Take Me to Your Leader

The Alien Beheeyem/Zoroark/Walls for Richmond
An unidentified crash landing in Roswell Richmond.

Hello again readers, I’m back with my last article of October. Today, I’m going to be covering a deck that I believe has the capability to blow the Richmond meta wide open. I currently have no idea what deck I’ll settle on playing for the event, but it will likely either be this deck or Zoroark/Garbodor unless something else pops up.

Last week, I mentioned Groudon and provided a list. I listed Mewtwo & Mew-GX decks as favorable matchups, but I completely forgot about the fact that Mewtwo & Mew-GX has 270 HP. There are two ways that Groudon can go about this. Sack the matchup, or play multiple Martial Arts Dojo to hit for 270 damage easily.



A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting in a hallway about to take a midterm, and about 15 minutes before it started, this idea just came into my head. Naturally, instead of continuing to study, I started to think about this list, and after a lot of testing, this is where I landed with it.

Pokémon (23)

4 Zorua DEX 70

3 Zoroark-GX

4 Elgyem NVI 55

3 Beheeyem UNM

2 Murkrow UNM 129

2 Honchkrow-GX

2 Litleo LOT

2 Pyroar FLF

1 Jirachi-EX

Trainer (33)

4 Lillie

1 Colress

1 Faba

1 Guzma

1 N


4 Evosoda

4 Level Ball

4 VS Seeker

3 Trainers’ Mail

2 Nest Ball

1 Rescue Stretcher


3 Float Stone


1 Computer Search


3 Silent Lab

Energy (4)

4 Triple Acceleration


Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 23

* 4 Zorua DEX 70
* 3 Zoroark-GX SLG 77
* 4 Elgyem NVI 55
* 3 Beheeyem UNM 91
* 2 Murkrow UNM 129
* 2 Honchkrow-GX UNB 109
* 2 Litleo LOT 50
* 2 Pyroar FLF 20
* 1 Jirachi-EX PLB 60

##Trainer Cards - 33

* 3 Silent Lab PRC 140
* 1 Faba LOT 208
* 1 N FCO 105
* 4 Lillie UPR 151
* 1 Guzma BUS 143
* 1 Colress PLS 118
* 2 Nest Ball SUM 158
* 1 Computer Search BCR 137
* 1 Rescue Stretcher BUS 165
* 4 VS Seeker ROS 110
* 4 Evosoda XY 116
* 4 Level Ball
* 3 Trainers’ Mail ROS 92
* 3 Float Stone PLF 99

##Energy - 4

* 4 Triple Acceleration Energy UNB 190

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=75652 ******

The theory behind this deck is that you use Beheeyem to Item lock, then switch into a wall such as Pyroar or Honchkrow-GX. Then Zoroark provides the incredibly powerful draw engine the deck needs to be able to find Beheeyem pieces every turn.

Card Choices

2-2 Honchkrow-GX

Honchkrow-GX is easily one of the most powerful GX cards in Expanded because of the fact that it has a Chaos Wheel-style attack as an Ability. On top of that, Unfair-GX is the most powerful disruption attack that is easily achievable in the game. When combined with Item lock, it is incredibly hard to get around Honchkrow-GX because your opponent likely only plays a singlegust Supporter. What makes Honchkrow so oppressive when combined with Item lock is that it is physically impossible for your opponent to remove Silent Lab without using a Supporter like Faba or Guzma. Silent Lab prevents Klefki from attaching to Garbodor, and Beheeyem prevents Field Blower and any other Items like VS Seeker from being played.

2-2 Pyroar FLF

Pyroar is one of the most powerful wall cards ever printed that isn’t a Stage 2 (e.g., Vileplume BUS). So many decks in Expanded rely on Basic attackers to do anything, and with Pyroar Active, they can do nothing. Pyroar is mainly used against Archie’s, PikaRom, Turbo Dark, and potentially Mewtwo TAG TEAM decks. Again, because your opponent is limited to onegust, you’re unlikely to lose any of those matchups once you’re up and running.

1 Jirachi-EX

Good old Jirachi-EX, Tapu Lele-GX’s forgotten cousin. In this deck, Jirachi-EX is strictly better because you are able to search it out with Level Ball.

4-3 Zoroark-GX

Just to be clear here, there is literally no Zorua that is better than another, as long as the one you play has 60 HP. I’ve opted to play only 3 Zoroark-GX because it is incredibly unlikely that you set up more than 2, and I would much rather have a search card than a 4th copy of Zoroark-GX.

