Hello SixPrizes readers! I am back with another article discussing the standard format, and today I will be talking about Memphis Regionals. While I may seem like Gardevoir’s number one fan because I am always writing about it, I actually don’t really like to be playing the most popular deck at any given tournament. That being said, today I am going to be talking about two Zoroark decks that I have been testing quite a bit. This means that we will start with a look at Decidueye-GX/Zoroark-GX, and then I will share the interesting Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX list I have been working on. Without further ado, lets get started.
Pokémon – 19
Trainers – 35
Energy – 6
I tried this inclusion out in my recent testing, and I was very pleased with it right off the bat. My biggest issue with only having two was the loss of one early on in the game, whether that be prizing one or having one knocked out. This made it difficult to keep solid attackers going throughout the match, and usually resulted in me burning through my Max Potions fairly early on because I was trying to protect my only Zoroark-GX.
I removed the 4th Decidueye-GX for a third Zorua, and I have been liking the change a lot so far. Obviously getting out four Deciduye-GX is very unlikely, so the fourth copy was really only used for consistency purposes. I generally get out two Decidueyes in the early game, and then slowly get another into play towards the end of the game. Even with three, I haven’t been having trouble doing this, but it has been somewhat annoying when I prize one of these guys.
I decided to cut a Tapu Lele-GX for the third copy of Brigette, which may seem like an odd change, but I have actually not missed the third copy so far. The main reason I have been trying this out is because of bench space, which is somewhat of a problem with this deck—especially when starting a Tapu Lele-GX. It feels somewhat game-losing to start one and then immediately bench another one in order to Brigette, as it really limits my options.
Not only is my bench essentially limited to four, but starting Tapu Lele means I don’t have immediate access to a more important basic. This means that off my first Brigette I can only get one Zorua or one Rowlet, thus putting a huge target on its head. Having Brigette turn one is arguably the most important aspect of the game, so I didn’t want to decrease my chances of doing that by removing a Tapu Lele-GX for something other than Brigette.
This is another new addition to my list, but I have been wanting to try this inclusion out since I played the deck in London. I ended up removing the third copy of Field Blower for this, which could be viewed as a risky move, but Garbodor seems to be a dying archetype at the moment. Seeing Tord’s deck get a ton of hype made this card gain even more value as it is incredibly important to be able to attack for 150 damage in that matchup. I have been liking the third copy so far because even though I don’t really use three a game, it makes the card seem so much more accessible.
This is something that I have seen in other lists and I didn’t like the looks of it, but my mind has changed a lot. I think that this inclusion makes a lot more sense now that I have a third copy of Zorua, as it is easier to make use of this tech now. I think that I have also been underestimating this card as an attacker too—it can reach some pretty insane numbers with Feather Arrows and Choice Band tacked on.
If the opponent has just four bench Pokémon, Mind Jack can hit for a massive 200 damage when combined with a Choice Band and two Feather Arrows. This brings a new way to one shot opposing threats to the table, especially when the opponent is unaware that you have it in your deck. While I just hyped this card up quite a bit, I have not actually tried it out, but it seems like something I should take a look at. My biggest issue with techs like this Zoroark is fitting them while also keeping the list consistent.
I did just take this out of the deck, but I could easily see myself putting it back in. I haven’t been missing it so far, but I could see it causing some small consistency issues in the long run. It will be a pain to find a spot for it, but I have been debating removing the fourth Professor Sycamore for something.
Obviously Professor Sycamore is a great card, but sometimes it just ends up clogging up your hand. In London I found myself having a couple Professor Sycamore left in the late game that were unusable because I had such a low number of cards left in my deck. I would certainly say that using one to two Trades every turn is the reason behind this. In addition to this, I sometimes chose to not play a Supporter at all because I didn’t want to discard a bunch of resources with Professor Sycamore.
While I have stated in the past that this inclusion seemed unnecessary, I could see this being nice in the deck. While Feather Arrow does help reduce the importance of a gust effect, the third Guzma is nice for targeting down key threats in the early game. Most importantly, I have seen Guzma do some serious work in the mirror match, as knocking out Dartrix is a very strong play. In addition to this, removing the third copy of Field Blower would mean that using Guzma to knockout Garbodor BKP would likely become a more common play.
