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Jose Marrero

"Two Post Rotation Favorites" - Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX and Rayquaza-GX/Vikavolt

Jose examines two of his favorites decks for the post rotation format that he thinks are very strong moving forward.

09/05/2018 by Jose Marrero

 

Introduction

What's going on, 60cards readers! Rotation is finally here so for this article I'll be discussing my personal lists on two of my favorite decks for the post rotation format. First, I'd like to thank everyone who said Hi to me at Worlds and made my experience that much better. Unfortunately, I was one game shy of making Day 2, but that didn't stop me from enjoying myself in Nashville even though I also missed the Open registration. I met so many new people and took a number of pics and I'm glad to have met each and every one of you, for those that did come up to me. Worlds is, and should always be, one of the greatest moments to have in Pokémon whether you're playing in the main event or not. That is where dreams are made and some of the best memories to have cheering and rooting for your friends.

With that said, First, I'll go over Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX, which is the deck I played at Worlds not too long ago. Next, I'll transition into probably one of the more hyped decks moving forward, Rayquaza-GX/Vikavolt and give you my take on the deck. Worlds competitor and fellow FL player Justin Kulas and I worked on the Rayquaza-GX/Vikavolt list together, so shout out to him. The list I'll be discussing is the same list I used to place in Top 4 and 2nd at back to back League Cups this past weekend so if you want to see the list it is on the ARG FB page or on my twitter.

Now, let's take a look at my take on Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX post rotation.

Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX

4-4 Zoroark-GX

Trade is a great ability, and Rioutous Beating is a great attack. The fact that a stage 1 Pokémon has both of them in one makes Zoroark-GX one of the best cards to ever be printed, and it's hard to say that about a card these days.

3-2 Lycanroc-GX

Claw Slash and Dangerous Rogue GX are great attacks that Lycanroc-GX has. Not to mention it's ability, Blood Thirsty Eyes is one of the best abilities in the game. Lycanroc-GX as a whole is a phenomenal card. Claw Slash can do upwards to 180 with Diancie Prism, Choice Band, and Professor Kukui. That's enough to take down Rayquaza-GX, Tapu Bulu-GX, Tapu Lele-GX, and more. Dangerous Rogue GX is usually an auto KO on anything you just have to use it wisely.

3 Tapu Lele-GX

You still want at least three Tapu Lele-GX in my opinion, even post-rotation, because look how many supporter options you have. You want that turn one Apricorn Maker or Lillie if your hand allows it.

1 Buzzwole

Great card against opposing Zoroark-GX decks. You might even be able to take down two Zoroark-GX with it. It's also useful in taking out a Buzzwole if you have Diancie Prism on the bench.

1 Diancie Prism Star

This card is great with Lycanroc-GX. Especially now with no access to Strong Energy because Lycanroc-GX can easily hit that magic 130 number. Garbodor, Buzzwole, and Latias Prism Star are to name a few relevant Pokémon in which Diancie Prism assist in one hit KOing.

Tapu Koko Promo

The free retreat and spread Tapu Koko provides can be useful in setting up KO's and moving around easier.

3 Cynthia

Three Cynthia seems fine but I can see upping it to four.

3 Guzma

Even though you have multiple ways to use Blood Thirsty Eyes, you still want to have at least three Guzma now in post-rotation because there aren't Puzzle of Time to get them back. A lot of times early on you just want to Guzma and KO something with Zoroark-GX so having at least three Guzma is ideal.

2 Apricorn Maker

Right now I'm favoring Apricorn Maker over Pokémon Fan Club because Apricorn Maker can thin the deck more and also get Timer Balls and Ultra Balls for your evolutions. I can see going both ways, but personally, I'm sticking with Apricorn Maker for now.

2 Judge

Now that N is rotated you still want to have some form of hand disruption. Zoroark-GX has a built-in draw power so it is the perfect deck to play a couple copies of Judge. You should be able to draw even more cards afterwards.

