Slicing Through the New Meta — Zoroark Box for Paradox Rift

Hey everyone! It’s Charlie and I’m happy to be back with another article. I’ve been playing a lot of Gardevoir ex this season, but after LAIC’s results, it feels bad to play a deck that’s unfavored into both of the Masters finalist decks and has a huge target on its back. While I think Gardy will be good again very soon, now is just not the time for it. That realization led me on a long search to find a new deck that can handle the big threats of Miraidon ex, Iron Valiant ex, and Chien-Pao ex reliably. I still don’t think this search is fully complete, but since I have the Gdansk Regional Championships coming up this weekend, I needed to find something good enough to counter all these top options. The deck that, in my opinion, handles this best is one that everyone always knew had potential, but never had all the right cards and matchups in the format to work perfectly: Zoroark Box!

Why Zoroark Now?

Of all times to play Zoroark, why would it be immediately after cards like Iron Hands ex became popular? Why would it be when single-Prize evolving Basic Pokemon are easy to pick off with Medicham V? The answer stems back to single-Prize Pokemon’s true greatest enemy: Sableye. Lost Zone decks are at an all-time low in popularity, with pretty much nobody playing Turbo Lost Box and a few people still playing it with Giratina VSTAR. The new decks are extremely hard for Lost Box to deal with, so its fallen out of favor and Iron Valiant decks have taken its place in trying to dominate evolving Basic Pokemon. Also, we just got Jirachi in Paradox Rift, which gives us a very strong answer to the few Lost Zone decks we do face! With a huge selection of Stage-1s to choose from in this very large format, Zoroark is finally poised to make the big run it’s been working towards for years.

Ever since Scarlet and Violet released, we’ve seen a lot of new “comeback” cards, including Iono, Reversal Energy, and Counter Catcher released and change the way Pokemon is played. Zoroark always thrived off the comeback since it has access to Slowbro, a ridiculously powerful card that only works in decks designed to come from behind. This huge collection of comeback-focused cards gives Zoroark a ton of extra tools to work with in its quest to beat the top meta decks. Furthermore, a pair of its best Stage-1 attackers, Scizor and Kleavor, both evolve from the same Basic Pokemon: Scyther! This gives you the opportunity to include an easier way to get some of your best attackers into play besides Phantom Transformation. All of these, combined with a few elite attackers that KO the biggest Pokemon ex in the game gives you a powerful deck that might finally have enough juice to succeed. Here’s my current 60 for Zoroark:

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