Experts' corner

Jose Marrero

"The Oceania Blitz"- A Top 4 Oceania International Championship Report

Jose goes over his outstanding Top 4 finish at this past Oceania International Championships.

02/22/2019 by Jose Marrero

Table of contents



What's going on, 60cards readers?! I'm back again with another article after spending a whole week in Melbourne, Australia. Hands down Melbourne, Australia was one of the best events I had the pleasure of attending. On top of sightseeing and finishing in Top 4 of the main event made the whole experience that much better. I couldn't have asked for more and to have celebrated with awesome people and friends honestly was very exciting and surreal. Thank you to everyone that was apart of this journey with me whether you were at the event or not. You guys are why I play this game. For this next article, I'll be looking at the Pikachu & Zekrom-GX list I piloted all the way to Top 4 of the 2019 Oceania International Championships. Next, I'll go over my tournament report so you guys can see what I played against just to give you a better feel on how the deck did against certain matchups. 

Shout out to Justin Kulas who finished in Top 64 with the same 60 as me after IDing his last round to guarantee Top 64 and a bunch of goodies. Not to mention, for testing with me and saying that he's for sure playing Pikachu & Zekrom-GX even after it's hype which lead to me testing it even more and not tossing the deck to the side. I was hesitant to play the deck because so many people were talking about it so I thought it would be easily countered which wasn't the case. This was my first IC day 2. I have 4 previous Top 64's with 2x Brazil and 2x London IC's with a couple being just shy of Day 2. Finally breaking through and making my first day 2 at an IC I was super excited. I'm glad I was able to finish strong and net myself an extra 320 CP, a  bunch of swag, and a Top 16 Germany stipend. Now I'm sitting 7th in the US and Canada leaderboards at a staggering 932 CP and 300 CP above 16th which I should be in prime contention of a Day 2 Worlds invite if I keep focusing and gaining CP here and there.

With that said, let's take a look at the Turbo Pikachu & Zekrom-GX list I played to a Top 4 finish at the 2019 Oceania International Championships. 

Turbo Pikachu & Zekrom-GX

This is the list I ultimately decided on the night before we had to play. I tested all kinds of lists and techs and finally decided this one was the fastest and overall most powerful. This build was meant to go fast and aggressive and try and get a turn 1 Full Blitz off. If not at the very least a turn 2. I wanted the deck to be more speedy and able to dig for more cards aside from your normal supporters. The way I went about it was by playing 4 Acro Bikes, 2 Marshadow, and 1 Oranguru. All these cards help the deck dig just enough to try and get you where you wanna go and that's a turn 1 or 2 Full Blitz. I've also attacked with Zeraora-GX on the first turn a couple times. One was to KO an Ultra Necrozma-GX and the other was to KO a Jirachi so don't forget about Plasma Fists because it can throw a mean punch (pun intended). Besides Plasma Fists, Zeraora-GX was mainly for its ability allowing for us to freely retreat in and out. Tapu Koko-GX was actually quite useful in case you wanted to get a turn one Sky-High Claws which I did against a Lost March deck and the mirror.

I got asked so many times why I was playing Rayquaza-GX and the answer I thought was pretty obvious but apparently, it wasn't. Rayquaza-GX was strictly for its ability putting an extra Lightning Energy in play so that you can use Energy or Multi Switch to move the Lightning Energy onto another Pokémon for an easier turn 1 attack. Absol was to try and slow down decks that thrive on Jirachi such as, Malamar and Zapdos decks. I ended up playing not 4 but 6 energy switching cards because I wanted to have more odds of finding them when I needed them especially if I were going for a turn one attack. Rayquaza-GX makes it somewhat more efficient to achieve this because you can Multi Switch onto the active anyway if needed. The one of Nest Ball and Mysterious Treasure I thought might have not been enough but honestly, it was given I made it all the way to Top 4 with one of each.

Mysterious Treasure was especially clutch because it can search out Rayquaza-GX, Marshadow, and Tapu Lele-GX while also letting you discard a Lightning Energy at the same time. Wondrous Labyrinth was actually a lot better than I anticipated because it let me win 2 matches against Lost March and it was also good against Zapdos/Jirachi as well as Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX. Overall I was happy on how the deck ran, however, if I were to play the deck again I'd probably consider adding a 1-1 Jolteon-GX because it is a counter to Vileplume and it can likely take down 1-3 Zapdos before it gets taken down. Some kind of healing card like Acerola or Max Potion could also be nice against Zapdos/Jirachi decks. Possibly even adding 1 or 2 Zapdos as well just to take KO's easier on low hit point Pokémon such as Zorua, Rockruff, and Inkays. If you are afraid of Passimian/Tapu Koko then Xurkitree-GX can auto-win that matchup for you.

