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

Alolan Muk
– Sun & Moon

Date Reviewed:
July 29, 2019

Ratings Summary:
Standard: 3.90
Expanded: 3.40
Limited: 3.25

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

Reviews Below:

vince avatar

Alolan Muk from Sun & Moon…is a card that I forgot to consider being on the cards lost to rotation. Considering the cards that made it on the list, some of them are reprints such as Enhanced Hammer, Ultra Ball, and DCE (and the risk that such cards may be reprinted couple months later, like what they did for Skyla and Float Stone back in late 2015). Excluding reprints, Alolan Muk would definitely made on the list as well as Decidueye-GX. But it is what it is, because this week, we’re reviewing two runner-ups and two remaining cards of Unbroken Bonds before turning on to Unified Minds, and I still haven’t made my top 11 list at the time. I’ll have to look for a complete list somewhere.

Anyhow, Alolan Muk’s trait come from it’s ability: Power of Alchemy. This ability states that each player’s Basic Pokémon in play, their hands, and their discard piles has no Abilities. The wording makes it that Green’s Exploration can be played. My constant mistake is saying that Abilities are turned off, but now I realized that not only abilities are deactivated, but it makes them not exist. It also reduces the potential Weavile (SM – Burning Shadows 86/147) can do, since if Basic Pokémon has no abilities, Rule of Evil’s damage output suffers. So you gain some and lose some by making abilities nonexistent. Alolan Muk isn’t a good attacker; Crunch costs PPCC for 90 damage while you flip a coin. If heads, you discard an Energy card attached to your opponent’s Active Pokemon.

Like many other cards, it’s viability depends on what other cards were available at the time, and whether it does a better job or not against Alolan Muk. Since it released in February 2017, the format at the time was Primal Clash onwards. The one to rule against all abilities was Garbodor (XY BreakPoint 57/122). It’s Garbotoxin ability states that as long as the Garbodor has a Pokemon Tool attached to it, each Pokemon in play, hand, or discard pile has no Abilities, except for Garbotoxin. As such, Garbodor seems to be the superior option than Alolan Muk, and tool Removal wasn’t prevalent at the time. Startling Megaphone might have left the format in 2016 and while Rattata (XY Evolutions 66/108) may be a suitable replacement of Startling Megaphone with its Mischievous Fang ability, it takes up a bench slot and is a easy KO on that 40 HP Pokémon (and is totally useless if Garbodor already makes all Pokémon without abilities before Rattata gets played). Eventually, Field Blower provides another answer against Garbodor for being too Tool reliant. Alolan Muk might have a chance to shine. Since it doesn’t need a tool or anything else, it can just sit there while shutting off abilities from Basic Pokémon. So I wouldn’t considered Alolan Muk to be outclassed.

It was when the 2018-2019 season that Alolan Muk is seeing a lot of play because Garbodor left the format. And as a Stage 1, it can benefit from Ditto Prism Star, so your opponent won’t exactly know what you’ll evolve your Ditto into! That makes it a tech in a variety of decks that can tackle the situation if you need it. So what will happen if Alolan Muk leaves the format? There are similar Pokémon that turns off abilities (for lack of words, or short version, describing Pokémon without abilities). Glaceon-GX turns off abilities from EX/GX Pokemon while Slaking (Celestial Storm) turns off all abilities except Lazy. However, both requires them to be in the Active spot, so being switched makes abilities work again, so they’re not reliable disablers. Also, the former lost Energy Evolution Eevee while the ladder is a Stage 2, slowing them down than trying to stop them! So looks like the format is a bit kind to ability reliant decks.


  • Standard: 3.8/5
  • Expanded: 3.3/5
  • Limited: 3/5

I just thought about something, I forgot to consider Oranguru (Sun & Moon 113/149) on the list as well, as its Instruct provides little draw power if you can reduce your hand size. It lets you draw cards until you have 3 cards in your hand. Oh well, better late than never in this side-review. 3.5/5

Otaku Avatar

We open up this week with another look Alolan Muk (Sun & Moon 58/149).  Had our countdown of the cards lost to the 2020 Standard Format rotation started any higher, Alolan Muk would have taken 12th place.  When we first reviewed this card, I was clearly uncertain of what it would amount to, and fortunate a then-recent example of it doing well in Expanded kept me from dismissing it in the Standard Format.  By the second time we gave it a look, the shifting metagame had Alolan Muk riding high, even if the decks using it only included it as a 2-2 or less Evolution line, with Ditto {*} allowing Alolan Muk to function as true TecH.

I’m getting a bit ahead of myself, however.  What makes Alolan Muk so good?  Its “Power of Alchemy” Ability; the card’s “Crunch” attack is better than nothing, but [PPCC] for just 90 damage and a coin flip to discard an Energy from your opponent’s Active is either overpriced or underpowered.  Power of Alchemy overwrites the card text of all Basic Pokémon in play, in either player’s hand, and in the discard pile so that they have no Abilities; that means not only can the Abilities not be used, but an attack like “Evil Admonition” – found on Weavile (SM – Ultra Prism 74/156) – is no longer able to count them for its effect!

When this Alolan Muk first released, not only did it have to compete with Garbodor (XY – BREAKpoint 57/122), but even Silent Lab was still Standard-legal!  It was doing a job that other cards could do better.  As it is about to rotate, I don’t think it is at the height of its influence, but it has a proven track record of being good.  The [P] Typing might help a little (Mysterious Treasure), the 120 HP is a probable OHKO if it winds up Active (though not overly easy), the [P] Weakness is dangerous, and the Retreat Cost problematic, but it is one of the reasons Ditto {*} is such a fantastic Swiss-army knife.  Alolan Muk, run as a 1-1 line alongside a Ditto {*}, is an expected sight in Zoroark-GX decks.

Alolan Muk probably wouldn’t be as good in Standard if it were to get a surprise reprint, however.  Stealthy Hood can’t help coming-into-play Abilities on Basic Pokémon, and it eats up one’s Tool slot, but it gives other Ability-dependent Basic Pokémon a counter to the Power of Alchemy.  High profile Pokémon Alolan Muk once countered aren’t run as heavily as they used to be, and/or are rotating alongside it; another reason I don’t know how good the card would have been in the future.  Alolan Muk still faces heavy competition in the anti-Abilities department of Expanded, but occupies a strategic niche as it lets you combat the Abilities of Basic Pokémon while retaining access to the Abilities of your Evolutions.  You probably won’t get the chance to use it for Limited Format play, but if you are using Sun & Moon packs for such a thing, it is a very nice pull.


Standard: 4/5

Expanded: 3.5/5

Limited: 3.5/5

Alolan Muk is a good example of how the game has changed; easily overlooked when it first released, but now a major presence in Standard (prior to rotation) and even finding a place in Expanded, in spite of heavy competition for its role of countering Abilities.  I’m a bit sad it didn’t make the countdown proper, though it only snuck into my personal list as my 11th-place pick; there were just so many great cards we lost, somethings had to be crowded out.

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