Experts' corner

Zach Lesage

[Decks] You Should Try - The List Drop

Zach drops six lists for Philadelphia Regionals. Check it out!

09/10/2018 by Zach Lesage

Philly is Almost Here

Hey 60 Cards readers, this is my first article that is focusing on the new season! The new format is shaping up quickly, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it is the easiest format to understand and deck lists are quite difficult to create on your own.

Well, I hope that this article will answer your Poke-prayers because I am going to drop a bunch of deck lists on you today along with a brief strategy of each deck. This format is more about picking a deck that you like instead of finding the best deck in the format (there are none yet) so go ahead and pick a deck that you think you will like. The decks in this article are:

Metagross GX (GRI; 139)  /  Solgaleo GX (SUM; 143)

Rayquaza GX (CLS; 109)  /  Vikavolt (SUM; 52)

Tapu Koko (BW; 31)  / Tapu Lele (UPR; 94)  /  Naganadel GX (FLI; 121)

Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  /  Decidueye GX (SUM; 12)

Ho-Oh GX (BUS; 21)  /  Salazzle GX (BUS; 132)

Magnezone (FLI; 36)  /  Dusk Mane Necrozma GX (UPR; 90)

My next article should be another ‘deck list drop’ so stay on the look out for that too! Overall, there is plenty of ground to cover in this article so let’s get started! 

Lookin’ at the Metagame

The metagame is changing rapidly in this new post rotation format which means there will be plenty of decks that emerge out of seemingly nowehere. That also means that premise of decks will be based on the metagame shift at any given moment, local favourites, and change of plays quite often. I find that this metagame is often rewarding to those who play test quite frequently, it is great for those who do their research, and it is bountiful for those who decide to follow their gut feeling. There are a handful of decks that are doing well based on the results so far and those can be broken into the following categories

Zoroark Decks

Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  /  Decidueye GX (SUM; 12)

Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  / Magcargo / Oranguru

Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  / Golisopod-GX

Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  / Lycanroc-GX

While there are other Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  that will surely be played, those are the decks that are going to see the most success based on the metagame that exists right now. Zoroark-GX decks are powerful because they didn’t lose too much from the rotation, they have a consistent draw engine, and they have the capability to adapt to the metagame.

With Zoroark-GX being such an early threat to the metagame, it is likely to get countered, but it is possible for Zoroark-GX to succeed still. If you are experiencing trouble with your Zoroark-GX deck, I would recommend that you change a few cards for your expected metagame and give it a try.

Shrine of Punishment Decks

Tapu Koko (BW; 31)  / Tapu Lele GX (GRI; 60)  / Shrine of Punishment 

Buzzwole / Garbodor / Shrine of Punishment 

Buzzwole / Weavile / Shrine of Punishment 

These decks are relatively newcomers to the metagame, but they are able to handle Zoroark-GX decks well and can hold their own against some of the big hitter decks in the format. These decks prey on Ability heavy decks, Item Card heavy decks, and GX decks.

These lists are rapidly evolving, but the concept remains the same. I would look carefully into these decks because they just popped up seemingly out of nowhere at the recent Brazil Regional Championships to a great success.

Big Hitter Decks

Metagross GX (GRI; 139)  /  Solgaleo GX (SUM; 143)

Dusk Mane Necrozma-GX / Dialga-GX / Magnezone


Tapu Bulu-GX /  Vikavolt (SUM; 52)

Rayquaza GX (CLS; 109)  /  Vikavolt (SUM; 52)

These decks are the powerhouses of the format, but they come at the cost of being Stage 2 Pokemon decks in an evolving metagame. Most of these decks have a similar strategy of setting up a huge Stage 2 attacker or using a Stage 2 Pokemon to quickly power up powerful Basic Pokémon.

Some of these decks have a slightly better matchup spread than others, but it often depends on the metagame that exists around these decks. I am positive that you will see these decks pop up at Philly Regionals and they will see success to some degree.

