Experts' corner

Zach Lesage

Looking at Worlds - The Junior Perspective

Aidan Ulian allows you to step into the mind of one of the best Juniors players in the game. He showcases some tips heading into Worlds and offers lists for ZoroGarb, ZoroCargo, and RayGarb.

08/17/2018 by Zach Lesage

Sharing Thoughts

Zach: Hey 60cards readers, I am back with another article featuring one of the best Junior players in the game, Aidan Ulian, and I hope you enjoy looking at the game through his eyes. Throughout this article, I will write some bolded notes to add in my two cents when needed or to clarify some thoughts. I hope that looking at the game through the mind of a Junior will provide a refreshing take on the metagame and inspire many of the younger players who read this. Enjoy.

A Fresh Look

Hello 60cards readers! It’s me, Aidan, your local favorite Pokemon player (well, at least I hope so). In this article, my mentor, Zach Lesage, asked me to write some of my thoughts as a Junior players heading into Worlds. As many of you know, Worlds can be a scary tournament for anyone, and I am sure that there are many Junior players who are worried about this tournament as much as I am.

I am not saying that I don’t have the confidence; I mean that Worlds is a big deal for anyone participating. In this article, I answer some questions about Worlds, go over some of my tournament tips, and show some decklists for my favorite decks heading into the World Championships.

Worlds Question and Answer

Zach: I recently wrote an article where I interviewed different levels of Worlds attendees, and I figured it would be great to do the same for Aidan. I have noticed over the years that Junior and Senior players barely receive the stardom of Masters which makes it difficult for everyone to know who they are. Throughout the interview, I invite you to read into Aidan’s answers to learn more about a little-known superstar who is ready to tear up Day 2 of Worlds. Let’s begin:

Name: Aidan Ulian

Country: Kitchener, Canada

Age: 11

Division: Seniors (Juniors for Worlds)

Championship Points: 960

World Championship Invites: 2

Zach: How are you doing today?

I’m doing great! I have been having a pretty slow day but a good one overall.

Zach: That is great to hear, are you excited for Worlds?

Of course! I’m always excited for my next event; I love Pokemon. There is something about Worlds that always makes it one of my favourite tournaments.

Zach: Same here! Worlds always gives me goosebumps just thinking about it. What excites you the most for Worlds?

I am excited the most about playing the game at a high level of strategy and seeing my friends. This community is great and I can’t wait to see everyone there!

Zach: Hopefully we can hang out in Nashville this year! Is this your first invite to the World Championships? If not, how many invites have you received among all of the years that you have played?

I have received two invites to Worlds in total throughout the years. I am hoping i can keep my streak going and make Worlds this upcoming season as a Senior!

Zach: Wow, you are so young and have already been invited to Worlds twice, that’s awesome! What years have you been invited to Worlds?

The 2016/2017 and 2017/2018 years.

Zach: Have you done much testing for Worlds? 

I’ve been testing and deckbuilding a whole bunch. I plan to kick it into full gear for the last few weeks heading into Worlds!

Zach: That is basically what I have been doing too; I guess great minds think alike! How many hours do you plan on play-testing for Worlds per week heading into the event?

Two to three hours a day pretty much. I hope that I can get 10-15 hours of testing per week.

Zach: That is a lot of hours of testing for such a young man. Why are you play-testing that extensively?

I feel like 10-15 hours is just the right amount of preparation. It gives me time to figure out the matchups and learn them all inside and out.

Zach: I love your dedication! Are there any decks that you are enjoying right now?

I have been enjoying Zoroark-GX variants right now. I like the speed and how good your draw power can be. I am also a huge fan of Garbodor, so you know that I have been testing Zoroark-GX/Garbodor/Garbodor.

Zach: I like Zoroark-GX decks a lot right now too. They are super impressive when you play them perfectly! What are your top five decks heading into the World Championships?

