– Cosmic Eclipse
November 15, 2019
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Yes, despite the majority of this week – and indeed the majority of the Top X List – getting taken up by Tag Team-GX and Tag Team Supporters…and Tag Call, there was only one card that managed to top out on the list for all of us: Silvally-GX, the true golden boy of the set.
Silvally-GX is a Colorless Stage 1 Pokemon-GX, 210 HP, with a Fighting Weakness, no Resistance, and a Retreat Cost of 2. You’d probably figure that looking at Disk Reload, that’s probably the only part of the card we could talk about and say that yes indeed it is the best card in the set. Once per turn, you get to draw until you have 5 cards? Yeah, that kind of Ability remains just as relevant today as it did any other time it came up on some kind of Pokemon. Course if you’re feeling frisky, Brave Buddies is his attack of 2-for-50, though it deals 70 more damage if you played a Supporter this turn – pretty likely even if you consider you might not have a Supporter in hand to use for this effect, thank you Disk Reload. And if your opponent should have an Ultra Beast in the way, Silver Knight-GX costs 2 Energy and can KO it right away.
Fun fact: there is a Tag Team-GX that’s an Ultra Beast that can get KO’d by this attack!
Just for the sheer utility of Disk Reload, Silvally-GX could have easily just made the list on that alone. Like I said before, drawing cards is valuable in the TCG, but add on this easy 2-for-120 move that can be powered up in any deck? Something that can be done with Red & Blue? And that’s not even touching on the fact that there are some useful Memory Tools hanging around – remember those cards? The ones that change Silvally-GX’s Type when attached? Yeah, we’ve got Electric, Fire, Grass, and Water – that last one’s a good one against a certain deck archetype right now. And the best part might even be that the GX Attack is completely optional, since not every deck you fight will have that awesome Ultra Beast to one-shot, so you’re more than welcome to use the GX Attack of whatever else you’re running alongside Silvally-GX!
The craziest part might just be one of those potential partners can actually be Silvally-GX – the one that was first printed in Crimson Invasion! Luckily it’s been reprinted a couple of times, with the latest ones being Ultra Prism and Hidden Fates, so this combination is good for a long while, even if not every Memory is going to last that long (sorry Fighting and Psychic Memory). Whatever deck you run him in though, Silvally-GX is bound to be useful one way or another!
Standard: 5/5 (always gotta love that draw power)
Expanded: 4.5/5 (and with a solid attack and some Type-changing Tools behind it, there’s not much that Silvally-GX can’t do)
Limited: 5/5 (super solid here with all the Supporters in the set)
Arora Notealus: Silvally-GX helps a lot of things in a variety of decks, but it might also play a huge role with Tag Team Supporters. Since you’re likely going to want to discard cards for their secondary effects, Silvally-GX is a good way of keeping your hand size up and your options available after you’ve used one of their effects. Needless to say, this is a solid support piece in a number of ways, but it’s extremely helpful to work around the costs!
Weekend Thought: Do you agree with our list? Think something should’ve been higher or lower? Think something didn’t make it that should have? What’s the craziest card in the set? Which cards are you looking forward to using the most?
I feel like when looking at the best card of Sun & Moon Cosmic Eclipse, this is another one of those cards which the entire active review crew actually agreed on, such that it was a unanimous decision since the days of Zoroark-GX (when we reviewed it as the best card of Shining Legends with 50 out of 50 voting points) or even Shaymin-EX from XY Roaring Skies (when it was unanimously the number one card in 2015 with 30 out of 30 voting points). This goes to show that if such a card has been highly regarded, then it must have some things from that card that are wonderful. And in Silvally-GX’s (SM Cosmic Eclipse 184/236, 227/236, 262/236) case, it has some features that are reused from previous cards, which is good for Standard but seems redundant in Expanded due to massive competition from other cards that do similar things.
However, just because this card was ranked the best card of the set with 33 out of 33 voting points, it does not mean that it is the “best card” ever, to the point where every player would need such a card to even have a chance of competing. Like every TCG besides Pokémon, all card has flaws, even though there might be some cards that seemed broken (like Computer Search or Gust of Wind), but actually isn’t. If a card was really that good, it’s score would be somewhere between 4.75 to 4.99, but never a 5/5. I’ve been blinded with cards that seemed powerful; I thought it would carry on in the format they’re entering or that they’re still in. That’s not always the case, with inherent drawbacks of a card, other newer upcoming cards, annual rotations, and players’ decision making affecting the viability of some cards. Cards with familiar/recycled effects can be made better or worse, depending on how the designers would implement limitations to keep the effect from being too good, or if they make the effect too weak to not be worth using.
