Zarude – Chilling Reigns

Date Reviewed:
June 25, 2021

Ratings Summary:
Standard: 2.00
Expanded: 1.00

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

Reviews Below:

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Zarude (SW – Chilling Reign 019/198) is our 8th-Place pick.  It is a [G] type, and they’re not particularly good in terms of type support or exploiting Weakness.  Zarude is a Basic Pokémon, and that actually is the best Stage a Pokémon can be.  Zarude keeps things simple, not being a Rule Box Pokémon, nor having a Battle Style.  Its 130 HP is good for a Basic, though mid-tier attacks are enough for a OHKO.  Fire Weakness means just 70 damage from a [R] Pokémon can drop Zarude; not a guaranteed OHKO, but highly probable.  No Resistance is the worst, but also the norm.  A Retreat Cost of [CC] is typical, and not really good nor bad.

Zarude knows two attacks.  “Pack Call” costs [G] and lets you search your deck for [G] Pokémon.  More specifically, Turn 2 (Player 2’s first turn), Pack Call lets you snag up to three [G] Pokémon to add to your hand.  Any other turn, assuming you can attack, Pack Call only grabs one [G] Pokémon.  The Pokémon going to hand is probably why Pack Call doesn’t have a Stage restriction.  This can be helpful when you have a somewhat slow deck featuring [G] Evolutions, at least if you are indeed Player 2 and attack with Zarude on your first turn.  Grabbing just one at a time isn’t worth it.  While not a massive risk, there will be games when all you open with is Zarude and, even while you can attack and grab three more Pokémon… they’re in your hand and not in play.  130 HP isn’t that sturdy by Turn 3.

Zarude’s second attack is “Repeated Whip”, for [CCC].  It lets Zarude do 60 damage plus 20 more per [G] Energy attached to itself.  If you – for some reason – power it up without any [G] Energy, you’re just getting that base 60.  At a glance, this seems decent: assuming you can load Zarude up with enough Energy, you can OHKO anything!  The actual numbers tell a different story.  A single [G] Energy means 80, two [G] mean 100, [GGG] means 120, etc.  For your Zarude to OHKO an opponent’s copy of itself, you’d need four [G] Energy attached.  Four! One-shotting an opponent’s Dedenne-GX requires five, Crobat V requires six, and most other Basic Pokémon V require eight.  Pokémon VMAX require 12 to 19 [G] Energy attached!

Okay, so Zarude isn’t awesome at what it does, but it has solid stats and is at least decent at its two things.  The question is whether or not it is adequate enough you’re better off running it or the alternatives.  What are the alternatives?  Rowlet & Alolan Exeggutor-GX is a TAG TEAM Pokémon, which may be a turn off, but for [0] – that means zero Energy – its “Super Growth” attack lets you search your deck for something that evolves from one of your [G] Pokémon, then play that “something” directly from your deck onto that Basic [G] Pokémon.  Wait, there’s more: if the Pokémon you played via the first part of this attack is a Stage 1, you can then you can search your deck for a Stage 2 that evolves from it and play the Stage 2 onto the Stage 1!

Yes, we’re talking about getting (at most) two Evolutions of a Grass type versus getting any three [G] Pokémon, and for it to be two Evolutions they have to be part of the same line… but we’re also talking about Evolution acceleration.  Oh, and it works any turn when you can attack with Rowlet & Alolan Exeggutor-GX.  So, if your slow, setup-focused deck can afford to attack with this TAG TEAM twice, you can ready up to two Stage 2 Pokémon, with their Basic [G] counterparts never having a turn of exposure to your opponent’s attack.  Then there are the other attacks.  “Calming Hurricane” lets Rowlet & Alolan Exeggutor-GX do 150 for [GGC], then heal 30 from itself.  [GGG] lets you burn your GX-attack to use “Tropical Hour-GX” to do 200 damage… but with [GGGGGG] attached, the attack also shuffles all Energy from all of your opponent’s Pokémon back into their decks.

If you can flood your field with basic Energy cards, Shaymin {*} is a better attack.  While it is a Prism Star card and only has 80 HP, its “Flower Storm” attack does 30 per basic Energy attached to any of your Pokémon in play, with a printed cost of [GG] on Shaymin {*} itself.  At first, Flower Storm does less damage than Repeated Whip, but after six [G] Energy, they equal out and beyond that, you get a better deal than with Zarude.  How could that possibly be worth it?  Go all the way back to how Shaymin {*} works with any basic Energy on any of your Pokémon.  You can have a robust, Energized field and send Shaymin {*} out as a glass cannon.  When it falls, everything else still has its Energy; Zarude needs all the Energy attached to itself, so when it falls all the Energy goes with it!  Neither is a brilliant attacker, though.

So… if you need to combine setup and big-hitter roles and you need it to be a non-Rule Box Pokémon, Zarude might be right for your Grass deck.  Personally, even with those conditions I’m still not overly impressed by it.  Zarude didn’t come close to making my Top 15, and I think several clearly better cards were overlooked in order for it to be here.  It is avoiding a minimum score in Standard due to me rounding up…. but maybe I missed something?  Perhaps there’s some Grass deck to which I am blind that will be worth it (or significantly improved) via Zarude?


  • Standard: 2/5
  • Expanded: 1/5

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