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Jose Marrero

Taking a Closer Look Michael Pramawat's Memphis Winning List as well as Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX in Expanded

Jose analyzes Michael Pramawat's Memphis winning list and then discusses Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX in the Expanded format.

01/01/2018 by Jose Marrero

Introduction

Hi there, 60cards readers! I hope everyone had a nice Christmas and New Years. I'm back yet again with a whole new article for you guys. First, I'll analyze ARG teammate and now 7 God, Michael Pramawat's 1st Place Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX list he used to win Memphis Regionals most recently, so shout out to him on winning the biggest Regionals to date yet again. Next, I'll then transition into how Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX looks in the Expanded format because the deck only gets more powerful. I actually played the same deck at Memphis as well, though my list was about four cards shy of Michael's.

I, unfortunately, hit a hurdle of Gardevoir-GX players. Three were my losses and another against the mirror match. I started my Memphis run with a record of 5-2-0, so I was looking good. In my eighth round I faced off against the Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX mirror and in game three time was called, so we decided whoever was up on prizes would take the series because a tie at this point was useless for both of us.

There was a turn where I basically had the game in the bag, though off an N to six, and Trade for two I whiffed an energy completely to be up on prizes against my opponent to basically go on with a record of 6-2-0 and essentially be in the win and in. Instead, I whiff the energy and concede to my opponent, as he was one prize ahead of me. The following round I hit my fourth Gardevoir-GX of the tournament and got pummeled. I don't know what it was, but my Gardevoir-GX opponent's (aside from one) ran hotter than the sun but that's a part of Pokémon so it is what it is. I still managed to get some pity points from top 256, making my CP total 362. I knew I played the correct deck for the tournament seeing how 9/32 decks in Day 2 were Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX with one ultimately winning the whole event, so I wasn't too salty. Chip Richey actually did an interview with Michael Pramawat on his YouTube channel, TrainerChip, so if you want to check it out I'll leave the video below. 

With that said, let's look at Michael Pramawat's Memphis Regionals winning list.

Michael Pramawat's 1st Place Memphis Regionals list

Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX Standard

4-4 Zoroark-GX

As you can see, Michael went with a more consistent approach, playing all Zoroark-GX and not a single Mind Jack Zoroark. This makes sense because the Mind Jack Zoroark is very situational, and most times you would much rather have another Zoroark-GX anyway, because Trade is just too good to pass up. Still, Rahul Reddy and Ahmed Ali both played the Mind Jack Zoroark, along with four copies of Zoroark-GX as well. As for Ben Potter, his list was almost identical to Michael's. It's interesting that some of them didn't play it, yet they played multiple copies of Professor Kukui. I actually played the Mind Jack Zoroark in my list, and I was able to one-hit KO back to back Zoroark-GX and Golisopod-GX thanks to Mind Jack and Professor Kukui, so having the option seems too good to pass up, however, I only played three Zoroark-GX. But because they all played four copies of Zoroark-GX, I believe that's the way to go.

4-3 Lycanroc-GX

Most players went with a 3-2 or 3-3 line of Lycanroc-GX. Michael and Ben decided to up their count even further, and go with a 4-3 line. I ran a 3-3 line and felt it was the perfect count. The fourth Rockruff didn't feel needed as much when playing the deck, though not having to Brigette for one probably was nice. I also noticed Michael and Ben played all "Tackle" Rockruffs and not a single "Corner" one. I played a 2-1 split with two Tackle and one Corner because I still wanted to have the option to lock up an Octillery for a cheap win if I could. In the end, playing all copies of the Tackle Rockruff helped, because Michael played against a Hoopa, Tackle is able to put a lot of pressure on Hoopa if you have a Strong Energy or two attached. Rockruff with Tackle can also one-hit KO opposing Zorua and even Eevee. Even though Zoroark-GX is the main attacker of the deck you can see still use Lycanroc-GX as the main attacker depending on the matchup namely the mirror match. Dangerous Rogue GX basically is a guaranteed one-hit KO on any threat on the opponent's field. You just need to use it wisely because you can only use it once.

4 N

Standard doesn't have access to VS Seeker, so making sure you have a max count of N is important because you need to be able to manipulate the opponent's hand when needed most.

1 Acerola

Everyone in the Top 8 who played this deck, aside from Rahul Reddy, played just a single copy of Acerola. Rahul played two and a Max Potion, while the others just played one Acerola as their means of healing. As for myself, I played two copies of Acerola. Even if you play one you can still use Puzzles of Time to reuse it if needed. Getting to reuse Bloodthirsty Eyes is exciting especially knowing you healed Lycanroc-GX in the process.

2 Professor Sycamore

Because you don't want to discard too many resources--namely Puzzles of Time--you are less likely wanting to use Professor Sycamore. This is particularly the reason why there is just two in the list. Similar to how Tord Reklev's Golisopod-GX/Zoroark-GX build has two.

