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Pojo's Pokemon Card of the Day


Steelix (Prime)

HS Unleashed

Date Reviewed: 04.20.10

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 3.50
Limited: 4.30

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 being the worst. 
3 ... average.  
5 is the highest rating.

Back to the main COTD Page

Baby Mario
Top 4 UK Nats

Steelix (Prime) Unleashed


For our second Prime preview this week, we get to take a look at the forthcoming Steelix. In past reviews, I have droned on endlessly about how 99% of all non-tech Stage 1s are rubbish because they have low HP and don’t hit hard enough (Gyarados and Donphan Prime excepted). Steelix Prime doesn’t have either of those problems, but will that make it a tournament-worthy card?


The first thing you notice about Steelix is the monster HP. 140 HP on a Stage 1? A METAL Stage 1 that can use Special Metal to reduce damage? Seriously? Ok . . . I guess power creep is alive and well in Pokémon. The second thing is probably that horrendous Retreat Cost of four. Any more and they wouldn’t have room to give it a Resistance. Luckily, they did . . . it’s Psychic Resistance, which is pretty good. Even the double Weakness to Fire is not too bad at the moment, though that may change in future.


Steelix is given even more protection (like it needed it) in the shape of its Perfect Metal PokeBody. This makes it immune to all Special Conditions, so you can’t even try to whittle down that huge HP with Poison or Burn.


So, it’s very hard to take down, but that wouldn’t be much use if Steelix couldn’t attack effectively. Steelix’s first attack, Energy Stream costs a reasonable [C][C] (or one Double Colourless Energy!) and does 30 damage. So far, so meh, but it does have the extremely useful effect of allowing you to fetch an Energy card from your Discard and attaching it to Steelix. Note that there is no restriction on the type of Energy card, so you can use it with Special Metal Energy. Getting the Energy into the Discard in the first place shouldn’t be a problem thanks to cards like Felicity’s Drawing and Volkner’s Philosophy. You could even use Blissey PL to combine healing and discarding to make Steelix even harder to knock out.


This Energy accelerating attack isn’t just for show. Steelix really needs it if it is going to do some worthwhile damage. It’s second attack, Gaia Crush does 100 damage, but for the huge cost of [M][M][C][C][C]. While Energy Stream and Double Colourless will help pay for this, it’s still not the fastest way to get KO’s in the TCG, and that is Steelix’s weak point. The card designers have obviously tried to strike a balance here by creating a slow but powerful attacker that might just be able to survive long enough to do some serious damage.


Steelix is basically an immense tank that can take a lot of hits from any non-Fire Pokémon while (eventually) dishing out some big hits of it own. It does have severe speed issues, but if these can be overcome, and if Fire stays relatively unplayed, then this card does have some potential.




Modified: 3.25 (could work, but has some issues to sort out)

Limited: 4.5  (near-impossible to KO, and will just sweep when set up) 

virusyosh Hello again, Pojo viewers! Today we are continuing our reviews with another preview card from the HS Unleashed set. Today's Card of the Day is Steelix Prime.

Steelix Prime is a Stage 1 Metal Pokemon. Aside from Dialga G and a few other random exceptions, Metal-types rarely see any play in our current metagame. 140 HP on a Stage 1 is fantastic, and you would expect to see high survivability in a metal monster like Steelix. Double Weakness to Fire is bad, but not as bad as one might think: Fire play has dropped considerably, with only the occasional Charizard AR deck or Blaziken FB/Infernape 4 tech. Psychic Resistance is nice, as there are quite a few good Psychic cards in the format that require watching out for. A Retreat Cost of 4 is absolutely terrible, so be sure to use Switch or Warp Point if you want to switch out the iron snake.

Steelix has a Poke-Body and two attacks. The Body, Perfect Metal, has the very simple but useful effect that Steelix can't be affected by any Special Conditions. While being immune to status is generally a really good thing, there aren't really that many decks that rely on status, aside from the random Gliscor variants and the occasional Mightyena/Skuntank G combo. Even still, the Body is very nice to have, even if it's no reason to play the card on its own.

Now I'll go ahread and review attacks. The first attack, Energy Stream, deals a mediocre 30 damage for [CC] and allows you to attach an Energy card from your discard pile to Steelix. As the card is written, this means that non- basic Energy cards like Special Metal or Double Colorless can be obtained from this attack as well as Basic Energy. This means that you can power up Steelix twice as fast for from Energy Stream and your normal Energy drop, though the damage is a little pathetic for a Prime and you can only get Energy once it's in the discard pile.

The second attack, Gaia Crush, deals a very nice 100 damage for the unreasonable price of [MMCCC]. While destroying your opponent's Stadium cards is nice, paying five Energy to do so is ridiculous. A direct example of something doing this better is Flygon, which takes out an opponent's Stadium card and gets a very nice protection effect the turn after for two Energy. In the case of Flygon, it may not do a lot of damage, but it's definitely faster than Steelix.

