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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Top 10 SM: Burning Shadows Cards

#8 - Noivern-GX
- S&M: Burning Shadows
- #BUS 99

Date Reviewed:
August xx, 2017

Ratings & Reviews Summary


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

Back to the main COTD Page


Noivern-GX is probably going to be the most experimented with in this set. Why do I say that? Well after taking a look at this card, I think the answer will be pretty clear. 

Noivern-GX is the first Dragon-type GX Pokemon to come out that wasn't mediocre (sorry Kommo-o-GX), but he comes into the game as we're saying goodbye to the all-important Double Dragon Energy. This is why I think he'll be more of an experiment, since his attacks are all different levels of disruption, but the attack costs are going to be awkward to handle. 

For instance, Distort is a 2-for-50 that needs a Dark Energy in addition to anything else, making it accessible in some Dark builds. It also prevents the opponent from using Item cards, which as we've seen in the past can slow the pace of some decks down enough to be a threat. The only problem with this attack at the present moment is that we've started playing around Garbodor (GRI), which means overall we've got less Items to disrupt. It has its uses, but it's not going to be as dominant as Seismitoad-EX was. 

Then there's Sonic Volume, which does 3-for-120 and stops Special Energy cards from getting played. With the way things are looking right now, the only major Special Energy cards for the time being are going to be DCE and Rainbow Energy, which means this attack too is effective and has its uses but it might not be as dominating as it could be expected. The third Energy in the attack is also a Psychic Energy, making it a little more difficult to access readily. We'll see how much of an impact this attack will have on future sets. 

And then there's Boomburst GX, which for the same cost as Sonic Volume does something similar to what Necrozma-GX did yesterday: sweep through massive damage across a wide base. The only difference is Noivern-GX's move only does 50 damage, but it does it to anything on the opponent's field rather than just EX or GX. It doesn't seem like this will be as dominating a GX move, and for that reason it probably won't be the GX move that people use for their once-per-game move. It's one of the weaker ones overall, so I don't expect it to be used often.

Noivern-GX is going to probably fluctuate in usage, as a tech in Dark decks for its Distort attack to potentially being the focus of a disruption deck. We'll have to see what awaits Noivern-GX post DDE, and what changes the future holds. 


Standard: 3.5/5 (his disruption is pretty good) 

Expanded: 3.5/5 (but his typing may be niche) 

Limited: 4/5 (he's got potential, but we'll see where it goes) 

Arora Notealus: I'd keep an eye on Noivern-GX here to see where he pops up. If he becomes dominant like Seismitoad-EX did, then we'll have to see where he goes. 

Next Time: Another GX? Must be our lucky day-hey wait where you running off to GET BACK HERE


Noivern GX (Burning Shadows, 99/147) has the distinction of being one of only two Dragon Pokemon from the Burning Shadows expansion set.  Since SUM, only a handful of Dragons have come into the meta.  A 200 HP, Stage 1 Pokemon, it has three attacks.  Its first attack, Distortion, made us all jump out of our seats when we saw it.  It only does fifty damage but creates a one sided Item lock against your opponent as he or she cannot play Items during his or her next turn.  I’m sure my fellow reviewers will comment about how reminiscent of Seismatoad EX’s (Furious Fists, 20/111) Quaking Punch this is.  However, several factors work to limit the effectiveness of this attack:

·         Noivern GX is a Stage 1 Pokemon.  Without Wally (Generations, RC27), it will take two turns to evolve Noivern.

·         Even if you do get a turn 1 Wally, Distortion requires a Dark and a Colorless energy – making it virtually impossible to get turn 1 Item lock.  Maybe with Max Elixir (Breakpoint, 102/122) and Multi Switch (Guardians Rising, 129/145) but even then it’s a pretty big stretch and certainly wouldn’t be possible to consistently execute.

·         Double Dragon Energy (Roaring Skies, 97/108), as we mentioned two weeks and a day ago, rotates out at the end of August.

Furthermore, as we have also identified a number of times recently, people are playing less Items.  We’re putting less Items in our decks.  Therefore, Item lock, while still significant, will not completely stunt your opponent’s development the way it did in the past.

Loud Sonic, the second attack, requires a Dark, a Psychic, and a Colorless energy to do 120 damage but also has a lock effect.  Your opponent cannot play any Special energy in the next turn.  This has some significance as 58% of decks I faced in July played Special energy.  Unfortunately, as a three attachment attack, your opponents will have ample opportunity to get Special energy on their Pokemon before you have the opportunity to use this attack.  Also, by using this attack, you break the Item lock stranglehold you have over your opponent, and as I saw in my testing, a good player only needs one turn to escape from that oppression.

