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Yu Yu Hakusho
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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day



Primal Goudon EX

- Primal Clash

Date Reviewed:
Feb. 26, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3.7
Expanded: 3.6
Limited: 4.8

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 being horrible.  3 ... average.  5 is awesome.

Back to the main COTD Page

Baby Mario
2010 UK National

Primal Groudon EX

Groudon has always been one of my favourite Pokémon, and Groudon EX DEX was the main card in arguably my most successful ever deck. This Primal has a lot going for it, but also a few problems to overcome if it is going to make an impact on the competitive scene. 

Most importantly, Primal Groudon has a Spirit Link card, so the terrible drawback of Mega Evolution Primal Reversion can be negated. He also has a massive 240 HP, which makes him a tank against any Pokémon not hitting for Weakness. Perhaps best of all, Primal Groudon is a Fighting Type, which means he benefits from a lot of damage-boosting support from Strong Energy and Fighting Stadium. Korrina works nicely too, fetching you this card plus a Spirit Link, if needed. 

Primal Groudon’s Gaia Volcano attack does a less-than-impressive 100 damage for a massive four Energy. Luckily, that can be boosted to levels where everything becomes a OHKO. If there is a Stadium in play, the damage is doubled to 200 (enough to OHKO almost all EX Pokémon). Add in Fighting Stadium and a Strong Energy, and even the mightiest Mega is gone with one attack! Of course, the obvious problem is the time it takes to get four Energy on Primal Groudon, especially as Fighting has no real access to acceleration (for now anyway). Landorus FFI, I guess, but it’s not great. 

This is where Primal Groudon’s Ancient Trait becomes a factor. Ω Barrier gives Groudon immunity to the effects of Trainer cards. This means he can sit on the Bench while you build him up and not fear being dragged active by Lysandre or having his Energy discarded by Xerosic or Crushing Hammer. He’s still vulnerable to Abilities such as Genesect EX’s Red Signal, but that could be countered by the Silent Lab Stadium or by including Garbodor LTR in your deck. Speaking of Genesect, he represents a pretty good counter to Groudon anyway, thanks to the latter’s Grass Weakness. 

Primal Groudon needs a dedicated deck, and a fair amount of set up, but he can reward your patience by destroying everything in his path in the mid-to-late game. Grass decks are a worry, and Ninetales PCR’s Stadium denial Ability will give Groudon nightmares, but if you can avoid these problems, Primal Groudon can offer a very powerful, if slow, competitive option. 


Modified: 3.75 (I like Groudon. Sue me)

Expanded: 3.5 (at least he has access to a better EX)

Limited: 4.5 (unlikely you’ll get the chance, but play it if you do)


Where one rules over the oceans, the other triumphs over the land, causing volcanic eruptions to push its territory further towards the sea. In ancient times, this Pokemon even had a Fire-typing to work with and the power to flat-out negate Water damage - very VERY dangerous in the video games now! Here in the TCG, though, Primal Groudon-EX hasn't even struck our Top 10 List.

His attack isn't that bad. Gaia Volcano does 100 damage normally plus an extra 100 damage if there's a Stadium in play...which then gets discarded. This is different from Heatran (PHF) and his Steel Drop attack, where the Stadium just needs to exist. Then again, that's the power of a primordial being for ya. 

Spirit Link's make Primal Groudon-EX easier to deal with, but aside from forcing you to play with a larger number of Stadiums than usual in order to really benefit from the OHKO prowess he can provide, he's...not that great an EX. "What?! A Primal Pokemon - a LEGENDARY Pokemon - is terrible?!" Oh like you haven't seen that before in the TCG. 

Primal Groudon-EX does show that Grass-type VirGen decks are gonna be more prominent - more so because of his distant cousin and long-time rival Primal Kyogre-EX - which is going to make playing him more difficult in general. Throw in that Ninetales card from earlier in the week, and you've got a real potential problem on deck. Don't get me wrong, getting rid of a Stadium can be good, but when it becomes the source for more power, that's when you look at Primal Groudon-EX and say, "Man I wish you could've been like your cousin."  

