Monday, May 7, 2012

Zoroark/Weavile - The Dark Toolbox

Zoroark is brutally Bashing the metagame
Hey all The Deck Out followers!

It’s been a while that I did an article entry. Today’s article will be about the most discussed and obvious deck of the new metagame – Zoroark/Weavile. It has many similarities to SP decks since they have their own energy acceleration engine (SP-decks had Energy Gain, Darkness decks have Dark Patch). It’s a fast deck that can stand against any deck of the former metagame.

The biggest weakness of the deck is that it’s a monotype deck thus having a weakness to fighting, which already is a strong type in the metagame. Thanks to Zoroark/Weavile, Fighting type decks and techs become even stronger. Anyways, let’s get into the decklist.  


4x Zorua
4x Zoroark(Dark Explorers)
4x Sneasel
3x Weavile(Claw Snag)
2x Darkrai EX


2x Pokegear 3.0.
4x Pokémon Collector
4x Professor Oak’s New Theory
3x Juniper
2x N
3x Pokémon Catcher
4x Junk Arm
4x Dark Patch
2x Dark Claw
2x Ultra Ball
1x Super Rod


3x Special Darkness
6x Basic Darkness
3x Double Colorless Energy


The deck’s strategy is quite simple. You want to get Zoroark attacking Brutal Bash in T2. It really doesn’t matter how many Pokémon you have on your bench in the T2-3 because you can Catcher easy prizes but after T3 you should have a full bench for the rest of the game. While being very fast, this deck is also highly disruptive thanks to Weavile. With Weavile’s Claw Snag you can discard your opponent’s only supporter from their hand, which brings their game to sudden stop. Weavile’s Claw Snag combined with Zoroark’s fast and deadly Brutal Bash makes this deck one of the top contenders of the current format.

Card Explanations


Zoroark is the main attacker of this deck. The reason why Zoroark is so playable even though it reminds many people of Cinccino(BW), is that its damage output is a lot higher (thanks to Dark Claw) and its Basic form – Zorua. Zorua’s Ascension gives you a T2 Zoroark almost 100% of the game since Sneasel has a free retreat. All you need is energy in your hand and some way to draw Zorua and you’ll get Ascension. Zoroark’s weaknesses are the same as Cinccino – low HP and weakness to fighting. However, with Dark Claw and Special Darkness energy Zoroark can easily deal 150 damage with Brutal Bash – enough to OHKO any non-EX Pokémon. The damage output combined with energy acceleration, which Dark Patch gives you is enough to make Zoroark a strong attacker.

Dark Rush is ironically Zoroark’s worse attack. It could work if it was a surprise but as long as your opponent knows what Zoroark does, you won’t be using Dark Rush in any of the games. It’s a deadly attack if Zoroark isn’t OHKOEd but usually Zoroark is OHKOed, so the attack is no use.


Weavile’s only functions are to work as a disrupter and as a free retreater for the deck. You don’t necessarily need disruption for this deck but the fact is that Sneasel is the best Darkness Basic Pokémon in the current format for this deck. The reason for this is the earlier explained free retreat. Free retreat serves two purposes in this deck: first of all, free retreat helps you to get T1 Ascension. Second, Dark Patch can only attach energy to the bench. Without free retreating Pokémon energy accelerating Zoroarks would be very difficult. However, thanks to Sneasel’s (and Weavile’s) free retreat, you can keep the energy flow going through the game from the early to late game.

Darkrai EX

Darkrai EX is pretty funny in this deck. The card is sooo expensive but in the end, it usually just sits on the bench in this deck. You can attack with Darkrai EX from time to time but energy accelerating Darkrai EX is pretty difficult since it doesn’t get advantage of Double Colorless Energy and loading it with Dark Patches is pretty difficult as well. Darkrai EX is mostly used in the late game since it can inflict bench damage to get the last prizes. The reason why this deck needs Darkrai EX, is that 8 Darkness Basics wouldn’t be enough. You would want to play 6 Zoruas and 6 Sneasels in the deck but unofortunately that’s not possible so you have to settle for Darkrai EX.  

Pokegear 3.0.-  Pokémon Collector

Nothing too surprising here. The other option nowadays is Ball Engine (which I’ll be making an article of in the near future), but I like the conservative way of searching basics more than Ball Engine - Collector takes less space than Ball Engine and since space is tight in this deck, you want to go with Collector.

Professor Oak’s New Theory - Professor Juniper

The two best supporter draw in the format. In this deck you also want to get energy to the discard pile so Juniper isn’t that harmful.


N is an interesting card in this deck. In the late game, you don’t want to use it but in the early game (especially if your opponent gets a few quick prizes) N may win you the game. N to 3 cards and 1-2 Claw Snags right after it might be able to seal the deal and enable you a great comeback while your opponent is struggling with draw.

