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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Top 15 Sun & Moon: Guardians Rising

#1 - Tapu Lele-GX
- S&M: Guardians Rising

Date Reviewed:
June 2, 2017

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 4.63
Expanded: 4.85
Limited: 4.75

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

Back to the main COTD Page


Ever wondered what Jirachi-EX would look like if she had a bit more than just her Ability? Well Tapu Lele-GX is probably the absolute answer to that. 

Tapu Lele-GX is a 170 HP Basic-GX who comes into play with the ever-useful Supporter-retrieval Ability, Wonder Tag. Just like Jirachi-EX, Tapu Lele-GX grabs a Supporter from your deck when you play it down from your hand, and that's already incentive to play it over Jirachi-EX - after all, she's got more HP! In Standard, I'd expect that Tapu Lele-GX will be run as at least a 1-of in most decks, but could there be more that Tapu Lele-GX can do? 

Energy Drive costs 2 generic Energy, which means that not only can any deck run Tapu Lele-GX for the Ability - they can even use her for attack! The only trick is that the damage dealt is 20 times the amount of Energy on both Active Pokemon, and the damage isn't affected by Weakness or Resistance. This hurts Tapu Lele-GX's potential to be a frontline attacker, seeing as the effect could easily be overwhelming against Psychic-Weak Pokemon, but considering its openness and utility, it's probably for the best that Tapu Lele-GX get a bit of a restriction to not become an overwhelming Mewtwo-EX clone of sorts. 

After that, there's Tapu Cure GX, which only decks with Psychic Energy will have much access to. For that 1 Psychic Energy though, Tapu Lele-GX can heal off all the damage from 2 Benched Pokemon you've got. It's a lot like Primarina-GX's Grand Echo GX, only it costs 1 Energy and has a smaller range. It also doesn't affect Tapu Lele-GX itself, so there's no quick reset or anything like that to help out. It's probably fair considering she's a Basic-GX to Primarina's Stage 2-GX form, but it can still be useful in the right decks to get rid of a lot of nasty damage from some Pokemon. The problem though, as we've begun to see, is that healing GX attacks are some of the weaker GX moves in the game - at least when compared to some of the other moves. 

Kind of like healing attacks in general, really. 

Still, Jirachi-EX wasn't played solely for its Hypnostrike attack, and Tapu Lele-GX has a bit more utility than just its Ability, so there is potential for it to be better than Jirachi-EX. All the same, the Supporter pool is still a widely accessible selection of cards, and there's no doubt that Tapu Lele-GX can find a home in any deck build. 


Standard: 5/5 (Supporter-retrieval has historically been an incredibly useful ability to have) 

Expanded: 5/5 (and on a bigger body, that's a lot to deal with for your opponent)

Limited: 5/5 (not to mention at least she's got a generic attack) 

Arora Notealus: Tapu Lele-GX is probably one of the biggest helpers in the entire set, and it shows a bright future for a lot of decks that can run it. Which all things considered, might as well be every deck in existence. Is it better than Jirachi-EX? From a strictly Ability-retrieval and HP body standpoint, yes, but throw on the extra attack, and Tapu Lele-GX outclasses Jirachi-EX quite a bit. At this point, it's just a matter of personal preference on who you like running.

Weekend Thought: Do you agree with our Top 15 cards of the set? Think some cards ought to be higher? Maybe some shouldn't be on the list? Is there a card that we overlooked, or maybe there's a card that got overhyped? Whatever your opinion may be, share it with others!


Tapu Lele GX (Guardians Rising, 60/145), like Field Blower (Guardians Rising, 125/145) yesterday, brings us something that we haven’t had in a long while: a way to search for a specific Supporter card without having to use a Supporter card.  When you play the card from your hand on to the bench, Tapu Lele’s ability Wonder Tag allows you to search your deck for any Supporter card you want.

Obviously, this can be phenomenal.  Dead hand turn one?  Lele for N (Fates Collide, 105/124) or Professor Sycamore (Steam Siege, 114/114).  Got a good hand but need a big basic to attack with?  Go get Ninja Boy (Steam Siege, 103/114) and you can potentially use Lele again.  Want to shut down your opponent’s Lele or other cards with abilities?  Hex Maniac (Ancient Origins, 75/98) gives you the initiative.  From what I’ve seen, most people who use it early use the cards Brigette (Breakthrough, 161/162) or Pokemon Fan Club (Fates Collide, 107/124).  This helps you get a quick set up on your bench.  There’s no doubt that Tapu Lele can help give you a strategic advantage and speed up the development of your attack, or, later in the game, pull you that key Supporter (usually Lysandre (Ancient Origins, 78/98) to help you close the game out.

But you don’t need it.

