Hey Readers, Kian back. Today I am going to be analyzing the relatively new Standard format and some Zoroark Variants. There have been a couple of Regionals/Special events here and there and the format has shown that has been refreshed. I have been testing this format for about a month and it is completely different from the previous Standard format. The Malamar deck is a new force, Buzzwole gained great cards and there are more ideas for rogue options. From my testing and the results that have happened over the last couple of weeks, it is pretty obvious that Malamar decks are very strong and that it is not a Buzzwole dominated format. As expected, Buzzwole was the deck to beat going into this format because of its previous dominance in the STS-UPR format along with its additions in Forbidden Light. This made Malamar an excellent play in the beginning because it is pretty much the only deck that can beat Buzzwole. I still feel like Buzzwole is a ridiculously powerful deck and it pretty much beats everything that is not Malamar. Even in my testing, Buzzwole still has a shot versus Malamar. Now that the Meta introduction is over, let’s move onto the Zoroark decks.
The other decks in the format are being covered by other authors and I have been pretty much the Zoroark Connoisseur. This whole season, I have been playing Zoroark at every major event since it came out. I love the card so much because it is just pure consistency. It gives me so many options. Zoroark decks are in a weird spot in the current Metagame. It is still a consistent and viable deck however it is not the dominant force it once was. The biggest aspect that hurt Zoroark in this set is how Buzzwole decks just got stronger. Beast Ring, Buzzwole FBI, Diancie, Beast Energy and even the new Rockruff just make their Zoroark matchup so much better.
Buzzwole FBL is just an annoying card for Zoroark decks to handle because it can one shot Mew EX, Mewtwo and Zoroark. It is also just very annoying to knockout a 130hp one prize attacker. Even without the Sledgehammer requirement, Buzzwole can still be a threat with its second attack, Swing Around as it can one shot Zoroarks. Beast Ring is an incredible card that makes Buzzwole GX way too powerful. Beast Energy and Diancie gives Zoroark trouble because if a Buzzwole GX has a Choice Band, Beast Energy and a Diancie on the bench, then they can just one shot a Zoroark. This combo doesn’t happen in every game but it can be a huge play for Buzzwole which they did not have before. I think it is pretty much impossible to make Buzzwole a favorable matchup for any Zoroark variant. The good thing is that Malamar can decrease Buzzwole’s play and give Zoroark a better shot at winning. Zoroark variants also have excellent matchups against Malamar decks. It is kind of a Rock/Paper/Scissors format as of now but hopefully, that will change later. My thought process for making Zoroark a viable deck for Madison is having a great Malamar matchup and an acceptable Buzzwole matchup or you take a risk and try to dodge Buzzwole completely.
Through my extensive testing with many Zoroark decks, the Buzzwole matchup is just too hard. Even testing with Zoroark/Garbodor I feel like the matchup is slightly unfavorable. The reason is that Buzzwole can just play around Trashalanche in the early game while they use Jet Punch with few Items. I’ve found that Lycanroc continues to be very annoying because it is very hard to knockout. With Malamar’s dominance for a couple of weeks, we can see the amount of Buzzwole declining in play. For Madison, I would probably not play Buzzwole because I think there will be too much Malamar. The deck is incredibly strong and can do well but I just think it is too big of a risk because Malamar is very popular. The projected Metagame can give Zoroark a great opportunity to do well this weekend. I think it is plausible to hit twice as many Malamar decks as Buzzwole decks.
I feel like this is the best all-around Zoroark deck because it beats Malamar easily while maintaining a winnable Buzzwole matchup. This deck has had success in the last format where it took a Top 8 and Top 16 finish at the Brazilian Internationals as well as 2nd/3rd place finishes at Toronto Regionals. The reason why this Zoroark deck is best suited for the current Meta is that Garbodor is excellent against Malamar and Buzzwole. Garbotoxin and Trashalanche are pretty problematic for Malamar since they rely on Abilities and use a high number of Items. Trashalanche is a great attacker vs Buzzwole since it is a one prize attacker that can trade well and one shot Buzzwole GX.
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