Naganadel - Lost Thunder
Naganadel – Lost Thunder

– Lost Thunder

Date Reviewed:
November 26, 2018

Ratings Summary:
Standard: 3.43
Expanded: 3.20
Limited: 3.70
Theme: 3.85/5

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

Reviews Below:

aroramage avatar

Obviously there are times and events that come up in the midst of our reviews, and sometimes that reveals some potentially potent cards that come up. For one reason or another, these cards don’t make it to the top of our overall list – even if it made it on several individual lists – and then they do well and we get caught with egg on our faces. Not Poke-eggs, but still. Course we’ll never say that we’ve got egg on our faces, but we’ll instead look at our screens and analyze the results from tournaments like the Sao Paulo International Championship from last weekend and type up our own analyses while the yolk continues to drip down in-between our eyes.

Anyways that’s just an elaborate and totally unrelated set-up to how I operate and why we’re taking this week to look at some other very impactful cards from the Lost Thunder set, because for one reason or another these cards, while they didn’t make the Top 10 overall, are still really really good.

Naganadel is a Stage 1 Psychic Ultra Beast, 130 HP, with a Psychic Weakness, no Resistance, and a Retreat Cost of 1. Its Ability Charging Up almost feels self-explanatory, allowing you to attach a basic Energy from your discard pile to Naganadel once per turn, which leads into Turning Point, a 3-for-80 generically Colorless attack – keep that in mind – that will inflict an extra 80 damage if you have exactly 3 Prizes remaining.

Let me start by saying that I don’t agree with the design philosophy of having Ultra Beasts with attacks and moves that require EXACT Prize counts, since that can strongly change their impact over the course of a game, and I’m more preferential towards cards that would generally be good at most stages in the game (or in the case of games like Hearthstone and Magic are well-costed and well worth the effort for their effects). That being said, Naganadel is a very, very, very good Ultra Beast. Your Prize count will generally follow from whatever your opponent is going to have, and that’s not exactly stellar for Naganadel in the early game when you grab one or two Prizes or in the later game when you’ll have less than 3 Prizes remaining most of the time. However, for that moment when you do have 3 Prizes, you can dish out 160 damage before any other boosts, which can severely weaken an opposing Pokemon by a lot or even claim an easy Prize card from anything with low enough HP.

Now on its own, that would be considered a “tech” card, but with Charging Up and the completely Colorless cost of Turning Point, Naganadel becomes a surprisingly huge backer for many decks. Charging Up doesn’t require specific Energy, Naganadel itself doesn’t require specific Energy, and that in turn means that any deck can run a small line-up of this and Poipole to set-up for a big play and push for damage while the player has 3 Prizes left. It’s incredibly effective, and since the meta right now is based around hybrids of powerful Pokemon-GX and extremely powerful non-GX – like Naganadel – hitting 3 Prizes is not as difficult as it would seem at first glance.

Worst case? You don’t have to put Naganadel into play.

This gives most decks an optional attacker that can be used to pressure down the opponent and assert a certain level of dominance in the competitive scene, which is something that not a lot of other Ultra Beasts can say they can do, and that’s what makes Naganadel a very effective Pokemon going forward. Expect to see some decks tech it in just for that sweet 160 push!


Standard: 3.5/5 (ultimately, it’s going to be meta-dependent, since that will determine how often 3 Prizes can come up)

Expanded: 3/5 (but with a combination of a quick-charging Ability and generic costs, it can fit into just about any deck it needs to)

Limited: 4/5 (and if you get it down at the right time, it can prove to be very effective)

Arora Notealus: It’s almost appropriate that Naganadel’s attack is called Turning Point. Usually hanging around 3-4 Prizes is about the halfway point in most games (usually called the mid-game), and having an attack that can do so much damage can be critical towards securing what would be the “turning point”, in which you are able to secure the victory by taking care of a major threat on board while pushing yourself into the late game. In other words, Naganadel is the perfect Pokemon at times to push for that Turning Point!

