02/28/2019 by Jimmy Pendarvis
Hello everyone! My name is Jimmy Pendarvis, and I am excited to be writing my second article ever for 60 cards! The past few weeks have been super busy for me. Things started off with a long trip to the Oceania International Championships, where I eventually bombed with the same Zapdos list that Isaiah Williams took down the event with! I was super proud of him, and really glad that DDG picked up another win. From there, I returned back to Florida for all of two days before heading to Collinsville for another regional championships. Despite not having any time to test, I was super confident in Zoroark/Lycanroc/Lucario headed into the tournament, and I managed to pick up a top sixteen finish. Congratulations to 60 cards very own, Zach Lesage for winning the event! I am happy for my teammate, and can only hope that this will get him to move on from busted blowns. Anyways, I just returned from the St. Louis Regional Championships, so I will be going over the event and everything that goes with that.
- 4x Zoroark GX
- 4x Zorua
- 2x Lycanroc GX
- 1x Rockruff
- 1x Rockruff
- 2x Lucario GX
- 2x Riolu
- 2x Tapu Lele GX
- 1x Alolan Muk
- 1x Alolan Grimer
- 1x Ditto Prism Star
- 1x Oranguru
- 4x Lillie
- 2x Guzma
- 2x Acerola
- 1x Cynthia
- 1x Judge
- 1x Mallow
- 4x Pokémon Communication
- 4x Nest Ball
- 4x Ultra Ball
- 1x Rescue Stretcher
- 1x Pal Pad
- 1x Field Blower
- 1x Choice Band
- 1x Counter Gain
- 2x Viridian Forest
- 4x Double Colorless Energy
- 3x Fighting Energy
- 1x Rainbow Energy
This is certainly not a card that has been popular in Zoroark GX (SLG; 53) lately, but it seemed like one that would be really useful heading into the event. At the last major standard event, we saw various stall decks terrorize the meta in Roanoke. Additionally, multiple Vileplume decks received a ton of hype leading up to the event. All of these matchups are completely flipped by Oranguru (UPR; 114) , turning them from near autlosses into near autowins. This Oranguru (UPR; 114) is actually a decent basic to have access to against Zapdos (TM; 40) , too. At the end of the game, you will still need to have a full board of Pokemon in order to KO Zapdos (TM; 40) , but you don't really want to bench low HP basics such as Zorua (SLG; 52) , so Oranguru (UPR; 114) is a nice bench sitter at that stage in the game.
Speaking of the Zapdos (TM; 40) deck, these are the tools you will use to win the matchup. Ditto Prism Star (LT; 154) is another key card in the matchup, but that would be in your deck no matter what. Alolan Grimer (TM; 83) allows you to guarantee being able to get Alolan Muk (SUM; 58) into play when you bench it at the same time as Ditto Prism Star (LT; 154) . Once Alolan Muk (SUM; 58) is on the board, Zapdos (TM; 40) decks really fail to keep the game going, and usually get outlasted.
Judge (FLI; 108) is obviously a lot easier to be included in a deck like Zoroark GX (SLG; 53) , where you can draw a ton of cards with Trade afterwards, than a deck like Zapdos (TM; 40) that needs all the draw power it can get. With that being said, hand disruption is something I missed in a lot of my standard games, so I welcomed the inclusion of Judge (FLI; 108) with open arms. I am a big fan of this card in Zoroark GX (SLG; 53) decks, I even played four at a regionals earlier this year!
I have always hated on Mallow (GRI; 127) on the past, but it finally made it's way into my deck for a tournament, and I think Mallow (GRI; 127) finally fits well into Zoroark GX (SLG; 53) decks in the current meta. The list plays quite a few singleton cards that are used to pull off important plays, so Mallow (GRI; 127) just seems like an obviously good inclusion. In the past it felt too slow, and I think that can be contributed to the lack of situations where one card can make the difference between a win and a loss. I used Mallow (GRI; 127) a ton this weekend, even in a weird play on stream where I used it to put two fighting energy on top of my deck and then passed! It set me up for the rest of the game, which I took control of on the following turn!
I was definitely expecting this card to be more important than it ended up being. I expected a lot of Pikachu & Zekrom GX (TM; 33) decks to be playing Weakness Policy (PRC; 142) , but that was not the case. Maybe this is something I would remove in the future, but I wouldn't want to run into any crafty lightning decks that play Weakness Policy (PRC; 142) if I did! I did get some use out of it in the tournament, removing common stuff like Escape Board (UPR; 122) and Viridian Forest (TM; 156) .
