Happy holidays SixPrizes readers! I hope that your testing is going just as great as your holiday season is. Our next major event is the Expanded Dallas Regionals, which I am extremely excited for given that it is my home turf as well as the event that I placed 2nd at last year. With this in mind, I have been putting a lot of time into testing and figuring out the Expanded meta to give myself the best chances of performing well once again. In today’s article, I’ll be going over two different Delinquent-based Zoroark decks that are extremely powerful and my top choices going into Dallas Regionals. The first one is the ZoroControl deck that I have played at the past two Regionals to good results, with the 2nd one being the new Exodia Zoroark deck. Alright guys, let’s right into it!
The main goal of this deck is to deck your opponent out. You do this by repeatedly playing Red Card with Delinquent until your opponent is completely out of resources and cards and hand. You then lock them by playing multiple Trick Shovels every turn until they have no cards left in deck. Oranguru puts these resources back into your deck for you to use again, and Zoroark-GX with Exeggcute gives you access to these cards with no consequence. If you have not already, go check out my previous article on the deck from Portland Regionals. I really get into all of the cool plays and board manipulation this deck is capable of.
For Anaheim regionals, I made a few changes to the deck to really streamline what it is good at as well as adding a few new additions. These changes ended up bring me to a 17th place finish. In my eyes, this deck definitely earns its spot as one of the best decks that I have ever played, and I think that the only reason I did not place even better was due to my own slight misplays with such a difficult and powerful deck. Here is the current list:
Pokémon – 20
Trainers – 35
2 Red Card
Energy – 5
After Portland Regionals, this just became an obvious change to the deck for me. Battle Compressor is always going to be a very powerful card in any deck that is repeatedly useful. It is just I found that I really did not want to discard any resources other than Exeggcute when using it. There are definitely niche situations where I got some combo because it activated my VS Seeker or Rescue Stretcher, but with only 2 VS Seeker, I felt that the situation did not arise enough to warrant two spots for the card in the deck. Instead, I cut the Battle Compressors for more tech cards to allow me to be more flexible in any situation and for a Level Ball which acts as a pseudo-Compressor since it allows me to get 1 Exeggcute if I need it.
Jirachi- EX and Tapu Lele-GX are very similar in that they are used for their one-time ability to search the deck for a Supporter. The only difference is that Tapu Lele-GX is much tankier and has a versatile attack. This makes Tapu Lele-GX almost exclusively better than Jirachi-EX in the Expanded format. However, a niche scenario where Jirachi-EX is better is when your deck plays Level Ball due to its ability to search out Jirachi-EX. Even with this added ability, it is often still not considered worth the addition just because of how much a liability Jirachi-EX becomes being a 2- Prize card pokemon with 90 hp. This deck can get away with this though because of how easily you are able to Parallel City away your Jirachi-EX when you put it into play. If your opponent decides to immediately go for the Jirachi-EX say on like turn 2 or 3 for the 2 Prize cards, you often do not really mind it since that means your Zoroark-GXes/ Girafarig/ Oranguru get to last another turn and you can continue to develop your hand and board state. If they are not able to kill the Jirachi-EX within the first turn or two, then you have an extremely easy time getting rid of it with Parallel City. Either way it goes, it is a win-win.
One of my philosophies in deck building, especially in building Zoroark-based decks, has been to maximize the options you have in a game. The more options you have with any given hand, the more likely it is you can eliminate randomness, outplay your opponent, and win the game. Girafarig adds so many new approaches to playing the deck. In a format consisting of multiple crucial 1-of Supporters in decks, Girafarig is king.
Using Get Lost on your opponent’s Guzmas in combination with a Guzma of your own can often leave your opponent’s pokemon permanently stuck in the Active position. Once this happens, you easily win with Trick Shovels. Pay attention to what resources your opponent has in their discard pile and consider what is likely for your opponent to have in their hand. If you Red Card/ Delinquent someone, and they discard their Professor Sycamore with Delinquent, it likely means that they either kept a VS Seeker as their one card or Tapu Lele-GX/ Shaymin-EX. At that moment, you just bench a Girafarig, retreat into it, play a Silent Lab, Trick Shovel your opponent into a dead card, and Get Lost the Draw Supporters in their discard pile. All of a sudden, your opponent is dead-drawing and you have essentially won the game. Learning these situations is key to being to win any matchup you may come across.
