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Yu Yu Hakusho
Harry Potter
Vs. System

Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Tapu Bulu-GX
- S&M Promos
- #SM32

Date Reviewed:
July 28, 2017

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3.67
Expanded: 3.60
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


That's right, for the end of our Electric week...we've got Tapu Bulu-GX? That's a Grass-type right? I didn't hallucinate that right?
It is true, Tapu Bulu-GX isn't an Electric-type...but he might be one of the best candidates FOR an Electric-type Pokemon: Vikavolt (SM). That's right, the Pokemon with the strange Ability to accelerate a Grass and an Electric Energy from your deck to power up a Pokemon. And wouldn't ya know it, Tapu Bulu-GX - released recently in the Island Guardian tins alongside Tapu Koko-GX - is the perfect candidate for such an Ability! Who'd have thunk it?
Now why is that? Well, Horn Attack ain't the cause, being a 1-for-30 vanilla move, but it is notable that it gets charged with a Grass Energy - so already, Vikavolt can give Tapu Bulu-GX the Grass Energy for his move while charging up either Tapu Bulu-GX to accelerate into his next move or another Pokemon to accelerate their moves. But really, it's because of Tapu Bulu-GX's SECOND attack, Nature's Judgment, that's drawing heads to this combination.
Remember Landorus-EX (BCR) and how powerful he was? Notably it was because his first move could deal 30 damage to the opponent's Active and a Bench-sitter, thus posing a major donking threat to Rayquaza-EX decks that were reliant on the Eelektrik line-up for acceleration and thus the 30 HP Basic Tynamo, but it was also for his second move, Land's Judgment. Nature's Judgment is almost word-for-word a recreation of Land's Judgment, including the cost and the option to discard all your Energy - the only difference is that Nature's Judgment is stronger. It starts out at 3-for-120, which is already pretty good compared to Land's Judgment's 3-for-80, but while it is a weaker boost for 60 damage compared to Land's 70, the output becomes a total of 180 compared to 150.
Pretty neat, right? And we haven't even gotten to the GX Attack!
Once per game, Tapu Bulu-GX can unleash the Tapu Wilderness GX, a 3-for-150 move that heals all damage from him. At 180 HP, he's already hard enough to OHKO, so having a move like this where he can not only threaten to deal continuous massive damage - getting charged up by Vikavolt each turn to use Nature's Judgment over and over again - but then heal everything off and deal a wallop of damage in his own right? It's hard not to see him as a powerhouse threat at that point!
But as with cards like this, there is a slight catch - the reliance on Vikavolt. Landorus-EX in his day could partner up with cards like Keldeo-EX to switch around and charge up for Land's Judgment if need be, but otherwise he was a bit of a sitting duck after discarding all his Energy. Tapu Bulu-GX has an edge in that he can use it continuously via Vikavolt...but that's a heavy edge on its own. Not only is Vikavolt a Stage 2, which is already hard enough to get out in its own right, but he's also drawing out Energy straight from your deck, which means you're gonna need ANOTHER card to cycle back the Energy you lose to Nature's Judgment's discard...assuming you discard, of course. On its own, Nature's Judgment actually deals out a fair amount of damage, enough to 2HKO most Pokemon anyway. Coupled with Choice Band, it even seems like worrying about recovery isn't even that big of a deal.
But combined with Tapu Bulu-GX, the Vikavolt line-up, the Energy you need, and obligatory staple Supporters and Items like Choice Band, space gets pretty tight. Would you want to diversify your deck for tech choices that could help in different match-ups, or would you aim more for the recycling to keep the pain train rolling with Nature's Judgment? The choice is ultimately up to yours, but make no mistake: Tapu Bulu-GX, with or without Vikavolt, is a solid card in its own right.
Standard: 4/5 (Vikavolt just happens to make him better)
Expanded: 4/5 (and I'd imagine there are other combinations to really help him out)
Limited: N/A (right now, though, he is a promo, although isn't he listed in the next set as well?)
Arora Notealus: Tapu Bulu-GX is a powerhouse of a card, and it's nice to see his presence is helping another card out that was in a debatable state anyway. It's interactions like these that make card games so enjoyable - when new cards help older cards out in new and exciting combinations!
Weekend Thought: So what did you think of Electric week? Think any of these Pokemon are going to razzle-dazzle, or do they just spark and fizzle out? Do you think there are cards that can help improve on these? What strategies are flowing through your mind with these cards?


