– Shining Legends
November 3, 2017
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Entei-GX, or “That 5th Potential Fire GX you run in Fire Toolbox”.
At least that’s what he says to me. I mean, his attacks almost line-up perfectly for it too! Combustion is a basic 2-for-50 vanilla strike that leads into Fire Fang, which deals 3-for-100 and even Burns your opponent’s Pokemon for another 20 damage at least! That stacks up to 170 on its own as a 2-hit combo, putting it well within striking range of most EX and GX. Add on Choice Band, and you’ve guaranteed all but the hardiest will burn!
But maybe for that one that’s giving you trouble, you could use Brave Burn GX. At the same cost as Fire Fang, it deals 150 damage to one of your opponent’s…BENCHED Pokemon. That might sound like a wasted opportunity to capitalize on your ever-burning streak, or just like overzealous overkill on a Pokemon your opponent retreated to keep it from fainting to Burn, but think of it this way! Most Bench-sitters tend to have less than 150 HP in the first place – you could snipe away a pesky problem really easily with this move AND get a Prize out of it! Not too shabby, eh?
Course Entei-GX doesn’t strike me as something that blows things out of the water, but I do think that he’s got a lot of strength when combined with the right Fire toolbox. Volcanion-EX can further boost the power of his moves on its own, and Ho-oh-GX can bring it out from the discard pile, albeit at the cost of not being able to use Brave Burn-GX. It’s a set of plusses and minuses with Entei-GX, really. Course, the biggest minus of all is that it can’t touch Alolan Ninetales due to the protection from Luminous Barrier – meaning Alolan Ninetales is a major counter to Entei-GX.
So stick to being cautious, snipe off an Alolan Vulpix if you want – or use Guzma to keep rotating things around and keep on firing away!
Standard: 2.5/5 (a pretty Basic yet pretty hardy Fire-GX for your decks)
Expanded: 2.5/5 (I think it’s pretty solid overall)
Limited: 4/5 (and a real tough customer otherwise)
Arora Notealus: Entei-EX used to be a powerful card to run 4-of in a deck on its own, since it could cycle Energy to its other copies and dominate. I’m guessing they didn’t want to repeat that with Entei-GX, considering he mirrors Entei-EX with those costs but not with those attacks. Dodging a bullet there, guys.
Weekend Thought: What are your thoughts on all these Shining Pokemon? Think any of them are any good? Think there are some with potential? How many people do you think will rage over Shining Jirachi? Does Entei-GX have a spot in your Fire deck?
Entei GX (Shining Legends, 71/73) enters the meta through the Shining Legends expansion set. A 180 HP Basic Fire Pokemon, it has three attacks. Combustion does fifty damage for a Fire and a Colorless energy, Fire Fang does one hundred (well, 120 at least because you leave your opponent Burned) for two Fire and a Colorless energy, and Brave Burn GX does 150 damage to any one of your opponent’s benched Pokemon.
So I’ll admit it – I thought this card was going to revolutionize Fire decks (and I’m on track to be wrong again with Alolan Marowak (Crimson Invasion) but that’s for a week or two from now). I thought this would quickly replace Ho-Oh GX (Burning Shadows, 21/147) and Turtonator GX (Guardians Rising, 18/145), but clearly I whiffed on that one. In my defense, I was thinking that Fire Fang, with a couple of Steam Ups from Volcanion EX (Steam Siege, 107/114), would easily do 180 damage minimum without having to discard energy or wait another turn to attack. And if you really push it to three Steam Ups, throw in a Choice Band (Guardians Rising, 121/145), and a tails on the coin flip, you actually OHKO anything in the game. That’s actually not bad for an attack that has no negative side effects. I don’t think it’s realistic to expect that to happen on a regular basis, to get three Big Daddy’s on your bench and have three Fire energy in your hand AND have the Choice Band AND get the coin flip too. That’s asking a lot, but it’s clear that Entei GX has no problem hitting the mid to high hundreds and even potentially can touch the low two hundreds.
Now I will say this: my October experience on PTCGO was definitely NOT indicative of the current meta. I only saw Volcanion decks nine times in October. I KNOW! That really surprised me when I saw that stat. But none of them had Entei GX. In the three hundred and twenty eight matches I played after Shining Legends came out, I didn’t see Entei GX even a single time.
