Hello Some1sPC Readers! Today I will be reporting my tournament performance from Philadelphia Regionals this past weekend, going over my deck choice and my individual rounds.

I’ve heard this card is decent. 

If you read my previous Flipside article, you might remember that I was still undecided on a deck for Philly but I knew I would probably be playing whichever Zoroark variant I could get to run with the most consistency. I have been having issues with set up, consistency, and continuous power over the course of a game with almost every deck I’ve tried in the current Standard format. I try to read and watch as much content from others as I can, and luckily a decklist from Andrew Wamboldt over at The Charizard Lounge caught my attention and gave me the inspiration to revisit Zoroark Garbodor. I listed Zoroark Garbodor as one of my top choices to win the event before seeing this list which inspired me to consider playing it, but this only reinforced my thought that the right list could do very well. Below is the list I entered the tournament with.

I took the 60 I found on the Charizard Lounge and physically built it, and then made some immediate preference changes before playing a few games. Bodybuilding Dumbbells is a card that I have been keeping in mind when building decks, and I thought it could go really well in this list. The idea of a 160 HP Garbodor sounded nutty, and it turned out that it was. With 2 Latios and 3 Garbodor, I can potentially use 5 one prize attackers in a single game without the use of Rescue Stretcher. After a few games against Ray, I knew I wanted a 3rd choice band and that was my last inclusion. Possibly the second to last inclusion was the Enhanced Hammer. I did not test against Zororoc with this list, but I knew it was unfavorable and wanted the hammer as a soft answer to Zororoc. I built and practiced with this deck the night before the tournament, but I immediately clicked with it. It reminded me very much of my Zoro Garb list from the Nashville open which I went 6-2 with.

The most important thing going into Philly for me was that I entered with a list that would give me the best chance of getting to actually play all of my games. I wanted a consistent deck that drew cards, had reasonable options, and at least a small chance to handle all of the higher tier decks. I believe I found it in this list. I did not draw poorly enough to cost me a game a single time throughout 9 swiss rounds of best 2 out of 3.

R1. VS. XAVIER WATSON – BUZZ GARB SHRINE

We both played the one prize game, except all of my Pokémon were hitting his for weakness and I kept my discard pile at 1-3 item cards for approximately 7-10 turns both games. I played using a minimal amount of cards, just attaching to a Latios and using breakthrough, attaching to a Garb and using Trashalanche. I kept Zoruas on the bench but did not evolve them until late in the games. Turns where I got to use Latios’s second attack Lagoon Flight and not get KO’d in return were fairly huge. With only a few items in my discard, my opponent almost always had no answer to a Garbodor with Bodybuilding Dumbbells.

WW 1-0

R2. VS. GUSTAVO WADA – ZOROROC MAGCARGO

My game plan in this matchup is to disrupt the Zororoc with Judge, Marshadow, and Enhanced Hammer, but if they can get a Magcargo established it’s almost impossible for me to beat a player that is making optimal decisions. We both get set up well both games, but a Zororoc with Magcargo that gets set up will almost always beat my ZoroGarb list regardless of my set up. Both games were convincingly his and he deserved it based on his flawless gameplay and consistent deck.

LL 1-1

R3. VS. JOHN LUCAS – BUZZ GARB SHRINE

    

BFF’s <3

This match was fairly similar to my Round 1. I kept my items in the discard low and attacked with a 160 HP Garbodor over and over. There’s not much they can do about it.

WW

R4. VS. AZUL GARCIA GRIEGO – ZOROROC

Game 1 goes well for both of us. Both the nature of the matchup and Azuls optimal playing allows him to take the game without too much of a struggle.

Game 2 Azul starts Diancie Prism active and Zorua on the bench. His placing Diancie as his active when he also had Zorua told me that he probably had a poor hand that relied on his Zorua surviving to evolve into Zoroark GX on his second turn. Because of this, I do not use Judge or Marshadow on my first turn. I Lele for Fan Club and start my set up. Azul goes draw pass. I riotous beating his Diancie for 120. He evolves Zoroark Gx and hits a Cynthia off of his trade. After drawing for Cynthia he mistakenly trades again. We catch this after the cards are in his hand already and he scoops to game 3 as he was already in a very poor position and the prize penalty that would come of this gameplay error would have only sealed the deal.

