Experts' corner

Jose Marrero

"Foxy Owls" - A Look at Decidueye-GX/Zoroark-GX and my Top 10 Favorites From Crimson Invasion

Jose examines Decidueye-GX/Zoroark-GX in Standard, and goes over his top 10 favorites from Crimson Invasion.

11/09/2017 by Jose Marrero

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Hey there 60cards readers! I'm back once again with another article, this time I'll be explaining another deck that implements Zoroark-GX: Decidueye-GX. A player by the name of Daniel Ervin ended up winning a six-round League Cup with Decidueye-GX/Zoroark-GX. I feel it's a strong contender in the Standard format moving forward. Because of this, I'll be dissecting Daniel's list, and shout out to him for letting me include his list in this article.

Let's talk about Decidueye-GX for just a second to see why Zoroark-GX pairs well with it. Feather Arrow in conjunction with Zoroark-GX can achieve those big numbers you need to take one-hit KOs, and if you place your Feather Arrows properly then this deck should be able to stand up to any deck including Volcanion. A lot of the time it'll be difficult for the opponent to one-hit KO a Decidueye-GX due to it having 240 hit points. This means that a single Decidueye-GX should be able to spam a number of Feather Arrows before it goes down, though they really should be on the bench while Zoroark-GX is doing the dirty work. This variant of Zoroark-GX has a lot of damage manipulation going for it making it a big threat in the format because you can set up your next target as the turns go by with Feather Arrows and eventually Miraculous Shine if the situation is right. There are a number of other effective cards you can play in this deck too, which I'll go over once I'm done analyzing Daniel's list. The League Cup Daniel won was actually streamed on PokemonBattleFactoy's Twitch channel, so if you want to watch all his or any of the others games then feel free to click the link I provided.

With that said, let's get right into Daniel's League Cup winning list.


As you can see, Zoroark-GX can fit into pretty much any deck. In my last article, I talked about four different ways you can play Zoroark-GX effectively. Since then there have been other decks that also played Zoroark-GX to some success such as with Gardevoir-GX and now with Decidueye-GX. Zoroark-GX is just that good and the hype was very much real as proven by many players. Without a doubt, Zoroark-GX decks will continue to dominate. 

4-2-3 Decidueye-GX

When Daniel first sent me his list I thought for sure he had a thicker line of Decidueye-GX. To my surprise, he didn't, which actually makes sense because you have to make room for Zoroark. It's not like it was with Forest of Giant Plants where it was okay to have two stage two lines because it was much easier to get them on the board. Daniel only played a 4-2-3 line of Decidueye-GX, because in most games you probably only really need two out at most to do what the decks intended to do, however, if you can get the third Decidueye-GX on the board then kudos to you. Decidueye-GX's Razor Leaf with a Choice Band does 120 damage and with enough Feather Arrows it can do lethal damage, however, Zoroark-GX will likely be the main attacker while Decidueye-GX will most likely sit on the bench cheering Zoroark-GX on. Hollow Hunt GX is phenomenal in this deck because Decidueye-GX won't likely get one-hit KOed meaning whatever three cards you get back will be very effective towards your win condition without immediately costing you Prize cards.

3-2-1 Zoroark-GX

I can get behind the 3-2-1 Zoroark-GX line. Daniel made sure to include a copy of the Mind Jack Zoroark for good reason. If the opponent has a full bench then Zoroark can dish out a whopping 160 base damage and that's before adding Feather Arrow and Choice Band, which if added can net you an even larger KO. As for Zoroark-GX, it can do 150 damage with a Choice Band and with just a single Feather Arrow Riotous Beating can one-hit KO Pokémon-EX or GX with 170 or fewer hit points. One more Feather Arrow plus Riotous Beating inflicts 190 total damage, which is enough to one-hit KO most relevant Pokémon-EX and GX. 