Noivern’s GX attack, Explosive Soundwave, does fifty damage to each of your opponent’s Pokemon.  This attack again costs a Dark, a Psychic, and a Colorless energy.  This spread damage attack could work well to soften up opponents Pokemon and bring them into OHKO range.  It also could be used to swoop in late and potentially take multiple prize cards in a single turn.  Maybe Noivern will fill that kind of role in the future, as a one of late game attacker, but in my post rotation testing, it has not fared well as a feature deck.  I lost all seven matches I played with Noivern.  Some of them were close, but I feel that Noivern requires too much energy, and Item lock does not have the sustainability that it had in the past.


Standard: 2 out of 5


It doesn’t help that Noivern GX has Fairy weakness and Gardevoir GX (Burning Shadows, 93/147) looks like the BDIF right now, and it doesn’t help that DDE will rotate out soon.  And I’ll say that I have seen videos where Noivern was successful and won matches, so maybe it’s just me and my brain doesn’t work this way.  I could see the dominance of Item lock, how it absolutely devastated my opponents, especially when I was able to combine it with ability lock.  It was palpable, like a giant net was thrown over them and they were unable to escape.  However, I was unable to sustain the Item lock forever, and they eventually were able to overcome it and put too much pressure on me.  I paired Noivern with both Garbodors (Guardians Rising, 51/145, Breakpoint, 57/122), and GRI Garbodor sometimes came on strong late in the game to take some prizes, but it wound up being too little too late.  One person I tested against with only post-rotation cards thought that it could work, but unfortunately I remain skeptical that Noivern GX will have any success post-rotation.


Do you remember Seismitoad-EX? That Pokemon had an attack that locks down item cards? What if I told you we’d have a Pokemon that is similar, but better than Seismitoad-EX in three years? You might think that I’m lying, or the designers had gone a bit mad.

Well, that’s what happened on today’s card and why Noivern-GX made 8th place on the top ten cards of Burning Shadows.

What makes Noivern GX better than Seismitoad? Well, it has 200 HP, which is bulkier than Seismitoad’s 180 HP. It’s a Stage 1, which can get through some counters that deals against basics such as Jolteon EX, as well as tapping on some stage 1 support such as the Eeveelutions that adds a type to all Stage 1s (Vaporeon adds Water, Jolteon adds Lightning, and Flareon adds Fire), Training Center that gives a 30 HP boost, and Bodybuilding Dumbbells which gives a 40 HP boost to Stage 1 Pokemon. It is also a GX, which can bypass some cards that counters just EXs such as Safeguard Sigilyph, Suicune, and Carbink. It has free retreat, unlike Seismitoad, which had three! As far as attack goes, they are also similar to Seismitoad. Distort costs DC for 50 damage, 20 more than Seismitoad’s Quacking Punch. Sonic Volume may have an awkward cost and does 10 less than Grenade Hammer (120 vs 130), but it still 2HKOs most decks and instead of doing self-damage to your own benched Pokemon, it prevents the opponent from playing any special energies from your hand. And to add another attack, Boomburst GX does 50 damage to each of your opponent’s Pokemon. The spread damage is good, but using a GX move once per game may be underwhelming, and it also faces competition from other Pokemon’s GX move.

Noivern-GX is not as monsterous as Seismitoad-EX if we’re taking about Standard post rotation. It’s DC attack cost suggests that Noivern is not as splashable as Seismitoad (whose Quacking Punch can be met with Double Colorless Energy). Also, being a stage 1 means that unless you use Wally, you have to wait a turn for Noibat for evolve. Your opponent will do anything to KO Noibat before it evolves such as three Feather Arrows, one Giant Water Shuriken, or outright attack them. Additionally, Dragon types doesn’t hit for weakness except against Black and White Era Dragon Pokemon. Some of these problems can or can’t be alleviated to some extent such as Double Dragon Energy.

Overall, we have a threat that can potentially lock the player from attaching Special Energies or playing item cards. Moreover, Distort backed with Choice Band can add pressure against opposing GX/Exs, just needing a bit more help to reach 2HKOs. Just seeing Noivern-GX on the field can cause the opponent to be irrational because they tend to fear the unknown, or rather they know that they’re almost out of options the moment the effect kicks in.


Standard (pre-rotation): 4/5

Standard (post-rotation): 3/5

Expanded: 4.5/5

Limited: 3/5

Summary: Standard may not have as much support for Noivern-GX due to cards being rotated out over the years, but Expanded gives you lots of options to support it. In Limited, this would be a solid Pokemon to use if you can pull both the basic and stage 1 in four packs. Unfortunately, Gardevoir-GX and other fairies are on this set, so you might experience an autoloss.

