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Pojo's Pokemon Card of the Day

 

Zekrom #47 & #114

Black & White

Date Reviewed: May 5, 2011

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 4.33
Limited: 4.85

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:

Baby Mario
2010 UK National
Seniors
Champion

Zekrom #47 & #114 (Black and White)

Today we look at the other hyped B&W cover star – the Deep Black Pokémon Zekrom.

Like his fiery counterpart Reshiram (we reviewed it last week), it’s another monster Basic with 130 HP and some serious firepower. Like Reshiram it also has a useful Outrage attack for [C][C] which does 20 damage plus 10 more for each damage counter on Zekrom (meaning that, if you don’t OHKO it, you will be sorry). Like Reshiram it has an attack which does 120 damage for three Energy, but instead of having to discard, it does 40 damage to itself instead. That 40 damage can be something of a problem as it effectively turns Zekrom into a 90 HP Pokémon (still not bad for a Basic) after one attack, and it’s all downhill from there. On the plus side, it can make Outrage somewhat more of a threat.

As with Reshiram, there are ways of getting Zekrom doing its massive Bolt Strike attack nice and early. In fact, it’s even possible on Turn 1, which makes Zekrom just about the only Pokémon in HGSS-on capable of being part of a donk strategy. It works like this: use the Power of Pachirisu CL to attach two Lightning Energy from your hand, and then use Shaymin UL’s Celebration Wind to move them on to Zekrom. Attach your Energy for the turn and hit for 120! Of course you need some way to get the three Basics and the three Energy in your hand. Not always possible on the first turn, but you should be able to manage it on subsequent turns with a well-built deck.

So . . . the big question is: is it better than Reshiram? Well there are a few things to consider. Zekrom has a potential speed advantage, but once Reshiram is set up, it will power up more consistently. Then there is the issue of Weakness. Right now, there isn’t expected to be much Water in the HGSS-on metagame, which helps Reshiram, but Zekrom is cheaply knocked out by Donphan Prime. Of course it can be teched for that match up, but that could hurt speed and consistency.

I think that both Unova Legendaries are worth testing out. At the moment I feel that Reshiram has the slight edge because it has a better Weakness and a more consistent long game. Zekrom, on the other hand, has speed, and more room for techs. They both make formidable decks and I suggest you build and try them both before making up your own mind. Both Zekrom and Reshiram are available in tins, so it shouldn’t be too difficult or expensive to get your hands on them.

Rating

Modified (HGSS-on): 4.25 (hugely powerful Basic that has some decent support out there)

Limited: 4.75 (this and Reshiram owned the prerelease as far as I’m concerned)

Mad Mattezhion
 Professor Bathurst League Australia

Zekrom 47/114 (Black and White)
 
Hey Pojo readers, today we have the other incredibly destructive Dragon up for review. Put your hands together for Zekrom!
 
Zekrom is a Lightning type non-evolving Basic with 130 HP, Fighting weakness, a retreat cost of 2 and two attacks.
 
It seems that the Metal resistance which has been common on Lightning types in earlier sets is now a thing of the past. Other than that, the HP is brilliant and the retreat cost is fair but the weakness is a pain. Donphan Prime and Machamp Prime will both survive the rotation, so Fighting types will still maintain a decent presence at the tournament level of the Poke'mon TCG. Donphan in particular will be a problem because it has both a damage-reduction Poke-body and Lightning resistance to take the bite out of Zekrom's attacks, along with that single energy attack which will KO with either a Pluspower attached or the help of Kingdra Prime.
 
The stats are a mixture of good and bad, so what are the attacks like?
 
Outrage is the same for Zekrom as it is for Reshiram last week. The cost of [c][c] let's you deal 20 damage, with a bonus 10 damage for each damage counter on Zekrom (leading to a maximum of 140 damage, or 180 damage if you attach an Expert Belt).
 
This attack is even better on Zekrom than it is on Reshiram. Because Bolt Strike deals self-damage, Outrage gets a lovely damage boost and can be used to take a KO the next turn if another Bolt Strike would make Zekrom too unhealthy (espeically if you are hitting weakness). Also, both Donphan and Machamp Prime deal 60 damage with their first attack (120 damage after weakness), so if they fail to OHKO Zekrom then Outrage reaches full power for the return hit. Sadly, Outrage won't OHKO either Donphan or Machamp Prime even at full power. To make matters worse, Machamp SF (for however long it remains in the format) will smash Zekrom with Take Out for an OHKO while Promocroak will also deal enough damage to remove Zekrom in one hit (with a little help from Crobat G).
 
Outrage is awesome and has near-perfect synergy with Bolt Strike, but the Fighting weakness and situational damage mean it isn't a main attack. Bolt Strike however, is definitely main attack material.
 