1 Mallow

I love Mallow in this deck and I can even see adding another copy. Usually, when playing Mallow you would normally grab a Float Stone, which is now rotated. You can still grab Switch though, but there is just one so use it wisely.

1 Lillie

A turn one Lillie can be great, though most times you probably will want to use Apricorn Maker. It really just depends on how many basics and Nest Balls you open with to determine which supporter to use on the first turn.

1 Acerola

Being able to heal off a Zoroark-GX or Lycanroc-GX can be a game changer. Acerola lets you get the energy back as well not having to discard them.

2 Professor Kukui

An extra 20 damage to your attacks can make for easier one-hit KO's. Lycanroc-GX has a number of damage combinations it can do to hit better numbers depending on the Pokémon your attacking. Zoroark-GX can also hit up to 180 if you add Devoured Field and Choice Band which one hit KO's Rayquaza-GX, Tapu Bulu-GX, and more.

4 Ultra Ball/3 Nest Ball/2 Timer Ball

No more Brigette or Evosoda means you have to mess with a bunch of other Ball cards and ways to get your basics into play. Four Ultra Ball are still staples. Nest Ball is great to get basics into play more efficiently. Timer Balls can let you get Zoroark-GX and Lycanroc-GX. Of course, all these Ball cards can be searched out by Apricorn Maker.

3 Choice Band

The added 30 damage Choice Band provides will make it easier to take one-hit or two-hit KO's depending on what you are attacking.

1 Switch

I felt one Switch is fine to be able to get something out of the active when needed. However, I can see adding in a second copy of Switch.

1 Rescue Stretcher

Getting back Pokémon now that Puzzle of Time is gone will be more crucial so having Rescue Stretcher is ideal.

1 Multi Switch

I still like this card in this deck even though it's a little more difficult to pull off without Float Stone. You will just have to use Switch or Guzma when attempting this combo.

1 Pal Pad

Now that Puzzle of Time is gone, Pal Pad can have some use to get back one-of supporters or even just more Guzma.

2 Devoured Field

These help Zoroark-GX hit magic numbers easier such as 130 and 180 when adding other damage modifiers like Choice Band and Professor Kukui.

4 Double Colorless Energy/4 Fighting Energy

Strong Energy is gone so now the deck will just play all Basic Fighting Energy which is fine since players did that even before Strong Energy rotated. This is because of all the Enhanced Hammers running around.

Other card options

Oranguru ULP 114

If Zoroark-GX/Control starts to pop back up again then definitely add Oranguru in. They will likely be playing Articuno-GX to drain a fully powered Lycanroc-GX of energy and when that happens you better have Oranguru ready to get energy back.

Latios SHL 41

Malamar decks will see a resurgence in play post rotation without a doubt. It no longer has to worry about Parallel City and Garbotoxin so it'll surely be a force to be reckoned with. Because of this playing Latios can be really effective against them. Especially if you open with one and they open Inkay. Latios also just helps against every matchup really to set up KO's.

Deoxys CST 67

There isn't anymore Mew-EX and Mewtwo EVO in standard so Deoxys seems to be the next best versatile Basic Psychic attacker for Zoroark-GX variants. It can one hit KO Buzzwole and Buzzwole-GX if they have three energy attached which isn't too bad. I'm not too sure how big Buzzwole will be now with the loss of Max Elixir and Octillery so I'll keep Deoxys at bay for now.

Dedenne FBL 88

Can be used as a counter to Rayquaza-GX since the deck plays Tapu Koko as your Lightning Pokémon bench sitter.

Tapu Lele ULP 94 + Unit Energy (Fairy/Fighting/Dark)

The deck's only real way to try and counter Rayquaza-GX outside of Dangerous Rogue GX. Unit Energy can also allow for Zoroark-GX to have access to its GX attack if needed.

Pokémon Fan Club

At the moment I have the deck built with Apricorn Maker simply because it thins the deck more. However, I can easily see the build built with Pokémon Fan Club. It's just a personal preference as I am sure both have their own merit.

