– SM Ultra Prism
February 5, 2018
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
It’s that time of the year again – a new set, a bunch of new cards to look at, and this set’s looking to be a doozy! There are a lot of cards that will likely have an impact in one form or another, and today we start to look at the set by checking out our Top 10 cards for Ultra Prism!
The #10 slot goes to resident dragon of time, Dialga-GX, a Basic Dragon Pokemon, 180 HP, with a Fairy Weakness, no Resistance, and a Retreat Cost of 3. His first attack Overclock costs 1 Metal Energy and does no damage but lets you draw until you’ve got 6 cards in hand. Shred then is a 3-for-80 move that’s unaffected by effects on the opposing Pokemon. And then Timeless GX…well, I’ll get to that in a second.
I just want to comment on how Dialga-GX – alongside Palkia-GX also released in this set – are the first Dragon Pokemon throughout the post-XY era to have only 1 Type of Energy in their costs, Metal in Dialga-GX’s case and Water in Palkia-GX’s case. That alone gives Metal and Water decks a different Weakness to counteract any bad match-ups in terms of Typing – Fire for Metal and usually Grass or Electric or sometimes Metal for Water – by giving them a new attacker that’s only weak to Fairies, aka Gardevoir-GX. That already means they’ve got a huge disadvantage if you go for their GX moves, as those both cost 5 Energy – but that might be worth it.
Timeless GX is a 5-for-150 move that has the unique effect of allowing to immediately take another turn after this one ends. You also skip the inbetween steps, meaning damage from Poison or Burn or checking for Status conditions like Sleep aren’t performed – you basically go from the end of your turn to the start of your next turn. It’s like skipping your opponent’s turn but phrased in a nicer way and avoiding the hassle of dealing with extra steps.
I feel like Dialga-GX and Palkia-GX are both a little underpowered in terms of Basic GX Pokemon, especially when you look at their non-GX moves. No, I’m not saying that Dialga-GX giving you an extra turn after dealing 150 is underpowered, that’s pretty crazy in and of itself – but consider what Dialga-GX does when you don’t have 5 Energy on it. It’s either going to draw you more cards – super useful with Magnezone from this set and just a generally supportive attack – or it’s going to deal 80 damage uncontested. 80 damage ain’t that great on its own though, so you need to boost it with something like Choice Band, which in this case makes it 110 damage, allowing you to 2HKO some Stage 1 GX but not much otherwise. As a slight reminder, Gardevoir-GX has 230 HP, which is just slightly out of that range.
Still though, the idea of using Overclock is already good enough in and of itself, Timeless GX can make up for Shred in some regard provided you can muster the 5 Energy needed to hit it and not want to use any other GX attacks for the game, all for getting at least 1 KO, so timing is everything with this guy. He’s arguably better than Palkia-GX, who just moves Energy around to power up another Hydro Pump-esque attack similar to Blastoise but whose GX move shuffles all the Energy off of your opponent’s Pokemon back into their deck. Take an extra turn, or cripple your opponent’s set-up – it depends on what deck you face, I’d say, when it comes to how important that move is. Dialga-GX though has a lot more support in this set comparatively, so he’s the likely pick for at least the #10 slot.
Standard: 3.5/5 (I think that Timeless GX is appropriately costed, all things considered)
Expanded: 3.5/5 (but the rest of him seems underwhelming outside of that)
Limited: 5/5 (still, Overclock is good draw, and it’s nice that Shred can’t be stopped by anything)
Arora Notealus: Between Dialga and Palkia, I personally liked Palkia more, but everyone really likes the DRAGON OF TIIIIIIIIIIIME. Especially the Pokemon Company – I swear I’ve looked into more Dialga cards that are good than Palkia cards. Never mind the starring role Dialga got in the Mystery Dungeon series, where mah Primal Palkia at?
Side Reviews:…looking up at the tremendous paragraphs I wrote just for this guy, maybe I’ll hold off on Side Reviews for a while. At least for the Top 10 segment – these cards have a LOT going for them.
Next Time: You were expecting a GX? Surprise, it’s an entire line-up!
