Raichu & Alolan Raichu-GX
– Unified Minds
September 25, 2019
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Raichu & Alolan Raichu are the second card after Muk & Alolan Muk to feature the same Pokémon species albeit with regional counterparts. While that may be uninspiring, the important part is whether or not this card is good or not. And it seems like the rodent duo may have something to work with here.
Tandem Shock costs LLC for 80 damage, and if you can somehow put them on the Bench and promoting it back to the Active spot, you get to deal 80 more damage and also Paralyze them! This is one of the very, very few cards that guarantee paralysis even though it might take some work to achieve this. Fortunately, there are methods to rinse and repeat. Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX’s Invasion ability brings itself to the Active. Since that card has a retreat cost of two, no card I can think of in the Standard Format can completely shave off retreat costs save for one. Escape Board and U-Turn Board only shaves one off from the original retreat cost. Silvally-GX’s Gyro Unit CAN completely shave off the retreat cost from Basic Pokémon. For Expanded, you’ve got Keldeo-EX’s Rush In or Zoroark’s Stand In abilities to do the same thing Necrozma does. While auto-paralysis seems unfair to some, there’s one gaping hole that’s frequently happened. If you Knock Out the Defending Pokémon, there’s nothing to paralyze against, and your opponent can bring out a fresh Pokémon that can attack and even finish off Raichu duo.
Lightning Ride also costs LLC for 150 damage and lets you switch this Pokémon with one of your Benched Pokémon. If you don’t have any Benched Pokémon, then the switching aspect is ignored. If you have two extra lightning energy attached, then you get to deal 250 damage before factoring in other buffs. Electropower is there to help you achieve a crucial point, and Thunder Mountain makes attacks cheaper. For a GX attack, I’ve seen better ones.
Raichu & Alolan Raichu-GX (SM – Unified Minds 54/236, 220/236, 221/236, 241/236) is our Wednesday pick. This will be something of a rushed review because I strained my neck. Yes, I feel rather silly for having done so, and it makes it difficult to type at a computer for long periods. To speed things up, we’ll be comparing and contrasting Raichu & Alolan Raichu-GX with Pikachu & Zekrom-GX, because of how similar the cards are and how Pikachu & Zekrom-GX is already one of the strongest Pokémon in the current metagame. Both are [L] Type TAG TEAM Pokémon with [F] Weakness, [M] Resistance, one regular attack and one GX-attack. Raichu & Alolan Raichu-GX offers 20 more HP than Pikachu & Zekrom-GX, with a Retreat Cost of [CC] instead of [CCC]. and slightly better Energy costs for the attacks ([LLC] instead of [LLL]). Even the secondary effect of the GX attack costs less as Raichu & Alolan Raichu-GX only needs an extra [LL] attached instead of [LLL]. The attacks don’t work the same, though, so the comparison stops being so straightforward at this point.
“Tandem Shock” does 80 damage; if the attacking Pokémon moved from your Bench to the Active position during your turn, Tandem Shock does another 80 damage (160 total) while Paralyzing your opponent’s Active. “Lightning Ride-GX” does 150 damage while switching Raichu & Alolan Raichu-GX with one of your Benched Pokémon. If you have enough extra Energy attached, the attack does another 100 damage, for 250 total. Pikachu & Zekrom-GX’s “Full Blitz” does 150 damage while attaching up to three [L] Energy from your deck to one of your Pokémon. Its “Tag Bolt-GX” hits your opponent’s Active for 200 damage, and if you’ve got enough Energy attached for the bonus, Tag Bolt-GX does an extra 170 damage to the opposing Benched Pokémon of your choice.
At a glance, I greatly prefer Pikachu & Zekrom-GX’s attacks. Energy acceleration from the deck means you can hit hard while fueling your next attacker. Tag Bolt-GX is brilliant when it KO’s two separate Pokémon; it requires additional setup and an opponent unable to cope, but you could theoretically go from having taken zero Prizes to all six if you can Tag Bolt-GX to finish off two opposing TAG TEAM pokémon. In both cases, even when the attack is used with no Energy in your deck or against an opponent with no Bench; these two attacks are still solid. If you try to use Tandem Shock without having promoted Raichu & Alolan Raichu-GX that turn or Lightning Ride without a Bench or the bonus Energy, they’re pretty terrible…
…but with all the conditions met, they’re pretty good. Still not as good as Pikachu & Zekrom-GX’s attacks, but close. Thanks to how Zapdos (SM – Team Up 40/181; SM – Black Star Promos SM159) and its “Thunder Assault” works similarly to Tandem Shock, it turns out existing Pikachu & Zekrom-GX decks are pretty good at working with Raichu & Alolan Raichu-GX. Pikachu & Zekrom-GX decks are just running a copy or two less of Pikachu & Zekrom-GX to work in a copy or two of Raichu & Alolan Raichu-GX… because 160 plus Paralysis OHKO’s smaller targets while leaving larger one’s stuck in the Active position, sans outside interference (like using a Switch). Mew (SM – Unbroken Bonds 76/214; SM – Black Star Promos SM215) is showing up in more decks, and even if it wasn’t, sometimes you’re better off hitting your opponent’s Active harder and/or bringing up something else to soak a hit after doing damage.
What about the Expanded Format? Sadly, we just don’t know but based on guesswork, I’d say things are looking good. Pikachu & Zekrom-GX already works there, and you gain a few handy bonus tricks to go with Raichu & Alolan Raichu-GX. If you pull Raichu & Alolan Raichu-GX at a Limited Format event, go ahead and run it so long as your deck can afford to run on mostly Lightning Energy cards. Do not run this card in a Mulligan build! Without a Bench, you cannot access the bonus effects of either attack; Raichu & Alolan Raichu-GX’s 260 HP just isn’t enough to reliably carry them when they are on their own.
If you look at my review of Pikachu & Zekrom-GX, you may wonder about these scores. I low-balled Pikachu & Zekrom-GX, wondering if it would have staying power and yeah, it has. I don’t think Raichu & Alolan Raichu-GX would be as impressive if Zapdos and later Pikachu & Zekrom-GX hadn’t paved the way for them, which is why I’m scoring Raichu & Alolan Raichu-GX well, but not as high as I’d score Pikachu & Zekrom-GX right now.
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