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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Top 10 Sun & Moon: Guardians Rising

#13 - Lycanroc-GX
- Sun & Moon: Guardians Rising

Date Reviewed:
May 17, 2017

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3.0
Expanded: 3.5
Limited: 4.0

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

Back to the main COTD Page


What Top X List would be complete without a Pokemon with the Ability to switch things around freely? Especially your opponent's side of things! 

Lycanroc-GX comes in with around 200 HP - which honestly might be a little on the lower end of Stage 1 GX HP scores - and the Ability Bloodthirsty Eyes, which lets you switch out your opponent's Active Pokemon for one of their Benched Pokemon when Lycanroc-GX is played. It's the new Lysandre pick for when Lysandre rotates out, though not every deck may run a Stage 1 line-up just for the switch...oh who are we kidding, I'm sure people would run it ESPECIALLY when Lysandre rotates out eventually! 

Lycanroc-GX though does come with his own set of attacks as well. Claw Slash is just a generic 3-for-110 vanilla hit, but that's honestly on the better side of things. Even without the effect, Claw Slash can 2HKO most Pokemon in the game outside of some Mega-EX and Stage 2 GX, and with Strong Energy or a special Item attached, it's not that far out of range then. But if you really need to get rid of something, Lycanroc-GX offers Dangerous Rogue GX, a 2-Energy GX Attack that will deal 50 damage based on the number of Benched Pokemon your OPPONENT has. 

Of course, Dangerous Rogue GX has a very key timing aspect to it. If you use it, it's going to be against an opponent with a lot of Benched Pokemon, cause otherwise it's not worth it at only 1 or 2. Luckily that shouldn't be a problem, given some of the cards in this set and in other sets past. And even if it is a problem, well, the obviously answer is don't use the attack. Save it for another GX in your deck to use. 


Standard: 3.5/5 (probably likely to see Lycanroc-GX in a few decks) 

Expanded: 3.5/5 (and soon he may even be his own deck too) 

Limited: 4/5 (I mean who knows what shenanigans will unfold with this guy) 

Arora Notealus: Depicted on the card is his Midnight form, so maybe we'll see a Lycanroc card featuring his Midday form at some point? Hopefully not another Lycanroc-GX, though. It would make things difficult to try and build a deck with only four copies total between two different Lycanroc-GX, you know? 

Next Time: A chill in the breeze brings another powerful GX!


Lycanroc GX (Guardians Rising, 74/145) got a reboot in Guardians Rising.  Originally released as a promo (SM14), his new incarnation now has an ability, Bloodthirsty Eyes, which allows you to switch one of your opponent’s Pokemon with their active Pokemon when you play Lycanroc GX from your hand to evolve a Rockruff (Guardians Rising, 73/145).  This new Lycanroc GX also has an attack Claw Slash which for a Fighting energy and two Colorless energies does 110 damage.  Its GX attack, Dangerous Rogue GX, does fifty damage times the number       of your opponent’s benched Pokemon.

I had quite a bit of success with the promo Lycanroc before the release of Guardians Rising.  I went 28-14 with the hammers version of this deck.  I think players employ the hammers version the most often.  I have seen it also used in conjunction with the Eevee’s (Sun & Moon, 101/149), but I can’t seem to get the Eevee’s to work with much of anything.  I have also used a Lycanroc GX Garbodor (Breakpoint, 57/122) build, but that has obviously become obsolete.

I did not have as much success with this new Lycanroc GX though.  I don’t know if I have an exact answer for this, but I have a couple of ideas as to why I’ve gone 5-8 in testing:

·         The format has simply gotten a lot better.  With all of the new GX’s as well as good non-GX’s such as Garbodor (Guardians Rising, 51/145) and Trevenant (Guardians Rising, 7/145), the median amount of damage per attack has significantly increased from the eighty that I recorded in my study about a month ago.

·         I used Exp. Share (Sun & Moon, 118/149) to help facilitate energy counts on attacking Pokemon.  With the addition of Field Blower (Guardians Rising, 125/145), I have moved away from this strategy.

·         The promo had a two energy attack that also discarded an energy from the opponent’s active Pokemon.  The Guardians Rising version needs a Double Colorless Energy (Guardians Rising, 136/149) to make its non-GX attack a two attachment attack.

Someone probably has a deck out there that will win more consistently than mine did.  I used a 2-2 split between the promo and the GRI version.  I did find myself going more for the promo unless I knew I wanted to use Bloodthirsty Eyes to switch my opponent’s active Pokemon.  Something else to realize: if you use Devolution Spray (Evolutions, 76/108), you will not be able to re-evolve Lycanroc GX until the next turn.


Standard: 2.5 out of 5


I thought, like many, that this new version of Lycanroc GX would only make this Pokemon better, but this demonstrates the power of Field Blower and the influx of Pokemon that are simply better than Lycanroc GX.  As I mentioned, I would bet that someone is out there winning a majority of their matches with Lycanroc GX, but I don’t know what that build consists of now in a post-GRI meta.


