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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Phantom Forces Top 10

#2 - Bronzong

Date Reviewed:
Nov. 13, 2014

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3.92
Expanded: 3.92
Limited: 3.42

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
2010 UK National

#2 Bronzong 

Every single person who has looked at this card has gone ‘oh look, it’s Eelektrik for Metal Types’. Now I’ve done it too. Yes, one of the most successful and widely played Abilities of the Black and White era has returned, but instead of Dynamotor attaching Lightning Energy from the discard, we now have Metal Links doing the job for Metal Energy. 

Will it be as good this time around? Probably not. There are a few good-but-not-great Metal Pokémon to play with Bronzong (Cobalion EX, Dialga EX, Aegislash EX, Cobalion LTR), and it can be used with Mewtwo of course, but there’s nothing quite as effective as Zekrom was back in the pre-EX days, or as devastating as Rayquaza EX in more recent times. We’ve also lost a few of the cards that made the old Eelektrik decks work so well (Level Ball, Skyarrow Bridge). Like Eelektrik, Bronzong has low HP and an attack which you would never want to use. It does have one more retreat cost which is a big headache if it ever get switched active by Lysandre (other Catcher effects are available). Better be playing some combination of Switch/Float Stone/Keldeo EX if you are going to use this card. 

Bronzong makes a deck featuring Dialga EX and friends a viable proposition (though Pyroar destroys it), but I don’t think it elevates them in the way that Eelektrik did to make Rayquaza EX a top tier terror. Setting up multiples isn’t as easy as you would like, and our old friend Garbodor is an ever-present threat. Of course there are ways to deal with that, but how do you fit them in? Bronzong is very space-hungry and the deck is difficult to build and full of compromises as a result. You’ll see this card around, but never in the same quantities that you did his Lightning-Type cousin. The format has moved on since then. 


Modified: 3.5 (makes Metal a thing, but can be clunky and hard to use)

Expanded: 2.25 (Eelektrik has nicer friends)

Limited: 2 (not very practical, and you need the right pulls to use it at all) 


(#2 Bronzong)


Hey guys, welcome to the last couple of cards in our Top 10 List of the new Phantom Force set! If anyone thought we weren't going to get around to this guy, well you'd probably be kidding yourself - it's Eelektrik for Metal decks, Bronzong!


Clearly not used for his vanilla Hammer In, which only does 3-for-60, Bronzong is so high on our list cause of his Ability Metal Links. The idea of this is to use Bronzong the same way you'd use Eelektrik and bring back Metal Energy onto one of your Benched Pokemon. While Metal doesn't have their own Rayquaza-EX, they do have Dialga-EX and Aegislash-EX, both of which benefit from Bronzong's Ability. With Dialga-EX, you get to utilize Full Metal Alch-I mean, Impact, multiple times with little drawback. In fact, while your Active Dialga-EX is sending off those Metal Energies to the discard pile, Bronzong can power up a Benched Dialga-EX to prepare to take its place. Or better yet, he can throw them onto Aegislash-EX, whose attack gets stronger with each Metal Energy!


But why stop there with that kind of combination? Throw in Battle Compressor from yesterday's review, and you can dump a bunch of Energy into the discard pile straight from your deck - thinning it out and giving Bronzong plenty of Energy to link with! We've got older cards like Bisharp (NVI) who also love getting tons of Metal Energy attached to them and benefit greatly from it!


Bronzong does run into some of the same problems as Eelektrik does though. A successful Catcher can draw him out from the Bench for a KO, while Garbodor will just flat out negate its Ability. And then there's the fact that he's a Stage 1, meaning you have to run Bronzor in your deck on top of all the other essentials. Still, given the popularity of the Rayquaza-EX build, I wouldn't be surprised if Dialga-EX and Aegislash-EX lead the charge for Metal decks - all fueled by the power of Bronzong.


Have I mentioned yet how nice it is that these guys don't have Fighting Weakness?




