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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Top 15 Ancient Origin Cards

#1 - Lugia EX

- Ancient Origins

Date Reviewed:
September 11, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 4.58
Expanded: 4.58
Limited: 5.00

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

Back to the main COTD Page


Yeah, you probably figured that at some point Lugia-EX was gonna come up on this list. And how could he not? Now we've got his power to work with, and that means you'd best be prepared to see a lot more of this scary face on the scene!

So considering all the ridiculously powerful cards on this list, how did Lugia-EX manage to top them all? Well, to be perfectly honest...he barely tops it off. I personally had him as my Number 3 spot (Hex Maniac was actually my top pick at the time), but I'd be lying if I said he didn't deserve #1. So what makes Lugia-EX the best? 

Let's start by just looking at his attacks. Aero Ball will actually sound rather familiar - it's Mewtwo-EX's X Ball word-for-word! Apparently, we couldn't have a format without some form of X Ball around, and Yveltal-EX's Evil Ball just hasn't been that prevalent, all things considered. I don't think I need to mention how powerful that kind of attack is, so we can just move onto the next big thing: his second attack. 

You may recall both Mewtwo-EX and Yveltal-EX had a second attack which was either okay (in Mewtwo-EX's case) or actually helped do some support. Lugia-Ex's goes much further: Deep Hurricane is a hefty 4-for-80 hit that can deal 70 more damage if there's a Stadium in play before blowing it away! That's some dangerous power right there, and given how prominent Stadiums have become in the format as of late, it's an extremely powerful second attack to have! 

Alright, so Lugia-EX has two pretty solid and powerful attacks - but there's one major difference between him and the other X-Ballers that causes him to stand out: he's Colorless. That means there's no easy counter Lugia-EX with Lugia-EX match-up, and there's no deck that can't run Lugia-EX to some degree! If anything, there's one deck that's going to benefit from having him around: M Rayquaza-EX, who already runs support around Colorless Pokemon anyway! 

Lugia-EX is shaping up to be a powerful attacker in the format, but will he be able to work past the other decks that will come up? The Lockdown Giratina-EX deck, the devastating M Tyranitar-EX smackdown, or even the deadly growth of the Forest of Giant Plants with M Sceptile-EX leading the front? 

...well, if he can't beat them, he can definitely join them. 


Standard: 5/5 (splashability thanks to Colorless typing and powerful attacks means that Lugia-EX is going to probably be the most powerful of all X-Ballers) 

Expanded: 5/5 (the MOST POWERFUL) 

Limited: 5/5 (...THE MOST POWE-) 

Arora Notealus: I feel like I've mentioned before how Lugia's my favorite between him and Ho-oh. That's not to say Ho-oh's bad or anything, but I just preferred Lugia more. Color loyalty to Silver, I suppose - you never forget which game you picked first in a generation! 

Weekend Thought: Do you agree with our Top 15 list? Was this a good read for you? You think some cards should be higher or lower or even on the list? Maybe you'd like to bring up some interesting cards that should have made the list but didn't! Don't worry, we've plenty of time to evaluate the cards - the next set's not out till November anyway!


Our top pick from this set is… albino Yveltal-EX! 

Don’t know what I mean?  You may have guessed anyway because there is only really major card left to review that makes a lick of sense at the top of the list: Lugia-EX (XY: Ancient Origins 68/98, 94/98)!  The previous Lugia-EX (BW: Plasma Storm 108/135, 134/135; BW: Black Star Promo BW83; BW: Legendary Treasures 102/113) was fairly well known, but so I don’t constantly feel the need to specify a set (like when I cover it later for a bit of comparison) I’ll refer to that one as Lugia-EX [Plasma].  Back to the new one though, it is a Colorless-Type Pokémon as you would generally expect (though sometimes it has been a Psychic-Type, as it is both Types in the video games).  Being Colorless means no hitting for Weakness (bad), never worrying about Resistance (small bonus) and being able to tap Colorless-Type support (solid bonus).  Being a Basic didn’t miraculously stop being the best Stage since our last Basic Pokémon was reviewed; minimal space in deck, minimal time to get into play, greater natural synergy with certain other mechanics and in Expanded there are even a few cards of Basic Stage support.  Being a Pokémon-EX doesn’t automatically have any benefits (though it usually means better attributes and/or effects) but does guarantee giving up an extra Prize when KOed, an inability to access certain existing pieces of support and already being targeted by certain counter-cards also already in the game. 

