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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Zapdos EX  

- Plasma Storm

Date Reviewed:
March 15, 2013

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 2.00
Limited: 4.10

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

Zapdos-EX (Plasma Storm) 

Zapdos is part of the original Legendary Trio, from back in the day when each Generation didn’t include 10 different Legendaries. This makes him a pretty popular Pokémon and I’m sure a lot of players were very happy when they found out he was getting the EX treatment. 

So, what we have here is a Lightning Type Team Plasma EX Basic. Team Plasma means that it already has a bit of support, with more on the horizon. Lightning Typing means that it could cause problems for Tornadus-EX, but there isn’t a whole lot of playable Pokémon out there that it will be hitting for Weakness. The Resistance to Fighting is very nice in a format that still contains its share of Landorus-EX and Terrakion, while the retreat cost of one is very manageable. The 170 HP is obviously good, though these days it does work out as inferior to 180 due to some maths involving Darkrai-EX, Dark Claw, and Virbank City Gym (with a previous Night Spear snipe for 30). Those stats then are pretty average when taken as a whole. They don’t scream playability, but they don’t condemn Zapdos to the binder either. Everything is going to depend on those attacks. 

The first, Agility, costs one Lightning and one Colourless, so there is the potential to use it on the first turn with Colress Machine/Plasma Energy. It does 30 damage and has a coin flip which can prevent all damage and effects done to Zapdos on the next turn if it comes up heads. The damage is fairly lame, but the flip could do a job in protecting Zapdos early game, or if you needed to buy a turn later (assuming your opponent can’t just use Pokémon Catcher and KO something else). It’s not a terrible option to have, but it does need to be backed up by something very good to make Zapdos worthwhile. 

And this is where Zapdos is a bit of a let-down. For two Lightning and two Colourless Energy, Powervolt does a base damage of just 80. However, this is increased to 120 if Zapdos has a Plasma Energy attached. Even at 120, though, the attack fails to hit any magic OHKO numbers. It doesn’t one-shot Stage 2s like Blastoise or Hydreigon and, even with Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank, it won’t take down a clean EX Pokémon. Basically, you are two-shotting anything that isn’t a non-EX Basic or Stage 1 for a massive four Energy (one of which has to be Plasma), and that just isn’t special enough when we compare it to the kind of power that we see on other EX Pokémon. If you wanted to attach 4 Energy to an EX, then why not use Lugia-EX? Same damage output, but it will take an extra Prize; or how about Rayquaza-EX which will OHKO anything in the format for that cost? 

In Japan, Zapdos-EX was released in one of the Battle Strength structure decks. This is a big clue that it’s going to be pretty mediocre (just like Reshiram-EX and Zekrom-EX that were released the same way). It’s not that Zapdos is particularly weak or horrible, it’s just that he offers a lot less than some of his fellow EXs and gives you no reason to play him over them (unless you really, really like the Legendary Birds). 


Modified: 2 (outclassed to the point of being almost irrelevant)

Limited: 4.25 (Huge HP and Agility can be super annoying for the opponent)


Happy Friday, Pojo readers! Today we end our Card of the Day Week by reviewing one of the new Pokemon-EX from Plasma Storm. Today's Card of the Day is Zapdos-EX.

Zapdos-EX is a Basic Lightning Team Plasma Pokemon-EX. Lightning Pokemon aren't all that common right now due to the prevalence of Landorus-EX in today's Modified metagame, but Zapdos fills a unique niche due to its secondary video-game typing (which carries over into the TCG through Resistance). As a Pokemon-EX, however, Zapdos is going to have to really pull its weight in a deck, as the opponent takes two Prize cards for Knocking it Out. Finally, Zapdos is also a Team Plasma Pokemon, meaning that it gets all of the Team Plasma support, such as Colress Machine, as well as taking advantage of Plasma Energy for additional effects. 170 HP is average for a Pokemon-EX, and Zapdos should be able to easily take at least one unboosted hit with ease. Lightning Weakness is not terribly relevant right now, but very well could be upon the release of the next set, Fighting Resistance is great against Landorus-EX and Terrakion, and a Retreat Cost of 1 is easily paid.

Zapdos-EX has two attacks. Agility does 30 damage for a Lightning and a Colorless while also granting the Agility effect if you flip heads: prevent all effects of attacks, including damage, done to Zapdos during your opponent's next turn. The damage output for this attack is somewhat lackluster since Zapdos is a Pokemon-EX, but even still, the Agility effect is usually very good (albeit unreliable) wherever it shows up, so Zapdos can work quite well as a staller in Limited with this attack (though your opponent will likely have ways around it in Modified). Powervolt starts off at 80 damage for two Lightning and two Colorless, but does 40 more damage if Zapdos has a Plasma Energy attached. 80 damage for four Energy is terrible, but 120 damage for four Energy is decent. This attack works wonders in Limited, where 120 damage will likely 2HKO the entire format, but is vastly outclassed in Modified by other main attackers. Overall, Zapdos-EX is a powerful Pokemon in the Limited format, but ultimately falls short of making a major impact in Modified.

Modified: 2/5 Zapdos-EX could see some play upon the release of newer Plasma sets with more Plasma support, however, right now it is badly outclassed by other attackers. Even the rarely played Zekrom-EX generally does a better job of attacking than Zapdos, which shows how truly outclassed the legendary thunderbird is in today's very fast Modified.

Limited: 5/5 Most Pokemon-EX are a slam dunk in Limited, where they are rarely opposed easily by your opponent. Zapdos-EX is no exception to this rule, as both of its attacks are great for the format. Agility works wonders in the early game, where even one flip can stall your opponent out long enough until you get Powervolt running, after which Zapdos should easily 2HKO the entire format (of course, you miss out on the 2HKO for Pokemon-EX if it doesn't have a Plasma Energy attached). Combining this with high HP and favorable bottom stats, Zapdos-EX will be a star in your Plasma Storm Limited builds.

Jebulous Maryland Player

Zapdos EX
Zapdos EX is a Basic Lightning Pokemon with 170 HP.  It is weak to Lightning, resistant to Fighting, and has a retreat cost of 1.  It gives up two prizes and is a Team Plasma Pokemon.
'Agility' costs 1 Lightning and 1 colorless energy.  It does 30 damage, and if you flip heads, prevents all effects of attacks done to Zapdos EX on your opponent's next turn.  Kind of sub par compared to other EXs.  Only 30 damage... that's really nothing when you have some that put 60 damage on the field with 1-2 energy.
'Powervolt' costs 2 Lightning and 2 colorless energy.  It does 80 damage, and if there is a Plasma Energy attached to it, 40 more.  Still, not that great of an attack.  There are so many other attackers that put out as much damage for less (cost and effect).
Unfortunately Zapdos didn't get that great of a card.  It's one of my favorite Pokemon, so of course I was hoping it would get treated better.
Modified: 2/5
Limited: 3/5
Combos With:  ...
Questions, comments, concerns: jebulousthemighty@yahoo.com

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