Experts' corner

Dustin Zimmerman

"Emergency Entrance" – Crafting the Perfect List Through Trial and Error

Dustin talks through why the decision to play the same deck at several tournaments in a row can lead to new discoveries.

11/06/2017 by Dustin Zimmerman

Hello! My name is Dustin Zimmerman and it feels really great to get back into playing the game after a year of focusing more closely on my personal life. For those of you who haven’t met me, I’ve been playing competitively for just over twelve years. In that time I’ve earned my invitation to play at the World Championships five times, earned the highest CP in North America (2014), and placed in the Semifinals of the 2013 World Championships in Vancouver. My best times are behind me, but I’m still chasing the dream. I was just recently sponsored by No Limit Gaming, and I’m very excited to be representing them this season alongside some very talented players. I’m currently sitting at a decent 170 CP, mostly thanks to a T32 (17th...) performance at the Anaheim Open.

Today I wanted to focus on the deck I’ve been playing variations of for every tournament this season: Golisopod. Although considering by now we know enough about how the deck operates (thanks in part to Jay Lesage’s recent article), I will instead touch upon how using the same deck consistently can benefit players like me who might not always have apt time to playtest. I’ll talk about how minor tweaks at several League Cups has since led me to what I believe is the “best” list. Finally, I’ll look ahead to Crimson Invasion and how I feel Golisopod is poised within the new standard format for London. Let’s jump in!

Table of contents


First Impressions

  • Ft. Wayne Regionals

Switching to Standard

  • Dayton LC
  • Garden City LC
  • Westland LC
  • Indianapolis LC

Reaching the Optimal List

  • Tecumseh LC

Looking to London

Final Thoughts




So yes, I have returned to the game and I want to reassert myself as a top contender. Despite that, I cannot quite find the time amongst my busy schedule to play as many games as I’d like. On top of that, making it to Regionals that involve flying (I live in Indianapolis) is extremely difficult. So what’s a guy to do? It really helps to first find a deck core that you anticipate will be playable throughout the course of several weeks or even months. By becoming very familiar with at least one deck, you can use the time you do have to focusing solely on finding the most optimal list, and/or merely adjusting the list depending on what you expect to play against that day. Let’s face it, becoming familiar with the idiosyncrasies of every deck, analyzing and memorizing all of their matchups, anticipating metagame shifts, keeping up with and adapting to what the pros are playing, and logging 10+ games a day on PTCGO can be a chore even for the most dedicated. As it turns out, the concept of playing the same deck for a large portion of the season isn’t even anything new, and has been enacted by many pro players now for several years! Kyle Sucevich played Dialga nearly all season when everyone else preferred Luxchomp, Sebastian Crema earned 100% percent of his Worlds invite in 2016 by playing Primal Groudon, and Isreal Sosa as we all know has essentially built his entire reputation on Yveltal EX. So if you are busy but still want to do well, don't feel like this is entirely a disadvantage. Though it does hinge heavily on which deck you decide to dedicate your time to. For me, that was Golisopod.


Having returned home from Anaheim, the thought on everyone’s mind was what to play for Ft. Wayne. It’s not always easy shifting from Standard to Expanded, and the banning of Archeops and Forest of Giant Plants left a lot of players wondering: “What will even be good?” Like most, I was tossing around the usual suspects in my head: Seismitoad, Trevenant, Night March, Rayquaza, etc. Then there were of course the cards that hadn't yet seen play in expanded: Garbodor, Gardevoir, Golisopod. One fateful day, I happened upon an arbitrary tweet that changed the outlook of my next 8 weeks:


Tweet from @lubyllule 








“Huh...”, I thought. “She does have a point.” So I talked with the rest of Team NLG and we bounced around a couple of ideas. We agreed that we wanted an additional Stage 1 alongside Golisopod, but we weren’t necessarily sure which one. In my opinion it was better to try to balance some of Golisopod’s inherent weaknesses with a partner that could benefit it in several ways against multiple matchups. The obvious choice was Garbodor, but I wasn’t too impressed. Then the discussion shifted over to Zoroark BKT: a quick, energy efficient attacker that can always put up big numbers against bad matchups like Fire or M Rayquaza. Not to mention, with a Float Stone, you can reset your First Impression after using Stand In. It all sounded great and we began making the list. Eventually, after hours and hours of heated discussion in the lobby of my hotel, we ended up with the following 60 cards (Aaron Tarbell decided to play this exact same list as well):

I’m not going to dwell too long on each card, but let’s quickly point out some interesting inclusions:

Zoroark BW

This guy caught a lot of people by surprise and has countless niche uses, but mostly it was an answer to fire decks that tend to hit for massive amounts of damage unconditionally. At the time it just seemed better than a third Zoroark BKT, but I’m sure I would have liked this slot to be something that helps late-game consistency (such as as Oraguru).