The Outlier Decks

Ho-Oh-GX / Salazzle-GX

Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX

Lapras-GX / Volcanion PRISM STAR

These decks are still very good, but are more situational metagame calls and can emerge out of nowhere as top contenders.

They are usually mono-typed decks that will have a hit or miss match-up spread or they are missing a key card to make the deck work perfectly. They still will see success at League Cups and Regionals, but they won’t have the numbers in top cut like the other decks.

Now that is pretty much the metagame overall. I have heard of some concepts that include Guzzlord-GX doing well at League Cups in the Midwest, but that’s more or less of an isolated metagame. While it is possible for entirely new concepts to pop out of nowhere heading into Philly Regionals, I would assume that the metagame is quickly getting solved by some of the best players right now. The above list of decks is likely to remain stable for the next week because Philadelphia will be the next major event that shifts the metagame into adding more counter decks into our format. Now in this article, I will release several of these deck lists, so be sure to find a deck that you like. 

Metagross-GX / Solgaleo-GX Deck

Deck Strategy

This deck is all about getting your Metagross setup so that you can start attacking your opponent. In the early stages of the game, you want to be using Lillie as a draw engine so that you can draw into your Ultra Ball and Nest Ball to fetch out Beldum. After you have a few Beldum in play, you want to use Beacon on Alolan Vulpix to search out your evolution Pokémon.

After a few turns, you should have a board of Metagross GX (GRI; 139)  and a Solgaelo-GX that you can start to use to attack. The goal of this deck is attack with Metagross-GX as many times as possible and to use Max Potion whenever you need to heal one of your Pokémon. You can get around the negative side effect of discarding all of your Energy with Max Potion by using Geotechnical System to attach them back quickly. Metagross-GX has a lot of HP, Solgaleo GX (SUM; 143)  allows you to move your Pokémon freely, and the consistency of the deck allows this strategy to work. 

Rayquaza-GX / Vikavolt Deck

Deck Strategy

This deck is the most powerful deck in format because it can attack for the most amount of damage the quickest. The goal of this deck is to always use your available Nest Ball and Ultra Ball to make sure that you have two copies of Grubbin in play. Once you have two Grubbin in play, you want to make sure that you can efficiently Evolve them into Vikavolt (SUM; 52)  so that you can start powering up Rayquaza GX (CLS; 109) .

You want to consistently spread your Energy when you are using Strong Charge on Vikavolt (SUM; 52)  so that when one of your Pokémon is Knocked Out, you can have more damage on your board. Dedenne is used for mirror matches and Marshadow is a setup/disruption card.

Tapu Koko / Tapu Lele / Naganadel-GX Deck

Deck Strategy

This is likely the most odd deck on the list, but it is still a fantastic choice for those who are bit more adventurous. The goal of this deck is to spread with Tapu Koko (BW; 31) ’s Flying Flip attack while abusing Shrine of Punishment. You can use Naganadel GX (FLI; 121) ’s Stinger GX in the late game to bring each player to three Prize Cards each which is when this deck usually tries to win. After you drop each player down to three Prize Cards, you want to use Tapu Lele GX (GRI; 60)  to move all of the damage counters from your opponents side of the board around to draw your remaining three Prize Cards.

This deck can easily fall behind with the inclusion of Counter Energy so remember that you aren’t necessarily losing just because you fell behind on Prize Cards. This deck is similar to the Buzzwole / Shrine of Punishment decks that are popping off right now, but it has more of a focus on the spread aspect.

Zoroark-GX / Decidueye-GX Deck

Deck Strategy

So this is a super cool Zoroark-GX deck because it also plays Decidueye GX (SUM; 12)  to ‘ping’ damage whenever it needs an extra boost. I enjoy this deck because I was a huge fan of the Decidueye-GX / Vileplume decks that were successful a few years ago and this deck is the closest that I will get the chance to play Decidueye-GX in Standard again. This deck uses a Lillie / Nest Ball / Ultra Ball engine to get Zoroark-GX out quickly which means that you will have draw power for the game.

