Levee Overflow

One-Fish/Two-Fish, the Renegade Rancher, and Texas Ranger for Dallas Regionals
Legal—but will it make a “Super Splash”? Read on…

Hello 6P! Happy 2019 to everyone reading this! I hope the year is filled with lots of success for you, whether it be in normal life things or TCG tournaments! 2019 started off slow for me tournaments-wise, as I failed to secure my second finish at a League Challenge this past weekend. Nevertheless, Dallas is on the horizon and with no new cards, it will essentially be Anaheim: Part 2. I don’t expect history to repeat itself and the metagame will surely adapt more adequately to the dominant ZoroToad deck to prevent it from winning again.

Dallas will be the tournament where people can get some redemption and the often-meme’d-on Pokémon Ranger will likely see the light of day in many Zoroark decks and others potentially, too. The new set, Team Up, will of course not be legal for play yet. However, Magikarp & Wailord-GX will be legal for the tournament as it is being released in an independent box as a promo, and legal for the Cup the day before Dallas.

One-Fish/Two-Fish: Magikarp & Wailord-GX

Ash Ketchum: Winner of the 1999 Bassmaster Classic. (We’ll need a larger fishing rod to corral a Wailord.)

So will this new card cause a wave (pun intended) of influence and make Archie’s Blastoise immediately better and a more powerful archetype? I believe the answer is no. The card is good—don’t get me wrong—but it’s still not super easy to get out and the Archie’s issue was never “lack of access” to a powerful attacker. Wishiwashi-GX, Articuno ROS 17, Volcanion p, Kingdra-GX, and Keldeo-EX are already an impressive arsenal for the deck. Magikarp & Wailord-GX hits some nice numbers with the 5-Energy cost, namely 180 to 1HKO most Basic EXs and GXs, and a Choice Band allows it do 210, the magic number to deal with Zoroark-GX. Before this card, the deck would need a 2nd Archie’s to set up Kingdra-GX, but now it has another option available to do that. With Zoroark-GX being the number 1 enemy of Expanded, more outs to 1HKO it are always good.

The deck doesn’t change or alter its structure much beyond adding Choice Bands over the Muscle Bands. Muscle Bands are great when combined with Articuno, but in a field expected to be dominated by Zoroark-GX, you want to have as many options to 1HKO it as possible. This is where I’m at with the list as of today, and even though it’s not my top choice for Dallas, I do think it’s a strong contender still:

Pokémon (14)

2 Blastoise PLS

2 Magikarp & Wailord-GX

1 Kingdra-GX

1 Articuno ROS 17

1 Keldeo-EX

1 Volcanion p

2 Tapu Lele-GX

2 Shaymin-EX ROS

2 Exeggcute PLB

Trainer (36)

2 Archie’s Ace in the Hole

1 Faba

1 Fisherman

1 Guzma

1 N

1 Professor Juniper


4 Battle Compressor

4 Order Pad

4 Superior Energy Retrieval

4 Trainers’ Mail

4 Ultra Ball

4 VS Seeker

1 Field Blower


2 Choice Band

1 Float Stone


1 Computer Search

Energy (10)

10 W


Copy List

****** Pokémon Trading Card Game Deck List ******

##Pokémon - 14

* 2 Blastoise PLS 137
* 2 Magikarp & Wailord-GX PR-SM SM166
* 1 Kingdra-GX DRM 66
* 1 Articuno ROS 17
* 1 Keldeo-EX BCR 142
* 1 Volcanion p FLI 31
* 2 Tapu Lele-GX GRI 137
* 2 Shaymin-EX ROS 106
* 2 Exeggcute PLB 102

##Trainer Cards - 36

* 1 Computer Search BCR 137
* 1 N FCO 105
* 1 Professor Juniper PLF 116
* 4 Superior Energy Retrieval PLF 103
* 4 Battle Compressor Team Flare Gear PHF 92
* 4 Ultra Ball SUM 161
* 1 Float Stone BKT 137
* 1 Faba LOT 208
* 4 VS Seeker ROS 110
* 1 Guzma BUS 143
* 2 Choice Band BUS 162
* 1 Field Blower GRI 163
* 4 Order Pad UPR 131
* 1 Fisherman CES 130
* 2 Archie’s Ace in the Hole PRC 157
* 4 Trainers’ Mail AOR 100

##Energy - 10

* 10 W Energy CIN 124

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=72209 ******

Other than the Magikarp & Wailord-GX card, there’s nothing new that changed since Anaheim. A new engine for the deck is unnecessary and how it performs depends mostly on your initial 7-card combination. The deck itself achieves around 70% turn 1 Archie’s, which is a pretty neat feat, but there’s no guarantee you will win if you pull it off.

