A Hot Mess

ZoroGarb for Portland, Jon’s Idea Dump (UPR–CEC Edition), and Charizard & Braixen Hand Lock for LAIC
“NO RAGRETS!”

What’s up guys, Jon here again with another article, this time on what I believe to be the best deck moving forward in the Expanded format—namely for Portland this weekend—and where my head is at regarding ideas for LAIC.

Since my last article, we saw Knoxville conclude (where I placed 2nd with a PikaRom list very similar to the one I posted in my article) and got our first look at the current Expanded format in Richmond. I played Night March at Richmond to a disappointing 5-3-1 finish for Top 128 pity points. I’m not too mad about it as I didn’t test much for the event as I’m not the biggest fan of Expanded in its current state. That mixed with college applications made for some pretty poor tournament preparation.

Although I’m not attending Portland (because it is a week before LAIC 🇧🇷 and I simply just don’t want or have the need to play Expanded due to the Best Finish Limit of 6 for Regionals), I still know what I would play if I were going. My biggest regret from this past weekend was neglecting to play ZoroGarb. Prior to the event, my good friend and testing partner Michael Catron sent me the list he used to finish in Top 16, but for some reason I didn’t play it. I loved the way that his list was teched out for certain matchups. With some slight edits, I think that it is the BDIF going into Portland. Here’s my iteration of the list:

ZoroGarb for Portland

Pokémon (24)

4 Zorua SLG

4 Zoroark-GX

1 Trubbish GRI

1 Trubbish NVI

2 Garbodor GRI

1 Garbodor DRX

2 Tapu Lele-GX

2 Shaymin-EX ROS

2 Exeggcute PLF

1 Oricorio GRI 56

1 Marshadow UNB

1 Klefki STS

1 Oranguru SUM

1 Ditto p

Trainer (30)

3 Colress

2 Brigette

1 Guzma

1 Iris

1 Lt. Surge’s Strategy

1 N

 

4 Ultra Ball

4 VS Seeker

1 Battle Compressor

1 Field Blower

1 Red Card

1 Rescue Stretcher

1 Super Rod

 

3 Float Stone

1 Choice Band

 

1 Dowsing Machine

 

3 Sky Field

Energy (6)

4 Double Colorless Energy

2 P Energy

 

Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 24

* 4 Zorua SLG 52
* 4 Zoroark-GX SLG 53
* 1 Trubbish GRI 50
* 1 Trubbish NVI 48
* 2 Garbodor GRI 51
* 1 Garbodor DRX 54
* 2 Tapu Lele-GX GRI 60
* 2 Shaymin-EX ROS 77
* 2 Exeggcute PLF 4
* 1 Oricorio GRI 56
* 1 Marshadow UNB 81
* 1 Klefki STS 80
* 1 Oranguru SUM 113
* 1 Ditto p LOT 154

##Trainer Cards - 30

* 3 Colress PLS 118
* 1 Lt. Surge’s Strategy UNB 178
* 1 N FCO 105
* 1 Guzma BUS 115
* 2 Brigette BKT 134
* 1 Iris PLB 81
* 4 VS Seeker PHF 109
* 4 Ultra Ball SUM 135
* 1 Battle Compressor PHF 92
* 1 Rescue Stretcher GRI 130
* 1 Super Rod BKT 149
* 1 Red Card GEN 71
* 1 Field Blower GRI 125
* 1 Dowsing Machine PLS 128
* 3 Float Stone BKT 137
* 1 Choice Band GRI 121
* 3 Sky Field ROS 89

##Energy - 6

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

Total Cards - 60

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Changes from the Richmond List

For the most part, I thought Michael’s list was perfect. It was well suited for the expected meta. However, to the surprise of some, Archie’s Blastoise, arguably the most hyped deck going into the event, didn’t have a single spot in Day 2. This wasn’t even due to the deck doing poorly or having a poor place in the meta, it was mainly because not many people played it. The changes I’ve made to the list are under the assumption that the same will hold true in Portland.

