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Caleb Gedemer

The Internationals Intern — Gedemer's Guide for Indianapolis

Ready for North American Internationals? Time is running out to get prepared...

06/15/2017 by Caleb Gedemer

Ready for North American Internationals? Time is running out to get prepared, but Caleb Gedemer's got you covered if you're not, with a total of sixteen decks, what he does and doesn't like about them, and sixteen great deck lists to go with them. A lot is packed into this awesome piece!

Introduction

Oh, hey there! Are you ready for Nationals, I mean, Internationals? I sure am, and I’m excited to share with you my thoughts on Standard. This tournament is looking like it’ll be the largest of all time, so every attendee needs to be at the top of his or her game. I’ve been testing decks like crazy, and today I’d like to go over each one for you. I’d like to call to mind every deck out there in contention to begin with, and then I’ll hone in on the cream of the crop; some of the decks I’m personally considering for the event in detail. This is the article for you if you’re looking for top quality decks lists, and breakdowns, for pretty much everything. Enjoy, y’all.

Strong Decks

Decidueye-GX / Vileplume

Deck List

Overview

This deck has been the most popular build all season long, and it shows no signs of slowing down. It’s made back to back top cuts at Regional Championships, and always seems to be doing well when it’s played. Simply get out as many Decidueye-GX as you can, and then lock your opponent’s Item cards with Vileplume. Most decks crumble from the combination of the Item lock and the offensive pressure that you apply with ‘eye’s Feather Arrow Ability.

Dislikes

  • Garbodor decks can punish you for having to play so many Items to set up
  • Struggles against Confusion from Espeon-GX, and Zorua and Drampa-GX’s Righteous Edge can run you out of Energy
  • The deck tends to be on the more inconsistent side of things
  • Vileplume isn’t as strong anymore with Tapu Lele-GX in the format, and most decks playing more Supporter cards in general

Likes

  • Fantastic matchup against Vespiquen decks, which have grown in popularity tremendously
  • Feather Arrow is, and always will be, one of the best Abilities to use in the game
  • Field Blower in the deck prevents Garbodor with Garbotoxin from being as big a problem as it used to be
  • It can still beat anything if it just sets up perfectly

Espeon-GX / Garbodor (51)

Deck List

Overview

I was not a big fan of this deck starting off, but it’s grown on me a little bit. Espeon-GX is an amazing attacker right now, even against Garbodor decks, so long as you don’t play down more than four Items. Using Psybeam to inflict Confusion on your opponent’s Active Pokémon is absolutely nuts right now, since many decks don’t have a way to Retreat their way out of it, or switch out of it, and that leaves a player with an option to either risk the attack, or burn resources to get out of it. Either way that player is going to be in a rough spot, either from potentially missing an attack, or getting punished by Garbodor. This deck creates lots of problems for an opponent, which is awesome.

Dislikes

  • It struggles more than other Garbodor decks against Greninja BREAK, and the up-and-coming Zoroark BREAK deck
  • Tapu Bulu-GX decks can hurt you quite a bit, since Nature’s Judgement can take one-hit Knockouts on an Espeon-GX with a Choice Band attached
  • While most people claim that it does very well against other Garbodor decks, that’s not always the case, since Garbodor’s Acid Spray with a Choice Band can take you down in one hit, and sometimes you just have to play down Item cards, which will lead to more one-hit Knockouts

Likes

  • Garbodor always is a great play since it’s such a strong card in any field
  • Has an improved matchup against Metagross-GX with the addition of Flareon, which other Garbodor decks don’t have the option to play
  • Psybeam is just an amazing attack right now, you can sit behind an Espeon-GX and build up a field of attackers while your opponent struggles to make decisions on what to even do

Garbodor (51) / Drampa-GX

Deck List

Overview

The point of any good Garbodor deck is to either force your opponent into playing Item cards, or use a different attacker to help you make up for the Prizes you’re not taking with Garb itself. Drampa-GX is probably the best Pokémon out there to fill the later of those two roles, and this deck has been placing frequently in nearly every event since the legalization of Guardians Rising. Drampa caps at 180 with a Choice Band, unless you play Professor Kukui. It’s damage output is enough to take down many of the popular Pokémon in the game, and that’s why it’s such a great partner for Garbodor.

