Hey everyone! I am stoked to be back with another article right before the World Championships! It is the biggest tournament of the year and is always a great time. I have been testing a lot for the event as this is certainly not a tournament I feel like “winging it” for, and I have to say that this format feels pretty skillful! The Zoroark decks have a ton of options, and it is really interesting to see decks try and out-maneuver each other. While Buzzwole is still a deck I like quite a bit, I am going to give the mosquito some breathing room and talk about something else for a change. Today I will be taking a look at Zoroark-GX/Gardevoir-GX and Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX! These are two decks that have had a lot of success in the past, and it always feels like Zoroark/Lycanroc keeps finding a way to stay relevant. Without further ado, lets get things started with a look at Zoroark/Gardevoir.
Pokémon – 18
Trainers – 35
Energy – 7
This is a deck we saw Tord Reklev somewhat dominate the Oceania International Championships with this year. The field had a ton of Buzzwole and some other Zoroark decks, which is close to the current meta. Buzzwole has definitely died down a bit in popularity since that tournament, as it has a stigma somewhat close to Greninja’s. Zoroark decks becoming more popular is only a great thing for this deck, as it is very strong in these slow matchups. It always has time to setup and get the ball moving, especially because the opposing Zoroark decks are no longer using Lycanroc to be execute an aggressive strategy. It is the opposite, actually, with most Zoroark decks being quite slow and attempting to make the game turn into a long and grindy resource battle. Luckily for us, Gardevoir-GX’s Twilight-GX is an absolute beast in these games, as it can shuffle back in a ton of crucial resources.
Despite Buzzwole being less popular than it was before, I expect it to be more popular at the World Championships than most people are expecting, and the deck is at its best when people are not teching for it. This is why I decided to include Mew-EX in the list, which is really only useful for countering Buzzwole and copying attacks in other desperate/rare situations. While the Mew doesn’t single-handedly win you the matchup, it certainly helps your chances.
Rayquaza-GX is a deck that we have seen people love and hate, but no matter what you think of the deck, it seems like a good idea to be ready for it at worlds. This is yet another moment where Gardevoir-GX absolutely carries this deck, and this is a matchup where I would want a second copy in the deck. Rescue Stretcher has been really solid for me, so I want to avoid removing it, but if Rayquaza-GX is expected to be popular, I will have to remove something for a second copy of Gardevoir-GX. Gardevoir KOs a powered up Rayquaza-GX for just one Fairy energy, and sets the opponent back a ton because of all the energy they just lose when a Rayquaza dies. This usually leaves them in a position where they are not able to return KO, and end up getting run over. However, if they are able to KO the Gardevoir-GX in return, this is where Mallow and Rescue Stretcher come in. Another thing to note is that Parallel City is quite good for removing your own Tapu Lele-GX, which otherwise are just two prize bench sitters that require less energy to KO.
2 Gallade, 1 Gardevoir-GX
Gardevoir-GX is usually the main attacker when it gets included in a deck, but that is not the case here. Gardevoir plays the role of a utility Pokémon, as its main purpose is Twilight-GX and slaying Rayquaza-GX. Of course it will almost always use Infinite Force if it makes its way onto the field, but Gallade is the priority in most matchups. Gallade is a superstar in the current meta, as it is a huge threat to other Zoroark decks, and takes out baby Buzzwole with ease.
Timer Ball is strictly better than Evosoda in this deck. For starters, Timer Ball can be used to grab Stage 2 Pokémon, which has great synergy with Rare Candy. Additionally, Timer Ball has a 25% chance to grab two evolution Pokémon, which can allow for faster starts. While this is not a high number, this scenario does happen and will happen during a long tournament. However, on the other side of the coin, this does mean that you have a 25% chance of getting no Pokémon at all when you play this card. It definitely sucks when this happens, and is quite a miserable feeling, but if you play with this deck you will absolutely agree that Timer Ball is worth the risk.
