– Lost Thunder
January 4, 2019
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Sigilyph GX (LOT 98) gets its first incarnation of the Sun and Moon era in the Lost Thunder expansion set. This 170 HP Basic Psychic Pokemon has a very interesting ability: Mirror Counter allows you to put damage counters on the Attacking Pokémon equal to the damage done to this Pokemon.
This is a pretty cool ability. Rayquaza GX unloads on you for 270? You return the same amount of damage right back onto him, knocking him out. Zoroark GX smacks you for 120? Bam! 120 right back on it.
And then the best part: you still get to attack! It’s like you get a damage bonus onto your attack equal to the amount done to you… which you’ll need because Sigilyph’s main attack, Sonic Wing, only does eighty damage (for a Psychic and two Colorless no less… yuck!).
The other downside: Mirror Counter only works when Pokemon EX and GX attack you. Against non EX and GX Pokemon, Sigilyph’s ability will not activate.
I mentioned last week that 77% of decks I face on PTCGO put at least one GX Pokemon into play. But how many of those decks actually play exclusively GX Pokemon and don’t have any non GX attackers?
66 out of the 249 matches I’ve played this month put exclusively GX featured attackers into play (26.5%). However, I would guess that the true number is something a little less than that. My opponents may have chosen not to put non GX attackers into play in at least some of these matches. Even still, that’s a pretty low number – probably something like 1 in 5 matches at best. To me, this means that Sigilyph is probably a one of TecH at best, especially considering that almost the same number of decks (65) play absolutely no GX Pokemon at all, meaning that about a quarter of the time, this Pokemon would be more of a liability than an advantage.
Standard: 2 out of 5
However, Sigilyph might see more usage after Tag Team drops – Sigilyph could potentially function as a two for three prize trade. If a Tag Team Pokemon hits Sigilyph for some absurd amount of damage, there’s a good chance it could knock itself out as well, meaning you would get three prizes and your Tag Team opponent would only take two… and, as mentioned above, it would then become your turn, and you could potentially take another prize .., or two … or three and win the game! How ridiculous would that be? Your opponent KO’s you but then you potentially knock out two Tag Team Pokemon? If you play enough with Sigilyph on the ladder, it’s got to happen eventually, right?
We close the week with Sigilyph-GX (SM – Lost Thunder 98/214, 202/214, 222/214). This is one of those cards where it has one defining trait through which all others are filtered, so we’ll begin with that. “Mirror Counter” is an Ability that, at least with the current cardpool, can only work during your opponent’s turn. While Sigilyph-GX is your Active Pokémon and your opponent’s Pokémon-EX/GX attacks and damages it, Mirror Counter will place damage counters on the attacking Pokémon equal to the damage that was done to Sigilyph-GX. This effect works even if the attack in question KO’s Sigilyph-GX, which is stated on the actual card. I don’t have an official ruling, but based on my understanding of game mechanics a Pokémon’s HP does not restrict how much damage it can take in a single attack. Even if Sigilyph-GX only has 10 HP left, if you slam it with a 200 damage attack from your Pokémon-EX/GX, then that Pokémon-EX/GX is going to have 20 damage counters placed on it (barring other mitigating effects, like a Silent Lab on the field). Of course, Mirror Counter has an obvious “flaw”, though it is most likely a balance issue: Mirror Counter does nothing against attackers that aren’t Pokémon-EX/GX.
Still, we’re at the point where we can now cover the rest of the card, with a clear idea of what it will all mean. Being a Basic Pokémon means it is easy to run and field Sigilyph-GX, and (for better and worse) you can even open with Sigilyph-GX. Being a Pokémon-GX is probably why Mirror Counter was considered a balanced option for the card and will justify some of the other good(ish) things it has but also means it is even worse when something that doesn’t trigger Mirror Counter or can afford to trigger it takes out Sigilyph-GX. It also means worrying about Shrine of Punishment, Glaceon-GX, etc. [P] Typing might help, but most of the obvious examples (like Dimension Valley) don’t help much due to the rest of the card… and I’m not sure if you should even be attacking with Sigilyph-GX. 170 HP is adequate for a Basic Pokémon-GX, but only just. [L] Weakness isn’t too bad right now, but if Japan’s metagame is an accurate forecast of our own, that will change after the next expansion in February. [F] Resistance is nice, though; 170 is enough that -20 damage from a popular, potent Type is helpful. Yes, even when that Type is famous for stacking damage buffs on top of Energy efficient, hard-hitting attacks. Yes, even though we want Sigilyph-GX taking damage to trigger Mirror Counter.
