Experts' corner

Jose Marrero

Three Potential Plays for Costa Mesa Regionals

Jose analyzes three potential plays for Costa Mesa Regionals this weekend.

02/28/2018 by Jose Marrero



Hey there, 60cards readers. Jose here again and for this next article, I'll be analyzing three potential plays for Costa Mesa Regionals this weekend. Two of the decks I'll be looking at are nothing new, though the third deck surely is. First, I'll start off with Riley's Lonzo Dallas winning list. Following that, I'll move into a similar list of Kidd Starck's Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX who placed in Top 4 of Dallas. Lastly, I'll transition into a new deck which I think is a lot better in Expanded than Standard and that is Alolan Dugtrio. The ladder deck I'll be discussing can be a strong play for sure seeing how Glaceon-GX is more hyped in Expanded.

With that said, let's dive right into Rileys winning list from Dallas.

The Fox and the Purple Sludge

Lonzo (Dallas 1st Place)

4-4-1 Zoroark-GX

As you will see this is Riley's exact 60 because if it ain't broke don't fix it. Zoroark-GX is the main attacker of the deck and why this deck won Dallas. Riley chose the Foul Play Zoroark over the Mind Jack one. Honestly, it is a personal preference as both have their own merits. I personally prefer the Mind Jack Zoroark because it has the added ability bonus and is more effective against the mirror and other Zoroark-GX decks that play Sky Field.

3 Tapu Lele-GX/2 Shaymin-EX

Consistency is key as many players say like me. Between Trades and access to multiple Wonder Tag and Set Up is the reason Riley basically went undefeated to win Dallas.

2 Exeggcute

Not having to discard resources with Exeggcute is nice. You can Trade for free and use Ultra Ball and Computer Search for free as well.

1 Seismitoad-EX

Quaking Punch in conjunction with Karen helps win the Night March matchup.

1-1 Alolan Muk

Needed to shut off opposing Sudowoodos to make Riotous Beating do 210. However at the same time nice to shut off Shaymin-EX and Tapu Lele-GX.

1 Sudowoodo

Needed for the Zoroark-GX mirror matches. It forces them to either Hex Maniac or get Alolan Muk out.

1 N/1 Guzma/1 Acerola/1 Ghetsis/1 Hex Maniac/1 Pokémon Ranger/1 Karen

These are all the one of supporters Riley went with. One N of course to minimize your opponent's hand size for when they are up on prizes or has a huge hand size. One Guzma in case you want to KO something on the bench instead of the active. One Acerola in case you have to heal Zoroark-GX to deny prizes. One Ghetsis because it can randomly be clutch and win games out of nowhere. One Hex Maniac so you can shut off opposing Sudowoodos to make Riotous Beating hit for 210. One Pokémon Ranger to shut off Quaking Punch and its Item Lock and Armor Press and its damage reduction. Lastly one Karen to help fight against Night March and Vespiquen.

4 Puzzle of Time

Consistency and getting back resources is important. Puzzles of Time is too good not to play in a deck that plays four Zoroark-GX.

2 Battle Compressor

Riley played two Battle Compressor which makes sense since he played two Exeggcute. They also help get supporters in the discard for VS Seeker plays.

1 Rescue Stretcher

If you can preserve Puzzles of Time to get back Pokémon it is ideal. This is why Rescue Stretcher is nice in this deck.

1 Special Charge

Getting back two Double Colorless is nice because this deck doesn't play Basic Energies, so it is wise to play Special Charge so you don't have to use Puzzles of Time to get back energy.

1 Field Blower

Parallel City and Garbotoxin can be annoying for this deck.

1 Red Card

Riley's MVP card and a big part of why he won Dallas. Red Card in conjunction with Hex Maniac does wonders from personal experience.

1 Computer Search

The best Ace Spec. Can search out any 1 card.

1 Float Stone

Having some form of free retreat is always nice to have even though Riley played the Foul Play Zoroark over the Stand In one.

