The Hex Maniac, Red Card Combo of Standard — Glaceon-GX with Garbodor
Zoroark-GX with Hex Maniac and Red Card just won a Regionals in Expanded. Can Glaceon-GX and Red Card do the same in Standard?
02/12/2018 by Caleb Gedemer
Riley Hulbert just won Dallas, Texas Regionals in the Expanded format using a Zoroark-GX deck that relied on pulling off a combination of Red Card, followed by Hex Maniac to ice wins against Ability-based opponents. While Hex Maniac isn’t a possibility in the Standard format, the new Glaceon-GX from Ultra Prism stops Abilities from your opponent’s Pokemon-EX/GX. Along with Red Card, especially on the first turn of the game, this can grab you a quick win from your opponent bricking. Is this a cruel way to win? Sure, but a win is a win in a game with high stakes for so many players.
Obviously, the Hex Maniac and Red Card combination in the Expanded format was the inspiration I needed for this idea, but in general I wanted a way to push Glaceon-GX over the top if you were able to get the first turn Energy Evolution Eevee, a Water Energy, and a way to get the eventual Glaceon-GX into the Active. That set up alone is crippling for most decks, especially if you win the coin flip and go first. Many decks these days rely on Tapu Lele-GX to get Brigette, let alone another Supporter, and none of that will be possible when Freezing Gaze is live.
Glaceon-GX is only a shutdown mechanism for Pokemon-EX/GX, and that’s where Garbodor comes in. Yes, it’s a little redundant, but even if your opponent finds a Field Blower, he or she will still have to deal with Glaceon-GX. Frost Bullet and Polar Spear GX are great attacks, and as long as you can tank it out for a while, you’ll be able to take all your Prizes. Disruption cards and Ability lock let you slow the pace of the game down and do what you need to do to attack a lot and get the Knockouts you need. Here’s my list…
Garbodor / Glaceon-GX
- 4x Eevee
- 3x Glaceon GX
- 2x Tapu Lele GX
- 1x Trubbish
- 1x Garbodor
- 1x Marshadow
- 4x Professor Sycamore
- 4x Cynthia
- 3x Guzma
- 1x Team Flare Grunt
- 1x Lusamine
- 1x Delinquent
- 1x Cyrus Prism Star
- 1x Brigette
- 4x Ultra Ball
- 4x Red Card
- 4x Float Stone
- 2x Pal Pad
- 2x Enhanced Hammer
- 2x Choice Band
- 1x Super Rod
- 1x Parallel City
- 8x Water Energy
- 4x Double Colorless Energy
You want to hit the first turn Glaceon-GX as often as possible. In order to improve your odds of doing that, you’re going to want four Eevee to have the highest chance possible to open with it. Energy Evolution is what makes this deck work, so don’t ever think about switching to a different Eevee.
You’re not going to be able to use four Glaceon-GX in a game, and two would be two too few. It’s your main attacker, so you want to not be put in a pickle if you Prize one or two, so three is the most optimal count. This is pretty similar to Espeon-GX decks of old, where three Espeon-GX was the way to go.¨
2 Tapu Lele-GX
You want to give yourself the best chance to start with just an Eevee, so playing Tapu Lele-GX is a little annoying, but you still want to do it. Having ways to grab one of your many tech Supporters is great to have access to, so Tapu Lele-GX should still be played. Two makes the most sense, although I could see going down to just a single copy, perhaps.
This is another casualty of the strapping on Basic Pokemon. A single Trubbish works fine when you don’t Prize it, but two would obviously be very nice to alleviate that issue.
The same problem with Trubbish applies here too, as Prizing your Garbodor can be killer. You could maybe play two Garbodor, as opposed to two Trubbish, to solve one Prizing problem for at least one piece of the line. Remember, more Basics is unfavorable since you want to have the best chance to open up with Eevee as possible to get the Freezing Gaze off right away.
This is a cute tech to “Red Card” your opponent at the expense of using an Ultra Ball. It’s also a decent way to refresh your own hand and get more cards to dig for things you need. I’m flirting a bit with cutting it, but it’s been solid at times and gives you more outs to the disruption factor you’re looking for on your first turn.
4 Professor Sycamore
You want to hit the first turn Red Card, so Professor Sycamore is the best way to have that hard draw potential and get there.
