Foul Plays — Three Zoroark-GX Variants for Worlds

Hey there PokeBeach readers, and welcome back to my newest article. While my past few articles have been focusing heavily on a Banette-GX list I have been brewing for a few months, I will be moving away from that archetype for the moment to cover what I believe will be the most popular card at the World Championships and Nashville Open; Zoroark-GX. After Stephane Ivanoff and Tord Reklev proved that Zoroark could not only hang with but come out on top in a Buzzwole-GX heavy metagame, Zoroark is once again primed to be the dominant force in our metagame up until rotation (and potentially after, but that is for another article). In this article, I will be taking a look at the two decks Stephane and Tord used, Zoroark / Garbodor and Zoroark Control (now with Magcargo as well as my third favorite Zoroark archetype at the moment, Zoroark / Lycanroc-GX and see how they have adapted in the new Celestial Storm metagame. Without further ado, let’s get started.


The first deck I will be talking about today also happens to be my favorite Zoroark variant at the moment; Zoroark / Garbodor. The first reason I really like ZoroGarb is because it heavily punishes opposing Zoroark players who are poor at managing their Item counts, as well as having an overall favorable matchup versus Tord’s Zoroark variant, as that variant runs a heavy count of Items for disruption. Second off, it has one of the most well rounded matchup trees currently, only really taking a very bad matchup versus Gardevoir-GX, which is a Tier 2 deck at best currently. While it has some other bad matchups (mainly BuzzRoc; Lycanroc-GX is difficult to deal with for the deck), none of the matchups are outright autolosses, giving you a chance to outplay your opponent if things break well for you. Finally, I love, and have loved, the combination of Garbotoxin, N and Parallel City, constantly touting it as the best combination in the format. As such, I am thrilled to be able to play it in ZoroGarb, as it can win an incredible amount of games on its own. When building my list, I based it off Stephane’s Valencia SPE winning list, making a few changes due to metagame shifts and personal preference. Let’s take a look at my list now.

Pokemon (18)

4x Zoroark-GX (PRSM #SM84)4x Zorua (SHL #52)2x Garbodor (GUR #51)1x Garbodor (BKP #57)3x Trubbish (BKP #56)3x Tapu Lele-GX (GUR #137)1x Oranguru (ULP #114)

Trainers (35)

3x N (NVI #101)3x Guzma (BUS #143)2x Brigette (BKT #161)1x Copycat (CES #163)1x Cynthia (ULP #148)1x Acerola (BUS #142)1x Delinquent (BKP #98)4x Ultra Ball (DEX #102)4x Puzzle of Time (BKP #109)4x Float Stone (BKT #137)3x Field Blower (GUR #163)2x Choice Band (BUS #162)1x Evosoda (GEN #62)1x Mysterious Treasure (FOL #145)1x Enhanced Hammer (GUR #162)1x Rescue Stretcher (BUS #165)2x Parallel City (BKT #145)

Energy (7)

4x Double Colorless Energy (HS #103)3x Psychic Energy (EM #105)

One Oranguru

I talked about this card last month right after NAIC, but for those who have not read that article, I will reiterate why exactly Oranguru is so strong right now and why I consider it a staple in every Zoroark deck. Oranguru is absolutely essential in every Zoroark mirror match, which is expected to be a significant portion of the metagame. Oranguru is important because it lets you recycle Puzzle of Time as well as get back Double Colorless Energy or disruption cards like Enhanced Hammer and Delinquent. This is very important, as the matchup usually comes down to who is able to continue attacking in the end game even after their opponent has disrupted them. I also really like Oranguru for getting back Garbotoxin Garbodor in this deck as well.

Late game, if I have Evosoda or Mysterious Treasure in my hand, I would rather have my Garbodor back in my deck than have to use my Rescue Stretcher to get it back, as the Stretcher would be much more valuable if used on looping Oranguru again if possible. Finally, I think Oranguru is a perfect fit in this deck as I have chosen to run Basic Psychic Energy, over the more common Rainbow Energy package. I did this make myself less susceptible to my opponent’s Enhanced Hammer, which is very important in Zoroark matchups in regards to Oranguru. If your opponent is unable to one shot your Oranguru for some reason, they will almost certainly try to strip it of its Energy so it cannot Resource Management again. By playing Psychic Energy, I am forcing my opponent to not only run Team Flare Grunt in order to remove my Energy, they also must hit it that turn while most likely under Garbotoxin Ability lock. Overall, I think Oranguru is absolutely incredible in here, and I would not consider taking it out of my list in this current metagame.

One Copycat

I loooooooove Copycat in this current metagame. I have found that Copycat is overall more useful to me than a Professor Sycamore would be in this slot, as I find it to give me incredibly large hands quite often in Zoroark mirrors. Many Zoroark mirrors come down to each player hoarding a giant hand size to try and get all of their disruption cards and Puzzle so that they can constantly prevent their opponent from attacking. Since I try to save my N for when I have both Parallel City and Garbodor with a Tool in play, Copycat is the next best way to even up the game state when your opponent is hoarding a large hand. While Copycat does have its benefits, it is not the perfect card. First off, it’s usually a terrible Supporter to have in your opening hand, as your opponent is likely to play their hand size down to only a few cards early on, as they need to set up their board position. Second, it does not synergize well with Delinquent as Delinquent aims to lower your opponent’s hand size while Copycat would prefer your opponent to have a large hand. Finally, while I do believe Copycat is more useful than Sycamore overall due to the strength of Zoroark decks in the current metagame, if you believe that you will be playing more non-Zoroark decks at your event such as Buzzwole-GX or Rayquaza-GX Sycamore would most likely be a stronger draw Supporter option for you. Overall though, I really do like Copycat, and as long as the metagame centralizes around Zoroark decks, I plan on playing one in my list to give me stronger draw power in the mirror match.

One Delinquent

While this is certainly not some original Zoroark tech that I claim to have created (Seb Symonds won Sheffield Regionals with Delinquent in ZoroRoc, and Stephane Ivanoff had Delinquent in his Valencia SPE winning list), I still feel as if Delinquent is worth explaining in its own section due to its importance currently. As I previously talked about in both the Copycat and Oranguru sections, hand card advantage and having more resources than your opponent one of the major keys in the Zoroark mirror matchup. Delinquent is intended to counter both of those things at once; you reduce your opponent’s hand size, and hopefully force them to discard crucial resources at the same time. One issue that you might be thinking about is: “how does Delinquent force them to discard crucial resources if their hand size is too big?” Well, luckily, ZoroGarb is more equipped to handle that than any other Zoroark deck. Delinquent works especially well after you have Garbotoxin locked and N‘d your opponent to a low hand size. Thus, they will no longer have access to Trade, while as long as you draw a Field Blower to activate your Abilities on your turn or Puzzle of Time if you have already played Delinquent, you will be able to cripple your opponent’s hand, strip them of their resources, and force them to rely on top decks. Delinquent has some other uses as well (such as early on in games before your opponent gets set up and they leave themselves with a small hand and giving you another out to discarding your opponent’s Parallel City if you don’t draw your Field Blowers), but the aforementioned scenario is by far the most important reason for it to be included currently.

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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