Experts' corner

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Caleb Gedemer

Get in the Zone — Zoroark-GX / Magnezone in Expanded

Who has the bigger brain? Magnezone is sure to take your Zoroark-GX deck to the next level. Read more about this crazy deck in Caleb Gedemer's piece!

01/23/2018 by Caleb Gedemer

I dropped a video on Zoroark-GX / Magnezone a while back, it’s been doing really in testing, and some of my friends have been getting close to locking it in as a pick for Dallas, Texas Regionals. Some of my Dead Draw Gaming teammates, Cory Koehler and Karl Kitchin, have been working on this deck since I brought it up in discussion. My list has changed quite a bit since my video, as I’ve taken out Puzzle of Time and gone for a more aggressive approach. I originally viewed this deck as a control version of a Zoroark-GX deck, but I soon found that it’s better as an aggressive one.

While Magnezone allows you to play two Supporters a turn, you shouldn’t focus entirely on disruption Supporters. Being able to play two Colress a turn, for example, can be the difference between a one-hit Knockout with a Choice Band and missing it. Having the option to play a disruption Supporter in a pinch, though, like Delinquent, can be super punishing for your opponent and steal a game for you outright.

Is this deck better than other Zoroark-GX variants? All of them have their own strengths and weaknesses. This version has a much stronger mid-game than the rest since it can stream Knockouts much more easily and still disrupt an opponent whenever it wants to since it can play a Colress followed by an N, for instance. Zoroark-GX goes very well with Stage 2 decks since they can more easily set up, and this deck really capitalizes on mistakes with disruption Supporters. Zoroark-GX is already explosive on its own, but Magnezone cranks it up another notch. My list for this deck is incredibly refined after plenty of games; I hope you’re ready for it!

§Deck of Sixty Cards

§Reasoning

4 Zorua DEX 70 and 4 Zoroark-GX SLG 53

This deck wants to get as many Zoroark-GX down as soon as possible. There’s no need to flirt around with things like Zoroark with Mind Jack since you would rather have Zoroark-GX in almost every situation. Setting up is most important to this deck and having a full set of Trade is going to be integral to achieving that. With a control-based center, Trade will get you the disrupting cards that you want without having to worry. As always, the Zorua with Paralyzing Gaze is optimal because Paralysis can buy you crucial turns when you hit a bump or help you pull out a tie instead of a loss.

4 Tapu Lele-GX GRI 60

Maximum consistency my friend! Getting the first turn Brigette in this deck is essential to winning games. With the lineup of outs I have in this list, you have a roughly seventy-percent chance of starting with Brigette on your first turn. That’s about as good as it gets, so I’ll take it.

2 Magnemite BKT 51 and 2 Magnezone PLS 46

It’s kind of nice to have three of these, but two does the job just as well, just hope you don’t land one in your Prizes. Sparkling Induction is very nice to get free Retreat when you open with Magnemite and want to flee to the Bench. With two Magnemite, having two Magnezone makes the most sense. Since the Ability does not stack, you’re only going to want to get one in play so you’ll be just fine with two copies.

1 Sudowoodo GRI 66

You don’t have room for Alolan Muk in this deck, so Sudowoodo serves as your Zoroark-GX mirror match counter. If your opponent is playing Alolan Muk, then you want to target it down as soon as you can.

1 Shaymin-EX ROS 77

Once this deck starts kicking, you don’t really need Shaymin-EX much anymore since you can play two Supporter cards. Set Up helps in tight spots, though, so having it as an option is still a great idea if you want to bolster your shot of having what you want in every spot.

1 Seismitoad-EX FFI 20

This is part of your Night March counter package. Along with Karen and your slew of disruption Supporters, Night March is about as free as it gets for this deck. I’d love to play against it every round of a tournament if I could.

1 Exeggcute PLF 4

Propagation and Trade is a broken combination and Plumeria because amazing with Exeggcute as well. This card needs to be in every Zoroark-GX deck and this one is no different.