I remember the days of looking through every single Pokémon card every time a new expansion is revealed just to look at card effects. There are some that looks exciting and wanting to obtain a play set and others not so much. But as time went on, many future cards have effects that made other cards obsolete or inefficient to use. Think of several examples from the Expanded format that got shafted due to newer cards. Hydreigon’s (BW Dragons Exalted 97/124, BW Legendary Treasures 99/113) Dark Trance ability vs Weavile-GX’s (SM Unified Minds 132/236) Shadow Connection ability; Landorus-EX (BW Boundaries Crossed 89/149, 144/149) vs Buzzwole-GX (SM Crimson Invasion 57/111, 104/111, 115/111, SM Black Star Promos SM69, Hidden Fates SV68/94); Empoleon’s (BW Dark Explorers 29/108, BW Plasma Freeze 117/116) Diving Draw ability vs Zoroark-GX’s (Shining Legends 53/73, 77/73, 77a/73, SM Black Star Promos SM84) Trade ability; Energy Search (one basic energy) vs Professor’s Letter (two basic energy). Those examples showed how cards that you previously used have been set aside as they have been power crept. No matter which TCG you join, there’s always the elitist approach into saying that very few cards – like maybe 3-5% of the entire card pool – will remain truly relevant in the entire lifespan of the TCG. And that, unfortunately, is why I’ve been pretty hard on most cards that I’ve thought it had potential, but didn’t work out the way it should. Even the best card of this set is no exception; it will be compared with others.
Three paragraphs of rambling, but now I’m finally taking about Silvally-GX. This card has three familiar effects seen on previous cards. Disk Reload ability lets you draw cards until you have five cards on your hand. Strictly speaking, this is what Octillary (XY BreakThrough 33/162) would do with its Abyssal Hand Ability. Other Pokémon has similar abilities but with different draw yields. Delphox’s (XY 26/146) Mystical Fire ability lets you draw cards until you have 6 cards in your hand; Electrode’s (BW Plasma Freeze 33/116) Magnetic Draw lets you draw cards until you have 4 cards in your hand; and Oranguru’s (Sun & Moon 113/149) Instruct lets you draw cards until you have three cards in your hand. These Pokémon did see play to some degree, and factors affecting usage would be being a certain stage (Delphox being a Stage 2 makes it hard to be played) or that its effect is too weak (Oranguru and Electrode’s draw yield leaves much to be desired). Octillery and Silvally-GX is somewhere right in the middle. Because you’re using an ability to draw cards, you can still get to use a Supporter card; niche effects besides draw-based power can be used a bit more freely. Trying to empty your hand isn’t always a good idea, but if you’re able to reduce your hand size as little as possible, then your draw yield is going to improve. This also make cards considerably easier to search for if you use cards that lets you pick any card you like and put on top of your deck. If you have multiple of this Silvally-GX in play, you get to use Disk Reload as many times as you like up to the amount of Silvally-GX you have in play. Mallow (SM Guardians Rising 127/145, 145/145) or Magcargo’s (SM Celestial Storm 24/168) Smooth Over guarantees consistency by being able to search for a certain amount of cards and then put them on top of your deck. In this case, Mallow gets you 2 cards while Magcargo gets you only one card. However, Dedenne-GX (SM Unbroken Bonds 57/214, 195/214, 219/214) seems to do the job slightly better despite a hard once per turn coming-into-play ability. While it hurts to discard your entire hand, you’ll always get six fresh cards in your hand.
Brave Buddies costs CC for 50 damage, plus 70 more damage if you played a Supporter card during your turn. This attack style isn’t used frequently, but that style was seen on Gallade (XY Breakthrough 84/162), whose Sensitive Blade actually does more damage than Brave Buddies (doing 150 damage as opposed to 120). Still, potentially hitting 120 damage for two Energies is decent value, and can be fueled with Welder, Triple Acceleration Energy, Red & Blue’s effects, or Double Colorless Energy. It does fall short of 2HKOs against most Tag Team Pokemon, and if you’re unable to play a Supporter card, then 50 damage is awful even with memory cards hoping to exploit weakness. Silver Knight also costs CC and the effect does the exact same thing as Alolan Ninetales-GX’s (SM Lost Thunder 132/214, 205/214, 225/214) Sublimation attack; If the Defending Pokemon is an Ultra Beast, it is Knocked Out. This is pretty situational; If you’re playing against Blacephalon-GX (SM Lost Thunder 52/199, 199/214, 219/214), Blacephalon (SM Unbroken Bonds 32/214), Naganadel (SM Lost Thunder 108/214), or Naganadel-GX (SM Unified Minds 160/236, 230/236 ,249/236) as these Ultra Beasts are seeing more play than other Ultra Beasts, then you can take an easy knockout from them.
