Experts' corner

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Zach Lesage

Fire Coming Out of a Monkey’s Head - Zoroark-GX / Magcargo / Oranguru

Zach goes over what might be the most pesky deck heading into the World Championships

08/02/2018 by Zach Lesage

That New - New

Sup’ 60 Cards readers, I am back with my first article for this site that is solely based on the new cards from Celestial Storm! It is an exciting time in Pokemon because our regular Pokémon Circuit is over until Worlds and we have the newest set coming out right before the big show! Whether you are just getting into Pokémon now or you are heading to Nashville in August to play Pokémon, you are in for a treat today! My goal for this article is to go over some of the hottest cards to come out of Celestial Storm, go over how one of my past concepts has grown into a newer deck, I want to go over that said newer deck, and explain the strategies within! This article is jam packed with plenty of information so without waiting any longer, lets hop into peeping out some new cards from Celestial Storm:

What is Good from Celestial Storm?

As with any new set that has come out before any major tournament, I am sure all of you readers want to start testing concepts right away! In this section of the article, I will be going over some of my favourite Cards from this set to expedite your testing as we head into a new meta game:

(SCANS ARE COMING SOON)

Shiftry GX (CLS; 14)

Magcargo (CLS; 24)

Articuno GX (CLS; 154)

Electrode GX (CLS; 155)

Banette GX (CLS; 157)

Deoxys ‘Psychic’

Regirock (CLS; 80)

Scizor GX (CLS; 158)

Metagross (CLS; 95)

Celesteela (CLS; 100)

Stakataka GX (CLS; 102)

Latias Prism Star (CLS; 107)

Latios Prism Star (CLS; 108)

Rayquaza GX (CLS; 109)

Dunsparce (CLS; 110)

Acro Bike (CLS; 123)

Apricorn Maker (CLS; 124)

Beast Ball (CLS; 125)

Copycat (CLS; 127)

Friend Ball (CLS; 131)

Shrine of Punishment (CLS; 143)

Stephen’s Resolve

Tate & Liza (CLS; 148)

TV Reporter (CLS; 149)

All of the cards listed are playable upon first glance with most of them being Tech Cards to already existing decks. Some of the cards such as Stacktaka-GX, Rayquaza-GX, and Shiftry-GX seem to be able to hold their own as new decks, but the others are techs. Cards such as Banette-GX, Electrode-GX, and Deoxys ‘Psychic’ are more of add-ins to existing decks or new variants, such as Zoroark-GX / Banette-GX. This set actually has an interesting group of Trainer cards, some better than others, but they all seem to have their place within the meta game. Some cards such as Shrine of Punishments, Acro Bike, and Beast Ball are likely to see play at Worlds while other cards such as Stephen’s Resolve and Tate and Liza will likely see play post rotation. In the upcoming weeks, I challenge you to look over those cards and find insightful ways to utilIze these cards in as many of your decks heading into Worlds! In the next section of this article, I am taking my own challenge by taking a past concept that I created, showing its growth, and creating something entirely new! Let’s check it out:

If you are interested in learning why these cards do, here is where I went to find my translations 

Limitless Translations

Bringing Concepts Together!

So a few of you may remember when I created a lock deck earlier this season that was mostly a fun deck, but I always felt that it had potential. That deck, Zoroark-GX / Oranguru, was a control deck that was gunning to remove energies, put opposing decks in a tough spot, and potentially mill out decks. Recently, Tord Reklev played an extremely similar concept at the 2018 North American International Championships to an AMAZING 2nd place finish overall! My goal in the next few sections is to showcase my older build of the deck, look at the improvement that Reklev brought to that said deck, and ultimately update it with some Celestial Storm cards. It shouldn’t be a surprise that I view Pokémon as a way to showcase growth as a player and through concepts so this is a way to showcase that within this article! Lets peep out out the first version of Zoroark-GX / Oranguru:

Zoroark-GX / Oranguru Deck

Deck Explanation

For me, this is a throwback to my thought process earlier on in the season! I took some elements from the ‘attacking’ Hoopa deck that my friends played at the 2018 Portland Regionals and mixed it with a Zoroark-GX deck. The goal in this deck is to continuously loop pesky cards with Oranguru by using Resource Management to run your opponent out of resources. After you use Resource Management, you use Trade as many times as necessary to gather back those pesky cards to use again! On top of all of this, you want to attach a Fighting Fury Belt to Oranguru so it doesn’t get Knocked Out, use Acerola whenever it has damage, and put your opponent in an infinite loop. Don’t get me wrong, this deck had some glaring omissions that I look back on now and shake my head. Namely, the amount of Tapu Lele-GX in the deck, the random inclusion of Oricorio, the lack of Plumeria, and the inclusion of Darkness Energy all seem so primitive to me now! All hope was not lost though, Tord Reklev seemingly must have noticed my deck or we share the same brain or SOMETHING... Reklev ran a similar deck at the very recent 2018 North American International Championships to a second place finish. 