I know, I know, I just spoke Pokemon heresy, I should be burned at the stake and stoned, but the fact is, you don’t need it.  I’ve won 54% of my matches since GRI.  The records of my most successful decks:

·         Excadrill (Primal Clash, 97/160) 11 W, 5 L

·         Tapu Koko GX (Guardians Rising, 47/145) 15 W, 10 L

·         M Mewtwo EX  (Breakthrough, 64/162) Garbodor (Guardians Rising, 51/145) 18 W 10 L

·         Sylveon GX (Guardians Rising, 92/145) 23 W 11 L

·         Torkoal (Sun & Moon, 23/149) Volcanion EX (Steam Siege, 107/114) 17 W 7 L

·         Trevenant (Guardians Rising, 7/145) Vileplume (Ancient Origins, 3/98) 16 W 8 L

·         Trevenant (Guardians Rising, 7/145) Garbodor (Guardians Rising, 51/145) 19 W 11 L

None of these decks carried even a single copy of Tapu Lele (or Shaymin EX (Roaring Skies, 106/108) either for that matter).  My reasons:

·         I’m contrary.  You’ve probably already figured out, I’m not going to go with the crowd.  I always question the majority opinion.

·         I’m a cheapskate.  Lele’s between $30 and $40 USD.  It’s about twenty packs on PTCGO.  The cost benefit analysis just doesn’t work out.

·         I don’t think the benefit it provides is as significant as the risk it presents.  It’s a sitting duck once you put it on there, and it’s two prizes, although at least it’s probably not going to be OHKO’d.  Honestly, I don’t know how you guys run it and don’t Ninja Boy it off your bench at your first opportunity.

·         I hate one use Pokemon that sit on your bench and do nothing after the single use of their ability.  And don’t tell me Lele’s got a great attack.  Seriously, I can’t remember the last time someone’s used Energy Drive on me.  And Tapu Cure GX?  Never seen it used even once.

·         Oh and head to head against Lele with decks that I am considering taking to Indianapolis at the end of the month?  I’m 15-6 against decks that run Lele.  That’s 15 WINS and 6 losses. 71% win rate where the average of all those decks overall is 66%.  I actually win MORE against decks that run Lele than those that don’t.


Of course, your response is, “I don’t believe it.  There’s no way you could win more without Lele.”  My response is the same as always: go test it out for yourself.  I’m sure I’ll pull one eventually, and then I’ll do a study on whether it really increases win percentage and by how much.   Maybe it would boost my win percentage by 3 to 5 points. 1 win out of 20 or 30 games.  Maybe I’m wrong – maybe I’d be winning 75% or 80% or more of my matches just by adding Lele… but I doubt it.  And a part of me wants to prove that I can win without it.  But most of it is just the simple fact that I don’t like the idea of playing a Pokemon on to my bench and then have it sitting there doing nothing for the rest of the game except for being a Lysandre two prize KO target.


Standard: 4 out of 5


Watch me whip, watch me Lele  Again, if it’s got a catch phrase, it’s got to be good.  But it’s not a necessity.  It’s not like you can’t compete without it.  And ask yourself – is it worth the bench space?  Is it worth being a huge target for your opponent?  If you currently play Lele, give it a shot.  Play your Drampador deck without it for twenty or twenty five matches and see how you do.


At last, our number one pick from SM: Guardians Rising, Tapu Lele-GX (SM: Guardians Rising 60/145, 137/145, 155/145).  Only the rawest of players would have failed to see this coming, given the rest of the cards we’ve already reviewed as part of this countdown.  What I don’t know is how many of you are wondering “Why did this take the top spot?” 

Tapu Lele-GX is a Psychic-Type Pokémon.  Psychic Weakness is found on many Fighting- and fellow Psychic-Type Pokémon, though Resistance is found on most Darkness- and Metal-Types; it isn’t for Type-matching purposes.  Psychic-Type support isn’t super great in Standard, either; they have a few tricks but nothing that currently “wows” me, unlike in Expanded where they’ve got Dimension Valley and Mystery Energy.  Being a Pokémon-GX is neither here nor there; she’s got more HP than she probably would have otherwise, and will have at least three effects (one being a GX-attack), but already we’ve got some Pokémon-GX that didn’t secure important wins during their 15 minutes of fame, and are now old news.  Like Snorlax-GX.  These benefits come at the cost of being worth an extra Prize when KO’d and being vulnerable to stuff like Choice Band.  What is clearly good is that Tapu Lele-GX is a Basic Pokémon, the overall best Stage due to its speed, reduced resource needs, favorable interaction with game rules and mechanics, Type support, and how the powers-that-be don’t seem to slow down the pace of the game during the first few turns, which really punishes most Evolutions as they require a turn or two to setup without massive, potentially game-breaking shortcuts.  Tapu Lele-GX has 170 HP, which I think is the lowest we’ve seen on a Pokémon-GX, but still a solid amount that isn’t especially easy to OHKO.  She has a perfect lack of Weakness, a lack of Resistance (the worst, but typical), and a Retreat Cost of [C] that is also pretty good. 

