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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Metagross GX
- S&M: Guardians Rising
- #GRI 85

Date Reviewed:
June 27, 2017

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3.65
Expanded: 3.65
Limited: 3.75

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

Back to the main COTD Page


We start the week with Metagross-GX (SM: Guardians Rising 85/145, 139/145, 157/145); what is the latest version of the “Iron Leg” Pokémon like? 

Starting with the most obvious, this is a Pokémon-GX; it will give up an extra Prize when KO’d, have to deal with anti-Pokémon-GX effects, and may be excluded from certain effects due to being a Pokémon-GX (usually in a bad way).  The chief benefits are increased HP over its non-Pokémon-GX counterparts, possessing three effects (guaranteed), and one of those effects will be a GX-attack (only usable once per game, but supposedly stronger for it).  We still have only a small pool of Pokémon-GX, and already we have several just not worth using in competitive play but all in all, I’d say this is still a great deal.  What will be a challenge is that Metagross-GX is a Stage 2.  Ideally, the powers-that-be would design cards so that all Stages (or at least all contemporary Stages) of Evolution were on even footing.  You’ve probably heard me rant that the trick is making the final Stages of Evolution on par with each other, slowing down Evolving Basics so that Evolutions have time to hit the field naturally, while pumping up Evolving Basic, Stage 1, and (if they still exist) Restored Pokémon so they weren’t just a burden on the Evolution line.  That hasn’t happened, and even if it does, Standard will still have to wait for the current lot of fast, multi-purpose Basics to move onto Expanded play.  So for now, being a Stage 2 is the next-to-worst Stage a card can suffer; only the BREAK Evolutions of Stage 2 Pokémon have it worse, and perhaps the BREAK Evolutions of Stage 1 Pokémon.  The latter has all the baggage of being a Stage 2 without access to the shortcuts, but their Stage 1 counterparts tend to actually contribute to the line.  With Pokémon-GX, there is another facet to being an Evolution; Metagross and Metagross-GX are considered different names, so you may run up to four of each but they have to Evolve from the same lower Stages.  Basic Pokémon-GX don’t have to share. 

Metagross-GX is a Metal-Type Pokémon.  I already know I’m going to run late and long with this review, so I’m going to indulge and mention that this should not be the case.  In the video games, Metagross are Steel/Psychic-Type Pokémon; nearly 20 years later the TCG ought to have fully integrated the other video game Types and Dual-Type status or simplified into even fewer Types.  Over the years, I find myself favoring simplification as the many “Types” of the Pokémon video games are a remnant of faking more details in the original Game Boy games.  Sounds like sour grapes at first, but I urge you to really consider how needlessly complicated things are by being constrained with the current “Type” system, versus just having to learn the traits connected directly with a particular Pokémon.  Thanks for humoring me; being a Metal-Type is… okay.  Metal Weakness is universal to the Fairy-Type and found on most of the TCG Water-Types that are actually video game Ice-Types… though recent exceptions have me a bit concerned.  Metal Resistance is found on most (all?) modern Lightning-Types, though some will lack it in Expanded play.  Exactly how good or bad this is depends upon the specifics of the metagame; it has been jumping around enough even a blowhard like me is uncomfortable making a hard claim.  I haven’t seen a lot of Metal Weak or Resistance Pokémon in the Regional top cuts, lately.  The Type has adequate support, but nothing currently dominant; I’ll get into specifics if they come up later when discussing the specifics of this card or strategies in using it.  I do not recall any Metal-Type (Pokémon or Energy) specific counters, at least without getting into the domain of the Unlimited Format. 

Metagross-GX has 250 HP; currently this is the maximum we’ve seen printed on a Pokémon and only a competitive deck that exploits Weakness while focusing on fast damage are likely to manage the coveted rapid, reliable, repeatable OHKO against Metagross-GX.  Don’t become overconfident, though; many competitive decks won’t need to attain all three to give Metagross-GX a run for its money.  Metagross-GX has the customary Fire Weakness nearly all recent Metal-Types possess; Volcanion-EX decks are more than happy to exploit that, as are other, less competitive archetypes.  Flareon (XY: Ancient Origins 13/98) does show up from time to time, and what makes it a threat is its “Flare Effect” Ability making another Stage 1 - like Vespiquen (XY: Ancient Origins 10/98) count as a Fire-Type, enabling that second Stage 1 to score the OHKO.  For the record Darkness Weakness would have been mechanically appropriate (based on video game mechanics) but I’m glad they didn’t shift because that’s an even worse Weakness to possess at the moment.  Metagross-GX is Psychic Resistant, which seems mostly appropriate: Metagross in the video games take double damage from Ghost-Type, Ľ damage from video game Psychic-Type, and no damage from video game Poison-Type moves.  Resistance to the TCG Colorless-, Dragon-, or Fairy-Types would have avoided the contradiction, at least before we get into the many Dual-Type Pokémon.  Metagross-GX has a Retreat Cost of [CCC]; include multiple means to avoid paying this much to change out your Active, but I honestly expected it to be the maximum [CCCC] cost, so I’m slightly relieved.  It also means Heavy Ball might be a nifty way of searching out Metagross-GX. 