Looking at the ability and its attacks, I think that Silvally-GX can double up as being a support Pokémon as well as an attacker, even though it doesn’t seem like it’ll do enough damage to fulfill the attacking role, even with some amount of the memory cards that are still Standard legal. However, on Expanded, there’s another Silvally-GX (SM Crimson Invasion 90/111, 108/111, 119/111, SM Black Star Promos SM91, SM Ultra Prism 116/156, Hidden Fates SV79/94) card, and that may clash with the 4-per-name rule. While there’s Grass, Fire, Water, and Electric Memory in the Standard format, Expanded also has Fighting and Psychic Memory. Silvally-GX will be able to exploit up to six different weakness to deal double damage with a variety of memory cards at its disposal. Even then, this is extremely meta dependent, if you are facing against a deck whose type of memory isn’t applicable against a certain type, then you didn’t plan out accordingly. You also cannot switch any cards from your deck during any major tournament, and that ruins Silvally’s flexibility. And it’s not even ideal to put one of each Memory cards on one deck for fear of some being in the prizes or cards being used as fodder.
The other Silvally-GX from Crimson Invasion also has an ability and two attacks. Oh, and both today’s card and the older one has 210 HP, weak to Fighting, and retreat cost of two. Gyro Unit Ability makes your Basic Pokémon have no retreat cost, which is wonderful. This ability combos with Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX or Keldeo-EX, you would use Invasion/Rush In ability to put them in the Active, and then manually retreat for free to a different Pokémon. Gyro Unit also eliminates effects that increase retreat costs, so Absol’s (SM Team Up 88/181) Dark Ambition would be futile. No Float Stone is needed at all for this strategy! Turbo Drive costs CCC for 120 damage, and you also attach a basic energy from your discard pile to one of your Benched Pokemon, readying another attacker. Rebel-GX also costs CCC and it does 50 damage for each Benched Pokemon your opponent has in play. Again, this is another situational GX attack. If your opponent has a big bench size, then Rebel can reach OHKO levels, otherwise, it’d be useless. Both attacks can be readied with Triple Acceleration Energy if you want to attack right away. This older Silvally-GX is a better attacker than today’s card, and as such would be used more often while today’s card can just sit on the Bench utilizing its ability. That card was the 5th best card of Crimson Invasion and we also reviewed Fighting and Psychic Memory alongside it. Fire and Electric Memory is also reviewed here, but Grass and Water Memory was never reviewed, though it would receive a similar score like the others due to having a similar niche like the others. Although attaching the appropriate memory can be brutal under the right circumstances, sometimes you would wish for a reliable Pokémon tool that can hit any Pokémon for extra damage, even if it does far less damage than the memory cards. I can’t think of a reliable damage boosting item in Standard despite Hustle Belt giving it a considerable boost in damage output at the cost of being critically damaged with 30 HP remaining, but Expanded has Choice Band to hit Pokemon-EX/GX for 30 more damage and Muscle Band to hit any Pokemon for 20 more damage.
Previously when Silvally-GX had to be partnered with Zoroark-GX for draw power, causing decks to use separate evolutionary lines, today’s card makes it use the same evolutionary line. But unless you plan to run both Silvally-GX in Expanded, I don’t think it’ll do well there alone. What makes it better than others cards come with a price. Once again, I’m going to compare today’s Silvally-GX with Octillery from XY BreakThrough. They both have an ability that lets you draw cards until you have five cards in your hand. Silvally-GX, however, has higher HP (210) and better attacks, but is worth two prizes and also gets punished in some way due to being a Pokémon-GX. Choice Band hurts its durability against EX/GX Pokemon; Power Plant shuts down Abilities from EX/GX Pokemon; and Hoopa/Alolan Ninetales/Keldeo-GX takes no damage from EX/GX Pokemon. Octillary has way less HP (90) and bad attacks but worth only a single prize, not a Pokémon-GX, and can be put into play via Archie’s Ace in the Hole. The point is when you see an effect that is familiar, it’s going to get compared over the other, and it might not be as exciting than I previously felt.
