– SM Promo 104
October 8, 2018
Limited: N/A – Promo
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
In case you’re wondering why we’re looking at a promo card is because I suggested this card to be looked at. I’ve hung on to my review of this card for 6+ months (with countless revisions as time passed by) because of how excited I am to talk about it.
Ok, so this is a card that was supposed to be released on March 23 along with Lunala-GX, but got delayed and pushed all the way to October 5th due to releasing too many Pokémon TCG products and Legendary of the month shenanigans. Japan, on the other hand, already got this card November 10th last year via Solgaleo-GX and Lunala-GX Starter Set. The new Lunala-GX has three vanilla attacks: Glide that does 50 for CC, Luna Javelin that does 200 for PPCC and two energy discard from itself, and Requirem-GX that does 250 damage for PPPC and no additional effect. However, being part of a deck means it has a purpose somewhat, and that new card has free retreat and 230 HP. I suppose the goal is to alternate between Turbo Strike and Luna Javelin. Either way, we finally got our hands on this card (or those cards, if you include Lunala-GX), so let’s see if it’s worth the delay.
Solgaleo-GX is perhaps one of the best Sun & Moon Promos because of what this card offers (yes, even better than Lucario-GX if we’re talking about promo cards). It has the baggage of being a Stage 2 GX Metal Type with 250 HP, weak to Fire (which will be pointless, as we shall see), Psychic Resistance (useful indeed), and a retreat cost of two (cheaper than most Solgaleo cards that we see so far). Shining Mane ability makes it so that ALL of your Pokemon has no weakness, making the opponent hit the full amount based on printed HP scores and possibly other damage reducing and/or HP boosting cards! Turbo Strike does 120 damage and puts 2 basic energy from the discard pile to one of your Benched Pokemon, which might be enough to fuel up one of your other attackers on the Bench as well as conserving resources. Cards that require discards from your hand can simply use basic energy as fodder because they’re confident that they will get it back. And Prominence GX heals all damage from all of your Pokemon, which could buy you a turn or two (same as Primarina-GX Grand Echo).
And both of its attacks costs a single DCE!
Because of that, it can be splashed into any decks due to its Colorless attack costs. It also pairs extremely well with the older Solgaleo-GX, whose Ultra Road acts like a Switch item card but saves you a deck slot and works once every turn, Sunsteel Strike that can almost OHKO any Pokemon (though Choice Band secures it except for Alolan Golem GX, and the discard penalty can be recovered with turbo strike), and Sol Burst that can prepare at least two attackers and thinning your deck (but locks you from using Prominence because you can only use one GX attack per game, so choose wisely between massive setup or healing)!
I guess some things to watch out for is anti-GX cards and Ability lock. I suppose Glaceon-GX is the chief answer to cover those categories even though it has to be in the Active. However, Turbo Strike OHKOes Glaceon-GX, so…its not always a reliable answer (plus being active means you can’t bring a Fire type to exploit weakness, unless Expanded you have AOR Flareon on the Bench with Flare Effect, which might be a problem). Which means few other problem is getting it out in play due to being a Stage 2, so be sure you have ways to do this. Being a GX has some shortcomings, as Shrine of Punishment can hamper your staying power, Choice Band hits you for 30 more damage, and some Safeguard users like Alolan Ninetales BUS and Hoopa SHL laughs at Solgaleo-GX’s attempts of damaging them. And there’s very few Pokémon that can still OHKO Solgaleo-GX such as Ultra Necrozma-GX doing tons of damage depending on energy discarded (in this case, it’ll take 3 Psychic energies). Garbodor’s Trashalanche backed with Choice Band will require 12 items in the discard pile for a OHKO. Even the new Pikachu and Zekrom GX Tag Team can OHKO with its GX attack backed with 2 Electripower.
So definitely experiment this card in both Standard and Expanded, even if Garbodor Garbotoxin shuts down Shining Mane because it gets OHKOed by Turbo Strike. It missed out on being in the format of XY BreakThrough onwards (though it would probably perform a bit worse if it did came out), but it’s better late than never! No rating in Limited due to being a promo card, though even if this card is allowed, it wouldn’t perform too well due to being a Stage 2. It takes time to get to the field, and tough luck if one of the evolutionary stages are in the prize card pile.
Standard: 4.5/5 (One of the best GX out there despite being a Stage 2. Insanely splashable, though!)
Expanded: 4.35/5 (The Expanded card pool reeks of intense competition, but still a great card.)
