Experts' corner

Jose Marrero

3 Strong Plays for the North American International Championships, Their Pros and Cons and Match-ups

Jose examines 3 strong plays for the North American International Championships this weekend.

06/29/2017 by Jose Marrero


Hello once again, 60cards readers! The North American International Championships is this weekend and I'm sure players are testing their butts off as we speak for the biggest Pokémon event to date. The Masters Division capped as of Tuesday and this means we should have over 1,000 Masters. If that's the case, which should be exciting to see what they end up doing as far as pods go, because last season they had two pods of Top 32 move on to Day 2, then 6 more rounds then a Top 8. It's no surprise that this event will be the biggest one yet, and essentially the hardest as well, because of the extra Day 2 round. This tournament isn't for the faint of heart, so you better be ready to play 15+ rounds if you want to make it to the final 8. The winner of this event will surely stand out as one of the elites, whether they are a known player or not, which back when it was named Nationals yielded many great players--a lot of them don't play as much but hopefully, will pop up come this weekend. Anyway, I'll be going more in-depth on three strong plays for this weekend which I feel can give you enough points to finish off those invites or maybe even go further than you expected.

I'll first start off with Daniel Altavilla's Zoroark/Drampa-GX list he used to Top 4 Madison Regionals then win Mexico Regionals the following week. It had a handful of accomplishments over the past month and it's hard to change any cards in the list because if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Next, I'll dive into Espeon-GX/Garbodor as I feel it's the ideal way to play Garbodor right now since it has better matchups across the board compared to Drampa-GX/Garbodor. For this list, I'll be taking a look at Xander Pero's Top 4 list from Mexico Regionals with a couple changes. Finally, I'll analyze Azul Garcia's Top 8 Volcanion/Turtonator-GX list from Madison Regionals also with a couple changes. Going into the North American International Championships this weekend I feel these three decks will be "The Decks" to beat, or simply play, so it's up to you whether you're the one to be joining the trend or trying to counter them. As for myself, I'll definitely be one of the ones trying to counter them.

With that said, let's get right into the most hyped and possibly the new best deck in the format right now, Zoroark, Drampa-GX.


If you're not playing Zoroark/Drampa-GX then you should be trying to counter it because it will pop up in the masses this weekend. The deck is simple and straight to the point. Mind Jack doing 30 damage for each of your opponent's Benched Pokémon is very good right now and it only takes a single Double Colorless Energy. Zoroark BREAK's Foul Play gives it many options no matter what deck you face because for just a Dark Energy you can be doing lethal damage, which is scary to think about. Drampa-GX being able to hit up to 180 with a Choice Band makes it that much better and worse case, you can Big Wheel GX for a fresh hand should your hand be weak. The deck's favorability against Garbodor variants makes it one of the best contenders going into the North American International Championships and why Daniel Altavilla and Seena were able to put up great results with it. The deck hits hard and not many decks can counter it because it has two strong attackers, which are both a stage 1 and a Basic, giving the deck a little of everything. A turn one Brigette or Pokémon Fan Club with an energy on Drampa-GX is the ideal opening turn then you transition into a turn two Mind Jack or Berserk and go from there while having Foul Play in mind. Overall this deck should be taken seriously this weekend because if you face multiple of them and you aren't prepared then your tournament won't go so well especially if you are still chasing the invite.

I think Daniel's list will be the ideal list everyone is going to be playing, should they play the deck, because it's near perfect aside from having a couple rough matchups. Meaning you better memorize this list to the core because it'll definitely see play this weekend. The Pokémon lines and counts are hard to change unless you're Seena--he dropped Tapu Koko for a third Zoroark BREAK which is hard to argue because Foul Play is really really good right now. I also see other lists not running Tapu Koko anymore as well so maybe that's the only ideal changeable card in the list. I don't think I would change anything else aside from maybe Tapu Koko because cards like Teammates, Hex Maniac, and Professor Kukui are good on their own merit so I would keep those in. I can see going up to four Choice Band because of how good they are for hitting those magic numbers for both Zoroark and Drampa-GX. Below are some other options that you may want to keep in mind however as I said the list doesn't need much work because it's had success by plenty of people.

