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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


#6 - Lugia

- Fates Collide

Date Reviewed:
May 12, 2016

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 4
Expanded: 4
Limited: 4.25

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

Back to the main COTD Page


Just pulling a little shy off my Top 10 list and yet making it to #6 on the overall list, we have Lugia! But let's be honest, there's certainly no reason why he shouldn't be on this list - after all, he IS one of the best cards in this set! And to think you can get him in the Sky Guardian deck so easily... 

Anywho, Lugia isn't anything special at first either - notice a trend here? He's Colorless, which is good to tech into anything, but he's only got 120 HP - not the most a non-EX non-evolving Basic can have, but a fair amount. His Retreat Cost isn't too bad either, though 2 Energy doesn't really make him any more or less searchable. So what's the appeal in something like Lugia? 

First off, Pressure is his Ability. With it, he technically qualifies as having 140 HP, since Pressure can reduce the damage he takes by 20 - BEFORE Weakness and Resistance. That's pretty key, considering some effects don't always say "before" those other two bits, and that's pretty big! While Electric types aren't usually around that much outside of Manectric-EX and Magnezone builds, having that Fighting Resistance is pretty stellar, especially considering we just got Strong Energy reprinted this set. 

Oh yeah, Strong Energy got reprinted this set, thought you oughta know. 

But then there's Intensifying Burn! It's 3 Energy of pure power, hitting for an ASTOUNDING...oh...it only hits for 60 damage. That's...okay. But if the opponent's Active is an EX, then you can do 60 more damage and hit for 120 damage! That's pretty good, considering that's the magic number to 2HKO most anything in the format! I mean the only thing that could really make Lugia stand out even more would be- 


...well, okay, it mostly just builds off of what Lugia can do. Adding on a little extra HP isn't gonna do too much but give Lugia some breathing room, and the Flash of Destruction attack is basically an extra Energy to deal 150 and then discard 2 cards - not terrific, but still pretty good. Still, there's a reason Lugia made the list and not Lugia BREAK, and that's because Lugia on his own is a really solid card! 

Try him out if you get the deck for him! 


Standard: 4/5 (a very solid option for those wanting to tech in some anti-EX!) 

Expanded: 4/5 (I mean, let's face it, the EX aren't going anywhere any time soon) 

Limited: 4/5 (and having something like Lugia by your side is probably better for you than not) 

Arora Notealus: Lugia, Guardian of the Seas - that's how I see this artwork! It's really really cool to see Lugia like this! I hope we get the chance to see more Pokemon in this manner, with them interacting with stuff in a dynamic way. Kudos on ya, TOKIYA!! 

Weekend Thoughts: Do you agree with our list so far? Think some of these cards oughta be higher up? Maybe some of them lower or even off? Do you think these cards will play a big role in the format now and later, or will they drop out when rotation hits or end up being duds? Who can say, but we've still got 5 more cards to go!


Lugia (XY Fates Collide 78/124) is the top of the bottom half of our 10 list, ranking sixth.  As a Colorless Type we won’t be encountering Weakness or Resistance unless we explore the Unlimited Format cardpool, and we aren’t.  There aren’t many cards that punish the other player for using Colorless Type Pokémon and they aren’t that good, but there are only two of them so I’ll name Exeggutor (XY: Roaring Skies 2/108) and Haxorus (BW: Dragon Vault 16/20).  Colorless Type support features just one more card: we have Altaria (XY: Roaring Skies 74/108; XY: Black Star Promos XY46) which makes your Colorless Pokémon have no Weakness, Aspertia City Gym which gives Colorless Types +20 HP, and Winona, a Supporter that allows you to add three Colorless Pokémon from your deck to your hand.  They don’t have their own Special Energy, though as most (but not all) Colorless Types have just Colorless Energy costs, Double Colorless Energy helps most of them (as opposed to select examples of other Types).  There are also many strong Colorless Type attackers but as they are so easy to splash into other decks, the only upside of building a deck around them is sharing the explicit Colorless support. 

