And now we come to one of the
mascot legendaries of the generation, Lunala - now in GX
form! Between the two legendaries, I do like Solgaleo
JUUUUUUUUUUST a little more, but I won't deny that both
of them - in their designs and their cards - are a great
Lunala-GX ended up on our list
though between the two, though that's not to say
Solgaleo-GX is bad by any means. Really that probably
goes for a majority of the good cards in the set -
they're just so good right now, it's hard to pick one
over the other. But Lunala-GX did end up as my personal
#1, so what do I think of it?
First of all is the Ability,
Psychic Transfer. We've seen this type of Ability before
- you get to move around any Energy of a particular Type
around as much as you want - so you know how it can be
applied in a variety of situations. In Expanded, this
continues with cards like Klinklang (BW) and Hydreigon
(DEX), although it's notable that a lot of these types
of Abilities weren't overtly present in the XY sets.
Still, the potential is there, and combined with some of
the Psychic support, it can really add up to a good
deal. In Standard it's a bit limited, but hey, I had
Primarina-GX on here for that sweet potential.
Lunala-GX also has Moongeist Beam,
which while it's expensive at 4 Energy for 120 damage,
it prevents the opponent's Pokemon from getting healed.
I know I haven't looked on healing as a generally
favorable mechanic, but against decks running Pokemon
Center Lady and Rough Seas, this is a powerful attack to
use. Just imagine the ability to 2HKO most anything in
the format without being inhibited by your opponent
recovering just enough HP to push it to a 3HKO - that's
good stuff right there!
Lastly we come to Lunala-GX's GX
attack, Lunar Fall GX. It's an Energy cheaper than
Moongeist Beam, but it comes with a powerful effect of
its own. It simply KOs a Basic Pokemon in play - no ifs,
ands, or buts about it. Just as long as it isn't a
Pokemon-GX, of course. Sure, the attack itself doesn't
seem that great - you just KO a Basic Pokemon and get a
free Prize? Eh, it's okay, but when you realize this
doesn't include those pesky Pokemon-EX - WELL NOW!! I'm
ready to wipe that smirk off my opponent's face when I
instantly KO their Pokemon-EX and claim those 2 Prizes
for game! This could be anywhere from a key Bench-sitter
in their strategy like Volcanion-EX to a main attacker
like Seismitoad-EX or Zygarde-EX!!
So what faults does Lunala-GX come
with then? I mean, there's definitely a catch to a 250
HP GX. Well, like Primarina-GX, she's also a Stage 2 GX,
so she'll be taking up a lot of deck space. And I'm not
gonna lie...Cosmog and Cosmoem aren't the most stellar
evolutionary line-up of the set. Neither of them have
damaging attacks, just moves to help out; Cosmog can
draw cards while Cosmoem Teleports itself to the Bench
to keep itself from getting KO'd easily, which at 90 HP
isn't that hard. Luckily their attacks are cheap and
flexible, but they're mainly just stepping stones to
Lunala-GX or Solgaleo-GX. On top of all of that, Lunala-GX's
Energy requirements are all entirely Psychic Energy,
meaning Psychic Transfer is a must to get the Energy she
needs, and she's currently sporting a Dark weakness,
which while not generally bad against things like M
Mewtwo-EX or Greninja BREAK, it does have a tough time
against Yveltal-EX decks, which happen to be the deck of
choice in the format currently.
Lunala-GX has a lot to live up to,
but I think the potential here is high. Psychic Transfer
is a replication of a previously successful Ability, and
Lunar Fall GX is too good to just pass up on...at the
moment. Depending on future sets, she may see more play
or less play, but one things for sure - Lunala-GX is
going to shape part of the format towards Psychic decks
and hopefully give folks a run for their money.
Standard: 4/5 (she's got potential,
but it's hard to judge if it's going to be tapped into
well at the moment)
Expanded: 4.5/5 (and while she
can't benefit off of things like Dimension Valley
herself, she can easily aid Psychic decks with her Lunar
Fall GX and Psychic Transfer)
Limited: 5/5 (and let's not forget,
we're dealing with a 250 HP powerhouse over here)
Arora Notealus: Lunala-GX or
Solgaleo-GX...both are Stage 2s, GX, with really useful
Abilities in their own right. I wonder if Solgaleo-GX
though will see more play due to his own Ability,
whereas Lunala-GX ends up having more of a sideline role
with her GX attack and Ability. Really only time will
tell, given that this set is just so new...
Weekend Thought: Do you agree with
the list so far? What cards made the list that you think
shouldn't have? What about cards you think ought to have
made the list? Any thoughts on what could possibly be in
our Top 5? Keep an eye out for the rest of the list this
Next Time: A double-serving of
effects, and a helping of familiarity!
