The next generation of the Pokémon TCG has arrived with the launch of the Pokémon Scarlet and Violet TCG. With every new set comes a new series of prized cards, whether for duelling or collection purposes and there have been some massive shake-ups in the 9th Generation of the Pokémon TCG: the reintroduction of EX cards, the clarification of Trainer cards and the overall appearance change has this new set off to a great start. As players get their hands on more cards, more decks get refined and bought to the table. One deck, in particular, has been making waves recently and that is the Gardevoir EX Deck.
The Gardevoir EX Deck is built around dealing large amounts of damage in an instant, aiming to knock out high Prize Card Pokémon in a single turn. It is somewhat of a risky deck, especially when one of the key mechanics revolves around dealing damage to your own Pokémon, but it can become especially lucrative against certain matchups. Learn how to play the Gardevoir EX Deck and you’ll be able to go toe-to-toe with the rest of the format quite comfortably.
Want more Pokémon TCG content and articles? You can find more here on KeenGamer:
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Gardevoir EX Card List
Like with every TCG deck, the Gardevoir EX Deck is comprised of two types of cards: essential cards and non-essential Cards. Essential cards are needed in partially every format of the deck for it to function properly, serving as your general workhorse combos and cards. Non-essential cards, on the other hand, are additional parts of the deck that players can use to combat potential counters, cover for opposing matchups or something else based on personal preference.
For the essential cards in the Gardevoir EX Deck, we have:
- Gardevoir EX x2 (SV086)
- Gardevoir x2 (CR061)
- Zacian V x1 (Celebration 016)
- Kirlia x4 (ST068)
- Raltz x4 (ST087/CR059)
- Mew x2 (Celebration 011)
- Manaphy x1 (BS041)
- Ultra Ball x4
- Level Ball x3
- Fog Crystal x3
- Rare Candy x3
- Battle VIP Pass x4
- Emergency Jelly x2
- Sky Seal Stone x1
- Boss’s Orders x2
- Judge x2
- Miriam x2
- Worker x2
- Psychic Energy x11-13
Then, for the non-essential cards, we have:
- Radiant Greninja x1 (AR046)
- Radiant Tsareena x1 (ST016)
- Cresselia x1 (LO074)
- Slowpoke x2 + Slowbro x2 (SV042 + SV043)
- Serena x2
- Professor’s Research x2
While it may be the namesake of this deck, Gardevoir EX is going to primarily be a supportive Pokémon. While other EX cards may excel at having big damage, Gardevoir EX excels at sitting back, prepping their allies for a burst of incredible damage over and over.
Gardevoir EX is a 2-Stage Pokémon with 310 HP, giving some significant bulk that should help in the earlier stages of the game when you’re still amassing cards and combos to tear down your opponent in the late game. It does have access to a 190-damage move called Miracle Force, but this will likely only be good for lower health targets. Gardevoir EX is a support unit, not an offensive one, and it isn’t a card you want to spend much Energy on.
The best part about Gardevoir EX, and what brings this whole deck together, is Gardevoir’s Ability Psychic Embrace. As many times as you want during your turn, you may attach a Basic Psychic Energy from your discard pile onto one of your Psychic-type Pokémon, putting 20 damage onto the attached Pokémon when you do so. Not only is this a fantastic way of recycling your Energy cards, letting you keep fighting at full force late into the duel, but it pairs incredibly well with our offensive cards to set up some devastating OHKO attacks.
With Psychic Embrace as our starting point, your main goal in each engagement is to get Gardevoir EX on the field as soon as possible. Having Gardevoir EX stand in for the Pokémon on the field is fine for the early game, but you’ll want to pull it back to the bench as soon as possible to avoid potentially losing the cornerstone of your entire deck. As you’re evolving your way up to Gardevoir, try and get rid of as much Psychic Energy as you can so you have plenty to work within your discard pile.
Once Gardevoir is on the field, the fun begins. You can begin attaching ludicrous amounts of Energy cards to basically any Pokémon you wish which can be used to retreat, attack or set up. When used alongside our attacking cards (specifically Zacian V and our ordinary Gardevoir), you can perfectly set up a situation where you can potentially OHKO a strong VSTAR or VMAX Pokémon. Psychic Embrace is a crazy strong Ability, making Gardevoir a crazy strong Pokémon, too.
Alongside Gardevoir EX is our main attacker… which happens to be another Gardevoir, specifically the Gardevoir from Chilling Reign. This may seem odd at first glance, but the reality is that this Gardevoir works perfectly with its EX counterpart to produce some very serious damage. At 140HP, Gardevoir has some okay bulk, but nothing too crazy.
What it does have are a great damage move and a superb ability. Shining Arcana can be used once per turn and lets you look at the top 2 cards of your deck: you can attach any Psychic Energy you find any way you like, while the other cards go straight to your hand. Already, this is a great way to get through your deck fast and begin attaching Energy Cards to your most valuable Pokémon. This is where Brainwave comes in, Gradevoir’s damaging move. It deals 60 damage at the base, but it deals an additional 30 damage for every Psychic Energy currently attached to it. This move, paired with Shining Arcana and Psychic Embrace, is devastating.
