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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Primal Groudon-EX

- Ancient Origins

Date Reviewed:
October 8, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3.08
Expanded: 3.25
Limited: 1.00

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

Back to the main COTD Page


Alright, so now we've come around to Primal Groudon-EX...again. 

He's pretty much the exact same as before, except now he's SHINY!! Oooooh~

And his Ancient Trait has changed. So we're gonna look primarily at the change and see if it makes Primal Groudon-EX here better or worse than his original non-Shiny counterpart. In fact, really, we should just be reviewing all three of them at once, since that's effectively what I'm gonna do here. 

The Ancient Trait in question is Theta Max, which only appears on the Shiny Weather Trio in this set. Theta Max replaces whatever other Ancient Trait they may have had before and gives them something even better!...or worse, depending on how you look at it. Theta Max is effectively an on-Evolution Max Potion that heals off all the damage from the Pokemon the moment it becomes the Pokemon with Theta Max, i.e. Groudon-EX becomes Primal Groudon-EX, Kyogre-EX becomes Primal Kyogre-EX, and Rayquaza-EX becomes Mega Rayquaza-EX. 

It's not a bad Ancient Trait by any means, and honestly it should have been printed on other cards to exercise its ability more! But on the Theta Reprints of the weather trio, they're...well, inferior. The thing is, the Theta Reprints, while shiny and beautiful in Full Art, take away a major advantage that the originals have just to have some longevity. Primal Kyogre-EX should NEVER use Theta Max because, again, his primary means of attack REVOLVES around his original Ancient Trait, Alpha Growth - the two were made to compliment each other, and taking that away for a potentially extra 170 HP isn't going to be worth it. Mega Rayquaza-EX could conceivably work with Theta Max, but he'll lose out on his speedy Delta Evolution, which allows for rapid plays and lets him come out far quicker than any other Mega in the game (outside of any Grass Mega thanks to Forest of Giant Plants). There's not a good enough reason to run his Theta Max form over his Delta Evolution form. And then there's Primal Groudon-EX, who could conceivably benefit from all of this, but again, he loses out on the protection that Omega Barrier provides him - something that could ultimately win the game for your opponent. 

Gaia Volcano is still a good if expensive attack in this format due to all the Stadium play, so stick with the original Primal Groudon-EX and maybe keep one of these versions handy in case you need it, but don't expect any big favors when a sudden Lysandre switches out to a weaker Pokemon of yours. 


Standard: 3/5 (he's not a bad card by any means - and indeed, Primal Groudon-EX is the best of the Theta Reprints in my opinion - but his original counterpart is superior because of the added protection he gets) 

Expanded: 3/5 (the longevity provided may or may not outweigh the protection Omega Barrier provides - again, it's debatable, but just know you're more vulnerable to a lot of stuff without that Omega Barrier) 

Limited: 1/5 (...well, you're very lucky to have pulled him, but unless they stuck a Groudon-EX in your booster without you looking, he's actually dead weight here) 

Arora Notealus: I'm not sure why Primal Groudon's shiny form is so...dark? I guess it's like how Kyogre and Rayquaza's look dark, but...I dunno, I guess it just really looks good on Rayquaza and not so much the other two. Then again, Groudon's just golden normally, and Kyogre's...purple. Guess I just like their regular designs better! 

...except Shiny Rayquaza, he's cool XP 

Next Time: You saw him once already, and now you'll see him again! But this time, he's different...


Primal Groudon-EX (XY: Ancient Origins 97/98) is a confusing beast because it is technically not a reprint.  As is often the case the art and various “little things” like the card ID are different, but what makes it most unusual is that the game relevant text is all the same as XY: Primal Clash 86/160 and 151/160 except for its Ancient Trait.  So even though it is so similar, it is not actually a reprint and that meant it was fair game for our Top 15 list for XY: Ancient Origins, which it almost made as our 16th place pick with seven points (tying with our 15th place pick), though it didn’t make my own personal list.  So normally this information is something I would use in the summary but this time it seemed relevant enough to open the review.  We are going to discuss both versions a lot and yes, that means I’m going to pour through this card even though almost all of it is the same as its predecessor… after all an update is warranted because the previous CotD to cover a Primal Groudon lowballed it. 