This was a very last minute change, but I really liked it throughout the tournament. It made it so that my Muk could never get trapped, which was nice in games where I was blowing my opponent out and they could have otherwise trapped my Muk active through the use of a couple gust effects. This inclusion is especially important against mill decks, where they will be trying to trap that Muk active extra hard.
Some of these changes are super clear, as in one Rockruff was removed for a different Rockruff, while in other cases Wondrous Labyrinth Prism Star (TM; 158) was not specifically taken out for Counter Gain, but my plan is to talk about why each card was removed, and why each inclusion was made.
Wondrous Labyrinth Prism Star (TM; 158) just did not seem good against the decks we planned to play against. Lost March was pretty much non existant, and Zapdos is already a fairly good matchup. It just seemed like a better card could be included.
Speaking of better cards, we have Counter Gain (LT; 170) to talk about. Counter Gain (LT; 170) is an incredible tool to help manage the early game when your opponent might otherwise take control. I found Counter Gain (LT; 170) to be especially strong in situations where you are trying to attack with Lycanroc GX (GRI; 74) , usually against Pikachu, Malamar, or mirror match.
In testing, Diancie Prism Star (FLI; 74) just did not seem worth the spot. It was occasionally useful against Pikachu, but that matchup felt favored regardless of Diancie's presence. Sure, Diancie Prism Star (FLI; 74) is especially good at dealing with decks like Buzzwole/Garbodor/Shrine and other beefier non-gx decks, but those just weren't what we expected to play against.
Alolan Grimer (TM; 83) is incredible against decks where you want to make sure Muk makes an appearance. It helps you get it out more consistently, and in a faster manner, and you will see your win rate improve against decks like Zapdos (TM; 40) when you do this. A list without Alolan Grimer (TM; 83) is actually unfavored against Zapdos (TM; 40) , whereas the Zapdos (TM; 40) matchup is very positive for lists that have the Alolan Grimer (TM; 83) .
Looking back, this change just seems very obvious. I was not completely sold on it when my group brought it up, but I am glad we decided to make the change and toss in the Rainbow Energy (XY; 131) . It allows easier use of Acerola (BUS; 112) , which can really throw people off when they aren't expecting it. Additionally, the Rainbow Energy (XY; 131) can allow you to manipulate damage on Lucario GX (BW; 100) when setting up a nice Cantankerous Beatdown-GX. The only downside to removing a fighting energy is the lack of synergy with Viridian Forest (TM; 156) , but I had enough fighting energy left that it never hurt me.
With the greater focus on Alolan Muk (SUM; 58) , Absol (TM; 88) became less necessary. In an ideal world, you will be getting Muk out on turn two against decks that Absol (TM; 88) is good against. This means that you are giving up a spot on your bench for making your opponent's next turn slightly awkward. I think it was a great inclusion for a list not playing Alolan Grimer (TM; 83) , but I think Alolan Grimer (TM; 83) is just better.
Oranguru (UPR; 114) is something I talked about earlier, but I will go over it again. Without Oranguru (UPR; 114) , decks that try to run you out of resources and deck you out are very good against this deck. I expected a lot of those to pop up due to the hype around Vileplume (BUS; 6) and the meta at previous regional championships. I am super glad it got included, because those expectations were accurate!
The second copy of Choice Band (GRI; 121) really felt a lot like the Diancie Prism Star (FLI; 74) in the sense that it was only good situationally. I pretty much always had to Mallow (GRI; 127) for it against Pikachu anyways, so the second copy was pretty irrelevant outside of prizing issues. The Choice Band (GRI; 121) was removed pretty early in our testing and never put back in.
The fourth Pokémon Communication (BLW; 99) was really nice for consistency, which is something I wanted to be packed with for this event. After some slow starts and unplayable hands with Zapdos (TM; 40) at OCIC, I wanted to have a playable hand every game at this event. Despite having some slower and sub optimal hands, I never completely bricked, and I can not say the same thing about when I played Zapdos (TM; 40) . With the high Pokemon count and a need for certain Pokemon in the early game, Pokémon Communication (BLW; 99) is a very versitile card that gets the job done.
There have been a lot of situations in the past where a certain Rockruff was clearly better, but that did not feel like the case for this event. They both had their ups and downs, so lets talk about that.
- Higher HP
- Attack has greater risk and greater reward, but will pretty much never get used.
- Survives Sky Scorching Light-GX, is less pressured by attackers such as Buzzwole GX (CIN; 57) and Alolan Ninetales GX (LT; 132) .
- Lower HP
- Corner can win games, still has an attack that can do damage if needed. Can do damage for a DCE as opposed to multiple energy attachments.
- Is KOed by Sky Scorching Light-GX, pressured easily by attackers such as Buzzwole GX (CIN; 57) and Alolan Ninetales GX (LT; 132) .