Cobalion-GX was used in the Archie’s matchup to attempt to buy a turn to dodge them using Cross Division-GX to wipe your board of little guys. Similarly, Mr. Mime was included to prevent them from being able to do Bench damage with Mewtwo & Mew-GX copying Venom Shot.

Adding a 2nd Garbodor GRI gives you another good attacker against the 1-Prize decks that try to trade favorably against you, and a 2nd Brigette removes the doomsday event where you prize your single copy, and allows you to have a better shot of just opening it in your hand.

The reason I think this deck is so good is because of how inherently powerful it is. It is consistent and has options against pretty much everything you should be expecting to see moving forward. Control might be a little bit of a harder matchup, but even then you have some cute things you can do. Here’s some of the decks matchups a little more in depth:

Matchups

EggRow/Vileplume: 70/30

I hear EggRow is pretty good, or something like that? Beating the deck that just won the most recent Regionals is always a plus. The “key” to this matchup is to save your Klefki for Garbotoxin when you need to use Items. Additionally, one of their main game plans is to Faba away all of your Double Colorless Energies so you cannot attack. To combat this, you can attach both of your P Energies to Zoroark-GX and begin swinging for big damage without worrying about having your Energies removed. It’s quite easy to set all of these things up as EggRow/Vileplume doesn’t put on much aggression. In general, if your opponent flips over an EggRow-GX, you should be happy.

Dark Box: 55/45

This matchup is pretty simple, but their raw aggression can sometimes run you over. Their deck is loaded with Items that they will inevitably use early, so a late-game Trashalanche paired with some damage modifiers (i.e., Iris, Choice Band) could lead to a very favorable trade for you. There isn’t really a set game plan for this one; you just kind of swing at each other for a lot of damage and hope you are the one that comes out on top in the end. A late-game N paired with Garbotoxin is always good against decks like this, so expect to do that against them most games. If your opponent is really good with managing their Item usage, the matchup can become rather dicey, but with the ability to disrupt them and sometimes even 1-shot them, you should win this matchup more often than not.

Buzzwole/Garbodor: 60/40

This is probably one of my favorite matchups to play because it requires you to use some pretty intricate thinking to win. To start, you have Marshadow UNB to 1-shot a Buzzwole FLI while being relatively hard to 1-shot back, assuming you haven’t used an absurd amount of Items early. Next, you have your own Trashalanche Garbodor to combat theirs. Their deck is very linear, so it is extremely easy to predict what they are capable of on their upcoming turns. You want to utilize each of your attackers according to how hard it is for your opponent to deal with them. Additionally, you have Super Rod to get back the attackers you want to utilize. Keeping your Oranguru on your Bench is another thing you should plan on doing in this matchup, as toward the end of the game your opponent will try to catch you with N and Power Plant. Overall, this matchup is slightly favorable, but can go south should you play too many Items or prize some of your key attackers.

Zoroark Control: 40/60

This matchup is on the harder side as they have so many disruption options that can be challenging to deal with. You do, however, have some answers. Once again, Marshadow is useful as a Bench-sitter in this matchup, along with Oranguru. This is because if they get you into a “hand lock” you can use Reset Hole to bump their Power Plant or Silent Lab and use Abilities to get out of the lock. The way you win this matchup is by running them over early and hoping that the best they can do is hand lock you only once (while you have the response mentioned above) before you win the game. If not, then chances are they will be successful in the lock and you will lose.

Final Thoughts on ZoroGarb

That’s it for ZoroGarb. Like I said, I would no doubt be playing it in Portland if I were going. The cards and combos may keep changing, but the raw power of Zoroark-GX, N, and Garbodor stay the same.

If you’re like me and have decided to skip Portland, don’t worry, I’ve got something for you too. A new set is dropping, so I think it’s a good time to bring back Jon’s Idea Dump. I also have a list at the end of the article that I’ve been messing with for you to try out.