Falling back on my usual formula, Primal Groudon-EX enjoys being a Fighting-Type, one of (if not the) strongest Type in the game right now.  Please note that being the strongest Type does not mean the strongest deck will contain said Type; if something else is stronger than the best Fighting-Type even after having access to abundant Weakness (most Colorless, Darkness and Lightning-Types) and fantastic support (like Fighting Stadium, Korrina and Strong Energy), it still wins.  There are some drawbacks to being a Fighting-Type; while “no Resistance” is the most common, after that Fighting Resistance is one of (if not the) next most abundant.  At least one anti-Fighting-Type card exists (possibly more which I have forgotten about) but they aren’t that good so if I could easily format a footnote into these reviews, this sentence wouldn’t likely even be in the main body of the review.  Almost as obvious as the Type is that this is a “Primal Reversion”, a subset of Mega Evolutions which are a subset of Pokémon-EX.  Nothing so far has specifically referenced Primal Reversions, but there are both support and counter cards for Mega Evolutions.  Being a Mega Evolution also has the usual drawbacks of being a Pokémon-EX (gives up an extra Prize when KOed, can’t use certain pieces of support, targeted by certain counter-cards) with the added issue of your turn ending when you Mega Evolve one of your Pokémon: this card can use Groudon Spirit Link or Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick to bypass that problem. 

Primal Groudon-EX has 240 HP, just 10 shy of the current printed maximum of 250 found on Wailord-EX.  No HP score is safe from being OHKOed, but 240 HP is highly resilient, with few decks being capable of hitting it rapidly, reliably and repeatedly multiple times, which is fantastic.  Weakness provides the usual exceptions and unlike when the previous version of Primal Groudon-EX was reviewed, the Grass-Type got a major boost.  With just a trickle of information about the results for results from last weekend’s Fall Regional Championships I don’t know how strong or weak a showing they made, but in the immediate future I would assume people would still be trying to make them work even if they fell totally flat, whether due to stubbornness, ignorance or actually knowing how to make them perform well.  OHKOing a 240 HP isn’t going to be automatic for most of these decks but when they get set-up and working, these newer Grass-Type decks plus the old standby of VirGen can still do the deed.  There is no Resistance on this card (again, the most common state) and while it would have potentially been handy, its lack isn’t a serious detriment either.  The Retreat Cost of [CCCC] can be though; it will almost always be too expensive to pay unless you’re in a very tight spot or so ridiculously far ahead of your opponent that you can actually afford to pay and to recover from having paid it.  I wouldn’t count on that, so prepare to go down swinging/sitting there like a lump if you can’t power up or make room for some cards to lower the cost/change out your Active without manually retreating. 

So now for the Ancient Trait; XY: Ancient Origins 97/98 has “Θ Max”, which is a home videocassette technology (developed by Sony) that lost out to VHS videocassettes in the big to become the dominant format for home media back in… no that is “betamax”, not “theta max”.  Θ Max triggers when you Mega Evolve something into (this) Primal Groudon-EX; it heals all damage from that Pokémon.  This can very from absolutely useless (you Mega Evolve a Groudon-EX that has no damage or want to use Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick) to amazing as you heal a massive amount of damage without (for example) losing all your attached Energy as you would with Max Potion.  The attack (Gaia Volcano) requires a daunting [FFFC] to use and only does 100 damage if you can’t trigger the bonus clause, but with said effect you can swing for +100 damage (so 200) if there is a Stadium in play and (whether you want to or not) then discard said Stadium.  200 for four Energy on a Type known for damage buffs can be well worth it, OHKOing anything in the game, though most Mega Evolutions and certain “protected” Pokémon will require additional help to pull it off, but it can be done with a reasonable investment. 

