Courtesy of Featured Writer Juan Macedo
For Darkness type challenges, Hoopa/Zoro is my go to deck to get them done while going for wins on the ladder as well. This was pretty much inspired by DarkIntegral’s showcase of the deck months back that somehow became something I would grow to love as time passed.
And as one might imagine: Zoroark is just good. Zoroark Break: marvelous.
##Pokémon - 15
* 2 Oranguru SUM 113
* 3 Hoopa SLG 55
* 1 Zorua PR-SM SM83
* 3 Zorua SLG 52
* 3 Zoroark BKT 91
* 1 Zoroark-GX PR-SM SM84
* 2 Zoroark BREAK BKT 92
##Trainer Cards – 36
* 2 Professor Sycamore STS 114
* 1 Fighting Fury Belt BKP 99
* 2 N FCO 105
* 2 Energy Loto GRI 122
* 2 Super Rod DRV 20
* 3 Lillie SUM 147
* 2 Evosoda GEN 62
* 1 Town Map BKT 150
* 3 Choice Band GRI 121
* 3 Guzma BUS 115
* 4 Ultra Ball SUM 135
* 1 Special Charge STS 105
* 3 Nest Ball SUM 158
* 3 Float Stone BKT 137
* 2 Field Blower GRI 125
* 2 Cynthia UPR 119
##Energy – 9
* 4 Double Colorless Energy SUM 136
* 5 Darkness Energy BLW 111
Okay so just by the Zoroark GX alone, the term “Budget” can get thrown out the window. However, one can still make it budget by just taking out the GX, effectively making this one a Lele-free, simple deck for players who are gradually making their way to stability online.
For the Pokémon we have a 4-4-2 line of Zoroark, 3 of which are the Stand In variant with Mind Jack. Very self-explanatory there: if your opponent has a full bench and you slap Choice Band on one of them, you’re hitting for 190. That’s a knockout on Lapras and Buzzwole, as well as the rest of the Necrozmas out there. Zoroark GX (If you do run it) is there for the solid ability and solid attack. You can’t go wrong with him: he’s found everywhere in the format.
Zoroark BREAK, however, is the icing on the cake for this build. Foul Play is Trickster GX but without the restriction of being used more than once and for just 1 Darkness energy too. Simply put, if you manage to set up Zoroark Break and you face Dusk Mane… even if they made sure not to have a full bench against you, this dastardly fox will OHKO Necrozma with his very own Meteor Tempest. Buzzwole? Knuckle Impact with Choice Band. Lapras? Blizzard Burn. The list goes on and on, but basically the BREAK gives you the flexibility that you need to overcome a variety of opponents, even if some matchups seem too grim to win.
Other than that, we have 2 Oranguru to help with draws (while counteracting N’s disruptive nature near the late game), and we have 3 Hoopa from Shining Legends. Hoopa’s Scoundrel Guard just walls EX’s and GX’s, and it causes the opponents to come up with ways around it. And against a deck like this, where almost all the mons are one prize cards, wasting Guzmas and resources just to bypass Hoopa works to your advantage. Basically, if you face decks that don’t have enough ways to get over this solid shield, your opponent will probably concede if he finds no other way to win. But this strategy isn’t as prolific in recent memory, given that strong non-GX mons are seeing much more play nowadays.
I’ll be very brief on the Trainer cards: with a Lele-less deck like this, you’ll want to have ways to draw often and get your mons out. For that, we run 3 Lillie, 2 N, 2 Sycamore, 2 Cynthia: 9 draw supporters in all, with Lillie being the best turn 1 card for a wonderful start. To slap your Pokémon down, we have 3 Nest Balls, 4 Ultra Balls for adding more Pokémon to your hand, more specifically your Zoroarks alongside Evosoda. That and Ultra Ball helps thin your hand down for Oranguru to draw through your deck some more.
Now the 3 Guzma and Float Stones are there to guarantee switches, given that Hoopa and Oranguru are thick mons and the last thing you want to do is use DCE’s to swap back out into your attacker: you lose momentum by doing so and every attachment counts. You absolutely must attach an energy card down every turn to be able to attack and to set up the next attacker for when one of them falls. Falling behind on attachments, alongside failure to set up Zoroarks, will undoubtedly lead to a loss (bare that in mind).
To round things off, we run 1 Fighting Fury Belt and 3 Choice Band. With Float Stones, your tool cards are important, so take precaution when deciding who gets what and when you do attach to your Pokemon, given that Zoroark must be able to take 2 prize knockouts (so Hoopa does not necessarily need to be Banded to do his thing, although don’t sweat it if you do attach: he’s 2 shotting, which is good).
Other than that, we run 5 Darkness energy and 4 DCE, with the DCE’s being used to charge up your Hoopas and Zoroarks (and Oranguru too, to deal with Alolan Ninetales you might find). Because the DCE’s are important in the deck, we do run Special Charge to get them back, as well as Super Rod to get back Pokemon and energy that have been discarded or defeated as time goes on, so overall the list is balanced and each card acts as a puzzle piece to achieve a common goal: to defeat the opponent even if knocked back a peg or two.
To wrap things up, your mission when piloting this deck is to get your Zoroarks up and to swing with them. Hoopa can fight as well while taking prizes against evolving basics and Stage 1’s, but the Zoroark BREAKs are your Ace-in-the-Hole: the ability to copy powerful (and at times pricey) attacks for just one energy is just too good to pass up. And this is a mon that will be missed indefinitely.
Perhaps one day we will see this Stand In Zoroark back, perhaps one day we will see BREAKS return. Perhaps…who knows. For now, take this deck and complete your daily Challenges, and more importantly: just have fun.
Editor’s note: At the time of publication, Zoroark GX is running about $7 a copy. If only including a single copy in this deck, I would still call this a budget list.