Experts' corner

Jose Marrero

"It's Rock and Roll Time" -Two Strong Plays for Memphis Regionals

Jose discusses two strong plays for the upcoming Memphis Regional Championships this weekend.

12/13/2017 by Jose Marrero


Hey there 60cards readers! I'm back yet again with a whole new article, though this time I discuss two strong plays for the upcoming Memphis Regional Championships this weekend. First, I'll start with a pet deck of mine. I actually placed in Top 4 of a 60 man League Cup not too long ago with it. That deck is Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX. Many of you know how powerful the deck is in the Expanded format but I'm here to tell you that the deck can do wonders in Standard too. The list I'll be providing is my exact 60 from the League Cup I played it at. It has two major foils, Greninja and Vikavolt/Tapu Bulu-GX. Lycanroc-GX being weak to Grass and the fact that Tapu Bulu-GX with a Choice Band can one hit KO Zoroark-GX makes the matchup very troublesome. As for the Greninja matchup, there isn't much you can do unless you play the Giratina Promo.

Next, I'll transition to a deck that has been out of the radar for some time now, though I think it can perform well if you hit the right matchups and draw decent enough. That deck is Rayquaza/Solgaleo-GX. ARG Teammate Grant Manley recently piloted a similar variant to a 2nd place League Cup finish. Grant's version actually played Zoroark-GX. Because of this, I played it at my latest League Cup. I finished 3-2-1, losing my win and in to Gardevoir-GX due to the deck not having an answer to Parallel City. My opponent dropped Parallel City turn one on me so it was annoying. From playing the deck I felt the deck could be better. Mainly the fact that the deck does not need Zoroark-GX and needed a way to bump Parallel City. The format has been getting dominated by Gardevoir-GX and stage 1 decks. This leads me to believe that Rayquaza/Solgaleo-GX can now shine. Similar to that of Metagross-GX it has its flaws too - both Greninja and Volcanion are near auto losses, though you can make Greninja favorable if you play the Giratina Promo.

With that said, let's take a closer look at the Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX list I piloted to a Top 4 League Cup finish in a field of about 60.

The Fox and the Wolf

Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX/Puzzle of Time

4-3-1 Zoroark-GX

I believe this is the perfect count to be running of Zoroark-GX in this deck. I don't think you need the fourth copy of Zoroark-GX. There is also one copy of the Mind Jack Zoroark because it can be useful for when the opponent doesn't play around it. Zoroark-GX is one of the main attackers in this deck, it dishes out quick damage and can one hit KO low hit point Pokémon for cheap prizes. Its Trade ability lets you draw through the deck to find the resources you need to achieve what you want to do. Riotous Beating is quite powerful even though it maxes out at 120 damage, not counting damage modifiers. This is because Riotous Beating only requires a single Double Colorless Energy.

3-3 Lycanroc-GX

You can see I decided to split the counts of Rockruff. I went with two of the Tackle and one of the Corner. I wanted to have both options but I went with more Tackle over Corner because it can do 30 damage with a Strong Energy attached - that extra damage can be the difference between a KO or not. Rockruff can potentially one hit KO a Zorua or Eevee, though that situation will be rare because if you are forced to do that then that most likely means you aren't in the best position because a Tapu Lele-GX can just as easily take the revenge KO back on your Rockruff. Still, I want to have that option more often than using Corner to trap Pokémon. Some Pokémon that can be susceptible to Corner  are Pokémon that can't attack or need more than one energy attachment to attack, for example Octillery or Volcanion-EX. Lycanroc-GX is a secondary attacker since it needs two energy attachments to attack.

However, depending on the matchup Lycanroc-GX can be used as the main attacker. Lycanroc-GX as a whole is a phenomenal card in my opinion because both of its attacks are marvelous. Not to mention its ability, Bloodthirsty Eyes is godlike. Being able to freely have access to essentially a Lysandre at a moments notice is extremely powerful while still being able to use a supporter for the turn. Its GX attack Dangerous Rogue GX is almost always a guaranteed KO on anything you want so you have to use it wisely. Claw Slash can do a solid 130 damage with a Strong Energy, making Claw Slash two-shot anything or one-shot depending on what it is. Clash Slash can one hit KO both Volcanion and Greninja if you have a Strong Energy attached.