Standard: 4.5/5 (great support to Metal decks that really needed it)


Expanded: 4.5/5 (works as well as Eelektrik)


Limited: 4/5 (I rank it lower here if only because of the set-up to meet him is more difficult, but if you're running a Metal deck, you better have him in it!)


Arora Notealus: I'll be honest, Bronzong is probably one of the coolest designs from Gen IV, being based off of Japanese dōtaku, a ceremonial bell that people used to pray with for a good harvest. There's also a Japanese myth incorporating a bell that Bronzong and Bronzor take inspiration from, as well as partial design aspects from an Aztec god! No wonder he looks cool!


We wrap up our Top 10 Promising Picks of XY: Phantom Forces with a double CotD because of scheduling conflicts.  First up is second place (that sounds a bit confusing).  As I keep stating as part of this introductory blurb, reprint cards were not eligible for the Top 10 list, which was created through each member of the review crew submitting their own Top 10  list to Pojo, who then averages them out to produce the master Top 10 list we use for the review order.  The official release date for this set in the U.S. was November 5th, so XY: Phantom Forces cards aren’t tournament legal until November 21st; however we’ll be scoring them as if they were.


So the second place pick for this set was Bronzong (XY: Phantom Forces 61/119; XY Promos XY21), which to be blunt is basically the Metal equivalent of the old Eelektrik (BW: Noble Victories 40/101) that players of Expanded or some of the older (but still relatively recent) formats certainly recognize.  To really appreciate what Bronzong brings… yes I’m going to do my normal step by step reviews, but I’ll also do a head-to-head comparisons with Eelektrik at the end.  The first thing we’ll cover is the Type: being a Metal-Type at this moment is good.  Is it the best Type in the format?  No, but the Type just was boosted by support (both direct and indirect) in the latest set, and plenty of people aren’t used to Metal Weakness being a serious risk yet, so that is to the Type’s benefit.  Resistance is out there: bypassing Resistance is far less of an issue than coping with Weakness, but that -20 can throw of calculations, especially as Metal-Types aren’t so big of raw damage.  Overall though it is as I said: it is good to be Metal.


Bronzong is a Stage 1; this is not good but isn’t as painful as being a Stage 2 right now.  You’ll need an extra turn to get Bronzong into play, and another card (which to my knowledge is going to have to be a Bronzor).  Bronzong has 90 HP; this is small enough that a competitive deck with a half decent set-up should score a OHKO; Bronzong is thus never safe (it won’t even be able to hit the field until a player’s second turn) when Active.  Even when on the Bench its still at risk unless you include some form of protection for it there: serious snipe attacks will make for an easy OHKO while spread will add up relatively quickly.  A deck with damage counter manipulation for the opponent’s side of the field can wreak quite a bit of havoc.  The slight upside is that this HP number makes the Weakness less meaningful; most of them were already able to OHKO this card but the benefit is in using weaker attacks and/or spending less resources to secure the same OHKO.  The Resistance to Psychic-Types is handy but not something to bet this card’s life on: a Mewtwo-EX can still load up and go for the OHKO, it just won’t be as easy.  The three Energy Retreat Cost is not a good thing in Standard; paying it is quite the pain though and that is if you can meet the cost in the first place.  Fortunately it is pretty much SOP now that decks have tricks to lower the cost of manually retreating or bypass it entirely so much like Resistance is a small bonus, this is only a mild drawback.


Bronzong has its oh-so-important Ability that we’ve mentioned in multiple CotDs of this top 10: Metal Links allows you, once per turn, to attach a [M] Energy card from the discard pile to one of your Benched Pokémon (before you attack, of course).  The effect does stack, so that for each Bronzong with Metal Links, you can use that specific copy’s Ability once per turn: three of them means three uses of Metal Links.  Currently the only Energy card that is a legal target is basic Metal Energy.  We know from relatively recent experience this at worst a solid trick for a deck and likely something very, very potent.  The attack - Hammer In - is not: [MMC] for 60, even assuming you use Metal Links to help build it, is badly overpriced and likely this was intentional to avoid creating a “glass cannon” that accelerates Energy to the next attacker.  At least with a Silver Bangle it still can hit for 90… and of course you’re only attacking with it when you’re desperate.


