Experts' corner

Jose Marrero

"The Wolf and the Fox" - 1st Place League Cup Report

Jose examines the Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX list he used to win a League Cup not too long ago.

04/13/2018 by Jose Marrero



Hey there 60cards readers! I'm back once again with another article, though this time discussing my most recent League Cup win not too long ago. I ended up playing Zoroark GX (SLG; 53) / Lycanroc GX (GRI; 138) because I saw it having some success recently and I felt it was a good enough deck to at least get some points with. I went back and looked at what decks performed well at Portland Regionals and noticed Poet Larsen placed 9th. This made me wonder if the deck in question is still viable in today's format and so I gave it a shot. The list I played was just two cards shy of Poet Larsen's so shout out to him for providing the initial list. Ultimately I ended up dropping one Parallel City as I felt any more than two felt like overkill and eventually may be dead cards. I also dropped the one-of Enhanced Hammer just because I felt it wasn't necessary. I replaced those cards with a third copy of Field Blower because it was more useful against opposing Parallel Cities and against Garbotoxin. The second card I added was an Oranguru ULP to help against Hoopa and Sylveon-GX decks. Overall I felt the list ran pretty well and I wouldn't change a card just yet.

With that said, let's take a look at the list.


4-4  Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)

One of the best cards to ever be printed. Zoroark-GX is that good of a card to where most decks these days play at least three to four copies of them. Its Trade ability is ridiculously strong for its consistent draw power. Not to mention its attack Riotous Beating for just a single Double Colorless Energy can do some solid damage and can one hit or two hit KO Pokémon depending on what it is. Once you get two-three Zoroark-GX on the board then its all gravy from here on out. You shouldn't have trouble finding what you need as long as Trade doesn't get shut off, for example by Garbotoxin or Glaceon-GX. Zoroark-GX is the main attacker in the deck early on until you have to transition into Lycanroc-GX because Zoroark-GX essentially attacks for one energy while Lycanroc-GX needs two attachments.

3-2  Lycanroc GX (GRI; 138)

As you can see, I kept the two Tackle and one Corner Rockruff as-is. I wanted to have both options if I needed one or the other in certain situations. I didn't attack with Rockruff all tournament but still, you want to have both options. Corner can be used to lock Pokémon that don't attack such as Octillery for a cheap victory. Tackle can be used to KO Zorua and Eevee assuming you have a Strong Energy attached. Rockruff can even threaten KO's on Hoopa. As for Lycanroc-GX, it's an all around great card. Not only does it have one of the best abilities in the game but it also has one of the best GX attacks in the game. Its ability Bloodthirsty Eyes, first of all, sounds so cool and it lets you bring up one of your opponent's Benched Pokémon. Bloodthirsty Eyes is basically a free Lysandre in the form of an ability. Now its first attack, Claw Slash may seem underwhelming but that is okay because it at least one hit KO's Zoroark-GX and with a Strong Energy doing 130 can hit for magic numbers. Finally its GX attack, Dangerous Rogue GX makes it that much better as a card overall. It does 50 damage times each of your opponents benched Pokémon. Most times this attack will almost always ensure a KO on whatever you want. You can only use it once so make sure to use it wisely.

Tapu Lele GX (GRI; 60)

Three Tapu Lele-GX makes the deck more consistent than running just two and makes it to where you can freely Trade them away if you want. Late game you can use them to grab Guzma if you want.  Make sure to have at least one at your disposal. Tapu Lele-GX is not a bad attacker also because Energy Drive can do some solid damage. The only downside to running three is that you have a higher chance of opening with one which usually isn't great.

Mew EX (DR; 46)

Mainly for Buzzwole-GX, Espeon-GX, and the newly released Lucario-GX. Mew-EX can copy Riotous Beating for easy KO's on all those aforementioned Pokémon.

1 Mewtwo EVO 51

A great attacker against Buzzwole-GX, Espeon-GX, and Gallade. If Buzzwole-GX or Espeon-GX have three energy attached then you can finish them off with a Choice Banded Mewtwo. Not to mention against Gallade if you use Professor Kukui you can finish it off too. Mewtwo is an overall solid attacker against basically anything that has multiple energy on it.

