[Japan Championships: Top 8 and Top 16] Zoroark Persian Pheromosa & Buzzwole

Please find the original Japanese-language article here. Note my translation is not a perfect translation and I have rearranged and reworded some parts of the original article for clarity and readability. Find also some explanatory comments inside square brackets, italicised.

To those of you who do not know me, it is nice to meet you, and to those that I do know, hello again. My name is Omasa.

Generally, I test with the PokemonCardMemo group, comprising of Shishamo, Natsuru (who won the Chiba Expanded Champions League) and Osaji (who won the Niigata Expanded Champions League).

On the 8th and 9th of June, the TCG Pokemon Japan Championships 2019 took place (JCS). I was able to place in the top 16 of the Masters division. Further, my teammate Madanaiga was able to pilot the same sixty to a top 8 finish. Since we both did so well, I thought it would be a shame not to write an article detailing the success of the deck.

As there are no large tournaments remaining in the season and I am a relatively unknown player, I will be releasing this article for free. Even if you are just scrolling through this to kill time, I appreciate the fact that you are even reading my article. If you take a liking to the deck and play it at your local league or in friendly matches amongst your friends, that would make me even happier.

Deck List

The image below contains the deck list which I used at the JCS. In the next section, I will explain how we created the deck and the reasons for each card count. 

Creation Process

Just before the JCS, Miracle Twin was released, which included many powerful cards. While we had already built two variants of the deck prior to the set’s release, there was one card that, without a doubt, had a huge impact on the deck: Cherish Ball.

Image result for cherish ball tcg

With the release of this card, I thought that decks revolving around Stage 1 or 2 GXs would be strengthened considerably. Before this card was released, the only ways to search for these evolutions was through Ultra Ball (which requires two cards to be discarded), Timer Ball (which relies on coin flips) and Pokemon Communication (which can only be used conditionally). With Cherish Ball, we can search for these Pokemon for free.

I think everyone else was thinking along the same lines, but the strength of this card in combination with Zoroark GX was a conversation that occurred within my testing group. The first Zoroark variant that came to mind was Zoroark Lycanroc. So, my initial JCS preparation began with playing Zoroark Lycanroc with Cherish Ball. I tested three different variants of the deck:
  • Lillie Variant
This variant relies on hitting Lillie turn one and playing lots of different Ball cards. This was the variant that was most commonly seen in previous tournaments in prior formats.
  • Apricorn Maker Variant
While this variant also wants to play lots of Ball cards on the first turn, it relies on Apricorn Maker to find Nest Balls to get Basic Pokemon down. In the mid-game, Apricorn Maker can also be used to find Cherish Ball to search for Stage 1 GX Pokemon.
  • Professor Elm’s Lecture Variant
As Cherish Ball can search for Tapu Lele GX, it is very easy to get a turn one Professor Elm’s Lecture off to prepare Basic Pokemon for evolution in the coming turns.

While testing these Zoroark variants, I found my favourite was number 3, the Professor Elm’s Lecture variant. While the Apricorn Maker variant wasn’t bad, I felt it was very luck-based on whether you could get two Basic Pokemon out or three. It was similar to comparing Pokemon Fan Club and Brigette.

I thought that if I was going to use Zoroark GX, Professor Elm’s Lecture was the way to go, however I felt that it didn’t mesh well when running alongside Lycanroc GX. My reasoning is as follows:
  • You can’t play down Alolan Muk
Alolan Muk is played in each Zoroark Lycanroc deck. However, Professor Elm’s Lecture does not allow you to find Alolan Grimer, and I don’t think it is particularly good deck building to run Nest Ball alongside Professor Elm’s Lecture. Compared to the Lillie variant, it is much more difficult to set up Alolan Muk.
  • Reshiram & Charizard is a difficult matchup
Reshiram & Charizard GX was obviously a very strong deck, and Zoroark Lycanroc had to be wary of it. One reason that makes the matchup difficult is that Professor Elm’s Lecture can’t search for Slowpoke. Ditto Prism Star can be put into play, but if there is only one Pokemon that can evolve into Slowking on the field, there will be situations where  the Reshiram & Charizard player can target it down, and then it will be difficult for the Zoroark Lycanroc player to respond. 
  • Loss of Energy Attachment Tempo
While being able to set up your bench with Professor Elm’s Lecture is quite powerful, it also prevents the possibility of using a draw Supporter on the first turn. Lycanroc GX has great attacks, but it requires two attachments to set them up. Zoroark Lycanroc u runs four Double Colourless Energy and often runs only two to three Fighting Energy. It is unlikely that a Zoroark Lycanroc player has confidence in getting a turn one attachment often. The Lillie variant has an advantage in this respect too. There is also the possibility of using Black Belt or Counter Gain, but most decks only run one to two copies of these cards, and I felt I wasn’t able to draw these cards when I needed them. 
  • Dealing with Hoopa (and Keldeo GX)
As the main attackers of the deck are GXs, the only way to break through these Safeguard Pokemon is to use Alolan Muk. If there is only one Safeguard Pokemon to deal with I think the deck can hold its own. However, with only one line of Alolan Muk, if the opposing deck revolves around Safeguard Pokemon I think the matchup will be very difficult (e.g. Hoopa Umbreon).  I thought to myself that I could only lose once in the qualifying rounds, so I didn’t want to play a deck that would be beaten just by my opponent playing down these Safeguard Pokemon.

