Experts' corner

Jose Marrero

5th Place Dallas Regionals Tournament Report and Deck Analysis

Jose gives an examination of his Top 8 Dallas Regional finish not too long ago.

02/07/2018 by Jose Marrero


Hola 60cards readers! I'm back again, with another article. I recently finished in 5th place at the biggest Regionals to date held in Dallas Texas not too long ago. It yielded an impressive 1052 masters. This finish now puts me at 530 CP which should put me right around 17th or 18th in the US/Canada rankings. Not too bad, though not going to Australia this weekend will surely affect my chances of getting into Top 16 even more. I'll still be chasing a Day 2 Worlds invite, so I'll be looking to hopefully attend Brazil Internationals and many other Regionals. Anyway, I'll be analyzing the list I played, then take a look at other card options you can potentially add to the deck, and give a rundown on my tournament report. Leading up to Dallas I had played in a couple Expanded League Cups. Those League Cups ultimately led me to play Golisopod-GX/Zoroark-GX after netting back to back Top 4 and 1st Place finishes at those League Cups.

I was fairly confident in the deck's matchups overall. I made some last minute changes just before Dallas to have the edge against the mirror match. In a previous article, I talked about one of my League Cup wins with Golisopod-GX/Zoroark-GX. I ultimately dropped one Float Stone, Mallow, and Mew-EX from my previous list. One of the main reasons I decided to play Golisopod-GX/Zoroark-GX for Dallas was because of Seismitoad-EX/Zoroark-GX. Surprisingly I did not face a single one in Dallas nor did it place in the Top 64. I was honestly shocked because I knew the deck was strong and could go far. Maybe too many players were playing Pokémon Ranger, Golisopod-GX, and Wailord-EX and were ready should they face off against it. I did give my list to a couple other players who ended up playing it. I know one of my buddies, Aaron Rucker, started out 4-0-1 then unfortunately finished 5-2-2, though still netted a Top 128 finish. Taylor Johnson, an upcoming Junior, finished in Top 8 as well with the list. 

With that said, let's get right into the list I used to place 5th at Dallas Regionals.

Top 8 Dallas Golisopod-GX/Zoroark GX

Deck Breakdown

4-4-1 Zoroark-GX (1 Mind Jack)

I ended up adding a fourth copy of Zoroark-GX to my Dallas list. I wanted to make sure I had higher odds of drawing into Zoroark-GX when not searching them out with Ultra Ball because they are a big part of the deck's success. Now because I added one Sky Field meant I can potentially one hit KO Pokémon with 210 or fewer hit points. I know some players opted to go with the Foul Play Zoroark over the Mind Jack one. I personally prefer the Mind Jack one because I believe it gives the deck more options compared to the Foul Play one. For starters being able to Stand In then use Guzma was an easy way to get around not having to rely on Float Stone. This scenario was clitch against both of the Wailord-EX decks I faced. Secondly, it's Mind Jack against is more effective against decks such as Night March and Lonzo. This is because Foul Play is useless against Night March and you much rather prefer to Mind Jack for a revenge KO once Lonzo gets Alolan Muk out with a huge bench. Don't get me wrong being able to copy Dangerous Rogue GX with Foul Play is crazy good, though Golisopod-GX has weakness typing over Lycanroc-GX anyway. Foul Play also can copy Wishiwashi-GX's GX attack; though again because I played Sky Field I could potentially one hit KO Wishiwashi-GX anyway not needed Foul Play.

3-2 Golisopod-GX

A thin line of Golisopod-GX is all you really need in Expanded just like in Standard because Zoroark-GX is usually the deck's main attacker depending on the matchup. Its first attack, First Impression only needs a single Grass Energy to start taking quick KOs. Armor Press is situational, though it can be more effective depending on the scenario, for example, against Night March or against a Pokémon you have to two hit KO anyway. Against a Pokémon that can be KOed by either First Impression or Armor Press you would prefer to use Armor Press to reduce 20 damage the following turn. Golisopod-GX’s typing helps against Pokémon such as Lycanroc-GX, Seismitoad-EX, and even Wailord-EX.

1 Exeggcute PLF 4

Both Ultra Ball and Computer Search can now be used for discarding just one card thanks to Exeggcute. Trade is now able to be used without having to discard resources. Lastly, Exeggcute can assist with larger KOs thanks to Sky Field.

