Experts' corner

Jose Marrero

"For Whom the Bell Tolls"- Looking Ahead to the London International Championships

Jose breaks down three potential plays for the upcoming London International Championships this weekend.

11/16/2017 by Jose Marrero


Hey there 60cards readers! I'm back once again with another article; I'll be examining three decks for the London International Championships this weekend. First, I'll start with one of the top 3 current decks of the format, Drampa-GX/Garbodor. Next, I'll transition over to a deck that I've been testing the most after my success with Alolan Ninetales-GX/Zoroark-GX, Decidueye-GX/Zoroark-GX. I know I discussed Decidueye-GX/Zoroark-GX in my last article, however, in this article I'll be providing my own list, which I'll likely be playing in London. Lastly, I'll dive into a unique deck that I haven't seen talked much about, Darkrai-GX/Zoroark-GX/Nihilego-GX. There are a number of different decks that will be played in London. London will be the first event with Crimson Invasion legal for play. This means players will have to either look at previous results prior to Crimson Invasion or simply test and incorporate Crimson Invasion into their decks and see if they can go the distance.

Right now I've been enjoying Decidueye-GX/Zoroark-GX the most because it has a better matchup against decks that would otherwise play Mr. Mime, which if you are playing Alolan Ninetales-GX/Zoroark-GX you will have a harder time against. Nonetheless, Alolan Ninetales-GX/Zoroark-GX is still one of my top two choices going into London, and for those that think it folds to Mr. Mime, you are completely wrong. The only relevant matchup that Mr. Mime will be troublesome against is Gardevoir-GX, which is still very much winnable. I've beaten it in Top 8 at a League Cup. In Top 4 of the same event, I managed to get to a game three where I was able to create a board state in which I only had one prize left to take, but I unfortunately didn't hit what I needed and lost. I already talked about Alolan Ninetales-GX/Zoroark-GX in a recent article, so this time, I'll be discussing a couple of other decks that have the potential to do well in London this weekend.

With that said, let's start with one of the best decks of the current format, Drampa-GX/Garbodor.

The Dragon and the Trash


4-2-2 Garbodor

I've been seeing lists running a 3-2-2 line of Garbodor, which seems odd to me so I went with a more standard approach with a 4-2-2 line. This way you can save your recovery cards for Garbodor and other non Trubbish Pokémon, though I only added one Rescue Stretcher, which you can drop a Trubbish for a second copy if you want to go that route. This deck plays two copies of each Garbodor because both are essential to the deck's success. Against a deck that plays tons of items, you go with Trashalanche, whereas if it's against a deck like Gardevoir-GX then you go with Garbotoxin. It depends on the matchup on which you go with first, but having two of each is nice so you have options.

1-1 Espeon-GX

I still like the option of having Divide GX in this deck courtesy of Tord Reklev. Divide GX makes for more efficient uses of Miraculous Shine, and Psybeam can put the opponent in troublesome situations at times. Espeon-GX with a Choice Band can one hit KO Buzzwole-GX, though Garbodor can do that as well if just four items are in the discard.

2 Drampa-GX

Drampa-GX is one of the main attackers of the deck, so I can see upping the count to three, though I think two should be enough. Drampa-GX combos nicely with Rainbow Energies and Po Town. Its Berserk attack can hit perfect numbers, and with Po Town, you can hit 210 damage. Big Wheel GX is also great, though you really want to save your GX attack for Divide GX or Blade GX, because most times Big Wheel GX will just be taken away by the opponent playing an N on the following turn, essentially wasting the GX attack.

1 Espeon-EX

Miraculous Shine is important to have a chance against Gardevoir-GX, so that's why you see a lot of decks playing Espeon-EX. At the same time, Miraculous Shine can be effective against basically any evolution-based deck but more importantly Gardevoir-GX.