Dialga GX has some potential to be on the top 10 cards of Ultra Prism. It’s a dragon Pokémon, but needing Metal and Colorless energies to attack, which is a change of pace for once, not needing two different energy types. Metal acceleration is easy via Magnetic Circuit Magnezone (the Ultra Prism version, not the Breakthrough version) who actually appears far higher on the list (spoilers!).
No ability but three attacks. Overclock costs M and has an Bianca-esque effect of drawing until you have six cards in your hand. Shred costs MCC for 80 damage and ignores all effects from the defending Pokémon. Then, it’s GX attack called Timeless cost MMMCC for 150 damage, and after you used this attack, it’s your turn again. Thank goodness this was a GX attack or I would quit Pokémon forever! There’s so much you can do for one turn, but when you get to move twice, you’ll be doing twice as much before your opponent gets their turn. Two manual attachments, two Supporters, two attacks, and much more. Sure, you’ve just used Timeless GX, but that second turn can be a different attack and Dialga GX does not have to stay Active.
It’s no wonder Dialga GX made the list. Getting to move twice before your opponent has superficial appeal. At the same time, I feel that all this card has been going for is it’s GX attack, because the other attacks aren’t great.
If you are looking for one of the craziest Pokemon-GXs out there, look no further than this one. The first Pokemon-GX that tried to break open the general rules of the Trading Card Game play, Dialga-GX storms open into the Ultra Prism metagame.
At first glance, the stats looks bad. It’s a 180 HP Dragon type Pokemon-GX that is weak to Fairy, but as discussed in the Garchomp section, Fairy weakness is mitigatable, especially as Dialga also uses Metal energies, so it can slide in Metal decks that hard counters these Fairy decks without worry of ruining the energy counts of the deck. It also has a 3 retreat cost, which is hefty but you can search it with no worries with a Heavy Ball. Being a Dragon type, there’s little support available at stock for Dialga, but when you look at the attacks Dialga-GX is actually a support Pokemon itself, so it’s actually no use trying to dedicate an entire engine just to stream out this mon. Just use a single Brigette and your problems should be over. But why it is a support?
The first attack, Overclock, lets you draw cards until you have 6 cards in hand for [M]. This is quite handy in the early game where you don’t need to stream damage and just need to stream Pokemon pieces as you setup your other attackers. This attack is comparable to Lapras-GX’s Collect which has the same concept, only it hard draws you 3 cards instead, or its Shaymin-EX (XY ROS)’s Set Up ability as an attack. With 180 HP in the tank, it is quite hard to imagine Dialga-GX going down easily to anything but a Fairy attack, which is handy. The second attack is actually a Shred attack seen in many, many Dragon Pokemon ever since their introduction in BW Dragons Exalted. This version deals 80 damage for [M][C][C] and like the others, bypasses effects of the Defending Pokemon, such as immunity to GXs founds in Abilities like Hoopa (SM SHL)’s Scoundrel Guard, damage reduction by attacks found in attacks like Golisopod-GX’s Armor Press or immunity done by attacks such as Toxapex-GX’s (SM GUR) Toxa-Shelter GX attack. Dialga-GX bypasses all of those. My biggest concerns that 80 for 3 (or 2 energy attachments) is quite underpowered, especially since there are other Pokemon which can do more for the same energy cost. But since Dialga-GX is a support, I’ll overlook this.
But what makes Dialga the support it’s built to conceive is the GX attack, Timeless GX. It may cost a whopping [M][M][M][C][C] and only deals 150 damage, but it comes with a strong after effect – take another turn after this one. This means 2 Supporters back to back, 2 attacks back to back, 2 abilities back to back and also 2 evolutions worth of your “2 turns”. Better still, since the effect counts as giving you another turn, effects of attacks and Supporters that affect until your last turn will not apply to the other turn given by Timeless; Shadow Stitching and Hex Maniac that shuts down abilities, Armor Press which reduces damage taken in the first turn, and other stuff. It is definitely worth your 5 (or 4) energy attachments and can swing games quickly in your favor.
Timeless is the correct word best to describe Dialga-GX – its support capacity, although it needs to be supported itself first is without peer and can be game-changing in crucial turns. It is heavy yes, but a burden worth carrying in your deck.