There is one Bronzor option for Standard (XY: Phantom Forces 60/119) and one more for Expanded (BW: Next Destinies 75/99): both are Metal-Type Basic Pokémon with Fire Weakness and Psychic Resistance.  XY: Phantom Forces 60/119 sports 50 HP, a single Energy Retreat Cost, and a single attack for [M] that does 10 points of damage: obviously you have to use it in Standard.  BW: Next Destinies 75/99 sports 70 HP with a three Energy Retreat Cost and two attacks; the first does 10 points of damage for [MC] plus an additional 10 with a successful coin toss while the second does 40 for [MCC] with no additional effects.  Being easier to retreat to the Bench versus having 20 more HP (the attacks are bad for both) is a tough call, but use BW: Next Destinies 75/99 for Expanded.  Bronzong (BW: Next Destinies 76/99) is also legal in Expanded: also Stage 1 Metal-Type Pokémon with Fire Weakness and Psychic Resistance, it sports a massive four Energy Retreat Cost but also 110 HP.  Its Ability - Heal Block - prevents the healing of damage counters from Pokémon, which is great against certain decks but usually not too important.  Oracle Inflict - the attack - costs [MCC] does 30 points of damage plus 10 more for each card in your opponent’s hand: we lack an effective combo to swell your opponent’s hand so the attack just isn’t very good: stick to the version with Metal Links as you’ll want as many of those as you can fit onto your Bench.


Bronzong is going to be the backbone of at least one new Metal-Type deck.  It is possible that - much like decks built around Eelektrik - that the one deck will become several using an almost identical strategy but focusing on different attacks (including many that aren’t Metal-Type but can make good enough use of the Energy).  Listing all the potential candidates is a bit much even for one of my CotDs, so I’ll instead focus on some Metal-Type Pokémon (with one exception) that have long been waiting for this chance.  Some of them have already seen success elsewhere while others can only now have their full potential easily tapped without the deck benefitting something else even more… and most still won’t make the cut but are worth mentioning.  In alphabetical order:



Links are included in the above list (yes, for once some of the underlined set/card number pairings are actual links) to the past reviews for cards when applicable.  Aegislash-EX and Dialga-EX were part of this top 10 and need no more explanation.  Cobalion and its Energy Press are great for punishing the many Energy intensive cards in the format and Iron Breaker is useful if your opponent lacks an easy means of changing out his or her Active or a non-reusable means that you can attempt to exhaust: in either case as it is a “regular” Basic Pokémon you’ll often be able to sacrifice one copy for another to trade even with Pokémon-EX.  Cobalion-EX is not only your typical, solid Pokémon-EX but its Righteous Edge does a solid 30 for one (useful when something is wrong with Metal Links) while also discarding a Special Energy attached to the Defending Pokémon (if there is one) while Steel Bullet gets to ignore Weakness, Resistance and all other effects on the Defending Poké.  Both Cobalion and Cobalion-EX have seen a decent amount of competitive play, usually splashed into decks thanks to Special Energy cards.


Those four seem like they should be a given, with only exact counts or alternate strategies leaving them out of a deck: some decks are going to just stick with (for example) four Dialga-EX and nothing else for Metal-Type attackers but I’d probably try to make room for at least a single of each in a “general” build (then again I’ve never run this deck so its all Theorymon).  The other suggestions then have to “bump” one of the above four in order to make room, but they do have a slight chance (perhaps better than slight if I’ve missed something).  Haxorus has to be its own deck with Bronzong, with room for maybe one other backup attacker, and is of course the non-Metal-Type exception: as a BW-era Dragon-Type is does suffer for being Weak to other Dragon-Types but its definitely a tempting card to run because its first attack does 40 points of damage for each [M] Energy attached to it.  That still requires a massive five [M] Energy (or four plus a Muscle Band or Silver Bangle) to get into “OHKO virtually everything” range, but it is feasible… and probably something a lot of decks just aren’t expecting.  That 140 HP on Haxorus is just enough to not be an easy OHKO as well.


