Hey there Trainers, and welcome to another Draw a Card installment!
Today, let’s have a look at one of the new cards from the BREAKthrough set with a lot of promise, and that’s the Illusion Fox Pokémon, Zoroark! Zoroark is a 100HP Stage 1 Darkness type Pokémon with a weakness to Fighting, resistance to Psychic and a retreat cost of two.
Zoroark packs both a very familiar ability and attack, being essentially an amalgamation of two of my favourite now-rotated cards, Keldeo EX BCR and Absol PLF. In keeping with Zoroark’s Illusion Ability in the VGC, Zoroark BRT had the Ability “Stand In”, where once per turn of Zoroark is on the bench, you may switch it with your Active Pokémon. Essentially it’s Keldeo EXs Rush In Ability, which was hugely useful and found its way splashed into many decks, along with Float Stone, to set up an unlimited amount of free retreating options and bench to active circulation.
Leaving the Active slot and being sent to the Bench can offer benefits, including breaking status conditions on the Active, switching between attackers, re-triggering Abilities that only activate in the Active such as Reshiram ROS and Slurpuff PHF, and allowing for access to bench-activating Abilities like Bronzong PHF’s Metal Links in standard and Eelektrik NVI’s Dynamotor in Expanded. Also, a 1-1 Zoroark line and two Float Stones can potentially offer more switching effects throughout a game than four other switch effects, as Stand In can be used once per turn per Zoroark.
Not only is Zoroark’s Ability splashable and useful for many strategies, but praise the card design lords, so is its attack. For a mere Double Colourless, an almost omni-present special energy type, Zoroark eschews the traditional Keldeo EX’s Secret Sword attack, which is currently on loan to Raikou BRT, and learns from his Dark type predecessors the attack Mind Jack. A disruptive attack with expandable damage, Mind Jack deals a base 10 damage with 30 more damage for each Benched Pokémon on your opponent’s field. A quick inspection shows that these numbers are grotesque. An additional 30 damage for each benched Pokémon is Mega Rayquaza EX territory, but this time on a Stage 1, a non-EX. Granted, it requires your opponent to have eight benched Pokémon with Sky Field, but it has potential. More commonly, three benched Pokémon allows Zoroark to hit for 10+30+30+30 = 100 damage for what can be a single energy attachment. Very usable and not to be overlooked is the effect on your opponent’s play that the threat of a large Mind Jack will have. When Absol PHF, and in a similar way Empoleon DEX, were played, it was easier to play around giving away the additional damage by limiting your bench heavily to one or two attackers, but this format is much more ripe for exploitation. With Sky Field itself, strategies like Raichu and Colourless Mega Rayquaza, as well as the crippling reliance on Shaymin EX for draw power at the cost of bench space, Zoroark can be reliably expected to hit for a decent chunk of damage.
Zoroark has literally the perfect combination of Ability and Attack for a support role and alternate attacker, but it’s not without its faults. 100HP isn’t super high; most Fighting attacks will be buffed enough to take Zoroark down in one hit, as will most decent attacks, and most importantly of all, Zoroark unfortunately isn’t a Basic. Taking an extra card space in a deck and requiring the combo pieces in order is definitely a flaw when compared to Keldeo EX, but there is the notable feature of only giving up one prize. If decks can afford the space and the set up time, Zoroark can pay off. I’m definitely excited for this card.
Here are some ideas for usage with Zoroark BRT. Let me know if there’s any more you’ve thought of, or where you’re looking forward to including Zoroark:
- Rush/Retreat option in Bronzong decks.
- Another option for Vespiquen or Raichu decks to fill the Bench or Discard Pile.
- Coupling with the AOR Eeveelutions to make a multitype Firefox/Snow Leopard/Funny third lightning dog joke.
- An alternate attacker in Sky Field/Raichu builds as a sort of Dark/Mirror Raichu.
- The Zoroark BREAK also adds another level of interesting play, at the cost of specified Darkness energy.
- Zoroark as the main attacker with Sky Field and four Target Whistles (thanks Blake!)
- Brigette to bench the babies quickly.
Thanks for reading, and hopefully we can spark some ideas for this interesting and versatile Pokémon.
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