I think that having a good matchup against this deck is one of the biggest reasons to play Decidueye-GX. I definitely think this matchup is very favored for Decidueye-GX, as you can really deny Acerola value. The whole point of Golisopod-GX/Zoroark-GX is to abuse Acerola and deny prizes, so it struggles pretty hard when that strategy crumbles.
Tapu Koko is a very strong attacker in this matchup now that most lists are cutting Mr. Mime, Koko makes it a lot easier to take KOs for the rest of the game. With two Decidueye-GX on the bench and a Zoroark-GX with a Choice Band attacking, you have 190 damage to work with. This means that after a Flying Flip, all of their GXs will be knocked out by just one attack, thus denying Acerola from seeing any real value. Another nice thing about Tapu Koko is that it needs to be knocked out right away otherwise the damage will just build up very quickly. This helps to prevent the rest of Decidueye’s board, such as the very vulnerable Dartrix on the bench.
In a world where the opponent does get Mr. Mime on the bench off the bat, or you just can’t get a Flying Flip off early enough, everything will still be okay. In this case, the plan is still very similar, but executed a bit differently. My plan is to place twenty on two bench attackers with Decidueye’s Feather Arrow, and then deal damage to their active with Zoroark-GX. That way, even if they Acerola the active, their new attacker will still have twenty damage on it and we can KO it with Zoroark-GX.
The games I have lost in this matchup are where my start is very slow and Golisipod is able to do its thing and KO most/all of my Dartix/Rowlet. In games like this, even if you are able to stabilize and deny prizes, it is very difficult to actually win the game. The issue becomes that all of the previously weak Acerola become very strong in the matchup, and it usually results in the Decidueye deck just getting outlasted.
While I usually hate mirror matches, as I find them pretty boring and usually relatively unskillful, that is not the case with this one! I actually think that this matchup has a lot of skill to it because both players just have so many different options and ways to play around potential opposing moves. While I would have to agree the general strategy is pretty obvious, I also think that the end of these games usually end up being very interesting. Once both players are low on resources, the game slows down a ton, and Espeon-EX is usually involved in one player essentially winning the game with it.
Tapu Koko can be pretty strong in the early game, as even just getting one Flying Flip can be enough to setup a few KOs later in the game. However, it really depends on the board state, as sometimes just taking a knockout with Zoroark-GX is the better option. If I ever think my Tapu Koko will get two spreads off, I immediately make the decision to take a gamble and use Flying Flip. In other spots, my opponent might have a field that only has one Zorua, and it is usually just better to take a knockout with Zoroark-GX in that situation.
If I am knocking out the Zorua, that is obviously a huge setback for the opponent because they are then left with no good attacker in play. Even in a less ideal world where I am just knocking out a Rowlet or something, I find taking the KO to be stronger than a Flying Flip. This is because if my opponent only has the one Zorua on the bench, the only KO that I am really setting up right away is the KO on their first Zoroark. This is obviously still nice, but I would rather just get aggressive and take the prize.
I think the middle of the game is a bit easier to navigate, as other than resource conservation, the decision making is only very difficult if you are behind on the board state. However, one thing to keep in mind is that you should be setting up for an Espeon-EX play later in the game. This means making every Feather Arrow count, and playing around Max Potion to the best of your ability. Optimizing Hollow Hunt GX is always important, but especially so in a game as long as this one. Not only do I mean picking the correct three cards, but I also mean using it on the correct turn. Using it at the wrong point in time can end up costing you, so just think about it as an option every turn when you are late in the game.
This is a matchup I have seen a lot of people talk about, and I have certainly heard a lot of mixed opinions. While many top players have stated this matchup is favored for Gardevoir-GX, I heavily disagree. I think the matchup is favored for Decidueye for sure, but only by a little bit. The two Gallade in Gardevoir-GX has made the matchup a bit closer, but lists seem to only be running one Parallel City, which is great news for our bird friend. I haven’t tested against lists with two, but I have seen people discussing potentially including a second, which would probably make the matchup even closer.