Zoroark-GX/Garbodor/Garbodor, Zoroark-GX/Oranguru/Magcargo, Buzzwole/Buzzwole-GX/Lycanroc-GX, Rayquaza-GX, and Rayquaza-GX/Garbodor.

Those are my favourites for many reasons, but other things could be good too. I guess I just need to test more to find my absolute favorite deck!

Zach: That list is similar to mine. If Worlds was tomorrow, what deck would you be playing? Why would you be playing that deck?

Zoroark-GX/Garbodor/Garbodor: It has a good spread of matchups, and I feel like it did well at Columbus in Juniors and Masters for a reason.

Zach: Yeah, Benny B. and Stephane Ivanoff crushed it at the North American International Championships with that deck! Do you have a list for the above deck that you would be willing to share? If not, explain why you want to keep it a secret.

My lists are changing every week, but I did write about my most current list below! You should totally check it out to see how great it is!

Zach: Such confidence! Much wow! How does that deck work? If you could give the readers a brief rundown of the strategy, that would be great.

It runs on a Brigette engine and tries to get many Zoroark-GX into play to overwhelm your opponent. It has the option to Ability-lock if it needs to, and Trashalanche closes out the game in most circumstances. Its strategy is pretty straightforward, but I find it takes practice to master.

Zach: That sounds like a great gameplan. Hopefully it works out for you at Worlds. Speaking about Worlds, do you have any tips heading into Worlds that will improve your chances on succeeding?

Don’t let stress overcome you! Eat healthy food, stay hydrated, stay alert, and stay energized to power through the event. Also, make sure that you think through every play to make the best one.

Zach: Wise words from such an awesome person! Lastly, do you have any shoutouts that you want to give out? Also, feel free to link us to your Twitter and/or Twitch accounts.

I want to give a shoutout to Bodhi Robinson for helping me test and a shoutout to my parents for supporting me all of the way! I will have Twitter out soon and I am starting to get into streaming on Twitch! Keep your eyes open for both of those accounts when I get those launched. Thank you for your time, I wish you the best of luck at Worlds! 

Zach: Thank you for letting me do this interview, and best of luck to you at Worlds!

Worlds Tips 

Quite a few players are able to play the game, but they don’t follow some of the same rules that I do when I attend any event. I am not talking about them cheating at the game, but they might be able to do something more at events than just playing. Going into a major event such as Worlds, preparation is the key to your success.

It is always good to have a routine, follow a set time for when you want to eat, and to keep your head in the game. Here are some of my must have tips for any event, but they can particularly help you when you are competing at Worlds.

Zach: I agree with Aidan here! When I am at tournaments, it is vital for me to get rest, adjust to different time zones, eat at proper times, and boost my morale when I feel down. It is super helpful to have a person not playing in the event help you get through your day, because they can gather you water, food, and cheer you on to victory. 

A refillable water bottle is always good to keep you hydrated, and it might give you a moment to pause and think. Sometimes my parents allow me to have a caffeinated beverage, because it can keep me awake when I get tired during the later rounds of the day. For those of you who don’t know, I am fully vegan, which means that I only eat plant-based foods. I always try to find restaurants around the venue or I might even pack a lunch if there is nothing available. It is a key tip to always keep your belly happy, because it is hard to play Pokémon when you are hungry. When in doubt, I also pick a few snacks in my pocket in case I need something smaller to get me through my day. To summarize everything together, you want to make sure that you satisfy your appetite and that you drink lots of water at any tournament.