Dislikes

  • Drampa-GX is a clunky attacker, and inferior to Espeon-GX as an attacker in Garbodor decks
  • Espeon-GX variants beat you for a variety of reasons, Psychic is a very strong attack against the Drampa-GX version

Likes

  • Playing Team Magma’s Secret Base is cool, since many decks will have to lay down some of their Pokémon, and those Pokémon will get damaged from the Stadium, which can help set up some Knockouts
  • The Righteous Edge option is the best part about this deck, because discarding Double Colorless Energy from your opponent’s Pokémon right now is criminally underrated

Metagross-GX 

Deck List

Overview

Metagross burst into the competitive scene with a top placement at the Wisconsin Regional Championships in early June. I knew about the deck beforehand, but was too scared to play it at a big event. The glaring Fire Weakness makes ‘gross have an auto loss against any Volcanion deck, or really anything Fire in general. Aside from all of that, it bodies Garbodor decks, as well as most of the rest of the format. Nothing can really hit for 250 damage on a consistent basis, and that makes Metagross an absolute tank that can take one or two hits every time. If you play lots of Max Potions, you can Retreat between your attackers, and survive many attacks.

Dislikes

  • Extremely clunky, and can lose to itself
  • Hex Maniac is a huge problem after attacking
  • Sometimes hard to stream attackers

Likes

  • Alolan Vulpix is an amazing setup option for this deck in the early game
  • Max Potion is a broken card in the deck, since you can sometimes avoid Knockouts the entire game
  • Tapu Cure GX gets its best use in this deck, since it can effectively serve as a better Max Potion for your damaged Metagross-GXs

Volcanion

Deck List

Overview

Newer Volcanion decks generally are opting for a slower approach, playing Starmie and no Max Elixir. That is all in hopes to beat Garbodor decks, but while that’s all fine and dandy, it will hurt you in your other matchups tremendously. However, Garbodor is too good to ignore, so that version has its merits, too. Volcanion has a complete engine built into its Pokémon, so the deck is very fluid. You can just use Volcanion-EX’s Steam Up to get Fire Energy in the discard pile, and the proceed to use Power Heater from Volcanion, or even Turtonator-GX’s Nitro Tank GX attack to get a ton of Energy down all at once. The deck is quick, and hits hard against any opponent.

Dislikes

  • The deck is too slow for my taste when you don’t play Max Elixirs, but when you do, then you lose to Garbodor decks, which is a terrible problem to have
  • Vaporeon is finding its way into many decks, which can completely run you over (like in Vespiquen, for one)

Likes

  • Decidueye-GX / Vileplume should be going on the rise, soon, and this deck is very good against it
  • Starmie is a really good card right now, since Garbodor is not as relevant, and with Field Blower, you can always have the option to get two Fire Energy out of your discard pile without having to play down an Item

Outsider Decks

Alolan Ninetales-GX

Deck List

Overview

When Tapu Koko came out, this deck got a huge boost. Alolan Ninetales could already swing for some heavy damage, but now with a supplemental damage base, it can finish off damage that’s been spread around the field. Not only that, but its Ice Blade attack got a big buff as well, since it can more easily take down Pokémon that were already hit with Koko’s Flying Flip attack. Ninetales is a deck that’s very meta-dependent, meaning you should only play it if you know exactly what you’ll be up against. It has very specific good matchups, accompanied with some very glaringly bad ones.