I max out on four Cynthia as a replacement for N in this deck since you don’t want to give your opponent a bigger hand size than what Red Card drops him or her to.
Guzma is vital to this deck to buy you time and put bigger Retreat Pokemon from your opponent’s Bench into the Active spot. From there, you can snipe extra damage to the Bench with Frost Bullet and set up multiple Knockouts at once.
1 Team Flare Grunt
Energy disruption keeps you in games where your opponent can get ahead if he or she can power up big attacks. More copies of Team Flare Grunt or even Plumeria would be nice to keep Basic Energy out of play and do the work that Enhanced Hammer cannot.
Two Lusamine would be better so that you can pull off a “Lusamine loop” and basically have infinite Supporters. One is still decent to get back the exact Supporters you want in a pinch and even recover your Parallel City.
This card isn’t amazing, but when it works, it works. Red Card can put your opponent down to just four cards and then by discarding three of those, your opponent can be forced into some awkward decisions. The goal of this deck is to be disruptive, and this card certainly fits that bill.
1 Cyrus ◇
As a Water type deck, Glaceon-GX can make use of Cyrus ◇. If your opponent has some big Pokemon charging up on the Bench, Cyrus ◇ can punish that and it also helps you pick certain Pokemon to focus your Frost Bullet damage on.
Brigette isn’t particularly awesome in this deck, and honestly this slot could be better as a Nest Ball, since that’s all you really need. As long as you open with an Eevee, you’re really only going to want a Trubbish, and Nest Ball can get that anyways. Having multiple Eevee on the Bench is a nice luxury to have, but not necessary by any means.
4 Ultra Ball
You want as many ways to get your Eevee as you can, and Ultra Ball serves multiple purposes as it can also get Tapu Lele-GX to boost your consistency and find tech Supporters.
4 Red Card
Four Red Card is to increase your odds of finding it on your first turn, as well as to have a consistent stream of them throughout the game. Without N, you’re going to want to max out on these to keep putting your opponent back time and time again.
4 Float Stone
Having multiple outs to getting Eevee into the Active spot for times you don’t start with it is crucial. Float Stone also is the perfect partner to activate Garbodor and Garbotoxin, so you’re going to want a full set of four for all those reasons.
2 Pal Pad
Pal Pad is pretty sweet and can get you back your tech Supporters and create a consistent stream of draw Supporters through the game as well. One of these could maybe be dropped for a copy of N, for times that your opponent has taken more than two Prizes and you want to N to drop him or her even lower than you would with Red Card.
2 Enhanced Hammer
Disrupting is the name of the game with this deck and Enhanced Hammer is one awesome way to do just that. Almost every deck has Special Energy, and you can get an advantage right away by being able to stop your opponent from attacking as easily as he or she otherwise would be able to.
2 Choice Band
For Pokemon with more than 180 HP, like Zoroark-GX, for instance, you’re going to need Choice Band to deal two-hit Knockouts with Frost Bullet. This is very important so that you can use your GX attack on a more valuable Pokemon instead of “wasting” it on what could otherwise have been just a two-hit Knockout if you had Choice Band.
1 Super Rod
With just one Garbodor and one Trubbish, having a Super Rod is useful to get one of the pieces back. Aside from that, Water Energy are nice to have and getting some of them back can be nice. This is a cuttable card and might be better served as a Rescue Stretcher.
1 Parallel City
This can reduce your own damage output, but that’s sometimes a good thing that you want to happen so that you can spend more time using Frost Bullet to punish your opponent’s Benched Pokemon. In addition to that, you might want to reduce your own Bench to remove some heavily damaged Pokemon and remove potential Prizes from your opponent. This card is very versatile, and with Delinquent in the deck, you’re going to want a Stadium of your own.
8 Water Energy
Eight Energy is the best way to have a strong chance of getting an Energy Evolution off with your Eevee on your first turn. Aside from that, though, they’re a bit of a nuisance since you don’t really need that many aside from the odds improvement. That’s a space measure that you have to take, however, since getting Energy Evolution going is critical to winning games, especially for a deck that depends on Glaceon-GX and its Ability.
4 Double Colorless Energy
Frost Bullet and Polar Spear GX both are assisted by Double Colorless Energy, so including a full set of them is an easy decision.
