Experts' corner

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Zach Lesage

A Shining Hello! Zoroark-GX in Standard

Zach goes through some new deck lists that include Zoroark-GX from the newest expansion set, Shining Legends.

10/27/2017 by Zach Lesage

This article brought to you by CCGcastle.com The best place to get your Pokémon singles!

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A Shining Hello!

Hey 60Cards readers, I am back with the dirt on an otherwise shining Standard format! That being said, we are now live in the short-lived BREAKThrough to Shining Legends format! With what seems like Pokemon releasing a mini-set every year now, we have to deal with formats that live for only three weeks annually. That being said, most players are overlooking this fresh format in favor of testing decks with the unreleased Crimson Invasion cards for London Internationals. Nonetheless, I have a few new decks to introduce to you that seem like great choices for League Cups, and I will go over some of my thought process of deck choice going into a major event.

Golisopod-GX/Zoroark-GX

If you have read my last article on Golisopod-GX, you may have guessed that is is one of my favourite cards to base decks around! In general, I have taken the backbone of my Golisopod-GX/Gumshoos-GX deck and have added in Zoroark-GX. Zoroark-GX provides us with a fluid evolution line, some fair draw power, and the option for a secondary attacker! If you haven’t read my last article, check it out here: Golisopod-GX Article

Card Explanations 

I will go over cards in the deck list to explain how they should work in a real-life setting! Not all cards are included, such as Professor Sycamore, because it is literally included in every competitive deck!

Three Golisopod-GX and Four Wimpod

This is our main Pokemon attacking lines in the deck! Golisopod-GX serves the same purpose as it does most other Golisopod-GX decks but I will give a quick run through for the sake of consistency. First Impression is a cost-efficient attack that can quickly overwhelm even the best of opponents. Armor Press is more of a situational attack, but it can often help withstand an otherwise unbearable attack. Crossing Cut GX, when paired with a Choice Band, is almost exclusively used to draw two Prize Cards from a Pokemon with 180 HP or less such as a Tapu Lele-GX. Wimpod has some merit in the form of free retreat on the first turn, but is used only to evolve into a Golisopod-GX in most circumstances.

Two Zoroark-GX, One Zoroark, and Three Zorua

The new Pokemon on the block, Zoroark-GX provides a swiss army knife of utility to an otherwise simple deck. Zoroark-GX is a well-rounded Pokemon because of its vanilla attack, Riotous Beating, which can do a quick 120 damage in a pinch. While the damage output of Riotous Beating is at a medium level, it can two-shot most Pokemon played in the current metagame. Zoroark BKT is fairly similar, but it provides the list with an out against Pokemon such as Alolan Ninetales. Zorua can be useful when you draw a Rainbow Energy to confuse your opponents active Pokemon. Overall, this lineup of Zoroark will allow you to have a plethora of options via drawing or attacking.

Two Tapu Koko

Besides having free Retreat, Tapu Koko can provide extra damage to your opponent’s field by using its Flying Flip attack. While that may seem basic on its own, when combined with the medium damage level of Zoroark BKT or Zoroark-GX, it can provide an out to otherwise unreachable numbers. This especially holds true when you can hit a Tapu Lele-GX with a Flying Flip, you now have the option to use Golisopod-GX’s First Impression in combination with a Choice Band to KO it. Rarely, you can use Tapu Koko’s Electric Ball to OHKO a Pokemon with a Lightning-type Weakness, such as Ho-Oh-GX, due to the inclusion of Rainbow Energy in the deck.

Four Acerola

While I fully detailed the reasons why Acerola is played in this deck in my last Golisopod-GX article, we now have the flexibility of Rainbow Energy to enhance our strategy. This exact strategy can turn a Tapu Lele-GX start into attaching a Rainbow Energy to it, using Acerola to pick up the Tapu Lele-GX, and finally using Wonder Tag to have a Supporter for your next turn. Similarly, you can attach a Rainbow Energy to a Pokemon that you wouldn’t be able to Retreat into having the possibility of using Acerola to take it back to your hand.