Decidueye-GX is difficult to get out consistently, but that is why you need to focus on getting out Zoroark-GX first so that you will be able to make your strategy work. You want to use Decidueye-GX to make sure that you can plan Knock Outs throughout the game and you can also snag back resources whenever needed. If you ever find yourself in a pickle, just make sure that you bring up Decidueye-GX because it can take a few hits before getting Knocked Out.

Ho-Oh-GX / Salazzle-GX Deck 

Deck Strategy 

As much as this is one of the outlier decks in the format, I think that it is still amazing and heavily underrated. I like primitive big basic decks that can explode out of nowhere and this deck fits the part. You want to make sure that you get out Kiawe out as soon as possible by either getting it naturally in your hand, using Tapu Lele GX (GRI; 60) , using Ultra Ball for a Tapu Lele-GX, or using a Mysterious Treasure for a Tapu Lele-GX to guarantee it. Once you use a turn one Kiawe, you can start swinging for 180 damage on the second turn of the game to take some quick Prize Cards.

You can get most of your Energy swapped to a new attacker by using Wishful Baton to move three Energy to a Pokemon when you are finally Knocked Out. Salazzle-GX is mostly a late game attacker, but you can use it to discard your opponents Energy if you ever find yourself in a difficult situation. Po Town allows you to take Knock Outs on Evolved Pokemon by adding 30 damage each time a Pokemon Evolves. Overall, the concept is cool, it just seems to be missing a card or two to fit into the current metagame. Perhaps the deck will be much stronger when there is more Fire-type Pokémon support released in Dragon Majesty.

Magnezone / Dusk Mane Necrozma-GX Deck

Deck Strategy 

The last of the decks in this article and certainly not the least important, Magnezone is a terrifying concept because it can power up very powerful Pokémon. The goal of this deck is to make sure that you can get out Magnemite as soon as possible so that you can Evolve it into a Magnezone the next turn.

You want to use Mt. Coronet and Energy Retrieval to get back your Energy to power up powerful Pokémon such as Dusk Mane Necrozma-GX and Dialga-GX. Both of those Pokémon can Knock Out big GX Pokemon seamlessly and Dialga-GX can even gain you an extra turn. The deck can usually power up a Pokemon after a fully powered Pokémon was Knocked Out or it discarded its Energy for attacking. I might want to experiment with Lady and Steven’s Resolve in this list, but I am worried about Judge / Marshadow in this current format. 

Best of Luck

Well, that’s a bunch of information and all that I have left to write about today. I hope that you are able to put these lists to good use and that they give you some knowledge of the metagame. I have put a lot of effort into this lists, tested them as much as possible, and it is very likely that I will run one of them at Philadelphia Regionals. Speaking about Philadelphia Regionals, I have booked my plane ticket, hotel plans, and I have registered for the event. I will be chasing a Top 16 placement again during this Pokémon season. I have already booked travel for Philadelphia, Memphis, Portland, São Paulo, Roanoke, and Anaheim. I am sure there will be challenges that I will face this season, but I will do my best to provide 60 Cards with the best information. 

I will also be going through a lot of growth as I try to further my involvement in Pokémon. I have pending deals that I am looking forward to that will allow me to produce more free content this season. I have also created a website for myself for everyone to keep updated on what is going on in my Pokémon life. You can check that website out here. As always, I will remain active on my Twitter where I will post my latest articles, live updates from the tournaments I play in, and the occasional free list. So yeah, follow me on Twitter to get all of that great content listed and more @ zlesage_pokemon.

Thanks for all of the support and let’s have an awesome season,

Zach Lesage

#PlayPokemon #Pokemon #PokeAcademy #TheDarkPatch

[+19] okko


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