2 Brigette

Getting the first turn Brigette is critical for this deck like I said, and having two copies is going to reduce your chances of dealing with Prizing issues. Two also creates more outs to getting it on the first turn, which is always great. At worst, it becomes more Trade fodder past your first turn.

1 Xerosic

Since you can play two Supporters a turn, this is your out to Garbodor with Garbotoxin. While it’s not super popular, it’s a nice crutch to have and the discarding effect of Energy is nothing to scoff at either in many matchups.

1 Skyla

Getting a Magnezone on your second turn is amazing, and a single copy of Skyla boosts your chances of doing that. You can also get many important cards with it in a pinch without having to burn your Trade for the turn if you were to play something like Mallow. This card is on the verge of being taken out but there have been times that I’ve liked having it in the deck.

1 Professor Sycamore

I don’t really believe that any deck should ever play no Professor Sycamore. A single copy is never incorrect since you can pitch dead cards with it and thin your deck out. Hard draw is nice in many spots too, so I like a single copy of this card, especially in the early game when Colress doesn’t always get that many cards.

1 Pokemon Ranger

Special Energy hate and Item lock are getting a lot of hype. Having Pokémon Ranger in any deck relying on Double Colorless Energy going into Dallas, Texas Regionals is optimal since you don’t want to lose to gimmick decks or the Zoroark-GX / Seismitoad-EX deck that I wrote about last time. Those decks have a large appeal to a lot of players, so I wouldn’t be surprised to face one or two of them in a tournament; it’s best to be prepared!

1 Plumeria

This card is bonkers in a deck with Exeggcute. You basically get a “free” Energy removal since you can still play another Supporter card when you have Magnezone in play, so it’s a great idea to include this card in this deck. It can set many decks back, especially Zoroark-GX / Lycanroc-GX, since your opponent can rely on putting one Energy at a time on a Lycanroc-GX.

1 N

A single copy of N is okay since you have a full set of four VS Seekers. N and a Delinquent right after can be dirty.

1 Lusamine

Recycling even more Supporters is pretty neat in this deck, but I’m not sure how great Lusamine is. I could see taking it out and trying to fit Puzzle of Time again to accomplish a somewhat similar task. One of the main draws to this card is that it can get Parallel City or Sky Field back, which can be super clutch sometimes.

1 Karen

Along with Seismitoad-EX, this is your Night March counter. Aside from that, it’s super useful to recycle Pokémon and since you can still play another Supporter, it’s pretty sweet that you can restore most of the Pokémon in your deck back to where you want them to be.

1 Hex Maniac

Turning off the Abilities of the many decks that use them is amazing in a deck that can play two Supporters each turn. Hex Maniac is very good against other Zoroark-GX decks and especially against things like Hoopa, which you would otherwise not have a way to knock out without this card. A versatile card like this should be included in a deck that has so many options.

1 Guzma

Every Expanded deck needs a “gust” effect card, and Guzma is the best for this deck since Magnezone has such a high Retreat and you’re going to want a way to switch it out on occasion.

1 Ghetsis

Ghetsis followed by a Delinquent can clear your opponent’s hand, as can an N then a Ghetsis. Ghetsis is generally good, as you can disrupt your opponent and even play a Colress in the same turn. You’re going to want this card in almost every deck, and it makes even more sense in this one.

1 Delinquent

Discarding your opponent’s entire hand when it’s three cards is as much a win condition as anything, so this card is an absolute must in a deck that wants to search for ways to win outside of the norm.

1 Colress

Drawing more than seven cards with a Supporter is broken in any Zoroark-GX deck and being able to do this twice in a turn in this deck is ridiculous. Colress is the best draw Supporter in the game when you have Sky Field, so this card is a must.

1 Acerola

When this deck can’t take one-hit Knockouts, using Acerola to deny opponents’ Knockouts and take two-hit Knockouts is great and does the job. Acerola helps a lot against Seismitoad-EX decks to keep kicking after being hurt by Hypnotoxic Laser.