Of course, it's not all bad news! He's got the Ancient Trait Omega Barrier, which keeps your opponent's Trainer cards from affecting him with their effects (and now you also know how to use "affect" and "effect"). That's good to know he can't be HTL so easily! And with the Fighting support still hanging around like Strong Energy and Fighting Stadium and such, he can still dish out a solid 140-160 with Muscle Band (of course he hits 180 with all 4 Strong Energy, but why put them all on one right?). 

So while Primal Groudon-EX isn't the better of the two titans, he's not that bad because of the support he's got. Spirit Links, Fighting Support, the Omega Barrier trait - if anything, it's probably a GOOD thing they didn't power his attack to higher levels, cause this guy would be even crazier than before! 


Standard: 3.5/5 (with Fighting support on his side, he should be able to have something work out for him) 

Expanded: 3.5/5 (you also get access to the older Groudon-EX from DEX, something to note with Primal Kyogre-EX here as well) 

Limited: 5/5 (if you've got the Spirit Link and such, this guy is perfect for that +38 deck; 100 damage may not look like much, but compared to most everything else it's a lot!) 

Arora Notealus: If nothing else, at least the artwork looks really cool! Just wish they'd thrown on some kind of resistance, you know? Same thing with Primal Kyogre-EX!! They could've been almost complimentary in terms of resistance, but nooooo, Typing trumps flavor any day. 

Next Time: I swear I've seen this one before...


Today we cover a card that you might have been surprised didn’t make our actual Top 10 list: Primal Groudon-EX (XY: Primal Clash 86/160, 151/160).  Should it have made the Top 10?  Should it even be a part of our Runners-Up Week?  Let us take a look at what it has going for and against it.  To begin with, it is a Fighting-Type and that’s awesome: I don’t think a single Type is better supported, at least overall.  Direct support includes Korrina, Fighting Stadium and Strong Energy.  Indirect support includes a field of excellent attackers like Hawlucha and Landorus-EX.  Fighting Weakness is the norm on Colorless-Types, Darkness-Types and Lightning-Types, though it isn’t universal.  It is true that Fighting Resistance is one of the most common as well (in fact you find examples of it in each of three Types I just mentioned for Weakness), but no Resistance is far more common so it still is a minor concern that will mostly be an issue when you forget about it. 

Being a Mega Evolution is… not good.  The Primal Reversion rule means you not only need a turn to Mega Evolve (Primal Revert?) from Primal Groudon-EX, but when you do it your turn ends, delaying your attack for another turn.  Yes, you can (and most definitely should) use Groudon Spirit Link to get around this, but that does eat up your valuable Pokémon Tool slot.  In fact we’ll get to an aspect of this card that makes that slot even more valuable than normal.  Right now being an Evolution at all is a drawback and I am honestly not sure if being a Stage 2 is better or worse than being a Mega Evolution.  Being a Mega Evolution also means being a Pokémon-EX, and that too has a lot of inherent drawbacks.  No matter what the designers decide, unless they take pains to specifically counteract it, Pokémon-EX are worth an extra Prize when KOed, can’t access certain (rarely used) support and is vulnerable to certain counter-cards (which are often used). 

Now Primal Groudon-EX does seem to cash in on being a Mega Evolution; a magnificent 240 HP that makes it about as hard to OHKO as you could hope for a Pokémon to be.  Wailord-EX is bigger, but nothing else is without buffs; its enough to have a chance of being a 3HKO.  Not against its Grass-Type Weakness, of course; the good news is the main concerns are still Virizion-EX and Genesect-EX.  There are others and people have been looking for them as not only did we get a couple high profile, Grass Weak Pokémon this set, but exploiting this Weakness has been a big deal, at least on and off for a while now.  Past examples where it was desirable include Keldeo-EX as well as Seismitoad-EX.  Primal Groudon-EX lacks a Resistance, but that is unsurprising and such a common thing I won’t hold it against the card.  That four Energy Retreat Cost is quite relevant though; most decks are going to pack at least one (and preferably two) options for dealing with a massive Retreat Cost, but Primal Groudon-EX is going to be especially dependent upon whatever the choices end up being. 

