tauros-GX’s.


Ah, Golisopod. So simple, yet so annoying. Similar to Lucario-GX in it’s one energy attack cost, it does some nice things, but it doesn’t get strong energy. However, it does get weakness damage to Lycanroc-GX, so that makes it a bit better. I think that this variant might be slightly worse than the others, but I’m no expert, as I’ve only played it a bit.


This deck is disgusting. That’s all I’m going to say. If you’re playing it, get out now. It completely shuts down all of those nice abilities in the format, as well as any and all good will your opponent had toward you. I hate this deck, and I vow never to play Garbodor, especially not with something as cool and awesome as Zoroark. Garbodor, get out. (I’m joking of course, but I still don’t really like this deck.)


Buzzwole-GX is just good. He does great early damage, and when paired with a good attacker, can be terrifying. Again, Lycanroc-GX is the prime partner for this great card, but what they have in power, they lack in coverage. While a deck of pure fighting types can be good, you want some decent coverage for decks like Malamar.


This card just fits in so well with its fighting type buddy Buzzwole. It has that nice mobility to control where your opponent’s Pokémon are, and is better at late game than Buzzwole. This is by far the best and most played variant of Buzzwole, and probably one of the best decks in the format. The only major thing it lacks is a counter to Malamar, which might just be the new best deck in the format.


This card is straight up busted. It does what Eelektrik and Bronzong did with Lightning and Metal, respectively. The thing that sets Malamar apart is the sheer amount of Psychic support in the format. Ultra Necrozma seems to be the best one at the moment, but straight Necrozma-GX as well as Mew could counter Buzzwole and Lucario very well.

Ultra Necrozma

Ultra Necrozma is a beast, hitting for 180 with 2 psychic, or 210 banded, enough to OHKO almost anything in the format. Three energy OHKOs literally everything, doing an insane 260, and the crazy thing is that 3 energy is actually achievable in a real game. I know, since I play this deck quite often, and it can do mad things. I believe that although the other 2 decks are good, Ultra Necrozma really hits for enough damage to outclass even the best of decks.

The Conclusion

While both Zoroark and Buzzwole can easily 2KO most everything, and sometimes OHKO something, they lack the sheer damage of Ultra Necrozma and Malamar together. I would say that Malamar takes the tip of the triangle, with Buzzwole and Zoroark residing comfortably at the other 2. Bai for now!

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