3 Tapu Lele-GX

Consistency is key and because this deck plays a number of different supporters it is essential to have Wonder Tag at your disposal when needed most. Energy Drive can also be a solid attack depending on what you are attacking

1 Buzzwole-GX

I like the inclusion of one Buzzwole-GX in this deck because it can abuse Strong Energy and set up one hit KOs later on in the game. Its attack Jet Punch is reminiscent of Landorus-EX's Hammerhead. Both do 30 to the active and 30 to one bench for a single Fighting Energy. Buzzwole-GX can also take cheap prizes on both Zorua and Eevee. Buzzwole-GX being able to one hit KO Zoruas makes it great in the mirror. Buzzwole-GX also helps in the Golisopod-GX matchup because it survives a First Impression while setting up KOs.

1 Mewtwo EVO

This card is strictly for Buzzwole-GX, though it can also be good against Gallade (if you snipe it once with Buzzwole-GX or play Professor Kukui) and Gardevoir-GX. If Buzzwole-GX has three energy attached then Mewtwo with a Choice Band can one hit KO Buzzwole-GX. Mewtwo can be a solid attacker against Gardevoir-GX as well since it is a non-EX/GX and can help two shot Gardevoir-GX.

1 Mr. Mime

I'm still on the fence if I want to keep this card or not, though I like it against Buzzwole-GX and other decks that do snipe damage. Mr. Mime even blocks Necrozma-GX. 

3 Acerola

Healing both Zoroark-GX and Lycanroc-GX is what you want the deck to achieve because Zoroark-GX can attack for essentially one energy and you can reuse Bloodthirsty Eyes to take bench KOs. Acerola does wonders in this deck and you need them to keep up with other stage 1 decks.

2 Professor Sycamore

Because this deck plays Puzzle of Time you don't want to have to discard them so playing just two Professor Sycamore is fine. You always have Trade to draw you cards anyway. 

2 Guzma

Because the deck plays a 3-3 line of Lycanroc-GX it is okay running just two Guzma because Bloodthirsty Eyes can mimic Guzma and with Acerola you can reuse it as I said. Still, having a couple Guzma is needed in case you go up against Garbotoxin.

2 Brigette

I can see going up to three, however, two has been working fine for me. I wanted to fit other things so I'm not currently playing three Brigette.

1 Mallow

I absolutely love the one-of Mallow in this deck and I would not change it. Being able to Mallow for the perfect two cards is crazy good in this deck. For example, you can Mallow for an energy and Lycanroc-GX so you can use its Bloodthirsty Eyes and attack on the same turn. Or if you desperately need to find Enhanced Hammer then Mallow can assist there as well.

4 Puzzle of Time

This card in conjunction with a heavy Zoroark-GX line is ideal making it similar to the deck with Golisopod-GX instead of Lycanroc-GX. Puzzle of Time is just an overall great card that helps get back resources and with enough Trades, you will have access to them in no time.

2 Field Blower

You need a couple Field Blower to get rid of Parallel City and Garbotoxin. Even getting rid of Fighting Fury Belts can be the difference a one hit KO or not.

2 Enhanced Hammer

This card helps against a lot of matchups, especially Gardevoir-GX because getting rid of their Double Colorless Energies makes their damage output a lot less. If you can survive what would have been a one-hit KO then you should be in a great spot.

2 Choice Band

The extra 30 damage Choice Band provides is sometimes needed to get that extra boost in damage to finish Pokémon off. Choice Band makes Dangerous Rogue GX one hit KO Pokémon a lot easier.

1 Float Stone

I've grown to like the single Float Stone because I wanted to have the option to Stand In and out when I wanted to or just, in general, have a free retreater in case it was needed at the time. For example against Buzzwole-GX if you don't have a free retreater or something with energy on it already then you can not one hit KO it with Mewtwo because you may have to Guzma around it or hit it with another attacker. However, if you have a damaged Pokémon then you can use Acerola to put Mewtwo active, though that scenario may be more difficult to pull off while having the revenge KO with Mewtwo.

