Experts' corner

Zach Lesage

Recapping Collinsville - The Best Decks

Zach goes through the 14 unique decks that appeared in the Top 32 of Collinsville Regionals.

02/26/2018 by Zach Lesage

Hello Collinsville Results

What’s up 60Cards readers? The 2018 Collinsville, IL Regionals 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 Costa Mesa, CA Regionals, we have to worry about League Cups until we have the Standard Charlotte, NC Regionals. Most players have no issue with taking a ‘tried and true’ deck from their favourite top player so this article will go over these decks to enhance your play. This is why I wanted to write this article, to go through the fourteen unique decks that ended up making the Top 32 of Collinsville. So whether you are playing local or getting ready for Charlotte in a few weeks, the below decks are sure to see some play. Let’s check them out:

Ian Robb’s Golisopod-GX/Zoroark-GX/Lurantis Deck

Golisopod-GX/Zoroark-GX/Lurantis Strategy

This is the deck that Tord Reklev used to win London Internationals back in November and here we are a few months later as the deck continues to be as strong as ever. Robb added in a line of Lurantis PR to presumably hit a damage cap of 190 damage as we dive further into a Buzzwole-GX focused meta game. Let’s see how this math works:

Golisopod-GX uses First Impression for 120 damage (120)

Attach a Choice Band to do 30 more damage (150)

Have one Lurantis PR in play to do 20 more damage (170)

Have two Lurantis PR in play to do 20 more damage (190)

As you can see, you can add an additional 70 damage to First impression to allow for Knock Outs on Pokemon with 190 HP or less. On top of all of this math, Robb opted to include a Mew-EX to have a solidified match-up versus any Buzzwole-GX variant and/or Espeon-GX variant. Almost everything else looks similar to the list that Reklev won with back in November, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a few more of this deck pop up as we approach League Cups.

Natalie Shampay’s Buzzwole-GX/Garbodor/Carbink BREAK Deck

Buzzwole-GX/Garbodor/Carbink BREAK Strategy

This deck appears to be extremely similar to the deck that I played in Sydney, Australia last week so I would consider myself and expert on the subject. The deck is meant to play out similarly to a Buzzwole-GX/Lycanroc-GX deck except you can lock your opponent out of their ability by using Garbotoxin. With Buzzwole-GX having no Ability to lock, you can still function as normal and continue to attack with any of Buzzwole-GX’s wonderful attack choices. Carbink BREAK allowed Shampay to get back her Energy whenever necessary; this strategy is usually only viable under Garbotoxin and later in the game. I played a similar list to this deck that I shared on my Twitter, so feel free to check it out. I also wrote a whole article on Buzzwole-GX/Garbodor and my deck building process last week so I would also give that a solid look!

Alex Hill’s Buzzwole-GX/Lycanroc-GX Deck

Buzzwole-GX/Lycanroc-GX Strategy

Buzzwole-GX tore up the meta game in Sydney and it seemed like all of the best players from North America ran Buzzwole-GX/Lycanroc-GX at that event. This trend actually continued strong heading into Collinsville Regionals and with the help of RK9Labs, we were able to learn that Buzzwole-GX/Lycanroc-GX was the most played deck in Masters. This deck has a simple strategy of using Buzzwole-GX to draw Prize Cards as necessary, using Lycanroc-GX to apply pressure, and using Octillery to keep your hand full of playable cards. This deck is fast, easy, and ultimately effective. I have been advocating that Buzzwole-GX is the best Pokemon in Standard right now and consistent results continually back up my claims. If you are feeling lost on a deck choice or you want to try out something new, I highly recommend playing Buzzwole-GX in general!

Pearce Blend’s Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX Deck

Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX Strategy


In a totally not surprising way, the deck that took Memphis, TN Regionals by storm late 2017 is still doing well in early 2018! Blend took the deck that Michael Pramawat won with in Memphis and added a few tech cards of his own into the mix. The biggest trend in Blend’s deck was the inclusion of both Mewtwo and Mew-EX to try and totally dominate the Buzzwole-GX match-up. Beyond playing a few new tech cards, Blend added in a few Cynthia to update this archetype to the new Ultra Prism ‘standards’. I think that Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc, while not being the absolutely best deck, will be consistently good for a while.

All decks can also be found in our decklist database.

