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

Tapu Koko {*}
– Team Up

Date Reviewed:
October 15, 2020

Ratings Summary:
Standard: 4.00
Expanded: 3.50
Limited: 3.75

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

Reviews Below:

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Tapu Koko (*) is another survivor of being one of the few remaining Prism Star cards in the Standard format. This card was reviewed by the crew as the second best card of SM Team Up (https://www.pojo.com/tapu-koko-2-top-11-cards-of-pokemon-team-up/) and we’ve thought very highly of it. Even today, I still liked this card.

The only redeeming factor for Tapu Koko (*) is that it’s Ability, Dance of the Ancients, is phenomenal! It sends itself into the Lost Zone, but not without attaching a Lightning Energy to 2 of your Benched Pokemon. This made it essential to Lightning based decks. It can easily power up PikaRom’s Full Blitz or Raichu duo by using Tapu Koko (*) ability, play Thunder Mountain (*), and your manual attachment. Pretty much any attack that cost LLL or below can be met with ease!

That was before, and eventually most of the support it provided for Lightning types left rotation. No Volkner; No Electropower, No Zeraora-GX; No Thunder Mountain (*); those stuff are gone. PikaRom has taken a hit of its viability! No longer can PikaRom fuel up Full Blitz in one turn; it has to wait for one more turn. One would think that Tapu Koko (*) might run out of partners to take advantage of its ability, but there are more new faces to support.

Boltund-V seems like a candidate for Tapu Koko (*). As long as you have at least two Benched Pokemon, it’s ability will help Boltund-V deal an extra sixty damage with Bolt Storm. Vikavolt-V is another solid option due to having an attack that locks your opponent from playing any item cards. It’s LC cost can still be easily met with your manual attachment and the ability.


Standard: 4/5

Expanded: 3/5

Limited: 3.5/5

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Tapu Koko {*} (SM – Team Up 51/181) is a card defined by its Ability, so we’re going to start there before addressing the rest of it.  Its “Dance of the Ancients” may only be used while Tapu Koko {*} is on your Bench; select two of your Benched Pokémon and attach a [L] Energy from your discard pile to the selected Pokémon, then discard all cards from Tapu Koko {*} and send it to the Lost Zone.  If Tapu Koko {*} somehow gets stuck up front, you can’t use this Ability.  We’ll cover some of the rulings about this card, but before that, I’ll confirm that this is an amazing effect.  It isn’t for every deck, but it is for every current or recent Lightning deck with which I’m familiar.  Getting a Basic Pokémon from your deck is fairly easy, as is getting two basic Lightning Energy into your discard pile in a mostly or mono-Lightning deck.  It doesn’t attach to your Active, but most of the time, it is easy to get your former Active out of the way.  This means access to harder-hitting-attacks faster, typically a winning strategy!

Tapu Koko {*} is a legal attachment target for Dance of the Ancients; all that happens is the basic Lightning Energy it attached, then discarded by the rest of the effect and Tapu Koko {*} still goes to the Lost Zone.  If you only have one basic Lightning energy in the discard pile, you can attach it to one of the two Benched Pokémon you selected.  This is an Ability where you do as much as you can, so if you just have Tapu Koko {*} on your Bench (no other Pokémon), then it attaches one Energy to itself before – again – going to the Lost Zone.  If you have zero basic Lightning Energy cards – the only ones that count as [L] in the discard pile – could use Activate Dance of the Ancients?  Maybe.  Burning up the Activation of an Ability has been allowed before, and using Dance of the Ancients would either “waste” its Activation this turn, or it would waste the Activate and then still trigger the last part of the effect, discarding everything from Tapu Koko {*} and sending it to the Lost Zone.  It depends on what all is covered by “if you do”.

