Hello again Some1sPC readers! In part 1 of this article series, I went into some of the most important stats coming out of Collinsville Regionals, drawing some conclusions on the current Standard format. In part 2, I’ll be examining each of the Top 8 deck lists, going over the strengths and weaknesses of each, and discussing some of their best and worst matchups. Afterward, I’ll give my two favorite lists for Golisopod/Zoroark and touch on a third that just came out of a Regional in Brazil. Between this article and the last I’m aiming to give you a solid grip on Standard and equip you with lists prepared to best it.
Top 8 Decks Overview
The Top 8 decks from Collinsville in order of final placement are:
- Zoroark/Golisopod/Lurantis – Ian Robb
- Buzzwole/Garbodor/Carbink BREAK – Natalie Shampay
- Buzzwole/Lycanroc – Alex Hill
- Zoroark/Lycanroc – Pearce Blend
- Volcanion – Gustavo Wada
- Zoroark/Golisopod – Russell LaParre
- Buzzwole/Lycanroc – Alex Bunker
- Zoroark/Golisopod/Lurantis – Joe Reuttiger
Before I get into the specifics of the Top 8, I want to draw attention to some interesting aspects of the Top 8 decks overall. Among these will be similarities between the decks and notes on how they interact with the format. In doing this you can more easily see what attributes currently give a deck potential, something that you can apply when building your own lists. The areas of interest are as follows:
- As I stated in part 1, all of these decks are aggressive. Each of them requires little setup to do a sizeable amount of damage and many of them deal increasing damage as the game progresses. This provides a significant advantage in many cases as it allows these decks to begin taking prizes within the first two turns of the game. This also means that decks requiring the setup of even a single Stage 2 line are under a great deal of pressure to set up very quickly—something that they were unable to consistently do in Collinsville. While this doesn’t mean there is no Stage 2 deck that can manage the speed of the top decks, it does mean that such a deck is as of yet undiscovered.
- Every single one of these decks either uses Pokémon based draw or plans to shut it off. Though Gustavo Wada’s Volcanion included only an Oranguru for this purpose, six of the seven other decks dedicated at least four spaces to Octillery or seven to eight spaces for Zoroark-GX. The seventh was the second place Buzzwole/Garbodor which played a 2-2 Garbodor BKP line. As a point of contrast to earlier in the season when Gardevoir was dominant, the Standard format now favors consistency above all else. Eliminating your opponent’s consistency is also a viable strategy but the heavy count of ten draw Supporters of Natalie’s deck shows that maintaining your own is a top priority.
- In addition to the previous point, seven of the eight decks in Top 8 either played Zoroark or a Fighting Type that could easily knock it out. One list played both! The format has become incredibly centered around Zoroark-GX nearly to the point that only it and its counters are viable. I would not play a deck that had an even somewhat questionable Zoroark matchup as it would inevitably result in a tremendous number of bad matchups.
With these observations in mind let’s move into each specific list!
Ian Robb 1st Place/Joe Ruettiger Top 8 Goli Zoro Lurantis
- 4 Zorua
- 3 Zoroark GX
- 3 Wimpod
- 2 Golisopod GX
- 2 Formantis SUM 14
- 2 Lurantis PR-SM25
- 1 Mew EX
- 1 Tapu Koko
- 3 Tapu Lele GX
- 3 Guzma
- 3 N
- 3 Brigette
- 2 Acerola
- 2 Professor Sycamore
- 1 Cynthia
- 1 Mallow
- 1 Professor Kukui
- 4 Puzzle of Time
- 4 Ultra Ball
- 3 Field Blower
- 2 Choice Band
- 2 Float Stone
- 4 Double Colorless Energy
- 4 Grass Energy
Golisopod/Zoroark is the top candidate for best deck in Standard at the moment. While on paper the deck looks quite weak, in practice, hitting for two-shots and always having what you need are powerful enough to outweigh any weaknesses. This iteration of the deck includes a 2-2 Lurantis Promo line to buff out Golisopod-GX’s damage numbers, fixing the deck’s biggest problem (at least to an extent). While there are ways to capitalize on the deck’s weaknesses its raw consistency and power keep its few bad matchups around 40-60.