This matchup definitely revolves around the devolution strategy with Espeon-EX. The Gardevoir player will attempt to prevent this by getting relatively aggressive and managing their Max Potions well. I do think that Feather Arrow makes it much easier to play around Max Potion than people think, as it spreads out damage very well and usually results in Pokémon with just forty damage on them being the target of a Max Potion.
In the early game, you should absolutely use Tapu Koko to spread as much damage as possible. You will usually get two spreads off if you attack with it on the first turn you are legally able to, which makes it very easy for you to force the opponent into using Max Potion. Sometimes it is difficult to attack with Tapu Koko immediately, which usually results in it getting knocked out after its first attack. This is still a strong play because it makes it a lot easier to spread enough damage for Espeon-EX.
Gallade is the scariest part of this matchup, especially now that some Gardevoir lists play two copies. The upside to Gallade is that it is a lot easier to knockout, and it usually means they don’t have a Gardevoir in play. When this situation occurs, it becomes time to knockout the Gallade in whatever way possible. Ideally, this is with Zoroark-GX, as they will usually not return KO it, and you can just continue attacking with it. Mr. Mime is a tech that evens this matchup out quite a bit, as it prevents the usual strategy of Tapu Koko spreading from being successful. However, the matchup is certainly still winnable, the games just play out a lot differently. I would still say the matchup is no worse than 50/50.
I talked about this matchup a bit in my last article, and I still believe that this matchup is very favored for Decidueye. I do think it’s worth mentioning that I don’t think Silvally will be very popular at Memphis, and in the statistics I saw on PokéStats, the deck was not even in the top ten most popular decks at recent League Cups. However, I will still go over the matchup a bit because the deck got a bunch of hype after London, and I could see it getting played at some point.
Tapu Koko is actually a very strong attacker in this matchup despite being a very easy prize for a Silvally-GX. Using Flying Flip to place twenty or fifty on the active Silvally-GX, and then placing twenty on their bench Pokémon makes it very easy to take prizes with Zoroark-GX and sometimes even Tapu Lele-GX the rest of the game. Max Potion is a very important card in this matchup because outside of using their GX attack or Fighting Memory, they are unable to ever OHKO a Decidueye-GX or Zoroark-GX. Using Max Potions to basically deny an attack or two really puts you in the driver’s seat, as you are already making favorable trades due to Feather Arrow helping to setup KOs.
Pokémon – 17
|Trainers – 35|
Energy – 8
I know that my list is fairly different than the original list that saw some play at London, but I have been liking my take on it recently. That being said, let me explain some of my choices.
I have seen a couple lists that only play a 2-2 Lycanroc-GX line, and I would strongly advise against that. While you may only end up using two in a game, prizing pieces of the line would be quite devastating if the deck only ran a 2-2 line. In addition to this, drawing into the Lycanroc-GX in the early game is usually very important because this is an aggressive deck that needs to start taking prizes right away. Even if you end up with extra Lycanroc-GX, you can simply discard them with Trade.
I feel that this is the “standard” and optimal count of Professor Sycamore in Zoroark-GX decks like this that are focused on Acerola and other utility supporters. Playing less Professor Sycamore also makes it easier for you to conserve your important resources such as Puzzle of Time or the healing cards.
I actually had four of these in here at one point, but ended up removing one to make room for other things. I think it is incredibly important to use Brigette turn one with this deck, as it is crucial to the aggressive nature of the deck. Getting multiple Zorua and at least one Rockruff in play is very nice because it gives you so many options on turn two. Having the extra Brigettes isn’t a problem either because you can just discard them with Trade.
This is the amount of Guzma that I have been liking the most in testing, and I think it is only acceptable to play such a low count of these because of the heavy Lycanroc-GX line. Puzzle of Time can let you reuse these in the late game of course, but it is very important to target certain Pokémon down in the early game and start taking prizes as soon as possible.
