Zoroark

Illusion
The wielder appears as the last Pokemon in the party to the opponent.
Type Tier
Dark UU
Level 5 Statistics (see level 5, 50, 100)
Min- Min Max Max+
HP
60
- 22 25 -
Atk
105
15 17 20 22
Def
60
10 12 15 16
SpA
120
16 18 21 23
SpD
60
10 12 15 16
Spe
105
15 17 20 22

Overview

Zoroark is a very unique Pokemon; its signature ability, Illusion, allows it to masquerade as the last Pokemon in the player's party. Although Team Preview theoretically hurts this strategy, it does not say when or even if Zoroark will be used in the battle. Zoroark is also very powerful in terms of offense, wielding a base 105 Attack and a base 120 Special Attack. In addition, Zoroark learns both Swords Dance and Nasty Plot, allowing it to boost either of its offensive stats. With 105 base Speed, it outspeeds positive natured base 100s, while also forcing a Speed tie with Mienshao and Mismagius. However, Zoroark's biggest downfall is its very poor bulk; it can barely switch in on neutral hits, and has trouble facing down priority moves such as Aqua Jet and Mach Punch. As such, Zoroark is a difficult Pokemon to use effectively. Although it may be viewed as a gimmicky Pokemon, it is very deadly when used properly.

Name Item Nature

Choice Specs

Choice Specs Timid
Moveset EVs
~ Dark Pulse / Night Daze
~ Flamethrower
~ Focus Blast
~ Trick
252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe

Because Zoroark learns Trick through the BW2 move tutors, Choice Specs Zoroark has increased in effectiveness tremendously. Not only does it hit 508 Special Attack with the boost from Choice Specs, it can now also cripple the likes of Gligar and Hitmontop, making these Pokemon significantly easier to handle. Although both Dark Pulse and Night Daze will hit anything that doesn't resist it very hard, it is generally better to use the former over the latter due to having perfect accuracy. However, Night Daze has slightly more power, and the accuracy drop it may inflict could be useful. With threats like Snorlax, Empoleon, Scrafty, and Umbreon weak to Fighting, Focus Blast grants Zoroark the ability to hit them for massive damage. Although Flamethrower generally provides redundant coverage alongside Focus Blast, it is Zoroark's strongest option against common UU Pokemon such as Bronzong and Roserade.

Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Name Item Nature

All-Out Attacker

Life Orb Naive
Moveset EVs
~ Dark Pulse / Night Daze
~ Focus Blast
~ Flamethrower / Grass Knot
~ Sucker Punch
4 Atk / 252 SpA / 252 Spe

With great coverage and access to Sucker Punch, Zoroark can run an all-out attacker set capable of a late-game sweep. Many players will attempt to check Zoroark by using a faster Pokemon. However, with Sucker Punch, Zoroark can pick off weakened revenge killers. Dark Pulse or Night Daze are used for STAB alongside Sucker Punch, due to the fact that Sucker Punch fails if the opponent does not attack. Focus Blast provides Zoroark with nearly unresisted coverage, giving it an option to hit Snorlax, Empoleon, and Umbreon; in addition, Focus Blast OHKOes any Scrafty that does not invest in its Special Defense. Flamethrower gives Zoroark an option for hitting Pokemon such as Heracross and Bronzong. However, if you have these threats covered already, Grass Knot is a solid option worth considering over Flamethrower in order to get a harder hit on Pokemon such as Suicune and Swampert.

Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Name Item Nature

Nasty Plot

Life Orb / Leftovers Timid
Moveset EVs
~ Nasty Plot
~ Dark Pulse
~ Focus Blast
~ Flamethrower / Substitute
252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe

Zoroark is one of few Pokemon with access to Nasty Plot, allowing it to also function as a powerful boosting sweeper. At +2, Zoroark reaches 678 Special Attack, which, when coupled with Life Orb, makes it incredibly difficult to wall; not even Snorlax can wall it, as it is OHKOed by a +2 Focus Blast after Stealth Rock. Dark Pulse should be the only STAB move ever used on this set, as missing is undesirable. In addition, the extra power from Night Daze is not as relevant with Nasty Plot boosts. Focus Blast lets Zoroark hit everything bar Heracross at least neutrally when combined with Dark Pulse, while also allowing it to get past Pokemon such as Snorlax, Umbreon, and Scrafty. Flamethrower is Zoroark's strongest option against Bronzong, Roserade, and Heracross, while Substitute is another option worth considering due to the fact that Zoroark will force many switches thanks to Illusion. In addition, Substitute gives Zoroark a buffer against enemy attacks.

Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Name Item Nature

Choice Scarf

Choice Scarf Timid
Moveset EVs
~ Dark Pulse / Night Daze
~ Flamethrower
~ Focus Blast
~ Trick / U-turn
252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe

By using a Choice Scarf, Zoroark becomes an effective revenge killer who can get surprise kills due to its signature ability. In addition, while many players may attempt to use Choice Scarf Heracross to revenge kill Zoroark, this strategy will backfire against Choice Scarf Zoroark. Night Daze is a little more valuable on this set than it is on other sets because the extra damage output may be incredibly useful when attempting to revenge kill an opposing Pokemon, but it is still generally better to use Dark Pulse due to its perfect accuracy. However, Night Daze may drop the opponent's accuracy, which can come in handy if Zoroark cannot OHKO the opposing Pokemon. Focus Blast attains near-perfect coverage alongside its STAB, and allows Zoroark to revenge kill Scrafty. Although Flamethrower has redundant coverage alongside Focus Blast, it allows Zoroark to hit Heracross for super effective damage. In the last slot, Trick is generally more useful as it can cripple defensive Pokemon such as Cofagrigus, Dusclops, and Gligar; however, by using Trick, the opponent may be able to sweep more easily later. Because of this, U-turn can be used to gain momentum when the opposing Pokemon switches out.

Team Options & Additional Comments >>>

Other Options

Zoroark learns Pursuit, which may seem appealing to trap Pokemon such as Chandelure and Mismagius. However, Zoroark lacks the stats to effectively use Pursuit, making Weavile and Honchkrow better options for using Pursuit. By using Taunt, Zoroark prevents the opponent from going for non-attacking moves, making Sucker Punch much more effective. However, Zoroark is so frail that if the opponent does decide to attack the turn it uses Taunt, Zoroark is likely to get OHKOed. Calm Mind boosts both Zoroark's Special Attack and its Special Defense, but its poor defenses make Nasty Plot a better option. Zoroark does have the Attack stat to use a Swords Dance set, but it does not have the physical movepool to pull off an effective one. Although Zoroark has the coverage to pull off an Agility set, this set is weak and Zoroark is already fast enough without Agility. Extrasensory can hit Fighting-types, but it has poor coverage and doesn't hit much outside of Hitmontop, Machamp, and Mienshao.

Checks and Counters

When Illusion is in effect, countering Zoroark is virtually impossible unless you see something like a Flygon taking Spikes damage. When disguised as Heracross, Cofagrigus and Dusclops get smashed by Dark Pulse or Night Daze on a switch in, while Gligar gets crippled by Trick. Even if the opponent predicts the Pokemon in question to be Zoroark in disguise, Hitmontop will be crippled by Trick. However, once its disguise has been discovered, beating Zoroark is very easy. Specially defensive Togekiss can take any attack from Zoroark and cripple it with Thunder Wave. Hitmontop is another great switch-in, safely taking any attack bar Extrasensory and OHKOing with Close Combat. Snorlax won't enjoy taking a Focus Blast, but it can switch in on any other attack and deal massive damage to Zoroark with its STAB; RestTalk variants of Snorlax 2HKO with Body Slam while offensive variants OHKO with Return after Stealth Rock.

If you can't counter Zoroark, it can be checked by faster Pokemon. Cobalion outspeeds non-Choice Scarf Zoroark and OHKOes with Close Combat, allowing Cobalion to set up Swords Dance as Zoroark flees. In addition, if Cobalion switches in on Dark Pulse or Night Daze, it gets an Attack boost thanks to Justified. Be aware, however, that Cobalion cannot switch in on Focus Blast or Flamethrower. In addition, Zoroark is very easy to revenge kill with Choice Scarf users, particularly Heracross and Mienshao as they resist Sucker Punch.