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ZoroGarb 2.0 and PikaTickets for Daytona
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Let’s dive right in. (The water is fine!)

Hello again readers, I’m back with some Expanded content today in preparation for the Daytona Regional Championships. I’ve been enjoying Expanded quite a bit recently, and I believe that it this fact is easily attributed to the changes brought by the banning of Lusamine and Delinquent. I’m going to be covering my top two picks for this weekend as well as what I believe the meta will be.

I’m coming off of my not-so-recent success in Greensboro with Zoroark/Garbodor, and I believe it is one of the strongest decks the game has seen in recent history. Between drawing 20+ cards a turn, hitting 210 damage every turn, and having massive disruptive capabilities, Zoroark/Garbodor offers literally everything a player could ask for. One of the reasons I enjoy playing ZoroGarb is because even though the deck takes 50/50s against a lot of decks, there is plenty of room to outplay many opponents.

PikaRom is the second deck I’m considering because of how fast and strong the deck is. We saw it take two of the Top 8 slots in Greensboro, and I think that is a perfect example of how well the deck can do. I believe that the deck has gained a rather unorthodox way to sneak an extra Prize in.

Top Banana: Zoroark/Garbodor

Close to Perfect

I personally believe that Justin Kulas and I came incredibly close to achieving the perfect list for Greensboro. Here is said list:

Pokémon (26)

4 Zorua DEX 70

4 Zoroark-GX

1 Zoroark BKT

2 Trubbish NVI

2 Garbodor DRX

1 Garbodor GRI

2 Tapu Lele-GX

2 Shaymin-EX ROS

2 Exeggcute PLF

1 Mr. Mime PLF

1 Klefki STS

1 Ditto p

1 Sudowoodo GRI

1 Oricorio GRI 56

1 Wobbuffet PHF

Trainer (28)

2 Colress

1 Brigette

1 Guzma

1 N

1 Professor Sycamore

 

4 Ultra Ball

4 VS Seeker

1 Battle Compressor

1 Field Blower

1 Pokémon Communication

1 Red Card

1 Rescue Stretcher

1 Super Rod

2 Choice Band

2 Float Stone

1 Dowsing Machine

 

3 Sky Field

Energy (6)

4 Double Colorless

2 Psychic

 

Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 26

* 4 Zorua DEX 70
* 4 Zoroark-GX SLG 53
* 1 Zoroark BKT 91
* 2 Trubbish NVI 48
* 2 Garbodor DRX 54
* 1 Garbodor GRI 51
* 2 Tapu Lele-GX GRI 60
* 2 Shaymin-EX ROS 77
* 2 Exeggcute PLF 4
* 1 Mr. Mime PLF 47
* 1 Klefki STS 80
* 1 Ditto p LOT 154
* 1 Sudowoodo GRI 66
* 1 Oricorio GRI 56
* 1 Wobbuffet PHF 36

##Trainer Cards - 28

* 2 Colress PLS 118
* 1 Guzma BUS 115
* 1 Brigette BKT 134
* 1 Professor Sycamore BKP 107
* 1 N FCO 105
* 4 VS Seeker PHF 109
* 4 Ultra Ball SUM 135
* 1 Pokémon Communication BLW 99
* 1 Battle Compressor PHF 92
* 1 Field Blower GRI 125
* 1 Red Card GEN 71
* 1 Super Rod BKT 149
* 1 Rescue Stretcher GRI 130
* 1 Dowsing Machine PLS 128
* 2 Choice Band GRI 121
* 2 Float Stone BKT 137
* 3 Sky Field ROS 89

##Energy - 6

* 4 Double Colorless Energy SUM 136
* 2 Psychic Energy Energy 5

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=73106 ******

Going forward, I’d say that this list is a perfectly acceptable choice to play in Daytona this weekend. It’s one of the most consistent lists that still includes tech cards for nearly every matchup; however, I believe there are cards that are better in the list now that we’ve seen Drampa/Garbodor win an event and PikaRom make a comeback.

