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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Top 10 Dark Explorers Cards:

#10 - Groudon EX

Next Destinies

Date Reviewed: May 7, 2012

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 3.40
Limited: 4.50

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

Combos With: See Below

Baby Mario
2010 UK National

Dark Explorers Countdown

#10 Groudon-EX

Ok, it’s that time again . . . time for the Pojo CotD countdown of the top 10 cards from the new set. Hopefully this will be exciting. It probably helps if you haven’t been reading the spoilers for the last three months.

This top 10 we arrived at for this set really surprised me, and by ‘surprised’ I mean ‘shocked’. It’s a fair bit different from my own list, but that’s why we have a review team: to give a range of opinions on these cards. After all, it’s quite possible that one of us will see potential in a card that the others miss, or that someone will hype a card more than it deserves. It all balances out in the end. Anyhoo, on with today’s review, which features Groudon-EX . . .

Because it’s an EX Pokémon, you know what you’re getting: a massive 180 HP, some pretty good attacks, and the downside of giving up two Prizes when it’s KO’d. With Groudon, though, you get other good stuff as well, thanks to its Typing. Fighting is an excellent Type to be at the moment, as it means that Groudon can hit the very popular Eelektrik-based Lightning decks AND the soon-to-be-popular Dark decks for Weakness. He also comes with a pretty handy Lightning Resistance (about the best you could ask for) and even the Water Weakness isn’t that much of a drawback given that Water Types are virtually non-existent in the current format . . . although Empoleon DEX might have something to say about that. Really, the only thing not to like about Groudon’s stats is the Retreat cost of four . . . but what did you expect? That’s why they made Switch.

Groudon’s first attack, the amusingly-named Tromp, cost [F][C] and does just 20 damage to the Defending Pokémon which isn’t all that impressive by itself, but it also spreads 10 to everything on your opponent’s Bench, which is great, especially when you consider the synergy that it has with Groudon’s other attacking option. Giant Claw adds another Fighting Energy to the cost and does 80 damage plus another 40 if the Defending Pokémon has two or more damage counters on it. This effectively turns it into a no-drawback 120-for-three attack which is well up to the standards you would expect from an EX. The only thing is how to get those two damage counters on there in the first place? Well, Tromp is the obvious answer, but you could also try using Absol Prime as a starter to do 20 damage to anything that the opponent Benches.

So, it takes a bit of work to get the most out of Groudon-EX: it’s not the fastest Pokémon out there and it does suffer from a lack of available Energy acceleration (a Fighting version of Eelektrik would make it near-broken, but there’s always Exp Share I suppose). However the massive HP and great Typing make it an ideal candidate for the kind of tanking strategies that would help it to survive long enough to do its thing.

I think that Groudon-EX is pretty underrated. It’s kind of like Landorus NV (a decent Pokémon itself) on steroids and it has Weakness advantage over what will be the two most popular Types in the format. If you’re planning on taking a Lightning or a Dark deck to Spring Battle Roads and/or Nationals, you better have a strategy for dealing with this monster as he (like Terrakion NV before him) will form the basis of some very effective meta-counter decks.


Modified: 4 (a huge tank with great Typing and, once it gets going, very powerful attacks)

Limited: 4.5 (almost ridiculously good. Tromp away while your opponent tries and fails to do enough damage to KO it)


Welcome back, Pojo readers! Over the next two weeks, we're going to be reviewing what we believe are the Top 10 cards from the new Dark Explorers expansion. Prereleases for the set were over the past two weekends, so hopefully you were able to get some of these cards yourselves! Anyway, we're going to kick things off by reviewing card #10 in our Top 10 list, Groudon-EX.

Groudon-EX is a Basic Fighting Pokemon-EX. As a Fighting Pokemon, it will see competition with Terrakion as a major counter to Zekrom and other Lightning-types; as an EX, your opponent will take two Prize cards when it is Knocked Out, so be sure to make the most of Groudon while it's out. 180 HP is massive and what we've come to expect from a Pokemon-EX, so Groudon should easily be able to take a strong hit or two before going down. Water Weakness isn't as much of a problem now as it has been in the past, as Water is rarely seen outside of the occasional Kyurem or Kyurem-EX. Lightning Resistance is once again fantastic against the aforementioned Zekrom, as well as Zapdos and Zebstrika, two other Lightning-types that show up in the metagame from time to time. Finally, a Retreat Cost of 4 is absolutely massive, so be sure to use Switch to move Groudon from the Active spot.