Gustavo Wada’s Volcanion-EX Deck

Volcanion-EX Strategy


Wada traveled all the way from Sao Paulo, Brazil to play in Collinsville and it would make sense for him to play one of his ‘pet’ decks, Volcanion-EX. Volcanion-EX can play out similar to the Ho-Oh-GX deck below, but it also has deeper inner workings which allow the deck to have a larger skill cap. I guess what I am trying to say is that Volcanion-EX, while being a fairly easy deck to pilot, can challenge some players to play perfectly. The deck revolves around using Volcanion-EX’s Steam Up and using Volcanion to power up your Volcanion-EX in play. This deck was a solid play heading into the event with all of the hype surrounding Golisopod-GX variants.

Mason Baker’s Ho-Oh-GX Deck

Ho-Oh-GX Strategy

This deck is able to use Kiawe to power up a Ho-Oh-GX on the first turn of the game! To be clear, that is FOUR ENERGY ON TURN ONE!!! While Ho-Oh-GX’s Phoenix Burn has the slight draw back of Ho-Oh-GX not being able to attack the next turn, Baker played an awesome tech card… Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX! Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX functions like a Keldeo-EX BCR in this deck list because it allows you to rinse and repeat your moves as necessary. There isn't too much else to say about this deck, it is quick, consistent, and effortless.

Kyle Sablehaus’ Gardevoir-GX/Zoroark-GX Deck

Gardevoir-GX/Zoroark-GX Strategy

Sablehaus took a concept that did well in Sydney, Australia the week prior and really brought the heat to Collinsville. This deck, originally created by Tord Reklev, was created to break some mechanics in the game by including as many ‘broken’ cards as possible in the deck. From playing against this deck in both Sydney and Collinsville, I found the deck to live up to the hype because it was so powerful. Similar to how Golisopod-GX/Zoroark-GX/Puzzle of Time garnered hype after London Internationals, I can only assume this deck will also reach that same level of hype.

Zachary Bokhari’s Zoroark-GX/Counter Energy Deck

Zoroark-GX/Counter Energy Strategy

Similar to other Zoroark-GX decks in this list, Bokhari  played with a strong base of a deck and added a bunch of Pokemon that all benefit from the use of Counter Energy. Let’s look at the cards these Pokemon are meant to counter:

Sudowoodo is meant to counter Zoroark-GX

Shaymin is meant to counter Lycanroc-GX

Tapu Koko is meant to counter Ho-Oh-GX

Coballion is meant to counter Gardevoir-GX

Giratina is meant to counter Greninja BREAK

Mew-EX is meant to counter Buzzwole-GX

Mimikyu is meant to counter Buzzwole-GX

With all of these interesting attacking options and having a smooth base of Zoroark-GX, Bokhari was able to consistently create interesting strategies to beat his opponents.

Aaron Tarbell’s Espeon-GX/Garbodor/Drampa-GX Deck

Espeon-GX/Garbodor/Drampa-GX Strategy

Going into Collinsville, I am sure Tarbell had the great idea of playing Psychic-type Pokemon against the Psychic-weak Buzzwole-GX decks that just did well in Sydney. Well, he apparently took that and ran with it as he did well enough day one to make day two. Tarbell’s list actually has a bunch of surprises in it such as Kartana-GX to remove Special Energy, Latios to hit Buzzwole-GX for Weakness, Lusamine to recycle Supporters, Po Town to hit Evolutions for damage, and Unit Energy to bring the whole deck together. Decks such as this one usually vary depending on the meta game, but they also do well at countering exact decks going into a tournament. Whenever I review a deck like this, I often look for parts of the deck that I like and then fix parts of the deck that I don’t like in order to make the list my own.

Sam Chen’s Zoroark-GX/Weavile Deck

Zoroark-GX/Weavile Strategy

Chen told me himself that he believed his deck was a Top 64-only deck; meaning that he was surprised to actually advance onto the second day of the tournament. Looking through this list, it seems like his deck is a basic Zoroark-GX deck with the added attacker in the form of Weavile UPR. Like most Zoroark-GX decks, this deck includes answers to the popular Pokemon, Buzzwole-GX in the form of Mew-EX. Mew-EX is especially strong because for a single Double Colourless Energy, Mew-EX can copy Zoroark-GX’s Riotous Beating to usually OHKO a Buzzwole-GX. I think that this deck may end up being explored by some local players due to the potential damage output from Weavile UPR, but I would imagine that most top players will play something slightly more challenging.

