Experts' corner

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Caleb Gedemer

Strappin' on Some New Techs — Zoroark-GX / Golisopod-GX Revamped

Zoroark-GX / Golisopod-GX is all the rage right now. Find out why!

03/13/2018 by Caleb Gedemer

Overall, Zoroark-GX / Golisopod-GX is the best deck in the Standard format. It’s so consistent and while it doesn’t have an extremely high-power ceiling, it has the room to play a variety of techs to better prepare for specific matchups. My favorite of these techs at the moment is Counter Energy along with type-specific tech attackers of your choosing. My friend and teammate, Brett Stratton, just finished second at a Latin American Regionals playing the best list for the deck right now. Zoroark-GX is obviously amazing on its own, but the efficiency of attacking with Golisopod-GX makes one of the best partners for the card in the format right now.

Adding counters and Counter Energy to this deck makes it overwhelming for most decks. If a deck was lucky in the past, it would either counter Golisopod-GX or Zoroark-GX, but not always both of them. Now, with Counter Energy, there’s almost no way to work around all of the missing pieces that the deck brings to the table. That said, there isn’t much out there that serves as a reasonable counter to Zoroark-GX / Golisopod-GX with Counter Energy and its consistency is unrivaled in the Standard format.

If you’re looking for a solid deck to grind games out with, this deck is for you. It’s fairly straightforward and easy to pick up. I think this is the best play for any Standard format tournament right now, so it’s worth taking a closer look at; Charlotte, North Carolina Regionals is approaching fast! It’s time to start exploring the Standard format again and that’s what I’m here to talk about today. Let’s go!

The List

The Explanations

4 Zorua SLG 52

This is the only Zorua that makes sense in the Standard format when you aren’t running Darkness Energy. Playing four is an absolute must since you prioritize getting out at least three Zoroark-GX every game for extra consistency and ways to draw into your combo plays.

4 Zoroark-GX SLG 53

Zoroark with Mind Jack isn’t even needed since you’re going to want every single Zorua to Evolve into a Zoroark-GX. Trade is so important to this deck since it pulls off combination plays with Acerola or Guzma and keeps you ahead of your opponent. This deck doesn’t win on by sheer power, it’s more of a slow grind that you’ll hopefully come out on top of in the end by just being more consistent and baring more resources to outlast an opponent. Zoroark-GX is your main attacker as well, so having a full four is the best way to get on top.

3 Tapu Lele-GX GRI 60

Three Tapu Lele-GX increases your odds of starting with a Brigette on your first turn. I’ve been back and forth with either two Tapu Lele-GX and four Brigette, or this, but this is the most commonly used iteration of the count, so that’s what I’ve been playing with lately. You get the first turn Brigette about seventy percent of the time. Remember, there are diminishing returns on consistency past seventy-five percent, so going further on your count will only be marginally beneficial.

2 Wimpod BUS 16

I like this change a lot as you generally never need three Wimpod in a game other than having it as a convenient base on the Bench, ready to Evolve. Most players have dropped the count down to two of these and I really dig it. Most games you focus on using just a single Golisopod-GX, so this count just feels right.

2 Golisopod-GX BUS 17

This is your secondary attacker and a very powerful one at that. There is little to no reason to ever play more than two since you use Acerola to pick it up a lot of the time and you’re more worried about just having a Wimpod on the Bench, ready to Evolve right away. I could see playing one of these if you’re really tight on space, but I wouldn’t recommend that very much.

1 Tapu Koko PR-SM SM31

This card is mainly as a pivot to get out of the Active after using an Acerola or a Guzma. Flying Flip is also super nice to set up “one-hit” Knockouts against Pokemon with 160 or more HP. You can put them into range of a Knockout with First Impression or Riotous Beating after a Flying Flip or two.

1 Sudowoodo BKP 67

This card is hot in here and very nice for the mirror match as well as for Buzzwole-GX and Dusk Mane Necrozma-GX matchups. Copying an attack from your opponent out of nowhere is very powerful and this little guy serves as a one-Prize attacker as well to offset the trade for your opponent if you’re ever in the market to do that. Sudowoodo is an amazing way to pull back into mirror matches that you previously fell behind in.