4 VS Seeker

When you’re using two Supporters a turn, having the biggest supply of VS Seeker you can is optimal. You’ll use them all most games, so you’re going to want the full set. While this deck can be aggressive, you are usually more slow-paced. For that reason, you’re going to want all the VS Seeker you can get.

4 Ultra Ball

A full set of these in every Expanded deck is almost absolutely essential.

3 Rare Candy

You could perhaps go down to two of these, since you really only play more to get Magnezone out as soon as possible. Getting the Magnezone on the second turn is the most important part of your game plan starting off.

2 Pokemon Communication

I love these in every Zoroark-GX deck since it adds even more outs to the first turn Brigette by using Tapu Lele-GX to get it. On top of that, they add more ways to get out Magnezone and that in turn increases your second turn odds of getting it. You want at least one of this without any doubt.

2 Choice Band

Like most Zoroark-GX decks, two Choice Bands is essential to taking one-hit Knockouts in the mirror match. Choice Band is generally strong when trying to knock out Pokémon-EX/GX like Tapu Lele-GX, even.

1 Special Charge

Without Puzzle of Time, you’re going to want Special Charge to recover Energy to keep attacking with your Zoroark-GX.

1 Computer Search

This is the optimal Ace Spec for this deck since you’re going to want to get the second turn Magnezone every game. Computer Search also finds Double Colorless Energy early on which can be valuable.

2 Sky Field

In the mirror match your opponent will put Sky Field down for you many times, and two is just enough, since you do have Lusamine and Parallel City in the deck to counter the mirror match as well. I haven’t had any problems with this count and I’ve gone down to as few as a single copy.

1 Parallel City

For the mirror, you can use Parallel City to set your opponent back quite a bit and it helps in a variety of other matchups too. Since this deck focuses on taking two-hit Knockouts most of the time, you don’t mind not having a full Bench.

4 Double Colorless Energy

You only need four Double Colorless Energy in this deck for Energy since all of your main attackers only use two Colorless Energy.

§Otro Considerations

Float Stone

This isn’t that needed, but it would be nice time to time to move around your Magnezone if it gets stuck in the Active spot. When you start with anything besides Magnemite or Zorua, then you would have a way to get back to one of the Pokémon you want to use.

Iris

This card is pretty sweet since you can play it twice in a turn with VS Seeker. You could potentially boost your damage as much as 100 in that way. This card can help you take one-hit Knockouts on pesky Pokémon like Gardevoir-GX, if applicable.

Puzzle of Time

Having Puzzle of Time gives you even more outs to recycling Supporters. Puzzle of Time is a natural partner with Zoroark-GX and Trade, but I just haven’t found Puzzle of Time to be absolutely necessary for this deck. You’re more slow-paced than other decks, but you have a great late game because you can play two Supporters anyways.

§Competitors

Fighting / Variants | Slightly Favorable

You shouldn’t be too afraid of your Weakness to Fighting Pokémon since you have to remember that you can still take one-hit Knockouts on your opponent’s rugged Pokémon. There are many different Fighting decks out there right now, so be on the lookout for things like Garbodor with Garbotoxin or even Wide Lens. Xerosic will be great against Garbodor, so keep a full stock of your VS Seeker. If you can take the one-hit Knockouts you were built to take, this matchup should be a piece of cake.

Garbodor / Golisopod-GX | Slightly Unfavorable

Xerosic is your out here, and you’re going to need it to have a fighting chance. Armor Press can screw you up since it puts you out of one-hit Knockout range, but Pokémon Ranger can turn it off and get you back where you want to be. The Ability lock is the biggest problem, and Golisopod-GX can be hard to take down. For all those reasons, this matchup is tough, but certainly still winnable.