Groudon-EX has two attacks. Tromp is Groudon's weaker attack, dealing 20 damage to the Defending Pokemon and 10 damage to each of your opponent's Bench for a Fighting and a Colorless. While the initial 20 damage isn't all that impressive, spreading damage around can work in your favor, as healing is rarely seen nowadays and spread damage can help eke out a few KOs. Even still, given other Pokemon-EX like Mewtwo, this attack is a tad bit underpowered. Giant Claw, the second attack, does 80 damage for two Fighting and a Colorless, but also does 40 more damage if the Defending Pokemon has two or more damage counters on it, resulting in 120 damage for three Energy. 80 damage for three Energy is slightly worse than Terrakion's Land Crush for the cost, but quickly becomes more usable if the Defending Pokemon already has some damage on it. Overall, Groudon will probably see some play as a Lightning counter, but is largely too reliant on Fighting Energy to make a big metagame splash, although the card potentially has the tools to make an impact.

Modified: 3/5 Groudon-EX is a good Pokemon, but probably not Tier 1. 180 HP and favorable Weakness definitely help its case, as well as a very nice Lightning Resistance. Both attacks have utility, but are slightly underpowered for what we've come to expect from heavy hitting Pokemon-EX, although its favorable typing and anti-metagame potential means Groudon will see play, even if it isn't quite as good as it should be. That being said, Groudon is still quite a nice Pokemon, and will probably compete with Terrakion for the anti-Lightning tech slot in many decks.

Limited: 5/5 It's a Pokemon-EX, so chances are it's going to do amazingly in Limited. Tromp is a great attack for the cost, and easily racks up damage, where Giant Claw can be used to come in for the KO. Also on Groudon's side is that most of the Water Pokemon in Dark Explorers are very weak (except Empoleon), so Weakness probably won't be a major factor.



Welcome to another exciting two weeks where we will cover the top 10 promising picks from the newest expansion, Dark Explorers! While some might think I missed the last several weeks of reviews purely because they weren’t “exciting and new”, I simply have been struggling to make time for writing. To help with this, have decided to stop linking to scans of cards; if you’re serious about the Pokémon TCG you should already be able to find what you need on the official Pokémon website for anything Nintendo has released, either in scan or text spoiler form. Older card scans and text spoilers can be found on multiple sites; I recommend using what works for you. I tend to favor the Pokegym Researching Tower and www.pokepedia.net. I mostly started linking just to silence a few critics of me underlining set names (who apparently weren’t taught to underline titles for things like books, movies, and TCG set expansions).

Now getting back to the Card of the Day itself, just like the previous predictions list, we begin with a Pokémon EX, Groudon EX!

Let’s rock!


As a Pokémon EX, Groudon EX has the usual text that allows your opponent to take an extra Prize when Groudon EX is KOed, and will need to be significantly more powerful than your average (and as of late, already potent) “Legendary” Basic Pokémon. Just a quick reminder for those who might be half asleep while reading this, I am merely speaking of the video game designation for the (usually) once-per-game (or less) event Pokémon, not a category of card like Pokémon LEGEND. As a Basic Pokémon (with no “specialty” combos built in) you can run it with the optimal 1:1 ratio of slots to actual Pokémon, drop it into play easier than any other Stage, and access a surprising amount of “Basic Pokémon” support like Dual Ball, Eviolite, Pokémon Collector, Prism Energy, and Skyarrow Bridge. This is all quite, quite obvious unless you’re completely new to the game, but when evaluating a Pokémon EX (like their predecessors, the almost identically named Pokémon ex) ignoring the fundamental nature of the card will lead to over- or underrating it.

