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Pojo's Pokemon Card of the Day

 

Zoroark #71/114

Black & White

Date Reviewed: April 28, 2011

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 3.67
Limited: 3.90

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 being the worst. 
3 ... average.  
5 is the highest rating.

Back to the main COTD Page

Baby Mario
2010 UK National
Seniors
Champion

Zoroark 71/114

Today we look at a very interesting Pokémon. There’s some complicated rulings stuff coming up in this review, so pay attention – there may be questions afterwards. (Or not).

Let’s do the easy stuff first though. 

Zoroark is a Stage 1 with a respectable 100 HP, a manageable Retreat cost of one, and a handy Resistance to Psychic. So far, so fairly good. The big downside is Fighting Weakness, which makes Zoroark easy prey for cards like Donphan Prime and Promo Toxicroak G. Fighting is a popular type so it’s very unlikely that it will ever be a good Weakness. 

Nasty Plot is Zoroark’s first attack, and it’s nothing whatsoever like the Nasty Plot you get in the video games. Instead of an attack boost, you get to search your deck for a card and put it into your hand. Is it really worth an attack to do this? Well, no . . . but if it’s all you can do, it’s never going to be a bad thing, and at least it’s cheap, costing just a single Dark Energy. 

Now we get on to the tricky part. Zoroark’s second attack, Foul Play, costs [C][C] and allows Zoroark to copy one of the Defending Pokémon’s attack and use it. Note that it doesn’t say ANYTHING about needing the correct Energy to use the attack. You are perfectly free to copy (for example) Charizard AR’s Burning Tail without having [R][R][C]. What’s more (and this is the important bit) you don’t have to discard any Energy either, unless you had Energy of that type attached to Zoroark! There are two exceptions to this rule: firstly, if an attack tells you to do something ‘or the attack does nothing’, then you must fulfil that condition; secondly, if you are able to meet the condition you must do so – for example, Zoroark will always be able to discard two Energy when using Foul Play to copy Garchomp C LV X’s Dragon Rush attack. 

Sounds great, doesn’t it? And it sort of is. Zoroark is great at taking on Pokémon with huge expensive attacks for the cost of a single Double Colourless. Unfortunately, because it is utterly dependant on copying attacks, it is not really viable as a main attacker by itself. Instead, Zoroark will most likely see play as a tech that can be used to counter big hitters like tomorrow’s review Pokémon. 

Rating

Modified: 3.25 (could be a star tech of the next format)

Limited: 3 (not so much to copy here, but it is a handy counter to the Legendaries) 

Mad Mattezhion
 Professor Bathurst League Australia

Today's card is Zoroark, and it looks set to do justice to the hype Zoroark has been receiving from the media. It seems every 5th generation collectible has a Zoroark on it somewhere. Is it just me or is Zoroark the new Lucario?
 
The stats: Zoroark is a Dark type non-evolving Stage 1 with 100 HP, Fighting weakness, Psychic resistance, a retreat cost of 1 and two attacks.
 
Obviously Zoroark has to be brilliant to justify use since non-evolving Stage 1 Poke'mon have much lower offensive power and survivability than their Stage 2 counterparts. 100 HP just makes the grade (you'll probably survive a single hit) and the resistance is great but the weakness makes Zoroark far too easy to KO if you come up against Machamp SF or Donphan Prime. With no Abilities for support or offense to justify Zoroark's existence, what do the attacks do?
 
Nasty Plot costs [d] and allows you to search your deck for any one card and put it into your hand. Obviously a free search with no additional costs is awesome and can net you that one card you desperately need, but since you are attacking for the effect (and thus ending your turn) your opponent gets a chance to disrupt your hand before you can play the card you searched out.
 