Noivern-GX secured 8th place with 18 voting points. I had this card as my 2nd place pick because I was celebrating that another Pokemon that does a similar job comes to Standard.


Time for our eighth place finisher, Noivern-GX (SM: Burning Shadows 99/147, 141/147, 160/147).  Being a Pokémon-GX comes with both powerful up and downsides; support and counters, better attributes and effects but giving up an extra Prize… it is usually a net positive, but be careful not to forget about either when using the card.  Noivern-GX is a Dragon-Type, so (for now) you can still take advantage of the amazing Double Dragon Energy, plus a few useful (but not essential) pieces of added Dragon-Type support; after September 1st they won’t be an option in Standard play any longer.  There may be a few pieces of older Type-support in Expanded play to consider as well, but more on that later.  It did remind me, though, that the Dragon-Type is useless for hitting Weakness outside of the Expanded Format, and at least they don’t face Resistance in either (though a few anti-Dragon-Type effects are floating around in Expanded).  Being a Stage 1 is serviceable; being a Basic is better but Stage 1 Pokémon are only a bit slower and more resource intensive, but still better than the other Evolutionary Stages.  Stage 1 Pokémon-GX seem to range from 200 HP to 220 HP, but the minimum also seems to be the most common; it does matter but will mostly be relevant when faced by Weakness as not a lot of decks are going to be blasting for 200 but lack the capacity to push it to 220.  Said Weakness is to the Fairy-Type, which is unfortunate; there is a lot of hype around Gardevoir-GX, so expect it to be a rough matchup even if Gardevoir-GX shocks us and underperforms.  Lack of Resistance is disappointing but not surprising, but Noivern-GX does sport a perfect free Retreat Cost, which is handier anyway. 

Noivern has three attacks, the first of which is “Distort”.  It costs [DC] and does 50 damage with the often potent effect of locking down Items during your opponent’s next turn.  Not as nice of a cost as “Quaking Punch” on Seismitoad-EX and you’re dealing with a Stage 1 instead of a Basic Pokémon.  This is good for game balance, but dings this card’s prospects a bit, as you’ll have to use Wally or forgo a T2 or T3 Item lock.  It isn’t bad, just not as scary as it would have seemed a few years ago.  The second attack is “Sonic Volume” for [PDC]; it does 120 damage and prevents your opponent from playing any Special Energy from hand.  120 for three is still good, even when you’ve got two different non-Colorless Energy requirements to fill; the effect is good but its true value with vary with the matchup, from useless to merely irritating to crippling depending upon how badly your opponent relies on Special Energy.  Sonic Volume seems to be a tweaked version of the “Chaos Wheel” attack found on Giratina-EX (XY: Ancient Origins 57/98, 93/98); for [PGCC] it did 100 damage and blocked your opponent from playing Tools, Stadium cards, and Special Energy from hand.  Doing 20 more damage and needing one less Energy is nice but locking down Tools and Stadiums alongside Special Energy may ultimately be better.  The three Energy requirement will make Noivern-GX a bit faster and/or more reliable, but the extra damage isn’t a nice of a bonus as it sounds at first; Choice Band allows Chaos Wheel to score critical 2HKO’s while it doesn’t make much of a difference for Sonic Volume without help. 

The GX-attack is “Boomburst-GX” shares its cost with Sonic Volume; what it actually does is hit everything on your opponent’s side of the field for 50 damage.  Before considering the rest of the card and how you only get one shot from this, Boomburst-GX seems okay.  It is the powered-up version of “Boomburst” is a non-GX-attack found on the original Noivern (XY: Furious Fists 77/111); for [PDC] (again), regular Boomburst does 30 damage to each of your opponent’s Pokémon.  50 spread is scary over and over again, but part of why the regular Boomburst didn’t do much is that blocking damage to the Bench is relatively easy right now; Boomburst-GX still has to worry about that plus is a one time deal.  Possibly, Noivern-GX could use it to soften up (or if the opponent keeps retreating, finish off) Pokémon its other attacks are only wounding, but that means breaking either an Item lock or a Special Energy lock.  The same issue arises when you do need to switch locks.  As such, the attacks clash with each other, at least a little; I can see how they might all work in concert, or (with the first two) as alternatives so that a deck must work well without either Items or Special Energy for Noivern-GX to be a minimal threat.  With both of the first two attacks, also remember that Pokémon Ranger exists to counter the effects and Tapu Lele-GX is already present in most (all?) competitive decks; the other attack based locks didn’t have to deal with that. 