Metagross-GX possesses an Ability, a regular attack, and a GX-attack.  The first of these is the Ability “Geotech System”; I must say, I like the name.  I also like the effect; this Ability allows you to attach a Metal or Psychic Energy card from your discard pile to your Active Pokémon.  The only cards that count as [M] or [P] in the discard pile are basic Metal Energy and Psychic Energy, but that is enough to provide you with options.  Attachment from the discard pile can allow you to reuse the same Energy over and over again, and the draw/search effects we have make it fairly easy to get the Energy into said discard pile in the first place.  Only attaching to your Active can at times be inconvenient, but mostly that is the exact place you want the Energy.  This is a very good, maybe even a great, Ability.  The card’s regular attack is “Giga Hammer” for [MMC], which does 150 damage but also states “this Pokémon” cannot use Giga Hammer the next turn.  150 for three is a good deal, but you’ll need some help to take down typical OHKO targets like Basic Pokémon-EX and Pokémon-GX; Choice Band, Professor Kukui, or even both may be required.  Pokémon Ranger or changing out your Active (possibly re-promoting it) can reasonably deal with the effect; it is still a drawback, but once we’ve seen worked around in multiple decks.  Overall, I’d call this a good attack. 

That leaves the GX-attack, “Algorithm”.  It costs just [C] and does no damage; it is all about its effect, and that is searching your deck for five cards to add to your hand.  That is a fantastic amount of cherry-picked cards but there are two hidden drawbacks.  This is an attack, so after you use it, your turn is over and your opponent has an entire turn to wreck your plans.  This could be using N to shuffle those five cards away, messing up your side of the field, or doing something (useful to them) that significantly alters his or her side of the board.  Something that affects even non-attack searching affects is one of the classic TCG dilemmas, and its added nuance in Pokémon.  The more you run of a particular card, the more options (barring specifics) you have of using it, and also of drawing into it naturally.  It can (and often will) still be useful to search out such a card, but it is less of a benefit than being able to search out a similarly useful card of which you are not running many copies.  Pokémon further complicates this with the Prize mechanic; five single cards you might only need for some perfect combo, one Algorithm readies for the next turn and… the whole thing falls apart if one is Prized.  Does that make this a bad attack?  No!  In fact, I would still call it a fairly good, early game attack, especially if we receive more cards like Hala that reward you for having used your GX-attack.  Just remember what can go wrong and try not to make it a critical part of your setup.

Metagross-GX Evolves from Metang which, in turn, Evolves from Beldum.  I am only seeing three Beldum to consider for Expanded play, and two for Standard: BW: Plasma Freeze 50/116, XY: Ancient Origins 47/98, and SM: Guardians Rising 83/145.  All are Basic Pokémon with 60 HP and neither an Ability nor Ancient Trait.  BW: Plasma Freeze 50/116 is a Psychic-Type with Psychic Weakness, no Resistance, Retreat Cost [C] and two attacks.  The first attack is “Calculate” for [C], which allows you to look at the top four cards of your deck and rearrange them as you see fit.  The second attack is “Psypunch” and for [PC] it does 20 damage.  XY: Ancient Origins 47/98 is a Metal-Type Pokémon with Fire Weakness, Psychic Resistance, a Retreat Cost of [CC], and (again) two attacks.  For [M] it can use “Ram” to do 10 damage, while for [MCC] it does 30 damage with “Spinning Attack”.  SM: Guardians Rising 83/145 is also a Metal-Type Pokémon with the same Fire Weakness and Psychic Resistance, but only has a Retreat Cost of [C] and a single attack - “Core Beam” for [M], which does 20 damage but requires you discard one [M] Energy card from itself.  None of these are great, but unless you’re worried about Psychic-Type attackers that can’t already quickly KO a 60 HP Basic, go with BW: Plasma Freeze 50/116.  If you’re desperate, Calculate might help get your deck going.  In Standard play, use SM: Guardians Rising 83/145 just for the better Retreat Cost. 

