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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Top 10 XY: Evolutions Cards

#4 - Starmie
- XY: Evolutions

Date Reviewed:
Nov. 15, 2016

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.88
Expanded: 2.50
Limited: 3.75

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

Back to the main COTD Page


Lemme get this outta the way: this new Starmie is good. 

That being said, Star Freeze is an improvement over the old one, albeit it's a 2-for-30 instead of a 3-for-20. The effect's virtually the same, which for a 50/50 on getting Paralysis? Not too shabby, but you don't wanna rely on it too much either. Unlike that nifty Ability he got! 

See aside from a HP boost and a slight change in Weakness from Lightning to Grass, Starmie also lost an attack to get an awesome Ability in Star Beacon. Pretty much it might as well read: "Exchange a card in your hand for 2 basic Energy in your discard pile." Now you can't just pick an Energy you'd discard in order to get it and another Energy back since that would be cheap, but it's an ultra-selective way of getting something you've got in hand into your discard without relying on something like Sycamore to dump it for you. 

Naturally any cards that work better in the discard will be prime targets, which means things like Vespiquen will benefit a little off of this Ability. The only major problem is figuring in the basic Energies plus the discard, which leads me to thinking more along the lines of Volcanion-EX. Pretty simple combination: discard a Fire Energy for Volcanion-EX, discard another card to get that Fire Energy and another back for Starmie, ???, and then profit. You can do a lot with this Ability if you can fit in a simple line-up for him. 

Or just play him with Archie's. A bit of a stretch in terms of usage, but hey, it's a thought. 


Standard: 3/5 (Energy retrieval is pretty nice, though the selective dumping alongside putting the Energy back in hand may not be as great on a Stage 1)

Expanded: 3.5/5 (that being said, if you can fit Starmie into a deck, he can put in good work for you) 

Limited: 4/5 (and that's really something to profit off of) 

Arora Notealus: Starmie from the Base Set days is a bit of a nostalgia point for me. Notably he was a card you could get in the decks of the Pokemon Trading Card Game for the GBC...ahhhh, nostalgia, you blind me to the greatness of that small small game. Course nowadays, we can't really have that same thing getting updated with rotations, but hey, at least they've got online capabilities rather than being reliant on a cable. 

Next Time: A common rat gets into our Top 3??


Our fourth place finisher is Starmie (XY: Evolutions 31/108).  This is a Stage 1 Water Type Pokémon with 90 HP, Grass Weakness, no Resistance, and Retreat Cost [C].  Being a Stage 1 is adequate; Basics are best but a single extra card and turn delay (or Wally) isn’t bad.  Being a Water Type is okay; it hits nearly all Fire Types and some Fighting Types for Weakness, crashes into Resistance when facing many BW-era Grass Types, has some good tricks like Dive Ball and Rough Seas, and just some strong Water Type Pokémon that - even if normally used off Type - are even better in a Water Type deck.  There are some anti-Water effects, but they don’t amount to much, with Parallel City being the main one you’d encounter… and isn’t actually being run to counter Water Types, probably because it’s just an annoying -20 damage at the cost of shrinking your own Bench down to three spots.  Exploiting Weakness would matter if there were more Fire (or Water Weak Fighting) Types being used, but as is is a decent foundation.  90 HP is low enough for Level Ball; that’s the small upside as most of the time it's a OHKO for your opponent.  Grass Weakness is dangerous, but with the HP it’s going to be edge cases surprising you where the true danger lies, as most serious attackers already have the OHKO.  No Resistance is the worst but is typical; it is just a missed opportunity for Starmie and not crippling flaw.  The Retreat Cost of [C] is the second best, not a huge benefit but not large enough to require compensation. 

Starmie has the Ability “Space Beacon” which allows you (once per turn before you attack) to discard a card from hand in order to then add two basic Energy cards from your discard pile to hand (one if there is only one).  The wording is such that if you have multiple instances of Space Beacon, each may be used once per turn.  The text specifies you cannot reclaim the Energy you discarded for the effect; based on similar older cards this just means you cannot discard a basic Energy card and immediately add it back to hand, but you can discard a basic Energy card, and then using either a second Space Beacon or just on your next turn, select that as one of the two basic Energy you add from discard pile to hand.  Again, that is how a similar effect worked in the past, so you should check elsewhere to be certain.  Starmie also has the attack “Star Freeze” which costs [WC] and does 30 damage while having you flip a coin; “tails” changes nothing while “heads” leaves the opponent’s Active Paralyzed.  As the Ability only works with basic Energy cards, it will be useless (or next to it) in some decks due to their lack (or near total lack) of basic Energy cards.  Fortunately in some decks it should be very good, and in most it should be handy (but not necessary). The attack is filler; it isn’t the worst two Energy attack in the world by any stretch, but only use it when desperate. 