2 Choice Band

Needed to hit 210 with Riotous Beating. You can also use them on Tapu Lele-GX to two hit KO Pokémon. Foul Play can also do some lethal KO's if used at the right time with Choice Band.

3 Sky Field

Hitting that magic 210 number with Riotous Beating is important in Expanded thanks to Sky Field.

Other card options

Zoroark BKT 91

Mind Jack can be great in the mirror match because it can revenge KO a Zoroark-GX. This is especially clutch because you are using a non EX/GX to get the revenge KO. Stand in is also useful in certain situations namely when you have a status effect on you.

Oranguru ULP 114

This is a new card from Ultra Prism that lets you put back any three cards from the discard to the bottom of your deck in any order. Great card against mill decks like Wailord-EX and Sylveon-GX or even against Sabelye/Garbodor.

Professor Sycamore

Having more draw supporters can be handy especially against Glaceon-GX. In Expanded Glaceon-GX seems to be getting hyped more. This is probably because of this deck winning Dallas and numbers other Zoroark-GX decks performing well.

Counter Catcher

If you go second chances are you will be going down on prizes. Counter Catcher can come in handy in this situation because you can use a supporter and tie the prizes if need be.

Let's now head into a similar take on Kidd's Top 4 Dallas Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX list.

The Fox and the Wolf


4-4-1 Zoroark-GX

I added a fourth copy of Zoroark-GX from Kidd's list because it is a big part of the deck's success. Having multiple Trades by turn two is so good. I kept the Mind Jack Zoroark because its nice against the mirror and Lonzo as well as Night March. You can transition in and out of attackers between Zoroark-GX and Lycanroc-GX as you see fit. One may be more useful as the main attacker than the other depending on the matchup.

2-2 Lycanroc-GX

Lycanroc-GX can one hit KO Zoroark-GX's with its Claw Slash attack thanks to weakness. However Dangerous Rogue GX can pretty much one hit KO anything if used at the right time. Not to mention Bloodthirsty Eyes is a phenomenal ability because it is basically a Lysandre in the form of an ability.

1-1 Alolan Muk

I know Kidd's list ran two Alolan Grimer, though I think most lists that do run Alolan Muk only play a 1-1 and get away with it. I dropped one for a Red Card.

2 Tapu Lele-GX

Because the deck plays two Shaymin-EX you only really need two Tapu Lele-GX. You can use them to attack if you have to because its Energy Drive attack is actually solid.

2 Shaymin-EX

The deck plays Sky Field making Shaymin-EX more useful by having the extra bench. Shaymin-EX helps you dig and hopefully find what you are looking for easier.

1 Exeggcute

Great card for a number of reasons in this deck. First, it can help with Ultra Ball and Computer Search. Secondly, it can act as another bench sitter for Sky Field if needed. But the most important one is freely Trading every turn with no drawback.

1 Oricorio

Without a doubt Night March will see play in Costa Mesa because people love their Night March and it is pretty straightforward to play. Oricorio will come in handy here as well as against Vespiquen decks. Not to mention against Gyarados if the opponent doesn't play around it.

3 Brigette

I know Kidd played three Brigette so I kept that the same count, especially because it'll, be useful against Glaceon-GX.

2 N

Manipulating the opponent's hand size to a lower count is important and to make sure you don't discard resources if you don't have to.

2 Colress

This card does wonders in decks that play Sky Field. If you combine that with Trades you can draw 1/3 of your deck in a single turn.

2 Professor Sycamore

If Glaceon-GX starts to see more play leading up to Costa Mesa then this deck may need to up its supporter counts. For now, just two Professor Sycamore because you don't want to have to discard too many resources especially Puzzles of Time.

1 Ghetsis

This card can win games out of nowhere from personal experience playing against Kidd in Top 8 of Dallas Regionals. Game 1 and two my whole hand was Ghetsised away to lose both games. A turn one Ghetsis can be devastating if you get lucky enough. Ghetsis can be crucial mid to late game as well if the opponent doesn't expect it like I did.

1 Guzma

This deck can basically KO the active at a moments notice so having one Guzma is all you really need. You can always reuse it with VS Seeker or Puzzles of Time.