4 Lillie

Yes, I know that this isn’t Standard. However, Brigette was too slow because you need to build up your hand early into the game. The Lillie/Level Ball/Nest Ball engine is superior to Brigette in this deck. Unfortunately, there is not a better Supporter than Lillie to play because it is the only Supporter that doesn’t discard cards like Sycamore and doesn’t shuffle your hand away. Once you get to the late game, your hand is likely going to be too big to play them, so they become Trade fodder while Silent Lab is in play.

1 Faba

Say your opponent does get a Tool on a Trubbish during their first turn. Faba is better than Field Blower here because you can recycle it in case there is ever a turn in the late game where you miss Beheeyem and they put down another Tool. There is also the added bonus of Lost Zoning any Double Colorless Energy that Zoroark players get down before Honchkrow gets into play or if they Guzma around it.

Potential Inclusions

1-1 Dodrio BKT

Zoroark Control is currently a very weird matchup. With their ability to Faba all of your Float Stones while Item locked, they can easily lock you in the Active Spot for a turn and get Items back. Dodrio helps this issue somewhat because it has an Ability that lowers Retreat by CC and cannot be turned off by Power Plant or Silent Lab. I’m currently unsure of whether or not I actually want to play this card in the deck.

1–2 Sky Field

One of the biggest issues the deck has is Bench space. In a perfect world, your field is 1 wall, 2 Zoroark-GX, and 3 Beheeyem/Elgyem. Obviously, this perfect world is somewhat unrealistic if you have to bench a 2nd wall or a Jirachi-EX. Theoretically, you can function with 2 Beheeyem/Elgyem, but then you’re vulnerable to Guzma. So, in an effort to make the deck more stable, I would lobby for playing a Sky Field or 2, but I have yet to decide on cuts.

Ditto p

You’ll notice that the deck that plays 4 unique Stage 1s but isn’t playing Ditto p. Initially this might seem odd, but after thinking about it a bit, I realized that Ditto is pretty bad in Expanded now, and especially in this deck.

  1. In this deck, it is incredibly unlikely that you’re not going to have Silent Lab in play for most of the game, so that’s one strike against Ditto.
  2. Next, with the existence or Mewtwo/M Gardevoir-EX STS, and with their lists playing potentially 4 copies of Giratina LOT, 40 HP is quite the hinderance. Strike two.
  3. Against Garbodor decks, if they do manage to get Ability lock, Ditto is a completely dead card and can hinder your ability to play the game more than it ever helps. Strike three.

Of course, I could be completely wrong about the card, and it might be optimal to play it in the future, but for now it hasn’t made the list.

Giovanni’s Exile/Parallel City

These cards will both serve the same function as Sky Field in that they allow you to free up Bench space. Parallel City is likely better than Giovanni’s Exile, but Giovanni has the added bonus of being recoverable with VS Seeker.

4th Float Stone

Without testing the matchup more, I would say that it’s possible the inclusion of a 4th Float Stone would allow you to beat Zoroark Control just as often as Dodrio would. One of the major issues with Dodrio is that Retreat Aid doesn’t apply to Dodrio itself, so it can easily be locked Active once Lt. Surge’s Strategy is turned on. Between 4 Float Stone and theoretically 5 Guzma, you should be able to take all of your Prize cards before you get infinitely locked in the Active Spot.

Muscle Band or Choice Band

At times, 90 damage may seem a bit low. I’ve thought about including a Tool that modifies damage, but I’m not sure if it would ever make a difference in many matchups. If I did decide to play Sky Field, Choice Band has a lot more merit because it allows your Zoroark-GX to 1HKO another Zoroark-GX for your last couple of Prize cards if your opponent has been able to keep pace with you.

The Matchup Spread

Mewtwo & Mew-GX Variants: Heavily Favored

Basically, once you set up, you win. You need to be careful to not bench both Murkrow at once because of Alolan Marowak-GX’s Lost Boomerang-GX. If both of your Murkrow are removed from the game, then the matchup becomes a lot harder for you to win. In theory, Pyroar can be decent, but that’s only true if they don’t have access to a Shred attack, which is unlikely. Once you set up Honchkrow-GX, all you need to do to win within a few turns is find a Silent Lab, start attacking with Beheeyem and after a few attacks, it’s likely that you’ll have won. The Vileplume variant can get a bit tricky because if you don’t find Float Stones in the early game, your entire game gets very difficult. This is another matchup where Dodrio would likely pull its weight.

Turbo Dark: Favored

This is one of the matchups where Pyroar is absolutely disgusting. The only way your opponent will even be able to win the game is through Dead End-GX and a lot of Guzmas, which should be impossible with Item lock in play. In this matchup, it’s very important to keep the Item lock going, and that could mean playing a very long game.