Enhanced Hammer

Even in post rotation, there are tons of decks playing Special Energy, allowing for Enhanced Hammer to get some solid use. Personally, I'd like to be able to set up first before putting techy cards in. But that can easily change moving forward depending on how the meta shapes up to be.

Max Potion

The deck does play an Acerola to heal, however, Max Potion allows you to heal and still use a supporter for the turn. The downside is that you have to discard the energy with Max Potion. Still, a one-of Max Potion can be crucial, especially against spread decks.

Field Blower

Getting rid of stadiums and tools are still a thing so having a couple Field Blower is still recommended. Altar of the Moone, Shrine of Punishment, and Wishful Baton are to name a few.

Escape Rope

I decided to go with Switch as my switch effect since most times you want to hit the active anyway. Escape Rope will come in handy at times but having the opponent pick their target isn't always great.

Escape Board

No more Float Stone now means you need to play other means of Switching effects besides Guzma. Escape Board isn't too bad since it can give Tapu Lele-GX or any of the one retreaters free retreat technically.

With that said, let's now take a look at what probably is my favorite deck post rotation, Rayquaza-GX/Vikavolt.

Rayquaza-GX/Vikavolt

4 Rayquaza-GX

This is the deck's main attacker and the reason this deck is so powerful combined with Vikavolt. Dragon Break does 30 damage for each basic Grass and Lighting Energy you have on the board. So you can see why Vikavolt putting Grass and Lightning Energy on the board is the perfect combination for Rayquaza-GX. You can also use Stormy Winds to put even more energy on the board. However, be careful when using Stormy Winds because there are key cards in the deck you don't want to have to discard, like the one-of cards.

3-3 Vikavolt

Strong Charge allows you to power up Rayquaza-GX in an instant and builds up more and more energy onto the board for an even higher damage output. If you can get at least two Vikavolt out then you will be able to easily one-hit KO Pokémon such as Metagross-GX and Solgaleo-GX. Vikavolt can be used as a backup attacker if needed but not recommended. It'll be very useful when facing up against a Hoopa deck though.

2 Tapu Lele-GX

Two has been fine so far. I can't really see going lower because a turn one Lillie is important for this deck to thrive and if you prize or open with your one Tapu Lele-GX, then that could be troublesome.

Xurkitree-GX

All of its attacks are solid and its ability is especially good. There will be lots of decks that only play Special Energy, and if that is the case, then those are free wins. Not to mention, its attack, Rumbling Wires, does a good 100 damage and discards the top card of your opponent's deck. This attack is better than before now that Puzzle of Time is no more. Lighting GX is also great because it can put the opponent to 7 prize cards and get rid of a key card in hand at the same time. Judge + Lighting GX can cripple the opponent as well.

1 Oranguru

Having a means of a draw that's not a supporter is always nice to have. Especially now that Octillery is gone. Oranguru fits nicely in this deck and makes you less prone to Judge and hand disruption effects in general. Oranguru can also be used as a Hoopa counter even though Vikavolt is as well.

3 Cynthia

Three Cynthia is fine since I dropped one for a Judge which is technically another draw supporter anyway just for fewer cards. Early on you will want to be using Lillie and Volkner anyway. Mid to late game is where Cynthia will be played more often than not.

4 Guzma

The deck doesn't play Pal Pad so maxing out on Guzma is ideal. Especially for when you have to get out of the active if you didn't open with a Rayquaza-GX. Guzma will especially be needed for when the opponent uses Moon's Eclipse GX with Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX so be ready to have one in hand because that turn will make or break the game state.

3 Volkner

This card is basically the new Skyla, though Volkner nets you a Lightning Energy as well. Searching out Rare Candy and Nest Ball will be the main two cards you will likely be grabbing with Volkner.

2 Lillie

I may go up to three Lillie because a turn one Lillie gives you a lot of options and most times nets you the turn two Vikavolt. Lillie into Volkner is usually what you want to do unless you already have the pieces in hand.

