– Cosmic Eclipse
January 10, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Mind Blown, Fireball Circus, Fireworks Bomb…does it seem like every Blacephalon card has potential in competitive play? Guess so. Blacephalon from Cosmic Eclipse only has one attack called Fireworks Bomb, which costs PC and lets you put 4 damage counters on your opponent’s Pokemon in any way you like. If your opponent has exactly 3 prizes remaining, you get to put 12 instead! Because you get to control which damage you want to place, it can help set up for future KOs or take out several small targets for multiple prizes. Granted, to be effective to do the job, the opponent’s board state would have some of their Pokémon to be significantly damaged. Also, while you could easily let a TAG TEAM be KOed so that your opponent are down to three prizes, there are more productive ways to do that.
I don’t have a large sample size of how Blacephalon is used and even if I searched at Limitless, they’ll probably direct me to other Blacephalon cards that uses Fireball Circus or Mind Blown, but not Fireworks Bomb. Maybe it’s the status of today’s Blacephalon being a one off TecH instead of being a deck focus, which could mess up the search results. Anyways, I did see Blacephalon being used in one deck so far based on my casual participation, and it’s paired with Dusknoir from Cosmic Eclipse. Whether or not we’ll get to review it remains to be seen, but I’ll give it a brief overview of what this card does. It is a Stage 2 Psychic Type with 160 HP, darkness weakness, Fighting Resistance, and retreat cost of three. Its ability, Grim Marking, states that as long as this is your Active Pokemon and is knocked out by damage from your opponent’s attack, you get to put 4 damage counters on your opponent’s Pokemon in any way you like. This stacks with Spell Tag, which does a similar thing except that your Pokémon doesn’t have to stay Active, it works even if it’s on the Bench. With Grim Marking and Spell Tag, that’s 8 damage counters you can place. Psych Up costs P for 60 damage, and as long as the Pokémon that used it didn’t retreat, switch, or bounce next turn, you get to do 60 more. So doing 120 for one energy is very good as long as it doesn’t change position. Dusknoir overall does a good job of placing damage on the opponent’s side as well as being a Psychic Type like Blacephalon, and Blacephalon can clean up from there when the time comes after your opponent is down to three prizes.
So that is how Blacephalon is used. No, that’s not the only way it’s used, but it’s an effective way of optimizing it. If Dusknoir didn’t come to mind, then would you still use Fireworks Bomb to put 12 damage counters if that’s the only thing you do? Probably not, as it doesn’t mean much for Pokémon with very large HP scores. It might take out a supporting Pokémon, but then you’re still falling way behind, and it’s own 120 HP won’t make it last long. Blacephalon is a good card, but it just needs the partners and good timing to make the most out of it, and there’s already a deck out that sits comfortably at: Blacephalon/Dusknoir. For limited, as players start the game with four prizes, just let one of your Pokemon be knocked out and you’re already in Fireworks Bomb’s range of placing 12 damage counters. It’s availability depends if you pulled one of the four Prerelease kits.
Some things never get old, and some things never change. Like spreading tons of damage counters on your opponent’s Pokemon. Depending on how it goes, it’s either a really good thing, or it’s a really not-so-great at the moment thing. Well today’s card gets a…good enough thing.
Blacephalon is a Basic Psychic Ultra Beast Pokemon, 110 HP, with a Darkness Weakness, a Fighting Resistance, and a Retreat Cost of 2. Fireworks Bomb is the only attack, costing 2 Energy and spreading out 4 damage counters on your opponent’s Pokemon as you choose, or alternatively it spreads out 12 damage counters if your opponent has exactly 3 Prizes left over. What can I say? Ultra Beasts have to Ultra mechanic.
Still, spreading damage is pretty useful for certain decks. You may recall that I mentioned the Malamar-Giratina deck a couple days ago and how Blacephalon can help with that deck as one of its options. Well since Garchomp & Giratina-GX wants to have damage counters on Pokemon that it’s already attacking to get the most out of its moves, Blacephalon just fits that niche pretty readily by loading up on damage counters – even more so if your opponent has 3 Prizes left. Needless to say, that’s a pretty good option to have available, and it’s one that a couple of decks included!