1 Kartana-GX

Kartana-GX is the newest inclusion in this deck and for good reasons. First, it's ability Sice Off lets you discard a Special Energy attached to any 1 of your opponent's Pokémon. Not only that but because it is a Metal-type means it can hit both Gardevoir-GX and Alolan Ninetales-GX for weakness. These two decks will see a hefty amount of play in London, so I recommend playing Kartana-GX. If you combine Gale Blade with a Choice Band you can hit said Pokémon for 200 damage. If they were to take just one tick of Po Town then you can finish them off while shuffling Karana-GX back into the deck, though in this deck you may just want to keep it out to attack again. Its Blade GX attack lets you automatically take a single prize card, which can be clutch in the long run. There is absolutely no reason not to play Kartana-GX in this deck if you already play both Rainbow Energy and Po Town.

4 Float Stone

Because the deck plays two copies of Garbotoxin Garbodors, its essential to have a max out count of Float Stone. This way you hit them when needed most. Sometimes even a Float Stone on Drampa-GX can be clutch in the mirror if they discard your Double Colorless Energy.

4 Choice Band

You can go down to three Choice Band, however, I like having four because if you whiff finding one when needed it'll usually be game breaking. Everything in the deck can use Choice Band, so it's not like they will be useless anytime soon.

2 Field Blower

This deck definitely should be playing at least two copies of Field Blower because they will help fuel Trashalanche's damage output. In some cases, you can even catch your opponent off guard and take a surprise KO they didn't see coming because they had a couple Tools on the field. Getting rid of Fighting Fury Belt to make for easier KOs is nice as well.

1 Rescue Stretcher

It has been proven by top players that one copy of Rescue Stretcher is enough, though two copies have also had success.

3 Po Town

I see many lists playing four copies of Po Town, however, I think three should be enough. In the mirror that's one less deadish card in your deck.

Other card options


The deck already plays Rainbow Energies, which means you can play Buzzwole-GX if you wanted. It's Jet Punch attack, does 30 damage to the active and one bench. If you combine that with Feather Arrows you can do a lot of damage and eventually set up for Miraculous Shine. Buzzwole-GX can also one hit KO an opposing Zorua because of weakness. You can even Max Potion it and attack with it right away since it's Jet Punch attack only takes a single energy.

Shining Mew

There has been a lot of talk on whether or not this deck needs Shining Mew, and quite frankly, I don't think it does. Mew only has 30 hit points, which can be KOed by literally anything. Sure you get to set up two attackers, however being down on prizes can be troublesome as well and in a lot of cases, game-changing. Not to mention, Shining Mew can be sniped for a KO by Latios.

Shining Jirachi

Again, I don't think this card is needed because you already have Espeon-EX. I mean yeah you can devolve a Gardevoir-GX easier but that's just one and Espeon-EX can do them all. Against a non-evolution deck that means you now have two dead cards so I'd just keep one or the other but Espeon-EX is preferable. If the opponent isn't using Rare Candy to go into Gardevoir-GX then that means they went into Kirlia, which means they have a slower start.

Latios SHL 41

This card can set up knockouts for later in the game. If you put 30 damage on two different Pokémon then Drampa-GX can finish them off with 150-180 damage depending on the Pokémon.

Tapu Koko Promo

Similar to Latios, however, Tapu Koko can spread to everything on the opponent's field and has free retreat but does 10 less damage. I'm not entirely sure if a spread attacker is necessary for this deck because you have Po Town to do that for you anyway.


Healing Drampa-GX or Espeon-GX can be crucial in some situations, which can be game-changing. You can even pickup Kartana-GX if you have a Rainbow Energy on it to reuse the ability. The list is tight as is, so making room for Acerola may be difficult.


This card can easily fit into this deck, however, is it worth it though? You can get back a Guzma and Po Town if you wanted to or any combination of supporters. You could drop a Guzma for Lusamine since that's the only card I can see replacing it with.

The Owl and the Fox


4-2-4 Decidueye-GX

I've seen this deck run all kinds of Decidueye-GX counts and personally, I think 4-2-4 is the way to go, though a third Dartrix is great against Po Town decks because it'll make it more difficult for the opponent to Miraculous Shine for KOs. Decidueye-GX can be used as an attacker as well as Zoroark-GX. Most of the time Decidueye-GX will be used for it's Hollow Hunt GX attack, though Razor Leaf can dish out some solid damage.