Dislikes

  • I almost played this deck for Wisconsin Regionals, but I became super turned off from the deck because it can draw really poorly sometimes
  • Metagross-GX is an unwinnable matchup
  • You need to get Water Energy in the discard pile early for Aqua Patch to be useful, which is hard, and Patch is integral to actually winning games

Likes

  • Blizzard Edge with a Choice Band is very strong against nearly every deck, since it can take one-hit Knockouts against most of the popular meta decks
  • Very strong against both Garbodor and Zoroark BREAK decks
  • You have a lot of room for techs, depending on what decks you’re trying to beat

Darkrai-EX

Deck List

Overview

I covered Darkrai decks in depth in my last article, so I’ll spare you some of the details. Darkrai is in a weird spot currently with the hype and power behind Metagross-GX and Tapu Bulu-GX decks, both of which royally own Darkrai. Darkrai, however, can run with the rest of the pack. Yveltal with Oblivion Wing is still extremely powerful, and Dark Pulse can knock out anything. Playing Fighting Fury Belt again might be something to consider, since most decks that Choice Band is good against are going to beat you, unless you have something like the HP boost that comes from Fury Belts. The Dragonair version is also an option, so that you can stream down many Energy all in one turn and generate some massive Dark Pulse attacks.

Dislikes

  • Decidueye-GX / Vileplume is still an awful matchup, even with Altar of the Moone
  • Metagross-GX is pretty hard to beat, except with Dragonair, and Vespiquen is a loss
  • The Dragonair version is wildly inconsistent, even in a best two out of three format, where you would think that you would win two games more often than not

Likes

  • Can get to the point of taking one-hit Knockouts on every Pokémon in the game, which is amazing
  • Great Energy acceleration with Max Elixir, and sweet Energy recovery with Yveltal
  • Very good against Garbodor, although Drampa-GX can be problematic

Gallade / Octillery

Deck List

Overview

This is a newer deck that recently popped up at Mexico Regionals. I like it a lot, even though it does have some glaring weaknesses. You stream Gallades with Octillery and Mallow, which basically allows you to have access to any card you want at any time in the game. Sensitive Blade is an incredible attack, and with 150 HP, most decks can’t easily knock out a Gallade with full HP left. This deck is very consistent once it gets going, which is truly impressive. You can Premonition each turn and then draw the cards you want with Abyssal Hand, which is a great way to build a solid game plan.

Dislikes

  • Ability lock hurts you tremendously, and sometimes it’s hard to stream Gallades
  • Loses to Metagross-GX, and I’m not convincing thoroughly on the Garbodor matchup, either

Likes

  • Mallow with Octillery is amazing, Premonition, too
  • Sensitive Blade is a super strong attack, and Professor Kukui and Choice Band make it even better

Greninja BREAK

Deck List

Overview

Greninja BREAK finally broke through with a Top Eight finish in Mexico’s Regional Championship. That was extremely surprising, but a great showing for the deck. ‘ninja works very well against Pokémon-EX/GX decks that cannot reach 170 damage to one-shot a Greninja BREAK, and then Giant Water Shuriken will overwhelm those opponent’s. If can set up and draw well after that, you more than likely will beat just about every deck.

Dislikes

  • Garbodor matchup isn’t a guaranteed win, sometimes you can lose if you struggle to set up without Items
  • Inconsistent in nature
  • Loses hard to Decidueye-GX / Vileplume, as well as Tapu Bulu-GX decks

Likes

  • Beats Metagross-GX, which has seen a significant rise in play
  • Completely non-EX/GX, so many decks struggle against it when playing Pokémon-EX/GX attackers
  • One of the strongest decks in the game once it sets up

Gyarados

Deck List

Overview

While it never seems to be a particularly popular choice stateside, Gyarados always seems to be doing well in Europe. With the addition of Machoke from Guardians Rising, ‘dos decks can stack up to anything, including decks that play the new Tapu Koko Promo. Choice Band was the biggest turning point for this deck, since it allows Gyarados to hit higher numbers, even when you Prize a Magikarp, or two.

Dislikes

  • Some Garbodor decks still play Azelf, which directly goes through Machoke
  • Tapu Koko might be stopped temporarily with Machoke, but an opponent can still play a Hex Maniac down and stop Machoke’s Ability, then use Tapu Koko and sweep the board of Magikarps
  • The deck can be clunky and frustrating to play sometimes

Likes

  • Huge damage potential with Choice Band
  • If you can get past the setup phase, it’s easy to keep getting what you need and snowballing to the win since you have the Abyssal Hand option, as well as Teammates and Puzzle of Time
  • Trades well against every deck, since you have Octillery for draw, and only attack with Gyarados