1 Sudowoodo GRI 66

Zoroark-GX is a huge threat in Expanded because of Sky Field. This means Sudowoodo is a must have to help stray them away from one hit KOs. Alolan Muk can assist them in still achieving one hit KOs because it shuts off Sudowoodo, so watch out for that and be ready to have Mind Jack if that happens.

1 Oricorio GRI 56

I personally prefer Oricorio as the counter to Night March and Vespiquen over Seismitoad-EX and Karen. Supernatural Dance can do some huge damage and potentially take multiple KOs in the same turn. If you are able to use Armor Press with Golisopod-GX then they are forced to discard even more Night Marchers which then fuels Oricorio even more. You can even use Supernatural Dance for no energy cost if the Night March player has Dimension Valley in play, so keep that in mind.

2 Professor Sycamore

Professor Sycamore is rarely used in this deck because you are either wanting to Acerola, Guzma or Colress for a larger hand size. I mainly use Professor Sycamore as Trade bait, though if your hand doesn't have Puzzles of Time in it then it could be viable at the time.

2 N

N is important in case you are behind on prizes early on. Two copies are all you need in Expanded. In Expanded it is hard to know when to use N because there is a larger pool of supporters. Sometimes you can't afford to N because you already took too many prizes or you know the opponent has 2-3 Zoroark-GX out anyway basically nullifying N.

2 Brigette

I really wanted a third copy of Brigette, though I wanted to make room for other cards so I ended up just going with two. Overall I felt two was just fine because the deck doesn't rely on too huge of a bench like Lonzo and Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX does.

2 Guzma

I felt two Guzma was enough because the deck does play four copies of VS Seeker plus Puzzles of Time. Golisopod-GX can take cheap KOs along with Zoroark-GX so having two hard copies of Guzma was ideal in case I prized one.

2 Acerola

I played two copies of Acerola so I could have a higher chance to win Acerola wars against the mirror match. Lonzo and Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX rely on one hit KOs, unlike Golisopod-GX/Zoroark-GX. Healing your attackers is important to deny prizes early on.

1 Colress

I really wanted two Colress, though it was tough making room for the second copy. Usually, against other Zoroark-GX decks whoever uses Colress first has the big advantage because both players rarely use N. Colress for 8+ cards early game can put you in the stronger position.

1 Ghetsis

Ghetsis can be devastating on the first turn of the game and towards the late game as well. Ghetsis was the MVP against me in my Top 8 match against Kidd Stark. This is because Kidd used it when I had a three and four card hand and luckily hit all items both times to drop my hand to zero. Ghetsis is a scary card and it should be banned because it is not a healthy card for the format. I hope it is the next card to go, though maybe not because it is a card that can hit or miss.

1 Hex Maniac

This card can be troublesome in Expanded if used at the right time. Shutting off Zoroark-GX's Trade ability and Tapu Lele-GX can be game-changing. Hex Maniac can also shut off Marshadow-GX. Night March relies on Marshadow-GX to take easier KOs on Zoroark-GX, so without it, they will have a harder time.

4 VS Seeker

I've seen decks play as low as two copies of VS Seeker. However, in this deck, you definitely want to play four copies to maximize consistency. In Standard VS Seeker is not legal for play meaning you have to play more copies of supporters but in Expanded you have more options thanks to VS Seeker because they make your one of supporter counts even higher.

4 Puzzle of Time

Getting back whatever resources you want makes Puzzles of Time one of the best cards in both Standard and Expanded. Whether it's the second Field Blower, Sky Field, or third Enhanced Hammer. They give the deck more counts on all your inclusions.

2 Choice Band

Because of Puzzles of Time, and the fact that this deck usually relies on two hit KOing Pokémon, you don't need as many Choice Band. Crossing Cut GX can one hit KO certain Pokémon, however, that's just a one-time use, so two Choice Band is all the deck needs.

1 Float Stone

I liked having the one copy of Float Stone mainly because, if you have it on Zoroark, you can freely Stand In and out whenever you need to. It especially came in handy against Wailord-GX because you can Stand In, and then use Guzma for a KO. You repeat this strategy until victory. Stand In can help against status effects such as Poison and paralyses. I had two Float Stone in my previous list but I felt one was good enough because the scenarios I mentioned above don't come around too often.

