Solgaleo – Celebrations
October 13, 2021
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Just missing out on the top three is our 4th-Place pick, Solgaleo (Celerations 021/025)! This card has a lot going for it. It doesn’t have to worry anti-Rule Box and anti-V effects don’t matter. Solgaleo will only give up a single Prize when KO’d. It might have been better with a Battle Style or if it was (somehow) a Galarian version of itself, but being a baseline Pokémon is still nice. Its Metal typing is – pardon the oft used pun – solid. While only so-so at exploiting Weakness ([P] types based on VG Fairy types, some [W] types based on VG Ice types, and the Expanded-only TCG Fairy types), Metal types have some useful support, with more of it in Expanded. Anti-Metal effects do exist, but few have proven worthwhile… though I am a bit nervous about Crushing Gloves.
Solgaleo has 170 HP, so it is somewhat durable. Clearly, heavy hitters can OHKO it (sometimes twice over), but some of the medium-sized attacks won’t. Doesn’t sound that impressive, but medium-sized attacks include some of the more… technical attackers that have still proven quite competitive, like Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX. Fire attackers do benefit from Solgaleo being [R] Weak. I am most definitely still adjusting to the new metagame, so I know something like Victini VMAX benefits but like the base HP, heavy hitters already had the OHKO. Any Resistance is a welcome sight, as most Pokémon have none. There actually are some competitive decks sporting [G] attackers, so huzzah! The Retreat Cost of [CC] is neither high enough to be good nor low enough to be bad, though it sort-of is a drawback because…
…the card’s Ability is “Rush In”! Made famous by Keldeo-EX, this Ability lets you move Solgaleo into your Active position from your Bench during your turn. Whatever you have Active when you use Rush In gets moved to your Bench, so this is like a Pokémon-specific Switch. Now, on its own, that would be somewhat niche; you’d need Keldeo-EX (or Solgaleo) to be the Pokémon you want Active, or else to be able to easily retreat them for your preferred choice. Keldeo-EX had a few tricks to help with that, the simplest and most effective of which was Float Stone, a Tool that zeroes out the equipped Pokémon’s Retreat Cost. Thankfully, we have Air Balloon and [CC] is just low enough for that Tool to zero it out, so there’s your money combo.
Which doesn’t mean we’re going to skip Solgaleo’s attack. [CC] pays for “Solar Geyser”, which does 100 damage and lets you attach up to two basic Energy cards from your discard pile to one of your Benched Pokémon. 100 damage is a bit low, but for two of any Energy while accelerating more Energy from your discard (even when restricted to just basic Energy cards), that’s still good. As a Metal Pokémon, Metal Saucer can already attach basic Metal Energy cards from your discard pile to one of your Benched [M] Pokémon; Solar Geyser can just reinforce that strategy, with the potential of showing up off-type as well. Speaking of Metal Geyser, that can help prep a Benched Solgaleo, which can then Rush In to attack with Solar Geyser. If you have the room, Twin Energy is also another almost generic-option. As a package deal, Solgaleo sounds great and like an obvious staple except notice how we haven’t discussed Stage of Evolution yet.
Yeah, Solgaleo would be an amazing Basic Pokémon, and a very good Stage 1, but it is a Stage 2. Barring any effects that can put it into play directly, you have to start with Cosmog, then evolve into Cosmoem or use Rare Candy to evolve Cosmog directly into Solgaleo (potentially saving a turn). There are actually some half-decent Cosmog… but not enough to be worth detailing. All the Cosmoem are all filler, but you still will probably need to pick one as relying on Rare Candy alone can be a bit dangerous. In either case, your only options for Standard are Cosmog (Celebrations 013/025) and Cosmoem (Celebrations 014/025). Simply put, for as awesome as a single-Prize Keldeo-EX could be, possibly getting ahead of the game’s usual power creep, that doesn’t apply when it is a Stage 2.
There might be a few decks where it can work, though… probably with Solgaleo as the main focus. In fact, that might even be true in Expanded. I’m also speaking about the entire package; you need a deck where both the Ability and attack matters, and probably its typing. So, for the sake of its potential, Solgaleo avoids minimum marks, and almost gets to a three-out-of-five. Almost, but not quite, so two-out-of-fives for both Formats. As you probably guessed, Solgaleo didn’t make my list but I briefly thought about it, and if someone works out how to use its Stage 2 self well, they’ll have a potent Pokémon as their reward.
- Standard: 2/5
- Expanded: 2/5
Just missing the top 3 is our 4th place finisher from Celebrations: Solgaleo. Looking at this card, it contains several recycled effects from previous cards, which could either be a good thing or a bad thing. Fortunately for Solgaleo, two of its recycled effects are pretty good! And the artwork with Lillie is extremely adorable!
Firstly, Solgaleo has the Rush In ability, which is familiar when you look at Keldeo-EX, although the first card to debut such an effect is Dragonite from the Fossil expansion. This ability states when Solgaleo is on your Bench, you can switch it with your Active Pokemon. This ability has been proven incredibly useful for years, letting your Active Pokémon switch without having to pay certain amount of energies just to retreat, shaking off all Special Conditions, and/or bypassing detrimental effects placed on your Active Pokemon. Re-promoting your other Pokémon is still easier than before; since Solgaleo’s Retreat Cost is CC, Air Balloon lets Solgaleo retreat for free unless you’re facing other cards that increase retreat costs.
Secondly, it has the Solar Geyser attack, which costs CC for 100 damage and also attach up to 2 basic energies from your discard pile to 1 of your Benched Pokemon. This attack also has seen some competitive success and such an effect has been seen on previous cards like Mega Manectric-EX, Silvally-GX’s Turbo Drive, and even Solgaleo-GX’s Turbo Strike. This could help prep another attacker once Solgaleo goes down. Though that might be easier said than done due to having 170 HP and grass resistance to help tank certain attacks.
In Standard, your only option of performing such maneuver is Solgaleo and Air Balloon. There’s no ability denial against Solgaleo at the moment. For Expanded, there are other Pokémon that does the same exact thing:
-Zoroark (XY Breakthrough 91/162)
-Keldeo-EX (BW Boundaries Crossed 49/149, 142/149) BW Black Star Promo 61, Legendary Treasures 45/113)
Keldeo-EX is a Basic while Zoroark is a stage 1, so both are extremely efficient than Solgaleo. Also, Solgaleo might conflict with deck construction since there are Solgaleo-GX cards. You can have 4 Solgaleo and 4 Solgaleo-GX, but you can only have 4 Cosmog and 4 Cosmoem in your deck. Ditto (*) might help you get your fifth Solgaleo in play. Regardless of Stage, ability denial exists in expanded, with Garbodor Garbotoxin being the chief gatekeeper against those that rely on abilities. At least Solar Geyser still OHKOs Garbodor.
- Standard: 3.5
- Expanded: 2.5
Solgaleo is a good card, being splashable in any deck, though I have yet to find a deck that will devote deck space for Solgaleo. While those features are a welcome sight in Standard, Expanded has a lot of competition, making one wonder if today’s card suddenly becomes redundant. If those effects were to be printed on a hypothetical Solgaleo-V card, then maybe it will definitely be worth consideration. As it is, Solgaleo is something one should never forget about.
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