This is a situational card, but I am a fan of it in this deck for sure. It help take knockouts in a few situations, which can sometimes be an issue for this deck in the late game. Not only can a Zoroark-GX with a Choice Band attached OHKO a Tapu Lele-GX because of Kukui, but this card can also help with Mind Jack and Dangerous Rogue-GX math. I don’t think I would play this card if I didn’t have Puzzle of Time in the deck just because it would be too hard to use. With Puzzles in the deck, it is pretty easy to just grab Professor Kukui and something else to make a game winning play.
This is an inclusion that I wasn’t sure about at first. I have taken it out of the deck before because I was convinced it was too situational and not worth the spot. While I do still feel like that sometimes, I think the Mallow gained a lot of value when I added the Max Potions in. This way, I don’t feel as bad as using the Mallow instead of an Acerola because I can still use a heal effect if needed.
After playing with Zoroark-GX/Golisopod-GX, I realized how incredibly powerful these are in decks with Zoroark-GX. The issue with this card before was that it was quite difficult to use successfully—it was not the easiest thing in the world to get two Puzzles in your hand at once. However, Trade lets you draw a ton of extra cards on turns where you use Professor Sycamore or N. On turns where you just use Acerola, you hold all your resources while still drawing some cards with Trade. Puzzle of Time makes it very easy to outlast the opponent, especially when used for cards like Acerola or Max Potion.
I think Enhanced Hammer is very strong in the current meta, as almost every top deck is playing Double Colorless Energy. These really help against Gardevoir-GX because it makes it much harder for Gardevoir-GX to actually start taking OHKOs. I have also found them to be pretty nice against decks based around Acerola because you make it a bit more difficult for them to use Acerola and still attack.
This might seem like a strange inclusion given that the deck already runs three Acerola, but I have been a huge fan of these so far. It might seem like a lot of healing for one deck, but realistically it is only one more healing card than the Zoroark lists that have four Acerola. The Max Potions are nice because they are very easy to use considering that you can use an actual supporter for the turn to help draw cards.
I have also find the additional healing to be pretty sweet against decks like Zoroark-GX/Golisopod-GX that focus on two shots and outlasting the opponent. Another advantage to Max Potion is that you don’t have to rebench the basic Pokémon that you just picked up. When you do that, it gives the opponent an easy prize to take that can sometimes heavily disrupt your strategy, or even lose you the game.
The Garbodor hype train seems to be over, at least for now, so I feel comfortable playing a lower number of these than usual. I also think that Zoroark-GX is such a pain for most Garbodor decks anyways that it doesn’t even necessarily matter that I am only playing two of these. My more frequent use of Field Blower is to remove Parallel City, as it causes some problems for this deck. Bench space is something that I value a lot when playing this deck because of how nice it is to have a large amount of Zoroark-GX in play while also having the ability to use Bloodthirsy Eyes at any given moment.
While this might seem another low count, I haven’t found Choice Band to be incredibly important in this deck. The best uses for it are OHKOing Tapu lele in combination with Professor Kukui, and reaching better numbers with Dangerous Rogue-GX. In addition to this, Trade makes it easier to draw into these, and Puzzle of Time gives you access to additional Choice Bands in the late game.
This is something I have seen in the original lists for the deck, but chose to remove from mine in favor of extra tech spots. I understand that the point of it is to have smoother starts, as you will almost never actually get out four Zoroark-GX. I have found the tech spot to be pretty useful, and while I haven’t tried putting in a fourth Zoroark-GX yet, it seems like something I wouldn’t really notice the presence of.
The only issue with this card is that it feels relatively useless to run just one of it. Sure, it is really nice when you draw into just the Energy Lotto and no DCE, and then get a DCE off of the Energy Lotto, but it just seems like that is a very rare situation. I think it would be stronger in a count of at least two, but then you run into space issues and games where you just draw into the DCEs without them.
Basic Fighting Energy
I haven’t actually played with this card in the deck yet, so I am not sure how good it actually is. The only time I really wish I had it were against decks with Enhanced Hammer, as I could safely attach it to Lycanroc-GX as my first energy. That way, when I am ready to attack with it I can just attach a Strong Energy or a DCE and go for it.
