Welcome once again to Rogue Rodents, our monthly feature of playable rogue decks sure to take your opponent by surprise.
This time we have a special deck to feature – the double major tournament finalist Zygarde GX deck, used by Klive Aw in both the Malaysia Regional Championships and Singapore Special Event this season.
Zygarde GX is a 200HP Basic Pokémon with three attacks. The first attack, Cell Connector, charges 2 Fighting Energy cards from your discard pile to Zygarde GX. The second attack, Lands Wrath, is a clean 130 damage attack. It’s GX attack prevents all damage done to this Pokémon by attacks from Pokémon EX and GX during your opponents next turn.
Sounds normal enough. But how did Zygarde GX manage to get into two major finals in a row?
OBJECTIVE: TAKE DOWN THE META
With a meta of Buzzwole GX, Ultra Necrozma/Malamar and Zoroark GX variants, Zygarde GX stood out as a potential surprise deck that can go toe-to-toe with all three.
The idea behind the deck came from Rauf, who believed Zygarde GX had potential, and tested the deck build since Forbidden Light was released – winning local tournaments consistently. Klive consulted and trusted Rauf, and the rest is history.
Klive says, after testing, he found the deck to be quite fast. By turn two, you should be able to set up a fully charged Zygarde GX and Lycanroc GX, which give you two outs to win the game.
HOW TO PLAY?
Klive explains the perfect Turn 1 setup. Either you have Ultra Ball or Professor Sycamore in hand, you start with Zygarde GX as the Active Pokémon and you attach a Double Colorless Energy. Turn 2 (or Turn 1 if you go second), you Attack with Cell Connector and charge 2 Fighting Energy to prepare Zygarde GX for Land’s Wrath.
Then with Scorched Earth ready, prepare Rockruff (priority), Diancie Prism Star and Regirock EX to your Bench. Use a Max Elixir on Rockruff, and you’re ready. Most likely in this situation, if your Zygarde GX survives into the next turn, you pretty much have game controlled, except perhaps against a Buzzwole (Forbidden Light) focused deck.
No matchup is truly favoured, but the surprise factor plays a key role in playing Zygarde GX.
Against Buzzwole GX decks, you need to pick up Prize Cards in this order (5 Prize Cards remaining, 3 Prize Cards remaining, 1 Prize Cards remaining), and avoid the Sledgehammer from Buzzwole (Forbidden Light). Don’t forget your Sudowoodo, it will be key in this matchup.
Against Greninja, as long as you stick to the strategy of charging your Zygarde GX, and constantly attacking your opponent’s Pokémon without Energy, you can slowly but surely win the game.
Initially, Rauf tested the deck with three Bonnie, which was reduced to two, then after switching the Max Elixir and Energy Card count, became what it is today – no Bonnie, two Strong Energy and one Buzzwole (Forbidden Light). One Regirock EX, one Diancie Prism Star and one Choice Band, you can hit 190 damage with Zygarde GX’s Land Wrath attack.
Rauf concluded that Bonnie is a dead card. A lot of times when you need it, Bonnie doesn’t show. It was not worth to play such an inconsistent card in this deck, especially with only one Tapu Lele GX and nothing else that can easily draw Bonnie (like Mallow for instance).
Not using Zygarde GX’s Verdict GX attack also frees up Lycanroc GX’s Dangerous Rogue GX attack instead, which is an even better attack to pressure your opponent.
Klive believes the deck falls to a three Buzzwole (Forbidden Light) focused deck. The non-GX Buzzwole is controlling the pace of the game. They dictate your play, planning the game state ahead and not allowing you a chance to take the upper hand. They force you to have 4 Prize Cards remaining, and that’s when the counterattack begins.
Any deck that can hit 100 damage Turn 2 to Zygarde GX, it’s most likely game over for Zygarde GX, because you’ll need to use Cell Connector in the next turn. If you have damage on Zygarde GX, and the next hit received is a Knock Out, then there is no point in charging Zygarde GX. That is why Buzzwole (Forbidden Light) is a threat – with Diancie Prism Star, Strong Energy and a Choice Band, they hit for 100 damage. By forcing you to take one Prize Card each time, Zygarde GX will lag behind in the Prize Card race.
Grass decks are also a problem, like Tapu Bulu GX or Zoroark GX/Golisopod GX, but it is not auto-lose match. The latter is definitely manageable, depending on cards on hand. Thankfully there aren’t many Grass decks recently, so Zygarde GX was a good meta call.
With Zygarde GX, you may also be scared to face other rogue decks. But once you have four wins in the bag, you should be playing against meta decks as you climb the Swiss ladder.
Klive says he would try to fit one more Buzzwole (Forbidden Light) and add one Strong Energy. Then, cut one Max Elixir and one Basic Fighting Energy. He also wants to include one more one-Prize Card attacker as a tech, but unsure of what card to play.
Klive has a Twitch channel (@KliveaW) where he streams on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8pm onwards. Do check him out!