I realized that I’ve talked about Silvally’s viability in Expanded saying that it gets looked at every detail. Even though I’ve mentioned some inherent weaknesses of Silvally-GX, some can be mitigated, but not all. Still, most major tournaments are using the Standard format more often than the Expanded format, so Silvally-GX will actually matter a lot more here. I have not seen any deck lists featuring Silvally-GX as it is still a new card, but it’ll definitely get played to some degree as a supporting role. However, I fear that Silvally-GX’s supporting role would be taken over by a variety of Trainer cards. And looking at a variety of decklists featuring Tag Teams, being a Stage 1 is still too slow (you might not evolve them in time) and takes up deck space. Plus, a lot of moving pieces are going to be interrupted in one way or another. For Limited, if you pulled Silvally-GX, this could be a decent card to use UNLESS you didn’t pull at least one Type Null from four booster packs. Even then, Disk Reload is not a good ability in this format due to not likely able to reduce your hand size consistently. Brave Buddies can only be useful if you can keep playing a Supporter card on every turn in order to deal 120 damage, otherwise the damage output of 50 is still awful there. Unfortunately, no memory cards are present in this set. And finally, Silver Knight can only be useful if you’re facing Naganadel & Guzzlord-GX in Limited.
If you can’t read all of what looked like an equivalent of three full pages of Microsoft Word font 11 Calibri, Silvally-GX has at least two decent reintroduced effects (on top of being supported by other cards like the disk memories), which Standard would need if it weren’t for Dedenne-GX stealing most of its glory. It also gets compared with other cards in the Expanded format whose several cards do similar things, and that may make Silvally somewhat redundant in that format (unless you are making Silvally-GX the focus of a deck) because they don’t want to use something riskier even though they’re better in terms of attributes. 210 HP is still not safe from being OHKOed, and Fighting Weakness makes it even frail. An anti-climactic way to end the countdown, the reason why I put this as my number one is because of what this card does. But when it comes to the top X cards of 2019 or even top X cards lost to rotation, this card wouldn’t even be considered due to massive competition. I’m still being generous with the scores because Silvally-GX is still a good card due to being functional in any deck.
I’ve been pretty hard on lots of cards due to the state of the Pokémon TCG. Since the arrival of Black & White from eight-and-a-half years ago, archetypes shifted from being Evolution focused decks to Big Basic decks. Not all Evolution based decks vanished from the competitive scene, but it gets overpopulated by big basic decks. If what you’re trying to accomplish takes that much resources to deal a certain amount of damage or provide support when there’s an efficient card out there that does a similar amount of damage or provides a similar amount of support, most likely you’ll use the efficient one and drop the other. And that makes room for whatever trainers you need for even more consistency or clutch moments. When we move forward to Sword & Shield, you’re going to see Pokemon V (or V-Max), which is a new mechanic that are replacing Pokemon-GX and are even bigger than basic GX Pokemon that isn’t a Tag Team in terms of HP. And that makes it even harder for Stage 1 or Stage 2 to achieve certain feats of dealing big damage. It’s going to be a pretty tough world for Evolution based decks, and I don’t think the game’s pacing is going to slow down anytime soon. If players are still able to make Evolutions work on hostile environments, then I have severely underestimated them.
Silvally-GX (SM – Cosmic Eclipse 184/236, 227/236, 262/236) is our pick for the best card of this new set. You can think of Silvally-GX as a nerfed Zoroark-GX. That might sound bad, but remember how much Zoroark-GX dominated the Standard Format while it was still legal and how well it still performs in Expanded right now! You can a valuable – though less easily abused – draw Ability and an attack that would be better except for the lack of Double Colorless Energy, lack of damage buffs, and rise in average HP scores. The GX-attack makes you wish Silvally-GX had shown up in Burning Shadows, but still might come in handy from time to time.
Like Zoroark-GX, it can be the deck’s focus, a costar, or a supporting player. As the focus, you’ll probably need to run a lot of disruption and unlike Zoroark-GX it will have to be the sort you can spam with ease, because “Disk Reload” lets you draw until you have five cards in hand, as opposed to discarding a card to draw two. You’ll won’t have to fill your Bench but you will always want to use a Supporter. To an extent, you can replace Double Colorless Energy with Triple Acceleration Energy and/or Red & Blue (plus basic Energy). As a costar, you’ll still need to do these things, though they aren’t quite as vital, and if you’re just running it for the Ability, you’ll still want a hand you can easily play out or discard down.
The elemental Memory Tools threaten to prove me wrong; it is possible they could make Silvally-GX better than Zoroark-GX, both in Standard and Expanded. When those Tools let you exploit Weakness, Brave Buddies goes from a probable 120-for-two each turn to 240; most TAG TEAMs are still safe, but the smaller ones – and all but the largest non-TAG TEAM cards – are in OHKO range. For Limited, Silvally-GX is practically a must-run but remember there are likely going to be many turns you can’t thin your hand and/or use a Supporter.
Silvally-GX was also the number one pick for my list, but I’ll wrap up our countdown by reminding you I’m confident almost every card we reviewed should make a good showing, and most of them a great showing in the coming weeks and months.
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