Hit Me If You Can! A Look at Decidueye-Obstagoon in Standard
Hello Flipside readers! Hopefully everyone is doing well and has had a chance to open some packs from the new set, Shining Fates! If you want to see what cards we are getting, I highly recommend checking out my previous article where I cover my favorite cards from the set. I digress, today we are going to be looking at one of the strongest rogue decks in the format, Decidueye Obstagoon, commonly known as Deci-Goons for short. This deck ultimately aims to prevent your opponent from taking prize cards by utilizing abilities that prevent your cards from taking damage from various Pokemon. I have been greatly enjoying playing this deck online and I think it provides a nice break from the hyper aggressive strategies that are dominant in Standard.
Decidueye offers protection from most of the heavy hitting decks in standard. Its Deep Forest Camo ability prevents all damage taken from V and GX Pokemon. This means decks that are solely reliant on these types of cards, which is fairly typical in standard, are not going to inflict damage to this card. This means some matchups can be won on your opponent’s deck composition alone which can be a huge advantage. Rarely matchups are won this easy, but I will admit that it is satisfying to have your opponent hit “Conceded” the moment you rare candy into Decidueye.
Decidueye’s Splitting Arrow attack also provides pressure. 90 damages plus 20 to two other Pokemon isn’t exactly enough to make your opponent nervous, but it can be very effective when your opponent is struggling to put damage on this card. Something else to consider is that the only Pokemon, outside of Aegislash V and Dragapult VMAX, that can deal damage to this card are going to be Non-GX or V Pokemon which are not usually sporting a significant amount of HP. For example, Volcanion from UBR is a great answer to Decidueye because of its efficiency in attack as well as type advantage. However it only has 120 hp, so you can set up a one shot by putting 20 damage with Decidueye as well one Galarian Zigzagoon ping. Decks like Mad-Party which has many low hp one prize attackers, are in danger of losing multiple prizes to Decidueye as most of their attackers only have 30-40 hp. All of this is to say that decidueye brings a lot to the table with both its ability and attack. However, it’s not great in every situation and the next card we are about to discuss really rounds out this deck’s strategy.
Many are probably most familiar with this card’s evolving basic, Galiaran Zigzagoon, which has an ability that allows you place a damage counter on one of the opponent’s Pokemon whenever you put the card in play. Galarian Obstagoon’s Untamed Shout ability works in a similar way, except it allows you to place 3 damage counters instead of 1 when you put the card in play. While this is not the main reason for the card in the deck, it is instead a very happy side effect of evolving into this card and pairs very well Decidueye’s attack.
Galarian Obstagoon’s Obstruct attack deals 90 damage and protects this card from all damage done by basics during your opponent’s next turn. While powerful one prize basics like UBR Blacephalon can run through Decidueye fairly easily, Galarian Obstagoon can stop them right in their tracks. Not being able to be hit by basics is what gives the deck so much leverage in the meta because it plays around most tech cards that try to get past Decidueye’s ability. The two of these cards in tandem create a very powerful lock deck of sorts and can be devastating to any meta where decks are not prepared to face these cards.
Snorlax from the recent Vivid Voltage set is a great wall to sit behind when you are setting up your board. It’s ability, Gormandize, allows you to refill your hand up to 7 cards at the price of ending your turn. While ending your turn without an attack could spell disaster in most decks, this deck in particular is not particularly concerned about tempo in most matchups. The fact that your attackers only give up one prize means that it's okay to take multiple turns before you start attacking and Snorlax is the best card to throw out in the active if we are not planning on using an attack. However, this card becomes less useful after the board is set up so we only need to run one copy. The next card we’re going to talk about provides us more utility for the remainder of the game.
I am sure anyone who has been playing standard, in any capacity, for the past 2 years is fairly familiar with Jirachi from Team Up. It’s ability, Stellar Wish, is quite stellar as it allows you to look at the type 5 cards of your deck and take one trainer to put in your hand while shuffling the rest back in your deck. At the cost of putting Jirachi asleep, the consistency provided by this can be almost unmatched at times. Nowadays the card has definlity lost a bit of its luster without Escape Board in format, but any deck running high amounts of switching cards can reap the benefits of using Stellar Wish. In this deck in particular, there are 8 switching outs so we can actually pivot this card to and from the active fairly easily. The payoff from this card is not only the Stellar Wish ability, but also it being a great starter for the deck. While snorlax is a great way for us to draw cards in the early game, Jirachi also can give us a significant amount of consistency by finding supporters and items.
Bird Keeper is a supporter that allows us to switch our active with our bench and draw 3 cards. While it’s not optimal in terms of strictly draw, Bird Keeper as a card offers a lot of utility features. One of the most interesting is the synergy with Rowlet's Sky Circus ability. Oftentimes evolving basics are not very useful as attackers but in this case, Rowlet can use it’s Wind Shard attack to do 60 damage to one of our opponent’s bench pokemon for no cost if we played bird keeper that turn.
The switching effect is also useful for keeping high mobility in the deck. This deck has two different attackers and needs to keep energy in play, so retreating our main attacker can actually set our board back a few turns in terms of energy attachments. Fortunately, Bird Keeper allows us to maneviour our board better while also cycling cards into our hand.
Rosa is a powerful supporter that allows us to search for a Pokemon, Trainer, and basic energy card whenever A pokemon gets knocked out during our opponent’s turn. This is great for grabbing rare candy + Decidueye or Obstagoon. The basic energy search can also be nice as this deck needs to attach energy each turn in order to keep up. This is by far more useful in an archetype like this because you are able to utilize for multiple turns a game. In normal decks, like ADPZ, you only would have one or two turns to extract value since your attackers give up multiple prizes. That said, the main downside is in the early game where this card might not be a huge help for setting up. Nevertheless, this card provides a ton of consistency and can make setting up multiple stage 2s much easier.
Overall I have found this deck to be a ton of fun in my testing and definitely recommend it to anyone who is looking to get away from all the Vs and Tag Team decks out there. The deck’s strategy can be a bit cheesy at times, but it does reward you for being patient and managing your resources correctly. I think right now it can be hard to find decks that are not just hyper aggressive so this can be a slice of something new or different.
That’s going to wrap up this article on Decidueye Obstagoon. Neither Deciduye nor Obstagoon will rotate in August so hopefully this deck can continue to see play in months to come. Battle Styles is also just on the horizon so expect to see articles highlighting some of the new decks from that set very soon! Until then, make sure to check out flipsidegaming.com for all your Pokemon TCG Singles & Sealed needs! If you want to keep up with my Pokemon antics, make sure to follow me on Twitter @TheSkyPillar. If you would like to hear me and my good friend Conner LaVaelle talk about the Pokemon Cube format, one of the most interesting and complex Pokemon formats out there, we host a podcast that you can find on youtube called the P3 Podcast. With that all said, I hope you all are staying safe out there and I will see you all next time!