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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Zorua #69

Dark Explorers

Date Reviewed: July 26, 2012

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 3.90
Limited: 4.00

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

Zorua #69 (Dark Explorers)

Evolving Basics eh? Very occasionally they will give you something nice like Call for Family, or a coin flip for some Status Condition, but most of the time the best you can hope for is that they will survive long enough to evolve.

Take this Zorua, for example, with his low 50 HP, Fighting Weakness, and near-useless Scratch attack. He’s just begging to be KO’d and give up an easy Prize to your opponent, right?


This Zorua comes with the rarely-seen Ascension attack (you have to go back to Shuppet CG, I think), which is just about the best thing you get printed on an evolving Basic. For one Dark Energy, you get to search your deck for a Pokémon that evolves from Zorua (i.e.: Zoroark) and evolve it right there and then. Now your weak Basic is a Stage 1, ready to attack on your next turn, provided you have another Energy to attach. The advantages to this are clear. It’s much more difficult (though not impossible) for the Stage 1 to be OHKO’d by your opponent, and you do not have to use a card like Ultra Ball or Pokémon Communication to search it out on your next turn . . . you are free to use those resources to grab some support Pokémon or back up attackers.

Of course, this attack’s usefulness is dependent upon just how good Zoroark itself is. Recently, it has seen little-to-no play in tournaments, but both Zoroark BLW and Zoroark DEX are interesting Pokémon that have the potential to be playable again. If they are, then there is no question that this is the Zorua you will want to play them with.

Zorua DEX can protect itself somewhat by evolving, and adds much-needed speed and efficiency to any deck featuring Zoroark. It would be unreasonable to ask for any more from a Basic, really.


Modified: 3 (now this is the kind of evolving Basic I would like to see more of)

Limited: 2.25 (unless you pull a lot of Dark Pokémon, Zoroark itself is of limited use in this format)


Greetings once again, Pojo readers! Today we're reviewing the Basic form of a Pokemon that could see quite a bit of play, and this particular variant will see lots of play alongside it. Today's Card of the Day is Zorua from Dark Explorers.


Zorua is a Basic Darkness Pokemon. As stated earlier in the week, Darkness is a type on the rise, thanks to the amazing support it received from Dark Explorers. As such, Zorua will be able to take advantage of things like Darkrai-EX, Dark Claw, and Dark Patch if you decide to use it in a deck. 50 HP is about what we'd expect for an evolving Basic, so Zorua can probably take a very light hit in the early game before being KOed, but will generally be an easy Prize in the late game. Fighting Weakness just means that Terrakion OHKOs with Retaliate regardless of the extra damage, with other Fighting types hitting hard as well. Psychic Resistance is nice to have but somewhat irrelevant, as Mewtwo-EX will most likely be able to OHKO most of the time anyway (though Zorua shouldn't be Active for very long, anyway). Finally, a Retreat Cost of 1 is easily paid.


Zorua has two attacks. Ascension is Zorua's best attack, which allows you to search your deck for a card that evolves from Zorua and put it on top of Zorua, evolving it. Since this attack costs a single Darkness Energy, one can easily have a turn 1 Zoroark, which can be a great boon to decks using the new Zoroark from Dark Explorers. While this early game play is very powerful, it's slightly less powerful in the late game, as Zoroark has somewhat low HP and will be susceptible to KOs by opposing attackers. As one might expect, this attack is great in both Modified and Limited, where searching out an Evolution for a low cost is always a great investment.


Zorua's second attack is Scratch, dealing 20 damage for two Colorless Energy (or a Double Colorless). This is a standard vanilla attack for a Basic, and you probably won't be using it much at all, since Ascension will get you a Zoroark very quickly.


Modified: 4/5 This rating is for Zoroark decks, where this Zorua should be the Zorua of choice for some time to come. Ascension is amazing and easily makes this Zorua more usable than any of the others. If you're building a deck with Zoroark (either BW or DEX), use this Zorua. You won't be disappointed.


Limited: 4/5 Zorua is also great in Limited, provided you also draft a Zoroark. Ascension provides an excellent search engine in a format where search is rare, and also guarantees a quick evolution into Zoroark. Scratch is sadly not that useful, but Colorless Energy requirements means that it can fit into any deck, even if you aren't focusing on Darkness as a type. Once again, highly recommended.

