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Zach Lesage

The Lowdown on Memphis - The Best Decks

Zach goes over twelve unique decks that did well at Memphis Regionals!

01/07/2018 by Zach Lesage

Hello Memphis Results

What’s up, 60Cards readers? Memphis is done and over with and I am sure you all want to know about some of the best decks that were played in the event. In this article, I will go over some of the best decks featured at the tournament and explain how they work. While the next major North American tournament is the Expanded Dallas Regionals, we have to worry about League Cups until then, and we also have the Australian International Championships in February. If you have looked at the trends from almost all tournaments this season, most players have no issue with net decking an exact tournament list that finished highly recently and piloting it at the next tournament. This is why I wanted to write this article, to go through the twelve unique decks that we saw take the Top 35 at Memphis by storm. So whether you are playing locally or heading to Australia in a few months, these decks are sure to see some play. Let’s check them out:

Michael Pramawat’s Zoroark/Lycanroc Deck

Zoroark/Lycanroc Strategy

The deck that won the tournament and took up the most spots within the top 8 of the tournament -- it must be great! Zoroark-GX and Lycanroc-GX pair up in this deck to make a somewhat unlikely combination; it is consistent, quick, and can overpower opponents quickly. This deck uses a similar engine to the deck that Tord Reklev won the London Internationals with, Zoroark/Golisopod. With all of the same consistency aspects such as three Brigette, four Puzzles of Time, and a thick Zoroark-GX line, this deck is able to get going quickly.

The strategy is seemingly non-linear with many tangents you can dwell upon, but the best advice I can give you is to pause… just think out each situation. Riotous Beating can do some chip damage to the tune of 120 and can even do 170 damage with the aid of Choice Band and Professor Kukui. Lycanroc-GX’s Dangerous Rogue GX can immediately blow up a Pokemon in full if your opponent over benches their Pokemon or if you have the right damage modifiers. Even Pokemon such as Rockruff have the necessary power behind them to Knock Out threats such as Zorua due to its daunting Fighting-type Weakness.

With this deck having success throughout Memphis, you may be wondering if we will see this deck pop up at our League Cups across North America?!? Yeah, that might be an understatement! This deck will likely see play in high numbers, similar to how Reklev’s deck saw  an explosion of play after London, so you need to be prepared. The best way to prepare for this deck is to watch out for the many oppositions in the deck that you may face:

- Play a lower Bench (if possible) to deal with Lycanroc-GX’s Dangerous Rogue GX
- Time your Special Energy attachments carefully due to Enhanced Hammer
- Ask yourself if your opponent can return a Knock Out due to damage modifiers such as Strong Energy, Choice Band, and Professor Kukui)?
- Can your opponent nab the right cards due to the consistency of Zoroark-GX’s Trade Ability?
- Do you have a threat on your Bench that your opponent can gust up with Lycanroc-GX’s Bloodthirsty Eyes Ability?
After playing around all of these threats, plan your game state accordingly because this deck plays out like a toolbox of surprises! 

Azul Garcia Griego’s Golisopod/Garbodor Deck

Golisopod/Garbodor Strategy

Azul Garcia Griego took an “old” idea of Golisopod/Garbodor and pretty much re-invented the wheel. The core of this deck looks really reminiscent of the meta-game pre-Hartford Regionals, but some of the ideas in the deck are quite strong. My personal favourite touches that Griego added to this deck are the Mewtwo EVO and the four copies of Enhanced Hammer! If you look at the rest of the lists in this article, most of them include Special Energy of some kind and all of the Enhanced Hammer in this deck will counter those decks. In order to counter all of the Buzzwole-GX hype heading into this event, Griego decided that Mewtwo would make for a strong counter. Beyond that, this deck also gains the power of Trashalanche and the devastating Ability, Garbotoxin. With the re-addition of these Garbodor cards back in this deck, the trend of having a stronger Buzzwole-GX match-up is prevalent and we gain the option to lock down some decks that play quite a bit of Energy Cards. Garbodor BKP is used to combat many different Pokemon in the format that have some worrisome Abilities. Here are some of the most common Pokemon with Abilities that likely saw play at Memphis:

