Tapu Lele-GX – Guardians Rising
Date Reviewed: January 20, 2022
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
This week’s Throwback is another card from the Celebrations Classic Collection, this time being Tapu Lele-GX, first released in the Sun & Moon Guardians Rising expansion. Not only that, but this card has also been reviewed several times:
–The best card of SM Guardians Rising,
–The best card of 2017, and
–The fifth best card lost to rotation when the 2018-2019 Standard Format ended.
Based on those reviews, Tapu Lele-GX is already a great card and has been a deck staple. The amount they decide to use can vary, though, ranging from running a full four to even a single copy, and few decks even dropped this card. Still, Tapu Lele-GX improves the consistency of your deck because it’s Wonder Tag ability states that when you play this Pokemon from your hand onto your Bench during your turn, you get to search your deck for a Supporter card and put it onto your hand, ready to be used right away assuming you haven’t played one. Some players with aggressive decks can even go far as to include four copies of Tapu Lele-GX, four copies of Ultra Ball, and four copies of Lillie just so that you can hope to draw cards until you have eight cards in your hand on the very first turn of the game. Any other turns besides that, and Lillie is no better than Bianca. Prices were insane during those time (around 2017-2018), where you would have to spend almost $50 for a single copy of Tapu Lele-GX that’s not a Full Art or a Rainbow Rare. Thankfully, like Mewtwo-EX from Next Destines, they were available in premium collections, driving the prices down significantly.
The rest of the card does matter because it affects how Tapu Lele-GX would stay on the field. While 170 HP used to be a good amount, power creep made certain attacks easily OHKO Pokemon with that amount, even without relying on Weakness. Same goes for Energy Drive, which is similar to Mewtwo-EX’s X-Ball attack, except that you can’t apply Weakness or Resistance, which ruins any chance of Tapu Lele-GX trying to double as an attacker. Like Mewtwo, you would need to have Both Active Pokemon have a total of 17 energies attached to it to OHKO the most printed HP score, and that’s way too much. You could still try to finish off a weakened VMAX for maybe 120 damage at most. Tapu Cure-GX is also situational for something that can only be used once-per-game as well as locking you from using other GX moves after you’ve used one; it only heals all damage from two of your Benched Pokemon. Ultimately, those are the reasons why Tapu Lele-GX didn’t get the number one spot when it left rotation. Even if it had remained, it would lose some other crucial cards, like Ultra Ball, Double Colorless Energy, Acerola, and more. However, couple months later, you would have Quick Ball, and players could hypothetically once again regain the combo of Quick Ball —–> Tapu Lele-GX —–> Professor’s Research/Boss’s Orders/Marnie. Unfortunately, Scoop Up Net won’t let you bounce Tapu Lele-GX, so it might be stuck there.
Tapu Lele-GX may still be long gone from the Standard Format, but it won’t be long until you get to see a blue majestic fish from the Sinnoh region joining in this season’s Standard format picking up where Tapu Lele-GX left off. The Expanded format retains all the cards from the Black & White series up to today, so Tapu Lele-GX gets to use its old tricks though there are many ways to interrupt certain cards and tactics, like how Garbodor’s Garbotoxin and Path to the Peak shuts down abilities or repeated uses of Seismitoad-EX’s Quacking Punch keeps you from using your item cards. Plus, Jirachi-EX has an identical effect like Tapu Lele-GX, and is also searchable via Level Ball due to being the only EX Pokemon with 90 HP.
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