Galarian Zigzagoon
Galarian Zigzagoon

Galarian Zigzagoon
– Sword & Shield

Date Reviewed:
March 1, 2020

Ratings Summary:
Standard: 4
Expanded: 4
Limited: 4

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

Reviews Below:

vince avatar


Standard: 5/5
Expanded: 5/5
Limited: 5/5

Details: If you’re wondering why I rated perfect scores across the board, it’s because I feel like Galarian Zizzagoon is almost not good for the game (in other words, being a card that’s considered broken). It’s ability, Headbutt Tantrum, lets you put 1 damage counters on one of your opponent’s Pokemon when you put it into play from your hand into your Bench. Even one damage counter can go a long way to securing a KO when your main attack falls short of. But this ability can lead to extremely aggressive plays, to the point where it’s one of the few cards that COULD make you win on the first turn of the game before your opponent gets to play!

I remember seeing Crobat G SP being used almost a decade ago, and it’s Flash Bite Poke-Power does the same thing. And Poke Turn scoops Crobat back to your hand so that you can play it again, and put damage counters again. Granted, the first turn rules at the time states that the player going first cannot play Trainer/Supporter/Stadiums (but can still attack), so you can hope to put 4 damage counters at best. And if the Defending Pokémon’s HP is lower than Sableye from DP Stormfront, it’s Overconfident attack get boosted damage (40 damage if the condition is met, 10 otherwise). Pair with Special Darkness Energy, and the Sableye/Crobat combo can take out Pokémon with 90 or less HP.

Fast forward to Galarian Zizzagoon, the first turn rules won’t allow you to attack or play Supporters, but they can still play items and stadiums! 4 Galarian Zizzagoons and 4 Super Scoop Up means that you have placed a total of 8 damage counters on whatever Pokémon it has in play, enough to donk against a lone Jirachi TEU, 2 Lost March Natus, or Ditto Prism Star if you’re opponent has a bad hand to start with! Sure, the coin flips of Super Scoop Up can sometimes not cooperate with you, but this is still a problem as it creates first turn donks.

In Expanded, you have more opportunities to place even more damage counters (albeit just one I can think of). You’ve already got 4 Galarian Zizzagoon and 4 Super Scoop Up, but then you also have Scoop Up Cyclone which acts like a fifth card for scooping purposes. That applies if and only if you’re going first though, as you don’t have to worry about Silent Lab or Garbotoxin because they haven’t played them yet. Which makes one of the few moments where going second is bad because your strategy of donks is stopped cold.

I’m not saying that this card should be banned, but because of Sableye/Crobat G SP, they had to push the rotation to July 2011 instead of September to save two of the biggest tournaments from first turn donks. The change to turn 1 rules in the BW era pushed donk decks to the top. Because they let you use trainers on your first turn, any Pokémon with 130 or less HP (yes, even Reshiram & Zekrom, which had the biggest HP of a basic Pokémon at the time) are at risk of being KOed before your opponent gets to play. 4 Crobat and 4 Poke Turn means it’s 130 HP body becomes a 50 HP body, making Special Darkness Energy boosted Overconfident attack you deal exactly 50 damage, and we haven’t even factored in Expert Belt and Plus Powers! If the designers aren’t careful with future card effects, there could be a FTK deck on the loose. With decks running very few basics (like around 4-12), starting the game with just one Pokemon seems more likely than not.

Spoilers: There is an item card called Scoop Up Net which lets you put one Pokémon from play (except Pokémon-V and Pokémon-GX) into your hand while discarding all cards attached to it. If you combine 4 Galarian Zizzagoon, 4 Super Scoop Up, and 4 Scoop Up Net, then you could be placing TWELVE damage counters on the board on your first turn, widening the scope of OHKOing a lone target with 120 or less HP. Trying to pull such a feat is almost slim to none due to the limitations of the amount of cards in your hand. But with Dedenne-GX and item-based draw, that may be realistic to achieve this.

Edit 1: Mentioned first turn rules in the BW-era, making Sableye/Crobat more likely to achieve donks.

Otaku Avatar

Galarian Zigzagoon (Sword & Shield 117/202) is a Basic [D] Pokémon with 70 HP, [G] Weakness, lack of Resistance, Retreat Cost [C], one Ability, and one attack.  The Ability is “Headbutt Tantrum”, which you can use only when you Bench this card from your hand, during your turn.  It lets you place a damage counter on one of your opponent’s Pokémon.  [DC] pays for “Surprise Attack”, which does 30 damage, but requires a coin toss; “heads” and the attack works as normal, but “tails” and it fails.