Lapras-GX / Manaphy-EX

Deck List

Overview

This deck seems to go on and off the meta radar, and its one Top Eight so far is enough to keep its place as a contender in most tournaments. Lapras-GX has three amazing attacks, but Blizzard Burn is by far the strongest of the three, though. Coupled with a Choice Band, it can generally take one-hit Knockouts on most of the Pokémon-EX/GX in the game, aside from the beefier Stage 2 ones. Either way, normally the attack doesn’t allow you to attack at all on your following turn. However, with Manaphy-EX, you can Retreat your Lapras-GX attackers around for free with a Water Energy attached, and keep attacking. Aqua Patch and Max Elixir both help you keep streaming attackers, since you can power your Lapras-GXs up quickly.

Dislikes

  • Lapras-GX is weak to Grass, and lots of Grass decks are everywhere right now, like Tapu Bulu-GX and Vespiquen
  • The Garbodor matchup is very tough, since you require Items to stream attackers

Likes

  • Can knock out most Pokémon-EX/GX in one attack with Blizzard Burn and a Choice Band
  • Very consistent and doesn’t require much after you have two fully charged Lapras-GX in play

M Gardevoir-EX (79)

Deck List

Overview

M Gardevoir-EX got a huge boost from many different cards after the release of Guardians Rising, but it remains an incredibly unpopular deck choice for most players. It’s developed a handful of bad matchups, but still has a great engine unrivaled by any deck, and is one of the most consistent decks out there. Oricorio is an amazing card in this deck since it can search out Energy with its Ability, for one. I also love the option to use Tapu Lele-GX for Wonder Tag, but when you play a Psychic Energy you can also use Tapu Cure GX to heal your Gardevoirs in a pinch. Despair Ray can pretty much knock out anything, aside from the huge Pokémon-GX that most decks can’t bring down.

Dislikes

  • Loses to Greninja BREAK, Metagross-GX, Tapu Bulu-GX, Vespiquen and doesn’t have the best matchup against Garbodor, either

Likes

  • Does well against the rest of the field, aside from the ones I just mentioned, but the above decks are very popular right now

M Rayquaza-EX (76)

Deck List

Overview

Ray, like Gardevoir, has some inherently bad matchups, but it’s always a contender nonetheless. It’s more inconsistent, though, which is unfortunate, and many players, including myself, dislike that and try to avoid playing the deck. Emerald Break is just an amazing deck that can knock out pretty much anything, and along with the Tapu Koko Promo, you can even take down massive Pokémon like Metagross-GX that you used to not be able to knock out as easily. Playing Sudowoodo in M Rayquaza-EX is a fantastic option, since you put your opponent’s back up against a wall and limit his or her Bench room to use a Tapu Lele-GX to get a Lysandre and extend plays for multiple Prizes.

Dislikes

  • Loses to many of the same decks that Gardevoir loses to, especially Vespiquen, which is super popular right now
  • Very inconsistent, at least when I seem to play it

Likes

  • Can knock out literally anything after one use of Tapu Koko’s Flying Flip attack
  • With 220 HP, most Pokémon can’t take down a M Rayquaza-EX in one hit, including Tapu Bulu-GX, even with a Choice Band attached

Spotlight Decks

Vespiquen / Zoroark

Deck List

Card Explanations

4 Unown AOR 30

This card is the heart and soul of this deck, and it’s your best way to generating most of your damage. It also adds consistency to a deck that plays three Stage 1 lines, which is a must-have.

4 Combee AOR 9 and 4 Vespiquen AOR 10

This is your main attacker, and you shouldn’t ever switch up on any of this.

2 Zorua BKT 8 and 2 Zoroark BKT 91

Zoroark is a fantastic attacker, and two of each of its Stages is just enough. You’re generally not going to use two in a game, so you’re playing two to use one, since often times it will be Pokémon discard pile fodder.

2 Tapu Lele-GX GRI 60

This card is amazing in this deck, and lets you fetch the Supporter you need right away. I often use it to find a Professor Sycamore, and then begin a chain of Sycamores in hopes to discard as many Pokémon as possible. Having two is just right, and it even can serve as an attacker in a pinch!