Tournament Report

Day 1

Round 1 - Cherakee Brennan (AU) - Lost March: WW (1-0-0)

Wondrous Labyrinth was hands down the MVP in this series as my opponent did not play a single counter to it. Both games went the same with me taking KO after KO with Wondrous Labyrinth out. I would Guzma KO anything that had energy on it.

Round 2 - Bertrand Yan (SG) - Ultra Necrozma-GX/Malamar: WW (2-0-0)

I remember in game 1 my opponent played first and opened with Ultra Necrozma-GX to my Zeraora-GX. My opponent takes his turn and benches 2-3 Inkay and passes the turn. I take my first turn of the game and am able to one hit KO his Ultra Necrozma-GX with Zeraora-GX thanks to Thunder Mountain and Choice Band. From there I quickly transitioned into a Full Blitz and never looked back. The following game my opponent just didn't set up too well leading to a 2-0 victory.

Round 3 - Jacob Tan Yi Qian (MY) - Passimian/Tapu Koko: LL (2-1-0)

I was able to take both games to 2-2 prizes but I just couldn't take Jacob down. Jacob played well and was able to best me 2-0. I take my first loss of the tournament but that didn't stop me from focusing on the rest of my rounds.

Round 4 - Daniel Hugar (US) - Rayquaza-GX/Vikavolt: WW (3-1-0)

Game one my opponent plays first and opens with Tapu Koko Prism Star to my Pikachu & Zekrom-GX. My opponent benches a Grubbin and a couple other Pokémon and passes the turn. I was able to turn 1 Full Blitz and KO his Tapu Koko Prism and from there I was taking KO after KO and took game one with ease. In game two it was somewhat closer to the point where Daniel almost one hit KOed my Pikachu & Zekrom-GX with Rayquaza-GX. I believe he was just 1 energy shy and if he had one hit KOed me we would have likely gone to game 3. Fortunately for me, he was unable to which lead to a 2-0 victory.

Round 5 - Irvin Cai Fenglong (SG) - Psychic/Malamar/Spell Tags: LWW (4-1-0)

These games were interesting for sure, My opponent played 4 Spell Tags which made me have to try and play around them. Game one was pretty close but my opponent was able to one hit KO my Pikachu & and Zekrom-GX with Onix thanks to Double Colorless Energy. In game 2 and 3, my opponent just bricked and I was able to run through Irvin with fast KO's. I was honestly shocked but ecstatic I was able to come back 2-0 after losing the first game.

Round 6 - Joshua Bradley (AU) - Lost March/Weavile: LWW (5-1-0)

I believe I lost game 1 I'm actually not too sure. But I do know I won the last 2 games pretty handily because Joshua didn't draw too well. I was also able to use Wondrous Labyrinth in game 2 to lock Joshua out of the game because I bumped his only Shrine of Punishment with it. In game 3 I actually got a turn 1 Tapu Koko-GX attacking and taking KO's quickly pressuring Joshua too much for him to handle.

Round 7 - Justin Kulas (US with same 60) - Pikachu & Zekrom-GX: ID (5-1-1)

Justin and I actually roomed together for the duration of our Australia trip so we ended up playing the same 60. We met in round 7 and decided just to ID because we still had 2 chances to make day 2. We just needed to win 1 of our last 2 rounds.

Round 8 - Stephane Ivanoff (FR) - Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX/Lucario-GX: LL (5-2-1)

I knew I was in for a treat because Stephane's list was pretty spicy. He played a 2-2 line of Lucario-GX which no one was prepared for allowing him to make quick work of me. I tried to Let Loose him into a dead hand on turn 1 but those led to turn 1 Lillie for 7 and 8. Not much I could do against Lucario-GX because it can one hit KO Pikachu & Zekrom-GX for just a single Fighting Energy.

Round 9 - Ryan Hamlet (AU) - Pikachu & Zekrom-GX/Zapdos/Jirachi: WW (6-2-1)

Funny enough in this round I was at 16 match points and I knew all 17 pointers were guaranteed Top 64. I was 100% going to ID my last round because there was just too much on the line. If I lose I get nothing but if I ID I guarantee $500 and 130 CP and a potential spot in the Top 16 for Germany stipend. I did not want to risk that, however, of course, I play down because my opponent is at 15 match points meaning he cannot ID into Top 64. At this point, I was quite annoyed because I've been in this win and in situation so many times only to be let down. Ryan was playing mirror so I knew I had a chance to make it to Day 2. These games I won fairly handily because Ryan didn't draw too well both games. I was able to get a quick Full Blitz in both games allowing me to outpace Ryan to move into day 2 with a 6-2-1 record. 