Limited: N/A (It’s a promo card, which gives it no hope for a Prerelease event.)
Notes: I do recall saying something on my Silvally-GX review that there may be one Pokémon that can outclass it. This Pokémon is the answer! Solgaleo-GX is cheaper and durable than Silvally-GX, due to removing weakness and turbo variants costing CC for 2 energy recovery, as opposed to CCC for 1 energy recovery. So far, I acquired two copies and still planning on getting two more Solgaleo-GX for a full playset, though I think a 2-2 split between the old and new Solgaleo should suffice. I’ve recently made a 2-2 Solgaleo deck as well as Sylveon-GX/Solgaleo-GX deck (that runs Fairy Energy and DCE) for both formats in PTCGO.
Solgaleo GX (SM 104) – the space lion returns to the standard format in its much anticipated alternative promo card. We’ve been waiting for this for a while, and for a couple of reasons. The first is its ability Shining Mane, which eliminates Weakness for all of your Pokemon in play. That alone makes this card very relevant, and its something you would normally expect to see on a mediocre, Stage 1 bench sitting tech with no other redeeming qualities.
But this card has two other awesome attacks. Its main attack, Turbo Strike, for two Colorless energy – making this easily the most splashable Pokemon since Zoroark GX – does 120 damage AND allows you to attach two Basic energy cards from your discard pile to one of your benched Pokemon. Its GX attack, Prominence GX, allows you to heal all damage from all of your Pokemon, rendering spread decks completely irrelevant against you.
I’m not sure exactly how this card will work its way into the format. Will players who are already running Stage 2 Pokemon tech a 1-0-1 line into their decks? Will we see an increase of Solgaleo GX decks with a mixture of the original SUM 89 version and this as well? Will it be a 2-2 split or 3-1 (assuming the original will be three of)? There’s a tremendous amount of synergy already between them. You Sunsteel Strike one turn and then Ultra Road the 104 Promo into the active on the next turn to do 120 damage and put two energy back on to the Solgaleo GX that just attacked so you can Sunsteel Strike again on the next turn.
Definitely huge possibilities with this card, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it sees play even in the Expanded tournament later this month in Portland.
Standard: 4 out of 5
There was a Lunala GX that was released as well that looks pretty darn good too. You can see that it has strong synergy with Malamar and its original GX version too. It’s almost like the designers said, “Hmm. We just didn’t make Solgaleo and Lunala strong enough when we first released them. These are two of our flagship Pokemon, let’s make them completely overpowered and potentially break the meta again with them.” I’m definitely going to pick up some of these, they look like they’re going to be very impactful cards.
Solgaleo-GX (SM – Black Star Promos SM104) opens this week AND I already wrote half of a “long” review before realizing I was overcomplicating things. The usual Pokémon-GX considerations apply; probably going to have better HP and effects, maybe even make use of the scarcely played GX-based support, but has to deal with the heavily used GX-specific counters plus giving up an extra Prize when it is KO’d. Being a Stage 2 is still a serious hurdle, though as a Stage 2 belonging to a branching Evolution line, with even more options once you factor in the GX-versions of certain Pokémon, it has a little more flexibility than normal. [M] Typing had us drooling over Solgaleo-GX when its Japanese counterpart was first revealed; Gardevoir-GX was big so hitting [M] Weakness was important, and as well see, it can indeed to that well. All the [M] support we’ve recently received but haven’t seen prove super useful was still full of potential. Which isn’t to say it is a bad Typing now, just “adequate” or “good” instead of “great”.
That 250 HP IS still great; no complaints there. [R] Weakness is actually safer than it was, and even if it wasn’t if you’ve read this card’s Ability, you know it wouldn’t often matter. [P] Resistance is about as useful as it was; Garbodor (SM – Guardians Rising 51/145) was and still is a strong attacker and it isn’t the only [P] attacker in town. The Retreat Cost of [CC] is typical; low enough you can probably afford it up front but high enough it hurts in the long run. “Shining Mane” is also good-but-not-great; sometimes Weakness is crippling, sometimes it is a significant factor, and sometimes it doesn’t matter at all. The exact ratios of those fluctuate with the metagame and the deck being played… and Solgaleo-GX doesn’t look too easy to splash into most decks, which means not every deck that could really use this Ability can work it in. Well, the attacks are actually pretty easy to splash into most decks, as both “Turbo Strike” and “Prominence-GX” can be used for [CC]. So, are they worth two Energy to use?
