Experts' corner

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Zach Lesage

Why is ZoroToad the BDIF? Pt. 2

Check out this continuation of Zach's last article that goes over the Trainer line up in ZoroToad.

01/07/2019 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; 106) , 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; 106)  so be sure to read all of them. That being said, let’s jump right into it.

Part 1

The Trainers / Energy Explained

In the last article, which is linked above, you can see how I broke down each Pokémon in Jimmy PendarvisZoroark GX (SLG; 53)  / Seismitoad EX (FRF; 106)  deck from Portland. This article is going to be similar because I am breaking down each Trainer card / Energy card in this article. It is my hope that you will find this information useful in learning more about this powerful deck. Before I jump into the detailed explanations, let’s look over Pendarvis’ deck one last time.

Each card in this deck is meant to be used in a specific matchup, or a certain situation, so keep your eyes peeled for opportunities to abuse your deck.

Dowsing Machine

Dowsing Machine (PS; 128)  is a versatile card because it can get back almost any of your resources which is a huge boost in consistency for this deck. Think about it, you need a Fighting Fury Belt (BKP; 99)  to make sure that your Seismitoad EX (FRF; 106)  survives or you are out of VS Seeker (UR; 100)  for you to use a Plumeria (BUS; 120)  in a pinch! Whichever way you spin it, you can totally control the pace of the game by choosing whichever card you need back whenever you need it.

The only downside of Dowsing Machine (PS; 128) , discarding two cards, can easily become solved by discarding an Exeggcute (PF; 4)  and Tirtouga (PLB; 27)  to get a free use out of the card. Remember to look through your Discard Pile carefully to make sure that you know what cards you are choosing from and at situations you can put your opponent in. Always be prepared and keep your eyes peeled!

Rough Seas

With Seismitoad EX (FRF; 106)  being one of the main components of this deck, you want to be able to use Quaking Punch for as long as possible. That is where Rough Seas (PRC; 137)  comes in! Rough Seas (PRC; 137)  allows your Seismitoad EX (FRF; 106)  to stay alive longer and it can counter other opposing Stadium Cards in play. One thing that you need to look into is when your opponent sends up a Pokémon that can also benefit from the Rough Seas (PRC; 137)  because you might not be able to accomplish what you are hoping to accomplish. On the other hand, if they don’t have a viable way to attack you for a lot of damage, you can ‘loop’ them with the Rough Seas (PRC; 137)  by using Quaking Punch, they heal, and you still don’t get Knocked Out. This can give you plenty of time to ‘loop’ Lusamine (CIN; 96)  over and over again to use disruption Supporters against your opponent.

Parallel City

Parallel City (BKT; 145)  is a great card because it offers two major functions in this deck. You can limit either players Bench to three and you can limit the amount of damage that certain Pokémon do. Looking at those two main functions, we can utilize them in many different ways! We can limit the Bench of opposing Zoroark GX (SLG; 53) decks, we can ‘heal’ our Bench if we have Pokémon with damage on them by discarding them, and we can limit damage. Looking deeper into limiting damage, you can either lower the damage from your opponent’s Pokémon or you can limit the damage from your Seismitoad EX (FRF; 106) . If you lower the damage from your Seismitoad EX (FRF; 106) , you can use Quaking Punch for a longer amount of time, which can give you extra time to use Lusamine (CIN; 96)  to get back disruption Supporters over and over again.

Lusamine 

As I am sure you have read in this article a few times, this deck relies entirely on creating a Lusamine (CIN; 96)  loop over and over again with Seismitoad EX (FRF; 106)  buying time with Quaking Punch. If you don’t understand how a Lusamine (CIN; 96) loop works, let me explain it to you.

If you play a Lusamine (CIN; 96) , grab a card back and another Lusamine (CIN; 96) , you can I finitely play cards throughout the game. You will ALWAYS have the option to use ANY Supporter you want! With Tirtouga (PLB; 27)  allowing you to never run out of cards in your deck, you can always Lusamine (CIN; 96)  loop with this deck. 

Plumeria 

This is one of the main Supporter Cards in the deck and for good reasons, it combos well with Lusamine (CIN; 96)  and can run your opponent out of Energy in play. Plumeria (BUS; 120)  works exceptionally well with Exeggcute (PF; 4)  and Tirtouga (PLB; 27) , but you can always discard a useless card mid game such as Pokemon Fan Club (UPR; 133) . Try to focus on Basic Energy with Plumeria (BUS; 120)  to get here most mileage because you can always take away Special Energy with Enhanced Hammer (GRI; 124) . You can use this card in combination with Enhanced Hammer (GRI; 124)  to take away many of your opponent’s Energy in play. 

