– Burning Shadows BUS 100

Date Reviewed:
October 18, 2017

Ratings Summary:

Standard: 1.94
Expanded: 2.67
Limited: 4.17

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

Reviews Below:


Is it weird that we never really saw Zygarde’s 100% form in the XY games where he debuted, and instead we just settled for him showing up in the Sun&Moon era? I mean, it kinda makes you wonder why Zygarde bothered sticking around Kalos when Alola is where all his cells and cores were.

In any case, Zygarde is pretty powerful in this form, and his Basic version showcases that…somewhat. Actually it’s rather generic, I’m surprised it didn’t come out in some prepackaged deck in Japan first. Land Crush is only a 3-for-80 vanilla strike, though it is at least completely Colorless, granting access to Dragons in most decks that couldn’t run the majority before…for what purpose that is nowadays, I don’t know, considering most Dragons these days aren’t weak to Dragons, they’re weak to Fairies.

And there’s Core Enforcer, which is a powerful 4-for-150 move that discards a Darkness Energy and a Fairy Energy from Zygarde. Aside from being a clever reference to Yveltal and Xerneas, the other two Pokemon that form a triad with Zygarde, this attack’s not that great. You won’t even be able to use it on consecutive turns, which is just a shame since it means Land Crush is inherently better for continuing the damage route, even though Core Enforcer does more in one turn on its own.

Zygarde isn’t that great a card to hang onto, all things considered. He’s great of the art and the lore, but functionally he’s not gonna see much play in my opinion. There might be a niche spot for him in Expanded where Dragons are actually weak to Dragons, but we’ve gotten a lot of Dragons that don’t share that weakness, so it’s a moot point there.


Standard: 1.5/5 (I guess he’s got the benefits of having a 150 HP Basic body)

Expanded: 1.5/5 (but that’s really all I can give him)

Limited: 3.5/5 (probably a beast in Limited though)

Arora Notealus: You think Zygarde will play an important part in Alola’s storyline too? I know technically XY are the games it should have the most impact in, but considering his presence in the Alola region, I feel like they’re not quite done with Zygarde just yet. Granted, Ultra Sun and Moon will focus more on Necrozma…unless…

Next Time: Speaking of Pokemon fusions, let’s talk an older card that helped one out!


Zygarde (Burning Shadows, 100/147) returns to the meta in the Burning Shadows expansion set.  A Dragon type, 150 HP (really big!) Basic Pokemon, it has two attacks.  Land Crush, for three Colorless energy, does eighty damage, and Core Enforcer does 150 damage… but costs a Dark, a Fairy, and two Colorless energy PLUS forces you to discard a Dark and a Fairy energy after its attack.

There is a decklist out there for Zygarde using Florges’ (Breakthrough, 103/162) Calming Aroma to eliminate the Fairy energy cost.  That brings it down to basically a two attachment attack, and although you still have to discard the Dark energy, it’s still somewhat manageable.  The problem is that Garbodor (Breakpoint, 57/122) makes life difficult for this deck, and it is almost certainly an autoloss against Greninja (Breakpoint, 40/122).  Plus, as a Dragon type, you will never have weakness advantage over any deck you ever go up against.  Finally, as it has Fairy weakness and Gardevoir GX (Burning Shadows, 93/147) currently reigns as one of the best and most popular Pokemon in the game, Zygarde simply isn’t worth the time and effort to even attempt to make this work.


Standard: 1.5 out of 5


I did not test this deck, but as it has so many things working against it, I simply can’t justify trying it.  I think this is more than just speculation or Theorymon – I think this card has so many obstacles to success that it just isn’t worth it.


Zygarde (SM: Black Star Promos SM48; SM: Burning Shadows 100/147) is a Basic, Dragon-Type Pokémon with 150 HP, Fairy Weakness, no Resistance, a Retreat Cost of [CCCC], and two attacks.  The first attack is “Land Crush” for [CCC], dealing 80 damage.  The second attack is “Core Enforcer”, requiring [DYCC] to swing for 150 damage.  The text for Core Enforcer also states you must discard a [D] and a [Y] Energy from Zygarde (or rather, “this Pokémon”).