Up until now, I have only discussed the disadvantages, but of course there are many advantages. One of these is that the combination of Cherish Ball + Zoroark GX + Persian GX is very powerful. Because of the nature of Persian GX as a card, it is often kept in hand until you can use its Cat Walk Ability. So, it is normally left as an unevolved Meowth. If you have the Persian GX in your hand, it may be disrupted by Reset Stamp or Judge. In the past, there was no way around this except to exhaust resources and draw, rely on Ultra Balls (which need two cards to be discarded), or Pokemon Communication (which needs a Pokemon in hand). However, Cherish Ball can get around these awkward plays. Although this is just based on my gut feeling, I felt that the probability of being able to activate Cat Walk in the late-game and win due to this was increased with the inclusion of Cherish Ball.

From here onwards, I thought that in order to effectively use Zoroark GX and Professor Elm’s Lecture it would be better to combine it with Persian GX and stay away from Lycanroc GX. Moreover, I thought about how to implement counter Pokemon for Zoroark’s bad matchups while overcoming the aforementioned disadvantages of the deck.  


One of these Pokemon was Miracle Twin’s poster card, Mewtwo & Mew GX.

This Pokemon is a Psychic type so it can hit Marshadow & Machamp GX for weakness. The card is commonly used in Zoroark Lycanroc to put pressure on opposing Zoroark variants, but can be dealt with by just one copy of Mewtwo & Mew GX. Further, it is a Basic that can copy Riotous Beating with one Energy. If there is a specific attack that you want to use, you can search out the relevant Pokemon with Cherish Ball and then Trade it away.

Similarly to how I tested Zoroark Lycanroc before, I tried multiple variants of Zoroark GX + Persian GX + Mewtwo & Mew GX + other Pokemon. As a result of practicing against Reshiram & Charizard, we found that it would be very difficult if we did not adopt counters for the deck, which resulted in including Froslass. We chose Froslass instead of Slowking because Snowrunt has 60HP and is searchable by Professor Elm’s Lecture, and because Froslass’ damage output is not dependent on the number of Energy attached to the Defending Pokemon.

However, I thought it would be important to keep Froslass active after knocking out a ReshiZard, so I decided to use Basic Water Energy or Unit Energy over Rainbow Energy. It is also dangerous to take one damage counter when attacking against Garchomp & Giratina GX. While this meant that the deck had fewer attacking options than with Rainbow Energy, in effect this was not a huge problem. This was because with a single Water Energy, it was possible to counter Hoopa.

This is the Greninja GX included in the Detective Pikachu expansion. By copying Mist Slash with Mewtwo & Mew GX you can get through Hoopa and Keldeo GX easily.

Based on my results so far, the consistency and flow of the Zoroark GX + Persian GX + Mewtwo & Mew GX + Froslass + Greninja GX deck was quite good. However, there was one barrier to its success: Zoroark Lycanroc. If this Zoroark deck, without Lycanroc GX, faces against a Zoroark deck with Lycanroc GX, it is obvious that the latter has a huge advantage. I felt it would be very difficult to win, even going first, if I did not implement some measures. Luckily, the Unit Energy I was using contained Grass Energy, so I thought it would be better to deal with Lycanroc GX by including a Grass type Pokemon. Looking at a list of Grass types, I nominated Lurantis (UNM) and Kartana (UNB), but there was a stronger Pokemon:


That Pokemon was Pheromosa & Buzzwole GX.