Modified: 2.5/5 I can't help feeling that Steelix is incredibly average. While being immune to Special Conditions is a good ability to have, there simply aren't enough Special Conditions around in the format right now to justify heavy play. Additionally, the attacks are generally overcosted for what they do. While Crobat Prime is coming out soon and bringing a new possibility of a Special Condition deck with it, there are still probably better options.

Limited: 3.75/5 Steelix has a ton of HP and is only a Stage 1, but it's painfully slow to power up. Even still, being immune to Special Conditions in this format is great, and mostly Colorless Energy requirements are also very helpful, and the first attack helps power up Steelix even more. Just watch out for Fire types, even though there aren't actually very many in the Unleashed set.

Willy G

Hello Pokemon fans! Today, we will be looking at our second card from Unleashed: Steelix Prime. This metal monster has an HP of 140, which is INCREDIBLE, the highest of any Stage 1 other than Wailord. It will be in the active spot for a couple turns unassisted, but if you play it right, it will guide you through most of the game. Double Fire weakness is good, seeing as Blaziken FB is rapidly fading and Charizard AR can't make much use of this advantage. Resistance to Psychic is awesome, as is any resistance. A retreat cost of 4... ouch. Luckily, this beast shouldn't have much reason to need to retreat.
Steelix Prime's Poke-Body keeps it free from Special Conditions. This is a good Body, but the truth is that Special Conditions have greatly decreased in usefulness. Still, it certainly can't hurt.
Steelix Prime's first attack does CC for 30 and attaches an Energy card from the discard pile to Steelix. Double Colorless Energy is very good at providing for this attack or being picked up from the discard pile. The attack itself is underpowered, but provides a good method of Energy acceleration with the right combo.
Steelix Prime's final attack does 100 for MMCCC, and you can discard any Stadium in play. Alone, this attack is actually pretty overpriced, and the effect is of questionable usefulness. With the right techs, however, this attack can be a quick volley of OHKO or 2HKO attacks, the key being how fast you can get Steelix Prime set up with his partners.
Combos: There are many options for Steelix Prime that make it even more powerful than meets the eye. Supporter cards like Volkner's Philosophy and Felicity's Drawing will you draw power and a means of discarding Energies that can be attached to Steelix Prime with Energy Stream. Bronzong MT also provides these same benefits. Magnezone SF can help attach M Energies from the discard, but it puts a damage counter on Steelix Prime, which can be easily removed with Lopunny AR, which also discards an Energy. M Energies can also be attached from the discard with Conductive Quarry, making for a fast-paced draw engine and energy accelerator, providing for an early-game Gaia Crush. If you play Conductive Quarry, might as well run Skuntank G to poison the Defender, since it will do nothing to Steelix Prime. Also, if the opponent is somehow using Conductive Quarry to their advantage more than you are, Gaia Crush will eliminate that as you please.
Modified: I like this card very much and i have no doubt that it will see some play. It has the potential to be an early-game brute, essentially unstoppable for quite a while if you set it up right. But that is Steelix Prime's downside: setting it up quickly and powerfully is a very difficult challenge. However, if you hurdle that obstacle early on, the game is essentially yours.
Rating: 4.2/5
Limited: A tank of a Stage 1 with Energy acceleration in a format with few Fire-types and a tendency to have Energy-loaded decks? This is a recipe for success, and if you can hit for 100 damage every turn, you are likely on your way to victory.
Rating: 4.5/5


Too long a review?  Skip to the Ratings and Summary section for a concise overview of the card.

Name: Steelix
HeartGold & SoulSilver - Unleashed
Rare Prime
Type: Metal
1 (Evolves from Onix)
Hit Points:
Fire x2
Psychic -20
Perfect Metal
Steelix can’t be affected by any Special Conditions.

(CC) Energy Stream [30]
Search your discard pile for an Energy card and attach it to Steelix.

Attack#2: (MMCCC) Gaia Crush [100]

You may discard any Stadium card in play.

Wow.  I confess I’ve been predisposed to liking Steelix since my failed “Gojira” decks of the e-card/early Nintendo days of the TCG.  First, a reminder that Pokémon Prime are a rarity, and not a named group (or both): due to their “new” rarity status it just makes it easier to call them a “Prime” than constantly drop a set and number reference.  Plus as a Transformer fan, I find it cool. ;) 

Attributes: All right, to the card: we have a Stage 1 Pokémon which should technically be advantageous as it shouldn’t be as restricted as a Basic (easier to balance potent effects) but should be faster and easier to run than a Stage 2 line.  Perhaps due to past powerhouses (Jungle Wigglytuff with Do the Wave and Neo Genesis Slowking with Mind Games spring to mind) a lot of Stage 1 Pokémon seem pretty subdued, with the most potent effects restricted to the Stage 2 Pokémon… that are often too easy to play thanks to “cheats” like Rare Candy.  So in practical terms… being a Stage 1 means Rare Candy is only useful for a slight speed boost instead of skipping a Stage, and not nearly as useful as it should be.  Hopefully the new Onix will have some nifty tricks but if it ends up being a let down, the two existing Modified legal ones are serviceable with solid stats. 