Bolt Strike deals 120 damage for [l][l][c] and deals 40 self-damage. This is definitely fair for the cost, and the self-damage doesn't prove to be suicidal because of the high HP. Better yet, provided you don't mind the risk of a return hit, or a self-inflicted KO, you can use Bolt Strike turn after turn without having to rely on any support Poke'mon. You should still keep another Poke'mon ready on the bench in case of an unfortunate accident, but Zekrom is amazingly easy to tech into any deck that can run a few [l] energy (or Rainbow Energy, which works beatifully with Outrage). The only criticism I can make is that you can't use DCE for both attacks, but if you could Zekrom would be ridiculously powerful so I understand why the design team decided against that.
 
In order to avoid giving away as many Prizes as you take, you are going to need some heavy healing options for Zekrom however. The most popular will probably be combining Switch with Seeker so you get a full heal without even losing any energy, but Pokehealer + is still with us and will do an excellent job of keeping Zekrom healthy until the rotation. Super Scoop Up will also do the trick if you flip Heads, while Poke'mon Rescue and Revive will get back a Zekrom that just bit the dust so that you can start fresh. Failing that, just run Nidoqueen RR or Serperior BW (6/114) to remove thos annoying damage counters turn after turn. The healing factor is really the only limitation on Zekrom's power aside from weakness, so don't ignore it.
 
Just like Reshiram, Zekrom has a ready-made deck (Magnezone) just waiting to include it while I also hear talk of a speed deck revolving around Zekrom, Pachirisu CL and Shaymin UD. I can see Zekrom being a fixture in any deck running [l] energy (or Rainbow Energy) from now until it rotates out. The popularity of Fighting Poke'mon stops Zekrom from being too powerful, and the advantage Zekrom has against water decks (Gyarados, Rain Dance and Kingdra) will be a big bonus both now and after the rotation.
 
Zekrom may even keep Water decks out of play the same way that Luxray Gl has for these past few years which will make Reshiram and friends more popular, but somehow I think that someone out there will still run water to counter Ninetales HGSS, all other Fire Poke'mon and Donphan Prime, all of which will be extremely popular immediately after the rotation. I expect some strong support will appear in the next few sets to give Rain Dance the edge it needs to be competitive (cards like Professor Juniper are a step in the right direction) so Zekrom will always have a place in the TCG, either as a counter or an attacker. The only way that will change is if we get flooded with ridiculously powerful Fighting tyoe cards, and even then Zekrom would still have enough speed and power to justify use. Go Zekrom!
 
Modified: 5 (huge HP, brutal attacks and ridiculously easy to fit into a Lightning deck. Zekrom is even relatively easy to tech into a non-Lightning deck so you know you are going to see it around. Just make sure you have some way to heal Zekrom when things turn ugly for you)
 
Limited: 5 (Bolt Strike can be used turn after turn and Outrgae is ridiculously powerful here, so if you pulled enough Supporters and Items you will dominate the prerelease. I myself was able to run a mono-Lightning deck at the prerelease and my only problem was that all of my Poke'mon had a Fighting weakness, but that didn't prove too much of a hassle and I only lost my final match against a Reshiram due to absolutely rotten luck)
 
Combos with: an award for being the first Poke'mon that is as brilliant in Modified as it is in Limited. Failing that, Zekrom combos with Magnezone Prime, Pachirisu CL, Shaymin UL, Rainbow Energy and Seeker.


Otaku

Zekrom: literally one of the two “Poster-mon” for this latest generation of Pokémon. Legendary Pokémon often seem to fall short of expectations in the TCG, because you expect them to be… well… legendary! Let’s break down Zekrom and see if it is hollow hype or fact-based fear building this card up.

First and foremost, it is a Basic Lightning-Type Pokémon, though at first glance the Ultra Rare version (114/114) looked like a Darkness-Type because of the cards black background… well at least to me. Being a Basic makes it easy to work into decks, search out, and play. Being a Lightning-Type is a pretty good, with a little support and a decent amount of Weakness. 130 HP is fantastic, a record high for a true Basic Pokémon and shared only with Reshiram. Fighting Weakness is horrible, but incredibly important for balance. No Resistance may actually be warranted as a balance issue this time, as is the two Energy Retreat Cost: it is high enough you can pay if you must but that you won’t want to due to the set back.

