Galarian Zapdos V – Chilling Reigns
June 27, 2021
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Our 6th-Place pick is Galarian Zapdos V (SW – Chilling Reign 080/198, 173/198, 174/198). The name means this Pokémon cam use Galarian Chestplate. Being a Pokémon V is neutral overall; it gives up an extra Prize when KO’d, and has to deal with anti-V effects. Its [F] typing is good for type-matching. Being a Basic makes it fast and efficient. 200 HP is a bit low. [P] Weakness isn’t the worst, but it also isn’t anywhere near safe. No Resistance is the worst, but it is also normal. A Retreat Cost of [C] is low and fairly easy to pay.
Galarian Zapdos V’s Ability is “Fighting Instinct”: for each of your opponent’s Pokémon V in play, its attacks cost [C] less to use. For [FCCC], Galarian Zapdos V can use “Thunderous Kick” to discard a Special Energy from your opponent’s Active if they have one attached, then do 170 damage to your opponent’s Active. 170 for four Energy is a bit low, but discarding Special Energy is useful and doing so before damage means Galarian Zapdos V can discard stuff like Weakness Guard Energy before that Energy’s effect kicks in! Given how commonly used Pokémon V are, and how (post-rotation) we’ll shed all remaining Pokémon-GX, Thunderous Kick should rarely cost the full four Energy. Instead, you’ll enjoy it for [F] to [FCC] most of the time.
Galarian Zapdos V is a natural counter to Eternatus VMAX. 170 x 2 = 340, the HP of Eternatus VMAX. Eternatus decks regularly have three or more Pokémon V in play, and even if they know Galarian Zapdos V is lurking in your deck, it isn’t easy for them to reduce those numbers enough to matter. Fortunately for Eternatus VMAX, there are some things to consider that I missed when I first evaluated this card while making my list. Namely, that slapping Fighting Energy into just any deck isn’t as easy as it sounds. If the deck already runs on mostly Fighting Energy, Galarian Zapdos V is an easy inclusion but you’re probably already hitting Eternatus VMAX decks hard. If you’ve got to work in the Energy, you need both it and Galarian Zapdos V to show up at the right time. If your deck runs a Special Energy that can count as [F] and works with Galarian Zapdos V, you need to be able to spare one of those Energy…
…and the biggest issue, what about all the decks that don’t run many Pokémon V and/or are not Fighting Weak? Galarian Zapdos V can still be handy against things other than Eternatus VMAX, but there will be match-ups where it is just dead weight. So, is Galarian Zapdos V a good card? I think “yes”. Probably a very good card… but when I first saw it, I thought it was a great card. In fact, it was my 3rd-Place pick from this set. As such, I’m actually somewhat relieved it clocked in at 6th-Place. Of course, there’s one last thing to discuss, but it falls into Spoiler territory; if you like being surprised about the future of the TCG… well, it is a bit odd you’re reading this, but skip to the Ratings.
Part of what now tempers my expectations of this card are the early results out of Japan, from the period when their cardpool resembled what we’re about to experience. Simply put, Eternatus VMAX decks are still competitive, so Galarian Zapdos V isn’t making the deck extinct. Which, I suppose, is good for Galarian Zapdos V. If it did kick [F] Weak Pokémon V to the curb, we wouldn’t really need it.
- Standard: 4/5
- Expanded: 3/5
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