Heatran is much more straightforward choice; a Basic Metal-Type with the maximum 130 HP we see on “plain” Basic Pokémon, sadly with the typical Fire Weakness (but at least also the typical Psychic Resistance) and a painful three Energy Retreat Cost, it does 40 for [MCC] but that becomes 80 with a Stadium in play, which is overpriced-but-functional and for [MMCC] it does 130 (and has to discard an attached Energy from itself).  130 is well within possible OHKO range, but its a bit of a tricker OHKO for many decks, one that will usually require some boosting to hit unless the deck is specifically designed for OHKOs… and this is not a Pokémon-EX.  That last bit is obvious from looking at the card but actually processing what that means… you could combine Muscle Band or Silver Bangle with Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym and the second attack can OHKO something with up to 180 HP (190 if it is a Pokémon-EX)... and you’re only giving up one Prize if it gets OHKOed.  Even if you aren’t running all of those pieces of support, a reliable 130 sets up for a fairly easy follow-up KO.  This is the less technical, brute force counterpart to Cobalion.


Klinklang (Black & White 76/114) received horrible reviews because it was released before a lot of what later led it to some great tournament finishes and before a set rotation, as always a time of great tribulation and speculation in the format.  It is an Expanded only option and it is still a long shot to use with Bronzong as you’re talking about a Bench-sitting Stage 2 to move [M] Energy about as well as a Bench-sitting Stage 1 to accelerate Energy from the discard pile, but the difficult set-up does make other aspects of the deck (like changing out the Active attacker in certain builds) less important.  To get the most out of these you’ll also have to make room for Max Potion and several Startling Megaphone (maybe one Tool Scrapper), but something like this behind Dialga-EX could keep up a steady barrage… and with only one Bronzong and one Klinklang.


In Standard you could use Klingklang (BW: Plasma Storm 90/135) a.k.a. Klinklang [Plasma].  Instead of Energy moving shenanigans, while your Abilities are working your Metal-Type attackers can’t be damaged by attacks from your opponent’s Pokémon-EX (effects of attacks still apply).  You won’t be using quite as fancy of tricks and a lot of decks have non-Pokémon-EX attackers, but forcing your opponent to rely on them for most of the match when you’ve got something like Dialga-EX up front and slamming away or Aegislash-EX also protected from damage from attacks by Pokémon with Special Energy attached and your opponent has an uphill battle if you set-up.  As mentioned in an earlier CotD, if you’re very daring you can try to combine both in Expanded: one Klinklang [Plasma], one Shift Gears Klinklang and one Bronzong backing up really any of the four primary suggested attackers?  Quite nasty… of course getting the whole set-up is also quite nasty.


Registeel-EX is Expanded only, much to its own regret: there are multiple ways for decks to protect their Bench, but when they are absent or countered this 180 HP Basic Metal-Type Pokémon-EX can use its Triple Laser Attack (requiring [CCC] to hit hit three different opposing Pokémon from among the Active and the Benched for 30 points of damage.  It isn’t much but it can set-up for some nifty tricks (like allowing some of the other big attackers pseudo-OHKOs from a single three-way 30 to the opponent’s in play Pokémon-EX).  It actually had some success as a spread attacker before, though its usage had declined even before it rotated out of Standard.  Unlike in the past, it would be easier to quickly power-up its second attack - Protect Charge - to do 80 while reducing the damage it takes by 20 after Weakness and Resistance for [MMCC].  Its not overly Energy efficient but that’s why I am suggesting it for a deck that can easily meet these Energy costs and likely meet them in a single turn.  You could make a very strange build focusing on Registeel-EX and its slightly defensive posture as with something like Keldeo-EX and an attached Float Stone plus Max Potion, your opponent would have to work for a OHKO.  Your choice whether to use Muscle Band or Hard Charm… but such a deck is less competitive and more “for fun”: a single copy though seems like a good choice as you never know when some Bench damage is in order.  Again, pity that only applies for Standard.


