Experts' corner

Zach Lesage

Spooky Trees, Tropical Eggs, and the Purple Squid

Zach briefly recaps his Portland experience and drops two new decks, Alolan Exeggutor and Malamar, for Sao Paulo / Virginia.

11/05/2018 by Zach Lesage

Back to Back

What’s up 60 Cards readers? I am back with another article before Sao Paulo and apparently dropping back-to-back articles! The Portland Regional Championships have just concluded, which I managed to go an abysmal 2-4-0 drop at and saw none other than Jimmy Pendarvis finish with his rather unique Zoroark GX (SLG; 77)  Control variant, featuring Seismitoad EX (FRF; 20)  and a thin Supporter line-up.

It managed to overcome many Trevenant BREAK (BKP; 66) , Drampa GX (GRI; 115)  / Garbodor (GRI; 51)  / Garbodor (BKP; 57) , and Zoroark GX (SLG; 77)  decks throughout the course of the tournament, eventually taking down 60 Cards own Aaron Tarbell in the finals. I wanted to touch on Portland as a reservoir for the next Expanded Regionals, and time-capsule my thoughts until I need them again (or for anybody reading this now). I also share some sweet deck lists for Alolan Exeggutor (FLI; 2)  and Malamar (FLI; 51)  going into Sao Paulo and / or Virginia, so be sure to read on! This one's going to be killer.

Portland Recap

Going into Portland, I decided to play Trevenant BREAK (BKP; 66)  because I enjoyed its position in the metagame, and its consistency.You can read my last article here for any reference to my full thoughts heading into the tournament. I actually even posted my EXACT list the day before the tournament, maybe it hurt me more than I thought it would *joke*. The matchups went as follows:

R1 – Zoroark GX (SLG; 77)  / Seismitoad EX (FRF; 20)  LL

R2 – Seismitoad EX (FRF; 20)  / Techs WW

R3 – Trevenant BREAK (BKP; 66)  LL

R4 – Trevenant BREAK (BKP; 66)  LL

R5 – Zoroark GX (SLG; 77)  / Lycanroc GX (GRI; 74)  WW

R6 – Trevenant BREAK (BKP; 66)  LL


Obviously I hit some obscene variance in the decks that I played against and it resulted in a poor day.

I am trying to look on the bright side that I enjoyed my trip to Portland, explored a fun city, and played in another Pokemon event. For those of you who want to check out my list one last time, let’s look at it.

Overall the list was good and I enjoyed playing it thoroughly. It got stale at times considering the deck is linear, but it did what it needed to do almost all of the time. Trevenant BREAK (BKP; 66)  is just a poor matchup and it is something I just have to deal with LOL.

Concept #1: Alolan Exeggcutor List

This is my first attempt at an Alolan Exeggutor (FLI; 2)  list - it gets much better alongside the new Shuckle (LT; 16)  that gets released, and Net Ball (LT; 187) in a total bonus. Net Ball (LT; 187)  grants you the flexibility to grab a basic Grass Pokémon, but you don’t have to put it on your bench like Nest Ball (SUM; 123)  (that’s a very important “s”!) The added utility of Net Ball (LT; 187) is that it can grab us a Grass Energy (GEN; 75) , which can be important to ensure we are always attacking.Now, back to Shuckle (LT; 16)  - when combined with Net Ball (LT; 187) , you can search your deck for three different Energy types and put them into your discard pile. This means that all you need to use is two Shuckle (LT; 16) , and you can get rid of a full five Energy within a single turn! Alolan Exeggutor (FLI; 2)  has always been an okay card that has been looked over, but now I feel like it really gains a lot from the new set, and will allow for high playability.

Alolan Exeggutor (FLI; 2)  was something that inspired me this passing weekend in Portland, because I saw it succeed at the top tables in a much more flexible metagame; in Standard, where things feel a lot mores imple, I could see a deck like Alolan Exeggutor (FLI; 2)  popping off and winning a tournament. The deck’s main strength lies within the main attacker’s HP - 160HP is a tank to KO!