170 HP is the lower of the two common scores for Basic Pokémon-EX, but only by 10 points.  This is enough you’ll often be able to survive a hit, which is fairly good considering even the largest Pokémon in the game right now (Wailord-EX) isn’t safe from OHKOs, though its 250 HP is definitely much safer.  One of the things that will have a good chance of OHKOing Lugia-EX are Lightning-Types and this has gotten a bit nasty lately because not only do we still have some strong Lightning-Type attackers like Raichu (XY 43/146) and both Manectric-EX and M Manectric-EX but potentially any Stage 1 Pokémon can now become a Lightning-Type thanks to Jolteon (XY: Ancient Origins 26/98).  Furthermore, there are still some really strong, popular attackers (like Yveltal-EX) that are already Lightning Weak, providing incentive to run more Lightning-Type attackers.  Lugia-EX enjoys Fighting-Type Resistance is a lot better than it might sound: Fighting-Types have come to embody fast, hard-hitting, Energy efficient attackers that can also stack multiple damage bonuses unique to them (on top of those not unique to them).  More than a few of the currently successful ones also ignore Resistance or do massive damage… but don’t do both at the same time so that -20 will often enough turn a OHKO into a 2HKO or 2HKO into a 3HKO.  Finishing off the bottom stats is a Retreat Cost of [CC]; high enough you’d prefer not to pay but low enough you’ll often be able to, especially with something like a Double Colorless Energy. 

Lugia-EX does its thing with two attacks: “Aero Ball” and “Deep Hurricane”.  The former costs [CC] and hits for 20 times the number of Energy attached to both Active Pokémon while the latter requires [CCCC] to hit for 80+ damage, where the “plus” is another 70 damage if there is a Stadium in play, then discards that Stadium.  There is some significant synergy between these attacks though there is a little bit that doesn’t so much clash but requires taking care.  Aero Ball should hit for at least 40 damage unless another effect reduces its damage.  The Energy required for Deep Hurricane would do at least 80 damage with Aero Ball but sometimes you’ll need to discard the current Stadium in play.  Other times you’ll expressly regret that you must discard the Stadium in play when you use Deep Hurricane, though if between the two Active Pokémon there are at least eight Energy, Aero Ball will hit harder than Deep Hurricane.  Thanks to the [CC] and [CCCC] Energy costs these potential hang ups are minor.  You can use almost any Energy acceleration, including the easy and often seen Double Colorless Energy: a single copy goes from zero to Aero Ball while a second goes from Aero Ball to Deep Hurricane.  This means you can attack with Aero Ball and then only bother with Deep Hurricane if it still looks worthwhile the next turn.  You can punish other Energy hogs with Aero Ball or Stadium reliant decks with Deep Hurricane; that’s is a nice bonus for being an otherwise solid attacker. 

How does this compare with Lugia-EX [Plasma]?  It has 10 more HP, is a Team Plasma Pokémon and sports an Ability alongside a big attack.  “Overflow” states that when “this Pokémon” (so Lugia-EX [Plasma]) KO’s an opponent’s Pokémon with damage from one of its attacks, you get to take an extra Prize.  That is quite potent as if you win by Prizes you should shave off at least a turn for taking the win.  The attack is Plasma Gale which delivers a decent 120 damage, but requires you discard a Plasma Energy from itself or else the attack does nothing.  Thanks to all the available support, this was once the main attacker of one of the top decks in the format.  It is still something to be wary of in Expanded but I don’t know if it is one of the current top decks.  You can check out our two older reviews if you like but they are definitely dated.  In Expanded you have little reason for this card to fit into most decks… unlike today’s Lugia-EX.  You might risk doing it the otherway around though: it isn’t brilliant but a Lugia-EX could operate alongside enough of the support in a Lugia-EX [Plasma] deck to matter.  Still there are two better cards to compare and contrast with: Mewtwo-EX (reviewed four different times) and Yveltal-EX (reviewed twice). 

