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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Phantom Forces Top 10

#8 - Dialga EX

Date Reviewed:
Nov. 5, 2014

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3.67
Expanded: 3.17
Limited: 4.25

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

#8 Dialga EX 

In and of itself, today’s card is nothing special. 

I mean, it’s solid, but in the world of EX Pokémon, it doesn’t jump out and declare its awesomeness in the way that Darkrai, Mewtwo, or even Genesect did. What do you get is a nice 180 HP (the maximum for a non-Mega), a decent Weakness and Resistance (though Pyroar is a major worry), and two attacks that are just about good enough. 

Actually, Chrono Wind isn’t that good: three Energy for 60 damage and if the Defending Pokémon is an EX it can’t attack next turn. That is a very soft lock, easily broken by simply retreating and promoting the EX in question, but nevertheless, it can cause some inconvenience to an opponent and might buy you a turn or two if they don’t have a Switch and a free retreater, or a Keldeo EX with Float Stone attached. The brilliantly-named Full Metal Impact is the better attack though, simply because it (sort of) gives the Metal Type the OHKO power that they have lacked so far: that 150 damage can be boosted with Muscle Band to the point where it will one-shot a good portion of the playable EX Pokémon. But what about the high cost and double discard? Well, that’s where things get interesting. Much higher up on our top 10 list for this set is Bronzong: a card which provides the necessary acceleration and recovery that could make Full Metal Impact a viable attack. 

Without Bronzong, Dialga EX would be a mediocre EX with expensive attacks. With that card in the format, he could perform a role in a pretty formidable Metal deck . . . something we haven’t seen since Klingklang/Cobalion had a brief time to shine. 


Modified: 3.25 (a meh EX elevated by stellar support)

Expanded: 2.75 (he’s no Rayquaza EX)

Limited: 4 (usual benefits to playing a huge Basic, but he’s not the fastest)


Welcome to our #8 card on the list, and more importantly the single coolest looking card in the set, Dialga-EX! This guy's Full Art print is actually the stylized version of him from Japan's Hyper Metal Chain deck in which he was released; the card itself came out once in every six decks, making it a bit rarer than the regular one, but it looks so cool! And luckily that's not the only thing Dialga-EX has going for it!
Dialga-EX's first attack, Chrono Wind, does 3-for-60 against most anything that doesn't resist it like Manectric-EX - though that's 120 against Fairies and certain Water-types like Kyurem though - but it does have an ability against Pokemon-EX: they won't be able to attack on the next turn. At all! This is the kind of move that can get you out of a Seismitoad-EX Item-Lockdown, or halt a Lucario-EX from wrecking your team, or keep Yveltal-EX and Mewtwo-EX at bay! This attack alone should prompt the usage of Switch and Float Stone in most decks, as that kind of power is hard to stop otherwise.
It only gets better with his other attack, Full Metal Impact. Discarding 2 Metal Energy is a pretty hefty cost as usual, but this attack deals 150 damage!! We've seen attacks of this kind already from Black Kyurem-EX's Black Ballista to Rayquaza-EX's Dragon Burst; what made them so dangerous was that they had a way to replenish the Energy they lost very easily, and Dialga-EX is no exception now with his own support, a card we'll be taking a look at soon enough.
Dialga-EX will probably show up in Metal Decks as one of its main attackers, utilizing a similar strategy to Rayquaza-Eels by setting up one while the other attack then Switching them around or using Float Stone. Granted, Dialga-EX only has a Retreat Cost of 2, but that's still going to usually be whatever's left if you're switching him straight out, and if you use Float Stone you sacrifice using Muscle Band instead to get the extra 20 to wipe out most Pokemon around. He'll force some tough deck choices, but if Rayquaza-EX and Black Kyurem-EX have proved anything in the past, this type of deck is one not to mess around with!
Keeping in mind that Dialga-EX won't be OHKO-ing anything short of a Stage 2 without some help.
Standard: 4/5 (a pretty devastating card, though cards in the past have been more devastating)
Expanded: 3/5 (competing against Rayquaza-EX, this card isn't as powerful but it does give rise to Metal Decks)
Limited: 4.5/5 (even if your opponent doesn't have a Pokemon-EX of their own, these attacks will do massive damage to their active!)
Arora Notealus: I wonder if they'll come out with a redone Palkia-EX that's Water-typed. That would be pretty nice, don't you think?
Next Time: I thought it was a Pokemon!


Welcome dear readers as we continue the first week of our Top 10 Promising Cards of XY: Phantom Forces!  As a reminder, reprint cards are not eligible as the review crew each submits a 10 card 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. is November 5th, so XY: Phantom Forces cards aren’t tournament legal until November 21st; however we’ll be scoring them as if they were indeed legal.


So… wonderfully… shiny!  Dialga-EX (XY: Phantom Forces 62/119, 122/119) comes in regular and awesome metallic FA versions… and I like it so much that yeah I’m focusing on that before we discuss its how well it is expected to perform!  I would greatly prefer the higher rarities (anything beyond “normal” Rare) was reserved for gimmick cards; alternate art, Full Art, etc. with the possible exception being reprints or something that will be reprinted in a more accessible manner in the near future.  Pipe dream, I know, but it might finally give us the best blend of “Trading Cards” and “Card Game”.