We should probably take a quick look through our options for Noibat; unless you use Wally or some more obscure Evolution acceleration options, Noibat will have to survive a turn before you can manually Evolve it into Noivern-GX.  I’m seeing four Noibat cards: XY: Furious Fists 87/111, XY: BREAKthrough 131/162, XY: BREAKthrough 132/162, and SM: Burning Shadows 109/147.  All are Basic, Colorless Pokémon with Lightning Weakness, Fighting Resistance, and no Abilities.  XY: Furious Fists 87/111 has 60 HP and two attacks: for [C] it can use “Tackle” to do 10 damage and for [CC] it can use “Gust” to do 20.  It is also only legal for Expanded Format play.  XY: BREAKthrough 131/162 has just 50 HP and the attack “Blot” for [C], which does 10 damage then heals Noibat (meaning itself) by 10.  XY: BREAKthrough 132/162 is our second option with 60 HP, and it even repeats the attack Gust with the same [CC] cost and 20 damage.  The only thing unique to it is its first attack “Mysterious Beam”, which has you flip a coin and if “heads”, discard an Energy from the opponent’s Active.  SM: Burning Shadows 109/147 is another with only 50 HP and the attack “Agility” for [C], doing 10 damage and letting you flip a coin; “heads” means all effects of attacks (including damage) done to this Noibat are prevented until the end of your opponent’s next turn (“tails” still does 10 damage). 

Noivern-GX doesn’t need any of the other Noivern cards at all, but you do have the option of running them as well; it is no different than other split Evolution lines.  So the other three are Noivern (XY: Furious Fists 77/111), Noivern (XY: BREAKthrough 112/162), and Noivern BREAK (XY: BREAKthrough 113/162) and each is a Dragon-Type Pokémon.  Noivern (XY: Furious Fists 77/111) and Noivern (XY: BREAKthrough 112/162) are both Stage 1 Pokémon with 100 HP, Fairy Weakness, no Resistance, and Retreat Cost [C].  XY: Furious Fists 77/111 has the Ability “Echolocation”, which allows you to flip a coin when an attack would damage “this Pokémon”; “heads” means it takes no damage while “tails” means the attack goes through like normal.  We already mentioned this card’s attack - Boomburst - earlier; for [PDC] you do 30 damage to each of your opponent’s Pokémon.  Noivern (XY: BREAKthrough 112/162) has two attacks: for [C] “Tuning” allows you to shuffle your hand into your deck and draw a number of cards equal to how many your opponent has in hand, while for that familiar [PDC] it can use “Air Slash” to do 120 damage but it has to discard an Energy from itself.  Finally, Noivern BREAK allows the line to fake being a Stage 2 - it doesn’t count as a Stage 2 for card effects - with access to the effects and bottom stats of the Noivern from which you Evolve it.  You cannot Evolve it from Noivern-GX; not sure why’d you want to, but I’m sure someone would do it if only for the lols.  Noivern BREAK has 130 HP and one attack of its own called “Synchro Woofer”; yet again the attack costs [PDC] and this time it does 70 damage with an effect that adds 80 to that (so 150 total) if have the same amount of cards in hand as your opponent.  The only one of these I might consider is Noivern (XY: Furious Fists 77/111) as it has a chance at stalling (via the Ability) and can inflict further spread damage.  It is only legal for Expanded play, though, and I probably wouldn’t bother with it anyway. 

Okay, with all that out of the way, how should someone use Noivern-GX?  That is an excellent question; I wish I had concrete answers, but all I have is speculation.  With Decidueye-GX it could fake being Seismitoad-EX/Crobat (XY: Phantom Forces 33/119).  The problem is that prior to rotation, Decidueye-GX/Vileplume (XY: Ancient Origins 3/98) is almost certainly better thanks to Forest of Giant Plants, while after the rotation this combo loses Double Dragon Energy.  Without Double Dragon Energy, you’ll need to not miss an Energy drop on Noibat (and have the one you began to power up survive to Evolve) so that it can start locking down Items on your second turn, which would be the overall third or fourth turn of the game.  If you want to start the lock sooner, you’ll need to use Wally and some Energy acceleration; Max Elixir could be used prior to Evolving but remember it attaches to the Bench, so you’ll need a method to Bench your current Active or yet another card to move Energy from a Benched Pokémon to your Active.  Does it sound clunky enough yet?  I’m not nixing the idea for the deck as a whole, just trying to pull off the T2 Item-lock… well, I am saying not to bother with it prior to the September 1st rotation.  Seems like a plausible idea for Expanded regardless of the date but by “plausible” I mean “functional”. Not necessarily competitive.  After all, you could just use Seismitoad-EX/Crobat, Trevenant BREAK, or possibly some other Item-locking strategy I’ve neglected. 