I have found a lot of people noticing the similarities between Mewtwo-EX, but ignoring that Yveltal-EX is part of the same club.  It actually got kind of frustrating: before we knew the full Japanese set people would make comments about the “New Mewtwo-EX” or even refer to as a “reprint” of Mewtwo-EX and so I’d go to investigate and oh, just Lugia-EX again.  All three of these are Basic Pokémon-EX with 170 HP and a Retreat Cost of [CC].  All three are of course different Types, with the appropriate drawbacks and bonuses therein.  Mewtwo-EX is Psychic Weak, which initially created an unusual situation as it was also part of the first wave of Pokémon-EX and the flat out best; to counter it you had to pretty much run it yourself (it also has no Resistance, but that isn’t a big deal).  Both Lugia-EX and Yveltal-EX have the same Weakness and Resistance though, meaning they’ll face some similar situations from here on out.  Aero Ball is basically just “X-Ball” (Mewtwo-EX) with a new name, unlike “Evil Ball” (Yveltal-EX) which costs [DC] but does 20 plus 20 per Energy attached to both Actives (so just a little more damage). 

What I think really secures though that Lugia-EX is just a bit closer to Yveltal-EX (despite being as easy to splash as Mewtwo-EX) is that while “Psydrive” is a solid attack, its [PPC] cost and mandatory Energy discard meant its 120 damage rarely was employed.  Yveltal-EX on the otherwise uses its “Y Cyclone” ([DCC]) to hit for 90 while moving an Energy off of itself onto something on the Bench… usually another attacker that needs it, both reducing the damage it will take from other attackers that do more damage based on the Energy attached to the opponent’s Active while doubling as a form of Energy acceleration (especially when Yveltal-EX gets KOed, as that Energy would have been totally lost otherwise).  Deep Hurricane operates differently but it is easier to pay than Psydrive and the Stadium discard is usually going to be a solid bonus.  Of course even if one still thinks Lugia-EX is closer to Mewtwo-EX than Yveltal-EX, that is okay… just remember that Yveltal-EX already “inherited” most of the former positions of Mewtwo-EX.  Lugia-EX just gets a chunk of what is left. 

Fortunately that is a lot; Mewtwo-EX rotated out so in Standard, the “hits harder based on Energy attached” big, Basic slot is open, or at least as much as it can with decks being so crowded.  Where once Mewtwo-EX would have been the dance partner, now expect Lugia-EX.  Being compatible with cards like Winona may also earn it a few extra side gigs, as will being able to discard an in play Stadium while doing solid damage.  The same applies for Expanded, though it is hard to say if it is better or worse; you have more cards both to combo with and compete with so for now, I’m just going to call it “even”.  For Limited play, you should run this whatever else you are running.  Even if you originally planned on a +39 deck with a different big, Basic Pokémon-EX you can make a “+38” deck instead and probably make your opponent really, really frustrated by your fantastic pulls.  Of course if Lugia-EX is the only decent thing you pull, just run it plus 39 other non-Basic Pokémon and unless your opponent quickly gets a solid Lightning-Type (or great of any Type) attacker out, he or she will be hard pressed to take out Lugia-EX before you snag four Prizes. 


Standard: 4.15/5 

Expanded: 4.15/5 

Limited: 5/5 

Summary: The increased pacing and damage output of the game keep this card from scoring as high as its predecessors did, but Lugia-EX is a great card.  I had it as my number two pick and it probably deserved to be at least that.  This isn’t by any means a “must run” card but even when it isn’t the optimal choice, it is often a good one (and where it is the best choice it is great!). 

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