– Sun & Moon
August 1, 2019
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
This week’s Throwback is one of my favorite starters and has been made a very good GX card: Decidueye-GX (Sun & Moon 12/149, SM Guardians Rising 146/145, SM Black Star Promos SM37, and a possible shiny variant in Hidden Fates if it ever reaches outside Japan)! This is one of those cards that used to be dominant and eventually fell from grace, though I wouldn’t really count it out. Past reviews are very drastically different from each other: the 2nd best card of Sun & Moon (even though it tied with Tauros-GX with 19 voting points), and 8th best card of 2017. I guess that might fit nicely as both a Throwback and a runner up card for a card that lost to rotation (I was the only one who ranked this card, perhaps maybe by one voting point). Alolan Muk’s Power Of Alchemy was also considered, but I don’t think we had put it on the list; we must had forgot about it.
When it first came out in Sun & Moon around February 2017, the season was Primal Clash onwards, and not many players explored the GX side of things as that mechanic was fairly new at the time, being the first wave of GXs to come out alongside other GX counterparts like Espeon, Umbreon, Lapras, Tauros, Incineroar, Primarina, Solgaleo, Lunala, and Snorlax. Anyhow, it hasn’t made a name for itself until players eventually followed suit after someone had success of a particular deck. As a Grass Type, it benefit from Forest of Giant Plants from XY Ancient Origins, as it allows any Grass Pokemon to evolve in the first turn or the turn the Pokémon was played. Think of it as Broken Time Space for Grass Types! While it can sit with its 240 HP, it has an ability that places two damage counters on one of your opponent’s Pokemon! Free damage is nothing to complain about, as it can help you advance your game plan. Having all four in play means you can put a total of 80 damage on the board. And if you feel like you wanted to do more, then a mix of Standard/Expanded cards like Super Scoop Up, Scoop Up Cyclone, or AZ can help bounce, put them into play, and use that Feather Arrow ability again! There are strategies utilizing Decidueye, but perhaps one the best partners is Vileplume from XY Ancient Origins, as its Allergic Pollen prevents each player from playing item cards, creating a lock while slowly harassing your opponent’s Pokemon with damage. This strategy had earned the name of a deck archetype called DeciPlume.
The deck’s dominance didn’t last very long, however, with annual rotation that keeps on happening. On September of 2017, that season was BreakThrough-on, and the once known DeciPlume completely collapsed. Vileplume was rotated out as well as Forest of Giant Plants, and even the ladder got banned in Expanded. Other problems also hurt Decidueye’s viability such as Choice Band hitting harder against EX/GX Pokemon as well as Fire Weakness. It would be a auto-loss against Volcanion-EX and, in present time, both GX and non-GX Blacephalon decks. While all seemed lost, Decidueye did have another partner to use and it had some success there. Zoroark-GX was another partner Decidueye can benefit from. Its Trade ability lets you draw cards, and Riotous Beating does damage based on how many Pokémon you have in play. Coupled with Feather Arrows, you can potentially leave 200 damage on the board: 120 in front and 80 distributed on any way you like. Leafeon-GX also helped get your basic stage going with its Grand Bloom GX attack by evolving them into Stage 1, so that you can evolve them into Stage 2s on your next turn (assuming none of the Stage 1st got KOed). As of now, there’s very few showings of Decidueye, with only two in 2019, and Decidueye was featured with Zoroark-GX, Swampert’s Power Draw, and/or Alolan Ninetales-GX from Lost Thunder.
All that’s left is how it fares in Expanded? I really don’t care about the Fire Weakness because Expanded decks are so vast, there’s a lot more than just Weakness. It can be if a deck sets up quickly that you don’t have much to respond on the early stages of the match. There is another card that can speed up Evolutions. The new Rowlet & Alolan Exeggcutor-GX has a free attack called Super Growth, in which it lets you evolve your Basic into a Stage 1, or evolves from a Stage 1 into a Stage 2. I had to read the effect over and over again, I’m pretty sure you can’t cheat from Basic to Stage 2. You can still support Seismitoad-GX to make Quacking Punch even more threatening depending on how much extra damage you placed, and without Forest of Giant Plants, it is a better alternative than Vileplume, even if the lock last for just one turn.
It’s not like the attacks don’t matter, but rarely Decidueye is used for attacking. Razor Leaf does 90 for GCC and Hollow Hunt GX costs G and puts three cards from the discard pile onto your hand. Both attacks are decent, but most of the time, another attacker does a better job than Decidueye. Overall, Decidueye-GX is a fun card to use.
Standard: 3.25/5 (Soon to be N/A) (The Ability alone is why Decidueye would ever see any competitive play.)
Expanded: 3.25/5 (if this was around the time before Forest of Giant Plants got banned, this would be a 4.25/5 on a span of just six months!)