2 Enhanced Hammer

In my previous list, I had been playing just one Enhanced Hammer. However, after some more testing against the mirror match and Zoroark-GX decks, in general, I felt that a second copy could go a long way. I'm glad I added the second Enhanced Hammer because it helped in a lot of my games.

1 Field Blower

Drampa-GX/Garbodor saw some play in Dallas by some of the best players in the game. Having access to Field Blower even if it is just one copy can go a long way especially because you can get it back with Puzzles of Time. Parallel Cty is another reason Field Blower should be played.

1 Rescue Stretcher

Reviving Oricorio can be crucial against the Night March matchup or whatever Pokémon is needed at the time. That is why I prefer Rescue Stretcher over Super because you never really have to get back Grass Energy thanks to Puzzles of Time.

Computer Search

The best Ace Spec of choice for most decks especially in a deck that plays Double Colorless Energy as its main source of energy. Not to mention with Exeggcute you are able to discard just one card to use Computer Search. Don't forget you can also search out a Grass Energy if need be or whatever is needed at the time in general.

1 Sky Field

I decided to include one copy of Sky Field last minute before Dallas. Reason being was because it helps against the mirror match. Once you get down to two or four prizes you can eventually drop it down for a potential two prizes. If the opponent has Sudowoodo out then you have Hex Maniac to combo with. Sky Field also gave me the option to one hit KO plenty of other non-Zoroark-GX or Golisopod-GX Pokémon; for example, Wishiwashi-GX, Gallade, and even Stoutland. Overall the inclusion of Sky Field gave me plenty of other options even with just the one copy.

Other card options

Seismitoad-EX + Karen

You do have Oricorio for Night March, though Item Lock plus Karen may just be the more effective route. I did face just one Night March in Dallas and bested it 2-0, though it was because my opponent dead drew early on. Night March relies on Battle Compressor and Puzzles of Time so shutting those off can be crucial for them. However, a lot of decks were playing Pokémon Ranger even the Zoroark builds.

Zoroark BLW 71

Foul Play is an awesome attack. It can be game changing in certain situations, for example against Lycanroc-GX it can copy its Dangerous Rouge GX attack for a lethal KO. Even against Wailord-EX if they play Wishiwashi-GX then Foul Play can copy its Blue Surge GX attack for a lethal KO. However, Crossing Cut GX can take down a Tapu Lele-GX and Mind Jack Zoroark can be more useful against Night March and Lonzo as well as Wailord-EX because of Stand In. It all really depends on personal preference on which Zoroark to play in this deck. I've seen both but I personally prefer Mind Jack over Foul Play.

Tapu Koko Promo

This card helps auto-win against Gyarados decks, though Gyarados didn't see any play in Dallas. Flying Flip in conjunction with Hex Maniac will demolish Gyarados because you are shutting off Magikarp’s ability and taking multiple KOs at once. Oricorio can also help against Gyarados, though the opponent can just play around it and use Rescue Stretcher to put back their Pokémon. Tapu Koko's free retreat can combo well with First Impression but with a lot of decks playing Sudowoodo, I wouldn't want Tapu Koko taking up a bench space in that case.


I ran this card in my League Cup lists before Dallas Regionals. Ultimately I felt that Mallow was a subpar card in Expanded because most times against the mirror match or against Zoroark-GX decks, in general, you likely want to use either Acerola or Guzma. This means you won't really have a window to use Mallow, so I dropped it from the previous list.

Battle Compressor

Placing Supporters and Exeggcute into the discard pile lets you have targets with VS Seeker. Plus you only have to discard one card with Exeggcute with both Ultra Ball and Computer Search, though in this deck it doesn't rely on Sky Field plays like other Zoroark builds do.

Special Charge

If you use your Double Colorless Energies smartly you shouldn't need Special Charge in the first place especially since there are less Enhanced Hammers in Expanded. The deck does, however, play three Basic Energy in the situations where attacking with Golisopod-GX is better. I would definitely be playing Special Charge in a deck that plays just four Double Colorless Energy.


Finding your evolutions more consistently with Evosoda can help in the early game, though I don't think they are a necessity in this deck. If you play four Zoroark-GX then you shouldn't have trouble just naturally drawing into them or Ultra Balls.

