"Brutal Bash?"- Why Revive Isn't As Bad As You Think

Let me start off with an anecdote: I was playing on TCGOne with the new Roaring Skies cards and I had an opponent open with Zorua. He proceeded to play Revive, which I had thought was unplayable. I continued to set up and eventually my undamaged 180 HP Pokemon was staring down a Zorua when my opponent had two prize cards left to take. My opponent evolved into Zoroark, attached a Double Colorless Energy, and used Brutal Bash. That little screen popped up in the corner announcing that my opponent had won and I was really confused. How did my opponent win? I thought. Zoroark can't do enough damage to knock out a big EX! I looked in the log on the side and it read:

Brutal Rush does 180 damage to the big EX you had active

And I was all like, the attack is called Brutal Bash, not Brutal Rush, and I sent in a bug report, and I got an e-mail later saying that the problem was fixed, and thank you for reporting it! Zoroark has two attacks; one is Brutal Bash and the other is Dark Rush. I can easily see how a Pokebeach programmer could have mis-typed the name of the attack. I actually mentioned this in my bug report. But I digress.

Brutal Rush does 180 damage to the big EX you had active

And I was all like, how did Zoroark do that much damage? I thought I was playing against an opponent with inferior deck-building skills because I would never play Revive! Then I noticed the Sky Field in play, and I realized that I had been beaten by a very creative deck, and it really showed me how I sometimes fail to think outside the box. I quickly built the deck, and here is a rough list I have built on TCGOne at the moment:

2 Yveltal EX
2 Darkrai EX
1 Yveltal XY
4 Zorua (Ascension)
4 Zoroark
1 Spiritomb LTR
3 Muscle Band
4 Trainers' Mail
1 Acro Bike
4 Ultra Ball
4 Battle Compressor
3 Bicycle
4 Revive
4 VS Seeker
1 Lysandre
1 Lysandre's Trump Card
1 N
4 Professor Juniper
4 Sky Field
4 Darkness Energy
4 Double Colorless Energy


For two Darkness Energy, Zoroark's Dark Rush does 20x the number of damage counters on him. Zoroark has 100 HP, which means that this attack maxes out at 180 damage (barring Training Center shenanigans). If your opponent is kind enough to place exactly nine damage counters on Zoroark, and you have the luxury of attaching two Darkness Energy to him, it may be convenient to use this attack, but most of the time, you will want to be using Brutal Bash.

For CC, Brutal Bash does 20x the number of Dark-type Pokemon you have in play. Before, this attack's damage was capped at 120 damage before any modifiers. Now, with Sky Field allowing up to eight benched Pokemon, Zoroark can hit for 180 damage without even having Muscle Band attached! Zoroark can be powered up with just one attachment of a Double Colorless Energy, and with four Battle Compressor in the deck, it is a reasonable possibility that Baby Yveltal could help load him up as well. If Zoroark has Muscle Band attached, just seven Benched Pokemon will allow you to knock out most unevolved EXes.

Sky Field

Sky Field is the card that is bringing Zoroark back out of relative obscurity. A couple of years ago, Kevin Baxter made Top Eight at Illinois States with Zoroark (please don't quote me on that, I could have a detail or two wrong there), but other than that it hasn't had very many big showings. Sky Field allows Zoroark to hit for enough damage to knock out an EX without needing Hypnotoxic Laser or other cards as such that take up a lot of space. Because of all of the Item draw in the deck combined with Battle Compressor, it is very likely that you won't need four Sky Field in a game. I elected to include four because it is integral to letting Zoroark's damage hit big numbers, and it never hurts to have a counter-stadium! This count can easily be cut down to three though.


This is the card that I really want to talk about. Revive has been in the format before, when it was printed in the Black & White base set. When it was first released, I was very underwhelmed, having been spoiled by cards like Pokemon Rescue, which let you get any Pokemon from your discard pile. When Black & White was first being released, cards like Uxie LA were very popular, and Revive wasn't conducive to letting you use the Set Up PokePower which only activated when it came down from your hand onto your bench (like Shaymin EX from Roaring Skies).