Tapu Bulu GX (SM32) enters the meta as a post-Guardians Rising promo card.  A 180 HP Grass Pokemon, it has three attacks.  For a single Grass energy, Horn Attack does thirty damage.  Nature’s Judgment, for two Grass and a Colorless energy, does 120 damage BUT you can make it 180 if you discard all energy attached to Bulu.  Tapu Wilderness-GX, for the same two Grass and one Colorless energy, does 150 damage and heals all damage on Tapu Bulu GX.

Tapu Bulu GX has definitely made an impression even in its earliest days in the meta.  I faced it twice at NAIC.  Tapu Bulu GX has found the perfect partner in Vikavolt (Sun & Moon, 52/149) and its ability Strong Charge. With Strong Charge, Tapu Bulu GX can hit for 180 damage consistently (210 with Choice Band (Guardians Rising, 121/145).  And like its other Tapu siblings, Bulu GX has no weakness, meaning it doesn’t have an auto loss to Fire decks like Volcanion (Steam Siege, 25/114) while still retaining dominance over many Water decks that have Grass weakness.

The Tapu Bulu GX / Vikavolt (nicknamed Buluvolt) combo has done well in its limited time in the meta, taking 3rd place in Birmingham and 8th place in Madison.  I haven’t done any testing with it myself as I do not own any Tapu Bulu GXs, but it has worked me over quite a few times – I’m 13 and 15 against it, including the two matches I split at NAIC (W L L first match, W W second match).  I will say in the games I have beaten Buluvolt, it often has led with Pokemon other than Tapu Bulu GX, and I know one of my opponents at NAIC led with Tapu Koko GX (Guardians Rising, 47/145) in the match I beat him and said during the match that he hated leading with that Pokemon.  It might do better with a skinnier line of Pokemon to ensure that you get that Tapu Bulu GX in the active as early as possible as often as possible.  Also, if the Buluvolt player struggles to get a Vikavolt set up on the bench, it takes longer to get Tapu Bulu GX powered up and really prohibits your opponent from playing Nature’s Judgment for the full 180 damage.


Standard: 4 out of 5


Tapu Bulu GX is a good attacker, and it loses virtually nothing that everyone else doesn’t lose as well post-rotation.  There’s no specific tech in card that is absolutely vital to its play that is being lost to rotation, so it will probably continue to succeed in the future.  And it’s ability to reach over two hundred damage on a consistent basis puts it on par with the absolute hardest hitters in the meta today.


Surprise!  Our final subject this week is Tapu Bulu-GX (SM: Black Star Promos SM32), which is not a Lightning-Type Pokémon!  Of course, further down you’ll see why it is still connected to them.  Tapu Bulu-GX is a Grass-Type, which doesn’t have to worry about Resistance (except in Unlimited play) and faces some Type-based counters, but (so far) the only one you’re likely to slam into is Parallel City which slaps the same -20 to damage done to Fire- and Water-Types and is played mostly for its other, Bench-shrinking effect.  It can slap a decent amount of Water-Types and some Fighting-Types for double damage, with the former being more relevant to the current metagame (we’ll see how long that lasts).  The Grass-Types have some nifty tricks and I’ll get to what is relevant later in the review, but as an abstract, I’d say being a Grass-Type is a net positive.  Being a Basic is still the best: minimal card/time investment, synergy with various card effects and rules, and the only drawback are some anti-Basic effects.  Being a Pokémon-GX still seems to be a net positive: they give up an extra Prize when KO’d and have to deal with stuff like Choice Band but have better HP than their non-Pokémon-GX counterparts with a guaranteed three effects (one being a GX-attack).  180 HP good, likely to survive a hit while the lack of Weakness is the best.  No Resistance is the worst, but the Resistance mechanic is far less relevant than the Weakness mechanic and also pretty typical. The Retreat Cost of [CCC] is chunky and warrants packing a few cards to cope with it, but might (rarely) come in handy due to Heavy Ball and some odd effects. 