Red Card

This card was the MVP at Dallas Regionals. Not only was it implemented into the 1st place list piloted by Riley Hulbert but it was also in the 2nd place list piloted by Isaiah Williams. Red Card in conjunction with Hex Maniac can do wonders and ultimately cripple the opponent especially if you take a KO at the same time. I felt firsthand the wrath of the combo by Riley in our Day 2 match, so I know how powerful it is.

Tournament Report

Day 1

Round 1 - Autumn Glass - Gardevoir-GX: WW (1-0-0)

Game one she opens lone Ralts and passes. I am able to Float Stone the active and use First Impression for the turn two KO for the win. Game two is a longer game, though I am able to two hit KO all her Gardevoir-GX's as well as one hit KO Gallade with Crossing Cut GX.

Round 2 - Dan Wallace - LonZo: WW (2-0-0)

This series was a blur but all I remember is that I won 2-0.

Round 3 - Jon Eng - Night March/Maxies: WW (3-0-0)

Now, I am up against ARG teammate Jon Eng playing Night March/Maxies. Jon was talking a lot of smack before out match but it was all fun and games. Game one Jon has lone Joltik as I turn one KO it with Tapu Lele-GX. Game two Jon misses the turn one Maxies and from there I take a pretty convincing game as Jon concedes by like turn three or four. Our entire match lasted less than 10 minutes.

Round 4 - John Collins - Golisopod-GX/Zoroark-GX: WW (4-0-0)

I don't remember too much about these games, though I do remember Joh was using my exact list and in game two John made a huge miscalculation. He miscalculated his damage and whiffed the KO on my Zoroark-GX. This mistake lead to a 2-0 victory or else it would have definitely gone to game three.

Round 5 - Brett Stratton - Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX: WLT (4-0-1)

Game one and two I don't remember too much, though I know in game three I was up 3-6 prizes. However, time is called and we force a tie.

Round 6 - Arin Barouni - Golisopod-GX/Zoroark-GX: WW (5-0-1)

At this point, I'm up against another mirror. I win 2-0 thanks to Enhanced Hammers and drawing better than my opponent.

Round 7 - Nolan Freda - Wailord-EX: WW (6-0-1)

I was excited about this matchup because I knew how to play it and Nolan didn't play Wishiwashi-GX. You basically Stand In and out of Golisopod-GX while Guzma KOing Wailord-EX after Wailord-GX. If Hoopa comes out then you can Hex Maniac to KO it as well as Xurkitree-GX, though you have to Crossing Cut GX it. Both games go as planned and I best Nolan 2-0 in less than 20 minutes I would say.

Round 8 - Jacob Lesage - Wailord-EX: WLW (7-0-1)

On more win puts me into Day 2 or I could potentially ID my last two rounds. However not only was I up against another Wailord-EX but Jacob's record was 6-1-0 so he needed to win one of his last two anyway. I play it out of course and win a pretty easy game one. However, game two Jacob puts my Hex Maniac into the prizes on turn two because he opened with Xurkitree-GX and I had no way of getting it into the discard. I concede and move into game three where I make sure to get Hex Maniac in the discard as soon as possible. I use it to take out Hoopa and from there it is Guzma KO Wailord-EX three turns in a row.

Round 9 - Jonathan Paranada - Shock Lock: LL (7-1-1)

I know I'm in Day 2 now so I contemplate if I want to just ID the last round so I ask some of my buddies if I should. Their consensus was to always play out your remaining rounds once you know you are guaranteed Day 2 so I agreed. However, I did offer the ID to Jonathan, but he cleverly declined. I knew this matchup was an auto loss if the Shock Lock player sets up. Of course, it goes as I thought with Jonathan setting up flawlessly both games and takes me down 2-0. I finish day one with a record of 7-1-1, and I'm pretty excited at this point. I finish Day 1 at 10th seed going into Top 38. My only goal at this point was to make sure I don't bubble out of Top 32 because if you were one of the six players to bubble you wouldn't get the Top 32 prize money.