Zekrom has some great stats, and its attacks don’t disappoint. Outrage is probably the weaker of the two, and it works exactly as it did for Reshiram: for two of any Energy you hit for 20 points of damage plus an additional 10 points of damage for each damage counter on Zekrom. Outrage is a solid fallback option that has some synergy with the next attack, Bolt Strike, because Bolt Strike inflicts 40 points of self damage. You also need (LLC) but the pay out is stupendous: 120 points of damage! If your opponent doesn’t hit you at all, you could use the attack three times, and stand a very real chance of getting three Prizes out of it. Indeed, this is where the synergy really kicks in: if Zekrom is damaged enough that Bolt Strike would cause it to KO itself, that means you’d hit for at least 110 points of damage with Outrage. This will take out almost any Basic and most Stage 1 Pokémon in a single hit, and leave almost everything else all but Knocked Out.

What about the three turns you spend building it? What about the fact that Double Colorless Energy could power up Outrage but is wasted on the single Colorless Energy requirement for Bolt Strike? These are valid concerns and would apply if Zekrom is splashed into an off-type deck or even a Lightning-Type deck not properly prepared for it. The thing is this card already has its own deck built around a simple but effective combo. You want to open with Zekrom as your Active Pokémon. Next bench Pachirisu from Call of Legends, using its Poké-Power (Self-Generation) to attach two Lightning Energy cards to it from your hand. Yes, that means the set-up also needs you to get those Energy as well. Lastly play Shaymin (HS-Unleashed 8/95), using its Celebration Wind Poké-Power to transfer the Lightning Energy cards from Pachirisu to Zekrom. Manually attach a final Energy to Zekrom and hit for 120 points of damage, ideally the first turn of the game! Many have touted it as the new donk deck for the next, purportedly better format, but this isn’t really accurate. Instead, I consider this to be the new Haymaker: no Evolutions required, with a decent chance of scoring a FTKO, and with the power to follow through if it doesn’t score a FTKO for the win. So it is a deck that can “donk” (win first turn by KOing your opponent’s only Pokémon in play), as opposed to a “donk deck” (designed solely to score a FTKO for game and does so quite reliably). This is definitely a concern for the next format, but remember that this card is shredded by Donphan Prime or Machamp Prime, and indeed if you can work a Fighting-Type into your deck (preferably something that hits fast), you can trade Prizes pretty easily. If Zekrom isn’t picking of Evolutions and/or Energy-laden Pokémon, it isn’t building the momentum it needs to win. Plus it does rely on many cards that in the current format can be pretty easily shut down, though most of those cards will be rotating out.

I have heard a lot of players being overly pessimistic about the coming format. The most vocal cite this deck. I find this situation most reminiscent of the “old days” when Unlimited was better known as “Standard”, because it was the standard format for tournaments. Back when Haymaker dominated, we also had a Professor Oak, Computer Search, Item Finder, Energy Removal, Super Energy Removal, and Gust of Wind. Professor Juniper is good, but she isn’t a Normal Trainer like Professor Oak was, capable of being played multiple times in a single turn. I think the closes Trainer we have to Computer Search, especially going into the next format, is Twins. There may not be a discard cost, but you have to be down in Prizes and it is a Supporter. Likewise, we may have gotten a nerfed Item Finder in Junk Arm, but it has indeed been toned down and really required the other cards I just named to be a real problem. Energy Removal/Super Energy Removal, again we have some toned down versions, and being able to remove Special Energy is pretty potent but not the same Losing a Double Colorless Energy stinks, but it was having a card you spent four turns powering up picked clean in one that made the duo so deadly. Now we come to the one thing we (presumably) will eventually get, a modern day Gust of Wind. Not a tolerable successor like Pokémon Reversal or slightly pushing it Poké Blower+, but a card that is literally just Gust of Wind with a new name, Pokémon Catcher from what I’ve seen of translations. In Japan I believe it was released in their equivalent of the Black & White set. This does look pretty problematic but at the same time, it really was those six listed Trainers, usually supplemented by some almost as broken ones like Scoop Up that turned Base Set Hitmonchan and Electabuzz into powerhouses. Indeed there has been no problem from those Pokémon being re-released into Modified! Pokémon Catcher will allow Zekrom to decimate your Benched Pokémon one after the other… but that won’t make it invincible. Players seem to forget that before Rare Candy, even in a format with Double Gust people played Stage 2 Pokémon. When you know your Basic is going to be taken down in one shot, you learn to run four and Bench two at a time. You structure your deck so they Evolve immediately the next turn, and you stick with stuff you can power up to at least get their weaker attack in one turn. Then while Zekrom OHKOs one Pokémon, you turn around and OHKO it back: after all, that 130 HP will have dropped to 90 due to self-damage, and I haven’t seen a Gold Berry reprint. I won’t promise the format is foolproof, but it’s more promising than what we have.

