– Unbroken Bonds

Date Reviewed:
May 17, 2019

Ratings Summary:
Standard: 4.60
Expanded: 4.00
Limited: 4.93

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

Reviews Below:


Pokémon appearances usually don’t matter as long as the card itself is competitive. In the case of Dedenne, it is not only cute, cuddly, and adorable, but this time, Dedenne is given the GX treatment, and by looking at the effects, this will immediately bring the attention to players that would do anything to keep it as a collectible or for competitive. It fits nicely into being one of the chase cards that will have their prices inflated until the day it leaves rotation. That’s what already happened to various older cards like Mewtwo-EX (Black & White Next Destines), Darkrai-EX (Black & White Dark Explorers), Shaymin-EX (XY Roaring Skies), Tapu Lele-GX, and many many more. They rise and fall as time passes.

Perhaps the reason why Dedenne-GX is the best card of Sun & Moon Unbroken Bonds is because it has an ability that draws cards. Dedechange works when you play it from your hand into your Bench; you may discard your hand and draw six cards. You can’t use more than one Dedechange each turn, so even if you had additional copies of Dedenne-GX, or that you scooped Dedenne-GX from play, you can’t use another one, so save it for your next turn. Anyhow, this works FAR better than Shaymin-EX, in which it’s Set Up Ability may provide a lower yield than Dedechange unless you try to empty your hand, which isn’t always a good idea. Dedechange isn’t the best either, as it makes you discard your hand before drawing, and sometimes you might need that card back. Anyhow, this reduces over reliance of using strictly draw Supporters, and you have a bit more freedom using situational/utility Supporter cards.

As for the attacks, Dedenne-GX isn’t used much as an attacker, even though there are type specific support for Lightning types. Electropower can increase the damage you can deal depending on how many times you used it on a single turn, and Thunder Mountain makes each attack cost L less, so that both of Dedenne-GX’s attacks costs a single Colorless energy instead of LC. Static Shock does 50 damage for LC. Tingly Return also does 50 damage for LC, but also paralyzes the Defending Pokemon AND puts this Pokémon and all cards attached to it onto your hand.

Like many Pokémon with coming-into-play abilities, their utility is a one and done deal, and once it sits there, your opponent may try to pick them off for easy prizes, and Dedenne-GX’s 160 HP might not be enough to survive, especially with that Fighting Weakness. It takes a Diancie Prism Star, Beast Energy, and a Sledgehammer attack from Buzzwole FBL to OHKO it, and it doesn’t have to be boosted! Regardless, if they see a very good ability, players will do anything to use it despite those drawbacks of giving up two prize cards, and players will get what they need to win the match faster.


Standard: 4/5 (Draw power via Ability is valuable to pretty much any deck, though not necessarily needed all the time. Also easy bait for Pikachu & Zekrom-GX even if Dedenne-GX is on the Bench.)

Expanded: 3.5/5 (There’s a couple other Pokémon with draw based abilities or a Supporter grab that competes Dedenne-GX for space)

Limited: 4.9/5 (Not recommended to be used as a +39 deck, but as a supplement to other decks.)


At last, we come to our top pick from SM – Unbroken Bonds and that card is Dedenne-GX (SM – Unbroken Bonds 57/214, 195/214, 219/214). There are no other cards named Dedenne-GX; that might change in the future, but for now, you don’t have to worry about a Dedenne-GX running afoul of the 4 Copy Rule. As a Pokémon-GX, Dedenne-GX will give up an extra Prize when KO’d, is excluded from certain beneficial effects (like Counter Energy), and is targeted by certain deleterious effects. They also have more HP and seem intended to have better effects, for sure always having a GX-attack printed on them. There are a few detrimental effects that exclude Pokémon-GX and a few pieces of GX-support. I believe it is a fairly balanced deal. Dedenne-GX is a [L] Type, useful for hitting a variety of Types for Weakness, though no one Type is predominantly [L] Weak and most have just a few examples. [L] Resistance is only found in the Expanded Format, on some [F] Types. Anti-[L] Type effects are even more obscure, but [L] Type support is recent and fairly strong. It is a good Type to be, though Dedenne-GX probably won’t care about most of this most of the time.

Dedenne-GX has 160 HP, more double what any “regular” Dedenne has ever had. 160 is the second lowest we’ve ever seen on a Pokémon-GX, but still enough to be a little more likely than not to survive a hit overall. “Overall” can be misleading; against an offensively minded deck with a solid setup, you should expect Dedenne-GX to be OHKO’d. [F] Type decks don’t even need that much, as Dedenne-GX is [F] Weak. This might be the worst Weakness, as there are already several competitive cards that “reward” you for exploiting [F] Weakness (Pikachu & Zekrom-GX, Zoroark-GX, etc.) and it is a Type known for reliably hitting hard relative to the Energy invested, having low-priced attacks, and stacking damage bonuses. At least Dedenne-GX enjoys [M] Resistance; I don’t know if it is going to be particularly relevant in the short term, but better having some Resistance than none at all. The Retreat Cost of [C] is good; free would be better, but this is low enough that Escape Board will let you fake that. Even without it, you’ll usually be able to afford to manually Retreat a Dedenne-GX.