Groudon EX is a Fighting-Type, which is most desirable in the current format. Players seem to finally be working out solid Fighting-Type (or at least partially Fighting-Type) decks and even if they weren’t a few Fighting-Type Pokémon are used in whatever can fit them, all because the dominance of Fighting Weak decks is expected to remain. Scoring double damage against most Lightning- and Darkness-Type decks in a format of big HP scores is likewise a “big deal”. Speaking of big, Groudon EX possesses 180 HP. This is only 20 below the maximum printed on a legally playable Pokémon card, and is the maximum seen on anything in the current format; even for Pokémon EX it doesn’t get any better. This will allow Groudon EX to survive all but the biggest, most resource intensive blows and it stands a decent chance of even surviving two solid hits. The exceptions are its Weakness and Resistance.

Water Weakness been pretty painless most of this format; we constantly have the promise of a “good” Water deck and it constantly fails to deliver. This is understandable given Lightning-Types are so dominant, allowing the best deck to score double damage against many Water-Type Pokémon. There are a few Water Pokémon that can be worked into off-type decks, and a few Water decks that do see some competitive play, though the former have dwindled due to a lack of Water Weakness in the top performing decks and the latter are better at spread damage.

When I first glanced at Groudon EX I mistook it for having Grass Weakness. This was embarrassing for me, but oddly doesn’t affect the overall performance of Groudon EX. There are some very potent Grass-Type Pokémon, but they tend to be used for non-attack effects and thus aren’t going to be much good for damage anyway. The one or two exceptions are just potent enough (and fit into strong enough decks) that it really is a toss up whether Water or Grass Weakness is more dangerous. Of course both types currently have unproven decks waiting in the wings; so even after correcting this, I may be proven horribly wrong by Battle Roads!

I am quite pleased there is a Resistance to balance out Weakness, and in this case Resistance easily outweighs the Weakness. Lightning Resistance is quite a blessing in the current format, and while there is a good chance they won’t be quite as dominant in terms of overall decks played, they will remain a strong presence for the foreseeable future. This means that your average Lightning-Type deck will need to switch to an off-Type hitter or find Groudon EX a challenging 2HKO scoring double damage via the Lightning-Type deck’s probable Fighting Weakness.

Finishing off the Stats we come to the Retreat Cost of Groudon EX. This is the only “bad” Stat on the card; it takes a massive four Energy for Groudon EX to manually retreat. Four Energy is a devastating price to pay, and anything that doesn’t zero out the actual Retreat Cost isn’t going to make a huge difference. Best to pack a retreat alternative like Switch or else resign oneself to Groudon EX remaining Active until it is KOed. There is a small bit of recompense: Heavy Ball can easily pluck a Groudon EX from your deck, saving your Supporter for something else.


Like almost all Pokémon EX, Groudon EX has two attacks. The first is Tromp, requiring (FC) and inflicting 20 points of damage to the Defending Pokémon and 10 to each of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon. Giant Claw, the second attack, requires (FFC) and deals base damage of 80; however if the Defending Pokémon has at least two damage counters on it the attack’s effect adds an extra 40 points of damage. Adding things up means hitting an injured Pokémon for 120 points of damage, with the Defending Pokémon ending the turn with 14 damage counters on it (barring protective effects, Weakness, Resistance, etc.).

These attacks have a solid level of synergy to them, but at the same time it is clear the designers weren’t pushing for what we’ve seen in so many Pokémon EX and “plain” Basic Pokémon of the “Legendary” variety. There are few combos to accelerate Energy to Groudon EX (and I’ll cover those more in usage), so you’re looking at a minimum of three (assuming available Energy and no outside interference) before Giant Claw can be used, and a fourth turn if you are relying purely on Tromp to build the damage needed for the attack’s effect clause to trigger. Tromp has a solid and Giant Claw a good yield based on Energy alone, before factoring in that this is a Pokémon EX and how the actual format has shaped up: 80 for (FFC) is literally on par with Landorus, who is not a Pokémon EX.

As a reviewer, it puts me in an awkward bind: I think Groudon EX is well designed, but if it was built to be as obscenely powerful as many other recent Legendary Pokémon it would be even more fearsome. It would need to be a little faster, either doing more damage or being compatible with more forms of Energy acceleration.


So how does one use what Groudon EX has to optimum effect? Fighting-Type Energy lacks the acceleration you see for… well with this latest set, all other Energy Types. Pokémon that use Fighting Energy have to use the “generic” options available to any Pokémon. Still, they may indeed be enough. The easiest (and yet most expensive in terms of game resources) comes from Electrode (HS: Triumphant 93/102) “Prime”; just use the card’s Energymite Poké-Power and hope you’re discarding mostly the desired Energy from your deck. The downside is as huge as the benefits: it discards the top seven cards of your deck, costs you a Prize, and without extensive combos requires an Energy rich build to be even somewhat reliable.

