Hey, guys! It is time again for another article! First off, let me just say WOW, it has been an exciting time for Pokémon. With the Intercontinental out of the way, people are beginning to plan around a brand new set. Whether they plan on attending The World Championships or the Anaheim Open, everyone seems so excited! There are countless things that are running through my head (and I’m sure yours too) to maximize our August performances to their fullest.

I.Recapping North American Intercontinentals
II.Golisopod GX/Lurantis
III.Matchups
IV.Golisopod GX/Zoroark/Eevees
V.Matchups
VI.Golisopod GX/Decidueye GX
VII.Conclusion

First, I will talk about a little recap of the 2017 North American Intercontinental. I chose to play Greninja for this tournament and ended 5-2-2 with my losses being to a mirror match that played Pokémon Ranger and a Mega Gardy that I dead drew against. I decided that for a tournament that had so much riding on it (including my top 16 seat for a Day 2 invite) I should play something I am extremely comfortable with and something that I trusted I was able to get 209th place in the tournament. With this placement and some lucky results from day two, I was able to secure myself the 15th position in the North American Championship Point rankings and get my free invitation to the second day of Worlds this year in Anaheim. I still believe that Greninja was the best deck option for the tournament and know a few did very well.

With that said, we are putting that tournament behind us and even though we got a lot of knowledge about the format from that tournament (and the risks that people are willing to take), we are getting a brand new set that feels to have come instantaneously after Guardian Rising. This set will not have as big of an impact on the format as Guardian Rising did with TapuLele GX (and so many other cards that took tournaments by storm), but it will be a very impactful set for Worlds and tournaments to come and I want to take a moment to talk about a few cards before moving on to my main topic:

Gardevoir GX

This card is going to be on just about everyone’s list of top tier cards in the set and with good reason. It is the most game-changing card in the set and is something that has to be on everyone’s radar when going into a tournament.  Gardevoir GX is basically the deck CMT (Celebi/Mewtwo/Tornadus) all put together into one card. It gives the energy acceleration that Celebi provided and the damage output that Mewtwo dished out.

Ho-oh GX

This card will be extremely impactful in the Volcanion decks that are running around. Not only is it a heavy hitter being able to attack for 180 Damage, but it is also unique because it is weak to lightning instead of Water. This will make it so Volcanion decks no longer have to fear Vaporeon as much because of that weakness. The downside to this card is that it takes four full energies to attack which makes it easy prey for something like Gardevoir GX. When you pair it with a card like Kiawe, it makes it a little bit quicker and easier to set up.

Kiawe

This card is one that I personally do not like but it might be something needed in Volcanion decks. I absolutely despise the idea of needing to end my turn just to put energies on the board, but we are in a much slower format and that might make it okay. With the power of Tapu Lele GX, you are able to go first and get Kiawe very easily. Ending your turn on the first turn of the game is a very small price to pay for four energies, however, the more turns that go by, the harder it will be for this card to be impactful.

Darkrai GX

This card adds a lot to the previous lack luster Darkrai deck that we had for the Intercontinental. It makes the deck much faster by adding a Dark Patch kind of effect to the deck. The deck will not be as dominant as it was before the release of Guardian Risings, but I personally think that it will be a much more popular deck than it was at the Intercontinental.

Alolan Ninetales

I really want this card to be good. It takes me back to the type of decks that I use to play and build. Pangea was the first one: a deck built around trying to knock out any Pokémon that is a non-EX by using Landorus and Tornadus EX and then switching over to Safeguard Sigilyph to finish up the game after they are out of Pokémon that can hurt me. After Pangea, this strategy shifted over to Pyroar: a card that dominated Nationals and with its only real contender being Flygon (which was a rogue deck at the time). Now we get yet another safeguarder with both negatives and positives. The positives are that it evolves from one of the better cards to come out in Guardian Rising, Alolan Vulpix. That card has already proved how good it is at keeping decks consistent. Ninetales also dominated the swiss rounds at the Intercontinental and adding something with safeguard into the deck makes it even harder for an opponent to play around. The downside is that Hex Maniac Is still a card that we have to worry about. When Hex Maniac rotates it will make Alolan Ninetales much better. Additionally, if we get a format where Hex Maniac is not in every single deck then this card will shine. With Volcanaion gaining popularity, is the main deck that I think right now will get destroyed by Alolan Ninetales. This is not just because only the Baby Volcanion can attack it, but also do not play Hex and are weak to Water.

