Starting today, Trainers are able to download a special Zoroark via a Nintendo Network distribution event. Zoroark is already a tough Pokémon for your opponents to contend with, and this Zoroark has some special tricks at its disposal to make it even tougher. Not only does it know the Egg Move Sucker Punch, it also knows Sludge Bomb, a move Zoroark can't normally learn. This special Zoroark also knows the powerful attacks Dark Pulse and Flamethrower as soon as it joins you, so it's sure to be a powerful addition to your party.
Zoroark is a Pokémon that can deal a lot of damage quickly, but its low defensive stats mean that it can take damage quickly, too. Worse yet, it is especially susceptible to attacks from Fairy-type Pokémon: they can hit Zoroark for supereffective damage and resist Zoroark's Dark-type attacks. This cunning Zoroark has figured out a way to get back on even ground against Fairy-type Pokémon with the move Sludge Bomb. It's super effective against Fairy-type Pokémon, and Zoroark can use its high Speed to strike ahead of its foes. Plus, as you'll soon see, Sludge Bomb helps Zoroark keep up the deception of being a different Pokémon.
Zoroark can be one of the most entertaining Pokémon to bring with you to battles against other Trainers because of its tricky Illusion Ability. Even though Zoroark may not be a Pokémon we've seen much of in the Pokémon World Championships, using Zoroark can be a fun challenge for Trainers in friendlier battles. Perhaps no Pokémon relies as much on its Trainer to adopt its unique persona as Zoroark does. It's exciting to try to think like Zoroark might, helping it deceive your opponents in order to achieve victory through trickery instead of just raw power.
Zoroark's Illusion Ability allows the Pokémon to appear just like the last Pokémon in your party or like the last Pokémon you selected in battles where you must chose three or four Pokémon from your party instead of all six. Illusion can copy a teammate's Poké Ball, nickname, gender, Forme, and even whether or not it's Shiny! When Zoroark takes direct damage from an opponent's attack, the deception is over, and the Illusion recedes to reveal Zoroark's true appearance. To use Zoroark successfully against other players, you'll have to be clever and find ways to avoid letting Zoroark get hit. Plus, Zoroark's stats don't change with its appearance, so you'll have to be careful to protect the frail Illusion Fox Pokémon.
One of the best ways to take advantage of Zoroark's Illusion Ability is to take the appearance of Pokémon that are difficult to attack. If your opponent thinks it's too risky to attack Zoroark, you'll be able to keep Zoroark's Illusion intact longer. One great Pokémon for Zoroark to imitate in Double Battles is Gengar. Many Pokémon have a difficult time attacking Gengar, since it can't be damaged by Normal-, Fighting-, or Ground-type attacks. Better yet, Gengar can be frightening to most Pokémon that rely on physical attacks with the threat of being hit with Will-O-Wisp, because the burned condition dramatically lowers a Pokémon's Attack. Normally, Zoroark would struggle to keep up the ruse. After all, few Gengar attack with Dark Pulse or Flamethrower (especially because Flamethrower isn't a move Gengar can learn!) like Zoroark does, but its new trick Sludge Bomb is perfect for keeping up the act.
Another Pokémon Zoroark can imitate that often uses Sludge Bomb in Amoonguss. Like Gengar, Amoonguss is a Pokémon that can really change the way opponents play. Your opponent might be inclined to switch a valuable Pokémon out to avoid Amoonguss' Spore putting it to sleep, giving the disguised Zoroark room to work. Amoonguss' Rage Powder also helps with the act: Rage Powder draws attacks aimed at Amoonguss' partner to Amoonguss instead, so many opponents will avoid using supereffective moves on an Amoonguss' partner in fear that Amoonguss will draw the attacks away. If you teach your Zoroark Protect, it can simply stall turns while its opponent tries to play around a move Zoroark can't even learn! It's important to be more careful when your Zoroark is imitating Amoonguss than with Gengar, since your opponents may notice your “Amoonguss” is suspiciously quick if and when you use Sludge Bomb. Amoonguss can be a great partner to defend Zoroark when it imitates other Pokémon as well, since Spore and Rage Powder are both great ways to stop Pokémon from dissipating Zoroark's Illusion.
Another great way to help Zoroark keep its Illusion safe is by pairing it with a Pokémon that knows Fake Out. Mega Kangaskhan is one of the best choices for this scenario. It can use Fake Out to stop an opponent from attacking (and potentially hitting the disguised Zoroark). The advantage Mega Kangaskhan brings over other Pokémon with Fake Out is its power: many Trainers are likely to focus on trying to knock out the fearsome Mega-Evolved Pokémon regardless of what Zoroark is disguised as. With Mega Kangaskhan hogging all of the opponents' attention, Zoroark is free to deal damage without being discovered.
Try giving Zoroark either a Focus Sash to hold to increase your margin for error on defense, or a Life Orb to dish out more damage. (Life Orb's recoil does not break Zoroark's Illusion.) If you'd like to take advantage of moves such as Dark Pulse, Flamethrower, and this Zoroark's unique Sludge Bomb, be sure to take advantage of Super Training to boost its base stats in Special Attack and Speed. If you'd prefer a set of moves that take better advantage of the Egg Move Sucker Punch, you'll want to train your Zoroark in Attack and Speed instead.
Above all else, be patient with your Zoroark in battle. It can be tempting to be aggressive, but taking a big hit at the wrong time can get Zoroark knocked out before it causes much chaos. Teaching your Zoroark Protect can help it keep up its Illusion while also helping you figure out if your opponent is on to Zoroark's tricks. Finally, be careful about which Pokémon you imitate: one thing Zoroark's Illusion doesn't change is its Ability, so make sure not to have Zoroark pretend to be a Pokémon that normally displays a message in battle, such as Landorus Therian Forme and its Intimidate!
The special tricky Zoroark will only be available until November 20th, so be sure to download it while you can. And remember, check out Pokemon.com/Strategy for more Pokémon video game and Pokémon TCG strategy and analysis.