– Unbroken Bonds

Date Reviewed:
June 24, 2019

Ratings Summary:
Standard: 2.50
Expanded: 2.50
Limited: 3.75

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

Reviews Below:

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Landorus (SM – Unbroken Bonds 103/214) was my personal 14th place pick from SM – Unbroken Bonds, but no one else was suitably impressed by it, so it only would have been our collective 27th place pick if we’d done something like a top 30. I’ll explain why Landorus caught my eye, but after we give it the usual run through. This Landorus lacks any specialty mechanics, so Landorus gives up one Prize when KO’d and only directly competing against fellow cards named “Landorus” for deck space. It is a [F] Type, which is the Weakness of many [C], most [D], and most [L] Pokémon. The Type also has a lot of support, with some more on the way. There are [F] Type-specific counters, but they haven’t proven particularly competitive; a slightly bigger concern is that [F] Resistance is actually one of the most abundant forms of Resistance, but “No Resistance” is still the most common and the -20 damage Resistance provides can sometimes matter, but other times be pointless.

Landorus is a Basic Pokémon, meaning it is quick to the field, requires minimal deck space, can function as your opening Active, and has a natural synergy with certain card effects. I’m talking stuff like bounce effects, and not actual Basic Stage support (though that is nice as well). There are also anti-Basic effects, but that’s basically the one downside of this Stage. Landorus has 120 HP, which isn’t enough to keep it from being a probable OHKO, but at least it is enough that your opponent will need a serious, midrange attack to do it. The exception would be attacks from [G] Types, as this Landorus is [G] Weak. This is the first [G] Landorus card, as all past Landorus (and even Landorus-EX) were [W]. This is actually a good deal right now, as the strong presence of [R] Type decks have discouraged many (but not all) [G] focused decks. No Resistance is the worst Resistance but is the norm. It is worth noting that BW-era Landorus cards were [L] Resistant. The Retreat Cost of [C] should be easy to pay most of the time, and if you can spare an Escape Board for Landorus, it would become a free retreater!

Landorus has two attacks. For [F] it can use Linear Attack to do 30 damage to one of your opponent’s Pokémon; targets on the Bench don’t apply Weakness or Resistance, though if you select the Active, those will still be applied. You get to choose exactly what you hit, and 30-for-one isn’t a bad rate, either. It might seem like it compared to something like Buzzwole-GX, which can do 30 to both your opponent’s Active and your choice of their Benched Pokémon for the same Energy cost via its “Jet Punch” attack, but Buzzwole-GX is a Pokémon-GX, worth two Prizes when KO’d. The second attack is “Power Cyclone”, doing 60 damage for [FC], with an effect that forces you to move an Energy from itself to one of your Benched Pokémon (if you have no Benched Pokémon, the Energy stays put). Again, the damage is solid for the Energy being invested, but what about the effect? If you just need to keep attacking with the same Landorus, it can be an issue, but more than likely this will let you “save” an Energy from Landorus by moving it to another attacker before the attacking Landorus is KO’d. Not great, but not bad.

If we put it all together, we have a decent enough card, but not one worthy of how high I ranked it. Back on April 14, at the Champions League Kyoto, Shintaro Fuji finished 31st out of 1489 Masters piloting a [F] deck running three of this Landorus. It included several other [F] Types, but only as singles or doubles. This seemed to be the deck’s main attacker, so what gives? Maybe it was a fluke, or maybe it was the additional [F] support the deck ran, coupled with their metagame. You try to open with Landorus, to spread damage. Once it is KO’d – or more precisely, once your opponent is ahead in Prizes – your Stadium (Martial Arts Dojo) allows your Pokémon with basic Fighting Energy attached to swing for an extra 40 damage (as the deck runs no Ultra Beasts). The deck does run Diancie {*} as well, so your [F] Types are doing +60 damage under these circumstances, at least when attacking your opponent’s Active. The rest I think you can glean from the decklist itself.

There are one or two cards featured in the example deck that we still lack, and by the time we get them and they’re tournament legal, we’ll be using the 2020 Standard Format. Which means Landorus decks may never really take off, though part of me wonders if they ought to be close enough right now to be functional. Based on tournament results, that’s a no. I actually might like it a bit better in Expanded, but not enough to bump up its score; Landorus’ tricks make it feel somewhat anti-Night March. Seems like a great pull for the Limited Format, though; with three of the Pokémon Types having majority [F] Weakness, being able to exploit is great. While you’ll need a deck that can provide Landorus with [F] Energy, it isn’t too demanding about it. The only place for sure you wouldn’t run it is in a +39 deck; Landorus doesn’t have the HP to be run completely solo, nor good enough effects to throw it into what would have otherwise been a +39 deck built around something else.


  • Standard: 2.5/5
  • Expanded: 2.5/5
  • Limited: 4/5

Landorus isn’t a new powerhouse, but a solid though not exceptional [F] Type, possibly suited to be an opener for such decks.  Given the success in Japan that hasn’t been replicated here, I suggest picking up a play of these if you can find them at a good price.  If someone does start winning with Landorus, as a Holographic Rare its price would likely spike.

vince avatar
No review at the moment besides scores.
  • Standard: 2.5/5
  • Expanded: 2.5/5
  • Limited: 3.5/5

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