– Celestial Storm
October 19, 2018
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
I can hear trivial protests and rebellions for not having a Blaziken theme deck when Secptile and Swampert was made into one. Almost always, they make a big deal when one member of the group is missing (other examples include no Suicune-EX or Regice-EX). However, it does make up for being a GX, though Sceptile-GX will be coming soon on the next set. Anyhow, it is a Stage 2 GX Fire Type with 240 HP, weak to water, and a retreat cost of one. Not too shabby, as it can retreat for less and is fairly durable, though being a Stage 2 means it’ll eat up your deck space and you need the previous stages to eventually bring it out.
Blaziken-GX isn’t the most exciting card out there, but one thing that it is good at is being straightforward with three attacks. Slash does 60 damage for CC, which is still good value, and with Choice Band, brings it to 90 damage against EX/GX Pokemon. Explosive Kick costs RRC for 210 damage and you have to discard 2 Fire energy attached to it. While the energy being discarded can be a pain due to needing two more attachments, you don’t get punished much when it comes to opposing attacks that rely on energy on the field. Again, Choice Band makes it 240, so it’ll still need a little more help to OHKO anything.
And then there’s Blaze Out, which costs R, and discards 2 energy attached to your opponent’s Pokemon. This could help such that you can get rid of Special Energies that benefit the Pokémon more than basic energy, as well as keeping your opponent’s Pokemon from using their best attacks that cost three or more energy. Except that you can’t repeatedly use Blaze Out because as a GX attack, you can only use one GX attack per game. Throw in certain type specific support that can bring energy back from the discard pile to accelerate attackers, plus Special Energy being recovered with Special Charge in Expanded, and it looks like Blaze Out is counterproductive against what you’re trying to accomplish. Still devastating to banish a Special Energy that is a Prism Star card.
It should be obvious when thinking how to use it. Without abilities to support other cards, Blaziken is the focus of a deck that is pretty much using Explosive Kick over and over again. Standard doesn’t have much to recover Fire energy outside of Firestarter Blaziken, but even then, Blaziken and Blaziken-GX heavily needs near-Max amounts of preevolutions. Expanded adds in Blacksmith, which puts 2 Fire energies from the discard to one of your Fire Pokemon, so that you can use it over and over again….well, up to four more times at best, and you don’t care about not using a draw Supporter. Burning Energy can help constantly recover itself if you have at least two of them attached to it, and that saves you from using Blacksmith. For Limited, as always, being a Stage 2 is a pain to get out.
Peeking ahead, I saw a 270 HP basic with Eevee and Snorlax on the card. It’s another Tag Team GX Card!
Blaziken GX (CES 28) burned its way back into the meta in the Celestial Storm expansion set. Not seen since the XY Promos 54 (EX) and 86 (Mega), this Stage 2 Pokemon has three attacks. Its first attack, Slash, for two Colorless attachments, does sixty damage. Its main attack, Explosive Kick, does 210 damage but forces you to discard two Fire energy. Its GX attack, Blaze Out, allows you to discard two energy from your opponent’s Pokemon (presumably any of them, it doesn’t specify the active Pokemon), for only a single Fire energy attachment.
Maybe this will be better with the imminent arrival of Ditto Prism, which essentially gives you a fifth Torchic. Now you’ll be able to pair Blaziken GX with Blaziken (DRM 6) and go Stage 2 wild. You can even potentially add a 1-1-1 (maybe 1-0-1?) line of the new Meganium from Lost Thunder to potentially get baby and big daddy Blazikens out more quickly. You’ve got to try something different because this card just isn’t competitive in the current meta. I’ve seen it have only a little success on videos, and I’m 3 W 0 L against it myself.
And it’s not just Blaziken, all Stage 2’s have already been squeezed out of the meta in the current format. I heard someone say, “Well the meta’s not too fast yet.” Really? The best Stage 2 feature Pokemon you can find from Memphis is Gardy, and that finished at 40 (and had Sylveon to prop it up). Sure, there are some Vikavolts and Magnezones along the way, but that Gardy deck at 40 was the only Stage 2 in the top 77 at Memphis. They don’t have enough HP, it’s too hard to get them evolved, and there are too many Big Basics and Stage 1’s with really great attacks. Rayquaza, Ultra Necrozma, Dusk Mane Necrozma, as long as you’re going to put these massive attacks on Big Basic Pokemon, people just aren’t going to play Stage 2’s. Maybe they need to un-errata Rare Candy, or maybe they just need to stop giving Big Basics attacks that belong on Stage 1’s or 2’s. At any rate, right now, you’re just not going to have much luck with Stage 2’s as your feature Pokemon, even ones that can hit for 210 damage for only three attachments.
Standard: 2 out of 5
A little sad that a card with 240 HP and a 210 damage attack gets a 2 out of 5. I almost gave it a 1.5 too but I figured that’s just a little too harsh. And maybe I’m wrong, but one youtuber just completely laughed off the new Lunala GX recently, completely bypassed it purposefully after having created a slide specifically for it in his Lost Thunder review. A 250 HP Pokemon with one attack that does 200 damage and another that does 250. And didn’t even bother to give it the time of day. What does that say about the state of Stage 2’s in the game today?
You’ll usually note when the Pokemon Company loves a Pokemon, cause they’ll make a BUNCH of cards for them. I swear it wasn’t that long ago when we reviewed another Blaziken…
Blaziken-GX is a Stage 2 Fire Pokemon-GX, 240 HP, with a Water Weakness, no Resistance, and a Retreat Cost of 1. Its first attack is Slash, a 2-for-60 vanilla strike, with Explosive Kick being a 3-for-210 that discards 2 Fire Energy from it. And finally Blaze Out GX costs only 1 Energy and discards 2 Energy off of your opponent’s Pokemon – note that that doesn’t have to be Active or Benched Pokemon specifically.
There’s really not a lot to say about Blaziken-GX. I mean, he’s not bad or anything, but compared to other Pokemon, he doesn’t really do that much. Slash is just a generically good move, but it plays it too safely compared to other 2-cost moves on Pokemon-GX. Explosive Kick seems promising, being one of the best 3-cost moves in the game, but you have to work around the discard if you’re going to get it to work consistently. And while Blaze Out GX could be good for putting your opponent behind, I think there are better GX Attacks for Fire decks already out there, and at least those don’t run the risk of fueling the discard for Energy acceleration.
No doubt there’s room for Blaziken-GX somewhere, but it’s gonna take a bit of creativity to get anywhere with him.
Standard: 2.5/5 (not exactly impressive in his own right)
Expanded: 2.5/5 (I guess I’m spoiled by Pokemon-GX at this point)
Limited: 4/5 (outside of the discard? yeah he’s pretty good here)
Arora Notealus: Seriously though…can we noooooot review Blaziken for a little while? Don’t get me wrong, I like him as much as the next guy, but I think we’ve seen enough fire chicken for a little while. Let that be a reminder of how important it is not to stay up late typing reviews!
Weekend Thought: Is a card having potential something that should be noted favorably for a card or not? Do you compare cards with each other? Is it important to have the right cards for things like, say, evolutions? Knowing that the end result will be the same, is it important to have the right cards for that evolution, like a specific Pokemon from a specific set? Good examples might include Squirtle from Boundaries Crossed, but what if there isn’t a card like that in the evolutionary lineup?
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