– Roaring Skies
November 6, 2020
Expanded: 5.00 (Soon to be N/A)
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Shaymin-EX from XY Roaring Skies came a long way over the years, from being a deck staple that nearly every single player will want to get their hands on, to being a loose staple or being left out due to massive competition, to being too powerful in the Expanded format that it had to be given the ban hammer.
Yup, that just happened!
Shaymin-EX has been reviewed multiple times, being the best card of XY Roaring Skies, taking 1st place for the best card of 2015, and taking 3rd place for best cards lost to rotation in 2017. Most of the praise comes from its Set Up ability, which lets you draw cards until you have six cards in your hand if you play this Pokémon from your hand. This ability is NOT a hard once per turn, meaning if you use something like Super Scoop Up to put a Shaymin-EX from play into your hand and replay that Pokémon again, the ability works once more. Since you can potentially repeat using this ability in one turn, you can easily dig through your deck so that you can find what you need. It wasn’t a big problem back then when there aren’t many cards that can scoop your Pokemon (outside of Scoop Up Cyclone, which takes up your ACE SPEC slot of your deck) without having to enforce some element of luck or a discard cost. With Scoop Up Net, however, it made Shaymin-EX extremely powerful because, again, the ability wasn’t a hard once per turn. And if the player going first can have the ability to use Shaymin-EX’s ability as much as 5+ times (Scoop Up Cyclone, 4 Super Scoop Up, 4 Scoop Up Net, and more), then this could be a recipe of disaster if the player going first has a perfect board setup after drawing 20+ cards before your opponent even gets a turn!
Dedenne-GX and Crobat-V may have a strong presence in Standard, but it doesn’t come close to Shaymin-EX’s power because both of their abilities are hard once per turn abilities. No matter how many times you Bench your Dedenne or Crobat, you can’t use more than one of said ability if you already use them. You can, however, use two separate abilities from them (one Dedechange and one Dark Asset). Scoop Up Net wouldn’t have scooped them anyways since this effect excludes Pokémon-GX and Pokemon-V. If anything, the designers were very careful when making those effects and how it would impact those cards in the long run depending on what kind of text is being cut. If Shaymin-EX had the hard once per turn text, it wouldn’t find nearly as much favor, though it would still be a good idea to include one of draw based abilities in your deck (like 1 Shaymin, 1 Dedenne, and 1 Crobat).
Standard: N/A (would be 5/5)
Expanded: Banned (would be 5/5)
Limited: 5/5 (but not in a +39 deck. If Shaymin is your only Pokémon in play, you’ll lose if you use Sky Return).
Not much for me to go over and no numerical scores for both formats since it finished it’s run in the 2016-2017 Standard rotation and is banned now, though – hypothetically – with Scoop Up Net it would elevate this card to be a perfect 5 out of 5 once again in both Standard and Expanded due to massive potential for either getting a perfect setup even without being able to use a Supporter (if you went first) or delivering an FTW (if you went second). Looking at people’s complaints of Shaymin-EX in the past couple years, seems like they finally got their wish for this card to be banned. I can imagine how chaotic the Unlimited format would be with Uxie (DP Legends Awakened) and Scoop Up Net on the loose!
The #1 pick from XY – Roaring Skies.
The #3 card lost to the 2018 rotation… where it was only outranked by Forest of Giant Plants and VS Seeker!
Shaymin-EX (XY – Roaring Skies 77/108, 77a/108, 106/108) should be familiar to all but the newest of players, unless you missed its time in Standard and go out of your way to avoid all things Expanded. As a Pokémon-EX, Shaymin-EX is worth an extra Prize when KO’d. It has to deal with counters specific to Pokémon-EX, as well as those tailored to both Pokémon-EX and Pokémon-GX. Finally, certain pieces of support exclude Pokémon-EX, or Pokémon-EX and Pokémon-GX. Shaymin-EX is a Colorless type; no exploiting Weakness or dealing with Resistance, though this used to be quite relevant for support (Shaymin-EX released alongside Winona). Shaymin-EX is a Basic Pokémon, which is vital to its use; while you don’t want to open with it, as a Basic its easy to fetch from your deck and Bench.
Shaymin-EX’s 110 HP would be a bit lacking for a single-Prize Basic; as a Pokémon-EX it is easy to OHKO while being well worth it! 110 is the second lowest for a Basic Pokémon-EX; only Jirachi-EX has it worse. It is still about 40 HP over what baseline Shaymin cards have, however. Shaymin-EX’s [L] Weakness has been an issue for it on and off; serious Lightning attacks OHKO it anyway, but those focused on effects can sometimes still do the job thanks to it. -20 [F] Resistance isn’t much, but there have been times where it just barely saved Shaymin-EX, so it is most appreciated. Its Retreat Cost of [C] is pretty good; easy to zero out, and sometimes easy to pay.
