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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Garchomp EX
- XY: Black Star Promos XY167

Date Reviewed:
Jan. 18, 2017

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.25
Expanded: 2.00
Limited: Promo

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

Back to the main COTD Page


Our first card after concluding our runners-up from 2016 is Garchomp-EX (XY: Black Star Promos XY167).  First the usual reminder of the drawbacks that come with being a Pokémon-EX: they always give up an extra Prize when KO’d and card effects that punish a player for using them are already in the card pool.  The latter include cards that reward your opponent because you’re using a Pokémon-EX, or beneficial effects that exclude Pokémon-EX you may wish to run.  Exactly which such cards are in Standard will vary over time, but based on what sets contain them, they may even outlast Pokémon-EX themselves if the new SM-era cards take Pokémon-EX into consideration (as some spoilers indicate).  Being a Pokémon-EX often includes better stats or effects than you would expect, but the only things guaranteed are a minimum of a +20 HP bump over non-Pokémon-EX counterparts and being a Basic or a Mega Evolution; the latter is an advantage when it means something that would normally be an Evolution gets to be a Basic, or at least a less demanding Stage of Evolution.  In this case, Garchomp-EX is indeed a Basic Pokémon instead of being a Stage 2 (a serious gain) and 40 or 50 more HP than the regular versions of Garchomp currently available. 

In this case, that means 180 HP, the higher of the two typical scores for Basic Pokémon-EX, and enough to usually survive one attack.  Garchomp-EX is a Dragon Type; not good for exploiting Weakness (only BW-era Dragon Types are Dragon Weak) but at least nothing is Dragon Resistant.  The Dragon Type has some good attackers, plus some good Abilities, and many can be splashed into a variety of decks thanks to Double Dragon Energy, the highlight of the Dragon Type support.  Garchomp-EX is Fairy Weak, like (I believe) all post-BW-era Dragon Types.  This isn’t great right now as we have at least two distinct Fairy Type decks doing well in Standard.  It lacks Resistance entirely, but that is typical so we won’t hold it against Garchomp-EX.  The Retreat Cost of [CC] can be a pain in the long run, but you have a decent chance of being able to afford it, plus one of the pieces of Dragon Type support which I glossed over is Hydreigon-EX; its Ability shaves [CC] off of the Retreat Cost of Dragon Types so long as a Stadium card is in play.  Garchomp-EX has two attacks, the first being “Shred” for [F], doing 30 damage that can’t be altered by effects on your opponent’s Active.  For [WFFC] it can use “Hyper Beam” instead, doing 100 damage and giving you a coin flip to discard an Energy from the opponent’s Active.  The main issue with Shred is that it probably doesn’t hit hard enough to make ignoring effects matter; unless you’re facing a pure wall that isn’t fighting back and isn’t healing, that defensive Pokémon will almost certainly have served its purpose by the time to KO it.  Hyper Beam has an ugly Energy cost even with Double Dragon Energy to help out; the damage output is something I’d call adequate if the costs were all [C] and a coin flip to discard Energy is not adequate compensation for being shorted so badly on damage. 

There actually is another Garchomp-EX, XY: Black Star Promos XY09.  While this is still an XY-era card, it is old enough to only be Expanded legal.  Besides the attacks, differences between this card and today’s Garchomp-EX are that the older version has 10 less HP and that’s it; they have the same Type, Stage, Weakness, lack of Resistance, and Retreat Cost.  The first attack on XY: Black Star Promos XY09 is “Dual Chop” for [FC], which has you flip two coins good for 30 damage per “heads”.  For [WFC] it could use “Power Blast” instead to do 120 damage, but you have to discard an Energy from itself as well.  Dual Chomp is overpriced, while Power Blast is adequate, but without something else it isn’t enough to make me want to run this card.  It does a better job than XY: Black Star Promos XY167… well maybe.  Shred is a better budget attack, but Power Blast is the better “big” attack.  What may help both cards is M Garchomp-EX… which we will look at tomorrow. 


Standard: 2.25/5 

Expanded: 2/5 

Limited: N/A 

Summary: Garchomp-EX isn’t a good card; it isn’t all bad but its attacks only have synergy in that one is much less expensive than the other.  This is your only option for Garchomp-EX in Standard play, and thus your only way to get M Garchomp-EX onto the field; even if M Garchomp-EX ends up being a bust, that still gives this card a tiny bit of a boost in the score department… which is why the Expanded score is a bit lower.  None of the official options for the Limited Format allow you to use promos, so the “not applicable” is its score there.  Were it reprinted in an actual set, it would likely be decent, barring set specific stuff like a hypothetical high Fairy presence or the like.  Get this if you’re a collector, a Garchomp fan, or just want to run M Garchomp-EX; you can skip it otherwise.

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