Starmie Evolves from Staryu, so let’s take a look at our options: BW: Next Destinies 23/99, XY 33/146, XY: Primal Clash 32/160 (also McDonald’s Collection 2015 4/12), XY: BREAKthrough 29/162, XY: BREAKpoint 25/122, and XY: Evolutions 30/108.  All but the first two are Standard legal, and all are Basic Water Type Pokémon with no Resistance, no Ability, and no Ancient Trait.  BW: Next Destinies 23/99 has 60 HP, Lightning Weakness, Retreat Cost [C], and two attacks: [C] allows Staryu to use “Recover”, discarding an Energy from itself to heal all of its damage, and “Water Gun” for [W] to do 10 damage.  XY 33/146 has 60 HP, Grass Weakness, Retreat Cost [C], and the attack “Reckless Charge” for [WC], doing 30 damage to the opponent’s Active and 10 to Staryu itself.  XY: Primal Clash 32/160 also has 60 HP, Grass Weakness, Retreat Cost [C] and one attack, but its attack is “Lunge” for [C] which does 20 damage but requires a coin flip (“tails” fails).  XY: BREAKthrough 29/162 gives us a third Staryu with 60 HP, Grass Weakness, Retreat Cost [C] and a single attack that costs [C], but the attack is “Continuous Spin” which has you flip a coin until you get tails, doing 10 damage per “heads”.  XY: BREAKpoint 25/122 has just 40 HP, still has Grass Weakness, has a perfect free Retreat Cost, and the attack “Smack” for [W] doing 20 damage.  XY: Evolutions 30/108 goes back to 60 HP, Grass Weakness, and Retreat Cost [C]; its lone attack is “Quick Blow” which costs [W] and does 10 damage with a coin flip, where “heads” does +10 damage (so 20 total) while “tails” means only the base 10 damage is done.  For the record, XY: Evolutions 30/108 is technically based on Base Set 65/102 (and Base Set 2 95/130) but XY: BREAKpoint 25/122 is about as close.  In either case, none of the attacks are likely to help so decide whether you want 60 HP with Lightning Weakness (BW: Next Destinies 23/99), 40 HP with a free Retreat Cost (XY: BREAKpoint 25/122), or 60 HP with Grass Weakness (any of the others). 

Our other options for Starmie are BW: Next Destinies 24/99, XY 34/146, XY: Primal Clash 73/160, XY: BREAKthrough 30/162, and XY: BREAKpoint 25/122.  All are Stage 1 Pokémon with 90 HP, no Resistance, no Ability, and no Ancient Trait.   BW: Next Destinies 24/99 is a Water Type with Lightning Weakness, no Retreat Cost, and two attacks: “Confuse Ray” for [C] (doing 30 damage and Confusing the opponent’s Active) and “Swift” for [W] (doing 50 damage and ignoring all effects plus Weakness/Resistance on the opponent’s Active).  It was reviewed here.  XY 34/146 is a Water Type with Grass Weakness, Retreat Cost [C] and again two attacks: [W] pays for Recover (again discarding an Energy an Energy to heal all its damage) while [WCC] pays for “Core Splash” (does 60 damage plus another 30 if it has any [P] Energy attached).   It too was reviewed.  XY: Primal Clash 73/160 is a Psychic Type with Psychic Weakness, a free Retreat Cost, and a single attack; “Synchro Star” costs [C] and does 10 damage, and if Starmie and the opponent’s Active have the same amount of Energy attached then it does another 60 (so 70 total).  XY: BREAKthrough 30/162 is back to being a Water Type with Grass Weakness, Retreat Cost [C] and two attacks: for [W] it can use “Deep Sea Swirl” to shuffle your hand into your deck and draw seven cards, while for [WC] it can use “Balance Bind” to do 30 damage, and if both players have the same size Bench the opponent’s Active is also Paralyzed.  None of these are worth using alongside today’s; some of the attacks aren’t bad and free Retreat costs are nice, but aren’t worth it on a 90 HP Stage 1 with nothing else to offer. 

There is also Starmie BREAK (XY: Evolutions 32/108).  Still a Water Type, but now with 130 HP and an additional attack.  As a BREAK Evolution, it no longer can benefit from Stage 1 specific support, though general Evolution support still applies.  130 would be the low end of typical for a Stage 2, and it is just barely enough that surviving a OHKO is more likely than not, but for something you’re investing at least three cards into it doesn’t seem like enough.  For [W] it can use the attack “Break Star” which does 100 damage to each of your opponent’s Pokémon BREAK.  Now… BREAK Evolutions are a final Evolution Stage, so while 100 damage for one Energy is great and 100 damage against multiple targets even better, you might be doing nothing as your opponent holds off on playing his or her BREAK Evolutions.  Plus to use the attack we are looking at three cards (four if you need to work in a source of [W] Energy).  Even where BREAK Evolutions are important, your opponent may be able to stagger them so you’re just doing that 100.  Indulging Create-A-Card for a minute to underscore this, if we had “Starmie-EX” with this attack, even with 130 HP, it would have been better.  This card could be handy, but only if you already wanted to run a Starmie and BREAK Evolutions are strong in your area, strong against your particular deck, or both. 