Pokémon Catcher - Junk Arm

Dark Patch - Dark Claw

Dark Patch and Dark Claw are like a small SP-engine. Dark Patch is the main reason why any Dark Pokémon is playable nowadays. Even though Dark Patch only attaches energy from discard pile to your benched Pokémon, energy acceleration is always good. It gets even better when your attackers hit with only 2 energy (Dark Patch + manual attachment).

Dark Claw on the other hand is just an enhanced PlusPower for Darkness Pokémon only. It’s a tool that gives your Darkness Pokémon 20 damage more for their damage output. This is very important especially in the early game when you don’t necessarily have a full bench and you need to OHKO your opponent’s Pokémon to keep up with prize race. I would like to play 3 Dark Claw in this deck but the space is just so tight that it’s very difficult to get 3 to the deck.

Ultra Ball

I like Ultra Ball in this deck. You may go with Pokémon Communication or even with Level Ball in this deck but Ultra Ball suits me. You can get the Basic energy from your hand to discard pile with Ultra Ball and what’s even more important, you can get any Pokémon from your deck with Ultra Ball. Versatility is a very important factor when deciding, which Pokémon-search to use in a deck.

Super Rod

Super Rod or Revive, which one suits you better. I play Super Rod in this version because this version doesn’t run Rescue Energy. If you want to run Rescue Energy, you probably don’t need Super Rod (Maybe not even a Revive).


The energy lines in this deck is controversial. I have tried both: DCE and Rescue Energy and am yet to decide which is better. If you looked at my UG article (the free part), you noticed a Zoroark list with Rescue. This deck is built with very similar engine even though it has DCE. To DCE or not to DCE, I suggest you test it out yourself and use the energy lines, you find more suitable for you.

Special Darkness Energy are very important for this (and any other Darkness based deck) because they’re energy PlusPowers. The extra damage of Darkness Energy is what makes Darkness Pokémon usually playable.


1) Flow

With “Flow” I mean the way you need to keep getting Zoroarks again and again even though they’re OHKOEd and keep the damage output in the 120-140 range all the time. The best way for this in my opinion is Rescue Energy. You get Zoroarks AND Zoruas back over and over again and there is no stopping the Zororkas. However, keeping the flow is a real problem in this deck if it doesn’t run Rescue Energy. Drawing into Zoroarks isn’t as easy as it could be and since you really can’t afford Ascensionsing in the middle of the game, you need to get the Zoroarks with supporters. If you find keeping the flow too problematic, I suggest running Rescue Energy.

2) Fighting

Landorus or Terrakion. Or Landorus/Terrakion. Both are pretty problematic for this deck if you can’t OHKO them. An Eviolited Terrakion takes 150 damage for the OHKO so it isn’t a simple task for this deck. However, it’s good to remember that fighting isn’t an impossible obstacle for this deck. The deck has the resources to OHKO almost any Pokémon of the format so weakness to fighting doesn’t make the deck THAT much weaker or worse.

3) Dark Patch reliance

Dark Patch is the card, which makes this deck so good but at the same time, NOT drawing into Dark Patches will ruin the game. If you haven’t drawn into any Dark Patches in T3, you’re probably already in trouble. If you’re having trouble getting energy to Zoroarks when necessary, there are two things you can do. First of all, you can start running Double Colorless decks in your deck. It hurts the flow of Pokémon but at the same time it makes you less reliant on Dark Patches. If you want to run Rescue Energy and not DCE, you should max out the Dark Patches to 4 copies. 4 copies of Dark Patch doesn’t guarantee you a T3 Dark Patch but it’s the best you can do.


The deck is fast, disruptive and has a high damage output. There is nothing you could ask for more from a deck. It might struggle with consistency from time to time but since the deck has a very strong match-up against the most played deck of the format – ZekEel – it will become a viable tournament choice. Disruption is very often a way to tournament winning decks and Zoroark/Weavile is just the deck the format needed to make it balanced and versatile.

To conclude, there is no one correct way to build this deck. There are many choices you need to do as a deck builder. Use or not use Ball Engine? Should you play Rescue Energy or DCE? Level Ball, Communication or Ultra Ball? Maybe even tech a Black&White Zoroark to the mix. The deck has many possibilities and it’s probably one of the most versatile straightforward decks, I’ve ever seen.

Thanks for reading and feel free to leave any comments or questions!


  1. I find it almost blasphemous you fail to mention Sneasel as a source of T1 donks.

  2. What advice would you give to someone playing against this deck? Should we take easy prizes off of benched Sneasel, Weavile, and Zorua to reduce the opponent's damage output, or should we just ram straight into whatever has energy on it? Is Lost Remover a good tech against Zoroark/Weavile, or would Eviolite help more? Obviously, it depends on your deck, but in general, how can we best outplay this deck?

  3. Good article, though I'm interested in trying the list without Weavile. Sneasel is a great donk option. You can use the room you made by taking out Weavile for techs like Tornadus to counter fighting types. I also think having something like a Smeargle is beneficial to get you out of bad hands.