Standard: 3 out of 5
I still feel that Entei GX is a good Pokemon. I KNOW that Zoroark GX (Shining Legends, 55/73) is a good Pokemon, but I only saw that five times in October, so the fact that I didn’t see Entei GX doesn’t necessarily make it bad. But to not see it even a single time makes me wonder. And Entei GX is going for only a couple of packs on PTCGO, it’s not nearly as expensive as Zoroark GX. And I know there are a fair number of videos on Entei GX, and I’ve seen it succeed in the couple that I watched, so it can’t be completely under the radar, right? We’ll just have to wait until the next major tournament (London? Memphis? Is there really no major Standard tournament in November?) to see if it surprises and leap frogs Ho-Oh GX and Turtonator GX as the Fire Box Pokemon of choice.
One last thing to note, and I almost forgot: Volcanin EX’s Steam Ups do NOT apply to Entei GX’s Brave Burn attack. That means you could Steam Up four times, you’re still only doing 150 damage to the benched Pokemon. Just wanted to make sure everyone was aware of that.
We finish our week with Entei-GX (Shining Legends 10/73, 71/73, and 74/73). It is a Fire-Type Basic Pokémon-GX with 180 HP, Water Weakness, no Resistance, Retreat Cost [CC], and three attacks. The first attack is “Combustion” for [RC], and does 50 damage. The second attack is “Fire Fang” for [RRC], which does 100 damage and Burns the opponent’s Active. [RRC] also pays for the third and final attack, “Brave Burn-GX”, which does 150 damage to the opposing Benched Pokémon of your choice (and also uses up your GX-attack for the game). We haven’t looked at a Pokémon-GX in a while; the “-GX” at the end of the name means this won’t count against how many Entei, Entei-EX, etc. you run in your deck. Being a Pokémon-GX means it gives up an extra Prize when KO’d, can make use of cards specifically for Pokémon-GX but is excluded by certain beneficial card effects (like the soon-to-be-released Counter Energy) and has to deal with certain detrimental effects, like Choice Band allowing anything to hit it for 30 extra damage. So far, all Pokémon-GX have had a noticeable increase in HP over their single-Prize counterparts and possess three attacks, one being the coveted GX-attack. Being a Pokémon-GX does not guarantee a card will be good, but it tends to provide a solid start.
Being a Fire-Type allows Entei-GX to hit most Grass- and Metal-Type Pokémon for double damage, thanks to Fire Weakness. No Fire Resistance to worry about in the Standard, Expanded, or probable Limited Format cardpools but there are a few anti-Fire effects you may bump into, but probably nothing worse than the -20 damage from being on one side of Parallel City (the side that does not shrink your Bench). Being a Fire-Type gives you access to some nifty support, both direct (tied specifically to [R] Pokémon) and indirect (tied to just [R] Energy or other useful [R] Pokémon). A small but significant downside is that the Fire-Type field is pretty crowded; Entei-GX will need to distinguish itself. Being a Basic is definitely the best when it comes to Stages of Evolution; one card equals one copy, can be Benched without any other requirements save an open space, naturally works better with certain card effects, enjoys access to Basic-specific support, and it can even be your opening Active. Just mind the anti-Basic effects and remember there’s nothing which can Evolve from Entei-GX.
180 HP is good; not as good as when Pokémon-EX debuted or even as good as it was right before Pokémon-GX debuted and raised standards, but it should still survive being attacked much of the time. One of the times it likely won’t survive is when it is hit by its Water Weakness; 90 damage in one-shot isn’t too demanding of Water-Type decks. It isn’t the worst Weakness, though it may feel like it if you’re on the wrong end of a Seismitoad-EX or Greninja BREAK. No Resistance is the worst, but -20 damage against a single Type usually doesn’t mean much, anyway. The Retreat Cost of [CC] is low enough you’ll often be able to afford it in the short term but high enough you’ll really want to avoid paying it in the long term. All in all, pretty typical stats for a Basic Pokémon-GX, with nothing standing out, good or bad.