2 Shaymin-EX ROS 77

In the past, most Vespiquen decks in the Standard format played three or four Shaymin-EXs, but now that you have Tapu Lele-GX, I’ve found myself wanting to Bench Shaymins down less and less. Having that lower-HP two Prize Pokémon down is a real liability, so only playing it down when you need it is something to constantly be thinking about. I’m happy with two, and see no reason to go up or down, because you still want to have the option to abuse Set Up when truly needed.

2 Klefki STS 80

Two Klefki might seem like a weird number, but it’s all you want, or need. M Pokémon-EX aren’t the biggest problem anymore, but still haven’t two Klefki for if you were to encounter one of those decks is a good idea. Additionally, having more Pokémon discard pile fodder is always a great idea, and Klefki’s Ability gets it in naturally.

2 Eevee AOR 63

This is the correct Eevee, since with a Choice Band, it’s first attack can do 40 damage. Now that doesn’t really seem like a big deal, but it’s more useful than potentially drawing a card with the Sun & Moon Eevee’s Quick Draw attack. 40 damage can set up, or finish, a Knockout on one of your opponent’s Pokémon.

1 Vaporeon AOR 22

This is for Volcanion, primarily. Volc is otherwise a hard matchup, so having a Vaporeon is crucial to success.

1 Flareon AOR 13

With Metagross-GX decks gaining some serious popularity, Flareon is a great inclusion, too. It can also help against Decidueye-GX decks, as well as Lurantis-GX builds.

1 Oranguru SUM 113

I originally wasn’t the biggest fan of this card in Vespiquen, since you would almost always rather have it in the discard pile, versus on the Bench, or so I thought, but in the late game for a deck that often can crumble from a low N, Oranguru is super clutch!

4 Professor Sycamore and 2 Lysandre

No explanation needed here, except that two Lysandre is very nice in the Standard format, so that you can have one in the discard pile for VS Seekers, and one still in your deck to turn your Tapu Lele-GXs into Lysandre outs.

1 N

To add Choice Bands to this deck, you need to make some cuts somewhere. An N is one of those cuts, and I have never had a problem with just a single copy of the card. I generally have it when I need it, and you want to use Professor Sycamore nearly every turn anyways, so I’m a fan of this count.

4 VS Seeker and 4 Ultra Ball

These are crucial in this deck to keep using Sycamores, and discard more Pokémon as you play along.

4 Acro Bike, 2 Special Charge, 2 Float Stone

These are all cards we’re accustomed to seeing in this build, and they aren’t going anywhere.

2 Choice Band

This is the big new addition to this deck, and it really is something to see. Vespiquen can now take much easier Knockouts, and Zoroark can go where it’s never gone before. Having two is perfect so that you find it, and use it more often.

1 Revitalizer

While Rescue Stretcher is now an option, having a Revitalizer is still great. Since you play Forest of Giant Plants, you can instantly get a Vespiquen out if you have the line in your discard pile and use your Revi. It’s a nice option to have to get back your most important attacker.

1 Rescue Stretcher

Having one Stretcher instead of two Revitalizer, or something else, is very good. Having the option to get back an Eevee piece, or Zoroark, is a great pathway to have, and I like the one count on this.

2 Forest of Giant Plants

This is the Stadium of choice in this deck, although one Parallel City is nice, too. Forest, though, is preferred because it allows you to be more aggressive with Vespiquen, and can instantly yield another ‘quen after you use a Revitalizer and Evolve up into it right away. Having two is good protection, and allows you to use it multiple times, and find it earlier.

4 Double Colorless Energy

Don’t play less than this.

Overview

In Madison, Vespiquen took its throne back with a Regionals win. The deck has been under the radar ever since Decidueye-GX / Vileplume started dominating tournaments, but since that deck has fallen back a lot, Vespi has been able to push through events much easier since it does well against most other decks. I think Bee Revenge pound for pound is the best attack in the game overall, so the deck is mostly self-explanatory. Zoroark is an amazing backup attacker that makes it hard for your opponent to set up effectively, or he or she will be punished by Mind Jack. Choice Band boosted this deck a ton, especially for Zoroark, since it can now reach the 190 mark if your opponent has a Bench of five Pokémon. This deck is super fun to play and extremely good, it just comes with a bit of a risk of bad matchups and opponents with Oricorio or Karen.