3-2-1 Zoroark-GX

I went with two Zoroark-GX and one Mind Jack Zoroark. The reason there are more Zoroark-GX is that they are more versatile cards. It can take KOs while taking a hit of its own while potentially surviving. Not to mention, its Trade ability is what you want to abuse to set up and stay consistent. The opponent can't play around Riotous Beating unlike Mind Jack, so having a consistent 120+ damage is the ideal way to go. Plus, with enough Feather Arrows, Riotous Beating can take one hit knockouts. Zoroark does have Stand In, which can be clutch if you need to freely retreat out of the active.

1 Espeon-EX

This card is one of the decks main win conditions when up against an evolution based deck such as Gardevoir-GX. Miraculous Shine is too good in the current format, though you have to be careful due to it having a weakness to Psychic types namely Garbodor and Espeon-GX.

1 Latios SHL /1 Tapu Koko Promo

I was testing two Tapu Koko out at first and then figured it would be best to split the counts up and add Latios due to the hype Buzzwole-GX has been getting. You can even take multiple KOs with Latios for example on two Trubbish if you place your Feather Arrows correctly. Against Buzzwole-GX they can one hit KO Tapu Koko fairly easy, so that's where Latios comes in because with a Choice Band it can do 120 damage to Buzzwole-GX for just a single Double Colorless Energy. The extra 10 damage Latios does to the active and a bench can make a difference in some situations to make for easier KOs. Tapu Koko does have some merit over Latios since it does damage to all your opponent's Pokémon, so if you Feather Arrow precisely then you can Miraculous Shine for multiple perfect knockouts.

2 Guzma

Most decks play 3-4 Guzma, however, in this deck you don't have to. This is because you have spread damage and Feather Arrow both of which can damage the bench and take KOs. You can always Hollow Hunt GX for Guzma if you have to, so that's another reason you don't need that many Guzma in this deck.

3 Rare Candy

Adding in a 4th Rare Candy would be nice, though with enough Trades you will dig right into them anyway and plus going into Dartrix first can make a difference against Po Town decks. You have to be careful against Miraculous Shine decks that also play Po Town because that's one of their win conditions. If you have excess Rare Candies in hand I would just hold onto them in case you do get Miraculous Shined, so be careful not to toss them all with Trade.

3 Field Blower

Garbotoxin is obviously troublesome for this deck, though Zoroark-GX can take them out with ease. Still, you need to play a good amount of Field Blower to have access to Feather Arrow and Trade. Not to mention, Parallel City and Po Town are annoying as well.

3 Choice Band

Zoroark-GX needs Choice Band to hit perfect numbers easier in conjunction with Feather Arrow. If you have a full bench then Riotous Beating does 150 damage with a Choice Band and with one Feather Arrow you can take out Pokémon EX or GX with 170 or fewer hit points. One more Feather Arrow and you can one-hit KO Drampa-GX, Turtonator-GX, and even Ho-Oh-GX.

2 Max Potion

Healing while using a supporter at the same time is ideal and why I prefer Max Potion as the means of healing in this deck.

1 Special Charge

Getting back Double Colorless Energy is essential to the deck's success because all the attackers take a single Double Colorless Energy aside from Decidueye-GX.

Other card options

Max Potion vs Acerola


I tried two copies of Acerola and quite frankly they didn't seem that useful because most times I couldn't afford to Acerola. It was either that or I would never find them when needed most, so I replaced them with Max Potion. Against a deck that's trying to spread against you, I prefer to have Max Potion, though against a deck like Garbodor I'd prefer Acerola because that's two fewer items you have in the deck. I also like that you can Max Potion and then reattach a Double Colorless Energy and attack with a fresh Zoroark-GX while still having a supporter for the turn. Both cards have their own merit, so it's up to you on which you prefer, though I think you should be playing one or the other.