With Beast Energy + Choice Band + Beast Game GX, you can knock out an opposing Lycanroc GX and take three Prize cards. You may think that this is difficult to pull off, but with Cat Walk and Trade, it is possible. Because it is a GX, you can also copy the attack with Mewtwo & Mew GX. It is a very powerful card in general and allows for more paths to winning against any deck, not just against Zoroark Lycanroc.

In my testing detailed above, I was able to achieve a satisfactory win rate against other meta decks. This deck can turn to different strategies (though in a wide, shallow manner), along with having a low chance of dead drawing. Due to this, I felt it was appropriate to take this deck to the JCS, believing it had the ability to make it deep into the tournament.

Deck Breakdown

4-4 Zoroark GX

The main attacker and draw engine of the deck. There is no reason to run less than the maximum number of copies allowed.

2-2 Persian GX

Its Ability, Cat Walk, is very powerful but can only be activated when one of your GX Pokemon is knocked out. As this scenario is fairly specific, there is no need to run more copies than necessary. Persian GX’s Vengeance is the deck’s most hard-hitting attack, which can often seal the match by knocking out a Tapu Lele GX or Dedenne GX. I think having one Meowth in the early game is sufficient, and one is also needed in the late game. So even if one is Prized it is no big deal if we run two copies.

1-1   Froslass

A Reshiram & Charizard counter. It is also worthy to note that you can knock out a Tapu Lele GX or Keldeo GX with this card, as it can hit for a maximum of 170 damage with Choice Band.

1 Ditto Prism Star

I think it is harder to find a reason to not include this card. One point to note is that if this Pokemon is knocked out, it does not go to the discard pile and instead to the Lost Zone, meaning it cannot contribute anymore to the game. Because of this, I suggest that you generally don’t search this out in your first Professor Elm’s Lecture.

1 Mew

It is useful against Tapu Koko in Gourgeist decks, and against Pikachu & Zekrom GX’s Tag Bolt GX, as well as Garchomp & Giratina’s Linear Attack.

1 Mashadow

Included to deal with Powerplant.

1 Pheromosa & Buzzwole GX

There are just so many things this card can do that I almost don’t know what to write about it.

The main reasons for the inclusion of this card are Beast Game GX, which can disrupt your opponent’s Prize mapping plan, to force Pokemon that cannot be dealt with by this Pokemon into the active and to spread damage with Jet Punch.  The card also has great synergy with Acerola. In the case your opponent avoids attacking into Pheromosa & Buzzwole GX, it is possible to accumulate Energy onto it and turn it into a threat.

1 Mewtwo & Mew GX

This is a Psychic type Pokemon, so it can take care of your opponent’s Psychic-weak attackers. Due to its high HP, it can also act as a tank. If it is hit by an opposing Riotous Beating, it can be recovered by Acerola, and if it is not attacked into, you can continue using Vengeance to deal large amounts of damage.

1 Greninja GX

You can use its attack which ignores effects on your opponent’s Pokemon with Mewtwo & Mew GX, attacking into Hoopa and Keldeo GX. If you are in a really bad spot, remember that you can reduce your hand size and draw three cards if you play it down. This effect may become important as the meta develops and Girafarig’s usage increases.

2 Tapu Lele GX

In your first turn you can use it to search for Professor Elm’s Lecture, and in the late game you can use it to search for a game-winning Supporter such as Guzma. Because I wanted to use Wonder Tag at two different stages in the game, I ran two copies.

1 Dedenne GX

It is useful to dig for a specific card that you need at a certain time, and it can be searched by Ball cards and Rescue Stretcher.

4 Cherish Ball

No matter when you draw this card, it will be useful. There is no reason to run less than four copies.

3 Pokemon Communication

I hate Ultra Ball as I have to discard two cards from hand, so the remaining Pokemon search card was Pokemon Communication. While at first I had four copies of the card included, this deck often relies on the damage from Vengeance and wants to discard Pokemon from Trade. I found that in the late game this card would be useless so I decided to get rid of one.

