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Nikolas Campbell

First Impressions - Golisopod-GX/Zoroark-GX for the Standard Format

Nik shares his first impression of an archetype strengthened by Shining Legends: Golisopod/Zoroark.

10/30/2017 by Nikolas Campbell

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Hello 60cards readers! It's me Nik again and I'm glad to be back writing for you today. It has been a very long time since I wrote an article for you guys, but work got too hectic and I wasn’t able to keep up with Pokémon for about a year and half. Now that I have settled in with my job, I feel like it's time to come back for the 2017/2018 season. This season I have been to four League Cups in my area where I won one of them and topped the others. I also went to the Ft. Wayne Regionals, but I didn't finish well enough to get points. Right now, I am at 72 Championship points and I'm going to be able to go to a couple more League Cups before the end of this quarter to hard cap at 100 points. But that’s enough about me, let’s actually get into what I want to talk about today!


With the release of the mini set Shining Legends, many competitive players had only one real question, "We know how good Zoroark-GX is, but how good is Zoroark-GX going to be in standard format?" Now obviously by just reading one can tell that the card is great. The ability to draw two extra cards a turn and being able to hit 150 damage with a full bench and a choice band for just a Double Colorless is going to make players salivate. We can also look at the results of Japanese tournaments to see that it is dominating over there as well. So, if it’s doing well over there, it must do well over here, right? Well, let's look at deck I have been playtesting over the past week and I will give you my thoughts on the card in the Standard Format.

This archetype is not a new one. Golisopod-GX/Zoroark BREAKthrough has been shown to be a solid choice in the expanded format. My fellow teammate Aaron Tarbell has played the deck to multiple great finishes at some regionals this year and it's not hard to see why. Golisopod-GX is one the best one-energy attackers in the game, with great typing to boot. Zoroark is a great partner for this card because of its Stand In ability which can reset Golisopod-GX's First Impression attack and its Mind Jack attack can pick up knockouts that Golisopod-GX can't. We know this deck is good in expanded and will probably get better with Zoroark-GX, but why isn't it seen as much in standard? There could be many answers to this question, but I think it comes down to two main factors. The biggest factor is the consistency difference between both formats. Golisopod-GX needs cards like Acerola and Guzma pretty much every turn to help reset the attack. VS Seeker in expanded helps with that, but in standard you have to keep getting lucky with your draw supporters to draw into those cards, or you have to play cards like Octillery to dig for them, which another fellow teammate Dustin Zimmerman played in his standard format Golisopod-GX deck. The second factor is the metagame differences between both formats. In standard, Zoroark is not that great of an attacker, especially against the best deck in the format, Gardevoir-GX. Now, in theory Zoroark-GX should help with consistency for this archetype. I have found this to be true in my testing. I want go over the list I used for testing, as well as some possible tech choices for the deck.

First, I want to give credit to Dustin Zimmerman because this list is based on his Golisopod-GX/Octillery list that he has been doing well with at League Cups. Anyways, let's go over the list. 


4-3 Golisopod-GX 

The main of the attacker of the deck. Golisopod-GX has the best one energy attack in standard format, First Impression, and we want to take advantage of it every turn. 4-3 Golisopod-GX is a pretty standard line for this kind of deck, but you could try to find room for another Golisopod-GX if you feel it is necessary. Also, always play the Burning Shadows Wimpod. I still see people play the Wimpod from Guardians Rising for whatever reason and it's always wrong. The free retreat ability, even if it's only on the first turn, is always better. 

4-2/2 Zoroark Breakthrough/ Zoroark-GX 

The backbone of this deck, the Zoroarks help with both your consistency and damage output. You can switch the lineup if you want, and switch a Zoroark BKT to a third Zoroark-GX if you really want the consistency boost of the Trade ability, but that is up to you. Also, the Zorua from Shining Legends is the best Zorua you can play because of its Ram attack. 

3 Tapu Lele-GX 

It’s the best card in the game and I don't need to explain why. You could cut one of these if you wanted because of the consistency boost from Zoroark-GX, but you really need that turn one Brigette to get set up. 

1 Tapu Koko 

This card is mostly used for the free retreat so you can retreat your Wimpod first turn, send up Tapu Koko, then retreat for free next turn into a Golisopod-GX to use First Impression. Also, its Flying Flip attack is very good at softening up your opponent's board. As everyone knows, this card is a very solid in this list. 

1 Jolteon-EX 

This is a tech choice that you might want to cut, but Dustin played as a counter to Volcanion-EX decks and I wanted to try it out. It was okay at filling that role before most Volcanion lists started including multiple Enhanced Hammers because of Igor Costa's regionals-winning list. I have a couple other tech choices you can play that I will name at the end instead of this card, but it is an okay tech. 


