– Detective Pikachu
March 29, 2019
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Detective Pikachu mini-set comes not only Greninja as a non-GX Stage 2, but also Greninja-GX (SM Black Star Promos 197) from its own case file! Despite sharing the same name as Greninja-GX (SM Forbidden Light 24/131), they are completely different cards based on the attributes and card effects. Like the previous version, it is a Stage 2 Water type with 230 HP with Grass weakness, but it has a retreat cost of one. As a GX Pokemon, it has the usual baggage of having higher HP than it’s single prize counterparts, a GX attack, gives up two prizes, and benefit/excluded/hindered by certain cards. The Water typing does have some type specific support from both formats and can hit most Fire and some Fighting types for double damage. 230 HP is the lowest for a Stage 2 GX Pokemon so far, but is still bulky enough to tank some hits, though the Grass weakness can be a problem; Jumpluff’s Lost March won’t need too much resources to pull this attack off. And a retreat cost of one is easy to pay, and can be made free with Escape Board.
Greninja-GX has an ability and two attacks. Elusive Master states that if this card is the only card in your hand, you may put this card onto your Bench and draw three cards. Reducing your hand size might not be easy some of the time, but considering that we play a lot of cards from our hands most of the time, we can sometimes reasonably reduce our hand size in order to gain a massive effect. Despite the tricky requirements from Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick, Archie’s Ace in the Hole, and even Granbull (SM Lost Thunder), players were able to make them work and were making stellar plays! Perhaps a card that drastically reduces your hand size has got to be Ultra Ball. You will lose three cards from your hand, one for playing Ultra Ball and two for the discard cost. Although you get a Pokémon, making it +1, you’re most likely putting it in play. All in all, this is a good ability that a deck can build on. Sure, it’s taking up a Bench slot, but it can help Zoroark-GX even more for increasing its damage output via Riotous Beating. Mist Slash is another familiar attack mostly seen on Greninja cards, but this version does 130 damage for WC. I used to laugh at other Greninja cards for not doing more damage than that, on top of lacking weakness exploitation, but today’s version of Mist Slash is respectable enough to land 2HKOs when backed with Choice Band, and even OHKOs with prior damage placements. Dark Mist GX costs W and puts one of your opponent’s Benched Pokemon and all cards attached to it into your opponent’s hand. This could seem pointless as your opponent can put that card back into play unless said Pokémon need turns to evolve. This attack could reduce some amount of setup if you target the one with too many energies attached to it, unless your opponent employs unlimited energy acceleration.
Because of Elusive Master, you do not need to use lower stages, so looks like I don’t have to cover the vast amount of options of Greninja related cards. This card has enough going for it that it could be seen on at least one existing deck. If abilities were to go offline, do not fret; you can use this as fodder instead.
While we’ve covered all the cards from the Detective Pikachu mini-set we were planning to, there’s one more tie-in promo we thought was worth a look: Greninja-GX (SM – Black Star Promos SM197)! Peeking ahead, we won’t need to worry about Weakness or Resistance, so the Typing only matters in terms of support and counters; the former easily outweigh the latter. Greninja-GX is a Stage 2, so it takes some time and effort to hit the field, though this card has some slick acceleration that helps it hit the field more quickly (more on that later). 230 HP is enough to survive a lot of attacks, low-average for a Stage 2 Pokémon-GX. Speaking of which, being a Pokémon-GX is still a tradeoff; the best aspects of this card are going to be justified by it being a Pokémon-GX, but giving up an extra Prize when KO’d and anti-GX counters could completely nullify that advantage. [G] Weakness is NOT a good thing, but far from the worst thing right now. A total lack of Resistance IS the worst it could be and yet it still isn’t that bad; Resistance just isn’t a gamechanger like Weakness. The Retreat Cost of [C] is good; Greninja-GX is light on its feet and so is easy to move back to the Bench, though you MIGHT consider an Escape Board to gain that perfect free Retreat Cost.
Greninja-GX has an Ability, a regular attack, and a GX-attack. The Ability is “Elusive Master”; if Greninja-GX is the only card in your hand and you’ve got the space, you can Bench it directly, then draw three cards. The draw is not optional, though it will be rare when you wouldn’t want it. Emptying out the rest of your hand isn’t easy, but neither is it overly difficult; if you build your deck for it you should be able to reliably pull it off most turns. I know the text states it is a once-per-turn effect that must be used prior to your attack, and that last part is quite true. If you use something such as Acerola or Super Scoop Up to return Greninja-GX to your hand, Elusive Master resets and can be used again. This doesn’t seem quite good enough to be a deck’s draw support, but if the rest of the card doesn’t let it down, it might be a nice trick. How about the attack? “Mist Slash” requires [WC] to do 130 damage, while also ignoring Weakness, Resistance, and anything else on your opponent’s Pokémon. The damage for the Energy is good, and the effect is a net positive; it hurts to miss out on Weakness and there isn’t any Resistance to ignore in Standard, but this can also cut through various protective effects, even ones originating from other cards but still “on” the one you’re attacking e.g. Metal Frying Pan or Metal Goggles attached to a [M] Type won’t reduce the damage taken. For just [W] Greninja-GX can use “Dark Mist-GX” to bounce one of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon and all cards attached to it to your opponent’s hand. It cannot affect your opponent’s Active, so you’ll only win via Bench Out through creative means, such as bouncing your opponent’s only Benched Pokémon while something like Poison finishes off their Active. As you won’t be able to disrupt your opponent’s hand before their next turn, Dark Mist-GX is best used on something that requires a lot of setting up: something with several Energy cards attached, multiple Stages of Evolution under it, or that entered play using an Evolution shortcut (like Greninja-GX itself). Not great in general, but decent given the asking price.
Greninja-GX has the option of being run alongside the rest of its Evolution line or on its own. Thanks to the Ability, it may not even inconvenience other Greninja, save for Greninja-GX (SM – Forbidden Light 24/131, 120/131, 133/131) as they compete against each other for the 4-Copy Rule. If you aren’t putting it into play via its Ability, the return is far less; Mist Slash is good but not great as it doesn’t quite hit hard enough. You can also run it completely separate from other Greninja cards, and that’s quite potent. [W] decks – because Aqua Patch makes it that much easier to instantly power-up Mist Slash – and extremely fast decks – the kind which chew through their own hand promptly – can drop this as more draw power and a decent enough alternate attacker. With the right build, you may be able to constantly bounce, play down your hand, and then use Greninja-GX’s Ability to play it directly to the field and draw three cards repeatedly.
Greninja-GX is one of those promos you probably should track down sooner rather than later, though I don’t think it’ll be a new staple or anything close to that. Just a good card for certain decks. Unless this in your discard pile and a Rescue Stretcher in hand become another common “reliability” combo…
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