#2 – Guzma
– S&M: Burning Shadows

Date Reviewed:
December 28, 2017

Ratings Summary:
Standard: 4.63
Expanded: 4.00
Limited: 5.00

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

Reviews Below:



Guzma (Burning Shadows, 143/147) burst into the meta in the Burning Shadows expansion set.  Although originally touted as the successor to Lysandre (Flashfire, 104/106), it has clearly surpassed him in functionality.  If you ran four Lysandre in a deck, people laughed at you.  If you don’t run four Guzma in a deck, people will laugh at you.

Obviously, I’m exaggerating … a little bit.  The average Guzma count at Memphis was 3.03125.  And I know – we live in an era that no longer has VS Seeker (Roaring Skies, 110/108), and that mandates a higher Guzma count.  All I’m saying is that Guzma is clearly one of the most powerful cards in the game… I actually think it’s too powerful.

I made this analogy before: it boggles my mind how Pokemon lets you reach across the and alter your opponent’s board state.  In football, a coach can’t physically control what players the opposing coach puts on the field.  In chess, you can’t control your opponent’s moves.  Even in Tiddlywinks, you don’t get to directly control your opponent’s actions.

IMO Guzma and Lysandre are bad game designs.  Obviously, totally my opinion, feel free to disagree – but I think the game would be better without it.  Maybe I’m wrong, I’ve been thinking A LOT about game design lately, especially the subjectivity in professional sports, but that’s a different subject.  I just feel that it doesn’t make the game better.  I don’t have a real good explanation for it, I just feel that it’s something you use because your deck’s not as good as your opponent, that you have to use subterfuge to beat them.  And I understand it adds an element of strategy and complicates the game, and perhaps, yes, in a good way.  I just think that Pokemon has crossed a line that maybe it shouldn’t have crossed with these types of cards.  And we all just accept it as part of the game, but maybe we shouldn’t.  Maybe we should question the design of the game itself in this area.

Having said that, will I continue to use Guzma?  Absolutely.  I build my spread decks around Counter Catcher and Guzma.  I wouldn’t not put Guzma in a deck.  But it would be interesting to see what the game would be like if you didn’t have to worry about your opponent moving your Pokemon around or if you had absolutely no ability to decide what goes into your opponent’s active position.  That would be a very interesting meta to me!


Standard: 4.5 out of 5


Besides being a bad game design element, the only other thing I really have against Guzma is that ridiculous catch phrase that the twitch announcers always say every time it’s played (okay, again over exaggerating).  I’m not even going to mention it directly here, but let me just say that that phrase alone constitutes about 0.49 of the reason that Guzma didn’t get a perfect 5.


Guzma is our runner up for the best card of 2017 and it’s not hard to see why. Cards with an identical or similar effect tends to get looked upon many, many times. So, let’s look at him again!

Guzma does two things at once, and you cannot ignore these effect. He is essentially a Switch item card and Gust of Wind/Lysandre. As I said before, Guzma is your standard only option while in Expanded, you can choose between Guzma or Lysandre (or even both) if you don’t like switching your Pokémon.

I’m running out of things to say about Guzma. He’s on most decks that goes for the target you’ll need to KO them before the game gets hectic.

Standard: 4.75/5

Expanded: 4/5 (I still cannot score higher than this here, since Lysandre is here)

Limited: 5/5


Side Reviews: #2 Guzma – similar to how Choice Band is the go-to Tool of this era, Guzma is the absolutely definitive Supporter of this era. He’s effectively what Lysandre did but with an additional Switch for your side, making him much more efficient overall. Now you can not only get your opponent to put their most vulnerable card up front, but you can swap in an appropriate attacker to clean up the mess. He’s an absolute 4-of in most any deck, in my opinion, though you could probably get away with less if you’re looking to cover your bases in other avenues.