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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Zebstrika  #48

Next Destinies

Date Reviewed: March 27, 2012

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 3.50
Limited: 3.50

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

Zebstrika (Next Destinies)

Today’s Pokémon is one of the few non-EX, non Trainer cards from Next Destinies to get any attention from players. This is hardly surprising as Zebstrika ND is virtually the return of a key card in a World Championship winning deck from the past: Manectric-ex from the Deoxys set. Before anyone gets too excited though, just remember how much the game has moved on since 2006.

Zebstrika is a Stage 1 Pokémon with just 90 HP and Fighting Weakness . . . all of which are very bad things. It’s not all doom and gloom however as he also benefits from being Lightning Type, which means he can fit into a lot of the popular decks that run Lightning Energy, not to mention he also can benefit from the acceleration provided by Eelektrik. As a further incentive to play him, Zebstrika also comes complete with an extremely useful Retreat cost of zero.

One of the most powerful things a card can give you in the Pokémon TCG is a one-sided Trainer lock. That way, you are free to play your Pokémon Catchers, Level Balls, and Junk Arms, while the opponent is stuck with them in the hand. This huge advantage is what Zebstrika offers in the shape of its first attack, Disconnect. For the cost of [L][C] you may only get 40 damage, but you do shut off your opponent’s Trainers during their next turn. This makes Zebstrika extremely effective against decks which rely on setting up low HP Basics. With Pokémon Catcher, you can drag out Voltorbs, Tynamos, and Oddishes, KO them and get the Trainer Lock that will hurt their recovery: they can’t use Rare Candy to evolve other Oddish, nor use Level Ball to search out Eelektrik or Electrode Prime. Zebstrika’s second attack isn’t bad either. Lightning Crash snipes for 80 damage at a cost of [L][L][C]. Yes, you do have to discard all Lightning Energy attached to Zebstrika, but with free Retreat, plus Eelektrik to get them back from the discard pile, this isn’t as big a drawback as it sounds.

Although the effects of Zebstrika’s attacks are great, the damage output is pretty underwhelming (this is called balance, I guess). This, combined with Zebstrika’s lack of durability, means that he needs the right deck and the right support if he is going to be competitive. Some people tech him into regular Zekrom/Eelektrik decks to give another dimension to the range of attack options. Some have tried Zebstrika with cards that add damage through Status effects, such as Amoonguss ND. So far, Zebstrika seems to be very close to being a seriously competitive card without quite making it to the very top tier. It definitely has potential though, and against some decks can be absolutely lethal. If you haven’t done so already, I recommend playtesting with this card and see what you can come up with.


Modified: 3.5 (a very well-designed card that would have been amazing if the format wasn’t dominated by Pokémon with a billion HP)

Limited: 4 (stops some very useful Trainers, and the snipe attack is a great way to take your last Prize)

Mad Mattezhion
 Professor Bathurst League Australia

Today we have yet another printing of Zebstrika, which seems to be almost as popular with the designers as the Monkey Trio. Unlike previous versions however, this card actually has a prayer of being taken seriously.

Zebsrtika is a Lightning type non-evolving Stage 1 with 90 HP, Fighting Weakness, a Retreat Cost of 0 (we love free stuff!) and two attacks.

Aside from the Retreat Cost, Zebstrika has the standard stats for a Stage 1 with the usual result being that it will get obliterated the moment it faces any real threat. At least Zebstrika can get out of the firing line in a hurry if survives an untimely meeting with a Zekrom or Mewtwo.

So, despite being better than the vast majority of Stage 1 Poke'mon, Zebstrika is still squishy and needs to be packing some serious firepower to justify its presence in a deck. Fortunately for the stripy horse, Disconnect is exactly what the doctor ordered.