•Octillery BKT

•Gardevoir-GX BUS

•Oranguru SUM

•Tapu Lele-GX GRI

•Volcanion STS

•Volcanion-EX STS

•Hoopa SLG

•Mr. Mime GEN

•Decidueye-GX

•Zoroark-GX SLG

•Zoroark BKT

All of these Pokemon have Abilities that can win entire games on their own, so being able to shut them off with Garbotoxin is going to be a huge deal. If you look at the most popular archetype, Gardevoir-GX, you can shut off their Ability to draw, their Ability to attach extra Energy cards, and their Ability to search their deck for Supporter Cards. Well, what is left? They can attack with a moderately useful Infinite Force on a Stage 2 Pokemon. That being said, Garbodor BKP wins games through it’s hard lock on your opponent. If you are curious on how Golisopod-GX fits into this deck, Golisopod-GX is the star of the deck and is going to be your main attacker in most match-ups! Interestingly enough, even thought that Golisopod-GX has three viable attacks, First Impression is going to be the most used attack due to its low Energy Cost. If you look through most Pokemon in the format, very few Pokemon can do upwards of 170 damage for one Energy, not including Weakness. That being said, I often plan games around Knocking Out an EX/GX Pokemon with Crossing Cut GX and I also use Armor Press to survive otherwise unsurvivable attacks. Wimpod is the second best starting Pokemon in the deck, beside Tapu Koko, due to its free Retreat on the first turn of the game. Wimpod is not a strong attacker by any means, so it is only going to be used to Retreat on the first turn and to Evolve into the Golisopod-GX. Between all of these great options, Griego made a somewhat of a toolbox deck that can play to its advantages in many different situations.

Pablo Meza’s Buzzwole/Lycanroc Deck

Buzzwole/Lycanroc Strategy

After viewing the results from London, most players saw the potential of Buzzwole-GX and decided that it was a strong play for Memphis. You can see how the trend of Buzzwole/Lycanroc took off as soon as London concluded resulted in the deck being one of the most successful decks for League Cups. Here is my reasoning on why Buzzwole-GX was a strong  pick for the meta-game in Memphis:

- Psychic type decks are at an all-time format low
- Zoroark-GX has seen a huge upswing in play after the results of the London International Championships based on Tord Reklev winning the event
- Silvally-GX was pivotal in Zak Krekeler making it into finals of London and should see significant play based on this alone
- Buzzwole-GX, similar to my pet deck of Golisopod-GX, has fairly neutral match-ups across the board; this can allow for skilled players to go far with this deck
- The deck is consistent because it doesn’t need to set-up to win; the deck relies mostly on Basic Pokemon that don’t require clunky Evolution cards in the deck
- Knuckle Impact and Absorption GX are extremely powerful and can Knock Out almost any Pokemon in format
- The deck can steal games in the form of a turn-one or turn-two donk; this is ideal at big tournaments because more time playing games equals less brainpower


Based on these reasons, Buzzwole-GX seemed like a safe and consistent play heading into Memphis and it obviously was with Pablo Meza having great success with the deck. The biggest difference between Meza’s list and the list that I posted into my semi-recent Buzzwole-GX article were his choice of Rockruff, and he played a Multi Switch in his list. I like promo Rockruff better than Rockruff GRI because Tackle can do damage for a single Energy card. If you attack with Tackle in combination with a Strong Energy and two Regirock-EX, you can OHKO many 60 HP Pokemon. This attack can become even stronger when you face against a helpless Zorua that you can Knock Out with a single Strong Energy. Multi Switch is a unique card in this deck and it is likely a change I might implement into my list later. It allows you to be less careful with your Max Elixir choices, it allows for more diverse attacking options, and it can sometimes act like an extra Energy attachment. Overall, Meza’s list is solid and would require very little changes to remain viable for upcoming League Cups.