As much as I wanted to play Mallow I don't think they are needed. To be honest, Mallow to me is more of a luxury card. If you Trade enough times you will eventually draw into what you need while ditching cards you don't need.


I know Daniel Ervin played two copies of Evosoda in his list from my last article. They definitely make the deck more consistent and bypassing Po Town is also great, however, I don't think they are needed to make the deck do what it is intended to do. I believe I dropped them for two Max Potion instead because I wanted some kind of healing effect and being able to Hollow Hunt GX for them and still, Feather Arrow seemed too good.

Rainbow Energy+ tech attackers

Some tech attackers can be Buzzwole-GX, Kartana-GX, and Shining Jirachi. All of which have merit in this deck, though Enhanced Hammer and opposing Kartana-GX as well as Drampa-GX can be annoying. Still, I think this variant do go far if you dodge enough energy disruption. You can always just Hollow Hunt GX energy back.

The Ghost the Fox and the Jellyfish


3-2-1 Zoroark-GX

There are two Zoroark-GX in this deck as well as one Mind Jack Zoroark similar to in the Decidueye-GX deck, though in this deck they act as a different strategy. Zoroark-GX is mainly in the deck for its Trade ability to help put Darkrai-GX and Darkness Energy in the discard. Zoroark is in the deck mainly for its ability Stand In, so it can bypass Nihilego-GX's status effects. You can use Trickster GX, though its usually best to hold off for Dead End GX instead as it can one hit KO any Pokémon.

4 Darkrai-GX

The main attacker of the deck. You can opt to go with three copies if you want to fit something else in because you can get them back from the discard due to its ability anyway so you don't have to worry about discarding them all. Dark Cleave is what you will be wanting to attack with as it has a base of 130 damage. If you add Choice Band then that's 160 base damage. There are other ways to add to its damage output which I'll get into. Dead End GX is godlike in this deck because it pretty much guarantees any KO you want. Against Gardevoir-GX it'll be huge to take a one-hit KO on one of them and should put you in a solid spot.

2 Nihilego-GX

I can see adding a third copy of Nihilego-GX if you think its necessary, though I think two should be enough if you use them wisely. Nihilego-GX's ability Empty Light is what you want to combo Dead End GX with but at the same time can be used to fuel Dark Cleaves damage output. Dark Cleave can now do 170 damage with Choice Band and Nihilego-GX, which s enough to take out Tapu Lele-GX and plenty of other Pokémon.

1 Seviper BUS 50

Now, the inclusion of Seviper is mainly because of Nihilego-GX. Seviper can add an extra 10 damage if you combine them together. This means Dark Cleave can now do 180 damage, which is enough to take out Drampa-GX or Volcanion-EX.

1 Lusamine

You can get back Reverse Valley and Guzma at the same time with Lusamine. You also still have the option of four Guzma and even five if you wanted.

4 Max Elixir

This card is crucial to the deck's success because they help power up Darkrai-GX faster. You can even get a turn one Darkrai-GX if you run hot enough.

4 Choice Band

You want to make sure you are hitting those magic numbers, so having four Choice Band is ideal. Whiffing a KO can be crucial and a lot of times can be the difference between a win or a loss.

3 Float Stone

Because Nihilego-GX confuses your active Pokémon you need to make sure you can get out of the active spot at the same time. Float Stone is clutch in this situation especially if attached to Zoroark.

2 Field Blower

Garbotoxin can be annoying for this deck as it shuts off pretty much the whole entire deck. It even denies Restoration, which can be really devastating if you don't have an attacker on board. Fighting Fury Belts can also deny one hit KOs, so getting rid of those will be important.

1 Rescue Stretcher/1 Super Rod

I've included ways of recovering Pokémon in case you don't want Nihilego-GX on the bench just yet and are forced to discard them. This way you don't force yourself into a troublesome situation. Super Rod is to what back Darkness Energy if need be since you don't want all your energy in the discard but only a few.

