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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Zoroark #102

Next Destinies

Date Reviewed: March 9, 2012

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 2.95
Limited: N/A See Below

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

Combos With: See Below

Baby Mario
2010 UK National
Seniors
Champion

Zoroark

We finish the week with another super rare shiny card from Next Destinies. This one is a reprint of Zoroark BW . . . a card that feels like it has been around for ages, even though it was first released less than a year ago.

Everyone who has been playing during that time will be familiar with Zoroark and what it does. It’s a low-ish HP Dark Type Stage 1 with a first attack that almost never gets used, and a second attack which has its own special rules, designed to make it the perfect high utility counter. One of the nice things about that is how well it fits the Pokémon itself: Zoroark is a shape-shifting Pokémon, so having it able to copy other Pokémon attacks just seems fitting somehow.

That second attack, Foul Play, costs two Energy of any Colour (hello Double Colourless!) and enables Zoroark to use any attack printed on the Defending Pokémon, regardless of Energy requirements. What’s more, the ruling is that Zoroark only has to pay any costs for those attacks if it is able to. For example, if Zoroark uses Foul Play to copy Zekrom-EX’s Strong Volt, that attack says it must discard two Energy, which it will always be able to do. However, if it Foul Plays Reshiram BW’s Blue Flare and does not have any Fire or Rainbow Energy attached, then no discard is necessary because Blue Flare specifies that Fire Energy must be discarded. Of course, any other attack effects that Zoroark can meet must also be done: if it copies Zekrom BW’s Bolt Strike, it takes 40 self-damage, or if it uses Kyurem-EX’s Hail Blizzard, it can’t use the same attack on the next turn.

Zoroark usage has fluctuated a lot since release. It saw a lot of play at first as a counter to the Dragons as it could OHKO them with the aid of a PlusPower. When Eviolite came out, Zoroark saw less play because it could no longer get the OHKO so easily. And that’s the problem with the card really: the investment required (Stage 1 + DCE) is quite high, and Zoroark itself isn’t very durable, so if it is going to be used it must, at minimum, be good for taking a Prize. This probably explains why it hasn’t so far made much of a comeback in this new era of EX Pokémon: yes, it can copy Reshiram and Zekrom-EX’s 150 damage attacks . . . but they have 180 HP (plus maybe Eviolite), so it will still fall short of a knock out. It’s also not much use against the dominant Mewtwo-EX.

Looking to the future (as usual I mean spoilers for Japanese sets), Zoroark seems to be getting some support that could help him out, including a Zorua with an Ascension-style attack for speedy Evolution and a Tool which boosts his damage output. You can never really write off a Pokémon like Zoroark because Foul Play offers pretty much the ultimate in versatility when it comes to counterattacking. Right now, it’s not the best environment for him, but I’m sure he’ll see play again before he rotates out of Modified.

Rating

Modified: 3 (I say 3 because that’s an average. Depending on the format, it varies between 2 and 4)

Limited: N/A (no Zorua in the set)


Otaku

We end the week with Zoroark (BW: Next Destinies 102/99), a Secret Rare reprint of Black & White 71/114); the Stats and Effects are the same, but the artwork is radically different, featuring a non-standard color-scheme for a Zoroark.

Stats

Zoroark is a Stage 1 Darkness-Type Pokémon, which comes as no surprise since this is a reprint. Being a Stage 1 Pokémon has gotten worse as the format has progressed, with several big, Basic Pokémon who’s Stats and Effects would make for a solid Stage 2 Pokémon, thus easily surpassing most Stage 1 options. Zoroark must maximize it’s speed as best as it can, but unless we get something “special”, it will always be a turn (and thus a step) behind big Basic Pokémon, whether they are Pokémon EX or of the normal variety. Being a Darkness-Type is a small advantage; when facing a Darkness-Type deck, one shouldn’t underestimate how even the 10 extra points of damage a single Special Energy Darkness Energy card can radically shift games. Of course those running Darkness-Type decks have to remember not to overestimate it either; again it is a small advantage. It is almost meaningless in terms of Type-Matching.

