– Unbroken Bonds
August 22, 2019
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
I remember reading a review of Eevee from Furious Fists and one of the review crew said:
“People love Eevee and the Eeveelutions. Personally, I only care for them up to Generation II, but I know there are players with a love for the newer ones . . . there might even be someone out there who likes Sylveon.” -Baby Mario
Well, looks like you finally found a Sylveon fanatic!
Yup, this is what I’ve been doing since Sun & Moon Guardians Rising came out up until the 2019-2020 rotation (the first picture). I’ve been fixated on my favorite Pokémon for so long, I couldn’t help but to grab as many as I can. Between May 5, 2017 to August 15, 2019, I’ve acquired 98 Sylveon-GX cards and would continue to get more of if trading opportunities arise (and a shiny one to come in SV76 from Hidden Fates) or if the Sylveon-GX Tins restocked. As for my PTCGO account, this is my entire Sylveon collection ranging from 2014 to today! Competitive or not, I would go at lengths to acquire those. And don’t worry, I won’t do 5/5 for everything just because it’s a Sylveon, so I’ll try to make it as realistic as possible.
As it first came out in Guardians Rising, Sylveon has a lot to live into, being the 6th best card of the set but didn’t have any follow-up reviews after that. It isn’t just a Stage 1; it is a Stage 1 Eeveelution, which actually matter a lot due to having at least two Eevee cards with the Energy Evolution Ability (one from XY Furious Fists and one from Sun & Moon). This means Sylveon-GX can be put into play on the first turn of the game as long as you start with Eevee and a Fairy energy in hand! While it has 200 HP and the Fairy Type to work with, it has three attacks.
Magical Ribbon costs Y and lets you grab three cards from your deck into your hand, waiting to be used on your next turn. As long as your hand isn’t being disrupted, and sadly there are many ways to ruin it (N, Reset Stamp, Judge, Marshadow Let Loose, etc.), then those three cards may help you advance your game plan. It’s other two attacks cost YCC. Fairy Wind does 110 damage, which is barely a 3HKO due to the advent of Pokémon V and a mysterious card with 330 HP. And Plea GX sends two of your opponent’s Benched Pokemon and all cards attached to them into their hand. You might be able to win with just the GX attack alone. A combo of Cyrus Prism Star, Plea GX, and an Active Pokemon whose Poison/Burn finished off that Pokemon between turns would instantly win you the match. Not easy to do due to require the exact moment to pull this off. With three attacks, I can think of what Sylveon was used for.
-Guest appearance in Gardevoir
Control variants is somewhat hard to explain, but it’s mostly using disruptive cards to give your opponents a hard time. Delinquent to toss cards from your opponent’s hand, Team Rocket’s Handiwork to mill cards from their deck, Red Card/Reset Stamp to randomize their hand, Max Potion to heal all damage (and Magical Ribbon is just one energy away), and much more. This deck ran few to no draw power because you’re mostly searching for cards. Eeveelutions Toolbox is pretty short lived due to rotation and I don’t think anyone managed to pull it off at the time. The idea is to add Vaporeon, Jolteon, and Flareon from XY Ancient Origins whose abilities provide an extra type for Stage 1 Pokemon: Water (Aqua Effect), Lightning (Electric Effect), and Fire (Flare Effect), enabling Sylveon to exploit potentially four different weaknesses. As Fairy Wind does 110 damage, that’s 220 if they are weak to one of the four types (or 140 if Choice Band is attached to it, 280 if weak to that type). As for being guest appearance in Gardevoir-GX decks, it was run on a 1-1 line and maybe 2-2. Magical Ribbon serves the same purpose, but a different approach. Rather than disrupting your opponent, you find cards to set up Gardevoir. The Stage 2, Rare Candy, and maybe a energy card to use for your next turn.
These were fun times, but their glory days are numbered, even heavily so now. Even if Sylveon-GX remained legal, it wouldn’t see as much play due to losing Energy Evolution Eevee, though there is Eevee-GX. You won’t be able to evolve right away, so as long as it can take up to 150 or fewer damage and your abilities aren’t offline, Ascension DNA will eventually evolve your Eevee-GX into Sylveon-GX while flushing away all damage. Even then, while Magical Ribbon is still a good attack, it is sadly countered by various cards like Judge and Reset Stamp that seemed to happen more often than not. Not all the time after you used Magical Ribbon though, if they waste resources just to undo your efforts, there’ll be a time where they no longer can mess up your hand because they exhausted them all. It will remain a good card in Expanded for what it does, where it’ll maintain the speed of getting out earlier than other Stage 1s unless Garbodor/Alolan Muk turns off Abilities. And sadly, it is useless in Limited because there’s no Eevee in the Guardians Rising set. Hidden Fates won’t even qualify for prerelease (and even then, both Eevee and Sylveon are shiny variants and are incredibly hard to pull).