Benjamin Lundtvedt-Martinson’s Zoroark/Golisopod Deck

Zoroark/Golisopod Strategy

Benjamin Lundtvedt-Martinson took a similar approach that allowed Tord Reklev to win the European International Championships. The strategy of this deck is to use Zoroark-GX's Trade to discard pivotal cards to gain back with Puzzle of Time or you can simply draw into them naturally with Trade. The deck focuses more on Zoroark-GX than Golisopod-GX, but that can change quickly if your opponent plays directly into the Golisopod-GX. Furthermore, Mewtwo is used to counter Pokemon such as Espeon-GX and Gardevoir-GX! If you have glanced into the Supporter card section, I am sure that you must be confused to say the least! Lundtvedt-Martinson used the same draw engine that Reklev has "invented" -- which focuses on running less Supporters and a combination of Zoroark-GX and Puzzles of Time. This concept may sound boring, but it is actually a drastic take on what we have been playing for the past few months with the loss of VS Seeker. I think the format will continue to move forward, including Zoroark-GX-based engines, similar to the engine feature here, until we either get some stronger support. If you have been playing at any League Cups recently, I am sure you have seen the popularity of this deck and I am sure it will grow even further with this recent placement of the deck. With counter decks being another trend, I feel like Zoroark/Golisopod’s success may also bring counter decks such as Volcanion-EX decks as seen below in this article.

Forrest Burks’ Gardevoir Deck

Gardevoir Strategy

Burks’ took the day-one version of Gardevoir-GX, a list that included Sylveon-GX and made it closer to the Seena Ghaziaskar version of BROKENvoir to make somewhat of crossover deck. For those of you who don’t know about Gardevoir-GX, Secret Spring is a strong Ability because it follows my personal rule, if it breaks a rule of the game, it is likely good. That being said, Gardevoir-GX breaks the rule of attaching a single energy per turn and allows you to promptly attach another Fairy Energy. Notably, Secret Spring is a stackable Ability, meaning that you can use multiple Gardevoir-GX to attach multiple extra energy per turn. Secret Spring alone is enough to make Gardevoir-GX a viable card in the current meta game, but we have to continue to look at what else the card has to offer. Looking further, Infinite Force is an attack that reads as its name describes, it can forcefully hit for an infinite amount. Gardevoir-GX can be an absolute beast when it has enough energy attached and can actually Knock Out any threat. Let’s check out how it can Knock Out some of the most popular Pokemon that were played at Memphis:

Zorua 60 HP = two energy needed (assuming they haven’t attached an energy)

Wimpod 70 HP = two energy needed (assuming they attached an Energy)

Garbodor 120 HP = three energy needed (assuming they used Trashalanche)

Volcanion-EX 180 HP = two or three energy needed (assuming they used Volcanic Heat and depending on whether you have access to a Choice Band)

Buzzwole-GX 190 hp = three or four energy (assuming they used Absorption GX and depending on whether you have access to a Choice Band)

There are countless other Pokemon available in the format to Knock Out, but these are some of the most common Pokemon and they all have different amount of HP. The Sylveon-GX in Burks’ list is used as mostly a consistency card, but there is some extra merit in using Plea GX (especially in combination with Parallel City). Burks’ deck is proof that Gardevoir-GX can see success in any form and will continue to be one of the top contenders until it is rotated out of format.

Harrison Grandish’s Genesect/Venusaur Deck

Genesect/Venusaur Strategy

Harrison Grandish went the extra mile when constructing his Venasaur/Shining Genesect deck; he took into consideration speed, acceleration, and overall power into the deck’s strategy. This flower power style deck surely has some raw synergy -- Venasaur’s Ability pays homage to Shining Genesect’s attack by doubling all Grass Energy in play. This amazing clause boosts Shining Genesect’s attack almost two-fold! Harrison piloted this deck to a strong finish, which surely was the surprise of the Memphis Regional Championships. 

One trend players saw at Memphis was the rise of the card Multi Switch -- Shining Genesect basically does the same thing, but with basic Grass Energy. By being able to allot Energy to specific Pokemon on a whim, you have control over your own board state at all times. While it may be annoying to have to setup a Stage 2 like Venasaur, it sure beats having to attach a single energy turn after turn. 

