Back to Expanded — The Optimal Zoroark Variant and a Meta Forecast for Dallas

Hello everyone! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! This is Grant once again and today I’ll be switching back over to talk about Expanded because the next U.S. Regional will be using that format. In Anaheim, I played my own Zoroark-GX / Alolan Muk  / Trevenant variant. I tweaked a few things with my list since then, and I have the current version to share with you all today. Although I started 5-0 in Anaheim, I only finished at 5-3-1. While there is always ways to improve my play, I have place the majority of the blame here on extremely poor Colress draws. Basically every single game throughout my last four rounds, I would play Colress for 10-15 cards followed by Trades and would whiff whatever I needed. This happened multiple games in a row and was really quite a nightmare.

Anyway, that does not take away any of my faith in the deck. One of my friends won a Cup with the Anaheim list, and the new version is actually one of my current top picks for Dallas Regionals.

Pokemon (22)

4x Zoroark-GX (SHL #53)1x Zoroark (BKT #91)4x Zorua (DEX #70)2x Alolan Muk (SM #58)2x Alolan Grimer (BUS #83)3x Tapu Lele-GX (GUR #60)1x Shaymin-EX (RSK #77)1x Ditto Prism Star (LOT #154)1x Trevenant (GUR #7)1x Phantump (GUR #6)1x Goodra (PHF #77)1x Salamence (DRV #8)

Trainers (34)

4x Colress (PLS #118)3x Brigette (BKT #134)2x Guzma (BUS #115)1x Pokémon Ranger (STS #104)1x Lance Prism Star (DRM #61)1x N (NVI #92)4x Pokémon Communication (BLW #99)3x Ultra Ball (DEX #102)3x Choice Band (GUR #121)2x Field Blower (GUR #125)2x Rescue Stretcher (GUR #130)2x VS Seeker (PHF #109)1x Special Charge (STS #105)1x Float Stone (BKT #137)1x Computer Search (BCR #137)3x Sky Field (RSK #89)

Energy (4)

4x Double Colorless Energy (NXD #92)

This is essentially just an aggressive Zoroark deck that abuses how absurdly broken Zoroark-GX is. This deck tries to make full use of Sky Field to allow Zoroark to OHKO something every single turn. The strategy is to use Brigette turn one and Colress turn two. When you’re able to use those Supporters in that order, you almost always win. I strongly believe that all aggressive Zoroark variants should fully prioritize getting the turn one Brigette followed by turn two Colress, as that is just the best recipe.

Card Explanations

Alolan Muk and No Garbodor

Alolan Muk is much easier to use than Garbodor. It doesn’t require a Tool at all times and it also doesn’t shut off your own Trade. While Garbotoxin can sometimes be useful to shut off Abilities from the likes of Blastoise and opposing Zoroark-GX, the main purpose of running Ability lock with Zoroark is to shut of Sudowoodo‘s Roadblock. Garbodor variants are much weaker against Roadblock because Garbodor requires you to find a Tool and it forces you to Ability lock yourself. This is just bad in my opinion. Muk also enforces a harder lock as it cannot be negated by Field Blower. Muk is objectively better against Roadblock, which is Zoroark’s main obstacle. Finally, Garbodor is around an eight space commitment (the Garbodor line, Klefki, Bursting Balloon, and Psychic Energy), while Muk is only a four space commitment, though you do get access Trashalanch with the Garb package. You need a heavy Muk line because if you only have one out and it dies then you just lose to Sudowoodo.

One Zoroark BKT

Zoroark has many uses, though it is primarily a tech for Zoroark-GX / Garbodor. Opposing Zoroark-GX are forced to have a full Bench in order to one shot other Zoroark-GX, so Mind Jack swoops in and deals a ton of damage for only a DCE. Since most other Zoroark decks also run this Zoroark, you need to have it in order to not be at a disadvantage. Baby Zoroark also offers a decent answer to baby Buzzwole. It can even OHKO Buzzwole-GX if they have at least five Pokemon on their Bench (and they often do). Whenever you can take a KO with this Zoroark to preserve one of the GX’s, take that opportunity.

One Trevenant

This card is useful but it is not the broken sauce that it may initially seem like. I thought of Trevenant when I was considering Zoroark-GX / Golisopod-GX as a play. My friend Eddie told me not to play ZoroPod because ZoroPod sucks. So I thought, he’s right, ZoroPod does suck. I’ll play ZoroTrev instead! Trevenant is a suitable Grass-type replacement, it is not a GX liability and it doesn’t require the space commitment of Grass Energy. In case you’re wondering, Poltergeist does 30 damage for each Trainer (including Supporters and Stadiums) in your opponents hand and it operates for just a DCE. If your opponent has only two Trainers in hand, Poltergeist with Choice Band one shots Keldeo-EX and Seismitoad-EX. For three Trainers in hand (plus Choice Band), Trevenant KOs Lycanroc-GX, Kingdra-GX, and Primal Groudon-EX. You usually need three Trainers in hand to KO Seismitoad as well because it locks Choice Band in your hand.

While your opponent can play around Trevenant to some extent, it is usually difficult to regulate one’s own hand to such a low amount of Trainer cards. It becomes nearly impossible when you take into account the probability of drawing one or two Trainers off the Prizes after each KO. Trevenant is amazing in this deck because it wrecks many Grass-weak Pokemon that have historically given Zoroark-GX some trouble. Finally, opposing Zoroark decks often use Colress for many cards, followed by Trades, followed by a KO. This sometimes leaves them with enough Trainers in their hand for Trevenant to OHKO a Zoroark-GX. This makes Trevenant good against other Zoroark decks, though you have to be extremely careful and smart about how you use it.

A Quick Note about Ditto Prism Star

Ditto Prism Star is obviously a natural fit for this deck, but due to the goal of having Muk out the entire game, it can sometimes be useless. For this reason, Ditto is always a Brigette target and it is almost always the first Pokemon you want to evolve.

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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