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Zach Lesage

Why is ZoroToad the BDIF?

Why does this deck keep winning in Expanded? Zach explains behind the paywall! Check it out!

01/01/2019 by Zach Lesage

Lookin’ at Expanded

What’s up 60 Cards readers, its ya boy Zach and I am back with another article today to satisfy your reading needs. In my article today, I will be going over the undisputed best deck in the Expanded format, Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  / Seismitoad EX (FRF; 20) , and explain why it is one of the best positioned decks heading into Dallas Regionals.

There are a lot of nifty tricks to know about this deck so be sure to read this article carefully heading into your next Expanded event. Let it be known that this is part of a series of articles that will all be focusing on Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  / Seismitoad EX (FRF; 20)  so be sure to read all of them. That being said, let’s jump right into it.

The Evolution of ZoroToad

My teammate on Dead Draw Gaming, Jimmy Pendarvis, is having an AMAZING season and that comes off as an understatement. He won Portland Regionals with Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  / Seismitoad EX (FRF; 20) , he won Roanoke Regionals with Gardevoir GX (BUS; 93)  / Swampert (CLS; 35)  / Alolan Ninetales GX (GRI; 22) , and he recently won Anaheim with Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  / Seismitoad EX (FRF; 20) . Beyond being an absolute beast, it has to be obvious that he won two separate Regionals with the same deck. THE SAME DECK! The best way to look at this deck is to understand where the concept started, where it has evolved, and the future of the deck. Looking at the deck, it has seemed to start where most ‘control’ Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  come from, my original idea of Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  / Oranguru (UPR; 114)  ‘loop’.

I posted the concept almost a year ago online, shortly after Oranguru (UPR; 114)  came out, to bring a concept that allows you to run your opponent out of resources. The goal of that deck was to use Trade over and over again to draw into the necessary cards to distrust your opponent. The early build of the list was not the most impressive, it had weird counts of Crushing Hammer (SUM; 115) , Darkness Energy (GEN; 81) , and too many Oranguru (UPR; 114) , but the concept was there. Fast forward to NAIC 2018, Tord Reklev took my concept ran with it, made finals, and the deck has been present ever since. I know that many top players ran Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  / Magcargo (CLS; 24)  / Oranguru (UPR; 114)  for Worlds, Grant Manley saw great success at Memphis with a similar concept, and Daniel Altavilla crushed out the 2019 LAIC with a similar style of deck. With Pendarvis winning the last two Expanded events and the concept being proven in the past with other measurable successes, there is no doubt in my mind that this is the best deck in format. Let’s check out his list from Portland quickly.

If we look at this deck, it seems like it is a Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  deck that has a bunch of disruption cards in it to slow down your opponent. Well, as much as that is a primitive way to look at the deck, it is a true statement. The goal of this deck is to keep a Seismitoad EX (FRF; 20)  in the Active position, use Quaking Punch repetitively, and use disruption cards in the background to secure your victorious position. There are other ‘strategies’ in this deck, such as the option to use Riotous Beating with Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  to take out a bigger threat, but those are few and far between. This deck is all about understanding each card in the deck individually and how those same cards can interact with other cards gracefully. In order to help you understand each card a bit more, I will go over every card from this list individually.

The Pokémon Explained

This section will explain all of the individual Pokemon in the deck. 

Zoroark-GX

This card is truly the heart of the deck and it is the BEST way to draw cards in the format currently! In this deck, Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  is used for its Ability, Trade, to draw into all of the disruption cards in the deck whenever you need them.

You can either discard cards that you no longer need, such as a  Brigette (BKT; 134) during the late game, or you can discard ‘infinite’ cards. Infinite cards include Exeggcute (PF; 4)  and Tirtouga (PLB; 27) , because you can get them back over and over again. Exeggcute (PF; 4)  is usually the card that you want to discard over and over again, but Tirtouga (PLB; 27)  does prevent you from decking out. While Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  can attack with Riotous Beating, it isn’t the main strategy of the deck and should only be reserved for dire situations.

Zorua

This Zorua (DE; 70)  has been deemed the best Zorua (DE; 70)  in format because it allows the deck to potentially gain an extra turn due to Paralyzing Gaze. With this deck having no true intention of winning the game via Prize Cards, it doesn’t necessarily look for extra outs to do damage. That is why playing other disruption cards, such as this Zorua (DE; 70)  that can Paralyze our opponent, is the better choice.

Seismitoad-EX

One of the main components of this deck, Seismitoad EX (FRF; 20)  allows this deck to lock your opponent out of using their Item Cards while you use your disruption cards in the background. The best way to look at this card is to think of a potential situation you may run into... Your opponent has a Double Colorless Energy (SLG; 69)  on their Drampa GX (GRI; 115)  and a Psychic Energy (GEN; 79)  on their Garbodor (BKP; 57)  so you plan on removing those. You use a Plumeria (BUS; 120)  to remove the Psychic Energy (GEN; 79) , use an Enhanced Hammer (GRI; 124)  to remove the Double Colorless Energy (SLG; 69) , and you then attack with Quaking Punch to shut them off from using Item Cards. They are running out of Energy, realize that you can use Lusamine (CIN; 96)  to get back a Lusamine (CIN; 96)  / disruption Supporter, and they decide to not attach an Energy for their turn. At this point, you can start using Team Rocket's Handiwork (FCO; 112)  to deck them out or use Team Skull Grunt (SUM; 133)  to take away Energy from their hand. If Seismitoad EX (FRF; 20)  gets too damaged, you can always use Acerola (BUS; 112)  to heal it in a pinch. Think about all of the Item Cards that are played in this game, Float Stone (BKT; 137) , VS Seeker (UR; 100) , Battle Compressor (PHF; 92) , and Ultra Ball (SLG; 68)  come to mind, YOUR OPPONENT CAN’T PLAY THEM!  Seismitoad EX (FRF; 20) is really good!

