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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Top 15 Ancient Origin Cards

#3 - Giratina EX

- Ancient Origins

Date Reviewed:
September 9, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 4.13
Expanded: 3.88
Limited: 4.50

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

Back to the main COTD Page


Over the past couple of years or so, there has been a large rise in anti-EX measures in the face of the powerful Pokemon-EX - who for the longest time have been the dominating force in the metagame. Strategies have led to different results in many ways - teching in stuff like Sigilyph and Suicune into decks in order to keep Pokemon-EX at bay, and even for a brief time there was Pyroar who stood in the face of adversity and declared with a mighty roar, "NO!!" 

Now, faced with even more powerful opponents in the form of Megas, there can be only one Pokemon to stand against them...and it's gotta be a Pokemon-EX.

At least, I'm assuming that's what the dramatic theme music was playing to in the development boards at Pokemon HQ when they made Giratina-EX. And then they decided to make Giratina-EX THE ANTI-POKEMON!! Which, ya know, it's thematic. Makes sense. 

So what all does Giratina-EX...um..."anti-do?" Well, for starters, there's his Ability Renegade Pulse, which is the big "anti-Mega" on this card. It's effectively Safeguard against Megas, so Giratina-EX is a fairly relevant card in a sense. I mean, how many times have you run into a deck with a Mega as its main attacker, am I right? Of course, these kinds of decks need a back-up attacker to get around such Safeguard-y effects, and Giratina-EX leaves himself much more vulnerable to the lower level Pokemon-EX than most Safeguards. 

Perhaps that's why his attack is just as powerful. Chaos Wheel is a 4-for-100 strike that has a bit of an awkward Grass-Psychic cost in addition to the 2 Energy, but that can be supplemented fairly easily with Double Dragon Energy (seriously, that needs to be reprinted forever to make most Dragons playable). And then there's the effect: your opponent will not be able to use Tools, Special Energies, or Stadium cards during their next turn. 

Okay, so we've seen how effective an attack like this can be with Seismitoad-EX and Exeggutor having headed up two very powerful and dominating moves. But why so open-ended with Giratina-EX? Well probably because of the fact that this does deal 100 damage, versus Quaking Punch which only did 30 damage and Blockade which only does 10. Special Energies and Stadiums seem to be a bit more relevant than the Tools aspect, but think of it this way: you'll have your Stadium safe for a turn, your opponent can't Mega Evolve without ending their turn, and their ability to power up their attacks slows down to just Basic Energy! Throw in a Hex Maniac, and you've got a terrifying lock that spreads across the tourney scene! 

...well, I say throw in Hex Maniac, but do be careful. We wouldn't want to lose Giratina-EX at a bad time, would we? 


Standard: 4.5/5 (he's highly relevant in the scene with all the Megas around, and he'll remain relevant for a good long time) 

Expanded: 4/5 (as much as Megas dominate the format, Giratina-EX will lose out to Pokemon that still won't be able to touch the Safeguard folk - but that doesn't mean he's bad by any means!) 

Limited: 5/5 (...yes) 

Arora Notealus: Man oh man, this has been a long time coming! Giratina may have had another EX in the past, but by comparison...well, I guess it's reasonable. This Giratina-EX is much more solid against Megas, and it instills a lockdown, but with the release of Double Dragon Energy, the old Giratina-EX is at least somewhat more playable. 

...still not as good, since its Shred can be done by a cheaper non-EX, and Dragon Pulse is just bad, but still. 

Next Time: Actually, come to think of it, Giratina-EX would probably work well with tomorrow's card...


Time to break into the Top 3 cards of XY: Ancient Origins!  First up (or third place) is Giratina-EX (XY: Ancient Origins 57/98, 93/98).  This a Dragon-Type and they are doing a lot better with the added support provided in the last set: Double Dragon Energy to provide two units of Energy that count as all Types at once while Hydreigon-EX and its “Dragon Road” Ability that lowers the Retreat Cost of Dragon-Types by two so long as a Stadium is in play, among some that are less generic.  Otherwise the type enjoys nothing being Dragon Resistant but at the same time only Dragon-Types from the BW-era sets are Dragon Weak, so nothing is in Standard and only a small chunk of the card pool in Expanded.  There are also a few anti-Dragon-Type cards, but fortunately for Dragon-Types none of them have been relevant; even I don’t feel the need to list any in detail, and you may have noticed I tend to be rather obsessive about such things.