Standard: N/A (would be 2/5)
There, these ratings are realistic as it gets for this present time. If I chimed in two years ago, I would have given this card a four out of five for both Standard and Expanded. This is as generous as far as the Expanded format is concerned; there’s just way too much to deal with due to deck diversity that not even a deck can cover them all. Which means the only reason I’m not rating it lower than a 2.5 is because of easier accessibility. I suppose the short version of the entire review is that it is easy to use, but the metagame is extremely hostile.
On another note, hope you are ready for Hidden Fates merchandise tomorrow. I probably be searching for Shiny Sylveon-GX from trades from friends!
Our Throwback Thursday pick is Sylveon-GX (SM – Guardians Rising 92/145, 92a/145, 140/145, 158/145), because someone on the crew is a fan. I was confused by the request until this was explained, and figured “Well, Gardevoir & Sylveon-GX made a decent showing at Worlds so… close enough!”
Sylveon-GX, when it was Standard Format-legal, made a name for itself in its own control deck, as well as as an opener for some Gardevoir-GX decks. Wait, how could this be an opener, it is a Stage 1? Eevee (Sun & Moon 101/149, 101a/149) has the Ability “Energy Evolution”, which triggers when you attach a basic Energy card from your hand to that Eevee. You then can not only search your deck for an Eeveelution that matches the Energy card’s Typing, but the Ability then forces you to immediately Evolve the Eevee in question into that Eeveelution! Which we’re addressing now because it affects everything else about this card. Even though this is a Stage 1, plays more like a Basic (unless Abilities are turned off, something is Prized, etc.). So let us keep that in mind as we run through its the rest of the card.
This is a Pokémon-GX, giving up an extra Prize when KO’d, having to deal with anti-GX effects, exclusion from certain beneficial effects, but also getting a little extra support as well. I’m not sure if the [Y] Typing was really significant while this card was Standard-legal, but there are some nice bits of Fairy-Support that can still help Sylveon-GX out in Expanded. It is also handy when attacking [N] Types, as any Dragon-Types from XY or later are [Y] Weak. 200 HP is low for a Stage 1 Pokémon-GX, but not bad, and since this behaves more like a Basic it is actually good. [M] Resistance was sometimes bad, sometimes a non-issue; it could be confusing as even when a Metal deck was strong, it was sometimes control/stall-based, rarely attacking for damage. Any Resistance is better than none, and [D] Resistance proved fairly handy in the era of Zoroark-GX… so it still should in modern Expanded. A Retreat Cost of [CC] was a bit of a sticking point, though not too bad to pay.
Sylveon-GX has three attacks. For [Y] it could use “Magical Ribbon” to add any three cards from your hand to your deck. While you couldn’t use this T1, thanks to Energy Evolution (and the game rules) you could use this T2 (overall Turn 2 of the game, the first turn of Player 2). Pokémon is gentle in terms of its hand control effects; you rarely have to outright discard, but effects that force your opponent to shuffle-and-draw are almost common at this point. In Expanded and – I believe – the early part of Sylveon-GX’s Standard Format run, N was legal and in almost all decks. When Magical Ribbon when could be used without interruption, it enabled some slick Sylveon-GX control tactics. “Fairy Wind” and “Plea-GX” both require [YCC] to use, which Double Colorless Energy can cover just fine. Fairy Wind only does 110 damage, but until the introduction of TAG TEAM Pokémon (and loss of Choice Band) that was sufficient for Standard Format play. Plea-GX could only win you the game in combination with another effect KOing your opponent’s Active, but it mean your opponent couldn’t safely build things on their Bench, and that was still handy.
Sylveon-GX saw heavy decline near the end of its time in the Standard Format. There wee better control decks and if you just wanted a strong [Y] Type opener, Gardevoir & Sylveon-GX had taken over the position. Even if Sylveon-GX was reprinted, I don’t think it would do all that well in the current Standard Format, where it wouldn’t have an Eevee with Energy Evolution available, as well as some other tricks it once enjoyed. In the Expanded Format, it has even more cards to combo with, but I fear it faces too strong of counters, as well as general competition. I don’t think there is an Eevee it Sylveon-GX’s native set, so its a dead card in the Limited Format, unless it is the (now rare) Event where you have boosters from different sets. I won’t be scoring for that as it is too hard to predict, but if it is an Eevee that can reliably get Sylveon-GX into play, Sylveon-GX might even be used in a Mulligan build, or at least something resembling it, and for sure should be included in just about anything else!
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