Alolan Exeggutor in Expanded and Lost Thunder Standard

Last weekend we had the first Expanded Regional Championship of the season in Portland. This was the first major tournament in the format after the major ban list update that included Hex Maniac, Ghetsis, Wally, and Puzzle of Time.

For the tournament, the deck I decided to play was Alolan Exeggutor. The deck is already pretty solid in Standard format and it actually gets much, much better with the addition of cards from the Expanded card pool, even when taking into account the increased power of the Expanded archetypes.

My tournament didn’t go so hot, finishing 4-3-2. I played two very negative matchups in Buzzwole GX/Garbodor and Trevenant BREAK, and then my other loss was to Turbo Rayquaza, which was tough to beat because of Rayquaza GX’s HP going up to 220 with Fighting Fury Belt, a number that my build isn’t built to beat.

However, my friend Edan Lewis had quite the weekend with the deck, finishing 12thplace in the tournament, finally being stopped in Round 14 where he lost the win and in to Top 8 to Aaron Tarbell and his Trevenant BREAK deck. The way the last round worked out, one of the 29-point players (Edan and Jimmy Pendarvis) would be up paired while the other would be down paired.   If he had gotten either of the other 30-point players (Archie’s Blastoise and BuzzRoc), he would have had a good shot to move into Top 8. Not exactly sure what all of the 28-point players were playing, but they were surely better matchups than Trevenant.

Most impressively, he managed to go this far in the tournament while only playing a 4-2 Alolan Exeggutor line. He did not come into the tournament with any, assuming the vendors would have competitive cards available for players to buy, but none of the vendors had Alolan Exeggutor and he was only able to find one Tropical Takedown theme deck. He then checked a local Target and they didn’t have the theme deck, and as a last resort opened a box of Forbidden Light in which he pulled zero Alolan Exeggutor.

With decklist submission already closed, he was forced to replace two of the Alolan Exeggutor with two Basic Energy, choosing to put in two Basic Grass Energy, upping the consistency at which he would find that to attack with.

However, only playing two of the main attacker wasn’t a death sentence thanks to the power of Exeggcute PLF and its Propagation Ability. Being able to replenish your Basic Pokémon without needing a recovery card is very powerful, so it allowed him to focus on using Rescue Stretcher to put back two Alolan Exeggutor, and then if need be use Dowsing Machine to re-use Rescue Stretcher. This somewhat limited the available plays he could make, but it gave him a route to play the deck competitively in the tournament.

Despite playing with a partial deck, he was able to stay in contention all the way to the last round of Swiss, which I think exemplifies the power of the deck against the matchups that it was built to beat.

Decklist

This is the list that we used for the Portland Regional Championship. The deck is a fairly straight forward beatstick deck, repeatedly using Alolan Exeggutor’s Tropical Shake for 120 damage, and then modifying its damage output to take it even higher.

Pokemon – 13

4 Alolan Exeggutor FLI
4 Exeggcute PLF
2 Marshadow SLG
1 Seviper BUS
1 Mr. Mime BKT
1 Sudowoodo GRI

Trainers – 36

4 Professor Juniper
1 N
1 Colress
1 Cynthia
2 Guzma
1 Professor Kukui

4 Ultra Ball
4 VS Seeker
4 Battle Compressor
4 Hypnotoxic Laser
1 Energy Recycle System
1 Rescue Stretcher
1 Dowsing Machine
3 Choice Band
1 Float Stone

3 Virbank City Gym

Energy – 11

6 Grass
1 Lightning
1 Psychic
1 Fighting
1 Darkness
1 Fairy

Once we get five different types of Basic Energy into the discard pile, we are doing 120 damage with Alolan Exeggutor. Add Choice Band, and we are doing 150 damage. Hypnotoxic Laser can take us to 160 damage, with Virbank City Gym taking that up to 180 damage after Poison, and then Seviper brings that even further up to 190 damage, allowing us to OHKO a Buzzwole GX with a single attack. If you need to OHKO a Zoroark GX, you can even get to 210 damage with Professor Kukui. This isn’t the most consistent combo but hitting it in a format with VS Seeker also isn’t that uncommon to do.

One thing to note about Poison damage in the Zoroark GX matchup is that you will be able to get your extra 10 damage from Seviper against the Zoroark GX/Garbodor variants. Poison damage takes place in between turns and Klefki discards itself at the end of your turn, so Garbotoxin is no longer active during the in between turns.

One other Poison interaction you might see in Expanded is with Teammates. If you knock something out from the Poison damage, then Teammates isn’t able to be played as a Pokémon wasn’t knocked out during your turn (despite what PTCGO likes to think). Teammates isn’t super common, but it was seen in Night March, Vespiquen/Flareon, and the Shrine of Punishment variant of Alolan Exeggutor in Portland.

There is also a real neat Poison trick you can do, which is effective against a number of decks, but specifically to the meta, is really good against Zoroark decks when you go first. On turn one, if you can get a Seviper in play and Virbank City Gym, you can hit a Zorua for 40 Poison damage if you find a Hypnotoxic Laser. If they don’t remove it from the active position, then it will be knocked out heading back into your turn, regardless of whether they remove Virbank City Gym from play or not. This is a good way to pull off to a quick 2-3 prize lead in this matchup when you go first.