Team Rocket's Handiwork

In a deck like this, there is no certain win condition that is going to take you all the way each game. Some games you might be able to run your opponent out of Energy cards and sweep with a Zoroark GX (SLG; 53) . Sometimes your opponent will forcefully deck themselves out... Well, Team Rocket's Handiwork (FCO; 112)  can help you achieve that win condition faster. One way to look at discarding the top cards of your opponent’s deck is a way to run them out of potentially resources. Similar to how a Crushing Hammer (SUM; 115)  can take away an Energy, Team Rocket's Handiwork (FCO; 112)  can take away important cards hiding in your opponent’s deck.

Pokemon Fan Club

In a deck where you might want to grab a Zorua (DE; 70)  and a Seismitoad EX (FRF; 106) , Pokemon Fan Club (UPR; 133)  can be a better choice than Brigette (BKT; 134)  or Professor Elm's Lecture (LT; 188) . Beyond being able to search for any two Basic Pokémon from your deck, there are other uses that come from the card putting those cards in your hand. You can grab a Tapu Lele GX (GRI; 60)  for next turn or you can grab cards to discard with Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  when using Trade. 

Professor Juniper

While this deck can seem delicate at times, you need to remember that you can get back any of your resources with Oranguru (UPR; 114)  and Lusamine (CIN; 96)  / VS Seeker (UR; 100)  put in a solid effort at getting back Supporter Cards.

That being said, discarding a few ‘useless’ cards with Professor Juniper (BLW; 101)  for the chance to get a much better hand is a solid trade off.

Team Skull Grunt

Sometimes your opponent is too scared of your Plumeria (BUS; 120)  to play down their Energy so they decide to quietly hold them in their hand... BOOM! You just used Team Skull Grunt (SUM; 133)  to gobble up two Double Colorless Energy (SLG; 69) ! When you are playing Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  / Seismitoad EX (FRF; 106) , you want to apply pressure on your opponent by having multiple outs to controlling their deck and Team Skull Grunt (SUM; 133)  is one of those ways. If they attach their Energy to their Pokémon, use a Plumeria (BUS; 120) . If you think they have Energy in their hand, use Team Skull Grunt (SUM; 133) . If they aren’t attaching Energy or if you think they are out of Energy, use Team Rocket's Handiwork (FCO; 112) . A huge play that you can do to really throw off your opponent is to use Enhanced Hammer (GRI; 124)  with a Team Skull Grunt (SUM; 133)  for the opportunity to take away three Energy in a single turn! 

Brigette

Similar to how Pokemon Fan Club (UPR; 133)  can grab a Zorua (DE; 70)  and a Seismitoad EX (FRF; 106) , sometimes you just want to grab three Zorua (DE; 70)  or maybe even a Sudowoodo (GRI; null) . With Tapu Lele GX (GRI; 60)  or Battle Compressor (PHF; 92)  / VS Seeker (UR; 100)  you can grab ANY Supporter Card that you want so it is worthwhile to have a diverse selection. Overall, Brigette (BKT; 134)  is a great choice overall in most games and will help you with your initial setup. 

Gladion

When you have as many one-of cards in your deck as Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  / Seismitoad EX (FRF; 106) , you may end up with having some important elements of your deck in your Prize Cards. Well, no worries my friends, Pendarvis has decided to include a Gladion (CIN; 95)  in his deck to help out with that exact issue. Whether it is a Pokémon or anything else you think is missing, Gladion (CIN; 95)  will help you get there. 

Colress

In a format filled with Sky Field (ROS; 89)  and large benches, Colress (PS; 118)  is a no brainer, the card is BUSTED. Even if you only have three Pokémon on your Bench and your opponent has the same, you are still drawing six cards. It is not unheard of to draw eight cards, ten cards, or even a whopping sixteen card hand!

The one thing to watch out for is when you draw too many cards and deck out! Always make sure to count the amount of cards remaining in your deck before using Colress (PS; 118)  because you might end up decking out.