Also, we have decent draw power available with Uxie LA, Professor Juniper and Ninetales HGSS all providing enough draw to get any card you might need without the need to attack. If you can remember when Furret SW came out with a free attack to search for any 2 cards from your deck (a much stronger attack than Nasty Plot), players loved it until Claydol GE was released and gave greater consistency with the excellent Cosmic Draw Poke-power (which did not use up your attack for the turn as an added bonus). In the end Nasty Plot is good, even great, but it has too much competition to be played for its own sake.
 
Since we have a very useful but overshadowed first attack, we need a brilliant second attack for Zoroark to avoid the binder.
 
The second attack, Foul Play, fits the theme of Dark Poke'mon in general and Zoroark in particular. The cost is [c][c] and the effect is to copy one of the attacks on the Defending Poke'mon. Obviously you can do some serious damage with this attack in the right situation, and copying your opponent's attacks is always fun because it adds an element of unpredicatbility to your strategy. That and throwing an opponent's favourite attack back in their face always makes me feel warm and fuzzy.
 
As cool as the effect is, there are several problems with the attack . Most of them revolve around rulings that haven't yet been made about this card, so doing a proper review is going to be difficult.
 
The first potential problem is the cost. I don't know if you have to meet the cost of the attack you are copying as well as the cost of Foul Play. The cost for Foul Play is cheap, but that advantage is wasted if you have to use a bunch of Rainbow Energy to copy another attack. Personally I think you are only going to have to pay for Foul Play itself and ignore the cost of the copied attack, but if that proves untrue then Zoroark is doomed to be binder fodder.
 
The next possible problem is again to do with costs. If you don't have to pay the energy cost of the target attack, do you still have to pay other costs like discards and self damage? Attacks that discard energy are likely to be impossible for you to use because you won't have the necessary energy attached to discard, and self damaging attacks will also be difficult to use since they will cut into your 100 HP very quickly.
 
On that track, if you copy an attack that discards all of a certain energy attached to the Poke'mon using the attack (discarding all [r] energy to use Emboar BW's Flare Blitz, for example) do you still have to discard even if you don't have any energy of that type (in which case your attack fails) or do you get to use the attack for free?
 
My personal guess is that additional costs such as discarding cards and self damage will be applied when copying an attack with Foul Play, just like helful added effects like draw, search and disruption. My word isn't gospel however, so if you plan to use Zoroark check for current rulings when they become available.
 
A somewhat annoying problem is that when you are copying an attack from the defending Poke'mon, the overwhelming majority of attacks you copy will damage that same Defending Poke'mon in some way. While damage and Knock Outs are the point of the game, when you KO the current Defending Pokemon you won't have access to its attacks anymore. Sadly it is just the cost of doing business, but it will still be frustrating that when you find a good attack to clone you will lose it as soon as you finish hitting the owner of said attack.
 
The fourth and biggest problem with Foul Play is that your opponent will be likely be able to use their attacks more effectively than you can by copying them. For example, if Zoroark comes up against a Charizard PA you won't be able to get the same damage bonuses that the Charizard player can (even if you can pay the discard cost to copy Charizard's Burning Tail). As another example, if you face a Tyranitar SF you will be getting minimal damage from Grind (Zoroark's HP is too low to invest a lot of energy) while your opponent can stack on the energy for major damage, or if you copy Spinning Tail you are dealing decent spread but you still aren't dealing a lot of damage to Tyranitar itself which will counterattack and wipe you out. Then there are possible matchups against Ditto LA and Mew Prime, both of which will make you want to bang your head against the table because your opponent will be using attacks you can't copy.
 
Zoroark will suffer greatly whenever it does not have access to an attack it can abuse, allowing your opponent to play around you and deny you any good offensive options (you can still use Nasty Plot to great effect when Foul Play isn't an option though). Also, Zoroark has very little access to damage bonuses, since you won't often hit for weakness and you won't want to use a Special Darkness Energy. Even worse, there is no guarantee you will even deal damage because the attack you copy may drop damage counters or inflict some other alternative effect instead of straight damage.
 