At last, it is time to countdown the top 10 cards of
Sun & Moon, as determined by the aggregate efforts
of aroramage, Zach, and myself! As usual, each
reviewer submitted his own personal top 10 list, and the
results were averaged out to produce the list we are
actually using. Reprints were not permitted
for the list; we already know a card like Ultra Ball
is good (and actually pretty hard to top)!
We conclude the week with sixth place, Lunala-GX
(Sun & Moon 66/149, 141/149, 153/149), one of the
two poster Pokémon for the seventh generation of Pokémon
games. I’ll start by running through what it means
to be a Pokémon-GX:
Giving up an extra Prize when KO’d.
Possessing an Ability and two attacks or
no Ability with three attacks.
One of those attacks being the
once-per-game GX attack.
So far all of them have had sizable HP gains, ranging
from +50 to +110 over their most recent regular
counterpart, and those that have a Pokémon-EX
counterpart have had 30 more HP than it as well.
Even the latest rule book describes them as
“Pokémon-GX are powerful Pokémon with more HP and
attacks. Each one also has a super-powerful GX attack.”
on page 29. The only card effect that mentions
Pokémon-GX so far is an attack on this very card, and it
doesn’t penalize them. This is a marked difference
from Pokémon-EX, but one shouldn’t get used to it as
card effects that punish your opponent for using
Pokémon-GX have already been revealed in Japan.
For now, though, it is quite good to be a Pokémon-GX.
is a Psychic Type. Many Fighting and Psychic Type
Pokémon are Psychic Weak, a useful thing for Lunala-GX.
It isn’t the most abundant Weakness, though. Most
Darkness and Metal Type Pokémon are Psychic Resistance;
that is worse than it sounds between the efficacy of
Resistance and exact makeup of Darkness Pokémon used in
competitive play. The Psychic Type has some great
exclusive support like Dimension Valley and
Mystery Energy… in the Expanded Format. There
are some other tricks for the Energy, but only one will
be relevant to this review (we’ll bring it up later),
and some good Psychic Pokémon that can work off-Type,
but have more options in an actual Psychic Type deck.
Then there is Wobbuffet (XY: Phantom Forces
36/119; Generations RC11/RC32). I used to
count it as Psychic Type support because its Ability
shuts down all Abilities in play except those of
fellow Psychic Types, but it can and so often is used
off-Type that seems like a mistake. As you know
from looking at the card scan, Lunala-GX has an
Ability so being immune to Wobbuffet should be at
least a small bonus (maybe a big one). This is
also a Stage 2, one of the most resource intensive,
slowest Stages to hit the field. That doesn’t mean
the card is automatically bad, but it does mean viewing
everything it does in that context.
has 250 HP, the maximum we’ve seen printed on anything
legal to play, and shared only by a few other Pokémon-GX
plus Wailord-EX. This should allow it to
survive many attacks, maybe even requiring an opponent
go for no better than a 3HKO in some matchups. It
is Darkness Weak, which helps against other Psychics but
is terrible right now unless Yveltal-EX and
friends suddenly drop off the face of the competitive
scene. I expect the metagame to shift because of
all these new cards, but not that much, that quickly. Lunala-GX
has Fighting Resistance, which is kind of like the icing
on top of the massive cake that is its HP; even though
Fighting Types can often stack bonuses and some can
ignore Resistance, with this much HP there is a better
chance Resistance will matter. The Retreat Cost of
[CC] may matter as well; just a bit high to easily pay,
though you can if you must. Pack some alternatives
to manually retreating at full price; besides the usual,
generic options, in Expanded Mystery Energy can
zero this out.
has an Ability and two attacks. First up is
“Psychic Transfer”, and like many similarly named
Abilities, it allows you to move one kind of Energy
(...Psychic) around your field, one at a time but as
often as you wish during your turn (so long as it is
before your attack). This enables some potent
combos, like moving all the Energy off nearly KO’d
Pokémon, healing it with Max Potion, then moving
the Energy back so you may resume attacking. It
acts as a weak form of Energy acceleration, optimizing
what you already have on the field. The first
attack is “Moongeist Beam”, which costs [PPPP] to do 120
damage, with the added effect that the target Pokémon
cannot be healed during your opponent’s next turn.
The damage is enough to 2HKO most targets, and it
prevents healing so that helps to enable those 2HKO’s,
but the cost? For four Energy of a specific Type,
I generally expect something at least close to a OHKO.
Even with the Ability, this is pricey. The GX
attack is “Lunar Fall GX” and it costs [PPP]; you won’t
be able to access it much before Moongeist Beam, then.
Its effect is quite potent; select one of your
opponent’s Basic Pokémon that is not a
Pokémon-GX, and KO it! Until the metagame shifts
away from Basic Pokémon-EX, that’s going to be pretty
potent, and probably worth its status as a GX attack.
Already, though, any Evolution cards and all Pokémon-GX
are off-limits, and for that much Energy, I expect a
Stage 2 to be capable of OHKOing most (if not all)
regular Basic Pokémon through more traditional means.
