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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Top 10 XY: Evolutions Cards

#8 - Electrode
- XY: Evolutions

Date Reviewed:
Nov. 9, 2016

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.50
Expanded: 2.38
Limited: 3.00

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 being horrible.  3 ... average.  5 is awesome.

Back to the main COTD Page


...I feel this is going to be one of those on-the-nose not-so-subtle commentaries for a card review, but let's see how much I can get away with. 

Electrode is a white-and-red orb of silly grinning shenanigans. He's confident in whatever he does, even when he's super weak and doesn't handle Fighting too well. He's headstrong with that Head Bolt, even though it does nothing other than cost 3 Energy and do a paltry 70 damage. Now don't mind that he's got a short fuse, he's coming back into the game promising change for the new world!

See Buzzap Thunder looks to be at first a very harsh Ability to use. But trust me, it's the greatest Ability ever, the absolute best Ability to use. Guys like Garbodor, their Abilities, they're terrible. Literally, garbage. Garbage has an Ability, that Ability is terrible. This Ability though, it's the greatest Ability. Sure, it looks like it's bad cause it KOs Electrode, and it only really benefits the Electric-Type, but not only does it support them greatly but it gives them double the Energy they had before. That's why this Ability, such a good Ability. This Ability is the best. 

Now some might say it's a trade-off on giving your opponent a single Prize just to boost your Electric-Types to higher standards. But you know what I think, I think they just haven't seen what those too-big-to-fail Pokemon-EX are like. I mean, have you seen these guys? 180 HP, 210 HP, 240 HP - it's ridiculous! I've gone around the country looking at small Pokemon all around, and all I hear is how tired they are of this EX nonsense. It's not what this game needs. 

What we need is Electrode, a hero, a defender, someone who will rejuvenate the process, not stagnate it and leave our Electric-types to dry. And we're going to build a wall and-yeah, no, I'm done with this, Electrode's good for Energy boosting but you decide whether or not he's worth the KO. 


Standard: 2.5/5 (I'd say it depends on whether you think the Prize drop is worth the Double Electric Energy) 

Expanded: 2.5/5 (seriously, it's up to you) 

Limited: 2.5/5 (in smaller Prize formats, it might be too much) 

Arora Notealus: Electrode's got a lot of unknown potential, but he's also a bit of a relic from the past. If he provided the Double Rainbow Energy that he used to be, he could have seen a lot of play in a variety of decks, but as just pure Electric support? Maybe, maybe not. All I know is he's still planning to blow himself up and take whatever with him. 

Next Time: A NEW EX!!...kinda?


Electrode (XY: Evolutions 40/108) is our eighth place finisher and I am just going to start by talking about its Ability.  Why?  It is central to the card and when I tried following my usual approach I kept having to half discuss it anyway, so might as well lead with it instead.  Electrode has the Ability “Buzzap Thunder”, which you may use once per turn before you attack.  If you do, Electrode is KO’d: yes, that means your opponent takes a Prize and all cards that were attached to Electrode are discarded (that includes Voltorb).  Electrode itself gets attached to one of your Lightning Type Pokémon in play, where it is treated as a Special Energy card that provides [LL].  Once it hits the discard pile (for whatever reason), it stops counting as a Special Energy card.  There isn’t a good way to move Special Energy about, but it lacks a clause stating it only provides [LL] while attached to a Lightning Type Pokémon; in fact it just states it only provides the Energy “...only while this card is attached to a Pokémon.”  So you can give up a Prize for a quick hit of Energy, though only for your Lightning Type Pokémon.  No other attachment restrictions, so it works regardless of Stage or “special” mechanics like being a Pokémon-EX or Pokémon-GX.  So now… what about the rest of the card? 

Electrode is Lightning Types which is… okay.  Electrode isn’t intended to be an attacker, but if you have to resort to it then things aren’t bad.  A good chunk of the Colorless Type and various cards spread out among the other Types are Lightning Weak.  In the Expanded Format, there are also a decent amount of Lightning Weak Water Types as well, as opposed to just a few.  Lightning Resistance is only found on some BW-era Fighting Types.  Lightning Type support isn’t too likely to matter, at least not directly: before something like Flash Energy or Rough Seas can matter, hopefully Electrode will already have done its thing.  Now Lightning Energy support matters because it likely rivals Electrode in usage; do you go with Electrode for a one time boost or make room for Eelektrik (BW: Noble Victories 40/101) or Magnezone (XY: BREAKthrough 54/162) plus basic Lightning Energy for multiple boosts.  Being a Stage 1 slows it down a little: being a Basic might have made it broken, being a Stage 2 would have made it bad.  The 80 HP is low but it does make the card Level Ball legal, and makes the Fighting Weakness deadly because now most Fighting Type attackers need a single damage buff instead of multiple for the OHKO.  Metal Resistance is better than none, but it’s only going to come in handy in fringe cases since again, only 80 HP.  The Retreat Cost of [C] is low and easy to pay and recover from having paid, plus the Ability can be used while Active as another out.  As we already looked at the Ability, I’ll just mention here that its attack - “Head Bolt” - requires [LLC] to do 70; too low for the Energy required, but it can do the job in a pinch (probably the only time you’d be attacking with Electrode anyway). 