Other card options


This card is a solid backup attacker because it too can abuse Dark Energy and with Eevee's Energy Evolution ability you can get Umbreon-GX going on the first turn of the game. It's first attack, Strafe, does a solid 30 damage which can set up a KO later on in the game. Shadow Bullet can take a KO while setting up another KO which is nice. Dark Call GX lets you discard two energy attached to your opponent's Pokémon which can come in handy.

Octillery BRT:

If you dislike Oranguru as the draw, which only nets you three cards, you can opt to go with Octillery instead because five cards are better than 3. However, Octillery is a stage 1 Pokémon, which is the only downside. On the other hand, I guess Oranguru can be used as an attacker since Octillery needs Water Energy and Oranguru only needs Colorless Energy. Silent Lab isn't being played anymore so Oranguru can be used whenever.

Flareon AOR:

Because this deck struggles against Metagross-GX, having Flareon, so that Zoroark is now a Fire type, can be enough to swing the matchup back into your favor. Decidueye-GX variants can be annoying as well.

Giratina XY 184 Promo:

Another deck that this deck struggles against is Greninja so having Giratina to shut off Giant Water Shuriken just may be enough to steal the game. However, its a dead card against pretty much everything else.

Rainbow Energy:

Because the deck plays Drampa-GX as a secondary attacker means you want to be able to fuel it's attack Berserk and by playing at least one copy of Rainbow Energy you now have a higher chance of achieving its maximum damage output while still having the option to use Foul Play.

Super Rod:

If you are worried about running out of Dark Energy then you can drop one of the Rescue Stretchers for a Super Rod, however, Seena said he would have much preferred a second Rescue Stretcher over the Super Rod which he ran in his winning list from Origins.

Field Blower:

There have been talks about people playing Fighting Fury Belts in decks which makes Zoroark and Drampa-GX unable to one shot a lot of things if that's the case so having a Field Blower as insurance can be clutch.


  • Zoroark BREAK's versatility against pretty much anything.
  • Mind Jack forcing the opponent to watch their bench more closely.
  • Drampa-GX's Berserk attack potentially hitting for 180 damage which is relevant in a lot of cases.
  • Big Wheel GX refreshing your hand.
  • Doesn't have many weaknesses.
  • Yields 1 energy attackers for big damage.


  • Struggles against Metagross-GX and Greninja.
  • Fighting based decks such as Lycanroc-GX and Zygarde-EX can be troublesome.


  • Espeon-GX/Garbodor... 60/40
  • Volcanion/Turtonator-GX... 65/35
  • Drampa-GX/Garbodor... 65/35
  • Vespiquen/Zoroark... 50/50
  • Decidueye-GX/Vileplume... 35/65
  • Decidueye-GX/Ninetales-GX/Tapu Koko... 40/60
  • Vikavolt/Tapu Bulu-GX... 60/40
  • Metagross-GX... 35/65
  • Turbo Darkrai-EX... 60/40
  • Greninja... 30/70
  • Gyarados... 80/20
  • M Rayquaza-EX... 70/30


Zoroark/Drampa-GX has been seeing a huge influx in play after Daniel Altavilla's Mexico Regionals win and Seena's Origins win. It'll definitely be one of the more popular decks going into the North American International Championships that's for sure. Its matchup against Espeon-GX/Garbodor is favorable which says a lot seeing as how Espeon-GX/Garbodor will see tons of play this weekend because it has a lot of favorable matchups and is definitely top 3 in many players deck choices going into this weekend. Espeon-GX doesn't really do much against Zoroark so really it only has an effect against Drampa-GX which is basically to Confuse them. Zoroark can take quick KO's against them while managing their Item use and because Zoroark has resistance to Psychic means it'll be harder to one shot them with Garbodor giving the advantage to Zoroark/Drampa-GX. Against Volcanion you should also be favored because they rely on having a number of Volcanion-EX on the bench so it'll be difficult for them to watch their bench while trying to take KO's at the same time. Zoroark BREAK with a Choice Band and Professor Kukui can one hit KO Volcanion-EX for a single Dark Energy thanks to Foul Play. Or against Turtonator-GX a Zoroark BREAK just needs a Choice Band to one shot. If Zoroark doesn't cut it which it will then you also have Drampa-GX which can one hit KO a Volcanion-EX should it have a Choice Band attached. Drampa-GX/Garbodor is another favorable matchup which is slightly more favorable than the Espeon-GX variant.