What’s this?  Yeah, a very late Pokémon CotD review.  Not three places in and I ran short of time to write my reviews for our Top 15 Countdown for SM: Guardians Rising!  If you’re not familiar with this Pojo tradition, it began with year-end countdowns, and then shifted to us calling out the best cards of the set so you had more time to enjoy them before the next release.  This time we went with a Top 15 list due to the number of impressive cards we had to deal with and because all the reviewers who submitted individual lists made them at least Top 15’s.  We take those lists, award “voting points” based on how the cards placed, tally those up, and use that to design the site’s master list.  Reprints were not allowed, as you don’t need us to tell you something like Double Colorless Energy is still awesome.  Onto our 13th place pick! 

Lycanroc-GX (SM: Guardians Rising 74/145, 138/145, 156/145) is *gasp* a Pokémon-GX!  Obvious, but an important distinction even before we knew that Garbodor (SM: Guardians Rising 51/145) was going to become the deck to beat.  Lycanroc-GX will give up an extra Prize when KO’d and is vulnerable to certain counters like Choice Band based on being a Pokémon-GX.  I can’t recall any beneficial effects that exclude Pokémon-GX yet, but odds are we’ll get those sooner or later as well, just as we did for Pokémon-EX.  Being a Pokémon-GX has so far guaranteed an HP boost over baseline counterparts and having three effects (one being a GX-attack).  Lycanroc-GX is a Fighting-Type, which makes sense as in the video games it is a pure Rock-Type regardless of its forme.  It doesn’t affect the game mechanically, but today’s card is the Midnight Forme, as the artwork shows.  Being a TCG Fighting-Type will allow it to strike most Darkness-Types, most Lightning-Types, and many Colorless-Types for double damage due to Weakness, a significant swath of the potential metagame, and often the actual!  Of course, Fighting Resistance is one of the most common, with a good chunk of the Colorless-Type sporting it, and examples found in nearly all (possibly all) Types.  Fortunately, Resistance isn’t a big deal, and Fighting has some good Type support.  Their personal Special Energy is Strong Energy, which grants +20 damage to attacks made by the Pokémon to which it is attached, and multiple copies stack.  They’ve got some nifty Trainer-tricks but most are in Expanded, like Korrina.  They have a stable of solid attackers and a few decent supporting Pokémon, some of which include Energy-based tricks as well.  Sometimes a Fighting-Type leads the top deck in the format, but often the entire Type seems to fall off the radar, only to get a second wind at a later date.

Being a Stage 1 isn’t great, but it isn’t bad.  It is a solid thing for a card, not as fast or resource lite as being a Basic but better than all the rest.  You could actually put this card into play directly via Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick (yeah, that is still around in Standard!) but the Ability we’ll discuss in a moment is why you shouldn’t bother with him or Wally.  200 HP is enough to give Lycanroc-GX a good chance of surviving many attacks, excluding decks known for OHKO’s, or those exploiting Weakness.  Said Weakness is to Grass-Types and had I reviewed this on Type I would have been very worried due to the prominence of decks built around Decidueye-GX and Vileplume (XY: Ancient Origins 3/98).  Garbodor has chased those decks away, at least for now, but Vespiquen (XY: Ancient Origins 10/98), Lurantis-GX, and a few others are still sniffing around, if not ready to pounce again, so caution is still advised.  No Resistance is the worst Resistance, but Typical, so I’ll just use it as an excuse to point out that if the powers-that-be weren’t trying to avoid Colorless and/or Fire Resistance from becoming a thing again, as a pure Rock-Type Lycanroc-GX would justify either.  The Retreat Cost of [C] is low and easy to pay; a nice way to finish off the card’s attributes. 

Moving onto its effects, the first of its three is the Ability “Bloodthirsty Eyes”.  Besides sounding intimidating, it allows you to choose one of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon and force it into his or her Active position (benching the former Active Pokémon).  The catch is that this effect only triggers when you Evolve one of your in-play Pokémon into Lycanroc-GX, so without a trick like Devolution Spray it is a one-time deal.  Still, you’d normally have to burn a Supporter (Lysandre) on such a play, so it’s potent.  The second effect and first of the attacks is “Claw Slash” for [FCC], doing 110 damage.  Not quite 2HKO range for bigger Pokémon-EX and Pokémon-GX, and the biggest are even outside of 2HKO range with a single damage buff like Choice Band or one Strong Energy; both together do bring anything without protection of defensive buffs into 2HKO range with clearance, and a key Pokémon-EX: Shaymin-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 77/108, 106/108).  The Energy cost isn’t super easy, but being Double Colorless Energy compliant is almost always a bonus, and this isn’t one of the exceptions.  The GX-attack is “Dangerous Rogue-GX” and it allows Lycanroc-GX to steal its opponent’s powers with a touch, usually a kiss.  No, wait, that’s Rogue from the X-Men.  This attack costs [FC] and does 50 damage times the amount of Pokémon on your opponent’s Bench.   A full five Pokémon Bench means a OHKO of just about anything (protected Pokémon providing the exception).  Four will handle most things that aren’t one of those, Mega Evolutions, and Evolved Pokémon-GX.  Three still provides a solid 150 damage to build upon, and while lame for a GX-attack, the 100 damage from an opponent having two Benched Pokémon would normally be a decent return for a two-Energy attack.  This isn’t the greatest GX-attack, but it is still reasonably good, especially with the Ability.