4 Puzzle of Time

Getting back resources is important. Puzzles of Time are needed in decks that play a hefty amount of Zoroark-GX because you are Trading a lot so eventually you will draw into them.

2 VS Seeker

I was a little hesitant on just two VS Seeker. However, Kidd's list and three others played the same exact 60 to a top 32 or higher finish. This led me to believe that two VS Seeker is fine as long as you use them wisely.

2 Pokémon Communication

Kidd's Top 4 list from Dallas played two copies of Pokémon Communication. They pretty much help you search out whatever Pokémon you need at the time as long as you have a Pokémon to replace it with from hand.

1 Rescue Stretcher

Not having to use Puzzles of Time to get back Pokémon is nice because preserving Puzzles of Time as long as possible is important.

1 Field Blower

Having one copy of Field Blower in this deck can be important for when you face up against Garbodor or Parallel City decks. You can reuse it with Puzzles of Time if needed. Getting rid of Fighting Fury Belts can be clutch as well because Zoroark-GX maxes out at 210.

2 Choice Band

Definitely needed to hit those 210 numbers against the mirror and other attackers with 210 or fewer hit points such as Lycanroc-GX, Golisopod-GX, and Espeon-GX.

1 Float Stone

Great card if you can put it on the Stand In Zoroark. This way you can freely Stand In and out of attackers if needed. Also useful to get rid of status effects like Poison or Sleep as well as Paralyzation.

1 Red Card

Riley's winning list had one Red Card and was the MVP for sure from personal experience facing him. I wouldn't be surprised to see Red Card being splashed into almost every deck that plays Hex Maniac or Alolan Muk. 

1 Computer Search

Easily the best Ace Spec for this deck because it can search out energy and stadiums if need be. There aren't many cards that can do this so having an out to search for those cards is too good to pass up.

3 Sky Field

This card is needed to hit those big 210 numbers with Riotous Beating. A full bench and a Choice Banded Zoroark-GX can do wonders. Getting rid of Parallel City is important as well which Garbodor decks play.

2 Fighting Energy

Needed to help fuel Lycanroc-GX. You want to try and stray away from Strong Energy because of all the Enhanced Hammers so really you want to use Basic Fighting Energy in this deck.

Other card options

Zoroark BLW 71

Being able to copy the opponent's active's attack can be crucial. For example against Lycanroc-GX, you can copy its Dangerous Rogue GX attack for a revenge KO. Or against Wishiwashi-GX you can too copy its GX attack for a KO. Zoroark is situational, though really effective when it matters.

Oranguru ULP 114

Same reasons as in the Lonzo deck. Getting back resources can be crucial against some matchups.

Sudowoodo GUR 66

I was shocked to see Kidd not playing Sudowoodo, though it made sense because of Alolan Muk.

Pokémon Ranger

Seismitoad-GX/Zoroark-GX didn't perform well at Dallas Regionals as many anticipated like myself so I believe players will surely shy away from it. This is great for Lonzo and Night March players because that's one less card they don't have to play. You can also nullify Armor Press's damage reduction as well.

Hex Maniac

It was interesting to see Kidd didn't play Hex Maniac then again it makes sense because he ran a 2-1 line of Alolan Muk to shut off Basic abilities anyway.


Having some form of healing can come in handy for when you are playing the two shot war, though this deck doesn't really do that and instead goes for one hit KO's.

Lastly, let's now get into a new deck, Alolan Dugtrio.

The Triplets

Alolan Dugtrio

4-4 Alolan Dugtrio

The deck's main attacker and newly released through Ultra Prism. Gold Rush does 30 damage for each Metal Energy you discard from the hand. Gold Rush has no energy cost which is nice because you can use energy to retreat and put it in the discard for later uses. Gold Rush can do 300 damage in this deck if you have all ten Metal Energy in hand, though you will never need to do that much damage. A more realistic number you are most likely wanting to hit for is 210. That is a total of seven Metal Energies in hand. It may seem like a lot because that's 7/10 energy having to be in the hand. However, this deck has plenty of ways to get energy into and out of the discard into the hand. Cards like Battle Compressor can quickly get energy in the discard while cards like Superior Energy Retrieval, Starmie, Fisherman, and Mt. Coronet can fish them right to the hand. Alolan Dugtrio only has 60 hit points, however, it can do lethal attacks while only giving up a single prize card.