Tapu Lele-GX has the Ability “Wonder Tag”, which triggers when you play her to your Bench during your turn.  It allows you to search your deck for a Supporter and add it to your hand (you have to shuffle your deck afterward).  The only potentially game relevant difference between this and the “Stellar Guidance” Ability found on Jirachi-EX is that Wonder Tag clearly states it only works during your own turn.  I’m not sure if Jirachi-EX can actually work outside of your turn regardless of its wording (it won’t work during setup), so not a big deal.  This Ability is amazing.  Stellar Guidance was already proven, and (maybe until now) meant Jirachi-EX still saw some use in Expanded, snagging key Supporters or just providing an out to a no-Supporter hand if you had compatible Pokémon search.  I know Garbodor (SM: Guardians Rising 51/145) has folks desperately cutting back on Items, including stuff like Trainers’ Mail and VS Seeker, but that might make this Ability more important, allowing TecH Supporters to still function.  The first attack on Tapu Lele is “Energy Drive”, which does 20 damage times the number of Energy attached to both Active Pokémon but it doesn’t apply Weakness or Resistance.  No easy OHKO’s against Psychic Weak Pokémon, but at least Resistance also doesn’t matter.  You can either risk piling Energy onto Tapu Lele-GX, or just play it cool with something like a clutch Double Colorless Energy to punish your opponent’s Energy hogs.  The GX-attack is “Tapu Cure-GX” for [P].  it heals all damage from two of your Benched Pokémon.  Needing a specific Energy Type means only decks with a source of [P] Energy they can spare need apply, and it also requires a deck (yours or your opponent’s) that would significantly injure two of your Pokémon without just scoring KO’s against them instead.  Niche at best and probably a waste of time unless your opponent’s damage output is so low Tapu Lele-GX isn’t at risk of being OHKO’d. 

So it looks like someone bred Jirachi-EX with Mewtwo-EX (BW: Next Destinies 54/99, 98/99; Black Star Promos BW45; BW: Legendary Collection 54/113).  The original Mewtwo-EX dominated the metagame when it first released, and is still a pretty good card, to the point that I remembered all of those releases and only had to look them up to verify.  Even with power creep, pretty good attributes mixed with a great Ability and pretty good attack lead to a phenomenal package.  This is the new deck staple, used as or more heavily than Jirachi-EX, but perhaps not quite as heavily as Shaymin-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 77/108, 106/108).  Then again, I don’t yet have access to winning decklists since Tapu Lele-GX became tournament legal, so she might only be seeing less play relative to Shaymin-EX when it first released/in the few decks that need four.  One Tapu Lele-GX seems like a must for Standard and Expanded play, with two preferred.  Three or more is probably overkill, though I’d also imagine it is quite nice when you can make room for them.  If you pull this card for Limited play, don’t try running her on her own, or alongside something else you’re essentially running solo.  Even if you aren’t running any Supporters (probably because you didn’t get any) and aren’t running a source of [P] Energy, her HP, lack of Weakness, and Energy Drive attack still make her a very desirable attacker. 


Standard: 4.75/5 

Expanded: 4.7/5 

Limited: 4.5/5 


Not a perfect card, but quite close.  I haven’t been able to do anything with my PTCGO account in a few weeks, and didn’t snag any Tapu Lele-GX before then; I shudder to think how much she’ll run me to acquire.  The only reason I dinged Tapu Lele-GX one-twentieth a point is because she is replacing Jirachi-EX; perhaps I shouldn’t, but I usually score cards lower when they are replacements, even if they are superior replacements.  Plus, Jirachi-EX might (barely) have a niche still due to its compatibility with Level Ball.  Enjoy your new Supporter tutor! 

Tapu Lele-GX placed highly on all our individual lists, so she finished with 57 voting points.  She should have had more, but I only had her as my personal second place pick; as stated previously, I now believe she is the best card in SM: Guardians Rising.  She won by only two points, so it was close between her, second place, and third place.  With Garbodor, both the attacker SM: Guardians Rising 51/145 and the Ability-denying Bench-sitter XY: BREAKpoint 57/122, some may question that decision.  I wouldn’t be devastated if someone listed the new Garbodor as the best card; it dominated our last major event!  I just think that a new Supporter-tutor that doubles as a good, generic attacker is going to have a much longer influence is all.

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