2 Guzma

This deck doesn't need many Guzma because you have Bloodthirsty Eyes at your disposal. Still, at least two copies of Guzma is needed just in case Garbotoxin shuts off your abilities.

3 Brigette

I only ran two Brigette and felt it was perfectly fine in this deck, though a third copy can't go wrong either, and looking back I would probably add a third one in. All four Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX top 8 lists ran three Brigette so it seems three is the ideal way to go because opening with Brigette feels great.

1 Mallow

Manipulating your top two cards in conjunction with Zoroark-GX's Trade ability is too great of a combo to pass up. Mallow can help search out an energy and Lycanoc-GX. The fact that you can still essentially Guzma with Bloodthirsty Eyes and use Mallow at the same time is very strong.

2 Professor Kukui

The added 20 damage from this card can make numbers easier to hit for example if the opponent has Tapu Lele-GX active you are now able to one hit KO it for an exact 170 damage. Of course you also need a full bench and a Choice Band to achieve this. Another scenario can be if the opponent is playing around Dangerous Rogue GX and Professor Kukui is just enough to finish off that Pokémon. 

2 Field Blower

Both Parallel City and Garbotoxin can be troublesome for this deck, so having a couple Field Blower to be able to get rid of these cards is ideal. You want to be able to have access to Trade at all times and most of the time you want to have multiple Zoroark-GX and Rockruffs on the bench.

1 Energy Loto

It's quite interesting to note that only Michael played Energy Loto from the Top 8 Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX lists, while all the others played Multi Switch in its place. The debate on whether or not it's better to move your energy around or find an energy altogether is a tough one. I personally don't think any are required. I didn't play either one and never felt that I needed one or the other but if I had to choose one I probably would have gone with Energy Loto because what's the use of Multi Switch if you don't the have energy to move around anyway.

3 Choice Band

Everyone but Michael played two copies of this card. Michael went with three Choice Band, and looking back, it made sense because you don't really want to have to use Puzzles of Time on them. If you play three then you are more likely to have one when needed most.

1 Float Stone

I love the one-of Float Stone in this deck. Having access to a free retreater is always nice to have so you can plan out your next turn. By not playing Float Stone or a means of free retreat, you may have to guess your next attacker next turn, and in a lot of cases that decision can be crucial.

3 Strong Energy/2 Fighting Energy

You may be asking why not just play four copies of Strong Energy instead of two Basic Fighting? Great question, however, because Enhanced Hammer is so popular in Standard means the second copy of Basic Fighting Energy can be more effective than the fourth Strong Energy. Especially in the mirror match or Golisopod-GX/Zoroark-GX.

Other card options

Mewtwo EVO

Great answer against a fully powered Buzzwole-GX, though Mew-EX is more effective. If Mewtwo has a Choice Band attached it can do a solid 120 damage to a one energy Buzzwole-GX. Or 100 damage without an energy on Buzzwole-GX. Mewtwo will most likely be two shotting Buzzwole-GX, unlike Mew-EX.

Mew-EX

Most players, like myself, went with Mewtwo EVO over Mew-EX to help combat Buzzwole-GX. In the end, I think Mew-EX would have been a lot more effective. Moving forward I would most likely make that change because Mew-EX will almost always one hit KO Buzzwole-GX with Riotous Beating. For Mewtwo, you have to wait until they have three energy attached to Buzzwole-GX to one hit KO them with a Choice Band. The only downside to Mew-EX is that it's much more vulnerable than Mewtwo because of its low hit points and the fact that it gives up two prizes as opposed to Mewtwo only giving up one.

Zoroark BKT

It was surprising to not see Michael not playing this card. Instead, Michael played four copies of Zoroark-GX. In the end, it paid off because consistency is key.

Buzzwole-GX

Rahul Reddy and Ahmed Ali both played a copy of Buzzwole-GX in their top 8 lists as I did as well. Jet Punch is phenomenal in the mirror match because you can pick off Zoruas for just a single Fighting Energy. Jet Punch is also great just to set up KO's as well against Gardevoir-GX or Tapu Bulu-GX/Vikavolt.

Giratina Promo

Greninja is basically an auto loss for this deck, though there wasn't that many in Memphis so most players got away with not playing Giratina. As for myself, I did end up playing it and actually did play against one Greninja. I swiftly 2-0ed it because of Giratina. Ahmed Ali played Giratina in his top 8 list since he knew that Greninja is a tough matchup without it.

Mr. Mime

Buzzwole-GX can be troublesome for this deck so denying their snipe damage can go a long way. Even against decks that solely rely on spread damage can make Mr. Mime do wonders.

Multi Switch

Three of the four Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX lists from the Memphis Top 8 ran this card. Michael Pramawat was the only one who didn't and instead ran Energy Lotto. Muli Switch can be clutch though to power up Lycanroc-GX out of nowhere.