For Turbo Strike, absolutely. It allows Solgaleo-GX to swing for 120 damage while also attaching two basic Energy cards from your discard pile to one of your Benched Pokémon. For the Energy cost, just 120 damage would be pretty good; this is a [M] Type so Choice Band and Professor Kukui aren’t your only options for increasing damage; the “Steel Worker” Ability on Dhelmise (SM – Guardians Rising 59/145; SM – Black Star Promos SM53) grants +10 damage BEFORE Weakness/Resistance, and is worded so that multiples stack. Going all out with such a combo isn’t advised, but it would allow Turbo Strike to do 210 damage to a Pokémon that is neither Weak nor Resistant nor protected by some effect. Any ONE of these buffs put such a Pokémon into 2HKO range, even something like Wailord-EX. A pretty reasonable combo like Choice Band plus two Dhelmise is enough to OHKO a 170 HP Pokémon-GX like Tapu Lele-GX, plus many non-Pokémon-GX of any Stage (again, sans protective effects). Given that the [Y] Type is about to get some more support, Turbo Strike may soon prove worthwhile for OHKO’s as well.
Prominence-GX is very “iffy”. The Pokémon TCG is a game of OHKO’s and 2HKO’s, as well as cards like Guzma and Counter Catcher which make it hard to hide injured Pokémon on your Bench. Put all of that together, and even with Shining Mane canceling out Weakness, being able to heal a bunch of damage versus having the opportunity to heal it are substantially different. Even against some of the spread decks we’ve seen popping up even at competitive tournaments, only the slowest of those are going to give you a something worth mass-healing via your GX-attack and you’ve still got to be careful with them. The ones I’ve seen like to include effects that move damage counters around. That means just a turn or two of damage accumulation against a full Bench might be worth healing because your opponent could shove it all to one Pokémon for a KO OR it might be too soon because your opponent is going to wait long enough for this trick to take six Prizes in one turn! Frankly, this could have been a non-GX attack or else a zero-Energy GX-attack and I’d still have some reservations.
Now we put it all together and that Stage 2 angle really limits the deck, though it would be way too good if this Solgaleo-GX was a Stage 1, let alone a Basic. If you build a deck around this Solgaleo-GX and a few back-up attackers, that should at least prove functional; Double Colorless Energy helps with that first Solgaleo-GX and/or more expensive attacks supporting Pokémon may wield, while the right mix of basic Energy cards gets subsequent Solgaleo-GX and worthwhile backup attackers swinging. Attackers that are probably Basic Pokémon effective at exploiting your opponent’s Weakness or more technical vulnerabilities. Solgaleo-GX (Sun & Moon 89/149, 143/149, 155/149; SM – Black Star Promos SM16; SM – Ultra Prism 173/156) provides a great partner as well, as one or two of it provide a great “heavy” hitter in addition to an Ability that provides what amounts to a free “Switch” once per turn. This version of Solgaleo-GX even acts as an alternate “slow starter”; you can’t actually get it into play before your second turn but if you do speed it into play, you can use its GX-attack to finish powering itself and start powering the next Solgaleo-GX.
Except that Solgaleo-GX was already being used in Metagross-GX decks, and they seem to be on the decline. My results from the most recent major Regional Championship are woefully incomplete, so maybe they’re the deck in the gaps but I keep hammering on the “slow Stage 2” aspect of the card because that is the Achilles’ Heel that your opponent will be hammering on in order to defeat you! All available Cosmog have 60 HP and the only Cosmoem has just 90; a slow start means two to three easy Prizes and that assumes a Cosmog or Cosmoem survives said turns in order to Evolve into Solgaleo-GX. Even that 250 HP isn’t OHKO-proof in the current metagame; if five of your six potential Pokémon in play have Abilities, your opponent can score a OHKO for [D] if they run Weavile (SM – Ultra Prism 74/156). I cite that Stage 1 because it has seen recent competitive success being splashed around; there are of course decks that specialize in huge hits that can also score the OHKO even after a Solgaleo-GX deck is in full swing. I expect Solgaleo-GX will have a competitive deck or three that use it, maybe even focus on it, but I’m thinking it will be that deck that hits it big one event, recedes for the next few, then does well again after people stop expecting it. As for the Limited Format, this is a promo so it can’t be used there. If it could, it’d suffer a bit because of being a Stage 2 (you need the rest of the line to run it, let alone get it into play).
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