100 HP is as low as I like to see on a Stage 1, and for a Stage 1 that can’t Evolve again, it still is functionally low. Most aggressive attackers will be able to OHKO it, and for that matter as long as it is an attacker it should come close enough that PlusPower or the like can close the deal: don’t expect Zoroark to survive your opponent’s turn unless you’ve got it somehow protected. The Fighting Weakness isn’t as bad as it used to be: some Donphan Prime decks are still rolling around, but they aren’t the force they used to be. You have to worry more about Terrakion, but ultimately Weakness just saves the player from dropping a PlusPower; it hits for 90 before Weakness anyway (when properly used – improperly used you actually should survive). Psychic Resistance is somewhat handy; it is one more Energy for Mewtwo EX to OHKO Zoroark with X-Ball, but if Mewtwo EX is actually in a Psychic deck its Psydrive attack overpowers Resistance anyway. The single Energy Retreat Cost finishes off the bottom stats, and it is a nice, inexpensive Retreat cost that is easy to pay and rarely causes problems.

Effects

Nasty Plot is still a useful filler attack; if you can pay for it but not Foul Play (since Foul Play can use any Energy, lacking a way to pay the (D) for Nasty Plot is a possibility) at least you can get the exact card you want from your deck. Granted it will be costing you a Prize and whatever you had invested into Zoroark most of the time since that 100 HP just isn’t going to last, but it is better than being unable to do anything.

Foul Play is the real attraction: for (CC) you can select one of the Defending Pokémon’s attacks and hit them with it, ignoring the normal Energy requirements. As it is Double Colorless Energy compatible in the extreme, this makes the attack blazingly fast… sadly it can’t compensate for still being under a speed limit due to the Stage. If you do power it up through individual Energy attachments, this price is also friendly to using a Special Energy Darkness Energy or two, which means you’d actually hit the Defending Pokémon harder than said Pokémon itself hits with its own attack.

There is an obvious drawback that has been made more apparent by the format: yes, you get access to an attack without its Energy cost, but you also gain access without that Pokémon’s Stats or anticipated deck support. Sometimes it can be good to have different Stats, but usually that means an attack balanced for a 180 HP Pokémon EX doesn’t work quite as well as you’d hope.

Usage

Well, there is a psychological advantage to using expensive and/or prettier versions of cards. Some players are intimidated by it, and as long as it is all their own doing, I see no problem enjoying that advantage. When it is being lovingly handled, watching a “bling” deck in action, whether it is a daring rogue, elite archetype, or “fun” deck, is a thing of beauty, at least if you are capable of appreciating both the art and things like holofoil.

If you’re going to use this (or the original version), you’ve currently got three Zorua to choose from: all are Basic Darkness-Type Pokémon with Fighting Weakness, Psychic Resistance, and single Energy Retreat Costs. I’d go with the Black & White version, since it has 60 HP, and while not a good deal, the 30 damage for (CC) on a successful coin toss might OHKO an opening HeartGold/SoulSilver-era Baby Pokémon if you get real lucky. The only other Zoroark we’ve gotten, BW: Emerging Powers 67/98, would maybe be considered as a single Tech for a dedicated Zoroark deck that wasn’t running anything but Zoroark to attack with, since it focuses on so-so damage attacks. For the first attack, (D) buys three coin tosses inflicting 20 points of damage per “heads” to the Defending Pokémon, while (DCC) just scores 80 to the Defending Pokémon. The Stats are identical to today’s version, save the more expensive Retreat Cost (CC instead of C).

The thing is that right now, I don’t think Foul Play Zoroark is a strong deck right now. Yes it can still wonderfully copy attacks, but too many popular attackers don’t hit hard enough for their duplicated attack to OHKO them back. Even if you’re facing a Pokémon EX with four Energy attached, you just can’t afford to burn two Energized Zoroark taking it down. So many current, strong decks are about backing something good with the right set-up, to exploit its strengths/mitigate its Weaknesses, which means you need to run that same support or you come out behind from the copying.

Spoiler Alert!