Simply put, Golisopod and Zoroark aren't great attackers against Battle Compressor decks (like Night March and Vespiquen). This was an easy one-card answer to those.

Scoop Up Cyclone

Obviously it would have been nice to have Computer Search, especially considering how quickly this deck likes to set up. But wow, having a free Acerola was so often a sheer and irreplaceable pleasure to have. Not only was this used in the conventional sense to scoop up damaged Golisopod, but it could also act as a pseudo-Computer Search, scooping up Tape Lele-GX to use Wonder Tag for a game changing Guzma. 

Target Whistle

Another card that I enjoyed playing for the surprise factor, Target Whistle was really great at re-benching so many Pokemon that nearly every single deck plays but chooses to discard when up against a Golisopod deck, including Seismitoad-EX, Keldeo-EX, Shaymin-EX, Manaphy-EX, and the like. Also, you could quickly add an extra 30 damage when attacking with Mind Jack.

Here’s how my performance at the tournament shook out:

R1 vs Mega Ray LWW

R2 vs Waterbox LWW

R3 vs Greninja LWT

R4 vs Gardevoir WLW

R5 vs Turbo Darkrai WLT

R6 vs Golisopod/Zoroark/Garbodor (Jose Marrero) WW

R7 vs Espeon/Garbodor WLW

Alright, 5-0-2! I just need to win one more match then I can ID into Day 2!

R8 vs Turbo Darkrai (Zach Lesage) LL

Oh... well how about at least one more match for T64?

R9 vs Night March LL


Ah. So that one didn’t quite shake out as planned. Oh well! Aaron ended up making T32 with the same list, so at least there was some success for the deck and my team. A few weeks later, Aaron again took the same list to Daytona Beach Regionals (-1 Max Potion +1 Rescue Stretcher) and placed in the T16. So if I had to go back, what would I change? I can honestly admit with great defeat that playing only 10 energy meant that I whiffed attachments all the time. It was dreadful. Also, not having something like Oranguru or a 1-1 Octillery meant that late game I was very uncomfortably dependent on my top-decks. As one of my friends put it: “This deck takes prizes way too quickly to not play any draw support.”

Overall, my inaugural experience with Golisopod was a positive one. I felt very comfortable with the way the deck operated at its core.

The rest of the article is only available to PRO Members. Sign up for PRO Member today to view the rest of the article!

In order to maintain a high standard for our content, we have created a subscription service. To get you the best possible articles from the top players we pay more than $25 000 every year to our authors and editors. There are endless hours of playtesting and research behind each article. Our goal is to be able to publish an article every day and make even more competitions for everyone. Thank you for considering our subscription.

More information here.

Thank you for your time. Please leave us your feedback to help us to improve the articles for you!

 Join us today for FREE!





60cards article competition is here! Join our competition to win cash prizes or playmats! Support your favorite author with your (+)vote.


Make sure to follow us on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook to see the latest stories. 


Pokémon and its trademarks are ©1995-2017 Nintendo, Creatures, and GAMEFREAK. English card images appearing on this website are the property of The Pokémon Company International, Inc. 60cards is a fan site. Our goal is to promote the Pokemon TCG and help it grow. We are not official in any shape or form, nor affiliated, sponsored, or otherwise endorsed by Nintendo, Creatures, GAMEFREAK, or TPCi.



Caleb Gedemer

Build It Better — Revolutionizing Expanded Gardevoir-GX

01/17/2018 by Caleb Gedemer // Puzzle of Time took Zoroark-GX to new heights in the Standard format. What about using Zoroark-GX and Puzzle of Time in... (+21)

Chris Fulop

Gardevoir Gets A Makeover

01/16/2018 by Chris Fulop // Chris Showcases A New, Exciting Approach At A Powerful Archetype. (+19)

Zach Lesage

The Land of Forgotten Pokemon - Different Decks in Expanded

01/15/2018 by Zach Lesage // Zach details some underrepresented decks in Expanded and shares lists for those decks! (+18)

Welcome to our Pokemon Community Portal. Have a look around and enjoy your stay!