Pojo's Pokemon Card Reviews, news, tips, strategies and more!

Pick Up Our New 20th Anniversary Pokemon Book for your Collection!

Pokemon Home


Price Guide Set List

Message Board

Pokemon GO Tips

Pokemon News

Featured Articles

Trading Card Game
- Price Guide
- Price Guide
- Card of the Day
- Professional Grading
- Killer Deck Reports
- Deck Garage
- William Hung
- Jason Klaczynski
- Jeremy's Deck Garage
- Johnny Blaze's Banter
- TCG Strategies
- Rulings Help
- Apprentice & Patch
- Apprentice League
- Spoilers & Translations
- Official Rules
- Featured Event Reports
- Top of the World
- An X-Act Science
- Error Cards
- Printable Checklist
- Places to Play

Nintendo Tips
- Red/Blue
- Yellow
- Gold & Silver
- Crystal
- Ruby & Sapphire
- Fire Red & Leaf Green
- Emerald
- Pinball
- TCG cart
- Stadium
- PuPuzzle League
- Pinball: Ruby/Sapphire
- Pokemon Coliseum
- Pokemon Box
- Pokemon Channel

GameBoy Help
- ClownMasters Fixes
- Groudon's Den
- Pokemon of the Week

E-Card Reader FAQ's
- Expedition
- Aquapolis
- Skyridge
- Construction Action Function
- EON Ticket Manual

Deck Garage
- Pokemaster's Pit Stop
- Kyle's Garage
- Ghostly Gengar

- Episode Listing
- Character Bios
- Movies & Videos
- What's a Pokemon?
- Video List
- DVD List

Featured Articles

Pojo's Toy Box

Books & Videos


Advertise With Us
- Sponsors


About Us
Contact Us

Yu Yu Hakusho
Harry Potter
Vs. System

Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


- S&M: Guardians Rising - #GRI 64

Date Reviewed:
July 18, 2017

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.88
Expanded: 2.88
Limited: 3.67

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

Back to the main COTD Page


Cross Chop's not that great, MOVING RIGHT ALONG 

Machoke has one good thing going for him that we're all interested in: Daunting Pose. This is another "Bench Barrier" type of Ability, but it's actually a lot better than older variants. With Daunting Pose, not only does he block off damage from ATTACKS, but he ALSO prevents your opponent from just PLACING counters on your Pokemon via attacks or Abilities. This is actually an important addition, as this gets around a few noteworthy moves and Abilities - I can immediately think of Trevenant BREAK's Silent Fear, which will probably remain present for a little while longer. 

There are still a lot of other moves though that can snipe the Bench - such as Solgaleo from yesterday or Alolan Ninetales-GX, so don't think that Machoke's only use is against a Stage 2 BREAK Evolution. He might be a tech option for most decks, being a Stage 1 himself, but if you've got some stuff on your Bench you need to keep safe from damage, he's absolutely your #1 best bet. 


Standard: 3/5 (course considering his potential is relatively niche, you gotta keep an eye on what's popular) 

Expanded: 2.5/5 (and what's really popular is Garbodor wrecking everything) 

Limited: 3/5 (although if you use this with Garbodor, you don't have to worry about Benched Garbodor taking damage...) 

Arora Notealus: Machoke. He flexes muscles. 

Next Time: This guy...he dances.


Machoke (Guardians Rising, 64/145) got another incarnation in the Guardians Rising expansion set, and this one has an ability that seemed to have been purposefully designed to counter Decidueye GX (Sun & Moon, 12/149).  Daunting Pose prevents your opponent from doing any damage – whether from an ability or an attack – to benched Pokemon.  Many of us thought this was created in response to Decidueye GX which took the meta by storm shortly after its initial release in Sun & Moon base set.

And we’re still waiting for an effective counter.  Machoke has seen very little play, and even if it is used, it doesn’t protect the active Pokemon.  Just the other night I came across it when playing Greninja Break (Breakpoint, 41/122).  I Lysandred (Ancient Origins, 78/98) it up and KO’d it with a Shuriken and a Shadow Stitch.  Even if I didn’t Lysandre it though, I still could have dropped all of my Shurikens on the active Pokemon, I was just up against an opponent with a number of low HP Pokemon on the bench, and I wanted to be able to pick them off with single Shurikens. 

In the four major tournaments since it’s become Standard legal, Machoke has seen use in only one top eight deck – at Birmingham, it was run in the 1st place Gyarados (Ancient Origins, 21/98) deck.  It hasn’t seen play in any other top eight deck since its release.


Standard: 2 out of 5


I can’t argue that it has had at least a little bit of success in helping a Gyarados deck win a major regional tournament, and there are a number of bench snipers (Umbreon GX (Sun & Moon, 80/149), Tapu Koko (SM Promo 31), or Espeon GX’s (Sun & Moon, 61/149) Divide GX) out there in the meta today.  Protecting your benched Pokemon from these snipers is essential for some decks, but it takes up a spot on your bench and two slots in your decklist.  Considering it’s probably going to sit on your bench and do nothing or sit in your discard and do nothing, I just can’t recommend this card for usage in most situations.


Machoke (SM: Guardians Rising 64/145) is an Evolving Stage 1 Fighting-Type Pokémon with 100 HP, Psychic Weakness, no Resistance, Retreat Cost [CCC], Ability, and attack.  The Ability is “Daunting Pose” which has a two part effect:

  • Preventing all damage done to your Benched Pokémon by your opponent’s attacks.
  • Preventing all damage counter placement done to your Benched Pokémon by your opponent’s Abilities and attacks.