1 Special Charge

Enhanced Hammers are running rampant in decks so not having to use Puzzle of Time on Special Energy can make a big difference, though Special Charge can be cuttable for something else. You just have to be more cautious with your energy attachments when up against a deck that you know plays energy disruption.

3 Strong Energy/2 Fighting Energy

You may be wondering why not just go with four Strong Energy? This is because of Enhanced Hammer, as I mentioned above. Against let's say a deck that plays Zoroark-GX and Enhanced Hammer it is essential to have a Basic Fighting on Lycanroc-GX first so that you know for a fact you can get a couple Claw Slashes off.

Other card options


This card can copy Riotous Beating so that you can easily one hit KO Buzzwole-GX, though Mewtwo is good enough to handle Buzzwole-GX. The biggest issue with Mew-EX is that it can be a huge liability because it only has 120 hit points and gives up two prizes in the process.


This card can support Buzzwole-GX in hitting that magic 60 damage with a Strong Energy. Buzzwole-GX can now one hit KO Ralts and other low hit point Pokémon. Regirock-EX being weak to Golisopod-GX makes me stray away from playing it though.


This card can block everything, though it is a stage 1 Pokémon as opposed to Giratina and Mr. Mime being Basic Pokémon. Stopping Feather Arrow, Giant Water Shuriken, Flying Flip, and Jet Punch are a few big reasons why Machoke can potentially have a place in the deck. It being a stage 1 Pokémon makes it less playable though because if one piece is prized well then oh well...

Giratina Promo

Greninja is basically an auto loss for this deck if you do not run Giratina so I'm highly considering adding it in for Memphis especially since Greninja has been wrecking League Cups lately.

Professor Kukui

The added damage boost from this card can make Mind Jack hit 180 or 210 much easier if the opponent tries to play around it. Not to mention Gallade can be troublesome for this deck so having Mewtwo one hit KO it with Professor Kukui can be clutch.


This card can grab two Pokemon-GX from the deck. Very handy for searching out both Zoroark-GX and Lycanroc-GX.

Multi Switch

I know my buddy Rahul Reddy played a copy of this card in his 2nd place League Cup list. I'm not a huge fan of it since many decks play Enhanced Hammer anyway. However, Multi Switch can be game changing if played at the right time because a Dangerous Rogue GX or Claw Slash out of nowhere can be crucial.

Energy Lotto

This card can assist in finding energy more efficiently, though Energy Lotto is more of a luxury card since it is not entirely needed to achieve what the deck wants to do.

Max Potion

A Max Potion or two can be advantageous in the mirror match, though playing Acerola at the right times can be too. Max Potion is helpful against Decidueye-GX/Zoroark-GX as well or any deck that does snipe damage. I personally wouldn't play them in this deck as I think Acerola is more suitable since it can assist in reusing Lycanroc-GX's ability, Bloodthirsty Eyes.

Brooklet Hill

Beng able to search out both Buzzwole-GX and Rockruff with no drawback can be beneficial however Brooklet Hill is played in Buzzwole-GX/Lycanroc-GX without Zoroark-GX so you can just use theirs.

Parallel City

I've been wanting to add one of these to the deck because players won't expect it in this type of deck. Parallel City can be extremely good against basically any deck even though it limits the damage output from both Dangerous Rogue GX and Mind Jack. This is fine because the opponent is forced to bump it and if not then even better since you can just attack with Zoroark-GX and Lycanroc-GX's first attack, Claw Slash. Parallel City against Gardevoir-GX makes it to where they can't play down their own unless they Field Blower away yours. Against Decidueye-GX/Zoroark-GX a well-timed Parallel City can cripple them. Even against Vikavolt/Tapu Bulu-GX, you can theoretically survive a one-hit KO if you limit your own bench. This way Tapu Bulu-GX is doing 20 less damage due to the alternate effect on the other side of the stadium. This forces them to also have a Professor Kukui and Choice Band to one hit KO Zoroark-GX. Sometimes getting rid of your own Tapu Lele-GXs any damaged Pokémon on the bench can be game-changing and good way to deny easy prizes.

