Zacian V – Celebrations
October 15, 2021
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
2nd-Place in our countdown goes to Zacian V (Celebrations 016/025) and just like with yesterday’s Zamazenta V (Celebrations 018/025), we’re going to start with its Ability. “Roar of the Sword” is an Ability you may only use once, during your turn. Unlike some Abilities that say that, this one means it because your turn ends after using Roar of the Sword. Before that, it searches your deck for a [P] Energy and then lets you attach that Energy to one of your Pokémon. Only basic Psychic Energy count as [P] when not attached to something, so that’s all you may search out. You can use this Ability with no drawback Turn 1, unless you wanted to use a different effect that ends your turn upon resolution. You know, like the “Gormandize” Ability found on Snorlax (SW – Vivid Voltage 131/185; SW – Black Star Promos SWSH068; SW – Chilling Reign 224/198).
Turn 2, you might prefer attaching a Psychic Energy to and attacking with Cresselia (SW – Chilling Reign 064/198; SW – Black Star Promos SWSH114; SW – Evolving Skies 228/203). Its “Crescent Glow” attack searches your deck for three [P] Energy and lets you then attach them to one of your Pokémon. Crescent Glow only attaches three when used Turn 2 (Player 2’s first turn), and there’s a good chance Cresselia either gets KO’d immediately afterward by your opponent’s first attack or it lingers. It isn’t an awful attacker in its own right, at least with a complete setup, but it is far from the best. I could see someone preferring Roar of the Sword while having a meat-shield or other expendable Pokémon up front. The rest of the game, Roar of the Sword can prove handy any later turns when something keeps you from attacking (including your setup falling apart).
Zacian V’s one attack is “Storm Slash”, priced at [CCC] and doing 60+ damage, where the “plus” is 30 more damage for each [P] attached to Zacian V itself. This is “decent”, maybe even “somewhat good”. You don’t want to power the attack without any Psychic Energy attached, but even if two of the three attached Energy count as [P], Storm Slash does a “okay” 120 damage. All three allow it to do a more-or-less solid 150. You could go nuts and slap 10 Psychic Energy onto Zacian V, so that it does 360 and can OHKO anything based on printed HP (with 20 damage to spare) but that isn’t easy to do. Even OHKOing a small Pokémon V like Crobat V requires four [P] attached… but that’s also the threshold for solid 2HKOs. Again, for something you’re running to use its Ability on your first turn, that ain’t bad at all.
All right, now for the rest of the card. Zacian V has to share with Zacian V (Sword & Shield 138/202, 195/202, 211/202; SW – Black Star Promos SWSH018, SWSH076). The original Zacian V is an amazing card that has often been the focus of multiple competitive archetypes, as well as sometimes just a useful Bench-sitter in decks that exploit its Ability (“Intrepid Sword”) as draw power instead of Energy acceleration. You can run both of these in the same deck, but the amount of them together cannot exceed four, since they have the same name. It is plausible you’d have a reason to run both, but most of the time, I expect it would be one or the other. Either Zacian V can make use of Rusted Sword, however! This Tool increases the damage of the equipped Zacian V do +30 damage (before Weakness/Resistance) when attacking your opponent’s Active. That means you hit the same thresholds with Storm Slash that you would with one more Psychic Energy attached. Still not great, but definitely better!
Zacian V has a Rule Box, so Path to the Peak can shut its Ability down. This isn’t as bad as it sounds, though: you really want to use Roar of the Sword Turn 1, so it is only “bonus uses” that get denied. Zacian V is a Pokémon V, so it gives up an extra Prize when KO’d, is excluded from certain beneficial effects, but is included as the target of multiple detrimental effects because of it. This is also most likely why, in a collector oriented set, Zacian V still has decent-to-good effects. Also, this is why it has 220 HP, an amount that requires some effort to OHKO and which is 90 to 110 points higher than baseline Zacian cards.
Zacian V is a Psychic type, handy for attacking Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX and for using Fog Crystal. Zacian V’s Metal Weakness is definitely an issue; while the original Zacian V could OHKO it even without Weakness, any Metal attackers doing 110 to 210 damage get a OHKO they would have otherwise missed. No Resistance is the worst, but is also the norm. A Retreat Cost of [CC] is pretty typical as well, and neither high enough to be a real problem nor low enough to be a significant benefit.
Zacian V is a lot like Zamazenta V; good enough it should see some play, and often be considered for your deck, but with enough drawbacks you’re not going to always run a copy or two. More than two copies is also probably overkill, as you cannot use multiple instances of Roar of the Sword in the same turn (due to your turn ending after the first). As with Leafeon V, though, running even just two cards (Zacian V and a basic Psychic Energy card) means you can get an extra Energy into play with little cost Turn 1. That can be handy for a variety of decks, even if that Psychic Energy is just covering a [C] Energy requirement. Zacian V is probably better off in a Psychic-focused deck; its Ability can let a Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX deck start attaching extra Psychic Energy a turn earlier, then serve as a decent alternate attacker.
Expanded adds more counters, more competition, and more combo opportunities, but this time I think they even out a bit more nicely. As with Zamazenta V, Zacian V takes 2nd-Place due to the lack of serious competition in this expansion, and scores (somewhat) high because I’m rounding up. Perhaps I should have flipped them on my list, but Zacian V was indeed my 2nd-Place pick (with Zamazenta V as #3).
- Standard: 4/5
- Expanded: 3/5
Had this as my #2 pick for Celebrations. Also Standard: 4/5 and Expanded: 3/5
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