The OG GG — Retro 2010 Gardevoir / Gallade

Hello and welcome to the first of many articles that will be focused on retro decks. For quite a while now retro decks have been gaining more and more popularity. There are many reasons for this, but one of them is newer players want to get a feel for what Pokemon was like in previous formats. This series is going to be a guide for people who want to learn more about the past decks and formats. This time, I am going to be looking at Gardevoir from the 2010 World Championship.

I am probably the authority on this deck as I was the finalist of the 2010 World Championship piloting the deck. My build is also one of the four World Championship decks that year to be selected for printing by Pokemon. Additionally, I also won one of my seven Regional Championships during that season with Gardevoir. This one of the most fun decks that I have ever built, and I hope you all will have as much fun as I did when I played it.

The List

Deck List

##Pokémon - 25
4 Ralts PL 89
2 Kirlia PL 51
3 Gardevoir SW 7
1 Gardevoir LV.X SW 131
1 Gallade SW 6
3 Spiritomb AR 32
1 Uxie LA 43
1 Unown G GE 57
1 Machop SF 64
1 Machamp SF 20
1 Duskull SW 86
1 Dusclops SF 35
1 Dusknoir DP 2
1 Baltoy SV 89
1 Claydol GE 15
1 Azelf LA 19
1 Azelf LV.X LA 140
##Trainers - 22
4 Roseanne’s Research SW 125
4 Bebe’s Search SW 119
2 Looker’s Investigation PL 109
1 Lucian’s Assignment RR 92
1 Judge UL 78
3 Rare Candy UL 82
2 Expert Belt AR 87
1 Warp Point MD 88
1 Night Maintenance SW 120
1 Luxury Ball SF 86
2 Moonlight Stadium GE 100
##Energy - 13
5 Psychic Energy DP 127
4 Double Colorless Energy HS 103
3 Call Energy MD 92
1 Fighting Energy DP 128

The Strategy

The main focus of this deck is to use Gardevoir’s Psychic Lock and prevent your opponent from using Poke-Powers. This format was heavily focused on cards like Uxie and Claydol to keep decks running. By shutting down those cards, you will slowly take back tempo and control the flow of the game. The deck also runs two copies of Looker’s Investigation and a copy of Judge. These cards disrupt the opponent’s hand, and when combined with Psychic Lock, it can be game over.

This does not mean that you only use Psychic Lock. The deck also has a toolbox element to it. It plays Gallade which is a good way to one-shot any Pokemon that’s a problem. Machamp also fills a similar role in that it can automatically Knock Out any unevolved Pokemon. These Pokemon can attack instantly thanks to how Rare Candy functioned in this era. You could use Rare Candy on a Pokemon the turn it was put onto the field! Lucian’s Assignment was also a card that lets you manipulate your energy to get instant attacks going. If you reached an end game board state, Dusknoir could attack for up to ten damage counters to close out a game.

Key Cards

[su_dropcap size=”2″]S[/su_dropcap]piritomb is the best non-damaging cards in this deck. It is a consistency card and a disruption card at the same time. By shutting down Trainer cards (we now call this category Items) it slowed down the game to a crawl. It allowed Gardevoir the time it needed to set up multiple threats to last the entire game. The best turn one you can ask for is starting Spiritomb and using Darkness Grace on either your Ralts or Baltoy. If this happens the game might as well be over because you have skipped straight to the mid game, where this deck is at its strongest.


You might notice an unusually high number of one-ofs in this deck. Normally this would cause a deck to not be able to function properly, but in 2010 this was the norm. Azelf and Gardevoir itself brought consistency to a new level and made the format more search-focused than draw-focused like it is today. Azelf not only allowed you to swap a Pokemon from your Prizes, it also let you put them back any way you wanted. This means you could memorize what cards were in each spot and have full knowledge of your prize cards. Azelf also means you could run Azelf LV.X, giving your psychic Pokemon no Weakness.

Azelf Lv.XMachopNight MaintenanceWarp Point

[su_dropcap size=”2″]U[/su_dropcap]nown G is a great card. This card was played in multiple decks in this format and is also included in this one. It can keep Claydol safe on the Bench from drag mechanics. It can also make it so your Active stays safe from any tricky attacks such as Ambipom G‘s Tail Code. Another benefit is that it is a Pokemon which means it can be searched for. You can even use your opponent’s Bebe’s Search or Roseanne’s Research with Telepass to grab this card. This is an overall good card and is an auto include.

Unown [G]

[su_dropcap size=”2″]D[/su_dropcap]usknoir is a new player killer. It takes a bit of experience to be able to navigate a Bench correctly versus Dark Palm. There are so many instances where people would make a small benching mistake that would turn the game into a win because of this card. An example of this that happened during the World Championship was when I was using Psychic Lock, and my opponent benched Unown G in an attempt to attach it to one of his Pokemon. However, because of Psychic Lock, the Unown G can’t use its Poke-Power – the increased Bench size let me use Dark Palm. Dusknoir can come out under Spiritomb because of Dusclops.


[su_dropcap size=”2″]L[/su_dropcap]ucian’s Assignment is another card that was huge in this format. Ambipom G was a very powerful card that was played in SP decks. It is a Dragonite and Garchomp counter firstly, but it also splash-hits Gardevoir decks with its Tail Code attack. This Energy manipulation can cause you to break Psychic Lock and give them the opportunity to come back into the game. The target of their attack is usually the Claydol that you have sitting on the bench. This means that Lucian’s Assignment can reverse the damage cause by Ambipom G – it can move the energy off Claydol and back onto an attacker. Once completed, you have effectively made them pass multiple turns with one Supporter card – a great value!