Jon’s Idea Dump (UPR–CEC Edition)

pokemonkorea.co.kr

LAIC will be a season-defining and pivotal event for me, so in almost all of my free time I’ve been brainstorming ideas and testing them for the new format. I started with the decks that were good in Standard before Cosmic Eclipse and developed some thoughts on those, then went to the decks that are introduced by Cosmic Eclipse, and I think I’ve got a good idea of what I want to be testing moving forward. Here are some notes and ideas that I’ve taken on the format:

  • My favorite deck, PikaRom, is likely not as good as it was due to the versatility of Mega Lopunny & Jigglypuff-GX. That card is way too strong against you due to it being able to easily 1HKO your GXs as you cannot avoid having them in play. If you want to adapt PikaRom for the new set, you should probably play heavy Zapdos TEU as a way to trade against decks that utilize LoPuff.
  • Ability Zard was bad before due to it just crumbling by not finding Welder, and nothing in this set helps its consistency, so I think we can leave Ability Zard back on the shelf.
  • Malamar gets so much support from the new set. Between Blacephalon CEC and Mimikyu CEC 97, the deck gains a lot of solid options against what at least used to be good in Standard. I personally wouldn’t have touched Malamar in past formats, so I’m hesitant to play it now, but I will test it and do have more respect for it with its new tools.
  • Mew Box is in a weird spot right now. The new Mimikyu that Malamar and other decks can play means you’ll likely have to change the way the deck is built. Stealthy Hood and healing are the two big options that come to mind.
  • Pidgeotto Control is broken and if we don’t respect it, it will run all of us over. The biggest issue I’ve noticed with the deck is that it wants to play 65 cards and needs to play 62, so you may need to make some sacrifices deck-building wise. Bellelba & Brycen-Man adds a new aggressive option for the deck that allows you to finish games faster, which could solve some of the deck’s issues involving time. I personally am going to test this deck more than any other deck. I think that it is very hard to play, so I want to perfect my play of this deck whereas I feel I can “wing it” with other variants.
  • GardEon is still probably Tier 2, but gains the new TAG TEAM Supporters and Tag Call, so I guess it’s more consistent now?
  • Blacephalon-GX/Naganadel gains Island Challenge Amulet, which makes it a lot harder for decks to avoid the Beast Ring turns. You also have the Stinger-GX package for Pidgeotto Control, so maybe this deck could be solid?
  • Dark Box gets revamped with Red & Blue and Tag Call coming out. Those add consistency and aggression like the deck hasn’t seen before. The new Guzzlord CEC is also an addition that the deck needed. I think this is one of the best decks moving forward.
  • In turn, QuagNag also gets revamped in the same way that Dark Box does. Red & Blue has opened a lot of doors for decks that were just “okay” previously.
  • The new Silvally-GX CEC is really good. I don’t know what to put it in, but it’s good.
  • Chaotic Swell is a meta-defining card. Most decks that require a Stadium to function or work well will need to play Marshadow UNB to combat Swell.
  • Charizard & Braixen-GX is good as its own hand lock deck. I actually have a list I’ve been testing down below. This seems like a safe play for LAIC as it can beat just about anything outside of Pidgeotto Control.
  • The only thing I haven’t messed with or looked into is Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX. That’s probably what I’m going to test next, but I’m at a blank right now when it comes to that card.