Dialga GX (Ultra Prism 100) finished as the Miss Congeniality of my list of top ten cards coming out of Ultra Prism. Yes, I put it up there in 2nd place, 2nd only to [REDACTED]. Dialga has three extremely cool attacks, well balanced attacks. Overclock lets you draw until you have six cards in hand – AWESOME starting attack, love it. Shred will prevent your opponent from attempting to wall you with a stall / mill deck (I think Shred will pierce Scoundrel Ring and Luminous Barrier, but maybe I’m wrong about that?). And Timeless GX – without question – is the greatest attack in the game today.
And how do I know that? Because one of my opponents this weekend freaking stole it from me with Zoroark Break. Yeah, that’s how I know it’s THAT good – I never got a chance to use it myself. Yeah 150 and then get to go again is as dominant as predicted. I may have been wrong on a bunch of other things about UP, but I have no doubt that I was 100% totally right in predicting this as the single best attack in the game today. I just wish I had gotten the opportunity to use it myself (even just once!).
So as you can tell from my saltyness, I didn’t have a lot of success with Metalcrozma this weekend. Sorry, let me rephrase that. I didn’t have ANY success with it. I went 0 W 5 L. As I suspected, it seems to me to be too big to succeed. Now, I have seen several videos on youtube where it has done well, so maybe it’s just me. Maybe I just haven’t figured it out yet, maybe it’s just not my kind of deck. But I struggled mightily in all five games. I had trouble falling behind, I had difficulty getting Magnezone out, and then when I did get it out I couldn’t get any energy. It’s horribly susceptible to Parallel City and Cyrus, and it’s very slow to get going. And if you run into Garbodor BKP or Greninja you really have to rely on Solgaleo Prism to get powered up (and if your Solgaleo Prism is prized against Garbodor you’re screwed!).
I will also say that I had a rough weekend overall, so maybe my brain wasn’t in the right place as well – that might have contributed to my lack of success. I definitely have had some difficulty adjusting to the new meta – the rules definitely have changed. I’m not going to lie, at one point I had lost 19 out of 26 matches, and this deck was smack dab in the middle of that cold stretch, so like I said maybe my brain wasn’t in the right place. But there’s no question in my mind right now that Metalcrozma has a lot of issues it’s going to have to overcome in order for it to win consistently in our new meta.
Standard: 4 out of 5
So why did I give Dialga such a high grade then? Because someone is going to come up with a decklist for this that will make it work. I have no doubt that somebody’s got a list right now that they have created that maximizes speed of development for this deck. I’m sure someone will come up with the perfect 60 cards for this list and will take that list to the top in Collinsville. I just know that I’m probably not going to be that guy. I just don’t think I’m smart enough to figure this puzzle out.
I will say, though, that I’m thinking about trying it with Dragon’s Wish Dragonair (SUM 95). I’ve played seven matches with Gold Rush Dugtrio (3 W 4 L), and what I’ve noticed is that I have very little difficulty getting four, five, or even six Metal energy in hand in a turn. I think the most I’ve gotten is seven, but it’s very realistically possible to put a LOT of energy cards in your hand in a single turn. This is what got me to thinking about Dragonair – that might be a realistic possibility to get this deck started at least.
Welcome to not only a new week of card reviews but our countdown of the top 10 cards from SM – Ultra Prism! If you’re new to our countdowns, we’ve got an introductory article on them here for you to read. SM – Ultra Prism introduces some new game mechanics, as well as reintroducing a few old ones that haven’t shown up for a while, so we also have an article about that here. Of course, feel free to read either or both even if you already know what’s happening.
Just making the list in 10th place is Dialga-GX (SM – Ultra Prism (100/156, 146/165, 164/158). I’m going directly to the reason people are hyped for this card, its GX-attack “Timeless-GX”, which costs [MMM] and does 150 damage and has a rather unusual effect: your opponent skips his or her next turn, so you get two turns in a row. There isn’t even the “Between Turns” Phase where Burn and Poison trigger, you make your Sleep Checks, etc. I’m not sure if this is unique in the Pokémon TCG, but I don’t remember it. The damage is mediocre when you consider the Energy going into it, especially for your once-per-game GX-attack, but the effect? The effect is incredible and used well, it is game-winning. 150 needs Choice Band and/or Professor Kukui if it is to OHKO almost anything that isn’t an Evolved Pokémon-EX/GX, but if you can do that it… actually wouldn’t be that impressive unless you can follow through. Following through basically means you want this turn to be your final turn, where you win the game. The most likely way to accomplish this is to use Timeless-GX to take the next-to-last KO that you need, then take the actual last KO the next turn… which is where we need to pull back and look at the rest of the card.