1 Mew-EX DRX 46

Buzzwole-GX is a big problem for decks that don’t have a counter to it, so Mew-EX is your main way to address that issue. It can copy an attack from either Golisopod-GX or Zoroark-GX, depending on Energy attachments, and score one-hit Knockouts on a Buzzwole-GX using either First Impression or Riotous Beating for Weakness. Mew-EX doesn’t have much use except against Psychic-weak Pokemon, so it’s best to avoid putting it down because it can be a huge liability with such frail HP.

4 Guzma

This deck loves Guzma, and that’s why you play four. Many of your Knockouts are two-hit Knockouts, so you’re going to need to move your opponent’s Pokemon around frequently to execute that strategy. Nothing is safe when you have four hard copies of Guzma, so use them wisely and plan your Prizes accordingly. Guzma is amazing to punish slower decks in the early game by knocking out their setup Pokemon like Zorua in the mirror match, for instance.

3 N

N is the best draw Supporter in the game for this deck, and since you will be using tech Supporters like Guzma in many of your turns, you’re not going to need a full set of four N. The disruption it brings to a game is very desirable and it’s always awesome in the late game. This has felt like the optimal count for a while now.

3 Brigette

Back to some more stats, with three Brigette you have about a thirty percent chance of starting with it in your opening hand naturally, which is solid. Obviously, adding another would be nice, but it’s more of a luxury at this point. There are cuts in the deck, but I would only add a fourth if you’re missing that little extra consistency boost desperately.

2 Acerola

Two Acerola is super great, and I’ve never been a fan of just a single copy. This deck is supposed to deny Prizes and none of the other Zoroark-GX decks in the format do a very good job of taking one-hit Knockouts, either. Acerola is going to keep you kicking in many games and with so many mirrors bound to happen in a tournament, it’s nice to have a second copy of Acerola to have a bit of an edge in that one with all the extra healing.

1 Professor Sycamore

A hard draw of seven cards is still very nice in many situations. Cynthia is also great in Zoroark-GX decks, but there’s times where you have just a Tapu Lele-GX in hand and you’re going to want to search out a Professor Sycamore for the full seven versus just getting six with Cynthia. Remember, too, there are still times where thinning out a few useless cards will have some value as well and Professor Sycamore can definitely discard that fluff for you.

1 Mallow

Two Mallow would be nice to get yourself extra ways to pull off a Counter Energy play, but one is enough. Fishing two cards of your choosing from your deck and then drawing them with Trade is an amazing combination that you don’t want to pass up on in almost any Zoroark-GX deck.

1 Cynthia

Shuffling and drawing six is pretty good! It’s a solid way to refresh your hand and this deck usually doesn’t want to discard many resources since there are so many. Trade is built so that you can pull off Puzzle of Time plays easily, and you would rather have this than another Professor Sycamore because then you won’t be losing resources that you really don’t have to discard in favor of just one extra card.

4 Ultra Ball

You want max consistency, nothing more to be said!

4 Puzzle of Time

Getting extra copies of your tech Supporters and tech cards like Enhanced Hammer and Parallel City is quite literally broken. Zoroark-GX makes it all happen very easily for this deck, so you always want to have four Puzzle of Time in any Standard format Zoroark-GX deck, if not in the Expanded format, too.

3 Field Blower

Garbodor with Garbotoxin has seen an uptick in play in recent weeks, as well as at the Illinois Regional Championship a couple of weeks ago, so having three copies of Field Blower to get around Ability lock is more important than ever. Additionally, it’s also good to get around Parallel City, something that your opponents can stick against you since you don’t have a unique Stadium of your own. Field Blower can get his or her Parallel City out of the way and then you can drop your own! Removing Tools in general like Choice Band is a bit of an afterthought when it comes to playing Field Blower but having three of them means that your opponent isn’t going to be sticking many Tools all too often.

2 Evosoda

Getting your Zoroark-GX out as soon as possible is solid. Getting Golisopod-GX when you need it is amazing too! All the consistency that you can pack into a Zoroark-GX deck is going to be worth it and I am all about Evosoda, personally. I would play more if I could just to increase the odds of getting at least one Zoroark-GX into play on my second turn!

2 Choice Band

This is the optimal count of Choice Band in pretty much every Zoroark-GX deck. If you ever need another one, you can use Puzzle of Time to bring it back and reuse it. It finishes some important Knockouts when you need it to and pairs very well with Golisopod-GX and its Crossing Cut GX to take down Tapu Lele-GX in big swing turns.

