Rock Guard
     – #PLF 108

Date Reviewed:
October 4, 2017

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: N/A
Expanded: 3.25
Limited: 4.33

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



ROCK GUARD just sounds like the kind of name you yell out. “Now I attach my Tool onto my Pokemon, ROCK GUARD!!”

So what does Rock Guard do? Well if you’re familiar with the Tool Rocky Helmet or with Abilities like Rough Skin, Rock Guard becomes pretty obvious in terms of what it does. What’s not so obviously perhaps is the amount of damage it deals, which given it’s an ACE SPEC, you ought to expect a lot. Most of the time these kinds of effects deal out 2-3 damage counters on the Attacking Pokemon (or your opponent’s Active Pokemon, as it were), but Rock Guard dishes out 6 damage counters – twice the amount!

That’s pretty good incentive for your opponent to keep themselves from attacking. 60 damage – or 6 damage counters – is about 1/3rd of a Basic Pokemon-EX/GX’s HP most of the time, while for Mega-EX and Stage 1/2-GX, it can be closer to 1/4th. That’s still a huge amount of damage to knock off of anything; 180 HP getting reduced to 120 – and 250 HP getting reduced to 190 – makes for a much easier Pokemon to KO.

The main problem with Rock Guard is, how are you going to get that damage rolling? Assuming you’re like most people, you’re aiming to use something like Choice Band or Muscle Band to do it…which are both Tools. And you can’t use that on the Pokemon with Rock Guard without cutting Rock Guard off. You go from having the ultimate shield to having the ultimate attacker…but you’re giving up the 1 Tool in your deck that can serve that function.

Rock Guard needs specific Pokemon to be used right. They can’t be your offensive force, since you’re gonna want a Band on them for the damage-boosting power, so you’re looking at a supportive role. If they happen to have a Rough Skin Ability or the like, more power to ya! 20 damage + 60 damage = A LOTTA DAMAGE!!

…I’ve gotta lay off the Flex Tape commercials.


Standard: N/A (of course, ACE SPECs are never allowed in Standard at this point)

Expanded: 3.5/5 (but for a solid option in your Tool department, this card can do the job)

Limited: 4/5 (just realize that you shouldn’t just put this on just any Pokemon)

Arora Notealus: So Rocky Helmet is a hard hat with rocky bumps on it, and Rock Guard is a shield made with sharp edgy rocks on its front. You think there’s a Rock Edge that’s a sharp pointy rock on a stick?…oh wait, Stone Edge probably covers that already.

Next Time: One to rule them all.


Rock Guard (BW: Plasma Freeze 108/116) is an Ace Spec Trainer-Item that is also a Pokémon Tool, like yesterday’s Life Dew.  When your Active Pokémon has Rock Guard equipped and is damaged by an attack from an opponent’s Pokémon, Rock Guard places six damage counters on the opponent’s attacking Pokémon.  Six damage counters is enough to KO small or sufficiently injured attackers, or set something up to be KO’d a bit quicker.

Restricted to one per deck, all Ace Specs compete directly with each other.  All are Trainer-Item cards, opening them up to a little support but a lot of counters in Expanded, and a nicer mix of the two in the Legacy Format.  No Ace Spec cards are Standard legal.  Of particular note are Skyla (all formats), Junk Arm (Legacy) and Puzzle of Time (Expanded), and Spiritomb (BW: Legendary Treasures 87/113).  General anti-Item effects are better than Spiritomb, but it might still have a niche.

You can do a lot with your Ace Spec slot or your Pokémon Tool slot, and being a Pokémon Tool adds only a tiny bit of support but many counters; few decks will lack a means of discarding Tools.  This isn’t something like Choice Band you can benefit from on your own turn, unless it is being used to trigger another card’s effect (of course).  On one hand, Rock Guard is pretty generic as anything sitting in your Active spot can benefit from it.  On the other, most decks seem to benefit more from some of the other Ace Specs.  A big exception are decks capable of protecting their Ace Spec.  Something like Seismitoad-EX with one of these attached is a fearsome site, and thanks to Acerola, you can reliably bounce an injured Seismitoad – attached cards and all – to your hand, so you might never be rid of attacking into Rock Guard.

A little trickier to use well in Standard, as there are fewer cards that protect their Tools, Rock Guard would still be pretty good if it were suddenly reperinted.  Less so if enough other Ace Specs joined it.  For Expanded, experiment with the decks that can protect it; your metagame will likely determine if it is worthwhile or not, though some decks just need the reliability of Computer Search.  I am not sure if any specific Legacy decks really capitalize upon it.  Unless you also pull Life Dew, it’ll be a useful, must run card for the Limited Format.


Standard: N/A
Expanded: 3.25/5
Limited: 4/5
Legacy: 3/5


It is hard to stress how vicious Rock Guard can be when you cannot easily discard it from an opponent and you cannot easily KO whatever has it attached.  A so-so general performance (due to Tool discarding effects) is spiked by how vicious it can be in a deck like one built around Seismitoad-EX Rock Guard appears to have been intended as a souped up version of Rocky Helmet, while Bursting Balloon seems to be the non-Ace Spec version of Rock Guard.