After its HP score, the next big bonus is an Ancient Trait; in this case it is Ω Barrier provides protection against any Trainers your opponent plays except Stadiums and Pokémon Tools.  Specifically it applies to the effects done to Primal Groudon-EX, so an Active Primal Groudon-EX isn’t sent to the Bench by Escape Rope but one on the Bench could be (and if it were your only Benched Pokémon, must be) promoted.  Lysandre targets the Pokémon being promoted, so this is blocked and Pokémon is a bit odd in that an effect that discards a Pokémon’s attached cards (like Energy or Pokémon Tools) has to “go through” that Pokémon: so Primal Groudon-EX doesn’t need to fear Enhanced Hammer, Xerosic, Startling Megaphone, etc.  The final card its protected from that is well worth mentioning is Hypnotoxic Laser; none Trainer effects can still Poison Primal Groudon-EX, but an Item like Hypnotoxic Laser is going to be blocked because it isn’t a Pokémon Tool or Stadium.  Other than its Ancient Trait, Primal Groudon-EX is like most Mega Evolutions in that it has a single attack: requiring [FFFC], Gaia Volcano does 100 damage, plus an additional 100 if a Stadium is in play, which the attack then discards.  The Stadium is discarded after doing damage, which ends up making for some nice combos for Primal Groudon-EX; a Fighting Stadium still grants its damage bonus before being discarded, a Silent Lab still has Abilities shut down until the moment it is discarded, etc.  The Energy cost is the only drawback, and it is a significant one… but not insurmountable. 

Before diving into how to make use of Gaia Volcano, we should look at Groudon-EX as unless we want to rely solely on Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick (we don’t) then we’ll need Groudon-EX to get Primal Groudon-EX into play.  We only have one Standard legal option: Groudon-EX (XY: Primal Clash  85/160,150/160; XY Black Star Promo XY42).  A Basic Pokémon-EX with the same Type, Weakness, lack of Resistance and Retreat Cost as Primal Groudon-EX, it performs similarly in those areas.  No Ancient Trait or Ability, but it does have two attacks.  For [FC] you can use Rip Claw to hit for 30, plus flip a coin to see if you discard an Energy attached to the opponent’s Active Pokémon.  For the same massive [FFFC] as Gaia Volcano, Groudon-EX can use Massive Rend for a flat 130.  As a stand alone Pokémon-EX the attacks would be a bit underwhelming but if you insisted on running the card, you could do some decent things with it; discarding Energy can vary from pointless to painful (even when its flippy) while Fighting-Types have enough buffs that Massive Rend into a OHKO attack against almost everything, though with racking up enough damage and getting round problematic protective effects requires a deck built around such a thing and a lot of luck.  Handling most non-Mega Evolutions doesn’t require much though.  All in all, a solid option. 

Expanded gives us an additional choice to consider: Groudon-EX (BW: Dark Explorers 54/108, 106/108).  It has the same attributes as the other Groudon-EX except Water Weakness instead of Grass Weakness and Lightning Resistance instead of no Resistance.  Its two attacks are Tromp for [FC] and Giant for [FFC]; the former does 20 to the opponent’s Active plus 10 to each of the opponent’s Benched Pokémon while Giant Claw does 80 with an additional 40 if the Defending Pokémon has at least two damage counters already on it.  This card actually saw some successful play in formats past, plus changing up Weakness (and enjoying Resistance) can be useful.  I’m also partial to spread even if Mountain Ring and Mr. Mime (BW: Plasma Freeze 47/116) can block it and Fresh Water Set or Rough Seas might heal it before it can really accumulate.  If you don’t have to deal with any of those, the attacks on this card make for a half-decent fall back strategy.  I am not sure if they are better than the more recent versions, but I am thinking running both could be useful… and to amend something I mentioned earlier, Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick is also worth including if the build already had the other components necessary to use it well, but I don’t recommend it as your primary means of getting a Primal Groudon-EX into play in a deck focused on the beast. 