1 Judge

At first, I did have four copies of Cynthia but then thought to have at least one Judge can come in the clutch at times. For example, when you play second you can turn one Judge then Tempest GX and draw 10 cards. The following turn your opponent's hand will be limited. Or even for the late game when the opponent has a huge hand and you just need to limit their hand size at the time. Very useful against Zoroark-GX decks as well. If you can get Oranguru down before Judge then even better for you.

4 Ultra Ball

A no-brainer here. Maxing out on Ultra Ball is needed to give you more consistency in finding your Pokémon. Especially for a turn one Lillie play by grabbing Tapu Lele-GX.

4 Acro Bike

Acro Bikes have been really good in this build to give the deck, even more, draw power to find a turn two Vikavolt easier.

3 Rare Candy

I felt three Rare Candy was enough. So far in testing and from playing in local events, it's been fine, though I did prize 2 of them in games 1 and 3 of finals on Sunday at a League Cup. I can see going up to four Rare Candy. 

2 Rescue Stretcher

No more Super Rod means more Rescue Stretcher which is perfectly fine. Two Rescue Stretcher should be all you need. There are times where you may Stormy Winds away a Vikavolt or Rayquaza-GX while having Rescue Stretcher in hand. Those scenarios could be nice for grabbing one of them from the discard.

2 Nest Ball

I love the Nest Balls in this deck because it gives you more outs to find those Grubbin and even getting Rayquaza-GX or Oranguru will be helpful even though you don't get Stormy Winds through Nest Ball. But trust me a lot of the time you rather not Stormy Winds because you don't want to discard too many energy because then Vikavolt won't get used to its full potential.

1 Energy Recycler

Getting back five basic energy can be crazy good for accelerating more energy onto the board to make for easier one hit KO's. This is one card you hope not to Stormy Winds away because it'll be useful at times.

1 Switch

I like the one of Switch in here because you can search it out with Volkner if needed. Just in case the deck does play four Guzma so you shouldn't have trouble getting out of the active if stuck.

2 Devoured Field

I added a couple Devoured Fields for a number of reasons. The first being that I wanted a way to bump other stadiums such as Alar of the Moone and Shrine of Punishment. The second reason was to hit magic numbers easier as I'll discuss below.

130 - Buzzwole, and Latias Prism Star

160 - Solgaleo Prism Star, and Lunala Prism Star

190 - Buzzwole-GX, Ultra Necrozma-GX, Ho-Oh-GX, Dusk Mane Necrozma-GX, Lapras-GX, Turtonator-GX, and Banette-GX

250 - Metagross-GX, and Solgaleo-GX

You can see how that extra 10 damage Devoured Field provides can make one hit KO's much easier to achieve.

7 Lightning Energy/7 Grass Energy

Seven of each energy seems to be the ideal way to go in any given Rayquaza-GX build, though I've seen 8/8 before. You don't need that many especially now with the deck having energy recovery.

Other card options

Tapu Bulu-GX

I've been seeing a lot more Tapu Bulu-GX/Vikavolt variants over the Rayquaza-GX one which honestly makes no sense to me because Tapu Bulu-GX will struggle against decks it simply cannot one-hit KO such as Metagross-GX or anything above 210 hit points. I can see maybe playing a one of copy in this deck, but to be honest I don't see the need when I could just be using an attacker that can do infinite damage instead.

Tapu Koko-GX

Tapu Koko-GX is a great attacker for both of its attacks. Sky-High Claws does a solid 130 damage but you can use this attack out of nowhere and potentially on the first turn for an easy KO. However, Tapu Thunder GX is the main reason why Tapu Koko-GX would be included because it can take a big KO when the opponent doesn't see it coming.

Latias Prism Star

I don't believe you need Latias anymore now that Vikavolt was added. There will be times where you don't want to Stormy Winds due to wanting to keep your resources in the deck.

Marshadow SHL 45

I'd put this card in if I were running Mysterious Treasure. Also, the list does play a Judge just in case it does come in handy in certain cases.

