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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day



Top 15 Sun & Moon: Guardians Rising

#12 - Ninetales-GX
- S&M: Guardians Rising

Date Reviewed:
May 18, 2017

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3
Expanded: 3
Limited: 4.5

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

Back to the main COTD Page


Now here's a Pokemon card that has had people a little torn up over. I've heard that this card is great and that this card is terrible too. It's hard to figure that out without taking a look at this card itself. 

Alolan Ninetales-GX looks pretty solid at first glance. 210 HP, Stage 1 GX, with Metal Weakness is all pretty good, especially given all the Water support as of late. So perhaps we've got a strong contender already, but then what's got the snowy fox thinking about taking on the big leagues? Well its first attack, Ice Blade costs 2 generic Energy and deals 50 damage to any Pokemon you'd like it to. That's not bad on its own for sniping Bench-sitters - it will even 2HKO the smaller folk, which could include crucial Basics that your opponent would have to react quickly to in order to keep them from getting KO'd. Not bad, but nothing outright spectacular either, consider there's no damage to the attacker if you chose a Bench-sitter. 

Then there's Blizzard Edge, which is a powerful 3-for-160 move that comes with a drastic drawback of discarding 2 Energy. Honestly, that discard is the most painful part of the card. If it didn't have that, Alolan Ninetales-GX could even be a 2HKO machine on most any Stage 1 GX and lower Pokemon. 160 on its own can KO most non-EX and non-GX Pokemon anyhow, and it doesn't take much to push it into OHKO range for most of them! Still, the discard's pretty hefty... 

And then there's the GX attack, Ice Path GX. It costs the same as Ice Blade, but it does something far nastier - it moves all the damage on Alolan Ninetales-GX to the opponent. It's like an old kitsune's curse to pull off a move like that, and if your opponent isn't careful with how they handle their damage output, Alolan Ninetales-GX can heal itself for all the effort they put in and severely hurt their own Pokemon - if not knock them out. Remember, it doesn't just remove its counters and put up to the same amount that it had onto the opponent's Pokemon - it pushes ALL the damage onto it. 

So to me, Alolan Ninetales-GX has a simple goal in mind: trade back and forth with Ice Blade and Blizzard Edge as need be, and when you're in a pinch, Ice Path GX to wreck your opponent and keep pushing forward. In the right hands, it can be powerful, and there has even been some rumored success for a deck in Japan that runs Alolan Ninetales-GX. I've even looked into a few decks that run it to see what their builds were like and see if the hype can be believed.  

So what's my opinion? Well, Alolan Ninetales-GX has a lot of great support going for it right now in this day and age...but I'm not 100% sold on it being a huge deck. My main concern comes with Blizzard Edge's discard cost, as that means you need to have a steady stream of Energy hopping back onto Alolan Ninetales-GX to keep it trucking along with its most powerful attack. Sure, the GX Attack makes up for it in part, but that's relying on your opponent being a little naive about it and not trying to plan around it so they can surprise your Alolan Ninetales-GX with a big KO before you can even use the attack. 

So be wary of Alolan Ninetales-GX not only in your playing against the deck, but also if you're playing it in your deck - be smart when using it, and it'll take you far. One wrong step, and you might not be able to push back for the victory.


Standard: 3.5/5 (it's not a bad GX card, maybe not the greatest but not bad)

Expanded: 3/5 (if anything, it's all a matter of how well you play with and around it) 

Limited: 4.5/5 (probably one of the more skillful cards in the set) 

Arora Notealus: I can appreciate the designers for introducing cards like this into the game, cards that aren't just mindless add-ins or take-out-and-dump-its, but stuff that actually requires a little extra thought. How would I approach this card? How do I get around its attacks? How can I make its attacks work for me? At least Alolan Ninetales-GX doesn't have to worry about any major pesky Metal Pokemon in the format...yet. 

Next Time: A curious dragon shows up to say hello!


Alolan Ninetales GX (Guardians Rising, 22/145) comes from the new Guardians Rising expansion set.  A 210 HP Water Pokemon, it has three attacks.  For two Colorless energy, Ice Blade does fifty damage to ANY of your opponent’s Pokemon.  Blizzard Edge, for two Water and a Colorless energy, does 160 damage, but then you have to discard two energy.  Ninetales’ GX attack Ice Path allows you, for two Colorless energy, to move all damage counters on your Ninetales in the active to your opponent’s active Pokemon.

I definitely bought in to the Ninetales hype prior to the release of Guardians Rising.  I initially did not think a whole lot about this Pokemon but then I got swayed by some reviews I watched.  I also heard that it had done well over in Japan, that it and Garbodor (Guardians Rising, 51/145) dominated tournaments over there.  After having played seventeen matches with it, though, I wish I had stuck with my initial assessment of this card.  I had mediocre success with it, going 4-5 in a traditional decklist and 4-4 in a Mallow (Guardians Rising, 127/145) Octillery (Breakthrough, 33/162) deck engine.

So my problems with Ninetales include the following:

ˇ         Its main attack Blizzard Edge requires three Water energy and then it discards two of those energy.  Even with Aqua Patch (Guardians Rising, 119/145) and Max Elixir (Breakpoint, 102/122), you have to work pretty hard to get this powered up and then consistently refuel it… and it only does 160 damage.  Compare this to Solgaleo GX (Sun & Moon, 89/149) and Lapras GX (Sun & Moon, 35/149), and this attack simply is just not as good as the attacks of those Pokemon.

ˇ          Its two Colorless energy attack Ice Blade doesn’t impress me.  I compare this to Mega Audino EX (Fates Collide, 85/124) whose secondary part of its attack Magical Symphony does fifty damage to a benched Pokemon … AND 110 to the active for only a single Colorless energy more.

I will point out that I used a Mallow Octillery engine for almost half of the matches I played.  I also included Skyla (Breakpoint, 122/122) and Teammates (Primal Clash, 160/160).  This deck engine involves more of a precision based approach, going and grabbing cards you need rather than just blasting a random draw of cards, but it does rely on Octillery to supplement a couple of extra cards per turn in addition to the ones you choose.  However, this style of draw support really works best for decks that tend to hold cards, generally Stage 2 decks, and I don’t think that it significantly helped improve the overall performance of the deck.


Standard: 2.5 out of 5


Alolan Ninetales GX isn’t a bad Pokemon.  You’ll probably win about half of your matches with it.  It’s just that the level of competition in the meta now is so high that Pokemon with niche attacks like Ice Blade and primary attacks like Blizzard Edge that have such significant downsides simply won’t be able to compete at the highest levels of competition in the game today.

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