Strategy

In general, you want to use Golisopod-GX to beat down your opponent in almost all matchups. This deck features multiple quick attackers, has strong draw power in Zoroark-GX, and has multiple options for OHKOs. If you were to face a matchup that would be tougher, such as Volcanion-EX, you want to avoid playing your Golisopod-GX in favour of using Zoroark-GX, Zoroark, Tapu Lele-GX, and Tapu Koko. Having multiple outs in many situations, this deck is as flexible as you decide to make it, and can adapt to whatever your opponent throws at you.

Preparing for Large Events

  1. Start by choosing the correct deck for you and sinking in as much testing as possible to feel prepared for the event 
  2. Have your tournament bag ready with all of your necessities such as your deck, extra sleeves, deck-box, deck-list, pen, money for food/transportation, registration slips (if necessary), trade binder, cellphone, cellphone charger, deodorant, gum, and your clothes ready for the next day
  3. Get a solid rest! I can’t stress this enough! I know some of the older players in the game may think that a night of booze-filled partying is fun (which it can be!) but, it will catch up to you the next day. Even if you didn’t partake in any drinking festivities, you may have boggled your mind up with stressful thoughts or decided to build that new crazy rogue deck at 2AM; these ideas don't sound good now nor will they be good ideas heading into a tournament.
  4. Take a shower, brush your teeth, smell nice! These are very simple things that most people [should] start their day with. On the other hand, quite a few players opt not to be hygienic going into an event. Let’s try to end this stigma within the game.
  5. Eat a balanced and healthy breakfast! If you are running off of nothing, how can you fuel your mind? Even a banana and a water bottle is better than a Breakfast Sandwich from [insert random greasy fast-food restaurant here].
  6. Take mental notes during your games and have serious pep-talks with other players who you trust or your teammates. Every player needs time to de-stress and to re-collect their composure after a game, use this time to properly assess your game(s) and go forward with a positive outlook.
  7. Have snacks and stay hydrated throughout the day! I have personally felt absolutely horrible after not staying hydrated throughout a long day. If you are anything like me, Im sure you know those round 7 dehydration headaches like the back of your hand. Keep your head up and take a two minute snack/water break between every 1-2 rounds for the best results.
  8. Be properly composed! Don’t go into a round overall cocky or worried that you are against one of the best players in the entire game! You need to realize that you are playing against a human being so there is no reason to be nervous.
  9. Enjoy yourself! You didn't come to this event because you hate Pokemon, you came because you have a love for the game that we all play. Even if you are having an off day, have a cheerful conversation with your Round 8 opponent who is in the same boat as you or the player who you are about to tie at Table 2 so that you both make cut.

Choosing The Correct Deck In An Established Metagame

This is a subject that I feel like many players need to look at and realize where their crucial downfall is! I have found over the many seasons that I have played Pokemon that I seem to succeed when there are few decks to choose from. Alternatively, I sometimes just find myself enjoying the Tier 1 deck the most, but this rarely happens. I value all decks that are competitive and all cards that are semi-competitive, but I sometimes hate certain cards or certain decks for reasons that are biased only to me. Some examples of decks or cards that I have loved over the years are Dialga G Lv.X, Luxray GL Lv.X, Blastoise BCR, Kingdra LA, Metagross DS, Donphan PLS, Gardevoir SW, Gallade SW Yanmega Prime, and Magnezone Prime. Some examples of cards or decks that I have hated over the years are: Manectric-EX, Mega Rayquaza-EX, Vespiquen AOR, Thunderus-EX PLS, Deoxys-EX PLS, and Kyurem PLS.


Sometimes I get a gut-feeling or an attachment to a deck and it leads me to succeed through multiple tournaments. However, I might just pick up a deck that I hate and tend to do worse than I would regularly do with any deck on average. Sometimes you get into a hyper-established metagame such as London Internationals 2016 and you can use minuscule or micro-techs to beat out the field. A perfect example of this is players like Michael Pramawat and my brother Jay Lesage using Enhanced Hammer and Team Flare Grunt in Yveltal/Garbodor to take down the competition. Here are a few of my tips and tricks to pick a deck.