We’ve got two Rockruff so far and one other Lycanroc-GX to consider as well.  The Rockruff are both Fighting Type Basic Pokémon with 60 HP and the same Grass Weakness, lack of Resistance, and Retreat Cost [C] as today’s Lycanroc-GX, with two attacks.  SM: Black Star Promos SM06 knows “Tackle” for [C], doing 10, and “Rock Throw” for [FC], doing 20.  SM: Guardians Rising 73/145) knows “Corner” for [F] to prevent the opponent’s Active from retreating during the next turn, while for [CC] it can use “Wild Kick” to flip a coin with “heads” doing 30 damage and “tails” doing none.  Neither are great, but SM: Guardians Rising 73/145) is the better choice; Corner has some technical value while Wild Kick might be a decent desperation move, especially in an off-Type build.  Lycanroc-GX (SM: Black Star Promos SM14) is based on the Midday Forme, is also a Fighting Type Stage 1 with 200 HP, Grass Weakness, and no Resistance but has Retreat Cost [CC] (meh) and three attacks.  “Crunch” requires [FC] and does 30 damage while discarding an Energy from your opponent’s Active - no flip required, no restrictions on what kind of Energy.  This was good enough that people were toying around with a disruption deck based upon it for a little while after its release.  [FFC] pays for its “Accelerock” attack, a fancy name for an attack that just does 120 damage.  Be nicer if it worked for [FCC], but 120 for three is still solid.  Its GX-attack is “Lycanfang-GX”, costs [FFC] and requires you discard two Energy from itself, but it does 200 damage.  Not bad, but still not overly impressive for a GX-attack that costs that much. 

The two Lycanroc-GX actually can play nice, and I’d always recommend including at least one of the opposite one, regardless of your deck’s focus, excepting (perhaps) if you’re going to back up the promo version with Garbodor (XY: BREAKpoint 57/122).  It is kind of like the powers-that-be took Genesect-EX (BW: Plasma Blast 11/101, 97/101), along with the better of its two Ace-Spec cards (G Booster) and split it into the two Lycanroc-GX.  Which is another reason Lycanfang-GX didn’t impress; it may have cost you your Ace Spec, but G Booster allowed you to use the attack of the same name, and it cost a comparable [GGC] with a two Energy discard but its damage ignored all effects on the Defending Pokémon.  Its Ability, “Red Signal” triggers anytime you attach a Plasma Energy - a Special Energy that only provides [C] and was used for triggering other card effects - provided the same Lysandre-like effect.  I’m all for slowing down power creep, but this may have weakened the two cards too much.  Whether backing up its counterpart, used as a deck focus or backing up something else, though, Lycanroc-GX has definite appeal.  The big thing is to think long term: as of now, it appears Lysandre will be lost to Standard play at the next rotation, so a reliable means of forcing something Active might be worth a 1-1 or 2-2 line of Lycanroc-GX, even if it can’t attack. 

With Shaymin-EX and the potential for more key Bench-sitters, the short run isn’t bad for Lycanroc-GX in Standard, it just isn’t great either.  I’m cautiously optimistic.  Expanded offers it more support, but also more competition; probably another “same results, different reason” scenario.  In Limited play, only skip it if you get a big, Basic Pokémon worth running solo; everything else can enjoy it as a Bench-sitter run only for the effect, though unless you absolutely can’t, make sure there are at least a few Fighting Energy to feed it so it may also attack. 


Standard: 3.15/5 

Expanded: 3.15/5 

Limited: 4/5 


Lycanroc-GX is a somewhat good card now with nice long term prospects.  No guarantees, though, as it could also wind up as a has-been who never actually was.  The Ability is really nice, but the attacks are only competent in a very cutthroat environment.  It also seems very metagame sensitive, as things like vulnerable Bench-sitters, Fighting Weakness, and almost every kind of lock are going to affect it (the latter because it will need a little of everything to operate well). 

Lycanroc-GX received five more voting points than 14th place finisher Victini (SM: Guardians Rising 10/145) and fell three points shy of tying tomorrow’s 12th place pick.  For my own list, it made 13th place, which now seems a bit high.  I was counting on it being able to force Active Vileplume while under Item lock, for it (with a Strong Energy) or something else to OHKO.  If it doesn’t live up to its long-term potential, I’ll have overrated it quite a bit.

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