Special Charge

I dropped this card last minute from my list and Rahul Reddy was actually the only one to keep it in his list from the Top 8. Enhanced Hammer is more common in Standard, so maybe it's worth keeping it in.

Max Potion

Rahul Reddy ran a copy of this card in his Top 8 Memphis list, though I'm not that big of a fan of it since I'd much rather play another Copy of Acerola in its place or any other card. I think the matchup against Decidueye-GX/Zoroark-GX is already fine and in the mirror match, you want to get the first Lycanroc-GX attacking anyway so you can one-hit KO opposing Zoroark-GX's.

Reverse Valley 

I know Ahmed Ali's Top 8 list from Memphis ran one of these. The added 10 damage can make numbers easier on you and can catch the opponent off guard thinking they can't be on hit KOed.

Parallel City

I actually added two of these last minute in my list and they were actually pretty good. I was also surprised to see others doing the same thing but one instead of two. Limiting your opponent's bench to three even though it limits your own attacks is still ideal because if they don't bump Parallel City then even better. You can just go aggro Riotous Beating or Claw Slash.

With that said, let's now look at how the deck looks like in the Expanded format.

Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX Expanded

4-3-1 Zoroark-GX

In Expanded the Mind Jack Zoroark is much more effective because of Sky Field, so it makes more sense to play it. If the opponent doesn't play around it then you can trade one prize for two prizes. Riotous Beating can do more damage in Expanded as well because of Sky Filed like I said. If you have a Choice Band attached to Zoroark-GX then you can now dish out 210 damage. That's enough to one hit KO Zoroark-GX, Lycanroc-GX, and even Golisopod-GX. However, watch out for Sudowoodo because that card will limit your damage output drastically.

3-2 Lycanroc-GX

Awesome in the mirror match but make sure you have Sudowoodo on your field so the opponent can't just one hit KO you back with Zoroark-GX. You also have to watch out for the Foul Play Zoroark because it can copy Dangerous Rogue GX for just a single Double Colorless Energy. Still, Lycanroc-GX can do wonders in the Expanded format because Bloodthirsty Eyes is just that good.

1 Landorus-EX

I decided to include one copy of Landorus-EX because it can be great against Night March for taking a double KO on two Joltik or a Zorua and Joltik. Hammerhead can also be awesome in the mirror match because you can Target Whistle an Exeggcute on the opponent's bench then Bloodthirsty Eyes up a Zorua and take two KO's. I chose Landorus-EX over Buzzwole-GX even though you can't Brigette for Landorus-GX and other Basics because it's not weak to Pumpkaboo like Buzzwole-GX is. 

1 Shaymin-EX

I can see upping the Shaymin-EX count because it's just free draw that's always nice. You can just discard Shaymin-EX if Sky Field gets bumped. Eduardo only played one though so maybe it's smart to play just one so it's not a liability.

1 Sudowoodo GRI 66

When running Sky Field there's no reason not to play Sudowoodo. It's needed against the Zoroark-GX mirror and M Rayquaza-EX. In general, limiting the opponent to four bench spots while you are free to bench eight is advantageous.

1 Exeggcute PLF 4

Great card for when using Computer Search and Ultra Ball. Also can be used as another bench sitter to fuel Riotous Beating and Colress.

1 Oricorio GRI 56

Strictly for the Night March matchup, because the deck doesn't play Karen, though it's a potential option. Zoroark-GX and Lycanroc-GX are both beefy attackers, so Night March will have to have a decent amount of Night Marches in the discard if they want to one hit KO one of them. If so then that's where Oricorio comes in to clean up because in order to one hit KO Lycanroc-GX they would need nine Night Marchers in the discard and a Choice Band or ten in the discard. Same with Zoroark-GX unless they use Marshadow-GX. If so they would need fewer Night Marchers in the discard in order to one hit KO Zoroark-GX due to its weakness to Fighting-types. Oricorio can now take a two or even three prize trade because Joltik only has 30 hit points while Pumpkaboo only had 60.

1 Colress

You can net eight-plus cards off Colress thanks to Sky Field, and with Trade added to the mix, your hand can be ridiculously huge. Colress will surely assist in finding what you need if you draw enough cards.

1 Hex Maniac

This card is great against basically any deck, especially if you are taking a KO a the same time. That is when Hex Maniac is crucial. Your opponent's next turn will be very limited in what they can do and in a lot of cases they may even whiff the revenge KO because all their abilities were shut off.

1 Target Whistle

I know Eduardo's 2nd place list from San Jose played one copy of this card. Forcing a Basic Pokémon onto your opponent's bench can be game-changing. You can use Target Whistle on something like Shaymin-EX and then use Bloodthirsty Eyes to bring it active for two free prizes. You can even use Target Whistle to manipulate your opponent's bench size to make Mind Jack do more damage.

