you think this review is too long to read, just skip
straight to the scores and then read the summary for a
Rocket’s Zapdos ex
EX: Team Rocket Returns
As long as
Rocket’s Zapdos ex has any (D) Energy attached to it, damage
done to Rocket’s Zapdos ex is reduced by 10 damage (after
applying Weakness and Resistance).
(C) Plasma 
your discard pile for a (L) Energy and attach it to Rocket’s
(LLC) Raging Thunder 
attack does 30 damage to one of your Pokémon.
Rocket’s Zapdos ex benefits from being a Rocket’s
Pokémon in the typical fashion: it gets access to most
of its “Team” Trainers, like Rocket’s Mission. This
is a serious advantage. There are a few tiny draw backs,
but the two that would really hamper playing this card are
already caused by the second notable thing about it: this
card is a Pokémon ex. So it can’t use Ancient Technical
Machine [Rock] to bring down Evolutions or Ancient
Tomb to cover its Weakness. There are other
drawbacks to being a Pokémon ex, which are well known now:
it’s worth two prizes when it’s Knocked Out, and there are
several “anti-Pokémon ex” cards in addition to those cards
that just can’t be used by it. So being a Pokémon ex
requires some compensation: we must remember that as we
evaluate it further. It is a Darkness-Type Pokémon, which
is probably the second best type in the game: nothing
Resists it, there is a little bit of Weakness to it,
and most importantly, it allows you to get a damage bonus
from Darkness Energy.
Rocket’s Zapdos ex
is a Basic Pokémon, which is the best it can be: as long as
you have room in play, you can play it straight from hand.
Like all the Legendary Birds, it’s on its own: there aren’t
any pre-Evolutions or Evolution cards for it. This means a
slight power boost is called for so that it can compete with
Evolutions. Next we note that it has 100 HP. This is 30
above the original Rocket’s Zapdos, and is a pretty
good number, even for a Pokémon ex. However, there
is one draw back: it now can be affected by Desert Ruins.
In such a match up, it will be like you have at least 10
less HP, and likely 20 or 30 less.
the bottom stats, it has a Weakness to Electric Pokémon:
while there are some interesting Electric decks out there,
none have proven themselves to the point where they are a
major consideration. So this is probably a pretty decent
Weakness. There is no Resistance, which is naturally the
worst Resistance to have. The last of the bottom stats is
the retreat, which is just (C). This is the second best in
the game and you should rarely have to worry about paying
it: maybe if you only have Darkness Energy attached.
Rocket’s Zapdos has some pretty solid abilities. Its
Darkness Guard Poké-Body reduces the damage you take from
your opponent’s active Pokémon by 10, so long as you have at
least one source of (D) Energy attached. Not bad, but far
from great. Moving on, we see Plasma, and attack I believe
debuted on the original Rocket’s Zapdos. This card’s
version of the attack is a hair toned down: only doing 10
damage while letting you attach an Electric Energy from the
Graveyard to Rocket’s Zapdos ex. While doing less
damage than the original, it’s still potent, and you are
getting a little more than what you paid for in Energy. The
second attack is rather interesting, and requires you plan
carefully when using this card. Raging Thunder does 60
damage, but you only paid for 40 damage with the attack.
What offsets the 20 damage bonus? You have to do 30 damage
to one of your own Pokémon. That’s quite a bit of a kick
back, and seems a little much to me. Having a choice about
which of your Pokémon gets nailed is good, but it seems to
be valued at 10 damage to yourself here (normally for every
10 damage you do to yourself; you do 10 extra to the
all, Rocket’s Zapdos shapes up somewhat poorly in the
abilities department. It can only block 10 damage and that
requires Darkness Energy be attached. Plasma is good,
Raging Thunder barely breaks even.
First, you want to get some Electric Energy into your
discard: Energy Draw Delcatty, TV Reporter,
and Rocket’s Mission are your best bets.
You’ll need speed to win with this deck. The second thing
you’ll need is a Pokémon to sit there and “soak” (absorb the
damage with little harm to itself) the kickback damage from
Raging Thunder. There are three options I can think of: A
Metal Pokémon with at least three Metal Energy cards,
Root Fossils, or the Ledian from Team Rocket
Returns. The Metal Energy would clutter the deck, so the
latter two are the best options. Root Fossil can
heal 10 damage between turns, so even a single one would be
good for absorbing two shots (unless targeted by an opposing
attack): first one does 30, it heals down to 10 before your
second attack. This means you’ll need outside help to
attack more than eight times with Raging Thunder. To be
fair, you should probably win by then and you can also use
the other Fossils, but they’ll probably be less effective.
The option I prefer is the Ledian from this set: it can
absorb all the damage with its Poké-Body, and has decent
attacks. The main downside is the Ledian won’t last long
against most Pokémon if it is active. The other downside is
that there is talk that there may be an error on this card
and that it, like several other cards, will need an errata.
thing to remember is to take advantage of it being a
Rocket Pokémon with cards like Rocket’s Hideout (even
though it won’t affect a lot of the other Pokémon I said to
run with it) and Darkness Energy. While triggering
the Poké-Body will be nice, the main benefit will be using a
few to put Raging Thunder in the OHKO-range against a lot of
2/5-This card requires a lot of set up for Modified… so it’s
going to be pretty hard to protect its Energy. Yes, it can
get one Electric Energy back… but that won’t be enough to
catch up against a solid Energy Removal front. You’d likely
power up just in time to lose it again.
3.75/5-Despite seemingly talking it down, I think we can
expect at least a solid deck out of this, and maybe even
something that can run with the big decks of the format.
Remember, you’ll need something to soak damage (like TRR
Ledian), and you’ll need some good draw power.
3.75/5-Very nice. Good HP, and most Electric Evolutions in
this set are Holographic-rares, so while they’d show up,
they aren’t going to be everywhere. Plasma can help it set
up quicker, and if you manage to pull a Dark Metal Energy
or two, you might even get to make use of its Poké-Body.
But what of the kickback damage from Raging Thunder? You
should be scoring OHKO’s with this card, so as long as you
aren’t too low on Prizes or your opponent doesn’t nail your
bench a lot, you should be able to out pace you self
Rocket’s Zapdos ex,
other than in Unlimited, is greater than the sum of its
parts. It has a lot of mediocre abilities, but when
combined with the right cards, it can be a quick OHKO-machine
like most of the other top decks in Modified.