Item Lock — Updating Zoroark-GX / Seismitoad-EX

Hello PokeBeach readers! In this article I’m going to be talking about a deck that was so dominant it got a few cards banned. That deck is Zoroark-GX / Seismitoad-EX, originally created by Jimmy Pendarvis and the rest of the DDG group.

This deck was built with the goal of completely shutting down the opponent. To accomplish that, this deck attacks with Seismitoad-EX while chaining Lusamine to bring back a plethora of Supporters to continuously disrupt the opponent. During its prime, this deck won two Regionals in the hands of Jimmy as well as a second place from Caleb Gedemer. In that format, most decks had no way to deal with a Seismitoad-EX in one shot meaning cards like Team Flare Grunt or Plumeria had less of a downside because you weren’t worried about your Seismitoad-EX getting Knocked Out. Another crucial card in this deck was Acerola. If a deck couldn’t two shot a Seismitoad-EX, this deck would chain Acerola using Lusamine meaning the Seismitoad-EX will never be Knocked Out. If this situation did arise, this deck also played a copy of Tirtouga which when combined with Zoroark-GX means this deck can never deck out, so any deck that can’t Knock Out Seismitoad-EX instantly lost. The second big advantage this deck had was that Exeggcute was very popular in the format. This allowed the deck to use Guzma to bring your opponent’s Exeggcute into the Active Spot then attack with Seimitoad-EX and a Parallel City to deal zero damage. This was huge for the deck because it allowed for a game plan where you bring Exeggcute into the Active Spot then remove Energy cards off your opponent’s Bench using Plumeria until they run out of Energy. The question is, can this deck hold up in the current Expanded?

Zoroark-GX / Seismitoad-EX in Expanded Now

In the current form of Expanded, these strategies don’t work very well because most cards are stronger then they used to be. However, this deck has some new tricks up its sleeve. The biggest addition this deck has received is Mewtwo and Mew-GX. This card functions as a 270HP Seismitoad-EX, allowing the Acerola game plan to be fairly affective against most of the format. This also gives the deck access to GX attacks, such as Unfair GX from Honchkrow-GX. The best play this card brings is combining it with N and Counter Catcher to pull up a Pokemon without Energy attached, then discard their entire hand late in the game. This combo allows the deck to remain competitive against highly aggressive decks such as Pikachu and Zekrom-GX. They often can’t close out the game because you remove too much Energy after you pull off the combo. Acerola looping and Unfair GX are the main strategies for the current version of this deck.  With this in mind, I’ll go over some matchups.

Dragapult VMAX / Garbodor

This  matchup actually doesn’t use either of the core strategies for this deck. While you could use your Energy removal to good effect, in this matchup it often comes down to Prizes. Since Zoroark-GX hits Dragapult VMAX for Weakness, your opponent has a hard time keeping pace with you. Both the Garbotoxin Garbodor and Trashalanche Garbodor can cause issues, but they are fairly easy to play around. One big card in this matchup is Enhanced Hammer, as Dragapult VMAX decks run a ton of Special Energy and cant attach more then one Energy a turn.


This is likely the decks best matchup. This deck can only attach one Energy at a time, and doesn’t do very much damage. They can use Lusamine to loop their Supporters so they don’t deck out, but that is easy to beat with Girafarig. The biggest obstacle in this matchup is getting set up through Vileplume‘s Item lock but once you have a single Zoroark-GX in play it’s fairly easy. The other Vileplume does stop your Basic Pokemon from attacking, so use Guzma on the Item lock Vileplume so you can attack as well as keep your opponent from attacking.

ADP / Zacian V

In this matchup, you use the Acerola strategy with your Mewtwo and Mew-GX since Zacian V can only attack every other turn and its damage capped at 260. They cant break an Acerola loop without having two Zacian V set up. The way to handle two Zacian V is fairly simple you put a Galar Mine in play and use your Energy removal options when you get chance. Since they’re Item locked, most lists only have access to 10 Metal Energy meaning they’ll run out of Energy very fast. For the Acerola loop to work, you obviously need to have no Pokemon on your Bench aside from a second Mewtwo and Mew-GX. This isn’t the easiest as you often need to bench a Tapu Lele-GX to find your Acerola and Lusamine, but you can then discard Tapu Lele-GX on the Bench with Giovanni's Exile. This match is difficult for the Arceus and Dialga and Palkia-GX (ADP) / Zacian V player because they often don’t have enough Energy in play to start attacking.

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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