Zoroark Checkmate is Back

Hello PokeBeach readers! In this article I’m going to go over the craziest deck I’ve built recently and it’s one I think can dominate the Expanded format. That deck is Zoroark-GX Checkmate, and it’s a deck that was originally built in the Standard format going into NAIC 2019, where Stephane Ivanoff piloted the deck to a victory over Emery Taylor’s Pikachu and Zekrom-GX deck in the finals.

Playing the Deck

The main strategy with the deck in that event was to attack into an opposing Tag Team GX then use Stinger GX, putting both players at three Prizes — since you didn’t play any Tag Team Pokémon your opponent couldn’t win the game on the following turn, and you could follow up with an easy Knock Out on the Tag Team you damaged previously.

While that strategy can still work, it’s now a bit easier for decks to win after you use stinger GX since taking extra Prizes and spread damage are more common, so this deck has to find ways to close out the game before your opponent can take those three Prize cards.

With that said I’m going to go over the list so you can get an idea of how this deck can checkmate your opponent.

The List

Pokemon (24)

4x Zoroark-GX (SHL #53)4x Zorua (DEX #70)2x Crobat V (SWSH3 #104)2x Raticate (BCR #105)2x Rattata (EVO #66)2x Exeggcute (PLF #4)1x Naganadel-GX (FOL #56)1x Poipole (LOT #107)1x Ditto Prism Star (LOT #154)1x Galarian Zigzagoon (SWSH1 #117)1x Mew (UNB #76)1x Nihilego-GX (CRI #49)1x Dedenne-GX (UNB #57)1x Tapu Lele-GX (GUR #60)

Trainers (30)

3x Colress (PLS #118)1x Guzma (BUS #115)1x Brigette (BKT #134)1x N (NVI #92)1x Gladion (CRI #95)1x Wally (RSK #94)4x VS Seeker (PHF #109)4x Ultra Ball (DEX #102)2x Quick Ball (SWSH1 #179)2x Counter Catcher (CRI #91)2x Float Stone (BKT #137)1x Rescue Stretcher (GUR #130)1x Special Charge (STS #105)1x Field Blower (GUR #125)1x Hypnotoxic Laser (PLS #123)1x Computer Search (BCR #137)3x Sky Field (RSK #89)

Energy (6)

4x Triple Acceleration Energy (UNB #190)2x Double Colorless Energy (NXD #92)

Card Explanations


Zoroark-GX is the main draw engine and attacker in this deck; as it can keep pace with some decks in the format, having Zoroark opposed to Cinccino allows you to play for a non-checkmate strategy and out-tempo the opponent in some games. Zoroark GX also allows you to set up different checkmates by attacking first, before you use Stinger GX, then attacking one more time to close out the game.

I could see a version of this deck that does play Cinccino over Zoroark GX, but it would need to find a replacement attacker such as a potential counter package. All around I think that would be a bit clunkier and I think this deck wants to be as streamlined as possible when it comes to attacking.

Raticate and Naganadel-GX

These are the core pieces to this deck functioning as an actual checkmate deck. While Raticate can be used in some matchups to out-speed the opponent, this deck often uses Raticate prior to Stinger GX to set up for a turn where you can take three Prizes. This can be set up by using Raticate then on the following turn, poisoning your opponent’s Active and using to Stinger GX to close out the game if it’s a Tag Team or VMAX Pokémon.

This can also be done by using Raticate’s Super Fang on a two-Prize Pokémon, then Stinger GX, and follow up with a Knock Out on something small using Zoroark GX.

Another interesting inclusion would be a Giratina, as you can use it after Raticate to have a similar effect to Galarian Zigzagoon, but you don’t need it to be in your hand to play it. It would also let you set up for two KOs at once if you attacked twice with Raticate.

One final perk that comes from Raticate is the Rattata; Rattata’s Ability can actually be useful against cards like Fighting Fury Belt or Big Charm as Rattata can then act similarly to Galarian Zigzagoon and allow you to discard your opponent’s Tool to take a Knock Out in the middle of your turn.

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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