2-1 Octillery

I felt a 2-1 line was fine because Octillery is too important in this deck. Getting Ned to a low hand or Red Carded can cripple this deck. Octillery is insurance in these scenarios.

1-1 Starmie

Absolutely needed to get two extra Metal Energies for free. You can just discard an Exeggcute to use Starmie. Between Starmie and Mt. Coronet that is four free Metal Energies to hand.

1 Shaymin-EX

The extra draw Shaymin-EX provides can be clutch in some situations especially before or after using a supporter to hit what you need.

1 Jirachi-EX

Searchable with Level Ball which is the main reason why I prefer it over Tapu Lele-GX in this deck, though only 90 hit points make it more vulnerable.

2 Exeggcute

Great for not having to discard resources. You have to discard two cards to use Ultra Ball, Dowsing Machine, and Superior Energy Retrieval. However, by playing two Exeggcute you can just discard those to save resources. Same goes with Starmie except discarding one card as opposed to two.

2 Professor Sycamore

You don't want to discard too many resources in this deck hence two Professor Sycamore. Octillery plays a big part in the deck's success. 

2 Guzma

With VS Seeker I felt two Guzma is fine. You will most likely want to KO the active anyway.

1 N

I felt at least one N was needed in case you have a clunky opening hand and can't afford to Professor Sycamore it away. I may even add a second copy of N for this scenario in case it is prized.

1 Teammates

Because Aloan Dugtrio only has a measly 60 hit points means Teammates will come in handy pretty much every turn. If Teammates is used you should almost always have the revenge KO because it can get you two Superior Energy Retrievals if need be or Mt. Coronet and something else.

1 Fisherman

This card lets you get back four Basic Energy which is basically a Superior Energy Retrieval except it is a supporter and has no drawback. It can also be reused with VS Seeker. There are a number of combinations you can do to hit those magic numbers.

4 Ultra Ball/4 Level Ball

The deck doesn't play Brigette so having a hefty amount of Ball counts is important. Level Ball can basically grab everything in the deck aside from Shaymin-EX. It can even get Jirachi-EX which is why I prefer it over Tapu Lele-GX. You can use Ultra Ball for no drawback if you have two Exeggcute in the discard.

3 Battle Compressor

I had four Battle Compressors at first but then I felt four seemed a little excessive. I ended up dropping one for a second copy of Remoraid. However, Battle Compressor can assist in discarding Metal Energies and supporters for any of the energy recovery cards and VS Seeker uses.

4 Superior Energy Retrieval

Unlike in Standard, this deck gained this card in Expanded. This card is one of the reasons this deck can work in Expanded. Getting back four Metal Energies for free if used with Exeggcute is satisfying. If you have one Superior Energy Retrieval, Starmie, and Mt. Coronet then you can get back a total of eight Metal Energies every turn. That is a whopping 240 damage, enough to one hit KO anything relevant.

3 Rescue Stretcher

You need to be able to keep streaming Alolan Dugtrio. It is the decks main and only attacker so it is very important to keep them coming. They only have 60 hit points so anything can take them out so be prepared.

1 Dowsing Machine

I felt Dowsing Machine was more useful than Computer Search as long as you don't open with it. Because having that fourth out to Mt. Coronet or fifth out to Superior Energy Retrieval can be game-changing.

3 Mt. Coronet

I felt three was fine because if you have to you can always use Dowsing Machine to get one back as I mentioned. Mt. Coronet is very important in this deck to freely get back two Metal Energies. On top of that, they are the decks counter to Parallel City so keep that in mind.

10 Metal Energy

Ten Metal Energies seemed fine in testing, to be honest. Between Starmie, Superior Energy Retrieval, Fisherman, and Mt. Coronet you should not have trouble finding energy.

