Posted by Zach Lesage on 2/24/2023 to Articles
A Winning Deck
What’s poppin’ Po Town readers? Have you looked at the recent results from the 2023 Oceania International Championships in Melbourne, Australia? Well, even if you have, this Pokemon TCG article is going to help you understand the results as much as possible. International Championships are the most competitive events, outside of the World Championships, and many of the top players travel to these events to compete at the highest level. The Master's Division Champion, Azul Garcia Griego, won the event with a modified Lost Zone Box deck that featured Cramorant, Sableye, and Mirage Gate (Lost Origin). If the name sounds familiar, it should! Griego recently won the 2022 North American International Championships in Columbus, United States, with Arceus VSTAR / Flying Pikachu VMAX. As one of the best players in the game, his win has many asking a huge question, “Is Lost Zone Box secretly the best deck in the game?” While it might be a bit subjective, it is one of the best decks in the format, and I’ll share as much information in this article as possible. Featured will be Griego’s winning deck, strategy, key cards, and more! If you wanna build a Lost Zone Box Deck on Pokemon TCG Live, you can pick up some codes right here at the PoTown store. You can acquire most of the cards for this deck by opening Lost Origin digital booster packs from Po Town and opening them on PTCG Live. That being said, let’s dive into this winning deck!
Azul’s Lost Zone Box Deck
Griego and his testing group have been playing Lost Zone Box TCG Live decks for the majority of our Sword and Shield to Silver Tempest / Crown Zenith format, and they have largely seen much success. Some highlights of their tournament results would be Grant Manley’s Top 4 finish at the 2022 Latin America International Championships, Caleb Gedemer’s Top 4 finish at Toronto Regionals, Griego’s 9th place finish at Arlington Regionals, and Gedemer’s 9th place finish at San Diego Regionals. The core of their deck has mostly remained the same, but the biggest change from their previous lists to Griego’s winning OCIC list was the lack of Kyogre (Celebrations). Kyogre used to be an interesting end-game win condition that had players decking themselves out, using Ordinary Rod (Sword and Shield) to get back in a few Energy, using Mirage Gate on Kyogre, attaching a Water Energy from hand, playing an Energy Recycler (Battle Styles) to get back five Energy and snipe two Benched Pokemon with Kyogre for the win. If that sounds like a lot, it is! And I’m sure that is the reason why it ultimately was cut from their list. Beyond that, many Lugia VSTAR decks have added Manaphy to their lists which makes this strategy useless. Instead of the whole Kyogre package, there are other additional attackers, the newly released Sky Seal Stone (Crown Zenith), and other consistency cards. Let’s look at this Championship winning list, and I’ll explain the strategy below:
|4x Comfey LOR 79||4x Colress's Experiment LOR 155||4x Water Energy 3|
|2x Sableye LOR 70||1x Bird Keeper DAA 159||3x Psychic Energy 5|
|2x Cramorant LOR 50||1x Boss's Orders BRS 132||3x Capture Energy RCL 171|
|1x Radiant Greninja ASR 46||4x Mirage Gate LOR 163||2x Lightning Energy 4|
|1x Snorlax LOR 143||4x Battle VIP Pass FST 225|
|1x Zeraora VIV 61||4x Scoop Up Net RCL 165|
|1x Dragonite V PR-SW 154||2x Escape Rope BST 125|
|1x Drapion V LOR 118||2x Switch Cart ASR 154|
|1x Manaphy BRS 41||2x Quick Ball FST 237|
|1x Oranguru SSH 148||2x Ordinary Rod SSH 171|
|1x Energy Recycler BST 124|
|1x Hisuian Heavy Ball ASR 146|
|2x Choice Belt BRS 135|
|1x Air Balloon SSH 156|
|1x Sky Seal Stone CRZ 143|
|1x Training Court RCL 169|
Each game can play out differently, but the early game is going to remain mostly the same. Lost Zone Box decks utilize the count of cards in your Lost Zone to do different things as the game progresses. Your main counts are:
- 4 cards in the Lost Zone allow you to attack with Cramorant
- 7 cards in the Lost Zone allow you to play Mirage Gate
- 10 cards in the Lost Zone allow you to attack with Sableye
In order to get cards in the Lost Zone, you’ll wanna use Comfey (Lost Origin) to quickly draw through your deck while starting your stack of Lost Zone cards. Colress’s Experiment is there to help you expedite cards in your Lost Zone and will often be the most played Supporter card for you in each game! The generally agreed upon strategy from our player base is to use Colress’s Experiment before using Comfey to have more knowledge and then proceed to use Comfey. It makes sense because Colress’s Experiment with a few copies of Scoop Up Net (Rebel Clash) will allow you to make proper decisions by chaining Comfey. Hot tip: You can use Comfey, Switch Cart (Astral Radiance) to your Bench, and use another Comfey. You can then Scoop Up Net your Benched Comfey (since it was already used), Retreat your Active Comfey, and use the Benched Comfey again. It might sound a bit confusing, but as long as the Comfey has gone back to your hand, you can use it again. This means you might use 2, 3, or more Flower Gathering per turn to get the cards you want. Once you have the desired amount of cards in your Lost Zone, you’ll wanna find the best Pokemon to attack with. With so many different options, I’ll explain where you’ll find the best value with most of them. Let’s check it out!