Picture a turn where you have both Gardevoir EX and regular Gardevoir on the field. You can begin by using Shining Arcana, attaching any Energy cards you find to Gardevoir for an additional 30 to 60 damage out of the gate. Then, using Psychic Embrace, you can just keep piling on Energy cards from the discard pile. At 140HP, Gardevoir can take 6 Psychic Energy cards from the discard pile without fainting. This already makes Brainwave a 240 damage attack without considering any additional energy from Shining Arcana: that comfortably makes it able to take out a large suite of high-value Pokémon.
Of course, doing this would essentially guarantee that Gardevoir is going down next round, as is all that Psychic Energy you have attached to it. They all go to the discard pile, ready for another round of Psychic Embrace next turn. And with Gardevoir only being a basic Pokémon, your opponent is only ever going to pick up 1 Prize Card from KO’ing it, whereas you have the opportunity to pick up 2 or 3 thanks to Gardevoir’s potential damage output. This combo is ridiculous, and it will get even better thanks to help from your Supporter and Trainer cards.
The main downside of both Gardevoir EX and our regular Gardevoir is that there are 2 Stage Pokémon: you’ll need to evolve them up from Raltz and Kirlia, making it so that you won’t even see a Gardevoir on the field until turn 3 (unless you use some sneaky Rare Candy). That’s why it’s a good thing that even our Kirlia is a potent force in this deck. The Kirlia in this deck has the Refinement Ability, letting you draw 2 additional cards per turn if you discard a card from your hand. This works very well in this deck as you could discard a spare Psychic Energy in your hand, pick up some more useful cards and then use Psychic Embrace to attach that discarded Energy to a Pokémon right away.
Every interaction of Gardevoir in this deck is just a superb addition to the Pokémon TCG. Whether it’s being one of the best Psychic type support in the entire game, an incredible attacker or even a fantastic stage 1, this line is great and the backbone of the entire Gardevoir EX Deck.
Our other attacker, and the one responsible for taking on targets just outside of Gardevoir’s sphere of influence, is Zacian V. In a lot of ways, Zacian V is a super-powered version of Gardevoir, with a strong attack that increases in power based on how much Psychic Energy is currently attached to it.
That move is Storm Slash, another 60 power base move with additional 30 damage per Psychic Energy. The main difference here is that Zacian has 220HP compared to Gardevoir’s 140HP: this translates into Zacian being able to earn up to 10 Psychic Energy cards using Psychic Embrace, letting it hit for 360 damage. This will take out essentially any Pokémon in the game in one shot.
What makes this combo even better are the Trainer Cards Sky Seal Stone and Boss’s Orders. Because this deck isn’t using a VSTAR card, we can utilise Sky Seal Stone’s unique effect while using Zacian V. This will allow you to take an additional Prize Card if your Zacian knocks out an active VMAX or VSTAR Pokémon, significantly increasing the pressure on your opponent. Boss’s Orders is here to guarantee that you can make that VSTAR or VMAX OHKO happen instantly.
The big trade-off for this damage is that, like with Gardevoir, Zacian V is almost guaranteed to go down in the next round. Losing a Pokémon is also a bummer, but losing a 1 Prize Pokémon like Gardevoir is far easier to stomach than losing a 2 Prizer like Zacian. You’ll need to save Zacian until the perfect moment to strike: when that moment comes, you can wipe anything off the board.
There are a lot of other Pokémon in the Gardevoir EX Deck. The Celebrations Mew is a great pick thanks to the famous Mysterious Tail ability. Once per turn, you may look at the top 7 cards of your deck and select any Trainer Item card from that selection to add to your hand, while the other 6 get shuffled back into the deck. The main Item cards for Gardevoir EX are Fog Crystals for additional Energy cards, but Mysterious Tail can help get you a much-needed Rare Candy, Battle VIP Pass or even just a standard Ultra Ball, all of which are immensely useful in your composition.
The other Pokémon to be aware of is Manaphy. Like with Mew, it’s Manaphy’s Ability Water Veil that warrants its place on this deck list. This simply prevents all damage to the Pokémon on your Bench. Considering that the heaviest hitters and most important Pokémon in this deck are 2-stage evolution Pokémon, making sure that you can evolve by keeping those squishy Pokémon alive is paramount. Manaphy serves as a nice deterrent, stopping any pesky Raikou from wiping you out.
In addition, there are a few Pokémon that can help counteract the damage of Psychic Embrace. The first are two different Radiant Pokémon, Radiant Tsareena and Radiant Greninja. Tsareena is a great basic Pokémon with the ability to heal 20 damage each round for free with the Elegant Heal Ability. While this likely won’t help you survive big attacks against high-damage attacks, it could help you attach additional Energy to already damaged Pokémon. Meanwhile, Radiant Greninja isn’t going to do any healing, but it is an excellent way of getting Energy cards into the discard pile with Concealed Cards. You can only have one Radiant per deck, so choose wisely.