This matchup has been favorable in my testing so far, despite Lycanroc-GX’s weakness. I almost never evolve to Lycanroc in this matchup, unless I am immediately taking two prizes. If I take these two prizes through the use of Bloodthirsty Eyes and a Zoroark attack, it forces a Guzma or Enhanced Hammer immediately to deny Lycanroc’s GX attack. This matchup is why I mentioned the potential inclusion of a Fighting Energy in my list, because putting it down as the only energy on Lycanroc/Rockruff denies Enhanced Hammer as an out to preventing our GX attack from scoring two prizes.
One good thing about the Enhanced Hammer play: if they are forced to Puzzle of Time for it in the late game, they will have access to one less healing card. As things stand off the bat, they already have two less healing cards, which means that in theory this deck should be able to outlast the Golisopod deck as long as it doesn’t bench too many free prizes. I try to avoid benching Tapu Lele-GX in this matchup as it becomes a free two prizes for Golisopod-GX to take with Crossing Cut. On a similar note, if the opponent benches any Tapu Lele-GX in this matchup, you are able to take two prizes off it with a Kukui play. This means that if you are able to successfully GX attack and pull off the Kukui play, you can win the game by scoring just one EX KO or picking off two basics.
One thing to consider in this matchup is that Acerola is actually somewhat awkward for both players because you have to bench the basic back down in order to chain Acerola successfully. This gives the opponent a free prize to take in most cases, but it comes at the cost of not being able to use Acerola on that turn. This is why Max Potion is so nice: it allows you to heal and use Guzma in the same turn, which is a very nice play in the situation I just described. Lycanroc-GX can use Bloodthirsty Eyes on the same turn as an Acerola, but that is a pretty costly play to make. I would really only do that in situations where I think a risk is necessary to win the game or I am actually taking my last prize with the ability.
Also, the opponent will sometimes be forced to fill their bench completely, and you can punish this action very hard with Zoroark BKT. With a full bench, Zoroark does 160 damage, and you can add on a Professor Kukui and a Choice Band to OHKO one of their GXs. If that wasn’t strong enough, Zoroark is obviously a one prize attacker, this can end up putting them on odd prizes depending on the game state. Even if it doesn’t right then and there, it also makes them KO’ing a one prize basic later in the game irrelevant, which is somewhat nice.
If it wasn’t already clear enough, Puzzle of Time is an incredibly important card in this matchup, and I always try to get value out of both sets of them. I will almost never discard any of them unless I absolutely must, which sometimes means I will settle for a weaker turn in order to have a stronger late game. Healing cards are the obvious targets of these puzzles, as you can outheal the opponent in this matchup pretty easily, but don’t overlook plays with Professor Kukui.
I had previously stated that this matchup felt very close, and I still agree with that analysis. It is a very strange matchup, especially because my list does not include a Mr. Mime like I had previously mentioned. A lot of weaknesses can be exploited in this matchup, and both GX attacks have good uses in the matchup, so I like to think both decks have their fair share of comeback potential.
Speaking of comeback potential, Espeon-EX is kinda the key to this matchup for the opponent, especially considering the lack of Mr. Mime in this decklist. This makes it easier for them to setup a nice Miraculous Shine, but at the same time I do have Max Potions which are pretty helpful for that situation. The healing cards are incredible in this matchup in general—for both decks actually, so both players should keep that in mind.
My goal in this matchup is to target down Dartrix, but that is actually not as easy as you might expect. While I could very easily just bring up a Dartrix and KO it, that usually means I am ignoring a Tapu Koko, which is not really something I can do without being very close to just losing the game. Ignoring the Koko results in my entire board having forty damage on it, which is awfully close to what Espeon-EX needs to do it’s thing. Espeon-EX aside, this would even allow Zoroark-GX to take easy prizes.