1 Float Stone

An extra pivot card, in Float Stone, is something I’m super fond of in every Zoroark-GX / Golisopod-GX list. The original iterations of the deck usually didn’t even play a single copy which is not only confusing, but bad. Float Stone gives the deck some extra freedom to use Acerola and Guzma and can save you a costly Retreat in a pinch, too. Golisopod-GX relies on coming up from the Bench to the Active to increase its damage output so having a Float Stone to make that easier is simply an easy decision.

1 Enhanced Hammer

This is a splendid tech card for the variety of decks out there that play Special Energy. Almost every Zoroark-GX deck relies heavily on Special Energy and many Fighting decks do too. This card can get you ahead on Energy attachments and leads to comebacks and your opponent missing crucial attacks.

2 Parallel City

Both sides of Parallel City are meta-defining in the Standard format right now. Most decks are extremely crippled by it so having two copies in every deck that you can fit it in is super nice to have. This deck is no different and you can pack the heat in the early game by playing down Parallel City and then using Guzma to hand pick the Pokemon that you want knocked out on your opponent’s side of things. The damage reduction side is also neat to reduce the damage output of things like Tapu Bulu-GX and prevent Nature’s Judgment from taking down a Zoroark-GX in one hit with a Choice Band.

4 Double Colorless Energy

Four Double Colorless Energy fuels your main attack, Riotous Beating, and many more. There is no excuse to be running any less than the maximum copies of four in this deck.

3 Grass Energy

Powering up Golisopod-GX is still a thing, and three Grass Energy is the lowest I would probably go to ensure that you hit them when you need to. I have seen a few lists go down to a two, so that is something on my mind. Grass Energy can be used to get single Retreat Pokemon out of the Active as well!

1 Counter Energy

Sudowoodo can’t attack without this card, so I suggest playing it! You can consider other Counter Energy tech Pokemon in this deck to get an advantage in other decks, too.

The Options

Cobalion STS 74

Counter Energy gets Revenge Blast to work, too. Gardevoir-GX decks have started to get a little hype again, so this card would be worth running if you expect a lot of that. It’s also decent in random situations to close out games as well, but I wouldn’t play it for any other reason than to beat Gardevoir-GX variants.

Lurantis PR-SM SM25

This is a confusing card to me, while it does get Golisopod-GX up to 170 damage and in range to take down Tapu Lele-GX in one attack, it does cost you a very valuable Bench space. In order to fit it, you have to cut down on some very important pieces to a Zoroark-GX deck as well, most notably Evosoda (that’s the cut that top finishers in Illinois made, at least). Extra damage is always nice, but I feel like this could be better as something like Counter Catcher and Professor Kukui if you’re really trying to gear your play towards taking one-hit Knockouts. Furthermore, if you really want to one-shot stuff that bad, maybe just play a different deck!

Oranguru UPR 114

Resource Management is a super cool attack, one that can allow you to deck opponents out and get back cards that you really might be in the market for. I don’t think it beats mill decks, since eventually they will be able to chain Team Rocket’s Handiwork with Lusamine to recover Supporters and run you out of cards. It might buy you a tie, but you probably won’t win. It’s an interesting card at the least, and definitely something to consider in the deck. As you play, look for situations where you could have gotten some strong value out of it!

Professor Kukui

An extra twenty damage is a little lackluster without Zoroark with Mind Jack in the deck, but it’s certainly an option. You can boost your Zoroark-GX up to 170 damage against Pokemon-EX/GX with a Choice Band attached, taking down the fearsome Tapu Lele-GX. If you want to play Zoroark with Mind Jack, consider that you can do 210 damage if your opponent has a full Bench and you have a Choice Band attached, only against Pokemon-EX/GX once again, however. That’s the perfect math to take down a Zoroark-GX, so that’s something to be mindful of.

Max Potion

Sometimes you miss a beat with Acerola and Max Potion can make up for those missed opportunities. Obviously, you do lose an Energy, but that’s something you can get back with Puzzle of Time to get back into the race. Falling behind in mirror matches is certainly something you can mitigate with Max Potion. You could consider taking out an Acerola for this card if you so choose.

Pal Pad

Recycling your tech Supporters with Pal Pad is an option so that you can save your Puzzle of Time plays for something else more important. I don’t like this card that much in any deck since it’s very slow to use and you have to have the Supporters you want to get back in the discard pile already, so it’s something that’s not very high up on my list of potential additions.

