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This is a cool Book!

Pojo's Pokemon Card of the Day


Rocket's Zapdos ex - TRR

Date Reviewed: 01.07.05

Ratings & Reviews below

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

Rocket's Zapdos ex is pretty good but I would never use it. 60 damage even with the darkness energy bonus isn't enough these days. But if you are going to use it you can get it out turn 2 by discarding an energy with TV Reporter or Rocket's Mission then using Plasma. There are a few ways to avoid damage with his Raging Thunder attack. There's the inferior way by using Ledian, which uses up a lot of spots in your deck, or the superior way by using Root Fossils to soak the damage. Keep alternating between 2 root fossils so there's no drawback when you attack yourself turn after turn.
Unlimited - I would rather use Base Yltsag. This guy is weak to ER, SER and doesn't survive this format. 1/5
Modified - I'd rather use FRLG Zapdos ex. More consistent and better. 2/5
Limited - It is a pwner here. Basically any ex is good in limited. 60 damage for 3 energy is cool so if you get it use it! 4/5


If you think this review is too long to read, just skip straight to the scores and then read the summary for a concise overview!


Name: Rocket’s Zapdos ex

Set: EX: Team Rocket Returns

Card#: 106/109

Rarity: Pokémon ex

Type: Darkness

Stage: Basic

HP: 100

Weakness: Electric

Resistance: None

Retreat: (C)

Poké-Body: Darkness Guard

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).

Attack#1: (C) Plasma [10]

Search your discard pile for a (L) Energy and attach it to Rocket’s Zapdos ex.

Attack#2: (LLC) Raging Thunder [60]

This attack does 30 damage to one of your Pokémon.


Attributes: 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.


Looking at 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.


Abilities: 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 Defending Pokémon.


All in 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.


Uses/Combinations: 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. -_-


The last 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 Pokémon.




Unlimited: 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.


Modified: 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.


Limited: 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 inflicted damage.



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. is here to provide guidance to all Pokemon trainers out there.  Whether it's the Gameboy Game, N64 or the Trading Card Game, provides all the wisdom you desire. 

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