Day 2

Round 10 - Ross Cawthon - Shock Lock: W (8-1-1)

There were about 11-12 players with the same match points as I and Ross was the only one I wanted to dodge. Especially because I had just lost my last round against Jonathan's Shock Lock so I did not want to face it back to back. Game one Ross is having a hard time setting up, so I take this time to try and rid him of Lillipups. I am able to Stand In and Guzma after Guzma Lillipup after Lillipup until Ross has nothing left. I take a pretty convincing game one. Game two, however, Ross gets the perfect lock going and I know worst case I'll at least tie Ross. Eventually late game happens and I know at some point I'll have to try and slow down because I really rather win over a tie. Ross keeps looking at his watch and eventually stops cutting my deck so immediately I knew time was close. I slow down at a reasonable pace with about 5-10 second turns and play some items from my hand as well as Ultra Ball away two Pokémon and Rescue Stretcher them back into the deck. I have three cards left in the deck when time is called and at this point, I know I've won.

Round 11 - Riley Hulbert - LonZo: LL (8-2-1)

This round I'm now against the eventual winner of the event so congrats again to Riley. At this point, Riley is 10-0-0. Riley plays first and opens with both Red Card and Brigette. Immediately I'm on the fence and off the Red Card, all I can do is N. Riley has a huge lead on me with getting the first Brigette off and taking the first prize so he takes a pretty convincing game one. However game two is much better, though at some point in the game Riley Red Cards me down to four cards as well as plays Hex Maniac to one hit KO my Zoroark-GX because I had Sudowoodo in play. Not only did Riley put me down to four cards but he also took two prizes and shut my abilities off. That turn was all it took to get back into the game and turn the tides to his favor so I lose 2-0 to Riley. He played well, and his one loss was a concession.

Round 12 - Greg Kerien - Golisopod-GX/Zoroark-GX: WW (9-2-1)

Next, I'm now up against the mirror match. I was excited because I basically teched my list out to have the advantage over the mirror. Both games go as planned with me using Enhanced Hammers in conjunction with either Acerola or Guzma. Greg missed some attacks and because of this, I was able to steamroll through our games. This mirror win makes my third of the tournament, which was as planned.

Round 13 - Brad Curcio - Drampa-GX/Garbodor: WW (10-2-1)

All the Drampa-GX/Garbodor players aside from Azul were at 28 points along with me, so I knew it was likely that I'd face one of them. Sure enough, I'm facing Brad who's a longtime friend of mine. We actually never played against each other at Regionals before so this was the first for both of us. Game one Brad struggles to get Garbotoxin on the board. I am able to keep Golisopod-GX attacking and using Acerola to heal them up. I eventually Crossing Cut GX a Drampa-GX for the KO and take a somewhat smooth game one. Game two, Brad does get Garbotoxin out this time, though I Guzma and KO it with First Impression followed by Crossing Cut GX onto Drampa-GX. From there I am free to Trade multiple times a turn and just start spamming Acerola and Guzma when needed. Brad had some unfortunate draws missing energy and Garbodor at times, so I take the series 2-0.

Round 14 - James Taylor - LonZo: He scooped (11-2-1)

After my win over Brad, I knew I had to win just one more and ID my last round or vise Versa to make Top 8. James was 34 points while I was at 31 points and we were at table 2. James was a nice guy and scooped to me since we both knew we could both ID into Top 8 last round. If we were in opposite situations I would have gladly done the same for James, so shout out to him.

Round 15 - Kidd Starck - Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX: ID (11-2-2)

Kidd and I were both at 34 points and we knew 35 points was guaranteed Top 8 so we both agreed to ID.

Top 8 - Kidd Starck - Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX: LL

This matchup is basically a 50-50 I would have to say because whoever goes first has a huge advantage. These games were streamed. Feel free to click the video below to watch it. Ghetsis was the MVP in both games that's for sure as you will see.

I actually did an interview with Chip on his YouTube channel, TrainerChip, so if you guys want to check that out feel free to give Chip some love and subscribe.


I also did a Dallas Meta Forecast leading up to Dallas on Seagrove Pokemon TCG's YouTube channel so check that out.

Closing Thoughts

That will conclude this article on my 5th place finish at Dallas Regionals in a field of 1052 players. I'm glad I was able to finally finish higher than Top 64 and 32 for once because it has been a while. Moving forward I'm not too sure how the deck looks once Ultra Prism is legal for play. The deck may just be too underwhelming once we start seeing more decks start to pop up that do large lethal KOs. Only time will tell though and with the Australian International Championships coming up players will look to focus on that first anyway. If I were to play this deck again in Expanded the only card I would make room for is Red Card because that card was the highlight of Dallas Regionals and played a big role in both finalists decks.

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

[+16] okko


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