Top 5 Shining Legends Cards

 #1 – Zoroark-GX
     – Shining Legends 53/73

Date Reviewed:
October 13, 2017

Standard: 4.58
Limited: 4.93

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average.  5 is great.


I feel like everyone believes this card to be the best in the set – like if you hadn’t somehow heard about Zoroark-GX, people would suddenly line-up around the street corner to walk up to you, slap you in the face, and go, “THIS guy is the BEST guy in the WHOOOOOOOOOOOLE SET!!”

…to be fair, we all did pick this as our #1, and that’s really saying something. I mean, there are 5 of us, and we ALL UNANIMOUSLY picked Zoroark-GX as our #1! I don’t think that’s ever happened before. So I guess shout-out to Zoroark-GX for being the KING of the leaderboards, since everyone picked him.

Now how to explain that. Well, he’s got the aptly named Trade Ability, which lets you discard a card from your hand to draw 2 cards. That’s it, just an instant draw ability. It practically has no downside, there’s no limit to what kind of card you discard – you just can have an instant draw 2 at any point before you attack! Of course, you can only do this once each turn, but that’s still amazing on its own.

Riotous Beating is Zoroark-GX’s regular attack, costing 2 Colorless Energy, meaning not only can he run around in decks for Trade, he can even act as an easy off-Type Attacker for any deck too! And with Riotous Beating, he dishes out 20 damage for each of your Pokemon in play. In Expanded with Sky Field, this could be as much as 160 damage on its own, but in Standard with just the regular rules, that’s as much as 120 damage. Still, on its own, that puts Zoroark-GX in 2HKO range for most Pokemon unboosted – it’s just a matter of getting stuff onto your Bench to make use of that. Heck, even with just 3 Pokemon and a Choice Band, most EX/GX will get knocked down in 2 hits!

But if you want to tap into Zoroark-GX’s fullest potential, you can put 2 Dark Energy on him and use his GX Attack, Trickster GX. With no prohibitions attached, Trickster GX lets you use any attack of a Pokemon in play – no strings attached. That is TREMENDOUS!! Against the right deck, Zoroark-GX could even overthrow a huge strategy! The utility of this maneuver makes him practically a must-run at least of 1-1 in Dark decks. Even without access to Trickster GX, I wouldn’t be surprised if Zoroark-GX mysteriously popped up in EVERY deck.

This kind of strongly built card outclasses a lot of other good cards. Most good cards tend to come about because of how good they are in a particular environment. There are very VERY few Pokemon that are just straight-up good – and Zoroark-GX is undoubtedly one of those few.


Standard: 5/5 (ABSOLUTELY demolishes the competition)

Expanded: 5/5 (with access to Dark support, I’m almost terrified of his reign here)

Limited: 5/5 (no questions, this guy is absolutely BEASTLY)

Arora Notealus: I’d honestly be tempted to say this guy’s one of the strongest cards ever printed in the game. Easily accessible draw power every turn, a powerful generic move, and a once-per-game copycat of ANY move are all ingredients to a powerful behemoth, and I’d be remiss to think he wouldn’t have topped this list…though I did think he might not be as dominant as he’s perceived to be.

Weekend Thought: What cards from Shining Legends are you most excited for? Did you like the Shining Pokemon that came in this set? What Pokemon were you looking forward to most? Think there should be a different card on our list, or maybe we should take a look at another card you thought deserved to get placed higher?


Zoroark GX (Shining Legends, 53/73) concludes our top 5 review of the Shining Legends expansion set.  A 210 HP Stage 1 Dark Pokemon, it has two attacks (Rioteous Beating for two Colorless does twenty damage for each Pokemon you have in play and Trickster GX (two Dark energy) allows you to use any of your opponent’s attacks), but it’s ability Trade is what instantly captured everyone’s attention.  Trade lets you draw two cards if you first discard a card from your hand.

Trade instantly struck me as being the perfect complement to Mallow (Guardians Rising, 127/145).  I know I’ve mentioned it before, but I love decks that are more precision based, decks that don’t just mindlessly use Professor Sycamore (Steam Siege, 114/114) or N (Fates Collide, 105/124) to just splash cards.  Using Mallow allows you to grab exactly what you want, and if you have multiple Zoroark GX out, you can grab a couple additional cards as well.  I would guess you could even run Octillery (Breakthrough, 33/162) and heck maybe you won’t need any supporters besides Mallow.  Three weeks from today, we’ll also have access to Lusamine (Crimson Invasion) which will even allow you to grab two Mallow back out of the discard to be used again.

Without a doubt, Zoroark GX instantly joins the meta as perhaps the most splashable Pokemon in the game.  Rioteous Beating’s colorless cost makes it completely transferrable across any deck in the meta, and Trade will definitely help speed up the game a little bit and help with consistency.  I have no doubt that you could easily include a 2-2 line in Gardevoir GX (Burning Shadows, 93/147), Golisopod GX (Burning Shadows, 17/147), or any of the other top tier decks out there right now.  You could even bring in a Zoroark (Breakthrough, 91/162) to help balance the deck or use Zoroark’s amazing Stand In ability.  Personally, my guess is that it will pair amazingly well with Darkrai GX (Burning Shadows, 88/147) as well, but I actually haven’t seen that featured in any videos yet.