Sophocles

This card was something that I honestly did not know existed until a couple weeks ago. Discarding two cards in order to draw four is good for a few different reasons. In the new Darkrai deck, it is another way to get Dark energies into your discard pile along with the new Darkrai GX. Outside of that it does not have very many immediate uses in my opinion but could see potential in Volcanion or Mega Rayquaza.

Now on to today’s topic where I will be talking about a few different Golisopod GX variants that I have been testing and trying to perfect for worlds. I think that this is a type of deck that will dominate in the current meta and could take the Anaheim open or Worlds by storm. It is definitely an excellent deck for smaller tournaments where the meta is very defined. In my area, we have a lot of Garb players and not many Volcanion players and that produces a great atmosphere for a deck like Golisopod GX. Let’s dive right in with some key cards in this deck:

Golisopod GX

This one is pretty obvious considering he is the main attacker in the deck and without him, this would not even be a thing. He is a bulky stage 1 with 210 HP and attacks for 1 energy. Right off the bat, we immediately see this is a strong card (although I initially thought this card was going to have poor attacks). I was constantly told that his attack, First Impression, only did 90 damage when it came active, but after looking up the set, I found out it actually does 120 which opens up so much more options for this deck. It one shots Garbodors very easily and it will also be two shotting (or potentially one shotting) a lot of the GXs in the format depending on the build of the deck that you want to try. His second attack and GX attack are not very relevant because that is not the game plan you are going with. Typically if I found myself using them it was because I was in a desperate position and couldn’t really do anything else.

Guzma

This card is obviously going to have excellent synergy with Golisopod GX (especially considering Golisopod is his number one Pokémon). Not only do you get to target exactly what you want, but you can activate First Impression extremely easily by having a free retreated or another Golisopod set up on the bench. This card is actually extremely silly and probably should not have been printed, however, without it this deck would not stand a chance against the meta at all.

Acerola

This card was also something that seemed to have been made with Golisopod in mind. They definitely tried making a balanced AZ with this card and I think they did a very successful job. I think that this card is fairly well-balanced thanks to needed damage on whichever Pokémon you bring up, the issue I see is that I already believed AZ was a non-balanced card, and this card will ultimately become non-balanced. It may only be a one off in most decks, but it will be format changing and game changing for many people. When VS seeker rotates after worlds, our lives will be a little bit better and more balanced, but for August it should be interesting on how people manipulate this card to their advantage. The obvious play in this deck is to Acerola your Golispod every turn and just bring up a new one. If you are up against a match up that does not one shot, you should always win because the trades are just too favorable for you.

Golisopod GX/Lurantis

The first list that I have for you is the Golisopod GX/Lurantis version that originally got the hype when the card was first released.

Golisopod GX Lurantis

Pokemon (19)

  • 3 Fomantis
  • 3 Lurantis SM25
  • 4 Wimpod
  • 4 Golisopod GX
  • 2 Shaymin EX
  • 3 Tapu Lele GX

Trainers (30)

  • 4 Professor Sycamore
  • 3 N
  • 3 Guzma
  • 2 Acerola
  • 1 Brigette
  • 4 Ultra Ball
  • 3 VS Seeker
  • 3 Float Stone
  • 3 Choice Band
  • 1 Rescue Stretcher
  • 3 Forest Of Giant Plants

Energy (11)

  • 2 Double Colorless Energy
  • 9 Grass Energy

Lurantis is used for quick damage so that you can hit the 130 number very easily. Surprisingly, you can stand a chance against Volcanion with this list even though it still is not favorable. Some advantages of this deck are that everything is able to be put into play immediately thanks to the Forest of the Giant Plants. Also, if you get completely set up, you can one shot 180 HP Pokémon EX and GX fairly easily with two Lurantis Promo. Some weaknesses that this version of the deck has is that after the early game you lose something towards the end of the game. If you get N’d to a low number you have a rough time drawing into what you need to finish the game off.