ZoroGarb 2.0

Pokémon (24)

4 Zorua DEX 70

4 Zoroark-GX

2 Trubbish NVI

2 Garbodor BKP

1 Garbodor GRI

2 Tapu Lele-GX

2 Shaymin-EX ROS

2 Exeggcute PLB

1 Mr. Mime PLF

1 Klefki STS

1 Ditto p

1 Sudowoodo GRI

1 Wobbuffet PHF

Trainer (30)

2 Colress

1 Brigette

1 Guzma

1 N

1 Professor Sycamore

 

4 Ultra Ball

4 VS Seeker

2 Field Blower

1 Battle Compressor

1 Counter Catcher

1 Pokémon Communication

1 Red Card

1 Rescue Stretcher

1 Super Rod

2 Choice Band

2 Float Stone

1 Dowsing Machine

 

3 Sky Field

Energy (6)

4 Double Colorless

2 Psychic

 

Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 24

* 4 Zorua DEX 70
* 4 Zoroark-GX SLG 77
* 2 Trubbish NVI 48
* 2 Garbodor BKP 57
* 1 Garbodor GRI 51
* 2 Tapu Lele-GX GRI 155
* 2 Shaymin-EX ROS 106
* 2 Exeggcute PLB 102
* 1 Mr. Mime PLF 47
* 1 Klefki STS 80
* 1 Ditto p LOT 154
* 1 Sudowoodo GRI 66
* 1 Wobbuffet PHF 36

##Trainer Cards - 30

* 1 Professor Sycamore STS 114
* 1 Rescue Stretcher BUS 165
* 1 N FCO 105
* 1 Red Card GEN 71
* 2 Choice Band GRI 121
* 1 Counter Catcher CIN 120
* 1 Battle Compressor Team Flare Gear PHF 92
* 1 Super Rod BKT 149
* 2 Colress PLS 135
* 2 Field Blower GRI 125
* 4 Ultra Ball SUM 161
* 1 Pokémon Communication HS 98
* 4 VS Seeker ROS 110
* 1 Guzma BUS 143
* 1 Brigette BKT 161
* 3 Sky Field ROS 89
* 2 Float Stone PLF 99
* 1 Dowsing Machine PLS 128

##Energy - 6

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

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=73106 ******

There are a few key changes that I believe allow the deck to handle almost any matchup we’re going to see in Daytona.

Key Changes

1 Counter Catcher
So we can do all of these amazing things with ZoroGarb already, but we can’t draw 20+ cards AND use a Gust effect. With Counter Catcher, we can! The way I look at it, we now have the ability to Colress/N and Gust in a single turn, which gives us a much larger chance to win games where we’ve fallen behind. This in of itself justifies devoting the card slot to it.

2nd Field Blower
A Garbodor deck that isn’t Zoroark just won Greensboro. This means that we need to devote another spot to counter Garbotoxin. I was already on the fence about playing two copies and this pushed me over edge. Field Blower is also necessary to remove our own Garbotoxin from play, so it’s almost never going to be irrelevant.

Potential Inclusions

Oricorio GRI 56
At some point I said to never cut this little bird, and I still stand by that statement. However, I cut it anyway because I felt the second Field Blower was better in the upcoming meta. Sue me. Anyway, enough of my personal musings. Oricorio is easily the most versatile of any tech card right now, because it has the potential to steal on last Prize late game, or set up big KOs by dealing some chip damage to a PikaRom or another TAG TEAM Pokémon. This is easily my 61st card and I am definitely trying to find a slot for it.

Oranguru UPR
I’ve been told that this completely solves the Drampa/Garbodor matchup, but I have yet to actually test it. The theory is that you constantly recycle Energy, Field Blowers, and other Item cards to the point where you are able to win the game.

Zoroark BKT
Another card that got the axe when I was messing around with tech cards. This is a card that helps the Mirror, PikaRom, and potentially Archie matchups. However, Counter Catcher does all of those things and more, making it strictly better than Zoroark.

Zoroark BLW + Hypnotoxic Laser
The Wombo Combo (Foul Play, Choice Band, Laser) is the easiest way to take a OHKO on a PikaRom. If you expect a meta full of PikaRom, I would try to find space for these two cards. However, since I do not expect PikaRom to come out in insanely high numbers, I’ve elected to not play this combo.


There are a bunch of other cards that could be acceptable techs in ZoroGarb, but I personally don’t believe that they are better than any of the ones included or suggested.

The Matchup Spread

*Disclaimer* I am not going to talk about the Mirror match of ZoroGarb because it is completely luck based and incredibly stupid. Moving on.