One thing that you may need to watch out for is the fact that many Turbo Dark lists are playing multiple copies of Guzma. This means that your opponent will likely have two turns to attempt to disrupt the Item lock chain, or they will be able to casually take 4 Prize cards while you’re locking them. With some basic math skills, it’s easy to deduce that you don’t have a lot of wiggle room in this matchup. With 2 Guzma and a GX attack, your opponent has access to 5 easy Prize cards. It is at this point that you need to realize just how important it is to get Silent Lab in play and hope your opponent cannot bounce it. If you go first and they have a terrible turn without Abilities, your game gets so much easier to win.

Zoroark/Garbodor: Even–Slightly Favored

This matchup may seem great on paper, but in reality the games are usually very close. This is because you have no real way to completely wall them out of the game. Yes, Honchkrow does prevent Double Colorless Energy from hitting the field once you’re in the Active, but that means that any DCE they find on turn 1 is still a threat to you. On top of that, they will be able to use Guzma to get around you for at least one turn. Once they find their Guzma, the game gets infinitely harder because they can bounce Silent Lab and get a Klefki into play.

Yes, that doesn’t actually mean much because they are still Item locked, but without Abilities, and after a Guzma on what is presumably an Elgyem or Beheeyem, there is a very real chance that you miss the Item lock in the following turn. That’s where the game gets very gross. Hopefully, you have access to Faba at this point, and you’ll have to make a decision based on your hand. If you can attack again without using Abilities, then remove that DCE from play. If not, that Klefki better be hitting the Lost Zone, or you better be using Colress or another draw Supporter. If your opponent does get a Sky Field in play early, it is vital that you use it to discard any worthless Pokémon on your side of the board, like Jirachi-EX or Litleo.

Sableye/Garbodor: Favored

Unlike ZoroControl, Sableye cannot infinitely recover Faba or Guzma. This means that as long as we have a Float Stone down, we should be able to maintain the lock for as long as we need to win. Item lock is a whole lot more crippling for Sableye than it is for ZoroControl. There’s also an argument for going into Elgyem or Beheeyem when using Mysterious Noise, and forgoing the Honchkrow-GX wall altogether. I’ve seen multiple Sableye lists cut Garbodor GRI, so there is literally zero threat to your Elgyem. Because we shuffle our Energy back, there is no risk of us having all of our Triple Acceleration Energies sent to the Lost Zone or even discarded.

Zoroark Control: Slightly Unfavored–Even

This matchup pretty much comes down to what our opponent’s Prize cards look like. If our opponent prizes any combination of 2 or more of the following, the game is almost always free:

If 2 of these aren’t prized, it becomes very difficult to win the game with the current list. Dodrio in combination with multiple Float Stones might be enough to swing it into our favor completely. If your opponent either has a full Bench with no extra Oranguru, or gives any indication that the 2nd one is in their Prize cards, it becomes of paramount importance to KO the one they have in play and continue to Item lock them without missing a beat.

Archie’s: Favored

Of course, if they manage to pull off the turn 1 Cross Division-GX, then the matchup gets a heck of a lot harder. But, with Silent Lab and Item lock, there’s a very real chance that if you survive the first turns, the game completely falls into your favor. Archie’s cannot deal with an extended Item lock very well because of how much of their deck is Items. On top of that, because lists have been converting to Mewtwo TAG TEAM builds, we can easily take all 6 Prize cards in 4 or 5 turns.

Final Thoughts


Right now, I cannot see a world where I’m not going to play Zoroark in my deck. Whether that is as a support role, like with Beheeyem, or as the main attacker, like in ZoroGarb, is still up to debate. Expanded is a very interesting format right now because of how many decks are capable of completely shutting opponents out of the game.

I’m very curious to see what happens this weekend in Richmond, and then the next weekend in Portland. Unfortunately, LAIC follows Portland with no break, and that means the time I’ll be able to put toward the next Standard format (UPR–CEC) will be minimal. Hopefully I’ll be able to devote the week between Richmond and Portland to Standard, but if Portland is as small as I believe it will be, then Expanded might have to take priority again.

I’ll be back next week with what is hopefully a favorable report on Richmond, my thoughts for Portland, and maybe a look into the LAIC 🇧🇷 Standard. As always, good luck in whatever events you’re playing, and maybe you’ll see me around?

As always, feel free to 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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Reader Interactions

10 replies

  1. patrick982421

    Hey Alex, thanks for the cool list! I was wondering if in your card suggestions for beheeyem you meant to say giovanni’s exile for freeing bench space, instead of giovanni’s scheme which boosts damage or shuffles and draws 5.

