Competitive Focus: Zoroark

Hey guys, Jonny here! So I have been thinking about starting a set of competitive battle strategy articles for the 5th gen. So without further ado let’s get them started!

I’ll start off with the first 5th generation pokemon revealed, and one of my favorites, Zoroark. With base speed of 105 and a special attack of 120 *plus* a fairly diverse movepool zoroark can be an impressive sweeper.

  • Ability: Illiusion – Zoroark’s abilty though intresting isnt that helpful in battle unless you get lucky and it causes an opponent to switch.
  • Item: Life Orb
  • Nature: Modest
  • EVs: Sp Atk – 252 / Speed – 252 / HP – 6
  • Night Burst
  • Focus Blast
  • Flamethrower
  • Hidden Power [Psychic]

The idea here is to hit things hard without having to set up.  Night burst zoroark’s main stab move takes care of ghost and psychic, while also hitting any other pokemon pretty hard if it switches in.  Focus blast helps take care of pesky special walls like Blissey.  Flamethrower is for any bug or steel switch in’s. Watch out for Shandera and Heatran.  Lastly HP (Psychic) is for Fighting types like the ‘all mighty’ Roopushin.  Be careful when battling against them (or many other fighting types) as they can be equipped with mach punch and can OHKO Zoroark.

Switching in on a psychic is your best bet seeing how Zoroark is immune to any psychic moves it carries.  Wait to see if the opponent is scarfed or banded in anyway and switch in on a move that won’t hurt zoroark too badly, seeing how zoroark’s defense and special defense aren’t the best.

Because zoroark is one of my favorite 5th generation pokemon I’m glad to see its stats are decent.  What do you guys think.?  Any other moveset you believe would work?  Leave it in the comments below and tell me what you think about zoroark as far as competive battling.  Hope you guys enjoyed!


PJ’s Note: Jonny is our fearless mod over in Chat who takes care of dealing with the hordes of anons that sometimes hop into it :3

    1. Thank you i love this moveset on zoroark. Focus blast is also very helpful with common switch in’s like Heatran.

      1. You’re right : ) I might try it!
        I wish zoroark could be obtained through normal play through. That was a big let down.

  1. Personally i think that it is a good moveset. But in my opinion i wont use these special event pokemon or legendary pokemon in any type of competitive battling for two reasons. One, they are like….. too used. I see legendary pokemon as like one of a kind and when you see a darkrai vs. zoroark, it just does not appeal to me. The other reason is because i want to create a team that is unique and that it would be rare to find other traners with mostly the same pokemon EXEPT the only one pseudo ledgendary i like to use, salamence. It makes it harder but even funner as a competitive battler knowing that your team was made by yourself without a rare pokemon included in it. PS. I always use my starter. LOL

  2. Interesting!

    Here are my suggestions :
    Illusion isn’t useless, if you come in as a Ghost, the opponent won’t use Fighting or Bug type attacks against you thinking you’ll resist them, so it kinda covers Zoroark’s two weaknesses!
    Timid is also a good nature, if you want to outspeed more stuff.
    255 evs are useless, since the max that will affect your stats are 252 evs, so basically, you give 252 in SpA and 252 in SPD, and you place 4 in something like HP. It’s only a point of difference, but still! 😀
    I doubt Focus Blast can really help against Blissey, she might be weak to it, but her tremendous HP and SpD will make so she takes little damage. It’s still a good move to have on Zoroark though!
    I’m not so sure for Hidden Power Psychic… It’s pretty much only good for Roopushin, but as you’ve said, Fighting types usually have Mach Punch, and Zoroark is too frail for that… I think your best option against a Mach Punch user is to switch out. I’d recommend something like Grass Knot, even if I’m not fan of it’s shaky BP, it’s still useful against the common Water types. You can also try Hidden Power Ice or Electric for more type coverage.

    Well, that’s about it! I’m looking forward to the next article! 😉

      1. yeah, if you actually knew anything about competitive play, you wouldn’t give 255 ev’s to a stat… I won’t explain cuz other people here already did… I don’t play and even I know that…

  3. Aerial ace can be useful against fighting types.

    Question: When do we get to see the focus on Hoenn starters?

  4. I agree with Tackman. I think that Zoroark’s ability is something you build a team around. Send him out first, as a ghost or as a fighting type, for example, and in the first turn use NASTY PLOT. After that first turn, your SpA is so high you can sweep as much as you want, so you should focus on Speed – Timid nature.

    Basically the ability can decide the course of the battle in that first turn. As a moveset, I think something of the sort:

    -Night Burst
    -Focus Blast
    -Nasty Plot

    Obviously band wont work so maybe the berry that diminishes fighting attack damage? Or maybe focus sash in case the first attack that you’re hit with kills you?

    It’s pretty much a very similar version of Azelf but Dark type.

  5. Hmm, why the 255 ev’s? I would put make it Sp.Att 252/Speed 252/4HP

    It’s an extra HP point, which could be helpful. Though, I rather use it as a Focus Sash user, considering on Mach Punch can KO it, as long as there’s no Sandstorm, it can end up KO’ing a Roobushin and then taking out a Shandera, as long as it doesn’t carry a Choice Scarf with Night Burst.

    This seems kind of interesting, but I think I’ll use Smogon Uncharted territory forum to get my move sets for pokemon though… and I do hope you’ll be putting a few pokemon in at a time, in spoilers, so we don’t have the whole page filled with these articles.

    It was an ok competitive focus, but just one set isn’t that great.

