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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Top 10 Sun & Moon

#5 -Professor Kukui  
- Sun & Moon

Date Reviewed:
Feb. 14, 2017

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 4
Expanded: 4
Limited: 5

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

Back to the main COTD Page


Continuing the list is everyone's favorite shirtless professor, Kukui! He'll be providing the next generation of draw power - not only that, he'll combine it with something extra, just cause he's Kukui! 

Basically all he really does is let you draw 2 cards and deal 20 more damage. The draw power seems like a bit of a letdown considering other Supporters can draw much more, but combined with the additional boost in damage means a turn with Kukui replenishes some resources and can pave the way for a potential KO! It's a small sign that the format might slow down in terms of speedy decks while still maintaining its aggressive stance. 

...or at the very least, everyone will run a couple copies until Sycamore goes out of style for copying Juniper for copying Oak. 


Standard: 4/5 (deck space could see a few decks trying out that extra 20 damage) 

Expanded: 4/5 (while other decks may opt more for the draw power than the little boost) 

Limited: 5/5 (but there's no denying the power of this Supporter!) 

Arora Notealus: Kukui is most well-known as the Professor who studies Pokemon attacks...by taking the full brunt of them with his BODY!! Dude's gotta have some crazy muscles after that, or at least some durable skin. 

Next Time: From the shadows of evolution, another GX!


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 have a cynical celebration of Valentine’s Day; we needed to take Monday off, so your reward is two reviews today… except, as stated, you’re not actually getting an extra review.  Kind of like how some people basically save all their gestures of love for holidays (like Valentine’s Day), instead of showing them year round and doing something above and beyond to commemorate the holiday (if they celebrate it at all).  I’m a bit scared to check and see if our subject is oddly appropriate for a Valentine’s Day review as fifth place is Professor Kukui (Sun & Moon 128/149, 148/149), the younger, shirtless Pokémon Professor.  Well, maybe just a quick Google search as I don’t have either Gen VII game (I don’t even have a 3DS at all), nor have I seen the animation or read the manga, so I know nothing about him beyond his card. *executes search* Yeah, I don’t recommend you do that search any place someone might get the wrong idea; even with SafeSearch on, even doing a general (not Image) search, the labors of his fans might give people the wrong idea, especially on Valentine’s Day. 

Alright, with my awkward attempt at a sort-of-comedic-introduction out of the way, onto the actual card.  This is a Trainer, specifically a Supporter.  No real drawbacks to either right now; a few effects are anti-Trainer or anti-Supporter, but they are (thankfully!) nowhere near as potent or common as, say, the anti-Item effects.  It’s all good as instead, this allows you to snag him with cards like Trainers’ Mail or recycle Professor Kukui with cards like VS Seeker.  That last one is usually pretty important for Supporters: regardless of a low or high count of a particular Supporter, being able to use it extra times, or not lose total access to it should you need to discard it for another effect, can make a good card great and a great card broken.  That isn’t an exaggeration; Lysandre’s Trump Card may have avoided being banned if VS Seeker didn’t allow you to reuse it with ease as it recycled everything but itself.  Of course, Battle Compressor also helped as 

Battle Compressor => discard [insert one to three Supporters] => VS Seeker 

Is still one of the fundamental combos of Expanded play.  So what does this seeming tangent have to do with Professor Kukui? 

Plenty, but if you don’t get it now you will after I explain the effect.  Professor Kukui does two things when you use it. 

  • Your Pokémon’s attacks do +20 damage this turn.
  • You draw two cards.

The card itself lists them in the opposite order, but it is the damage bonus that you need to really focus upon.  As I’ve said before, damage buffs and debuffs only matter if they shift how many turns it takes to score a KO, barring effects with specific damage related triggers.  Something that can already OHKO everything in the game, or at least everything without a protective effect, does not need Professor Kukui.  With Pokémon-GX often having as good or better HP scores than Pokémon-EX, as well as people trying to put Giovanni’s Scheme to good use (it offers a similar damage buff), there is clearly a demand.  In most decks, though, it isn’t enough to justify running multiple copies of this card; you won’t need +20 damage all the time, just for a few specific match-ups or problem Pokémon. 

So what about the draw?  Does it matter?  Yes!  Giovanni’s Scheme has seen some successful competitive play, but the main thing holding it back is general Supporter competition.  That will affect Professor Kukui as well, but Giovanni’s Scheme tends to have it worse; that card gives you a choice between doing +20 damage or drawing until you have five cards in hand.  If you don’t need the damage and have five or more cards in hand, Giovanni’s Scheme is a waste.  Two cards aren’t much but are still something.  Thanks to various alternate draw, search, or weird combo effects (looking at you, Acro Bike), while most decks cannot afford to constantly use their Supporter on a non-draw effect, they can often afford it several times per game.  This has led to a rise not just in the inclusion of several Supporters in lower counts, but of the TecH Supporter.  As a reminder, TecH is a single card inclusion to counter a specific threat to your win.  Being a single card, it ultimately decreases your deck’s reliability but the few wins this costs you is exceeded by the number of wins gained from what it counters.  Professor Kukui seems to fit the bill; you won’t always need +20 damage, but when you do it delivers, turning a 2HKO into a OHKO, a 3HKO into a 2HKO, and hopefully your deck doesn’t perform worse than that against any other serious matchups.  It is possible that Professor Kukui is one step beyond even this; Lysandre is sometimes TecH, but many decks rely upon it enough to run a two count and would run more if they had space.  Lysandre isn’t just for a problem matchup, it is for most matchups. 

Does every Standard deck need this card?  No, but I suspect most would do well to incorporate one copy, or at least have it alongside some of the other similar pieces of established TecH options like Hex Maniac, Pokémon Ranger, and others.  The same goes for Expanded; it faces more competition there, both as a source of damage buffs and as a Supporter, but gains access to Battle Compressor.  The net result is that is should be as good (maybe even better) for Expanded play.  Love this card in Limited; any draw power and any damage buffs are appreciated here, so a great card that combines the two is rarely unneeded.  It also great to have when Theme Decks face off. 


Standard: 4/5 

Expanded: 4/5 

Limited: 5/5 

Summary: The bad news about Professor Kukui?  You have yet another card you’ll want in most of your decks, but for which you’ll struggle to make room.  The good news?  You’ve got a nifty source of +20 damage that may eat up your Supporter for the turn, doesn’t interfere and, in fact, may complement other sources, while still drawing two cards so you still end up with one more card in hand than you began.  Now if I could just stop misspelling his name (I was not familiar with the kukui tree prior to this card). 

Professor Kukui earned a total of 12 voting points, tying with our fourth place finisher, Umbreon-GX (Sun & Moon 80/149, 142/149, 154/149).  Yes, I am naming it outright as these reviews are going up the same day, so I know that you know exactly what took fourth place already.  These two beat out our previous tie (in sixth and seventh place) by two points (not one, as I mistakenly reported on Friday.  As such, I double checked; tomorrow’s third place finisher beat Professor Kukui and Umbreon-GX by a healthy four point margin.

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