In my mind, it feels a lot like neither Rockruff is clearly better. It seems like each Rockruff has moments where it is better, which is why we decided to play one of each! To give us options and allow us to pick the Rockruff based on the matchup. Most importantly, this gave us the option to use Corner, which was clutch for some of us throughout the event!
I made it through day one with a record of 6-1-2. Better than the minimum points of 19, but not exactly what I was hoping for.
- I played out my last round despite being 6-0-2. I did this for a better chance of making top eight, but this decision ended up hurting me because I lost a favorable matchup against Pikarom. Both games I was able to kick things off with a draw supporter, but I failed to get Zoroarks out and never really got to attack.
- My ties earlier in the day were both close matchups. One coming against Ultra Necrozma-GX/Malamar and the other against Alolan Persian/Lucario-GX/Lycanroc-GX.
- I picked up wins against multiple Zapdos, a Celebi & Venusaur-GX/Vikavolt, a malamar, and a Zygarde-GX deck.
- Kicking off day two, I used Oranguru to deal with a Luminous Barrier Ninetales, which I otherwise would have lost against.
- I then picked up wins against a Pikachu & Zekrom-GX, a mirror match, and Zoroark/Lycanroc/Ninetales deck. The mirror match being a 50/50, while I had two favored matchups in my other games.
- In round 14, I took a questionable ID with an Ultra Necrozma player. It got me to 33 match points and helped me to avoid player Peter Kica no matter what the rest of my tournament looked like. It made it so that I could ID into top 8 if I thought I would be safe with a tie in the last round. However, I could have just played both of my round in an attempt to win one and get into cut. This probably would have been the better strategy, so I regret accepting the ID.
- In round 15, I hit a slightly favorable matchup in Zapdos/Buzzwole. Things started off well with a dominant game one win and I was feeling good, but things went down hill quickly. My game 2 was not as smooth, and I ended up getting rushed down. In a heartbreaking game three, I prized my Alolan Muk and could not keep up with the power of zapdos. I am confident that game three would have been mine if Alolan Muk had shown up, but I digress.
- My 10-2-3 record was enough to finish in the top 16, so the event still went pretty well and I got a decent start on this Travel Award/Stipend period.
- Vileplume decks lived up to the hype, with a few making day two and Riley Hubert making it all the way to top four.
- Players also prepared for Vileplume, with Jolteon-GX being incredibly popular.
- Blacephalon struggled against Pikachu & Zekrom-GX, but had enough good matchups against the more popular decks to crank out a win.
- Malamar was once again popular, but did not perform that well overall.
- Zoroark/Lycanroc/Lucario was popular as expected, it seemed to be the safe call for the event.
- Peter Kica made it all the way to top eight with a Buzzwole/Lucario deck, he expected to play against a lot of Zoroark and Pikachu, and that is exactly what he did.
- The top eight of Collinsville was more diverse than day two of OCIC.
That is all for this article everyone! I enjoyed getting to go over my Collinsville decklist and experience with you! It is safe to say that despite the past few weeks being very fun, they were also very stressful and tiring. I am very excited for this short break I have from traveling, until Toronto regionals in a little under two weeks that is. Shortly after Toronto is North Carolina, meaning it is time to get reacquainted with expanded! I am really interested to see how the banning of Delinquent and Lusamine effect the format, despite it meaning the death of my favorite deck in recent memory, Siesmitoad/Zoroark. I had a lot of fun with that deck, so part of me is sad to see it go, but I know it is for the best in the end. Anyways, I will be back again next week talking about the expanded format, so get hype for that, and I will be back then!
Rainbow Energy (XY; 131)
Pokémon Communication (BLW; 99)
Weakness Policy (PRC; 142)
Alolan Muk (SUM; 58)
Choice Band (GRI; 121)
Lycanroc GX (GRI; 74)
Mallow (GRI; 127)
Acerola (BUS; 112)
Vileplume (BUS; 6)
Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)
Zorua (SLG; 52)
Buzzwole GX (CIN; 57)
Escape Board (UPR; 122)
Oranguru (UPR; 114)
Lucario GX (BW; 100)
Diancie Prism Star (FLI; 74)
Judge (FLI; 108)
Alolan Ninetales GX (LT; 132)
Counter Gain (LT; 170)
Ditto Prism Star (LT; 154)
Absol (TM; 88)
Alolan Grimer (TM; 83)
Wondrous Labyrinth Prism Star (TM; 158)
Pikachu & Zekrom GX (TM; 33)
Viridian Forest (TM; 156)
Zapdos (TM; 40)
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