Most of the Trainers in this list are pretty standard so I won't go over them, but you could mess around with the Supporter counts. If you like two Brigette, go ahead and play two. You can also alter the Acerola and Guzma numbers if you want because of Zoroark Breakthrough giving you access to the Stand In ability. It's really up to you to make the deck fit your playstyle.


4 Double Colorless/ 4 Rainbow/ 3 Grass 

The energy line up is also pretty standard so I won't go crazy explaining it. You need the Rainbow Energy for the Jolteon-EX and if needed in a pinch, Zoroark-GX's GX attack. 


These cards are up in the air as to whether they are good in this list, but I think they have a shot. 

Latios (Shining Legends

This is a new card as well and it might have a shot in making into other decks as well this one. Its Breakthrough attack is very similar to some good cards in the past like Landorus-EX. Being able to hit 30 damage to the active and 30 to a benched Latios  helps out a lot because Zoroark-GX caps out at 150 damage, so the 30 extra damage to two Pokémon that Latios provides can help you knock out big attackers like Volcanion-EX. Also, its second attack, which hits for 70, can be used with the help of a Choice Band to knock out Psychic weak Pokémon-GX like Espeon-GX. 

Golisopod (Guardians Rising) 

Dustin tried this in his list for one League Cup and he said it was alright. Being able to one-shot an EX or GX Pokemon with a Choice Band on a non-GX is pretty decent. It is the weakest tech that you probably could play, but it's an ok choice for the deck. 

Hoopa Shining Legends 

Since this deck plays Rainbow Energy, you can be pretty creative with your tech choices. This is probably this weirdest choice for this deck but it can fill the role that Jolteon-EX has. With its Scoundrel Guard ability, it can be pretty good against a couple decks like Gardevoir-GX, Volcanion-EX, and Metagross-GX, but it does have some weaknesses like Gallade in Gardevoir-GX. Despite that, if they can't get their non-EX/GX out, then they will struggle against Hoopa. 

Now let's take a look the most important part of this article, the matchups.  



This matchup is pretty good for this deck because of Golisopod-GX being such an energy-efficient attacker. The reason the deck before was struggling a little bit in standard against Gardevoir was because of consistency. Now that you have Zoroark BKT to always have a way to reset First Impression and Zoroark-GX to draw cards, consistency should never be a problem and you should be able to steamroll Gardevoir. Just make sure you just watch out for Gallade because that is the only way that Gardevoir-GX can come back in this matchup. 

Drampa-GX/ Garbodor

This matchup is also pretty good for this deck because of the Zoroark and Zoroark-GX. Zoroark has always been a great attacker against the Garbodor because they want to fill their bench with Trubbish. Zoroark BKT should have no trouble knocking out Drampa-GX and Tapu Lele-GX. Also, Zoroark-GX is very good against the Garbodor from Guardians Rising because it is psychic-resistant and is able to one-shot Garbodor as well.


This is the worst matchup for this deck, but the Zoroark line can really help. Zoroark BKT can be really good against Volcanion because they tend to fill their bench. I will say if you think Fire will be a big part of the metagame I would put this deck aside.   

Xerneas Break 

Another bad matchup for a couple of different reasons. One is that Golisopod-GX is a very poor attacker against the deck because it cannot one-shot a Xerneas, even in its basic form. Also, both Zoroark cannot one-shot a Xerneas Break because of Xerneas's Dark resistance. If you're expecting this deck to see a lot of play in your area, I would not play Golisopod/Zoroark. 


This deck is a pretty good matchup because Metagross-GX has a very hard time getting knockouts against your attackers. This matchup is pretty similar to Gardevoir-GX, but Metagross-GX doesn’t have any good backup attackers like Gallade. So, if you're expecting a lot of Metagross-GX in your area I would definitely would suggest Zoroark/Golisopod.

Final Thoughts 

Now, this deck isn't the prefect list and it definitely needs more testing, but something similar to this should be very good in the upcoming weeks before the release of Crimson Invasion. Based on testing Zoroark-GX in the standard format, do I think it will be as good as it is in Japan? It's still hard to say, and I think I need couple more testing sessions to have a definitive answer, but I really do think this type of deck will be the best home for Zoroark for a couple of reasons. One is that I don't think you will be able to make a straight Zoroark-GX deck without cards like Sky Field to boost up your damage. Two, I don't think the draw support is good enough to just play it as a draw support Pokémon. And finally, other than this deck, I don't know of another good partner for Zoroark-GX in our Standard format and while I'm really trying to think every possible partner, someone better than me will think of something. 

Well, anyways, I'm glad to be writing again and hopefully I will be able to keep up with a writing schedule and get all of the 60cards readers what they want. I want to say thanks again to Dustin Zimmerman and Aaron Tarbell for letting me base my list on theirs. If anyone has any questions please don't be shy to ask and I will try to answer them. Thanks again for reading and until next time, this Nik and I hope you enjoyed the article.    

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