In this article, I take a closer look at two winning decks from the recent London Intercontinental Championship: Tord Reklev’s Golisopod GX/Zoroark GX, which took down the main event, and a new spin on classic Volcanion EX and friends that features Silvally GX, which won a giant 9-round League Cup.
Tord Reklev’s winning Golisopod GX/Zoroark GX list
4 Zorua SLG52
4 Zoroark GX
1 Zoroark BKT
1 Mr. Mime BKT
2 Golisopod GX
1 Tapu Koko SM30
1 Mewtwo EVO
3 Tapu Lele GX
2 Professor Sycamore
4 Puzzle of Time
4 Ultra Ball
4 Field Blower
2 Choice Band
2 Enhanced Hammer
Ah, somehow Tord Reklev managed to do it again and win another Intercontinental event in a span of less than half a year. The man is truly on fire, and we can learn from his ways.
A lot of decks in Standard focus on building toward an OHKO – think Gardevoir GX, Turtonator GX, Buzzwole GX, Alolan Ninetales GX – but this deck goes against that trend and instead focuses primarily on the 2HKO game while attempting to outlast the opponent with a steady stream of Acerolas as well as resource recovery via Puzzle of Time.
The deck’s superior consistency, courtesy of the maxed-out Zoroark GX line (and absence of any Stage 2s), allows the deck to set up as intended the majority of the time, and as you know, this alone can lead to wins against less consistent decks.
Consistency is Tord’s number one weapon; go back and look at his NAIC-winning list, go back to his London Yveltal EX/Garbodor list from last year (I believe he finished in the top 4), and then look at the recent winning list and you’ll notice a trend. These decks are ultra-consistent with a clear focus, with many 4-ofs and many outs to draw cards.
Tord clearly prioritizes consistency above all else, and it works time after time. He picks decks that have the capability to beat just about any other deck under the right circumstances and he crafts lists that allow him to set up the majority of the time. Meanwhile, many other players make riskier calls, opting to use Stage 2 decks, for example, or decks that don’t feature as many sources of draw, or decks that otherwise don’t have the same success rate when it comes to setting up. Let Tord’s repeated success drive home the point that consistency is the single most important aspect of a tournament deck.
Tord’s list has a lot of unconventional cards and counts so I am going to break it down section by section.
4/4 Zoroark GX
First of all I want to point out that the correct Zorua to use is indeed the promo, as it can attack for a DCE if needed and has the same stats otherwise as the two from BKT. If you’re running Dark or Rainbow energies, things change, but here the promo Zorua is correct.
Zoroark GX is this deck’s lifeblood, acting as both one half of an attacking tag team as well as the best draw engine we have available at the moment. While a lot of decks only run 1 or 2 Zoroark GXes, Tord’s decision to go all in on the full 4 was brilliant.
You can watch Tord’s games from London and see how often he ended up having 3 Zoroark GXes on the field at once (not sure if I ever saw him have 4, but maybe), giving him access to up to 7 cards a turn before use of a Supporter, including the draw for turn. (Spoiler: it happened a lot.)
Consistency wins games in Pokemon and what is more consistent right now than a deck with 4 Zoroark GX? Nothing! Trade is also key because it allows you to keep growing your hand and developing your board while still giving you the chance to use Guzma or Acerola, two hugely important Supporters in this deck. Another huge benefit of Trade is that it makes you largely immune to N, which also means that you can use your own Ns late in the game without crippling yourself.
Zoroark GX is a great economical attacker. Riotous Beating will often be dealing 120 for a DCE just like First Impression from Golisopod GX, or 150 if you have Choice Band, hence the tag team thing I mentioned earlier: you can go back and forth between these two Pokemon and get the same damage output.
Riotous Beating is overall an even better attack than First Impression though because it does not require any resetting. While this deck doesn’t go for OHKOs most of the time, the speed with which the deck can begin to dish out 120-150 damage is part of what allows it to compete. While other decks are still trying to set up, you can be taking KOs on evolving Basics and Stage 1s or putting a big dent into EXes/GXes. If the opponent cannot deal 210 damage in a single attack, Acerola erases the damage that was dealt and the old DCE can just get attached to the next Zoroark GX, meaning that there is no gap in the offense. It can be a brutal cycle.