Game 3 starts like game 1 as we both get fairly set up. When able, I try to disrupt him with Marshadow or Judge. I focus on his Lycanroc with my Lele, and we both Acerola back to back. Late in the game, I take a KO with Zoroark while also using Enhanced hammer in the same turn. He whiffs an energy attachment for turn and passes. I swing, he takes a KO next turn and evens up the game to 2 prizes each. I have a Garbodor on the bench with Dumbbells and Psychic energy and Azul has 10 items in the discard. Azul used Judge last turn, so after drawing I have 5 cards plus two trades to find a Guzma or Rescue Stretcher for a Lele. I trade twice and do not hit Guzma. I Field Blower my Garb’s Dumbbells off, play Cynthia and I’m looking for a Choice Band. I have 2 Choice Bands in about a 15-20 card deck. I hit the Choice Band so I retreat and hit his active Zoroark GX for exactly 210 damage.

LWW 3-1

R5 VS. RAHUL REDDY – ZOROARK BANETTE GARB

I did a lot of testing with variants similar to the list Rahul and Xander piloted. I’ll be doing a comparison between my Zoro Garb and Rahul’s Zoro Banette Garb at the end of this article and also include differences from the Banette lists I tried.

Game 1 was very even in the early game. He was able to get more Zoroarks established and keep a larger hand thus allowing him to find key cards like Acerola and Rainbow energy when needed. I go from 6 to 4 prizes opening up his Sledgehammer turn. Since my Zoroark-GX has a Bodybuilding Dumbbells he needed to hit a Choice Band off of Cynthia to OHKO with Sledgehammer. If he didn’t get this I think I would have had a good chance at winning. He did hit the choice band and I believe I scooped a turn later.

A key part of game 1 is that I did not reveal Field Blower to Rahul at any point. This was huge because he was playing Banette GX and Weakness Policy.

Game 2: On a turn where I was at 5 prizes and he was at 6, he used flying flip leaving a one prizer active for me to KO. I removed the Weakness Policy from his benched Banette GX, Guzma’d it, and knocked it out with Riotous Beating going down to 3 prize cards. This was the turning point of the game and I believe he scooped two turns later as I had a commanding board state due to my early lead and using Acerola to deny knockouts.

I don’t remember much of game 3, but time was called with us both around 3 prizes. I believe we both had fair chances of winning had there been another 3-5 minutes to play. He had a Banette GX on the board with Weakness Policy that I would have knocked out using Field Blower + Riotous Beating + Guzma if needed on what would have been turn 4 of time. He couldn’t KO a GX on turn 3 but I am unsure if he could have knocked out a one prize Pokémon using a Guzma.

LWT 3-1-1

R6 VS. JOEY NAWAL – EMPOLEON/SWAMPERT

Game 1 my opponent flips over Mudkip and Piplup. He draws and passes two turns in a row and I Riotous Beating his only two Pokémon.

Game 2 my opponent has cards to play, but I disrupt his set up with Marshadow and Judge. Unfortunately, I can not disrupt him enough and he gets through the grindy setup. Once Empoleon gets set up it’s very hard to beat, and that was true in this game. He at one point one shotted a Dumbbell Zoroark GX with Kukui and Choice Band.

Game 3 went well for both of us in the early turns, which means he established a board of 160HP non-GX Pokémon that I can’t even dream of one shotting. I tried to get early spread with Latios, but it wasn’t nearly enough.

WLL 3-2-1

R7 VS. WILL MANTHO – BUZZ GARB WEAVILE SHRINE

 

The Shrine matchups all play out similarly to one another so I don’t have an extensive amount of information to write about this match in particular. Games 1 and 2 were very close, and game 3 was much more in my favor due to knocking out his Magcargo early and winning the prize trade with a Garbodor w/ Dumbbells. Will played really well which is the only reason he won Game 2. In my opinion, this matchup is pretty favored for my list.

WLW 4-2-1

R8 VS. DANNY CHALET – ZOROROC

Danny is a local friend and to my knowledge, this is the first time we have ever played each other in a large tournament. Game 1 I go first and Let Loose his hand down to 4. He doesn’t get much and I start to take some knockouts. I do not get a great set up myself, but I am able to KO a Rockruff here, a Zorua there with a Lele while he stumbles to get set up. He eventually gets a Lycanroc-GX to stick on the board and makes an incredible comeback after hitting what he needed and making all of the correct plays for the last couple turns of the game.

Game 2 went as the matchup should go. Danny and I both had decent early turns, but his deck was able to power through my board with a Lycanroc-GX.