This card is super important in this deck because of how it is built. Having only one Gardevoir-GX should be an obvious reason behind the importance of this card, but there are definitely a couple other reasons. Even if the deck played multiple Gardevoir-GX, Rescue Stretcher would still be a very nice inclusion. It can be used as a way of recovering a few Pokémon into the deck, such as basic Pokémon that were KOed in the early game. Otherwise, it can be used to just grab an evolution and get it into play, whether that be a Zoroark-GX or a Gardevoir/Gallade that is coming into play via Rare Candy. Mew-EX is something that you want to use multiple times against Buzzwole sometimes, which Rescue Stretcher can help out with.
This is a card that I have been putting in all of my Zoroark decks recently, as I am not a huge fan of Acerola. Acerola just feels super slow and my opponent gets the opportunity to KO a crucial Basic Pokémon everytime I use it. Max Potion is become even better since NAIC due to the highly popular Enhanced Hammer card, which removes the drawback of Max Potion if you are able to use it at the right time.
Based on the current list, I would say that Float Stone and Mew-EX are the only questionable cards. The extra Float Stone is nice to have, but I could see one of these cards being important enough to remove it. Mew-EX is great against Buzzwole, but it can be removed if you don’t expect to play against that matchup.
3rd Timer Ball
This card is great for boosting your setup on turns two and three, so it is a shame that only two are in the deck currently. It isn’t that I didn’t want another copy in the deck, but the list is super tight and just doesn’t have the space. You likely won’t use all three Timer Balls early, and you’re probably setting up very well if you do, but you want to find a Timer Ball or two early on.
This inclusion should really only be made if you expect to play against Rayquaza-GX. It is nice to have the second Gardevoir-GX in the deck because it increases consistency a bit, as you are slightly more likely to draw a Rare Candy and a Stage Two in the same hand. Additionally, the second copy solves the problem of “What if I prize my one Gardevoir?”. However, these slight consistency boosts aren’t enough to make me play the card, as I would likely be removing a Float Stone which would cause its own problems.
So, obviously, you would never remove a Mew-EX for this inclusion because that would be quite counter productive. This means that you should likely remove a Float Stone for this card if you expect to play against Buzzwole decks. I have had this Mewtwo in a lot of my non-Buzzwole decks this year, and I have to say that I am a big fan of having it around. I find myself using it way more often than one might think, even against decks that aren’t Buzzwole. It is just super nice to have a non-ex attacker, and Mewtwo does a decent amount of damage for just a DCE.
Pokémon – 20
Trainers – 32
Energy – 8
This is a deck that saw a lot of success throughout the year, with its latest accomplishment being a top eight placement at the North American International Championships. The deck is very aggressive and can just run the opponent over if they don’t have as quick of a start.
Zoroark decks being super popular makes this deck adjust the way it is built all together. I removed all four copies of Strong Energy for four basic Fighting Energy. While this was a painful change, it was for the better because Enhanced Hammer no longer beats this deck by itself. Removing the Strong Energy also allowed me to remove Professor Kukui because it no longer had as much value. The Zoroark matchups are all winnable for this deck, and I would say that Zoroark/Control is still the variant that this deck hates the most. Garbodor and some of the lesser known variants are great matchups for this deck, as this deck can just get a huge lead in the first couple turns, and make the opponent’s board super weak. Golisopod is a bit tougher because they actually have a way of dealing with Lycanroc, but Lycanroc can deal with their Golisopod just as well. This turns it into a battle of each player trying to keep basics off the board, whether it be Wimpod or Rockruff, and the Parallel City war is the key to this.
Buzzwole is definitely not a matchup I would like to be playing all day, but the list did have room for a few techs, so I decided to include Mewtwo and Mew-EX in an attempt to help this matchup out a lot. Not having Strong Energy really hurts because you can no longer KO baby Buzzwoles with Claw Slash. However, you can still apply early pressure by using Claw Slash to KO important utility Pokémon such as Remoraid or Rockruff. After taking a couple cheap KOs, you can use your Psychic techs and N in attempt to win the prize race.