Now for the main show, the Ability: Shaymin-EX posses “Set Up”, which may only be used when you play this Shaymin-EX from your hand onto your Bench. If you do and choose to use Set Up, you immediately draw until you have six cards in hand. If your hand containes six or more cards, you draw nothing. If you can ensure Shaymin-EX was your last card in hand, you draw a magnificent six cards with no discarding or shuffling required. At the time Shaymin-EX released, this was still a Supporter-caliber effect, as Bianca could do the same thing. Of course, Bianca was only used well in competitive play on occasion, and was later outclassed by Lilly… though the current T1 rules nerfed her.
Shaymin-EX’s “Sky Return” attack is not filler. As Double Colorless Energy was legal alongside Shaymin-EX, it as often easy to pay its cost of [CC]. The attack only did 30 damage, but it returned Shaymin-EX and all cards attached to it to your hand. The damage wasn’t great, but bouncing itself was rarely a drawback and usually a big advantage. It let you get a fragile Pokémon off the field, gave you the option of trying for another use of Set Up, and it also helped with planning out other Shaymin-EX’s uses of Set Up, or avoiding discards of key resources when using Professor Sycamore. You could drop a Double Colorless Energy and a Tool (whether Shaymin-EX needed the Tool or not), then bench another Shaymin-EX, play Professor Sycamore, etc. and after, attack to get all three cards back into your hand.
I know I glossed over how useful Set Up can be. Even drawing only two or three cards from it is good; getting five or six is great. Shaymin-EX adds an amazing degree of consistency to decks, whether you’re using it alongside another draw or search effect to really build your hand and field, so you can use your Supporter for the turn on a non-draw/search effect, or so Pokémon search can jump start your deck when it begins to stall. Dedenne-GX and Crobat V can do the same thing except you can use multiple instances of Set Up in the same turn. Some decks, with intense setups would run three or four Shaymin-EX plus cards like Super Scoop Up and (now) Scoop Up Net to bounce and replay Shaymin-EX.
Shaymin-EX was a staple while it was Standard-legal. A true-blue, every-deck-runs-four staple? No. It was common enough I’d still describe it as a staple, but there were definitely times when it slipped to “loose” staple status. Meaning, it was a heavily used card, one you more or less expected most decks to run, but plenty did not, and sometimes Shaymin-EX decks were out numbered by those not running it. For most decks skipping Shaymin-EX, they were running an alternatives such as Octillery (XY – BREAKthrough 33/162) or Tapu Lele-GX. In the modern Expanded Format we… don’t know. At least, I don’t; there hasn’t been a tournament since the Regional Championships held back on February 29 in Collinsville, IL.
I’ll make an educated guess, however, that Shaymin-EX is still at least flirting with “loose staple” status in Expanded. The results I mention predate Scoop Up Net, and my working hypothesis based on what little data I do have is that this increased Shaymin-EX usage (even though Crobat V added another rival). That does not mean every deck runs Shaymin-EX; prior to SW – Rebel Clash, its use had fallen to a little under half the decks in top cuts. I don’t believe every Expanded deck is running Scoop Up Net, and can spare their copies of Scoop Up Net for spamming Shaymin-EX… but some can and do. Which led to more decks the powers-that-be don’t like to see, because we are talking about decks a decent chunk of us don’t enjoy facing. Trevenant & Dusknoir-GX decks that can strip you down to a zero card hand, while still OHKOing or 2HKOing your Pokémon, as early as their second turn. Even donk decks, stacking damage bonuses on one of the few Pokémon with a damaging attack that can still be used Turn 1.
Even if these specific decks weren’t a problem, they were proof the infrastructure was there for any card that would be too much to ignore. There’s also some weirdness with the new Turn 1 rules; no Supporters is a lot less restrictive when you’ve got three different Pokémon (Shaymin-EX, Dedenne-GX, and Crobat V) capable of faking it. So at long last, Shaymin-EX is finally being banned. If you can afford to use XY – Roaring Skies packs and can also make the other necessary arrangements, you can still use Shaymin-EX in the Limited Format. It is a great pull here, but remember that Set Up is sometimes harder to use; there’s no guarantee you’ll pull enough easy-to-spam cards and/or cards with discard effects so you can easily thin your hand. If anything, I expect my hand to get cluttered as the game progresses. Hitting and running with Sky Return can be more effective here, however, and just about any chance at drawing more cards is disproportionately valuable in Limited.
I am rounding up with my scores, especially in Limited, but I think Shaymin-EX’s past performance justifies an optimistic take. Enjoy using your Shaymin-EX while you can… but if you haven’t already traded off your spares, hold onto them for a bit. Shaymin-EX is an iconic part of a soon-to-be bygone era, and only available as a “regular” Pokémon-EX, Alternate Printing with snazzy art, and a Full Art. I can’t imagine all the collectors will be satiated for long.
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