With that said, let's now talk about Rayquaza/Solgaleo-GX. Also, shout out to Evan Campbell for providing the initial list. We both agreed the deck can do well in the right field.

The Serpent and the Lion


4-3-1 Solgaleo-GX

Solgaleo-GX is the main attacker of the deck, though Solgaleo is also a great attacker depending on the matchup. Let's first talk about Solgaleo-GX then I'll get into Solgaleo. Sunsteel Strike does a whopping 230 damage. It is enough to one hit KO most relevant Pokémon. If you attach a Choice Band to it then it does 260 damage. This is now enough to one hit KO every Pokémon including Decidueye-GX and Metagross-GX as well as opposing Solgaleo-GXs. You are wanting to use Sunsteel Strike as often as possible to take KOs. Sol Burst GX you always want to use as soon as possible so you can set up multiple threats. Solgaleo-GX won't go down easy because it has 250 hit points so it'll be a tank and may take up to three hits to take down. Its Ultra Road ability makes it so you don't have to play Float Stones and makes it easier to get Rayquaza into the active spot.

Now, Solgaleo has two solid attacks. Shining Arrow for just two energy can do 50 damage to any one of your opponent's Pokémon including the bench. Shining Arrow can pick off Mews, Clefairy and even two shot a Garbotoxin Garbodor. As for Fangs of the Sunne, it can do wonders in the right scenario. It can one hit KO Gallade, Tapu Lele-GX, Greninja BREAK, Gardevoir-GX and plenty of other Pokémon without having to discard energy like Sunsteel Strike does. Solgaleo also survives an attack from Gallade, Zoroark-GX, and even Golisopod-GX. 

2 Rayquaza

This card is in the deck to assist Solgaleo-GX and Solgaleo in getting back energy onto them. Turbo Storm does 30 damage and lets you attach two Basic Energy from the discard onto one of your Benched Pokémon. You can quickly set up attackers with Turbo Storm in no time and also because Turbo Storm does 30 base damage it is enough for Fangs of the Sunne to finish Pokémon off without having to discard energy. Rayquaza also does not get one hit KOed by Gallade because of resistance so remember that.

2 Tapu Lele-GX

Though I did say consistency is key, so is bench space and in this deck, because you have to make sure you have enough bench space for Cosmog and Rayquaza. You should be able to get away with two Tapu Lele-GX in this deck because once you are set up there isn't really a specific supporter you need.

1 Magearna-EX

Espeon-EX's Miraculous Shine can be a nuisance to this deck so making sure you shut it off is ideal for this deck to thrive because without Solgaleo-GX and Solgaleo the deck won't do much damage. You can also use Magearna-EX as an attacker if needed since it can one hit KO Gardevoir-GX.

1 Oranguru

The deck doesn't run any other form of free draw so having Oranguru is needed so that you don't get N’d into a dead hand. 

1 Mr. Mime

Buzzwole-GX can be annoying for this deck since it can snipe Cosmogs and potentially two shot them so having Mr. Mime is essential.

3 Guzma

There aren’t four Guzma in this deck because Solgaleo-GX will one hit KO everything that is active anyway so you won't have to need Guzma as much.

2 Brigette

You can't afford to prize Brigette when needed turn one so having two copies is ideal. Getting out multiple Cosmog on the first turn is crucial to the deck's success. Let's not forget Rayquaza is also searchable with Brigette.

2 Skyla

I know Grant's version played four copies of Skyla but I felt that was overkill when playing the deck because he only played one Professor Sycamore and just two N. I absolutely hated his supporter counts so I changed it up quite a bit. Two Skyla is so that you can find Rare Candy into a fast Sol Burst GX.

4 Rare Candy

You can't afford to go with anything less than four Rare Candy in this deck, there are only two Cosmoem in the list. It is important to get Solgaleo-GX out as fast as possible so you can abuse its ability, Ultra Road. 

2 Field Blower

These are needed to get rid of Parallel City and Tools on Garbodor. Fighting Fury Belts won't matter since Sunsteel Strike still one hit KOs every Pokémon that uses Fighting Fury Belts. Grant didn't play any Field Blower in his build. It was one of the deck’s biggest flaws so I recommend at least two or maybe even three copies.