3 Tapu Lele-GX

Most decks these days play three copies of this card. There may be times where you open with one of them and if you are playing just two then you only have one left to work with. By playing three copies of Tapu Lele-GX you have a more consistent deck and at the same time you most likely will have access to it when needed most. Not to mention, with enough Feather Arrows Energy Drive can deal some big damage.

1 Espeon-EX

One of the deck's win conditions, which if used effectively will help win games easier. Feather Arrow gets around Mr. Mime. After the success of Alolan Ninetales-GX and the hype behind Buzzwole-GX it's only a matter of time until decks start to splash Mr. Mime in. That's why Feather Arrow is still going to be strong come the release of Crimson Invasion.

1 Latios SHL

Daniel decided to include Latios in his list and not Tapu Koko, which is interesting to say the least. This is probably because in this build you are more likely to want to dish out bigger damage with Zoroark-GX. Latios is still a solid early game attacker, which can set up KOs later on. Doing 30 damage to the active and one bench sets them both up. Latios can even take a double KO on two Trubbish because of weakness on the active, which would be insane if you are able to pull that off. I know Daniel did from watching his games on stream.

2 Guzma

Because this deck has Feather Arrow and access to Hollow Hunt GX you don't need to play any more than two Guzma. You can always just Feather Arrow Pokémon to death while still having the option to Guzma if needed. Hollow Hunt GX can get Guzma back if you really think its necessary.

2 Brigette

A lot of decks these days are starting to play two copies of this card. I've even played two Brigette in decks before and to be honest it doesn't hurt the deck but instead helps you open with it more often than not. If so then you don't have to use up a Tapu Lele-GX to search it out. It's important to finish the first turn of the game with multiple Rowlet and Zorua in play, which is why Daniel played two copies of Brigette. He knew how critical it was to get that turn one Brigette.

1 Skyla

Now, the one Skyla seems a bit odd to me because I'd much rather play a different card instead of it like another Mallow or some type of healing card. Skyla for Rare Candy is the only great thing I see why it's useful. Still, this deck doesn't need Skyla since Trade lets you find cards anyway. You don't necessarily need a turn two Decidueye-GX to get going. You can play more passive and just let them come to you as you draw cards with Trade or a draw supporter.

1 Mallow

When I first heard of this deck I immediately thought about Mallow in conjunction with Zoroark-GX because putting Rare Candy and Decidueye-GX on top of the deck seemed too good not to play Mallow. Daniel only played one copy of Mallow, though I'd expect at least two of them because there really isn't any other supporter that you absolutely have to play. If you just need two cards then Mallow is all you need because this deck plays stage 2 Pokémon, which without Mallow may be more difficult to set up.

3 Rare Candy

It makes sense that Daniel played three Rare Candy as opposed to four. There aren't four Decidueye-GX in the deck, so you don't have to play four Rare Candy. I like this because that 4th spot can be something else you need to fit in and plus the deck plays a couple Dartrix, because against some decks you much rather want to manually evolve into Decidueye-GX instead of skipping a step. This way an opposing Espeon-EX has a more troublesome time devolving your Pokémon for a KO. Any excess Rare Candy can be used to fuel Trade if need be.

3 Field Blower

Garbotoxin shuts down both Feather Arrow and Trade, so having a higher count of Field Blowers than some decks is ideal because Feather Arrow is the bread and butter of the deck. Without Feather Arrow then the deck is just a Zoroark-GX deck, and the opponent will then always know your next move. Parallel City and Po Town can also be a nuisance for this deck because your bench will likely consist of multiple Decidueye-GX and Zoroark-GX, which you don't want to be discarded as well as not wanting to take the 30 damage from Po Town to make for easier Miraculous Shine plays against you.

3 Choice Band

Literally every Pokémon in this deck can benefit from the extra 30 damage Choice Band provides, though most importantly Zoroark and Zoroark-GX benefit greatly. With Choice Band, this deck can hit perfect numbers more smoothly. Zoroark can even put out a great deal of damage with its Mind Jack attack. If you can take two prizes with Mind Jack while only giving up one prize of your own then you should be favored.