2 Reverse Valley

By adding this stadium Dark Cleave can now do 190 damage, which is enough to take out Buzzwole-GX and even Turtonator-GX. You can even do 170 damage with Dark Cleave without having to use Nihilego-GX because of Reverse Valley.


Other card options

Zoroark BREAK

This deck can easily take advantage of Zoroark BREAK, though there isn't that big of a Zoroark line to where Zoroark BREAK is that efficient because I only added one copy of the Mind Jack Zoroark. Still, Zoroark BREAK can do wonders in this deck and you can even use Nihilego-GX then evolve to get rid of the status effects from the active Zoroark. Maybe with a thicker line of Zoroark, I can see the BREAK being more efficient.

Pokémon Fan Club

Because Darkrai-GX thrives by coming into play from the discard means this deck doesn't need Brigette, so instead the better option would be Pokémon Fan Club. The Pokémon go straight to the hand with Pokémon Fan Club instead of the bench, which lets you use their abilities. You can even search out Zorua if needed.

Fighting Fury Belt

I went with four copies of Choice Band to maximize Darkrai-GX's damage output, though Fighting Fury Belts can help Darkrai-GX live longer. Something that makes me want to play Fighting Fury Belt is that if you combine it with Reverse Valley Darkrai-GX can do an exact 150 damage, enough to KO Gallade. This option is nice, though you also use Nihilego-GX with Seviper on the bench to achieve the same making Fighting Fury Belt not as necessary.

Super Scoop Up

The few lists I've seen on YouTube actually played 3-4 copies of Super Scoop and personally, I'm not sure if they help much. I mean sure they can assist in picking up Nihilego-GX to reuse again, however they are hit or miss. 

Altar of the Moone

This stadium basically gives all your Pokémon free retreat if they have a Darkness Energy attached to them. This means you can freely retreat into another Darkrai-GX without having to discard its energies while having zero drawbacks to Nihilego-GX's, Empty Light ability.

Chaos Tower

By playing Chaos Tower it'll make for easier and smoother Empty Lights. Sometimes you may be in an awkward situation to where you may have to manually retreat into another Darkrai-GX or go for the confusion flip, which isn't ideal. Chaos Tower makes it so that your active Pokémon is immune to both Poison and Confusion.

Closing Thoughts

That will conclude this article. It'll be exciting to see what comes out on top in London. Last time I attended I was able to finish in Top 64, which netted me 110 Championship Points and $500, so I'll be trying to ditto that if not better. Personally, I believe that the top 2 decks to beat going into London will be Gardevoir-GX and Drampa-GX/Garbodor. If the deck you are debating on playing doesn't have a fighting chance against said decks then I recommend choosing a different deck. Drampa-GX/Garbodor has had tons of success lately, so that deck is no surprise that it'll see a lot of play in London. As for Gardevoir-GX, it's had the most success recently. Not to mention it did win Worlds.

After my last article on Decidueye-GX/Zoroark-GX, I've been seeing a lot more talk on the deck and it does make me wonder if it is a good play or not now that the cats out of the bag. Still, there aren't many decks that downright just beat, which makes me believe it is a strong play for London. Now, Darkrai-GX/Zoroark-GX/Nihilego-GX is a unique deck of the three because barely anyone has discussed it. I have seen a couple YouTube videos on the deck, which gave me the inspiration to make my own list and how I would likely play it. If you see me in London don't be shy to come say hello or talk to me because I enjoy meeting new people. At the end of the day no matter how you do at an event just have fun.

If you want to help support my team, be sure to check out Team ARG's Pokémon page on Facebook: "Team ARG Pokémon-TCG." There you can keep up to date with all the players on the team. I'll leave my Twitter handle down below if you want to follow me.

If you have any questions, then please feel free to leave me a comment below or message me on Facebook. I'll be sure to get to them as soon as possible.

As always, 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. As always, keep an eye out for more articles to come. Until next time!

-Twitter @Jose_MarreroTCG

[+13] okko


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