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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Top 10 Dark Explorers Cards:

#7 - Zoroark #71

Dark Explorers

Date Reviewed: May 10, 2012

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 3.67
Limited: 3.50

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

Dark Explorers Countdown
#7 Zoroark

In seventh place in our top 10 countdown is a card that players have been talking about since we first got to see the fan translations of the Japanese card. In fact it’s only one of a couple of non-EX attackers from the set to get any hype at all . . . the other one didn’t even make this list (*sad face*)

Zoroark is a Dark Type Stage 1 with 100 HP and a Retreat cost of two . . . so far, so meh: the Retreat cost seems unnecessarily high, the HP isn’t great, and Dark hits virtually nothing playable for Weakness (do people still use Chandelure?). I suppose the Psychic Resistance is ok, but really there’s nothing here to explain why anyone would want to put this card in a top 10. To find out why, we need to consider two things: firstly the amount of support that Zoroark gets, and secondly its attacks.

In terms of support, Dark Explorers has been incredibly kind to Zoroark. Dark Pokémon have always had Special Energy to abuse, and now they have a bunch of new toys to play with too . . . Dark Patch for Energy acceleration, Darkrai-EX for free Retreat, and the Dark Claw Tool to boost their attacks by 20. If that wasn’t enough, Zoroark also gets a great Basic in the shape of a Zorua with an Ascension attack. Long-time players will remember this attack from Shuppet CG and Feebas HL . . . it allows you to search your deck for the card that evolves from the Basic and put it on that card. Yes, it does get around the ‘no evolving on the first turn rule’, so you can set yourself up nicely for a turn 2 Zoroark without having to search it out or draw into it.

Of course, no-one would want a turn 2 Zoroark if its attacks were rubbish, but luckily they’re not. Dark Rush is decent-ish, needing two Dark Energy to do 20 damage times the number of damage counters on Zoroark. In theory this means you could do 180 points of unboosted damage, though in reality any opponent that left themselves open for this kind of attack by doing partial damage to a Zoroark is probably not going to provide much competition anyway. I suppose it could deter your opponent from attacking short of a one-shot on the Zoroark you just evolved via Ascension, but that’s about it really. Sensible opponents will just play around the situation with Catcher and/or bide their time for a OHKO. The real reason for the hype though is Zoroark’s first attack, Brutal Bash. For the cost of a Double Colourless Energy, this attack does 20 damage times the number of Dark Pokémon you have in play (including Zoroark itself). This turns that T2 Zoroark into a serious heavy hitter: if you can fill your Bench with Dark Pokémon, that’s 120 damage; with Dark Claw that would be 140; and if you managed to get Special Darks on there as well . . . that puts it up to 160! Enough to OHKO an EX with a PlusPower or two!

Ok, I was getting carried away there – that Special Dark/Dark Claw/PlusPower scenario is way too Farfetch’d – but it should be clear that Zoroark can still hit pretty hard pretty fast. You’re even spoiled for choice when it comes to filling the Bench with Dark Pokémon to support the attack. There’s the Darkrai-EX I mentioned earlier, Absol Prime for early Damage spread, Sableye DEX for Trainer recovery, and Weavile UD for hand disruption strategies. All things considered, that’s a reasonably attractive line up for a deck.

So, is Zoroark worth the hype? Hmmm . . . I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have doubts about this card. At the end of the day it’s still a low-ish HP Stage 1 that gets OHKO’d by most of the major attackers in the format. Groudon-EX and even Terrakion NV will give it nightmares, and needing to maintain a full Bench of Dark Pokémon puts some strain on the deck and limits your choices when it comes to using techs and other useful support cards (such as Shaymin UL and Smeargle UD/CL). To tell the truth, I think that Zoroark is a little overrated, though there’s no denying it can be a powerful attacker that will appeal to many players.


Modified: 3.75 (a bit of a glass cannon, but could just be tournament worthy)

Limited: 3 (if you pull a ton a Dark Pokémon, great. Otherwise . . . not so good)


Hello once again, Pojo readers! Today we're going to review a card that's gotten a fair bit of hype since it's come out due to its very powerful attacks, as well as being one of the flagship Pokemon from the new set. Today's Card of the Day (#7 on our countdown) is Zoroark from Dark Explorers.
Zoroark is a Stage 1 Darkness Pokemon. Before Dark Explorers, Darkness-types never really saw much play; Absol Prime was used as a tech against Chandelure, and a few fun decks with Weavile and Sharpedo came about, but nothing really mainstream. Zoroark, Darkrai-EX, Dark Claw, and Dark Patch aim to change that. 100 HP is fairly standard for a Stage 1, so it puts Zoroark in a range where it can take weak attacks, but falls to stronger ones. Fighting Weakness is bad against Terrakion; Psychic Resistance is great against Mewtwo; and a Retreat Cost of 2 can be paid if necessary (though Darkrai-EX gives it free Retreat with a Darkness Energy attached, as well).
Zoroark's two attacks, Brutal Bash and Dark Rush, are both fairly powerful. Brutal Bash does 20 damage times the number of Darkness Pokemon you have in play for two Colorless (or a Double Colorless), capping at an excellent 120 damage for two Energy, not counting other modifiers. With Dark Claw and two Special Darkness Energy, this attack can reach 160, which is a hefty amount of damage (though sadly still under the "magic numbers" for many common Pokemon-EX. Additionally, this attack can be set up very quickly with Double Colorless Energy if you decide to go that route, although the overall damage output is somewhat smaller. This attack obviously works well with many Darkness Basics, so cards like Level Ball, Dual Ball, and Pokemon Collector are all great things to use to support this attack.
Dark Rush, the second attack, does 20 damage times the number of damage counters on Zoroark for two Darkness Energy. Once again, this attack's damage can cap at 180, which takes out nearly every Pokemon in the game in one hit, and that's without factoring Dark Claw and Special Darkness damage. One potential drawback of this attack is that Zoroark really doesn't have enough HP to make great use of it, as there are many attacks that deal over 100 damage in the format right now, like Zekrom-EX's Strong Volt, Tornadus-EX's Power Blast, Mewtwo-EX's X Ball under the right conditions, and a myriad of other slow, large attackers (Reshiram and Kyurem come to mind). Additionally, the omnipresent Terrakion can Knock it Out in one shot with ease, as can a fully powered Groudon-EX. Therefore, although the damage output for this attack is quite great, chances are you won't be able to really get the most out of it.
Modified: 3.5/5 Zoroark is a powerful Pokemon, having the ability to deal massive amounts of damage as early as the second turn of the game. Therefore, Zoroark players can put massive pressure on their opponents, as very few will be able to deal with an onslaught of Darkness types doing tons of damage that early in the game. However, Zoroark is not without its pitfalls. 100 HP is very, very, low, and Zoroark will often be taken down in one hit by powerful Pokemon-EX (and even some non-EX Pokemon). Second, Fighting Weakness is a major problem, as Terrakion is everywhere due to the popularity of Zekrom and Eelektrik, so many decks will pack Terrakion, another pain for Zoroark to face. If you get past these shortcomings, Zoroark can be a very powerful Pokemon that makes the most out of the new Darkness-type support in Dark Explorers.
Limited: 4/5 Zoroark's power is great here, but there are a few problems as well. Brutal Bash requires a dedicated Darkness deck to get maximum damage, although the number of Dark types in this set mitigate this problem somewhat. The second problem is once again Zoroark's low 100 HP, but Limited isn't nearly as strong of a format as Modified. Overall, if you pull many Darkness-type Pokemon, you'll want to run Zoroark for its incredible power.


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