Experts' corner

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Zach Lesage

Gold Rush - Alolan Dugtrio for Costa Mesa

Zach goes over an Expanded Alolan Dugtrio deck for Costa Mesa Regionals

03/01/2018 by Zach Lesage

Almost in California

Hello 60 Cards readers, I am back with a shorter article today and I want to go over a sweet new concept from Ultra Prism. The deck I will be detailing today is Alolan Dugtrio and I think it will fare bette in Expanded than in Standard. I was recently talking to Darian Nigro in a group chat about some Expanded decks and he brought to my attention that Superior Energy Retrieval works wonders with Alolan Dugtrio and like that my mind has been racing. With some broken cards only available in Expanded, it is possible to do damage easier with Alolan Dugtrio’s Gold Rush attack than in Standard. Let’s check out how this math works out below and what we need to do to guarantee it in a game!

Golden Math

So upon reading the new Ultra Prism cards, I am sure everyone has looked into Alolan Dugtrio at least a bit (I know I did). Usually when I am going through a set list, I don’t instantly think of Expanded, but this is where premium websites such as 60 Cards start to pay off. In order for Alolan Dugtrio to do well, it needs to Knock Out important Pokemon that are popular in the Expanded format such as Tapu Lele-GX, Zoroark-GX, and even Wailord-EX. Fortunately for Alolan Dugtrio, your Energy count within the deck is the limit which means that we can Knock Out any Pokemon in the format. Here is a quick chart for how many Energy you need to Knock Out some popular Pokemon:

One Energy discarded = 30 damage (Exeggcute)

Two Energy discarded = 60 damage (Zorua, Froakie, Rockruff)

Three Energy discarded = 90 damage (Frogadier, Kirlia)

Four Energy discarded = 120 damage (Garbodor, Sudowoodo, Shaymin-EX, Gardevoir-GX)

Five Energy discarded = 150 damage (Marshadow-GX, Gallade)

Six Energy discarded = 180 damage (Tapu Lele-GX, Landorus-EX, Seismitoad-EX)

Seven Energy discarded = 210 damage (Zoroark-GX, Lycanroc-GX)

Eight Energy discarded = 240 damage (Decidueye-GX)

Nine Energy discarded = 270 damage (Wailord-EX, Metagross-EX)

Ten Energy discarded = 300 damage (Wailord-EX with a Fighting Fury Belt)

Eleven Energy discarded = 330 damage (Anything as far as I know)

Now it would be completely unfair for me to just explain how discarding Energy equals damage because anyone who has the ability to read Alolan Dugtrio knows that is how the card works. My goal is to show how you can reach up to discarding seven Energy if you see the ever-so popular Zoroark-GX deck or discarding up to nine Energy if you face against a Wailord-EX deck. Let’s see how the cards in our deck can interact so that we can hit those impressive numbers:

Mt. Coronet allows us to get back two Energy from our Discard Pile which will allow us to do 60 damage

Superior Energy Retrieval allows us to get back four Energy from our Discard Pile which will allow us to do 120 damage

Starmie’s Space Beacon allows us to get back two Energy from our Discard Pile which will allow us to do 60 damage

Professor’s Letter allows us to search our deck for two Energy which will allow us to do 60 damage

Looking at the above numbers (60) + (120) + (60) + (60) = 300 damage. Now obviously it won’t be possible to hit for 300 damage every turn because the game of Pokemon is not perfect like that, but with the way that the deck is constructed, it is possible to do so. Speaking about the list, let’s check that out before I explain some cards slightly more specifically:

Alolan Dugtrio Deck List (EXP)

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 Guzma, because it is included in almost every competitive deck!

Three Alolan Dugtrio

This is the main attacking Pokemon in the deck and for a great reason! Our goal in every match-up is to make sure that Alolan Dugtrio will either survive an attack or that we have a back-up Alolan Dugtrio waiting on our Bench. In my experience, it is better to send up a Pokemon as a sacrifice than to miss a one shot with an Alolan Dugtrio so make sure you have done your Gold Rush math correctly before proceeding ahead. 

Two Alolan Diglett UPR and Two Alolan Diglett SUM

I decided on this split because sometimes you miss a giant OHKO by 10 damage or so and the Alolan Diglett with ‘Iron Head’ can allow you to do the remaining damage. On the other hand, sometimes you start games with a dead hand and you would much rather use the other Alolan Diglett to use ‘Spelunk’. Both of these Alolan Diglett are mediocre, but they both have strong points and that is why we run a split.