Charjabug SUM 51

In the initial list, I had this card but then realized that the deck was hitting turn two Vikavolt quite often so I dropped Charjabug which felt nice having another spot open. There isn't any Item lock so Charjabug isn't needed at the time.

Copycat

Great card against Zoroark-GX decks, however getting a solid six with Cynthia is strictly better in the long run. Sure you may have a game where Copycat will give you more than six cards but I promise you that you will have more games where you get less than six.

Hala

After you use Tempest GX your Hala's now net you a fresh 7 cards as opposed to 4. Great card in this deck but sometimes you won't be using Tempest GX if you get off to a quick start.

Tate and Liza

Even though this card gives you the switch effect I still don't think it's worth running over Cynthia because that extra card can make a big difference in finding what you need at the time. There are four Guzma and a Switch to get out of the active if need be.

Mysterious Treasure

I felt the deck didn't need this card. Ultra Ball and Nest Ball have been running perfectly fine in this deck and I've never missed Mysterious Treasure. 

Energy Recycle System

Getting an energy back into hand can be clutch at times, though I decided to go with Energy Recycler instead because it gets back five energy as opposed to just three. I don't think the option of getting back one energy to hand outweighs getting back two more energy.

Wishful Baton

I actually had a couple of these in the list minutes before turning in my decklist for a recent League Cup but ended up dropping them for a 4th Acro Bike and Xurkitree-GX. Looking back I think I made the right call as both changes made matchups easier and made the deck more consistent. Wishful Baton is still nice to have since many decks aren't playing Field Blower anymore, though with Vikavolt you shouldn't have too much trouble one hit KOing anyway.

Choice Band

The extra 30 damage Choice Band provides will surely make KO's easier, though I think Wishful Baton is more effective in the long run. Besides with Vikavolt, you should still be able to hit that one hit KO even without Choice Band.

Field Blower

Getting rid of Shrine of Punishment and Altar of the Moone can be important to deny damage and disrupt your opponent's set up. As far as removing tools go there really isn't many that are too relevant now that Garbotoxin is gone that is why I chose my own stadium over Field Blower to remove other stadiums.

Escape Rope

I wasn't sure if I should play Switch or Escape Rope. I decided to go with Switch for the fact that it's more likely that you are going to want to KO the active attacker. Escape Rope does, however, help against Malamar decks for when Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX uses it's Moon's Eclipse GX. Picking off something on the bench is what you need to do in order to keep up or stay ahead on the prize trade. You have to make sure you have a Guzma in hand ready to use when this scenario occurs because if not you might be too far behind.

Order Pad

Not too much of a fan of this card, simply because it is a flip card, though it can search out Rare Candy and other Items. Volkner should be enough to not have to play Order Pad if I had to say so myself because Volkner can automatically search out that Item you need without having to flip for it.

Pal Pad

There will be times when you are forced to Stormy Winds away supporters. However, with the inclusion of Vikavolt, you don't have to Stormy Winds as often as before allowing for your supporters to stay in the deck. Getting back Guzma and Judge can be key game changers.

Closing Thoughts

That will conclude this article on two of my favorites decks moving forward into the new rotation format. I believe both decks have their own merit and will see a ton of play. Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX is the deck that I played at the World Championships narrowly missing Day 2 and I am glad that it's still a force to be reckoned with after the rotation. As for Rayquaza-GX/Vikavolt, I've always been a fan of Rayquaza as a card in general and have played a number of them to success. Rayquaza-GX is no slouch either so it's no surprise that I'll be playing it this upcoming season.

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, don't forget to check out tcevolutions.com to pick up some awesome dice and GX markers. They recently restocked on all dice and GX markers, so get them now while they are hot. They are by far my favorite dice and markers to use and I recommend getting yourself at least two sets of any given color. Not to mention, I recently started coaching on thedarkpatch.com so if you are interested in a coaching session with me then check them out to schedule an appointment or just pm me directly. 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 below, and I'll consider them. As always, keep an eye out for more articles to come. Until next time!

-Twitter @Jose_MarreroTCG

[+21] okko


 

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