The next candidate which occurred to me is for Expanded play only; Altaria (BW: Black Star Promos BW48; BW: Dragons Exalted 84/124; BW: Boundaries Crossed 152/149).  Each instance of its “Fight Song” Ability on your side of the field adds 20 damage to the attacks of your Dragon-Types.  These will not increase Bench damage, so they don’t help Boomburst-GX, and without any other combo pieces it doesn’t do too much for Distort or Sonic Volume, but if you’ve got Choice Band and/or Professor Kukui, Distort flirts with 2HKO’s while Sonic Volume can score some solid OHKO’s.  Using more copies of this Alteria either expands your range or reduces your reliance on the other two damage buffs.  If you go all out, with a full four Altaria on the Bench, Choice Band attached to Noivern-GX, and a Professor Kukui as the turn’s Supporter, you’re blasting opposing Pokémon-EX and Pokémon-GX with Distort for 180 while Sonic Volume deals 230 damage to them!  Even Boomburst-GX cares when there are this many buffs, as it would deal 180 to the opponent’s Active while hitting everything on the Bench for 50 damage.  Of course, this isn’t too realistic, but just getting enough so that Distort is reliably swinging for 3HKO’s against even the biggest attacks and Sonic Volume OHKO’s or 2HKO’s, and it is pretty significant… so long as the lock remains relevant. 

As aroramage pointed out (…my review went up late, if you didn’t notice), Noivern-GX could work its way into Darkness-Type decks.  With or without Double Dragon Energy, this presents some combos (I’m only worried about “without” in the post-rotation Standard Format).  Darkrai-GX has an Ability that allows you to bench it from your discard pile then attach a [D] Energy from the discard pile to itself.  Which means you’re an Energy Switch or Multi Switch or two away from a Noivern-GX with no Energy suddenly attacking.  You’d have to add in Wally for a total surprise so that Noibat can hit the field, you pull off the rest of the tricks, and then start locking down your opponent.  While Double Dragon Energy is still legal, this also allows you access to it for increasing the damage of the “Dark Pulse” attack made famous by Darkrai-EX (XY: BREAKpoint 74/122, 118/122).  Ideal?  No, but a use I hadn’t considered.  What might be a bit more relevant is going the opposite direction; a Darkrai-GX or two to help fuel Noivern-GX, especially post rotation.  The other, final approach is just to run a deck purely focused upon Noivern-GX, and use the extra space for various Trainers, maybe some disruptive Bench-sitters.  If locking down Items or Special Energy is not enough, maybe back it with Garbodor (XY: BREAKpoint 57/122)?  Expanded might have some nice hand disruption/control options floating around as well. 

Something I need to address and I wasn’t sure where to put it in this article are the three big concerns for Noivern-GX.  I’ve at least touched upon two of them already: Fairy Weakness is scary because Gardevoir-GX is being madly hyped, be it Standard or Expanded play other cards seem to “do it better”, and because of prior anti-Item/anti-Special Energy effects decks aren’t running as many as they once were (lessening the impact of the lock).  There is no real remedy for those last two, but if you’re already locking down your opponent’s Items, then he or she cannot easily use FIeld Blower to take out Weakness Policy.  As for Limited Format play, seems like a good pull but mostly because it is a big Pokémon-GX; there aren’t going to be that many Item cards or Special Energy to disrupt… in fact, there are no Special Energy at all in this expansion! 


Standard: Pre-Rotation - 3.5/5, Post Rotation - 3/5 

Expanded: 3.35/5 

Limited: 3.5/5


Noivern-GX does two things that helped make past locks decks - blocking Items or blocking Special Energy - but it can only do one at once.  The pacing is good for balanced game play but not so good for making Noivern-GX a strong contender.  Its prospects seem best in Standard prior to rotation and (if you are lucky) in Limited Format play.  Next, is Expanded play, and post rotation it looks competent but not dominant. 


Noivern-GX earned eighth place with 18 voting points from three lists.  One of those was my own, where I made it my ninth place pick.  At the time, I was mostly thinking it would enjoy a solid performance pre-rotation, but now I am no longer so sure.  Noivern-GX beat out ninth place Necrozma-GX by five voting points but missed joining the tie between seventh and eighth place by three voting points.

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