The Home Stretch — Finalizing Lists for the North American International

With Mexico City Regionals concluding, we now have our last major event results before the North American International. Decks have risen and fallen, with major meta presences standing strong for the most part. Other decks, like Golisopod-GXZoroark-GX, have seen a huge surge in play and stand in a much more threatening place in the metagame. As we can now predict the meta for NAIC with the greatest accuracy possible, we can now make final adjustments to lists for each of the top decks with the projected metagame in mind.

In this article, I’ll be going over my updated lists for Zoroark-GX  Lycanroc-GX, Zoroark-GX  Golisopod-GX, Ultra Necrozma-GX  Malamar, and Buzzwole  Lycanroc-GX, the decks I consider to be at the top of the metagame right now. I’ll talk about techs and discuss how you can improve matchups against whichever decks you’re gunning for next weekend. This should keep you ahead of the meta and well prepared to succeed in the coming weekend!

Zoroark-GX / Lycanroc-GX

As other articles have covered this deck extensively, it’ll be the one I cover most briefly here. I’m currently teetering back and forth on whether I think the Counter Energy Shaymin is needed in here, but the prevalence of Zoroark decks and a thinner line of Lycanroc-GX in Buzzwole makes me lean toward more generally useful cards and consistency. This is my current list for the deck:

Pokemon (21)

4x Zoroark-GX (PRSM #SM84)4x Zorua (PRSM #SM83)2x Lycanroc-GX (GUR #74)3x Rockruff (FOL #75)3x Tapu Lele-GX (GUR #60)1x Latios (SHL #41)1x Mewtwo (EVO #51)1x Mew-EX (DRX #46)1x Buzzwole (FOL #77)1x Diancie Prism Star (FOL #74)

Trainers (31)

3x N (FAC #105)3x Brigette (BKT #134)3x Guzma (BUS #115)2x Cynthia (ULP #119)1x Mallow (GUR #127)1x Professor Sycamore (BKP #107)4x Ultra Ball (SM #135)4x Puzzle of Time (BKP #109)3x Field Blower (GUR #125)2x Float Stone (BKT #137)2x Choice Band (GUR #121)1x Evosoda (GEN #62)1x Multi Switch (GUR #129)1x Enhanced Hammer (GUR #124)

Energy (8)

4x Double Colorless Energy (EVO #90)2x Strong Energy (FAC #115)2x Fighting Energy (EM #106)

This list is more standard than the one I played for Madison, but there are a couple counts and ideas I’d like to discuss.

No Parallel City

As the metagame continues to develop, we see Parallel City fall out of Malamar decks and come into Zoroark decks with great frequency. With ZoroRoc, the goal is to attack with Lycanroc-GX most of the time in the mirror, so our Bench size isn’t tremendously important. With the new space, I’ve been able to add a third Field Blower, which mitigates the effect of our opponent’s Parallel City and gives us a better Garbodor matchup, and then a flex spot that I’m currently using for Diancie Prism Star.

Diancie Prism Star

Diancie Prism Star is interesting because it gives us the ability to take OHKOs with an unboosted Sledgehammer in the mirror and allows our Buzzwole to contest opposing Buzzwole. It also means that we can Knock Out opposing Buzzwole with Claw Slash even if we don’t have a Strong Energy. An extension of this is the ability to run two Basic Fighting Energy, a very helpful count in the face of heavier Enhanced Hammer in Zoroark lists. While I’m not totally sold on the count just yet, it is promising in testing.

Two Float Stone

I keep my two Float Stone here as I find the deck feels much worse without it. Discarding Energy to retreat is worse than ever now that Lycanroc-GX is your primary attacker in so many situations. It could come out, but it would almost definitely be for another Energy.

Baby Buzzwole

I do not consider Buzzwole droppable at this point. It’s far too powerful against Zoroark decks and has the ability to trade effectively with Buzzwole and even one shot the GX if they hit the four Prize mark. In fact, the card is so powerful that I’m considering upping the count to two or possibly three to be even stronger against matchups like Buzzwole and Zoroark.

Possible Changes

Other counts that can be played with are Professor Kukui, Enhanced Hammer, and Latios. Kukui is great to bump numbers for Knock Outs on Tapu Lele-GX with Riotous Beating, Mewtwo Psychic on many Fighting and Psychic types, and most of the format with Lycanroc-GX and Buzzwole. That said, it is barely on the edge of necessary and can be cut for something else. Enhanced Hammer is to help with Zoroark matchups, primarily the mirror, by making it as difficult as possible for your opponent to attack with Lycanroc-GX. Latios SLG is a newer inclusion that is phenomenal against Malamar and Buzzwole decks alike. It also has the added benefit of being able to set up Knock Outs in tons of different matchups across the board.

Counter Energy

I do still like the Counter Energy Shaymin combo, and I think that Sudowoodo is gaining power as well. If I decide to play it, I’ll be dropping the third Guzma, Diancie Prism Star, and either Buzzwole, Latios, or Professor Kukui, although it’s still up in the air regarding which I’ll ultimately decide on. In Mexico, Buzzwole decks jumped back up to the 2-2 Lycanroc-GX line, and that means you need an answer to it more often than in the weeks prior. Add to that the increasing popularity of Zoroark decks across the board, and Counter Energy is a highly appealing asset.

Along with ZoroPod, Zoroark-GX  Weavile and BuzzRoc, this deck is among my top choices for the upcoming International. It has versatility, power, and excellent consistency that keeps it strong in any metagame.

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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