This month, the Pokémon Trading Card Game received a new large expansion in the form of Pokémon TCG: Sword & Shield - Lost Origin. The set packs a massive 247 unique cards, which is a hefty number by any measure. There are six new Pokémon VSTAR to collect, three new Radiant Pokémon, and a number of alt-art and secret rare cards. It’s a lot to be sure, but we’ve got the lowdown on the best Lost Origin cards in the set.
Best Pokémon Lost Origin cards
- Colress’s Experiment
- Mirage Gate
- Lost Vacuum
- Hisuian Goodra VSTAR
- Kyurem VMAX
- Hisuian Zoroark VSTAR
- Giratina VSTAR
One of the core features of Lost Origin is the return of the Lost Zone mechanism. The Lost Zone is a separate pile of discarded cards that cannot be accessed by players. While cards often come and go from the standard discard pile, the Lost Zone is a one-way trip. Lost Origin introduces a number of Pokémon and Trainer cards that play around the Lost Zone - and many of them made this list.
When played around correctly, the Lost Zone can be a powerful tool. It fuels some of the strongest Pokémon in the Lost Origin (including a handful of basic, single-prize Pokémon) and, as such, many of the best cards in the new expansion are centered on this mechanism.
1. Colress’s Experiment
Fill up the Lost Zone with ease
One of the selling points for Lost Origin is the return of the Lost Zone, a special discard pile that is completely inaccessible by players. A handful of new Lost Origin cards play around this mechanic, like Sableye or Giratina VSTAR, which both require 10 cards in the Lost Zone in order to use their most powerful attacks.
Lost Origin features a handful of ways to pack the Lost Zone. One of the most reliable is Colress’s Experiment, which allows you to look at the top five cards of your deck, keep three and put the remaining two into the Lost Zone. Not only is this a good way to stack your Lost Zone, it can also gain you card advantage. As such, Corless’s Experiment is bound to become one of the staple cards from the new expansion.
2. Mirage Gate
Spread yourself across multiple energy types without worry
While you’re filling up your Lost Zone with Colress’s Experiment and Comfey, you may as well take advantage with Mirage Gate. This useful card allows for some energy acceleration once your Lost Zone has reached seven cards. The only catch is that the two energy cards you pick out need to be of two different types, but in the Standard format with a number of dual-type decks that should hardly be an issue.
3. Lost Vacuum
Some new Lost Zone-fueled disruption
In addition to drawing cards and searching for energy, the Lost Zone can enable some strong disruption. Lost Vacuum allows you to discard a Tool or Stadium in play, which can stall your opponent for at least a turn depending on their deck’s dependence on such cards. Right now, Choice Belt is a staple of Standard play in Pokémon’s competitive scene, and Path to the Peak remains one of the more prominent Stadiums in the format, so Lost Vacuum has no shortage of targets.
The beating heart of the Lost Zone engine
It’s not just Item cards like Corless’s Experiment and Lost Vacuum that can fill up the Lost Zone; Pokémon can get in on the action as well. Upon Lost Origin’s launch, Comfey almost instantly became a guaranteed inclusion in Lost Zone-focused decks. Its Flower Selecting ability allows you to draw two cards and place one into the Lost Zone.
What’s great about Flower Selecting is that it’s an ability, not an attack, so it won’t end your turn. Attach an Air Balloon to Comfey, use Flower Selecting, then retreat and pull another Comfey off your bench to repeat. In this way, a full playset of four Comfeys can very quickly activate a Giratina, Cramorant, Sableye or any other attackers that require a full Lost Zone.
A new gold standard for single-prize attackers
The first Pokémon attacker on this list that takes full advantage of the Lost Zone, Cramorant has already had a surprising impact on Pokémon TCG’s Standard format. Its attack, Spit Innocently, does 110 damage for three energy. However, you can completely ignore this energy cost if you have four or more cards in the Lost Zone, which you can easily do by turn two with a bench full of Comfeys and a timely Colress’s Experiment. A 110-damage attack for absolutely zero energy? Game-changing.
