Experts' corner

Henry Brand

Home Field Advantage - Top 8 at the OCIC with Aussie ZoroRoc

A recap of a top 8 finish from the recent Oceanic International Championships and a break down of the Zoroark/Lycanroc deck used to do so

02/20/2019 by Henry Brand

Hey 60cards readers, after snagging a top 8 finish at the recent Oceanic International Championships, I'm here to look back on how the tournament went whilst giving some insights into what I played and why.

Before we begin our deep scientific analysis, I think it would serve you well as readers to know a bit about me. I'm a reasonably well-known player within Australia, but I've honestly only really played on and off throughout the years, partially due to Australia’s incredibly forgiving CP requirement. Last season I placed top 8 and 9th at regionals, then top 64 at the OCIC, before once again taking leave until a few weeks prior to this year's IC.



Preparation for the Oceanic IC


Thanks to various friends persuading me to break my hiatus, I made my return to Pokemon and commenced testing about 2 weeks out from the IC. Having played almost exclusively Zoroark/Lycanroc for the past year, I started off testing many different variants of that. My primary focus revolved around beating Pikachu/Zekrom and Ultra Necrozma, which led me to some lists that ran heavy Weavile, and some that were essentially a hybrid between ZoroRoc and Zoroark Control. My testing group and I then spent several days solely dedicated to testing Zoroark/Gardevoir. The list revolved around exploiting various defensive cards such as; UB Fairy Charm, Choice Helmet, Wondrous Labyrinth with Diantha acting as a pseudo Puzzle of Time. We were convinced we had a favourable matchup against Ultra Necrozma, and nothing worse than 50/50 across the board. This all changed the day before the IC however, when we began testing against some ultra lists that played Marshadow-GX. The deck lacked the speed and aggression necessary to beat them, providing them with plenty of room to either Guzma around our Gardevoir GX, or use Marshadow GX to bypass the UB Fairy Charm. With our previously favourable matchup suddenly swapped into a 40-60, we abandoned our precious deck and defaulted back to Zoroark/Lycanroc. With less than 12 hours till the IC, local legend Brent Tonisson and I agreed that the best way to play ZoroRoc was to focus on its traditional strengths and consistency to win games, rather than relying on matchup specific techs. With all that said and done, let's break down my 60 cards and the reasoning behind what I chose to play and why.


The List

First off, let me touch on why I chose a very linear Zoroark/Lycanroc list, as opposed to playing Weavile, or even the wacky list that Jon Eng and Preston Ellis played to day 2. In testing, Weavile essentially just solidifies your win when you went first, but didn't change that much when you went second. Dedicating those two slots to Weavile ultimately failed to sway the Ultra Necrozma matchup away from a coin flip. In addition to this, Weavile was a dead card against Pikachu/Zekrom, so allocating these slots towards a more linear gameplan made much more sense.

3 Rockruff, 2 Lycanroc-GX GRI, 1 Lycanroc-GX TEU

3 Rockruff is definitely a necessity in this format for the Pikachu/Zekrom matchup. Whilst I'll go into matchups in more detail later, it's imperative that you get 2 rockruff down against Pikachu/Zekrom, otherwise you will continuously lose them to Guzma+Zapdos. A more controversial card, and one that I've seen some people disagreeing with, is the 1 TEU Lycanroc-GX. This card has so, so much value in so many matchups. It enables plays such as discarding a metal off an Ultra Necrozma then killing a Malamar, significantly slowing their tempo. It greatly enhances your mirror matchup, especially by making it much more winnable going second. Lycanroc-GX TEU also has a myriad potential uses against Pikachu/Zekrom. It enables you to steal some tempo back by discarding an energy, it KO's a Pikachu/Zekrom for FCC without any modifiers, and it's GX attack can give you a very easy one energy response. In round 8 against Turbo Pikachu/Zekrom, I managed to pull off a turn 2 splintered shards for 240 on his active PikaZek which mostly sealed the game from there.

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