Dance of the Ancients is so good, you actually need to ask why all decks that have some [C] or [L] Energy requirements are not using it.  That’s where we get to this card’s name and status: as a Prism Star Pokémon, you get one copy of Tapu Koko {*} in your deck, assuming you’re running it at all.  At least – unlike Ace Specs – you’re still free to use other Prism Star cards at the same time.  It does keep a x4 Tapu Koko {*} “Energy engine” from powering your deck.  It does explain why it received such a great Ability, though.  Prism Star cards send themselves to the Lost Zone instead of going to the discard pile, but thanks to the Ability, that only matters if you’re forced to discard Tapu Koko {*} or to Bench it and not use the effect, giving your opponent a chance to KO it.  It also means Lisia can fetch it from your deck and Wobbuffet (SM – Lost Thunder 93/214) can use its “Shadow Tail” Ability to keep Tapu Koko {*} from attacking or using Dance of the Ancients.  It also means Tapu Koko {*} won’t count for the Lost March attack’s damage bonus, which is more relevant than it sounds; especially post-Double Colorless Energy and pre-Twin Energy, it could have used Dance of the Ancients.

Tapu Koko {*} is a Basic Pokémon, and that might be the third most important thing about this card.  A fundamental combo for Lightning decks is using Quick Ball to not only fetch Tapu Koko {*} from your deck, but discard a basic Lightning Energy card from your hand to pay for Quick Ball and prep for Dance of the Ancients.  If this Ability had been on an Evolution, it would have been worse; more space required in your deck and significantly slower to use, including no T2 attacks.  By comparison, the [L] typing doesn’t really matter; you shouldn’t be attacking with Tapu Koko {*}, though pre-rotation, if you had to it mean Electropower and Thunder Mountain {*} were options.  A similar story for the 130 HP and bottom stats.  130 is a solid amount for a single-Prize Basic Pokémon, though only 10-20 more than any baseline Tapu Koko possesses.  You really only want to Bench Tapu Koko {*} the turn you’re going to use its Ability, so it hardly matters.  For similar reasons, the [F] Weakness, -20 [M] Resistance, and a Retreat Cost of [C] will rarely be of concern, though the Retreat Cost can come up during some combo plays, or if you accidentally open with Tapu Koko {*}.

I said you shouldn’t be attacking with this card, but if you do… “Mach Bolt” is decent.  Not worth giving up Dance of the Ancients, as that solid 130 HP is still more likely to be OHKO’d than not, but if you have no choice, 120 for three is with no drawback effects can OHKO most smaller targets, and still serve as a decent finisher in a 2HKO attack.  The powers-that-be could have saddled Tapu Koko {*} with worst stats and a bad attack, but they didn’t.  Strip this card of its Prism Star rule and its Ability and it would be filler, but only the lack of a smaller attack would make it seem like poor filler.  So, where should you use it now?  Any Lightning deck, most likely.  This is true in Standard as well as Expanded.  The catch is that we’re at a bit of an awkward time for such decks, and for finding tournament results.  SW – Vivid Voltage, our November set, should help out at least a little, going by the potential future suggested by the Champions League Yokohama.

Tapu Koko {*} is a very good pull for the Limited Format.  It isn’t as great as pulling the right Basic Pokémon-GX, but as long a your deck has [L] or [C] Energy requirements, its worth running some basic Lightning Energy cards and Tapu Koko {*}.  Unlike the Constructed Formats, you also have a decent chance of surviving after using Mach Bolt, so it isn’t just about the Ability at this point.  We’ve reviewed Tapu Koko {*} before, as the second best card of its set!  Pretty much everything I’ve already said applied, but being in the same Standard Format as Electropower and Thunder Mountain {*} was massive.  Lisa was sometimes a decent play, letting you guarantee Tapu Koko {*} and Thunder Mountain {*} that turn.  Assuming you were able to properly follow through, that meant one of your [L] Pokémon busting out an attack which required three Energy, so long as those three Energy requirements included [LL] or [LC].  Double Colorless Energy was still legal, so even some four Energy requirements could be hit Turn 2 (Player 2’s 1st turn).  Electropower meant smaller attackers could do big damage, and big attacks could do absurd OHKO-a-TAG TEAM damage.


  • Standard: 4/5
  • Expanded: 4/5
  • Limited: 4/5

I am being generous here; Tapu Koko {*} has lost a lot in Standard, and I’ve got zero recent data for Expanded.  Still, Tapu Koko {*} can do so much for mostly or mono-Lightning decks, even when they’re not on top Tapu Koko {*} itself is still great.  This is the kind of Pokémon that other cards have to be designed around; until it leaves the Standard Format, the powers-that-be have to keep it in mind when designing Lightning types.


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