Dedenne-GX has an Ability and two attacks, but I’m telling you now that the Ability is the selling point of this card, but also needs some explaining. We’ll come back to it, then. Both attacks require [LC] and do 50 damage. 50-for-two can be great when it is easy to pay, but that isn’t too likely outside of [L] decks. Yes, you can use stuff like the Ability from Tapu Koko {*} or the effect of Thunder Mountain {*} to make these attacks cost [C] or (used together) totally free… but you’re better off using them to bolster something else, given the small return you’re receiving. “Static Shock” is adequate filler; if you’re running Dedenne-GX in a deck that isn’t [L] but it needs to hit [L] Weakness that turn or your GX-attack is needed elsewhere but you have to attack using Dedenne-GX, it is decent. “Tingly Return-GX” is just Static Shock but with two bonus effects: your opponent’s Active is Paralyzed and you bounce Dedenne-GX (plus all attached cards) to your hand. The self-bounce is helpful because of the card’s low HP (which we’ve covered) and its Ability (which we are about to), but again, for [LC] and your GX-attack you expect better. We’ve seen worse GX-attacks, though, so I’d still call it adequate.

Dedenne-GX has the Ability “Dedechange”. Skipping ahead a bit, there is a clause that means it is truly a once-during-your-turn Ability; you just cannot Activate multiple instances of Dedechange in the same turn, whether by playing multiple Dedenne-GX during that turn, bouncing then replaying the same copy, or any other workarounds. Dedechange is a coming-into-play Ability, something you may only Activate when you Bench Dedenne-GX from your hand. These two are awfully restrictive, but that is because the rest of Dedechange’s effect is awesome: discard your hand and draw six cards! That is just one less than you’d get for using Professor Juniper or Professor Sycamore, which are currently only legal in the Expanded Format. Having to discard ALL the cards from your hand can be devastating if you’ve got bad luck or a deck that just needs to keep stuff in hand, but for the average deck it is manageable and for a few, it’s actually a big bonus! In all cases, it is important to remember we’re basically getting a “bonus” Supporter for the turn, which helps justify the low HP on a double-Prize card with mediocre attacks and a dangerous Weakness.

If it sounds like I’m too pleased with Dedenne-GX, it helps to remember Shaymin-EX (XY – Roaring Skies 77/108, 77a/108, 106/108). Shaymin-EX was a Basic, [C] Type Pokémon-EX with 110 HP, [L] Weakness, [F] Resistance, a Retreat Cost of [C], the Ability “Set Up”, and the attack “Sky Return”. Set Up could also only be activated when you Benched Shaymin-EX from your hand, but if you played another copy of Shaymin-EX that same turn (or found a way to Bench and replay the same copy), you could use Set Up again. Set Up let you draw until you had six cards in hand, the same effect as Bianca, or for a modern example, Lillie sans her “player’s first turn” bonus. Sky Return requires [CC] and did 30 damage, but also returned that Shaymin-EX (or anything copying the attack) plus all cards attached to it to your hand. Shaymin-EX released at a time when all of its stats mattered; the HP was awful but the [C] Type had some useful support, [L] Weakness was becoming dangerous, [F] Resistance was handy, and the Retreat Cost was… basically as useful as it is now. The damage from Sky Return was decent (due to Double Colorless Energy and slightly lower average HP scores), but the main thing was if you were stuck in a situation where you wanted to recycle Shaymin-EX and/or spare a Double Colorless Energy card and a Tool from being discarded by the Professor Sycamore you were about to play… yeah, it worked out surprisingly well.

When Shaymin-EX was new, it was in nearly all decks. Those skipping it were the ones that:

  • Couldn’t afford to run any Pokémon-EX.
  • Couldn’t afford to run such a small Pokémon-EX.
  • Couldn’t afford to run anything with an Ability.
  • Couldn’t spare even one space on the Bench.
  • Couldn’t spare even one slot in their decks.

All those reasons didn’t actually amount to a lot, and you’d see many decks running two, three, even four copies of Shaymin-EX. Some were even designed to use that many, as opposed to just having multiples to improve the odds of having them when they were needed. That is not how it works in most Expanded Format decks now. A few do still run a high Shaymin-EX count, but many don’t run it at all and those that do usually run it as just a single or a double. Power creep has made its low HP an even bigger concern, but the reduction in its usage is mostly because of competition. There are various other Pokémon that can fill a similar role; they have their own pros and cons, but whether generic or deck-specific, they are there. That “role”, I should clarify, includes providing a Pokémon-based out to a bad hand; when it is something with Supporter-level draw, that means cards like Ultra Ball or even Rescue Stretcher can function as pseudo-Supporters, improving the overall reliability of your deck.

