Today we are looking
66/113), another reprint of the
Sigilyph first printed as
BW: Dragons Exalted
The card is an interesting
example of card design, and has
definitely had an impact on the Pokémon
The idea behind “Safeguard” Pokémon is
technically older than Pokémon-EX;
instead dating back to
Wobbuffet (EX: Sandstorm
26/100), released over a decade ago in
only the second “post-WotC” set.
Its Safeguard was a Poké-Body,
not an Ability (because Abilities didn’t
exist at the time) and it worked on
Pokémon-ex, the nearly identical
predecessors of Pokémon-EX.
Sigilyph was quite obviously just
Wobbuffet; both were Psychic-Type
Basic Pokémon with Psychic Weakness,
lack of Resistance, Safeguard and one
attack that requires (PCC) and hits for
50 points of base damage.
had only 80 HP, but at a time when only
the then one set old Pokémon-ex could
break the maximum for printed HP scores,
and no Basic Pokémon-ex did that.
This makes the 90 HP of
Sigilyph seem smaller due to HP
scores having inflated since then in
general, and especially for Pokémon-EX.
90 HP does keep
Sigilyph a legal target for
Wobbuffet had a two Energy Retreat
Sigilyph not only has a better
single Energy Retreat Cost, but in
formats where it has access to cards
Skyarrow Bridge (which grants it a
perfect free Retreat Cost).
The attack is where
Sigilyph is blatantly more powerful
Wobbuffet didn’t have
Double Colorless Energy.
There were some other
alternatives that were similar, but
required using a
Wynaut with the Baby Evolution Poké-Power
Wobbuffet as an Evolution because
said cards only worked on Evolutions.
Wobbuffet did a flat 50 points of
damage to the Defending Pokémon (before
other effects) plus placed a damage
counter on itself, while
Sigilyph has no drawback to its
attack; instead the effect clause states
that it does +10 damage (on top of the
base 50) for each Energy attached to the
Defending Pokémon; not a brilliant
attack, but solid as most of the Pokémon
that can hit hard for one Energy and saw
play also have tended to be Pokémon-EX.
So has anything changed lately?
Since the next to last printing
Sigilyph, which was as BW: Plasma
Freeze 118/116, we’ve had a format
rotation, two more sets, and a rules
change, and I believe all benefit
I don’t expect Quad Sigilyph
decks to come back; that trick requires
a lot of luck on top of skill, because
you need decks to leave out alternative
attackers or at least anything “good”
that can attack through Safeguard.
Well, or for your opponent to
regularly Prize such cards.
Most decks now have reason to run
non-Pokémon-EX attackers apart from
bypassing Safeguard; a lot of the “gaps”
in offense have been filled in.
Making good use of
Sigilyph on the other hand has
Pokémon Catcher now requires a coin
toss to work and a lot of players have
cut it for more reliable cards.
You’ll still have to deal with
decks that have attacks or Abilities to
Sigilyph out of the way of
unprotected Bench-sitters, as well as
those simply running
Escape Rope, but this is
significantly easier to deal with.
Attacks that hit the Bench can
also be blocked by
Mr. Mime (BW: Plasma Freeze
47/116), another chink in its armor.
Garbodor (originally released as
BW: Dragons Exalted 54/124) are
still popular last I checked, but now
Pokémon Catcher isn’t as good, decks
also have more room for an extra
Tool Scrapper or three to counter
that metagame counter.
There are also a lot more options for
Hypnotoxic Laser (itself usually
Virbank City Gym) can allow
Sigilyph (like many Pokémon) to hit
a lot harder a lot faster, and there are
even some more obscure combos if you
want to get fancy.
Silver Mirror allows
Sigilyph to wall against Pokémon-EX
and Team Plasma Pokémon, at least
until they get an attacker that bypasses
the protective effects or (against
Silver Mirror) a
I never saw anything major come
of it, but we even have
Latias EX to provide another
hard-to-attack card thanks to its
Ability – Bright Down – that protects
against attacks by Pokémon with
There are even a few more
anti-Pokémon-EX cards plus older
examples already proven successful, like
Bouffalant (BW: Dragons Exalted
The downside for
Sigilyph (though an upside in
general) is that the competitive
metagame is more diverse, including a
lot more varied attackers; besides
Pokémon that are neither Pokémon-EX nor
Team Plasma, the change in rules has
really helped the Evolution decks that
were on the periphery, like various
Empoleon (BW: Dark Explorers
29/108; BW: Plasma Freeze
That specifically is a real
kicker; not only is it something you
can’t really block without getting crazy
elaborate (by which I mean “fragile Soft
Lock with Amnesia or Torment attacks”),
it isn’t even the kind of card
vulnerable to the attack on
Empoleon attacks for a single
Overall though, I think things are
looking up for
I already stated I don’t see Quad
Sigilyph decks coming back, but running
Sigilyph just splashed into other
decks, even as TecH seems to be a
legitimate option again… less so for
true walling than to just force your
opponent to use a less effective
attacker so you can try to swing the
momentum to your favor.
I am also wondering if some
former failures are worth revisiting:
other than losing most games horribly, I
Golurk (BW: Dragons Exalted
59/124; BW: Boundaries Crossed
The main problem I had with it
was that I couldn’t keep a
Golett on my Bench alive long enough
to build, and even if I did, at that
time there were so few Evolutions worth
smacking with a Devolution Punch.
In fact, even if the deck still
doesn’t work (and the relevance is that
it also relied heavily on
Sigilyph) it may be worth running
for “lolz” due to the upcoming Mega
The revealed Mega Pokémon-EX
aren’t that impressive, but I am sure
someone will try to make them work and
if so… bouncing it back to the hand over
and over again would be quite fun.
I don’t expect much of this card in
Unlimited; it does nothing against the
iconic Sabledonk decks, and while I
would expect Pokémon-EX to be favored
because they do resist Sabledonk a
little by simply being so massive that
(with the new rules) it is harder to
spam a damage counter placing non-attack
effect the 17-18 times you need to while
also abusing combos to remove an
opponent’s Benched Pokémon… just seems
like there are too many ways around
Maybe for a deck that already is
engaging in Trainer denial… but even
that isn’t certain as this format still
has cards like
For Limited play on the other
hand, run this.
If you can’t attack with it, it
still might by the time you need against
a Pokémon-EX+39 deck.
If you can afford any
Psychic Energy at all then it just
becomes a decent attacker against
everything else and a huge deal against
Don’t bother with it if you can
run a single big, Basic Pokémon like a
Sigilyph remains a very good card
that is highly metagame dependent.
It has more going for it now
overall than in the past, but at the
same time the diversified format makes
it harder for it to wall.
Probably not something you can
truly build a deck around, but if you
can fit it into your existing strategy
with no other additions required, it is
probably worth a slot.