Moving onto the effects, Combustion may be adequate. 50-for-two isn’t bad, but we’ve had attacks doing 60-for-[CC] and an easy-to-meet condition for years. I also expect Entei-GX to be used only in decks that are mostly or entirely Fire, so [RC] may as well be [RR] and a bit more damage. Right now, even with Choice Band, it falls short of 2HKOing your typical 170-180 HP Basic Pokémon-EX/GX. The other two attacks just need one more Energy, creating a risk that Combustion might be skipped entirely. Fire Fang isn’t much more impressive, as 100-for-three with Burn is just a little over what I’d expect… and remember this is a Pokémon-GX, worth two Prizes. It should be functional, though, with as simple a combo as Choice Band putting anything unprotected within 2HKO range. Brave Burn can take out something like a Benched Shaymin-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 77/108, 106/108) or Marshadow-GX in one hit, but this is your GX-attack plus a three Energy investment; the fact it can’t take out a Benched Tapu Lele-GX or even some of the bigger Stage 2 Bench-sitters without a lead-in seems underwhelming. It also can’t hit the Active, where Choice Band would have let it swing for 180. Nothing really complements each other here, but at least they don’t clash, either.
Solid stats and maybe mediocre, maybe adequate attacks on a Basic Fire-Type that has to compete with the likes of Ho-Oh-GX, Turtonator-GX, and Volcanion-EX among others; can Entei-GX cut it? What surprises me is that it actually just might. The typical mono/mostly Basic Fire-Type deck is already so packed like sardines in a can, you’d think they were all Water-Types. If you can just find the room, you can add in a solid Basic Pokémon-GX that does not have any huge drawbacks to its attacks. No Energy discards like Turtonator-GX or effects that – sans combos – prevent it from swinging with Fire Fang twice in a row. If your opponent doesn’t KO it, Entei-GX can swing again. The low-ish damage output? Doesn’t matter as much when you can use the “Steam Up” Ability on Volcanion-GX to still get into OHKO range. Not a combo I would rely upon, but you can even have some fun with Ho-Oh-GX and Ninja Boy; use the “Sacred Fire” attack of the former to do 50 damage to something, then use the effect of the latter to swap out Ho-Oh-GX with Entei-GX and attack with Brave Burn to finish something with upwards of 200 HP that was hiding on the Bench.
None of these tricks are brilliant, but they shouldn’t be too hard to fit into your typical Volcanion-EX deck, whether it is in Standard or Expanded. Expanded, this card actually looks a little better; Blacksmith preps Combustion on its own, with a manual Energy attachment or other Energy acceleration allowing Fire Fang or Brave Burn-GX to also come online in a single turn. Maybe it is just me, but I like the idea of something I can prep without a Kiawe, lead in attacks by something like Volcanion (XY: Black Star Promos XY145; XY: Steam Siege 25/114), etc. and that I won’t have to constantly rebuild even when it survives my opponent’s attacks. As I’ve been saying, using any Shining Legends stuff in Limited Format play requires dedication, because there weren’t Pre-Releases for it and the packs are only available through stuff like gift sets, but if you and your friends are determined, then this is the kind of Pokémon you run without any other Pokémon in your deck. Just pray you don’t run into the person who managed to pull a lot of Water-Types, or who gets a lucky, early game setup, and you can probably take four Prizes or clear his or her field before Entei-GX falls. Brave Burn-GX even gives you one out to them building something on the Bench.
Entei-GX is an adequate Pokémon; not “great”, just barely “good”, but better than I expected going into this review. A word of warning, I have not encountered anyone using it yet, let alone tested it myself. Volcanion-EX decks aren’t my thing, but Entei-GX might help with a problem I’ve been having while trying to run my own. Several other Fire-Type attackers can hit harder or with useful effects, but they all have other drawbacks. Slap a Choice Band onto Entei-GX, add in one Steam Up, and the Burn damage from Fire Fang should take a OHKO… that you can easily repeat the next turn if your opponent doesn’t OHKO Entei-GX right back. With your other attacks, you have some sort of drawback to overcome even if Entei-GX remains intact.
Entei-GX managed ninth place in our countdown, which would be more impressive if I wasn’t talking about the Top 5 list we made for Shining Legends. It showed up on only one of the personal lists, but as someone’s third-place pick, so it still managed eight voting point. Two other cards earlier this week also amassed as much, but from appearing on more than one list; I use which card appeared on more lists as my first tiebreaker criterion.
The attacks may seem underwhelming at first, but as a basic Fire Pokemon, Entei-GX gets support from Volcanion-EX since it’s Steam Up ability helps deal more damage. Add in Blacksmith accelerate energies, and Entei GX is ready to wreak havoc.