It pretty much plays out the same except now you can one hit KO a Drampa-GX with Zoroark BREAK which now gives you two ways of one shotting opposing Drampa-GX's. Your own and copying your opponent's Berserk with a Choice Band attached and because you're potentially trading a non-EX/GX for a GX makes it that much better. A Zoroark BREAK most likely won't get revenge KOed back because it has 140 hit points and it has resistance to Psychic which means you have to have eight Items in your discard for a Garbodor to one hit KO one of your Zoroark BREAK which you should easily be able to play around. Against Vespiquen/Zoroark I can only imagine it being a 50/50 which I had to ask Rahul Reddy and he too agreed so it has to be. Both decks can easily stream KO's with their non-EX/GX's making the matchup pretty even. However, whoever bricks first or misses the revenge KO is pretty much done for unless someone takes an EX/GX knockout to stay ahead on prizes then they have the advantage now so really you have to play smarter than your opponent when it comes down to it. Against Decidueye-GX/Vileplume the advantage goes to them because Vileplume plus Feather Arrow can slowly whittle Zoroark's down. Vileplume against any deck can be annoying especially if they get it out turn one going first then unless you have a draw supporter in hand already then it's probably going to be a quick game. Feather Arrow is too strong against Zoroark I'm afraid to say because Razor Leaf can finish them off with ease while Zoroark will struggle to find energy while under item lock.

Against the non Vileplume variant it'll still be a difficult matchup because of Ninetales-GX and Espeon-EX. Unless you are one hit KOing Ninetales-GX which I don't think is possible then they can just use its GX attack to heal off all the damage. Espeon-EX can come in the late game to finish everything off which is scary as well after a few Tapu Koko snipes. Let's get back to another favorable matchup for Zoroark/Drampa-GX and that is Vikavolt/Tapu Bulu-GX. The reason this matchup is so favorable is that Vikavolt/Tapu Bulu-GX has to have a decent sized bench to function and because Zoroark BREAK can one hit KO a Tapu Bulu-GX makes the matchup that much easier. If they ever have more than four benched Pokémon then you threaten one shot with Zoroark and even Drampa-GX can one hit KO both Vikavolt and Tapu Bulu-GX. Another not so good matchup against Zoroark/Drampa-GX is Metagross-GX. Zoroark can't ever one shot them so they just spam Max Potion and one shot you. However, if you were to run Flareon then the matchup would be a lot better. Metagross-GX having 250 hit points just laugh at Zoroark and Drampa-GX.

Even Zoroark BREAK can't one shot a Metagross-GX and because Metagross-GX does a base of 150 damage means it's perfect for one hit KOing Zoroark BREAK and with a Choice Band it can one shot Drampa-GX which is why the matchup is unfavorable for Zoroark/Drampa-GX. Turbo Darkrai-EX is a favorable matchup I would have to say for the fact that Drampa-GX with a Choice Band one shots Darkrai-EX. Plus if they have a full bench then Zoroark can one shot Darkrai-EX and if that's the case the matchup should be even easier. One of the most difficult matchups for Zoroark/Drampa-GX is definitely Greninja. This is because Giant Water Shuriken can easily take out Zorua's. Greninja BREAK can take out Drampa-GX with ease as well making the matchup extremely hard. Both Zoroark and Zoroark BREAK aren't great attackers against Greninja and Drampa-GX needs Professor Kukui and a damaged bench to one shot a Greninja BREAK which isn't that easy. Because this deck plays both Oricorio and Tapu Koko means it has a huge advantage against Gyarados making it a very good matchup. Plus Zoroark can trade well against Gyarados but having both counters to it without meaning to is a win-win either way. Against M Rayquaza-EX the advantage goes to Zoroark/Drampa-GX because of Mind Jack and the fact that M Rayquaza-EX thrives on having a big bench. It's hard for M Rayquaza-EX to limit their bench while keeping up with KO's which coming from a M Rayquaza-EX player like myself take my word for it.

Let's now get into Espeon-GX/Garbodor which is seeing more play than with Drampa-GX now.