Most Pokémon can’t hit that damage output in one attack, so Alolan Exeggutor (FLI; 2) will get a positive Prize Card trade with most decks. Other than that, it has phenomenal typing amongst the metagame right now, and can hit pretty good numbers. If you have five different Energy in the discard pile, Alolan Exeggutor (FLI; 2) can attack for 120 damage! Alongside cards such as Shrine of Punishment (CLS; 143) , Choice Band (GRI; 121) , and Professor Kukui (SUM; 128) , we get some decent damage modifier cards that can aid us in reaching OHKOs. Likewise, our alternate attacker, Buzzwole (FLI; 77) , also supplies us another attacker in the form of a Fighting-type Pokémon! It’s handy at KO’ing Zoroark GX (SLG; 77) , and just generally giving us another Pokémon that can hit good numbers. Once again, that 130 HP is just as tanky as can be, as you’ll see it’s quite difficult to KO with other Pokémon. 

Now I’d be silly if I didn’t acknowledge that part of the reason it was so successful in Expanded was because of the Propagation Exeggcute (PF; 4)  in combination with Battle Compressor (PHF; 92) , but that doesn’t mean that in Standard it doesn’t have some perks. Here’s some cool stuff that it has going for it in Standard...

Shuckle (LT; 16)  helps thin the deck of Energy, which will in return give you more consistent draws throughout the course of the game. Natural deck thinning in addition with this guy will leave you with the perfect deck in the late game! 

Alolan Exeggutor (FLI; 2)  plays zero to one Tapu Lele GX (GRI; 60)  in it, which means there are barely any GX Pokémon. In a format filled with Shrine of Punishment (CLS; 143) , we’re pretty safe

Alolan Meowth (LT; 118)  can help us nab the first KO of the game if we’re going second! It’s a fantastic little addition to the deck, especially when we don’t need too much Bench space in order to get things done. Popping off and hitting 70 damage on the first turn can KO things like Trubbish (GRI; 50) , Zorua (SLG; 52) , Wimpod (BUS; 16) , Inkay (FLI; 50) , Poipole (LT; 107) , and many more! Gaining a favourable Prize Card trade with this Pokémon is totally worth the spot.

It can stand up to decks like Zoroark GX (SLG; 77)  / Lycanroc GX (GRI; 74) , Buzzwole (FLI; 77)  / Garbodor (GRI; 51) and Malamar (FLI; 51)  due to its insane amount of health, and ability to hit two shots. 

In comparison to most Standard decks, Alolan Exeggutor (FLI; 2)  runs a very high amount of consistency cards in order to ensure that it will draw well.

As you can see, this list is pieced together very similarly to what Malamar (FLI; 51)  decks are currently looking like. You’ve got your standard Supporter lineup, heavy Ball count, and Escape Board (UPR; 122) / Acro Bike (CLS; 123)  to boot! It’s slightly less consistent than Malamar (FLI; 51)  due to the inability to abuse Mysterious Treasure (FLI; 113) , but it makes up for it with the ability to search out Grass Energy (GEN; 75)  with Net Ball (LT; 187) . The only real big changes here in the list would be a little bit more HP ( Alolan Exeggutor (FLI; 2) ) in exchange for a suite of attackers ( Malamar (FLI; 51) ). These two decks should run very similar in terms of setting up, but provided you can get Shuckle (LT; 16)  down, your deck will be thinner than the Malamar (FLI; 51)  players. Professor Kukui (SUM; 128)  also makes an appearance in this list to help us deal with Buzzwole (FLI; 77)  and other 130 HP threats, such as Giratina (LT; 97) .

Concept #2: Malamar 

Malamar (FLI; 51)  has been taking the world by storm ever since Rukan Shao took it to extreme heights in the first quarter of the year. After Celestial Storm dropped, Shao fathomed probably the most consistent deck in the entire Standard format, and popped off at Philadelphia Regionals! Working alongside Caleb Gedemer and fellow 60 Cards writer Daniel Altavilla (and some others, I’m sure of), in order to take down the second Regionals of the season with a new adaptation to the deck, Chimecho (CIN; 43) . Chimecho (CIN; 43)  was essentially a “time-buyer” in the form of a basic Pokemon, which against the mirror and Zoroark GX (SLG; 77)  variants proved very effective.