Past Zygarde haven’t proven competitive, so no comboing or competing with itself – no, Zygarde-EX wouldn’t count because that is a separate name and thus card as far as the 4 Card Rule is concerned.  Being a Basic is still the best Stage of Evolution; one card means one copy for the deck, can be put directly into play, can function as your opener, naturally works better with certain card effects, etc.  Being a Dragon-Type isn’t too good in Standard, and is merely “okay” in Expanded.  The big issue is that the only Dragon Weak Pokémon are BW-era Dragon-Types; sure, nothing is Resistant to them, but exploiting Weakness is a big part of the metagame.  As with most Types, a lot of its support is Expanded only; with the Dragon-Type, there isn’t much left for Standard at all.  At least all the explicitly anti-Dragon effects I can remember are also bad.

150 HP is the new printed maximum for Basic Pokémon which lack a gimmick like being a Pokémon-EX or Pokémon-GX.  Even without help, this card has a solid chance of surviving an attack; solid, but far from guaranteed.  Fairy Weakness is definitely dangerous, with the (arguable) silver lining that the prime example – Gardevoir-GX – just goes from a relatively easy OHKO to a OHKO in the match-up.  No Resistance is typical, so we’ll move onto the Retreat Cost of [CCCC]; this makes Zygarde easy to strand if it has to retreat manually at full price.  If you have a deck where Heavy Ball makes sense anyway, it will make Zygarde a legal target, at least.

Land Crush is wonderfully straightforward; 80 damage for three isn’t good, but it is solid when the Energy costs are all Colorless and it is on something like a 150 HP, single-Prize Basic.  A Double Colorless Energy or Double Dragon Energy just needs a single additional Energy attachment, like from a Max Elixir, to start swinging.  This might be enough you can get it to OHKO level with several damage buffs, while something simple like Choice Band allows it to enter 2HKO land for most (but not all) unprotected Pokémon.  Core Enforcer has a mess, mixed Energy requirement but Double Dragon Energy helps to the point you can mix and match it with a variety of other Dragons and Energy acceleration (to meet the [CC] part of the requirement).  The discard cost hurts, but yet again, is also slightly helpful given the amount of attackers in the competitive sphere that do damage based on how much Energy is attached to the Defending Pokémon or both Actives.  The damage output is enough that almost anything which isn’t a Pokémon-EX or Pokémon-GX is OHKO’d.  Choice Band won’t bring all the exceptions into range, but out of the ones without protective effects, it leaves just the biggest of the Basic Pokémon-EX and Pokémon-GX, as well as their Evolved counterparts.  The Energy costs for both attacks don’t clash due to Type requirements but the divide between a three Energy attack and a four Energy attack isn’t much.

So… how to use this brute?  I know some are running it with Florges (XY: BREAKthrough 103/162).  Its “Calming Aroma” Ability shaves [Y] off of the attack costs of your Pokémon.  This does nothing for Land Crush, but allows you to use Core Enforcer for just [DCC] and a discard of [D]… unless you have a source of [Y] Energy attached, in which case it would still require you discard both a [D] Energy and a [Y] Energy.  A single Double Dragon Energy will meet both discard costs, so it might be a solid deal in the end.  It also might just be a “fun deck”, as I’ve only learned about it from people asking ruling questions over the combo.

When I first saw the card, I was reminded of Altaria (BW: Black Star Promos BW48; BW: Dragons Exalted 84/124; BW: Boundaries Crossed 152/149).  It has the Ability “Fight Song” that adds 20 damage to attacks made by your Dragon-Type Pokémon.  It was hyped up before its release, but didn’t do too well outside of some early stuff in Japan and a decent Legacy Format deck now.  Resist the urge to focus on a “perfect” setup (four Altaria plus damage-boosting Tool); while it allows both attacks to hit key numbers, it is far too demanding (and sometimes impossible) to manage.  Instead, the idea was to ensure reliable 2HKO’s and OHKO’s, possibly freeing you from total dependance upon Choice Band.  Fighting Fury Belt is easy to discard but right now, most Expanded Format decks seem to run just one Field Blower; a 190 HP Basic attacker with reliable damage output is pretty tempting.  You might also include some other Basic, Dragon-Type attackers – especially others worth only a single Prize – and see how your opponent’s handle no big Prize swings.