That's just the food and drinks; we also need our stuff to play the game. I never forget to bring my favorite playmat with me that I keep protected in a tube. I also have a deckbox to hold my deck that is durable, because sometimes Juniors drop stuff (and we don’t want to break things). My deckbox is also able to hold all of my dice because if it didn’t, I would forget them at home. It is also a good idea to pack extra sleeves in case you get a deck check or if you rip a few sleeves throughout the day. It is also mandatory to bring your GX counter, Poison counter, and Burn counter to every match. I’ll put everything in a list form for you:

Checklist of Needs

Drinks (water and more)

Food (meals and snacks)

Playmat (I also have a tube to protect my awesome mat)

Deckbox (to protect my cards of course)

Sleeves (I always put some extra sleeves in the back of my deck box)

Dice (make sure to have a clear dice for rolling)

Counters (you will need a GX counter, Poison counter, and Burn counter)

Zach: Aidan has a fair and accurate list here. As an adult who plays this game, my list adds on car keys, wallet, and a few other miscellaneous items. Make sure that you are always prepared for a tournament, you go in with the right mindset, get a decent sleep, and have your necessities ready.

I always make sure I have everything on this list handy so I can power through any tournament. Oh, just one last tip, don’t let the stress get to you! Just have fun, the experience is so good on its own. Now that I have shared my tips for Worlds, I want to go over one of my top picks for Worlds, Zoroark-GX/Garbodor/Garbodor. 

Zoroark-GX/Garbodor/Garbodor Deck

About the Deck

Zoroark-GX/Garbodor Garbodor is my favourite deck going into the World Championships right now because it is a versatile deck. It got first place in the Masters division at NAIC and it got second place in the Juniors division. While both of those lists were different from each other, they both have the same goal of being a disruptive deck that also specializes in attacking.


My list focuses a little more on consistency and I put in a second Garbodor with Garbotoxin to have a higher chance of locking my opponents Abilities. The addition of the second Garbodor with Garbotoxin is needed in only a few matchups, but it give me a higher chance of it not being in my Prize Cards. There are some potential changes that I have been testing, but I am not sure if I will end ups playing them at the World Championships. Let me know how you decide to play the deck by giving me some feedback after you test around with my list.

Add in a Buzzwole and minus a Garbodor with Garbotoxin

I find this card to be a good tech against Zoroark-GX if you can use Sledgehammer after they Knock Out two Pokemon and it is good against Zorua in the early game. If you want this change, also cut the Psychic Energy for a Rainbow Energy so it can attack more consistently.

Add in a Mew-EX and minus a Kartana-GX

If you really want a better Buzzwole match up, Mew-EX is going to help you get there. With the inclusion of Rainbow Energy in my list, you are able to copy things like Dangerous Rogue GX, Crossing Cut GX, Sledgehammer, Claw Slash, Armor Press and First Impression.

Add in a Reverse Valley and minus a Parallel City

This card makes it possible to Knock Out a Buzzwole when attacking with Zoroark-GX and I am sure there are other 130 HP Pokemon that this will help against too.

Zach: I think what Aidan wrote down holds true, but I want to jump into the explanation of Zoroark-GX / Garbodor / Garbodor a bit in case you want to know how the deck works. The deck runs off of a Brigette engine which means that you should be able to get out your Zorua and Trubbish quickly. You have the draw power of Zoroark-GX, the Ability lock of Garbodor with Garbotoxin, the option to get cards back with Puzzle of Time, and you can punish your opponent for playing Item Cards by attacking with Garbodor that has Trashalanche. The deck is truly an entire package when playing and carries a versatile playing style.

The Match-Ups

The match-ups listed in this section of the article are based on my findings when I have tested out decks in our new Celestial Storm format. All of these decks are basic lists when testing without any crazy techs that are not popular when I wrote this.

Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX / Buzzwole - SLIGHTLY UNFAVOURABLE / EVEN

You can win this game, but it's really hard. You usually are either forced to come from behind by using Garbodor with Garbotoxin / N or hoping for them to discard plenty of Item Cards to capitalize on Garbodor with Trashalanche.

Try to go after single Prize Card Pokemon, such as Remoraid or Diancie PRISM STAR, with your Zoroark-GX and try to Knock Out EX / GX Pokemon with Garbodor with Trashalanche.