- Lurantis Promo gives Golisopod-GX great damage numbers. Tapu Lele-GX is the most common KO you’ll expect to take but a combination of Choice Band, a Lurantis or two and Professor Kukui allow First Impression to KO a huge range of attackers from Lele to Buzzwole-GX to Zoroark-GX. This is without taking into consideration the damage of Crossing Cut GX, an attack that basically guarantees you a OHKO at some point in the game. This is a huge advantage as Golisopod/Zoroark’s biggest problem comes in the form of its damage output. With Lurantis in tow this weakness is eliminated almost entirely.
- This deck runs a heavy Zoroark-GX line and appreciates all of its benefits. It has incredible consistency, a flexible attacker with solid damage and the ability to abuse Puzzle of Time and the associated tech inclusions. While this deck does not include many tech Item cards like Enhanced Hammer or Max Potion, Puzzle is nonetheless and incredible asset to any deck that can reliably find two at a time.
- The deck uses a wealth of single Energy attackers. This means it has to find few cards before it starts attacking and it can also take great advantage of Acerola. In a deck with diversified weakness and 210 HP attackers Acerola’s healing is relevant in almost every single match.
- A high enough Basic Energy count that it is not terribly impacted by opponents’ Enhanced Hammers. This gives it some resistance to one of the most common anti-Zoroark tech items.
- Golisopod’s Grass typing is great allowing it to take OHKO’s on Lycanroc-GX and Regirock-EX, both very common cards in the format.
- Bench space. This deck is more starved for spots on its bench than any other deck in the format and it shows. You are forced to know the deck’s matchups quite well simply because it is imperative to structure your bench properly. You need to go into each matchup knowing exactly how many Wimpod, Zorua and Fomantis are required for the best odds of winning.
- As an extension to the previous point Parallel City can be brutal on this deck. While you can frequently Field Blower it away a well-timed Parallel can either weaken your draw or disrupt your damage. It can also slow your setup, especially in a matchup where you aim to develop two Lurantis.
- Reliant on Zoroark-GX’s Trade. This is a rather minor weakness as the deck includes three Field Blower but a Tool on Garbodor BKP followed by an N can hamper this deck badly due to its low draw Supporter count.
- Lack of deck space. Lurantis not only occupies space on the bench but it also occupies space in the deck. As Zoroark/Golisopod tends to be a highly flexible archetype capable of incorporating many techs this is actually a serious downside. You will struggle to find space for cards like Enhanced Hammer and Max Potion in this variant of the deck, let alone additions like Sudowoodo and Counter Energy.
- No immediate response to something like a turn one Kiawe onto a Ho-Oh-GX or a big Gardevoir-GX. There isn’t any sort of Max Elixir or panic button GX attack (Dangerous Rogue being an example) to quickly respond to a crazy fast start. In general you are the aggressor, but the deck can lose very quickly if your opponent gets a high damage attacker swinging on turn one or two.
- Buzzwole variants. Not only do you have Mew-EX for a fast single Energy KO but Lurantis allows Golisopod-GX to start one-shotting Buzzwoles too. In addition to that Golisopod’s Grass typing is great against Lycanroc-GX and Regirock-EX. These factors allow you to end games in as few as four turns and this is not an uncommon occurrence.
- Zoroark/Weavile. Golisopod-GX does not have an Ability and takes an easy KO on Weavile UPR. After the Weavile line has been eliminated Lurantis allows for two quick GX OHKO’s to seal the game. You can one-shot their Zoroark BREAKs due to Sunny Day and this means Zoroark/Weavile doesn’t have any great option to attack with.
- Golisopod/Zoroark teched for the mirror. Max Potion, Parallel City and Sudowoodo with Watch and Learn make for a mirror match that this deck struggles to overcome. Damage from Lurantis allows you to take OHKO’s but Max Potion gives your opponent the opportunity to KO a Lurantis and heal their attacker in the same turn. If your opponent can accomplish this twice your deck has no advantage over theirs whereas they have multiple recyclable Max Potions and Enhanced Hammers.
- Fire variants. While this deck can certainly beat Fire variants their immediate one-shot potential and huge damage output make for a difficult game. Without advantages like Parallel City your only option is to race them and attack their Energy. Sometimes this plan of action works but they can frequently outpace and out-damage you.
Thanks for reading the free portion of this article! The rest of the article can be viewed by Elite PC members only. Click on the Ultra Ball below to catch this article and become an Elite PC Member today!