Tapu Koko Prism Star - 51/181
Tapu Koko Prism Star – 51/181

Tapu Koko {*} – Team Up

Date Reviewed: August 11, 2021

Ratings Summary:
Standard: 4.00
Expanded: 3.00

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.

Reviews Below:

Otaku Avatar

Tapu Koko {*} (SM – Team Up 51/181) is our 12th-Place pick.   As a Prism Star card, it is also a Rule Box Pokémon, which means

  • You may only have one copy of a particular Prism Star card (but decks can contain multiple different Prism Star cards).
  • If, for any reason, Tapu Koko {*} goes to your discard pile, instead it is sent to the Lost Zone.

Other than these, Tapu Koko {*} functions as a “regular” Basic Pokémon.  Which means it is easy to search from your deck (Quick Ball), and you can Bench it without any other cards or having to wait to evolve.  Its [L] typing hasn’t really mattered much: Tapu Koko {*} isn’t meant for attacking, and the available type support that can work with Tapu Koko {*} is geared for that.  130 HP clears one of the more significant thresholds of survival.  [F] Weakness means Fighting types only require 70 damage for a OHKO, but that isn’t as bad as it sounds: 70, 80, 90, 100, 110, and 120 are the only numbers that go from 2HKO to OHKO.  -20 [M] Resistance is appreciated; it won’t stop a Zacian V from scoring a OHKO, but at least it takes a solid 150 damage for a Metal type to one-shot Tapu Koko {*}.  The Retreat Cost of [C] is also good; easy enough to pay much of the time.

Tapu Koko {*} is all about its Ability, “Dance of the Ancients”.  This Ability may only be used when Tapu Koko {*} is on your Bench.  You select two of your Benched Pokémon, then you attach a Lightning Energy from your discard pile to each of them.  After that, you discard all cards attached to Tapu Koko {*}, and send it to the Lost Zone.  While using the Ability is entirely at your discretion, once activated, you must do as much as you can of each step.  Only basic Lightning Energy cards count as [L] in your discard pile, so if you have at least two of them there and at least two Pokémon on your Bench, you must attach one Lightning Energy each to those Pokémon.

You can’t just accelerate one Energy to one target unless that is all you’ve got.  Tapu Koko {*} can attach to itself with this Ability.  You’ll almost never need or want to do that, because the rest of the effect discards that Energy from Tapu Koko {*} before sending Tapu Koko {*} to the Lost Zone, but it can be done.  Dance of the Ancients is a powerful Ability.  While a one time trick, and while it only accelerates one Energy for two Benched Pokémon, it has led to some impressive combos.  As for its attack, “Mach Strike” does 120 damage for [LLC].  That’s a decent return under normal circumstances, but seems like a waste given that most decks, with a decent setup, can OHKO Tapu Koko {*} back, denying you its Ability.  This is also why most [L] support is wasted on Tapu Koko {*}; said support helps you attack harder and/or faster, but Tapu Koko {*} is doing neither.

Simply put, decks running on basic Lightning Energy cards, either entirely or partially, can get a quick burst of speed from it.  When it was new, Tapu Koko {*} was great for getting Pikachu & Zekrom-GX decks attacking Turn 2.  Use Dance of the Ancients to attach to a Benched Pikachu & Zekrom-GX, drop Thunder Mountain {*}, and manually attach another Energy to Pikachu & Zekrom-GX.  Oh, and have something up front that can retreat or a switching effect handy, since Dance of the Ancients only attaches to the Bench.  The modern version of the combo is only a little more involved; make sure you’re attaching to a Benched Pikachu & Zekrom-GX and a second Pokémon other than Tapu Koko {*}.  Use Energy Switch to move the second Lightning Energy to Pikachu & Zekrom as well, free retreat or switch out to the TAG TEAM, manually attach to it as well, and bust out “Full Blitz” to hit hard and keep on accelerating Energy.

So, where was Tapu Koko {*} on my list?  It wasn’t.  Yes, it is a great card, but there were only 15 slots and Tapu Koko {*}?  It was a no show at the Players Cup IV Global Finals and… well… I gave a spot to Pikachu & Zekrom-GX.  For as great as Tapu Koko {*} was and is in Standard, if it went away, I think Pikachu & Zekrom-GX decks could still find a way.  Assuming they’re still viable; if they’re not, then whatever other Lightning deck that would have benefited from Tapu Koko {*} not rotating.  Even though Tapu Koko {*} is great support, as a one-time trick, it just didn’t carry the same weight as something like a deck’s main attacker.  Even though it will have to deal with more anti-Ability effects in Expanded, I expect Tapu Koko {*} will still perform well there.


  • Standard: 4/5
  • Expanded: 3/5

vince avatar

Our 12th best card lost to rotation is also another useful card for certain decks.

Tapu Koko Prism Star from SM Team Up has been a true staple for Lightning decks, even though its feature is a one-and-done deal. The ability – Dance of the Ancients – lets you choose 2 of your Benched Pokemon and attach a Lightning energy to each of them. It then sends itself to the Lost Zone, which won’t be retrieved by any means unlike the discard pile.

Having some energies on the board helps you advance your game plan, be it meeting certain attack costs sooner or to bank those energies for a powerful attack. When it debuted, any attacks that costs three energies that are (L) or (C) will be met with ease: manual attachment, Tapu Koko (*), and Thunder Mountain (*). Pikachu & Zekrom-GX will be able to use Full Blitz or Tag Bolt-GX (without the bench hit, only a flat 200 damage) from zero into attacking. When Thunder Mountain rotated, only attacks that costs two energy would be met with ease. As for banking for an powerful attack, Boltund-V comes to mind, as it’s second attack does a lot of damage depending on the amount of Lightning energies on the board.

Tapu Koko (*) will be missed, and without it, unless Lightning decks has some other tricks, I don’t think the Lightning type as a whole would be a good play in the new format. If it remained legal, it will continue to be a staple for Lightning decks.


  • Standard: 4
  • Expanded: 4

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