After seeing the list that Alex Cole managed place well at St. Louis with, ZoroGarb became of interest again. As many of you know the deck has been my favorite archetype over the last two years, so the prospect of being able to play it in Standard again is enticing. I also won a Team Up case tournament with ZoroRocWeavile using a list that I realized I hadn’t covered on the site yet. ZoroRoc continues to impress me with it’s raw power and ability to adapt to seemingly any meta. Lastly I realized the meta has become pretty straight forward in terms of what people are playing, which means this is optimal timing for a counter archetype; this is where BuzzMuk comes in. The deck is probably very different from what you expect, so make sure you check out the list before assuming it is something like an updated version of the BuzzRoc lists that did well in the beginning of this season. In this piece I cover those three decks and the mindset I use to decide on how to deck build in Standard. I’ll start with my mindset is in this meta.
My first thoughts for standard are usually centered around Basic Abilities. The deck I play should either have a counter to Muk, play Muk, or somehow not be crippled by Muk. In my experience almost any game where I set up Muk when facing Zapdos, no matter which archetype I am using, ends up winning almost every time. Past the Zapdos match up, Muk shuts off nine of PikaRom deck’s Basic Abilities! That is assuming the PikaRom list is Jose’s Internats top 4 build, but even with fewer Abilities the effect Muk has is staggering. Malamar decks cannot Distortion Door, nor can they Stellar Wish. The only other relevant decks are Blacephalon and ZoroRoc, which of course are archetypes using Muk. In short, whatever you choose to play either should run Muk or have a VERY strong game plan for dealing with it. It’s not a soft counter card that sort of interferes. It is a hard counter that makes several decks crumble.
Zoroark GX and PikaRom GX share the Fighting Weakness which gives power to Fighting type attackers like Lucario GX and Lycanroc GX. On the other hand Lucario having Weakness to Psychic is exploitable by Giratina or Naganadel. Blacephalon is weak to Water, but there is not a Water archetype, I suppose other than Quagsire Naganadel, or even a Water tech that can be played. Lastly Ultra Necrozma has Weakness Fariy types. One-prize decks have Weaknesses that are less relevant. Sure, Zapdos is weak to Electric and Giratina is weak to Dark, but either way you are most likely knocking out these attackers in one hit. When we think about what we want to hit for Weakness in this meta the optimal types are Fighting, Psychic, and Water.
The reason I play Zoroark so frequently is because I see it as the most consistent deck in Standard. I can consistently do well with the deck because I have to worry little about being able to draw what I need, which leaves my mental energy to perfecting the list and playing as well as I can. Any deck that is going to be considered a legitmate option has to have a similar level of consistency. Malamar for example does have that because of the Psychic Recharge ability, and through other impressive supporter like Viridian Forest and Mysterious Treasure. Zapdos and PikaRom are just not consistent, consistently. What I mean by that is they when Muk is not in play they usually run pretty well, but once it does come out, all the consistency goes flat. Any deck that I can consider an option for Standard has to have strong consistency that is not basic ability based.
Now that we have an idea of what to look for, let’s get into the first deck.