Hey everyone! Welcome back to another article. Today, I’m going to look at Zoroark-GX/Garbodor. I’ve been mostly departed from Expanded since Portland, but this past weekend I had the opportunity to attend the Florida marathon and one final Cup in Berwyn, IL once I came home. I also went to an ARG tournament in Florida before all of the cups, meaning I played in 4 tournaments total. 3 of those were with Zoroark-GX/Garbodor, and one was with the Zoroark-GX Exodia deck.
To preface this entire article, let me say that I think Zoroark-GX/Garbodor is a stronger deck than the combo. Sure, it’s great to pull off, but the surefire, consistent way to win the game is with a powerful swing turn with Zoroark-GX/Garbodor. On top of this reason, everything in Zoroark-GX/Garbodor is in your control. The combo is inherently brainless to pull off; you’re removing player skill from the win percentage. One can play Exodia to the best of his or her abilities, but the difference in results of great vs. best players playing that deck is lesser than the difference in Zoroark-GX/Garbodor. There are more options with Zoroark-GX/Garbodor, and more of the match is dictated by you.
Why is this deck good? Well, it combines two amazing cards. I’ve already covered why Zoroark-GX is a strong card in Expanded; I need not dive further into it. Garbotoxin is a strong Ability in Expanded when combined with N, but also in the general nature of the successful decks. The more aggressive decks like Rayquaza-GX, Archie’s Blastoise, Buzzwole, and Blacephalon are vulnerable to either Trashalanche or Garbotoxin, making Garbodor a sweet sidekick in these matchups. Importantly, Trashlanche functions as a strong single prize attacker. This way, there’s a great way to punish the opponent for returning to even prizes too soon: continuously attack with Trashalanche.
Pokémon – 21
4 Zorua DEX
1 Ditto ♢
Trainers – 27
1 Red Card
Energy – 5
7 open spots
This is the bare minimum skeleton that I’d build for the deck. It’s possible to justify some more final cuts, but the above list is likely 52/60 cards in my list for Dallas. Currently, Zoroark-GX/Garbodor is my main choice.
The top-heavy Garbodor line allows us to utilize Ditto ♢ as a 3rd Trubbish. Also, it’s unlikely that we’ll ever need more than two Garbodor in play: one Trashalanche and one Garbotoxin. The deck requires Garbotoxin in order to overcome Roadblock, so it’s necessary to have 2 copies (in case one is prized). The one Trashalanche is enough with the 2 copies of recovery cards.
2 Shaymin-EX, 1 Tapu Lele-GX
I find it more important for this deck, and most Zoroark-GX decks, to play an excess of Shaymin-EX rather than Tapu Lele-GX. This deck usually wins its games by having an insane swing turn with Colress, Red Card, Garbotoxin, Riotous Beating for 210. This combo comes about through the insane draw power of Colress, Set Up, and Trade. 2 Shaymin-EX all but guarantees one will be in the deck, and the single copy of Tapu Lele-GX is sufficient for those T1 Brigette searches.
This deck relies on filling its Bench for the 210 combo as well as maintaining card advantage. The double Exeggcute is insurance against prizing one, yet also is amazing when both are in deck; Ultra Balls become a 1:1 search card.
Klefki is honestly the best card in the deck. It’s not an Item, so it can be used as a way to activate Garbotoxin while under Item lock. It’s also temporary, meaning that it will Ability Lock the opponent and then discard itself going back into your turn. And finally, it can be reused with Rescue Stretcher or Super Rod to continue the cycle. 1 Klefki is a must, but 2 may be too many.
I think it’s important to run 2 recovery cards in Zoroark-GX decks because it’s simply added insurance. If you only run Rescue Stretcher, you run the risk of discarding the Psychic Energy early and never being able to reuse it without the aid of Oranguru UPR. If you only run Super Rod, you are unable to pick up a Pokémon immediately, worsening your outs off of a Colress or N. (You’d need Super Rod + Ultra Ball, not just Rescue Stretcher.)
Dowsing Machine allows us to have the best of both worlds and play both. Granted, I’d still play one of each without Dowsing Machine, but it’s very helpful to not have to worry about running out of Pokémon near the end of the game.
3 Sky Field is the minimum, but the 4th copy is something I cannot justify. It’s incredibly annoying to miss the T2 or even T3 Sky Field, which can immediately result in a loss, but there are other cards that deserve the 60th slot more so than it. Once again, Dowsing Machine is helpful for reusing some of these resources.
