Tapu Koko V
Tapu Koko V

Tapu Koko V
– Sword & Shield

Date Reviewed:
March 9, 2020

Ratings Summary:
Standard: 3.75
Expanded: 3.25
Limited: 4.00

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

Reviews Below:

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  • Standard: 3.5/5
  • Expanded: 3.5/5
  • Limited: 4/5

Tapu Koko-V is the first guardian deity to get the V treatment. A basic Lightning Type with 200 HP, Fighting weakness, and free retreat, it has two attacks. Spike Draw does 20 for L and also draws 2 cards. Thunderous Bolt costs LLC for 200 damage with the clause of not being able to attack next turn. That clause could be voided if it retreats (which it can at will due to its free retreat) or switches out.

As far as I’m concerned, despite being worth two prizes if it’s knocked out, this is a good alternative attacker for Lightning decks. Being a Pokémon-V means that any cards that previously punishes Pokémon-EX or Pokemon-GX won’t affect Tapu Koko-V. It takes no damage from Shrine of Punishment and also avoids taking extra damage from Choice Band. In the meantime, it benefits from Lightning based support, at least until the next rotation happens. Thunder Mountain Prism Star reduces the attack cost by a Lightning energy; Spike Draw becomes a free attack while Thunderous Bolt costs LC. Electropower grants a 30 damage boost every time you use it. And Volkner fetches a Lightning energy and an item card. Those three examples are at risk of leaving rotation. The only Lightning based support left after August is Tapu Koko Prism Star (assuming it is Team Up onwards).

This isn’t something to run at a full four even though you can, but the most I saw it being used was at one or two copies in certain decks like PikaRom.

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Our second subject this week is Tapu Koko V (Sword & Shield 072/202).  As a Pokémon V, Tapu Koko V is worth an extra Prize when KO’d and already has to deal with one or two effects meant to punish a player for using Pokémon V (with more out in Japan).  Besides whatever specific benefits apply to an individual card, right now it is pretty handy how Pokémon V dodge anti-EX/GX effects and exclusionary text.  As the “V” is part of the card’s name, Tapu Koko V does not count against your deck limits for Tapu Koko cards, Tapu Koko-GX, or Tapu Koko {*}.

Tapu Koko V is a [L] Type, which is great.  [L] Weakness occurs among nearly all Types at varying levels; most heavily among [C] and [W] Pokémon.  [L] Resistance is only found among some older [F] Types.  They have fantastic support such as Thunder Mountain {*}, Tapu Koko {*}, and Electropower, and that is just in Standard.  Anti-[L] effects exist, but either aren’t good or don’t apply to Tapu Koko V (in either Format).  Being a Basic is the best; no need to run lower Stages or wait to Evolve, and Tapu Koko V can even open for you.

Tapu Koko V has a good 200 HP; this seems pretty normal for a Basic Pokémon V and is enough to you’re more likely to survive a hit than not.  At least, that is the case when we consider the entire gameplay experience; plenty of decks can score the OHKO with their full set up.  [F] Weakness should not be as mild as it is right now; the Type has some great support, but just aren’t seeing competitive success right now.  Lack of Resistance is the worst, but typical, while lack of a Retreat Cost is the best, and somewhat rare.

Tapu Koko V has two attacks, “Spike Draw” and “Thunderous Bolt”.  The former costs [L] and does 20 damage while also letting you draw two cards; the latter requires [LLC] and does 200 damage but also states “this Pokémon” can’t attack during your next turn.  Before we consider any specific combos, these seem like decent, maybe even good attacks.  Neither the draw nor the damage from Spike Draw is much, but it is cheap so it doesn’t need to be that good.  Thunderous Bolt delivers a solid blow, OHKOing a decent chunk of the metagame; if it survives while being Active, you can just retreat it to get it out of the way and save it for later use.

The combos put it over the top.  Thunderous Mountain {*} or strategic use of Tapu Koko {*}’s Ability lets you utilize Spike Draw while saving your manual Energy attachment for a different Pokémon.  Unless you want to combine the two, in which case Thunderous Bolt can start smashing as early as Turn 2!  Electropower extends the range of both attacks, so that Spike Draw’s damage can’t be ignored and, barring defensive buffs, Thunderous Bolt OHKO’s anything smaller than Stonjourner VMAX!

Tapu Koko V sounds pretty great, so how much is it being used at the competitive level?  Over on LimitlessTCG, we can find at least partial results for four events that included Sword & Shield cards:

  • Oceania International Championship
  • Colinsville, Indiana Regional Championship
  • Puerto Rico SPE
  • Malmö, Sweden Regional Championship

All but Collinsville were Standard Format events.  While it only seems to be showing up in one deck, that deck is Pikarom, (obviously) built around Pikachu & Zekrom-GX.  Though none showed up in top 70 out 640) at Collinsville, eight such decks made the top 64 (of 405) at the OIC, with the best performing finishing in 15th-place.  Pikarom is missing from the top 8 (out of 76) from Puerto Rico, but took 7th and 8th-place at Malmö.  Maybe more; we only have the top 8 from there, but the event was attended by 298 Masters.

So, how many copies of Tapu Koko V showed up in Pikarom?  Just one or two but Pikarom prefers a wide-but-shallow selection of attackers.  After all, most of the attackers are worth multiple Prizes, so you aren’t going to need too many of them in a given match.  Oh, and besides access to the [L] Type support already mentioned, I’ll add that Zeraora-GX plus a maxed out count of Switch should make it fairly easy to shake the effect of Thunderous Bolt, if needed.  Jirachi (SM – Team Up 99/181; SM – Black Star Promos SM161) is in the deck after all.

As stated earlier, I’ve got no data for Tapu Koko V in Expanded.  Maybe Tapu Koko V has no place here, maybe Pikarom is still good but had a bad showing at Collinsville; when an [L] deck does pop up, I’ll expect a Tapu Koko V in it… unless it’s something like Night March.  Thunderous Bolt means Tapu Koko V is a bad fit for a +39 build, but as long as you can run a decent chunk of [L] Energy, run Tapu Koko V alongside whatever else you pull that is worth running.


  • Standard: 4/5
  • Expanded: 3/5
  • Limited: 4/5

Tapu Koko V is a great [L] Type attacker at a time when the only reason that hasn’t made it the face of the metagame is the competition within [L] decks and without in the rest of the metagame.  It is only just making it into the four-out-of-five club, though.  That might change after our next set; looks like we’ll be getting at least one new piece of [L] support in Rebel Crash…

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