Fighting Energy

This makes Sudowoodo a potential attacker even when Counter Energy isn’t online. There are turns where you can get an “extra” attachment down when your opponent misses an attack, and on those turns you could potentially put a Fighting Energy down on Sudowoodo to create the threat of using Watch and Learn on your following turn. This is a cute addition to the deck, and I would likely cut a Grass Energy if I were looking to make room for it. Another option would be to simply switch to using all Rainbow Energy, but that comes with the added cost of being more afraid of Enhanced Hammer than you already were.

The Matchups

Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX | Even

In this matchup you want to prioritize your Mew-EX early. Taking down Buzzwole-GX with lots of Energy on them eliminates your biggest threat. Lycanroc-GX can easily be addressed with Golisopod-GX later on, so focus on taking down the Buzzwole-GX to begin. Remember that you can use Mew-EX multiple times with Puzzle of Time, so don’t get too worried if one goes down. Zoroark-GX should be held for as long as possible so your opponent doesn’t score easy Prizes by preying on its Weakness.

Garbodor / Buzzwole-GX | Slightly Unfavorable

This matchup is similar to the Lycanroc-GX version, but you have the extra hurdle of playing around Garbotoxin to clear. Mew-EX is fine and dandy, but you’ll need a Field Blower to accompany it to actually get the one-hit Knockouts that you’ll be seeking. I don’t like holding Zoroark-GX in this one since it is super valuable for the turns that you do find a Field Blower. You want to be able to draw as many cards as you can on those turns and build a hand that will allow you to use Mew-EX for big damage, hopefully a one-hit Knockout on a Buzzwole-GX. If your opponent is using Zygarde-EX, then you can take that down easily with Golisopod-GX, preying on the Weakness of that card.

Garbodor / Espeon-GX | Favorable

This matchup is pretty simple with three Field Blower. Zoroark-GX is going to be your best attacker, but Golisopod-GX can be nice too since it doesn’t use Double Colorless Energy to attack. You might need to work around Enhanced Hammer and/or Parallel City, so watch out for that. The only significant damage that your opponent can deal is with Trashalanche, so don’t go overboard with Items. Psybeam inflicts Confusion, so have an Acerola or Guzma ready to work around that.

Garbodor / Golisopod-GX | Slightly Favorable

This matchup is also easier with the inclusion of three Field Blower. Golisopod-GX hits hard than Espeon-GX, but again, you’ll just want to take it easy and hit right back. You’re playing the more consistent deck head to head, so in the long run you should take it home since you have easier access to Acerola to deny Knockouts. Take down Garbotoxin Garbodor with Guzma if you can, and then this matchup should be a breeze.

Gardevoir-GX | Slightly Unfavorable

Gardevoir-GX has always been a poor matchup on paper for Zoroark-GX / Golisopod-GX, mainly because of Gallade, but you can swing it back closer to even in games where you pressure your opponent with Parallel City and Guzma. You want to take down the Kirlia and Ralts as soon as you can with Guzma because you can handle those, but not their next Evolved forms. Golisopod-GX is your best attacker since it only takes a single Energy and it will be tough for a Gardevoir-GX to take it down in one hit.

Greninja BREAK | Even

Shadow Stitching is your worst enemy in this matchup even though you can run the table with Golisopod-GX. You’ll want to work your way up to using Armor Press, but even with that be aware of Enhanced Hammer plays that are bound to happen at some point. In the late game, your opponent will try to shut you out with N and a Shadow Stitching. Espeon-EX can use Miraculous Shine to more easily take care of Golisopod-GX, so use Acerola whenever possible to deny those kinds of fancy Knockouts.

Magnezone / Dusk Mane Necrozma-GX | Even

Without Lurantis, you don’t have a way to knock out a Dusk Mane Necrozma-GX without using a couple Flying Flip from your Tapu Koko. I would try to do that right away or focus on taking down Magnemite before they can Evolve to deny the Magnezone from ever coming into play.

Vikavolt / Tapu Bulu-GX | Even

Parallel City really gives you a good shot at winning this matchup since you can reduce your opponent’s damage. Using N with a Parallel City after a few Prizes have been taken can buy you some two-hit Knockouts and don’t forget that you can take down a Tapu Bulu-GX in one attack with Crossing Cut GX and a Choice Band!