There are some major upsides to Foul Play that I should mention. If you don't have to pay the same energy cost as your opponent to attack, Foul Play allows you quick access to your opponent's more powerful attacks before they can use them against you, giving you a cheap and powerful (if very situational) attacker.
 
The same idea can be applied to disruptive attacks, although generally you will be paying more energy than your your opponent since the only good disruptive attacks are the cheap ones.
 
Copying a snipe attack is definitely one of the biggest upsides to Foul Play. Even after paying any additional costs, using a heavy snipe attack to hit the target of your choice is awesome, especially as you will almost certainly be paying less energy to attack than your opponent AND you can copy the attack turn after turn, rather than using it once and losing it because you KO'd the Poke'mon you were copying. Just watch that your opponent doesn't snipe you out of existence first. Garchomp C and Balstoise UL may have great sniping attacks to clone but you can bet your collection that your opponent will be using those snipes on you!
 
In the final analysis, Foul Play is good enough alongside Nasty Plot that I would recommend running a 1-1 line of Zoroark in any mono Dark deck, such as Tyranitar or Houndoom/Weavile. The speed and surprise Zoroark will bring to the table along with the decent stats mean that even if you don't get much mileage out of Foul Play in a particular match, you will still get your money's worth from Nasty Plot. And when Foul Play can be abused in other matches, you will be damned glad you included it in your deck list.
 
When definite rulings are released for Foul Play Zoroark may well become broken and become a centrepiece in its own future deck, or it could go the other way and find itself marked as binder fodder that is all the more disappointing because it came so close to being playable. If the rulings go the way I think they will as I wrote above, then Zoroark will be worth playing but won't be a must run until a future format with slower avearge setup makes Nasty Plot nigh on unbeatable. Only time will tell which way the chips fall, but I like this card.
 
Modified: 3.75 (this is a tentative score until I know what the rulings are, but at a guess this card just makes it into the 'tournament viable' category)
 
Limited: 4 (Nasty Plot rules here and Foul Play has plenty of good targets, especially as your opponent probably won't have the energy they need for their biggest attacks and won't able to move around as much to deny you access to good targets. Just watch for Reshiram and Zekrom, who both have more HP than Zoroark and powerful attacks that are difficult to copy)
 
Combos with: a big brutish attacker that benefits from Nasty Plot and can take over when Zoroark is being blocked or outgunned. Something like Tyranitar Prime or Tyranitar SF would fit the bill.

conical
Deck Garage

4/28/11: Zoroark(Black & White)
 
Now we're getting to some really interesting cards! The biggest thing that's been hyped with Zoroark is his 2nd attack, Foul Play, which looks to be the closest thing to reprinting the original Jungle Clefable, a somewhat popular card amongst older players, and an all-around cool concept, in my opinion. Granted, it takes 1 more energy to use(a rare case of attacks becoming more expensive), but there's still Double Colorless Energy to help with the cost, plus it keeps possibly the most important effect from Clefable, that being that attacks that require you to discard energy are ignored, if it specifies a type of energy. So, as I understand it, if Zoroark copied Garchomp C's Dragon Rush, it'd have to discard 2 Energy, since it doesn't specify an energy type, but if you copied, say, Emboar's Flare Blitz attack, Zoroark wouldn't have to discard any energy, as long as it doesn't have any Fire energy attached. It's unclear whether this would be useful in the current format, due to most playable Pokemon having super-cheap attacks these days, but it could have some uses. If nothing else, it could kill a Gengar or two by copying Poltergeist, and avoiding Fainting Spell flips.
 
But that's not all to the card! While Foul Play gets most of the hype, and deservedly so, Nasty Plot also has its uses. Yeah, there was a Furret from the previous the format who had a similar attack, except was twice as effective and required no energy, but then, Furret was exclusively a support Pokemon, whereas Zoroark has the tools to hold its own in battle(provided your opponent has the tools as well). The point is, Nasty Plot is a nifty attack, and should by no means be overlooked.
 
Modified: 3.75/5
Limited: 4.5/5  


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