One of the fundamental strengths of a good deck is consistency. This is what made Zoroark-GX such a dominant archetype in both Standard and Expanded meta-games. The consistency enabled by the “Trade” ability gave players the feeling that their games would be rather stereotypical, even in best-of-1 environments.

Today, Zoroark has struggled to stay relevant in the top levels of competitive gameplay but every now and then a variant breaks through. I will go over a list that manages to completely ignore recent and possibly future power creep and seriously give Zoroark-GX a fighting chance in the meta-game.




Historically, Zoroark-GX served as both the main attacker and draw engine. With Sky Field active, Zoroark-GX with a Choice Band threatened 210 damage, where 210 was about the highest HP Pokemon you would encounter. Nowadays, Zoroark-GX takes a backseat role in terms of attacks since it will not be one shotting your opponents Tag Team nor VMAX Pokemon. Instead, Zoroark-GX will use its Trade ability to set up the Raticate one-shot combo.

Raticate’s attack for three colorless energy (provided by Triple Acceleration Energy) will place damage counters on your opponent’s Pokemon until they have just 10HP remaining. While the attack itself does not fully knockout your opponents Pokemon, you can precede your attack by playing Hypnotoxic Laser. In effect, you opponent will become Poisoned and take 10 damage in between turns. With Raticate’s Super Fang attack, the remaining 10HP will be dealt via poison damage which is a one-shot knockout combo. All you must do is repeat this combo to close out the game and win.

Exeggcute is another key component of this strategy. Zoroark’s ability requires you to discard a card in order to draw two cards. When Exeggcute is discarded by Zoroark’s ability, its own Propagation ability allows you to return it to your own hand. What this means is that anytime you need to discard a card for any card effect or ability, Exeggcute makes it free. This includes discarding cards with Ultra Ball. Using this synergy will allow to conserve all resources in your deck without having to compromise for additional draw.

Finally, one copy of Ditto Prism is necessary as it will allow a more consistent setup of both your Zoroark and Raticate lines.

This ratio of support Pokemon is what I have found much success with. We run many single copies of supporter cards and while Zoroark may be able to use Trade to draw into them, sometimes immediate access is necessary. Playing two copies of Tapu Lele-GX buffs your deck with added consistency when you want to search for specific supporters. Similarly, during your early turns where Zoroark-GX is not in play, we rely on Dedenne-GX and Crobat-GX to draw additional cards. They become less useful in the late game so we only play one copy each.

These Pokemon are your techs against the current expanded meta-game and significantly improve your odds of surviving your opponent’s attacks. Sudowoodo’s Bench Barrier ability makes it one of the most popular Expanded meta-game answers to decks like Eternatus VMAX, Turbo Dark, and even opposing Zoroark-GX Decks. Denying your opponents bench space while having an extended one yourself (via Sky Field) often hinders both your opponent’s ability to set up their board and mitigate their overall damage output. This is especially the case when facing decks like Eternatus VMAX.

In match-ups where your opponent threatens your bench, this can significantly hinder your ability to develop Raticates. In particular, Pikachu & Zekrom and Garchomp & Giratina Tag Deam decks are notorious for being able to clear threats rather easily on their opponent’s bench. Mew serves as a single prize buffer between these threats and can often buy you the single turn you need to safely pump out Raticate and access your one-shot combo.

  • 1 Galarian Rapidash V

This is a brand new Pokemon V that has already been making waves in the current Standard Format. For two colorless energies, Libra Horn (like Super Fang) is an attack that places damage counters on your opponent’s active Pokemon – until they have 100HP remaining. This may seem less useful than Raticate’s attack but consider this: Raticate involves a multi card combo that can often be difficult to assemble even with the tremendous draw power of Zoroark-GX. Rapidash can close out a game simply by offering itself as a two prize bait after it uses Libra Horn on a three prize Pokemon. You simply clean up the remaining HP with Zoroark-GX’s Riotous Beating. The inclusion of Galarian Rapidash V simply allows for a more consistent path to victory.


This deck runs eight unique supporters. This may seem completely random and inconsistent. However, Zoroark-GX with four copies of VS Seeker allows you to access any one of them rather conveniently throughout the game.

These are your main draw supporters. Colress is particularly useful when you and your opponent have capitalized on Sky Field. Colress can draw yourself up to sixteen cards.

N and Marnie together provide the much-needed hand disruption this deck needs to survive. Before Marnie, N was the main form of hand disruption. In the late game, when your opponent has 1 prize card remaining, N is a fantastic supporter to significantly disrupt your opponents ability to access game-ending pieces.

However, N has it’s downsides. For one, using an emergency N in the early game can sometimes help your opponent. You never know when your opponent also has a bad hand and using N can seriously help them. Marnie offers an alternate route to disruption. An early Marnie, unlike N, does not refresh your opponent with a six card hand. Instead, Marnie resembles the now banned Marshadow with the Let Loose ability. This forces your opponent to start with a four card hand while refreshing your own can often win you the game.

Guzma deserves little explanation. It allows your to take down threats on your opponent’s bench, often used to close out a game. In other scenarios, a well timed Guzma can trap a Pokemon in the active spot forcing your opponent to commit resources to retreat it.

In my play-testing, these are cards that are constantly useful. Guzma & Hala has the ability to search any energy in the deck, a Float Stone and the Sky Field. All of which are key consistency cards that are often required in your early game set up. During the late game, Guzma & Hala can be used simply to search out that Triple Acceleration Energy you’re digging for to close out the game with Raticate.

Professor’s Elm’s Lecture is, in my opinion, better than Bridgette. Both options are used to search out a Raticate, Zorua and Ditto Prism during your early turn setup, but Elm lets you search the Exeggcutes into hand. This added flexibility makes me prefer Elm of Bridgette.

Red’s Challenge is the exact same as Computer Search, except it’s a supporter. Its inclusion in the deck and essentially free cost when used with Exeggcute basically means that this deck runs two Ace Specs.

Pokemon Breeder’s Nurturing is a spicy little inclusion in the list because it can often save you resources and kick start your early game. Immediately evolving Pokemon from your deck not only saves you the time and energy you would otherwise spend to search those cards out, it also provides a nice boost to consistency. Consider a scenario where you really need to evolve a Pokemon but you don’t have a reliable route into your deck. Instead, you can use Breeder to solve that problem.


The two item cards that deserve an explanation are Target Whistle and Great Catcher. Zoroark-GX decks often arrive at the late game with 12+ cards in their hand. Chances are, you will be holding onto these cards as you attempt to take the last 2-3 prizes. Your opponent will probably recognize this and try to not develop any game-ending liabilities on their bench. You can bypass this by bringing back a previously multi-prize basic Pokémon onto their bench and target it with Great Catcher and knocking it out to win. With Dowsing Machine, even if you lose either of these pieces, you can recover them during the late game.

Closing Thoughts

Zoroark-GX in general is a rather difficult deck to pilot. It involves several micro-decisions and sequences that need to be executed perfectly. Despite this, Zoroark-GX paired with Raticate is a surprisingly consistent strategy that has the capability to take down some of the top threats in the Expanded meta-game. Furthermore, the overall cost of the deck (compared to others) is rather low. This archetype would make for an excellent competitive investment that has the ability to stay competitively relevant for years to come; no matter how high Pokemon HP’s become in the future.

Get all your board game news at The Bag of Loot!

Get all your Pokemon needs at Three Kings Loot!