Garchomp - Ultra Prism
Garchomp – Ultra Prism

– Ultra Prism

Date Reviewed:
February 28, 2018

Ratings Summary:
Standard: 2.83
Expanded: 3.50
Limited: 4.13

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

Reviews Below:


Pseudo-legendaries tend to be three things: Stage 2 line-ups, Dragon-type, and organized right before the real legendaries in the National Dex. There are a couple of exceptions, but it’s interesting to note how they’re present in the game. Sometimes the Champion will even use them, like with Dragonite and Lance in Gen 2 and Garchomp and Cynthia for Gen 4.


Garchomp is a Stage 2 Dragon Pokemon, 150 HP, with a Fairy Weakness, no Resistance, and a Retreat Cost of…0? Well dang, that’s a pretty good start right there! Very few Stage 2 Pokemon have a low Retreat Cost, but having NO Retreat Cost is absolutely perfect! Quick Dive is his first attack, and for 2 Energy, it deals 50 damage to any Pokemon you want it to (excluding W/R on Benched Pokemon). It’s a neat snipe move that can set some Pokemon up easily while potentially KOing smaller ones, and since it doesn’t require specific Energies, that’s pretty cool.

More than that though, Garchomp has another attack and is the third Dragon Pokemon in the set that only requires 1 specific Type of Energy (Fighting, in this case). Royal Blades is a 3-for-100 move that can deal an additional 100 damage…if you’ve played Cynthia. Now why is this important aside from getting the easiest 200 damage you could get right now (since Cynthia’s only the best card in the set and a staple of SM-era Supporters)? Well because Garchomp forms an entire deck archetype centered around this combination of himself, Cynthia, and notably Lucario.

Here’s how the deck works (in theory): you get a Gible active and have a Riolu on the Bench. You evolve Riolu to Lucario and Gible to Gabite to Garchomp ASAP. The Gibles in this set have Ascension – which evolves it faster – and Rock Hiding – which gives it no Retreat Cost if it has Fighting Energy attached – respectively. Gabite also has Ascension to evolve faster, which is cool. Riolu doesn’t have these as much, but you can search out Lucario with things like Ultra Ball, Korrina, or straight-up evolve into it with Wally. Once that’s all taken care of, that’s when the fun begins!

You use Garchomp in the active slot with 3 Energy to use Royal Blades. Lucario uses his Precognitive Aura, searches your deck for any card – like Cynthia – to add to your hand. You play Cynthia, get 6 new cards, use Royal Blades for 200 (possibly even +30 from a Choice Band). Rinse and Repeat until you win, using Pal Pad to shuffle Cynthias back into the deck to boost the consistency of the Aura-Cynthia-Blades combo as need be.

And that’s basically the deck in a nutshell. You’ll notice that it’s biggest inconsistency is in the actual evolving part into Lucario and Garchomp respectively, and while Garchomp at least has access to Ascension through its line-up, Lucario doesn’t. This can make the deck a little slow, especially if you haven’t drawn into either Lucario for the search or Cynthia just to draw it out and power-up Garchomp. It is aided by the fact that Garchomp only needs one kind of Energy, meaning you only need Fighting and DCE, but outside of that you need a little extra OOMPH.

And btw, Korrina is in Expanded, as is Wally. So that’s something to consider.


Standard: 2.5/5 (overall, though, Garchomp is a power player)

Expanded: 3/5 (but he has more tools to utilize in Expanded than just Standard)

Limited: 3.5/5 (at the very least, requiring an easy to obtain Supporter is probably a good thing)

Arora Notealus: Garchomp decks have a lot going for them in terms of sheer power, but in terms of consistency, it might be a little bit of a struggle. Even in this day and age, he’s fighting off against the likes of Buzzwole-GX, Gardevoir-GX, and even Garbodor, who can all either outmatch or outpace them in terms of coming out onto the field quickly. So it might be important to address the consistency of the deck first and foremost as you build yours up, but don’t forget to include extra power to guarantee those KOs!

ERRATA: So yesterday, I noted that Silvally-GX didn’t exist in Limited, completely forgetting the fact that they not only reprinted it in Ultra Prism, but they also printed out a new Type: Null to go with it. This does make the Memory Tools playable, and thus that does change my score from a failing 1/5. With this hindsight, I’d upgrade it to a 3.5/5, as having the extra Type advantages in a Limited environment does improve on Silvally-GX’s chances in there.

Side Reviews: Devoured Field – remember how I noted in the last review of this card that if there were Dark or Dragon decks that were popular, this could see play? Well it’s the perfect Stadium for a Garchomp-Lucario-Cynthia deck, as its main attacker would be a Dragon Pokemon! Capping on an extra 10 damage means that Garchomp hits for 210 after a Cynthia play – 240 with a Choice Band! That’s enough to OHKO almost anything in the format right now, with or without the boost! So definitely look into running this alongside your Garchomp, as the damage potential of this deck is very real!