The only play Revive really saw was in Durant decks with the release of Black & White: Noble Victories. Durant's attack benefitted from having as many Durants in play as possible, so  if one went down it was in your best interest to Revive that Durant back onto your bench! Pokemon rescue of course would have been better, but alas it was not in format anymore. Revive didn't see much play outside of that though, so when I saw it in the scans for the Japanese set Emerald Break I originally passed it off as a useless reprint. It is not however, useless, for one reason: Battle Compressor.

We run four Revive (this number could go down to three or lower, I'm mostly just making a point). In past formats, you wouldn't want to see a Revive in your opening hand, because there are no Pokemon in your discard pile yet! With the list shown above, you can Battle Compressor away a couple of Basic Pokemon, because you know that within the next few turns you'll draw into one of your four Revives. In decks that already play heavy counts of Battle Compressor, Revive becomes a search card, which is really cool. Imagine a deck featuring a Mega Pokemon. If you play four Battle Compressor, you can play Revive, VS Seeker, and Mega Turbo, and right there you have your search, your draw, and your energy acceleration!
In a Zoroark deck, Revive also plays the role that Exeggcute plays in Rayquaza decks. If Sky Field gets replaced, you have to discard Benched Pokemon until only five remain. That really limits your damage output, so Rayquaza decks bench Exeggcute, and when it gets discarded in this way, you can simply use Propagation to bring Exeggcute back to your hand and onto your bench. Zoroark's damage output is raised by Darkness Pokemon specifically, so the deck doesn't have the luxury of using Exeggcute. Instead, we have Revive to serve a similar purpose when our Sky Field gets replaced.

Spiritomb LTR
This is in here because I was too lazy to pick an Ace Spec. Feel free to throw in Master Ball, Computer Search, Dowsing Machine, Life Dew, Crystal Wall, or whatever floats your boat. Spiritomb is also in here because I am a little bit salty about losing a game online after my opponent played a Scramble Switch.

4 Trainers' Mail / 1 Acro Bike / 3 Bicycle / 0 Roller Skates
This count is one that I am still messing around with. If I had it my way, I would run four of each of these cards, but there simply is not enough space in the deck to justify that. In my Night March deck, this split is 4/4/0/0, but when I played against the original inspirational Zoroark deck online, the split appeared to be something along the lines of 4/0/4/0. Either way, Trainers' Mail is amazing and I am in love with that card. I could make a whole post about Trainers' Mail in general, but in boosts consistency, lets you dig for that last Item you need to create cool combinations in your hand, and so on. Acro Bike is not quite as good in Zoroark as it is in Night March for the reason that you aren't necessarily looking to gather any particular card in your discard pile. Bicycle goes very well with Ultra Ball, and it isn't a good fit in Night March because it doesn't help to use Archie's. Roller Skates are my 61st through 64th card in every deck. I want to draw more cards in general, but Acro Bike is better at that.

1 Yveltal XY, 2 Darkrai EX, 2 Yveltal EX
Darkrai is nice because he makes every starter the same. Yveltal EX is a good attacker (although not as good as Zoroark), and baby Yveltal never really hurts you, because you need basic dark Pokemon in the deck and he has a decent amount of HP with a decent attack. I like to start with Yveltal EX and attach a Darkness Energy to him. This threatens an Evil Ball, and changes how your opponent plays. Then, I use Dark Cloak to retreat into a Zoroark and start Brutally Bashing my opponent. That Darkness Energy on Yveltal gives you the option to Y Cyclone or Evil Ball later in the game if by some chance you have trouble streaming Zoroarks.

Zoroark's Impact on the Metagame
Do I think that Zoroark will ever be a Tier One deck? No, I don't. It is actually pretty challenging to hit that magic 180 damage. With Silver Bangle, the damage cap is 210, which means that most Mega EXes are out of OHKO range. This alone really limits what decks Zoroark can take down easily, because Mega Turbo will only make Mega EXes more playable. I am also of the opinion that if you want to knock out EXes with a Non-EX and a DCE, Night March is far better. If you want to do large amounts of damage with a Stage 1 and a DCE, I think Flareon can do that better as well. I do think that Revive is a playable card though, and that the Battle Compressor is very powerful. Item Draw is stronger than ever, and most decks should either take advantage of that or attempt to stop other decks from taking advantage of that.

Thanks for reading!


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