So the special thing I wanted to mention about Expanded usage ties into one of the main points I had planned for comparing Bronzong with Eelektrik.  The quick head-to-head for Expanded usage is that both are Stage 1 Pokémon being run for their respective Ability, and that Ability only differs in name and what Energy Type they attach.  Eelektrik has the more dangerous Fighting Weakness and has no Resistance, a mark in favor of Bronzong (arguably two).  Eelektrik has a Retreat Cost of two but as this is Expanded, Heavy Ball is legal and that actually makes the more expensive Retreat Cost of Bronzong better.  You don’t want to attack with either, but if you do Bronzong hits for 10 more damage with both attacks costing [XXC] (where “X” is the same Type as that Pokémon).  Eelektrik can Evolve but Bronzong can’t so that is a (very small) mark in favor of Eelektrik (its Evolutions aren’t all that good), but Tynamo are so tiny that I have to give Bronzong the edge there.  When it comes to partners… a lot can use both just fine: Mewtwo-EX doesn’t care whether its using Metal Energy or Lightning Energy cards when it comes to X-Ball.  When it comes to whether Lighting Energy support (direct and indirect) is better than Metal-Type support (direct and indirect), I think it is a draw: I am including the very indirect, like Rayquaza-EX which is a Dragon-Type that uses Lightning Energy (plus a source of [R]) for big attacks and several impressive and established attackers, while Metal-Types have some more recent direct support and its indirect support, while less established is looking quite promising.

So… I’m thinking Bronzong looks promising for Expanded, largely because of Heavy Ball: precious, precious Heavy Ball for the often high Retreat Cost Metal-Type Pokémon.  Bronzong has a Retreat Cost of three, as does the Expanded legal Bronzor.  Aegislash-EX, Heatran, both Klinklang (and at least one version each of Klink and Klang) and Registeel-EX all are legal Heavy Ball targets.  Bronzong, Bronzor, Klink and Klang are also all Level Ball legal.  Even being conservative and just using Bronzong to back-up Aegislash-EX and Heatran gives you a mono-Metal-Type deck that won’t like Pyroar (XY: Flashfire 20/106) but seems pretty solid to me.  In Limited, this is a potent pull though there are some places where it doesn’t belong.  If you’re going for a +39 deck or just get too much that can’t make good enough use of the Metal Energy: most cards in this set have Colorless Energy requirements in at least one attack though admittedly there are enough where you wouldn’t be significantly enough ahead to justify running a Stage 1 you might never get set-up and some Metal Energy to attach.




Standard: 3.75/5 - Deck specific rating, though its possible this could spawn several decks all making use of Metal Links for Energy acceleration.  That may seem almost harsh as I do think these decks promising, but it is important to understand that like Eelektrik decks before it (well, some of them), that Bronzong decks will be greater than the sum of their parts.


Expanded: 4/5 - I’m not kidding about how important Heavy Ball (and some of the other older support) can be for Bronzong decks.  With Battle Compressor you might not even need Ultra Ball to help discard Energy (you’ll probably want to include it anyway) but having three or four Heavy Ball is still going to be a big benefit, and possible a few other older cards.


Limited: 4.25/5 - Most of the time I suspect this will be a must run, though as per usual if you’ve got a minimum 1-1 line you won’t often get it into play in time to matter.  Skip it if you’re building a deck around a single, Basic Pokémon-EX or if you just can’t justify the needed room for the Stage 1 and the basic Metal Energy because too few cards can use it well (I don’t expect that to often be an issue, though).


Standard: Bronzong is the key component to at least one deck that will be heavily played until the novelty wears off, and that is a worst-case-scenario where it turns out nothing works as well as anticipated.  If it isn’t all hype, it’ll be the cornerstone of an archetype we’ll be enjoying probably for a little while, maybe even until it eventually rotates out of the format.  It is definitely one of the top cards in the set and I can see why it clocked in as our number two choice, though I only had it as my number three because when general use hits deck specific, I tend to favor the former.

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