So onto what Dialga-EX actually brings to the table.  It is a Pokémon-EX, which means it is worth an additional Prize when KOed, can’t access certain pieces of support and are vulnerable to certain Pokémon-EX-specific counter-cards.  Pokémon-EX generally have higher-than-average HP scores (including higher than normally allowed for their Stage) and better Abilities or attacks than one would expect for a non-Pokémon-EX equivalent.  Unlike Manectric-EX, which we looked at Monday, Dialga-EX is a Basic by default, so that isn’t a bonus of being a Pokémon-EX, though being a Basic is of course the best as it requires the least amount of effort to run.  It is a Metal-Type and that is quite good right now; this set contains both direct and indirect support, which we’ll touch upon in a bit more detail later.


Dialga-EX enjoys the current maximum printed HP score for a Basic Pokémon-EX (180) which is usually going to survive the turn, though of course some decks will still OHKO even that.  For example, Fire-Type attackers will be able to exploit the Fire-Type Weakness, and this is an issue because even though several Types have gotten specific support since then, Fire-Types still have something great in the form of Blacksmith, though it is far safer than being weak to say Fighting… and for the record, in the video games Dialga do take double damage from Fighting- and Ground-Type attacks, though it does take only half damage from Rock-Type attacks.  In fact, as a Steel/Dragon-Type hybrid, it shouldn’t actually be Fire Weak.  It enjoys Psychic Resistance, which isn’t going to make a huge difference but will come in handy against the commonly played Mewtwo-EX (and as this set buffs Psychic-Types a bit, likely a few other new and old faces).  Finishing off the Attributes, it has a Retreat Cost of… two.  That isn’t negligible, but its workable; you won’t want to pay it but you should be able to without crippling your set-up, and I confess that I expected it to be much higher.


Dialga-EX has two attacks with some impressive sounding names: Chronowind and Full Metal Impact.  If you think the first attack, Chronowind, is what makes Dialga-EX special… you’d be wrong unless you meant special as in “interesting” and not as in “really potent attack”.  For [MCC] Chrono Wind does 60 points of damage and if the Defending Pokémon is a Pokémon-EX it can’t attack during your opponent’s next turn.  Benching the Defending Pokémon will reset this effect, so it is more a mild annoyance between decks that run things like Keldeo-EX with Float Stone or an adequate supply of Switch plus anything with a free Retreat Cost or of course non-Pokémon-EX attackers.  The attack is handy but not great: when it was first revealed, it got some hype it didn’t really deserve though unlike most hype trains, this one seemed to have died down pretty quickly.


The second attack is what really has people excited, though as the cost is [MMCC] and it requires you discard two [M] Energy attached to Dialga-EX, Full Metal Impact will definitely require something built to accomodate.  Your reward for the hassle is 150 points of damage, which takes out almost all non-Pokémon-EX plus the likes of Jirachi-EX and Celebi-EX in one hit… and is a firm foundation to build a combo to take out the 170 to 180 HP Pokémon-EX, though Mega Evolutions are going to still fall outside of an easily attainable range.  The Energy costs are somewhat complementary; while you’ll need Energy acceleration for the attacks to be competitive, both attacks are Double Colorless Energy compliant, plus while it isn’t the greatest Chrono Wind does form a simple (though easily foiled) 2HKO combo against most other Pokémon-EX (even the smaller Mega Evolutions).


The real combo piece is Bronzong (XY: Phantom Forces 61/119), which has the oft successful “attach an Energy card from your discard pile to your Benched Pokémon” mechanic, restricted to [M] Energy cards.  While it does mean managing a Bench-to-Active system, its almost guaranteed to become a top deck.  The oh-so-simple act of attaching a Muscle Band to Dialga-EX allows it to OHKO 170 HP Pokémon-EX, while a Hypnotoxic Laser on top of that takes down 180 HP targets (assuming no other effects nor Resistance are factors).  You could skip Muscle Band in favor of Virbank City Gym, but you might prefer to run Steel Shelter (XY: Phantom Forces 105/119) instead, to protect against Special Conditions.  In fact, we get to perhaps the biggest detractor for Dialga-EX; as impressive as it is, it isn’t quite the titan that was Black Kyurem-EX (BW: Plasma Storm 95/135) or Rayquaza-EX were during their respective heydays and neither is its competition so it is still going to be a valuable attacker for Bronzong decks and probably one of if not the main one.




Standard: 3.75/5 - Possibly the face of the new Bronzong decks, and if not their less technical attacker.  Without Bronzong (or rather the Ability on Bronzong) its definitely a much weaker card though not totally hopeless.


Expanded: 3.7/5 - I worry I am missing something, but I think that the only thing to worry about is an increase in competition for the deck itself and not the card directly, and just as I credit the deck for most of its potency in the first place.


Limited: 4.25/5 - The good news is that there is only a single Basic Fire-Type this set and even when exploiting Weakness, it isn’t that good.  There are two Stage 1 cards and one Stage 2 card and while they are good in Limited, the odds are against running into them.  So the main concern becomes your opponent overwhelming your 180 HP; other Pokémon-EX used in +39 decks should be more near auto-wins as once you hit them with Chronowind, unless they started really strong and Poisoned you, its over.  Fleshed out decks though can take advantage of your slow start-up (your opponent should be able to attack twice before you can hit them once) and while 60 is good, it might just whiff on the OHKO.  Ultimately I think the risk is well worth it, though.


Summary: Dialga-EX is a big, metal club for Bronzong decks to whack opponent’s upside the head with, and if you’ve got the metallic Full Art it will even be with style.  Still it is dependent upon something to fuel it and that something has enough other options that I can’t score Dialga-EX any higher.  In fact, I chose to leave it off my own Top 10 list, though after reviewing it I am second guessing myself (it nearly made it).


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