For [l][c], the aptly named Disconnect will deal 40 damage and stop your opponent from playing any Item cards during their next turn. The damage is decent enough but the added effect is nothing short of brilliant if you need to slow an opponent down while you finish setting up or rebuild your Bench, and it gives Lightning decks an answer to Gothitelle EP, Vileplume UD and Durant decks.

The only problem I can see is that Zebstrika has to be Active in order to lock down Items, so that low HP is going to be a massive wrench in the works with 90 damage before boosts being an easy number for decks to reach.

So, Zebstrika needs another angle which comes in the form of Lightning Crash. For [l][l][c] and the discard of every [l] energy attached to Zebstrika, Lightning Crash deals 80 damage to the opposing Poke'mon of your choice. This is an easy enough price to pay with Eelektrik NV and Shaymin UL around and the snipe does complement the skills of Zekrom and Magnezone Prime nicely, but you have to wonder what the point of sniping is while ever we have Poke'mon Catcher available, especially since most of the more critical support pieces have an HP score greater than 80.

If you face a lot of Vileplume Ud locking in your area and happen to run a Zekrom/Eelektrik build then Zekrom will be well worth testing, but it is very much a niche card. Last format this would have been all over the tables but in the current Modified format it is mostly an afterthought. Still, don't forget Zebstrika or you could find yourself on the wrong side of a Turn 2 Item Lock while your evolving Basics get blown away!

Modified: 3.5 (Zebstrika is a Stage 1 in a Basic-dominated world but I have to give it points for being gutsy, as well as for being useful for putting tour opponent on the back foot if they are heavily Item-dependant)

Limited: 3 (The sniping is great here, but you can only use it every other turn if you even have the energy to burn which is very difficult in a multi-type deck. Still, you can also cut off the Heavy Ball and Level Ball to annoy your opponent and free Retreating is all too rare in recent sets)

Combos with: some way to improve Zebstrika's survivability to properly capitalize on the attacks


Greeting, Pojo readers! Today we're going to review a new Lightning type from Next Destinies that has been seeing some play in top decks recently. Today's Card of the Day is Zebstrika.
Zebstrika is a Stage 1 Lightning Pokemon. Lightning types have been seeing tons of play recently, with Zekrom-EX and Eelektrik leading the charge (no pun intended). Magnezone Prime has also seen some play as well. Therefore, in order for Zebstrika to see some play, it has to have a niche in the metagame. Luckily, it does. 90 HP is standard for a Stage 1, enough to take a weak hit. Unfortunately, this value also means that Zebstrika cannot survive the big attacks from the Pokémon-EX or dragons. Fighting Weakness is standard for a Lightning-type, so the lightning zebra will only really have to worry about Terrakion. Zebstrika also has no Resistance and an excellent free Retreat Cost.
Zebstrika has two attacks. Disconnect deals 40 damage for a Lightning and a Colorless, while also preventing your opponent from playing Item cards during their next turn. While the damage output isn't amazing, the Item block can really be a boon in this format, as all of the top decks right now rely on using many Items. Lightning Crash allows Zebstrika to snipe 80 damage for two Lightning and a Colorless, but you have to discard all of the Lightning Energy attached. While the discard can potentially be a problem in slower formats, the Energy can easily be gotten back with Eelektrik's Dynamotor.
Modified: 3.5/5 I really like Zebstrika in Modified. It has two very interesting attacks coupled with free Retreat. Both Disconnect and Lightning Crash will be very useful if you decide to run Zebstrika in your Eels variant. Overall, Zebstrika is a very solid choice for a fun spin on today's top Lightning decks, and shows that Evolutions can still make an impact as long as they have a niche.
Limited: 2.75/5 I don't like Zebstrika as much in Limited. Disconnect is decent for the cost here, but the Item lock will rarely be useful. In addition, while Lightning Crash will usually score a KO on its own, it takes too long to set up unless you run an all Lightning deck. However, both attacks are still strong coupled with free Retreat, so the zebra won't let you down if you decide to run it.
Combos With: Eelektrik NV

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