2 Choice Band

Sunsteel Strike can now hit over 230 damage. Much needed against Decidueye-GX and opposing Solgaleo-GXs. Solgaleo can also hit up to 200 damage with Fangs of the Sunne. That's enough to one hit KO Lycanroc-GX or Espeon-GX.

1 Heavy Ball

This card makes sense in this deck because both Cosmoem and Solgaleo have three retreat cost. You can Skyla for Heavy Ball and have no drawback like Ultra Ball has.

1 Max Potion

I really want to make room for a second copy of Max Potion because after you use Sunsteel Strike, Solgaleo-GX will take a hit. You then Max Potion it and Ultra Road into Rayquaza and Turbo Storm onto a fresh Solgaleo-GX or Solgaleo especially since you have to discard all energy once you use Sunsteel Strike anyway.

1 Super Rod

I prefer Super Rod over Rescue Stretcher in this deck because you may have to get back Basic Energy so that you have the energy to manually attach to Solgaleo-GX. Turbo Storm only attaches two Basic Energy so you will have to conserve some energy.

Other card options


You can run this deck with this card, though I'm not a fan of it in this deck. Grant placed 2nd at a League Cup as I said so it is definitely a solid inclusion. Zoroark-GX just didn't feel right in the deck so I dropped it altogether.

Dhelmise GRI 59

This card helps hit better numbers such as against Decidueye-GX where the extra 10 damage from Dhelmise can be very relevant since now Solgaleo-GX can hit up to 240 without having to find Choice Band. Solgaleo can also now do 180 as opposed to 170 or 210 with a Choice Band. Fangs of the Sunne can now one hit KO Zoroark-GX, Golisopod-GX, and plenty more Pokémon.

Giratina Promo

Greninja, as I mentioned before, is one of the decks toughest matchups. If you include Giratina then the matchup should be favorable because you also have Magearna-GX as well as Solgaleo. Fangs of the Sunne does a perfect 170 damage to one hit KO Greninja BREAKs.


This deck thrives on wanting to use Sol Burst GX as fast as possible to power up multiple attackers, so having Hala draw you seven cards can be nice, though I don't think it is entirely needed since having N when needed most is more important.

Rescue Stretcher

I think Super Rod has more merit in this deck than Rescue Stretcher because once you use Turbo Storm on Solgaleo-GX you will need a manual attachment. You can't really afford to use Turbo Storm twice on the same target, so making sure you have enough energy to manually attach is important.

Closing Thoughts

That will conclude this article on two strong plays for the Memphis Regional Championship this weekend. Personally, I think I'll end up playing Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX this weekend. I think it's one of the strongest decks in both Standard and Expanded. It does, however, have a few rough matchups such as Greninja (assuming you aren't playing Giratina Promo) and Vikavolt/Tapu Bulu-GX as they can one hit KO Lycanroc-GX without having to discard energy due to weakness. Still, Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX only really has two major flaws. I don't think those flaws are that big of a deal as Vikavolt/Tapu Bulu-GX won't see much play even with the hype it's been getting at League Cups. As for Rayquaza/Solgaleo-GX, I think if you hit the right matchups you can go far.

I tried Grant Manley's version of Rayquaza/Solgaleo-GX. It also included Zoroark-GX. I played the deck at a recent League Cup and unfortunately misplayed my win and in and finished 3-2-1. I didn't like the deck, at least Grant's version with Zoroark-GX and the fact that he didn't play Field Blower or Stadiums to get rid of Parallel City so I dropped Zoroark-GX altogether and went with a more straightforward approach. The deck should run a lot smoother without Zoroark-GX as sad as that sounds. If you see me in Memphis this weekend be sure to stop by and say hello. If you are a newer player don't hesitate to come introduce yourself as I love meeting new players. I'm a relatively chill person and easy to get along with so you have nothing to worry about. If you are playing in Memphis this weekend then the best of luck to you. I can't wait to see who is going to be crowned the winner of the biggest Regionals to date. Also before I forget if you can make it out to the Friday team event, it starts at 4 pm that day so stop by and route for your favorite team.

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. My Twitter handle is 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

[+20] okko


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