Electrode (XY: Evolutions 40/108) extreme makeover of Electrode (Base Set 21/102; Base Set 2 25/130).  Same Type, Stage, HP, Weakness, and Retreat Cost as its successor, Electrode (Base Set 21/102; Base Set 2 25/130) had no Metal Resistance which is not a surprise given there was no Metal Type at the time.  Its attack was much worse as well: “Electric Shock” not only required [LLL], did just 50 damage, plus you had to flip a coin to see if Electrode did 10 damage to itself.  Yet if I wasn’t worried about game balance, this is the version I wish we had in Expanded and Standard.  Why?  Its Ability is “Buzzap”, but even though the name is shorter the effect is a little more complicated; unusually in the “good” way.  Electrode still KOs itself, discarding all cards attached to it (plus Voltorb) while attaching itself to another of your Pokémon as a Special Energy.  Buzzap works with Pokémon of any Type, plus instead of only providing [LL] it provides two units of Energy that must be the same Type, but you pick the Type when you initially attach it.  So back then it could provide [CC], [FF], [GG], [RR], [LL], [PP], and [WW].  Now [DD], [YY], and [MM] would be legal options, which should already be giving you ideas.  So yeah, Buzzap Thunder is the nerfed form of Buzzap. 

Moving on, you can pick between five Voltorb: BW: Boundaries Crossed 51/149, BW: Plasma Freeze 32/116, XY 44/146, XY: Roaring Skies 21/108, and XY: Evolutions 39/108.  All are Lightning Type Basic Pokémon with Fighting Weakness, Retreat Cost [C], and no Ancient Trait.  BW: Boundaries Crossed 51/149, BW: Plasma Freeze 32/116, XY 44/146 are Expanded only.  BW: Boundaries Crossed 51/149 has 50 HP, no Resistance, and the attack “Static Shock”; for [C] the attack does just 10 damage.  BW: Plasma Freeze 32/116 has 60 HP, no Resistance, and the attack “Rollout”; for [LC] it does 20 damage.  XY 44/146 is back down to 50 HP, and has Rollout as well but this time it costs just [C] and does only 10, but it has an Ability.  “Destiny Burst” only works when Voltorb gets KO’d by damage from an opponent’s attack, while it is Active; “tails” does nothing while “heads” places five damage counters on the opponent’s Active (Voltorb is still KO’d no matter what).  XY: Roaring Skies 21/108 is back up to 60 HP, has Metal Resistance, and two attacks.  [L] pays for “Thunder Wave”, which does no damage but inflicts Paralysis upon the opponent’s Active on a “heads” and does nothing at all on “tails”.  [LC] allows it to use “Big Explosion” to do a solid 60 damage to the opponent’s Active, but also 60 to itself. Finally XY: Evolutions 39/108 has 60 HP, Metal Resistance, and the attack “Continuous Tumble” for [C]; you flip a coin until you get “tails” and the attack does 10 damage for each “heads”.  I’m partial to XY 44/146 as it discourages your opponent from attacking it, while XY: Roaring Skies 21/108 buys time with its first attack or can be a desperation move with its second. 