Zoroark-GX / Garbodor | Even

With three Field Blower you’ll be able to navigate around the Garbodor. I would never attack into a Bursting Balloon if you have the choice, as it sets up perfect math for either a First Impression or Riotous Beating Knockout with a Choice Band equipped. Trashalanche shouldn’t be an issue if you hold your Items wisely. Aside from that, you’re just a stronger Zoroark-GX deck since you don’t have so many moving pieces! Just stick to the game plan and hope that your opponent eventually fizzles out or breaks the Garbotoxin lock.

Zoroark-GX / Gardevoir-GX | Slightly Unfavorable

This is a difficult matchup too, again because of Gallade, primarily. Zoroark-GX brings some extra aggression to Gardevoir-GX, but without Kirlia it can brick a lot harder sometimes. As per usual, try to take down the Ralts before they Evolve. Gallade and Gardevoir-GX are the threats you want to worry about, you’re not so concerned about Zoroark-GX itself. You can handle any Zoroark-GX deck head to head with Sudowoodo and Acerola looping, so isolate the variables that you can and try to design the game around your deck’s strengths.

Zoroark-GX / Glaceon-GX | Slightly Unfavorable

Glaceon-GX spells trouble for any Zoroark-GX deck in both the Expanded and Standard formats. By playing Zoroark-GX and other Basics, your opponent won’t have a very high chance of getting the first turn Glaceon-GX, even if he or she goes first. This said, you may get a turn or two of using Abilities, and in that period, you want to make sure that you can set yourself up as well as possible by thinning out unnecessary fluff cards that you don’t want to see once the Ability lock hits and disables your Trade. Your Grass Energy are very valuable since they are unlikely to be disrupted, so place them wisely and focus on using Golisopod-GX if you can. Armor Press trades very well with Frost Bullet, and then the only fear becomes Polar Spear GX.

Zoroark-GX / Golisopod-GX | Even

The mirror match is a war of attrition. Both you and your opponent are playing many ways to heal your Pokemon, so focus on using two Acerola before playing a Puzzle of Time set so that you can get both Acerola back with that very Puzzle of Time. If your opponent decides to attack with Golisopod-GX, try targeting the Wimpod on your opponent’s Bench before it becomes a Golisopod-GX, a Pokemon you can’t take down in one hit. Parallel City is a very big part of this matchup, so don’t play into a disaster waiting to happen by filling your Bench up with all your useful Pokemon. The damage reduction side can be relevant in this matchup, too, so be aware of that and don’t make a silly mistake with Golisopod-GX not hitting for enough damage to take a Knockout.

Zoroark-GX / Lycanroc-GX | Even

This matchup can be very close if both players know what they’re doing. The Lycanroc-GX player should be trying to take down your Wimpod before they get to Evolve which is bad news for you. Likewise, you can try to take down the Rockruff before they get to Evolve, too. In doing this, it because a matter of whomever gets to attack with their tech Pokemon first. Golisopod-GX is very strong against Lycanroc-GX, and if your opponent puts a Lycanroc-GX down at any point that can become a free set of two Prizes. Playing around Dangerous Rogue GX is almost impossible, so be aware what you can do once it hits. Sudowoodo can very easily come out of nowhere to copy it and get you right back into the game if you need to do that! 

Zoroark-GX / Weavile | Slightly Favorable

Make sure not to put down too many Pokemon with Abilities at once. Also, watch out for Rule of Evil plays, even if you think your opponent isn’t playing that specific Weavile. After a Rule of Evil spread, then your opponent will be free to use Espeon-EX to Devolve all your damaged Pokemon for a bunch of Knockouts, which can be devastating. Be fast and aggressive in this matchup and know that almost all of your opponent’s plays depend on what you do, so be careful and think things out! If you need some time to plan, you can even take the first few turns easy since your opponent’s damage output relies heavily on what you do, as I mentioned.

Conclusion

This is the most solid, defined deck in the format right now. Like I said, it doesn't have a high-power ceiling, meaning you’re not going to be taking a bunch of flashy one-hit Knockouts or anything, but the greatest appeal to the deck is that you execute nearly the same strategy each and every game. Your consistency is unparalleled, and there aren’t many decks that are extremely favored against you in a given tournament. Play fast, smart, and well with this deck and you should be able to churn together some deep runs. Thanks for reading y’all, I’ll see you a little bit after Charlotte, North Carolina Regionals. It’ll be interesting to see how that tournament goes down. Good luck in all you do!

~Caleb

[+15] okko


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