Experts' corner

Jose Marrero

2 Strong Plays for Sao Paulo and my Top 12 Forbidden Light Favorites

Jose discusses two strong plays for the upcoming Sao Paulo Brazil International Championships this weekend as well as goes over his top 12 favorites from the new set, Forbidden Light.

04/25/2018 by Jose Marrero



Hola 60cards readers! I'm back again with yet another article. The Brazilian International Championships is this weekend and I'm sure players are eagerly testing for it'll soon to be a phenomenal event. Because of this I'll be examining two strong plays for this weekend then briefly give my top 12 Forbidden Light favorites. First, I'll start off with a deck that's been seeing more success recently, Lucario-GX/Zoroark-GX. Next, I'll transition into a deck that hasn't had the most success but I personally think can stand up with the best decks in the format, Dusk Mane Necrozma-GX/Magnezone. Lastly, as I mentioned I'll then get into my top 12 favorites from the new set Forbidden Light. I believe this new set has a lot of potential and makes current and new decks stronger moving forward.

With that said, let's take a look at Lucario-GX/Zoroark-GX.


4-4  Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)

Most decks in standard these days are running a maxed count of Zoroark-GX to maximize draw consistency. Riotous Beating and its Trade ability make Zoroark-GX one of the best cards to ever be printed without a question. 

3-2  Lucario GX (BW; 100)

Aura Strike is what makes Lucario-GX so much of a threat in the meta, especially against other Zoroark-GX decks. Aura Strike does 30 base damage and adds an additional 90 if you evolved into Lucario-GX that turn for just a single Fighting Energy mind you. Cyclone Kick can eventually threaten big KOs if not dealt with. Its GX attack, Cantankerous Beatdown GX can be annoying if you are unable to one hit KO Lucario-GX because otherwise, it will threaten a one-hit KO on you given that it does 30 damage for each damage counter on Lucario-GX for just a single Double Colorless Energy.

Mew EX (DR; 46)

This card is played in a number of decks to help combat against both Lucario-GX and Buzzwole-GX. Copying Riotous Beating is key here for one hit KOing said Pokémon. Mew-EX can also take down Espeon-GX and Gallade as well as other Psychic weak Pokémon.

Regirock EX (FCO; 43)

This card is so that Lucario-GX can hit up to 180 damage. If you have a Strong Energy and Choice Band then Lucario-GX basically caps out at 170. Regirock-EX makes it go up to 180 damage which is relevant against Tapu Bulu-GX.

Oranguru (UPR; 114)

Mainly in the deck as a means to counter Sylveon-GX and Hoopa decks. It'll be a long game, though if you use Oranguru right you should be fine. Both of its attacks can be annoying for the Pokémon I mentioned.

1 Mewtwo (EVO; 51)  

Great against a fully powered Buzzwole-GX and Espeon-GX. Especially if they are playing Garbodor because it shits off Mew-EX thus you have to rely on Mewtwo if that is the case. Not to mention Mewtwo plus Professor Kukui can one hit KO Gallade.

Professor Sycamore (XY; 122)

I felt one Professor Sycamore can come in handy because there are times where you rather discard your hand and just draw a fresh hand.

Professor Kukui (SUM; 128)

The extra 20 damage this card provides makes spicy plays that can ultimately achieve one hit KOs.

Mallow (GRI; 127)

Getting back any two cards is too good to pass up especially if you have Trade available because they just go straight into your hand.

Other card options

Lycanroc GX (GRI; 74)

Bloodthirsty Eyes in conjunction with Aura Strike can take out Zoroark-GX left and right. You also have the threat of Dangerous Rogue GX as well.

Tapu Koko (BW; 31)

Flying flip doing 20 damage to all your opponents Pokémon is nice for setting up easier one-hit KOs.

Acerola (BUS; 112)

Usually, if Lucario-GX were to get hit then your likely just going to use its GX attack, however Acerola on Zoroark-GX is where it'll be more useful in the long run.

Super Scoop Up (FRF; 100)

Again healing Zoroark-GX can be game changing, though picking up Lucario-GX to refresh its attack Aura Strike can be game breaking in the right spot.

Rescue Stretcher (GRI; 130)

Recovering Pokémon without having to use Puzzles of Time is useful so that you can use them for more important game-winning situations.