Dislikes

  • Oricorio with Supernatural Dance and Karen really hurt you, and those two cards are seeing more and more play with the popularity of Vespiquen on the rise in the Standard format
  • Sometimes you draw awkward hands and have to discard resources that you can’t afford to discard that ends up losing you the game or making it unnecessarily hard to win 

Likes

  • Can beat anything, even its bad matchups, and has favorable matchups against just about everything right now
  • Huge one-hit Knockout potential, which leads to very exciting gameplay

Vikavolt / Tapu Bulu-GX

Deck List

Card Explanations

3 Tapu Bulu-GX PR-SM SM32

This is your main attacker, and three is perfect.

3 Grubbin SUM 13, 2 Charjabug SUM 51, and 3 Vikavolt SUM 52

This is the preferred line for this attacker, and you could maybe cut down to one Charjabug, but then your matchup with Vileplume decks would be much worse.

2 Tapu Lele-GX GRI 60

Some lists are playing three of these, but I don’t think you need that many. You usually don’t have the Bench room for more than two, and it would be unwise to clog your Bench like that anyways.

1 Tapu Koko PR-SM SM31

This card is good to set up Knockouts that Tapu Bulu-GX can’t take, like against a Metagross-GX deck, for example, and it’s second attack, Electric Ball, has tons of use against non-EX/GX decks, since it helps you trade more effectively and can take some Knockouts on most lower-HP Pokémon. Two of these could even be okay, but you’ll never need that many.

1 Drampa-GX GRI 115

Having a Drampa is very nice, since it allows you to have an attacker that can do big damage for any type of Energy. In the late game, or early game, it can be difficult to get the right Energy to attack with, so having a Colorless option is super nice. Righteous Edge is also invaluable against Decidueye-GX / Vileplume decks to shore that matchup up. You wouldn’t ever want more than one of these.

3 Professor Sycamore, 3 N, and 2 Lysandre

The only off thing here is the three Professor Sycamore, and I don’t think four are critical to this deck’s success. You often times don’t want to dump your hand, since Rare Candy is so important, and you have a lot of important resources. It’s more for the late game, and that’s why I don’t think four are necessary.

1 Skyla

Skyla is normally a mediocre card, but in this deck, you want to play it so that you can get Rare Candy combinations off more easily. It’s also great to grab your Energy Recycler in the late game when you need it.

1 Olympia

This deck does play a lot of large Retreat Pokémon, so having an Olympia is sweet for when your Float Stones get discarded, or something gets stuck as your Active Pokémon.

1 Hex Maniac

I love this card, even in this deck, for the Metagross-GX matchup. It gives you a slight edge, and otherwise, you would get absolutely bodied. Having one is fine, and Tapu Lele-GX can search it out.

1 Brock's Grit

This card is integral for this deck’s success because it can get you Energy back so that you can keep using Strong Charge. Also, if you must discard some of your important Pokémon or attackers, you can get them back. One is just fine, since you won’t be using it every game, even.

1 Brigette

This is the heart and soul of your first turn, if you get Brigette, you can pretty much set yourself up for the rest of the game.

4 VS Seeker and 4 Ultra Ball

Keep these two in a full count in most decks, including this one.

3 Rare Candy

Since you have multiple Charjabug, you can sacrifice a full count of Rare Candy for other things. Having three is just fine, since you’ll often just be Evolving into Vikavolt Stage by Stage.

2 Heavy Ball

This can get pretty much every card in your deck, which is awesome. Since Brigette usually is your Supporter of choice on your first turn, you can immediately start using Heavy Ball to fetch more attackers or Evolution Pokemon. Having two is nice so that you hit them more often, and don’t Prize one, as it sets up a Rare Candy combination a lot of the time.

2 Float Stone

With high Retreats, it’s important to play as many of these as you can, and two is for space.