Standard: 4 out of 5


Unquestionably the best card in the Shining Legends expansion set, Zoroark GX will see significant play during the 2017-18 season and beyond.  It’s pretty expensive on PTCGO right now (not so much IRL but still a little costly), but it’ll be worth the investment as you should get a full three years out of it being the first expansion released after the most recent rotation.  I have no doubt that it will complement many of the top tier decks in the format, and you’ll find it in the decklists of many top 8 finishers at every major tournament this season.

But that’s all it is – a supporting piece for successful decks.  While Zoroark GX will help make your deck better, I have little confidence that Zoroark GX will have much success on its own as a standalone deck.  It’s a really, really good card, but it’s still a tech.  It’s probably the best tech in the game, but it’s still just a supporting add in.  Maybe I’m wrong – I haven’t seen any videos for quad Zoroark decks yet – and I can just imagine all the techs you could throw on the bench (Sudowoodo (Guardians Rising, 66/145), Hoopa (Shining Legends, 55/73) just to name a couple), but I just don’t see a Quad Zoroark deck being top tier in the meta.  Who knows though?  Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait at least a week to see as Shining Legends cards will not yet be Standard legal for tomorrow’s Regionals in Vancouver and Brazil (frowny face ☹).


So we come down to the best card of the set, and it is met with a lot of hype in a similar manner to Decidueye-GX, Garbodor, or even Gardevoir-GX.  The card in question is Zoroark-GX!  And it happened to be the entire review crew’s number one pick with 50 voting points, as perfect as possible (5 active members).  Let’s see why this card is brimming with potential!

Onto the stats: Zoroark has 210 HP, weak to Fighting, resist Psychic (pretty useful, since Trashalanche would need 12 items in your discard to OHKO you), and a retreat cost of two. Dark type support is plentiful: Dark Patch covers a basic Dark energy from the discard to one of your Benched Dark Pokemon; Hydreigon DRX 97 has Dark Trance which moves around Dark energies; Another Hydreigon PHF’s Dark Impulse also recover dark energies; Darkrai-EX’s Dark Cloak makes any Pokemon with Dark Energy have Free Retreat, Dark Claw and Reverse Valley are damage boosting methods for exclusively Dark Pokemon.  Being a Stage 1 means that Vaporeon, Jolteon, and Flareon from XY Ancient Origins can add their respective types to all Stage 1 Pokemon. So Zoroark-GX could potentially be Dark, Fire, Water, and Lightning type, ready to hit a variety of Pokémon for weakness! The more type coverage, the merrier!

Zoroark-GX has an ability and two attacks. Trade is Empoleon DEX’s Diving Draw in another name that does the same thing: Discard a hand to draw two cards from your deck.  If there are cards that you can afford or like to discard, or that the card being discarded is about to be eventually retrieved, then a forced discard is inconsequential.  With four of these Zoroarks, you could potentially draw a total of eight cards per turn.  Having a single Exeggcute with Propagation makes the discard cost inconsequential. That same lone Exeggcute can use that ability unlimited times as long as it leaves from the discard pile to your hand only to be sent from the hand to the discard pile, and vice versa.  Riotous Beating costs CC and does 20 damage times the number of Pokemon you have in play.  This could range from 20 to 120 (180 with Sky Field). In isolation, the attack is good, but if you can’t find a way to get all of your Pokemon into play, then this attack is underwhelming.  Maybe add some Pokemon with coming-into-play abilities or helpful bench sitters such as Darkrai-EX, Oranguru, Eevee trio from XY Ancient Origins (Vaporeon, Jolteon, and Flareon), Shaymin-EX or Tapu Lele-GX so that Riotous Beating can do more damage. Riotous Beating seems to be an upgraded attack from Zoroark DEX’s Brutal Bash attack. Trickster GX costs DD and allows you to choose an attack from one of your opponent’s Pokemon and use it as this attack. Even though you can use one GX attack per game, having access to any attacks from any Pokemon in play makes Zoroark versatile!  Your opponent would have to be careful due to potentially having you use that attack against them! This GX attack seems to be an upgraded Foul Play attack!

So how do you use Zoroark GX? I was thinking about running the 4-4 Zoroark line, 4 Tapu Lele GXs, maybe 2 Orangurus for even more draw power, and have a variety of trainer cards that support this Pokémon. You could use other Zoroark cards alongside the GX version. Probably the best non-GX Zoroark would be the XY BreakThrough version with its Break Evolution. Stand In plus Float Stone means flexible mobility, since you use the ability to get Zoroark to the active spot and then manually retreat to whatever Pokémon you want from the bench to the active. Zoroark BREAK’s Foul Play may only copy the Defending Pokemon, but it can be used many times as you like due to not being an GX attack. If I were to use both the GX and the non GX, then it would be 4 Zorua, 3 Zoroark GX, 2 Zoroark BKT, and maybe 1 or 2 Zoroark Break just in case one of them is being prized. As for which Zorua to use, I have almost nothing to recommend in Standard (maybe Zorua with Whiny Voice), but Expanded has Zorua DEX with the attack called Ascension which allows you to search your deck for a Pokémon that evolves from the Ascension user and evolve it, which in this case, it would be either Zoroark or Zoroark GX. That helps consistency as well as thinning out your deck a little.