One Octillery and One Remoraid

While I am sure there are better cards to refresh your hand in Expanded, Octillery feels like it is the least liable choice because it is only worth one Prize Card. Part of me keeps on saying that Zoroark-GX is probably a better partner due to the synergy of Trade and discarding Metal Energy so I am not completely opposed to that idea. While Buzzwole-GX is not as popular in Expanded as it is in Standard, there are a few decks in Expanded that do run Brooklet Hill so that will help to search out a Remoraid. Ultimately, this spot is reserved for a way to draw cards to keep the Metal Energy flowing in your hand.

One Starmie and One Staryu, Three Mt. Coronet, Four Superior Energy Retrieval, and Two Professor’s Letter

As I have briefly explained above, these cards turn Gold Rush from a measly attack into something spectacular by allowing you to discard many Metal Energy from your hand. For most of these effects, you will need Metal Energy in your Discard Pile to retrieve them back, but we have more than enough options in this deck to get that feature completed. Between using Battle Compressor, Dowsing Machine, Professor Juniper, and Ultra Ball there are plenty of opportunities to discard Metal Energy from our hand to get them back when we need them. Just make sure to do your proper math with Gold Rush before you discard your energy to avoid either doing too much or too little damage.

Two Ditto, Two Rescue Stretcher and Two Rescue Scarf

This is one of the more weird inclusions in this list, but it allows you to get back your Pokemon and Evolve them right away at the same time. The way that Ditto works is that if it has been out for a turn, it counts as waiting a turn so you can instantly plop an Alolan Diglett on the Ditto and then Evolve instantly into an Alolan Dugtrio. With this strategy in mind, I wanted to make sure that I would have enough ways to get back discarded Pokemon so I opted to include both Rescue Stretcher and Rescue Scarf. With these three cards combined, an Alolan Dugtrio will be able to stay in play for the majority of the game!

One Mr. Mime

While I have already stated that Buzzwole-GX is not too popular in Expanded, I think all of the Zoroark-GX hype from Dallas will start some traction from opposing decks. I wanted to make sure that Alolan Dugtrio was not caught in a counter-meta game crossfire so I decided to add in a Mr. Mime to make sure that my “weaker” Benched Pokemon would be safe. Depending on how the meta game forms, this card may end up becoming dead weight, but I am personally too scared to change this card out of the deck for anything else.

One Exeggcute and Two Battle Compressor

Exeggcute allows us our hands to remain fuller because we can now use Propagation for all of our discarding requirements from the likes of Starmie’s Space Beacon, Superior Energy Retrieval, and Dowsing Machine. Battle Compressor can quickly grab us access to our Exeggcute and we can also use it to discard Metal Energy that we can get back with all of the cards that allow us to get back Metal Energy from our Discard Pile.

One Dowsing Machine

I usually always try to include Computer Search in my decks, but in a deck such as Alolan Dugtrio, it seems more useful to get back important cards such as Rescue Stretcher or Superior Energy Retrieval than to search for any card that I want. I guess what I am trying to say is that the deck needs to focus more on the long term game plan than the immediate consistency boost.

One Teammates

I think I enjoy playing Teammates in a deck that has lower HP because it means that I should have quicker access to whatever two cards that I would like in my deck earlier in the game. I can only imagine a game state where my Active Alolan Dugtrio is Knocked Out, I can promote another Alolan Dugtrio, and then I can use Teammates for two Superior Energy Retrieval. Teammates may get upped by a count to two copies in this deck because as I am writing this, the card seems more and more important.

Four Level Ball and Two Ultra Ball

This deck exclusively runs Pokemon with less that 90 HP so we can grab any of the Pokemon from our deck with a Level Ball for absolutely no draw back. While Level Ball doesn’t necessarily hinder our deck, I decided to add in a couple copies of Ultra Ball to give this deck a consistency boost. Ultra Ball can also be clutch to discard some Metal Energy early game that I can get back with a card such as Mt. Coronet a few turns later.

See Ya in Costa Mesa

Hopefully you learned a thing or two about Alolan Dugtrio and that I inspired you to try it out before Costa Mesa, CA Regionals. I still haven’t picked a deck for this Regionals and that fact alone terrifies me as the tournament creeps closer every passing day. With my recent string of success with Buzzwole-GX, I wouldn’t be surprised if I settled on that deck last minute, but I wouldn’t necessarily say I am without time. I am going to play test this Alolan Dugtrio deck and if I come up with any more innovations for the deck, I will post it to my Twitter…

Speaking of which, 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.

[+17] okko


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