Brandon Johnson’s Hoopa Deck

Hoopa Strategy

In Memphis, we saw Yehoshua Tate do well with his monstrosity of a deck, Wishiwashi-GX/Hoopa, and in Collinsville Johnson decided to take that deck in a new direction. This variant of Hoopa SLG is armed with Energy Cards to promptly attack our opponent while hiding behind that anti-EX/GX Pokemon Ability. While this deck takes an offensive approach, don’t let that fool you; this deck still has multiple tricks up its sleeves. I am not sure if this deck will continue to see success ad Buzzwole-GX/Garbodor variant continue to see success, but there are likely enough other decks in the current meta game for this deck to feed off of.

Nick Robinson’s Vikavolt/Tapu Bulu-GX Deck

Vikavolt/Tapu Bulu-GX Strategy

What can I say about Vikavolt/Tapu Bulu-GX that doesn’t descibe the deck as just being ‘BULU? In all seriousness, Robinson piloted a deck that either goes hard or goes home and he went far enough to make the top 32 in Collinsville. This deck relies on using Vikavolt to power up Tapu Bulu-GX so you are able to attack for damage quickly. Robinson decided to play a copy of Mew FCO in his list to deal with Buzzwole-GX, a popular Pokemon in Collinsville, along with showing strength against the slightly less popular Espeon-GX. If you are ever unsure on what to play at an upcoming League Cup and want to play a deck that won’t cause you too much stress -Vikavolt/Tapu Bulu-GX sounds like a great choice!

Brit Pybas’ Zoroark-GX/Garbodor/Bursting Balloon Deck

Zoroark-GX/Garbodor/Bursting Balloon Strategy

Pybas had one of the most interesting decks in the Top 32 of Collinsville and it is one of my personal favourite decks right now. He took a concept of creating a combination of Bursting Balloon and Garbotoxin to be able to control his opponents. The interaction is weird, but it plays out in a simple loop that is advantageous only to his board:

Use as many Abilities as possible during your turn 
Play a Bursting Balloon on your Garbodor to activate Garbodor’s Garbotoxin Ability
Attack your opponent as you would normally
Your opponent plays their turn under Garbotoxin lock and can’t use any Abilities
They attack you as normal, their turn ends
Bursting Balloon is discarded and your Abilities turn on again
Repeat steps 1 through 6 until you win

With this combination of cards, it is possible to only lock your opponent out of using their Abilities while you are able to use Zoroark-GX’s Trade Ability as often as you like. It doesn't really seem fair, but at least it is your opponent who is locked and not us. Other players who piloted similar decks opted to include Klefki, but that seems to only be personal preference. Either way, Pybas played a deck that will likely stay relevant for a while, I would keep an eye out for this deck.

Robert Rood’s Raichu-GX/Pachirisu Deck

Raichu-GX/Pachirisu Strategy

This deck seems mediocre at first until you realize that you only have trouble with two things: Bench Limitation (Parallel City/Sudowoodo) and Fighting-type decks (Buzzwole-GX). This deck can really explode onto the scene by using Pachirisu to power up other Pachirisu and Pikachu that have the ‘Nuzzle’ attack. Once you have a sizeable amount of Energy in play, you can start attacking with Raichu-GX to do quite a bit of damage overall. While Raichu-GX can often play out like a one-dimensional deck, Rood opted to include a Xurkitree-GX to add an element of surprise into the deck. Not only can Xurkitree-GX block damage from Pokemon with Special Energies attached, it can also turn one of your opponents cards in their hand into a Prize Card with its GX attack. Needless to say, Rood played a deck that is Fighting-weak in a Buzzwole-GX meta game and still managed to make Top 32 - I wouldn’t sleep on this deck just yet!

Goobye Until Costa Mesa

I hope that you enjoyed reading through this article because it was truly fascinating for me to recap every unique deck from Collinsville. I know most areas don’t have their Quarter 3 League Cups for a few more weeks, but these lists are likely going to shape up the meta game in full force. Our next major Standard event will not be until March for the 2018 Charlotte, NC Regionals which makes me excited to see the results of upcoming League Cups.

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 Costa Mesa, CA 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.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 60 Cards.

[+28] okko


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