Giratina-EX is a Basic Pokémon, which for better or worse is still the best Stage to be; besides needing less time and space than the other Stages as well as having better natural synergy with certain mechanics (for example, searching for Evolutions means searching for each Stage or having the others already on hand), there are even some bits of Basic Pokémon support in Expanded: Skyarrow Bridge and Prism Energy.  While I don’t expect to see them used alongside Giratina-EX, they do actually compliment Dragon-Types; Skyarrow Bridge drops the Retreat Cost of Basic Pokémon by [C] (so alongside a Hydreigon-EX costs of [CCC] or less would be free, with [CCCC] dropped down to just [C]) while Prism Energy provides a single unit of Energy that counts as all types while attached to a Basic Pokémon (useful for meeting the awkward Energy combinations of Dragon-Types).  Being a Pokémon-EX doesn’t actually have a lot of inherent benefits, but usually they end up with better attributes and effects than they would otherwise have and peaking ahead it looks that happened here.  The downsides of being a Pokémon-EX are guaranteed: giving up an extra Prize when KOed (it is printed on the card), certain pieces of support being off limits to Pokémon-EX (said cards already exist) and certain counter-cards that specifically affect or protect against Pokémon-EX (which again are already part of the card pool). 

170 HP is the slightly lower of the two typically scene HP scores for Basic Pokémon-EX (the higher being 180); it is a small difference but it will matter at least some of the time.  While high both can be OHKOed, either through raw damage or combos.  Still it has enough resilience that in general it is likely to survive a hit, and you should have a good idea how much you need to worry based on the match-up.  Its Fairy-Type Weakness will skew things when you got up against a Fairy-Type, but I’m not sure if many of those show up both off-Type and in an attacking role.  I’m not even sure of the state of the main branch of Fairy-Type decks built around Aromatisse and its “Fairy Transfer” Ability because their best trick - Max Potion - is now Expanded only.  Giratina-EX has no Resistance so we’ll move onto the Retreat Cost of [CCC], one too high for Hydreigon-EX and its Dragon Road Ability to completely eliminate, at least as a single (doubling up would handle it, as would several other tricks).  I suppose it might be nice in Expanded as it makes it a legal Heavy Ball target, but without something to lower the cost or bypass manually retreating entirely, it is quite pricey and something to only pay when you absolutely must (if you have enough Energy attached to pay it in the first place). 

Giratina-EX has an Ability (Renegade Pulse) and an attack (Chaos Wheel).  The former prevents all effects of attacks, including damage, done by Mega Evolutions from affecting Giratina-EX.  Though highly specialized it is also highly useful; Mega Evolutions have become a pretty common powerhouse attacker for decks in general, though many decks still eschew them.  It is important to remember that in most decks, your opponent could fall back on the Basic Pokémon-EX from which their Mega Evolution usually Evolves, though often these are going to be less potent than the attacks on the Mega Evolution.  For [GPCC] the attack hits for a slightly low 100 damage but has an interesting effect: it prevents your opponent from playing Pokémon Tools, Special Energy or Stadium cards from hand on your next turn.  A seemingly odd assortment, it is nonetheless handy, especially blocking Special Energy and Stadiums as they are pretty common plays.  The two together can annoy a decent chunk of decks.