Garbodor / Necrozma-GX | Slightly Favorable

This deck is easier to beat since a single Zoroark-GX can pull a ton of weight by itself. Garbodor won’t do much damage if you hold your Items, and Riotous Beating with a full Bench of five Pokémon does 120, the exact number to take down a Garbodor. Trubbish with Tool Drop can play a role in the early game, but again, that will be simple to defeat. Your Psychic Weakness can avoid things from going south, so that only leaves Drampa-GX for you to deal with primarily. Righteous Edge can be annoying, but if you can save your resources for a one-hit Knockout to take it down, you’ll be just fine.

Garbodor / Sableye | Even

Each turn you use Xerosic, you should be able to take a Knockout since you’ll still be able to play another Supporter with Magnezone. There are a variety of ways you can beat this matchup, but the ability to keep getting out of Ability lock is critical to winning.

Garbodor / Seismitoad-EX | Unfavorable

Both Ability and Item lock hurts a lot. You still have Pokémon Ranger and Xerosic, but they won’t be that great. Poison and the potential of falling Asleep makes things even worse, so hope to just avoid this matchup; it isn’t great.

Gardevoir-GX | Unfavorable

If you were to play Iris or Professor Kukui, you’d have a better shot in this matchup. You can play either of those Supporters twice in a turn and take a one-hit Knockout on a Gardevoir-GX! If you can’t do that, then Gallade will just destroy you. This matchup is pretty one-sided without a counter, and even then, Gallade really gets you.

Giratina-EX / Darkrai-EX | Slightly Favorable

Giratina-EX is no worry since you have Pokémon Ranger and Xerosic. Your opponent won’t be able to ever do that much damage either since you can keep the output in check by just removing Double Dragon Energy from play with Xerosic. You should be able to win, although Sudowoodo can be frustrating to work around.

Giratina-EX / Seismitoad-EX | Slightly Favorable

Item lock burns you a little, but again, Pokémon Ranger and Xerosic are huge! If you can ever deal a one-hit Knockout, it will be hard for your opponent to recover from that. Your disruption Supporters can set him or her even further back and force them to keep digging for Energy rather than playing disruption Supporters of his or her own.

Greninja BREAK | Slightly Unfavorable

Shadow Stitching really gets to you. As long as your opponent can set up effectively, you’re not going to have the greatest of chances. Pokémon Ranger can shut off Shadow Stitching, but that’s not that relevant. Delinquent makes anything possible, so if you can catch him or her off guard with it, you could cheese out a win.

Gyarados | Slightly Favorable

You have too many disruption options for this to be a poor matchup. Starting off, you want to eliminate Octillery from play with a Guzma. You’ll still be able to play another Supporter too, and Ghetsis is incredible against Gyarados since your opponent’s deck includes tons of Items. From there it’s just a Prize race, but you’ll need to find an advantage by catching a break with Delinquent, Ghetsis, N or even Hex Maniac.

Primal Groudon-EX | Unfavorable

There’s nothing in your deck that can get a Primal Groudon-EX into the Active position, so your opponent will be able to take his or her time to get one out. One of the ways you could win is using an N once your opponent is super low on Prizes and then drop a Delinquent. It might buy you an extra turn of attacks with the same Pokémon, and you might be able to take down a Primal Groudon-EX.

Stoutland / Raichu | Slightly Unfavorable

No Supporters for you spells trouble. This matchup isn’t going to be common at all, and I honestly wouldn’t expect anyone in the tournament to be playing this deck. It gets wrecked collaterally by Sudowoodo since Bench space is tight, and Alolan Muk hurts it a ton. In either case, hope to avoid this, and get Sudowoodo down as soon as you can if you have the misfortune of facing it.

Trevenant BREAK | Even

Zoroark-GX might have the type advantage over Trevenant BREAK, but that doesn’t stop Enhanced Hammer from being as strong as it is or the power of Forest’s Curse from subsiding. You might not even want to get Magnezone out since it becomes a perfect target for Trevenant BREAK to trap up in your Active spot and get some Silent Fear waves off. Be careful with your resources, and try to save your Hex Maniac for a turn that you can play Special Charge also so that you can recover some of your precious Energy cards.

