Unbroken Bonds gave more possibilities to Zoroark decks than most players acknowledge. Persian GX, Dedenne GX, Lt. Surge’s Strategy, Marshadow, Dewgong, Koga’s Trap, Triple Acceleration Energy, and Mew are all potential additions to the deck. This means figuring out exactly how to build Zoroark for the new format is not an easy challenge to overcome. However, it also means there is potential for Zoroark to become stronger than it has been in a long time. The variant of Zoroark I cover in this piece is with Persian and Slowking, as they seem to be the best partners for dealing with Reshiram Charizard. With that being said, it’s important to remember that plenty of other decks will see play. My list compromises with a variant that is both well rounded and ready for fire. This piece covers the new Unbroken Bonds cards which could help Zoroark and which other previously released cards now fit in. Of course this article also has my exact list as well as match up descriptions.
Which cards should or shouldn’t be played
With Power Plant around, Marshadow is a staple. The card makes it possible for Nest Ball (or any of the other Pokemon Search cards) to grab a stadium counter. That ability is crucial for deling with Power Plant decks and against almost any deck it has some use. It’s worth noting that Marshadow also removes Prism Star Stadiums, which is easy to miss since the past conception was that you can’t remove Prism Star Stadiums with anything other than your own Stadiums.
Another perk of Marshadow is the attack, which makes Buzzwole decks far more manageable. The benefits don’t stop there. The fact that Marshadow is a Pokemon that discards itself means Persian’s Vengeance essentially has a free Muscle Band after Resetting Hole has been used. Having a stadium counter in the form of a Pokemon also means Pokemon Communication becomes more effective. I could see playing two copies of Marshadow depending on how the meta progresses, but one seems to be the correct count at the moment.
Lt. Surge’s Strategy
Comebacks become far more possible with Surge when you combine it with cards like Judge and Koga’s Trap. Zoroark lists play several of these denial/defensive supporter options. Two defensive angles to set opponents back in the same turn can make a losing scenario into a winning one. With all of the new cards to fit into Zoroark I initially had a hard time fitting Surge into the list, but I can now say with confidence that it should be included. Games will go by where you wonder why you need Surge; it’s not a card where you should judge it’s use on a game-by-game basis. Lt. Surge is the type of card that will work well on occasion and other times will let you win otherwise impossible games. Surge is there to cushion bad starts or hard match ups. Although, you need to have a somewhat high number of supporters already in the deck to make Surge useful.
I have been having a mental debate with myself that goes something like this:
Dewgong is helpful specifically in the early part of games when you go first against evolution decks. Sniping off two 60 HP targets is going to require you to go first and then have Dewgong ready to swing on the next turn. Past that, it has little use against the more popular archetypes which are relying entirely on big Basics rather than Stage 1 or Stage 2 Pokemon. Pulling off the turn two Dual Blizzard is too rare to be worth including the card.
Doing 60 to two Zoroarks leaves them at 150 HP remaining, which is perfect math for Riotous Beating with a full bench and Choice Band. Not only will Dewgong help in mirrors where you can Dual Blizzard two low HP targets, but it will set you up to win mirrors in five or six turns. The same idea can be applied to the PikaRom match up and several others. Dewgong is a great early game attacker for setting up the math, but can also clean up later on in a game. The card will not do big enough damage to one-shot ReshiZards, but it will do some heavy damage while only giving up one prize. One observation from testing has been that doing decent damage with a one-prize card is enough to make ReshiZard winnable, even without killing one hit.
The 60 snipes can be a futile investment in a few cases. For one, the damage can be Max Potion’d or Acerola’d out of play, meaning a Triple Acceleration Energy and attack were utterly wasted. For two, against ReshiZard and other Tag Team based decks, they frequently only have one target on the bench cutting the benefit in half. In comparison to Slowking, Dewgong seems to do a lot less to help the ReshiZard and PikaRom match ups.
Theoretically it seems Slowking is the better option and playing both in one deck could work, but I doubt it would be optimal. A more dedicated list with Dewgong could actually cut out Muk, with the idea that Dual Blizzard KOs two Jirachi against Zapdos decks if you also use Distortion Door. I’m back and forth on the Dewgong. There are good reasons to play it and great reasons not to play it.