2 Field Blower

Without two of these, Garbodor with Garbotoxin could be a big problem.

2 Choice Band

Two of these is great, and it’s to boost Tapu Wilderness GX to 180, which can knock out many popular Pokemon in the game, and it also takes Nature’s Judgement to 210, and Electro Cannon can be pushed up to 180, as well, with a Band.

1 Energy Recycler

This is a neat little card that will let you get back Energy that you discarded with Nature’s Judgement. It’s a super good card in this deck, and another copy would be on a long list of extra cards you would play if you could.

7 Grass Energy

With seven Grass, you’re making sure that your main attacker, Tapu Bulu-GX, is never shorted the necessary Energy to use an attack.

5 Lightning Energy

Five Lightning is to make sure that every use of Strong Charge is successful, and for a Grass and a Lightning Energy.

Overview

First, this deck needs to play a Hex Maniac, and then many of its previously bad matchups are greatly improved. Now, why is the deck good? You can get a Nature’s Judgement attack off turn two if you can get a turn two Vikavolt down, and trust me, that happens a lot! Tapu Bulu-GX is one of the best attackers in the game, and it’s super easy to power up with Strong Charge. Tapu Wilderness GX is one of the best GX attacks out there, and your first Bulu usually survives upwards to a total of three turns, which is amazing. This deck takes early leads, and even in the late game when you’re fearing N drops, you still have access to Strong Charge and you can deal with it. Choice Band makes a Bulu’s Nature’s Judgement attack for 210, which takes down much of the format in one hit.

Dislikes

  • After discarding your Energy after a Nature’s Judgement attack, if your opponent drops a Hex Maniac, then it can be very difficult to get back into the game since you can’t use Strong Charge to attack again in many cases
  • Very difficult matchup against Zoroark BREAK decks, since Foul Play can copy Nature’s Judgement for one Energy, and a one-hit Knockout
  • When you draw bad to start the game or miss the turn two Vikavolt, it can be hard to win

Likes

  • Great matchups all around the board, especially when you add in a Hex Maniac for the Metagross-GX matchup
  • One of the strongest decks once it sets up, and it pretty much plays itself from the moment you get a Vikavolt down, so long as you can manage your Energy correctly, and recover then after you discard them
  • Super fun to play

Zoroark BREAK / Drampa-GX

Deck List

Card Explanations

4 Zorua BKT 89, 4 Zoroark BKT 91, and 2 Zoroark BREAK BKT 92

This Zorua is best, because Confusion is extremely good right now. You can use Moonless Madness against a lot of different decks and catch them off guard, and make your opponent think about Retreating, or risking the flip to attack. Four Zoroark is obviously, since it’s your main attacker. Having two BREAKs is very important, and you can always get more back with Rescue Stretchers, which I’ll say something about below.

2 Tapu Lele-GX GRI 60

Your main way of starting off the game with an Ultra Ball, either for Brigette or Pokemon Fan Club. It holds this deck, and most decks, together.

2 Drampa-GX GRI 115

Just like against Garbodor, your opponent can try to play around Zoroark’s Mind Jack. If he or she does that, then Drampa-GX can just overpower the opposing Pokemon, and it should threaten your opponent into playing a bigger Bench. Drampa is super good in this deck, and can take many Prizes just on its own.

1 Tapu Koko PR-SM SM31

Koko makes this deck a whole lot better, too, since you can set up easier Knockouts for Zoroark’s Mind Jack. One is just enough.

1 Shaymin-EX ROS 77

Still having one Shaymin on the turns you need to really dig is awesome.

1 Oricorio GRI 56

This is obviously for the Vespiquen matchup, and boy, does it ever work wonders. It completely flips that matchup on its head in Zoroark’s favor. In the late game, too, against other decks, it can be great to finish some things off.

1 Oranguru SUM 113

‘guru is great in the late game against really anything, since you can recover from low Ns.

4 Professor Sycamore, 3 N, 2 Lysandre, and 1 Teammates

These Supporters are all self-explanatory, aside from the Teammates, which is really good in this deck since your Pokemon get knocked out quite easily, and who doesn’t like grabbing two free cards from his or her deck?