Rayquaza-GX is a deck that thrives on other decks not being prepared for it, and this matchup would certainly be bad if I didn’t include Sylveon-EX for it. Sylveon OHKOs a Rayquaza-GX for just a Double Colorless Energy and a Choice Band, which is very efficient but not the easiest thing to pull off. Your first Sylveon is almost always done through Mallow, and from there you just have to use Lycanroc’s GX attack, and a set of Puzzle of Time to close the game. This is much more difficult than it sounds, as the opponent will be taking KOs very quickly, and sometimes they’ll be disrupting you with cards like Red Card and Parallel City.
Despite not running Strong Energy and Professor Kukui anymore, Sledgehammer is still a very useful attack due to all of the opposing Zoroark decks. Sledgehammer OHKOs a Zoroark-GX, which can really swing the game if you’re able to leave them with just one Zoroark in play. Taking two free prizes is great no matter what though, because this deck is very aggressive and just wants to end the game as fast as possible.
This card is incredibly strong in the current meta, and should be in every Zoroark deck that doesn’t also play Gardevoir-GX. Just one Resource Management can be the difference between winning and losing, and the amount of benefit you gain from multiple Resource Managements is just ridiculous. Oranguru is especially necessary because most opposing Zoroark decks will have Oranguru and attempt to outlast you, and having your own monkey makes it a lot easier to manage your resources.
These are our mosquito repellent that doesn’t always work. These guys make the matchup a lot more manageable, but Buzzwole is still unfavored because of how hard Lycanroc can be to deal with. The key to these techs is to use them after you eliminate Rockruffs from the field in the early game, because then you have a shot of winning the prize race.
This is the key to beating Rayquaza-GX, which is otherwise a terrible matchup. Your goal is to just KO three Rayquaza-GX as fast as possible, which is usually through the use of 2-3 Sylveon-EX attacks, and maybe a Dangerous Rogue-GX. N and Mallow are key with this card, as N makes it harder for them to keep responding, and Mallow finds you key cards to make the big play.
This deck has a ton of options and is currently packed with quite a few techs and singleton trainer cards. This means Mallow has a ton of value, as you will almost always be able to use it to find something you can use, even if you aren’t making a game changing play. Mallow is key for pulling off counter plays such as using one of your techs to take a KO.
This card is super nice to have in this deck because of all the techs it includes. Additionally, it can help recover Pokémon that were KOed or discarded in the early game, which is a very useful safety net to have. After playing with Rescue Stretcher in other Zoroark decks, I have become a big fan of the card, and really like the freedom it gives you. Your Puzzle of Times can be used to grab other, more important, cards.
2nd Float Stone
This is something I hated having to leave out because of all the tech Pokémon that found themselves being in the deck. While some of them aren’t terrible starters, having them in the active makes it harder to take early KOs, which is the whole point of this deck. If I find myself struggling to take a KO on turn two due to something getting stuck active, I will absolutely be making this inclusion.
3rd Timer Ball
Yet again, Timer Ball is given the short end of the stick. Truly a tragedy. The card is very good to have on turns two and three, It’s nespecially if you were successful at using Brigette on turn one. It allows you to take your pick of Zoroark, which draws you cards and lycanroc, which lets you KO whatever you want. Turn two is one of the most important turns of the game with this deck, as you can start to crumble your opponent’s setup right off the bat. The reason more of these aren’t included in the deck is not because I don’t like the card or don’t want to include more, but because of the lack of space. Including more Timer Ball would likely mean removing one or more of the tech Pokémon I have in the deck currently, which is not something I want to do unless I am comfortable with my meta prediction.
That is all for today everyone! In my last article, I talked about all the Zoroark decks that people had been hyping up and getting ready to play for worlds. Today I took a different route and brought two underrated Zoroark decks to light. They are very strong against the other Zoroark decks, so I would not be surprised to see these decks in small numbers at the World Championships or Nashville Open.
If you are attending one of these events yourself, or even have a League Cup coming up to kick off the new season, I encourage you to give these decks a try in testing and see if you like them! I hope you enjoyed the article today and I hope everyone is ready for the most hype event of the year, whether you’ll be in Nashville or watching the stream from home! I know I am very excited for day two of the World Championships. If you’ll be in Nashville, feel free to come up and say hi to me!
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