Match ups

Garbodor/Espeon 40-60

I figured I would start with the most popular deck and the one that made a huge impact on the most recent format. Unfortunately, this is the less favorable of the two Garb variants thanks to the annoying Flareon that they are all playing to counter Metagross. The thing is though, going into August and with how dominant Volcanion is going to be, I would not be surprised if Vaporeon is being added over Flareon. You kill the Garbs very easily and they really cannot do anything to you unless they have the Flareon out. It is actually a lot like the Metagross match up except we are extremely fast. The other tool that we get is the access to three Guzma. If they do happen to get the Flareon and knock out one of our Golisopod, it is very easy for us to take a return Knock out on their Flareon and then we are once again not able to get one shot. If you are up against the Drampa Version, it is a much easier match up and I would give it about a 70-30 in favor of Golisopod.

Gardevoir 45-55

The most hyped deck going into the new format is Mega Gardevoir, and I do not believe there is any doubt about that. This match up is extremely close and unfortunately, Lurantis does not do much against them. We will dominate them early game and go extremely fast while they are trying to set up just like any stage two deck. The key is that they will eventually be one shotting all of our Golisopod. They need six energies plus our one to knock us out. If they play Choice Band it makes it extremely rough on us too (especially if it is a high number of them). I found it to be very helpful to Guzma the Gardevoirs up early and start attacking them early to get the upper hand. This is a match up that really hurts when you dead draw from an N to three or two. I have been ahead every game until I get N’d and just dead draw. They will eventually get a Gardevoir active that can one shot Golisopod, and once they do that, it is just about over. Tapu Lele has come in handy many times and you need to make sure that you are as far ahead and set up as possible before they N you late game and have their giant Gardevoir ready to strike. If you can get a well timed Guzma and bring up the Gardevoir that they are charging up, then it will also give you a slight advantage in the trade.

Volcanion 30-70

This is the worst match for the deck and you definitely do not want to sit across from a player playing this. We are much faster than they are and that is why I have taken a few games off of them, but the issue is they will eventually overwhelm us and if we do not take enough prizes fast enough then they will just run over us and out trade. We need to get multiple Lurantis set up in order to one shot the Volcanion EX and the Baby Volcanion. Their strategy is very straight forward. Use the Baby Volcanion to charge up multiple attackers and overwhelm us. Baby Volcanion can one shot Golisopod very easily with a few Steam Ups or a Choice Band, which is exactly why we have to go as fast as possible and overwhelm them before the trades begin. If you do not skip a beat with Golisopod you will stand a chance of winning, however, the majority of the time you will lose to Volcanion with this version of the deck. There are cards that we can add instead of Lurantis to make this match up a little better and those will be in the other lists that I give you later in the article.

Turbo Darkrai 60-40

This is a deck that got a pretty big bump with this new set. It does not seem like much, but the addition of Sophocles and Darkrai GX have been huge for the power level of this deck. It is back to being a turbo deck but without needing the added Shaymins or Trainers’ mail. The deck will eventually get to the point that they are doing much more damage than us, but it takes them much longer to get to that position than a deck like Gardevoir would. This is why it is a favorable match up for us. We should be able to start hitting them early and consistently. We just have to be careful and use our Guzmas very wisely because we do not one shot the Baby Yveltals that they will be using to charge up their Darkrais. If we can consistently use Guzma to constantly hit Darkrai EX and if we have one Lurantis out to be able to one shot the Baby Yveltal then we are in a good position. We will eventually get to the place that we can one shot Darkrais before they can one shot our Golisopod. Most of the time this is the best version to take on Darkrai.

Metagross 60-40

This deck might be popular at Worlds and the Anaheim Open, but really it is just an anti meta deck that takes an auto loss to one of the best decks in the format in Volcanion. I do however think that it has the potential for winning any tournament. We do have an advantage against them though. Both decks try to do very similar things. We heal our big attacker and then keep switching between them. We will both be one shotting each other unless they are built specifically to counter Golisopod (which I highly doubt). The difference is we have more healing cards than them. They have two MAYBE three Max Potions in their deck, but we have our Acerolas and VS Seekers. We are also a much faster deck than them. We should be taking quick easy prizes on their Stage 1’s and Basics for the first couple turns of the game while they are still trying to set themselves up. We will out trade them during late game and even if we let them get a couple knock outs it will not be enough to take six prizes before us.