Tapu Bulu-GX has three attacks.  First up is “Horn Attack” for [G], doing 30 damage.  This isn’t great, but it does decent damage for the Energy and is - of course - both fast and reliable.  For [GGC], Tapu Bulu-GX can use “Nature’s Judgment” to do 120 damage, with the optional effect which allows you to discard all Energy attached to Tapu Bulu-GX to do an additional 60 damage (so 180 total) with Nature’s Judgment.  120-for-three is pretty solid, enabling reliable OHKO’s or 2HKO’s against most targets (all with some simple combos); discarding all Energy for a measly +60 damage would seem bad except it means you’re doing 180 damage, enough to OHKO most regular Pokémon, Basic Pokémon-EX, and Pokémon-GX.  Toss in those same, simple combos and the +60 is enough to take out most cards in the game in one hit.  In the end, that makes for a pretty good attack.  [GGC] also covers the GX-attack, “Tapu Wilderness-GX”, which allows Tapu Bulu-GX to do 150 damage to the opponent’s Active while healing all damage from itself.  Healing usually isn’t very effective, but healing all damage on something with 180 HP has a good chance of proving relevant, while the 150 damage is a Choice Band away from that potent 180 we just discussed. 

Tapu Bulu-GX is already seeing some competitive success, backed by Vikavolt and its “Strong Charge” Ability allowing its player to search his or her deck for a [G] and [L] Energy, then attach to your Pokémon in any way you like.  The Ability is once-per-turn-per-copy, but even a single Vikavolt allows constant full power hits from Nature’s Judgment provided you have one source of [G] Energy in hand and both a basic Grass Energy and Lightning Energy card still in your deck.  If you’re discarding all your Energy anyway, then Max Potion becomes a great deal.  I don’t know for certain - haven’t seen a list - but Aether Paradise Conservation Area would allow Tapu Bulu-GX to survive bigger hits (even if it does nada for Vikavolt).  Finally, Lurantis (SM: Black Star Promos SM25), released a while ago when I wasn’t paying attention; this Stage 1 Grass-Type has the Ability “Sunny Day” which provides a +20 increase to the damage done by attacks from your Fire-Type and Grass-Type Pokémon.  Might be too much to squeeze into a deck with Vikavolt, but with a couple of these, all three attacks on Tapu Bulu-GX become threats, and worth a slightly slower build time.  The future holds more support, though also more competition and counters.  All in all, Tapu Bulu-GX looks like something to consider running in Standard play, and maybe in Expanded as well.  It is a promo, though, so it isn’t an option for Limited play.  Were reprinted in a future expansion, though, I suspect it would be worth the risk running it as your only Basic Pokémon (ensuring you open with it, but also that you lose if it is KO’d). 


Standard: 3.35/5 

Expanded: 3.25/5 

Limited: N/A (4.75/5 if legal) 


Tapu Bulu-GX is a nice, big Basic Pokémon-GX with three good attacks, even though each showed some warning signs of past doomed cards.  For now, back it up with Vikavolt and maybe Lurantis (perhaps that should be an “or”).  Could become even better once we get some more cards already out in Japan and/or soon to be released here.  SM: Burning Shadows is so close...


Wrapping up this weeks’ worth of COTD is Tapu Bulu GX.  Tapu Bulu GX is available in a tin so you don’t have to worry about pulling one from a pack because the tin guarantees you this Pokemon.  Is it playable enough to be worth the purchase?  Let’s find out!


Support of this Pokemon include Aether Paradise Conservation Area, which reduces the damage taken from 30, Virizion EX Verdant Wind preventing special conditions if any of your Pokemon has grass energy attached to it. This makes Tapu Bulu GX seem bulkier than usual.  Having no weakness means your opponent will have to hit the full 180 damage to land the OHKO, though there are decks that can achieve that amount.  Horn Attack does 30 for G.  Good attack for one energy, though that pales in comparison to some Fighting types such as Lucario EX (Missle Jab ignores resistance) and Landorus EX (30 in front and 30 to the bench).  Nature’s Judgment costs GGC and does 120 with the bonus of doing 60 damage if you discard all energy attached to this Pokemon.  Not an incentive to do even if you need the OHKO.  And finally, a once per game Tapu Wilderness GX costs GGC for 150 damage and heals all damage from this Pokemon, enhancing its staying power.


If there’s a way to retrieve grass energies from the discard onto this Pokemon so that you can keep using the bonus damage of Nature’s Wilderness, then it’s playability will skyrocket.  Fortunately, you don’t have to take advantage of Nature’s Wilderness since with a Fighting Fury Belt or Choice Band will get you the 2HKO on almost all Pokemon.




Standard: 3.5/5


Expanded: 3.6/5


Limited: N/A

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