Oranguru (UPR; 114)

This was a new inclusion I decided to add that was different from Poet's Portland Regionals list. I felt the card was a nice answer to Sylveon-GX decks on top of Hoopa decks. Not only can Oranguru get back resources such as energy but it also has a solid attack that auto confuses. This is especially clutch against both Sylveon-GX and Hoopa because it forces them into odd situations while threatening a two hit KO onto Hoopa. Oranguru loops can happen as well if played correctly for more efficient use.

N (FCO; 105)

With the release of Cynthia, you can now afford to go down to three N because this deck takes fast prizes so eventually N will be useless to you and will be Trade bait a lot of the time. N makes you discard less resources too which is always a blessing on its own.

Brigette (BKT; 134)

Opening with a hard copy of Brigette is one of the best feelings in the world when it comes to Pokémon. Not having to use Tapu Lele-GX to search one out is awesome. This is why I like having at least three copies and should be mandatory in this deck.

Guzma (BUS; 115)

Most lists run two copies of Guzma. However, I like that Poet added a third copy. I can't see going back down to two anytime soon. Three was very clutch and I had access to them everytime I needed.

Cynthia (UPR; 119)

I like having Cynthia for the late game so I tried to use N early on over Cynthia since there's just two. I really want a third copy but for now, I think I'll keep it as is. They are extremely nice since you don't have to discard Puzzles of Time as often as before.

Professor Sycamore (STS; 114)

I almost dropped Professor Sycamore for a third copy of Cynthia or fourth copy of N. However, there are scenarios where Professor Sycamore is a lot better and will give you higher odds of drawing into what you need. Plus sometimes you have a useless hand you don't care to discard so I kept the one of Professor Sycamore for those situations because whiffing something you need really bad can make or break a game.

Mallow (GRI; 127)

This card is so so clutch in this deck. It can grab you two exact cards you need at the time to achieve what you want to achieve. A lot of times I used it to grab Float Stone and a Double Colorless Energy early on. Usually when you see the opponent using Mallow when they have Zoroark-GX out means you are likely in a world of hurt.

Professor Kukui (SUM; 148)

The extra 20 damage Professor Kukui provides can make for some magic numbers. For example, if you want to KO Tapu Lele-GX with Riotous Beating assuming you also have a Choice Band attached. It also makes Lycanroc-GX hit better numbers out of nowhere especially it's Dangerous Rogue GX attack when the opponent least expects it.

Acerola (BUS; 112)

Having at least one Acerola I felt was definitely worth it because this deck doesn't really use the healing war strategy as a winning game plan. This is because Lycanroc-GX just doesn't care and can KO Zoroark-GX with ease anyway. Picking up a hurt Lycanroc-GX to reuse its ability is very strong so that is another reason at least one Acerola is ideal.

Puzzle of Time (BKP; 109)

A no-brainer here. Puzzles of Time have been taking over the Standard and Expanded format for some time now thanks to Zoroark-GX's Trade ability. Getting back useful resources is always a great idea and why Puzzles of Time are in so many decks right now.

Field Blower (GRI; 125)

I felt two Field Blower was hard to find if you are hit with a quick Parallel City or locked with Garbotoxin. Because of this, I added a third copy just to have higher odds of drawing into one when needed most. Ultimately the third copy did come in the clutch because I found them when I needed them especially against all the Golisopod-GX/Zoroark-GX I faced.

Choice Band (GRI; 121)

I felt two Choice Band was good enough. They are nice for when you have to two hit KO Pokémon due to Parallel City limiting your damage. Also having the option to one hit KO Tapu Lele-GX in conjunction with Professor Kukui is always nice. Or against Gardevoir-GX when they have four benched Pokémon. That means Choice Band can do the last 30 damage for Dangerous Rogue GX to finish it off. Not to mention both Buzzwole-GX and Espeon-GX with three energy attached can get one hit KOed by a Choice Banded Mewtwo which is super important.