Acerola

Pokémon get hurt, it is sad, this is something that we all know, but what if there was a solution? With just one damage counter on a Pokémon, you can use Acerola (BUS; 112)  to bring it back to your hand with all cards attached. This also holds true when you have a Seismitoad EX (FRF; 106)  with a Fighting Fury Belt (BKP; 99)  attached to it chilling on 210 damage... BRING THAT CARD BACK TO YOUR HAND! As much as Lusamine (CIN; 96)  can loop Supporters / Stadium Cards in through your hand, Acerola (BUS; 112)  can loop your Pokémon if your opponent can’t Knock Out your Pokémon. While it is certainly annoying to face against an opponent who seemingly heals their Pokémon each turn, we are the ones doing the healing which makes this card AMAZING!

Guzma

Guzma (BUS; 115)  gifts this deck the option to bring up whatever Pokémon we want and we get the bonus side effect of switching our Pokémon too. Similar to how Lysandre rocked the world of Pokémon for years, Guzma (BUS; 115)  is the new kid in town that is played in almost EVERY deck because it is one of the STRONGEST cards in the game. In this deck, you want to bring up one of your opponent’s Pokémon with a high Retreat Cost, use Quaking Punch with Seismitoad EX (FRF; 106) , and hope that they can’t get out of it. 

Karen

With decks like Night March ( Joltik (PHF; 26) / Pumpkaboo (PHF; 44)  / Lampent (PHF; 42) ) and Vespiquen (ANO; 10)  / Flareon (PF; 12)  running around, Karen (BW; 177)  is a great way to send all of their Pokémon in the Discard Pile back into their deck. You can also use it as a way prevent yourself from decking out in a pinch by shuffling in your own Pokémon back into your deck. If you don’t think you will see a lot of Night March decks or other decks that discard Pokémon, Karen (BW; 177)  might not be the most useful spot heading forward. 

N (FCO; 105)  is likely the most disruptive Supporter card that we have seen in the game and it makes sense that we want to play it in a control deck. Between using Quaking Punch with Seismitoad EX (FRF; 106)  and getting plenty of cards with Zoroark GX (SLG; 53) ’s Trade Ability, the aftermath of  N (FCO; 105) isn’t really going to hurt our deck too badly.

Looking at our opponent’s side, they will likely draw fewer cards, be under Item Lock, and won’t be able to bounce back as quickly as we can. You can also use N (FCO; 105)  as a way to put some important cards back into your deck to avoid decking out when you have a large hand.

VS Seeker 

After writing about all of the BUSTED Supporter Cards in this deck, you can see why this deck plays VS Seeker (UR; 100) . Even though the goal is to use Lusamine (CIN; 96)  to loop through your Supporter Cards, VS Seeker (UR; 100)  can grab back any card we need in a pinch. Another thing to note, Garbodor (GRI; 51)  with Trashalanche is a popular Pokémon in Expanded so make sure you keep the count of Item Cards you have played in your Discard Pile.

Ultra Ball 

What can I say about Ultra Ball (SLG; 68)  that hasn’t been said before? This card is played in almost EVERY deck ever and has been a staple inclusion in most decks since it’s release. The bonus of playing Ultra Ball (SLG; 68)  in this deck is that you can discard Exeggcute (PF; 4)  and Tirtouga (PLB; 27)  to make your searches without discarding important resources. If for some reason you can’t find access to an Exeggcute (PF; 4) , I would recommend using Gladion (CIN; 95)  to find it or discarding cards you jo longer need mid game such as Brigette (BKT; 134) .

Enhanced Hammer

Enhanced Hammer (GRI; 124)  is a great addition in this deck because it allows you to take away a Special Energy Card, such as Double Colorless Energy (SLG; 69) , without the drawback of playing a Supporter Card. You can use this card in combination with Team Skull Grunt (SUM; 133)  or Plumeria (BUS; 120)  to take away multiple Energy or even abuse it again with Dowsing Machine (PS; 128) .Remember to use this card wisely, especially if you know your opponent is playing Special Energy in their deck. A key thing to think about in Expanded is to double check to see if you can play your Item Cards in general, because you might find yourself playing against a Seismitoad EX (FRF; 106)  or a Trevenant.

Battle Compressor

Between this deck wanting to have Exeggcute (PF; 4) , Tirtouga (PLB; 27) , and Supporter Cards in the Discard Pile (to use with VS Seeker (UR; 100) ), Battle Compressor (PHF; 92)  helps get us there. Maybe you have a VS Seeker (UR; 100)  in your opening hand and you want to grab a Brigette (BKT; 134) , Battle Compressor (PHF; 92)  will definitely have your back. Sometimes you will look through your deck and find next to nothing to discard, but every card that you don’t need that gets discarded gets you closer to the cards you want. Use this card wisely and make sure you don’t deck yourself out with it.