So how do you run Primal Groudon-EX?  I have to agree with the tactic demonstrated by Pooka in one of his Youtube videos.  If you don’t feel like watching the link, I suggest you change your mind but the short of it is that thanks to Ω Barrier, it is much easier to build a Primal Groudon-EX on the Bench than most other Pokémon-EX.  This allows you to throw up an Energy accelerating attacker like Landorus (XY: Furious Fists 58/111) - which Pooka used -  or even just an inexpensive attacker, especially if it can survive a hit so that even your manual Energy attachments are coming out ahead of how fast they are getting discarded.  I recently saw some folks trying out Victini-EX again and honestly, it might be plausible as it hits Grass-Types for Weakness (re: VirGen match-up) and while it is a probably OHKO for your opponent, as long as it does speed up Primal Groudon-EX you stand a decent chance of catching up, if not pulling ahead.  Being a 240 HP that hits for 200 points of damage can do that.  With such a massive damage output you aren’t likely to need a lot of damage boosting effects; as long as there is a Stadium in play, Gaia Volcano is usually going to be enough.  Still if you know you’re facing something that can soak damage abnormally well or simply has massive HP, a few buffs should still result in a OHKO.  You should probably run your deck a little Stadium heavy; even if you’ve got a means of recycling them, you want to draw into them easily.  You can also take advantage of your opponent’s Stadiums to fuel Gaia Volcano (generating even more advantage for yourself) but if Primal Groudon-EX is still turns away from attacking and you need to get rid of a Stadium now, you’ll have to burn your own sooner rather than later. 

The main threat to Primal Groudon-EX (that does not apply to just about everything) is its Grass Weakness (granted that applies to nearly all decks).  VirGen, Leafeon (BW: Plasma Freeze 11/116) and a few other attackers can be problematic, and especially VirGen decks make you understand why people are trying to make Victini-EX work.  Silent Lab can be useful as well, as it prevents Genesect-EX from using Red Signal to force a Primal Groudon-EX Active.  It also is useful when on the offensive as it cancels out protective Abilities like Safeguard.  Like everything else, you’ll need to remember there are Pokémon that can still score the OHKO (whether through raw damage or attack effects and combo) and as you’re going with a slow start, you really need Primal Groudon-EX to live long enough to attack twice.  I would also expect a few other hiccups: the one I noticed is Ninetales (XY: Primal Clash 21/160) as once its in play you can’t play a Stadium, so if there is one in play you get just one more “big” hit out of Gaia Volcano.  Otherwise its a pretty simple concept, mostly made difficult by the need for patience; feeling out your opponent’s strategy while calmly building, even though you’re getting farther and farther behind on Prizes, can be quite difficult! 


Standard: 3.75/5 - Yes, I’m actually scoring it the same as I did Primal Kyogre-EX.  It might simply be that I had lower expectations for Primal Groudon-EX and because it surpassed those, I’m more impressed with it than I should be.  If you can get used to slow starts, this massive OHKO-machine is a fearsome sight for the opposing player.  Usually.  Even though I understand the slow start, that doesn’t mean it isn’t a risk or that I would find it easy. 

Expanded: 3.75/5 - Not thinking of anything major that combos with it; originally the older Groudon-EX looked really good to me but now I’m not so sure.  Still there are the usual suspects like Tropical Beach (since this is a bit slower of a deck) so that in the end, I think it all evens out. 

Limited: 5/5 - If you pull a Groudon-EX, it really does seem suited for a +39 deck and if you pull both it and its Mega Evolution, you run it as even if it is unlikely to help, it also isn’t likely to hurt: just don’t Mega Evolve if you can’t spare the turn. 

Summary: Primal Groudon-EX has great Typing, HP and support.  It has a good Ancient Trait and attack.  Its got a dangerous Weakness though and is slow starting.  Even if I’m wrong about how good it is, be prepared for it because as a “new toy” its going to see its share of play… and you do not want to be on the receiving end of a 200 damage assault.

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