Enhanced Hammer (DE; 94)

Getting rid of the opponent's Strong and Double Colorless Energies can force them to either miss an attack or use Puzzles of Time earlier than expected. Either which way Enhanced Hammer can be annoying for the opponent especially if they don't think you play it.

Multi Switch (GRI; 129)

This card can make some clutch plays. Especially when the opponent doesn't see it coming thus putting them in a tough spot.

Parallel City (BKT; 145)

Whoever gets the first Parallel City down usually is in the better situation, though that's why I added a third copy of Field Blower.

Fighting Energy

Enhanced Hammer can be troublesome so having at least one copy Fighting Energy can come in handy. Also having one to attack with Oranguru over a Double Colorless Energy can be crucial as well because that means decks like Sylveon-GX will have to Team Flare Grunt the Fighting Energy as opposed to just a simple Enhanced Hammer should it be a Double Colorless Energy instead.

With that said, let's get into Dusk Mane Necrozma-GX/Magnezone.

Dusk Mane Necrozma-GX/Magnezone

3-3  Magnezone (UPR; 83)

The deck's main source of energy acceleration and why the deck can be a force to be reckoned with. Magnezone allows you to attach as many Metal Energy from hand onto your Pokémon as often as you like. You can power up attackers in no time. Magnezone is also a great counter to Hoopa.

Dusk Mane Necrozma GX (UPR; 90)

The main attacker of the deck and what you will use for big lethal KOs. Meteor Tempest has a base of 220 damage which is enough to one hit KO most relevant Pokémon. You have to discard three Energy to use the attack but that's okay because the deck accelerates energy anyway. Sun's Eclipse GX is a great GX attack because it can one hit KO anything for three Metal Energy if you are behind on prizes. So what you can do is use the GX attack then next turn threaten Meteor Tempest with the same Dusk Mane Necrozma-GX for more prizes.

Solgaleo Prism Star (UPR; 89)

Awesome card for accelerating energy from the discard when your running low on attachments. Or for when the opponent got out Garbodor and is shutting off Magnezone. You can still use Solgaleo to power Pokémon up in this scenario.

Oranguru (SUM; 113)

The deck's only source of a non-supporter draw. You can play Zoroark-GX or Octillery instead but I went with Oranguru to make room for other cards.

2 Skyla

This supporter allows you to search out that one keycard you need. Whether it is Rare Candy to get Magnezone out or Mt. Coronet to get energy back. Skyla will almost always be useful in getting something you need.

Rare Candy (DE; 100)

Of course, needed to get Magneonze into play. I felt three is fine because Magnezone won't go down easily. If that's the case you can just use Solgaleo to power attackers up.

Field Blower (GRI; 125)

Both Parallel City and Garbotoxin are annoying for this deck so having at least three copies of Field Blower is ideal. You need to have it when needed most.

Fighting Fury Belt (BKP; 99)

Important to make sure Dusk Mane Necrozma-GX doesn't get one hit KOed back. Namely against Lucario-GX and Tapu Bulu-GX. If you can survive a one-hit KO then that will be huge and thus give you a big advantage. Sure they can use Field Blower but what if they don't have it? Imagine the possibilities.

Professor's Letter (XY; 123)

Getting two Metal Energy from the deck can be clutch especially if that's all you need to get Meteor Tempest going. 

Float Stone (PF; 99)

If Magnezone gets stuck active you can just Float Stone out if needed. I only added one just to have the option because you can Skyla for it if you have to.

Choice Band (GRI; 121)

I added one Choice Band just in case you need that extra 30 damage. For example against Metagross-GX. Or even for Solgaleo where it can now hit 190 damage.

Rescue Stretcher (GRI; 130)

Getting back discarded or KOed Pokémon is needed especially if you had an awkward hand where you had to discard Magenzone and have Rare Candy in hand along with Rescue Stretcher.

Mt. Coronet (UPR; 130)

Very useful to get back two Metal Energies every turn so that you can Meteor Tempest over and over. This card is how you should not run dry on energy. Use them wisely.

Other card options

Dialga GX (UPR; 100)

This card isn't too bad. All of its attacks are solid. Overclock can help set up and Shred can take down small hit point Pokémon. However, its GX attack, Timeless GX is why it is even an option for the deck because it does 150 damage and skips your opponent's next turn. If you can take a KO with this attack then next turn transition into a Dusk Mane Necrozma-GX for another KO then you can switch the game back in your favor.

Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)

If you prefer Zoroark-GX as the deck's main source of draw, by all means, go for it. It all comes down to personal preference at the end of the day.

Dusk Mane Necrozma (BW; 107)

This is a new card that just came out. Its first attack, Dusk Shot does 60 damage to one of your opponents GX or EX Pokémon for just a single Metal Energy. Its second attack, Rusty Claws does 100 base damage and another 100 if your opponent has one prize card left, though this attack takes two Metal and a Colorless Energy. 

Octillery (BKT; 33)

There are a number of ways you can run Dusk Mane Necrozma-GX/Magnezone. One is with Octillery being the deck's main draw power. Or you can go the simpler route like I did with a single Oranguru. This way you have more room for other cards.

Fisherman (BKT; 136)

Getting back four Metal Energies at once can be game-changing. Fisherman is a supporter though so you have to find the right spot to use it.

Energy Retrieval (BLW; 92)

This card is not a supporter but gets back two fewer Metal Energy. Usually, two is all you need because Mt. Coronet gets back two anyway.

Top 12 Forbidden Light Favorites

(These are in no particular order)

1. Zygarde-GX

Zygarde-GX – Fighting – HP200
Basic Pokemon

[C][C] Cell Connector: 50 damage. Attach 2 [F] Energy from your discard pile to this Pokemon.

[F][F][C][C] Land’s Wrath: 130 damage.

[F][F][C][C] Judgment GX: 150 damage. During your opponent’s next turn, this Pokemon takes no damage from the attacks of your opponent’s Pokemon-GX and Pokemon-EX. (You can’t use more than 1 GX attack in a game.)

When your Pokemon-GX is Knocked Out, your opponent takes 2 Prize cards.

Weakness: Grass (x2)
Resistance: None
Retreat: 3

Great card overall. Cell Connector does 50 damage which isn't that much, though it only takes a Double Colorless Energy to use. It also allows you to attach two Fighting Energy from your discard onto Zygarde-GX. Land's Wrath can do big numbers if you add enough damage modifiers. Now, its GX attack is what makes it good. Judgement GX has a base of 150 damage and lets Zygarde-GX be immune to attacks from GX and EX Pokémon next turn. Not only that but it has its own supporter called Bonnie that allows you to reuse Judgement GX.

2. Naganadel-GX


Naganadel-GX – Psychic – HP210
Stage 1 (Ultra Beast) – Evolves from Poipole

[C] Beast Ride: 20x damage. This attack does 20 damage for each Ultra Beast you have in play.

[P][C][C] Jet Tackle: 110 damage. This attack’s damage isn’t affected by Resistance.

[C][C][C] Stinger GX: Each player shuffles their Prize cards into their deck. Then, each player takes 3 cards from the top of their deck and puts them face down as their Prize cards. (You can’t use more than 1 GX attack in a game.)

When your Pokemon-GX is Knocked Out, your opponent takes 2 Prize cards.

Weakness: Psychic (x2)
Resistance: none
Retreat: 1

This card is pretty good, to be honest. Beast Ride can do some big numbers for just a single Colorless Energy. Jet Tackle isn't that great but its GX attack, Stinger GX seems like it will be one of the more difficult GX attacks to use. However, if you use it wisely it can pay off in the long run. Overall I think this card has potential because it can easily takedown Lucario-GX and Buzzwole-GX.

3. Ultra Necrozma-GX

Ultra Necrozma-GX – Dragon – HP190
Basic Pokemon (Ultra Beast)

[P][M] Photon Geyser: 20+ damage. Discard all basic [P] Energy from this Pokemon. This attack does 80 more damage for each Energy card discarded in this way.

[P][M] Destructive Light GX: This attack can only be used if there are 6 or less total Prize cards remaining in play. Place 6 damage counters on each of your opponent’s Pokemon. (You can’t use more than 1 GX attack in a game.)

When your Pokemon-GX is Knocked Out, your opponent takes 2 Prize cards.