Multi Switch (GRI; 129)

This card helps make spicey plays. Powering up Lycanroc-GX out of nowhere can hands down win games. Having the ability to KO Zoroark-GX at a moment's notice is too good not to have. Multi Switch was more effective than I would have thought. Even a Dangerous Rogue GX out of the blue can make game-winning plays.

Evosoda (XY; 116)

The one of Evosoda was fine. I didn't feel like it needed another because if you use it on Rockruff then you won't get the Bloodthirsty Eyes effect. It was clutch once found that is for sure.

Float Stone (PF; 99)

I really wanted a second copy of Float Stone to be quite honest. Opening anything other than Zorua is no good in this deck because you almost never want to attach to the active Rockruff on the first turn. That is why I liked three Guzma for scenarios like this.

Parallel City (BKT; 145)

I know Poet ran three Parallel City but I just didn't like having three because I don't want to have excess amounts. I dropped one for a third Field Blower which I thought was just as good if not better. Also, Parallel City limits the damage done by Dangerous Rogue GX, though most times this is okay because if they don't get rid of it then they are playing with three benched Pokémon.

4 Double Colorless Energy/2 Strong Energy/2 Fighting Energy

Normally you would see three Strong Energy, though Poet Larsen ran just the two so I just took his word for it. To be honest I felt that two was perfectly fine because you can just use Mallow to grab one if needed. Two Fighting Energy is basically a staple because you may need to attach one of those before Double Colorless Energy or Strong Energy due to Enhanced Hammer especially against Golisopod-GX/Zoroark-GX.

Other card options

Lucario GX (BW; 100)

This card can do lethal damage with enough damage modifiers for just a single Fighting Energy. However, it's main attraction is for the sheer fact that it can one hit KO Zoroark-GX so easily. It's first attack, Aura Strike does 30 damage and an extra 90 if you evolved into Lucario-GX that turn. If you add cards like Strong Energy, Regirock-EX, and Choice Band then Aura Strike can be very deadly. Now, it's GX attack, Cantankerous Beatdown GX is reminiscent of Tauros-GX and its Mad Bull GX attack. Very strong GX attack that can threaten a big KO.

Buzzwole GX (CIN; 104)

Jet Punch can take cheap KO's on Zorua and Eevee's enough said.

Sudowoodo (BKP; 67) / Counter Energy (CIN; 100)

This combo gives the deck more options in revenge KOing certain Pokémon. For example Buzzwole-GX, Lycanroc-GX, Zoroark-GX, Silvally-GX, Turtonator-GX, Dusk Mane Necrozma-GX and more.

Cobalion (STS; 74) / Counter Energy (CIN; 100)

Revenge Blast can do some crazy damage late game and can easily take down a Gardevoir-GX. Against Gardevoir-GX all they have to do is take just two prizes for Cobalion with a Choice Band to KO them.

Zoroark BKT 91

The deck plays Professor Kukui otherwise I wouldn't consider this card, though Parallel City basically limits Mind Jack's damage output. Still, Mind Jack can potentially do 210 damage to KO Pokémon such as Golisopod-GX, Lycanroc-GX, and Zoroark-GX.

Lycanroc (BUS; 75)

Mainly useful for its first attack to help combat against Hoopa decks. Dangerous Claws can take out a number of Hoopa with ease. Its second attack, Corner is an upgraded one from Rockruff so it can be handy in some situations.

Giratina (BW; 184)

Greninja is basically an auto loss for this deck without Giratina. If you expect some Greninja being piloted by decent players then I recommend adding in Giratina. It'll help win the matchup for sure.

Energy Loto (GRI; 122)

I'm not a huge fan of this card, though it can be clutch in some situations to where you are desperate for that energy attachment. It is more of a luxury to me than a necessity.

Enhanced Hammer (DE; 94)

Another luxury card though can potentially deny an attack from the opponent next turn. If so then you will be in a dominating position for sure. You can even reuse Enhanced Hammer thanks to Puzzles of Time.

Rescue Stretcher (GRI; 130)

I really wanted to fit this card but I just couldn't find the room. In the end, I felt it wasn't as needed after all as long as you use Puzzles of Time wisely.