1 Computer Search

By far the best Ace Spec, Computer Search lets you search your deck for any card and put it into your hand. You have to discard two cards to do so but that is fine because you can always discard Exeggcute. Computer Search lets you search out energy. It's one of the main reasons it is the ideal Ace Spec.

3 Sky Field

Needed to boost Riotous Beatings damage output. In Standard Riotous Beating would cap out at 150 with a Choice Band but now with Sky Field, you can push that damage up to 210.

2 Fighting Energy/1 Strong Energy

I may even go to three Basic Fighting because there are rumors of Trevenant BREAK with four Enhanced Hammers being the play for Dallas Regionals. If you have two Basic Fighting Energy on Zoroark-GX then you should be able to steamroll your opponent because they likely won't be playing Crushing Hammers. However, I like the option of having Strong Energy because of  Landorus-EX. Its Hammerhead attack can one hit KO non-GX Zoroark's with a Strong Energy.

Other card options

Seismitoad-EX

This card is only really helpful against Night March, though without Karen it's not as great as a stand-alone except against maybe Wailord-EX because you item lock them then KO them with Riotous Beating and transition back and forth. You also have to make sure you have Stand In ready to go in and out as well.

Zoroark BLW 71

This card was played in the Zoroark build without Lycanroc-GX.  It makes perfect sense because you have more room in that build and plus Zoroark is the main attacker in that version. It's attack, Foul Play can copy any attack from the opponent's active Pokémon for just a single Double Colorless Energy. Imagine copying the opponent's Lycanroc-GX's GX attack for a revenge KO out of nowhere. That can be game-changing.

Alolan Muk

This card was being splashed in the Zoroark builds without Lycanroc-GX, though it can still have a place in this deck as well since Lycanroc-GX can still use it's ability while under Alolan Muk. I think the fact that it's another stage 1 makes it less appealing because that would be three different stage 1's now. Still, shutting off the opponent's Sudowoodo is clutch for hitting those 210 hit point one hit KO's.

Ghetsis

Many players have been hoping for this card to get banned but I just don't see it being banned anytime soon because it's a hit or miss card. Sure, it can be devastating if timed right. But there are other times where you may get one maybe two cards with the opponent still having outs in there hand while you have used up your supporter for the turn and now have nothing next turn because of a greedy play. I'm sure most of us have been there and have learned from it. Still, Ghetsis is an extremely powerful card that can win games alone if lucky enough.

Teammates

This card can be clutch against any deck, though Mallow is more effective because you don't have to wait to be KOed to do it. This deck at times only really needs a couple cards to answer a big threat, so Teammates being able to search out the exact two cards you need to have a revenge KO can be ideal, though I don't think it's a necessity in this deck because you have Mallow as I said.

Karen

Night March dominated San Jose Regionals. It was no surprise to some people like myself. I didn't attend San Jose but I'm almost positive I would have been playing a deck that can stand up against Night March that's for sure. Karen is a card that can cripple Night March if used at the right time, though I think Oricorio at least in this deck is more effective against Night March. Karen only really beats Night March if you also combine it with item lock at the same time otherwise it's only a matter of time until there is enough Nigher Marchers in the discard once again. Especially now that Night March gained Zoroark-GX. It'll be easier for them to get Night Marchers in the discard thanks to Trade.

Pokémon Communication

I know Eduardo's 2nd place list from San Jose played one copy of this card. It's an interesting card since this deck plays so many Pokémon, so I can see it being handy most times. Still, I don't see it as a necessity so I dropped it altogether.

Battle Compressor

Because Battle Compressor isn't legal in Standard means you can take advantage of it in the Expanded format. The card makes decks more consistent because you can do a number of things with it. You can discard supporters so that VS Seeker now has a target, you can discard any two cards assuming you have two Puzzles of Time in hand already so that you can get whatever two cards you want. You can even discard Exeggcute so that you have access to it immediately.

Special Charge

Being able to not have to use Puzzles of Time to get back Special Energy is nice because you can then use Puzzles of Time for other important resources. Getting back two Double Colorless Energy with Special Charge is the greatest feeling in the world because you know you won't likely run dry on energy. Against decks that rely on energy denial means Special Charge can go a long way.

Enhanced Hammer

We all know how powerful this card is in the Standard format. In Expanded I can see it doing wonders as well because there are plenty of decks that play Special Energy as well as not running Special Charge.

Closing Thoughts

That will conclude this article on Michael Pramawat's Memphis Regionals winning list as well as how Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX looks in the Expanded format. Without a doubt, Dallas Regionals next month will be filled with Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX especially after it's fresh win in the Standard format. It only gets better in Expanded, so there's no reason for the deck to decline.

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

[+17] okko


 

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