Galarian Zigzagoon– Sword and Shield
Date Reviewed: December 23, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Time for our 8th-Place finisher! Galarian Zigzagoon (Sword & Shield 117/202) is an evolving Basic, Darkness Pokémon with 70 HP, [G] Weakness, no Resistance, Retreat Cost [C], one Ability and one attack. The latter is “Surprise Attack”; for [DC] it does 30, but requires a coin flip and it if is “tails”, then it does nothing. The former is “Headbutt Tantrum”, which can only be activated when Bench Galarian Zigzagoon from your hand, during your turn. When you use Headbutt Tantrum, you select one of your opponent’s Pokémon and place a damage counter on it. If it seems a tad… aggressive, it has a right to be angry: while we reviewed it before, it did not make our countdown of the Top 11 cards from Sword & Shield.
Simply put, it was robbed. Headbutt Trantrum is a great Ability for a Basic Pokémon. Whether you run one or four copies of Galarian Zigzagoon, it is as space efficient as it gets. It is also “fast”; you can even Bench it to place damage counters on Turn 1. As it is not a Pokémon-GX or Pokémon V, you can bounce it with Scoop Up Net, either to use it then get it out of the way, or to reuse the Ability. Being a Darkness type doesn’t mean much, though it does make it an obvious inclusion for Eternatus VMAX decks. 70 HP isn’t much, but at least it avoids being an easy bonus Bench hit for damage spread. [G] Weakness has actually been one of the safer ones to have in 2020. No Resistance is still the worse, but it usually doesn’t make a huge difference. The Retreat Cost of [C] is good and low. Surprise Attack is filler; we’ve seen worse, but this is definitely overpriced.
As an evolving basic, you can also use Galarian Zigzagoon as a stepping stone to Galarian Linoone, or through Rare Candy, directly to Galarian Obstagoon. Neither of the Galarian Linoone are anything more than filler, but Galarian Obstagoon (Sword & Shield 119/202, SW – Vivid Voltage 198/185; SW – Black Star Promos SWSH059) tempted me into making this a two-in-one review. The short version it is a Stage 2, Darkness Pokémon with 160 HP, [G] Weakness, no Resistance, Retreat Cost [CC], an Ability and an attack. “Untamed Shout” is nearly the same as Headbutt Tantrum. The difference is Untamed Shout places three damage counters on the opposing Pokémon you select, not just one. For [DC], it can attack with “Obstruct” to do 80 damage, and protect itself from the damage done by the attacks of Basic Pokémon during the next turn.
Galarian Obstagoon with Untamed Shout starred in its own competitive deck for a bit, and later partnered with Decidueye (SW – Darkness Ablaze 013/189; SW – Black Star Promos SWSH035), but I do not know if that deck is still seen as competitive as of the addition of SW – Vivid Voltage. That deck is one of the few reasons to run Galarian Linoone, and might also justify a single copy of the other Galarian Obstagoon, Galarian Obstagoon (Champion’s Path 037/073). It has 10 more HP and one higher Retreat Cost than the first Galarian Obstagoon. Its Ability is “Wicked Ruler”, which lets you force your opponent to discard down until their hand has four cards, and its attack “Knuckle Impact” costs [CCC] and does 180 damage, but says it cannot be used again the next turn.
Galarian Zigzagoon isn’t a staple in Standard. It isn’t in everything, but it is a lot of things, whether just for a small boost to your offense or as a lead-in to Galarian Obstagoon. Based on results from February, the last time we had a major Expanded Format tournament, Galarian Zigzagoon showed up in a few decks. Not only have new cards been released, but cards have also been added to the Banned List. So I’m guessing that it is still a good card here, just not as good as in Expanded. As for the Limited Format, only skip Galarian Zigzagoon if you’re running a Mulligan deck.
- Standard: 4/5
- Expanded: 3/5
- Limited: 5/5
Galarian Zigzagoon isn’t original; we’ve had similar Pokémon before… but it is what we have now, that is both Standard and Expanded-legal, and its good. Very good in Standard and great in the Limited Format. Really should have had Galarian Zigzagoon on in my Top Picks list for Sword & Shield, and easily in the Top 10. Oops. I learned my lesson by the year’s end; I only had Galarian Zigzagoon as my 9th-Place pick, but I can see ranking higher. Just not too much higher, simply because of the other great cards from this year.
Vince had this at #8 on his Top 10 new cards of 2020.
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