Next Time: Blowing up the competition here, there, and everywhere!

vince avatar

Naganadel appears once more in the TCG as a regular Stage 1 Psychic Type with 130 HP, weak to Psychic, a retreat cost of one, an ability, and an attack. Charging Up lets you attach a basic energy card from your discard pile into this Pokémon, which could lead to its attack, Turning Point, which does 80 damage, plus 80 more damage if you have exactly three prize cards remaining. The ability is why Naganadel sees use, as it makes every basic energy card that you’ve discarded from your hand recoverable dependent on how many you have in play. And if you’re worried about energies being stuck on Naganadel and don’t want to use Turning Point, you can use another Pokémon that move energies around, like Quagsire’s Wash Out or Lunala-GX’s Psychic Transfer. Or, for Expanded use, you can even store energy on Naganadel so that Xerneas BREAK’s Life Stream or Psystorm Delphox can rack up the damage output faster. You can get at least a 1-1 line in one of the Build & Battle box that you can possibly pull.


  • Standard: 3.5/5
  • Expanded: 3.25/5
  • Limited: 3.5/5
21 Times Avatar

Naganadel (LOT 108) descends into the Pokemon Trading Card Game from the Lost Thunder expansion set.  This Stage 1 130 HP Psychic Pokemon has an ability and an attack.  The attack, Turning Point, for three Colorless attachments, does 80 damage … unless you have three prize cards remaining, in which case it does 160.

Naganadel’s ability, however, has caught the eye of many a player.  Charging Up allows you to attach a Basic energy card from your discard pile to Naganadel.  Similar to Malamar (FLI 51), it attaches a single Basic energy, different from Malamar in that it can be any type of energy, not just Psychic, but only goes on Naganadel and cannot be directly attached to another Pokemon.

Directly is the key word there.  I’ve already seen it paired with Quagsire in Water Box decks.  It definitely combos with Blacephalon GX as well but might have a little better synergy with Turtonator (DRM 50), although I haven’t been able to get that archetype to work yet because I can’t find a way to get the Fire energy from Naganadel to Turtonator.  I’ve also come across it in Sceptile (CES 20) and even Rayquaza GX (CES 109) decks.  I’m even trying to pair it with Lunala GX (SUM 66), but I also haven’t quite figured that out as well, but I’m sure that it’s better than Malamar with Lunala GX SUM.  It’s got a lot more HP, a better attack, and only a single retreat cost.

Naganadel has a tremendous upside, but I just don’t think we’ve been able to find the perfect fit for it yet.  I am 100% certain, however, that it will definitely find a niche in a Tier 1 deck at some point in the not too distant future.


Standard: 3 out of 5


Following in the steps of Alolan Exeggutor, Alolan Muk, Magcargo, Tapu Koko, and White Kyurem, Naganadel is yet another single prize Pokemon that will surpass its GX version in usefulness and functionality.  If you haven’t got a playset of them yet, I’d go out and invest in them because it’s just a matter of time before this card is an integral part of a Tier 1 deck.

Otaku Avatar

This week’s reviews are not only runners-up from our recent countdown but cards that have already been showing up in high-performing decks at recent events! First up, though not first-runner-up, is Naganadel (SM – Lost Thunder 108/214). This is a Stage 1 [P] Type Ultra Beast with 130 HP, [P] Weakness, no Resistance, Retreat Cost [C], the Ability “Charging Up”, and the attack “Turning Point”. Each instance of Charing Up may be activated once during your turn before you attack or do anything else which causes your turn to end. When you use it, you attach a basic Energy card from your discard pile to that Naganadel. Turning Point costs [CCC] to use and does 80 damage unless you have exactly three Prize cards remaining, in which case it does 160. Being a Stage 1 is solid; it isn’t as fast or reliable as a Basic but it isn’t an extreme hurdle. In the Standard Format, [P] Typing is mostly useful significant for Weakness and Resistance when it comes to attacking, though taking advantage of Dimension Valley and/or not needing to fear the “Bide Barricade” Ability found on Wobbuffet (XY – Phantom Forces 36/119; Generations RC11/RC32). Being an Ultra Beast is a pretty big deal; they’ve got great support like Beast Ring but that has made them so strong that overly specific counters like Sceptile (SM – Celestial Storm 10/168) may actually be worth it in the right deck.