The Retreat Cost of [CC] is a bit much unless you can afford to leave this Active just to soak (and hopefully reflect) damage. Why? Well, the attacks are underwhelming. Not horrible, and sometimes worth the effort, but not as good as one would hope or even expect. The one regular attack is “Sonic Wing” for [PCC], doing 80 damage. The good news is that it can tap easy Energy acceleration like Double Colorless Energy. The bad news is that ignoring Resistance is a really minor effect, even when [P] Resistance is common in the metagame (hello, Zoroark-GX); I’d rather the attack just did 10 more damage or still did 80 but had a cost of [CC] (or less). Even if it did 90-for-[CCC] it would still only be “okay”, so yeah enjoy it when three Energy is worth a little damage and ignore it the rest of the time. Ideally, you tag something just hard enough that your opponent can’t attack Sigilyph-GX back without switching to something else or risking a pseudo-OHKO as Mirror Counter kicks in. “Intercept-GX” has the same [PCC] Energy cost but does 60 damage per Energy attached to your opponent’s Active. Considering the Energy required and that this is a GX-attack, your basically need to hit something with three or more Energy attached to really be worth it. Seems like it is either feast or famine; tag something loaded with Energy so hard you OHKO it, then hope your opponent either lacks a follow-up or has to sacrifice something else big and Energy loaded getting a retaliatory KO… especially if the attacker and attack used trigger Mirror Counter and really wound it.
Sigilyph-GX isn’t less than the sum of its parts, but it doesn’t have great synergy within itself. The Ability IS very good, though not great. Mirror Counter easily makes Sigilyph-GX a TecH level card; a Basic you could slap a copy of in just about any deck to throw up front and try to buy time against an opponent’s attacking Pokémon-GX. The attacks COULD have gone towards combating what Sigilyph-GX fears; Energy-efficient, single Prize attacker like Granbull (SM – Lost Thunder 138/214), or those focused more on effects than damage (maybe Seismitoad-EX) may even welcome seeing Sigilyph-GX trying to act as a “wall”… I mean, they could have had to deal with a more effective wall like Shuckle-GX instead. I thought it had seen a tiny bit of success in Standard, but I can’t locate any such results now. Sigilyph-GX has enough potential, both not and in the long run, though, that I’m still going to give it an average score.
I was pleasantly surprised to see one deck in the recent Anaheim, CA Regional Championship, an Expanded Format tournament, contained a Sigilyph-GX. The deck in question was “Drampador”, or Drampa-GX paired with Garbodor (SM – Guardians Rising 51/145, 51a/145) and both backed by Garbodor (XY – BREAKpoint 57/122) to shut down Abilities (when needed). If you pull Sigilyph-GX at a Limited Format event, run it. I don’t think you should run it in a Mulligan (a.k.a. +39) build but I would run it in most other decks. If your opponent pulled a big, Basic Pokémon-GX worth running solo, Sigilyph-GX may give you an auto-win against it (at least, if you can field it). Most decks won’t have a Pokémon-GX in it, so Sigilyph-GX serves as a decent attacker, as its HP and the damage from its attacks are much more substantial due to the lower average HP and damage output of Limited.
Confusing scores for Sigilyph-GX; it isn’t performing as well in Standard as I’d expected, and while it technically is performing better than I expected in Expanded, I had the bar set pretty low. Reflecting damage from an opponent’s attack as damage counters is a very potent effect, even on an otherwise below-average Pokémon-GX, and that is raising this card’s score in those Formats. Don’t worry about this card… but don’t forget about it, either.
We would love more volunteers to help us with our Card of the Day reviews. If you want to share your ideas on cards with other fans, feel free to drop us an email. We’d be happy to link back to your blog / YouTube Channel / etc. 😉
Click here to read our Pokémon Card of the Day Archive. We have reviewed more than 3500 Pokemon cards over the last 17+ years!