LL 4-3-1

R9 VS. OLIVIA RICHMAN – ZOROROC

Another Zororoc. In case anyone was wondering, this is the single matchup I did not want to hit and this is number 4! Game 1 I Let Loose her down to 4 cards and she is left with a Zorua Rockruff draw pass. I run through her board pretty convincingly as she never sets up.

Our 2nd game is very close, and a few misplays on her side allow me to stay in the game. She ends up establishing a 3 energy Lycanroc-GX that I cannot take care of and that wins her the game. Game 3 I try to disrupt her with Marshadow and Judge again, and it works a bit but not as well as it did Game 1. I manage to get a Garbodor with Bodybuilding Dumbbells and a Lele GX with DCE that together take me 3-4 prizes. Between my minimal use of Zoroark-GX and my aggression on her rockruffs, I am able to win the game and the match.

WLW 5-3-1

I finished in the Top 256 and received 30 CP putting me at 80 CP. I am extremely happy with my list and deck choice, I think I would have finished with a much better record had I hit one or two less Zororoc throughout the day. I’m happy to take home some points and to have played a full day of Pokemon unaffected by dead draws.

MOVING FORWARD: CUPS AND MEMPHIS REGIONALS

Looking at the results of this tournament, I have to say that we have a very diverse Standard Format. In my opinion, there are a few tiers of archetypes and variants that all have the potential to make a deep run in a Regional Championships or take home 1st place at a League Cup. I can say that I think the 3 best decks are Buzz Shrine variants, Zororoc, and Vika Ray but by no means do I think that they are the only 3 decks that can win tournaments.

Below is the Zoroark-GX/Banette-GX/Garbodor list that Xander Pero piloted to Top 4 at Philadelphia Regionals which is also the same list that I played against in Round 5. I wanted to compare this to my Zoroark/Garbodor list a bit since I tested a lot of Banette-GX and I think the two decks have similar matchup spreads.

I did a fair amount of testing with Zoroark-GX variants including both Garbodor and Banette-GX. I came to the conclusion that I probably wouldn’t be playing Banette-GX without Weakness Policy also in the deck due to Banette’s weakness to Dark, so I looked to other potential Pokemon to put in its place in case I wanted the Weakness Policy slots to go to something else like Bodybuilding Dumbbells. Banette-GX was in my lists primarily because of how good it is against Baby Buzzwole. I found that playing 2 Latios SHL in my Zoroark Garbodor list made my Buzzwole/Shrine/X attackers matchup favorable enough that I didn’t miss Banette-GX at all. However, the Weakness Policies could have been nice to have for my Zoroark-GXs versus Zororoc. In my many games versus Zororoc, I went 4W/6L over the course of 4 rounds. I can confidently say that the combination of Garbodor and BodyBuilding Dumbbells played a significant role in winning at least 3 of those games, but of course, I can’t really say that Weakness Policy would have been better or worse.

My list was built more towards consistently doing the same thing game after game, while Rahul’s list is much more adaptable and has some interesting inclusions and counts. I would be more comfortable going into a field of Zororoc with Rahul’s list, while I’d rather be using my list with 2 Latios SHL versus any Buzzwole Shrine decks which include Weavile UPR. I was playing Field Blower this weekend, and I feel like I was slightly ahead of the curve on this. I expect Shrine decks and Garb decks alike to begin including a couple of Field Blowers to deal with BodyBuilding Dumbbells, Weakness Policy, and add more damage to Trashalanche. If Field Blower becomes widely played again, the validity of 2-2 Banette-GX with weakness policy likely decreases and leaves Banette-GX better as a 1-1 tech for Baby Buzzwole.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

I am very happy with the current meta that we have: Stage 2 decks are viable, Zoroark-GX/Stage 1 and Non-Zoroark-GX/Stage 1 decks alike are viable, and creativity is being rewarded (Friend Ball in Rukan Shao’s 2nd place Malamar, both Garbodor and Weavile in Caleb G’s 1st place Buzzwole/Shrine, and Great Ball in Joey Ruettiger, Jimmy Pendarvis, and Azul GG’s Zororoc). I think the best thing to do is to become well acclimated with a strong deck that you like and find the list that suits you. Do this for a few decks if you have the time, but I believe that there are many archetypes that can lead a player to success at the moment because of the balance we currently have. Whether it be a Stage 2 deck like Metagross-GX, a classic Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX, or a basic Pokemon based Shrine deck, I think that you can find success with a deck you enjoy as long as you play well, have a solid list, and go into a meta that isn’t terribly difficult for your choice.

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