The main strength of this deck lies within the fact it is made up of single Prize Card attackers. Shining Genesect on its own is an absolute beast, especially considering Zoroark-GX can’t OHKO it solo. This, combined with the fact that Shining Genesect only gives up one Prize Card, means that this megalo cannon Pokemon can beast through one of the most popular GXs with ease. Max Elixir speeds up the tempo of the deck, and basically manipulate your energy to the point where your field is flooded with energy. Looking for a unique deck? Say no more. I wouldn't be surprised if we saw this deck pop up at more League Cups going forward due to its rarity and how fun it is to play.

Yehoshua Tate’s Hoopa/Wishiwashi Deck

Hoopa/Wishiwashi Strategy

Yehoshua Tate played this absurd deck and I have been testing with it ever since -- it can be like a strangle hold! In order to understand the deck fully, I will go through each important Pokemon in the deck. Xurkitree-GX is an interesting card, akin to Aegislash-EX PHF, it blocks Pokemon with Special Energy Cards attached to them from attacking it. Lighting GX also gives us the opportunity to put a Prize Card back to our opponents board, something that may other decks can’t do. To further the lock, we can abuse Hoopa to sit up Active while our opponent has no options to attack it. So the deck has a basic core function of switching between Xurkitree-GX and Hoopa to stop any Pokemon that is an EX Pokemon, a GX Pokemon, or any Pokemon that has a Special Energy attached to them. Now that sounds like a solid concept, but we also need to have an out to Pokemon that don’t meet those requirements -- that is where Wishiwashi-GX and Celesteela-GX come into play. Both of these Pokemon have high amounts of HP that can withstand most attacks. These Pokemon can utilize Acerola and Max Potion to continuously cycle through your opponent’s threats until they run out of resources. This deck actually has an answer for running them out resources in two different ways; discarding the top cards from our opponents deck and discarding their Energy. Overall, the deck has a full circle of stopping Pokemon from attacking, discarding their deck, and discarding their Energy! 

On another note, I would like to add that Tate’s use of Lusamine in this deck is incredible! In this deck, Lusamine can be used in many ways, but it follows an infinite loop in the following pattern:

- Play any Supporter and/or Stadium
- Play any Supporter and/or Stadium
- Play a Lusamine to get back any two Supporters and/or Stadiums
- Play any Supporter and/or Stadium
- Play your 2nd Lusamine to get back a Lusamine and get any Support or Stadium
- Play any Supporter and/or Stadium
- Play your Lusamine to get back a Lusamine and get any Support or Stadium

If you follow this pattern, you have access to an infinite amount of Gladion, Team Skull Grunt, Team Flare Grunt, Delinquent, Acerola, Skyla, N, Plumeria, Guzma, Brigette, Parallel City, and Lusamine. In the nature in which the deck is played, there are often turns where you can “waste” your Supporter per turn by using Lusamine to recover cards. In the event of you decking out, it is even possible of using this “Lusamine loop” technique to get back infinite copies of N to avoid decking out.

Dean Nezam’s Volcanion Deck

Volcanion Strategy

Dean Nezam took the tried and true concept of Volcanion and did exceptionally well with it in Memphis! Sometimes all it takes is a super simple concept, such as Volcanion, and running wild with it! From playing a couple of hands with the deck, I can already decipher the feel of it. Nezam’s deck felt extremely simple, but rather effective. Nezam had been discussing this deck for a long time, dating back to months prior when he brought up the premise of a basic Volcanion list to my friend Dakota Gillanders and my brother Jay Lesage. Some may view this list as outdated, but its overall objective is simple: turn energy into firepower, and dish out OHKOs. This deck rarely ever misses a Steam Up -- if you for some reason can’t get an OHKO, then the non-EX Volcanion will normally swoop in for a strong Power Heater attack. Something I really like to do is to use Steam Artillery with the non-EX Volcanion -- coupled with Steam Up and access to so many energy, this poses a threat as a powerhouse of a non-EX/GX attack.

Continuing on the trend of a primitive approachc -- Nezam included maxed out copies of both Professor’s Letter and Energy Retrieval! He also decided to play a minimal line of Starmie from EVO to get back Energy throughout the entire game. With all these cards that can search Energy from either the Deck or Discard Pile, we have the option to use Volcanion-EX’s Steam Up Ability over-and-over again. If you gather where I am going with this, you must now understand how consistent and quick Nezam’s list is.