So before we get to the comparison, I may as well run through the options for Groudon-EX: BW: Dark Explorers 54/108 (also available as BW: Dark Explorers 106/108) and XY: Primal Clash 85/160 (also available as XY: Primal Clash 150/160 or XY: Black Star Promo XY42).  Both are Fighting-Type Basic Pokémon-EX with 180 HP, a Retreat Cost of [CCCC], no Ancient Traits, Abilities but two attacks.  BW: Dark Explorers 54/108 has Water Weakness and Lightning Resistance, while for [FC] it can use “Tromp” to hit for 20 to the opponent’s Active plus 10 to each of his or her Benched Pokémon and for [FFC] it can use “Giant Claw” to hit for 80+, where the “plus” is an additional 40 damage if the Defending Pokémon has at least two damage counters on it.  XY: Primal Clash 85/160 has Grass Weakness and no Resistance (like Primal Groudon-EX).  Its first attack - Rip Claw - needs [FC] and hits for 30 damage plus gives you a coin flip to discard an Energy attached to your opponent’s Active while the second - Massive Rend -  needs the same massive [FFFC] as Primal Groudon-EX to attack, but hits for a flat 130.  BW: Dark Explorers 54/108 (and its other printings) are only Expanded legal in the first place, and it is mostly a question of metagame as to whether or not it is better than XY: Primal Clash 85/160; the attacks on the latter seem better but sometimes Bench hits (or a slightly less expensive “big” attack) can come in handy, likewise differentiating your own Weakness. 

So XY: Primal Clash 86/160 is the exact same as today’s version except is has “Ω Barrier” instead of Θ Max, which prevents an opponent’s Trainer cards (except for Stadiums and Pokémon Tools) from affecting Primal Groudon-EX.  This slightly older version of Primal Groudon-EX more than exceeded the expectations of my fellow reviewers and myself; it didn’t just form a deck but a strong deck.  It didn’t win any division but it had overall strong performance before and at the World Championships, was the Runner-Up for the Junior Age Bracket and will soon be released as one of the 2015 World Championship Decks.  Its current status is still unknown to me as we haven’t had enough events for reliable data (we’ve seen something dominate one weekend but flop the next and vice versa).  Ω Barrier has been a big part of that; parking a Wobbuffet (XY: Phantom Forces 36/119) up front to hobble your opponent’s set-up and protect Primal Groudon-EX from even more threats is not uncommon.  This buys time to attach multiple Strong Energy and/or get the correct Stadium into play; Scorching Earth for added draw (and setting up Fighting Energy for Mega Turbo), Fighting Stadium when you are facing a Pokémon-EX and need another 20 damage as well as Silent Lab so you can smash through protective Abilities (at least on Basics). 

So does XY: Primal Clash 86/160 play nice with XY: Ancient Origins 97/98?  I think enough to justify a single copy.  There are decks that can still damage a Benched Groudon-EX and before it Mega Evolves a Lysandre easily forces it Active, but after Mega Evolving you’ve got Mega Turbo to potentially take it from “zero” to “attacking” in a single turn.  If you’re about to attack anyway, you have fewer Trainers to fear so Mega Evolving while shedding all damage becomes a smart play.  Most of the time though you’ll want to rely on the Ω Barrier version.  Primal Groudon-EX decks may or may not bother with Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick (Alejandro Ng-Guzman’s list didn’t); if they do (or should they use it in the future), remember that Θ Max becomes worthless.  Something that was in his list that could prove useful with Θ Max is Focus Sash - a Groudon-EX with 170 damage on it from surviving what should have been a OHKO will suddenly have an open Tool slot again (Focus Sash is discarded after it triggers) so you can drop Groudon Spirit Link, Mega Evolve and Θ Max all the damage away!  This goes for Standard or (as far as I know) Expanded.  Where you should not bother with this card is Limited; no Groudon-EX in its own set!  Technically a Limited event can use more than one expansions’ boosters, but the most common Limited event is the Pre-Release; use the old Limited rating if a set with Groudon-EX is included. 


