Hey there everyone, and welcome to my latest article. Last time, I took a look at the top five expected decks headed into the North American International Championship. While there were a few new decks that showed up on the scene in Columbus, such as Yveltal BREAK, the deck that ended up winning the entire event was Zoroark-GX / Garbodor, a deck that many, including myself, had written off as worse than other Zoroark variants. However, Stephane Ivanoff and Fabien Pujol proved the world wrong, as the fellow countrymen from France piloted the exact same list to two spots in the Top 8. Unfortunately, they were paired up in the Top 8 and Stephane had to eliminate his friend, but regardless of this they proved this weekend that ZoroGarb is a threat that must be reckoned with in the metagame.
With NAIC over, the competitive season is nearly over, with just the World Championships in August remaining. While some people might be moving on and starting to theory craft post rotation decks, I will be focusing this article on my first impressions of the Worlds metagame (BREAKthrough – Celestial Storm, our upcoming set). Thanks to all of the new decks that were introduced to the format at NAIC, plus the Worlds format, the upcoming format looks to be teeming with deck options, a welcome change from our current format that started to centralize on a few top decks before NAIC. In this article, I will be taking a look at the first lists for two decks I have built for this format, Zoroark-GX / Magcargo and Banette-GX, and talk about why I think each might be viable going forward. Unfortunately, with the set yet to be released on PTCGO, the lists I will be providing you with will be completely untested, but in the following month as soon as the set drops online, I will be testing these ideas out to see which of them are actually viable. With that out of the way, let’s get right into it.
While there are a ton of cool new cards being printed in this set (seriously, after taking just one look at the set list made me really excited to start playing this format), the card I was most drawn to most immediately had to have been Magcargo. Its Ability, Smooth Over, has incredible synergy with Zoroark-GX, it is basically a mini Mallow every single turn, for free! As such, I knew I needed to find a way to abuse this going forward. Immediately, I thought of trying out ZoroRoc with a thin Magcargo line, but I soon realized that this just was not going to fit. I needed too many cards for Lycanroc-GX to allow me to play all of the spicy techs that I wanted to play with Magcargo. As such, I decided to cut the Lycanroc line entirely from my first list and try out just a straight Zoroark list with a few techs to help it deal with some anticipated threats in the upcoming metagame. Let’s take a look at the list I built for this deck.
After hyping up Magcargo so much in the previous section, it might seem a little weird that I am playing such a thin line of it in the deck compared to the 3-2 line of secondary Pokemon like Lycanroc-GX or Golisopod-GX that other Zoroark variants run. However, when you consider Magcargo’s place in the deck, especially in comparison to Lycanroc or Golisopod, it starts to make more sense. Lycanroc and Golisopod are absolutely essential to the strategies of the decks they are in; Lycanroc is used both as a secondary attacker as well as for its Ability, while Golisopod is used as a tanky secondary attacker. Unlike those Pokemon, Magcargo is not essential whatsoever to the way the deck functions. While it certainly helps to have it out, as the additional consistency it provides is incredible, but the deck does not rely on it for its strategy or as an alternate attacker at all. As such, I only found that I need to play a 2-1 line, giving me tons of space to add in multiple tech attackers and items to help shore up some potentially poor matchups.
One Shaymin, One Sudowoodo, One Mimikyu
Without heavy disruption, Zoroark has a tough time functioning on its own without any partners. As such, I have decided to play a slew of attackers to help deal with many different threats to the deck that all function off a single Counter Energy attachment. Shaymin can one shot a Lycanroc-GX after one of your Pokemon has been Knocked Out, allowing it to trade evenly and KO what would otherwise be one of the biggest threats to Zoroark. Sudowoodo is great versus opposing Zoroark decks, as you can Riotous Beating them for a Knock Out with ease. Sudowoodo can also copy GX attacks, giving you another out to KOing Pokemon like Lycanroc. Finally, Mimikyu serves a similar purpose to Sudowoodo (outside of copying GX attacks, which it cannot do), while providing you with more type coverage. While I do expect Buzzwole-GX decks to fall off after rotation, I still expect them to be a force in Nashville, and as such some tech needed to be played to help deal with that matchup. Unfortunately, there are not really any good Fire type attackers that run off two Energy, so I was not able to find a Counter Energy Pokemon to deal with Golisopod. That matchup will instead become a two shot war and will come down to how often you are able to hit your Acerola and Max Potion
Latios is another tech Pokemon that I have chosen to run in my list. While in my last article I claimed that it was not a fantastic tech outside of ZoroPod due to needing to get it into the active early in order to be effective, I believe that its benefits in this deck outweigh the downside. Outside of the Counter Energy options, which rely on you being behind on Prizes, this deck struggles to one shot most of the meta and instead relies on two shotting. This is where Latios comes in huge, as it can snipe things to either set up one shots later on, or to finish off KO’s on weakened Pokemon on the Bench. Latios is also solid against Buzzwole, as it can two shot the GX if it has a Choice Band attached to it. Overall, I like Latios a lot in this deck, and it will definitely be something I try out when Celestial Storm finally drops online.
This concludes the public portion of this article.
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