Archie’s Matchups

As far as matchups, Zoroark-GX/Garbodor is of course a little bit boosted by the humongous HP of Magikarp & Wailord-GX. However, Garbotoxin plus N in the late game is still pretty difficult to recover from for this deck. Another issue is Trashalanche can trade pretty effectively with all of our attackers, and given the need of turn 1 Archie’s for this deck to function, it’s usually very, very difficult to limit the amount of Item cards in your discard pile throughout the game.

Rayquaza-GX can be another tough matchup, but Magikarp & Wailord-GX actually makes a difference here. Both decks have explosive turn 1’s, and the games usually come down to who ends up taking the first 2 Prizes and is able to keep up that momentum into the late game. Magikarp & Wailord-GX requires 10 Energy on the field for Rayquaza-GX to 1HKO, which is not easy to do. 6–7 for regular GXs is very manageable, but 10 when they’re running 14 is actually a big strain on their resources. This means if Magikarp & Wailord-GX is able to get 2 Prizes on a Rayquaza-GX, not only is it difficult to respond effectively, but then it might get another 2 Prizes off of a Guzma, and thus you’re trading 4 of their Prizes for your 3. With the trades favoring you, Magikarp & Wailord-GX I think makes this matchup slightly favorable (rather than even).

Lucario-GX has been gaining popularity since its success at Dallas and with good reason. Focus Sash makes this matchup decently hard due to the possibility to Acerola after it or possibly get a 1HKO with the damage on Lucario-GX even on a Magikarp & Wailord-GX. The lack of damage modifiers in the original list made it difficult to find 1HKOs on clean EXs or GXs, but it also wasn’t exactly easy to pull off 210 clean damage by the deck until this new promo was released. With that, I do think the matchup will be slightly better.

Against ZoroToad, the game will usually boil down to which threat you were able to get online in the early game and/or how quickly your opponent stabilized. Their main goal will be to trap something in the Active with a Silent Lab in play so Keldeo-EX doesn’t offer an easy retreat option. However, Magikarp & Wailord-GX offers a way to pressure and get more solid Guzma KOs earlier on, which is what you need to beat the deck. Aggression is your best friend here, and thus you need to set up Magikarp & Wailord and get 1HKOing ASAP.

Finally, against the Zoroark-GX / Red Card / Delinquent deck, the variance of how often they pull of the combo turn 1, plus who goes first makes the matchup impossible to predict. If you stabilize, usually you have enough firepower to close out games, but sometimes you simply lose off of a bad draw from the combo. So my best advice here would be to win the coin flip to go first, I guess?

Overall the deck definitely gets strong with Magikarp & Wailord-GX, but Vespiquen taking 2nd place at Anaheim means Vespiquen will likely see play, and thus, if trading 2 for 1 against non-GX decks was bad, trading 3 for 1 is atrocious. That matchup is almost unwinnable unless you get some good Articuno flips early on, but even then it’s still a very steep run uphill against them.

The Renegade Rancher: Lucario-GX

This brings me to the other deck that I’m contemplating, Lucario-GX. It’s hard to argue against Fighting-type Pokémon in a Zoroark-GX-dominated metagame. The fact that it can 1HKO a Zoroark with a single Energy is a pretty big deal, and the heavier Guzma count, along with the extra Riolu from the original list, should help in achieving this. Here is my most updated Lucario-GX list as of today:

Pokémon (16)

4 Riolu UPR

3 Lucario-GX

2 Buzzwole-GX

1 Buzzwole FLI

1 Zygarde-EX

1 Sudowoodo GRI

1 Diancie p

1 Remoraid BKT 32

1 Octillery BKT

1 Tapu Lele-GX

Trainer (33)