Jebulous Maryland Player Zorua
Zorua is a Basic Dark Pokemon with 50 HP.  It has a Fighting weakness, Psychic resistance, and a 1 retreat cost.  Level Ball searches for it and Skyarrow Bridge gives it free retreat.  Unfortunately it can be donked, but probably not too often.
'Ascension' costs 1 Dark energy and lets you search your deck for a Zoroark (unless in the future it gets another evolution) and evolve into that Zoroark.  A first turn 'Ascension' is what everyone would want.  That way on your next turn you can do whatever (Brutal Bash, Dark Rush, Nasty Plot, or Foul Play).  Also, you don't have to use any resources searching for the Stage 1.
'Scratch' is okay, not likely to be used unless you have no Zoroarks left to Ascend to.  It does 20 damage for 2 Colorless energy.
I like 'Ascension' because it does what I want it to do; it evolves my Pokemon for me.  Though I have to give up an attack, early game it is not that bad of a deal.  Late game could pose problems if they can OHKO the Zoroark.
Not much to really say, I know there was a lot of talk (when this was about to come out) of Dark Decks using this and the newest Zoroark to get high damage early on in the game.  I don't think that deck has made much of an impact competitively, seeing how it was pushed to the side for Dark decks with Darkrai EX.
Modified: 4/5
Limited: 4.5/5
Combo's With: ...
Questions, comments, concerns: jebulousthemighty@yahoo.com
Mad Mattezhion
 Professor Bathurst League Australia

Zorua #69 (Dark Explorers)
Evolving Basics are usually pretty boring to review, commonly lacking anything that resembles heavy firepower or new mechanics worthy of a deck builder's attention. At most, the best you can hope for is enough HP and defensive attacks to keep the critter in play long enough to evolve.
There have been a few exceptions, such as Torchic from Platinum, which with a little luck on the
coin flips could dish out 80 damage on the second turn with no extra help. Zorua is another such card, mainly because of the first attack.
With 50 HP and Fighting Weakness, Zorua just screams out 'Catcher bait' but fortunately in most cases that won't matter. The good points, like the Psychic Resistance and low retreat cost are also unlikely to affect the game, given that Mewtwo EX is likely to carry enough energy to punch through for the KO and no other attacker will leave Zorua conscious long enough to retreat anyway.
The reason for all of my optimism about Zorua is Ascension, which has appeared on a mere handful of cards in the history of the game (Weedle and Kaluna from HS Triumphant were the most recent). For the bargain of a single [d] energy, Zorua allows you to search your deck for a Zoroark and immediately evolve.
This is the best attack any evolving Poke'mon can have since it lets you use your search card of choice on something else, accelerates your evolution and best of all leaves a tougher Poke'mon in the Active slot to face your opponent's return salvo. With Shaymin UL and Pachirisu CL about to rotate out, no deck is going to manage 100 damage on the first turn and only Terrakion NV with 2 Pluspowers or a Dig Uppercut from Excadrill DEX  will be able to reach that number on the second turn, so an early Ascension and another energy drop will give you a huge lead.
Scratch isn't even worth mentioning next to Ascension, especially since it costs two energy.
Just to be fair, there are 5 other Zorua currently legal (one BW, one EP, another Zorua DEX, a Burger King Promo and a blister pack Promo) so there is a lot of competition for deck space. Except that there isn't because all of the other Zorua do nothing but deal vanilla damage for an excessive energy cost.
There are three legal Zoroark to play, and two of them are worth trying to use. Zoroark BW fell out of favour after Eviolite and Terrakion NV were released but thabks to the brilliant mind that created the Sableye Hammertime deck, I can see a comeback. Imagine a first turn with Zorua using Ascension, followed next turn by using Zoroark's Nasty plot to find a Crushing Hammer or Poke'mon Catcher (whichever of the two you don't already have in hand). Turn 3, you drag up the biggest EX you can see and got to town with Foul Play to copy whichever attack strikes your fancy while having kept the opponent from retaliating with your Hammers. Drop Darkrai EX onto the bench, retreat into Sableye, attack to retrieve your lost Hammers and start the whole process of again!
I did say something about another Zoroark though, didn't I? The Zoroark from Dark Explorers, recently reviewed by my colleagues, has the lovely Brutal Bash attack with which it can deal obscene amounts of damage for only [c][c]. With a full bench of Dark Poke'mon and a Dark Claw attached, Zoroark will belt out 140 damage per turn which is enough to take down Eelektrik and all of its energy-from-the-discard abusing friends who laugh at your storm of Crushing Hammers (Pluspower will be a necessity to reach the magical 150 damage for Eviolite boosted Musketeers and Dragons however).
If you want to run a turbo energy removal deck based around Sableye, both of the above Zoroark cards would be excellent for taking control of the early game, either by helping to add Crushing And Emhanced Hammers to your hand or by being faster than the Eelektrik/Dark Patch powered decks which rob your advantage. Add in your own Darkrai as a natural partner and either Krookodile DEX or Hydreigon NV to close out the game, and you will have a powerhouse of a deck!
Modified: 4.75 (not only does Zorua avoid having to sit in play for a turn by evolving before your opponent can touch it, it makes adding Zoroark to your decks more attractive due to being self searching and fast)
Limited: 5 (Zoroark is awesome in Limited with its Dark Rush attack to retaliate with twice the damage it tales, and any search at all is welcome just to thin out the deck)
Combos with: Zoroark BW, Zoroark DEX

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