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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Top 10 Cards of 2011 Countdown

#2
Zekrom

Black & White

Date Reviewed: Jan. 5, 2012

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 4.75
Limited: 5.00

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 being the worst.  3 ... average.  5 is the highest rating.

Back to the main COTD Page

Combos With: See Below

Baby Mario
2010 UK National
Seniors
Champion

#2 Zekrom (Black and White)

Yep, our number two card of 2011 is the other Dragon, Zekrom. Why is it placing higher than Reshiram? Well, you could argue it either way, but my guess is that it is because Zekrom is just that little bit more scary.

Why so scary? Because it is capable of the most infamous act in the TCG: the first turn win, or ‘donk’.

Combine with Pachirisu, Shaymin, and a bit of luck, and this thing can do 120 damage on the first turn of the game. That’s right, your opponent starts with a lone Basic that isn’t a Dragon and it’s all over without them drawing a single card. Even if they do have a Dragon out, you run PlusPower, right? Even if they do have another Pokémon Benched, well, you are going to be hitting for 120 next turn as well, so it won’t last long.

Zekrom’s drawback (40 points of damage to itself) wasn’t much of a drawback at all when it was busy annihilating everything in sight, and now it’s even less so thanks to the fact that Eviolite cuts the self-damage in half and reduces the damage it takes from attacks on your opponent’s turn. Recently, Zekrom’s speed, and the fact that it isn’t reliant on setting up Stage 2 Pokémon, has seen it begin to eclipse Reshiram as the most powerful Dragon in the format. Use it with Pachi and Shaymin, use it with Eelektrik NV, tech it into a Magnezone deck . . . however you play it, Zekrom is an absolute boss. Just as Reshiram kept Fire-Weak Pokémon out of the metagame, so Zekrom made sure that there wasn’t much Water around (which ironically helped Reshiram even more).

Some players hate the Unova Dragons for the way they have centralized the format and relegated most Stage 2 Pokémon to a supporting role. Me? I think it’s only right that Basic Legendaries should be powerful. After all, in the video game and the anime, Pokémon like Mewtwo, Rayquaza, and Giratina are more than capable of standing up to even well-trained Evolved Pokémon. It never made sense to me that most of the cards that represent Legendaries have been horribly weak and useless (see every non-SP Dialga for details).

With Lightning cementing its place as one of the best supported and strongest Types, it’s no wonder that Zekrom continues to have a huge impact on the game.

Rating

Modified: 4.5

Mad Mattezhion
 Professor Bathurst League Australia

Top Card #2: Zekrom (Black & White)
 
Yes, today we have the third and final Unova Dragon on the Countdown. No Prizes for guessing tomorrow's card!
 
Now, while Kyurem has breathed new life into Rain Dance and Reshiram has managed what Charizard AR never could, Zekrom is the Dragon you will most ofthen see around the tables.
 
And why is that? Because Kyurem is the King of Combo (I was tempted to spell that with a 'K') and Reshiram is the Lord of Beatdown, but Zekrom is the Master of Splash.
 
You know the stats, and pretty much the only thing that Zekrom fears is Donphan Prime (although Landorus would also be a problem if Fighting types ever get any energy acceleration). All three Dragons have Outrage (although their respective types make a small difference), so the reason for Zekrom's wider range of appeal lies with Bolt Strike.
 
As with the other two signature moves, Bolt strike costs 2 specific energy and another on top (the price is [l][l][c] in this case) which can be easily reached by dropping a Pachirisu CL followed by a Shymin UL to move the energy around, which is why having a starting hand full of energy and Poke'mon Collector while you open with Zekrom is enought to put an evil smile on anyone's face.
 
However, outside of a dedicated ZPST deck, you aren't going to pull that trick off very often (MagneBoar can do it once in a blue moon if they use Rayquaza & Deoxys Legend along with Legend Box). So a few rogue builders out there started dropping Zekrom and a few Lightning energy into their builds to provide an all-purpose backup plan of sorts.
 
The reason for this is that Zekrom gives us that lovely 120 damage shot to the head without being an energy hog. Sure, you hit yourself as well but that is why we have Eviolite. Take the Trollipede or Roserade/Leafeon decks for instance. They are mad fun to play at a League, but lack oomph if your opponent happens to be practicing with their Reshiphlosion build or is playing a Donphan/Haymaker hybrid. Out comes Zekrom with a bolt from the blue and suddenly you go from getting mulched to still getting mulched, but being a lot happier about it with Poke'mon falling spectacularly on both sides of the field.
 