2 Float Stone

Decidueye-GX has a retreat cost of two, so you can just Guzma or DCE out of the active, however, Float Stone allows you to freely get out of the active spot while powering a Pokémon up to retaliate back. Zoroark can also abuse its Stand In ability with a Float Stone if needed.

2 Evosoda

Daniel included two copies of Evosoda in his list, which are useful for getting out evolutions faster. Personally, I don't think the deck needs them to be consistent. Still, I can see them being clutch if you find them by turn two because you can go straight into Dartrix and Zoroark-GX, and they do bypass Po Town, which is actually pretty neat.

1 Rescue Stretcher

Because of Hollow Hunt GX, this deck can get away with playing just one Rescue Stretcher. I would have liked to see two Rescue Stretcher just because the first effect is in most cases more useful than the second effect. You rarely see the second effect being used unless said player is discarding it anyway.

1 Special Charge

This deck doesn't necessarily need Special Charge. Then again, this deck uses DCE attackers, which makes Special Charge clutch because you don't have to Hollow Hunt GX for energy. Kartana-GX may be a reason for Special Charge to stay or go into decks.

Other card options

Tapu Koko Promo:

As you can see Daniel opted to go with Latios over Tapu Koko. Attacking and putting pressure right away with Zoroark-GX is most likely more ideal than just doing small damage with Latios and Tapu Koko. If you are playing against a deck that relies more on evolution Pokémon, then maybe going the spread route is better. Even then I think Tapu Koko is more effective if you are wanting to rely on Miraculous Shine as a win condition because Tapu Koko spreads to everything.

Alolan Vulpix GRI 21:

Beacon is extremely strong paired with Decidueye-GX. Playing just one copy is all you need, and the deck used to play Alolan Ninetales-GX. With Mallow and Evosoda this build probably doesn't care for Alolan Vulpix because you are likely wanting to be doing damage with your attacks.


Daniel didn't play a single way to heal any of his Pokémon, which was surprising because you can reuse Feather Arrows with Acerola and heal off Zoroark-GX. After talking with him the only card he said he wanted was actually Acerola, so it does has a place in the deck after all. Honestly, playing healing cards makes the deck stronger because both Decidueye-GX and Zoroark-GX aren't easy to take down unless the opponent is hitting for weakness.

Max Potion:

If not Acerola then Max Potion can be powerful as well. Denying prizes while still doing damage can be game-changing. You can stall with Deciduete-GX and spam Feather Arrow if you want while using Hollow Hunt GX to get them back to reuse again.

Rainbow Energy:

Playing Rainbow Energy over Grass Energy has its ups and downs in this deck. 


Trickster GX can now be used.

Tapu Cure GX can now be used. 

Access to a variety of other attackers such as Kartana-GX, and Buzzwole-GX.


Drampa-GX can discard them.

Enhanced Hammer can discard them.

Kartana-GX can discard them.

Top 10 favorites from Crimson Invasion

In no particular order these are my top 10 favorites from Crimson Invasion and honestly, it was tough to find 10 because the set isn't that great.

1. Kartana-GX

One of the two most hyped cards of the Crimson Invasion set. This card is pretty good against Gardevoir-GX, and its ability Slice Off is why this card can be splashed into any deck. If the deck you are playing has Metal or Rainbow Energy then this card becomes even better. A neat combo you can do against Gardevoir-GX (should you play Po Town) is after Gardevoir-GX takes 30 damage from Po Town you can use Gale Blade with a Choice Band to finish it off. You also then have the option to shuffle Kartana-GX back into the deck so you can use Slice Off again. Its GX attack, Blade GX is clutch if you have one prize left and it only takes a single Metal or Rainbow Energy to use. Overall Kartana-GX is a solid card, which will surely see play at upcoming events. Kartana-GX is easily viable in a deck like Drampa-GX/Garbodor because the deck already plays Po Town and Rainbow Energies as well as Double Colorless Energy.

