This quarter has had emotional highs and lows for me as a player.  After feeling pretty good about my chances at the Charlotte Regional Championship, I ended up with a terrible finish.  I played Zoroark Lycanroc and decided to not play a Hoopa counter.  I did not expect there would be many players piloting Hoopa.  I was correct, but I happened to hit two of them in the early rounds.  I ended up dropping from the tournament after hitting two other bad matchups and not playing well enough to overcome the disadvantage.

At league cups, I had the opposite luck.  At my second cup, I played my updated Zoroark Salazzle list and didn’t hit a fighting deck until the finals, where I was trounced by Ryan Allred.  My one opponent in swiss who was playing Sudowoodo prized it!  I was feeling lucky but excited about my finish.  I expected to not be able to attend another cup for a few weeks.

After some family plans were canceled, I was able to attend my third cup the following weekend!  I had to borrow a deck since I was coming from out of town, and I only made top 8 because one player dropped after making cut.  I was then able to pilot a deck one card different from Xander Pero’s Espeon Garbodor list to a cup win!

After these events, I again found myself in a situation waiting for the new quarter after successful cup runs and a poor regional result.  In these in between periods, I like to try to make fun ideas work. Sometimes, they end up being quite successful (Zoroark Salazzle).  Other times, they never make it past locals (Rampardos).  In this in-between period, I have been testing some really fun, less competitive concepts.  The decks I tend to have the most fun with are decks that sacrifice a bit of consistency for the chance of one-hit knockouts.

I was looking back at some of my previous decks, and I remembered my old Darkrai Dragonair deck, which I had played to a top-four finish in the PRC-SUM format.  I thought I could do the same thing with Buzzwole.  I tried it, but I quickly realized I would rather have something that hit a bit harder for evolution decks.  That is what led me to Dusk Mane Dragonair.  The deck is definitely not the most consistent I have ever played, but it is definitely a ton of fun if you are no longer chasing points this quarter.  Here is the list:

 

Dusk Mane Necrozma

 

Dragonair Dusk Mane Necrozma

Pokémon (16)

  • 4 Dratini
  • 3 Dragonair
  • 3 Dusk Mane Necrozma GX
  • 2 Tapu Lele GX
  • 1 Oranguru
  • 1 Solgaleo Prism Star
  • 2 Marshadow

Trainers (29)

  • 4 Professor Sycamore
  • 3 Guzma
  • 1 Cynthia
  • 2 N
  • 4 Ultra Ball
  • 3 Nest Ball
  • 4 Professor’s Letter
  • 1 Pal Pad
  • 4 Float Stone
  • 3 Mt.Coronet

Energy (15)

  • 15 Metal

 

The deck could look a lot different, depending on what you want to do with it.  I tried Elixir, and I tried three Dratini.  I tried Coballion and Choice Band.  In the end, I decided I just wanted to make the deck use Dragonair to power up Dusk Mane Necrozma for one hit knockouts as consistently as possible.

4-3 Dragonair

While you usually only use Dragon’s wish once per game, I want to make that happen as consistently as possible.  In most games, you want to establish two Dratini in turn 1 in case one is knocked out.

3 Dusk Mane Necrozma:  This is your main attacker, but you can also take knockouts with Lele or Solgaleo Prism Star.

2 Marshadow:  Marshadow helps you dig on the turn after you use Dragon’s Wish.  You want to find as many energy as possible, and this has definitely come in clutch time and time again.

3 Nest Ball:  This is just to ensure you are able to find a Dratini or Dusk Mane or Oranguru early, as needed.

1 Pal Pad:  Pal Pad allows you to get back Supporters that you are going to need.  Usually, I will throw a Guzma and an N or Sycamore back in the deck, depending on how the game is going.

4 Professor’s Letter:  This is one of the cards that help me to place, on average, around ten energy on the turn after I use Dragon’s Wish.

3 Mt. Coronet:  Mt. Coronet is obviously useful for similar reasons to Professor’s Letter.  Make sure you activate it the turn before you use Dragon’s Wish. You want to have no energy in the discard at the start of your next turn.  If you have to retreat Dragonair, you want to do that at the end of your following turn, then immediately grab those two energy and place them down.

7 draw supporters:  This number is very low because games typically don’t last very long.  The last two draw supporters were cut for Marshadow.  It is paramount that I use Marshadow and Oranguru to gain draw power beyond a single draw supporter, especially on the turn after a Dragon’s Wish.  I had Lillie in at one point, and I am not opposed to adding it back into the deck.  I dropped it for a Guzma, which I am happy with so far.

3 Guzma: At one point I was playing one Guzma, but I found myself losing to not being able to get a Dusk Mane Necrozma out of the active after a Meteor Tempest (yes, even with four Float Stones).

4 Float Stone:  Float Stone is paramount early and late, and I wouldn’t drop this count because of the inevitability of starting Dusk Mane Necrozma as your active Pokemon.

There isn’t a ton to talk about in terms of matchups.  Your game plan is pretty similar against every deck. A few quick pointers, though:

  • Don’t forget about Tapu Lele GX as an attacker, especially against high energy attackers Like Ho-Oh GX.
  • Remember against Espeon, a Divide GX can knockout two Dratini on the same turn if one is damaged and you missed turn 2 Dragonair.
  • Grab a Guzma with Pal Pad.  It is one of your most common win conditions
  • Mt. Coronet on the turn before you use Dragon’s wish, but don’t mindlessly use it late game.  You don’t want to clog your deck with unneeded energy.
  • It is usually a good idea to establish two Dratini turn 1.
  • Marshadow also puts your opponent to four cards.  That can be great or awful, depending on the game state.

In addition to testing some weird deks, I spent some time creating a Zoroark skeleton for people who are interested in building their own variants.  The first thing I did was write down the cards that you are going to find in almost every Zoroark deck.  While a few of them will be left out of very particular lists (you might see Zoroark paired with something that doesn’t need Choice Bands, for example), these cards should be in almost every version of Zoroark.  The following skeleton leaves twenty-two spots:

4 Zorua (52)
4 Zoroark GX
2 Tapu Lele GX
1 Mew EX
3 Brigette
2 N
1 Cynthia
3 Guzma
1 Acerola
4 Ultra Ball
4 Puzzle of Time
2 Field Blower
2 Choice Band
1 Float Stone
4 Double Colorless Energy

This does NOT mean that every Zoroark deck should be playing every one of these cards.  However, I feel comfortable saying 90% of these cards belong in almost every Zoroark archetype.  I built this list by looking at three very different Zoroark Archetypes and finding the cards they all played.

In addition to the thirty-eight cards found here, most decks will play Evosoda or Olivia.  Most will play two to five more consistency supporters (such as N, Cynthia, Sycamore or Mallow).  Max Potion, and Parallel City are also common among Zoroark GX lists.

In the end, you should have fifteen to twenty spots left for your unique concept.  While this isn’t always the case, most decks will use around ten to twelve of those slots for a combination of Pokemon and energy.  That leaves you with somewhere around five slots to make your concept pop. What is the goal of your concept? If you are looking to take one hit knockouts, you will probably want an extra choice band and a kukui or two (if needed).  If you are looking to play the two shot game, an extra healing card, Enhanced Hammer, or Oranguru ULP might be your best bet.  Anyway, I hope you deck builders find this skeleton helpful, and remember, this is for a Zoroark deck.  This is not for decks that splash a 2-2 or 3-3 Zoroark GX line!

 

-Jeremiah

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