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Pojo's Pokemon Card of the Day


Zebstrika #43/114

Black & White

Date Reviewed: May 11, 2011

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 1.85
Limited: 2.75

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

Baby Mario
2010 UK National

Zebstrika #43/114 (Black and White) 

Ok, back to proper reviews today. I mean, a lighting Zebra is pretty cool and everything, but I’m not going to let myself be influenced by that. 

There’s two Zebstrika in the set, and this one is the better of the two. What we have here is a 90 HP Stage 1 with what I predict to be one of the worst Weaknesses in the HGSS-on metagame. A couple of things I want to complain about: firstly they seem to have got rid of the Metal Resistance on Lightning Pokémon, and secondly this thing has a retreat cost: why? Seriously . . . it’s a Lightning Zebra! 

Zebstrika’s first attack, Rear Kick, does a decent 30 damage for one Colourless Energy (which is only fair – I should think getting kicked in the rear by a Zebra would hurt a lot). The Colourless cost seems nice, but in reality it’s pretty meaningless as you would be a fool to attach anything other than Lightning Energy to Zebstrika. Why? Because its Electrispark attack costs a massive THREE Lightning Energy, that’s why. 

The attack you get for that investment is semi-ok. 70 damage plus 10 spread to all of your opponent’s bench. I can see people wanting to use that. The trouble is though, that Zebstrika is so easy to KO that getting all that Energy on it, and keeping it alive long enough to get more than one attack off is problematic. In fact you are probably going to need some kind of Energy acceleration, which means using the Pachirisu CL/Shaymin UL combination. That works well enough, but if you are going to all that trouble, you are better off using it to power up an even better attack, such as the one you get with Zekrom. 

Zebstrika is really a frail Stage 1 Pokémon that has been given an attack more suited to a high HP Stage 2. The result is that you will rarely, if ever, get to use it. 


Modified (HGSS-on) 1.75 (nice attack – but they put it on the wrong Pokémon)

Limited: 3 (not too much Fighting in the set, so it could do some good damage) 

Deck Garage

5/11/11: Zebstrika(Black & White)
Are you looking for more electric-types to spread with? Hmm?
The comparison I want to make here is with the Electivire from Triumphant, because they're both Stage 1 Electric-types with a spread attack for 3 lightning energy. Using this comparison, Zebstrika doesn't look too good. Electivire has 10 more HP, a first attack that does the same damage, plus energy acceleration, and assuming your opponent has something on the bench, it does more damage to benched Pokemon. Granted, your opponent can control who takes damage with Electivire, while your damage is guaranteed with Zebstrika, and Zebstrika has a much more manageable retreat cost, but it still doesn't look good.
It gets worse when you compare it to a good card, though. Consider that Zebstrika needs a full bench just to get the same overall damage output as Zekrom, a Basic with 40 more HP. There's something to be said for being able to hit the bench, but still, that's a significant advantage.
Modified: 2/5
Limited: 2.25/5


As we hit the middle of the week, we look at a Zebstrika, specifically Black & White 43/114. It is a Stage 1 Lightning-Type Pokémon, allowing it to slip into some already successful decks. At least for the newer cards, it is a bit small for clocking in at 90 HP, and the strongest decks will be able to OHKO it. Most Fighting-Type decks, strong or not, will also OHKO Zebstrika thanks to its Fighting Weakness. The lack of Resistance is disappointing but as so many other Pokémon also fail to possess any, it isn’t especially detrimental. We finish off the stats by noting Zebstrika has a good, single Energy Retreat Cost, easy to pay (or eliminate with an Unown Q).

Zebstrika has two attacks: Rear Kick and Electrispark. Rear Kick does a vanilla (but solid) 30 points of damage for one of any Energy. Electrispark needs three Lightning Energy for its cost and can’t make use of any off-type Energy, so this makes that Colorless requirement on Rear Kick only matter if you are desperate and running a multi-Type deck. For the significant investment, you get 70 points of damage to the Defending Pokémon and 10 points to each of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon. Not bad, but neither is it good, either for this format or for the next.