Comfortability 

  • You don’t want to lose to other decks because you made minor misplays that the pros would laugh off as they take their “free” wins
  • Practice with your deck and make it your own! Most decks are only a few cards apart and players may make decisions for different reasons going into an event (ex. I may play Delinquent to capitalize on weaker players, but others may value an Olympia as an extra switching card)
  • Do you know all cards available for a deck? Can you improve your deck? Are some cards dead weight in your list? It is advisable to figure out where you are having these issues and correct them
  • Don’t fall into false hype that a certain deck will bring you all the way to the top just because it is the best thing ever. Players will often mislead you on your great choice and you can in return have a negative or many negative tournament result(s)
  • Also, you need to realize that your pet-deck needs to be retired if it isn’t performing up to your level of satisfaction. You sometimes need to just stop while you are behind and realize that you are actually behind, as rough as that may sound.

Simplicity

  • Do you think that Volcanion needs to play four Pokemon Catcher, two Pokemon Ranger, a two-two line of Starmie EVO, four Switch, and 4 Escape Rope?!?! Does that not sound appealing and awful at the same-time? Depending on a certain players' experiences or their perceptions at times, people will fall into traps that make their decks perform awful at events.
  • Have you ever tried to make Trevenant XY have a winnable Dark match-up in Expanded? If you tried Weakness Policy or some other wacky techs you have come up with, you are WRONG! Sometimes decks just have inherent bad matches that you have to swallow when piloting a certain deck
  • But what if we added in three-three Mega Rayquaza-EX into Mega Gardevoir-EX to beat… Again, don’t listen to random players outside of a credible website like this site or your credible testing partners. You may end up finding your deck is not your deck anymore and you won’t get to play very many optimal games.
  • How about playing many one-of cards for many different situations? This is somewhat of a debatable category of discussion because sometimes cards serve a similar purpose in a decks like Float Stone, Escape Rope, Olympia, and Switch and they can sometimes be played in multiple combinations for the best well-rounded results.
  • If you over-tech your list, you will not win as many games sometimes as a player who is playing a consistent and straight-forward list. Don’t use this an excuse to overlook a horrible match-up or joyous inclusions to your deck. The main point is to not ruin your tournament over numb-minded techs.

Metagaming

  • Wow, should I play Greninja this weekend? Yeah sure dude! *Walks into field of Golisopod-GX and gets slapped!!!* Sometimes you won’t make the best calls but, it is advisable to take caution of what the player base believes will be played.
  • It is sometimes better to just choose a very established deck, look at a bare-bones skeleton list, and add a few preference-based cards to fit your play style.
  • There is also the possibility of picking a deck that sneaks through the cracks of the Metagame and can steal events or surprisingly place well out of nowhere (look at Alex Hill’s Vespiquen/Zebstrika deck that placed 9th at European Internationals).
  • Don’t play a certain deck if it has bad matchups to multiple other top decks, your odds of winning an event will become a crap-shoot. You may not like your end of day results if you fell into the negative pool of players.

Hopefully all of this advice helps you do much better at tournaments overall and specifically London Internationals. Remember that the unexpected is usually not there and that the tournament is almost always very predictable. Overall, if you are prepared and enjoy yourself throughout the tournament, you will do just fine!

Zoroark-GX/Zoroark BREAK

This is an homage to the deck that Daniel Altavilla created to win Mexico City Regionals last year! The biggest difference between both of these decks, Zoroark-GX, allows us to make this deck more consistent from its past iteration and provides another attacking option. I think that this deck has the potential to see some play at London Internationals, even after Crimson Invasion is released, based off of its varying options available. Let’s check out my list:

Card Explanations

I will go over cards in the deck list to explain how they should work in a real-life setting! Not all cards are included, such as Brigette, because it is literally included in every competitive deck!