Archie’s Blastoise: Even–Favored
We all saw me completely throw my Top 8 match against Azul in Greensboro, but obviously that does not say anything about the matchup itself. Had I played like I should have I could not lose that game, and that is what leads me to say the matchup is easily winnable. I would even argue that as long as you get Wobbuffet in the Active position going first without crippling yourself, you will almost always win the game. The goal is to wall with Wobbuffet until you are able to get the Garbotoxin lock in play while attacking. A well-timed Trashalanche under Ability lock can also completely swing the match in your favor. An intelligent Archie player is likely going to attempt managing their Item count, but sometimes it is not possible for them to do so, which opens quite a few avenues to victory for us. A late-game N also has the potential to completely end the game because of how few outs to Supporters Archie generally plays.

PikaRom: Even–Favored
I have yet to play against an Expanded PikaRom player in a tournament setting, so my opinion here might be a little skewed, but I’ve certainly tested the matchup enough to at least have an opinion. In my experience, the coin flip is vital. Going first in this matchup automatically creates around a 25% chance of winning the game. If both players draw optimally, the game will be decided by the coin flip. However, both players drawing that well is quite rare, so don’t put too much stock in that idea. Generally, between two Zoroark-GX, we’ll take a KO on one PikaRom. For our next Prizes, Trashalanche is our main avenue. At this point we’ve either won, or we’re getting smashed. It is vital that we find Mr. Mime BKT as early as possible to prevent Tag Bolt GX from taking more Prizes than it needs to. Another way to slow down the Lightning-type menace is to get Wobbuffet in the Active position as early as possible in an attempt to cripple their setup. I don’t expect to beat PikaRom every time, but the matchup is good enough to where I can justify taking the occasional loss.

Hitmonchan/Wobbuffet: Even–Favored
One would think that the Fighting type that switches into Ability lock would be nearly impossible to beat. However, once you get past this preconceived notion, you realize that they can only ever deal with Garbodor GRI with Sledgehammer and Nightcap. This means that even if they knock it out twice, you’ll end up with a 3rd Garbodor after their Ultra Beast attackers are ineffective. Between Rescue Stretcher, Super Rod, and Dowsing Machine, it is entirely possible to get 3–4 unique Garbodor into play. As long a you’re careful about benching GX Pokémon, this matchup is easy enough to beat.

Drampa/Garbodor: Even–Favored
I’ve never played this matchup, nor do I care to. I’ve been told by countless people that the matchup is fine as long as you play well and thin properly. I personally think Drampa/Garbodor is a horrible deck that should never be played, but clearly Andrew Martin managed to do well with it (kudos to him for his accomplishment). If you’re truly worried about this matchup, then play the Oranguru UPR.

Shock Lock: Favored
I fail to see how someone always does well with Shock Lock, but they manage it, so I suppose it’s worth knowing how to play against. If played correctly, we do not lose this game even if there is a Goodra PHF + Lance p. As long as you do not take a KO on anything other than Alolan Grimer or Alolan Muk, you cannot be ruined by Goodra. As long they don’t have both Goodra and Alolan Muk in play at the same time, we will always have an out to turning off Abilities, be it through Klefki or a normal Tool card. Never take a KO that isn’t Alolan Grimer or Ditto if there is a copy on the field.

Next in Line: PikaRom

So, I may have mentioned a little bit about a new, unorthodox way to play PikaRom…

Pokémon (13)

3 Pikachu & Zekrom-GX

1 Jolteon-EX

1 Zeraora-GX

1 Tapu Koko p

1 Jirachi p

1 Mr. Mime DET

1 Mr. Mime GEN

1 Marshadow SLG

2 Shaymin-EX ROS

1 Tapu Lele-GX

Trainer (35)

3 Professor Sycamore

1 Cassius

1 Colress

1 Guzma

1 N

 

4 Electropower

4 Max Elixir

4 Ultra Ball

3 Reserved Ticket

3 Trainers’ Mail

3 VS Seeker

2 Energy Switch

2 Choice Band

1 Computer Search

 

1 Silent Lab

1 Thunder Mountain p

Energy (12)

10 Lightning

2 Flash

 

Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 13

* 3 Pikachu & Zekrom-GX TEU 184
* 1 Jolteon-EX GEN 28
* 1 Zeraora-GX LOT 221
* 1 Tapu Koko p TEU 51
* 1 Jirachi p CES 97
* 1 Mr. Mime DET 11
* 1 Mr. Mime GEN 52
* 1 Marshadow SLG 45
* 2 Shaymin-EX ROS 106
* 1 Tapu Lele-GX GRI 60