  4. Could a Zoroark/Krookodile or Darkrai/Krookodile deck work? Krookodile as a late game finisher hits really hard, too bad it's stage 2 though but maybe it could work

  5. I can't stop reading these articles even tho i stopped playing a long time a go....

  6. Jakey: The reason for that is that I don't usually donk with Sneasel in my testgames. If you attack with Sneasel in T1, you should have a T2 Zoroark ready and that's very difficult without T1 Ascension. Also, there are almost nothing in the upcoming format that can be donked. The only thing that pops into my head is Tynamo and they will have 40 HP instead of the old 30. Of course, I could have mentioned donking but I dont really think it's the way this deck should play its game.

    Anonymous1: I think the best way to beat this deck is to kill their attackers (and the Pokémon that have energy attached to them). Lost Remover is a great tech especially if they are relying on Rescue Energy. Lost Remover on Rescue Energy is devastating when timed correctly. All in all, you should just stop their flow of Zoroarks, which I mentioned in the article a few times.

    PKMN_Trainer_Andrew: As I said in the article, Weavile isn't necessari in the deck even in my opinion but since you want to play Sneasel, I think there is no reason not-to-run Weavile. Weavile may be useless in some games but since it can single-handedly win you random games, I think it's worth it. I've tested both Cleffa and Smeargle in this deck in case of bad starts and have noticed that if you want to play non-dark starter, Cleffa is better in my opinion.

    Anonymous2: Krookodile is a very fun card in my opinion but unofortunately I think it's completely unplayable. It's a stage2 Pokémon with attack cost of 4. In a metagame this fast, it just can't compete.

    Dormin: That's a good thing, right? Haha.

    Thanks for comments and questions everyone, feel free to leave more.

  7. great job as always, could you do an article on terakion and quadephants(mono donphan0

  8. Very informative article, thanks for the good read!

    One thing I don't like is the lack of Zoroark BW. I know you aim to get a T2 Brutal Bash quickly, but I still think that Foul Play is a very useful move against many cards like Mewtwo, Darkrai, Tornadus EX, and basically anything that hits for crazy damage. I'd like to hear your opinion here (:

  9. killerpotatoe: Thanks for request, I'll keep it in mind for the upcoming weeks!

    Corner: Thanks. It's true that I forgot Zoroark(BW) from the tech-section. However, I first had it in my build but the more I played, the more useless it proved to be. There really is nothing that it's better against than the Dark Explorers Zoroark. Dark Explorers 2HKOs everything while Foul Play Zoroark may be bad if your opponent has something like for example Landorus as their active Pokémon. It's good but it isn't necessary - the Brutal Bash one just does the same job but better.

  10. If you bench Darkrai, and the opponent catchers it up, doesn't that really slow you down, since you don't have Switch?

    1. Darkrai's ability, if you attach an energy into it. It has a free retreat.

      This is indeed an interesting deck, might try it at some point at summer. For now i'm focusing on building Darmaxitan/Eelektrik/Zekrom EX now that the durant-killer Heatmor has come.

    2. Indeed^. Darkrai gives itself a free retreat as well as any Pokémon that has Darkness energy attached to it so you don't have to worry about retreat costs with this deck.

    3. No, retreating it isn't a problem. Losing 2 prizes to a surprise Terrakion could be though.

    4. I found in testing the deck that you get a very consistent 120-150 damage output with zoroark. I play the rescue energy version of the deck, so I also get some great zoroark streaming, and it isn't that hatd to accelerate energy to darkrai. The only deck that truly worries me is my friend Simons darkrai/tornadus deck. I recommend testing heavily against it. Excellent article as always, Esa.

  11. With Weavile you should be able to predict a Terrakion and prepare for it. Dropping the Darkrai on the board KNOWING a potential Terrakion is coming is bad play. Also as the article states, Darkrai doesn't even need to be dropped until late game (if at all) - it's situational and is only there to pump Brutal Bash or take some cheap surprise prizes at the end.

    Play smart if you want to win.

  12. Very good article, dude! =)

    How would a list with rescue energy look like? Or which changes would you do for rescue energy?

  13. well i play this deck with bisharp nv it really works
    if a zekrom bolt striked you and he has 90 hp left just use
    bisharp with dark claw and finishing blow him

  14. What would you consider to be a replacement for darkrais? I play yugioh and magic as well and i am just starting pokemon. I have little money and certainly not enough to afford darkrai (especially two of him.) I was considering a 1-1 line of eevee plus espeon and throw in a couple psychic energy. Or put to sableye in. What do you think?

  15. Play with Sableeye, Absol G, and Darkrai lvl48. Doom News/Catcher combo is just delicious. Even if they kill you next turn, you just saved all of the energy and made them sacrifice their EX.


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