Zygarde – Vivid Voltage

Date Reviewed:  March 3, 2021

Ratings Summary:
Standard: 3.00
Expanded: 2.00

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

Reviews Below:

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Zygarde (SW – Vivid Voltage 093/185) is a baseline TCG card based on a “legendary” in the video games.  The latter doesn’t really matter, but the former means it only gives up a single Prize when KO’d, doesn’t have a Rule Box, doesn’t have a non-standard name, etc.  As a Fighting type, Zygarde can exploit the Weakness found on Crobat V, Dedenne-GX, Eternatus VMAX, Pikachu & Zekrom-GX, etc.  There are some solid pieces of Fighting type support, though Fighting Resistance is among the more common forms of Resistance.

As a Basic Pokémon, Zygarde requires running no lower Stages, or waiting to evolve.  It can function as your opening Active, enjoys added synergy with certain effects (like bounce), can tap Basic support, but does have to worry about anti-Basic effects.  Zygarde has 150 HP, and this is pretty good.  It is around the point where the Pokémon goes from being more likely to be KO’d to less.  150 HP is still one of the key amounts, thanks to attacks like Pikachu & Zekrom-GX (which hits it), so it isn’t as durable as I’d like, but there are still attackers that can only reliably do more like 120 to 140, where that last 10 to 30 HP is a literal lifesaver.

Against Grass attackers, not so much thanks to Grass Weakness; 80 damage gets double to 160 for a OHKO.  Good thing for Zygarde that Grass doesn’t have much of a presence in the metagame at the moment.  No Resistance is the worst, but it is also the norm, so it doesn’t really detract from Zygarde.  The card’s Retreat Cost of [CCCC] is massive; make sure you run something to let you work around it.  Possibly, it might actually help if Zygarde can make good use of cards like Buff Padding.

Zygarde knows two attacks.  For [F] it can use “Beam” to do 30 damage.  “Core Avenger” costs [FCC] and does 80 damage, plus another 80 if you have more Prize cards left in play than your opponent.  Beam is filler, but at least you’re getting an almost decent amount of damage for a single attachment, and easily leads into the “big” attack.  Core Avenger is the main focus, and without its effect, its bad; 80-for-three doesn’t cut it.  Even with the effect, Core Avenger isn’t great, but it might be good enough.  Even keeping the 160 when you’re behind on Prizes, which isn’t too hard to pull of, I’d rather it was more like a 120/160 split.

As with yesterday’s Terrakion (SW – Vivid Voltage 092/185), exploiting Weakness and/or Fighting support are what give this card a fighting chance (lazy pun intended).  If your opponent has even one fewer Prize cards than you in play, there are some solid combos you can unleash.  Karate Belt shaves the [F] off of Zygarde’s attack costs, letting it do 30 damage for zero Energy, or 160 for a Twin Energy.  If you are behind in Prizes and have at least one basic Fighting Energy attached, Martial Arts Dojo lets Beam do 70 damage.  Slap a Buff Padding on Zygarde instead of Karate Belt, and that 70-for-one is backed by 200 HP worth only a single Prize when KO’d.  If your opponent doesn’t KO Zygarde or disrupt the combo, the next turn you can drop a Twin Energy to swing for 200!

Even without Fighting Stadium, the fact you’re behind opens up combos.  Magneton (SM – Cosmic Eclipse 69/236) can sacrifice itself with its “Call Signal” Ability.  This lets you snag three Supporter cards from your deck while forcing your opponent to take a Prize, the “cost” handy if you were previously tied in Prizes.  Why do this?  Besides the change you just really need to use one Supporter, if you’re now behind in Prizes, you can fetch Lt. Surge’s Strategy plus two other Supporters, for a big ol’ combo!  Like using Boss’s Orders to promote something you can OHKO Active, and/or using multiple copies of Leon to increase attack damage.  There are other combos as well, like snagging a Lt. Surge’s Strategy, Bea, and Mallow & Lana.  While Bea is semi-random, when it works you can prep a new attacker while benching and healing 120 off the previous one!

Speaking of Bea, while she certainly hasn’t lived up to my expectations, she is compatible with Special Energy cards.  You want a basic Fighting Energy if you’re tapping into the effect of Martial Arts Dojo, or just dealing with certain Special Energy counters, but otherwise you can use Twin Energy (so you need less) or Stone [F] Energy (to soak more damage).  We’re getting a bit silly, but a Zygarde with one basic Fighting Energy, two Stone [F] Energy, and an attached Buff Padding can has 200 HP, can soak 40 damage (after Weakness), and do 90 damage (200 if you’re behind on Prizes)!  If the Energy doesn’t need to be accelerated, go super-extreme and hope for the Lt. Surge => double Leon combo to do 140 or 260 instead!  Highly improbable, but you don’t need to hit it all at once to be useful; bits and pieces here and there can still be handy!

What about non-Fighting decks?  This is where Zygarde substantially differs from Terrakion.  As long as you have a means of covering that single [F] Energy requirement, you can splash Zygarde into other decks.  Do you already have or can you work Rainbow Energy or Karate Belt into a deck that can cover the [CC] with relative ease?  Zygarde can be included for when you’re down even a single Prize.  This could be for a Welder driven deck, or one using the soon-to-release Bronzong (SW – Battle Styles 102/163; SW – Black Star Promos SWSH093), or maybe something I don’t expect.  Zygarde is still only really worthwhile when behind on Prizes and/or exploiting Weakness, but we’ve established that isn’t too rare a situation.

How about Expanded?  More combos and more competition.  What keeps it plausible for niche use is Beam.  You’re still focused on Core Avenger shenanigans, but when those fall through you’ve Beam supported by stuff like Diancie {*}, Strong Energy, and Muscle Band.  That lets you do 90 for just one Energy.  Or you can replace Muscle Band with Focus Sash, to make Zygarde almost impossible to OHKO… then use Acerola to bounce it and all cards attached, bring up a second copy and attach it all back to it, and keep things going.  It is not a super powerful strategy, especially with all the anti-Ability and/or anti-Item effects you’ll encounter, but it is something.


  • Standard: 3/5
  • Expanded: 2/5

Zygarde isn’t the greatest attacker, but I think the combination of its stats and effects creates a niche for it in Standard, and maybe even in Expanded.

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