##Trainer Cards - 35

* 3 Professor Sycamore STS 114
* 1 Computer Search BCR 137
* 1 Thunder Mountain p LOT 191
* 1 N FCO 105
* 3 Trainers' Mail ROS 92
* 3 Reserved Ticket BKT 147
* 2 Choice Band GRI 121
* 1 Silent Lab PRC 140
* 2 Energy Switch SUM 117
* 4 Electropower LOT 232
* 1 Colress PLS 135
* 4 Ultra Ball SUM 161
* 4 Max Elixir BKP 102
* 3 VS Seeker ROS 110
* 1 Guzma BUS 143
* 1 Cassius XY 115

##Energy - 12

* 10 Lightning Energy Energy 4
* 2 Flash Energy AOR 83

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=73106 ******

My friend Michael Catron and I were talking about Standard decks that could use the new Mr. Mime from the Detective Pikachu set to put Jirachi p into the Prizes. I joked about putting it in Expanded PikaRom, Catron then saying that Reserved Ticket would be the optimal way to “stack” it on top of our decks. Thus, PikaTickets was born. I was astounded by how often I was able to get the combo off and won multiple games because of it.

Card Choices

1 Jirachi p, 1 Mr. Mime DET, and 3 Reserved Ticket
Is this a gimmick that seems a tad unnecessary? Potentially, but if you manage to pull off the combo, you’re almost always winning the game. Initially, we only included Reserved Ticket to stack Jirachi p, but Reserved Ticket ended up being extremely strong on its own because you’re able to stack an Energy on top for Max Elixir, or stack whatever card you wanted to draw off of Shaymin-EX.

1 Jolteon-EX
I wanted a counter to Pyroar because I wouldn’t be overly surprised to see it pop up again. Jolteon-EX also allows us to outright beat some Night March and Hitmonchan lists.

1 Marshadow SLG
The initial list did not include a Marshadow, but with Wobbuffet seeing play in multiple decks right now, a searchable non-GX Pokémon that can still use its ability seemed good.

3 VS Seeker
I will always support playing VS Seeker in PikaRom because of how much more consistent the deck becomes later in the game.

Potential Inclusions

I haven’t really put much thought into what other cards could combo well with Reserved Ticket, but I’m sure they exist.

Ether?
Maybe this is too gimmicky. But in theory Reserved Ticket allows you to never miss the Energy. It’s probably not worth the space + extra Items though.

Sky Field
The Jirachi p and Mr. Mime DET combo does take two Bench spaces, which might seem like a lot, but in practice it isn’t that bad. If for some reason it does become too stifling, Sky Field is an easy method of fixing this problem.

The Matchup Spread

ZoroGarb: Even–Favored
“But Alex, you said the same thing for the other side of the matchup!” Yes. I did. I believe that both decks can easily have “favorable” matchups against each other because of how things like Let Loose and Red Card work. Also, player skill does play some form of role in deciding matchups like this. Micro misplays become very apparent in this matchup, and can easily cost you the game.

Archie’s Blastoise: Favored
This matchup is almost always decided within the first few turns because of how fast both decks are. Getting a Flash Energy down is vital because Onix is currently seeing play and takes an easy KO on PikaRom. In my experience, it is less about what Pokémon you KO and more about how fast you manage to draw 6 Prize cards. This means that Jirachi p can swing the matchup in your favor quite a bit.

Hitmonchan: Anything Can Happen
It’s very possible for you to win the game by using Jolteon-EX, but it is equally possible to win using a combination of Tapu Koko-GX, Flash Energy, and Cassius. Target down Diancie p as fast as possible and steal Prizes using whatever means necessary.

Drampa/Garbodor: Unfavored?
Again, I haven’t played games against Drampa because I don’t like it as a deck, but it presumably beats PikaRom. Make sure you know what Sigilyph-GX does and play around it when possible. I hear attacking with Tapu Koko p isn’t the worst thing ever in this matchup, provided you keep a low Item usage.

Final Thoughts

Giddy-up!

I’m genuinely looking forward to this weekend because of how fun Expanded felt in the last two events. I believe that ZoroGarb and PikaRom are two of the strongest possible choices going into this weekend and I’m almost certainly playing one of these lists or something very close to them.

Anyway, that’s all from me today. Good luck and have fun in Daytona this weekend if you’re going. It’s looking to be a smaller event, so I’m interested to see how many 6-3’s make Day 2. I’m sure I’ll see some of you there.

As always, feel free to come up to me or message me with any questions that you might have about anything related to Pokémon. I also now offer coaching! Either email me (alex.schemanske@gmail.com) or PM me if interested.

Until the next one.


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