Two Zoroark-GX , Two Zoroark BREAK, Two Zoroark, and Four Zorua

Similar to the above Golisopod-GX deck, Zoroark-GX provides everything listed within the above section in this deck. However, with this list having a larger emphasis on the Zoroark line, this deck can provide some more options. Most notably, this deck plays Zoroark BREAK’s Foul Play attack and has the ability to use Zoroark-GX’s Trickster GX attack. This gives options to use our opponent’s attacks against them such as:

  • Drampa-GX’s Berserk for 180 damage with a Choice Band
  • Golisopod-GX’s Crossing Cut GX for 180 damage with a Choice Band
  • Ho-Oh-GX’s Phoenix Burn for 180 damage
  • Tapu Fini-GX’s Tapu Storm GX to take away a huge threat
  • Garbodor GRI’s Trashalanche attack to punish your opponent for playing Item cards
  • Gardevoir-GX’s Infinite Force to attack a Pokemon with a large amount of Energy
  • Greninja’s Shadow Stitch attack to block their Abilities for a turn 
  • Turtanator-GX’s Bright Flame for 190 damage with a Choice Band
  • Espeon-EX’s Miraculous Shine to De-Evolve all of your opponent’s Pokemon in play
  • Necrozma-GX’s Black Ray GX to damage all your opponent’s EX and GX Pokemon for 100 damage each

These are just a few examples of powerful attacks that you can copy, and the options become almost endless with the vast amount of decks in our current Standard metagame. Zoroark BKT’s Mind Jack is also a strong option in this current format because of the heavy play of Brigette in Standard. If you look at the math from your opponent playing a Tapu Lele-GX and using Wonder Tag for a Brigette, Mind Jack is already hitting 30x4 + 10 for 130 Damage. If you play a Choice Band and a Professor Kukui, you can magically do 180 damage to Knock Out a Basic Pokemon-GX. If your opponent has a maxed our Bench, you can hit for a base 160 damage that can quickly grow into 210-270 damage with Po Town, Choice Band, and Professor Kukui. Overall, no matter which Zoroark you decide to attack with, you can hit some impressive numbers for very few Energy.

Two Drampa-GX

Drampa-GX is a fantastic Pokemon because it has three very usable attacks. Righteous Edge can put your opponent’s setup to a halt by discarding their special Energy that they have attached to their Active Pokemon. Berserk is a powerful attack because with some damaged Pokemon on your Bench and a Choice Band, you can Knock Out Pokemon with ease by doing 180 damage. Big Wheel GX can be used in a pinch when you start the game with a dead hand or when your opponent uses an N against you late game. Drampa-GX also has a large amount of HP for a Basic Pokemon, so you can usually rely on it to stay alive for a few turns while you set up your board state.

One Tapu Koko

Similar to the Golisopod-GX deck above, Tapu Koko is used in this deck to make otherwise unreachable numbers happen. Furthermore, because this deck plays Po Town and Professor Kukui, you can hit even larger numbers that the Golisopod-GX deck can’t currently hit. The combination of these cards allow you to have options to knock out Pokemon with a very large amount of HP such as Metagross-GX. As I stated about the Golisopod-GX/Zoroark-GX deck above, it is also possible to use Electric Ball if you ever find yourself pressed against a wall versus a Pokemon with Lightning-type Weakness.

Three Po Town

As I briefly mentioned above, Po Town helps Zoroark and Drampa-GX hit numbers that otherwise are not possible. Po Town also provides excellent synergy with Drampa-GX’s Berserk attack by damaging your own evolution Pokemon to do an extra 70 damage with Drampa-GX. Here are some examples of numbers that are possible with Po Town in this deck without accounting Foul Play or Trickster GX:

  • 30 Damage on a Gardevoir-GX that has evolved with the aid of Rare Candy. It now has 200 HP remaining. You can now use a Drampa-GX, Choice Band, and Professor Kukui for the OHKO
  • 60 Damage on a Gardevoir-GX that evolved from a Ralts into a Kirlia and a Gardevoir-GX. This allows us to OHKO by using Drampa-GX’s Berserk and a Choice Band, not using a Professor Kukui like the last scenario.
  • 30 Damage on an Alolan Ninetales-GX. You can use Zoroark’s Mind Jack for an OHKO when your opponent has five benched Pokemon in combination with either a Professor Kukui, Tapu Koko’s Flying Flip, or a Choice Band for the OHKO.