Obviously the Darkness-Type Support I mentioned might be coming next set can help, but what really helps is the new Zoroark that might be in that very set and a Zorua with Ascension (attack that searches the deck for Zoroark and Evolves Zorua into it). Though it does get stuck with a two Energy Retreat Cost, it otherwise matches the stats of today’s card. It has some nasty looking attacks, however. For (CC) it can do 20 points of damage times the number of Darkness-Type Pokémon you have in play, and for (DD) it can do 20 points of damage times the number of damage counters on itself. All alone that is good but not thrilling; 120 for (CC) but on a Stage 1 with 100 HP still needs help to handle Reshiram, Zekrom, etc. If you can somehow ensure your opponent nearly (but not quite) KOs Zoroark, the second attack could hit for up to 180 points of damage, but that isn’t likely either.

The second attack might theoretically work in a damage swap deck, but mostly I think the first attack could allow this coming Zoroark coupled with what we reviewed today to function as the likely Stage 1 back-up for other Darkness-Type decks. Remember the coming support: Darkness Claw (Pokémon Tool that allows the equipped Darkness-Type Pokémon to hit for +20 points of damage), Dark Patch (Item that attaches a basic Darkness Energy from the discard to something on the Bench), and Darkrai EX (Ability grants Darkness-Type Pokémon with a source of (D) Energy attached a free Retreat Cost, otherwise your normal big Basic Pokémon EX). Again, just enough to keep hope alive.

End Spoiler Alert!

In Unlimited, like most cards, it won’t get top marks because it doesn’t feed a first turn win/lock/donk deck. Run with the impressive Trainer support from the total life of the game, and probably some Trainer like Neo Genesis Slowking, and the usual supporting Pokémon, and you’d have a solid deck, save that Neo and e-card era Baby Pokémon could be a real problem; the attacks aren’t good for offense for a Stage 1, and the Baby Rule provides defense for them. In Limited though, this card is great… well at least when you’re dealing with the old Black & White version; this version lacks access to its lower Stages, so it should never see any play (let alone it’s probably monetary value).

Ratings

Unlimited: 2.75/5

Modified: 2/5

Limited: N/A (5/5 if it could be used)

Summary

Wonderful for collectors or those wanting to express their good fortune in TCG cards (and bling decks can sometimes grant a mild edge), Zoroark just can’t survive long enough to make a copied attack worthwhile anymore. You basically have to open with damage spread but be able to follow through the whole way, and then start copying attacks now that they’ll finish off whatever you’ve already injured.

Please check out my eBay sales by clicking here. It’s me whittling away at about two decades worth of attempted collecting, spanning action figures, comic books, TCGs, and video games. Exactly what is up is a bit random. Right now it includes some Transformers Mini-Cons and some video games, including the Pokémon Trading Card Game for the old Game Boy Color. Pojo.com is in no way responsible for any transactions; Pojo is merely doing me a favor by letting me link at the end of my reviews.

Mad Mattezhion

Zoroark (Next Destinies)
 
Hello Folks, we finish off our week with another Shiny Secret Rare that makes the collectors drool. Unlike yesterday's card which we had not previously reviewed (I made a mistake yesterday, I was thinking of the heavily Hydreigon-influenced review we did for Mandibuzz EP), today's card is quite famous although some of the lustre has gone from Zoroark's features.
 
Zoroark made a name for itself soon after its release by copying the attacks of pretty much anything you wanted, but it has since faded from sight as new toys like Eviolite and Prism Energy made evolutions into a dying breed.
 
Both Foul Play and Nasty Plot are well remembered for the shenanigans they led to and are truly awesome attacks, so I'm going to say that Zoroark isn't dead yet and can still pull its weight in a competitive deck, but it is usually edged out by other Poke'mon as the 61st card. Still, it could see a resurgence as a cheap counter to Mewtwo EX, with Psychic resistance and the chance to copy Psydrive and X-Ball being mighty attractive!
 
It's always hard to find new things to say about a reprint when it only came out a few sets ago, so I'm going to say that the art looks gorgeous and leave it at that!
 
Modified: 3 (Zoroark still does the same things it used to do, but the format has changed so searching cards and copying attacks isn't enough when you only have 100 HP and will lose a Prize as well as a Special Energy)
 
Limited: 1 (there isn't a Zorua available, but you'll still be glad you have this extremely rare piece of beautifully detailed trader bait)
 
Combos with: a time warp


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