Tapu Lele-GX

In a deck that plays over ten different Supporter Cards, you need to understand that means Tapu Lele GX (GRI; 60)  is a huge component in that deck for sure! Every single different Supporter calls for a niche situation and Tapu Lele GX (GRI; 60)  makes sure that the deck does everything that it wants when it wants to. Are you playing against a Night March ( Joltik (PHF; 26) / Pumpkaboo (PHF; 44)  / Lampent (PHF; 42) ) deck? Well, let’s pull out Karen (BW; 177) ! Are you playing against a deck with only a few cards remaining in their deck? Let’s nab that Team Rocket's Handiwork (FCO; 112) for sure! You can also use Energy Drive against decks that load up a bunch of Energy, such as Primal Groudon EX (PRC; 86) , so make sure you keep your eyes peeled for opportunities.

Sudowoodo

Sudowoodo (GRI; null)  is a great way to block opposing Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  decks from doing too much damage with Riotous Beating and it keeps other decks that thrive on Sky Field (ROS; 89)  at bay.

Look at a deck that recently did well, Rayquaza GX (CLS; 109)  / Ho-Oh EX (DR; 22) , and realize that Sudowoodo (GRI; null)  would definitely hurt the amount of Benched Pokémon that your opponent can play. It isn’t necessary every match, but if you realize that your opponent’s deck thrives on Benching Pokémon, play down this card!

Exeggcute

As stated above, Exeggcute (PF; 4)  is a great way to make your decisions easier when it comes down to the art of discarding cards. Looking at cards such as Ultra Ball (SLG; 68) , Zoroark GX (SLG; 53) ’s Trade, Dowsing Machine (PS; 128) , and Plumeria (BUS; 120)  is slightly easier because you will no longer have the pain of removing important cards out of your hand each turn. You can always discard an Exeggcute (PF; 4)  into your Discard Pile early by using a Battle Compressor (PHF; 92) , so make sure that you look for all available opportunities to be the most conservative during your match. As a bonus, if you are ever attacking with Zoroark GX (SLG; 53) , remember that you can use Exeggcute (PF; 4)  to hop out of the Discard Pile, put it in your hand, and you can use it as an extra Benched Pokémon for Riotous Beating.

Oranguru 

With Oranguru (UPR; 114)  giving you access to your whole Discard Pile, you want to make sure that you have a plan before your use Resource Management effectively. Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  is great at trading things away, but what happens when you are forced to play a Professor Juniper (PLB; 84)  to stay in a game and you discard a Double Colorless Energy (SLG; 69) , Fighting Fury Belt (BKP; 99) , and Zorua (DE; 70) ? Well, Oranguru (UPR; 114)  is here to save the day, at least kinda. With the addition to Fighting Fury Belt (BKP; 99)  in the deck, you can gain an extra 40 HP and successfully stay in play an extra turn or so. Remember that when you use Resource Management that it isn’t Quaking Punch, meaning your opponent can use Item Cards again, which means it needs to be an important attack. 

Tirtouga

Tirtouga (PLB; 27) , or as some like to choose as Lileep (PLB; 3)  / Archen (PLB; 53) , are cards that allow you to use Trade EVERY single turn during the game without the threat of decking yourself out. Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  uses Trade, discards an Exeggcute (PF; 4) , gets back the Exeggcute (PF; 4) , uses Trade, etc. until the deck runs out of cards that is. Tirtouga (PLB; 27)  can be Trade fodder and then you can place it back on top of your deck so you will always ‘draw’ into it. This is great for games where you are required to draw through your entire deck with Trade and your opponent still has life left in them while you try and deck them out. If you didn’t play Tirtouga (PLB; 27) , you wouldn’t be able to Lusamine (CIN; 96)  loop (grabbing Lusamine (CIN; 96)  / another card) over and over again forever, but with Tirtouga (PLB; 27) , you can play forever. You do need to watch out for random instances of Garbodor (DR; 54)  or other cards that can block Abilities, but those are few and far between. Keep your surf strong people! \

See Ya in Dallas!

That’s a wrap everyone! I hope that you enjoyed my views on Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  / Seismitoad EX (FRF; 20) , the undisputed best deck in the Expanded format and that you learned a thing or two. As Dallas rapidly approaches, I recommend to playtest with and against it to make sure you are prepared for the event.

As for me, I just booked my plane ticket to Dallas and I am hyped to head to another Regional Championships this season! Even though I have not put up the best results in Expanded, I am going to use my past failures to fuel my passion to test even more! I will be attending the event with my friends and my lovely girlfriend, Michele, which means that I will have a blast no matter how I do in the event! If you see me at the event, feel free to talk to me for a bit, it would make my day to talk to players who have read my articles! 

If you are interested in following me on Social Media, here is my information:

Twitter: zlesage_pokemon

YouTube: Team DDG

Coaching: contact me on Facebook Messenger

Website: zlesage.com

All the best,

Zach

[+26] okko


 

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