Since you were unable to evolve your Pokemon or play things down with abilities, taking down the Chimecho (CIN; 43)  with a limited attacker pool proved to be rather difficult. This would allow the pilot behind the Malamar (FLI; 51)  deck many turns to setup their board state, which is seemingly unstoppable when they’re able to get two or three Malamar (FLI; 51)  set up! Lunala Prism Star (UPR; 62)  also started to pop into lists as a way of not only accelerating Energy on the first turn of the game, but as a means to deal heavy amounts of damage with a single Prize Card attacker. I believe many lists will trend towards playing Lunala Prism Star (UPR; 62)  as a result of how it can deal with spread decks, fringe Fighting-type decks, such as Passimian (SUM; 73)  with its Resistance, and how it can trade with high pressure attackers with ease, like Rayquaza GX (CLS; 109) .  

The newest iteration of the deck will come alongside the new expansion’s release of Lost Thunder, in the form of Giratina (LT; 97) . Giratina (LT; 97)  offers what the deck needed the most, and in the coolest way possible – an ‘immortal’ single Prize Card attacker that can resurrect itself continuously from the discard pile.

Not only does it hit the numbers that it has to in order to stay pertinent, but it also can spread damage onto the opponent’s bench; spread is a territory that the “GasKan” deck has yet to touch, and let me tell you, it opens up doors for us Malamar (FLI; 51)  lovers. Giratina (LT; 97)  proves superior to Deoxys, the main single Prize Card attacker in traditional Malamar (FLI; 51)  lists in many ways, but there’s a few differences between them. Let’s talk about the pros and cons of Giratina (LT; 97)  in contrast to its predecessor.


• Can resurrect from the discard pile, providing an infinite single Prize Card attacker attacker

• Hits for 130 damage – ten more damage than Deoxys (CLS; 68)  can dish out

• Can snipe damage using its ability to setup KOs

• Weakness to Darkness-type provides a different contrast to the deck

• Resistance to Fighting-type could prove pesky for Buzzwole (FLI; 77)  decks


• A hefty retreat cost of three can prove pesky if you start off with Giratina (LT; 97)  – it could put you behind the eight ball if it’s a close Prize Trade! You’ll have to find a Guzma (BUS; 115)  in most cases if this happens, which is terrible.

It snipes a Pokemon on your side for 40 damage with its attack – this isn’t all too bad if they aren’t playing spread, because you can just snipe something like a Malamar (FLI; 51)  that would regularly be a OHKO for the opponent regardless! 


The biggest pro is definitely the fact that it can consistently rejuvenate itself from the discard pile over and over against single Prize Card attacker decks; I would always sweat the Buzzwole (FLI; 77)  / Shrine of Punishment (CLS; 143)  matchup because I was scared that at certain points I wouldn’t be able to draw a Rescue Stretcher (GRI; 130) .

Now, I can preserve those Rescue Stretcher (GRI; 130)  for something else, such as the Malamar (FLI; 51)  line or something that’s a one-of. Little boosts like this can go a long ways for a deck that can consistently power up new attackers, and to be honest with you, this might push the deck slightly over the top past other decks in the metagame. The biggest con would be obviously starting with it, but that’s not even too bad when you consider the fact that you could use Escape Board (UPR; 122)  to lessen the retreat cost, or just find a Guzma (BUS; 115) . If you’re against a speedy deck that can apply pressure though, you might be in over your head because more than likely they’ll kill your Giratina (LT; 97)  before you have a chance to move it form the Active position. 