Day 2

Round 10 - Sam Chen (TW) - Pikachu & Zekrom-GX/Zapdos/Jirachi: WW (7-2-1)

I felt somewhat confident in this match as my build was meant to outspeed the mirror and because I also play Marshadow-GX gave me the extra boost. However, Sam isn't your ordinary player so I knew he would give me a fight. In game one I was able to utilize Marshadow-GX and take a one-hit KO on Sam's Pikachu & Zekrom-GX and from there I had the game locked. Game 2 was similar, though closer than the first game. Sam was able to clean my board yet I was left with a lone Lightning Energy which was enough to use Tapu Koko Prism Star onto my Marshadow-GX then Energy Switch onto it followed by a manual attachment allowing me to one hit KO another Pikachu & Zekrom-GX for my last few prizes to move 1-0-0 on the day. Sam and I had some good games for sure.

Round 11 - Preston Ellis (US) - Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX: LWW (8-2-1)

This match was streamed on the backup stream. Game one Preston is able to set up multiple Lycanroc-GX before I can get anything going and I lose pretty handily. However, in game 2 I was able to take it, though I can't remember that game much. I do know in game 3 I Let Loose Preston into a dead hand. He is forced to basically pass every turn and I start taking KO after KO and eventually take my last 2 prizes with Tag Bolt GX. For a brief minute, Preston and I actually made it onto the main stream right when I used Tag Bolt GX for the game.

Round 12 - Max Prescott (AU) - Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX: LWW (9-2-1)

Game one I wasn't drawing too well and it made Max able to power up multiple Lycanroc-GX before I can get any threats going so he made quick work of me. However, in game 2 I believe I Let Loose Max into a dead hand and quickly win that game. Game 3 came down to the wire with me needing to hit my last Electropower to win the match. I miss it and now Max has a chance to win if he has Guzma and energy in hand. He doesn't have it and I ended up finding my last Electropower on the following turn to one hit KO a Zoroark-GX with a Choice Banded Pikachu & Zekrom-GX with Electropower to start the day 3-0-0.

Round 13 - Daniel Altavilla (US with same 60 as Isaiah Williams) - Zapdos/Jirachi: WW (10-2-1)

This match was actually streamed on the backup stream. I was able to best Danny 2-0. He didn't draw too well and my draws were very good. I believe in one game I got a turn 1 Full Blitz off and from there, there was no looking back. I played around Tapu Koko-GX by not attaching the first time I used Full Blitz.

Round 14 - Lucas Henrique DE Araujo Pereira (BR) - Pikachu & Zekrom-GX/Zapdos/Jirachi: I conceded (10-3-1)

I had 31 match points at table 2 and Lucas had 29 match points. I started 4-0-0 so I knew my resistance was fine to just concede the match because I wanted Lucas in top cut because he was a good matchup for me as I've yet to lose the mirror.

Top 8 - Lucas Henrique DE Araujo Pereira (BR) - Pikachu & Zekrom-GX/Zapdos/Jirachi: WW (11-3-1)

Boy am I glad I conceded to Lucas now because I got what I wanted by playing him in Top 8. These games actually ended pretty fast, though Lucas was a great sport in our match so shout out to him and his Top 8 finish, and Top 4 Berlin Germany stipend. I believe our match ended before any of the other games could even finish the first game. In game one against Lucas, he played first and opened Jirachi. He uses the ability and fails it and proceeds to use Lillie for 4 cards. He passes with no other bench Pokémon. I take my first turn of the game and end up donking his Jirachi with Tapu Koko-GX with Thunder Mountain, Rayquaza-GX and a manual attachment. Lucas shows me his hand afterward and it's completely dead. Game 2 I end up getting a turn 2 Pikachu & Zekrom-GX attacking and powered up Marshadow-GX. I actually took out his benched Pikachu & Zekrom-GX with my own to be up a quick 3 prizes. From there it was all downhill for Lucas as he was dead drawing and I was taking KO after KO to move into Top 4.

Top 4 - Isaiah Williams (US with same 60 as Daniel Altavilla) - Zapdos/Jirachi: LL (11-4-1)

These games were actually recorded. The video is down below if you want to see it for yourself.


Closing Thoughts

That will conclude this article on my Top 4 finish at the Oceania International Championships. Moving forward I think this deck and build can still be quite strong. Speed and power can go a long way as proven. Only a couple decks scare me from playing this deck again and those are Lucario-GX being splashed more into Zoroark-GX decks and Passimian. There has also been talk of Vileplume decks potentially being a thing now due to Shintaro Ito's recent success with the deck at a recent event. If so then adding a 1-1 Jolteon-GX can counter that deck. The deck already has counters to Hoopa since you have Tapu Koko Prism Star and Oranguru so you should be fine there. If you see me in St. Louis this weekend for their Regionals be sure to stop by and say hi.

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. We recently added Pablo Meza Alonso to the ARG team roster so be sure to show him some love when you see him at an event, online, or streaming. Also, don't forget to check out to pick up some awesome dice and GX markers. They also have Ability Markers for sale so be sure to pick some up if you haven't already.

If you are interested in taking coaching lessons from me then feel free to either PM me on Facebook or on Twitter. My Twitter handle is below if you want to follow me for when I post lists and other exciting news or if you want to reach me that way.

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

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