The Cut or Tap Zapdos Variant’s performance at Denver

Turned out this list actually had a much bigger impact on Denver than I anticipated. Just wanted to give credit those who deserve it, explain some cards in the list, and talk about the event. Two masters I coach, and a third player that is subbed to cut or tap, all made top 32 or better with the deck. By the way, huge shout out to Hale Obernolte. He is a member of Team Cut or Tap and placed second with Regi Stall! He will have an article on the site soon detailing the deck.
COT Zapdos
Pokémon – 12 Trainers – 39 Energy – 9
 3 Zapdos  4 Lillie  4 Nest Ball  1 Beast
 2 Buzzwole  4 Guzma  3 Ultra Ball  3 Fighting
 4 Jirachi  3 Cynthia  4 Electropower  5 Lightning
 1 Tapu Koko GX  1 Erika’s Hospitality  2 Escape Rope
 1 Buzzwole GX  4 Switch
 1 Tapu Koko Prism Star  2 Viridian Forest  2 Escape Board
 1 Thunder Mountain  2 Choice Band
 2 Rescue Stretcher
 1 Beast Ring

This is the exact list I played. It is one card off of the list I posted to the site on April 3rd (4th Switch over 3rd Rope). Now that multiple players have made posts in Facebook groups, it seems silly to keep the list behind a paywall.

The Switching count was slightly unorthodox. In testing against Zoroark I noticed how hindering Escape Ropes were. You want to hit what is in the active and almost every time you play Rope they bring up some target that they inevitably Acerola off the field. Zoroark was what I refer to as the ‘problem matchup’ which means I was doing everything I could to make it more favorable. In hind sight I may have actually gone too far in dealing with the issue because I went 4-1 in games (not matches) against Zoroark at Denver. Against Malamar I noticed that another rope would have been far better, but Malamar is one of Zapdos’ best match ups to begin with, so I wasn’t too inclined to factor that in. In the other three of the big five match ups the effects of the 3rd rope or 4th Switch were minimal.
The Buzzwole GX is an idea that Hunter Butler came up with; all credit goes to him. Buzz GX is mostly for the Zoroark match up because it can do 120 to Zoroark each turn, while setting up damage on benched Pokemon to allow fewer electropowers to be needed for KOs. This is particularly helpful with Muk because you only need one electropwer to knock it out with Zapdos after Jet Punch snipes it, and won’t need any after it has been hit twice.
The initial list I started with when I got into Zapdos was from Cameron Shenoy. We started testing the deck about two months ago the night before a cup. He was the one who came up with: Viridian over Shrine, the Beast Energy, (maybe the Beast Ring?), and 2 Baby Buzz instead of 1 Baby and 1 Nihilego. Big shout out to Cameron and Joe Sanchez for testing with me and helping us perfect the list.
I was concerned about Blacephalon from the start. I knew that the match up was harder than most players expected. One of the two losses I had in day one were to Blacephalon. I can say with confidence that I played well with the exception of one small misplay that I believe was probably irrelevant to who would have won. All that I am saying is that even though this list deals with Zoro, Malamar, and PikaRom VERY well, it has a slightly negative Blacephalon match up. Going forward I want to find a way to change that.
I lost my win-&-in matchup to Venusaur Celebi on stream. I won’t act like I played perfectly; I get terrible anxiety on stream, plus I was already anxious since I had to win to make it to day 2. I should not have used Koko GX as early as I did in game one, because doing so made it possible for Alex to skip the Sledgehammer turn, which is crucial in the match up. The match up is about a 55/45 in Venusaur’s favor, but the Zapdos player has to work very hard and not slip up at all to beat it. The lesson learned from that match is to never go for Koko GX unless the Venusaur player is already past the Sledgehammer turn.
Emmanual Jacobs played the list with one change: he added in a Marshadow (Let Loose). He was 7-1-1 in day one and ended 13th overall. Emmanual is a bright player I coach and I was thrilled to see his success with the deck. Carter Barsh is another player I coach who ended day one at 7-0-2; one of those ties was an intentional draw that we agreed on in round 4. Day two he faced two Stall decks which made things much harder. He ended in top 32. I should add though that his list was a bit different. He had inclusions like Jolteon GX, Absol, and Volkner. Carter opted to cut Beast Ring, the 3rd Fighting, the 3rd Cynthia, and Buzzwole GX. Lastly, Zack Grantzinger is a Cut or Tap subscriber who I had talked to about Zapdos before the event. He also finished in top 32 with the exact list I played (the one in this piece).
Cut or Tap articles and coaching are an accumulation of info from several players. Denver is a great example of how these conversations and coaching sessions leading up the the event created a great result for the players involved. If you want to get involved in this process please feel free to subscribe and then message me on Facebook, or sign up for coaching to get more help.
For all non-subscribers, pretty much everything you could need to know about Zapdos and the list were on the site days before the event. The three masters I talked about are great evidence of the fact that you can definitely do well using lists and info from Cut or Tap. Soon we will have an article up from Hale Obernotle, one of Team Cut or Tap’s members who managed to place second at Denver. Thanks for reading and please consider subscribing!