Then of course, there is the briefly mentioned ZPST archetype perfected by the arrival of Tornadus (the T in that deck name) and  Eviolite (ever notice how close that spelling is to losing a few letters and revealing its true self?). For speed, no other deck can touch the Zekrom rush and as long as you can free up bench space for more Pachirisu and Shaymin drops, you'll never be lacking for replacement attackers either. The only exploitable weakness (aside from TecHing in a Donphan Prime) is that ZPST can run out of resources quite early, in which case the deck stalls and gives the opponent time to recover, although hopefully you've already wiped out the important Poke'mon by that point. And since Zekrom doesn't lose anything but a little HP, running out of cards in hand doesn't necessarily stop you from finishing what you've started...
 
*evil laughter*
 
But even after the HGSS block rotates out, Zekrom will be able to rely on Eelectrik to power up. Admittedly, only a Benched Poke'mon can benefit from Eelectrik so no more Turn 1 obliteration, but that still allows you to commit atrocities with multiple Zekrom cards. I look forward to waht the future sets hold for more combos too!
 
All three of the Unova Dragons have earned a place in the hearts of gamer's, and all of them have a deck to call home as well as being possible off-type beaters in other decks due to Outrage. Hooray for awesome Legendaries!
 
Modified: 5 (that score is for the reasonable likelihood of dealing 120 damage before your opponent can even draw a card, but the synchronicity bewteen the attacks and the ability to exploit the commonly found Lightning Weakness are also big points in Zekrom's favour. As is the ease of use when splashing Zekrom into your untested deck idea, hooray for heavy and repeatable damage!)
 
Limited: 5 (you can deal massive damage with either attack, and once Zekrom is powered up you'll be able to devote your remaining resources to other Poke'mon rather than having to pay for discards. Plus the full art is the best of all of the ones I've seen)
 Combos with: Shaymin UL, Pachirisu CL, Tornadus EP, Eelectrik NV

virusyosh

Greetings, Pojo readers! Our 2011 Cards of the Year countdown is winding down, and today we are reviewing our #2 Card of 2011, the only member of the Unova legendary dragon trio that we haven't reviewed in our countdown yet. Today's Card of the Day is Zekrom from Black and White.

Zekrom is a Basic Lightning Pokemon. In Modified, Lightning is somewhat of a popular type, with Zekrom and Magnezone seeing a lot of play. Zekrom tends to see play with Pachirisu CL, Shaymin UL, and Tornadus EP in the "ZPST" variant, but also with Eelektrik NVI as well. 130 HP is amazing for a Basic, as we discussed yesterday with Reshiram; it allows for Zekrom to easily take two hits from the metagame's biggest threats without prior investment. Fighting Weakness means that Terrakion and the increasingly rare Donphan Prime will make Zekrom fall easily, although most decks that run Zekrom have ways of dealing with these threats effectively. Sadly, Zekrom has no Resistance, but shares Reshiram and Kyurem's Retreat Cost of 2, which is payable if you absolutely must, but one would still probably rather use Switch to avoid the loss of tempo.

Zekrom's two attacks, Outrage and Bolt Strike, are very similar to Reshiram's. Outrage is the same attack, dealing 20 damage plus 10 more for each damage counter on Zekrom for two Colorless Energy. This attack is great as always, but works even better with Zekrom's Bolt Strike, which deals 120 damage for two Lightning and a Colorless, with the side effect of Zekrom dealing 40 damage to itself. While this self-damage does a good job at powering up Outrage, it also makes Zekrom more prone to revenge killing than its other Dragon-type brethren. Fortunately, Eviolite reduces this damage, as well as increasing Zekrom's durability against other attacks as well.

Modified: 4.5/5 In a format of powerful and efficient Basics, Zekrom is probably the most efficient in Modified right now. 120 damage for three Energy is great, and being able to do 120 multiple turns without an Energy discard is fantastic. While Zekrom is prone to revenge KOs, it also has great synergy with many useful Energy accelerators like Pachirisu CL and Eelektrik NVI. Zekrom is definitely a sight that you'll have to look out for on the tournament scene, as it is definitely one of the biggest threats in the format.

Limited: 5/5 Much like Reshiram, Zekrom is a Limited bomb, perhaps maybe even moreso than its Fire-type counterpart. Bolt Strike's 120 damage without a discard is absolutely insane in Black and White Limited, easily Knocking Out almost everything in a single blow. Likewise, once Zekrom has a lot of damage, you can switch to Outrage to grab even more KOs. Overall, Zekrom is definitely worth running and splashing Lightning for in your Limited deck.

Combos With: Pachirisu CL, Shaymin UL, Eelektrik NVI


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