As a Metal Type Pokémon, Steelix enjoys the benefit of utilizing the Special Energy card Metal Energy to soak damage but there aren’t a lot of strong, popular decks that are Metal Weak and there are a few good, strong decks that will enjoy Metal Resistance on their main attacker(s).  Still, soaking damage can be very potent and it will probably be of more use to Steelix than being the only other appropriate TCG Type (Fighting as it is a Steel/Ground Type in the video games).  The 140 HP should be quite handy – few Pokémon top that and it is especially good on a Stage 1.  Outside of attacks from Fire Pokémon, Steelix should survive at least one big hit.  Fire Weakness will allow Fire decks to shred it, but of the potential, appropriate Weakness options Fire probably is the safest.  This Pokémon actually has a Resistance!  -20 damage from Psychic Pokémon isn’t a huge dent, but it’s something and when stacked on top of high HP and the effects of Metal Energy Special Energy cards could allow this Pokémon to last a long time.  Finishing off the attributes, the four Energy needed to retreat are a pain but again, appropriate to the card.  Make sure you pack something to get an under prepared Steelix out of the Active slot. 

Abilities: Steelix possesses a Poké-Body and two attacks.  The Poké-Body, Perfect Metal, prevents Steelix from being affected by Special Conditions.  It’s hardly brilliant, but to be fair the unique position of a “tank” Pokémon like Steelix does make Special Conditions a bigger threat than normal.   Of more use is the first attack, Energy Stream.  It can be paid for with a single Double Colorless Energy and it lets you attach an Energy card from your discard pile to Steelix while harassing the opponent with 30 damage.  With the current card pool that won’t let you use Gaia Crush on your second turn but could allow you to get it off by your third, and of course allows you to reclaim “lost” Double Colorless Energy and Metal Energy from a previously knocked out Steelix. 

Gaia Crush is a big, big attack with an even bigger Energy cost.  If I had a choice between another 20 points of damage and getting rid of the Stadium, I’d probably have taken the damage to all but ensure you are OHKOing most Pokémon (or two-hit KOing the biggest ones with an Energy Stream opening).  Still, you’re getting a good return on investment and the option of taking out a Stadium card in play is quite useful.  It’s just the biggest Pokémon you face will require a little “help” for Steelix to reliably take out in two hits, and one hit just isn’t likely. 

Uses and Combinations: To me, this card screams to “tank out”.  You can use a few Felicity’s Drawing to do the normally stupid act of pitching Special Energy Metal Energy cards and suck them back up with Energy Stream.  Expert Belt is tempting since hey, you’re going to want to actually run healing cards with Steelix: with its ability to dish out damage and absorb a little as well, you should be able to more than break even with two Prizes.  Looking at the Pokémon I saw, I don’t know if it’d be worth running the ones with healing capacity or not just because the best ones will require so much room in the deck as to slow it down… or trash your Energy set up.  You might consider something that almost seems obscene: relying on the flip-based or costly healing Trainer cards we have.  You’ll basically be expending two cards to do the work of one either way: tossing two copies of Poké Healer + on a Steelix armed with an Expert Belt and a few Metal Energy is almost tear inducing.  Moomoo Milk and Life Herb in abundance will burn a lot of cards and aren’t guaranteed to work, but the games when they at least average out will be frustrating for the opponent to say the least.  

Or maybe there is something better in the set to partner with?  It’s so early; I am really taking a stab in the dark here. 


Modified: 3.5/5 – While not slow, it isn’t fast either, but it has a strong potential for longevity. 

Limited: 4.5/5 – Unless Onix is worthless this set (or absent entirely) or Fire Pokémon may compose a significant part, I don’t know.  If none of these hold true, then this is pretty much a must run card: a few basic Metal Energy cards can be tossed into the deck and fished back out from the discard if Steelix shows up later in the game.  Slow and steady is amazing here. 


Steelix follows the standard mold of being big, hard to KO, and a strong attacker.  The Energy acceleration is a nice touch but ironically my long love of these cards and their style of play end up working against it in scoring: I always fall in love and I am almost always disappointed.  I think we have yet another “not-quite” deck that will be run and will win games but not tournaments: it doesn’t hit hard enough, fast enough. 

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