Must Gardevoir ex play Champions Festival?
Updated: May 11
Champions Festival is expected to be a very popular Stadium card in Gardevoir ex decks, as it allows players to bump Path to the Peak while also providing some healing to reach higher damage ceilings with Gardevoir ex, Zacian V, and Drifloon or protect against damage-spreading tactics from cards like Sableye in Lost Box or the upcoming Ting-Lu ex.
So, could Cycling Road replace Champions Festival as the go-to Stadium card for Gardevoir ex decks?
A recently revealed stadium card from ‘Pokemon Card 151’ set in Japan has caught the attention of many Gardy players, with some believing it could spell the end of Champions Festival's grip on their wallets.
The question is, what is the ultimate stadium card for Gardevoir ex decks? Let's explore what options we have in the Paldea Evolved Format and Beyond!
Once during each player's turn, that player may discard 1 Basic Energy card from their hand to use this effect. If they do, they draw 1 card.
Stadium cards that let you discard cards to draw more cards have always been popular and have greatly contributed to the consistency of the decks they were played in. Tower of Darkness, Heat Factory, and Scorched Earth are just a few examples of these types of cards. However, Cycling Road takes a different approach, offering ease of activation in exchange for drawing just one card when you discard any one Basic Energy, this allows every deck that isn't Lugia VSTAR or Mew VMAX to gain some additional card draw.
While drawing just one random card may seem underwhelming, Cycling Road is still useful for its primary functions:
Discarding Basic Energy cards to accelerate decks that rely on the discard pile (eg. Flaaffy or Koraidon ex)
Being a Stadium to disrupt your opponent's strategy
For Gardevoir ex decks, Cycling Road is particularly useful because it can put Basic Psychic Energy in the discard pile to then accelerate with Psychic Embrace. It can also be used to get rid of pesky Stadium cards like Path to the Peak, which can disrupt the deck's strategy. For an evolution deck like Gardevoir ex, a single card that serves two roles is always valuable, especially when deck space is tight.
Will Cycling Road replace Champions Festival? It's possible, but there is another card coming in Paldea Evolved that might take its place.
Once during each player's turn, that player may search their deck for a Basic Pokémon that doesn't have a Rule Box and put it onto their Bench. That player then shuffles their deck.
Artazon has emerged as the most commonly used Stadium in successful Gardevoir ex decks in recent Japanese tournaments. Although Champions Festival's high cost of £1500 in Japan certainly affects its usage statistics, the reality is that decks that do not include this expensive card are still performing well. Some players argue that the consistency boost provided by Artazon makes it a better choice than Champions Festival, which doesn't aid in setup. Tord Reklev's EUIC-finalist Gardevoir ex deck has demonstrated that a consistent setup is crucial for winning, which suggests that Artazon, despite being a worse Nest Ball that also bumps Path to the Peak, may be a better option than Champions Festival, a worse Fresh Water Set that also bumps Path to the Peak.
The question then arises: could Cycling Road, which bumps Path to the Peak and is a worse Concealed Cards, have more excellent utility than Artazon? To be fair, if Artazon is inferior to Nest Ball since it cannot search for Zacian V or Radiant Greninja, Cycling Road is a significantly inferior version of Concealed Cards, yielding only half the draw and most likely not remaining in play as long as the shiny frog.
However, some players may argue that obtaining an extra Energy in the discard and potentially drawing a good card during the mid-game may sometimes be more beneficial than searching for a non-rule box Basic when no other useful options are available. On the other hand, you may not be in dire need of ways to discard Energy at this point in the game.
At the time of writing, we do not know how the cards from Pokemon Card 151 will be released internationally. Most likely the debate between Artazon and Cycling Road won't matter until after the World Championships in August.
Overall, I think I prefer Artazon because a reliable early-game setup is very important to me as a player, but perhaps a combination of two of the three Stadiums will strike the right balance while also preserving your bank account balance. I already have two copies of English Language Champions Festival, which I feel I have to use in a Gardevoir ex list at some point
What are your thoughts? Do you prefer more outs to Basic Pokemon, or would you rather discard Energy riding the Cycling Road? Or perhaps, despite the availability of budget-friendly options, you still prefer to power up your Drifloon to hit maximum damage with the power of a World Champion's Promo? Be sure to let me know in the comments or via our the Griffins Gaming Discord!