Morty (LT; 186)  is something I’ve also considered in the list in order to defeat random decks by surprise! Any player that has ever been Delinquent (BKP; 98)  knows the feeling of betrayal as the opponent discards your Stadium card from play, and takes your hand down to zero cards. Since you’re playing a deck that primarily uses single Prize Card attackers, there will be plenty of turns where Morty (LT; 186)  is available, and it’ll catch your opponent off guard as it isn’t part of traditional Malamar (FLI; 51)  lists. In Standard, many decks don’t play Oranguru (SUM; 113)  in order to draw out of dead hands, so it might catch you a lucky break against certain matchups. In theory though,  Morty (LT; 186) is also useless against certain decks that have outs.

Like for example, certain decks have a setup on board that once they’re down, it’s difficult to stop. Examples of these decks would be Malamar (FLI; 51) , and Vikavolt (SUM; 52)  / Rayquaza GX (CLS; 109)  because their engine is already on the field! Other decks, such as Zoroark GX (SLG; 77) , are able to draw cards because of their Trade Ability. I guess as I’m writing this, I’m coming to realize that the only deck that Morty (LT; 186)  really helps against would be against Blacephalon GX (LT; 52) , which could prove to be rather effective. It could also prove helpful against Buzzwole GX (CIN; 57)  / Shrine of Punishment (CLS; 143)  decks that have yet to develop their Magcargo (CLS; 24)  / Oranguru (SUM; 113)  board. Overall, Morty (LT; 186)  has his niche uses and could see some play in newer Malamar (FLI; 51)  decks.

Another card that peeped my interested would have to be that new Nihilego (LT; 106)  that can copy attacks if your opponent has exactly three Prize Cards remaining. This could be more useful than Mimikyu (GRI; 58) , because it can copy GX attacks, and it can also copy ANY attack on the opponent’s side for a single Energy.

Mimikyu (GRI; 58)  can copy the opponent’s last attack as long as it wasn’t a GX, but sometimes I want to copy GX attacks, ya feel? Mimikyu (GRI; 58)  also has Filch in order to draw cards, so it’s up for debate what could really be better here. I’m leaning towards Mimikyu as it’s more flexible and sows up more fringe matchups, such as Magnezone (UPR; 83)  to copy Dusk Mane Necrozma GX (UPR; 90) ’s hefty, powerful attacks. 

The last card that I wanted to briefly touch on was Spell Tag (LT; 190) , this card saw some huge success in Japan alongside a deck that abused Giratina (LT; 97) Ability to spread damage, Spell Tag (LT; 190)  to spread even more damage, and Malamar (FLI; 51)  to accelerate energy. I liked this concept a lot, but unfortunately in order to run Spell Tag (LT; 190)  you also have to cut Escape Board (UPR; 122) . This is an uneven tradeoff in my opinion, because I firmly believe that Escape Board (UPR; 122)  will help you to gain the first Prize Card way more efficiently than Spell Tag (LT; 190)  will catch you up on Prize Cards in the late game. It's worth a shot to test out, but in my opinion I think Spell Tag (LT; 190)  is inferior. 

Wrapping Up

That’s it for today everyone. I’ll be testing to break the format right now, with Malamar (FLI; 51)  in my back pocket just in case I can’t do so in time. Sao Paulo is in a few weeks, Virginia is in about a month from now, so there should be plenty of time to kick it into gear. I’m going to take a page from Pendarvis' recent success at Portland, find myself a crew who’s willing to test, and just really go for it! Worst comes to worst, I’ll just play Malamar (FLI; 51) , which is quite far from just being complacent. I will also be working on producing the highest level of content going forward on a consistent basis as I work on a strategic plan to make 60 Cards a better website. During this time of rejuvenation, I welcome any and all feedback that will help see the site succeed. The immediate goals of the site are to streamline regular content, release it on a continuous basis, and provide more articles for the same value. These are hefty goals, but I will be working long hours to make sure I can keep the value of my word. 

If you are looking to find out what’s going on in the world of Zach Lesage, here is the linking for all of my current Social Media / business projects.


Twitter: zlesage_pokemon

Coaching: The Dark Patch

YouTube: Team DDG


Twitch: TBA


Until next time,

Zach Lesage


#PlayPokemon #Pokemon #60Cards #PokeAcademy #TheDarkPatch #DeadDrawGaming

[+20] okko


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