I would be remiss if I didn’t at least touch upon the related cards. It Evolves from Blitzle and neither version is good enough to be played as anything but a stepping stone to Zebstrika. There is a clearly better version since Black & White 41/114 can attack for a single Energy and gets more damage for the Energy invested. Sadly the other Zebstrika is on par with what we are looking at today. It has the same stats, and the big attack is actually a little worse, hitting for 70 points of damage but requiring (LLC) to use and doing 10 points of damage to Zebstrika itself. The first attack actually is solid: Stomp for (CC) and doing 20 points of damage plus another 20 if you get “heads” on a coin toss. If the second attack could make use of Double Colorless Energy, it’d be an okay Stage 1 filler line… but it isn’t, and even if it were that really isn’t enough to justify running the Zebstrika being reviewed today.

At least the card has a place in Limited. If you desperately need to run a Lightning-Type Pokémon (and all the Water this set is Lightning Weak) then this card can function without any actual source of Lightning Energy in the deck, though not especially well. Preferably you’d get enough of either version of Blitzle and perhaps the Uncommon Zebstrika to run a solid Evolution line in an at least mostly Lightning-Type deck. Having a stable Evolution line is potent in Limited, and offsets the lackluster stats and attacks on the actual cards, which also aren’t quite as bad for Limited play. Indeed, even though Electrispark only does a 10 point spread of damage to the Bench, here that will be enough because inflicting Bench damage is much more important.


Modified (MD-On): 1.75/5

Modified (HGSS-On): 2/5

Limited: 3/5


Zebstrika feels like filler, but at least it can be worth it in Limited play. Now does it remind anyone else of Voltic Bicorn from Yu-Gi-Oh?

Oh, and feel free to check out my auctions on eBay here.

Mad Mattezhion
 Professor Bathurst League Australia

Zebstricka 43/114 (Black & White)
I must say, I love the design of Zebstricka. It looks hyperactive even when it is standing still and the tail is one of my favourite parts (I have taste for medieval weapons like maces and warhammers). Not to mention Zebstricka looks madder than a busload of sleep-deprived schoolboys hopped up on energy drinks (don't ask where I saw that but I can tell you it wasn't pretty, energy drinks should be a banned substance for under 18s).
Sadly, neither of the cards printed for Zebstricka are anywhere near awesome enough to do justice to this storm on legs but let's review them anyway.
Today's version is the rare card and the stats are: a Lightning type non-evolving Stage 1 with 90 HP, Fighting weakness, a retreat cost of 1 and two attacks.
"Non-evolving Stage 1 with 90 HP" should have alarm bells ringing, and the expected weakness to Donphan Prime Fighting only makes it worse. But the true crime is the retreat cost. Sure it's only one energy, but doesn't a lightning fast zebra deserve free retreat?
The attacks are good but nothing special either. Rear Kick is unimaginative but quite good as far as first attacks go, costing a mere [c] to deal 30 damage (though it wouldn't have mattered if the cost was [l], you wouldn't want to run this card in an off-type deck). Sadly Electrispark is nowhere near as good as it costs [l][l][l] to deal 70 damage with 10 more damage to each of your opponent's Poke'mon, which is overpriced.
To be honest I think that the game designers treat most Lightning type cards like dirt because we have a few incredibly dominant cards that have made the type a force to be feared all on their own. Luxray Gl Lv X has been a nightmare for Water types and Flying dual types ever since it was introduced, and Zekrom looks set to continue that proud tradition while Magnezone Prime hovers between dominance and obscurity depending on the local competition and what future releases bring to the table. As such, there doesn't seem to be any need for more powerful Lightning types and the designers act accordingly by giving us mediocre-to-terrible cards with the occasional half-way interesting tech (Pachirisu CL is a case in point).
It isn't Zebstricka's fault that it is a terrible card, but life doesn't shake out fair for evryone. Play it next to Zekrom at draft events and then slap it in the binder for later trades.
Modified: 2.5 (there is too much competition from good Lightning types to even consider this card, but if you compare it to most other cards from B&W and the HGSS block the attacks are slightly above par and the stats are average)
Limited: 3 (Gurdurr and Krookodile will give you trouble but otherwise you shoukd do well with the spread damage and cheap first attack, and you can run it with Zekrom very easily)
Combos with: the binder

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