After seeing the result from Reklev, I was happy, confused, and disappointed in myself. I was happy because he proved to me that my wacky concepts can go far in this game, I was confused because I gave up on the deck for ultimately failing, and I was disappointed in myself for giving up on the deck. In some ways, I saw Reklev up on the stage and imagined that it could be me up there, but on the other hand, he is a great competitor and probably updated the deck to become better. As soon as the event ended, my goal was to peek into Reklev’s list, you around with his updated concept, and to learn as much as I could by playing this deck. Below is the deck that Reklev used at the 2018 NAIC:

Reklev's Zoroark-GX / Oranguru Deck

Deck Explanation

After looking at my above concept from a few months ago and Reklev’s new concept, it is safe to say that Reklev has streamlined the process for this deck. I like how Reklev included many different innovations in his list that range from Reverse Valley so that Zoroark-GX can OHKO a Buzzwole, Delinquent to terrorize players who have three or less cards in their hand, and Weakness Policy to remove the glaring Fighting-type Weakness from the deck. In a recent article, this is what I wrote about Reklev’s deck:

“Reklev, half man and half legend, was able to beast mode it all the way to the finals of another International Championships with ANOTHER Zoroark-GX deck! His deck focused on using Zoroark-GX to attack and keeping the pressure on his opponent by slamming them with disruption card after disruption card. The Oranguru in his deck is utilized to get back copies of these disruption cards such as Team Flare Grunt, Delinquent, and Enhanced Hammer to eventually run the opponent out of usable resources. Looking at Reklev as a player, I can also assume that his prestige level in the game causes some of his opponents to tremble in fear against him as he just tries to play the game normally. I have said it before in this article, but I will say it again, it is better to play the game with a zero-mind concept to only focus on what actually matters - THE GAME! Regardless, Reklev put on another star performance and penciled himself in as one of the greatest players of all time!”

After putting it all together, I have taken my early concept of Zoroark-GX / Oranguru and I have mixed it with Reklev’s Zoroark-GX / Oranguru deck to create Zoroark-GX / Magcargo / Oranguru! The concept adds in Magcargo from Celestial Storm to grab whatever card you need from the deck whenever you need it! Let’s peep out this out this list below:

Zoroark-GX / Magcargo / Oranguru Deck

The Magcargo and Slugma in the above list are proxies for their Celestial Storm versions. The translations for these cards are below:

List of Translations

There are two unique cards in this deck that are from the upcoming Celestial Storm set that has not been released in English at the time of this writing. Below are the translations:

-----

Magcargo – Fire – HP90
Stage 1 – Evolves from Slugma

Ability: Smooth Over
Once during your turn (before your attack), you may search your deck for a card. Shuffle your deck, then place that card on top.

[R][C][C] Combustion: 50 damage.

Weakness: Water (x2)
Resistance: none
Retreat: 3

-----

Slugma – Fire – HP70
Basic Pokemon

[C] Magma Ring: 10 damage. The Defending Pokemon can’t retreat during your opponent’s next turn.

[R][C] Flare: 20 damage.

Weakness: Water (x2)
Resistance: none
Retreat: 2

----- 

Now that we know what these cards do, let’s look into how this deck works!

Deck Strategy

Well, we have already gone through the other two variants of this deck, both my own creation that started the archetype and Tord Reklev’s most recent incarnation so let’s jump into this deck. The strategy of this deck is to pummel your opponent with Zoroark-GX by using Riotous Beating over and over again. The best part about this deck is that you play a bunch of disruptive based cards to limit your opponents Bench, discard their Energy Cards in play, heal your Pokémon, bring up your opponents Pokémon, and even cards that can allow you to deck your opponent out! You may be thinking to yourself, well, that’s dandy Zach, but we can only use those cards once...

Well, that is where this deck becomes truly special! You can actually recycle any of your cards back into your deck by using Oranguru’s Resource Management attack. Most of the time, you’ll want to grab back as many copies of Puzzle of Time to put them back into your deck with Resource Management over and over again. That being said, this opens many different options when you are playing the game because you have access to an infinite amount of cards throughout the game (as long as you can use Oranguru). Furthermore, with the inclusion of Magcargo in this deck, you can use its Smooth Over Ability to continuously put cards at the top of your deck. That Ability works hand-in-hand with Zoroark-GX’s Trade Ability to continuously draw whatever you like throughout the game. With all of these fantastic cards being able to be searched through in your deck, the deck seems like a killer choice for Worlds! In the next section, I’ll showcase some of the cool cards that have been making their way through my main list.