Now for the other Electrode: BW: Boundaries Crossed 52/149, BW: Plasma Freeze 33/116,  BW: Black Star Promos BW75, XY 45/146, and XY: Roaring Skies 22/108.  All are Lightning Type Stage 1 Pokémon with Fighting Weakness and no Ancient Trait, and only XY: Roaring Skies 22/108 is Standard legal (technically today’s won’t be for a little while yet, either).  BW: Boundaries Crossed 52/149 has 80 HP, no Resistance, a free Retreat Cost, and two attacks: for [C] it can use Static Shock to do 20 while for [LCC] its “Electro Ball” does 60.  This is not good, if you couldn’t tell by how we haven’t ever reviewed it.  BW: Plasma Freeze 33/116 has 90 HP, No Resistance, and Retreat Cost [C] plus it also has Electro Ball for the same Energy, doing the same damage.  Besides the change in stats, instead of Static Shock it has the Ability “Magnetic Draw”, which allows you once per turn before you attack to draw until you have four cards in hand.  If you have more than four cards in hand, you cannot use the Ability.  Baby Mario looked at it here when it was still fairly new and pretty much nailed it.  Back then the issue was Pokémon Catcher (pre-errata when it required no coin flip), the previous iteration of the first turn rules (you could attack first turn back then), coupled with it mostly being N insurance if you didn’t manage to play down your hand low enough.  Nowadays it is just outclassed by better options, though in the Legacy Format of the PTCGO it has proven good.  In Expanded it might be a nice surprise for a deck wanting to use today’s Electrode, or perhaps vice versa. 

BW: Black Star Promos BW75 is the Team Plasma affiliated version of Electrode, or Electrode [Plasma] for short.  It has 100 HP, the highest of any contemporary Electrode card, no Resistance, and a perfect, free Retreat Cost.  Its first attack is “Electribeam” for [L], which does 20 and allows you to flip a coin; “heads” inflicts Paralysis as well while “tails” means just the base 20 damage is done.  The second attack is “Self Destruct” for [LCC] doing 100 damage to the opponent’s Active as well as 100 damage to Electrode [Plasma] itself.  Until Self Destruct, the card was looking promising, but even with Team Plasma support it wasn’t worth using three Energy to hit yourself as hard as your opponent, especially when it would be OHKOing your own Stage 1!  XY 45/146 has 90 HP, no Resistance, Retreat Cost [C], and two attacks.  For [L] its “Eerie Impulse” allows you to flip a coin, with “tails” doing nothing while “heads” allows you to discard an Energy attached to one of your opponent’s Pokémon.  [CC] pays for Rollout, this time doing 40 damage.  Two attacks that might be okay support on like a big, Basic Pokémon-EX do not make for a good Stage 1 attacker.  Finally XY: Roaring Skies 22/108 has 90 HP, Metal Resistance, Retreat Cost [C], and two attacks.  Continuous Tumble costs [C] and has you flip a coin until “tails”, inflicting 20 damage per “heads”, while [LCC] enables “Energy Bomb” which does 70 damage and allows you to move all Energy from Electrode to one of your Benched Pokémon.  Surprisingly we reviewed it here and it hasn’t gotten any better since.  Yes, even though you could KO today’s Electrode to help fuel it, then use Energy Bomb to move today’s Electrode - now an Energy card that provides [LL] - to a non-Lightning Type Pokémon. 

As mentioned earlier, Electrode is competing with cards like Eelektrik and Magnezone, and probably Max Elixir as well.  So where would it be worth running and KOing a Stage 1 to fuel an attacker?  What if that attack isn’t a Basic Pokémon?  Ampharos (XY: Steam Siege 40/114) springs to mind, as it needs [LLC] to use its “Gigavolt” attack to do 80 damage and either another 40 (so 120 total) on “heads” or just the 80 with Paralysis on “tails”.  It also has an Ability which places three damage counters on one of your opponent’s Pokémon-EX (your choice).  It is a long shot, but this might be what is needed to speed the whole thing up.  Though unlikely, there is also Jolteon (XY: Ancient Origins 26/98), which allows any Stage 1 to be a Lightning Type (in addition to its usual Type or Types).  There may be some control decks that would enjoy Electrode as well; they don’t really need the Energy but rather plan on going down in Prizes to set up for a rather vicious N… but this is probably the least likely: a similar trick worked in the past with Electrode-ex, but it gave up two Prizes per use, attached Energy in a different manner, and had cards like Pow! Hand Extension and Scramble Energy with which to work. 

Electrode may have a niche role in either Standard or Expanded, but nothing of which I am certain.  It is a dangerous pull in Limited as you only play with four Prize cards in this format; so blowing up one Electrode (even if you have a good target to receive the Energy) is 25% of your beginning Prize cards!  If you have the Lightning Types to go with it, though, it is probably worthwhile addition to your deck.  As I don’t have much to say here, I’d like to bring up Electrode (Base Set 21/102; Base Set 2 25/130).  You see, even though I’ve mentioned how potent it could be, it never was very good for competitive play back in the day, at least if the player base was knowledgeable and had access to Gust of Wind plus Energy Removal or Super Energy Removal or both.  You could attack first turn back then and the first release of Hitmonchan (Base Set 7/102; Base Set 2 8/130; Best of Game 2; Platinum 129/127) was doing great.  This meant if you dropped a lone Voltorb, there was a good chance it was being OHKO’d before it could Evolve, meaning the cost to use Buzzap was effectively two Prizes, not just one.  If your opponent didn’t OHKO whatever it was you attached the Buzzapped Electrode to then an Energy Removal or Super Energy Removal would turn it into a single turn boost (or possibly another OHKO).  It isn’t quite as scary now, though.  OHKOs of larger Pokémon are more common, but Crushing Hammer, Enhanced Hammer, and Team Flare Grunt aren’t loose staples like S/ER.  One advantage we do have right now, unless the combo is specifically ruled against, is Life Dew.  It would eat up your Ace Spec slot and it’s only for Expanded play, but a Life Dew should keep Buzzap Thunder from actually giving your opponent a Prize. 