Weakness: Fairy (x2)
Resistance: none
Retreat: 2

A phenomenal card which will see tons of play for sure. The best combo for Ultra Necrozma-GX is hands down with Malamar. Photon Geysey has a base of 20 damage and adds 80 more damage for each Psychic Energy you discard from it. You can see how Malamar fits perfectly with this attack. Two Psychic Energy will do a massive 180 base damage. If you add a Choice Band then that is now enough to take down most relevant Pokémon namely Zoroark-GX and Lucario-GX on top of plenty others. Now, its GX attack, Destructive Light GX puts 6 damage counters on all your opponent's Pokémon should the total prize count between both players is 6 or less. This attack can take out Zorua and plenty of other low hit point Pokémon. It'll take some time to use this attack but if you use it correctly it'll be a game winner for sure.

4. Greninja-GX

Greninja-GX – Water – HP230
Stage 2 – Evolves from Frogadier

Ability: Wind Shuriken
When you play this card from your hand to evolve 1 of your Pokemon during your turn, you may put 3 damage counters on 1 of your opponent’s Pokemon.

[W][C][C] Haze Slash: 110 damage. You may shuffle this Pokemon and all cards attached to it into your deck.

[W][C][C] Shadow Assassin GX: This attack does 130 damage to 1 of your opponent’s Benched Pokemon. (Don’t apply Weakness and Resistance.) (You can’t use more than 1 GX attack in a game.)

When your Pokemon-GX is Knocked Out, your opponent takes 2 Prize cards.

Weakness: Grass (x2)
Resistance: none
Retreat: 2

Similar to Crobat which has since been rotated out. Wing Shuriken adding a free 3 damage counters can make one hit KOs much smoother. Not only that but its attacks aren't too bad, to say the least. Haze Slash does 110 damage and allows you to shuffle Greninja-GX back into the deck thus allowing you to reuse Frogadier and Greninja-GX's abilities again. Its GX attack, Shadow Assassin GX does 130 damage to any 1 of your opponents benched Pokémon. This attack is pretty good because it hits the bench for a ton of damage and with enough Shurikens maybe even lethal damage. You can even play Greninja if you want to have the option to Shadow Stitching.

5. Frogadier

Frogadier – Water – HP80
Stage 1 – Evolves from Froakie

Ability: Quick Shuriken
When you play this card from your hand to evolve 1 of your Pokemon during your turn, you may put 2 damage counters on 1 of your opponent’s Pokemon.

[W] Water Drip: 20 damage.

Weakness: Grass (x2)
Resistance: none
Retreat: 1

Now Frogadier is similar to Golbat which has since been rotated out. This card can help hit magic numbers easier. The most obvious combo here would be with Zoroark-GX because with a full bench and Choice Band along with one Quick Shuriken you can do 170 damage which is enough to take down Tapu Lele-GX. If you add more than one Quick Shuriken then you can see how quickly the damage starts to add up.

6. Buzzwole

Buzzwole – Fighting – HP130
Basic Pokemon (Ultra Beast)

[F] Sledgehammer: 30+ damage. If your opponent has 4 Prize cards remaining, this attack does 90 more damage.

[F][F][C] Swing Around: 80+ damage. Flip 2 coins. This attack does 20 more damage for each heads.

Weakness: Psychic (x2)
Resistance: none
Retreat: 2

Great card that can one hit KO Zoroark-GX for a single Fighting Energy. Buzzwole can also be a counter to Hoopa. With enough damage modifiers, Buzzwole can do some big numbers. Its second attack, Swing Around doesn't seem that great compared to Sledgehammer.

7. Malamar

Malamar – Psychic – HP90
Stage 1 – Evolves from Inkay

Ability: Psycho Recharge
Once during your turn (before your attack), you may attach a [P] Energy card from your discard pile to 1 of your Benched Pokemon.

[P][P][C] Psy Missile: 60 damage.

Weakness: Psychic (x2)
Resistance: none
Retreat: 2

Reminiscent of Eelektrik, though Malamar gets back Psychic Energy as opposed to Lightning Energy. This is especially nice because Malamar combos well with Ultra Necrozma-GX and Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX. Ultra Necrozma-GX/Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX/Malamar will be one of the best new decks from Forbidden Light and for good reasons which I'll get into another time. Both Inkay and Malamar can be searched out with Mysterious Treasure.