Other card options


You can use Zoroark-GX as a form of extra draw if you dislike Octillery, though you would need a thicker line of Zoroark-GX instead of a 1-1 if you want to make it work. You won't really want to attack with Zoroark-GX because you need two attachments and plus Alolan Dugtrio does a lot more damage anyway.

Tapu Lele-GX

At the moment I have both Shaymin-EX and Jirachi-EX for consistency, though I can see Tapu Lele-GX as well. There are a couple reasons why I have the other two and not Tapu Lele-GX in the list. Shaymin-EX gives you more draw after the use of a supporter and Jirachi-EX is the same as Tapu Lele-GX except Jirachi-EX can be searched out with Level Ball as well.


Strictly for Buzzwole-GX because you can copy Alolan Dugtrio's attack for no energy cost essentially for an easy KO. In Expanded Buzzwole-GX/Lycanroc-GX is nowhere near as popular as it is in Standard, so maybe Mew-EX isn't worth the spot just yet.

Ditto BCR 108

This is a cute card you can play in this deck because honestly, it works. Once Ditto hits the board it basically acts as any Basic in your deck. Meaning if you have Ditto out for a turn and on the following turn you can immediately turn it into whatever evolution you want as long as you have the Basic form as well. Ditto is great for making sure you don't run out of attackers or for when you whiff to get another Diglett on board. This way all you have to do is draw them.

Mr. Mime

Negating Buzzwole-GX's, and Glaceon-GX's bench damage can be crucial in denying multiple KO's at once. Especially on two Alolan Dugtrio because they are the deck's main attackers.

Cyrus Prism Star

This is a card that is very situational. I believe this card can do wonders in the perfect scenario, however, for now, I feel as if no matter what you force the opponent to shuffle back into the deck that you will still get KOed next turn. Alolan Dugtrio only has 60 hit points so really anything is a threat to it.


You don't necessarily need Colress in this deck, though it could be helpful in drawing more cards. 

Computer Search

At first, I had Computer Search, however, after some testing, I felt that Dowsing Machine was strictly more useful mid to late-game. Getting back another Mt. Coronet or a fifth copy of Superior Energy Retrieval was too good to pass up.

Rescue Scarf

Getting back the deck's main attackers can be useful, though three Rescue Stretcher should be enough to take all six prizes.

Choice Band

It was tough trying to fit Choice Band because I don't want to stray away from the deck's consistency. To be honest it isn't that difficult to hit 210. This means you need seven Metal Energy which is relevant to a number of GX attackers namely Zoroark-GX, Lycanroc-GX, and Golisopod-GX.

Professor's Letter

In testing, I felt that Battle Compressor in conjunction with Superior Energy Retrieval was enough to get your energy. Meaning Professor's Letter was underwhelming compared to getting four energy at once.

Field Blower

Having just one copy of Field Blower just doesn't seem feasible. Against Parallel City you can just bump it with Mt. Coronet. However, against Garbotoxin is where the problem lies, though if you are able to Guzma and KO it early you should be fine because they most likely don't play Hex Maniac as well. Getting rid of Fighting Fury Belts could also come in handy to make for easier one-hit KOs. 

Closing Thoughts

That will conclude this article on three potential plays for Costa Mesa Regionals this weekend. Honestly, I'm not sure what I'll be playing yet. I really rather not play the obvious plays, though sometimes you have to in order to get good results. Alolan Dugtrio I'll be messing with a little more to see if I like it still. So far I do but it gets crippled if you get chain hexed multiple times in a row. Personally, I believe the top two most played decks will be Lonzo and Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX, so be prepared to face those a number of times. If you see me in Costa Mesa this weekend be sure to come say hi. If you are playing then the best of luck to you. It'll be exciting to see who wins the first Expanded Regionals with Ultra Prism.

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. Also, check out and pick up some awesome dice and GX markers. They are by far my favorite dice to use and I recommend getting yourself at least two sets of any given color. 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

[+19] okko


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