Cramorant - This is gonna be your main attacker in most matchups because it hits for a smooth 110 damage for free (if you have 4 cards in your Lost Zone). This is a great option to OHKO a Pokemon with less than 110HP, like Raikou (Vivid Voltage), or set up a VSTAR / VMAX Pokemon for a KO later on in the game. If you aren’t attacking with something else, you’ll likely find Cramorant in the Active Spot Spittin’ Innocently.
Dragonite V - While it might not seem like the most inclusion-worthy card, Dragonite V (Evolving Skies) rightfully deserves a spot in this list. After you get 7 cards in the Lost Zone, you can easily power up this powerful Pokemon with Mirage Gate. 250 damage is a hefty amount, and it only gets better when you are able to attack into a Duraludon VMAX (Evolving Skies), and they can’t OHKO you back. This Pokemon also falls under the “its a Pokemon V category”, which means it is one of few Pokemon in this deck that can properly utilize Sky Seal Stone. A cool strategy is to do some chip damage with Cramorant, slap on Sky Seal Stone to Dragonite V, and swing for 250 to draw 3-4 Prize Cards. As an added bonus, you can use Shred to go through pesky Pokemon, like Eiscue (Evolving Skies), if you ever find your back against the wall.
Radiant Greninja - While its main purpose is gonna be to draw cards with its Ability, you can also use Radiant Greninja (Astral Radiance) to snipe your opponent’s Pokemon. A great example would be sniping away two Comfey in a mirror match which should force them to Bench a Manaphy. Like most cards in this deck that have an Energy cost of two or more, you’ll wanna use Mirage Gate to power it up after you acquire 7 cards in the Lost Zone. You can also use Radiant Greninja to set up KOs with Sableye later in the game.
Zeraora - With Lugia VSTAR being one of the best decks in the format, you can see why we might wanna attack it with a Pokemon that has a type advantage against it. Zeraora (Vivid Voltage) can score a nice OHKO with a Choice Belt (Brilliant Stars), and that’s pretty much it. Like most cards in this deck that have an Energy cost of two or more, you’ll wanna use Mirage Gate to power it up after you acquire 7 cards in the Lost Zone.
Snorlax - Snorlax (Lost Origin) can swing for a huge 180 damage (210 with Choice Belt) after powering it up quickly with Mirage Gate. Its Ability also stops random cases of effects of attacks which can be huge against Articuno or Sableye in a mirror. If you find yourself falling asleep after your attack, you can always use Scoop Up Net, Switch Cart, Escape Rope (Battle Styles), or Bird Keeper (Darkness Ablaze) to attack again!
Drapion V - If you wanna have a solid answer against Mew VMAX (Fusion Strike), Drapion V (Lost Origin) allows us to snap back at our opponent and likely attack for free because of our Ability. For each of their Fusion Strike Pokemon in play, which is like all of the Pokemon in their deck, Drapion V can attack for one Colorless Energy less, which means you can attack for free if they have 4 Fusion Strike Pokemon in play. Like Dragonite V, you can easily slap down a Skye Seal Stone, and score some extra Prize Cards in the process. Notably, Drapion V has the same effect against Single Strike, and Rapid Strike Pokemon, so keep your eyes peeled for the type of Pokemon in front of you.
Sableye - If you’ve set up some damage from earlier in the game with Cramorant or Radiant Greninja, you’ll likely be ready to drop Sableye down from your hand to collect your well-deserved Prize Cards. You can also use Sableye to just poke at a few Pokemon to set them up for KOs with Dragonite V or Snorlax. You can also use Sableye to score an OHKO on Manaphy and have some Damage Counters left over to spare.
With many different routes to take each game and many different options for attackers, this deck isn’t the easiest deck to play! Whichever strategy you decide to use, try your best to utilize the best Pokemon for each matchup, and you’ll see your win rate soaring high!
Well, I hope that your understanding of the newest variation of Lost Zone Box is at an all-time high, and maybe you’ll even get a chance to build it on PTCG Live. With this deck winning the latest major tournament, I highly suspect it will be played more online and at upcoming in real-life events. The fact that Griego is a popular player and personality will also have a huge effect on the popularity of this deck. I guess that means you either have to play this deck or try to find some ways to counter it. There is only one way to find out… Playing more Pokemon! If you wanna build this deck on Pokemon TCG Live, be sure to pick up some code cards right here at the PoTown store. I recommend picking up some Lost Origin PTCGL codes to get the majority of this deck and crafting the rest. I know many players are thinking of rotation coming up and the new release of Scarlet and Violet, so I’m happy to let you know that Lost Zone Box decks are performing well in that format in Japan. I look forward to testing this deck for my upcoming events, and maybe I’ll even choose it for one of the few Regionals I have left in this format. If you are going to Knoxville, Vancouver, Utrecht, Charlotte, or Fort Wayne, I hope to see you all there at those events. If not, I’ll catch up with all of y’all at the next Late Night Event! Stay tuned for some more articles from me covering the latest event results, best decks, and all of the best Pokemon information you could ask for! Thanks for reading!
About the Writer
Zach Lesage is a contributing writer for PoTownStore.com. As a Toronto local, he has been playing the Pokemon Trading Card Game since 2005 and creates Pokemon content as his full time career. With multiple prestigious accomplishments in the game, such as 2020 Players Cup 2 Champion and 2020 Oceania International Championships Finalist, he has proven his success in the game. Outside of the game, he travels the world, enjoys the culture of designer streetwear, and is a professionally trained chef. You can catch him at most Pokemon events and follow him on Twitter @ZachLesagePTCG.