Hasbani Highlights: Zoroark-GX/Dewgong

by Christian Hasbani

We at Team Rainbow Wing are pleased to welcome one of the top Oceania Pokémon TCG players, Christian Hasbani to our team of guest writers. To kick off his new column Hasbani Highlights, he looks at the new Zoroark GX/Dewgong archetype and his take on the deck.

My name is Christian Hasbani, an Australian Pokémon TCG player and I’m about to finish my first season in the coming few months. I have had a fairly good season with the following achievements:

  • Top 8 Brisbane Regionals 2018
  • Top 16 Oceania International Championships 2019
  • Top 32 European International Championships 2019
  • Top 8 Sydney Regionals 2019

This has allowed me to rack up 860 CP putting me into the Day 2 race this season. I have been given the honour to guest write for Team Rainbow Wing and I thought I’d write something that would be beneficial to players worldwide.

Here’s a question that is asked after every new set comes out: How do we build Zoroark-GX? I will be focusing on variants that are based around Dewgong, Persian-GX and Slowking as the Lycanroc-GX variants are well established. 

The best way to start building Zoroark-GX is to use the best list available as a skeleton and in my opinion the strongest one is Henry Brand’s 2nd place ZoroBox list from Sydney Regionals. Credit to him for making an incredible list and congratulations on the finish.

Henry Brand’s Zoroark-GX/Dewgong

Pokémon – 22
4 Zorua SLG 52
4 Zoroark-GX SLG 53
2 Meowth TEU 125
1 Persian-GX UNB 149
1 Seel UNB 44
1 Dewgong UNB 45
1 Slowpoke LOT 54
1 Slowking LOT 55
1 Alolan Grimer SUM 57
1 Alolan Muk SUM 58
1 Ditto Prism Star LOT 154
1 Tapu Lele-GX GRI 60
1 Dedenne-GX UNB 57
1 Mew UNB 76
1 Marshadow UNB 81

Trainers – 30
4 Lillie SUM 122
2 Guzma BUS 115
1 Acerola BUS 112
1 Judge BKT 143
1 Professor Kukui SUM 128
4 Nest Ball SUM 123
4 Ultra Ball SUM 135
4 Pokémon Communication BLW 99
2 Rescue Stretcher GRI 130
2 Field Blower GRI 125
1 Pal Pad FLF 92
3 Choice Band GRI 121
1 Brooklet Hill GRI 120

Energy – 8
4 Double Colorless Energy SUM 136
4 Triple Acceleration Energy UNB 190

Henry’s list is one of the more box-type variants. What I mean by that is that it has a lot of techs to deal with different matchups. Let’s breakdown these techs which will help us change up the list for different matchups. 

Persian-GX 
Persian is in my opinion not a tech, but a must in the list. Its Vengeance attack can hit up to 190 damage (220 with choice band) and its GX attack is not to be slept on. Its Ability is completely broken, working as a Mallow without the need for Trade after one of your GX Pokémon has been knocked out. The only question we have to ask with Persian-GX is how thick our line of it will be. This will be relevant when making our different lists. 

Dewgong
Dewgong may not be the best new partner, but it is my favourite. I believe the card rewards good players for being to identify the necessary numbers to place on a Pokémon to take multiple knockouts or weaken big GX Pokémon for the mid to late game. Running this helps in almost every match-up. Against Reshiram & Charizard-GX (Reshizard) you can place 120 to 180 damage on a Reshizard and 60 damage onto the Eevee & Snorlax-GX, which is relevant for Vengeance numbers. You can knock out two Zorua if you go first in the mirror and even against Pikarom, placing one on 150 to 180 hp left while placing another 60 damage on a Dedenne-GX or Zeraora-GX to make the numbers manageable to hit.

Slowking
I have mixed feelings for Slowking. It shows value in a range of matchups, but its primary purpose is to beat Reshizard. I believe it is less effective with people looking to use Eevee & Snorlax-GX more often in the matchup and take out small HP Pokémon with Volcanion (Unbroken Bonds). If you believe there is a large field of Reshizard, it is still a good choice to have in the deck.

Mew
Mew is a must in every Zoroark deck. It’s main purpose is to prevent Pikarom’s Tag Bolt GX to the Bench and against Weezing to prevent spread damage – basically blocking off the deck from ever taking control of the game.

Marshadow (Unbroken Bonds)
The new Marshadow is extremely strong as its primary purpose is to bump the Powerplant Stadium, Shrine of Punishment and Prism Stadiums to make it difficult for your opponent. 

Chris Hasbani’s Zoroark GX/Dewgong

After talking about the techs in Henry’s list I took a fair bit of time out to test the deck and change it to my liking. This is no means better than Henry’s deck, but shows how I prefer to play the deck.