Potential Tech Inclusions

While this deck has the flexibility to include plenty of different cards, I am quite happy with the above list. Most of the changes that I am contemplating are adding in increased counts of cards, such as a second Magcargo, or similar cards in the deck like adding in a few copies of Crushing Hammer (even though the deck already plays Enhanced Hammer). I figured that I would include a list of cards that I would add into the deck that are either new or cards that I might want to increase the count of. Let’s check it out:

Magcargo

Tapu Lele (Fairy Type)

Sylveon-EX

Rainbow Energy

Lusamine

Field Blower

Copycat

Fighting Fury Belt

Weakness Policy

Evo Soda 

Acerola

Enhanced Hammer

Crushing Hammer

Lysandre Labs 

Well, with all of these cool tech cards floating around in your head, I challenge you to test them out. The one thing that I would recommend before testing out any of those cards is to check out the match - up section to determine which match - ups that you want to try and improve your chances against. There are plenty of cool decks floating around so let’s check those out!

Deck Match - Ups

In this section of the article, I will be going over this decks match-ups to the best of my writing capability for the decks that are expected to show up at Worlds and the Nashville Open. At the time of this writing, all of these decks are the expected meta game and the match-ups are based on my current testing. Let’s check the match-ups out:

 

Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX - SLIGHTLY UNFAVOURABLE

Buzzwole-GX / Garbodor - EVEN / SLIGHTLY UNFAVOURABLE

 

The match-ups for these decks follow the same strategy, you want to be able to use Oranguru to use Resource Management to get back Energy denial cards. It is easier to deny energy against the Buzzwole-GX / Garbodor deck because they only play twelve Energy Cards compared to the typical fourteen that Buzzwole / Lycanroc-GX plays. The biggest thing that you need to worry about when it comes to these two decks is the glaring Fighting-type Weakness that Buzzwole and Buzzwole-GX take care off quite easily. Furthermore, Buzzwole-GX / Garbodor can use Garbodor to stop you from using your Trade Ability because of Garbotoxin being a threat. Similar to removing Energy Cards from these decks, you can also use other control cards such as Counter Catcher, Team Rocket’s Handiwork, and Delinquent to keep your opponent struggling. If your opponent is trying to use Buzzwole against you, there is an included copy of Reverse Valley in this deck to allow you to hit the magical number of damage which is 130. The 130 damage is achieved by having a full Bench and a Reverse Valley which looks like 120 damage from Riotous Beating and an additional 10 damage from Reverse Valley. Lastly, Magcargo can use its Smooth Over to quickly nab any singleton tech cards that you have in your deck! 

 

Zoroark-GX / Garbodor - FAVOURABLE

Zoroark-GX / Lycanroc-GX - EVEN / SLIGHTLY FAVOURABLE

Zoroark-GX / Golisopod-GX - FAVOURABLE

Zoroark-GX / Banette-GX - VERY FAVOURABLE

Zoroark-GX / Magcargo / Oranguru - EVEN

 

Zoroark-GX, Zoroark-GX, Zoroark-GX, when is that deck ever going to stop being good? Well, I guess we are trying to beat a Zoroark-GX deck with this Zoroark-GX deck so that is definitely a sign that we are in a Zoroark-GX format! The biggest asset that is available in the Zoroark-GX / Magcargo / Oranguru deck is that it plays Oranguru which allows you to ‘loop’ your disruption cards through your deck. Even though Oranguru puts these cards at the bottom of your deck, the deck plays a copy of Magcargo that allows you to nab back any card that you like. When you are playing against a Zoroark-GX deck, you want to focus your efforts on being aggressive when it comes to playing Enhanced Hammer, Parallel City, Plumeria, Delinquent, and sometimes even Team Rocket’s Handiwork if they used Trade too many times. You want to play these cards because Zoroark-GX decks play a finite amount of Energy, they focus on having a large Bench size, and they are sometimes susceptible to having a low hand. Obviously every Zoroark-GX deck is slightly than the other, so sometimes you need to focus on their auxiliary attacker if it presents issues for you. The variants that should present you the most trouble are the ones that play either Lycanroc-GX or Garbodor. I’ll focus on each of those troublesome variants on an individual basis. The variants that include Golisopod-GX and Banette-GX are both easier match-ups because both of those Pokémon are unable to Knock Out a Zoroark-GX. Furthermore, Banette-GX is able to be Knocked Out in one shot due to it having a Darkness-type Weakness. 

