The Final Rundown — Putting on the Final Touches for the NAIC

Hey there PokeBeach readers! Since my last article, I traveled to Sheffield in the United Kingdom to play in their Regional Championship. After a strong start to the day, I made a few mental gaffes and ended up with a record of 6-2-1, which was good enough to make day two, but unfortunately I bubbled out at 40th place due to not having strong enough resistance. I played the exact same ZoroRoc list that I posted in my last article. Today, I will be going over the top decks heading into the North American International Championships that are taking place this week in Columbus, Ohio. As I am the last article scheduled before the event, I am in the unenviable position of seeing all of my fellow writers cover all of the best decks before my article. Alas, I have not been testing any rogue decks either, as I only need top 512 at NAIC to seal up my invite, and as such I am playing it safely with my deck choice. Since everything has already been written about and there is not a major deck left that has not been touched, I have decided to spend this article updating my lists that I supplied for the top three decks for Sheffield as well as two new decks that have entered the metagame since then, talk about their changes, and how the meta is shaping up. Without further ado, let’s get started!

Zoroark / Lycanroc

Heading into this weekend, my number one choice for this tournament is still ZoroRoc, or as I affectionately call it, SorosRoc. Even with BuzzRoc lists transitioning to four Buzzwole (more on this later), I still feel as if Zoroark-GX / Lycanroc-GX boasts a solid 40-60/45-55 matchup versus the best deck in the format, which is much better than many other decks in the format, even with Weakness. Outside of that caveat, I think Zoroark boasts the best traits of any deck in the format, as it is the most consistent, offers a very high skill cap to the pilot, as well as being able to abuse two of the most, if not the most, broken Abilities in the game (Zoroark’s Trade and Lycanroc’s Bloodthirsty Eyes). Beyond this, Zoroark has an incredibly favored Malamar matchup, which is the third side of the tier one meta triangle we currently have. Due to the results of Sheffield and Mexico City Regionals where ZoroRoc and ZoroPod won respectively, I have had to alter my deck list to keep up with the current rise in popularity of Zoroark decks.

Pokemon (18)

4x Zoroark-GX (PRSM #SM84)4x Zorua (SHL #52)2x Lycanroc-GX (GUR #138)3x Rockruff (FOL #75)3x Tapu Lele-GX (GUR #137)1x Mew-EX (DRX #120)1x Mewtwo (EVO #51)

Trainers (33)

3x N (NVI #101)3x Brigette (BKT #161)2x Guzma (BUS #143)2x Cynthia (ULP #148)1x Mallow (GUR #145)1x Professor Kukui (SM #148)4x Ultra Ball (DEX #102)4x Puzzle of Time (BKP #109)2x Choice Band (GUR #121)2x Float Stone (BKT #137)2x Evosoda (GEN #62)2x Field Blower (GUR #125)2x Enhanced Hammer (GUR #162)1x Rescue Stretcher (BUS #165)1x Multi Switch (BUS #164)1x Reverse Valley (BKP #110)

Energy (9)

4x Double Colorless Energy (HS #103)4x Strong Energy (FAC #115)1x Fighting Energy (EM #106)

4-4 Zoroark

While this has not changed since my last list, I would like to mention that I have toyed around with a 3-3 line while upping my Lycanroc-GX line to a 3-3. This was done with the intention of helping my BuzzRoc matchup, as my thought process was the less Zoroark I put in play, the better odds of winning I would have. However, in practice this was not the case, as I often needed to put down multiple Zoroark just to hit the combos necessary to compete with BuzzRoc. Plus, in other matchups, I felt the loss of the extra Zoroark line, as my set up was noticeably weaker in the games I played with a thinner line. While you can test 3-3 Zoroark for yourself, I would not recommend it after trying it out.

Two Guzma

This is the change in my list I currently dislike the most, as most games I feel the impact of not having the third Guzma. I made this cut in order to add some mirror and ZoroPod techs, as I felt that the third Guzma was one of the most cuttable cards in my list due to having a thick 3-2 Lycanroc-GX line with one Rescue Stretcher. If I decide last minute that I think the metagame moved away from Zoroark decks, this will be the first card I reintroduce to the list.

Two Enhanced Hammer

With the rise of Zoroark decks, I felt it was important to tech my list out for mirror matches going forward, as my list for Sheffield was teched heavily for Buzzwole and not equipped to handle the mirror matchup whatsoever. Thus, I made room for two Enhanced Hammer in my list, in my mind the premier tech against other Zoroark decks. A common play I make with ZoroRoc is to Enhanced Hammer the DCE off my opponent’s Zoroark-GX and attack into them with Riotous Beating, forcing them to re-attach to a Zoroark that will die the next turn or Acerola and promote another attacker while still needing to find another DCE. Enhanced Hammer also helps prevent surprise attacks that can happen thanks to Multi Switch  as Zoroark decks can otherwise build up their board with Special Energy and then move them around for a Dangerous Rogue GX out of nowhere. Finally, while Enhanced Hammer was included mostly for Zoroark decks, it does have some use versus BuzzRoc, as they play four Strong Energy and one Beast Energy Prism Star as well as Ultra Necrozma-GX variants of Malamar that play Beast Energy. Overall, I have found this card to be very useful as the metagame has evolved, and currently I would not play the deck without at least one Enhanced Hammer.

Four Double Colorless, Four Strong, One Basic Energy

Since my last list, I have changed the Energy Loto to a single Fighting Energy. I added the Basic Energy in order to help counter opposing Zoroark decks that play Enhanced Hammer. If I can ever get an Energy to stick on the field, Multi Switch becomes live for the rest of the game, giving me opportunities to pull a Dangerous Rogue GX out of nowhere, even if I have just lost a Lycanroc. Plus, it does not hurt that the Basic Energy allows me to use Claw Slash and Dangerous Rogue with Mew-EX as you previously could not copy Lycanroc’s attacks due to not being able to attach Strong Energy to a non-Fighting Pokemon.

This concludes the public portion of this article.

If you'd like to continue reading, consider purchasing a PokeBeach premium membership! If you're not completely satisfied with your membership, you can request a full refund within 30 days.

Each week we post high-quality content from some of the game's top players. Our article program isn't a corporate operation, advertising front, or for-profit business. We set our prices so that we can pay the game's top players to write the best content for our subscribers. Each article topic is carefully selected, goes through multiple drafts, and is touched up by our editors. We take great pride in our program!