In between "Pokémon" journeys, Jeremy enjoys working as a pharmaceutical chemist and campus manager.
What Is the Lost Zone in the Pokémon TCG?
Like banished cards in Yu-Gi-Oh or exiled ones in Magic: The Gathering, Pokémon's Lost Zone offers an out-of-play area where cards are nearly impossible to retrieve. Most head to the discard pile when spent or defeated, but some effects and abilities instead warp them to the Lost Zone.
That's generally undesirable, preventing graveyard retrieval, though a few attacks strengthen by stocking your Lost Zone—which effects reign supreme? These are the ten best Lost Zone-utilizing cards in the Pokémon TCG!
10. Lost Remover
Set: Call of Legends
This item card simply removes a special energy attached to an opponent's Pokémon—but instead of discarding it, you send it to the Lost Zone. This prevents foes from recovering the card with supporters or moves, and the loss of a resource stalls enemy attacks.
You can't pick basic energy, but any sort of special card (like Double Colorless Energy) is fair game, and you can even choose benched foes instead of the active Pokémon.
Set: Lost Thunder
Like other GX cards, your opponents take two prize cards instead of one when they beat Blacephalon-GX, so do your best to defend him. However, as basic unit, he doesn't need to evolve and has solid 180 HP plus three low-cost moves.
Bursting Burn doesn't deal damage yet only needs one Fire energy and both burns and confuses the opponent. Mind Blown sends any number of Fire energy from any of your Pokémon to the Lost Zone, dealing 50 damage for each. That can be a powerful finisher, especially with Fire's numerous energy-searching stadiums like "Giant Hearth" and "Heat Factory ♢".
Burst GX discards one of your prize cards and attaches it to one of your Pokémon if it's an energy. With no damage and a negative effect, it's one of the worst GX moves and should only be used as a last resort to strengthen Mind Blown.
Set: Lost Thunder
Skiploom is a stage 1 Pokémon and Jumpluff a stage 2, and their HP scores (a mere 70 on Jumpluff) are pitifully low considering. However, Skiploom's excellent "Floral Path to the Sky" ability exiles itself and any cards it has to play a Jumpluff from your deck.
This ability moves two Pokémon to the Lost Zone, strengthening Jumpluff's one-cost Lost March attack, dealing 20 damage for each of your non-prism Pokémon in the Lost Zone. While risky, this strategy can deal enormous amounts of pain for one energy, and multiple copies of Skiploom work well, gradually strengthening Lost March as they evolve. A free retreat cost and resistance to Fighting also slightly compensate for their pathetic HP.
Of course, you'll also need the basic Hoppip card to evolve into Skiploom; thankfully, Hoppip's attack can find other Hoppip from your deck (and thus prepare more evolution-Lost Zone shenanigans).
7. Thunder Mountain ♢
Set: Lost Thunder
Like other cards with the prism symbol, you can only have one copy of Thunder Mountain in your deck, and it heads to the Lost Zone if discarded. However, it's immune to the effects of item and supporter cards, and it lets Electric Pokémon use attacks for one less Electric energy.
That's an incredible option that accesses moves quicker and spreads energy more evenly throughout your team. And it supports Electric, who have seen some of the best Lost Zone supports yet. Mountain is ranked lower today because of its limited interaction with the Lost Zone, but it's a fantastic stadium nonetheless.
A staple in my own Electric decks, Mountain is also surprisingly cheap, only costing a single dollar!
6. Alolan Marowak-GX
Alolan Marowak's 200 HP is a bit low for a stage 1 GX, he's weak to Water, and has no resistance. However, his excellent Cursed Body ability confuses any opponent who deals him damage while active, forcing them to retreat or otherwise remove their pesky status.
For three energy, Fiery Bone is okay, dealing 90 damage and burning the opponent, but remember you can access it with just two if you use a Double Colorless Energy. But Marowak's highlight is his Lost Boomerang GX attack.
This move deals 50 damage to any two opposing Pokémon. Sure, 100 is pretty weak for a GX move, but the move have two things going for it. One, anyone knocked out from it (and all their attached cards) heads to the Lost Zone instead of discard pile, ruining retrieval chances, and two, it's one of few moves that requires no energy to use!
5. Lost World
Set: Call of Legends
No, this card doesn't relate to Jurassic Park sequels, but it does offer a powerful alternative win condition. World lets a player win if their opponent has six or more Pokemon in the Lost Zone.
Remember this only works with actual Pokémon, not Trainer cards or energy, but it rewards your Lost Zone tactics and makes players think twice before using self-exiling effects. Like all stadiums, Lost World will remove any other stadium when played, so you can prematurely field it to eliminate an opposing threat.
4. Dialga G LV.X
Like other LV.X cards, you play Dialga G on top of a regular Dialga, similar to an evolution card. His Time Crystal Poké-Body negates other Poké-Body abilities (except from Pokémon SP cards), shutting down opposing defenses. Remove Lost requires four energy to deal 80 damage, but it also flips a coin until you get tails, sending an energy on the defending Pokémon to the Lost Zone for each heads.
That can really shut down your foe's attack and retreat options, and remember that LV. X cards retain access to their previous moves and abilities. Definitely one of the era's highlights.
As a stage 2, Magnezone needs to evolve twice, but he's not GX or EX, so opponents only take one prize if they beat him. His impressive Magnetic Draw Poké-Power lets you draw until you have six cards in hand each turn (unless he's affected by a status condition), an amazing hand recovery.
Lost Burn exiles as many energy cards (of any type) from your Pokémon, dealing 50 damage to the defending Pokémon for each. Costly, but a great finisher for your opponent's last combatants, especially for the 2010 era.
Like Magnezone, Gengar needs to evolve twice and only grants one prize card when beaten. He's also got a free retreat and rare resistance to Normal, arguably the best defense in the game (most decks include Normal Pokémon since they accept any energy types).
While active, Gengar's Catastrophe Poké-Body banishes any opposing Pokémon that faints, preventing retrieval and building towards Lost World's win. Hurl into Darkness offers an interesting attack that doesn't deal damage, but lets you look at your opponent's hand and send Pokémon equal to the number of Gengar's Psychic energy from it to the Lost Zone. Cursed Drop spreads four damage counters throughout any number of opposing Pokémon, a weak but variable move.
1. Tapu Koko ♢
Set: Team Up
This Ultra Beast has the prism symbol, only allowing one copy in your deck. So he can't carry the show but provides amazing energy retrieval thanks to his "Dance of the Ancients" ability. While benched, Koko can return an Electric energy from your discard pile to two of your benched Pokémon (possibly including himself). Afterward, you discard any cards on Tapu and send him to the Lost Zone.
Ideally, you'll recycle two energy while prepping your Lost Zone—all without Koko ever needing any energy. Rarely should you make him your active, but his low retreat cost, resistance to Steel, non-GX status, and workable Mach Bolt attack let him hold his own when needed.
Using the Lost Zone in Pokémon
Whether you're trying to win via Lost World or just hoping to permanently eliminate enemy cards, Lost Zone effects are rare but deadly, single-handedly decimating discard pile-focused themes.
The Lost Zone is gradually becoming more prominent in the TCG, and time will tell how future sets utilize it. But for now, as we await Nintendo's next batch of Lost Zone removals, vote for your favorite card, and I'll see you at our next Pokémon countdown!
© 2019 Jeremy Gill