Xander Pero recently got Top 4 in Mexico with this deck which this list is pretty identical to his. This deck being the second of the three decks I'm talking about should be no surprise because if you have been keeping up with Regional and League Cup results after Mexico Regionals then you know Espeon-GX/Garbodor has started to gain more popularity leading up to the North American International Championships. Espeon-GX is a lot better than what people thought because all of its attacks have their own merit and are good against different kinds of matchups. Its first attack Psybeam which auto Confuses can essentially be good against anything because it forces them to retreat or risk the tails flip and the 30 damage hit. Which if they flip tails then it gives you a very big advantage because they now have wasted a turn and took damage for free. Psychic is mainly used for when you're taking a KO because it has a base of 60 damage which gets boosted 30 more for each Energy attached to your opponent's Active Pokémon and with Choice Band Espeon-GX can hit better numbers. Now Divide GX is used to chip away at some Pokémon so that Garbodor can clean them up later on unless you need to use Divide GX to take a cheap low hit point Pokémon out.

Flareon is of course for Metagross-GX otherwise you will never one shot them and they have resistance to Psychic and they play Max Potion so your best bet is to have Flareon turn your stage 1 attackers into Fire-types. Of course, you should still play at least one copy of Garbotoxin Garbodor because you never know when it will come in handy. Three Trashalanche Garbodors should be plenty enough although I see some lists running all Trashalanche which makes sense if it focused more on the Eeveelutions. You can see now most if not all Espeon-GX/Garbodor lists are running Oricorio after Michael Pramawat's Regionals win with Vespiquen/Zoroark. Even if you don't expect Vespiquen/Zoroark this weekend I would still keep Oricorio because you never know what you will face in a field of over 1,000+ players. Xander ran two Hex Maniac as well as a Delinquent which I dropped down to one Hex Maniac because the deck plays Garbotoxin. I believe I added in the 4th copy of VS Seeker and Professor Sycamore which as you can see I made the deck more consistent by adding two more draw cards essentially. Overall Xander's list is very solid and if you want you can try my changes or simply just play his which honestly isn't that much of a difference.

Other card options


One copy of Shaymin-EX I feel is ideal because there will be times where after you have played a supporter where you may have to keep digging for an energy or something else which makes Shaymin-EX great in this scenario.


This card can be splashed into pretty much any deck but more so the decks that already play Double Colorless Energy. Righteous Edge and Berserk are strong attacks for getting rid of energy and removing big threats off the board. Not to mention its GX attack, Big Wheel GX which obviously is game changing if it's not nullified with an N the following turn.

Tapu Koko SUM 30 Promo:

Can be used to set up KO's since Tapu Koko does 20 damage to all your opponent's Pokémon.

Oranguru SUM:

This card is splashable in every deck which can make you less vulnerable to a low hand sized N.

Vaporeon AOR:

The deck plays Flareon mainly for Metagross-GX, however, Volcanion can give the deck trouble if you can't get Garbotoxin out. Vaporeon can make the Volcanion matchup less stressful.


I see players running either or on Brigette and Pokémon Fan Club. I think personally I prefer Brigette as it nets you an extra Basic. However, Pokémon Fan Club nets you Tapu Lele-GX which then you can use its ability as well as Shaymin-EX if you decide to play it.


Obviously useful against Vespiquen however because the deck plays Oricorio I don't think you need both. You play either or because if you play both then one will contradict the other.


Xander Pero's Top 4 list from Mexico Regionals actually ran Delinquent but I don't think it's a needed card so I dropped it for a 4th copy of Professor Sycamore for more consistency.

Altar of the Moone:

Giving Espeon-GX free retreat seems too good not to play honestly because this way when you retreat into another attacker you save the energy which you can then use that Espeon-GX for later as it's one energy away from using Psychic or Divide GX. Bumping other stadiums such as Team Magma's Secret Base is crucial so that your opponent can't take advantage of putting damage counters on their bench to make Drampa-GX do more damage.


  • Divide GX can set up KO's.
  • Garbotoxin shuts off abilities.
  • Psybeam's Confusion can put your opponent in a sticky situation.
  • Trashalanche forces the opponent to play more carefully or else they get punished.


  • Vulnerable to Field Blower.
  • Mewtwo EVO can be troublesome for Espeon-GX.