1 Psychic Energy is required in order to use Trashalanche or Tapu Cure GX. It’s a minimum, though, and I highly recommend 2. (More on that to come at the final list.)
For this tournament, I had just arrived in Florida and decided to simply take Regan Retzloff’s semi-weird Zoroark-GX/Garbodor list and build Jon Eng’s Top 8 list. I played Jon’s list, except I added a 4th VS Seeker and cut the Giratina XY184. I also had 2 Klefki and 0 Faba. His list has been the base of my adaptations each day.
It was a pretty depressing performance. I started out strong, but then hit the auto-loss in Top 8. There wasn’t much I could do because I missed an N, which led to him doing an Acerola + Parallel City + Girafarig play. I conceded afterwards. Game 2 wasn’t much better either: he started Girafarig, plays Team Skull Grunt, hits my 2 Energy in hand and then sends them to the Lost Zone. My hand was dead so I picked up my cards there too.
Overall, this is when I started to take a liking towards the deck. It shouldn’t beat Gyarados on paper, but the continued pressure of OHKOs, Garbotoxin, and N allowed it to do so twice. Bad matchups aren’t really bad matchups when you can establish your game plan. I’d even say that I don’t think Gyarados is a bad matchup because their deck is a slower Fighting deck (with regards to KO’ing Zoroark-GX). Landorus-EX or Lucario-GX are much faster at taking Prizes more efficiently, which explains its favorable matchup.
Slight skip here because I didn’t play Zoroark-GX/Garbodor for Day 2. There, I played Zoroark-GX Exodia and finished 2nd. Anyway, at this cup I decided to go back to what I liked because I realized Garbodor is a stronger partner. It gives me more of a chance against Fighting decks than Exodia does, and I felt like games were more in my control. I also wanted to see if I could repeat my good finish from the tournament before.
Pokémon – 23
4 Zorua DEX
1 Ditto ♢
Trainers – 31
1 Red Card
Energy – 6
I decided to stay true to what worked from Day 1. The only changes that happened were -1 Klefki +1 Professor Kukui, and -1 Zoroark BKT +1 Delinquent. These were honestly some of the best changes I could’ve made. The 2nd Klefki was usually a win more card. The Professor Kukui was a specific tech to try and beat the Sceptile-GX and Sylveon-GX hype that was around the room. It allowed me to reach 230 damage which was enough to KO Sceptile-GX or a Sylveon-GX after Resistance.
Delinquent was even better of a change than the Professor Kukui. Zoroark BKT was a useless card because I found myself setting up Zoroark-GX for Trade power instead. If I wanted to use a one prizer, I’d have used Garbodor GRI. The Delinquent gave me greater Stadium control and let me bop a few people down to 0 cards throughout the day. Most of the time the opponent couldn’t play around it and immediately lost the game (though that doesn’t excuse the 3/5 times they drew out of it immediately, grumble).
Delinquent can simply throw a wrench into some decks’ plans. Decks without Octillery, Oranguru, or Zoroark-GX cannot afford not to play down their hand to a low size. The best example I can give is Trevenant BREAK. It’s already a favorable matchup, but my opponent had to dump his hand every turn and hope I missed Delinquent. Otherwise, he wasn’t evolving, attaching Energies, or removing mine.
R1: Buzzwole stuff (L)
R2: Rayquaza-GX (W)
R3: Zoroark-GX/Garbodor (W)
R4: Buzzwole stuff (W)
R5: Zoroark-GX/Garbodor (W)
R6: Sceptile-GX/Vileplume (W)
T8: Zoroark-GX/Garbodor (WW)
T4: Trevenant BREAK (LWW)
T2: Blacephalon-GX/Naganadel (LWW)
The day went great: every loss was a draw-pass situation. Round 1 I lost in two turns, Top 4 G1 in 3-4, and Finals was a painful 6-7 of draw-pass while topdecking Basics. Every game that I set up, I won. After this tournament, I decided not to go to the final League Cup in Sarasota because I had 90 available points out of 100. Though, I did go to a Cup yesterday when I got home in Berwyn.
So, I played the same list as Cape Coral except I took out the Professor Kukui for a 2nd Brigette. I didn’t enjoy prizing Brigette in Bo1 and the Professor Kukui was the most cuttable card, so I wanted to see how it would work out. Long story short, it was great and I never missed Brigette when I chose to go for it. Also, I didn’t have Zorua DEX or Trubbish NVI as I rushed out of the house so I was stuck playing Zorua SLG and Trubbish GRI. No big deal.
