Expanded Birds – Everything You Need to Know About Zoroark-GX Control

Hello everyone! Grant Manley here once again. I’ve written about Pidgeotto Control, the deck I’ve used to make Top 8 at two Regionals so far this season, in a couple of articles already. In this article I’ll be discussing how I adapted that deck to the Expanded format for Richmond Regionals in the form of Zoroark-GX Control. That deck choice worked out pretty well for me as I was able to take third place in Richmond, my third consecutive Regional Top 8.

Zoroark-GX Control is not a new archetype. Last season, it performed well at multiple tournaments in both Standard and Expanded. In Expanded, it was usually paired with Seismitoad-EX. What’s different now is that the deck has gained access to what I call the “Pidgeotto combo.” If you’ve been keeping up with the recent Standard format, you know that Pidgeotto wins games by completely locking the opponent–first setting their hand to zero with some combination of Reset Stamp, Mars, Jessie and James, and Lt. Surge's Strategy; then using Chip-Chip Ice Axe to control their topdecks and Articuno-GX‘s Cold Crush GX attack to remove all Energy from their Active Pokemon, leaving the opponent with literally zero ways to play the game. Of course, Oranguru is the deck’s bread and butter, allowing us to recycle cards to maintain the lock until the end of the game.

Richmond Regionals was the first major Expanded event to feature Unbroken Bonds and Unified Minds, which are the sets that brought us Chip-Chip Ice Axe, Lt. Surge’s Strategy, and Reset Stamp. These cards added a new avenue for Zoroark-GX Control, allowing it to play more like Standard Pidgeotto, and utilizing the “Pidgeotto combo” quickly became my primary strategy in most matchups.

Unfortunately for Zoroark-GX Control, many of those combo pieces are facing an imminent ban in Expanded, meaning my Richmond list will only be relevant again for one more event: Portland Regionals this weekend. Zoroark-GX Control as an archetype has a tendency to stick around, though, so the information in this article should still be valuable for the future. The deck was good last season and I think it will still be relevant even after it gets nerfed by the bans.

In this article I’ll go over my Zoroark-GX Control list from Richmond. I’ll also talk a bit about how this deck can work moving forward in the Expanded format, without the pieces it’s about to lose to the banlist.

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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