2 Field Blower

As there are many cards dealing with Powerplant, I thought there would be at least some cards that I would consider including to get around Powerplant. However, there was no Stadium that was useful for my deck, so I opted to run no Stadiums, running Field Blowers instead. Combined with Reset Stamp you can pull off disruptive turns where you can discard Escape Boards and Energy-searching Stadiums (e.g. Viridian Forest and Giant Hearth), halting your opponent’s plans. It is especially good against Gourgeist.

2 Reset Stamp

I think this card is fundamental to any Zoroark deck. It is always powerful to reduce your opponent’s hand size, but that alone may not help. With Trade and Cat Walk, this deck cannot only use Reset Stamp effectively but also set up other powerful plays and make comebacks from dire situations. Details of this will be described in the matchups section below.

1 Rescue Stretcher

Before, I thought that a good player could get away with playing one copy of this card, but a bad player would need two. In fact, I usually played two, but I could play just one copy thanks to the inclusion of Cherish Ball.

1 Pal Pad

With Zoroark GX, it is highly likely that you will be able to draw back into cards that you shuffle in, so Pal Pad is effectively another Supporter card in the deck. It is usually used to shuffle Acerola and Guzma back in.

2 Choice Band

I wanted to include more copies as I believe it strengthens a Zoroark deck, but I had no space. It is an important card against Tag Teams as it means they are able to be knocked out in two Riotous Beatings.

3 Professor Elm’s Lecture

This card is fundamental to the early game of the deck. At first, I ran four copies because it is very good if I can open with it, but I ended up still going for Tapu Lele GX most of the time. So I opened up one deck space.

3 Guzma

It is powerful to hunt down support Pokemon in the early game, and I actually wanted to run four copies to increase the chances of drawing the card, but I had no space. In an actual game only three Guzma and Pal Pad are needed.

2 Cynthia

This will be a reasonable draw Supporter at any point in the game. There is no reason to include more as Trade can usually get you most of the cards you need, but I wanted to have the choice of using it when I have the option to Wonder Tag but my hand is bad. It is also not a bad card to have in the opening hand, so I ran two.

1 Erika’s Hospitality

I thought this card was quite strong as there are many meta decks that fill up their bench spaces (Zoroark, Malamar, Ability Reshiram & Charizard) in the early game by placing down many Basic Pokemon. If you use this after they have filled their bench, you can draw many cards. It is also great to return with from a Reset Stamp. When you can’t fulfil the requirements to use this card, there is no real problem as you can just use it as Trade fodder.

1 Tate and Liza

This card played a very big role in the tournament. With cards such as Mewtwo & Mew GX and Pheromosa & Buzzwole GX, I don’t want to play them down until I need them as there is a risk of them being knocked out or attacked into due to Guzma. However, sometimes this situation is forced and I am able to get out of it by using Tate and Liza as a Switch. I did consider putting in a Switch, but Tate and Liza can be found by Wonder Tag, can also act as a draw Supporter and it can be recycled by Pal Pad.

1 Acerola

The high HP Basic Pokemon, Pheromosa & Buzzwole GX and Mewtwo & Mew GX, have very good synergy with this card. I do not need to continually heal so I only ran one copy, but for those who want to increase the chances of drawing it, I think it would be fine to increase this count to two.

1 Plumeria

I think this is the strangest card in the deck list.

The role of this card is to make it even more difficult for an opponent to recover after a Reset Stamp. Originally, I had Jessie and James in Plumeria’s place. But in testing against Jirachi-based decks and decks that had lots of support Pokemon (for example, Ultra Necrozma and Ability Reshiram & Charizard) my opponent would usually be able to use Stellar Wish to get Guzma, so I thought my approach was incorrect.

At this point, I thought of Plumeria. This deck has two copies of Field Blower. In the late game, we can use Cat Walk and knock out the Defending Pokemon while discarding an Energy on the Bench with Plumeria, discarding Jirachi’s Escape Board and a Stadium with Field Blower and hitting Reset Stamp. With this combination, the possibility of winning from a successful Stellar Wish is reduced. If you can hold out your opponent for one more turn while they have Jirachi in play, you can use Beast Game GX to win the game.

4 Double Colourless Energy
3 Unit Energy GRW
2 Triple Acceleration Energy
1 Beast Energy

Double Colourless Energy is the core of the deck, so four copies are necessary. As Froslass is in the deck, and to give the option of using Elegant Soul, I increased the number of Unit Energies. Triple Acceleration Energy is not strong in the early game but is good enough to get off Persian GX’s attacks once or so during the game. It can also be used as another Double Colourless Energy.


