Experts' corner

Caleb Gedemer

Expanded Zoroark-GX / Lycanroc-GX Top Eight Regionals Report

Read about Caleb's Expanded format Costa Mesa run earlier in March!

04/02/2018 by Caleb Gedemer

We’re in the midst of a short lull before any bigger American tournaments, so I figure it’s a splendid time to share some of my recent tournament success stories with you. Costa Mesa, California Regionals took place on the third of March, but I already knew for months what I was going to play. My team and I played Zoroark-GX / Lycanroc-GX in Texas about a month earlier, and the deck proved to be extremely strong with four of us making it to day two. My friend Kidd Starck took the deck to a quarterfinals finish while I made the Top Sixteen. There’s nothing better than a hard-hitting deck that has comeback potential and consistency that’s unrivaled by any deck. The list we all used at the tournament worked wonders, and I was very set on running something very similar to it come California Regionals…

Ninetales from Dragons Exalted caught my eye once I started focusing on Expanded once again. It shares the same Ability effect as Lycanroc-GX, so I saw a great option in pairing it with Zoroark-GX. It could serve as a way to get around a Glaceon-GX and its pesky Ability too, so I was considering making the switch to it. After extensive testing, I concluded that Lycanroc-GX is much better, simply for its attacks. Dangerous Rogue GX gives you an out against things you couldn’t otherwise one-shot and Claw Slaw is incredible in Zoroark-GX mirror matches. 

After Dallas, we all knew that Red Card and Hex Maniac were going to be a huge trend in the Expanded format going forward. While we didn’t play either of those cards at that event, I knew that if I was going to play Lycanroc-GX again I would need to find the room for them. I swapped a few things around and ultimately fit two Red Card and a Hex Maniac; the results were astounding. The big thing about playing two Red Card comes down more to staving off the degenerate combination from your opponent. By playing a Red Card, you make it extremely unlikely for your opponent to play a Red Card on his or her turn, let alone a Hex Maniac in conjunction. Red Card helps out greatly when you rely so heavily on Colress, a Supporter card that I opted to run three of with just one N as other draw.

Hex Maniac was a last-minute addition, as I had been pretty set on playing Ghetsis in its place. Again, my logic for playing Red Card was to stop myself from getting hit by opposing Red Card. With hands of just four cards, my opponents almost never got the combination off on me. I determined that Hex Maniac would be marginally better than Ghetsis because it has use in more matchups than just the mirror. Ghetsis is only good against decks that play a huge Item engine, whereas Hex Maniac was generally useful against most decks, including Glaceon-GX, a deck that saw a bit of an uprising.

I was very confident going into this event and even got my teammate Joey Ruettiger to play the deck as well. I got to sleep super early and woke up with plenty of time to decompress and show up feeling great…



My list didn’t change much from Texas Regionals. I took out one Ghetsis, one N, one Pokemon Ranger, and one Professor Sycamore for one Colress, one Hex Maniac, and two Red Card. The Professor Sycamore-for-Colress swap was just a conceptuality realization. I think Colress is infinitely better and with two VS Seeker I wanted another option to hard drawing cards. I had considered a single Cynthia but decided against it since Colress almost always yields you as many cards or more. Hex Maniac and the Red Card counts were just a doubling down against the perceived metagame. I didn’t want to get wrecked by opposing degenerate combos, so I opted to play it myself. The biggest thing about the double Red Card is that you could stave off opposing Red Card plays like I mentioned earlier. That’s your win condition, since in the average Zoroark-GX mirror match you have the advantage purely because of Lycanroc-GX. Hex Maniac had a lot of uses but was most obviously for plays with the Red Card itself. I was on the ropes about cutting Oricorio but decided against it in the end. I also considered taking out Bunnelby but kept it, which ended up saving me as you’ll read about soon enough…

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