    1. Yeah this is new territory for us so we’re trying to improve these as they go :3 Thanks for the suggestion~

      1. Mmm hmm.. and maybe a Nasty Plot set. That really is the biggest niche Zoroak will be filling.

  6. looks good, but this is the second kitsune poke to learn flamethrower, but if you get a female zorua, breed it with a ground egg group poke that learns zen headbutt, it will get you a zen headbutting zoroark, but access to this poke is very limited as it is an event, but man does this poke have a POWEEEEEEEEEEERFUL MOVESET, night burst: sweet, in conclusion I AM ADDING THIS POKEMON TO MY ALT PLAT TEAM, OONCE I MIGRATED IT TO WHITE

  7. very good the news…

    I hope you put more news pokejungle other competitive pokemon,
    it’s Zoroark is very good, I like a lot

  8. Gamestop says that if you preorder b/w, you’ll be able to download a zoroark to your game. yay! Imma call it…umm…I’ve got no clue. Ignc for short. Wait!That’s it! Ignic! btw add to my mystery dungeon team! so far my only members are snivy and washibon!

  9. i was at gamestop the other day and it said if you wanna preorder b/w the date of release on the paper is april 1st? maybe april fools?

    1. oh i hope it is, my birthday is 4/1_ (not revealing the exact day), and I can get a togekiss if it’s on april 1st. Yay!

  10. By looking at the set, I’d go ahead and say replace Night Burst with Dark Pulse. 5 base power really isn’t too much of a difference. The object of Zoroark is to keep its identity a secret for as long as possible not to say, here’s my signature move. Give him Dark Pulse and Nasty Plot, with Focus Blast and Hidden Power of your choice, and then turn him into something like Honchkrow, which learns most of those moves (excluding Focus Blast) and keep up the charade. It could buy you a lot of turns by say, switching into their bug type as Honchkrow, they fear an air slash so they switch to an electric or ice type, and you get in a nasty plot. Next turn, they still assume you’re a Honchkrow so, if it’s an electric (besides Shibirudon) use Hidden Power (possibly Ground) or STABed Dark Pulse, and if it’s ice, give up the charade and use focus blast.

  11. “Watch out for Shanderaa or Heatran”
    Actually, I’d say watch out more for Arcanine as I’ve been fighting them a lot recently. Any of them could be packing Flash Fire, or the dream world ability “Heart of Justice,” which makes them immune to dark moves and raises their attack by one stage if hit by one. Not to mention that Arcanine has a far more versatile move pool than either Heatran or Shanderaa, is decently fast, has good HP and decent defenses, and very good attack and special attack. The main set I’m seeing on them is Choice Banded or Life Orbed with- Extremespeed (priority, yikes O.o) Flare Blitz, Wild Bolt, and Close Combat. From what I can tell, Arcanine may be OU or at least BL this gen.

  12. 🙂 Thanks for doing this. It’s awesome to read competitive battling strategies, even though I’m not a competitive battler. I also think Zoroark is awesome. 😀

  13. Are there going to be Competitive Focusses for all the Gen V Pokemon? I hope not. You write well, but I think it’s a little useless. I’d like to read things like Focus On’s and Rumors.
    But that’s my opinion. Sorry Jonny!

  14. In the future, can you guys do a Competitive Focus on Hitomoshi-Ranpuraa-Shandera evolution line? Just curious becasue it is one of my favorite pokemon in the 5th generation and i am curious as how to make an effective moveset for shandera.

    1. Calm Mind/Energy Ball
      Shadow Ball
      Hidden Power (Fighting)
      EVs- 252 Sp Atk, 252 Speed, 4 HP
      Item: Life orb

      As effective as it gets

      1. Just curious, is evil eye and will o wisp a good combination also? Because it is a STAB move and doesnt evil eye increase the power of the move if the opponent has a status problem? A burn will inflict additional damage after the turns and will take away HP even with leftovers or even more if they attack with Life Orb?

        1. Evil Eye is a good move but it’s more viable on a wall and not a sweeper like Shandera. Using Will O Wisp slows the momentum of Shandera’s sweep and allows the other player to perhaps set up a Nasty Plot or Agility, become faster/stronger than Shandera and kill him that turn. Shadow Ball is more viable as it gives you the chance of lowering special defense.

          However, Burunkeru or Desukan can both use Evil Eye effectively, as they aren’t sweepers, can take a boosted hit, and use status to their advantage as walls. Burunkeru is probably best at this though as he has three immunities, normal, fighting, and water (because of water absorb), has already awesome HP and Special Defense, uses Will O Wisp, hits a physical sweeper and lowers their attack by 50% because of it, then uses Recover to heal off the damage. Next turn, he uses Evil Eye. Wash, Rinse, and Repeat.

      2. It could help alot too if you can explain to me how to determine the hidden power for teaching shandera hidden power. I can never understand the formula that serebii uses or bulbapedia. LOL

        1. If you have Pokesav make his IVs-
          Defense- 30
          Special Attack- 30
          Special Attack- 30
          Speed- 30.

          You’ll have Hidden Power fighting.

          I use Smogon-legal hacks, so even I don’t really understand the formula. However you could just breed one, and plug in their ivs here= – until you get one with hidden power fighting.

          1. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!! +1 ON EVERYTHING. Now i understand completely why shadow ball is the better choise. I love you………. No homo. LOL : )

  15. @Al great thinking, but you’ll need a Honchkrow on your team, and you got two Pokemon filling the same role. It’s better to disguise it as a ghost or a fire Pokemon or something.

    1. Probably, but it was just an example. Just replace Night Burst with Dark Pulse and the set will be fine.

  16. If you’re using Hidden Power, consider Flying instead to hit Fighting types AND Bug types at the same time.
    Or, just use Ice instead to be a dragon killer.

    Also Sucker Punch and U-turn are useful enough to make a mixed set with a Naive nature.

  17. Oh, I almost forgot. Focus Sash + Counter is totally usable on Zoroark thanks to Illusion. Even if they know you’re not the Pokemon you’re disguised as, they might not see Counter coming.

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