Reshiram & Charizard (Abilities)

Froslass holds the key to winning this matchup, and only in this matchup should you get Ditto Prism Star out with Professor Elm’s Lecture on the first turn. Ideally, you will place down Zorua, Snowrunt and Ditto Prism Star. If your opponent targets down Ditto or Snowrunt with Guzma, you will often be unable to get a counter KO, so you may use Riotous Beating with Zoroark GX. If your opponent attaches Energies to Reshiram & Charizard GX without using Guzma, you can counter it with Froslass.

If your opponent decides that they don’t want to be hit for weakness by Froslass and uses their Mewtwo & Mew GX, you can use your own Mewtwo & Mew GX to attack.

If your opponent benches more than two Marshadow or Jirachi etc., you can use Beast Game GX to knock out one of your opponent’s Tag Teams and then knock out two one Prize Pokemon. Please keep this plan in mind. Plumeria + Reset Stamp can also be quite difficult for your opponent to come back from.

Ultra Necrozma

I have practiced against this matchup so much that I can’t even count the number of games I played. As this variant is favoured in the Malamar mirror and can win against Regigigas HAND decks, I thought this deck would be played a lot, but there were very few in the top tables, so I read the meta incorrectly.

If you get the first attack, you should use Guzma to target down an Inkay or Malamar, creating a difficult situation for your opponent, but a great one for you. While you may think the Prize race is unfavoured in this case, consider: who is favoured between an Ultra Necrozma with no Malamar and this deck with plenty of Zoroark GXs benched?

If you cannot hit Guzma, or you get the second attack, you will hit into your opponent’s attacker. However, you can still go and target down Malamars, ignoring (depending on this situation) your opponent’s attackers. Giratina is not an effective attacker against Zoroark GX, and even if you knock out Giratina, if Malamar is benched your opponent will be able to easily set up another attacker. Apart from drawing one Prize, this move makes no sense.

While it may seem scary to leave an attacker untouched, you should focus on the Prize race and developing a stronger board than your opponent. However, if your opponent opens with Ultra Necrozma GX, or if they have not been able to set up on turn one and Ultra Necrozma GX is on the bench, I do think it is better to damage Ultra Necrozma GX first. While there is a possibility that Ultra Necrozma runs Acerola, in such a bad situation they will probably only be able to find Acerola if it is in their hand to begin with. In the late game we can knock Ultra Necrozma GX out in one shot, but in the early game it takes two turns to do so, so making the first attack is a good option. If your opponent uses Marshadow GX as an attacker, you can knock it out with Mewtwo & Mew GX, using a Choice Banded Beast Game GX to take three Prizes at once.

You may lose in this scenario: Ultra Necrozma GX is active, there is a Benched Ultra Necrozma GX with a Metal Energy attached, adequate Malamars are set up and your GX Pokemon are being knocked out one after the other. However, you must not give up even in this situation. You can Field Blower, Plumeria and Reset Stamp and discard Escape Board and Viridian Forest, deny Energy and disrupt your opponent’s hand all at once. You will make it very difficult for the Ultra Necrozma player and you may be able to buy yourself a turn to catch up on the Prize race.

Points you must keep in mind is that your unevolved Pokemon which have 60 HP or less can be knocked out by Sky Scorching Light GX, that Jirachi can be knocked out by Beast Game GX, and that Mewtwo & Mew GX can use Beast Game GX to knock out Inkays and Malamars.

Garchomp & Giratina Malamar

Essentially the matchup is the same as against Ultra Necrozma, so I won’t go into too much detail. But here are some pointers:
  • The Malamar line may be thinner than in Ultra Necrozma, so it may be better to target Malamars
  • Marshadow & Machamp GX can be countered by Mewtwo & Mew GX. However, your counter may be countered (Choice Band + Giratina) so check if your Rescue Stretcher is Prized.
  • Similar to the Ultra Necrozma matchup, use Plumeria to discard Fighting Energy
  • Garchomp & Giratina GX can be knocked out by attacking for 120 then 150. Do your best to prepare a fresh Zoroark GX.