Naganadel’s 130 HP is just barely on the happy side of the divide between “easier to OHKO” and “not as easy to OHKO”. A good example from the competitive metagame is a Zoroark-GX with a full Bench just barely misses the OHKO with its “Riotous Beating” attack… unless they use the not-uncommon combos like having a Devoured Field in play, or using Professor Kukui that turn. The corollary to Naganadel’s [P] Typing being good is that plenty of decks were taking advantage of [P] Weakness before Naganadel provided another useful instance to exploit; 130 HP behaves like 70 HP against it, a likely OHKO. No Resistance is the worst, but let’s move on to the Retreat Cost of [C], which is pretty good. You can probably afford to pay it, especially with the Ability, and if not something like Escape Board lowers it to a perfect free Retreat Cost. The Ability is solid even before we get to exploits; basic Energy cards hit the discard pile when the Pokémon to which they were attached is KO’d, so even without discarding them in another manner a Naganadel on the Bench can quickly fuel its attack. With some of the most common combos, like running Double Colorless Energy alongside a decent amount of basic Energy and then something useful (like Ultra Ball) that has a discard cost, you can easily take a Naganadel from “zero” to “attacking” in a single turn,

That is not why Naganadel has been showing up. Its attack is solid; 80 for three of any Energy Type is only slightly below the minimum acceptable rate. 2HKO’s can still prove useful if the attacker has something else going for it, like being a Stage 1 Ultra Beast that can attach basic Energy to itself from the discard pile: even with a Choice Band and before Resistance, there are a few too many big Pokémon that can still safely tank two hits. That is where the effect comes in; while it is a once-per-game option (barring extenuating circumstances), 160-for-three is pretty good, and when it can be Energy of any Type on something that accelerates basic Energy cards to itself from the discard pile it… still wouldn’t be enough to justify adding this Stage 1 Evolution line to a deck. Maybe slipping a copy in if you’ve already got stuff that works well with it plus Ditto {*} or Naganadel-GX, but still a niche card. That is where the combos make this card. There are multiple decks using Naganadel as a Bench-sitter, for the simple reason that there are ways for other Pokémon to take advantage of the Energy attached to Naganadel.

The best example is Blacephalon-GX, a card we’ll be reviewing soon, so I won’t go into a lot of detail. Blacephalon-GX can be a good, Basic beatstick so long as you have enough basic [R] Energy on your side of the field for it to send to the Lost Zone with its “Mind Blown” attack. There are plenty of cards, general like Ultra Ball and more deck-specific like Heat Factory {*} to get basic Fire Energy cards into your discard pile to fuel Naganadel, in turn fueling Mind Blown. I have not seen a deck try it before, even unsuccessfully, but I have to wonder if some copies of Energy Switch/Multi Switch along with its own Ability could allow a Rayquaza-GX deck to perform well enough alongside Naganadel. What is NOT my idea but HAS already been seeing play is a deck using Quagsire (Dragon Majesty 26/70) alongside Naganadel to back-up Suicune-GX. Quagsire’s “Wash Out” Ability allows you to move basic Water Energy cards that Naganadel attached to itself via Charging Up and move them to your Active. Suicune-GX has the stats and effects to take particular advantage of this combo, but I’ll save the finer points for when we review that card.

There are likely other cards that can take advantage of Naganadel. Remember when I mentioned slipping one into a deck already running Ditto {*}? It was only after I typed that, including it as a hypothetical, that I discovered some decks that made the top 64 at the Sao Paulo International Championship did just that! Blacephalon-GX/Naganadel took 7th at that event, and one is making at least the Top 4 for the Roanoke, VA Regional Championship. Things are looking good for Naganadel in Standard, while the Expanded Format… doesn’t have data for me to crunch. Haven’t been able to focus on the Expanded Format in the PTCGO for firsthand experience, and we haven’t had an event using it since before SM – Lost Thunder released. It is a familiar thing for me to say, but Naganadel enjoys more combo partners but faces more competition and counters here. I think the net result is that Naganadel decks do materialize, but I also don’t expect them to dethrone enough existing decks or rival enough fellow new decks to become a major presence. What I can tell you from both Theorymon and firsthand experience is that Nagnadel is good in the Limited Format and the Theme Format. No Pre-releases for me, but two copies of Naganadel are in the new Storm Caller Theme Deck, where they serve a good secondary attacker.


  • Standard: 3.75/5
  • Expanded: 3.35/5
  • Limited: 3.85/5
  • Theme: 3.85/5

When Naganadel was first revealed, I don’t remember my thoughts on it. If it registered at all, I probably thought it was okay and wondered about some older has-been or never-were attackers, like M Camerupt-EX. Instead, we’ve been spoon-fed at least one awesome deck – no way the official playtesters missed the combo with Blacephalon-GX – and we’ve discovered (or uncovered, if they were intended) at least one more already. Throw in that you can get Naganadel in a current Theme Deck, and it seems clear you should snag a playset ASAP. Given the Theme Deck, you should be able to do so without spending a lot.

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