September 20, 2019
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Porygon-Z-GX (SM – Black Star Promos SM216) closes out our week because today is its official release date! As a Pokémon-GX, it shares its Evolutionary line with the cards named Porygon-Z but they don’t count as the same card for the 4 Copy Rule. Porygon-Z-GX gives up an extra Prize when KO’d, can make use of Pokémon-GX support like Cherish Ball, and has to deal with anti-Pokémon-GX effects like that of Shrine of Punishment. Some effects – for better or worse, exclude Pokémon-GX, though this is as much about keeping such effects balanced as it is punishing or rewarding usage of Pokémon-GX. Based on all previous Pokémon-GX, Porygon-Z-GX should have better HP and better effects – relative to their costs – its non-Pokémon-GX counterparts, as well as access to a coveted GX-attack.
Porygon-Z-GX is a [C] Type Pokémon, and since we’re not worrying about the Unlimited Format, it won’t encounter natural Weakness or Resistance. Possibly not even unnatural, as I think most recent effects that let you alter those attributes exclude changing them to [C]. There are also no [C]-Type counters or support in the Standard Format, at least for now; there are some in the Expanded Format, but I don’t believe any are worth playing at the moment. Porygon-Z-GX is a Stage 2, and that is going to be a hurdle to clear; the game just moves too fast for something that needs at least one turn and two other cards to hit the field… and that is even when using Rare Candy! To avoid giving the wrong impression, I’d rather the rest of the metagame slowed down instead of trying to speed up Stage 2 Pokémon.
Porygon-Z-GX has 240 HP, enough to often survive a hit. It is 60 from the current max printed score of 300, but we’ve only seen that on the largest TAG TEAM Pokémon. It is just 10 below the largest Stage 2 Pokémon-GX we’ve seen, for added perspective. [F] Weakness isn’t happy, but it isn’t as dangerous as I expected right now; the main threat is someone TecHing in a copy of Buzzwole, though there are mono/mostly-Fighting decks out there. No Resistance is the worst, and it would have been nice to go with the card’s HP, but the powers-that-be seem to apply Resistance sparingly so not only is its total absence typical, it is what we expect for a [C] Type that is not representing a video game Flying-Type. The Retreat Cost of [CC] is also fairly typical, and it is neither easy nor especially demanding to pay.
Porygon-Z-GX has the Ability “Troubleshooting”, a regular attack called “Abnormal Overheating”, and the GX-attack “Critical Error-GX”. Troubleshooting gives you a once-per-turn chance to discard a Special Energy from Porygon-Z-GX. Why would you want to do such a thing? The rest of the effect states you heal 80 damage from that Porygon-Z-GX if you discarded the Energy. The effect does not scale, and while you can use more than one Troubleshooting if you’ve got multiple instances of it in play, but again, each Porygon-Z-GX can only heal itself. Assuming you’ve got an Energy attachment to spare, there’s simple combo with Recycle Energy to constantly spam this effect. Porygon-Z-GX has the bulk to make healing plausible, but only just; even larger Pokémon aren’t safe from OHKO’s.
Abnormal Overheating does 160 damage for [CCC], which means it can be fueled entirely by Triple Acceleration Energy. In Standard, this lets it 2HKO most unprotected targets. In Expanded, you could get a OHKO by combining it with a simple damage buff like Choice Band against a decent amount of targets, but not most Mega Evolutions or Evolved Pokémon-GX, and definitely not against TAG TEAM Pokémon. Abnormal Overheating causes Porygon-Z-GX to burn itself, shrinking its effective HP a little… or a lot if your luck is bad. Unless you can attach multiple Energy Special Energy cards in one turn, you probably won’t be able to simultaneously make use of both the attack and the Ability in the same turn. Which leaves us with Critical Error-GX; for [C] you can search your deck for 10 cards and then discard them. I want to say this is good for certain discard pile oriented decks, but I’m at a loss for what ones have the time and space to run a Stage 2, plus a GX-attack to burn, just to throw cards into the discard pile.
All hope is not lost for Porygon-Z-GX. There aren’t any Porygon or Porygon2 worth highlighting, but there is Porygon-Z (SM – Unbroken Bonds 157/214). Its Ability lets you attach a Special Energy card from your hand to one of your Pokémon as many times as you like during your turn, prior to your attack. This means you can spam Recycle Energy, even alongside other cards like Triple Acceleration Energy. The issue here is that not only are you splitting the Evolution-line, Porygon-Z-GX still isn’t that great. I’d probably just consider it TecH for an already existing Porygon-Z (SM – Unbroken Bonds 157/214) deck, in either Standard or Expanded. It is just things are harder for such a deck in Expanded. In the Limited Format, it’s a promo so you can’t use it!
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