Pokémon – 22
4 Zorua SLG 52
4 Zoroark-GX SLG 53
1 Meowth TEU 125
1 Persian-GX UNB 149
2 Seel UNB 44
2 Dewgong UNB 45
1 Alolan Grimer SUM 57
1 Alolan Muk SUM 58
1 Ditto Prism Star LOT 154
1 Tapu Lele-GX GRI 60
2 Dedenne-GX UNB 57
1 Mew UNB 76
1 Marshadow UNB 81

Trainers – 30
4 Lillie SUM 122
3 Guzma BUS 115
1 Acerola BUS 112
1 Judge BKT 143
4 Nest Ball SUM 123
4 Ultra Ball SUM 135
4 Pokémon Communication BLW 99
2 Rescue Stretcher GRI 130
2 Field Blower GRI 125
1 Pal Pad FLF 92
3 Choice Band GRI 121
1 Brooklet Hill GRI 120

Energy – 8
4 Double Colorless Energy SUM 136
4 Triple Acceleration Energy UNB 190

The major change I made to the deck was taking out the Slowking line in favour of a thicker Dewgong line. As mentioned earlier, I believe a thicker Dewgong line can reward good players for intelligent spreads of damage on the board. It makes Reshizard slightly less favourable, but still a manageable match-up with an extra 1 prize attacker that can place pressure on the whole board. 

The extra Dewgong means you can apply more spread pressure and with enough spreading of damage, the Reshizard player might have to miss a turn of attacking in favour of healing (Eevee & Snorlax-GX can’t attack if it has to use Max Potion in the same turn as it requires 4 Energy attachments). 

The other changes I made were in regards to the 2nd Meowth. I cut it for a 2nd Dedenne-GX as I believe this is truly the best card in the list. Prizing 1 can be detrimental to winning a game. The Dedenne-GX allows you to escape the bad Zoroark-GX hands that you could typically suffer in the early game, while being able to dig further for that final resource in deck in the late game without using a Supporter. 

I also took out the Professor Kukui for a 3rd Guzma as I felt the ability for gusting and pivot is important in this deck without Switch or Tate & Liza along with the occurrence of discarding both Guzma’s off Dedenne-GX. 

Tech Ideas

Now that I’ve given examples of two good lists, we can discuss other additional tech ideas. 

Marowak (Unbroken Bonds)
Marowak can hit 70 damage + 70 if the opponents Pokémon has a Tool attached to it. This was a weird one that I brought up in a group chat and got completely dismissed. I didn’t think twice about it until I saw Danny Altavilla use it on stream at a League Cup. This is the perfect sneak card in the deck. You can either run a 1-1 line or a 0-1 line. This helps in a few match-ups. The first against Reshizard as it gives us a way of hitting the Eevee & Snorlax-GX anywhere from 140 damage to 240 (if you are playing Professor Kukui).

There’s a lot of pressure on your opponent to take out a one Prize Pokémon that can hit this much. Marowak is also good against Zoroark-GX and Pikarom, being able to hit Zoroark-GX, Persian-GX, Dedenne-GX, Zeraora-GX and Pikarom all for Weakness potentially OHKO the higher HP Pokémon with attached Tools carelessly. 

One-off Water Energy in Slowking Builds
This is a weird tech, but makes sense. It’s valuable in a range of match-ups as Slowking has another attack that isn’t Psychic. For one Water Energy you can use Memory Melt, which allows you to Lost Zone a card in their hand. This can completely destroy certain decks set-up in the early game or even mid-game after you Judge and don’t hit some of the resources you need. It is another card I believe that rewards good players. 

Playing a 2-2 line of Persian-GX
This one isn’t really that insane, but it’s really good because Vengeance is such a powerful attack. Playing a thicker Persian-GX line can allow you to hit up to 220 damage (with a Choice Band) turn after turn if played correctly, which can steamroll many decks – notably Zoroark-GX itself. In addition, it leaves you less susceptible to Prizing issues which was my issue with Henrýs list.

Counter Gain
In my opinion this is probably the worst tech, but has value in the deck. One frustrating thing about the deck is missing your Triple Acceleration Energy on a swing turn. Counter gain can help you get around this while also allowing you to not waste one of these Energy cards for the late game when you want to use Persian or Slowking. 

Tate & Liza
The idea came from the Oceania God himself Brent Tonisson. We were testing the match-up vs Turbo Reshizard and I found Brent had the ability to trap Pokemon such as Dedenne and Muk -meaning I couldn’t attack without hitting a Guzma (or a manual retreat). You can argue to have a one-off Switch in the deck. However, you cannot Pal Pad a Switch back into deck which is what makes Tate & Liza useful. Also, this adds another shuffle draw option when you don’t want to Dedenne-GX a hand or Judge your opponent.


Drop Chris a message on Facebook if you have any questions, and check out The Startling Megaphone for more of Chris’ older articles and more Pokémon TCG content!

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