Garbodor with Trashalanche and Rainbow Energy
This is interesting, but you’d have to make some unfortunate cuts to the list to fit Rainbow Energy in. I think taking out a single Water Energy is as low as you could possibly go on your Water Energy count, and from there you would have to look for other cuttable cards. If I were to play Trashalanche, I would want more Trubbish too, so it might become too much of a hassle to fit into the deck.
In order to better streamline your attackers, Aqua Patch could be strong to give you the option to use more Glaceon-GX in a game where you might otherwise fall behind on attacks if you miss an Energy attachment. I haven’t run into many problems like that since this deck is so naturally oppressive, but Aqua Patch could even be good in a count of one or two copies.
Since not every deck is weak to Enhanced Hammer, Crushing Hammer could have a place in this deck to shore things up against decks without a reliance on Double Colorless Energy, for instance.
Acerola, Bodybuilding Dumbbells, Lana, Pokemon Center Lady, Super Potion, or Super Scoop Up
Healing cards are interesting in this deck. I originally tried Lana, but it wasn’t very good. The thought is that if you can tank out three-hit Knockouts against opposing Pokemon, that you’ll be able to wear your opponent down enough to get ahead on Prizes and get into games that you may have fallen behind in. There’s obviously a lot of ways to do this, and I might even be missing some, so it’s certainly an option worth considering, it’s just hard to determine which would be the most optimal.
Sometimes you lose Double Colorless Energy quickly, especially against Enhanced Hammer drops, so having access to even more of them could be a nice resource to have. This card is okay, so I’m not opposed to playing it, although you can get extra Water Energy onto a Glaceon-GX on turns you’re ahead to shore up the need for Special Charge, so it might not be worth it, even.
Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX | Even
You’re going to want to get Garbotoxin live as soon as you can to stop Octillery and its Abyssal Hand, because then your opponent will have a hard time setting up. This matchup is all about two-hit Knockouts for you, coupled with the occasional one-hit Knockout with Polar Spear GX. Frost Bullet can take you two-hit Knockouts with a Choice Band, so that’s the combination you’ll be shooting for. Enhanced Hammer is very strong in this matchup as well since you can reduce your opponent’s damage output and even make it harder for him or her to attack by removing Strong Energy. A way to heal damage could be very nice to have in this matchup, since Buzzwole-GX relies a lot on its spread damage. This matchup is back and forth, but you can find opportunities to get on top.
Empoleon | Even
Depending on which version of Empoleon your opponent is using, this can be better or worse. The Zoroark-GX version you’ll do better against since you stop Zoroark-GX with Freezing Gaze, which is really going to hurt your opponent’s consistency, but the straight Empoleon version with Octillery will probably be a little better off against you. Of course, going for Garbotoxin is customary, and spreading damage in a fashion as to take multiple Knockouts is what you should be aiming for. Try to limit your Bench as much as you can so that you can strap down the damage that Empoleon won’t be doing as much.
Garbodor / Buzzwole-GX | Slightly Favorable
Garbodor with Buzzwole-GX is a lot more reliant on Special Energy, so you can use Enhanced Hammer to buy time and get ahead. You’re going to be taking two-hit Knockouts, and again, whenever possible, Polar Spear GX should take a one-hit Knockout of your choosing if you place your snipe damage correctly. This matchup is easier than against Lycanroc-GX because your opponent doesn’t have Octillery to draw out of Red Card hands and he or she will probably not be playing Max Elixir, either.
Garbodor / Glaceon-GX | Even
The mirror matchup is a matter of whomever is playing healing cards and whoever gets the first string of attacks off. If you miss a beat with attachments, you’ll probably lose, so prioritize building up as many attackers as you can. If you find an opportunity to leave your opponent without a follow up attacker, make sure to take it, because in doing so you’ll be able to get ahead. Red Card can be killer as well to put your opponent back right away.
Garbodor / Golisopod-GX | Slightly Unfavorable
Golisopod-GX primarily attacks with Grass Energy, so you’re not going to get ahead by Energy disruption. You’ll want to spam Red Card and hope your opponent breaks the Acerola chain at some point, otherwise you’ll likely lose. There aren’t too many ways to get a lead in this matchup, aside from an early Frost Bullet to put 30 on a Golisopod-GX or Wimpod, and then follow that up with a Polar Spear GX with a Choice Band for 180 and a Knockout. You’re a little more clunky than your opponent and you don’t have as many ways to heal, so this is a matchup that’s worth looking at extensively if you’re on the fence about healing cards, too.