2. Buzzwole-GX

This card is definitely the most hyped card of the Crimson Invasion set. That's for sure! There has been a lot of talk about this card and what the best way to play it is. Personally, I think the best way to play Buzzwole-GX at the moment is with Garbodor. Not only is Garbodor great for the mirror but shutting off Mr. Mime will be crucial to the deck's success. Jet Punch is the attack you will always likely want to use because it hits the active for some big damage while setting up the bench for later KOs. There are a number of cards that can help add damage to Jet Punch. Some of those cards include Strong Energy, Choice Band, Fighting Fury Belt, and Professor Kukui, assuming we are just talking about Standard. Both of Buzzwole-GX's other attacks take three Fighting Energy, which doesn't seem appealing. If you play Max Elixir then you can fuel the other attacks easier. Absorption GX can be deadly early on and with enough damage modifiers, it can be useful late game too. It should be exciting to see how players will utilize Buzzwole-GX once the set is officially legal for play.

3. Nihilego-GX

This card will likely strictly be used for its ability, Empty Light. Nihilego-GX pairs well with Darkrai-GX so you can use Dead End GX more efficiently. In standard, Malamar-EX was the only real combo you had for Dead End GX, which wasn't all that great but now Empty Light may resurrect Darkrai-GX. Its attacks aren't that great since they take three Psychic Energy, however, its GX attack Symbiont GX is interesting although it doesn't deal damage. Who knows though, maybe we will see a deck pop up that has Nihilego-GX as the main attacker, which would likely have to play Max Elixir. Nihilego-GX is weak to Psychic and so is Buzzwole-GX, which makes them both vulnerable to Garbodor. This weakness is something that can tear a deck down right away because of how powerful Trashalanche is.

4. Silvally-GX


Right away Silvally-GX's weakness to Buzzwole-GX and Lycanroc-GX makes the card scary to play, however, Silvally-GX is all around a solid card. Its ability Gyro Unit makes all your Basic Pokémon have no retreat cost. Its first stage, Type: Null is a Basic, which can take advantage of Gyro Unit, though I'm sure there are plenty of other basics you can play to make use of Gyro Unit. Silvally-GX being a stage 1 Pokémon makes it playable and all of its attacks take just Colorless Energy. Turbo Drive has a base 120 damage and has built-in energy acceleration, which is great. Its GX attack Rebel GX is reminiscent to that of Lycanroc-GX's Dangerous Rogue GX. From personal experience with Dangerous Rogue GX, you are always likely netting two prizes off it and Rebel GX should be no different. Silvally-GX has two Tools strictly for it, which are Fighting and Psychic Memory, which turns Silvally-GX into those types. By playing these two Tools you can hit other Pokémon for weakness such as Drampa-GX and Buzzwole-GX, and you can even use Strong Energy! Although, if Fighting Memory gets discarded then you will be forced to discard Strong Energy.

5. Guzzlord-GX

Again the weakness comes into effect here in determining whether or not this card is actually playable or not. You would have to run a ton of energy to make this card work as well as Max Elixir and Yveltal to assist in powering Guzzlord-GX up. Its attack Eat Sloppily sounds pretty funny, however, if you can get at least two energy off it then you may actually have a big threat the following turn. Its attack Tyrannical Hole has a base of 180 damage, which can be lethal for a lot of Pokémon. Its GX attack Glutton GX is top-notch if you can pull it off. You can potentially take four prizes with this attack. Both of these attacks are vulnerable to Tapu Lele-GX and more importantly Gardevoir-GX. Having one fully powered Guzzlord-GX is one thing but having two is another thing and not likely unless you play a very slow game.

