This past weekend I was lucky enough to make finals out of 512 players, using a deck that I can only describe as ridiculous. I will not be giving a tournament report but I will be explaining matchups in detail, using examples from the event and evidence from my rounds. If you’d like to hear about how my rounds went, I recently did an interview with Trainer Chip where I talk for about a half an hour about the deck and give a full tournament report. You can watch that here. There is also a video I did for my sponsor Pro Play Games, where I talk more specifically about the card counts and give detail on the list, which you can watch here.
With those videos already on the web, I want to use this article as a guide to playing the deck. After 17 rounds with ZoroEggs at Costa Mesa, it feels like I have been through all the scenarios the deck can run into. I recognize this content will not be too important to understand until Salt Lake City Regionals, but I wanted to write this piece while everything that happened at Costa Mesa was still fresh on my mind. Next week will have two articles with only Standard decks, but this week will only have this one because I need some time to adjust back to Standard and create some new ideas.
For those who haven’t seen it yet, this is the list I played at Costa Mesa
|Pokémon – 20||Trainers – 36||Energy – 4|
|1||Zorua (DEX)||3||Colress||4||VS Seeker||4||Double Colorless|
|4||Zoroark GX||1||Brigette||4||Ultra Ball|
|1||Zoroark (B&W)||2||Hex Maniac||4||Puzzle of Time|
|2||Tapu Lele GX||1||Guzma||2||Red Card|
|3||Shaymin EX||1||Ghetsis||2||Choice Band|
|1||Sudowoodo (GRI 66)||1||Pokemon Communication|
|3||Zorua (B&W)||3||Sky Field||1||Field Blower|
If I could do it again, I would swap the Zorua counts and possibly play a Special Charge over the second Float Stone. If I could have known that I was going to play against Garbodor Sudowoodo in finals and in top 8, I may have also included an N. Initially I thought I hadn’t needed it at all throughout the weekend, but I do think it could have been helpful in finals. Though, I see no need for N in any matchup other than Garbodor.
To Start I am going to cover time management, and then I will get into other details like supporter use, using specific cards, sequencing Trade, and how to set up properly. I also explain a couple of the misplays I made in finals, that I believe were the reason I got second.
This deck can win games on practically the first turn, when you go first, somewhere between 40 to 65 percent of the time. The matchups certainly sway the percentage, but overall you win around the first turn roughly half of the games where you go first. This means that you should play games at a pace that acknowledges that. This implies that you may be able to play first games out further than normal because the next game will likely be a quick win for you. It can make a difference in games where your chances of winning are low, but still present, because you get a chance to see if you can get a little bit lucky to win the game.
While I did take advantage of this fact, I still think it is optimal to play Zoroark very quickly. In top 8 I slowed down to about half the speed I played in the Swiss rounds, but in general, I play at a pace that I believe will let me finish three games. I don’t play too quickly either though because in scenarios where I am going to lose the third game, I want to have a chance at not finishing the game. This results in my third games being very high pressure because I have to play very quickly if I want to win the game, or rather slowly if I’m going for a tie.
As always, I never advocate ‘slow-play’ as it is against the rules, but playing out your turns with more attention paid to each action and taking a moment to check your opponents and your own discard piles is perfectly legal. If you’re not sure if what your doing is playing a little more slowly or if it is slow-playing, ask yourself if you are legitimately trying to advance the board state. If the answer is yes, then you are fine. If it is no, you need to pick up the pace, because it is cheating.
The first game in a set is usually the slowest game for me, because I am trying to get more deck information and, well, make sure I win! The first game is the most important to win because it almost guarantees you can get a tie in the match. This leads me to be a little more careful during game one so that I can make sure I don’t make any game losing mistakes. Even when I am losing in game one I will drag it out sometimes just to get a little more info on my opponent’s deck. For example, in top 8 against Brad Curcio, I knew I was going to lose but I kept going because we had extra time. In that game, I used a Ghetsis to confirm there was a second Acerola in his deck. They give you over an hour in Top Cut per round, you might as well squeeze all you can out of that time frame.
In a scenario where you lose the first game, your gameplay is sort of the same. Since game two can be won rather quickly with a Red Card + Hex or Ghetsis, or even just a Hex on it’s own, you should be able to finish the third game by playing quickly. But this is not always an easy task, especially for players who are not as used to playing quickly, or for players that have problems with anxiety. If you know that you are one of those people, it may be better for you to scoop the first game earlier on, instead of trying to drag it out to get more deck information. You’re better off with less knowledge if it gives you enough time to finish game three and sometimes you will have to pick between one or the other. I find that I can play quickly enough in my second and third games to not have this as an issue, but that is not the case for everyone.