Fighting Fury Belt

Fighting Fury Belt (BKP; 99)  is generally used on Seismitoad EX (FRF; 106)  to make sure that you can use Quaking Punch for as long as possible. If you use this strategy in combination with Parallel City (BKT; 145)  to reduce your damage, Rough Seas (PRC; 137)  to heal your Seismitoad EX (FRF; 106) , or Acerola (BUS; 112)  to bring it back to your hand, you can keep Seismitoad EX (FRF; 106)  alive as long as possible.

There are also other Pokémon, such as Oranguru (UPR; 114) , that you can attach a Fighting Fury Belt (BKP; 99)  to, just make sure your Pokémon will still be alive after facing an attack.

Field Blower 

There are plenty of pesky Pokémon Tool and Stadium Cards that players play in the Expanded format and we want to make sure we can Field Blower (GRI; 125)  them away. Looking at one of the main reasons, Garbodor (DR; 54)  with Garbotoxin, can completely shut us off from using Zoroark GX (SLG; 53) ’s Trade Ability which really hurts. If we Field Blower (GRI; 125)  a Pokémon Tool Card away from the Garbodor (BKP; 57) , we can use our Abilities again and keep our control element of the deck going. You can also take out other pesky Stadium Cards, such as Silent Lab (PRC; 140) , to make sure that your deck is always running in the best shape it possibly can.

Rescue Stretcher 

Sometimes you are forced to discard Pokémon that you don’t want to discard or maybe your opponent took a quick Knock Out on one of your Pokémon... Rescue Stretcher (GRI; 130)  will be there to save the day. You gotta think about it, Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  won’t always have access to Exeggcute (PF; 4)  to discard away with Trade, so maybe you will have to discard away another Pokémon that you have available in your hand. That being said, Rescue Stretcher (GRI; 130)  can get you back all of those treasured Pokémon from your Discard Pile and even more. If you either purposely or we’re forced into discarding a Tapu Lele GX (GRI; 60)  / Shaymin-EX early, you can always get back that Pokémon with a Rescue Stretcher (GRI; 130)  to use as another out to drawing cards. Lastly, Rescue Stretcher (GRI; 130)  is a great way to avoid decking out, even if you have already decked out, because you can always put three Pokémon back into your deck.

Counter Catcher 

In a deck where your win condition doesn’t necessarily involve you drawing Prize Cards, Cards like Counter Catcher (CIN; 91)  can stop your opponent from fulfilling their plan to win. Use this card to drag up a Pokémon that has a hefty Retreat Cost so that you can use Quaking Punch with Seismitoad EX (FRF; 106)  to disrupt your opponent even further. Remember that since this is not a Supporter Card, that you can also play other disruption based Supporter Cards to further control your opponent.  

Float Stone

Sometimes you just need to Retreat a Pokémon for free and Float Stone (BKT; 137)  fits this bill perfectly. Maybe you started the game slowly with a Seismitoad EX (FRF; 106) , it has a bunch of damage on it, and you don’t want to attack with it. You can slap a Float Stone on it, Retreat into another Seismitoad EX (FRF; 106) , and successfully use Quaking Punch. Additionally, if you are using Acerola (BUS; 112) , you can send up a Pokémon with a Float Stone (BKT; 137)  attached, and then have more options for finishing your turn.

Double Colorless Energy

Double Colorless Energy (SLG; 69)  is the ONLY Energy that we play in this deck because both Riotous Beating on Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  and Quaking Punch on Seismitoad EX (FRF; 106)  rely on using Double Colorless Energy (SLG; 69) . Between using Trade multiple times Float Stone (BKT; 137)  turn and having access to strong draw Supporters like Colress (PS; 118) , you should have access to your Energy when you need them. If you find yourself running low on Double Colorless Energy (SLG; 69)  during the late game, you should use Oranguru (UPR; 114)  to get them back with Resource Management.

A quick tip that I like to remind people about is that just because you have an Energy in your hand, doesn’t necessarily mean that you should attach it to one of your Pokémon. Faba (LT; 173)  is one of the most popular cards in Expanded from Lost Thunder and it can instantly banish a Double Colorless Energy (SLG; 69)  from your board.

See Ya in Dallas!

That’s a wrap everyone! I hope that you enjoyed my views on Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  / Seismitoad EX (FRF; 106) , 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: Message me on Facebook

Website: zlesage.com

 

All the best,

Zach

[+24] okko


 

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