6. Mismagius

Oh boy, Chaos Wheel has returned! It's reminiscent to that of Giratina-EX's Chaos Wheel, which once was one of the best decks around, except now Mismagius has the attack for just a single Psychic Energy. The downside is that Mismagius is a stage 1 Pokémon and its Chaos Wheel compared to Giratina-EX only does 30 damage as opposed to 100. Still, it's an interesting card, to say the least. Maybe we will see it paired with something like Decidueye-GX since Feather Arrow can help dish out more damage. Chaos Wheel shuts down Tools meaning Garbotoxin can't shut off Feather Arrow or whatever abilities you are playing. Chaos Wheel also prevents the opponent from attaching Special Energy so that means no Double Colorless or Rainbow Energies, which shuts down Drampa-GX's Berserk and limits Gardevoir-GX's damage output. You can even play Mismagius with Bodybuilding Dumbbells just to beef it up some more. One big defect Mismagius has is that it's weak to Zoroark-GX but then again if they can't attach Double Colorless Energy then you should be fine for a few turns.

7. Lusamine

I can see this card played in the near future because it can be useful in any deck. You can get back Guzmas, Acerolas, and even Po Towns or whatever stadiums you are playing, if need be. Instead of playing four copies of Guzma or Acerola you can play three of each and one Lusamine. You can always get back two Guzma or Acerola as well since it doesn't have to be one of each. Lusamine is overall a solid card and I hope it makes its way into decks moving forward. I mean look at that hair! Who wouldn't play this card? A deck like Drampa-GX/Garbodor can make use of this card or Gardevoir-GX since they for sure play stadiums.

8. Gladion


This card is quite interesting because of its similarity to that of Azelf from the Diamond and Pearl era with its ability, Time Walk. They do have some differences though since Gladion lets you grab any card from the prizes while Azelf only let you get a Pokémon, and Azelf was an ability while Gladion is a supporter. Still, Gladion can be effective in any deck because it puts itself into the prizes randomly, which means you can grab it as your next prize card if unlucky. The card itself looks awesome and it'll be interesting to see if people play it or not. If you know an important card is prized then Gladion can help with that and also help with combos. For example, if you know for a fact that something is prized such as a Rare Candy and you have a Stage 2 Pokémon you need to evolve from a basic, Gladion can assist by "searching" out the Rare Candy.

9. Counter Energy


I can see this card being used more often than Counter Catcher because having one energy act as a Double Rainbow Energy without having to take damage seems pretty good. I can see a deck built around Counter Energy if you were to play Mew since they have low hit points, which can trigger Counter Energy early on when it gets knocked out. Maybe in a box type deck that plays basic attackers such as Cobalion STS and Keldeo SHL. The cool thing about Counter Energy is that it can still be used as a Colorless Energy if you are tied or up on prizes but once you are down on prizes whichever Pokémon has Counter Energy attached now can use its full effect.

10. Counter Catcher

I'm not too sure how much this card will be played but it's quite interesting. Guzma may just be all around better in the long run, however, Counter Catcher isn't a supporter. I can't really think of a deck that can use this card effectively though. Even in Greninja, it doesn't seem that great because you will likely want to be attacking the active Pokémon that's threatening you. To me, it feels odd playing a card that relies on you being behind on prizes because I would much rather be ahead on prizes. I know Greninja decks used to play Ace Trainer before it was rotated out, (which I never played because I hate Greninja and I'll never play that deck) but Counter Catcher is a little different since it can be useful in any deck. The question becomes do decks need it or not though? If you are behind on prizes then it's likely that the active Pokémon is the threat and not the bench as I said, so Counter Catcher becomes pointless in this case.

Closing Thoughts

That will conclude yet another article. I feel Decidueye-GX/Zoroark-GX will quickly gain popularity. The deck dishes out quick damage and is consistent due to Zoroark-GX's Trade Ability. Overall the deck is quite powerful, and should be a force to be reckoned with at upcoming events. London International Championships is getting closer and closer, so hopefully, I'll have some new decks post Crimson Invasion for you guys before then. 

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-Twitter @Jose_MarreroTCG

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