In Limited play this is a great pick. Even if you can’t afford to run any Lightning Energy the sheer size will allow Outrage to do some good damage, and if you do get the Energy needed, Bolt Strike might take Zekrom down from the self-damage, but whatever it hit will probably go with it. Of course if you manage to build it on the Bench then it probably can Bolt Strike the current Defending Pokémon for a Prize, get struck but probably not KO’d by the next Pokémon, and you can take it out with Outrage or Bolt Strike, whatever works best.

Ratings

Modified (MD-On): 3.75/5 – Sabledonk is an actual donk deck, but this doesn’t have to donk to win. However, this format still has all the (often run) counter cards that can shut down the supporting pieces of the combo.

Modified (HGSS-On): 4.75/5 – I try to talk everyone down, and yet I score it like this? Well, it is a card that may be almost too powerful. Fortunately, it might clash with similar cards and actually balance each other out.

Limited: 5/5 – You had to pull all the pieces of a great deck to crowd this card out, or know that everyone is running mostly Fighting decks. Those are the only two reasons not to run it in your Limited deck.

Summary

Zekrom is a good type, large, hits hard, and taps into an innovative combo to power itself up amazingly fast. In short, it probably is a little too good once the next format hits, and for now is good enough to try playing. Still, I don’t think it will become an almost impossible to beat deck next format, but it will be the hard to beat deck and could be the hard to beat deck.

Click here to see what I have up for bids on eBay. Pojo.com is in no way responsible for any transactions and merely kind enough to let me link to my auctions in my reviews.

virusyosh

Hello once again, Pojo readers! Now that I'm done with my grad school finals, I should be able to be more consistent with my reviews. Today's Card of the Day is a rather large Lightning-type dragon that you may all have heard about: it's the mascot of Pokemon White, Zekrom.

Zekrom is a Basic Lightning Pokemon. Lightning Pokemon see play in our current MD-on format, with Luxray GL Lv. X being everywhere and Magnezone Prime picking up in popularity. Zekrom has a massive 130 HP for a Basic, meaning that it can probably take a few hits that aren't for Weakness, and maybe even some that are. Fighting Weakness hurts, but is to be expected on a Lightning-type, so be careful around Donphans and Machamps. No Resistance is no Resistance, which is never a good thing. Finally, a Retreat Cost of 2 is decent for a large dragon such as Zekrom, meaning it shouldn't be too hard to take it out of the Active position.

Like Reshiram, Zekrom has two attacks: Outrage and Bolt Strike. Outrage is exactly the same as the version on Reshiram, starting with 20 damage for a Double Colorless cost and dealing 10 more for each damage counter on Zekrom. Outrage may be even better on Zekrom, though, because Bolt Strike still does 120 damage for [LLC] like Reshiram's Blue Flare, but instead of discarding the Energy attached, Zekrom does 40 damage to itself instead. This is a high-risk, high-reward attack, since after you use it your opponent will most likely be able to KO with an attack of their own. However, if they don't, you should be able to Outrage for massive damage, or maybe even go down swinging with another Bolt Strike.

Zekrom is an absolutely killer Basic, and works really well with support to minimize the damage it takes (or to at least keep you Bolt Striking). The new Reuniclus and Serperior may be interesting choices for healing Zekrom, but those require a lot of set-up, given that they are both Stage 2s. In addition, running cards like Potion probably aren't worth it in Modified, so the easiest way to get rid of the damage is probably something like Blissey Prime, Super Scoop Up, or Seeker. Then again, if you just plan on using Zekrom as a fast-hitting, somewhat suicidal attacker, that can be just as effective given the deck you put it in. Magnezone comes to mind here, as it can function as a big body and a good attacker if you don't want to commit to Lost Burning all of your Energy or if you find the damage output of Magnezone SF to be too weak.

Modified: 3.5/5 It's still really good, but Reshiram has more support options going for it, making Zekrom slightly weaker in terms of Modified. Outrage is still as good as ever here, as you'll probably be able to survive an attack, Outrage for a KO, and maybe Bolt Strike for another. That being said, Zekrom doesn't really have a deck to call its home right now, but that will assuredly change in the future, when this huge dragon will find a niche in the new HGSS-on format.

Limited: 5/5 Just like Reshiram, if you pull one an manage to get it out, your opponent will have MASSIVE problems, especially if you end up drafting cards like Revive to get it back.130 HP on a Basic body is truly outstanding in Limited, and makes Zekrom worth running on its own. Outrage works wonders in a format where everything isn't a OHKO, and since your opponent probably won't have a massive buildup, you can easily Bolt Strike, take the damage (possibly using a Potion if needed), then Outrage your way to victory. Highly recommended, even if the rest of your Lightning draft isn't too strong.

Combos With: Reuniclus BW, Serperior BW (although both of these are admittedly slow)


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