Starmie (XY: Evolutions 31/108) borrows the art assets from Starmie (Base Set 64/102; Base Set 2 94/130).  This Starmie was a Stage 1 Water Type with 60 HP, Lightning Weakness, no Resistance, Retreat Cost [C] no special mechanics, no Pokémon Power (Abilities didn’t exist back then), and two attacks.  It has Recover for [WW] and specifying you have to discard a [W] Energy from itself to remove all its damage counters, and it has Star Freeze for [WCC] and still flipping to Paralyze, but only doing 20 damage.  This was a pretty sad card, and the remake does a decent amount for it.  I don’t know if it was the original, but I remember the Ability as a Poké-Power called “Magnetic Field”, found on Magneton (EX: Dragons 17/97; EX: Power Keepers 16/108).  It proved handy in decks with heavy Energy discard costs, especially costs from hand.  That is the probable sweet spot for Starmie (XY: Evolutions 31/108).  Examples would be decks using Volcanion-EX for its Ability “Steam Up” to power up the damage from Basic Fire Pokémon, and maybe decks using Abilities which attach multiple Basic Energy from hand in a turn like Magnezone (XY: BREAKthrough 54/162).  Boy Magnezone wishes this Ability had shown up on Magneton. 

So for Standard and Expanded play, it has its place, though it is still a bit more narrow than I’ve suggested.  In addition to benefitting from reclaiming basic Energy from the discard over and over again, other options need to prove inferior.  In fact, I go back and forth over whether a Stage 1 Ability I can reuse is worth more than say just running two Energy Retrieval, or Fisherman, or what have you.  It is worth it in Limited play, unless you pull a single, strong Basic and build your entire deck around it (to the exclusion of any other Basic Pokémon).  Of course, don’t expect it to win you much directly, just make it easier to meet your Energy needs. 


Standard: 3.25/5 

Expanded: 3.25/5 

Limited: 3.75/5 

Summary: Starmie gained a handy Ability, but I’m not overly impressed.  Maybe I just haven’t run the right deck, or I have but I haven’t crashed into enough Item lock, or have crashed into too much Ability lock.  The net result is a good, solid card though, and a welcome addition to the card pool (just not mindblowing). 

Starmie snagged 11 voting points, edging out yesterday’s fifth place finisher by one point but missing a tie with tomorrow’s third place by four.  Speaking of four, Starmie only got four of its voting points from me as I had it as my seventh place pick.  Fourth seems a little too high, but only a little.

Zach Carmichael

Starmie has always been one of my favorite Pokémon from the first generation. It was a fantastic option for those players who did not choose Squirtle as their starter (though I have to wonder why they didn’t :P ). Unlike many of  the cards in Evolutions, which are pretty much unplayable, Starmie has a slight bit of potential thanks to an interesting Ability that could prove useful in decks that rely on basic Energy cards. 

At 90 HP, Starmie can be searched out with Level Ball, as well as Dive Ball since it is a Water-type. Its Star Freeze attack is a bit irrelevant because 30 damage doesn’t do a whole lot in this format, but its “Space Beacon” Ability is what makes Starmie intriguing. It lets you put 2 basic Energy cards from your discard pile into your hand if you discard a card from your hand. While many decks can already recover Energy thanks to Super Rod (and now Brock’s Grit), adding a simple 1-1 Starmie line could prove useful if you don’t feel like wasting Super Rod or need Energy in a pinch.  

Greninja BREAK decks can certainly utilize Starmie, and I would not be surprised to see new variant of the deck emerge over the coming weeks as new tournaments are held. The problem with using Starmie in Greninja BREAK decks is that it messes with Talonflame significantly. Most players max out Talonflame in order to start with it thanks to the “Gale Wings” Ability. It adds a great deal of consistency to a number of Evolution-based decks but perhaps is most associated with Greninja BREAK decks. Typically you will want to play 4 Talonflame and 3 Froakie to maximize your chances of starting Talonflame – and nothing else. I suppose you could cut the Froakie count to 2 to squeeze a Staryu in, but then you risk prizing one or both of them.  

That isn’t to say it can’t take advantage of Starmie’s “Star Beacon” Ability, though, and that there is only way to play the deck. I could see a new version that focuses more on the “Giant Water Shuriken” Ability than actually attacking, use Max Potion to constantly heal while recovering Energy with Starmie. The only issue with this is the threat that is Garbodor, who has become a very cumbersome problem in Standard and has no true counter. Until Tool removal is a thing again, I am not sure how viable either Greninja BREAK or Starmie are.


Standard: 2/5

Expanded: 1.5/5

Limited: 2.5/5 

Summary: Starmie caught my attention when Evolutions was first release in Japan. Its Ability is basically an Energy Retrieval, providing a new sense of strength especially to decks that use Max Potion to heal off damage. Greninja BREAK seems to be the obvious partner, but as long as Garbodor is in the format, I don’t think it will see too much play for a while. It will be interesting to see what kind of partners players will find to really take advantage of the seastar Pokémon.  

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