  • Volcanion/Turtonator-GX... 60/40
  • Drampa-GX/Garbodor... 55/45
  • Vespiquen/Zoroark... 60/40
  • Decidueye-GX/Vileplume... 70/30
  • Decidueye-GX/Ninetales-GX/Tapu Koko... 60/40
  • Vikavolt/Tapu Bulu-GX... 40/60
  • Metagross-GX... 70/30
  • Turbo Darkrai-EX... 40/60
  • Greninja... 60/40
  • Gyarados... 70/30
  • M Rayquaza-EX... 40/60


With Espeon-GX/Garbodor's popularity rising it's no surprise to see Espeon-GX/Garbodor as the number two strong pick going into the North American International Championships. Its matchup against Volcanion/Turtonator-GX is favorable because of Garbotoxin. Shutting off Steam Ups so that you can no longer potentially one hit KO an Espeon-GX is huge. The matchup would be even more favorable if you were to run Vaporeon as well this way you have one or the other and because the deck already plays four Eevee you can easily fit Vaporeon if you think Volcanion will see tons of play which I personally think so. The Drampa-GX/Garbodor matchup is favorable to an extent. Espeon-GX has the type advantage against opposing Garbodor's but so do they against Espeon-GX so you have to be careful on how many Items are in your discard when attacking with Espeon-GX. If the opponent uses Drampa-GX then Espeon-GX's Psybeam can come in handy there otherwise Espeon-GX should be used wisely. However, Psybeam can hit Trubbish and Garbodors for weakness making it easier to finish them off with your own Garbodors later on. I think the matchup is a little tricky but still favorable for the Espeon-GX version. Moving on we now get into the Vespiquen/Zoroark matchup which I believe is favorable for a number of reasons. The first is that Garbotoxin can cripple Vespiquen/Zoroark because it shuts off all of their draw power. Divide GX can also put a lot of pressure on the Vespiquen/Zoroark player because it can take a KO on both a Combee and a Zorua or two Combee.

Not to mention Oricorio is very good against Vespiquen/Zoroark which tilts the matchup even more in Espeon-GX/Garbodor's favor. Garbodor can easily trade KO's with either Vespiquen or Zoroark which is another reason why the edge goes to Espeon-GX/Garbodor. Decidueye-GX/Vileplume is a very favorable matchup more so than Vespiquen/Zoroark. Not only does Garbotoxin shut off Feather Arrow but Espeon-GX's attack Psybeam puts them in a tough situation. Having Flareon so that both Espeon-GX and Garbodor can hit Decidueye-GX for weakness makes the matchup that much easier. The other version of Decidueye-GX which has been getting more and more hype lately is the one with Ninetales-GX and Tapu Koko with Espeon-EX as a cleanup attacker is also favorable. Again Garbotoxin does wonders in this matchup as well as Flareon should Garbotoxin be unavailable. Psybeam on both Decidueye-GX and Ninetails-GX makes them retreat out and waste energy or simply flip to attack and risk the Confusion which is a win win basically. One matchup that I think is favorable against Espeon-GX/Garbodor is Vikavolt/Tapu Bulu-GX. This is because they play a handful of Field Blowers which makes Garbotoxin less prone to stopping Vikavolt. Plus Tapu Bulu has a base of 120 damage which is enough to one shot Garbodors without having to discard its energy and with a Choice Band Tapu Bulu-GX can one hit KO an Espeon-GX which is scary to think.

Metagross-GX usually would be a tough matchup for Espeon-GX/Garbodor however now that people realized teching in Flareon is the right call now makes Metagross-GX a much better matchup. You can now use Psychic to one hit KO a Metagross-GX. Garbotoxin can also slow them down to an extent because they play 2-3 Field Blowers which eventually they will start powering up Metagross-GX for some big damage. Still the edge goes to Espeon-GX/Garbodor especially if you run Flareon as I said. Turbo Darkrai-EX is an unfavorable matchup for sure not only because of its resistance to both Espeon-GX and Garbodor but because it can start taking KO's and putting pressure by turn 2. Against Greninja you need to get Garbotoxin going before any Greninja BREAK hit the field. Shutting off Giant Water Shuriken is crucial in this matchup or else its all down hill because Espeon-GX isn't a great attacker against Greninja so you will have to hope your opponent plays Items down to fuel Trashalanche. Gyarados should be an easy matchup given that a turn 2 Divide GX cripples them as well as some well-timed Oricorio plays. Going first is huge in the Gyarados matchup and if they play Machoke you can either Garbotoxin to shut it off or use Hex Maniac then attack with Espeon-GX or Oricorio. So the advantage definitely goes to Espeon-GX/Garbodor as much as it pains me to say that. Against M Rayquaza-EX they should have the advantage simply because of how they are built these days with more supporters and fewer items. This means Garbodor won't do much damage while M Rayquaza-EX is taking KO after KO.