Dialga-GX is a [N] Type, which doesn’t do much for it. Only BW-era [N] Pokémon are [N] Weak, and they aren’t a massive presence in Expanded; the best [N] support may not do Dialga-GX a lot of good, and while [N] Resistance doesn’t naturally exist and [N] specific counters are so ineffective they’re barely worth mentioning, many other Pokémon Types simply have more going for them. On the other hand, being a Basic is still the best; minimum time and resources for Dialga-GX to hit the field, the game mechanics tend to naturally favor them, and while there are some worthwhile anti-Basic effects, there aren’t enough to diminish their presence. Being a Pokémon-GX is, overall, a good deal, having better HP and (usually) better effects than their baseline counterparts at the steep price of giving up an extra Prize when KO’d. While there are a few pieces of GX-specific support, GX- or GX/EX-specific counters like Choice Band are a little more common and much more effective.
Dialga-GX has 180 HP; the middle of the typical range for Basic Pokémon-EX/GX and large enough to often survive a hit. Besides decks that specialize in OHKO’s or pseudo-OHKO’s, the reason it is “usually” is because of its [Y] Weakness; Gardevoir-GX decks aren’t what they once were, and are expected to see a further decline due to the [M] support found in SM – Ultra Prism. I wouldn’t count them out yet, however, even if only because of diehards who won’t let the deck go. Still, there are definitely worse Weaknesses to have at the moment. Lack of Resistance is typical, so we’ll move onto the Retreat Cost of [CCC]; it’s chunky enough you’ll want to avoid retreating at full price even more than usual, but might not be all bad if your list is one of the few that can make good use of Heavy Ball. The first attack printed on the card is “Overclock” for [M]: it allows you to draw until you have six cards in hand, which makes Dialga-GX an adequate opening play. [MCC] pays for “Shred”, which does a decent 80 for the Energy invested that gets better when you realize said damage ignores effects on the opponent’s Active. It is a niche role, but this allows Dialga-GX to get around some of the more irritating protective effects.
The attacks have decently staggered costs of one, three, and five; that doesn’t make Timeless-GX any less costly but it does give Dialga-GX something to while building to Timeless-GX… or it would if the game’s pacing weren’t so quick that you really can’t afford to keep something that needs five Energy up front while manually building it. Dialga-GX is going to need some serious Energy acceleration to pull off its GX-attack in a worthwhile fashion, even with 180 HP… and it has to be something you can reuse because Shred is rarely going to be enough to push for the win on your second turn in a row. Yes, you could run heavy counts of Special Energy like Double Colorless Energy and Double Dragon Energy, but even one of each isn’t enough to fuel Timeless-GX with two manual Energy attachments. The most likely solution is the new Magnezone (SM – Ultra Prism 83/156): its Ability “Magnetic Circuit” allows you to attach as many [M] Energy from your hand to your Pokémon as you wish during your turn. Still, if you insist on using a less reusable means of Energy acceleration, then perhaps Ninja Boy and any other beatstick with compatible Energy costs could work.
For now, this is probably going to be a nasty trick available to Magnezone decks, in both Expanded and Standard. I’m not 100% convinced Magnezone is going to be the deck to beat, at least once that “new deck smell” fades, and we already know a [M] Type Dialga-GX with the same everything but Weakness and Resistance is slated for release. For a while, though, Dialga-GX should be a slick way for Magnezone decks to close… oh and it should be quite good in the Limited Format as well; low average HP scores and damage output makes Dialga-GX’s own HP and damage output that much more formidable, whether you use it for a +39 build or not. Dialga-GX appeared on three out of the five individual lists, earning 33 voting points. This actually means it tied with our 11th place finisher. On my personal list, it was 13th place pick; a potent trick, but for only one deck.
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