I have been extremely busy the last month. In trying to spend time with my family, meet the demands of work, and test for the upcoming Charlotte Regional Championship, I have cut back on my Youtube production. However, I have tested a lot. Prior to Saint Louis, I was wanting to play Lapras GX. That plan was completely ruined by the prevalence of Golisipod GX. I tried adding in a Silvally GX line with Fire and Fighting Memories. This helped, but Buzzwole was too potent to stand up to with a Pokemon that is weak to fighting that isn’t named Zoroark GX. After that, I tried building Ramparados with Talonflame. It was pretty fun when it set up, but not being able to Brigette for Unidentified Fossil kept the deck from getting there consistently enough. Next, I built the deck on which I wrote this article. More on that below. After this, I decided to build Buzzwole Lycanroc in order to test against it. In my testing, it won. It won, and it kept winning. Whenever my friends or I would make a deck to play against it, Buzzwole simply beat it. I was convinced that I would be playing Buzzwole for my League Cup this weekend, and probably also for Charlotte.
Everything changed when my friend Rukan called the deck inconsistent in the middle of a testing session. At that point, I was 3-1 against him.I then started having slow starts. I would miss a turn one draw supporter or get Nd early into nothing. The next day, I was testing against Sina and I dead drew four out of six games online. The day after, I tested in real life against my friends, and the deck was constantly dead drawing or whiffing three to four Max Elixirs. In a matter of minutes, the deck seemed to go from skating smoothly through any match up to flailing about like a Magikarp. I am sure that this was just a case of a string of good variance and followed by an extended series of bad variance, but it felt terrible. It felt bad enough to send me back to Zoroark GX. I needed consistency, but I did not want to play Zoroark Golisopod.
That is what brought me back to the deck about which I am writing this article. Unlike most Zoroark variants, the goal of this deck is to take one hit knockouts on your opponent’s EX or GX Pokemon. It is able to OHKO every single relevant pokemon in the game, except Gardevoir GX. The partner that allows Zoroark GX to reach such high numbers, is Salazzle. No, I am not talking about Salazzle GX. I am referring to the baby Salazzle with the Hot Poison ability.
Before Getting into the list, let’s look at the math. Buzzwole variants are some of the most likely decks you are going to see in any standard tournament. That makes 190 a very important number. With a full bench, Zoroark hits for 120 damage. Attaching a choice band makes that 150. Drop a Hot Poison Salazzle and between turns, your damage total will increase to 180. You achieve the final ten damage by playing Reverse Valley or Devoured Field.
Probably even more common than Buzzwole decks, are decks with 210 HP. Zoroark GX is obviously one of the pillars of this format. At 210 hp, we can do all the same things we did to one-shot Buzzwole GX, and add a Professor Kukui. I know that is a lot to get on one turn. It certainly doesn’t happen every time, but it is far from uncommon. Zoroark GX simply allows you to find what you need. As for Golisipod, another 210 hp monster, the same math obviously works. However, there is another option- one that doesn’t need kukui, or that can use kukui to break through an Armor Press. That is, surprisingly, Salandit. Salandit’s second attack, Venom Shock does twenty damage. However, that damage is increased by forty when its target is poisoned. If you add in a choice band, weakness, and the poison/burn damage, Salandit hits for 210. With a kukui, that would be 250. Luckily, the only semi-relevant Pokemon with hp in that range are all weak to fire (Decidueye GX, Metagross GX, and Solgaleo GX).
Now the list:
- 4 Zorua
- 4 Zoroark GX
- 3 Salandit
- 3 Salazzle
- 1 Mew EX
- 2 Tapu Lele GX
- 3 Guzma
- 3 N
- 3 Brigette
- 3 Professor Kukui
- 2 Acerola
- 2 Cynthia
- 1 Mallow
- 1 Professor Sycamore
- 4 Puzzle of Time
- 4 Ultra Ball
- 4 Choice Band
- 3 Field Blower
- 1 Devolution Spray
- 1 Special Charge
- 1 Rescue Stretcher
- 2 Reverse Valley
- 1 Devoured Field
- 4 Double Colorless Energy
4-4 Zoroark GX
This should be pretty self-explanatory. It adds consistency, and it is the main attacker.
When I first played the deck, I played Salazzle GX with three Fire Energy. It definitely won me some games, but it made the whole strategy less consistent. The bench is already very tight. If I have a Tapu Lele GX and three Zoroark in play, that only gives me two more bench spaces. If I use one for a Salazzle GX, I can only realistically pull off the Hot Poison combo one time. Like Golisipod GX with Wimpod, you need more basics than stage ones so that you can evolve a Salandit on the bench when needed, so I could see going to 3-2
1 Mew EX
This is primarily for the Buzzwole matchup, but it can come in handy in a few other niche situations such as attacking into a Pokemon that resists Dark.
1 Sycamore/ 3 N/ 2 Cynthia/ 1 Mallow
The draw supporter options for this deck are very interesting. Most Zoroark Decks want to play four N. I originally played four, but the deck is so aggressive that I found myself wanting Cynthia in almost as many situations. Sycamore is always powerful, but with Zoroark, you already have the ability to discard precisely what you choose. Mallow is super good in many Zoroark GX decks because it lets you grab any two cards out of the deck, including puzzles. While a second Mallow had its merits, I am not sold on it because of the number of cards needed for big combo turns, including Professor Kukui, a supporter.
3 Professor Kukui
This lets you hit numbers on a lot of bigger attackers, as mentioned before. I go back and forth between two and three, but three is so much more consistent for the big damage combos.
1 Devolution Spray
Devolution Spray is primarily in the deck to allow you to reuse a Salazzle’s Hot Poison Ability, but it can also allow you to get in an extra Trade.
3 Field Blower
With Garbodor back on the rise, I believe three field blower is necessary.
1 Special Charge
You only play four energy cards total. While most people see this as a way to effectively increase your energy count, I see it more as a way to free up your puzzles for other, more interesting uses.
1 Devoured/2 Reverse Valley
I was originally playing three Reversed Valley. This kept me from easily one-shotting Dusk Mane Necrozma with Zoroark GX. This isn’t a huge problem, but I have found the diversity useful in thinning from time to time.
2 Float Stone
I started with one, but the increase to two has been so useful. Free retreat is such an asset in this meta.
I am seriously considering this deck for my upcoming League Cup. If it performs well, I may take it to Charlotte. While I am happy with the deck, it is a bit frustrating to be considering changing to it just a few days before a tournament, especially since I was so set on Buzzwole and had tested it so much. However, Zoroark Salazzle has the two things I love: consistency and OHKP potential. With that said, if you are looking for an aggressive, fun, and consistent deck, I recommend trying this out. It has big combinations that are not too difficult to hit. I hope you enjoy taking one-shots on unexpected pilots of Zoroark and Buzzwole, but most of all, I hope you one shot a Golisipod GX with Venom Shock.