Next Time: Put it all together and what do you got? CRAZY RAINBOWS!!!

When looking at Garchomp, you’ll notice that Cynthia is in the background. A Stage 2 Dragon type with 150 HP, weak to Fairy, and free retreat, she has two attacks. Quick Dive costs CC and you can do 50 damage to one of your opponent’s Pokémon. Royal Blades costs FCC for 100 damage, plus 100 more damage if you’ve played Cynthia during this turn. For all you unlimited/casual players thinking that you can use Cynthia’s Feelings (DP Legends Awakened) or even Cynthia’s Guidance (Platinum Supreme Victors) from DP sets……………it won’t trigger the damage bonus! The Cynthia card that is referred to is the Ultra Prism set.
We looked at Cynthia before, where she was the best card of the set because an effect has been reintroduced: Shuffle your hand into your deck, then draw six cards.  This is an amazing effect, since you can do some stuff with six cards before declaring Royal Blades for 200 damage. Put in a Choice Band and/or Devoured Field, and you will almost reach OHKO levels. Of course, that’s assuming you’ll be able to constantly use Cynthia turn after turn, while giving up other Supporter cards that would’ve been used for other purposes such as Guzma.
Having a Garchomp in play also fulfills the requirement of Lucario’s Precognitive Aura Ability, since it lets you search your deck for a card. Pal Pad is for recycling Supporter cards like Cynthia back to your deck, to be searched via Lucario’s ability, ready to be used again. With these cards, having able to use Cynthia almost every turn seem realistic.
In Limited, one of the possible evolution packs include 2-2-2 Garchomp line with a single copy of Cynthia. Garchomp is also the face of the Mach Strike theme deck, and that has two copies of Cynthia and a Pal Pad to constantly reuse.

Standard: 4/5
Expanded: 4/5
Limited: 4.75/5
Theme: 4.75/5


Garchomp (UP 99) makes its Sun & Moon debut in the Ultra Prism expansion set.  This tanky 150 HP Stage 2 Dragon Pokemon instantly impressed us all with its attack Royal Blades.  The possibility of doing 230 damage with Choice Band amazed and astounded TCG fans everywhere.  Finally – a Stage 2 Pokemon that could go toe to toe with the two prize GX cards, that when paired with Lucario (UP 95) would form a tandem that would change the way the game was played, that would dominate…

Ugh sorry guys I just can’t go any further.  I knew this deck would NOT live up to the hype.  The format is WAY too fast now for Stage 2’s – you can thank Zoroark GX for that.  And Garbodor and Greninja completely shut this deck down.  I am 10 W 4 L with those two archetypes against Garchomp.  I’ve gone up against it 22 times and am 14 W 8 L against it (4 W 4 L with non ability control decks).  I will say that it beat my Zoroark Weavile deck three times, so maybe it’s not completely without merit.  But it’s a tough deck to play.  You have to work really hard – this is the slowest deck in the format that’s not a blue frog.  And you know you’re going to give up prize cards, but you can’t really count on N because you might have to play Cynthia.  The one time when I actually run N in a deck and WANT to play it but I can’t because then I only attack for 100 and not 200 damage.  How ironic is that!

It didn’t show up in either the top 32 at Malmo nor the top 64 at Collinsville.  And I think people have figured out that it’s sometimes not even possible to get three Garchomps evolved and powered up: I saw it sixteen times between Feb 3rd and Feb 12th, but only six times in the two plus weeks since then.  Lucario’s ability definitely helps –  you want to try to get out two Lucario – but then those are two more Stage 1 Pokemon you have to develop.  Overall, it’s just too hard to win consistently with this against good decks.  I went 2 W 5 L in seven matches, and, while four of the seven matches were against meta decks, this deck just doesn’t have what it takes to compete at even a second tier level – that’s why it saw no play at Collinsville or Malmo.


Standard: 2 out of 5


But renewed hope comes for the archetype will come in the near future – there will be a promo (doesn’t look like it will be part of Forbidden Light) Garchomp that is the exact same as this card we’re reviewing here EXCEPT that it’s a Fighting type.  Will that make it more playable?  I’m kind of thinking not considering it will now be weak to Grass, and with Golisopod, Buluvolt, Leafeon, Decidueye, Lurantis, Cacturne, Roserade, Torterra, I could go on, but there are a LOT of really good Grass decks out there.  But I’m sure we’ll see another spike in activity from this deck when the Fighting type Garchomps drop, and I guess we’ll find out then whether or not the typing will make a difference.

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!