So it seems that Zoroark-GX is a combination of Empoleon DEX (Diving Draw ability), Zoroark DEX (Brutal Bash), and Zoroark BW (Foul Play).  Putting these qualities into one card is extremely efficient! I could imagine that this Pokémon will see tons of play in Standard and Expanded. In Limited, this is definitely a must run unless you pulled insufficient amount of Zorua and/or other Basic Pokemon that can help Riotous Beating do damage. Trickster GX is just as good in limited as well.


Standard: 4.75/5 (I’m hesitant from giving this card a perfect score. Draw power is nice, but Riotous Beating can be played around; maintaining a full bench can’t last forever if other Pokemon gets KO by other means. Lastly, there’s not much Dark support outside of Reverse Valley)

Expanded: 4.9/5 (with more cards in the card pool, the amount of Dark type support and other options in this format has made Zoroark-GX stronger, but still needs some accommodations in regards to Riotous Beating)

Limited: 5/5 (Construct if you will)

Sylveon’s Notes: Looks like we may have another deck style with this card.  Just make sure you dash into the store and get the Zoroark-GX box (preferably four, get it no matter how expensive it is, it’s the only way to get guaranteed copies) before it runs out of stock come November!  This is the best card of the Shining Legends expansion!

*Some abbreviations are shortened versions of certain Pokémon TCG expansions in case anyone is wondering what those are. DEX would be Black & White Dark Explorers; DRX would be Black & White Dragons Exalted; BKT would be XY BreakThrough.

Weekend Thought: Do you agree with our top 5?  Is there other cards that you think that should’ve made the list besides what’s been listed here?  Probably, we may have underlooked several other cards; maybe other players can test other cards and prove that their strategy works. We like to hear them!


One day, a match was held; the 2017 Yokohama Regionals. There was massive hype for the top decks at the moment; Gardevoir, Tapu Bulu, Golisopod, Vespiquen, Garbodor, all looking to make an impression there. Also some old dogs from the land of XY-on such as Night March and Marshadow-GX, Seismitoad-EX, and Trevenant BREAK/Necrozma-GX are not going to back down either. However, not any of them made it to the top cut. In fact, it was a sly black fox that reigned supreme in the land of Japan, taking up 15 decks of the Top 16 finishers; Zoroark-GX!

Zoroark-GX is definitely one badass card, thanks to a great synergy between its type, stats, Ability and main attack. Being a Dark type with 210 HP, it is tanky enough to survive hits, especially combined with its Psychic resistance. It has a 2 energy retreat cost, which is decent when you look at the main attack cost. But other than that, there is nothing else; the main selling point of Zoroark is its Ability and attack, which is crazy.

Its ability, Trade, allows you to discard a card from your hand and draw 2 cards. Sounds familiar? Well, you should. This is the exact same ability as Empoleon (BW DEX)’s Diving Draw ability! And since Empoleon has seen play in the masses back then, surely a Pokemon with the same exact ability, being a Stage 1 instead of a Stage 2, and attack for bigger numbers will see more play?  This all resulted in the amazing debut performance you saw earlier. It is a consistency method and a draw engine all in one, and best of all, it can actually attack for big numbers.

And its attack isn’t bad either; not the GX attack, but the normal attack, Riotous Beating. That attack deals 20x the number of Pokemon that are in play, including your Active Pokemon for a Double Colorless Energy, or a single energy attachment. This means with a full bench, which let’s face it, it is easy to complete thanks to Zoroark’s draw power, it can deal 120 damage for a single energy attachment. In Japan, where the format is still XY-on (meaning that the stadium Sky Field is still legal), you can actually deal 180 damage for 1 energy! That’s a lot. Its GX attack is meh; Trickster GX just allows you to copy an opponent’s attack and use that for 2 Dark energy; it is a bad GX attack, because Zoroark BREAK (XY BKT) is still here and it can do the same for 1 Dark energy. It’s not good.

But let’s face it; Japan has been always a source of good information about how a new Pokemon can affect the competitive scene of the international world. And when 15 of the top 16 decks used Zoroark, making it more Tapu Lele-relevant level, meaning every deck wants one, it’s safe to say that this sly Roronoa can be one of the best deck engines in the format, just because it can attack and support its deck all at once.


Standard: 4.6/5 (May not be that Tapu Lele-level yet, but its a deck engine that can reliably attack for a decent amount of damage for a single energy attachment. What more can you ask?)

Expanded: 4.8/5 (Basically this format is Japan’s format and more; Zoroark-GX utterly outclasses Empoleon in its department and will surely be on a strong contention as one of the best reliable deck engines in here.)

Limited: 4.8/5 (Its as good in this format as it is in any other format.)