Alolan Muk (Sun & Moon 58/149)
Alolan Muk (Sun & Moon 58/149)

Alolan Muk
– Sun & Moon

Date Reviewed:
April 18, 2019

Ratings Summary:
Standard: 4.10
Expanded: 2.90
Limited: 3.00

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

Reviews Below:

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Today’s Throwback Thursday is Alolan Muk from Sun & Moon! You can read an older review here. This Pokémon was best known for its Power of Alchemy ability, which turns off each Basic Pokémon’s Abilities, regardless if the basic Pokémon in question is in play, hand, or discard pile. The rest of this card isn’t much to write about.

When it came out, it was facing competition with Garbodor from XY BreakPoint and it’s Garbotoxin Ability. This ability shuts down ALL abilities regardless of stage, unlike Alolan Muk, which shuts down Abilities from just Basic Pokémon. Despite needing a Pokémon Tool to turn it on, this is a much more serious roadblock than what Alolan Muk does. Like some cards that received attention, it would take some amount of rotations for Alolan Muk to truly shine. And it did just that at the end of the 2017-2018 season.

Alolan Muk is now a staple in the Sun & Moon format. Garbodor’s Garbotoxin left the format and the new format needs another form of ability denial. There are Slaking and Glaceon-GX, but they can be played around to turn off those effects. Alolan Muk stays constant, even though it is restricted to just Basic Pokémon. There are still some big basics that sometimes need their abilities to pull the weight of a deck. Rayquaza-GX, the new Celesteela-GX from SM Unbroken Bonds, or even the vaunted adorable Dedenne-GX with its discard & draw six ability cannot function if their abilities are disabled.

Could it be run in every single deck? Well, not in every deck, though Ditto Prism Star adds another layer of unpredictability. If you got room for a 1-1 tech and don’t care about your abilities shutting down, then definitely run this. For what is worth now, better make as much use as you can before rotation happens.

  • Standard: 4/5 (soon to be N/A)
  • Expanded: 2.5/5
  • Limited: 3/5
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Today’s Throwback is one that has been out for a little over two years, but is still Standard-legal… and probably would have made more sense last week: Alolan Muk (Sun & Moon 58/149). This is a Stage 1 [P] Type Pokémon with 120 HP, [P] Weakness, no Resistance, Retreat Cost [CCCC], the Ability “Power of Alchemy”, and an attack named “Crunch”. Power of Alchemy doesn’t just stop the Abilities on Basic Pokémon from working, it causes those Pokémon to be treated as if they didn’t have Abilities at all. That means the “Rule of Evil” attack found on Weavile (SM – Burning Shadows 86/147), which does 60 damage to Pokémon with Abilities, won’t damage Basic Pokémon while Power of Alchemy is in effect. Crunch costs [PPCC] and does 90 damage while letting you flip a coin; if “tails”, the attack just does the 90 damage, while if “heads” you discard an Energy from your opponent’s Active (while still doing the 90 damage).

Power of Alchemy is very potent in Standard and has even seen some success in Expanded. Most decks have at least a few Basic Pokémon with useful Abilities, and a decent chunk relies on them. The attack is pretty much irrelevant; technically, it is better than nothing but it either needs to cost less or do more. As such, we’re not going to worry about attacking with Alolan Muk; the Typing does sometimes come in handy, though, thanks to [P] support like Mysterious Treasure. Being a Stage 1 is good; many decks have managed to work in low counts of Alolan Muk and Grimer, and Ditto{*} means you can even skip Alolan Grimer in some builds. 120 HP isn’t too difficult for the average deck to OHKO, which might be a blessing for the metagame but not so great for Alolan Muk. The [P] Weakness isn’t the worst, but it will make Alolan Muk an easier target for certain decks. The Retreat Cost can get Alolan Muk stranded up front but does let it make use of Buff Padding to give Alolan Muk an effective 170 HP.

When Alolan Muk first released, it almost made our Top 10 Picks of Sun & Moon countdown; it would have been 12th place. You can read our original review of it here. Ouch. I kept going back and forth, second-guessing myself. If I remember how things unfolded accurately, Alolan Muk saw a little play but what really helped it was time. To begin with, the Standard Format rotated to Sun & Moon and later sets, removing some serious anti-Ability competition for Alolan Muk. While this competition would still persist in Expanded, one major piece of it – Hex Maniac – was banned. Though some of the combos I mentioned in the review didn’t amount to much, but Alolan Muk soon found its way into various Standard – and sometimes even Expanded Format – control decks. Ditto {*} has turned Alolan Muk into something that can slip into almost any deck, at least in theory. I could be mistaken, but it seems like more and more decks are reliant upon Abilities, for setting up if not executing their main strategy.


  • Standard: 4.2/5
  • Expanded: 3.3/5
  • Limited: 3/5

All in all, things are looking great now for Alolan Muk in Standard, and fairly good for it in Expanded. If you’re able to give it a whirl in the Limited Format, its a good pull there, though not great. Often, Power of Alchemy won’t have any Abilities to turn off, but when it does, it’ll probably mess with your opponent something fierce.

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