When it comes to Metang, again we have three options: BW: Plasma Freeze 51/116, XY: Ancient Origins 48/98, and SM: Guardians Rising 84/145.  All three are 90 HP Stage 1 Pokémon with two attacks, no Abilities, and no Ancient Traits.  Not too durable, but that means both the Basics and the Stage 1 options are all Level Ball compliant (may or may not matter).  BW: Plasma Freeze 51/116 is a Psychic-Type with Psychic Weakness, no Resistance, and Retreat Cost [C].  For [P] it can use “Psybolt” to do 10 damage, and flip a coin where “heads” Paralyzes the opponent’s Active and “tails” does nothing (the base 10 damage is done in both cases).  [PCC] pays for Psypunch, this time doing 50 damage.  XY: Ancient Origins 48/98 is a Metal-Type with Fire Weakness, Psychic Resistance, and Retreat Cost [CCC].  Its first attack is “Metal Claw” for [MC] which does 30 damage.  For [MMC] its second attack, “Bullet Punch”, does 50 damage and has you flip two coins; each “heads” adds 20 damage, while each “tails” makes no difference.  SM: Guardians Rising 84/145 is also a Metal-Type with Fire Weakness, Psychic Resistance, and a Retreat Cost of [CCC].  Its features two recycled attacks from its lower Stages, those the Energy costs and damage are different.  For [C] it can use Ram to do 20 damage, while for [MMC] it can use Core Beam to do 80 damage (and must still discard a [M] Energy from itself).  If you’re not using Heavy Ball and are running a source of [P] Energy (and I’m not saying you should), BW: Plasma Freeze 51/116 can try to stall with its Paralysis.  SM: Guardians Rising 84/145 has decent attacks. 

As you can split the line, we should run through Metagross as well; we’ve got BW: Plasma Freeze 52/116 (also available as BW: Black Star Promos BW75), XY: Ancient Origins 49/98, and XY: Ancient Origins 50/98.  All are Stage 2 Pokémon with at least one attack.  BW: Plasma Freeze 52/116 is a Psychic-Type with 140 HP, Psychic Weakness, no Resistance, Retreat Cost [CC], and no Ancient Trait.  It is a Team Plasma Pokémon, so if it comes up again, we’ll refer to it as Metagross [Plasma].  It can tap Team Plasma support but will have to deal with Team Plasma counters, though the latter won’t matter too much because Team Plasma decks haven’t been worth hardcountering in a while.  Its Ability is “Plasma Search”, which allows you to search your deck for a Team Plasma card and add it to your hand once per turn, before you attack.  It also is worded so you cannot use more than one instance of Plasma Search in the same turn, badly nerfing the Ability.  For [PCCC] it can attack using “Mind Bend” to do 60 damage and Confuse the opponent’s Active.  Baby Mario was the only reviewer to weigh in on it when it was our Card of the Day, and the 2.25/5 he gave it might have been too high.  The game was really hard on Stage 2 Pokémon at the time: you could attack when you went first, so setting up something to Evolve usually meant playing down two of its Basic Stage and knowing one would get FTKO’d.  Psychic Weakness was more dangerous at the time, with 140 HP being just “okay”.  The attack was a joke then and is even worse now (yeah, even if you use Dimension Valley to lower the price).  Only the Ability is good… and because it can’t stack with itself, it is only “kind of” good.  The nerfing was probably intentional; while it can’t grab just anything from your deck, it could grab Team Plasma themed Trainers and Energy, not just Pokémon.  Don’t worry about running this. 