Over the course of last week’s and this week’s COTD, we will be reviewing two cards from the Burning Shadows expansion on Mondays and eight Ace Spec cards on the rest of the weekdays. If you don’t know what an Ace Spec card is, it is a mechanic that existed between BW Boundaries Crossed until BW Plasma Blast. Based on 13 cards, they’re all trainer-item cards. These are item cards that are said to be very powerful that only one Ace Spec card is allowed per deck. This means as soon as you designate your Ace Spec card of choice, you are barricaded from using 12 other Ace Spec cards, so choose wisely. This mechanic can also affect card legality from much older cards such as Computer Search and Master Ball, but more on that later. We decided to leave out Pokemon specific Ace Spec cards (there are five of them, two for Kyurem, one for Victini, and two for Genesect) and review only eight Ace Spec cards that doesn’t care about what deck you’re playing. All Ace Spec cards are Expanded and Legacy legal, and I may put Unlimited scores for Computer Search and Master Ball as well. I may also score Standard even though it’s no longer legal, kind of a hypothetical score.

Today’s Ace Spec card is Rock Guard from BW Plasma Freeze. This card also hasn’t been reviewed by the crew, but we’re going to remedy that. Seems to be better late than never! We’ve known there are two other related cards that does some retaliation. Rocky Helmet (BW Noble Victories) lasts until the tool gets discarded by tool removal. This does 20 damage back to the attacker. Bursting Balloon last until the end of your opponent’s turn, but it does 60 damage back to the attacker.

Rock Guard is a blend between the two, making it last until it’s been eventually discarded while it does 60 damage back to the attacker. It’s a lot more efficient, kinda wish we can have four of them in our decks, but being an ACE SPEC limits us to one. This stacks with abilities that also does retaliation such as Rough Skin variants and Spiky Shield Chesnaught (nine damage counters).

I don’t have many ideas even though it could be attached to any Pokemon, but I’ve seen it been used on Seismitoad-EX for both locking and retaliation and Greninja BREAK to put even more damage on the field. It may be played around with Field Blower, but that means that your opponent had just played one. It also does very well in limited (you’ll run this card if you pulled one unless you also had Life Dew), since Rock Guard can help you retaliate some damage to help you reach eventful KOs.  60 damage is a lot against evolving basics!

Standard: 3/5
Expanded: 3/5
Limited: 5/5
Legacy: 3/5

Sylveon’s Notes: I think I need to wear one for self-defense…

Coming Up: That one Poke Ball to catch anything without fail!


Whoa, is it Turtonator? Is it Bowser? Or is it just a shell. Its still pretty hard to the touch. Sharp as well!

Today’s Inverse Week focuses on the Ace Spec that is none other than Rock Guard. And yes, its another Tool card. Yeah, most Ace Specs are Tool cards that can be attached, and some others are just normal Item cards. What does Rock Guard do anyway? Well, if the preamble didn’t describe it well, I guess I will have to just blatantly said it.

It does 60 damage to an opposing Active Pokemon that attacks the Pokemon Rock Guard is attached to directly.

So it is a retaliation item that punishes your opponent that dares to deal damage via direct damage very harshly. 60 damage is mostly a third of most Pokemon-EX and Pokemon-GX’s health, so its a pretty big number to hit as well. Also, this Ace Spec really helps with decks that doesn’t deal too much damage but has serious locking and/or stalling potential. Decks such as Trevenant BREAK (XY Base Set, XY BREAKpoint) uses it to help get the damage racks up, because Silent Fear only deals 30 damage to every opposing Pokemon. Having the option to deal an extra 60 with the help of its Forest’s Curse ability to block items such as Field Blower (SM Guardians Rising), making sure the Rock Guard is on for most of the time (as long as Ability-locks aren’t online) and with the help of its Tree Slam attack to deal the final blow or using Necrozma-GX (SM Burning Shadows)’s Black Ray GX to clean up games really helps it. Another deck that uses Rock Guard to help it setup is Seismitoad-EX (XY Furious Fists) to help with Quacking Punch’s rather low damage output.

Yet this doesn’t help Rock Guard to help out rather nuke-y branded Pokemon such as Turtonator-GX (SM Guardians Rising). As it used a Double Colorless Energy to use Shell Trap, Turtonator is an amazing wall coupled with Rock Guard. As long as your opponent cannot force you to switch Pokemon with the likes of Guzma (SM Burning Shadows) or Lysandre (XY Flashfire, XY Ancient Origins), when they attack Turtonator, they will receive a whopping 160 damage coming to your turn (Shell Trap deals 20, its clause deals 80, and the Rock Guard deals 60), which is comparable to its Bright Flame attack, and it didn’t need energy discards! This can overkill a Marshadow-GX (SM Burning Shadows) by itself! It is an amazing wall and nuker when used in this way.

But, as does the Life Dew from yesterday, it is plagued by the fact that it is a passive Tool card. It is your opponent that will decide how they will approach Rock Guard. They can just blow it away with the aforementioned Field Blower, they can just use a Guzma to attack someone else, or they can just setup their own board and progress their game state and not deal damage at all, while you potentially have nothing to stop them. In this case, you also want an Ace Spec that can help setup your own board, and thus is the reason why cards like Computer Search are more popular and demand keeps on climbing.


Expanded: 3.25/5 (Has its uses, but its really passive to most people’s liking. The meta also think the same way.)

Next on Inverse Week:
That item that almost everyone tried to hack more into their inventory.