– Hidden Fates
August 26, 2019
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
It’s time to look at some cards from Hidden Fates, which I have very mixed feelings. Part of me criticize about containing cards that are atrocious and unviable such as cards from the Japanese’s “Family Pokemon Card Game” (seriously, just look at the set list of that set, sans Trainers, and look at ALL the Pokémon out there). Another part of me feels excited to finally get certain cards based on Brock and Misty, as well as some Eevee cards and some of its evolutions. The 90+ shiny cards are beyond my reach, so I’m not too concerned about not being able to get those, let alone trying to find products of those. I may get those once in a while, but I should NOT expect to pull certain shiny cards.
Anyhow, today’s card is Onix-GX. This might be a standalone Pokémon unless an imaginary Steelix-GX card lets you evolve from today’s card. This used to be Brock’s ace Pokémon until the Steel typing came along, and eventually his Onix evolved into a Steelix (and he has a mega stone to mega evolve). Anyways, this card has three attacks. Bind costs F for 30 damage with a coin flip in hopes to paralyze the opponent’s Active Pokemon. Both Heavy Impact and Rocky Avalanche-GX costs FCCCC, the former doing 150 damage while the ladder doing 200 damage AND reducing the damage you take by 100 (after applying weakness) until the end of your opponent’s next turn.
Onix can be used in couple ways. Bind pretty much relies on luck, and the latest Victory Star just left Standard, so you are stuck with a 50% chance. Expanded does have two Victini cards with Victory Star, and that makes coin flips become an improved 75% chance to paralyze. There’s also Trick Coin which functions the same as Victory Star, but it is a Pokémon Tool card, and it cannot be stacked with the ability (thanks Otaku for the clarification), so you can only use one or the other. The damage leaves something to be desired for Standard outside of Diancie Prism Star, but that means Expanded gives you Strong Energy and Choice Band to bolster the damage boost. The problem is while you can leave the Defending Pokémon immobile, it’s a matter of time until the Knocked Out Defending Pokemon gets replaces with another Pokémon that can attack, and maybe KO your Onix for easy prizes, if it can actually deal that much damage. That’s because his gym – yes, Brock’s Pewter City Gym is a Stadium Card – makes Onix-GX take 40 less damage from attacks. A retreat cost of 4 is a potential HP boost from Buff Padding. And suddenly, your opponent may need to do the full 290 unless they have a Field Blower of its own to remove the tool and the Stadium.
As for the other attacks, they are mostly Colorless friendly. Rocky Avalanche is a one time deal, but Heavy Impact can be repeatedly used. 150 damage is barely enough to 2HKO anything in the game unless damage reducing effects are applied. These attacks are very expensive, even if Malamar’s Psychic Recharge or Welder provides energy acceleration. Probably like the other Onix from Lost Thunder, Onix-GX may be used as a alternate attacker to exploit weakness, if you can afford couple slots of Fighting energy. It can OHKO Zoroark/Greninja, Darkrai/Umbreon, and Pikachu/Zekrom for easy three prizes, but that’s the only favorable prize trade that I can think of while you aren’t getting far ahead against GX and single prized Pokémon.
Overall, Onix has made Brock proud for what it does. For what seems like a card that hasn’t had much going for it, this is exceeding my expectation. I guess I forgot to mention another support card that helps Onix-GX. Brock’s Training is another form of energy acceleration for very specific Pokémon, and Onix-GX is one of them.
Welcome to our countdown of the Top 4 Picks of Hidden Fates! This is a “bonus set”, hence it releasing so soon after SM – Unified Minds. While there are 163 cards in Hidden Fates, there are far fewer new cards or significant reprints. The main set contains 69 cards (69/68 being a Secret Rare), and then there is a 94-card “subset” called the Shiny Vault. This subset is nothing but “Alternate A” reprints which do not affect those card’s Standard-Format legality. Even with the main set, there are regular reprints, Full Arts, etc. which means it is very small, even if we ignore how the quarterly sets have become. That is why we’re only doing a Top 4.
Except we’re not. Today, you’ll notice two reviews have been posted. This one is our 4th-place pick, Onix-GX (Hidden Fates 36/68). Its [F] Typing is great for exploiting Weakness and (probably) Type support, though be aware that [F] Resistance is relatively common. Being a Pokémon-GX means power at a price, but lately it seems well worth it. Being a Basic is still the best Stage. [G] Weakness seems relatively safe. No Resistance is disappointing, but also the norm. The Retreat Cost of [CCCC] should be the worst, and you will need to build your deck to accommodate it, but there is support specifically for this Retreat Cost.
Onix-GX has two regular attacks plus its GX-attack. First up is “Bind” for [F], which lets Onix-GX do 30 damage to the opponent’s Active and flip a coin to try for Paralysis. The second attack is “Heavy Impact” for [FCCCC], letting Onix-GX swing for 150 damage. That same Energy cost covers the GX-attack, “Rocky Avalanche-GX”, which hits for 200 while placing a protective effect on Onix-GX; reduce the damage it takes during your opponent’s next turn by 100 after Weakness/Resistance. Bind is a good, giving you a quick offense that may also let you stall. Heavy Impact seems a little overpriced but at least its requirements are mostly [C]. Between the damage and the GX-effect, Rocky Avalanche-GX does seem worth the asking price… even though it is only a one-time deal.
Onix-GX is a tank, and while it is far from perfect, it has a lot going for it. If a deck can’t afford the attacks, it can still take advantage of 200 HP on a double-Prize Pokémon. The Retreat Cost might cost some headaches, but means Poké Maniac can fetch it from your deck while Buff Padding can jump its HP to 250. Even Malamar (SM – Forbidden Light 51/131; SM – Black Star Promos SM117) decks are going to have a hard time covering Onix-GX’s [C] Energy costs in a single turn, but if you find a combo that actually can handle it, you gain a tank that exploits one of the most common forms of Weakness and makes retaliatory OHKO’s difficult, to say the least.
Wait, there’s more. Brock’s Pewter City Gym is a bonus review being posted today. Check its review for slightly more details, but this Stadium makes Onix-GX better at soaking damage and only Onix-GX. If Onix-GX is your deck’s focus, at least one copy is recommended; if your strategy doesn’t require something else, then you probably max out Brock’s Pewter City Gym. It is so niche, and overlaps so much with Onix-GX, it only made sense to cover it today. Brock’s Training is a Supporter that lets you attach an Energy to Onix-GX from your hand; this doesn’t seem like enough to help with those massive attack costs, but Brock’s Training has seven other Pokémon (each with multiple cards) that it might help, so we’ll (hopefully) review it on its own, later.
Onix-GX offers a tantalizing mixture that might let it slip into a variety of decks in either Standard or Expanded. Focus on it for a tank deck. Add some [F] muscle to a stall/control deck, or some stall to an otherwise fast and aggressive [F] deck. Add some walling and stalling to an otherwise fast and aggressive [F] deck. I just worry it is outclassed by more specialized options. Which is why it was my personal 3rd-place pick. I didn’t score for the Limited Format because I don’t believe Hidden Fates packs can be used there, but if they can Onix-GX should be a fantastic pull; just run it by its lonesome and pray your opponent doesn’t have Pinsir-GX.
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