Lugia is a Basic Pokémon, which means one slot in your deck yields one copy for play, you can Bench it without requiring any other cards or turns of waiting, you can use it as your opening Pokémon, and many effects naturally favor it due to the preceding points.  There are some anti-Basic Pokémon effects like Jolteon-EX, Pyroar (XY: Flashfire 20/106), and Silent Lab; the first two have methods of blocking damage from Basic Pokémon while the latter shuts off its Abilities.  Lass’s Special (XY: Fates Collide 103/124) takes a slightly different route as instead of punishing your opponent directly, but instead allows you to draw a card for each of your opponent’s Basic Pokémon in play.  Stage specific counters aren’t unique to Basic Pokémon though, plus there are some potent Basic Stage support like Fighting Fury Belt reward them and easily balance out such things.  Lugia has 120 HP, 10 20 shy of the maximum we’ve seen printed on regular Basic Pokémon now that Snorlax (XY: Fates Collide 77/124) with its 140 HP has released.  120 HP is enough that while taking a hit is still far from guaranteed, being OHKOed doesn’t seem significantly more or less likely than being OHKOed.  An exception is going to be when you are hit by Lightning Type attacks as Lugia is Lightning Weak; this can matter as even with 120 HP, this allows attacks doing as little as 60 damage to jump to OHKO range.  Lugia enjoys Fighting Resistance, which is more likely to matter than normal thanks to its HP and something else we’ll get to.  The Retreat Cost of [CC] is low enough to pay if you must, but try to at least reduce the cost if you don’t bypass manually retreating Lugia entirely. 

Lugia has one Ability and one attack.  The former is “Pressure”, an Ability that only works while Lugia is Active; it reduces the damage Lugia takes from the attacks of your opponent’s Active Pokémon by 20 before Weakness and Resistance.  We’ve seen similar effects before, but this time the protection only works while Lugia is Active; no tanking the often low damage Bench hits.  If there is ever something that can attack from the Bench, Pressure also wouldn’t protect against that; only damage from attacks by the opponent’s Active.  It does apply before Weakness and Resistance, and I stressed that earlier because it is indeed important as it can be the difference between a OHKO and a 2HKO; say Jolteon-EX hits Lugia with its “Flash Ray” attack.  Unless Pressure is shut down (such as by Silent Lab), it will reduce the damage an unboosted Flash Ray does from 70 to 50, then Weakness will double it to 100; but if Pressure applied after Weakness, then in the same situation it would do 70, doubled to 140, less 20 which is 120 and OHKO.  Pressure combines with a solid HP score and Resistance to Fighting, which is important considering the Fighting Type got some more help this set. 

Lugia also has a familiar attack; “Intensifying Burn” requires [CCC] to hit for 60, but it does an extra 60 (totalling 120) if used on a Pokémon-EX.  Three-for-60 is bad, three-for-120 is good, and thankfully right now the format is such that this is not likely to average out to an “mediocre” or even “average” attack.  There are non-Pokémon-EX with more than 60 HP that see competitive play, and if you face those Lugia is probably just getting used as a wall up front to stall (if used at all), but Pokémon-EX are still so commonly used by decks that especially if you have Lysandre to force a Shaymin-EX (77/108, 106/108) Active for a OHKO, most of the time Intensifying Burn should prove useful.  Something similar to this combo has proven worthwhile in the past: Bouffalant (BW: Dragons Exalted 110/124).  Both are Basic Colorless Pokémon with a Retreat Cost of [CC], an Ability that soaks 20 damage from attacks, and a three Energy attack that hits for 120 against Pokémon-EX (60 against anything else).  Bouffalant has 20 less HP, Fighting Weakness with no Resistance, and of course the Ability and attack have different names.  The attack text though is only different because of templating changes since then, while the Ability on Bouffalant reduces damage from attacks by 20 whether Bouffalant is Active or on the Bench, and from any Pokémon (not just the opponent’s Active), but it applies after Weakness and Resistance.  Bouffalant had a period where it was quite potent and popular, and though it isn’t what it once was, in Expanded it can still do some damage with the right backing. 