Finally, let's get into Volcanion/Turtonator-GX which was made to counter Garbodor most of all.


If you expect a ton of Garbodor variants or Metagross-GX as well as Decidueye-GX variants then Volcanion/Turtonator-GX may be the deck for you. Azul showed how strong the deck is after his Top 8 performance at Madison Regionals. The inclusion of Turtonator-GX makes the deck less prone to Trashalanche because there aren't any Max Elixirs. Nitro Tank GX can power up multiple attackers in a single turn making it super strong which is why Azul ran not one but two of them. Starmie is another cool card in the deck because this means you don't need to run cards like Energy Retrieval to get back energy but instead now you have a built-in Energy Retrieval in the form of Starmie. The fact that Staryu has free retreat makes it the ideal starter because then you can go into a Volcanion without having to find a switch card. By the looks of how many supporters Azul ran, he knew he had to make the list Garbodor proof so he added in more supporters while not playing cards like Trainers' Mail. The three VS Seeker gives it away as well. However, Azul's list had three Ultra Ball but I ended up dropping the Delinquent he had for a 4th copy. The max count of Brooklet Hill makes sense that Azul played only three Ultra Ball because it can search out all the Fire types in the deck as well as Staryu. Overall I think the heavy Brooklet Hill build is what most players will be playing should they play Volcanion. There will be some playing with Max Elixirs still because they can't stay away from it simply because it's their playstyle.

Other card options


Azul played a copy of this card in his Top 8 Madison Regionals list, however, I dropped it from his list for a 4th copy of Ultra Ball because I feel that the extra copy can get you out of a dead hand more often since Tapu Lele-GX is a life saver plus your opponent can play around Delinquent and personally, I've never been a fan of the card.

Max Elixir:

We may see players adding Max Elixir back into their Volcanion decks because the speed they bring to the table is needed against non-Garbodor based decks. However, you still have to be wary of those pesky Garbodor variants because Trashalanche is troublesome.

Professor's Letter:

This card helps find Fire Energy so you can use Steam Up more efficiently.

Max Potion:

The Origins 2nd place Volcanion list ran a copy of Max Potion which I'm not too sure why but then again you never know when a healing card like Max Potion can come in the clutch.


  • Capable of one hit KOing pretty much anything with enough Steam Ups.
  • Starmie making sure you have energy in hand.
  • Turtonator-GX fueling your attackers for a single energy.



  • Vulnerable to Vaporeon.
  • Garbotoxin can be troublesome.
  • Takes a hard loss to Greninja.
  • Very favorable against Metagross-GX and most Decidueye-GX variants.


  • Drampa-GX/Garbodor... 60/40
  • Vespiquen/Zoroark... 40/60
  • Decidueye-GX/Vileplume... 55/45
  • Decidueye-GX/Ninetales-GX/Tapu Koko... 60/40
  • Vikavolt/Tapu Bulu-GX... 30/70
  • Metagross-GX... 90/10
  • Turbo Darkrai-EX... 30/70
  • Greninja... 20/80
  • Gyarados... 10/90
  • M Rayquaza-EX... 30/70


The first matchup I wanna go over is the Drampa-GX/Garbodor matchup because there will be plenty of people who can't get over the deck after its success back when Guardians Rising first came out. I give the edge to Volcanion/Turtonator-GX because of how the list is built. You can see there aren't any Max Elixirs which Turtonator-GX took their place or Energy Retrievals which Starmie took their place or even any Trainers' Mail. This is because when Azul built the deck he knew he needed to make it less vulnerable to Trashalanche which is the correct way to play Volcanion/Turtonator-GX right now especially this weekend. The heavy supporter count and one less copy of VS Seeker on top of Brooklet Hill being able to search out your Pokémon make Drampa-GX/Garbodor less of a threat moving forward. Vespiquen/Zoroark is an unfavorable matchup if they play Vaporeon which most if not all lists are running these days. Vaporeon giving both Vespiquen and Zoroark Water typing is troublesome for any Volcanion build and the fact that they are attacking with non-EX/GX Pokémon to take knockouts while you may have to rely on Volcanion-EX to take KO's. You can try going aggro Volcanion but eventually, you will run out since Volcanion doesn't play any recovery cards meaning Volcanion-EX or Turtonator-GX will have to battle against non-EX/GXs which easily get one shotted back if Vaporeon is out. Decidueye-GX/Vileplume is slightly favorable simply because of the typing.