Decidueye/Ninetales 60-40

This match is pretty close but most the time we are able to finish the game off in our favor. The Vileplume version of the deck, which is much less popular is much harder for us though. We are able to constantly two shot their Decidueye and Ninetales while picking up our own damage thanks to Acerola. We also will, much like most match ups, be able to take a few quick early prizes while they are trying to set up. We do not have much fear of Tapu Koko + Espeon EX de-evolve strategy because we are trying to pick up all of our Pokémon as often as we can. We are able to one shot the Ninetales to avoid the GX attack if we can get all three Lurantis promos out and a Choice Band on the Golisopod which is a HUGE swing in the game. This match up just gets easier for the version of the deck below thanks to Flareon and Zoroark. Decidueye should not be much of a problem, and I would be happy to sit across from it. If they are playing Vileplume it gets a little bit more tricky, we will not have immediate access to our VS Seekers to constantly Acerol every turn, but we are however able to use our three Gumas and one Lurantis promo to one shot the Vilplume, and because we will probably be killing another non-ex attacker throughout the game it is not that big of a deal to only take one prize.

This next version of the deck is the version that I think is probably the best version of the deck and the one that I have had the most success with in testing. If I had a tournament this weekend and I wanted to play Golisopod so badly then this would be the safest version for me to play. Not only do I think that this version has the largest upside I also think that it covers a lot of its own weaknesses. You do not have to worry late game about not being able to retreat because you get Zoroark added into the deck and that creates a permanent Rush In retreat type ability. Obviously, if it was expanded Keldo would be dominant in this deck, but we have to do what we can with the cards we have at our disposal. You also get to play the eeveelutions in the deck. Even though it is not very many of them and if you want to go straight with the Zoroark strategy or with the eeveelution strategy this is not the correct choice, but I have always wanted to try and capture the best of both worlds.

Golisopod GX/Zoroark

Golisopod GX Zoroark Eevees

Pokemon (22)

  • 1 Eevee
  • 1 Flareon
  • 1 Vaporeon
  • 3 Zorua
  • 3 Zoroark
  • 4 Wimpod
  • 4 Golisopod GX
  • 2 Shaymin EX
  • 3 Tapu Lele GX

Trainers (27)

  • 4 Professor Sycamore
  • 3 N
  • 3 Guzma
  • 2 Acerola
  • 1 Brigette
  • 4 Ultra Ball
  • 3 VS Seeker
  • 3 Float Stone
  • 3 Choice Band
  • 1 Rescue Stretcher

Energy (11)

  • 4 Double Colorless Energy
  • 7 Grass Energy

This version is obviously a little different than the Lurantis promo and it gives you better match ups thanks to Zoroark and the power that it brings to the table. You are no longer only reliant on Golisopod as your only attacker and you also have a consistent Stand in and retreat attacker to always activate your First Impression. Zoroark will hit hard middle to late game while the Golisopod is hitting hard early game. I also have the added 1-1-1 line of the eeveelutions in the deck to give you that extra little something to push you over the top in some match ups.

Garbodor/Espeon 55-45

We now have a better match against the Flaroen that they will have. We do not have to worry about only attacking with Golisopod anymore. Golispod and our lack of items being needed helps with Garbodor and with some outplaying Espeon cannot do much against multiple Zoroarks and TapuLele GX. These will be the main attackers for this match up not if we know they play Flareon. If you are confident they do not play Falreon though the Golisopod is an extremely good attacker and the match shifts a lot in your favor. They can still overwhelm us and we have to be smart but that is in our control instead of something they can do against us.

Gardevoir 50-50

This match does not change very much except for that they no longer can N us late game and force us to dead-draw. This is actually huge for us because that is what caused me to lose a lot of my games. Zoroark can now be used as a 7th prize attacker to put them into the perfect range to knock out the Gardevoir with Golisopod. You just need to use your Guzmas very effectively and get the knockouts.

Volcanion 45-55

You will probably think that I am crazy for giving this such a high percentage but it actually a lot closer than you may think. Volcanion is a quick deck and definitely has the weakness advantage on us but if there is one thing that has been giving Volcnaion trouble lately it is Zoroark and Vaproen and we have both of those in this deck. Early we do have to try and do some chip damage with Golisopod or Tapulele but then if we are able to set up the Vaporeon and multiple Zoroarks we will be in a solid position. They have to go straight for the Vaporeon if they think they are going to lose the trades back and forth, which they should if we are careful and do not play down any of our Golsopods but then we will just actively use our Zoroarks and two shot their big EX attackers. If they decide that they do not want to go for the Vaporeon it turns into a fairly easy match for Zoroark thanks to how high of a bench they need in order to get their set up going. The three Choice Bands are also in here so that we can hit that 180 number without either of the eeveelutions.