For some other healing Pokémon, we have Cresselia or Slowbro. Both of these Pokémon do a similar thing with their respective Abilities: moving damage counters from one Pokémon to another. Cresselia can use the attack Moonglow Reverse to move 2 damage counters from your Pokémon to one of your opponents. This is an additional way to deal damage, but it does end your turn as a trade-off. On the other hand, Slowbro’s Strange Behaviour lets it soak up to 100 damage from any of your other Pokémon for free.
Item and Tool Trainer Cards
A lot of the Trainer cards in this deck are pretty standard in format, while some others are here to facilitate things like evolution. One which can aid directly with Psychic Energy generation is Fog Crystal. This not only lets you find Psychic Energy from your deck, but you can even pick out a Basic Psychic Pokémon if you’re getting unlucky with finding Raltz or Zacian. In a deck so reliant on using and sacrificing Energy, finding as much as you can early on is incredibly important.
Several cards are used to make sure you get your Gardevoirs out as soon as possible. Battle VIP Pass lets you search your deck for up to 2 Basic Pokémon and play them onto the Bench immediately, which is great for getting down Raltz or Manaphy as soon as possible. Then we have Ultra Ball and Level Ball, excellent at finding Gardevoir and Kirlia, respectively. The last piece of this particular puzzle is the Rare Candy cards, letting you go straight from a Raltz to a Gardevoir (under certain conditions). All of these work together to let you get to Gardevoir as soon as you possibly can.
The last Trainer card to mention is Emergency Jelly. This Tool card can be equipped to a Pokémon and heal them for 120HP if they end the round at below 30HP. Considering that you can control how much HP your Pokémon have thanks to Psychic Embrace, you can combo Jelly to help one of your attackers to survive for another round. While this is a bit more niche, it can be very useful for helping you stay in the game.
Supporter and Stadium Trainer Cards
Finally, let’s discuss Supporters. As we previously discussed, Boss’s Orders is a staple card that allowing you to control the flow of battle. Combining it with Zacian V and the Sky Seal Stone lets you play judge, jury and executioner on one of your opponent’s Pokémon, forcing it into play so it can be destroyed by your massive damage. Judge is another key card for controlling the flow state of the game, allowing you to back out of a bad hand or mess up an opponent’s beneficial one.
Miriam is a new Supporter introduced in Scarlet and Violet and one which works perfectly in this deck. You can shuffle up to 5 Pokémon from your discard pile into your deck, drawing an additional 3 cards if you shuffle any Pokémon this way. Sacrificing cards like Gardevoir and Zacian is a big part of this deck, so having Miriam here to not only draw more cards but also get those sacrificed Pokémon back into the deck is very useful.
Aside from Miriam, we also have Worker. This is another Supporter that allows you to draw 3 cards, but it also serves as a way to counter certain decks. With Psychic Embrace and the myriad of other Abilities, you are very susceptible to cards like Path to the Peak which can shut down your entire strategy. Fortunately, Worker’s additional effect gets rid of any Stadium in play, letting you play safely without having to worry about any Ability-negating nonsense.
Gardevoir EX Strategy
The main motto of the Gardevoir EX Deck is hit hard and keep hitting hard. With Gardevoir’s Psychic Embrace, you can effectively set up either of your main attackers to OHKO any target of your choosing (so long as you have Energy in your discard pile). Once you get into the rhythm, this deck is essentially self-sustaining: Gardevoir attaches Energy to your attacking unit which will take down your opponent before being sacrificed in the next round, with their equipped Energy being able to be used once again by Gardevoir. Self-sustain isn’t a thing of importance so long as your opponent goes down first.
The biggest weakness with this deck is how much time it may take to set up. While you do have ways to get Gardevoir up early via Battle VIP Passes, Rare Candies and more, it certainly can struggle to get going. This deck is extremely reliant on Psychic Embrace as, without it, you have an above-average Psychic deck that deals moderate damage but never enough to be threatening. Against fast decks like Miraidon EX, you could be in for some trouble if they manage to whittle down your Bench.
On the flip side, one of the best parts of the deck is how few decks counter it directly. Once you manage to get Gardevoir EX onto the field, accompanied by an attacking Gardevoir or a Zacian, not much can stand in your way. There are a few exceptions such as Path to the Peak, but you have tools like Worker to shut that strategy down and continue chugging along. You simply deal so much damage in one round that, without Tools or methods of damage negation like Regieleki’s Electric Wall, you can take on everything from Mew VMAX to Lugia VSTAR.
Overall, the Gardevoir EX Deck is one of the strongest and most aggressive decks in the entire format. Getting everything ready may take some time and there’s a lot to juggle between evolving your Pokémon, getting Energy into the discard pile and setting up your Trainer card combos, but once you’re there, not much can stop you. Not only will you hit hard and deal upwards of 300HP in a single hit, but you can keep recycling those cards, too. You set the pace in each battle, forcing your opponent into a Prize Card race where you’re almost always in the lead. If you’re looking for something interesting with a fair amount of risk but a lot of reward, try this deck out.
That was how to build the Gardevoir EX Deck in the Pokémon TCG.