Lucian's Assignment

[su_dropcap size=”2″]E[/su_dropcap]xpert Belt is one of the best cards in the deck. It is certainly a double-edged-sword due to making the Pokemon worth two Prizes, but the extra 20 damage and HP is worth it because it makes Psychic Lock do 80 damage. This makes it so Gardevoir can-one shot Luxray GL and Garchomp C. Another thing you can do with Expert Belt is use it when your opponent is at one Prize left – the extra Prize doesn’t even matter then. Since there are very few gust effects in this format, you can make the final Pokemon that much harder to get through. This card is great and is a staple in this deck.

Expert Belt

[su_dropcap size=”2″]M[/su_dropcap]oonlight Stadium grants a free Retreat Cost to many of your Pokemon – this gives you a lot of tricky plays to work with. It combos with Gardevoir LV.X and Spiritomb. By having Spiritomb active, you can use Poke-Powers without the fear of getting hit by Power Spray. Then, you can retreat Spiritomb into a Gardevoir and use Psychic Lock. However, if you have a Gardevoir Active, then you can play Gardevoir LV.X and use Teleportation. This will bait out Power Spray or else Spiritomb will come Active and turn off Trainer cards anyway. The Pokemon selected are picked with Moonlight Stadium in mind. The Baltoy is Psychic because of Moonlight Stadium, instead of playing the Fighting one that does have the better attack.

Moonlight Stadium

Card Changes

While I would not have changed any card I played for the World Championship, that doesn’t mean the list is perfect for all situations. This list was built for the metagame at that time. If you are targeting certain decks, then the list will change accordingly. I’ll go through a few card changes that can be made.

[su_dropcap size=”2″]P[/su_dropcap]okemon Communication would be a good card to add. I would only add one or two of them in, but if you feel like the added consistency is wanted, then it’s a great card. With 25 Pokemon to trigger the effect, you can almost get any card you want. There is a downside to this card in this deck. The fact that this deck plays Spiritomb makes this card less good. This card is still worth mentioning if you want to make the deck even more consistent.

Pokemon Communication

[su_dropcap size=”2″]C[/su_dropcap]robat G is another card that can flex into this deck. If Jumpluff is running rampant then this card can really shut them down. Crobat G with Expert Belt puts Psychic Lock at 90 damage which is a one-shot against Jumpluff. Being able to one-shot Jumpluff in combination with Judge or Looker’s Investigation is a game-winning strategy versus the archetype. Crobat G is almost exclusively good against Jumpluff, so it is very situational.

Crobat G

[su_dropcap size=”2″]N[/su_dropcap]idoqueen is an interesting card that can be ran in here. If you are expecting more mirror matches, then this card is great. You can cycle between multiple Gardevoir while healing thanks to Nidoqueen. This card in combination with Azelf LV.X can crush mirror matches and is also good versus Gengar.


Key Matchups

Luxchomp: Even

This is probably the toughest matchup. You can get blown out really quickly if they draw well at the beginning. If they draw a way to get around Spiritomb such as Luxray GL LV.X or Garchomp C LV.X and multiple Double Colorless Energy then the game can be very rough. However, this is infrequent, and Spiritomb will usually get you a lot of value. This means that you generally have a few turns to use Darkness Grace to set up your Gardevoir or Gallade. Establishing the Psychic Lock early is important, but recognizing when to break it for Gallade or Machamp is a key skill in the matchup. Rushing Gallade early is also very strong as Luxray GL is weak to Gallade. You can one-shot Garchomp C LV.X and then after your Prizes are face up, you can still attack Luxray for one-shots. They will be forced to deal with your Gallade, giving you time to set up Gardevoir to lock them after Gallade goes down.

Garchomp CGarchomp C Lv.XLuxray GLLuxray GL Lv.X

Gyarados: Favorable

This matchup is pretty good. Gyarados’ game plan is to use Sableye to get Magikarp into the discard pile. This is generally done by comboing Pokemon Collector and Felicity’s Drawing. However, this means that Gardevoir will have a spread of Supporters to use for Telepass. It also means that your opponent’s deck is very hand-reliant. You can use Looker’s Investigation and Judge to interrupt their game plan long enough to gain a lead. Once Gardevoir is ahead, it is ahead for the rest of the game. It is important to note that Gyarados can one-shot Gardevoir if it has an Expert Belt. Using Gardevoir LV.X or your own Expert Belt will make it so Gardevoir will survive a hit.

Gyarados (DP Stormfront)SableyeFelicity's DrawingPokemon Collector

Jumpluff: Favorable

This deck is extremely reliant on Poke-Powers to play the game. Once the first Psychic Lock happens, Jumpluff’s chances of winning go down drastically. They will be unable to stream Jumpluff because of your Dusknoir, yet another thing that hurts them. They might even run out of attackers because of the combination of Dusknoir and Psychic Lock. This matchup is all about getting your board set up in time and not falling behind.

ClaydolCrobat GJumpluffUxie

Final Thoughts

Gardevoir is my favorite deck form this format. It is incredibly powerful with no bad matchups – it is a true 50-50 deck to play – player skill makes a huge difference. I came incredibly close to becoming the World Champion with it – that moment has become engraved in Pokemon history. I hope that if you get a chance to play this deck, you will be able to learn something from playing it. It can teach you so much about how to play Pokemon, from the sequencing to the macro-level strategy. Even playing against Gardevoir can teach you how to manage your resources properly. Thanks for taking a look into the past with me and have fun with the 2010 format.

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