This is the most fun card in deck, especially with the new addition of Girafarig. Once your opponent is dead-drawing, all you need to do is rush to deck yourself out, and then use Resource Management to put back 2 Trick Shovels and a Dowsing Machine every turn. From then on out, you can control every single card your opponent draws to ensure they continue to dead-draw meaning that you have complete control over the board state. GG.
In a meta full of DCE, control-based decks Faba is a staple. It allows you to remove every energy from your opponent’s deck with ease given that you intend to Resource Management every turn. It also allows you to get rid of random 1-of Stadiums that your opponent may play. This can be really important in the ZoroToad matchup because you can just completely remove their stadium control in a game. If you can get to this point, often you can just win with smart Silent Lab/Delinquent combos to force them to deck out.
This was initially added to the deck as a way to consistently beat ArchieStoise. Getting off the early Silent Counter Catcher combo with Mallow is extremely effective in buying you a few turns. Once you have this going with a Quaking Punch/Red Card as well, the only possible card that can get them out of that position is either raw drawing their Faba or raw drawing 4 water energy. Both of these Scenarios are extremely unlikely. Upping both of these to a two count makes the deck feel much more stable in the early game to slow down your opponent.
The key to this deck lies in having the correct opening hand, which needs to consist of merely just an out to Brigette on turn one and an out to a draw Supporter or Zoroark-GX on turn 2. As long as you have those two things, you can almost always outplay any board state. In building this list, I really strived to optimize every single card and count I included, and this Level Ball really embodies that optimization. Level Ball, in combination with Jirachi-EX, allowed me to completely cut Battle Compressor and Pokémon Communication because Level Ball acts as an out to finding Exeggcute, just like Battle Compressor; an out to finding a Supporter, just like Pokémon Communication; and gives the additional benefit of being able to find a Zorua or Girafarig early which gives very explosive potential in the first few turns. The only downside is that I do not get to search out a Zoroark-GX with it like Pokémon Communication could. With all of the added benefits of Level Ball, I decided that it was a trade (no pun intended) I was happy to take.
This is a deck that has been gaining a lot of popularity after its recent high placing finishes and is essential to anyone testing for Dallas Regionals. Its called the “Exodia” Zoroark deck because it essentially wins the game on the first turn when it hits all the pieces it needs. The idea is that, on the first turn, you use all of your consistency to find the Red Card to 4, Delinquent to 1, and Peeking Red Card to 1 random card to completely kill your opponent’s hand before they even get to play a single card. You then use Zoroark-GX with Sky Field to start smacking your opponent for 210 damage until they bench or you take 6 Prize cards. At first I thought this strategy seemed inconsistent and gimmicky, but I was sadly mistaken. It is highly consistent in its ability to pull off the combo on the first turn even when your opponent uses Brigette to find Sudowoodo on their first turn. Almost every test game I have played against the deck, it is still capable of pulling off the turn 1 combo followed by a Guzma KO on my Sudowoodo, while I continue to dead-draw from the random 2 card hand I have.