The above situations can stay true for almost all evolution Pokemon due to all of their similarities in HP. In whatever the situation that you find yourself needing to damage your own Pokemon or providing some extra Damage to your opponent’s field, Po Town will find its uses.

Two Mallow

Mallow, a card that was seldom used before, now has its place in Standard due to Zoroark-GX’s Trade Ability. Mallow can now “stack” your deck with your most useful cards or obscure tech cards such as Damage Mover in any situation. Some of the cards that I seem to get with Mallow more than others are:

  • Zoroark BREAK
  • Zoroark-GX
  • Double Colorless Energy
  • Damage Mover
  • Po Town
  • Choice Band
  • Rainbow Energy

As you can see, I tend to grab cards that are otherwise unsearchable from the deck and I can now use them with relative ease. This card can also provide some use if you have a dead start by setting up your next two turns with cards that you can use to get going. 

One Damage Mover

Damage Mover is an interesting card from the new Shining Legends expansion that I believe most players have overlooked. When this card is paired with a Drampa-GX, the deck can become efficient with only Basic Pokemon. Explicitly, you can attach a Rainbow Energy to a Drampa-GX, attach a Double Colorless Energy to Drampa-GX, and use Damage Mover to unlock Berserk’s full damage output. In the past, we had to either deal with Team Magma’s Secret Base or Po Town to use Berserk on the second turn, but this just requires the normal energy requirement. Even though the chances of hitting one of two Rainbow Energy seems slim, you have to factor in the possibility of your opponent damaging your Drampa-GX if it is stuck in the active position. Alternatively, Damage Mover can be used as a pseudo-Potion to heal a Pokemon that would otherwise get OHKOd by an opposing threat. I have also thought of the possibility of using Damage Mover to KO one of my own Pokemon to “Retreat” it out of the Active position or to make my opponent draw less cards when I play N. There seems to be many interesting situations to play this card and I am sure I am only scratching the surface from what I have mentioned.

Two Rainbow Energy

Between adding Damage to Drama-GX’s Berserk and allowing the deck to use Tapu Lele-GX’s Tapu Cure GX attack, Rainbow Energy provides options. Similar to the plays that I have mentioned in the Damage Mover section, Rainbow Energy can also be used to KO your Pokemon to get them out of the active position or to give your opponent less cards when you play an N. 

Strategy

This deck is really a swiss army knife of a deck because you have multiple attacks that you can use on a whim and you have the backing of Zoroark-GX’s Trade ability. Drampa-GX is really used as our main attacker because it can provide as an answer to OHKO many different Pokemon in many different situations, some of which have been mentioned above. Foul Play and Trickster GX have almost endless options for attacks so the world is your Cloyster when using those attacks.

Goodbye Until London

Well, I hope that this article was satisfying enough until Crimson Invasion is officially released right in time for London Internationals! I think the last few weekends of League Cups in quarter one should see both of the above decks seeing a decent level of play. As for London Internationals, I have gone ahead and registered for it! I should have at least one article going up with some of these exciting decks heading into the event so hopefully you are as excited to read ad I am to write. I am personally excited to see the results of all upcoming tournaments and hopefully I will continue to ride the wave on top of the competitive spectrum. I wish everyone the best of luck who is living out their dream trying to compete for a World Championship invite or for those who are loving and supporting the game from a casual standpoint.

I will see everyone at the 2017 European International Championships, if you haven’t met me in person or if we have just briefly met, feel free to actually introduce yourself to me because I love knowing everybody. Thank you for all of the support, I truly appreciate everyone who take the time to read one of my articles and for supporting 60Cards.

-Zach Lesage

 

 

 

 

[+16] okko


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