Lugia has something else going for it that Bouffalant does not: Lugia BREAK (XY: Fates Collide 79/124) also just released.  Being the BREAK Evolution of a Basic is a lot like being a Stage 1, save cards that specifically reference being a Stage 1 won’t work for (or against) Lugia BREAK.  Lugia BREAK keeps its Colorless Typing but has 150 HP and a new, larger attack: “Flash of Destruction” costs [CCCC] and requires you discard two Energy from Lugia itself to hit for 150 damage.  As this is a BREAK Evolution, Lugia BREAK still enjoys the protection from Pressure, allowing it to often “fake” having 170 HP against OHKOs, 190 HP against 2HKOs, etc.  It also can use Intensifying Burn for when 60 or 120 damage is all you need.  Does Lugia require Lugia BREAK?  I don’t think it does, but it is a great option for have, especially for a deck that can manage the increased Energy costs.  As is, a Lugia that survives an attack can BREAK Evolve, attach just one more Energy, and shoot for 150 damage; if it can’t survive a second shot then the discard cost didn’t matter, and if it does then one more Energy brings Intensifying Burn back online while something as simple as a Double Colorless Energy brings Flash of Destruction back to bear. 

Lugia BREAK also brings up the possibility of building an entire deck around these two cards.  120 versus Pokémon-EX is enough that boosting can bring big results.  Silver Bangle is an option in Expanded, which would get damage versus Pokémon-EX up to 150 for Intensifying Burn or 180 with Flash of Destruction.  Toss in Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym and you now can effectively OHKO 210 HP Pokémon-EX with upwards of 240 HP Pokémon-EX going down from the Poison damage if the opponent can’t get rid of Virbank City Gym or being Poisoned.  In Expanded or Standard, Golbat (XY: Phantom Forces 32/119; Generations 31/83) and Crobat (XY: Phantom Forces 33/119) could be used to try and make up the difference between OHKO and 2HKO instead.  However I believe the main use will be splashed into decks that have ample Energy acceleration and need some options to work around various blocking effects.  Lugia is not a Pokémon-EX and Lugia BREAK is not a Pokémon-EX or a Basic Pokémon, while also having the potential to tank.  Even just sticking with regular Lugia (since we are reviewing it), it can be a great addition to a deck with the space and capacity to quickly power it up.  Toss a Fighting Fury Belt on it and you have an effective 190 HP versus 2HKOs, 210 versus 2HKOs, etc. and that means a solid chance of trading favorable with Pokémon-EX you can hit for 120 each turn.  Even against non-Pokémon-EX, the durability may be enough to help you break even or pull ahead. 

In Limited play this card ought to be amazing.  Even with the new Evolution Packs, a 120 HP Basic that takes 20 less damage from attacks, and can use any Energy to attack is great, even if most of the time it’s just hitting for 60.  When it gets to hit for 120, it will probably be a lifesaver.  Only leave it out if you pull something like Zygarde-EX and decide to run it completely on its own (no other Basics) to ensure you open with it.  An added note is that Lugia is in the new “Sky Guardian” Theme Deck: in fact there are two, one regular and one special Holofoil version.  I will point out what is likely obvious; Lugia is amazing in any formats build around Theme Decks.  Prior to the recent Pre-Release change, there was a Limited Format that used Theme Decks plus a booster or two; I am uncertain if this still exists or not.  What I do know is that the PTCGO specifically has a Theme Deck only mode, and Lugia certainly impressed me there.  If your opponent already has another fully Evolved (excluding BREAK Evolutions) Pokémon that is also powered up then Lugia probably isn’t going to be enough to take it down, but just about everything else is doing well to trade with Lugia thanks to Pressure.  Intensifying Burn won’t be getting its bonus damage, but it often won’t need it as you’re dealing with a lot of Evolving Basics that have yet to Evolve, sometimes can’t even Evolve at all. 


Standard: 4/5 

Expanded: 4/5 

Limited: 4.5/5 

Theme: 4.5/5 

Summary: Lugia provides a new anti-Pokémon-EX Basic bruiser for decks that can meet a three Energy attack cost without too much hassle.  The reworked version of Bouffalant does most of what it did, but with Fighting Resistance instead of Fighting Weakness and an optional BREAK Evolution that can really bring the hurt.  Not every deck should use it, but most should be able to make it a functional play. 

Lugia secured sixth place with 24 voting points.  This means it only beat out the seventh place pick - Marowak (XY: Fates Collide 37/124) - by one point.  It would have needed a full four points to tie with fifth place pick (and it turns out, the fourth place as we had a tie).  All of these cards are still so new I don’t know if this we dodged a bullet or dodged right into a bullet with this positioning, but overall I’m good with Lugia clocking in at sixth place, even though I actually selected it as my second place pick.  I elevated it so much because of its general usage potential, but at least four out of the five cards that beat it I can easily see doing as well or better than Lugia.

(Had this as his 11th place pick.)

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