Special Charge (STS; 105)

Getting back both Double Colorless Energy and Strong Energy can be handy, though not needed if you are careful with your energy attachments.

Timer Ball (SUM; 134)

Another card I'm not a fan of because you can just run more Evosoda if that's the case, though you just won't get Lycanroc-GX's ability. Plus I'd rather have the guarantee instead of the flip effect over the potential of not getting anything.

Max Potion (EPO; 94)

Healing Zoroark-GX while still able to use a supporter for the turn can put you in a game-winning situation. In general Max Potion can deny that last easy two prizes and make for some sick plays.

Tournament Report

45 Masters/6 rounds/Top 8 cut

Round 1 - Gardevoir-GX/Zoroark-GX: W (1-0-0)

Right off the bat, I face a deck I really rather not have. My opponent didn't play as optimally as he should have in this game thus reigning me the eventual winner. One crucial mistake my opponent made was benching a fourth Pokémon when he didn't have to. Because of this, I was able to use Dangerous Rogue GX with a Choice Band to KO his only threat.

Round 2 - Justin Lambert - Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX: W (2-0-0)

This round I'm up against PPG's Justin Lambert playing the mirror. I play first and am in control the whole game. Going first against a stage 1 deck is ridiculously advantageous and so I was able to take Justin down.

Round 3 - David Cooper - Golisopod-GX/Zoroark-GX: W (3-0-0)

Again I play first. This game is going back and forth but eventually, I am able to dispose of David's Green threats and transition into Lycanroc-GX after a Multi Switch play to take down back to back Zoroark-GX's for the game.

Round 4 - Adam Knowles - Buzzwole-GX/Lycanroc-GX: W (4-0-0)

This game is somewhat close to where Adam whiffs a crucial Max Elixir onto his Sudowoodo to KO my Zoroark-GX. Because of this, I ran away with the game and never looked back.

Round 5 - Juan Colon - Zoroark-GX/Glaceon-GX: ID (4-0-1)

We both knew we could ID the last two rounds and be safe so that's what we did.

Round 6 - Tony Santos - Zoroark-GX/Lucario-GX: ID (4-0-2)

Tony was actually 4-1-0 at the time but still, we IDed because usually, 4-1-1 is safe even though we knew two 4-1-1's would miss the cut. I didn't care because I would be 4-0-2 anyway.

Top 8 Standings 

 Final Standings

1. Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX (Winner)

2. Zoroark-GX/Glaceon-GX (Top 4)

3. Buzzwole-GX/Lycanroc-GX (Top 8)

4. Golisopod-GX/Zoroark-GX (Top 4)

5. Zoroark-GX/Garbodor (Top 8)

6. Attacking Hoopa (Runner-up)

7. Golisopod-GX/Zoroark-GX (Top 8)

8. Golisopod-GX/Zoroark-GX (Top 8)

As you can see Golisopod-GX/Zoroark-GX isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Three made Top 8 out of 45 masters is something to keep in mind. Glaceon-GX made a solid showing and a deck I was hoping to dodge and I did. Glaceon-GX/Zoroark-GX was able to take down one of the Golisopod-GX/Zoroark-GX decks which was as expected. However, it was quickly taken down in Top 4 by Attacking Hoopa. Their match lasted less than 10 minutes because the Glaceon-GX/Zoroark-GX player had no counter. Zoroark-GX/Garbodor managed to squeak into Top 8 but was taken down by the all mighty Golisopod-GX/Zoroark-GX. I also managed to take down Golisopod-GX in Top 8 as well as in Top 4. Unfortunately Buzzwole-GX/Lycanroc-GX was no match for Attacking Hoopa and was taken out pretty swiftly. In the end, only two proceeded to the finals. Myself and Attacking Hoopa. Who would have thought... Down below are how my Top 8 matches played out.

