Dueling Brains in Dallas: An Unlikely Zoroark-GX Variant

Hey, everyone! I’ve been hard at work the past couple weeks testing a new Zoroark-GX variant I hope — and fear — will take the next United States Regional Championship by storm. It’s Zoroark-GX with Magnezone from Plasma Storm, a mostly forgotten Stage 2 with a unique Ability that lets you double up on your Supporter cards each turn. The implication of this pair is gross: tons of Ability draw, exponentially increased options every turn and, best of all, infinite resources.

First, we’ll go over some basic thoughts and build-up to my inspiration to test this deck. Then we’ll go over the list in detail, outlining both my reasoning for every card choice as well as possible substitutes. Finally, we’ll go over the tactics and strategy of every major matchup, at which point it should become clear that this deck is something unlike any other.

Setting the Scene for Expanded

As I have said and will say in other places, the current Expanded metagame headed into Dallas can be simplified — perhaps oversimplified — as a contest between three decks:

Night March is a consistent winner in this format; Zoroark-GX is a consistent deck in both formats; and Trevenant BREAK arguably beats both of them, while holding its own versus the rest of the field. It makes sense then that these three decks should be at the forefront of Expanded, and also that at least two of the three will be played quite heavily.

This in turn makes it reasonable to believe that a player whose deck can beat all three consistently will likely have a great day. But then you come across the danger of the Expanded format, which is the huge variety of decks. In other words, you need your deck to be good on its own merits, and not just bank entirely on the metagame being favorable.

On the road trip back from Memphis, my friends and I (Dual) brainstormed a way to handle the impossibly dense yet narrow Expanded metagame: Zoroark-GX / Magnezone. In theory, it checked all of the boxes I needed for a new deck, and also had some past precedent in being a viable strategy (Empoleon from Dark Explorers / Magnezone was a thing in the past, but nowhere near as efficient and lacked important, essential new cards).

This is the list I have settled on for the time being…

The List + Explanations

Pokemon (19)

4x Zoroark-GX (SHL #53)2x Zorua (DEX #70)2x Zorua (SHL #52)2x Magnemite (BKT #51)2x Magnezone (PLS #46)4x Tapu Lele-GX (GUR #60)2x Exeggcute (PLF #4)1x Seismitoad-EX (FFI #20)

Trainers (37)

3x Brigette (BKT #134)2x Guzma (BUS #115)2x Professor Juniper (BLW #101)2x N (NVI #92)2x Lusamine (CRI #96)1x Xerosic (PHF #110)1x Plumeria (BUS #120)1x Hex Maniac (AOR #75)1x Ghetsis (PLF #101)1x Delinquent (BKP #98)1x Gladion (CRI #95)1x Mallow (GUR #127)1x Skyla (BCR #134)1x Team Skull Grunt (SM #133)1x Karen (PRXY #XY177)4x Puzzle of Time (BKP #109)4x Ultra Ball (DEX #102)2x Rare Candy (PRC #135)1x Special Charge (STS #105)1x Computer Search (BCR #137)2x Sky Field (RSK #89)2x Silent Lab (PRC #140)

Energy (4)

4x Double Colorless Energy (NXD #92)

4-4 Zoroark-GX

Normally you’ll only see three Zoroark-GX in a Zoroark variant, but because drawing cards and chaining Supporters is so essential to making this deck work, we opt for maximum consistency and firepower. Zoroark from Black and White and Zoroark from BREAKthrough could both be wonderful inclusions, but at this stage we simply have too many other things going on to make me want to run either of them.

As for the Zorua, I run a split between the guaranteed damage and the Paralysis. That’s because both effects are helpful in a list that can be a little slow at times, or be just short of a KO.

2-0-2 Magnezone

Here it is…the one small little inclusion that changes everything. Getting this card into play means your already consistent Zoroark deck just got infinitely more powerful. By being able to play two Supporters a turn, you also get a sizable strategic advantage over other Zoroark decks, meaning a comeback win is far more attainable in the mirror than under normal circumstances. Finally, a minuscule addition to the deck — which we’ll discuss later — guarantees you enjoy unlimited Supporters for the rest of the game. Cool, huh?

Regarding the Magnemite, we don’t have many good choices, but the one we included from BREAKthrough at least gives us free retreat when two are in play. That’s a big deal when we never want Magnezone active.

Four Tapu Lele-GX

Surprised to see so many Tapu Lele-GX in a deck list other than Drampa-GX / Garbodor? Here we run a full playset not only to maximize consistency, but to make it easy to fetch our Supporter of choice at will.

Two Exeggcute

Thanks to the Lusamine Loop®, you’ll eventually enjoy unlimited cards. However, before we get to that point, there is a lot of discarding we need to do with Trade, and quite often those discards hurt. In order to offset that pain, we run a couple Exeggcute to repeatedly return to the hand via Propagation, and then discard it for Trade. As the rest of the list will show you, we run some rail-thin lines of important cards, so the Exeggcute carry us in the crucial early and middle stages of the game.

One Seismitoad-EX

Our only variety tech Pokemon, Item lock is a wonderful option to pursue when we’re wielding infinite disruption Supporters. It also hurts Night March’s chances of recovering after a Karen drop.

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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