Finally, remember that it is still the effect of an
attack, so Pokémon immune to attack effects can’t be
touched by it.
Evolves from Cosmoem (Sun & Moon 65/149),
which in turn Evolves from Cosmog (Sun & Moon
64/149). Both are Psychic Type Pokémon with
Psychic Weakness, no Resistance, and just one attack. Cosmog
is the Basic Stage of the line and has 60 HP with a
Retreat Cost of [C]; its attack is “Dust Gathering” for
[C] and lets you draw a card. Cosmoem is a Stage
1 Pokémon with 90 HP and Retreat Cost [CCC]; its lone
attack is “Teleport” for [C], which allows you to switch
it with a Pokémon from your Bench. These aren’t
good, but at least the attacks don’t waste time
doing damage when this card exists to Evolve. This
Evolution line splits, so instead of Lunala-GX,
you may Evolve into Solgaleo-GX (Sun & Moon
89/149, 143/149, 155/149). So this is also a Stage
2 Pokémon-GX with 250 HP, an Ability, and two attacks,
but it is a Metal Type with Fire Weakness and
Psychic Resistance. Its Ability is Ultra Road,
which allows you to switch your Active Pokémon with one
from your Bench, once per turn before you attack: a free
Switch once per turn, essentially. For
[MMC] it can use "Sunsteel Strike” to do 230 damage, but
you must discard all Energy from Solgaleo-GX.
Though the discard cost is steep, but the damage is
good. Its GX attack is “Sol Burst-GX” for [M],
which allows you to search your deck for up to five
Energy cards and attach them to your Pokémon in any way
you wish. If you have the field full of potential
attackers to go with it, this is a great GX attack.
We won’t discuss it more deeply now, as I don’t know if
it can really complement Lunala-GX all that well
due to the different Energy requirements. We don’t
have any yet, but any regular Lunala and
Solgaleo will also become options once they exist.
is the focus of its own Energy transferral deck.
With it backing similarly beefy attackers, your opponent
will be hard pressed to score a KO for several turns.
Unfortunately, the timing isn’t great for this card
right now. Ability denial decks are pretty common,
and while some of them are specialized for Basics,
Garbodor (XY: BREAKpoint 57/122) and
Greninja BREAK - via Greninja (XY:
BREAKpoint 40/122) will affect it, as can Hex
Maniac for a turn. I already mentioned my
concern with Darkness Weakness as well; that applies for
any attacker with a commonly played Weakness.
We’ve seen some decks with a similar strategy do well
over the last few years, but they fall apart when
Ability denial or OHKO’s are too easy, and I
think that will be the case now. I have faced
one Lunala-GX deck so far, using Mewtwo-EX
(XY: BREAKthrough 62/162, 158/162, 164/162;
XY: Black Star Promos XY107), and somehow it seemed
to squeeze in those Pokémon, a few others I forgot,
Max Potion, Max Elixir, etc. It beat me
handily… but I was running BRaH, a Bunnelby (XY:
Primal Clash 121/162), Raticate (XY:
Evolutions 67/108), and Houndoom-EX based
mill deck. BRaH isn’t an overly competitive, so
the fact that I lost doesn’t prove Psychic Transfer
decks are the next big thing, but it does show me that
they can make room for the Pokémon, Trainers, and Energy
they’ll need. I will add that if I had been
running an aggressive deck, I don’t think they would
have had the time needed to set up… or maybe I was
luckier than I realized even in defeat. Expanded
offers a lot more problems to deal with, but additional
support as well. If you pull Lunala-GX in
Limited, run it unless you get a big, Basic Pokémon that
would be better run completely on its own (a +39 deck).
Lunala-GX has some great things going for it, but
all come with caveats. It has 250 HP to survive
some big hits but not against Darkness Types thanks to
Weakness. Psychic Transfer has big potential when
the many anti-Ability effects don’t shut it down, and
amazing combo potential if you can make room in the deck
for it all. Lunar Fall-GX allows you one strategic
OHKO, provided the opportunity presents itself.
Moongeist Beam is can score 2HKO’s and has an effect to
facilitate this, but the Energy cost is massive.
All of this has to be viewed in light of being a Stage 2
had 10 voting points, none of which came from me, but
this is one of the times when I can see the potential in
the card. If I didn’t expect power creep and/or
counters to be included in future releases, I’d expect a
lot from this card after the XY-era sets rotate from
Standard play. Sixth place feels a bit high for
it, but I don’t begrudge it making the list. It
tied with yesterday’s seventh place finisher, but due to
extenuating circumstances, Lunala-GX came out on
top. Good thing, too, as my review would have been
less favorable if I had submitted it a day earlier.
One less point and Lunala-GX would have been part
of a massive four-way tie involving seventh through
tenth place, while one more would have forced a tie
between fifth and sixth. I mention this to
illustrate that 5th through 10th place are all pretty