Standard: 3.25/5 

Expanded: 3.25/5 

Limited: 1/5 

Summary: Not sure if I want the-powers-that-be to pull a stunt like this with other cards, but at least this time Primal Groudon-EX (XY: Ancient Origins 97/98) can prove worthwhile in an established deck as a single alongside the older Ω Barrier version; the option to heal when a Groudon-EX is already primed to attack post Mega Evolving won’t be needed all the time but when it is you’ll be glad you had it. 

Emma Starr

            Today we review the lean, mean, Stadium destroying machine, Primal Groudon EX! Infamous for looking downright awesome, will he be able to obliterate anyone in his path? Let’s find out!

            210 HP is right where most Megas seem to sit, with some having 220 HP, but that’s not too big of a deal. A Retreat Cost of four IS a big deal though, as he’s putting the fact that he’s the heaviest Pokemon out there to good use! So, if he wants to Retreat, make sure you have a Switch or some other form of escape handy, or else you’ll be paying his whole attack cost just to retreat! Speaking of his attack…

            Gaia Volcano costs three Fighting and one Colorless, and normally does 100 damage, which would be pitiful for any self-respecting Mega (or Primal) card out there! Fortunately, if there is a Stadium Card on the field, you get to completely get rid of it, and the damage of this attack gets boosted to a much more respectable 200 damage. But there lies an issue already – although you can OHKO anything (except other Megas or Wailord EX) if there is a Stadium in play, you’ll only be able to do this once, then hope you have a Stadium Card handy again, hopefully in your hand. If not, you COULD use Skyla to quickly find another from your deck, but she is only legal in Expanded now, sadly. And if your opponent has any sort of noggin, unless having a Stadium out is paramount to their strategy (which hopefully it isn’t, as they can be easily replaced or destroyed), nobody is going to set another Stadium out on their next turn, unless they are 100% certain they can KO Primal Groudon on that turn as well. So, it’s kind of sad that you’ll be relying on your own Stadiums to keep having Primal Groudon pumping out that crazy 200 damage, but on the plus side, he does get those wonderful Fighting type boosts! Strong Energy will power up his 100 damage Gaia Volcano to 120, with 20 more for any extra Strong Energies you can attach to him. Machamp (FuF) can provide 20 more for each one you get in play, and Landorus (FuF) can accelerate some energies to him while he’s still on the bench getting powered up. On one final note, Fighting Stadium CAN help Primal Groudon do 220 damage, and OHKO any Mega or EX (barring Mega Rayquaza EX (RoS 61) (the Dragon type one) or Wailord EX), but be aware you’ll still be discarding the Stadium as usual.

            Before I forget, a very nice partner for Primal Groudon could be Regirock (XY49) that we reviewed here. With its Land Maker attack, it can quickly get two of your discarded Stadiums to your hand. This combo will definitely require some Switches though, since Regirock’s Retreat Cost of three isn’t too pretty either.

            Okay, so something on this card actually changed since Primal Clash, and possibly for the worst. Primal Groudon EX may have become shiny now, but let’s face it, it’s old Ancient Trait, Omega Barrier prevented any Trainer (non-Tool/Stadium) card from affecting him, which meant no Lysandres dragging him out, or any Team Flare Grunts or Hammers messing with his Energy. Needless to say, this is probably one of the best Ancient Traits to have. With the SR version however, it got Theta Max, which heals all damage from it whenever it Mega Evolves. While this may be handy if Groudon EX took a beating, if it was just sitting on the bench the whole time, however, it now loses the awesome protection of Omega Barrier, but to be fair, Primal Groudon wasn’t meant to be a bench sitter anyway, so maybe it’s for the best in some cases…but if you’re using Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick to get him in play, this Ancient Trait is pretty much useless deadweight.

            Standard: 3/5 (Use your Stadiums wisely, but remember Primal Groudon always has access to those handy Fighting type boosts! But, unless you want to brag about your flashy shiny card, stick with the first print.)

            Expanded: 3.5/5 (Skyla makes Primal Groudon’s life so much easier…)

            Limited: 1/5 (You may have pulled one of the prettiest cards in the set, but it won’t do anything for you until after you go home…)

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