Dedenne-GX now rivals and – I think – replaces Shaymin-EX in Expanded Format decks. It may have a worse Weakness, but it has better HP. Unless you’re specifically trying to build a combo in hand or counting on multiple uses of the Ability in a single turn, the discard-and-draw of Dedecharge is just going to be better than the draw-until of Set Up. If it doesn’t completely replace Shaymin-EX, then decks using multiple Shaymin-EX replace at least one copy with a Dedenne-GX. In Standard, Tapu Lele-GX is the most likely Pokémon to take the hit. Its stats and effects are totally different (well, the HP is only 10 more), but its primary use is for its “Wonder Tag” Ability to fetch the Supporter you need from your deck… and the “discard and draw” of Dedenne-GX has a “good enough” chance of doing that while also being useful in situations where you just need a new hand. Some of the other alternatives to both Shaymin-EX and Tapu Lele-GX may also seem themselves replaced by Dedenne-GX, but probably not a lot of them, as they tend to be more deck-specific (Zoroark-GX) or are used where a Basic Pokémon-GX isn’t welcome. Unless you pulled another big, Basic Pokémon worth running solo, definitely run any Dedenne-GX you pull in your Limited Format deck.


  • Standard: 4.4/5
  • Expanded: 4/5
  • Limited: 4.9/5

Though I still went longer than I liked and the two near total rewrites I did of this review made it late, this is probably about as clear and concise as I can be with explaining why Dedenne-GX was my personal number one pick for SM – Unbroken Bonds. It could be argued that something a little more deck-specific deserved the place; I mean, I really have been arguing with myself over just that. In the end, though, Dedenne-GX is the card that you’ll want at least one copy of, and maybe even a full four, because at least one will go into most decks and there’s an outside chance that something will require the full four.


Chances are if you saw a Pokemon-GX at the top of the list, you’d probably have a good idea of why that might be. Not saying it couldn’t be up there for multiple reasons, but considering how many Pokemon-EX/GX end up at the top of these lists, it’s usually for one reason or another.

Dedenne-GX is a Basic Lightning Pokemon-GX, 160 HP, with a Fighting Weakness, a Metal Resistance, and a Retreat Cost of 1. Static Shock is just a 2-for-50 vanilla move that lets you rub your socks on the carpet long enough to zap your opponent with a little spark, while Tingly Return GX does the same thing but Paralyzes the opponent’s Active Pokemon before returning Dedenne-GX and all cards attached to it back to your hand. Now that the boring part is out of the way, let’s talk Dedechange, the Ability that lets you discard your hand and draw 6 cards when you play Dedenne-GX down onto the Bench from your hand.

It’s a Sycamore, Juniper, old-school Professor Oak, whatever you wanna think of it as but just draws you 1 less card. And how many of these have seen any level of play? How many of these have seen competitive play? It’s a good thing that Dedechange restricts itself to being usable only once per turn to put it in line with the other Supporters, but this is exactly the kind of draw power so many decks these days have been missing. The next best thing is Cynthia, and she doesn’t load the discard pile for a bunch of other effects!

Needless to say, Dedenne-GX tops the list as the best “draw Supporter” in Standard right now. In Expanded, you could run this alongside your other Sycamore or Juniper if you wanted, but it might be overkill to have 5-8 Sycaper running around, even if the others have a 160 HP body and draw you 1 less card. You won’t attack with Dedenne-GX, and you’ll likely never use the GX Attack to recycle him, but it’s nice to know that that’s there just in case you really need it, but more than likely you’re just gonna run something to Switch him out – Acerola would like a word with you.


Standard: 5/5 (absolutely hands-down a great card, and a must run for a lot of decks)

Expanded: 4.5/5 (not as necessary here, considering the versatile Supporter line-up and the addition of Shaymin-EX, but still very useful)

Limited: 5/5 (can’t argue with the results here)

Arora Notealus: Dedenne-GX fills that trusty “Pokemon with a draw Ability” slot that a lot of formats seem to desire. Shaymin-EX is the closest thing I remember to one of these Pokemon, and he was out with Roaring Skies, meaning it’s been a little while since we’ve had a good Pokemon Ability like this. Not knocking down any of the other Abilities we’ve had in the past couple of years or so, just that having a draw Ability on a Pokemon like this doesn’t come around that often, so it’s important to take a look at it when it does. Keep in mind though that Acerola will rotate out soon, so while that escape route is there, it’s not going to last for long.

Weekend Thought: As always, what did you think of our Top 11? Think there were cards that made it on that shouldn’t have? Think that cards that didn’t make it on should have? What are some of the best cards from the set in your own opinion? Will we ever talk about Reshiram & Charizard-GX? Probably more likely than we’ll get to Muk & Alolan Muk-GX, if we’re being perfectly honest.

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