– Promo SM178
April 19, 2019
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Before we get to the review, it has brought to my attention that the next Standard rotation happens on August 15, 2019, a day before 2019 World Championships, and that event will follow the new format of being Ultra Prism-on instead on Sun & Moon-on. I believe Shining Legends also get the axe, so players no longer can use Zoroark-GX, which is unfortunate, but at least Swampert gets the spotlight. Also sadly, my favorite Sylveon-GX also leaves rotation (sad face). As such, my ratings for Standard will reflect of what Ultra Prism-on would look like. Any cards before that will get an N/A rating.
Behold the debut of a new Pokémon in the current generation: Melmetal-GX (SM Black Star Promos 178)! This isn’t the first time the Pokémon TCG introduced a new Pokémon of a future generation. I’ve seen it once with Magearna-EX in XY Steam Siege; that expansion seems reminiscent of the movie “Volcanion and the Mechanical Marvel” based on the Pokémon found in those sets. Melmetal-GX is available in its own box that you can easily get your hands on so that you can playtest them. With Magearna-EX, it was featured in a M Audino-EX that won 2016 Worlds Championship Master Division. Could Melmetal-GX achieve this incredibly demanding feat? The one that makes or breaks this card depends on the effect text that’s printed on this card. For the most part, reading effect text is more important than seeing which Pokémon gets the treatment, which is why certain cards see more play than others.
Melmetal-GX has an ability and two attacks. Hard Coat states that this Pokémon takes 30 less damage from attacks after applying Weakness and Resistance. Due to the wording, it can tank damage coming from your opponent or even yourself. If there’s an attack that you’re forced to damage your own Pokémon, Melmetal-GX takes care of that. From the opponent, the damage reduction can only be useful depending on the situation. For OHKOs, your opponent has to do the full 250 for the KO. For 2HKOs, it would be 140 damage for each hit. When dealing with Weakness, your opponent’s Fire Pokemon need 130 damage to OHKO it. A Blacephalon-GX can get through Melmetal-GX with Mind Blown, requiring two energies to be banished and a Choice Band to secure it. Outside of heavily demanding feats, Melmetal-GX can be hard to take down unless abilities are turned off.
As far as attacks goes, Metal Blast costs CCCC for 110 damage, plus 20 more damage for each Metal energy attached to this Pokémon. The energy cost is steep, but being able to work with any type as well as being compatible with Double Colorless Energy – or soon to be Triple Acceleration Energy – makes it pretty flexible. However, the full extent would be made better if it only has metal energies, because having a minimum of MMMM attached to it means that Metal Blast will now reach 190 damage, and Choice Band makes it 220 damage, enough to KO most Pokemon in play. There’s always the risk of having too many energies attached to it if your opponent has a Pokémon that punishes others trying to put all eggs in one basket. Perhaps getting Melmetal to have four Metal energies is not easy. You would need Metagross-GX’s Geotech System to accelerate energy, or even its own GX attack. Yup, Iron Force costs M and lets you attach as many metal energies from your discard pile onto this Pokémon. This is a very powerful GX when used at the right time and under the right combos. Ideally, you would use Metal energies as discard fodder from your hand as many as you can and use this GX attack to load it all in. If you can get 10 metal energies in the discard pile prior to using this GX attack, you’re about to swing for 300+ damage, taking prizes cards quickly than your opponent.
To get to Melmetal-GX, it has to evolve from Meltan. It’s only copy is Meltan (SM Black Star Promo 177), which is a Basic Metal Type with 60 HP, weak to Fire, resist Psychic, and a retreat cost of one. Beam might be an unimpressive 30 for CC, but Multiply costs M and fetches another copy of Meltan from your deck into your Bench, ready to be Evolved next turn. Not too shabby, as it has a good lead to perform its role. Ditto Prism Star is also obvious since it can evolve into any Stage 1, though Melmetal-GX would be more of a deck’s focus than a tech. There are no decklist featuring Melmetal-GX, but I wouldn’t dismiss this card, as it has enough to work with than being just filler. You can build this Pokémon with any support you can think of than I can fit in this review, be it type specific support, stage support, and more.
Standard (Ultra Prism-on): 3/5
We close this week with Melmetal-GX (SM – Black Star Promos SM178). It is a [M] Type, giving it access to some nice tricks like the “Steelworker” Ability on Dhelmise (SM – Guardians Rising 59/145) or Metal Frying, and if there any anti-[M] effects, I missed them. [M] Weakness is universal on [Y] Types and shows up on some [W] Types, while Resistance is found on most [L] Types, barring a “gap” in [L] Types from the XY-era. Being a Pokémon-GX is significant, but not truly a pro or a con; you give up an extra Prize when KO’d, have to deal with counters like Shrine of Punishment, but you typically have much more HP than normal, may have better effects overall, will have access to a GX-attack, and there are even one or two cards that reward Pokémon-GX usage (like Olivia). Being a Stage 1 is solid; Basics are faster and more space-efficient, but this is still easier to run than a Stage 2, and it isn’t like Stage 2 Pokémon don’t have at least a few successes.
Melmetal-GX enjoys 220 HP is fairly sturdy, and actually on the higher side for Stage 1 Pokémon-GX (though not the highest). Melmetal-GX has to cope with [R] Weakness but benefits some from [P] Resistance. It also has a Retreat Cost of [CCCC], so once it is Active it’s hard for it to vacate that position under its own power. A small bonus, though, is that Melmetal-GX can make use of Buff Padding for an HP boost. Melmetal-GX has an Ability and two attacks. The Ability is “Hard Coat”, which reduces the damage that Melmetal-GX takes from attacks by 30, after Weakness and Resistance. An attack that would do 100 damage would do 170 if used by a [R] Typ, 50 from a [P] Type, and 70 from any other Type. Its regular attack is “Metal Blast” for [CCCC], doing 100 damage plus another 20 per [M] attached to itself. So no four total Energy attached, but none of it being [M] Energy, means the attack only does the base 100, while fueling the attack purely with [M] Energy would do 200… and you can keep piling on the Energy to hit harder. Its GX-attack is “Iron Force-GX”, and for [M] it lets you attach as many [M] Energy as you want from your discard pile to itself.
If you put it all together, it makes for a pretty impressive package. 220 HP is already a tricky (if not outright difficult) OHKO, made much harder when most decks need an effective 250 instead. Even just as a wall, this seems like a good deal; Buff Padding can up the HP to 270, so 300 damage at once would be required for a OHKO, while Metal Frying Pan or Metal Goggles would soak 30, so an effective 280 would be required for the 2HKO while protecting Melmetal-GX from Weakness or damage counter placement (respective). Getting four Energy attached requires some help, but the GX-attack does give you an option. Not sure I fancy it; as stated, OHKOing Melmetal-GX is difficult but not impossible. Still, assuming your opponent can’t punish Melmetal-GX gorging on Energy, Iron Force-GX could ready “Metal Blast” for a truly massive blow.
If any Melmetal-GX decks have proven competitive, however, I missed them. If you can find a way to reliably power-up without creating vulnerable targets for your opponent to force Active in Melmetal-GX’s stead, you could have a very mighty deck. What I have seen are focused more on stalling, or are willing to take the risk, running cards like Magnezone (SM – Ultra Prism 83/156) or Metagross-GX. This could be well worth revisiting post rotation… then again, the future holds more [R] support.
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