3 Guzma

3 Korrina

3 N

2 Acerola

2 Colress

2 Professor Juniper


4 Ultra Ball

2 VS Seeker

1 Field Blower

1 Professor’s Letter

1 Super Rod


2 Choice Band

2 Float Stone

2 Focus Sash


1 Scoop Up Cyclone


2 Brooklet Hill

Energy (11)

7 F

4 Strong


Copy List

****** Pokémon Trading Card Game Deck List ******

##Pokémon - 16

* 4 Riolu UPR 66
* 3 Lucario-GX FLI 122
* 2 Buzzwole-GX CIN 104
* 1 Buzzwole FLI 77
* 1 Zygarde-EX PR-XY XY151
* 1 Sudowoodo GRI 66
* 1 Diancie p FLI 74
* 1 Remoraid BKT 32
* 1 Octillery BKT 33
* 1 Tapu Lele-GX GRI 137

##Trainer Cards - 33

* 2 Acerola BUS 142
* 2 Professor Juniper PLF 116
* 2 Brooklet Hill GRI 120
* 2 Focus Sash FFI 91
* 1 Super Rod BKT 149
* 1 Professor’s Letter BKT 146
* 2 Colress PLS 135
* 4 Ultra Ball SUM 161
* 2 Choice Band BUS 162
* 2 Float Stone BKT 137
* 1 Scoop Up Cyclone PLB 95
* 2 VS Seeker ROS 110
* 3 Guzma BUS 143
* 1 Field Blower GRI 163
* 3 N NVI 101
* 3 Korrina FFI 111

##Energy - 11

* 4 Strong Energy FCO 115
* 7 F Energy GRI 169

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=72209 ******

Early pressure from Buzzwole-GX, combined with the 1HKO potential of Lucario-GX is usually enough to close out games against any Zoroark variant you may go up against. The shared Weakness from both attackers is usually not a big deal as Psychic is not a prominent type in Expanded outside of Trashalanche, but having Landorus-EX wouldn’t be making a big difference anyway. With the possibility of Vespiquen’s success making it more likely for decks to include Oricorio and Karen once again, I believe Night March won’t make a big appearance at all.

I’ve debated quite a bit the change from Muscle Band to Choice Band, but I lost so many games in testing where my Lucario was hitting for 160 damage and coming up short of 1HKOs on Keldeos and Tapu Leles that I made the call to go completely Choice Bands and it’s been working out pretty nicely.

The loss of the 3rd Focus Sash definitely hurts against the Rayquaza matchup, but it’s hard for them to produce a Field Blower consistently at the right time, and you can effectively search for the Focus Sash with Korrina. I genuinely think 2 is enough, and even though 3 would be ideal, the deck is incredibly tight in space.

Other cards I considered adding were 1–2 copies of DCEs purely to be able to use the GX attack out of nowhere against ZoroToad, where they expect to have you under control with an Energy-less Lucario in the Active slowly being chipped away by Quaking Punch. In the end it proved to be too gimmicky and unreliable, and a 4th raw Guzma would probably be better overall to keep chasing Zoroark’s under Item lock.

Texas Ranger: Zoroark-GX/Garbodor

Finally, one of my other options is Zoroark-GX/Garbodor. Although the deck has a huge target on its back, it’s still incredibly powerful and has all the tools to deal with anything in the metagame. 1HKO potential, Ability lock, soft Item lock/Item punish—what else could you want? This is what my current list looks like:

Pokémon (21)

4 Zorua DEX 70

4 Zoroark-GX

1 Zoroark NXD

2 Trubbish GRI

1 Trubbish NVI

2 Garbodor GRI

1 Garbodor BKP

1 Sudowoodo GRI

1 Ditto p

1 Exeggcute PLB

2 Tapu Lele-GX

1 Shaymin-EX ROS

Trainer (33)

2 Brigette

2 Colress

2 N

1 Guzma

1 Pokémon Ranger


4 Ultra Ball

4 VS Seeker

2 Field Blower

1 Battle Compressor

1 Enhanced Hammer

1 Evosoda

1 Red Card

1 Rescue Stretcher

1 Special Charge


3 Float Stone

2 Choice Band


1 Dowsing Machine


3 Sky Field

Energy (6)

