– Unbroken Bonds
August 23, 2019
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
With fewer Safeguard style users that left the format such as Alolan Ninetales from Burning Shadows and Hoopa from Shining Legends, the format needs another one to fill in the gap. The Alolan Ninetales from Team Up is the fairy version of the one from Burning Shadows, but it is a stage 1, and with Beacon Vulpix being rotated out, it would be hard to find Pokémon (and even if you did, card shuffling effects like Reset Stamp will undo your progress). So that makes Keldeo-GX the best safeguard user, despite being a Pokémon-GX.
So while it protect against all EX/GX Pokémon sans Glaceon-GX and other GX with the Shred style attack, it still gets damaged from non EX/GX Pokémon. And there are a few out there that can outright OHKO Keldeo-GX such as White Kyurem’s Freezing Flames with Shrine of Punishment and Lost March variants. Considering GX Pokémon still frequently gets used, Keldeo-GX creates a roadblock for them to overcome, and maybe auto-win the match if your opponent lacks non EX/GX Pokémon. From there, Keldeo got two attacks to use, both cost WWC. Sonic Edge does 110 damage and this attack’s damage isn’t affected by any effects on your opponent’s Active Pokémon. So Sonic Edge CAN damage opposing Keldeo-GX and ignore Full Metal Wall’s effect and whatever damage reducing effects that they also had, just to name a few. Resolute Blade is another re-working of Silvally-GX’s Rebel attack, doing 50 damage for each Benched Pokémon your opponent’s Pokémon has.
Even though the attacks seem nothing special, it doesn’t matter if you can slowly KO your opponent’s EX/GX Pokémon because you have full immunity! You have all the time in the world. Safeguard user, welcome to the format!
Once again, the fifth generation gives us the legendary that keeps on giving legendary cards in its legendary…uh…legendariness…yeah, that’s it…
Keldeo-GX is a Basic Water-Type Pokemon-GX, 170 HP, with a Grass Weakness, no Resistance, and a Retreat Cost of 2. Pure Heart is another Safeguard-esque Ability that prevents all effects of attacks including damage from hitting Keldeo-GX from any Pokemon-EX/GX. Conversely, Sonic Edge is a solid 3-for-110 that isn’t affected by any effects on the opposing Pokemon. And finally, Resolute Blade GX costs 3 Energy and does 50 damage for each of your opponent’s Benched Pokemon.
Needless to say, in a time when Fire decks are led by Reshiram & Charizard-GX fueled with all kinds of delicious support, Keldeo-GX may very well be the biggest counter to the strategy. The only attack they have to work past Keldeo-GX itself is Double Blaze GX – and that’s only a once per game GX attack! Meanwhile, Keldeo-GX can hit back harder and faster with Sonic Edge, dealing upwards of 220 damage thanks to Weakness, or he can even use Resolute Blade GX for a quick OHKO if the opponent has at least 3 Benched Pokemon. Not always likely to happen, but it’s there if you need it.
Outside of going up against Fire decks though, does Keldeo-GX have a spot in the game? Well, Pure Heart does work against every EX/GX that doesn’t have an “ignore effects” type of attack on them. Most decks I imagine – including Fire decks – will want to run a strong non-EX/GX attacker to work around Keldeo-GX, and even then it could be a close match-up. I would say that Keldeo-GX comes at just the right time to be powerful enough, though not overwhelmingly strong, to counteract the biggest threat in the current metagame at this time.
Standard: 4/5 (hard not to at least acknowledge Keldeo-GX’s power)
Expanded: 3/5 (even though his GX Attack is relatively weak depending on the opponent)
Limited: 5/5 (still though, his strength is real, and it would be hard not to utilize him)
Arora Notealus: At first, Keldeo-GX feels a bit niche. I don’t think any of us had put him on our lists for similar reasons. For me, I think that Sonic Edge and Resolute Blade GX, while strong enough in their own right against Fire decks, just aren’t powerful enough overall to work around the Pure Heart Ability. I can imagine it would be difficult to allow Keldeo-GX to run around being immune to GX in Standard without some balance on the other end of things.
Weekend Thought: What did you think of the decks at Worlds? Did you or do you keep up with the current state of affairs in the TCG? Do you keep track of what’s meta? What are some of the best cards in your opinion to come out of Worlds? Have you checked out some of the decks to come from Worlds? Do you think that Unified Minds had an immediate impact on Worlds, or did the meta hardly shift around outside of a few new cards?
We close out this week with Keldeo-GX (SM – Unified Minds 47/236, 219/236, 240/236). Being a Pokémon-GX means we ought to expect better HP and effects out of this card, and can benefit from support such as Cherish Ball, but Keldeo-GX also has to deal with anti-GX effects plus giving up an extra Prize when KO’d. Being a Basic is clearly the best, as it makes Keldeo-GX easy to run and many game mechanics naturally favor this Stage.
[W] Typing is good, due to [W] Weak Pokémon such as Blacephalon-GX and Reshiram & Charizard-GX being so popular. [G] Weakness is one of the safer ones for a similar reason; most [G] Pokémon are [R] Weak and that ain’t happy right now. No Resistance is the worst, but that may be less relevant than usual for this card, for reasons we’re about to discuss. Before that, however, let’s acknowledge the Retreat Cost of [CC] is neither particularly good nor bad.
Keldeo-GX has the Ability “Pure Heart”, and Pure Heart prevents the attacks of your opponent’s Pokémon-EX/GX from doing anything to Keldeo-GX. Sounds good, even though there are many workarounds. Which brings us to “Sonic Edge”: for [WWC] Keldeo-GX can use Sonic Edge to do 110 damage while ignoring all effects on your opponent’s Active. The damage isn’t amazing for the Energy, but the effect more than compensates, even if it makes it a bit niche. The GX-attack is “Resolute Blade-GX”, which also costs [WWC] but does 50 damage for each of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon. That isn’t good damage, given the Energy cost and conditions, though it isn’t awful, either.
This card was not one of our runners-up, but it showed up at Worlds; sometimes as TecH and sometimes as a deck’s focus. Specifically, Dylan Gunn managed a 26th place finish in the Masters Division with a deck that ran four Keldeo-GX, backed by fewer copies of other Pokémon capable of walling via Ability. Yes, your opponent can just use a non-EX/GX attacker, but a lot of decks are running light on those, and they’ll need to swing for 170 to manage a OHKO. Power Plant is also a concern, as Pokémon-EX/GX not reliant on Abilities can then just attack Keldeo-GX normally.
Fortunately for Keldeo-GX, it released at just the right time for it, more or less. In the Standard Format, Big Fire is a big presence and their main attackers are [W] Weak Pokémon-GX; used as TecH or backed by other, diverse blockers, the fact that there are multiple workarounds just keep Keldeo-GX from being too good. I suspect Keldeo-GX will be a solid option for Expanded; more competition, more counters, but we’ve also got tricks like Acerola and Aqua Patch. Keldeo-GX is almost a must-run for Limited. If you pulled something else worth running in a Mulligan deck, use it instead. I wouldn’t run Keldeo-GX on its own, either; even if you go first, your opponent has two chances to attack and almost everything your opponent runs gets by Pure Heart.
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