Limited: 3.5/5 (The matter is getting the entire 1-1-1 line out, whether it be pulling from four packs and/or getting them in play. If you miss one of them, you can’t use it.)
Today’s Throwback Thursday pick is serving double duty, as it also would have been our 13th place finisher if our countdown of cards lost to the 2020 Standard Format Rotation had been a bit bigger. Decidueye-GX (Sun & Moon 12/149, 146/145; SM – Black Star Promos SM37) officially released on February 3, 2017. Our first review followed shortly after, as Decidueye-GX was our runner-up as we counted down the best cards from Sun & Moon. We’ve already looked at Decidueye-GX a second time, as ranked it the 8th best card of 2017. So, what made Decidueye-GX so good, and how was it doing by the end of its Standard-legal run?
Decidueye-GX is a Stage 2 [G] Type Pokémon-GX. It has 240 HP, [R] Weakness, no Resistance, and a Retreat Cost of [CC]. It knows the Ability “Feather Arrow”, which lets you select one of your opponent’s Pokémon and place two damage counters on it, though each instance of Feather Arrow may only be used once per turn, prior to attacking or doing anything else that would automatically end your turn upon resolution. It can also use the attack “Razor Leaf” for [GCC] to do 90 damage, or the GX-attack “Hollow Hunt-GX” to add three cards from your discard pile to your hand. It Evolves from Dartrix, which in turn Evolves from Rowlet; Dartrix can also Evolve into Decidueye (the version that is not a Pokémon-GX).
Feather Arrow is Decidueye-GX’s main strength; an Ability that places damage counters like this is flat out better than an attack that does a similar amount of damage, barring extenuating circumstances. Feather Arrow could be used to essentially attack without attacking, though usually was used to indirectly enhance other attacks (including its own). Razor Leaf was priced so that it could take advantage of off-Type Energy acceleration like Double Colorless Energy, and had an adequate return for the Energy, given the circumstances. Feather Arrow also let you use Hollow Hunt-GX without completely surrendering your offensive tempo, and in decks focused on powerful offensive combos or control scenarios, getting back any three cards was worth your GX-attack.
There are a few ways Decidueye-GX could have been better, though even minor changes may have made it too good. Being a Stage 2 is a drag, even when this card had access to Forest of Giant Plants; Decidueye-GX could hit the field even on the first turn of the game, but it still required a lot of deck space. Though 240 HP isn’t as close to the printed max as it once was, it was great and is still very good now… but [R] decks have been big for the last six or so months, and so Decidueye-GX’s Weakness means a [R] Type attacker just has to swing for 120. Once Float Stone left Standard Format play, that Retreat Cost of [CC] also started to sting, though decks were likely to include answers to the problem that had other uses, like Acerola or Guzma.
Decidueye-GX quickly became part of multiple strong decks while it was new, even though we had more significant anti-Ability measures back then. A quick search shows no major finishes for it after SM – Team Up. That is a bit later than I expected; I thought Blacephalon-GX or the more recent (non-GX) Blacephalon decks would be the cause of Decidueye-GX’s dropping off but apparently, it was either decks built around Tag Team Pokémon, decks built around strong, single-Prize attackers, or both.
If Decidueye-GX was sticking around, it may have actually regained some of its lost glory; less support but a cardpool that couldn’t force it Active so easily, and perhaps a slower pace to the game so that manually Evolving a Benchful wasn’t out of the question. I expect Decidueye-GX to still show up in Expanded, at least from time to time. I’m out of touch with Expanded, so if Decidueye-GX has been a no-show longer than I realized, I suspect we’ll just need to wait for the next front man to capitalize on a Bench launching multiple Feather Arrows. As for the Limited Format, if you actually get the chance to use Sun & Moon boosters, and assuming all the other variables cooperate, then Decidueye-GX should be quite a good pull; reasonably splashable, hits the Bench, and can recycle three other “good pulls”.
Decidueye-GX isn’t doing so well right now; it actually has a lot going for it but key factors like the game’s pacing and its Weakness are serious obstacles. If Decidueye-GX were sticking around, it might have the chance for a comeback, and still will have that chance in Expanded. Still, it didn’t come close to making my personal list for the Top 11 Cards Lost to the 2020 Standard Format Rotation for these reasons… and because there were enough other generic and deck-specific cards I thought were more significant losses. Which is not saying this is a bad card or a bad pick, just explaining why it wasn’t my pick.
We would love more volunteers to help us with our Card of the Day reviews. If you want to share your ideas on cards with other fans, feel free to drop us an email. We’d be happy to link back to your blog / YouTube Channel / etc. 😉
Click here to read our Pokémon Card of the Day Archive. We have reviewed more than 3500 Pokemon cards over the last 17+ years!