Zoroark-GX / Magcargo / Oranguru - FAVOURABLE

This deck relies on Abilities, so set up your board, and then use Garbodor with Garbotoxin to lock them out of abilities. Only attach Energy Cards when you need to or all your energy will be gone because of their disruptive strategy. That is why I play a Psychic energy, I wanted to give that deck a harder time discarding my Energy Cards in play. Additionally, that deck plays a bunch of Item Cards, so punish them with Garbodor with Trashalanche. Go after their Zorua and Slugma to have an easier time in the long run because your opponent will struggle to set-up. One last thing is to play conservative by using Oranguru to get back cards like Puzzle of Time and Double Colorless Energy. Delinquent can also be a lifesaver here so be prepared to use it when you find the perfect opportunity.

Zach: I actually have to disagree with Aidan here, in my testing, this is a near auto-win match-up for Zoroark-GX / Magcargo / Oranguru. Zoroark-GX / Garbodor / Garbodor can be a 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!

Malamar / Ultra Necrozma-GX / Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX - FAVOURABLE

Set up Garbodor with Garbotoxin quickly and go after Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX because it is weak against Zoroark-GX. Ultra Necrozma-GX can be dealt with by Garbodor with Trashalanche, but  you can often play around that Pokemon by Knocking Out everything else that your opponent has in play. Locking them by using Garbodor with Garbotoxin and then Knocking Out their Malamar in play is the best way to win, but you this match-up is favourable almost any way that you play the match-up.

Zoroark-GX / Magcargo / Oranguru Deck Deck

About the Deck

This is similar to the deck that Tord Reklev used to make finals at the NAIC, but it has been changed due to the new set. Magcargo is now a card that gets a spot in the list for its Ability to put any card on top of your deck.

That Ability coupled with Trade, you get any card available in your deck that can be used against your opponent. This deck does attack, but do you Oranguru to get resources back in your deck every turn. You want your opponent to run out of energy, and then go in for the win in any way possible. There are some potential changes that I have been testing, but I am not sure if I will end ups playing them at the World Championships. Let me know how you decide to play the deck by giving me some feedback after you test around with my list.

Zach: That pretty much sums it up. You want to use anything that you can against your opponent by making sure you pay attention to the game.

Add in a Magcargo and minus a Mew-EX

This is a weird change, but it slightly ups consistency. This makes the Buzzwole match-up slightly worse, but helps you from bricking.

Add in a Team Flare Grunt and minus a Plumeria

If you don't like the discarding of cards from Plumeria, you could make this change. Another option is an additional copy Crushing hammer or Enhanced Hammer. However I find i like plumerias versatility to discard energy of the bench or the active.

The Match-Ups

The match-ups listed in this section of the article are based on my findings when I have tested out decks in our new Celestial Storm format. All of these decks are basic lists when testing without any crazy techs that are not popular when I wrote this.

Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX / Buzzwole - SLIGHTLY FAVOURABLE

This a matchup where its hard to tell whether you attack or not. You want to try and imit their Energy Cards in play as much as you can every turn. If you don’t get Knock Outs, they are not able to use Beast Ring to attach a bunch of Energy. If Buzzwole is a big threat to you, eliminate it with Mew-EX whenever possible. That play will not only stop threats, but potentially take away a few Energy too. You want to use Enhanced Hammer or Crushing Hammer every turn possible and use Delinquent when they are at a low hand size. Just remember that you can use N to hurt them a lot if they are ahead in the game.

Zoroark-GX / Garbodor / Garbodor - SLIGHTLY UNFAVOURABLE

You can win this, but it is hard without Abilities. You want to use Field Blower and make the most out of your turns. Using Oranguru to loop is how you win this match-up and ultimately deck them out. You don't want to attack unless you are using Oranguru. The big goal is to always think one turn ahead, think through every play, and you should be in a spot where you could win the matchup.

Malamar / Ultra Necrozma-GX / Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX - EVEN

This match-up is hard because they can user Malamar to get back Energy, but you can still deck them out.