If you’re new to regional variants, that “Galarian” is part of the card’s name: unless an effect references “Zigzagoon”, as far as game mechanics are concerned, it is totally unrelated to the plain version of Zigzagoon.  [D] Typing should be better than it actually is in Standard, but the support hasn’t congealed into a worthwhile deck.  Should be handy in Expanded (Dark Patch).  Anti-[D] effects are Expanded-only and obscure, so don’t sweat them.

Being a Basic is the best Stage; working in the entire Galarian Obstagoon line won’t be easy, but just running one to four Galarian Zigzagoon is relatively simple.  Just remember, you’ve got a great reason for not wanting to open with this card.  70 HP is pretty common on twice-evolving Basics; Galarian Zigzagoon should be OHKO’d if Active, and won’t last more than a few turns on your Bench against Bench-hits, damage spread, etc.  [G] Weakness isn’t a big deal right now.  Lack of Resistance is technically the worst, but also the norm.  A Retreat Cost of [C] is technically good, but also what we expect on Pokémon like this.

Let’s get Surprise Attack out of the way: no surprise, its bad!  It’s unreliable and overpriced, but still better than nothing.  This is why we aren’t worried about Weakness or Resistance to [D] Types with Galarian Zigzagoon.  What matters here are two things: the Ability and Evolving, and the Ability is good enough you won’t always be worried about the latter.  That’s right, while it eats up a Bench-space and leaves an easy single-Prize KO on your Bench, that’s well worth being able to drop a damage counter on the opposing Pokémon of your choice.

In general, Galarian Zigzagoon acts a bit like PlusPower.  The bad news?  It can’t exploit Weakness and as to worry about Ability denial, which is a real concern in Expanded (Silent Lab, among other things).  The good news?  It can operate totally independent of attack damage, doesn’t have to worry about Item-denial, doesn’t have to worry about Resistance, effects that prevent attacks or prevent/reduce damage, and can be used to target any Pokémon your opponent has in play.

This trick hasn’t been seen on a Basic Pokémon in a while, but was pretty potent when Crobat {G} (Platinum 47/127), or before that, Jolteon* (EX – Power Keepers 101/108).  This is one of the rare times when the Basic in an evolution line is worth running on its own.  Galarian Zigzagoon wasn’t used in most decks on its own at the Oceania International Championship, but it did find its way into a few, usually to land a key OHKO that was just 10 damage out of range.  Sure, Vitality Band could help with that but the decks may already have been running that, or needed to have a different Tool equipped.

If you wish to run Galarian Obstagoon (Sword & Shield 119/202), you currently don’t have any choice but to run this Galarian Zigzagoon: it’s the only one!  I’ll be surprised if any future alternatives prove better, anyway.  We won’t be discussing Galarian Obstagoon or Galarian Linoone (Sword & Shield 118/202), because we’ll be looking at Galarian Obstagoon tomorrow.  Just know that a Galarian Obstagoon deck finished 3rd at the Oceania International Championship, so it is probably going to be at least a small part of the metagame going forward… and maybe a large part.

Galarian Zigzagoon faces a lot more counters in Expanded; Silent Lab is just one of many.  I still expect it to have merit here, though, for the same reasons as in Standard, but weighted more in favor of Galarian Obstagoon support.  Unsurprisingly, Galarian Zigzagoon can be pretty good in the Limited Format; use it as you would in Standard, but with less reliability because you cannot search, recycle, bounce, etc. it as easily here as in Standard or Expanded.  Speaking of which, Japan is about to receive a Trainer-Item that acts like AZ, but excludes Pokémon-GX or Pokémon V.  That should help Galarian Zigzagoon out quite a bit!


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

The same score for all three Formats, but for slightly different reasons in each… and this is one of those times I’m tempted to aware fractional points, because the Standard Format prospects currently strike me as being stronger than the Expanded or Limited Formats’.  Good thing I’ve got this section to clarify that Galarian Zigzagoon could become a common trick in the Standard Format (which would bump up its score to 4/5), and should at least be seen some of the time (especially in Galarian Obstagoon decks).  It didn’t make my top 20, but it came very close!

We would love more volunteers to help us with our Card of the Day reviews.  If you want to share your ideas on cards with other fans, feel free to drop us an email.  We’d be happy to link back to your blog / YouTube Channel / etc.   😉

Click here to read our Pokémon Card of the Day Archive.  We have reviewed more than 3500 Pokemon cards over the last 17+ years!