Wailord-EX | Slightly Favorable

You have Karen and the Ability to play two Supporters a turn, so you can easily blank your opponent’s hand since he or she doesn’t really put any pressure on you. Ghetsis can remove some cards, and then Delinquent could potentially get rid of the rest. As long as you take it slow and catch a break, this matchup should be within reach. Karen can help you from running out of cards if you ever get in a bad spot.

Zoroark-GX / Golisopod-GX | Slightly Favorable

Like most Zoroark-GX matchups, you want to find an opening to get ahead in some way or another. Using Plumeria to remove Energy is one way, or a Hex Maniac on a crucial turn can get rid of the potential for your opponent to take a one-hit Knockout in response to your own. Parallel City is useful to reduce your opponent’s Bench size and make it super hard for him or her to do much of anything, too!

Zoroark-GX / Lonzo | Even

Again, Hex Maniac is how you catch breaks. If you can take a one-hit Knockout and then drop a Hex Maniac on your opponent, you should be in good shape. Colress can kick things off since you can draw so many cards and you’re almost bound to hit another VS Seeker for Hex Maniac. N and Hex Maniac are very good in the late game too to stop your opponent from setting up even more.

Zoroark-GX / Lycanroc-GX | Slightly Unfavorable

Plumeria is one of your best ways to stay in this match. You want to remove the threat of Lycanroc-GX, but that’s super hard since your opponent can put a lot of pressure on you fast. If your opponent isn’t playing Alolan Muk, then you have an edge as well because of Sudowoodo. Bloodthirsty Eyes can pull up your Magnezone, so you want to make sure that you have an attacker that your opponent has to deal with so you can protect the Magnezone indirectly.

Zoroark-GX / Magnezone | Even

The mirror match is super weird. Using Acerola to deny Knockouts is a strong strategy in any Zoroark-GX mirror match, and your Hex Maniac can stop your opponent’s own Dual Brains Ability. If you can take one-hit Knockouts at some point, do it, because it’s going to be difficult to take Prizes since both players will be trying to deny them. Getting Sudowoodo quickly will be very important.

Zoroark-GX / Night March | Slightly Favorable

Seismitoad-EX and Karen along with disruption cards makes this matchup a breeze. Nothing will be stopping you from dropping a Delinquent combination at some point to clean out your opponent’s hand, and Hex Maniac is really strong against Night March as well. You just have so many options it’s to the point of being easy.

Zoroark-GX / Seismitoad-EX | Even

Pokémon Ranger is very important in this matchup. If you can get a big play with it off you should be fine. Being able to play two Supporters a turn is two too many for a Seismitoad-EX deck to stay competitive, since those decks rely so much on an opponent being crippled by a lack of Items. Sudowoodo will be pesky, so get your own to hopefully screw with your opponent as well. Your disruption cards can break the Quaking Punch lock, which is huge.

Zoroark-GX / Vespiquen | Slightly Favorable

Karen is super clutch in this matchup, and so is Hex Maniac, as per usual. I wouldn’t go for Seismitoad-EX since Vespiquen can still take it down with just seven Pokémon in the discard pile, but Karen will stop your opponent from getting big one-hit Knockouts with Vespiquen if he or she tried to go that route. Sudowoodo and Acerola will deny your opponent Knockouts on your Zoroark-GX, and you should be favored most games. The biggest thing about these mirror matches is that you just have more options and a stronger engine than your opponent since you can play two Supporters a turn!

§さよなら

That’s “so long” in Japanese! This will be my last article coming out in preparation for Dallas, Texas Regionals, so I hope you enjoyed it! I’ve put a lot of work into all of the decks that I’ve wrote about, and all are strong picks for the tournament. I think that Zoroark-GX decks will be the most popular choices for the event by far, followed by Night March decks. Zoroark-GX has such a stronghold on the format that you need to play it, or counter it. The list of counters is very slim, but expect a few of those, too. With that, I wish you the best of luck, and thanks for reading. Take care!

~Caleb

[+19] okko


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