This day didn’t go as well as I had hoped it to. Swiss rounds went great, but everything fell apart in Top 8. Game 1, I drew pass and got donked. Game 2 I set up! Game 3, he missed the Peeking Red Card and I was able to set up. At the end of the game, I had a checkmate position with Trashalanche + Garbotoxin + N; he had two prizes left. His way to win was to have Zoroark-GX + Double Colorless + Guzma to KO a Shaymin-EX. In my 25ish card deck before I N’d, I had 15 in hand and didn’t draw the Red Card, Field Blower, or Delinquent in my deck. The Field Blower/Delinquent would have won me the game immediately because I could remove the Sky Field and my Shaymin-EX. Red Card would’ve meant I could Colress, either drawing into Field Blower to win or to draw VS Seeker and win the following turn if I didn’t lose.
However, what ended up happening is that I played N, went down to 2 prizes with my 4+2 card hand, and was very close to winning. He Paralyzing Gaze’d two turns and hit double heads, which delayed me from KO’ing his Zorua with Energy. I had 7 outs in my deck to win: 4 VS Seeker, Dowsing Machine, Field Blower, and Delinquent. I missed them all from the 6 cards I saw from my deck.
Aside from that huge sadness, the deck performed well. Delinquent was once again a monster, winning me Rounds 2 and 4 by force.
I really like the list I played, but I’m not sure if it’s completely adapted to the meta. Here’s what I would take to Dallas if it were tomorrow:
Pokémon – 23
4 Zorua DEX
1 Ditto ♢
Trainers – 31
1 Red Card
Energy – 6
Alex Schemanske has told me that Pokémon Ranger is a good card to play in this deck, and I believe him. He and Wes Hollenberg played Zoroark-GX/Garbodor to the Cup as well, so I think he’ll get around to explaining the different tech choices they played. Pokémon Ranger is there to reset Quaking Punch, allowing VS Seeker and other good cards to be played.
What draws me to this list is its consistency. Compared to the skeleton, I have Tapu Lele-GX and Oranguru UPR as extra Pokémon. Special Charge is interchangeable with Oranguru, but I like that I can Resource Management other cards and switch strategies. Trapping a Garbodor BKP active was how I won R3 in Cape Coral. Oranguru only gets better as I add more disruptive/attrition cards to the list like Counter Catcher, Acerola, or Parallel City.
Delinquent is a staple I’ll always have in the list. The 3rd Colress is great because I can Battle Compressor one away and still have one left to Wonder Tag for, including one prized. Pokémon Communication is a 5th search card. The 2nd Psychic removes prizes as a factor and makes it more likely to be drawn. Overall, the list is simply solid.
Another route I might try and take the deck is to include a light attrition package: Seismitoad-EX + Acerola. Seismitoad-EX would be great against Beast Ring decks like Fighting and Blacephalon-GX; both are semi-shaky matchups. However, there’s little reason to play Seismitoad-EX without Acerola, as it cannot battle efficiently. Looking at cards to cut, I would pick the 2nd Tapu Lele-GX and Pokémon Communication. Those are the first cards I’d cut from the list.
Counter Catcher is another card I’ve thought about including. It’s very strong in theory, but I can’t justify it because this deck is likely to be tied if not ahead in prizes. It would be very useful against Fighting and Blacephalon-GX, two of its bad matchups, but there are likely other ways to improve those. It’ll take some testing to see if the Seismitoad-EX package is worthwhile.
I won’t go into detail of anything because Isaiah discussed Exodia, but let it be known I think the deck is a worse Zoroark-GX/Garbodor. I played Le Bui’s Top 4 list card for card. Here’s how the tournament went, if anyone wondered.
I think Zoroark-GX/Garbodor will be the deck to win Dallas if people play it. Its matchups are solid once they’re learned, and the deck is incredibly intricate in both sequencing, strategy, and resource management. It has a plethora of tools that can win most games when used correctly. I’m about 90% confident that I’ll be playing some version of the deck for Dallas. It’s what I’m comfortable with after playing it in a few tournaments, and I’ve had good results so far.
I’m unsure of what’ll happen regarding meta shifts or bans. Nothing will be banned before Dallas, but I’m curious if any emergency ones come in or if it’ll happen at Team Up’s release. Who knows! We might not have any bans at all.
Anyways, I’ll be at Dallas. I’m not sure where else I’ll be because most Regionals conflict with clubs this year, so I’m not going to be on the spree like years prior. If you see me at a tournament, feel free to say hi as always.
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