That’s it for the idea dump. This is just what I’ve been thinking recently about the format. To end off the article, here’s the Charizard & Braixen hand lock list:

Charizard & Braixen Hand Lock

The List

Pokémon (8)

4 Volcanion UNB

3 Charizard & Braixen-GX

1 Weezing HIF

Trainer (40)

4 Green’s Exploration

4 Welder

2 Jessie & James

1 Faba

1 Lt. Surge’s Strategy

1 Mallow & Lana

 

4 Mixed Herbs

4 Pokégear 3.0

3 Chip-Chip Ice Axe

3 Fire Crystal

2 Custom Catcher

2 Reset Stamp

2 Tag Call

1 Fiery Flint

1 Great Catcher

1 Switch

 

3 Power Plant

1 Heat Factory p

Energy (12)

11 R Energy

1 Weakness Guard

 

Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 8

* 4 Volcanion UNB 25
* 3 Charizard & Braixen-GX CEC 22
* 1 Weezing HIF 29

##Trainer Cards - 40

* 3 Chip-Chip Ice Axe UNB 165
* 1 Heat Factory p LOT 178
* 1 Fiery Flint DRM 60
* 1 Switch PRC 163
* 1 Mallow & Lana CEC 198
* 4 Welder UNB 189
* 2 Reset Stamp UNM 206
* 1 Lt. Surge’s Strategy UNB 178
* 3 Fire Crystal UNB 173
* 3 Power Plant UNB 183
* 4 Green’s Exploration UNB 175
* 2 Jessie & James HIF 58
* 4 Pokégear 3.0 UNB 182
* 1 Great Catcher CEC 192
* 2 Custom Catcher LOT 171
* 2 Tag Call CEC 206
* 4 Mixed Herbs LOT 184
* 1 Faba LOT 173

##Energy - 12

* 11 R Energy SMEnergy 11
* 1 Weakness Guard Energy UNM 213

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=75783 ******

Key Cards

1 Weezing HIF

This guy is there for the sole purpose of allowing you to lock your opponents faster than usual. It makes it so a Reset Stamp to 3 is eligible for the lock, and also allows you to naturally catch your opponent with a 3-card hand.

1 Mallow & Lana

This dynamic duo is mainly used in the Malamar matchup, but can be used universally if need be. Specifically, Malamar’s game plan is very linear in that they try to out-trade you with multiple 1-Prize attackers dealing strong amounts of damage, most commonly 130 with their Giratina. Mallow & Lana essentially deletes a turn of them doing 130 to you, allowing you to get ahead.

2 Custom Catcher, 1 Great Catcher

I’m still toying around with these counts, but this is all that I have needed so far. The reason I’m not playing 4 Custom is because of space, really. I wanted to fit in the Faba (which I’ll get into later), so this was the alternative while keeping 2 gust effects.

2 Tag Call

Tag Call is infinitely better than Cherish Ball as you can now search for your Supporters with it and it targets 2 cards.

1 Faba

Faba is here to help us set up the lock versus decks that use Chaotic Swell to prevent us sticking Power Plant. Another alternative to this is to use Marshadow UNB, but it is not convenient as a starter, and you can’t search it out. Faba also has a few other niche uses; it can get rid of a Weakness Guard Energy should you need to.

1 Weakness Guard Energy

Decks that contain both Quagsire DRM and Keldeo-GX are going to be a lot more prevalent moving forward, so having an answer to them is important. This allows you to be just as much as tank against them as you are against any other deck that you will face.

Strategy

The main strategy of the deck is to use Brilliant Flare to set up a hand lock on your opponent while you take all of your Prizes. The way you do this is by using Jessie & James in combination with Weezing and Reset Stamp to get their hand low and completely wipe it out. After that, you use Chip-Chip Ice Axe to control their topdeck and win from there.

This was this first deck I tested with when Cosmic Eclipsed dropped as it seemed consistent and could beat just about anything outside of our friend Pidgey.

Conclusion

That’s all for now guys, I hope I was able to help you here whether or not your next event is Expanded, or new Standard. As said before, I’m skipping Portland, but I will be in Brazil, and I can’t wait to see some of my international friends there. As for the rest of 2019, I will be attending Daytona 🇺🇸 almost immediately after LAIC, and I am currently planning for San Diego 🇺🇸 after that. If you have any questions, let me know, and until next time!

-Jon


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