1 Zoroark BKT
This card gives the deck a great one-Prize attacker that can also actually deal the most damage of anything in the list outside of a loaded Tapu Lele GX. The opponent is almost always going to fill up their Bench – most decks need the entire Bench to best function – and when that happens, Mind Jack deals 190 with Choice Band for a DCE.
As long as you have a Zorua sitting on the Bench, the opponent is never safe from this option. Mind Jack is also useful for taking down annoying one-Prize Pokemon like Volcanion so that you don’t have to expose one of your GXes to retaliation. Stand In is always good to have on hand even without Float Stone, especially as a bail-out for Golisopod GX if Guzma or Acerola aren’t available/aren’t appropriate to use in a given situation. Stand In is also great to allow you to bring up Zoroark “out of nowhere” when the opponent’s Bench has turned Mind Jack into a lethal attack.
3-2 Golisopod GX
This is a thinner Golisopod GX line than we are used to seeing, but it makes sense when you consider the rest of the list. With 3 Brigette and 3 Tapu Lele GX, you’re going to be able to access the Wimpods consistently, and with up to 4 Trades at your disposal, you’re going to be able to access the Golisopods, too. Sometimes you really only need to hit one of the Golisopods in a game due to the Acerola cycling strategy and/or Puzzle of Time in the case of a KO.
Also, remember that First Impression and Riotous Beating will often be doing the exact same amount of damage, and Zoroark and Golisopod both have 210 HP, making them more or less interchangeable in general, with specific matchups and situations dictating which of the two is the focus. For example, versus Fire you obviously want to keep Golisopod GX out of the action altogether unless you’re using Crossing Cut GX with a Choice Band on Volcanion EX, whereas versus Greninja or Fighting, you want to use Golisopod GX as much as possible.
I also want to point out that Crossing Cut GX with Choice Band is a key part of the deck as it will often be used at one point or another in a game to take 2 Prizes on an opposing Tapu Lele GX.
As always, whenever you see a Mewtwo EVO in a list you know the creator was concerned about something Psychic-weak in the format. In this case I think the primary concern must have been Buzzwole GX, although Espeon GX never fully left the scene and it also gets countered. Both Buzzwole and Espeon need 3 energies to do their big attacks, allowing Mewtwo with a Choice Band to deal 210 back for a DCE.
Buzzwole GX is the greater concern since it mows through Zorua and Zoroark GX with its type advantage and can also OHKO Golisopod GX with a Strong energy and a Choice Band. Buzzwole also did make some noise at this event, including a Top 8 finish, so Mewtwo seems like a card that will continue to be good here.
1 Mr. Mime
Another counter to Buzzwole GX as well as Alolan Ninetales GX, Tapu Koko and various other random spreading/sniping threats that you may encounter. I think the main reason Tord decided to go ahead and devote a deck space to Mr. Mime was probably Buzzwole GX as it poses the biggest threat to the deck in general and can, in the absence of Bench protection, set up nasty turns of double-KOs on Zoruas.
1 Tapu Koko
By now you know why Tapu Koko is good, especially in a deck like this that doesn’t often come by OHKOs. The free retreat is important in combination with Guzma and allows early-game flexibility, and the spread adds up and helps set up clean-up KOs. With 4 Puzzle of Time, this list can even reuse the single Tapu Koko sometimes when needed.
3 Tapu Lele GX
The only thing I want to note here is that just because this deck has access to Trade doesn’t mean it should skimp on the Wonder Tags. The ability to grab specific Supporters, particularly Guzma and Acerola, keeps Tapu Lele GX 100% relevant regardless of the deck’s draw power. Tapu Lele GX is also just as critical as ever in finding the turn one Brigette, which this deck really needs more than most, and it also lets you run the lone Mallow and consistently access it when needed.
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