Garchomp | Even
Champion's Blade can sweep you pretty quickly, but thankfully you have Garbodor to shut down Lucario and its Ability and Energy disruption to make it harder for your opponent stream attacks. Red Card can be crucial to force your opponent into a turn where he or she can’t play a Cynthia either to take a one-hit Knockout. The biggest thing this deck brings to the table is the fact that it can draw cards and also disrupt an opponent. N is an amazing card, but for a more clunky card like Glaceon-GX that requires two Energy attachments, you’re going to want to be attaching every turn and powering up more attackers.
Gardevoir-GX / Max Potion | Favorable
Without Secret Spring, Gardevoir-GX isn’t a very good card. It’s inconsistent, slow, and even weak! Glaceon-GX can efficiently take two-hit Knockouts on Gardevoir-GX and even set up one-hit Knockouts with Polar Spear GX. Freezing Gaze is absolutely killer against a Gardevoir-GX deck, but to be safe, and to defend against Octillery, you’re still going to want to set up Garbodor. Max Potion will never be a threat in this matchup since your opponent won’t really have a way to attack after discarding his or her Energy if he or she decides to do that. Your disruptive cards are fantastic in this matchup too to deny even more attacks from Gallade or Gardevoir-GX.
Gardevoir-GX / Sylveon-GX | Slightly Favorable
Sylveon-GX can help your opponent get more of the cards he or she needs with ease, so for that reason, this matchup is a little more tough than that of the Max Potion build. Nonetheless, Freezing Gaze is still broken, and you’re going to be just fine. Frost Bullet can even take Knockouts on Ralts that are on the Bench, so get in there and start swinging as fast as you can.
Greninja BREAK | Even
Garbodor is a must in this matchup and you’re going to want to use your Cyrus ◇ ideally, too. That way, you can limit the number of Greninja that your opponent gets to used and be able to focus your damage on certain ones on your opponent's Bench. Frost Bullet has to take two-hit Knockouts, so you’re not exactly going to be dominating your opponent’s Pokemon, so that makes this matchup a little more tough. Red Card can draw your opponent into a bad hand, so be on the lookout for that. Polar Spear GX can take down a Greninja BREAK that has 30 damage on it, so timing a Frost Bullet to set that up is key.
Magnezone / Dusk Mane Necrozma-GX | Even
Metal Pokemon are generally decent against you, but your Garbodor can pull a lot of weight. Solgaleo ◇ is pretty good against Garbodor, even still, but you can manage. Red Card is killer in the opening turns, as it is with most matchups, and if you can take down Magnemite before they Evolve, you might not even need to get Garbodor online for Garbotoxin. Dusk Mane Necrozma-GX is your opponent’s main attacker and does so much damage that it’s more about just avoiding it attacking altogether rather than being weak to Metal since you’d be knocked out either way.
Metagross-GX / Dusk Mane Necrozma-GX | Favorable
This matchup is way easier than the Magnezone one since your opponent’s entire deck gets shut down by Freezing Gaze. Metagross-GX is just a worse version of Magnezone, so you shouldn’t have any worries going into this. Just focus on knocking down a Metagross-GX if one ever gets powered up; Polar Spear GX should help you out in that goal.
Vikavolt / Tapu Bulu-GX | Even
Garbodor is your go-to in this matchup. Early Red Card drops will make it very hard for your opponent set up Vikavolt, let alone find Energy attachments from hand even if he or she does. Garbotoxin should be your first priority, and then just focus on taking two-hit Knockouts. You can pull up a Pokemon with a high Retreat, too, to buy time and get more damage on Benched Pokemon.
Volcanion | Favorable
Not only do you shut off Steam Up, but you can take down any Pokemon in a Volcanion deck, aside from Ho-Oh-GX, with Frost Bullet alone. This matchup is very easy, and with a Choice Band and 30 damage on a Ho-Oh-GX from Frost Bullet, you can even take a Knockout with Polar Spear GX to finish things off. I can’t think of an easier matchup for this deck in all honesty.