This deck was popularised by a famous team just before the JCS, and I thought it was quite strong, so I thought it would be prudent to take measures to counter it. To do this, I would need to make it more difficult for my opponent to knock out my Zoroark GX. I would need to get around my opponent dealing the last two damage counters for my strategy to work.

Pumpkin Bomb’s damage output is 10 + 40 times the number of Tools discarded, so if five Tools are discarded it will deal 210 damage. However, Zoroark GX has Psychic resistance, so it only does 190 damage. To take Prizes, six Tools must be discarded continually, but this is difficult. So, the Gougeist player will need to deal the remaining 20 damage in another way. This is usually done by Tapu Koko’s Flying Flip, Spell Tag or Shrine of Punishment.

This deck must take on a different strategy to other decks. Firstly, there will be no need for Persian GX so it is pointless to bench Meowth in the early game. The ideal Professor Elm’s Lecture will thus be Zorua, Zorua and Mew.

Mew means that Tapu Koko’s Flying Flip is rendered ineffective, so now we must think of how to get around Spell Tag. We have two Field Blowers which should deal with this quite well. When you can’t draw Field Blower, you can use Guzma to knock out their Benched Zebstrika. When you don’t have access to either card, don’t be afraid of passing without attacking.  

Now, we need to figure out how to deal with Shrine of Punishment. Have a Zoroark GX in the active and another on the bench, and leave your third Zorua unevolved. The Zoroark GX on your bench is not for attacking, but only to use for Trade. If your Active Zoroark GX is knocked out, promote the Zorua and evolve only when you begin to attack. If you can repeat this, you can prevent your attacker from receiving damage counters.

If you get the first attack, it is better to go after their Zebstrika rather than their Gourgeist in order to run them out of options later in the game. If your opponent has Jirachi, Blitzle or Pumpkaboo out, remember that you can end the game with Beast Game GX. 

Zoroark Lycanroc

This is a very difficult matchup, and going first is very advantageous. Consider the following situation:
  • Your opponent has two or less Prize cards remaining
  • Your opponent has a Benched Persian GX/Meowth
  • Your opponent’s Active Pokemon is a Lycanroc GX with Energy attached
Even if you knock out your opponent’s Lycanroc GX, your opponent will be able to use Cat Walk to find Guzma and Triple Acceleration Energy and knock out your Benched Tapu Lele GX, winning the game. But if you knock out their Benched Persian GX, you will also lose as Lycanroc GX will take a return KO.

This is a ‘check mate’ scenario. So what we want to do is:
  • Prevent the above situation from happening
  • By the time the above situation is accomplished, have three or less Prizes remaining
We want to achieve one of these.

To prevent the situation from occurring, you can thoroughly hunt down Meowths and Rockruffs and create a situation where your opponent cannot get both Persian GX and Lycanroc GX set up at the same time. While Guzma may be required in the early game, both decks in this matchup should be able to take the last two Prizes easily with a Guzma, so it is more like playing a game with only four Prize cards, so you must play an aggressive game. Due to this, let’s use Dedenne GX in the early game.

Plumeria is very effective in preventing the set up of Lycanroc GX.

No matter how many cards you have in hand or how many searching options you have, you may only attach Energy once per turn.  If you are even or behind on Prizes, you may want to discard a Benched Lycanroc GX’s Energy while taking a knock out, potentially delaying Lycanroc GX’s attack.

Even if you cannot achieve this set up, do not fret. This is because after Lycanroc GX attacks, we can use Beast Game GX with Beast Energy and Choice Band to take three Prizes.

In this case, we need to work hard and take three Prizes and go all in. During the game, you may make strange plays such as setting up two Persian GXs and having one attack into a Tapu Lele GX with Vengeance for two Prizes. However, your opponent will not be expecting the Beast Game GX play at all and you will be able to knock out Lycanroc GX with it.

If in the early game you have a good hand, you can use Jet Punch to knock out Rockruffs while spreading damage. You can also return Pheromosa & Buzzwole GX with Acerola. This way, you will pull ahead in the Prize race while creating an advantageous board state. When your opponent’s Rockruffs have a HP of 60, this move is particularly good. In this case, take care to only place up to four Pokemon on your bench. This way, you can prevent Dangerous Rogue GX from knocking out your Pheromosa & Buzzwole GX. If your opponent plays around you using Acerola and targets Benched Pokemon, you can threaten an Elegant Soul by attaching another Energy to Pheromosa & Buzzwole GX.