Anyways, since I have to KO the Koko immediately, this gives the opponent a chance to evolve their Dartrix and Rowlet into Decidueyes, but I usually still get to KO one little bird in situations like this. Dangerous Rogue-GX is an incredibly important attack in this matchup, as it is the only way to OHKO a Decidueye-GX. If a Decidueye-GX ever attacks and then survives another turn, that should usually result in a loss for our pal Lycanroc. To prevent situations like this, I tend to put two Lycanroc-GX on my bench and attach an energy of some kind to each. This is another situation where the Fighting Energy would be a nice inclusion, as it would allow me to have an easier time getting energy on board.
For the opponent, Hollow Hunt is also a very good option in the late game, assuming I have already used my GX attack. This allows them to get back three valuable resources, usually two to three Max Potion. On my turn, I will be unable to KO the Decidueye-GX. This leaves me with the tempting option of ignoring the Decidueye, but I should really only do that if I am taking a KO and going down to one or two prizes. Ignoring the Decidueye means that it will just become a problem again next turn, and this time it will actually be doing 90 to 120 damage with just its attack alone.
I know what you’re thinking, “Jimmy this deck sounds sweet so far, what’s the catch?” Unfortunately, the catch is that Gardevoir-GX is the matchup I want to play against the least. It is certainly winnable, but I would put it at 50-50ish, which is usually not a percentage I like to have against one of the most hyped decks of all time.
The Max Potions in their list have both their ups and downs in this matchup. While they are very strong when they actually see use, this deck aims to take as many cheap prizes, which makes them very hard to use. Not having Sylveon-GX has always made me think “Brokenvoir” is a pretty fragile deck (before it sets up at least). This makes the goal of the matchup to KO as many Kirlia and Ralts as possible, because KOing two hurts their setup a ton and gives you a good shot to take the game.
After KO’ing the two one prizers, I try to take a KO on Tapu Lele-GX as soon as possible. This is done through Zoroark BKT or Zoroark-GX and almost always involves Professor Kukui. I have multiple reasons why I try to take this KO before using my GX attack for my last two prizes. First of all, the Tapu Lele-GX can actually get removed from the board by Parallel City. In addition to this, it takes a lot more cards to KO the Tapu Lele than it does to simply Dangerous Rogue a GX Pokémon for game. This makes me stronger against N which is nice, as even Trade does not Guarantee you get what you need off an N to one or two.
Parallel City actually causes a ton of problems for Zoroark/Lycanroc because both sides of it are quite strong in the matchup. As previously mentioned, Parallel can be used to remove free Prizes from their side of the board. When the Parallel faces me it forces my bench down to a mere three Pokémon, which can sometimes really limit my options.
I would say the matchup is very dependent on how quick of a start Gardevoir gets, as sometimes it can just start attacking turn two and run this deck over. The most interesting matches are where neither side of the matchup gets to execute their strategy super well, as I think those games are the most skill intensive and also the closest. Games like this usually results in Gardevoir taking the win though, because they have a bunch of time to find all the stuff they need, such as Gallade or Parallel City.
This is a very good matchup for this deck, which can mostly be contributed to how insanely good Lycanroc-GX is in the matchup. Not only does Lycanroc-GX OHKO Silvally and force an immediate GX attack to respond, but Bloodthirsty Eyes is a very powerful tool in the matchup too. When going first, it is very possible to KO the Type: Null they attach to on your second turn. This sets them back a ton, and usually results in gaining all of the initiative and simply outpacing the opponent. All of the attackers in their deck are relatively useless in the matchup, which makes it hard for the opponent to actually take prizes. The healing cards are definitely very strong in this matchup, as you won’t get OHKOed very often, so that is something to keep in mind.
Despite these two decks both being somewhat weird and not very popular, I think they are both pretty strong plays headed into Memphis Regionals. I have two League Cups this weekend, and I will likely try to pickup some Championship Points with one of these decks. Then the following weekend is Memphis Regionals which I am very excited for! It will be an absolutely massive tournament, with the preregistration numbers listing almost 1,000 Masters. If any of you see me there, feel free to come up and say hi! Otherwise, I will be back later in the month with another article!
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