Zoroark-GX / Decidueye-GX | Favorable
You stop the Abilities of both of your opponent's main Pokemon, so this match is a breeze. It’s not as easy as Volcanion, but it’s not far behind. Just get out there and start attacking once you shut off Abilities of Pokemon-EX/GX with Freezing Gaze, and the rest should go dashingly. Enhanced Hammer should win you the game if all else fails, too.
Zoroark-GX / Glaceon-GX | Slightly Favorable
Your opponent is going to be playing a lot of fluff in addition to Glaceon-GX because Zoroark-GX won’t contribute much other than just attacking since Freezing Gaze will be shutting it down. Red Card can just ice you games in combination with Enhanced Hammer. If you’re ever struggling with any of these Zoroark-GX variants, you might want to add another Enhanced Hammer, or even two more, to make things even better for you on paper.
Zoroark-GX / Golisopod-GX | Slightly Favorable
This is the toughest Zoroark-GX matchup since Golisopod-GX can attack with Grass Energy and you won’t be able to remove them with Enhanced Hammer. Against, as usually, Freezing Gaze is going to be devastating for your opponent since he or she will need to rely solely on Supporter-based draw to get the cards he or she wants. Try to target down Wimpod before they get to Evolve to give yourself an even greater advantage. If you can eliminate non-Zoroark-GX threats, then you’ll just have to deal with a Pokemon that tops out at 150 damage (with a Choice Band) and that same Pokemon also happens to be extremely weak to Enhanced Hammer.
Zoroark-GX / Greninja BREAK | Favorable
This is one of the most clunky decks in the format, and without Zoroark-GX, it’s practically unplayable without Frogadier like traditional Greninja BREAK decks. Frost Bullet should make easy work of your opponent’s deck, and you should be able to take multiple Knockouts in the same turn after setting up some math with your Bench damaging snipe. Like against the Zoroark-GX / Golisopod-GX matchup, try to focus on taking down everything that isn’t Zoroark-GX first, and the rest should play itself.
Zoroark-GX / Lycanroc-GX | Favorable
Your opponent’s deck is extremely weak to Enhanced Hammer and Freezing Gaze. The combination of both of those in the same deck is going to spell doom, and Red Card should make it even harder for your opponent. Make sure to limit your Bench a bit to play around Dangerous Rogue GX, if that option ever even presents itself for your opponent.
Zoroark-GX with Glaceon-GX is probably the Glaceon-GX deck that you’re most likely to face at an upcoming event. Here’s a look at a solid list…
Zoroark-GX / Glaceon-GX
- 4x Eevee
- 3x Glaceon GX
- 3x Zorua
- 3x Zoroark GX
- 2x Tapu Lele GX
- 1x Espeon EX
- 3x Cynthia
- 3x Brigette
- 3x Acerola
- 2x N
- 2x Guzma
- 1x Professor Sycamore
- 1x Cyrus Prism Star
- 4x Ultra Ball
- 4x Puzzle of Time
- 2x Float Stone
- 2x Enhanced Hammer
- 2x Choice Band
- 2x Aqua Patch
- 1x Field Blower
- 1x Parallel City
- 7x Water Energy
- 4x Double Colorless Energy
I want to mention a few more things about possible inclusions… Peeking Red Card could be solid in this deck in situations where your opponent has a hand that has four or less cards. In situations where your opponent has a two-card hand (roughly), you can reasonably figure that one of those is an out to draw cards. That said, if you shuffle those two in and force your opponent to get a new hand of two, he or she is highly unlikely to re-draw that same draw out. You can even check before doing so by looking at your opponent’s hand with the effect of the card to check your hypothesis.
This deck is based around a degenerate strategy, I realize that. Unfortunately, with Glaceon-GX in the format, turn one luck-based draws may become more of a game plan for more and more decks. This Glaceon-GX has the tools to win, there is no doubt in my mind. I might focus on trying to fit in a thicker Garbodor line, though. The biggest problem is getting stuck with Basics that aren’t Eevee in your Active spot starting off.
Alright everyone, this will be my last piece before Collinsville, Illinois Regionals! I hope you enjoyed reading about this deck; there are a lot of new archetypes out there and this one is one of the best that I’ve tested so far. Good luck in all your endeavors, catch you later!
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03/20/2019 by Daniel Altavilla // Danny goes into detail on his Collinsville Regional experience and discusses the future of Standard + his play moving... (+26)