“Final Verdict” — A Zygarde-GX Walkthrough

Good morning PokeBeach readers! Jay Lesage here with an interesting article based on the results of the Mexico Regional Championships, where we saw Zoroark-GX / Golisopod-GX take the top spot. Not only that, but it took the top spot at the Special Event the week prior — coincidence? I’m unsure, as I feel that it should’ve been overpowered by all of the Fighting-type variants that are seeing play. I’ve been studying the metagame vigorously as I practice for the final leg of my Pokemon journey before the World Championships — the beast of a tournament known as the North American International Championships. It’s crazy to think it’s coming up so soon, as it only felt like I began my season yesterday. Being one of the biggest tournaments of all-time year after year, you have to be one of the best to snag a piece of glass at this International! My strategy? To practice, practice, and practice grinding games until I’m burnt out. Then, pick up cards and continue practicing again. Let’s evaluate this deck.

Zygarde-GX

Looking at the Top 8, there was a ton of Buzzwole in there, regardless of that being Buzzwole-GX / Garbodor or Buzzwole / Lycanroc-GX. I was impressed that ZoroPod was able to sustain that much aggression, as the deck usually has a subpar match to the Buff Mosquito Pokemon–Pablo Meza’s inclusion of two Mew-EX in his list at the Special Event may have had a say in this. Ever since his top placing, it seems ZoroPod is unstoppable (at least in Mexico); Eder Soto utilized the same concept to overcome Buzzwole time and time again at this tournament. Although I’m unsure if I like the double Mew-EX, I can’t knock it because I’m yet to play against it, or even test it myself in-depth. Alex Schemanske had some unusual success with a deck that others may have overlooked in the form of Zygarde-GX a near equivalent to Buzzwole-GX at first glance. It does have a few differences from Buzzwole though.

Pros

  • Weakness to Grass
  • Can accelerate Energy to itself
  • Has a safeguarding GX attack
  • 200 HP is extremely tanky
  • Can abuse Double Colorless Energy

Cons

  • Can’t abuse the Ultra Beast support cards (Beast Ring)
  • Three Retreat Cost
  • Less damage output than Buzzwole-GX
  • Takes more Energy to attack with than Buzzwole-GX
  • Can’t attack the Bench like Buzzwole-GX does

With these in mind, I find it interesting that the Zygarde deck did leagues better than some of the other decks that were up for contention. Zygarde also bypassed many other Buzzwole variants within the same Top 8. Zygarde also had good performances globally as of late, including a victory at the Auckland, New Zealand Special Event and a second place finish at the Santiago, Chile Special Event. Alex Schemanske allegedly had the following to say about the deck post-success:

“The deck itself is bad — I just ran into 10 Lycanroc-GX / Zoroark-GX decks, and managed to squeeze my way into a Top 4 finish.”

Whether this statement is true or not, the deck can’t nearly be as bad as Alex says, unless its recent success is banked off of the surprise factor it holds within the community.

Zygarde-GX List

I’d like to take a glance at his list, and evaluate some of the factors that made the deck the success that it is!

Pokemon (14)

3x Zygarde-GX (FOL #123)2x Lycanroc-GX (GUR #74)2x Rockruff (FOL #75)1x Octillery (BKT #33)1x Remoraid (BKT #32)1x Buzzwole (FOL #77)1x Diancie Prism Star (FOL #74)1x Regirock-EX (FAC #43)1x Tapu Lele-GX (GUR #60)1x Sudowoodo (BKP #67)

Trainers (30)

4x Professor Sycamore (BKP #107)3x N (NVI #92)3x Guzma (BUS #115)2x Cynthia (ULP #119)4x Ultra Ball (RSK #93)4x Max Elixir (BKP #102)3x Choice Band (GUR #121)3x Float Stone (BKT #137)1x Rescue Stretcher (GUR #130)3x Brooklet Hill (GUR #120)

Energy (16)

10x Fighting Energy (RS #105)4x Double Colorless Energy (NXD #92)2x Strong Energy (FAC #115)

Zygarde-GX at a Glance

Zygarde-GX has a solid 200 HP, which is super tanky! It’s useful against Buzzwole because sometimes it isn’t getting automatically KOd. Most of the time, they’ll require a Strong Energy or Choice Band to KO it in combination with Diancie Prism Star. Likewise, it’s difficult for a Necrozma-GX to OHKO a Zygarde-GX, because they’ll have to discard four Energy in order to take it down with Prismatic Burst.

Attacks

Its first attack, Cell Connector, is great because not only does it dish a fair bit of damage alongside buffs like Choice Band and Diancie, it can accelerate an entire Zygarde in a single turn. This makes the deck fair well against any sort of disruption deck that may pop up at NAIC –namely Sylveon-GX variants. Flooding your side of the field with Energy is always a good thing, as most of the time this will overwhelm your opponent and put you far ahead within the game. Any form of Energy acceleration is usually a good thing.

Zygarde’s second attack, Land’s Wrath, is phenomenal for taking OHKOs when combined with all of the Fighting-type support, whether that’s Strong Energy, Diancie Prism Star, or just throwing a Choice Band on that bad boy. This allows Zygarde to turn a 130 damage attack into a 200 damage attack in a quick pinch! There’s not much to this attack besides it being able to be powered up quick due to Cell Connector — it hits the right numbers, and it does it moderately efficiently with the help of Double Colorless.

Lastly, the GX attack on Zygarde is phenomenal. Verdict-GX is like a flash in the pan “can’t touch this” kind of deal — imagine if you could incorporate a Hoopa into a Buzzwole-GX? This Zygarde would be the favorable product of the two. This is especially useful if you only have single-Prize Card attackers on the Bench, or if your Zygarde is the only Pokemon in play (that’s mainly because a Guzma around Zygarde is the common answer to the GX text). Some unruly play that sometimes comes from Lycanroc players is that they’ll Bloodthirsty Eyes a benched Pokemon, and then repeat the gust process by playing Guzma to bring your Zygarde back Active. This removes the effect, and allows Zygarde to be hit once again by Pokemon-EX and Pokemon-GX. Whenever I see a Rockruff hit the field, sometimes I’ll just KO it with Verdict; it creates a bold presence on the board that leaves them unable to strike the Zygarde for an OHKO in most cases. Overall, a nifty rounded-out set of attacks on this card!

Retreat

It has three retreat, which actually sucks in some cases. It makes it difficult to bounce between Zygarde-GXs when they have hefty amounts of damage, and renders your main attacker as immobile most of the time (unless they’re packing a Float Stone). So that pesky Retreat Cost (needless to say) is not the highpoint of the card! It has Grass-type Weakness, which is okay in my books. Zygarde is one-shottable by the likes of Golisopod-GX and Shaymin. I wouldn’t worry too much about Shaymin, but more so Golisopod because of the rising performances from ZoroPod.


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