“Wait, Is This Expanded?” — Standard Time with Zoroark-GX / Lycanroc-GX

Zoroark-GX / Lycanroc-GX is my favorite deck in the Expanded format, and, until recently, I had never played it extensively in the Standard format. Since a friend of mine encouraged me to try it out, I’ve been hooked. I think the deck has the options to win any matchup in the Standard format and might just be the best overall Zoroark-GX variant available. Parallel City is underrated in the deck and I believe that it takes the build to new heights. The greatest punishing factor is that you can drop a Parallel City, cripple your opponent’s setup, and then use Bloodthirsty Eyes to grab another Pokemon that’s of value and either Knock it Out or get a good crack in on it. This is quite disruptive and punishing, destroying the setup tendencies that most, if not all, viable Standard format decks keep in mind.

Fighting is quite frankly the best type a Pokemon can be right now, considering that it punishes the mighty Zoroark-GX. Lycanroc-GX can effectively sweep a game right out from a player’s feet, sometimes even taking all six Prizes! The list I’ve been using is similar to Poet Larsen’s, one that he handed off to his friend Pearce Blend, who then took it to a semifinal finish in Collinsville, Illinois, a couple weekends ago!

List and Explanations

I love playing Zoroark-GX and Lycanroc-GX in tandem, and I’m excited to share my thoughts about the deck in the Standard format this time around. This deck seems to be the best play for Charlotte, North Carolina, Regionals coming up, and it’s certainly a deck that I’ve been focusing most of my testing time on. All right, here’s the lineup…

Pokemon (18)

4x Zoroark-GX (SHL #53)4x Zorua (SHL #52)2x Lycanroc-GX (GUR #74)3x Rockruff (PRSM #SM06)3x Tapu Lele-GX (GUR #60)1x Mewtwo (EVO #51)1x Mew-EX (DRX #46)

Trainers (33)

4x Brigette (BKT #134)3x Cynthia (ULP #119)2x N (FAC #105)2x Guzma (BUS #115)1x Professor Sycamore (BKP #107)1x Professor Kukui (SM #128)1x Mallow (GUR #127)1x Acerola (BUS #112)4x Ultra Ball (SHL #68)4x Puzzle of Time (BKP #109)3x Field Blower (GUR #125)2x Choice Band (GUR #121)1x Rescue Stretcher (GUR #130)1x Multi Switch (GUR #129)1x Float Stone (BKT #137)2x Parallel City (BKT #145)

Energy (9)

4x Double Colorless Energy (SHL #69)3x Fighting Energy (EVO #96)2x Strong Energy (FAC #115)

I’m going to introduce a new metric to my explanations, a “cut” factor. This percent will represent the chance that I could see myself cutting any of the cards mentioned. The higher the number, the more likely I would be to potentially take it out for something else.

Four Zorua and Four Zoroark-GX | Cut Factor: 0%

These guys obviously need to be in the deck, they are the main drawn engine and your main attacker, too. A full line of them without Zoroark from BREAKthrough is optimal as you would rather have every Zorua turn into a Zoroark-GX to start using Trade. Trade is far more valuable than Mind Jack or Stand In will ever be.

Three Tapu Lele-GX | Cut Factor: 0%

With three Tapu Lele-GX you have an almost seventy percent chance of starting with Brigette on your first turn in some capacity and then following it up with a draw Supporter on your second turn. This can be further improved by adding a fourth Tapu Lele-GX, something I’ve been considering heavily. Needless to say, you would never want to take any of these out as it will hurt your opening consistency rather dramatically.

Three Rockruff and Two Lycanroc-GX | Cut Factor: 0%

In the past, Lycanroc-GX decks were a bit overzealous by playing upwards to four Rockruff and three Lycanroc-GX. I never saw that as a necessity and my playing just three and two, you get two valuable deck slots for other things. You’re always going to want to have as many Zoroark-GX as you can get out on your Bench, so playing anything more than this is just unnecessary.

One Mewtwo and One Mew-EX | Cut Factor: 30%

Buzzwole-GX is a big deal! Countering it should be, too, and that’s why I’ve got both of these Psychic-type counters in my list right now. Out of the two, I think Mew-EX is more valuable, so if I chose to cut one of them — something I’m considering — I would be taking out the Mewtwo. Mewtwo is obviously better against Garbodor decks since you won’t always have access to Mew-EX and its Versatile Ability, but you still can use Field Blower to get around that. Both of these greatly improve your winning percentages against Buzzwole-GX-based decks. Mewtwo has utility against Espeon-GX, a deck that has picked up in popularity once again, as well.

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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