– Lost Thunder
April 26, 2019
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Lugia-GX from Sun & Moon Lost Thunder: Basic 190 HP, weak to Lightning, resist Fighting, retreat cost of CC. Colorless Weakness is non-existent and Necrozma-GX’s Light’s End makes it immune from Colorless Pokemon. Lightning Weakness is bad due to Electropower amplifying the damage output.
Psychic (CCC): 30+ damage. Does 30 more damage for each energy attached to the Defending Pokemon. Depends on what you’re facing. Low energy attackers laugh at this attack.
Pelagic Blade (CCCC): 170 damage. Can’t use Pelagic Blade next turn. Backed with Choice Band and Shrine of Punishment, it reaches 210, enough to KO most Basic EX/GX and most Stage 1 GXs. The drawback can be reset by moving it from the Active to the Bench and back to Active.
Lost Purge (CCC): Puts the Defending Pokemon and all cards attached to it into the Lost Zone. Very very good GX attack, as it gets rid of the Pokémon that is fully loaded. Setup decks would be crippled. It could also win you the game if the opponent has no Benched Pokemon to replace. A worthy GX move.
Lugia-GX (SM – Lost Thunder 159/214, 207/214, 227/214) ends our week. Being a [C] Type means it won’t apply Weakness or Resistance when attacking, barring cards that only exist in the Unlimited Format. There are both counters and support specific to [C] Type Pokémon, but the only one relevant to competitive Standard Format play right now is Necrozma-GX due to its “Light’s End” Ability (it doesn’t take damage from attacks made by the opponent’s [C] Pokémon). It isn’t exactly heavily played, either, just still popping up from time to time. The other counters and all the Type-based support I can recall just don’t matter in Standard or Expanded. Being a Pokémon-GX will matter everywhere, though; Lugia-GX has better HP plus a GX-attack than a baseline Lugia, and the rest of its effects may have benefitted as well, but this comes at the cost of giving up an extra Prize when KO’d. There are also a few effects that reward a player for running Pokémon-GX (they see very little play) and some that punish it (those see a lot of successful play) as well, so being a Pokémon-GX isn’t automatically a pro or a con in its own right.
Being a Basic is the best, however; fastest to the field, least resources required to play them, and a natural synergy with various game mechanics such as bounce, recycling, and search. Serving as your opening Active can go both ways, and I find Stage support and counters for Pokémon are a wash (in this specific instance). 190 HP is on the high-end of what is typical for a Basic Pokémon-GX; there are certainly bigger examples, but 190 is enough to have a good chance of surviving an attack. Even though Zapdos (SM – Team Up 40/181; SM Black Star Promos SM159) doesn’t apply Weakness when attacking, the various other [L] Pokémon used alongside it do, making [L] Weakness a bad thing. [F] Type focused decks aren’t as big as they once were, but they’re still a presence in the competitive sphere and they also show up in multi-Type decks. Coupled with its 190 HP, Lugia-GX’s [F] Resistance should come in handy because of it. The Retreat Cost of two is fairly typical, and neither taxing nor a bargain.
Lugia-GX has two regular and one GX-attack, which all have nothing but [C] Energy requirements. First up is “Psychic” for three Energy, doing 30 damage plus another 30 per Energy attached to your opponent’s Active. Lugia-GX isn’t durable enough and Psychic isn’t fast enough to be worth it for 2HKO tactics, while Psychic doesn’t hit hard enough for OHKOs… even against a lot of Energy heavy targets. Sometimes it works out, but even a 160 to 180 HP Pokémon-GX with four Energy attached falls outside of Psychic’s range. A Choice Band makes up the difference, but most such Pokémon are attacking for three Energy or less. Even the Tag Team Pokémon likely to be loaded with Energy tend to have the HP to still survive Psychic! That doesn’t mean Psychic is awful, just a bit disappointing. “Pelagic Blade” needs four Energy and does 170, but the attack’s effect states it can’t be used next turn. A bit better, I think, since at least this will reliably OHKO a Tapu Lele-GX and a Choice Band brings some Stage 1 Pokémon-GX into range as well. We usually expect such a thing for four Energy, so it isn’t overly impressive; the effect is easy enough to shake and it does help that any Energy opens up more combos for Lugia-GX.
Lost Purge-GX needs three Energy, so it still isn’t what we’d call a budget option. It does no damage but lets you move your opponent’s Active – and any cards attached to it – to the Lost Zone. This doesn’t count as KOing the Pokémon being “banished”, so don’t take any Prizes for it. It could still win you the game, however. It isn’t likely your opponent will walk into it too often, but Lost Purge directly wins you the game if you send your opponent’s only Pokémon to the Lost Zone. The more subtle method is removing something so important it completely wrecks your opponent’s strategy, though that isn’t too likely either. Even when neither applies, you’re still getting rid of something, even if you’re not taking a Prize when you do it, and that’s likely to prove handy. I believe Lost Purge is the main reason Lugia-GX has been seeing success in both the Standard and Expanded Formats, where we’re seeing it pop up as a single in some very high-placing decks. Which doesn’t mean the other two attacks cannot be used, it is just Lost Purge is the one thing they get from Lugia-GX they cannot find elsewhere.
Lugia-GX does many things decently, but the only thing it does that really stands out is Lost Purge… and though I didn’t expect that to be enough, the tournament results speak for themselves.
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