A little more controlled comes from using Landorus (BW: Noble Victories 74/101), which I cited earlier for having comparable damage yields on a non-Pokémon EX. Its first attack that costs just (F) allows it to attach Energy to itself from the discard pile, and it is big enough to likely survive that turn. Skyarrow Bridge would grant Landorus a free Retreat Cost and Shaymin (HS: Unleashed 8/95) could then shunt that Energy to Groudon EX. This alone wouldn’t be good enough; Landorus isn’t big enough to survive more than one turn (and even that turn isn’t assured) to harvest discarded Energy cards. A three card combo (not including something to discard Energy first turn and the Energy cards themselves) for just two extra Energy isn’t worth it, but fortunately Landorus combos in another way: Gaia Hammer (its second attack) for (FFC) hits for 80 plus 10 points of damage to each player’s Benched Pokémon. Just opening with it can set-up for Giant Claw, and the Eviolite you’re going to want to attach to Groudon EX anyway will protect it from the Bench damage.

Absol (HS: Triumphant 91/102) “Prime”; its Eye of Disaster Poké-Body places two damage counters on any Basic Pokémon your opponent plays to the Bench from hand. A Skyarrow Bridge would grant Absol Prime a free retreat cost to get out of the way (if your opponent doesn’t try to OHKO it), and either of the above ideas should enjoy a little extra damage spread.

You can also simply add it to a deck that already has some Energy acceleration that works off-Type, and accept that you’ll have to settle for Tromp the first turn you bust out Groudon EX, while also trying to make room for Fighting Energy, Prism Energy, or Rainbow Energy in a deck that normally would be focusing on whatever is the accelerated Energy Type. If you are doing this, you probably are playing Groudon EX just to counter Lightning Weakness (in addition to exploiting hitting Fighting Weakness), and to be fair that why you’d be running Groudon EX in the first place. Without exploiting Weakness its attacks would struggle to allow it to take two Prizes before it is KOed.

So what about other formats? You can certainly build an Unlimited deck around Groudon EX, but it won’t be anything special; functional, but not extraordinary. If you’re lucky, you might frustrate a first turn win deck, since the combination of damage counter placement and attack that most such decks use will not like having to deal with 180 HP. More traditional donk decks won’t like it either, but if someone else is playing a semi-competitive deck (namely anything that was competitive prior to the rules changes that enabled the first turn win decks) you’re at best on even footing. You’ll need some form of Energy acceleration and probably Trainer denial, and extra damage spread would be nice… and all have multiple options in this format. I am more impressed with its raw girth and Energy spread; if your Trainers aren’t being blocked it should be easy to spam Tromp and periodically heal all damage via Max Potion or Pokémon Nurse, then re-attach the needed Energy.

In Limited play I’d call Groudon EX a near must-play; unless you just cannot afford to run Fighting Energy in your Limited deck (and you would probably want a minimum of four even if they are all just for Groudon EX) it is going to be a powerhouse like all Pokémon EX are in this format. Just remember that the two Prizes your opponent snags will be half the starting total, but that will probably be worth it for the spread damage (much more effective here) and OHKOs Giant Claw will score even without the effect clause.


Unlimited: 3/5

Modified: 3.25/5

Limited: 4/5


Groudon EX is a solidly designed card that feels like a slight reverse of power creep. For Modified play it is going to have to rely on exploiting its excellent HP and Resistance while hitting the very common Fighting Weakness for double damage. Without being a Fighting Type or Lightning Resistant, it just couldn’t do enough to justify play in a competitive build, and even with that it isn’t an easy or obvious choice. It fills a very specific niche, resulting in a score that is just a little above average. A deck not built for Groudon EX is better off not using it, but one built with it in mind should get a good return.

I will comment that the artwork is excellent on the “normal” version of this card, while the Full Art version is just sort of “there”. I’ll also mention that while Groudon EX caught my eye, it didn’t make my own personal Top 10 list.

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