Hello readers! Vince here, and I decided to take a second look at some of the old cards that I have accumulated during my duration of my hobby regarding Pokémon cards. One of the cards that I may reconsider using it for casual play against most of the deck archetypes of 2016 and 2017 is Espeon Prime (HS Undaunted). Despite being rotated out in September 2012, I still feel that this card has finally had a home to be worth using after all these years.
Pokémon Prime is a feature during the HGSS block that differentiates themselves as a “powerful” version than their regular counterparts. Even so, Pokémon Prime doesn’t have any complicated ruling because these Pokémon can act like any other Pokémon. For example, you can use up to four Umbreon regardless if it’s a Prime or not (you can have three Umbreon Prime and a regular Umbreon, or 2 & 2, or 1 & 3, and so forth). There isn’t even support or counters for Pokémon Prime, just whether it is a basic, stage 1, or stage 2 like any other Pokémon. So in short it has some sort of dazzling frame and has great abilities and attacks than their regular counterpart most of the time.
In this case, Espeon has 100 HP, weak to Psychic, and a retreat of one. Psychic typing can exploit weaknesses against other fellow Psychics and some Fighting Pokémon. It also benefits from Dimension Valley (attacks cost one C cheaper) (will talk about it later) and Mystery Energy (retreat reduced by 2). It’s Poke-Body Evolution Memories allows you to use any attack from any of your Pokémon that evolves from Eevee while needing the required energy cost to do so and doing everything else the card effect does. Solar Ray cost PC for 30 and removes 1 damage counter from each of your Pokémon. The damage output is low and the healing won’t matter if Espeon is going to get OHKO, and given that 100 HP, it is definitely happening. So it must be the Poke-Body that’s worth using. Because it is a Poke-Body and not an Ability, Espeon can get away from Garbodor’s Garbotoxin since that doesn’t affect old Pokémon Powers, so this Poke-Body stays intact!
In order to make the most out of this Poke-Body, you’ll need other Eeveelutions that are worth playing. Unfortunately, during the life-span of its rotation, Espeon didn’t get a chance to shine due to most Eeveelutions being underwhelming. I guess some of the best Eeveelutions possible in its time is Umbreon (DP Majestic Dawn) due to support and Leafeon (HS Undaunted) delivering good damage the more the opponent’s active acquires special conditions.
However, let just pretend/assume that this card is legal in Standard and Expanded. It is legal in the Legacy Format in which cards from HGSS and BW series are allowed. What would affect the viability of Espeon Prime?
The current standard format is XY BreakThrough onwards. There are several Stage 1 Eeveelutions to use in Standard such as Espeon GX/Umbreon GX (Sun & Moon), Sylveon GX from Guardians Rising, and soon to be Leafeon GX and Glaceon GX from Ultra Prism. Remember, the Poke-Body needs Pokémon that evolves from Eevee, so that means stage 1 Eeveelutions, not the Basic EX versions of those Eeveelutions. I will be going through them so if you feel like you can’t read them all then by no means go ahead and scroll down. Espeon GX has Psybeam that does 30 for P and requires a coin flip for confused status. Psychic does 60 for PCC and does 30 more for each energy attached to your opponent’s active. Divide GX places 10 damage counters on your opponent’s Pokémon in any way you like. Speaking of GX attacks, Espeon Prime can use any GX attack but as usual can only use it once per game. Umbreon GX has Strafe that does 30 for D and has the option to switch Umbreon with your benched Pokémon. Shadow Bullet cost DCC for 90 and 30 snipe. Dark Call GX discards two energy from your opponent’s Pokémon. Sylveon GX has Magical Ribbon that costs Y and searches three cards from your deck to you hand. Fairy Wind does 110 for YCC. And Plea GX cost YCC and bounces two your opponent’s benched Pokémon to his/her hand. Leafeon GX has solarbeam that costs GCC for 110 and Grand Bloom that costs G and makes every Basic Pokemon on your bench evolve by one stage. Glaceon GX has Frozen Bullet that costs WCC for 90 damage and 30 snipe; Polar Spear GX also costs WCC and does 50x damage for each damage counter on the Defending Pokemon (seems like overkill). Overall, these cards that I mention has solid attacks as well as abilities helping Espeon Prime. Espeon Prime, however, cannot copy any ability from their fellow Eeveelutions. Personally, I would enjoy copying the attacks of these Stage 1 GXs.
Expanded format broadens the horizon by making cards usable from Black & White onwards. There are many more stage 1 Eeveelutions, but I feel like mentioning a few for the sake of the review since I realized that it is somewhat very long like a magazine or newspaper article! Vaporeon/Jolteon/Flareon from Ancient Origins has an ability which adds their respective types for stage 1 Pokémon (Water/Lightning/Fire) as well as a three energy attack (Hydro Splash does 70 for WCC) (Thunder Blast does 80 for LCC and requires a discard) (Heat Breath does 60 for RCC and do 20 more if flipped heads). Flareon Plasma has a great attack of Vengeance that cost CC and does 20 plus 10 for each Pokémon in your discard pile. If you can load up Pokémon in the discard, then this attack will reach impressive numbers (even better if targeting weaknesses). Leafeon Plasma has Energy Crush that does 20 damage for each energy attached to your opponent’s Pokémon, effectively punishing them if they load up too much energy. That’s probably some of the Eeveelutions that I would mention because the other Eeveelutions from BW Dark Explorers and BW Plasma Freeze are probably not worth copying. Dimension Valley makes attacks one C cheaper, and all attacks that Espeon is copying gets their attack costs decided.
About Legacy Format, fortunately Flareon Plasma and Leafeon Plasma can work alongside Espeon Prime. Those two Plasma Eeveelutions can give Espeon Prime at least two great attacks to copy.
Limited format (HS Undaunted) have some stage 1 Eeveelutions, but I doubt you’ll get amazing stuff within six packs. Probably an ideal deck (unlikely) would have Espeon Prime and Leafeon with Miasma Wind and Soothing Scent. Besides that, others aren’t worth copying.
Because of the nature of Espeon Prime coping attacks of other Eeveelutions in play, it is a great tech as a Psychic type attacker exploiting weakness. It can fit into any deck because Espeon Prime doesn’t require anything else (I do not worry about Solar Ray, just the Poke-Body that’s important) and acts like a proxy.
The sheer amount of support for Espeon Prime is over the radar and had this concept been printed on another stage one Eeveelution card, it will see play. But for now, we can only dream….actually scratch that! If you still have old copies of Espeon Prime and you have a local league (unlimited format) nearby, try this card out!
Standard: N/A (would be 3.5/5 if BKT-on)
Expanded: N/A (would be 3.6/5)
Summary: Espeon Prime has an amazing concept waiting for it to be abused and given the future card pool, I’m glad to say that I can finally enjoy this card now than the past because some of the Eeveelutions that I’ve mentioned in my review are actually reaching tournament level play. I just can’t score it too high because I have my doubts about Espeon’s staying power, which is pretty bad at 100 HP. But other than that, I’m happy.