  2. Ryan O’Rourke

    Another crazy list I can’t wait to try! (Recent moment of triumph: playing that Cryogonal list on the ladder, and winning via HAND with a 0 card deck and less than 10 seconds on the game clock.)

    How about cutting an Evosoda for a Dusk Stone to help get the Honchkrow GX out more quickly, and avoid Murkrows getting picked off before they can evolve? Although I don’t see why Lost Boomerang GX is such an issue since it only hits for 50 and the Murkrows have 70 hp. But still, Murkrow seems like a pretty tempting Guzma target for decks that can’t deal with the Honchkrow… maybe the Rescue Stretcher is enough?

    • Alex Schemanske  → Ryan

      First, the issue I found with dusk stone is that it’s nearly impossible to search out, and therefore not worth it. On lost boomerang, it’s played in combination with Giratina LOT, which means distortion door makes murkrow easy pickings.

      • Ryan O’Rourke  → Alex

        Yeah, I was thinking Trade might be enough to find the Dusk Stone but I could see that that could take too long. And oh yeah, I forgot Lost Boomerang is in the MGardy variant with Distortion Door. Yeah, makes sense.

  3. Scott OConnor

    This is a very strong deck. I’ve been winning tournaments on PTCGO (I know not exactly Regional level competition but it’s what I have) with it with regularity (against all comers).

    I have some thoughts (which trend toward rambling towards the end but I think the info is worth sharing for anyone interested in this under-the-radar deck).

    I have found that a 3-3 Zoroark line is quite sufficient.
    I’ve added the 4th Beheeyem, since I had a few games where prized Beheeyems have cost me keeping the lock on.
    Unless completely dead in turn 1 or 2, I try not to use the Jirachi-Ex since it really ends up clogging the bench the rest of the game. In fact, in some games I offer the Jirachi as a 2-prize sacrifice to make space when my opponent is not looking to run me over too quickly (they don’t seem to overthink it, since perhaps they think I’m trying to manipulate them into Lt. Surge).

    My ideal set up each turn is to always try to have at least a two extra Elgyem on the bench ready to go for the next turn because your opponent will draw into their Guzma at some point and take out your benched Elgyem/Beheeyem, allowing the item lock to break giving them a chance to have a huge turn (getting their Guzma back for another turn and potentially Faba if they play it).
    Other adjustments I’ve made are to up the Silent Lab to 4, since winning the stadium war can be key to many matchups.
    Also, I’ve upped the Float Stone to 4 so I don’t have to conserve them as much (making it OK to put one on a Zorua early to make room for extra card drawn off Lillie, for instance).
    To make room, I dropped to 2 Trainer’s Mail (never found myself wishing for a TM) and dropped the Faba (which in the approximately 40 games I played with it had not been used once to any significant game changing effect). Losing Silent Lab control or not drawing a Float Stone was happening too often for maximum success.

    One of the tough decisions about the deck is figuring out which lock to employ for best success. Bench space is a huge premium. I’ve found Pyroar to be the most useful lock. So I typically try to get that out if I don’t know what my opponent is playing. I try to avoid having both lock pokemon out if I can determine which will be more successful in the game.
    So the ideal ‘team’ for me becomes: 2 Zoroark; 1 lock; 1 Beheeyem (ready to attack); 2 Elgyem/Beheeyem (for next turn – the extra in case Guzma shows up).
    Obviously having to play Jirachi-Ex, messes with that. Also, if you have 2 lock Pokemon, you have one less space. The worst scenario is starting with Litleo, Murkrow, and having to play down a Jirachi due to no draw support. This leaves room for only 1 Zoroark and 2 Elgy/Behees. This situation will almost always lead to loss of item lock at some point. Your opponent will pick off your Eygyems using VS seeker and Guzma repeatedly.

    Giovanni’s Exile could be a good tech inclusion to allow you to play Jirachi early and dump it later, although it’s hard to keep the lock going every turn without playing a draw supporter (and if Jirachi is on your bench, it means you probably only have 1 Zoroark to boost your draw).

    Anyhow, congrats on conjuring up such a cool and playable deck. I think it gets even stronger when the banned cards are banned (although item lock keeps opponents from VS-ing for Lt.Surge, and playing Red Card).

    If you actually played it in Richmond, I’d like to see a report.


  4. Alex Schemanske

    Hi. Wow that was long. I’m glad the deck has been working well for you. I agree that the bench issue is the biggest problem with the deck and that’s why I didn’t play it to Richmond. At this point, I have no idea what to do with the deck because it likely struggles too much with what the meta turned out to be. The bans definitely make the deck better by harming ZoroControl, which is arguably the worst match up for the deck. Thanks for the feedback.

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