– Shining Legends
July 19, 2019
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
It is telling that, as I write this review, it feels more like I’m reviewing the number one card instead of our sixth-place finisher. No, not because Zoroark-GX (Shining Legends 53/73, 77/73; SM – Black Star Promos SM84) was robbed; I had it as my seventh place pick! That is because Zoroark-GX is just that good but there were six cards that I thought we’d miss that much more after the rotation hits! We first looked as Zoroark-GX as the best card from Shining Legends, then as the third-best card from 2017, beaten out only by Guzma (as the second best) and Tapu Lele-GX (as the first). I say “we” but to my surprise… I never reviewed this card! I found a nearly finished review for the card still in my notes but… that review was so terrible even I don’t want to sneak it in with the old ones.
Zoroark-GX is a great example of power at a price, and I’m not talking about the financial side of things. in exchange for the various drawbacks of being a Pokémon-GX, Zoroark-GX was blessed with good HP, a great Ability, a good regular attack, and a good GX-attack (even if that GX-attack is seldom used). While this hasn’t always been the focus of the top deck in the game, there hasn’t been a time when at least one some Zoroark-GX variant deck wasn’t a plausibly competitive option. Because of this, specifics like taking advantage of discards from hand, easily meeting the Energy cost and Bench requirements for the regular attack, and even the card’s bottom stats didn’t help shape the rest of the metagame as it responded to Zoroark-GX’s presence and potency.
Keeping Zoroark-GX from clocking in quite as high on our list is the fact that Double Colorless Energy is among the useful pieces of support that rotates from the Standard Format alongside Zoroark-GX. While Zoroark-GX decks are often packing both Double Colorless Energy and Triple Acceleration Energy nowadays, they couldn’t run on the latter alone. Hypothetically, if Zoroark-GX dodged being cut through set rotation, it likely would have remained at least a useful Bench-sitter, and there are examples of Energy acceleration that might keep it a strong attacker (besides relying on just Triple Acceleration Energy).
Zoroark-GX fans will just have to console themselves knowing that this iteration of the Illusion Fox is still fantastic in Expanded and barring another round of unexpected, last-minute bans, should remain so for at least a little while. I don’t think you’re able to use Shining Legends boosters for Limited Events, but if you are, know that this is a primo pull; the only reasons to not run it are failing to pull it, failing to pull any Zorua, or lucking out and pulling a Basic Pokémon-GX worth running in a Mulligan (+39) build.
Limited: N/A (Would be 5/5)
Zoroark-GX has had a wild ride in the Standard Format, but it was an elevated one, where its “lows” still saw it as a very good card and its “highs” saw it dominating the top cut of tournaments (including winning them). If it remained, it might even find itself on the upswing again.
When Shining Legends was revealed back in late 2017, and accounting for whatever promotional gift boxes that were available at the time, the only box I ever cared for at the time was the Zoroark-GX box. We’ve reviewed it twice, the BEST card of the set (the entire review crew unanimously picked it as their #1), and #3 best card of 2017. And looking at what this card does, it’s not hard to see why.
You have a Pokémon that has an ability that draws cards while you can still use your Supporter for something else, or just continuing drawing cards. You also have a splashable attack that costs a DCE and does 20 damage for each Pokémon you have in play, which could be 120 damage for a full bench, or 180 if Sky Field is present. Trickster GX isn’t used much, but it can let you copy any attack in a pinch if you can afford the DD attack cost. Putting it all together, Zoroark-GX seems like it is universally played, and it allows lots of room for other partners it could think of. Lycanroc-GX for its switching effect; Dewgong for early game pressure, or pretty much any rogue decks out there in respect of DarkIntegralGaming’s various wonderful deck creations. Zoroark decks previously ran only 4 DCE, and later 4 Triple Acceleration Energy.
Sadly, Zoroark-GX only got one chance in Worlds, in which it only appeared once in Worlds 2018. That is because it was released too late for 2017 Worlds, and rotation happens before 2019 Worlds. Regardless of pre-emptive measures or not, Zoroark-GX has already made a name for itself in Standard, and will continue to prosper in Expanded for the future despite facing a lot of competition.
Limited: N/A (would be 4.5/5)
Zoroark-GX – I do think Zoroark-GX should have been higher up on the list, Top 5 at least. I think I’d place it at 4th, with Choice Band as my 5th, because this guy single-handedly created an entire deck archetype around him. Sure, there were variations with Lycanroc-GX and Buzzwole-GX and what have you, but Zoroark-GX provided a powerful supporting role in these decks that was so good, he never lost play throughout most of Standard. I think given the consistently high impact he had, he ought to have been considered for a higher spot on the list.
Note: The above is an excerpt taken from an email conservation about this Top 11, as aroramage was unable to submit a full review in time but agreed this was a decent way to quickly share his thoughts on the cards. As such, there are no Ratings.
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