XY: Ancient Origins 49/98, and XY: Ancient Origins 50/98 actually have a bit more in common, perhaps appropriate given they are set-mates.  Both are Metal-Type Pokémon with 150 HP, Fire Weakness, Psychic Resistance, and Retreat Cost [CCCC].  XY: Ancient Origins 49/98 has the Ability “Magnetic Warp”, which is basically a free Escape Rope (before you attack) once during your turn.  Its “Iron Cannon” attack requires [MMCC] to do 80 damage, with the option of discarding all attached [M] Energy to do another 80 damage, or 160 total.  If you can mix Energy Types, 160 for four with a two Energy discard cost (the minimum [M] Energy required) is actually decent; not great, but it does look like it could work out with Metagross-GX.  The Ability was already tempting, to deal with the Retreat Costs.  I am uncertain if it is worth losing a Metagross-GX, however.  XY: Ancient Origins 49/98 was reviewed here.  XY: Ancient Origins 50/98 possesses the “Θ Double” Ancient Trait, allowing it to equip up to two Pokémon Tools; good, but less impressive now that easy Tool discard is back in Standard.  Its first attack is “Machine Gun Stomp” for [CC], which does 20 damage plus 10 per card in your hand.  For [MMCC] it can use “Guard Press” to do 80 damage, while reducing the damage it takes (after Weakness/Resistance) until the end of your opponent’s next turn.  Guard Press is bad, but Machine Gun Stomp was the star of a budget deck, at least on the PTCGO for a very short time.  You see, there was a period in Standard where none of Judge, N or Red Card were legal; Judge wouldn’t return until the next expansion, N the expansion after that (two expansions if we include Generations), and Red Card doesn’t appear to ever be returning.  Ace Trainer released that same set, but required your opponent recklessly pull ahead of you in Prizes.  While being a Stage 2 made it cumbersome, Double Colorless Energy could fuel Machine Gun Stomp (Guard Press was and remains not worth the effort), and being worth only one Prize made it easier to stay tied or behind the opponent until a last-minute push for game.  We looked at it here, sadly just past its prime (and it still wasn’t all that great even when it was being used).  Don’t worry about this one either.

Metagross-EX and M Metagross-EX do not compete with Metagross-GX for the 4 Copy rule, or for lower Stages; the former is a Basic and the latter a Mega Evolution.  I’m bringing them up just for comparison’s sake.  Both are Pokémon-EX, worth an extra Prize when KO’d, vulnerable to Pokémon-EX specific counters, and excluded from a (select few) useful card effects.  Both are also Metal-Types with Fire Weakness, Psychic Resistance, and Retreat Cost [CCCC].  Metagross-EX has 180 HP two attacks; for [MC] it can use “Magnetic Laser” to do 20 damage while moving an [M] Energy from one of your Benched Pokémon to itself while [MMCC] pays for “Squared Attack” to flip four coins, good for 50 damage per “heads”.  Not very good attacks, but not really bad, either; a bit mediocre.  Metagross-EX has 220 HP and the attack “Gatling Slug” for [CCCC] and does 130 damage plus 10 more for each [M] Energy attached to itself.  If you used four [M] Energy to fuel the attack, you’d hit for a solid 170.  Due to the lack of Spirit Link card, these two had almost no chance of proving competitive, though if it does get one (Lucario Spirit Link released as a surprise promo, after all), it might have some chops.  I mostly brought it up to distinguish between the two; the highest HP any Metagross had was 150, Metagross-EX has 180 HP, M Metagross-EX only 220 (many Mega Evolutions had 230 and some even had 240).  The powers-that-be decided to bulk up Metagross-GX, without giving it quite as massive of attack costs or Retreat Costs.  We looked at Metagross-EX here and M Metagross-EX here. 

The good news is, Metagross-GX has already proven itself competitive.  Perhaps it won’t experience further success, but it managed a 2nd, 9th, and 18th place finish in the Masters Division of the Madison, WI Regional Championship.  While it didn’t do as well in the Mexico City Regional Championship, its 24th place finish means it isn’t out of the running yet.  Unfortunately, I don’t have the lists for the deck, though most included Dhelmise (SM: Guardians Rising 59/145) because its Ability “Steelworker” increases the damage attacks from your Metal-Types do by 10.  This lack of info is why I allowed myself to go back to my old review habits.  The official Pokémon site has the results (and decklists from the Top 8) posted for the Madison, WI Regional Championships here.  For Standard play, I think Metagross-GX still has potential, until Fire-Types dominate the metagame again.  It might have some chops in Expanded, where it can fuel several potent attackers.  As long as you get the rest of the line, it should be a powerhouse in Limited play. 


Standard: 3.65/5 

Expanded: 3.65/5 

Limited: 3.75/5 


Metagross-GX might have been a fluke, but I think it is a solid card only held back by being a slow Stage 2 in a very fast format and Fire Weakness being very dangerous right now. 

Metagross-GX had the same voting points as Honchkrow and Multi Switch, plus it lost the roll-off between all three.  It lost out to being tied with the next highest and lowest ranks by one voting point, as things were very close this far down in the list.  I had it as my 18th place pick for my own top 20, and it barely made at least one other list, but we probably should have had this at least near the top of the runners-up, not near the bottom.  Live and learn; at least being this tardy, we could report on things after-the-fact.

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