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July 28, 2017
& Reviews Summary
Ratings are based
on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 being horrible.
3 ... average. 5 is awesome.
Back to the main COTD
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
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
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
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
enters the meta as a post-Guardians Rising promo
card. A 180
HP Grass Pokemon, it has three attacks.
For a single Grass energy,
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.
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.
GX has found the perfect partner in
Vikavolt (Sun & Moon, 52/149) and its ability
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
Tapu Bulu GX /
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
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
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
player struggles to get a
up on the bench, it takes longer to get
Tapu Bulu GX
powered up and
really prohibits your opponent from playing
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
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.
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.
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.
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).
N/A (4.75/5 if legal)
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
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!
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.
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.