4 Double Colorless

2 P


Copy List

****** Pokémon Trading Card Game Deck List ******

##Pokémon - 21

* 4 Zorua DEX 70
* 4 Zoroark-GX PR-SM SM84
* 1 Zoroark NXD 102
* 2 Trubbish GRI 50
* 1 Trubbish NVI 48
* 2 Garbodor GRI 51
* 1 Garbodor BKP 57
* 1 Sudowoodo GRI 66
* 1 Ditto p LOT 154
* 1 Exeggcute PLB 102
* 2 Tapu Lele-GX GRI 137
* 1 Shaymin-EX ROS 106

##Trainer Cards - 33

* 1 Rescue Stretcher BUS 165
* 1 Red Card GEN 71
* 1 Pokémon Ranger STS 113
* 1 Battle Compressor Team Flare Gear PHF 92
* 2 Colress PLS 135
* 1 Evosoda XY 116
* 1 Special Charge STS 105
* 4 Ultra Ball SUM 161
* 3 Float Stone BKT 137
* 4 VS Seeker ROS 110
* 1 Guzma BUS 143
* 2 Brigette BKT 161
* 2 Choice Band BUS 162
* 2 Field Blower GRI 163
* 2 N NVI 101
* 3 Sky Field ROS 89
* 1 Enhanced Hammer GRI 162
* 1 Dowsing Machine PLS 128

##Energy - 6

* 4 Double Colorless Energy GRI 166
* 2 P Energy SUM 162

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=72209 ******

I considered going the Delinquent / Red Card route with this deck, but the requirement of the Stadium was being too harsh in the late game when I was trying to string 1HKOs and still be disruptive.

“Halt, ye scoundrel Toad!”

The big standout card here is the Pokémon Ranger I believe, which was rarely seen over at Anaheim. A quick search over at LimitlessTCG reveals only four of the Day 2 decks included it, and thus it’s no surprise they faltered to the stronger ZoroToad control decks. This was the most popular deck in Day 2 for a reason, as the combination of two of the strongest Pokémon in the game proves to form a very powerful deck. Pokémon Ranger has proven to be quite a game changer in the ZoroToad matchup, purely because it allows flexibility in stretching for a 1HKO against a Seismitoad-EX through the use of Field Blower, and also offers reactivation of Garbotoxin to have both players under Ability lock, but it ultimately is your decision as to when that happens. The reusability with VS Seeker just makes the card even stronger against ZoroToad, as their whole strategy relies on Item locking and denying a lot of resources that way.

There’s nothing in Expanded right now that is heavily played, can withstand consistent 210 hits, and has enough recovery under Ability lock. The deck won Worlds last year, and it makes sense that its popularity and power is being reflected now in an Expanded format dominated by Abilities which has only Garbotoxin as a reliable check for them (i.e., Abilities).

Predictions / On the Radar

Zoroark, counters, and maybe more?

What will happen at Dallas? I genuinely have no idea, but I fully expect the metagame to be a bit more centralized toward Zoroark-GX counters such as Lucario-GX and Rayquaza-GX, along with Zoroark-GX/Garbodor showing up in very big numbers too.

  • Other than the three decks listed above, Sylveon-GX has been staring at and calling to me as a hard metacall, but so far ZoroToad matchup results have been very weird and looking unfavorable.
  • Shock Lock and possibly a Magikarp & Wailord-GX mill deck are also things under consideration, but, as always, are not my preferred playstyle, and the popularity of Red Card + Delinquent has certainly made it a lot more difficult for those decks to prosper in the current Expanded environment.
  • Gardevoir-GX is another deck that would definitely see play and success if the format wasn’t so centered around not letting your opponent play the game through the copious amounts of disruption that are available in Expanded, but the combination of Gardevoir with Sylveon-GX definitely seemed appealing at one point in my testing.


I hope you enjoyed reading the article and that you enjoyed your time during the holidays! I’m really looking forward to kick things back into gear in 2019 at Dallas and beyond! Now that we have quite a few SPEs scheduled in Central America, I’m probably going to try and make it to Costa Rica! As always, feel free to direct any questions or comments here or on any of my Tablemon social media outlets. Happy New Year!

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