Top 8 - David Cooper - Golisopod-GX/Zoroark-GX: WLW

I play first again against David and do what the deck does. Rid of the Wimpods then use Lycanroc-GX to clean up. I take game one with ease, however, game two my start is bad. I try to make a comeback but I was just too far behind so we move into game three. We only had 50 minutes for our top cut matches so game three went to time. I was turn 0 however neither of us has taken any prizes so that gave me the prize lead. Eventually, we are past our three turns and I am able to use Dangerous Rogue GX to go up on prizes and move into Top 4.

Top 4 - Brian Bertram - Golisopod-GX/Zoroark-GX: WLW

Get ready because this one will be lengthy but it is worth the read. I'm up against another Golisopod-GX/Zoroark-GX which I was fine with. Game one I get Lycanroc-GX attacking pretty fast and steamroll from there while picking off the only Wimpod I saw and Parallel City sticking. Game two, however, I open lone Zorua with a dead hand and get benched on the following turn so we move into game three almost immediately. This gave us a lot of time for game three, fortunately. Brian has the advantage the whole game and I know I've basically lost at this point because the prize count was 4/2 in Brian's favor. He had Golisopod-GX and a Wimpod out so if I ever evolved or attacked with Lycanroc-GX I would lose the game. The whole time he was Acerola looping his Golisopod-GX's so not much I could do. It was only a matter of time until Brian won the match but all of a sudden Brian uses his last two Puzzles of Time thinking he had a Guzma in discard for the game on my benched Tapu Lele-GX. To his surprise, he didn't have one in the discard and is forced to grab two unwanted cards. I take note and start to think maybe I can come back after all.

I also notice I am out of Double Colorless Energy because I have to keep retreating not to lose the match. I bring up Oranguru and put back in my one of Acerola and two Double Colorless Energy. The following turn Brian just uses Armor Press. I then hit his Golisopod-GX for 40 and confuse it hoping he manually retreats it or flips tails. Brian does manually retreat all the energy off of Golisopod-GX, though he finds another Double Colorless to finish Oranguru off with Zoroark-GX. At this point, the prize count is 4/1 in Brian's favor. However, all Brian's field was one Golisopod-GX with no energy. One Wimpod with a Float Stone. One benched Zoroark-GX and the active Zoroark-GX that just KOed Oranguru. Mind you this whole game Brian is yet to find a Guzma and on my bench, I had a Rockruff with a Strong Energy and a Fighting Energy for who knows how long just waiting for the perfect moment and it was go time. I know my only win condition was to KO back to back Zoroark-GX with Lycanroc-GX while getting rid of his free retreat and Ning Brian to 1 to limit his plays. That is exactly what I did because I knew Brian was out of Puzzles of Time. So I N Brian to 1, Field Blower off his Float Stone then use Dangerous Rogue GX to KO the active Zoroark-GX to bring the prize count 2/1 Brian's favor. Brian only is working with one Zoroark-GX so I knew I would most likely be safe for another turn. All Brian does is attach a Double Colorless Energy onto Golisopod-GX and passes the turn. I then use Guzma for the second Zoroark-GX and Claw Slash it for the game. Unfortunate Brian messed up on his Puzzles of Time but I'll take what I can.

Finals - Sam Duffy - Attacking Hoopa: Opponent conceded.

Technically I finished undefeated after going 4-0-2 in swiss. Overall the deck performed better than I thought and I could see playing it again soon. This win now puts me at 722/400. I'll still be chasing the Day 2 invite. I'll be in Brazil in a couple weeks for their International Championship as well as the rest of the Regionals along with the North Amercian International Championship of course. Brazil will most likely make or break me so we will just have to see. Super excited to visit Sao Paulo.

Closing Thoughts

That will conclude this article on my recent League Cup win with Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX. The deck going forward I believe is still going to be a force to be reckoned with. It has solid matchups across the board, though there are some questionable matchups that you will have to hope to dodge. For example, Tapu Bulu-GX/Vikavolt and Greninja assuming you aren't playing Giratina of course. Again shout out to Poet Larsen for providing the initial list. I'll have two more articles coming out this month so keep your eyes peeled for when those are published.

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 be sure to 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. Don't forget my Twitter handle is down below if you want to follow me for when I post lists and other exciting news.

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

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