Zoroark-GX / Lycanroc-GX can be a difficult match-up because Lycanroc-GX has a typing advantage over Zoroark-GX because of its Fighting-type Weakness. In this match-up, it is often best to target opposing Rockruff before they Evolve into a Lycanroc-GX, but sometimes they will be able to Evolve them before you know it! In that case, we want to remove as many of the available Energy in play because that deck is known to play Multi Switch. I have often found that Plumeria, a tech that my friend Richard Halsall showed me, is able to swiftly remove an extra Energy in a pinch to devastate their board state. So with that being said, you can use Plumeria and an Enhanced Hammer to take away a fully powered up Lycanroc-GX. If you can handle the Lycanroc-GX, you can run your opponent out of resources by continuously using Oranguru’s Resource Management to get back your disruption cards. With your opponent not being able to handle your deck from losing access to attacking with their Lycanroc-GX, this match-up returns to being favourable.

Zoroark-GX / Garbodor can be another difficult match-up because you need to watch how many Item Cards that you play. The reason why you need to keep a watch on your Item Cards is because Garbodor with Trashalanche feeds on opponents who play Items without care. That being said, you can use Oranguru to attack with Resource Management to put extra Item Cards back into your deck. The copy of Garbodor with Garbotoxin that they play in this deck can be quite harmful to the Abilities that you have available in this deck. With that in mind, we do play a few copies of Field Blower, we can get those back with Puzzle of Time, and there is always Oranguru to use Resource Management if all else fails. Just pay attention for Trashalanche and Garbotoxin while you try to pick at your opponents resources and you should be fine!

 

Rayquaza-GX / Garbodor - EVEN 

Rayquaza-GX - EVEN

 

Finally, I am talking about one of the new archetypes that appears from Celestial Storm, well, more that I think about it, I am actually talking about two new archetypes. These match-ups are difficult because Rayquaza-GX is a fierce attacker that can often build up a huge board that has anywhere from five to eight Energy in the first turn. The strategy here is to use your disruption cards to slow down Rayquaza-GX from setting up many Energy. They can come back from your Energy denial by using their Latias PRISM STAR to re-attach all of the basic Energy Cards that they have in their Discard Pile to their Rayquaza-GX in play. You need to Knock Out their Latias PRISM STAR with a Zoroark-GX in order to keep their Energy at bay. This match-up is mostly even due to the inconsistencies in the Rayquaza-GX deck because it is possible for them to discard vital resources earlier on. In my testing, the copy of Team Rocket’s Handiwork has been a key card to further take away from their resources. 

 

Stakataka-GX / Dusk Mane Necrozma - EVEN / SLIGHTLY FAVOURABLE

Stakataka-GX / Naganadel-GX - SLIGHTLY FAVOURABLE / FAVOURABLE

 

Finally, the last of the major match-ups that you will likely see at League Cups, the Nashville Open, and at the World Championships *drum roll* Stackataka-GX! While I think that this is a deck that has been slipping underneath most players radars, I have been testing this deck and it is absolutely fire! With that in mind, Zoroark-GX / Magcargo / Oranguru has a superior match-up to this deck and that is an asset heading into upcoming events. In this match-up, we want to use Parallel City to limit the size of their Bench which increases the amount of damage that we can do (them having less Stakataka-GX in play) and we want to avoid having too many Zoroark-GX in play. We want to avoid the amount of GX Pokémon that we have in play because Dusk Mane Necrozma will use Dusk Shot to quickly chip away at our two Prize Card attacking titans. In my testing, I have found it to be vital to always have a Magcargo in play to quickly search out whatever you need to keep Zoroark-GX alive (usually Max Potion and Acerola) while you continually provide pressure with Riotous Beating. Don’t be afraid to use two copies of Puzzle of Time to retrieve back more healing cards and your Magcargo to keep the combo rolling. They usually try to isolate the Magcargo, but you will always be able to use Smooth Over to gather back whatever you need to jump back in the game. 

Preppin’ for Nashville

That’s all for today 60 Cards familia! If you were wondering about the title of this article, it IS a reference to The Gorillaz (expect plenty of article names based on rap culture from me). I hope that you enjoyed this article in all of its pesky glory - I truly put in a lot of effort into this article! I think that this deck or decks that are similar in nature to this deck are in a strong meta game position heading into Worlds. For my future articles, I will be doing a mix between new decks with Celestial Storm cards, post rotation deck lists, and thought pieces to improve you as a player. My goal is to make EVERY reader on 60 Cards welcome to read my articles, find them interesting, and even learn something or two! As for me, I have been testing for Day 2 of Worlds, Coaching, and putting my new MacBook Pro to use by writing plenty of articles! 

For updates on my travel plans, tournament schedule, premium deck lists, strategies, and my most recent articles, feel free to check out and follow my professional Pokemon Twitter @ zlesage_pokemon. Also, remember to give this article a ‘like’ to let me know what you thought of this article - it gives me the motivation needed to write! Thanks for supporting 60 Cards, reading my articles, and watching me grow as a player!

Until next time,

Zach

#60Cards #PokeAcademy #PlayPokemon #Pokemon

[+23] okko


 

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