There is one other Giratina-EX though it is only legal for Expanded play.  It is BW: Dragons Exalted 92/124 and 124/124.  It is similar to today’s version in many ways: Type, lack of Resistance, Retreat Cost, lack of Ancient Trait (granted they didn’t exist back then).  It has 10 more HP (so 180) and Dragon Weakness instead of Fairy Weakness, lacks an Ability but has two attacks.  For [GPC] it can use “Shred” to hit for 90 damage while ignoring all effects on the Defending Pokémon.  This is a good attack that helped the card see some play as it could cut through a lot of protective effects, be they Ability or attack based.  For [GPCC] it could use Dragon Pulse to hit for 130 but it also made you discard the top three cards of your own deck.  A decent finishing option I suppose, and while no one really used it that way, you could combine it with a few different things to get to OHKO level… but mostly it was just sometimes included for “Shred” and now Hydreigon-EX can provide that plus a useful Ability.  As such, the new version has little to nothing to gain from being run alongside the old. 

So in what would you run Giratina-EX (XY: Ancient Origins 57/98, 93/98)?  I suppose anything that can reasonably meet the attack cost would technically be accurate, but the main use for this card appears to be a rather specific deck.  Early on people hit upon running this as the main attacker in front of Vileplume (XY: Ancient Origins 3/98).  Doing this shuts off all Items (done through the “Irritating Pollen” Ability on Vileplume) while also preventing your opponent from playing Special Energy or Stadium cards from hand.  Double Dragon Energy and Double Colorless Energy speed up attacking (while being protected from Crushing Hammer and Enhanced Hammer by Irritating Pollen) while Giratina-EX usually protects a Forest of Giant Plants from being discarded by an opponent’s Stadium.  Said Stadium can help you get Vileplume into play first turn and quickly replace it if it goes down and also try to work around your own Ability if you can use AZ to bounce Vileplume back into hand, use your Items, then instantly Bench Oddish, Evolve into Gloom and then back into Vileplume and restore the lock. 

At first I scoffed at this deck because I thought it would be too difficult to quickly set-up and because we have so many strong, non-Mega Evolutions that can attack, but we’ve had some very strong Mega Evolutions take center Stage in people’s minds (oddly not so many in the actual Top 8s for each age bracket at the still recent World Championship).  After seeing what would be left behind I then began to worry about the deck, seemingly confirmed by early encounters with it on the PTCGO.  Now?  Now I am just not sure: when it gets going it can be quite fierce, but if a deck runs Xerosic and or Hex Maniac or simply keeps up the pace it can be quite hard on Giratina-EX, even with Vileplume backing it.  Perhaps I have just been encountering underperforming or less skilled players/builds, or even simply have been getting lucky.  Unless we get some more radical format shifts, I expect this deck to become a recognized factor in both Standard and Expanded, where I suspect it will perform more or less the same, despite cardpool and metagame differences.  For Limited play it can be a bit of a risk to try the +39 route; as it will be your only Pokémon at all that 170 HP will have to survive several turns, and it can’t start attacking until you are on your fourth turn.  It might not hit hard enough to outpace your opponent: 100 damage OHKOs a lot of what you encounter in most Limited decks, but a good chunk will endure a hit.  As such just put it into a “regular” deck that preferably consists of Pokémon that get by with just basic Grass Energy and Psychic Energy, or at least where the deck can run mostly a combination of those two.


Standard: 3.75/5 

Expanded: 3.75/5 

Limited: 4/5 

Summary: Giratina-EX is solid in its own right but while it has a lot going for it, it is only “fast” with the use of Energy acceleration… and it really needs a good something else backing it up.  It looks to have such a partner in Vileplume but that deck could still fail to measure up.  Even if it performs great, Giratina-EX is part of the larger whole and the sum is greater than its parts; it doesn’t score as high as some of our other finishers in this list. 

Part of that would be my fault; once again I was blinded by some nasty losses, sometimes seeming more overpowered because it was clear the deck was carrying my opponent (not to sound haughty).  This led me to rank Giratina-EX as my third place pick, and now I think it should have been a slot or two lower.  Of course with this trend proving prominent for my last several reviews, that may be meaningless: as stated early on the reason we did a Top 15 was because we had so many excellent cards and it was hard to narrow things down, with the final list featuring several runs of very close scores or ties.  Giratina-EX only beat yesterday’s card by two (voting) points and was only two (voting points) below first place (one below second). 

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