8. Diancie Prism Star

Diancie Prism Star – Fighting – HP120
Basic Pokemon

You can’t have more than 1 Prism Star card with the same name in your deck. If a Prism Star card would go to the discard pile, put it in the Lost Zone instead.

Ability: Princess Veil
If this Pokemon is on your Bench, your [F] Pokemon’s attacks do 20 more damage to your opponent’s Active Pokemon.

[F][F][F] Diamond Rain: 90 damage. Heal 30 damage from each of your Benched Pokemon.

Weakness: Grass (x2)
Resistance: none
Retreat: 2

This card is Regirock-EX on steroids because it alone gives your Fighting Pokémon an extra 20 damage boost. You can only play one Diance Prism Star, though that is fine because it is like playing two Regirock-EX in one. Giving Pokémon such as Buzzwole-GX and Zygarde-GX an extra 20 damage boost will be scary for sure.

9. Beast Ring

Beast Ring – Trainer

You may only play this card when your opponent has 3 or 4 Prize cards remaining.

Search your deck for up 2 Basic Energy, reveal them, and attach them to 1 of your Ultra Beast Pokemon. Then, shuffle your deck.

You may play as many Item cards as you like during your turn (before your attack).

This card is definitely a game changer for sure. Players will now have to be careful when they go down to three or four prizes. Beast Ring can powerup Pokémon such as Buzzwole-GX and Dusk Mane Necrozma-GX at a moments notice. Playing around Beast Ring will take skill so be ready to practice that. Beast Ring also works on new Pokémon such as Ultra Necrozma-GX and Naganadel-GX.

10. Bonnie

Bonnie – Trainer

You can only play this card if there is a Stadium card in play.

Discard a Stadium in play. During this turn, your Zygarde-GX may use its GX attack even if you have already used a GX attack this game.

You can play only 1 Supporter card during your turn (before your attack).

It is funny how they made a supporter that strictly is useful for just a single Pokémon. Bonnie is nice supporter in the sense that it allows Zygarde-GX to reuse its GX attack. Bonnie is the first card to implement a way to reuse a GX attack. I'm hoping they come out with more ways to do so in the near future. Verdict GX is what Bonnie will refresh once used. It does 150 damage and prevents all damage from attacks done to Zygarde-GX next turn by your opponents GX and EX Pokémon. However, Bonnie makes it so that you can essentially use Verdict GX a number of times and if you are able to take KOs with it then even better. The concept is interesting and I'm sure someone will make it work.

11. Mysterious Treasure

Mysterious Treasure – Trainer

Discard a card from your hand in order to play this card.

Search your deck for a [P] or [N] Pokemon, reveal it, and put it into your hand. Then, shuffle your deck.

You may play as many Item cards as you like during your turn (before your attack).

This card is awesome or two reasons. It allows you to discard energy to use the effect to make use of Malamar and because it lets you grab a Psychic Pokémon you can grab Tapu Lele-GX. This card will surely see lots of play. I'd say it is balanced because you do have to discard a card to use it, though most times that's what makes it that much better.

12. Beast Energy Prism Star

Beast Energy Prism Star – Special Energy

You can’t have more than 1 Prism Star card with the same name in your deck. If a Prism Star card would go to the discard pile, put it in the Lost Zone instead.

This card provides [C] Energy.

While this card is attached to an Ultra Beast, it provides every type of Energy but provides only 1 Energy at a time. The attacks of the Ultra Beast this card is attached to do 30 more damage to your opponent’s Active Pokemon (before applying Weakness and Resistance).

This Energy card is ridiculous. Not only does it give Ultra Beasts an extra 30 damage boost but it also acts as any type of energy. Good thing you can only play one of them seeing how its a Prism Star so good on their end there since once its discard its gone forever. Maybe we will see Enhanced Hammer and Kartana-GX played more because of this.

Closing Thoughts

That will conclude this article on two strong decks for this weekend as well as my top 12 Forbidden Light favorites. It'll be interesting to see what wins Brazil. The two decks I mentioned will surely see play this weekend so be sure to keep them on your radar. If you see me in Brazil this weekend don't be afraid to come up and say hi. I love meeting new players. If you are attending the main event then the best of luck to you. If you are still chasing the invite then I hope you are able to achieve it this weekend. I'll have one more article after Brazil so keep your eyes peeled for when it is 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. As always 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

[+18] okko


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