Hello SixPrizes readers! I am Jimmy Pendarvis, and I am back from Portland after winning my second Masters Regional Championships! It truly means a lot to me because it was one of my main goals of the season, and I put a ton of effort in for the event. I ended up playing Seismitoad-EX/Zoroark-GX after somewhat of a crazy week of testing Zoroark-GX/Garbodor and Drampa-GX/Garbodor, one of which I was sure I would end up playing. I had just finished testing Zoroark-GX control for the day with Isaiah, and then I had somewhat of a realization that the deck might just be better with the inclusion of multiple Seimsitoad-EX. My group and I kinda just took that thought and ran with it, constantly talking about the deck and playing with it until Saturday morning. Some of us were more confident in the deck than others, and Isaiah ended up going with his favorite deck, a more classic Zoroark control. Despite feeling somewhat risky in the moment, the deck ended up being a great call for the event, and I felt very comfortable with pretty much all of my potential matchups. Without further ado, let’s take a look at my Portland Regional Championship experience.
Pokémon – 18
Trainers – 38
Energy – 4
This is the main attacker of the deck without a doubt. While it doesn’t do too much damage, boosting a maximum of forty damage per turn, the Item lock it brings to the table is absolutely brutal. The goal of the deck is usually to control the game and run the opponent out of resources, so the low damage output is a non-issue. Additionally, you may have noticed the low number of outs to getting this beast in the active position. While using Quaking Punch as soon as possible remains the goal of the deck, you don’t mind waiting a turn or two while you develop your board and remove the opponent’s energy.
4 Zorua DEX
This is the best Zorua in the Expanded format and it really is not even close. The only other Zorua that I considered playing was the BW Zorua that has the “Lunge” attack, but it is really only useful against Night March. This deck has all sorts of counters to Night March, most noticeably the inclusion of Karen, so playing the four paralysis Zorua is the way to go.
This is a card that came in and out of the deck before we settled on the final sixty cards, but I am super glad that it ultimately made the final cut. While I certainly didn’t need to use this Oranguru in every game, it was the key to beating mill decks and Drampa-GX/Garbodor. Without Oranguru, these matchups would have been much more complicated and likely unfavored. Against mill decks, you can simply use Resource Management every single turn to never deck out or run out of important resources. While this is going on, you can use Team Rocket’s Handiwork to discard cards from the opponent’s deck. This makes these mill matchups a piece of cake, and I was able to defeat both mill decks that I played against in Portland. Additionally, Oranguru functions similarly against Drampa-GX/Garbodor. You no longer care about using Team Rocket’s Handiwork every turn, and would prefer to use things like Plumeria or Colress, but do want to manage your energy and trainers with Resource Management.
This is undoubted the card I have gotten the most questions about. Yes, Tirtouga, Archen, and Lileep all do the exact same thing and a difference between them hardly exists. Yes, you can use Twist Mountain to get out Archen, which technically makes it the best choice, but I am willing to hedge my bets against that ever being a relevant situation. With that being said, I am absolutely on team Tirtouga. The card’s actual purpose is to not deck out. Once drawing the entirety of your deck, you can constantly leave the turtle as your last card in deck after discarding it with Trade or Plumeria. While in some matchups this is risky, where they might be able to discard your last card with Team Rocket’s Handiwork or Trubbish, it is a very nice asset in others. I would recommend avoiding the Tirtouga loop all together if you are able to avoid the risk and still win the game.
This is probably the glue of the deck. Without these Lusamines, the deck would eventually run out of resources and likely just crumble at the end of the game. You can quite literally infinitely loop this Lusamine combo, grabbing another Lusamine and one other Supporter/Stadium. This makes it very easy to outlast the opponent, and is likely the most unfair part of the deck.
This was almost entirely a Night March counter, which is not a deck I ran into this weekend. A few members of the squad did though, and I am sure Karen made their day a whole lot easier. Karen in combination with Quaking Punch just destroys the Night March and Vespiquen decks. They can hardly mount a response to even the first Karen, and you can do it multiple times, repeatedly.
These are the energy denial Supporters that the deck plays, and Plumeria is insanely important in the deck. Being able to remove an energy every single turn at little to no cost due to Exeggcute/Tirtouga is an incredibly powerful effect. Since you can get back Plumeria an infinite number of times, you will almost always be able to run your opponent out of energy before they take six prize cards.
Brigette was the setup card of last year, no doubt about it. It has continued to see play in expanded too, and that is no exception here. It is usually the best turn one supporter, and gives you a ton of options. If Brigette is so good, then why did Pokémon Fan Club make it into the deck? That is a great question! Pokémon Fan Club does not allow you to make as strong of a board as Brigette, but it is better in situations where you want to get a Seismitoad-EX, Tapu Lele-GX, or Exeggcute.
This was another important piece of the deck! Incredibly strong for denying the opponent prize cards and keeping your Pokémon at full health. Acerola makes it very difficult for the opponent to take all six prize cards due to the high health of your Pokémon, not to mention all of the other disruption you are throwing at them throughout the game. If the opponent does not OHKO your 220 HP Seismitoad-EX, you can just Acerola it, put it back down, and continue to attack. You can do this a ton of times throughout a game due to VS Seeker and Lusamine.
This is a great card for finishing games, it is essentially just another win condition. It is especially strong against opposing mill decks, where your goal is to just use Resource Management every single turn and deck your opponent out. Additionally, Team Rocket’s Handiwork can be used as a way of discarding important resources, such as Guzma or an energy card.
Gladion is a really nice inclusion in the deck because of all the singleton copies of cards in this deck. Additionally, Gladion can actually be the key to getting off an early Quaking Punch! If you prize a Double Colorless Energy, or even Float Stone in some cases, you can use Gladion to grab what you need to start attacking with Seismitoad right away.
These are the draw Supporters of the deck. I used Colress a ton throughout the weekend, and Professor Sycamore and N were both used pretty frequently too. I would say they usually aren’t used many times each game, unlike other decks that aim to use a draw supporter every single turn. With this deck, once you have a board established, you aim to use a utility supporter every single turn to help run your opponent out of resources. Zoroark will draw you a ton of cards every turn, and will eventually allow you to have your entire deck in your hand. This is not even a slight exaggeration, I often had 20+ cards in my hand.
This was a great inclusion in the deck, super happy we thought of it and found space. While the additional damage is not something you care about, and can sometimes be detrimental, the forty extra health that the Belt provides is incredibly important. Against decks that aim to OHKO you, they are going to have a very hard time doing so under trainer lock, to a Pokémon that has 220 HP. Against decks that will spend multiple turns attempting to OHKO your Seismitoad-EX, you will be able to use Rough Seas, Fighting Fury Belt, and Acerola to deny your opponent prizes. Despite being a very strong inclusion in the deck, you need to be careful about slamming this onto a Seismitoad-EX. Like I said, the extra damage can be detrimental when trapping something active.
These are the Stadium cards of the deck, and while they might seem somewhat odd, they were honestly the perfect duo. Parallel City is great for limiting the opponent’s options, as they can’t use Field Blower to get rid of it due to Quaking Punch. Speaking of Quaking Punch, Parallel City makes your Seismitoad-EX do twenty less damage. Terrible, right? Nope! That is actually great for the objective of the deck. You can simply trap something active for many turns while you use Quaking Punch and your disruption supporters. Rough Seas is great for keeping Seismitoad-EX alive, it is particularly strong against Buzzwole and Trevenant decks.
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