– Forbidden Light

Date Reviewed:
June 25, 2018

Ratings Summary:
Standard: 2.50
Expanded: 2.85
Limited: 3.75

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

Reviews Below:

aroramage avatar

There were a bunch of cards that ended up getting printed in this set that should look somewhat familiar. That’s because they’re based on the cards from Ultra Prism, just with a Type change – but that can change a lot on its own!

Empoleon is the same as the Ultra Prism card, only that he’s a Metal Type with a Fire Weakness and Psychic Resistance. Here is our last review of the Ultra Prism card. Needless to say, Empoleon still has a large helping of potential on his side, but does the Type change matter?

As a Water Type, Empoleon had the advantage of cards like Aqua Patch, Manaphy, and (in Expanded) Archie’s Ace-in-the-Hole. In general, he’s got a lot of broad set of advantages through a wide variety of support. The only thing is that he might not hit for Weakness a lot – Water mainly is the anti-Fire, and if Fire’s not big, Water can’t do much. Contrast that with Metal, which feels like it’s almost the opposite, at least until Ultra Prism’s massive Metal support. Magnezone, Mt. Coronet, and even Cyrus <Prism> all lend an assertiveness to what is usually a defensive Type. Coupled with Shield Energy and Bronzong in Expanded, and Metal has its own set of advantages. Not to mention they can hit Fairies where it hurts.

It’s hard to say which Empoleon will do better overall, but both have access to Total Command, which has a high potential for damage output. Water Empoleon does have Aqua Patch while Metal Empoleon can use Magnezone, though the latter combination is significantly slower. Play around with it and see!


Standard: 2.5/5 (don’t expect Empoleon to be knocking over tournaments soon)

Expanded: 2.5/5 (he has potential, but he’s still fairly slow)

Limited: 3.5/5 (that potential is pretty potent here)

Arora Notealus: Of the three Sinnoh re-Types, Empoleon is probably the one that’s most significant and the most likely to see play. Torterra and Infernape went to a Fighting-Type, neither of which increases synergy or gives their moves a variety of options outside of Expanded, and it just makes you wonder why they even did that with these starters down to the Energy costs.

Side Review: Naganadel-GX – certainly a good archetype coming out of Forbidden Light, but the Ultra Beast deck isn’t quite there yet. Naganadel-GX can definitely do a lot with Beast Raid, but at its best it’s doing 120 damage unboosted – that’s a 2HKO on most things. This makes it a tad slower compared to other decks that have a means of OHKOing with ease, but the set-up is pretty easy, so once they’ve got the right amount of Ultra Beasts, it should become a pretty powerful contender.

Next Time: Another refresher on another card seen prior!…no it’s not Throwback Tuesday.

vince avatar

Today, we’re looking at Empoleon (SM Forbidden Light 81/131) which is actually an alternate typed card that is based on this Empoleon (SM Ultra Prism 34/156). The attributes remain the same such as being a Stage 2 with 160 HP, retreat cost of two, and the attack names/effects. The difference would be being a Metal Type that’s weak to Fire, resists Psychic, and their attack cost being MC and MMC respectively. Total Command costs MC and does 20 damage for each Benched Pokemon in play from both players. Whirlpool does 90 damage for MMC, and discards an Energy attached to the Defending Pokemon.

Attacks like Total Command finds a reason to see play based on older Empoleon cards. It tells you that the Pokémon you’ve just put on the Bench won’t be useless. Have a field with Empoleon in front and the back having Oranguru, Tapu Lele-GX, and three other Pokémon on the Bench? That’s already 100 damage before factoring your opponent’s side of the field, which could max at 200 damage (or 320 damage with Sky Field). Whirlpool isn’t bad, but I find myself using Total Command more often. Discarding an Energy may set back a turn, but will be useless against decks with multiple/unlimited energy acceleration.

Just when you think you are cornered against Fire types, you have the option to Break Evolve into Empoleon Break, which is a Water type with 170 HP with the attack Total Command, which costs WC and do 30 more damage for each of your opponent’s Pokemon in play. Since it asks for a different energy type than today’s card, you may need Counter Energy or other “rainbow” equivalent energy to meet both of them should you decide to use it. You are still taking double damage from Fire types, but at least you’ve got something to hit back twice as hard.

I did not mention other Stage 2 Empoleon options, mainly because mixing with the two needs two energy types, which may mess up consistency. But if you really need a Water typed Empoleon, then the one from Dark Explorers will be helpful as it has the ability of Zoroark-GX. And you can add Blend Energy WLFM to help be a bit flexible.

Standard: 3/5     Expanded: 3.2/5     Limited: 4/5

21 Times Avatar

Empoleon (FLI 81) majestically returns to the Pokemon TCG in the Forbidden Light expansion set, this time as a Metal type Pokemon.  I went 4 W 4 L in eight matches with the new version of Empoleon, and I can tell you without hesitation that being a Metal type is no more an improvement to Empoleon than Garchomp becoming a Fighting type.  It’s still just not very good.

I used the Drampa Big Wheel / Cynthia / Hala combo again, and I also paired it with double Octillery, so draw support was never an issue.  Getting Pokemon on the bench was also never an issue.  I even played Cobalion, so I had a decent late game attacker.  I also played four Counter Energy, so after Drampa got KO’d early, it was easy for me to swoop in and retaliate.

I don’t know, it just seems like Empoleon doesn’t hit for quite enough, or doesn’t have quite enough HP (which is sad to say for a 160 HP non two prize Pokemon), doesn’t get going fast enough, doesn’t get enough Empoleon out, it’s like everything about it is just a little bit not quite good enough.  And don’t get me wrong – this deck isn’t abysmal.  I beat a BUS Necrozma Malamar deck with it.  I won four of the eight games I played.  It’s just not great by any means, and certainly won’t do anything competitively.


Standard: 2 out of 5


Empoleon isn’t terrible, and if you have a Metal challenge for damage on PTCGO it’ll probably get you to 1,000 damage in two, maybe three games tops.  But I’d still choose DM Necrozma or Solgaleo GX over Empoleon.  

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