Distribute damage with impunity
Another single-prize Pokémon that thrives with a full Lost Zone is Sableye. Its Lost Mine attack only activates when you have 10 or more cards in your Lost Zone, but the payoff is well worth it. For a single Psychic energy, you can distribute 12 damage counters across your opponent’s Pokémon in any way you like. That’s 120 damage for one energy, which is already a great ratio, but being able to spread it across several Pokémon is the icing on the cake. You can set up a next-turn knockout on a Pokémon VSTAR, or take down annoying low-HP Pokémon like Sobble or Comfey. With flexibility like this, expect Sableye to make an appearance in the majority of Lost Zone decks.
7. Hisuian Goodra VSTAR
The impenetrable wall of goo
If you’re looking for an absolute tank of a Pokémon, look no further than Hisuian Goodra VSTAR. It’s 270 HP pool is in the middle of the pack in terms of VSTAR HP numbers, but its Rolling Iron attack is what makes it a nearly impenetrable wall. At the cost of three energy, Rolling Iron can dish out 200 damage and take 80 less damage on your opponent’s next turn.
Drop a few HP-buffing Tools like Cape of Toughness or Big Charm onto it and there’s nothing in the game that can take it out in one hit - a resilience that’s emphasised by the fact Goodra has no weaknesses.
Because Rolling Iron costs three different energy types, Goodra pairs exceptionally well with Mirage Gate. Let’s not ignore Goodra’s VSTAR Power, either; Moisture Star is a one-time full heal, making a tanky Pokémon even tankier.
8. Kyurem VMAX
[Palpatine voice] Unlimited power!
Kyurem VMAX has been likened to an upgraded version of Ice Rider Calyrex VMAX from Chilling Reign. Unlike Calyrex, though, Kyurem has no ceiling to how many energy cards it can discard to fuel its attack.
Max Frost does 120 base damage for three Water energy, plus 50 more damage for every energy you discard from Kyurem. So, stack it full of energy cards with Melony, Capacious Bucket, Training Court and Radiant Greninja, and guarantee a knockout.
Many Kyurem decks have paired it with Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR from Astral Radiance; its Star Portal VSTAR Power is a surefire way to get a lot of Water energy attached in one go.
9. Hisuian Zoroark VSTAR
Damage = damage
Yet another powerful VSTAR Pokémon from Lost Origin, Hisuian Zoroark gets stronger as your field of Pokémon takes damage. Its Ticking Curse attack does 50 damage for each of your Pokémon that have damage counters on them. The potential maximum damage the attack can dish out is 300 if all six of your in-play Pokémon are damaged.
It’s not always a guarantee that your benched Pokémon will be targeted, but Lost Origin features some handy cards that can solve that problem. Gengar, for example, comes into play with three damage counters if you can bench it from your discard pile. There’s also the Damage Pump Trainer card, which allows you to move up to two damage counters around your field however you want. Together, Gengar and Damage Pump make a great support suite for Zoroark.
10. Giratina VSTAR
The Lost Zone personified
Giratina is the flagship Pokémon for the latest release, so it’s not necessarily surprising to see it top the list of Lost Origin’s best cards. Its regular attack, Lost Impact, does a massive 280 damage, putting it in range of one-hit KOs for many VSTAR Pokémon. The tradeoff is that you have to put two energy cards attached to your Pokémon into the Lost Zone. The text doesn’t specify that these need to come off of Giratina, though.
By now, you should know that losing cards to the Lost Zone is largely a good thing, especially when it comes to Giratina. Its VSTAR Power, Star Requiem, requires 10 cards in the Lost Zone, and straight up knocks out your opponent’s Pokémon. No damage done, no weaknesses considered. Just one knocked-out Pokémon. No VMAX or VSTAR is safe, including Hisuian Goodra VSTAR (see above). Truly, Giratina VSTAR is a Zone to be reckoned with.