At the expense of being a one-note blog, I’m going to dedicate yet another discussion to Decidueye/Vileplume. Although I promise I'll stop talking about this deck as much (!!!), it's only natural we work together to stop the monster we created.

Today, we’ll be going over a few of the most popular cards to defeat Decidueye/Vileplume. Our discussion will include why each card is good, how easy it is to use and fit each card into a deck, and the drawbacks of each option.

Wobbuffet GEN (reprint of Wobbuffet PHF)

(I'm a pretty girl...)

Why it works: The core of the Decidueye/Vileplume deck is two Abilities: Feather Arrow, to deal Damage; and Irritating Pollen, to shut off Items. Bring up a Wobbuffet, though, and its own Ability will shut off the Decidueye player’s Grass Abilities!

Ease of Use
: Wobbuffet is a unique Ability counter in that unlike other cards on this list, it can start working before you’ve even played a turn. Wobbuffet’s greatest strength is its potential to stop an explosive turn one from a Decidueye player going first. The challenge in playing Wobbuffet depends on how you use it after the first turn. You won’t always want to bench your Wobbuffet the moment you draw into it, and you’ll definitely want to be careful about when to promote it!

Wobbuffet can in fact be used against you by the Decidueye/Vileplume player. A perfect example of this was when I was play-testing against a Turbo Darkrai list utilizing Wobbuffet specifically to beat me. I had to get out a turn one Vileplume without a Decidueye, and was initially in top deck mode to get out of my self-induced hole. However, as soon as my opponent promoted Wobbuffet, I was able to play Trainers’ Mail past my own Item lock, grab a Sycamore, set up multiple Decidueye, Lysandre out the Wobbuffet the next turn, and immediately take back control of the game. Ouch!

Also, I think Wobbuffet is easily teched against. Standard and Expanded lists of Decidueye can run Silent Lab without too much trouble, potentially negating its usefulness.

Garbodor BKP (or DRX in Expanded)

(I'm not a pretty girl...)

Why it works: Same as Wobbuffet, except it potentially lasts for the duration of the game. Garbodor’s actually been the proto-counter to Decidueye before it was even played, and is in part the reason why people run Beedrill, Meowth, or Xerosic in lists (depending on format).

Ease of Use: Garbodor is generally pretty easy to splash into lists in both formats, to the point where its presence in Standard is a practical “build-a-rogue workshop.” Considering many lists want to run Float Stone and Olympia or AZ as it is, placing a simple 2-2 or even 2-1 line of Garbodor can work wonders.

Drawbacks: The two main problems with Garbodor are that it takes time to build up, and it requires maintenance of a Float Stone. The first problem is at the heart of why players in Standard tech Meowth Fates Collide or even tech nothing at all, because if you can keep Trubbish from ever evolving, why even worry about countering Garbodor head-on?  The second problem – keeping that Float Stone stuck on poor ole Garb – is why people run Xerosic or Beedrill.

For Beedrill, it’s honestly pretty tough to maintain Float Stone into perpetuity. But if all you’re worried about is Expanded, where people don’t have the same pressure to run a normally bad EX card like Beedrill, then remember this relationship of cards we discussed in my tournament report from Collinsville:

1. Garb shuts off Abilities;
2. When you discard the Tool with a Vileplume in play, you win back your Item lock;
3. To beat the newfound Item lock, Hex to get back your Items, and then attach a Float Stone in that narrow, one-turn window of time.

Speaking of…

Hex Maniac

(I actually am a girl.)

Why it works: Unlike Garbodor and Wobbuffet, which can be shut off through various means, Hex Manic is Ability lock through an unstoppable Supporter card! When run in a count of two or maybe even more, it’ll be hard for you to miss the Hex Maniac at least once a game.

