– Vivid Voltage

Date Reviewed:
November 13, 2020

Ratings Summary:
Standard: 3.00
Expanded: 2.00
Limited: 3.00

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

Reviews Below:


Welcome to our countdown of our Top 15 Picks of SW – Vivid Voltage!  If you’re brand new to our countdowns, you can get an idea of how we do it by reading this article, but the short version is each available reviewer submits their own individual list for the set, then we combine those to make the master list we use for the site’s countdown.  Reprints are only allowed if they’re deemed significant, which usually means they need to be good enough to have made the list if they were new, and reintroducing the card to either Standard or both Standard and Expanded.

15th-place goes to Electrode (SW – Vivid Voltage 046/185)! We’re going to shake things up a bit with my usual sequencing because this Pokémon is most defined by its Ability, “Buzzap Generator”.  While this Pokémon is on your Bench, the Ability lets you search your deck for up to two [L] Energy cards, then attach them to your [L] Pokémon.  You shuffle your deck afterward, and then Buzzap Generator KO’s the Electrode that used it.  I’ll explain the Ability a bit more, but let’s get the attack out of the way as well.  For [LLC], Electrode can use “Electric Ball”, doing 100 damage.  Especially apart from the Ability, Electric Ball is overpriced.  Even with shortcuts, it is still overpriced; we’re at a point that, even without drawbacks, attacks like this need to do more like 120 (or more) damage.

Back to Buzzap Generator, I want to be clear about how it works.  If Electrode is Active, its out of luck; the Ability cannot be used.  While it does not specify only basic Lightning Energy, that’s the only type that counts as [L] while in your deck.  You may search out and attach zero, one, or two such Energy cards, but based on the last sentence, Electrode is KO’d regardless of which you choose.  The Energy you search out may only be attached to a Lightning Pokémon; the card would be stronger if it could attach to anything, but probably begging to join the Ban List if it did.  Any of your [L] Pokémon may receive the Energy, including Electrode itself (which still self-KO’s).  If you search out the full two Energy cards, you may attach them to the same [L] Pokémon or attach one a piece to two [L] Pokémon.  Though Buzzap Generator says it may only be used “Once during your turn,” that is per instance you have of Buzzap Generator in play.  When Buzzap Generator KO’s Electrode, your opponent does take the appropriate amount of Prize cards for the KO (usually one).

Electrode is a baseline Pokémon, only worth one Prize when KO’d and lacking any specialty mechanics; Buzzap Generator would be rather poor if the self-KO gave up more Prizes.  Electrode’s [L] typing barely matters; most of the time you’re not using the Ability on itself, and you’re not attacking with it so Weakness and Resistance don’t matter, either.  Being a Stage 1 means Electrode isn’t as fast or easy to run as a Basic, but its still quite reasonable, whether you’re going for a full 4-4 line, a 1-1 line, or something in between.  The 90 HP, [F] Weakness, and lack of Resistance should almost never matter, because you should avoid evolving into Electrode if you’re not using Buzzap Generator that turn.  The Retreat Cost of [C] should only be needed when you unfortunately are stuck – but not locked – with Electrode as your Active.

Why would you use this in Standard?  There are some strong [L] Pokémon, many of which were proven in the previous Standard Format… where they had a little more Energy acceleration (namely Thunder Mountain {*}.  This set also gave us a few new [L] types to consider as well. Giving up a Prize is a concern, but a purely single-Prize deck can probably afford to use one Electrode without falling hopelessly behind, while a deck using multi-Prize Pokémon may manage to make giving up such a Prize meaningless; if all you have left in play are three-Prize TAG TEAM Pokémon or Pokémon VMAX, even two Electrodes blowing themselves up with Buzzap Generator means your opponent still has to KO two of your fatties to win.

Electrode is not hitting the field on your first turn, your opponent is going to see it coming due to the time it takes to evolve into it.  This means they do have a chance to stop it, though at least that means hitting it on the Bench or forcing it Active to hit it there.  Unless they’re specialized in bonus Bench hits or damage spread, while you lose a Prize and your Energy acceleration, something else avoids taking a hit and you might gain an extra turn to build that something else.  The most likely candidate to receive Energy from Buzzap Generator is probably Pikachu & Zekrom-GX.  Again, you’re not using Electrode to ensure a T2 (Player 2’s first turn) “Full Blitz”, because you won’t be able to evolve yet.  You’re either gaining reliability.  It is another form of Energy acceleration, and while not as fast or streamlined as the “Dance of the Ancients” Ability found on Tapu Koko {*}, its there.  Some decks may even be able to afford it twice, either for truly explosive second turns or just for a speedy – but costly – recovery if another attacker goes down too quickly.

The Expanded Format has a lot of Energy acceleration options, plus a lot of anti-Ability options.  Does this Electrode have any hope there?  I believe so.  Nothing I know about yet, but it is a self-KOing Pokémon, and we’ve seen how that can lead to some amazing disruption or even full-on control strategies here.  Another important thing is if you can afford to not run Computer Search, Dowsing Machine, etc. as your Ace Spec, there’s Life Dew.  Life Dew will reduce how many Prizes a Pokémon gives up when KO’d by one, even in the case of a self-KO through Buzzap Generator.  When you’re not intentionally trying to fall behind, its a nice option… and there are Items capable of recycling your Tools in Expanded.  I’m not sold on Electrode here, but I’m definitely going to remember it.

The Limited Format loves Electrode, in that Energy acceleration even to a mediocre [L] type attacker could make it brilliant, but this Format also hates it because you only start with four Prize cards instead of six. As long as you have some [L] Pokémon already worth running in your deck, I’d risk including Voltorb and Electrode.  You might cost yourself the game either through the self-KO or drawing into Electrode when you simply cannot afford to Bench and use it, but you also tend to have a lot of room in Limited Format decks.  Yes, they’re 20 cards smaller (40 card deck size in Limited), but you’re building them from the cards you pull, so you usually need at least some filler.  Oh, and if you can spare the Energy, Electric Ball isn’t bad here, though Electrode is still on the small side.


  • Standard: 3/5
  • Expanded: 2/5
  • Limited: 3/5

Not a dazzling start to our countdown, but Electrode isn’t really about Electrode itself, but the other decks it reinforces.  I keep hearing people I trust tell me that Lightning decks, including Pikarom, either are or should be making a comeback, but with what little I’ve seen since rotation, they haven’t.  I’m half expecting, half hoping that Electrode is the last major piece they need.  Electrode was my 8th-place pick because of this.

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