Whatever deck you are playing at Dallas Regionals, make sure that it is either this deck or has a very solid answer to this deck. It is one of the most powerful, consistent, and overall toxic decks that I have ever seen exist in Pokémon since I started playing in 2010. It is extremely difficult to counter because even if you have some special tech to beat the deck, you still have to find it before they just completely kill your hand. This deck makes me want Hex Maniac back in the format as an answer to it because, honestly, I feel as if its lock is stronger than the turn 1 Hex Maniac lock from last year. I am hoping that someone from Pokémon reads this section and bans something in this deck before Dallas. If not, be ready to play against this deck multiple times throughout swiss. Let’s get into my version of the deck:
Pokémon – 18
4 Zorua SLG 52
4 Zoroark-GX SLG 53
4 Shaymin-EX ROS 77
1 Tapu Lele-GX GRI 60
1 Jirachi- EX
1 Ditto p LOT 154
1 Alolan Muk SUM 58
1 Exeggcute PLF 4
1 Marshadow SLG 45
Trainers – 38
2 Delinquent BKP 98
1 Colress PLS 118
1 Cynthia UPR 119
1 Guzma BUS 115
1 Lusamine CIN 96
4 VS Seeker PHF 109
4 Ultra Ball SUM 135
4 Trainers’ Mail ROS 92
2 Level Ball AOR 76
2 Red Card GEN 71
2 Peeking Red Card CIN 97
1 Rescue Stretcher GRI 130
2 Battle Compressor PHF 92
1 Pokémon Communication BLW 99
1 Special Charge STS 105
1 Computer Search BCR 137
2 Choice Band GRI 121
2 Float Stone BKT 137
4 Sky Field ROS 89
Energy – 4
4 Double Colorless SUM 136
Editor’s Note: TCGO version to be added pending a problem fix.
With two level ball in the deck, as well as little threat from your opponent being able to take a Guzma KO, Jirachi-EX seems like a natural consistency fit. It allows your levels balls to search out Zoruas and Delinquents which seems well worth the minimal risk. The deck needs to play Level Ball over Brigette since it needs to play Delinquent on the first turn and still get ~2 Zoruas down. 2 Level Ball makes it even easier to find the Zoruas early.
This is in the deck to counter counters to the deck. Some things that come to mind are Wobbufett, Hoopa, and Sudowoodo. Alolan Muk acts as a last resort against these cards to make sure you have an answer to such simple inclusions. It plays really easily off of the Ditto * and often your opponent will not see it coming.
With a deck that is capable of benching up to 8 Pokémon on turn one, Marshadow is very useful as both a consistency and disruption card. You can often just start your turn off with a Level Ball for Marshadow when your hand is not playable. This way, you get a chance at hitting the combo with a completely new hand and are no longer in need of playing the Red Card since it puts your opponent at 4 cards as well.
This seems like such an underwhelming draw supporter for a Sky Field Zoroark-GX deck, but the fact is that your opponent will often have very few pokemon in play. If you did pull of the Delinquent on your first turn, then you often will not have a Sky Field in play on turn 2 as well. Cynthia helps you get over that turn 2 lump by giving you a reliable draw 6 supporter to find the Pokémon and Energy you need to take complete control over the game.
This is another counter-intuitive supporter in the deck that actually gives a lot of value in the deck once played out. Lusamine can often give you the exact cards you need to set up the game-winning turn 3 play by allowing guaranteed access to a 2nd Sky Field and a 2nd Delinquent. It also provides niche value against control matchups since you can extend games so far with a single Lusamine and 4 VS Seeker.
Well guys, that is all that I have for y’all today! I hope that you enjoyed reading through this article and have picked up something useful for your own testing. As far as Dallas meta goes, I am expecting a lot of the Exodia Zoroark deck, as well as ZoroGarbEggs and ArchieStoise so make sure to have some type of answer to those three decks. I would highly recommend giving the ZoroControl deck a strong chance because it is extremely fun to play and extremely powerful once fully figured out. Often, your opponent’s won’t really know what’s going on or how to play against your strategy giving it an advantage that most decks do not have.
Feel free to ask any questions about the decks or lists in the comments, and I’ll be sure to answer them. The meta right now is both really fun and really toxic. It seems like most of the skill in Expanded comes in outside of the tournament with deck building. Games are often won before either player flips over their basics. This is fairly different from Standard since there is a fair amount more RNG in drawing what you need, meaning that anyone can win a game no matter the matchup depending on draws. This is still sometimes the case in Expanded of course, just much less often. I’m so excited for all of you to come to my area for Dallas Regionals, be sure to say hi! Until next time, good luck at Dallas Regionals and good luck at any future event you may attend!
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