Turbo Darkrai 55-45

It is a little bit harder for this version of the deck to beat Darkrai but it should still be favorable. We cannot one shot the Baby Yveltals at all like we could in the Lurantis version of the deck, but what we can do is use Zoroark to force a seven prize game, and when they get to the point that they are one shotting out Golisopods we are able to use Zoroark in order to force them to take seven or more prizes in order to win the game. Zoroark will make the two shot still viable, the other tool we have is to use our GX attack to one shot the Darkrai EX or GX and then hide behind a Zoroark or another non-ex Pokémon to save ourselves. The addition of field blower is something that would be relatively helpful in this match up no matter what deck list you choose to play.

Metagross 70-30

This is a fairly easy match up because of our Flareon and Zoroark. We are also a much faster deck then them and thanks to that we will be able to run over them from early game all the way to late game. It is a much easier match for us with this list then it is for the Lurantis version of the deck, they are too slow of a deck and it is not built to compete with a deck like Golisopod.

Greninja 80-20

I decided it did not make much sense to talk about this match up multiple different times because it is a very easy match up. If you are expecting a lot of Greninja then this is going to dominate the tournament. They just can not keep up with your speed and once they finally get set up you just get to constantly Acerola and one shot them every turn. You have to get extremely unlucky to lose this match up and most the time you will not be able to lose it.

Golisopod GX/Decidueye

This is the version of the deck that I honestly have not tested but I know it has been getting a bit of hype the last few weeks. It revolves around the constant heavy hitting with Golisopod but also will have the extra damage that the Lurantis promo normally give but we can distribute the 20 damage wherever we want to put it. I have not tested any games with this list because I personally feel like it is a little too clunky but this is the list that I came up with for the deck.

Golisopod GX Decidueye

Pokemon (21)

  • 4 Rowlet
  • 3 Dartrix
  • 3 Decidueye GGX
  • 4 Wimpod
  • 3 Golisopod GX
  • 2 Shaymin EX
  • 2 Tapu Lele GX

Trainers (29)

  • 4 Professor Sycamore
  • 3 N
  • 3 Guzma
  • 2 Acerola
  • 4 Ultra Ball
  • 3 VS Seeker
  • 3 Float Stone
  • 2 Choice Band
  • 1 Rescue Stretcher
  • 4 Forest of Giant Plants

Energy (10)

  • 4 Double Colorless Energy
  • 6 Grass Energy

Conclusion 

Personally, I feel like Golisopod is an extremely strong deck for the Anaheim open and for Worlds, if you are confident that you will hit the correct match ups then you will win hands down. The constant fear of Volcanion will probably keep me away from this deck because I want to have an extremely good match up against Volcanion going into worlds. If you have locals coming up and want to play an extremely fast deck that will get you out of your seat as fast as possible much how an aggro deck is in other card games and how night March use to be then this is the deck for you. The other advantage to building this deck now is that you do not have to worry about the rotation at all hurting you. This deck does not lose anything because the majority of the deck is in Burning Shadows adding extra Guzma and Acerola would be the main changes going into the new format after worlds because we lose our access to VS Seeker is very important. This strategy is very linear and you do not have much room for out playing your opponents and I think that will deter people from playing this deck for large tournaments. It kinda feels like Mega Rayquaza in the same regards as it is either going to go off and dominate or it is going to just be a little bit lack luster and slowly start hitting for not enough damage. It can be hurt really hard by late game N’s and that is why the addition of Octillery or Oranguru can really come in handy. If it is a problem you see coming up multiple times then you might want to try it out. I have also seen talk of Trevenant being added into the deck. This adds a little bit of depth but is a card that really does not do much to a deck that can keep their hand low. I personally like Trevenant a lot and think the Break would also be an important card if you are going that route. It gives you a psychic type attacker for when you are going up against a Garb or Necrozma style deck, and will probably warrant a spot. The issue with Trevenant is the same as other techs and it does not really help you late game when you are getting Ned and trying to get all your pieces going once again. There is just under a month until Worlds and I will be testing Octillery in this deck as well as thanks the success I have seen with the card in Gardevoir. Thank you, everyone, for checking out this article and I hope that you found it a little bit enjoyable and helpful for any of you who want to try out Golisopod.

-Drew