Jirachi Zapdos Ultra Beasts

The key to this game is to use Beast Game GX. There are two strategies:
  • When you have five Prize cards, use Beast Game GX to go down to three Prizes remaining
  • To use Beast Game GX for the last two Prize cards
The first plan gets around Sledgehammer which is attractive, but it means that Pheromosa & Buzzwole GX remains in play, meaning you have less bench space and that there is the risk that your opponent can take three Prizes in one turn.

The second plan means that your opponent will be able to get a Sledgehammer off, but you are able to use your bench to its full and hide your Pheromosa & Buzzwole GX until the end of the game.

For both situations, you will need to have Beast Energy in your hand. If you get Beast Energy where you can pull off the first strategy you can deal with it then and there, but most of the time you will be making the second play.

When you have five Prizes remaining, and your opponent has Baby Buzzwole benched, you should Guzma and knock it out to make it more difficult for them to use Sledgehammer. If there is no Baby Buzzwole, use Field Blower to discard Escape Boards and then use Reset Stamp, increasing the difficulty of getting Baby Buzzwole in play. If you happen to have a damaged Zoroark GX in play, use that to attack in this turn, reducing the devastating effect of Sledgehammer.

While Marshadow can easily knock out Baby Buzzwole, it is also our only means of removing Thunder Mountain, so tread carefully.

From the mid game onwards, play while being aware of possible Tapu Koko GX or Beast Game GX shenanigans your opponent could pull off.

In particular, you must be aware that if you do not have Persian GX in play and your opponent uses Tapu Thunder GX you will not be able to get a return KO. This is very bad, so you should keep one or two Meowth in play. Sometimes you can consider retreating, burning a Double Colourless Energy, to reduce the number of Energy in play as well.
If your opponent attaches multiple Energies to their Pheromosa & Buzzwole GX, remember you have Plumeria, which makes you more favoured than other Zoroark decks. As your opponent has limited Rainbow Energies and does not run Acerola, there should be no problem if you can get the first attack.

Lightning variants

I don’t think this matchup is too difficult as it is similar to the Jirachi Zapdos Ultra Beasts matchup. As we have Acerola, Guzma and Tate and Liza we can take care of Raichu & Alolan Raichu GX.

Often there will be Pokemon such as Zeraora GX and Tapu Lele GX which have HP of 170 to 190 in play, so make sure to prepare Persian GX’s Vengeance.

Tournament Matchups


Qualifying Rounds
  •  Jirachi Zapdos Ultra Beasts, First, Win
  •  Garchomp & Giratina Malamar, Second, Win
  •  Rowlet & Exeggutor, First, Win
  •  Blissey, Second, Win
  •  Zoroark Lycanroc, First, Win
  •  Mewtwo & Mew Toolbox, First, Win
  •  Reshiram & Charizard, Second, Loss
  •  Weezing, Second, Win
  •  Control Zoroark, Second, Win
Main Round
  •  Reshiram & Charizard, 2-1, Win
  •  Zoroark Lycanroc, 2-0, Win
  •  Reshiram & Charizard, 2-1, Win
  •  Mewtwo & Mew Toolbox, 0-2, Loss
Top 8


Qualifying Rounds
  •  Gardevoir & Sylveon Mismagius, Win
  •   Zoroark Lycanroc, Win
  •   Garchomp & Giratina Malamar Noivern GX, Win
  •   Zoroark Lycanroc, Win
  •   Zoroark Lycanroc, Loss
  •  Reshiram & Charizard, Win
  •  Gourgeist, Win
  •  Ultra Necrozma, Win
  •  Jirachi Zapdos Ultra Beasts, Win
Main Round
  •  Water Toolbox, 2-0, Win
  •  Rampardos Carracosta, 1-1 Sudden Death, Win
  •  Reshiram & Charizard, 1-2, Loss
Top 16


As this was my first time writing an article for other people, I am sure there were parts of it which were awkward to read, but thank you for reading until the end. If you took an interest in this article or liked its content, I would be appreciative if you shared it on Twitter or other social networking sites.

If I could hear your thoughts on this article that would also make me very happy.
If we have a chance to meet sometime in the future, I am excited to meet you. With that, I will be seeing you all next season.

Please find the original Japanese-language article here.