It is vital to Knock Out Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX and Malamar to stop your opponent from getting a full set-up. The goal is to run them out of ways to find Energy and attackers in order to win the match-up.

Zach: The match-ups are here seem like the right game plan. I would follow Aidan’s advice.

Rayquaza-GX / Garbodor Deck

About the Deck

Currently, this is my favourite way to play Rayquaza-GX in our Standard format. The Garbodor with Garbotoxin tilts so many match-ups into your favour while the deck holds onto its aggressive roots. I would like to add some more energy, but I find it hard to find room. This deck is all about taking big Knock Outs and it seems like a pretty good choice for Worlds.

If it runs hot, then it can win almost any matchup. If it doesn’t, you can pretty much lose. Stormy Winds sets up loads of Energy, Max Elixir puts more Energy on the board, and Latias PRISM STAR can get you the rest of the Energy that you need. There are some potential changes that I have been testing, but I am not sure if I will end ups playing them at the World Championships. Let me know how you decide to play the deck by giving me some feedback after you test around with my list.

Add two Choice Band and minus two Wishful Baton

This is a change that I have heavily considered and it generally makes sense. It makes it easier to hit higher numbers of damage and allows you to take Knock Outs for less Energy overall. Another Pokemon Tool that could go in is Fighting Fury Belt because it helps you to survive against Banette-GX and Buzzwole-GX. 

Add one N and minus one Professor Sycamore

This is just a minor Supporter change, but it can matter a lot. This is a change that can allow you to disrupt your opponent instead of discarding cards out of your deck.

The Match-Ups

The match-ups listed in this section of the article are based on my findings when I have tested out decks in our new Celestial Storm format. All of these decks are basic lists when testing without any crazy techs that are not popular when I wrote this.

Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX / Buzzwole - SLIGHTLY FAVOURABLE

Most games, you can just out speed your opponent and win the game, but watch out for Sledgehammer and Dangerous Rogue GX. Those Pokemon are able to Knock Out your Pokemon fairly easily, but if you sacrifice a Rayquaza-GX, you can still salvage some Energy with a Wishful Baton.


In this match-up you just want to out power, out speed, and lock them out of the game with Garbodor with Garbotoxin.

Just play optimally and try to put them into as worse of a situation as you possibly can. In order for them to have a chance, the Knock Outs they need to isolate your Wishful Baton. The biggest tip that I can give is to use your copies of Wishful Baton wisely.

Malamar / Ultra Necrozma-GX / Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX - UNFAVOURABLE

They have so many more energy acceleration Pokemon then you do and they don't even need Max Elixirs (plus they don’t need Acro Bike). They also have so many more attackers that the second you get ahead, Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX can take so many Prize Cards. To win, you have to make your Energy stick and try to win as quickly as possible. Remember to Guzma around the Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX when it uses its GX attack to get in your attack.

Zach: I have slightly different results with Rayquaza-GX variants that Aidan, but the premise of the match-ups remain the same. With Rayquaza-GX / Garbodor you want to get a board filled with Energy, play as conservatively as possible, and lock your opponent by using Garbodor with Garbotoxin.

See Ya at Worlds!

Well, that's a wrap! I hope that you have enjoyed this article and my goal is to write more articles in the future. I am super excited to play in Worlds for a second year in a row and I plan on testing a whole bunch more for that tournament. Other than Worlds, I should be going to Philadelphia Regionals in September, so I hope to see you there! I am also proud to be a first year Senior division player right now and my sights are set high. Whether you will be in Nashville for the Nashville Open, Worlds, or even just spectating, feel free to come and say hi! I always love to meet new Pokemon friends.

Best of luck,

Aidan Ulian 

Zach: Thanks for reading the article and I hope that you have learned a thing or two by looking at the meta game through the eyes of a Junior. I hope to offer up an article slot for other up-and-coming players in the future to share their vision of the game. 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,


#60Cards #PokeAcademy #PlayPokemon #Pokemon

[+20] okko


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