I Wanna Roc — Updated Standard Zoroark-GX / Lycanroc-GX

It is my opinion that my friend and teammate Poet Larsen is the best Zoroark-GX deck builder in the world; he’s more Zoroark now than man. Poet has been crafting the best lists for the deck, specifically Zoroark-GX / Lycanroc-GX, with help from me, my friends, and just his own undying obsession with Zoroark-GX. His most recent accolade comes in the form of his first ever Top-8 finish at a Regional Championship, taking his pet deck to the quarterfinals of the tournament. He worked hard to make a creative list, working against adversity with the rotation of Brigette in Standard. This, with a couple changes, is the best way to play Zoroark-GX going forward, completely outclassing Garbodor and Golisopod-GX. The Banette-GX version of Zoroark-GX is interesting too, but I still believe that Lycanroc-GX is a better partner.

Poet Larsen’s List

Pokemon (18)

4x Zoroark-GX (SHL #53)4x Zorua (SHL #52)2x Lycanroc-GX (GUR #74)3x Rockruff (FOL #75)3x Tapu Lele-GX (GUR #60)1x Sudowoodo (GUR #66)1x Marshadow (SHL #45)

Trainers (34)

3x Lillie (ULP #125)3x Guzma (BUS #115)2x Professor Kukui (SM #128)2x Acerola (BUS #112)1x Mallow (GUR #127)1x Cynthia (ULP #119)1x Apricorn Maker (CES #124)4x Ultra Ball (SHL #68)4x Nest Ball (SM #123)3x Choice Band (GUR #121)2x Weakness Policy (BUS #126)1x Timer Ball (SM #134)1x Friend Ball (CES #131)1x Multi Switch (GUR #129)1x Rescue Stretcher (GUR #130)1x Pal Pad (ULP #132)3x Devoured Field (CRI #93)

Energy (8)

4x Double Colorless Energy (SHL #69)4x Fighting Energy (EVO #96)

Looking at the original list, it’s easy to get caught in its beauty. Healthy counts of most cards, and even some excess on cards like Choice Band for certain matchups. The inclusion of Weakness Policy is genius, improving the Buzzwole / CARD NOT FOUND matchup; and Sudowoodo might just be the star of this list. Let’s not get in too deep, because there are a few things that can be changed…

  • -1 Tapu Lele-GX
    • Bad starter, less important when you don’t play Brigette.
  • -1 Apricorn Maker
    • Lillie should always be your first-turn draw Supporter of choice.
  • -1 Timer Ball
    • Great Ball outclasses this card in this format. You want to mitigate randomness as much as possible. Even though Great Ball, too, can whiff, it’s simply better.
  • -1 Fighting Energy
    • Removing an Energy isn’t a big deal. I wish people didn’t get so scared about it; it takes a couple percent away from your odds of hitting one on your first turn, but when you’re looking to Lillie right away, you’re drawing so many that you have solid odds to hit an Energy even with just three Fighting Energy. The Energy serving the purpose of an Energy itself rarely matters, it’s more about hitting it early when you need it.

The Updated List

Pokemon (17)

4x Zoroark-GX (SHL #53)4x Zorua (SHL #52)2x Lycanroc-GX (GUR #74)3x Rockruff (FOL #75)2x Tapu Lele-GX (GUR #60)1x Sudowoodo (GUR #66)1x Marshadow (SHL #45)

Trainers (36)

4x Lillie (ULP #125)3x Guzma (BUS #115)2x Professor Kukui (SM #128)2x Acerola (BUS #112)1x Mallow (GUR #127)1x Judge (FOL #108)1x Cynthia (ULP #119)4x Ultra Ball (SHL #68)4x Nest Ball (SM #123)3x Choice Band (GUR #121)2x Weakness Policy (BUS #126)2x Great Ball (SHL #60)1x Friend Ball (CES #131)1x Multi Switch (GUR #129)1x Rescue Stretcher (GUR #130)1x Pal Pad (ULP #132)3x Devoured Field (CRI #93)

Energy (7)

4x Double Colorless Energy (SHL #69)3x Fighting Energy (EVO #96)

Two Lycanroc-GX and Three Rockruff

A thinner line of Lycanroc-GX is fine, even with Great Ball in the deck. You’re never going to use three Lycanroc-GX in a game, so I would argue to include more search cards to get Lycanroc-GX and other Pokemon before ever adding another Lycanroc-GX itself.

Three Rockruff is a solid number. You don’t have the Bench space to play down more. Adding a fourth would be okay to bolster your starting percentages, however, so that’s a consideration to be aware of.

Two Tapu Lele-GX

Gone are the days of Brigette, so Tapu Lele-GX is a little less valuable. Since we don’t have as many surefire ways to find Evolution Pokemon either, you’re going to lose more Rockruff and Zorua in the process, making your Bench space more valuable. You’ll want to leave that Bench space open as much as you can for multiple copies of your pre-Evolutions and even the techs that this deck runs, which I’ll cover next…

One Sudowoodo

A poor man’s Parallel City, Roadblock is severely underrated in this format. Most, if not all, decks are taking advantage of luxurious Bench space, opting to play more setup Pokemon like Magcargo and Oranguru in conjunction — two Bench spots on their own! With this in mind, the retro Zoroark-GX / Lycanroc-GX strategy comes to fruition: use Lycanroc-GX to target down whatever you want and limit your opponent’s Bench in order to make it difficult for them to execute their strategy. Bench limitation is always a strong power, but it’s better than ever in this format specifically.

The drawback of playing Sudowoodo down is it’s like you’re “Roadblock-ing yourself” by putting a Pokemon on your Bench that doesn’t attack; but, unlike Parallel City, your opponent has to use Guzma and attack it for a Knock Out instead of simply playing a counter Stadium. You can Rescue Stretcher Sudowoodo right back if you want, too.

One Marshadow

The Judge effect is great in this format, especially when it doesn’t count as a Supporter for the turn. Marshadow is searchable with your Ball cards and can be used in combination with Bloodthirsty Eyes — a powerful move in pivotal situations. Marshadow can even serve as a convenient way to draw more cards before or after playing your Supporter for the turn.

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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