However, Vileplume is troublesome for any deck. If a Volcanion-EX gets stuck active with no energies or Float Stone then the matchup can be scary. But still, the edge goes to Volcanion because again of its type advantage against Grass types. Against Decidueye-GX without Vileplume I would think the matchup is even more favorable but I could be wrong because of Ninetales-GX and if they play Hoothoot as well. For now though on paper its favorable against Volcanion because like I said before on the typing. Ninetales-GX you just have to wait for the one shot before hitting it unless you chip it down with Volcanion then follow up with a Volcanic Heat. Be wary on Hoothoot though because a surprise Proclaim the Night can be deadly. Next, we have Vikavolt/Tapu Bulu-GX which should hands down be a rough matchup for Volcanion. Not only does Tapu Bulu-GX not having a weakness but it can one hit KO a Volcanion-EX with ease as long as it has three energy on it which is why the advantage goes to Vikavolt/Tapu Bulu-GX.

But now we get into the Metagross-GX matchup which is basically an auto-win for Volcanion however you never wanna put that a matchup is 100% so I put 90/10 in favor of Volcanion simply because of Metagross-GX being weak to fire and being a slow deck. Turbo Darkrai-EX should be unfavorable against Volcanion because Darkrai-EX can't one hit KO a Volcanion-EX or Turtonator-GX that easy while Volcanion-EX can one shot Darkrai-EX much easier now that they don't play Fighting Fury Belt. Both Greninja and Gyarados are hard auto losses but more so Gyarados I would say because they can stream Teammates after Teammates and only need one damaged Magikarp to one shot a Volcanion-EX. Greninja is rough as well because they just spam Shadow Stitching which hits for weakness as well and with Choice Band they KO you faster while denying you of Steam Ups and Starmie as well as Tapu Lele-GX's Wonder Tag. M Rayquaza-EX is another rough matchup because they one shot you while using Hex Maniac so there isn't much you can do in that matchup unless you play Sudowoodo but even then because Volcanion doesn't play recovery cards as I said means once it goes down it gone for good.

Closing Thoughts

That will conclude this lengthy article on three strong plays for the North American International Championships this weekend. I hope you were able to learn something out of it whether it's how to counter the decks I talked about or simply made you want to play one of them. Personally, I'm not one to play the most hyped decks going into a tournament as I like to play my own decks but when I do I change them to my own liking. The three decks I discussed will easily see tons of play given that the field will be over 1,000 Masters. Some of the decks have fewer counters than others so really it's up to you on what you expect to face for the first 9 rounds of Day 1 which is where you need to focus on first then transition into Day 2 and play it by ear which in Day 2 you should see more meta decks anyway. I'll be there this weekend so if you see me don't be shy and come say hello because I like meeting new people and if your attending to play in the main event then the best of luck to you and if your one of those players who are just shy of the invite then I hope you are able to finish it off.

 If you haven't already check out The Chaos Gym on YouTube and Twitch for updates and player interviews, as well as live streaming from Grafton Roll and Rahul Reddy. If you want to help support my team, be sure to check out Team ARG's Pokémon page on Facebook, Team ARG Pokémon-TCG for tons of deck lists from great players. My Twitter is down below if you want to follow me then, by all means, go for it. If you have any questions about these lists or decks in general or about Team ARG then please feel free to leave me a comment below or message me on Facebook and I'll be sure to get to them as soon as possible. As usual, if you enjoyed reading this article, then please consider giving it a thumbs up. If you want to see a specific type of article or topic next time, don't hesitate to give me ideas down below and I'll consider them, or if you have any other deck ideas and want to see an analysis on it, then, by all means, post it and I'll take a look. As always, keep an eye out for more articles to come. Until next time!

-Twitter @Jose_MarreroTCG

[+10] okko


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