I don’t expect either the Standard or Expanded legal deck ideas just presented to prove competitive, though I’d be happy if I am wrong.  It is at least nice to have two distinct approaches for the card, even if only suited to casual play.  The rest of the card seems rock solid, so it is mostly a question of whether or not we’ll get the desired support to propel it into the competitive sphere.  This isn’t the best place for a card to be, but it sure beats looking utterly hopeless.  The place where I am sure you should enjoy it is in Limited.  You could risk running it solo, like you might a Basic Pokémon-GX; it has the HP and damage output it just might take four Prize before it has taken a total of 150 damage (or more).  The margin of success seems a bit low for that; good thing that any deck that isn’t going that same route with a different big, Basic attacker has room for a 150 HP Basic beatstick that can do 80 for any three Energy.  If you actually can work in the Darkness Energy and Fairy Energy for the second attack, even better.  Just mind the Fairy Weakness; if your opponent gets the right Rare (or higher) card, he or she is probably running it.


Standard: 2.75/5

Expanded: 3/5

Limited: 4.5/5


Zygarde has formidable stats and decent effects, and is probably just looking for the right support to take its place as a good (maybe great) beatstick in the competitive metagame but we don’t have that yet, and it may never show up for all we know.  Enjoy it in Limited play, maybe in some casual, fun decks, and keep an eye out for a reliable combo that can keep get either attack quickly up and running while giving it the slight damage boost it needs.

Zygarde got a review today mostly because it caught my eye way back when we were doing our Top 10 lists for SM: Burning Shadows.  No, it didn’t make my actual Top 10, but it just made my Top 20, earning six voting points on the “runners-up” list culled from the longer lists submitted by 21 times and myself.  Didn’t make this list, though, and only edged out Friday’s card by winning a roll-off.


Today, we’re reviewing Zygarde 100% form, and this happens to be one of my favorite cards!  Also, it’s the first Dragon typed Zygarde card since previous Zygarde cards were fighting types. 150 HP for a non EX/GX Pokemon sets a new record (however, that title will soon be taken due to Regigigas having 180 HP on Crimson Invasion)! Also, the attack cost didn’t require Fighting energy, dismissing the assumption some people previously made thinking that the attack cost might involve Grass and Fighting.

Theres not much text on this card, so it may be in indicator that its attacks are vanilla.  Land Crush costs CCC for 80 and Core Enforcer costs DYCC for 150 damage. Land Crush can be spammed repeatedly do to being splashable and has no drawback; with the help of Choice Band, Land Crush’s 110 damage can 2HKO most Basic EX/GX Pokemon.  Core Enforcer’s attack  has a clause of discarding a dark and a fairy energy attached to this Pokémon, so trying to constantly use it is hard. I can’t think of any card in Standard that can recover both dark and fairy, but there are plenty in Expanded. I was thinking about one Smeargle (BreakThrough) and two Hydreigons (XY Phantom Forces).  With two Hydreigon, you recover two dark energies and then use Smeargle’s second coat to swap the dark for a fairy energy. And finally you get both energies back!

Another way to use Zygarde in Expanded is to stay on the bench loaded with Double Dragon Energy….so that Darkrai-EX Dark Pulse, Xerneas Break, Gallade (BW Plasma Storm), and Delphox can unleash their respective attacks that deal tons of damage!  Giratina-EX was used for that tactic, but I think having 20 lower HP worth only a single prize is far safer than a two-prize 170 HP Pokémon. Unfortunately, this carries the risk of being dragged active and get OHKOed or having their Special Energies discarded via items or Skarmory’s Metallic Sound.

In the end of the day, Zygarde 100% is functional to work with, and it will also do very will in Limited. I also drastically raise the score of Expanded because of its increased card pool that can support this Pokémon.


Standard: 2/5

Expanded: 3.5/5

Limited: 4.5/5