Arron Sanyer’s Decidueye/Zoroark Deck

Decidueye/Zoroark Strategy

Decidueye-GX, a card that most players declared dead in the format, had quite a bit of success! Stéphane Ivanoff had the best results with it in London, but some fantastic players including Igor Costa, Jimmy Pendarvis, and Danny Altavilla played similar lists to Ivanoff’s to some success too. Arron Sanyer continued to work on this deck for Memphis and ended up placing quite well at that tournament! If you aren’t too sure on how this deck works, it uses the new Zoroark-GX drawing engine to make a resurgence in the format. The strategy is to chip damage away with Decidueye-GX’s Feather Arrow Ability and finish things off with Zoroark-GX’s Riotous Beating. There is a slight devolution component in the deck in the form of Tapu Koko and Espeon-EX, but those cards are more of a side strategy within the deck. With all of these tricks in the deck, the deck has somewhat of a non-linear strategy that can allow you to outplay your opponent at times. There are often points in the game where you can use Decidueye-GX’s Feather Arrow to set-up multiple Knock Outs or a key Knock Out in the game.   Overall, this deck is one of my personal favourite decks in Standard right now and I would highly suggest play testing with it going forward!

Frank Percic’s Buzzwole/Garbodor Deck

Buzzwole/Garbodor Strategy

While we already went over Buzzwole-GX earlier, this deck is quite different than Meza’s Buzzwole/Lycanroc deck. This deck plays out similarly to a weird mix between Griego’s Golisopod/Garbodor deck and Meza’s Buzzwole/Lycacanroc deck. That being said, Frank Percic seemed to find a happy middle-ground approach that took him to one of the top spots in Memphis. Garbodor GRI is used to counter decks that use many item cards, and it can punish players if they don’t play around it. You may be asking yourself, “How does Trashalanche actually stack up to the Pokemon in my deck?” Well, let’s give that a look here:

One Item = 20 damage 

This amount of damage can Knock Out a Psychic-Weakness Ralts due to Weakness if you have a Fighting Fury Belt attached

Two Items = 40 damage

This amount of damage can Knock Out a Wimpod if you have spread some damage with Buzzwole-GX’s Jet Punch

Three Items = 60 damage

This amount of damage can Knock Out a Ralts without using any damage modifier

Four Items = 80 damage

This amount of damage can Knock Out a Dartrix without using any damage modifier

Five Items = 100 damage

This amount of damage can Knock Out a Buzzwole-GX without using any damage modifiers 

Six Items = 120 damage

This amount of damage can Knock Out a Type: Null without using any damage modifiers

Seven Items = 140 damage

This amount of damage can Knock Out a Tapu Lele-GX if you have spread some damage with Buzzwole-GX’s Jet Punch

This amount of damage can Knock Out a Zygarde-EX if you have spread some damage with Buzzwole-GX’s Jet Punch

Nine Items = 180 damage

This amount of damage can Knock Out a Golisopod-GX if you have spread some damage with Buzzwole-GX’s Jet Punch

Ten Items = 200 damage

This amount of damage can Knock Out a Gardevoir-GX if you have spread some damage with Buzzwole-GX’s Jet Punch

Eleven Items = 220 damage

This amount of damage can Knock Out a Silvally-GX without using any damage modifiers

Twelve Items = 240 damage

This amount of damage can Knock Out a Metagross-GX if you have spread some damage with Buzzwole-GX’s Jet Punch

Thirteen Items = 260 damage

This amount of damage should be suffice to Knock Out over 90% of Pokemon in the format without any damage modifiers or worrying about Resistance.

After looking at this chart, you can quickly see how Trashalanche can add up damage and it can get even better in this deck. Using Trashalanche in combination with Buzzwole-GX’s Jet Punch and Fighting Fury Belt can expedite ‘magic’ numbers to knock out Pokemon. Usually, most Basic Pokemon get left out of the discussion, but Trubbish can serve a purpose in most games. Acid Spray, while seemingly minuscule in importance at first, can do a significant amount of damage. It can do 40 damage with a Fighting Fury Belt attached to a Buzzwole-GX and it can possibly discard a Strong Energy to reduce opposing damage. While I am not a huge fan of this deck because I like Buzzwole/Lycanroc more, it has seen a fantastic result from Percic and it may be a sleeper pick going forward!