Standard: 2.5/5 

Expanded: 2.25/5 

Limited: 3.5/5 

Summary: Electrode might be the boost the Lightning Type needs, or it might be another dead end.  As you can tell by the score, I am thinking mostly the latter; it does worse in Expanded due to the competition.  You might be desperate enough to use it in Standard, but Expanded has Eelektrik; even the Life Dew combo only offsets that by so much. 

Electrode managed six voting points, none of it from me.  It almost made my list, almost, but being so severely nerfed when compared to the original really hurts.  I don’t mind it making the list, but it seems more like a 10th place card than an 8th place, and only because this set either didn’t have a lot of impressive cards, or ran low pretty quick.  As mentioned yesterday, it only edged out Mewtwo (XY: Evolutions 51/108) by a single point, and it lost to tomorrow’s card by two voting points.


Hey, everyone! Today we are looking at Electrode from the new Evolutions set. Like many cards in this set, Electrode can be thought of as a buffed reprint, allowing it to (hopefully) keep up with current meta-game decks and strategies. This is probably one of the most playable cards in the set, so I will try to explain my reasoning on why I think Electrode might become popular as the 2016-17 season progresses. 

Electrode’s “Buzzap” Ability from the Base Set was paired alongside Zapdos. It gave attackers with high Energy costs a chance to shine, though this was still difficult in an extremely aggressive format where Haymaker decks were dominant and you could play as many draw cards – think Professor Oak and Bill – as you wanted a turn without limitation. The Electrode from Evolutions is similar in this manner, having the same Ability and given Metal resistance to boot. “Buzzap Thunder” lets you knock out Electrode in order to turn it into a Special Energy card that provides 2 Lightning Energy, but only to a Lightning Pokémon. Had this text said any Pokémon, it would suddenly open the door to a whole new world of deckbuilding, but sadly this is not the case.  

That said, the effect is still strong given that there are lots of viable Lightning-types to work with. Raikou from BREAKthrough has become incredibly popular in the Expanded format, as it pairs nicely with Eelektrik’s “Dynamotor” Ability to hit hard while being able to take a few hits thanks to Fighting Fury Belt and Rough Seas. It has not found a place in the Standard format because there is no proper Energy acceleration to pair with this Legendary beast. Believe me – I’ve tried really, really hard to make it work with Magnezone for unlimited Energy attachments per turn, but it is simply too inconsistent having to rely on Rare Candy and clunky with so many Evolutions. Electrode could potentially remedy this problem by providing Raikou with a quick boost to let it attack right away. Keep in mind that this makes the prize exchange unfavorable given that Electrode’s “Buzzap Thunder” requires it to be KO’d in the process.  

As far as other attackers, Zapdos from Evolutions could work, though its Thunderbolt attack requires you to discard all Energy attached to it. In addition, the 170 damage it deals isn’t quite as relevant now that Tool removal is gone, making Fighting Fury Belt permanent on your opponent’s Pokémon and skewing the math. Perhaps Electrode’s ideal partner has yet to be released – there have already been a lot of cards from the Sun/Moon base set revealed, so maybe we can look forward to some new Lightning-type attackers when it is released this February. 

Expanded is not much different when it comes to Lightning-types. Raikou pairs with Eelektrik, but not so much with Electrode. Jolteon-EX can easily get set up on turn two already because it can take advantage of Double Colorless Energy. Team Plasma decks are somewhat popular, but they are already Energy-efficient and can use the Colress Machine engine to quickly get powered up already. 


Standard: 2/5

Expanded: 1.5/5

Limited: 4/5 

Summary: I’m glad to see Electrode reprinted because I think it will bring some creative deckbuilding options to the table as the season progresses. Unfortunately, it lacks a suitable partner currently and will likely remain in binders until some new Lightning-types emerge. 

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