1 Professor Kukui

Without this card, you couldn’t one-shot an Alolan Ninetales-GX, and there are many instances where it is also good. The Ninetales matchup, though, is where it gets the most use. You can use Zoroark BREAK’s Foul Play to copy Blizzard Edge, and with Kukui and Choice Band, you’ll be taking a Knockout.

1 Pokemon Fan Club

A Fan Club in this deck is also nice alongside Brigette, since it allows you to get Pokemon that you can play from your hand, and then damage with Team Magma’s Secret Base to boost Drampa-GX’s Berserk damage. It can also grab a Tapu Lele-GX to use on your next turn, as well.

1 Hex Maniac

Without Hex, your matchup with Metagross-GX and Vikavolt decks would be much, much worse.

1 Brigette

This is the best Supporter starting off, and can grab you any combination of three of your most needed Pokemon.

4 VS Seeker and 4 Ultra Ball

These should be staples in pretty much every deck.

3 Choice Band

Why three instead of two? Most of your attackers would like to have one whenever you attack.

2 Rescue Stretcher

Why not a split of Stretcher with Super Rod? Well, as you’ll see a little bit later, you already have enough Basic Energy for the deck to operate, and Stretcher is incredibly useful to keep streaming attackers.

2 Float Stone

Two Float Stone is just enough to make sure you’re Retreating your Pokemon when you need to with this deck.

1 Special Charge

Nearly all your attackers take Double Colorless Energy, and without a Special Charge, there aren’t enough Energy to go around! Most games you’re going to want to use five non-EX/GX attackers, and a Drampa-GX, so you’ll be looking at five to six Double Colorless in that scenario. That’s where Charge comes in to get you those extra attachments.

2 Team Magma's Secret Base

Without Magma’s Base, Drampa-GX is a lot less powerful. By playing it, you can set up Berserk attacks for max damage, and also, it is nice to have in conjunction with Oricorio and Tapu Koko, you can set up some cool Knockouts on low HP Pokemon very early on.

6 Darkness Energy

Six Darkness Energy is all you need in this deck, as it’s used for a second attachment on Drampa-GX, and sometimes to power up a Mind Jack with two attachments. Foul Play is the other one, and then Oricorio’s attacks. Six is just fine.

4 Double Colorless Energy

You’re going to want four of these, no doubt.

Overview

60cards own Daniel Altavilla was absolutely rolling with this deck at the last few Regional Championships of the season, proving how good this deck can be. With all non-EX/GX Pokemon in your deck, you can make Prize trading awkward for any opponent. My favorite part about the deck is how good Zoroark BREAK is right now with its Foul Play attack. There are so many hard-hitting attacks out there right now, Tapu Bulu-GX’s Nature’s Judgement, Turtonator-GX’s Bright Flame, and even Volcanion-EX’s Volcanic Heat, such that Foul Play can do some serious damage for a little investment that is just one Darkness Energy. This deck isn’t going anywhere, since it doesn’t have very many bad matchups out there.

Dislikes

  • Difficult to play, and takes a lot of getting used to since you’re literally basing what is mostly your entire strategy on how your opponent plays themselves
  • Slightly inconsistent since you’re playing Evolution Pokemon, and a BREAK Pokemon that’s “basically” a Stage 2 Pokemon
  • Very dependent on how your opponent plays, except for when you use Drampa-GX or Zoroark BREAK

Likes

  • Drampa-GX punishes an opponent that tries to limit his or her Bench size
  • Mind Jack with a Choice Band can hit the numbers that it needs to, something the attack used to struggle to do
  • Zoroark BREAK does well against pretty much everything, since most decks play a Pokemon with a very strong attack

Conclusion

That just about does it for today. I’m really excited for you to try all these deck lists out, and make an informed decision on your deck choice for the North American International Championship. I think most of the decks are now out of the woodwork, but we will have to see! If you have a cool new deck that hasn’t been leaked to the public yet, be sure to test it against all the decks that I talked about in this article. As always, be sure to check out my Facebook page here. Thanks for stopping by and reading, everyone. Good luck out there!

[+10] okko


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