The attack is “Cross Chop” for [FF], doing 30 damage and having you flip a coin; if “tails”, the attack does 30+30 (or 60) damage.  Being a Fighting-Type is handy for exploiting Weakness and having some decent support (even some shared with the Water-Type), but it comes with a pretty common Resistance and some anti-Type specific cards.  The only things likely to matter here is the Fighting-Type support, as Machoke is a sub par attacker, though not entirely useless.  Being a Stage 1 is okay; Basics are still the best, but this isn’t crippling… and being an Evolving Stage 1 means you could go all out and run it with Machamp, but if it works on its own, plenty of decks manage to work in a 2-2 Stage 1 line in a supporting role.  100 HP is relatively fragile; we’ve seen worse, but it will probably suffice if you keep it Benched or are planning on Evolving it further.  One almost wishes it had 10 less for Level Ball, but I believe that is currently slated to rotate out so it probably won’t matter much more.  Psychic Weakness is pretty dangerous, and just ensures that 100 HP won’t last; lack of Resistance is typical, so I won’t hold it against Machoke.  The Retreat Cost is chunky, so you’ll want some alternatives to manually retreating at full price, though if Heavy Ball works for the deck, it makes Machoke a legal option.

Daunting Pose offers impressive Bench protection and is why this card is receiving its own review.  “Bench Barrier”, the Ability on both Mr. Mime (BW: Plasma Freeze 47/116) and Mr. Mime (XY: BREAKthrough 97/162; Generations 52/83), protects only against damage from attacks but it works against your own attack damage as well and of course it is a Basic Pokémon (easier to run).  Bronzong (XY: Fates Collide 61/124) is also a Stage 1, and its “Metal Fortress” protects your Benched Pokémon from both damage and effects of your opponent’s attacks, but hasn’t seen much play.  A big difference, though, is Decidueye-GX and its “Feather Arrow” Ability.  If things like this remain common, suddenly Daunting Pose could be a lifesaver.  Cross Chop, as stated, is underpowered or overpriced: 30 for two Energy (other than [CC]) is poor, while 60 for two (other than [CC] is merely “okay”.  If you have a deck that easily meets this cost, you might consider using it (especially if Strong Energy is attached), but most of the time, I wouldn’t worry about using Machoke as an attacker. 

Machoke Evolves from Machop and can Evolve into Machamp, and we even have Machamp BREAK in the format but… I’m not actually worried about covering those.  The Machop don’t look like they’ll make much of a difference, and sadly, I don’t expect the Machamp or Machamp BREAK to matter, either.  If we get a good Machamp or Machamp-GX, it’ll be that much better for having access to this Machoke.  If your deck needs to protect its Bench - no questions asked - and you’re not worried about Abilities being shut off, try to squeeze Machoke into your deck.  This holds true for Expanded or Standard.  You should make it work as at least a Bench-sitter in Limited play.  You probably won’t encounter something that hits the Bench, but if you do and Machoke hits the field first, it becomes a huge benefit for you. 


Standard: 3/5 

Expanded: 3/5 

Limited: 4/5 


Machoke is a good example of how the design team ought to be approaching Evolving Stage 1 Pokémon (and Evolving Basics) as well; give them something to do so that the final Stage doesn’t have to carry the entire Evolution line.  A little more HP, a little better of an attack, and it would be a great example.  At the same time, it might be just a bit too bulky to fit into the decks that need it, especially when facing competition like Garbodor (XY: BREAKpoint 57/122); it won’t protect against attack damage, but shutting down Abilities is likely a better way to protect against Feather Arrow and the like.

Today’s card is Machoke from the Guardian’s Rising set.  This Pokemon brings an interesting ability which I think, after reading the ability’s effect, would be a much-improved Bench Barrier.  Its attack isn’t bad either, with Cross Chop doing 30 plus 30 more if flipped heads (and before factoring damage buffs such as Strong Energy and Choice Band).  However, I feel that most of my review is going to be about the ability.
Daunting Pose prevents all damage to your Benched Pokemon, just like Bench Barrier Mr. Mime.  In addition, your opponent’s attacks and abilities cannot put damage counters on your benched Pokemon.  What does this mean?  Greninja BREAK’s Giant Water Shuriken won’t be able to damage benched Pokemon while the ability can still hit the active.  Trevenant BREAK’s Silent Fear will only place three damage counters on the opponent’s active, excluding the bench.  Other forms of spread damage will be rendered useless.
With spread and damage counter placements still a viable strategy, Machoke provides an answer against certain decks that manipulate damage counters, and will make sure their attacks will be directed to your active Pokemon.  Probably the answer against Machoke is dragging it to the active spot and being KOed or having its ability shut down.
Standard: 3.5/5
Expanded: 3.3/5
Limited: 4/5
Notes: Machoke is one of those Pokemon in the TCG that doesn’t need to evolve because it has a useful effect.
Coming Up: I thought I reviewed this Pokemon before!

Copyright© 1998-2017 pojo.com
This site is not sponsored, endorsed, or otherwise affiliated with any of the companies or products featured on this site. This is not an Official Site.
Pokémon card reviews - Pokemon Set Reviews