Ease of Use: Merely playing a Hex Maniac is simple; timing it right, however, is key. I think the best points to use Hex are either at the very start of a game when going first, at crucial moments where you’re about to be Knocked Out by Feather Arrows, or when breaking out of the Item lock can result in an explosion either the same turn or the next. Timing the Hex is a little easier in Expanded because of better draw Supporters like Colress to immediately precede it, but thanks to Dark Patch and Max Elixir, a well-timed Hex Maniac can also set up several Attackers.

One last note…grabbing your Hex Maniac back the same turn you play it via VS Seeker is great!

Drawbacks: Aside from obviously taking up your Supporter for the turn, Hex Maniac forces you into many situations where you can’t really follow up with anything big the same turn. Quite often you’ll have to wait a turn before mounting your comeback, and if your strategy involves using Sycamore to dig for more Energy and Pokémon, then you may just get your hand disrupted by a card like N.

Silent Lab

(I am nothingness...)

Why it works: Don’t think you need to bother with the Stage Two Abilities as much, or just want a more universally useful card? Run Silent Lab! Shut off your opponents’ Shaymin EX’s and Jirachi EX, more likely than not forcing their early game to a grinding halt. Although Decidueye/Vileplume is an attrition deck that benefits from longer, drawn-out games, it above all wants that incredible turn one with multiple Stage Two Pokémon. Without Shaymin EX, that’s easier said than done.

Ease of Use: Like Hex, it’s pretty easy to put into play, but you’ll have to be sure it doesn’t disrupt yourself too much in the process.

Drawbacks: Well…it shuts off your own Shaymin EX or other Basic Pokémon draw/search, so that’s not good. It also doesn’t do anything to address the main threat, which is of course the Abilities of Decidueye and Vileplume. Whereas good playing with Wobbuffet can make it useful in any point of the game, Silent Lab’s utility is almost entirely about disrupting their early game draw. While I can foresee stealing a win thanks to combining Silent Lab with N in the late game, this will be too rare an occurrence to even justify the inclusion, as you will be playing under constant Item lock.

Pokémon Evac (AZ + Olympia)

(I'm ALL woman.)

Why they work
: One of the most sophisticated tactics a Decidueye player has at their disposal is the capability of bringing up a high Retreat Cost Pokémon, leaving it in the active position, and slowly chipping away at your Benched threats. A key way around this is having some way to get the Active liberated under Item lock – namely AZ or Olympia, depending on which format you’re in.

Ease of Use: Of all the cards on this list, I think these are perhaps the easiest for any player to time right. What can be a more difficult decision is knowing when not to Discard them before you need to play them, such as when choosing a card to get rid of on the first turn for Ultra Ball, or when dumping the card for Sycamore. This decision is usually pretty context-dependent, but generally you would benefit by learning to keep these cards as opposed to discard them. The main exception is if you are reasonably sure that you can VS Seeker for the hate card before Vileplume comes into play.

Drawbacks: Other than AZ discarding your Energy in Expanded, there really are none except for using your Supporter slot for the turn. AZ can actually produce some hilarious board positions where you punish a Decidueye player’s careful planning with just a simple evac – sorry, buddy, but no easy buckets!

Supporter Energy Denial (Xerosic + Team Flare Grunt)

(We're both too androgynous to tell what we are! Hurray!!!)

Why they work
: Like many decks, Decidueye/Vileplume runs a low energy count. Discard those Energy, however, and you may force the Decidueye player into a position where they must rely exclusively on Feather Arrow to win – a tall task to accomplish.

Ease of Use: As with other cards on the list, timing is crucial, but you also need to be smart about which Energy you discard. Nearly every Decidueye/Vileplume list will either run 7 or 8 Energy total, so in a best two of three, you’ll need to keep track of how many Grass and Double Colorless your opponent runs. This knowledge will inform you on whether to discard a Grass or a DCE in those crucial spots with Team Flare Grunt. Choose right and win; choose wrong and lose…no pressure, right???

Drawbacks: Once again, there aren’t any fantastic drawbacks to worry about with these cards –they’re just two Supporter cards that don’t really mess with your own setup in any way. See Olympia/AZ for knowing when to Discard or keep.