The big consistency boosters for this deck in Expanded are Exeggcute PLF and Battle Compressor. There is a small case for playing some 40 HP Exeggcute, as they can be used to stagger against Trevenant decks or potentially save you a double snipe knockout against Buzzwole GX decks, but I prefer to just rely on my Mr. Mime not being prized against Buzzwole, and I think Trevenant is a pretty poor matchup, regardless of how much HP your Exeggcute has.

BuzzRoc tends to be a very good matchup, you almost never lose if you don’t prize Mr. Mime. Trevenant on the other hand is bad, but actually isn’t unwinnable.  If you go first, you can actually win the game quite frequently. On your turn 1, you want to use Let Loose to put the Trevenant player to a small hand, while working on establishing five Energy in the discard pile and a turn 2 Alolan Exeggutor. From there, the Trevenant player might not get much of a setup, and you can quickly mow down some Trevenant, hitting them for 120 damage and a knockout. The big issue in this matchup is that you have an almost 100 percent loss rate when going second.

Propagation is such a strong Ability I couldn’t get myself to cut even one copy of the card in favor of a different Exeggcute. It turns your Battle Compressor into a search card, lets you focus all your Ultra Ball on non-Exeggcute Pokémon, and allows you to get the most out of your hands by being able to use Propagation to use Exeggcute to pay the cost of cards like Ultra Ball and Dowsing Machine. In addition to that, Propagation allows you to re-populate your Basic at no cost, which makes it very easy to stream Alolan Exeggutor for the entirety of the game in Expanded.

Like the Standard variant, we don’t play any GX Pokémon and instead rely entirely on Marshadow’s Let Loose as a draw out off of Ultra Ball. This can make things uneasy at times, but it usually works out. There have been times where I’ve wanted a Tapu Lele GX as well, but I haven’t found a cut I like for it as I would want to keep two Marshadow whether I add Tapu Lele GX or not.

The deck only plays one Float Stone as a retreat option, which kind of sucks when you have so many two retreat Pokémon in the deck, but it generally works out. You have Guzma as another switching option, a knockout on a two retreat Pokémon will also get it out of the active, and Dowsing Machine can be used to get Float Stone back a second time if need be, or you can use Battle Compressor with Dowsing Machine to search it out. I tried AZ a little bit in the aftermath of Portland, but the card wasn’t very good in the deck as you really need to be drawing cards, so using a Supporter as a switching effect turned out to be not to strong, even with it doubling as a healing option.

Moving forward with Alolan Exeggutor in Expanded 

Moving forward in Expanded, here is what my updated Alolan Exeggutor list looks like. I have been playing this in Expanded PTCGO Tournaments this weekend to grind a ton of Lost Thunder packs to start getting my PTCGO account updated with the new set, and the results have been very positive

Pokemon – 14

4 Alolan Exeggutor FLI
4 Exeggcute PLF
2 Marshadow SLG
1 Buzzwole FLI
1 Seviper BUS
1 Mr. Mime BKT
1 Sudowoodo GRI

Trainers – 35

4 Professor Juniper
1 N
1 Colress
2 Guzma
1 Professor Kukui

4 Ultra Ball
4 VS Seeker
4 Battle Compressor
4 Hypnotoxic Laser
1 Energy Recycle System
1 Rescue Stretcher
1 Dowsing Machine
3 Choice Band
1 Float Stone

3 Virbank City Gym

Energy – 11

5 Grass
1 Rainbow
1 Lightning
1 Psychic
1 Fighting
1 Darkness
1 Fairy

While the Portland list was good, I don’t think it was quite yet optimized as we hadn’t gotten to see the meta yet.

There isn’t too much radically changed with this new list. I took out the Cynthia for a Buzzwole and swapped out one of the Grass Energy for a Rainbow Energy. This gives two Energy outs to powering up Buzzwole, in addition to Energy Recycle System as another option for finding a Fighting Energy.

The Zoroark matchup wasn’t a bad matchup by any means, it’s favorable as long as you play Sudowoodo. However, it’s not a slam dunk matchup either, and since Zoroark is one of the slowest decks out there, if you force them to take six knockouts to win it’s pretty easy to tie against them, so Buzzwole is added to increase that matchup win rate to a much more favorable number.

While Buzzwole is a tech for Zoroark GX decks, it’s also a very good against pretty much anything as on the four prize turn you can swing for 120 damage with Sledgehammer, which is the same amount of damage you would do with Tropical Shake.

I think Alolan Exeggutor is primed to play a big role in the Anaheim meta in December. It has strong matchups against most of the big decks from Portland, with the big exception of Trevenant BREAK, and it’s one of the best positioned to deal with the Seismitoad EX/Zoroark GX deck (Edan beat one Round 13), although that might not be as popular come Anaheim thanks to the release of Faba in Lost Thunder, which sends Special Energy to the Lost Zone.