So yeah, I’d expect Blacephalon to get experimented with a fair bit in this build. There’s potential for it to work in other builds as well, but I think that even if it just ends up here, it’s in good hands at that point.
Standard: 3/5 (pretty good option to have for a specific deck)
Expanded: 2/5 (I don’t think Blacephalon is good enough here to be played in the same role, since I think there are some better options to work with)
Limited: 3.5/5 (it’s alright here; it’s strongest after your opponent takes 1 Prize, and otherwise it’s okay)
Arora Notealus: On an unrelated note, how about those Sword & Shield changes? Can you believe it’s barely been a week into the new year and already I’ve had one of my wishes come true? We got some major Type change-ups! Now Fairies get to be Psychic Pokemon, Poison is considered Darkness, and there will be Darkness Pokemon weak to Grass! GRASS!!
Weekend Thought: Pretty cool bunch of cards, eh? Any strong contenders for your own deck? Think there may be something to gain from using one of these? How about all those Sword & Shield changes though, for real? How will you prepare for no Supporter on the first turn? That’s definitely gonna change up what Supporters are good and the like, and going first almost feels more like a formality than an advantage, but that’s the point, right?
Blacephalon (SM – Cosmic Eclipse 104/236; SM – Black Star Promos SM221) is an Ultra Beast; most of the Ultra Beast counters and support irrelevant to Blacephalon but it is a net positive. Its [P] Typing lets it work with cards like Mysterious Treasure and Spell Tag, but due to the attack, neither Weakness nor Resistance will matter. Being a Basic is the best: minimal deck space and time to hit the field. 110 HP is usually going down in one hit, though it is not especially fragile. The HP means Weakness and Resistance only matter in the margins. The Retreat Cost of [CC] is a bit higher than I’d like to pay, and one too large for Escape Board to zero out entirely, though Mystery Energy can do the job in Expanded.
Blacephalon has no Ability and only one attack. “Fireworks Bomb” costs [PC] to use, and lets you put four damage counters on your opponent’s Pokémon in any way you like, unless your opponent has exactly three Prize cards left, in which case you instead put 12 damage counters. The first effect is handy, but probably not worth two Energy unless a deck can very easily pay it and can’t fit in superior spread attackers. If your opponent hits three Prizes, however, not only does that mean Beast Ring and two Basic Energy (one being basic Psychic Energy) would cover the entire cost, but you’re going to be cable to either spread a massive amount of damage counters, or just use them all to snipe something on the smaller side of things.
One way to use Blacephalon is to just add it to Ultra Beast-focused decks; the deck should already be maxed out on Beast Ring so you just need to make space for a Blacephalon and one or two basic Psychic Energy cards. Another is to work it into existing spread decks, or the Psychic Energy focused Malamar (SM – Forbidden Light 51/131; SM – Black Star Promos SM117; Shiny Vault SV18/SV94) decks… and of course, spread based Malamar decks. In Expanded, Dimension Valley focused decks just need to attach any source of [P] Energy to use Fireworks Bomb, on top of the other [P] support they’re likely to include. I may be mistaken, but there are likely jucier targets here for that damage spread; smaller attackers like those of Night March decks, or good ol’ Shaymin-EX (XY – Roaring Skies 77/108, 77a/108, 106/108) on the Bench!
As with most of our recent reviews, while I can speculate on how this card might be used, we’re looking at it because it has already achieved some notable success. Given its niche role, it makes sense that the decks using it are indeed only including it as a single, but we are indeed seeing it worked into spread decks, Ultra Beast decks, and/or Malamar decks. I didn’t see any results for Expanded containing it, but I know I’d really try to include it if I ran any of the three decks I just mentioned… or a Dimension Valley deck. Blacephalon looks solid for the Limited Format as well; its stats are generally better there, and even Fireworks Bomb is decent sans its bonus effect. You’ll have to get Blacephalon on the field and powered up quickly, though, since players start at 4 Prizes in the Limited Format.
Blacephalon seems like a narrow use card, and it kind of is. There are multiple general archetypes that can make solid to great use for it, but even there, you need to attack with Blacephalon when your opponent has exactly three Prizes. 12 damage counters you can place how you like on your opponent’s field is so much that it is worth dealing with something kind of finicky, however… as tournament results have shown.
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