Paulo Amaro’s Vikavolt/Tapu Bulu Deck

Vikavolt/Tapu Bulu Strategy

The deck that almost every “top” player has been nagging on for a while was actually one of the bigger decks to be played at Memphis. There isn’t anything groundbreaking in Paulo Amaro’s Vikavolt/Tapu Bulu list, but it does seem like a consistent deck. For those of you who don’t understand how Vikavolt/Tapu Bulu works, you use Vikavolt’s Strong Charge to power up Tapu Bulu in order to use Nature’s Judgment to do some massive damage. Alternatively, it is possible for Vikavolt to power up other Pokemon in this deck such Tapu Lele-GX or Mew; it can even power itself up too! Most Pokemon in the deck will either discard their Energy through one of their attacks or by being Knocked Out, that is why the deck plays multiple copies of Energy Recycler to get that Energy back. While everything in this deck seems great so far, it does have the same issue that plagues other Stage 2 decks -- it is a Stage 2 deck! Being a Stage 2 deck is a general blanket statement that means your deck’s core is slightly inconsistent or that you require significantly more set-up than other decks. I will note that this deck is strong when it does set-up and thats where its true strength lies.

Ryan Grant’s Greninja Deck

Greninja Strategy

Ryan Grant, while unfortunately not placing in the money at Memphis -- an issue that happened at Fort Wayne Regionals to my friend Michael Bergerac -- played a fantastic tournament! While we have seen some great success of Greninja at practically every tournament this season from Michael Long, it is refreshing to see another player have some success with this deck. Grant’s version of this deck is fairly similar to the long-running success of Long’s list, which can be seen as a standard for Greninja decks until something drastically new makes it better. For those of you who don’t know about Greninja, it is a deck that plays similarly to clockwork:

- On the first turn, you can't evolve so you generally pass
- On the second turn, you try to use Frogadier’s Water Duplicates to get out as many Frogadier as possible
- On the third turn, you try to evolve into as many Greninja as possible
- On the fourth turn you try to evolve into as many Greninja BREAK as possible
- Once you have enough Greninja BREAK in play, you can use Giant Water Shuriken to chip away at important opposing Pokemon

While Greninja sounds like a great deck once it is set up, the issue is getting to that point. With the current draw support that we have in format, it is actually quite difficult to build up a whole army of Frogadier, Greninja, and Greninja BREAK because it equates to quite a few moving pieces. While that might be difficult to understand for some, think of it like this, are the odds high or low of having a few pieces of the Greninja BREAK line in your Prize Cards? In order to look into this problem further, it must be noted that the whole Greninja BREAK line equals to 15 cards or 25% of the deck. Looking this over briefly, the Greninja BREAK line equaling to 25% of the deck can start to degrade structural components by allowing for sloppy Prize Cards. Nonetheless, Grant had some success at this tournament and that shouldn't be overlooked; he persevered through some rough hands and skillfully made it into the Top 35 at Memphis.

Goodbye Until Dallas

Well, I hope you have enjoyed all the different decks and strategies from the top 35 Master Division players from Memphis Regionals. While not every viable deck in format made it into this article, all these decks are very strong in Standard right now. I would recommend trying all of them out to see how they work before heading to your next tournament -- you may just learn a thing or two!

As for me, I will be taking a minor break from major competitive tournaments to focus on coaching players, writing articles, and most importantly, relaxing. It can get very tiresome playing at the top of the game or even learning the ropes as a newer player; sometimes you just need to pause your Pokemon life to regroup. Now, this is not to say that I don't want to be playing the game right now, I wish I could, I just have other priorities that I need to focus on.

Either way, feel free to follow me on my Twitter: zlesage_pokemon to see if there are any changes to my lists. I am personally excited to see the results of the upcoming Dallas Regionals, 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 Dallas Regionals in January -- I actually just booked a flight with my brother Jay. 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

 

[+15] okko


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