As for Alolan Exeggutor, I don’t see much I would add to the deck in Expanded from Lost Thunder. Faba could potentially be used as a counter to Zoroark GX decks, but I think the Buzzwole works well enough in that regard. I could be overlooking something, but stuff like Net Ball and Shuckle which are popular adds to the Standard variant of the deck aren’t really needed in Expanded.

I don’t have much to add on the Shrine of Punishment variant of the deck, as I haven’t played the Expanded variant of the deck, but my one note on that deck is that in an Expanded meta where Alolan Exeggutor plays a greater role, the LaserBank variant of the deck should win the “mirror match” most of the time.

Alolan Exeggutor Post Lost Thunder

Moving forward, I just want to give my thoughts on Alolan Exeggutor as we move into the Lost Thunder Standard format.

First of all, I do not understand whatsoever the infatuation with the Sceptile variant of the deck that did well at the one Japanese tournament. It seems inconsistent to run a Stage 2 variant of the deck, and I don’t think Ultra Beast were too big of an issue for Alolan Exeggutor anyhow, at least the existing ones.

I see some level of concern for beating the Blacephalon GX/Naganadel deck, but you will be able to OHKO Blacephalon GX anyhow, so if you’re hitting your beats, you should have an okay shot at beating that deck, especially with some of the new changes you can make to the deck now to increase its power level as well as the consistency boosts.

Here is my updated list for Alolan Exeggutor. This is my first take on the deck for the new format, so it is possible that I make some changes to it before any tournament I would play it in. As of right now there are no events listed nearby in the Event Locator for me, so who knows when the next tournament I play in will be.

Pokemon – 13

4 Alolan Exeggutor FLI
4 Exeggcute FLI
1 Ditto Prism Star
1 Lurantis SM25
1 Shuckle LOT
2 Marshadow SLG

Trainers – 35

4 Cynthia
3 Lillie
4 Sightseer
3 Guzma
2 Professor Kukui

4 Ultra Ball
2 Mysterious Treasure
2 Net Ball
1 Nest Ball
1 Energy Recycle System
2 Rescue Stretcher
3 Choice Band

4 Shrine of Punishment

Energy – 12

6 Grass
1 Fire
1 Lightning
1 Psychic
1 Fighting
1 Darkness
1 Fairy

The first big change is dropping Acro Bike for Sightseer. This gives the deck a more robust Supporter engine and more consistent draw throughout the game. Sightseer is instantly one of the best Supporter cards in Standard format and I’ve found since adding it into the deck, I’m able to see more cards in my deck throughout a game.

The other engine change I’ve made is cutting a Mysterious Treasure/Nest Ball for two Net Ball. These are solid for consistency, as they not only get you your Exeggcute, but also could be used to find Grass Energy for you in other situations. I still like keeping a Net Ball in the deck to give me an out that finds both Exeggcute and Ditto Prism Star.

Lastly, we add in Shuckle. This is in here to dump three Energy into the discard pile with its Fresh Squeezed Ability. You can search it out with either Ultra Ball or Net Ball.

Ditto Prism Star is the last big change to the deck from Lost Thunder. This gives you a “fifth Exeggcute” and also allows you to add other Stage 1 Pokémon into the deck. Right now, I am just playing Lurantis as far as other Stage 1 Pokémon go. Lurantis gives Alolan Exeggutor a stronger punch, letting you OHKO 180 HP Pokémon like Rayquaza GX or Blacephalon GX with Choice Band and Shrine of Punishment, no Professor Kukui needed. It also lets you OHKO other non-GX 130 HP Pokemon without needing Professor Kukui. It might be worth experimenting with cutting one of the off Energy types for a Fomantis so to give you effectively a 2-1 Lurantis line, so you can Rescue Stretcher the Lurantis back in case it gets targeted down with Guzma. With Shuckle, five Basic Energy may be all that’s needed in Standard now.

The other Stage 1 Pokémon to keep in mind as a play off of Ditto Prism Star is Alolan Muk. If Shuckle GX becomes played in the meta, you will need a counter, and Alolan Muk will shut off its Protective Shell Ability, allowing you to damage it with Alolan Exeggutor. Shuckle GX is a neat card, with a powerful Ability, but mostly weak attack, so it’s too early to know whether it will see play or not.

I think moving forward in Standard, Alolan Exeggutor should still be solid, but the format is going to have a very large power creep with Lost Thunder, so it’s going to be hard to assess how it stacks up in the new meta until we get some tournament results with Lost Thunder. I do think the Expanded variant should be a strong contender still as we head into the new format.

4 thoughts on “Alolan Exeggutor in Expanded and Lost Thunder Standard

  1. I would just like to say that it’s always a pleasure to read your articles. In a world of paywalls, I’m so happy to have you around!

  2. Just asking but in this new season how many cups/challenges have you taken Alolan Exeggutor to? And how many points have you been able to achieve with this deck?

    • I have 40 points from the Standard version at Regionals, and 20 from the Expanded variant from the Portland League Cup, and then whiffed points at the actual Regional. Haven’t played it for any Challenges/Cups besides those. Those are the only three tournaments I’ve played in for the last two months, there just hasn’t been much tournament wise here to even play in anything.

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