Tapu Lele (Sun & Moon Promos SM45)
Tapu Lele – SM45

Tapu Lele
(Sun & Moon Promos SM45)

Date Reviewed:
January 3, 2018

Ratings Summary:
Standard: 2.18
Expanded: 2.25
Limited: Promo Card

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

Reviews Below:


Did you guys know that they’ve been making cards for pin collections? Yeah, who knew? I didn’t.

In any case, Tapu Lele here comes from the Tapu Lele Pin Collection, which comes alongside 3 booster packs, a special Tapu Lele pin, and hosts a TCGO code as well! Pretty neat, but is Tapu Lele worth that extra pin? Psywave is as Psywave does, being 1 Energy and dealing 20 damage for all the Energy your opponent’s Active Pokemon has. This usually caps out to about 80 damage at the most, though on average you’re likely to be hitting only for 40-60 depending on what Pokemon you’re attacking. Not exactly Tapu Koko levels of playability, but it’s a decent attack against some decks.

The real kicker though is Magical Swap, which costs 2 Energy and lets you move around all of the damage counters on your opponent’s Pokemon in any way you’d like. These kinds of attacks work best in decks that aim to spread around as much damage as possible before utilizing the maneuver that would allow you to shift most of the counters onto Pokemon that you want to KO. Unfortunately, these decks take a lot of set-up in the form of actually putting out all that damage, and by the time you’ve put out enough to KO one or two Pokemon to claim two or three Prizes, your opponent has already likely set up their own board and is currently pummeling you into the dust.

It’s a hard-knock life for Tapu Lele, but maybe there’ll be some spot in a deck somewhere where she can prove to be extremely useful! Wildly beneficial! An insane part of the whole cog! Or at least it’s a nice Promo card for Tapu Lele at the least.


Standard: 2.5/5 (a decent card, but she needs a lot of set-up to work most effectively)

Expanded: 1.5/5 (I think this actually gets much more difficult in Expanded, as not only do you have to deal with much faster decks but you’ll run into a lot more Rough Seas, which completely nullifies a lot of spread damage)


Arora Notelaus: It’s funny that Tapu Lele has the opposite relation to its GX counterpart than Tapu Koko does to its own. Tapu Koko’s promo has seen a lot more use than the GX, as far as I’m aware, but Tapu Lele probably won’t see anywhere near as much play as Tapu Lele-GX. Course, she has a super special Ability to compete against, so there’s that.

Side Reviews: #1 Counter Energy – pretty much on everyone’s list as the Special Energy card in the set, Counter Energy does a lot for any Pokemon it’s attached to, even if it can’t be used on EX/GX and only provides 2 Energy of any kind at a time as long as you have more Prizes left. The utility of its usage extends quite far; even with its restrictions, it’s hard to argue against a double power-up for any Pokemon.

Tsareena-GX – another promo card, Tsareena-GX has Side Eye, a built-in Switch attack that even Confuses the Pokemon. This brings it in combination with Jumping Side Kick as a 3-for-90 that can be a 3-for-180 maneuver, and her Queen’s Command GX attack can exhaust an unprepared opponent with ease. I don’t think the current metagame is kind to her at the moment, but once we see Sycamore drop out of rotation, there aren’t many draw cards that can help you survive a well-timed Queen’s Command. The Side Eye/Jumping Side Kick combo though has a major flaw in Guzma, who can just reverse the maneuver before it can be executed, and that makes it a hard 2-turn combo to get out unless you toss out your opponent’s Guzmas with Queen’s Command.

Pheromosa-GX – prompting a strong contrast to Buzzwole-GX, Pheromosa-GX can attack on the first turn with Fast Raid, and Cruel Spike is a decent 2-for-60 move. Her main moves are really underpowered, which is disappointing cause her GX Attack, Beauty GX, is extremely potent especially in the late game! It could even turn the tide on your opponent if they’re not careful, but that makes it seem like Pheromosa-GX should come later rather than earlier, and you wouldn’t want it as your main attacker since she doesn’t have the moves to sustain that turnaround.

Next Time: The great festival returns once more!


Today we’re talking about Tapu Lele. Not Tapu Lele-GX, but a version that is not a Pokémon-GX: SM – Black Star Promos SM45. This is a not-quite-big, Basic Pokémon, and it may not seem all that special at a glance. Its “Psywave” attack is not why weren’t here; 20 times the amount of Energy attached to your opponent’s Pokémon can sometimes come in handy, but most of the time it’s too weak. What caught people’s eyes is the second attack, “Magical Swap”. For [PC], it allows you to move around the damage counters on your opponent’s Pokémon. Without a lot of work and/or luck, Magical Swap is useless or extremely situation.

Yeah, there are decks meant to set up for a game-winning Magical Swap. You see, this isn’t a new effect. I’m just going to focus on Meowstic (XY – Flashfire 43/106; Generations RC15/RC32); I’m not sure if it was the first, but I remember running a deck built around it and Gourgeist (XY 57/146), often with something else added. You may also try using Abilities, but the big names in damage counter placement tend to work better elsewhere. What do I mean? Decidueye-GX, via its “Feather Arrow” Ability, can place two damage counters on one of your opponent’s Pokémon once per turn. If you’ve got multiples of it in play, they can each be used. Possibly, this could be used with an attacker that also spreads damage, but on its own, it would be too slow; even with a full four Decidueye-GX doing their thing, that is just 8 damage counters placed per turn. You may as well just use them to buff a regular attacker or to pound down any small Bench-sitter before it can bounce, be discarded, or Evolve. Forretress (XY – Flashfire 60/106) spreads a single damage counter to all of your opponent’s Pokémon through its “Thorn Tempest” Ability, but Thorn Tempest can only be triggered by Evolving into Forretress. Even using it three times against a full five Pokémon Bench only generates 18 damage counters… which does get some useful OHKO’s or multi-KO’s, but is pretty hard to repeat again the next turn.

It might sound like Tapu Lele doesn’t have much more going for it then Meowstic did. After all, HP scores across the board were lower when Meowstic debuted at the beginning of the XY-era, it is a little easier to protect the Bench more fully, and some decks even have solid widespread healing options. This is where being a Basic, specifically a [P] Type Basic makes a big difference. Besides freeing up more space and being faster for decks built around spreading and then manipulating damage counter placements, it also can be slipped into certain decks as relatively easy TecH. Decks that use Dimension Valley and a decent source of [P] Energy can fuel Magical Swap with a single attachment. If your opponent has pulled ahead in Prizes, so can Counter Energy. This means you could work it into decks like those focused on damage spread plus Devolution, and when there aren’t targets to Devolve, focus on just shifting the accumulated damage counters where they can do some good. I still can’t rate Tapu Lele as highly as I’d like, but this definitely makes it a card to remember. While I’m not holding my breath, I can never predict when the powers-that-be will surprise me by releasing something that takes a formerly minor strategy and not only makes it major but the dominant force in the metagame. I am scoring Tapu Lele higher in Expanded than Standard because Night March is particularly vulnerable to this tactic, and of course, because Dimension Valley isn’t legal for Standard Format play.


Standard: 2.75/5
Expanded: 3.25/5
Limited: N/A


Psywave can be played around; depending on the Pokémon, low cost attackers like Greninja and Serperior (XY Fates Collide) laughs at Lele.

Magical Swap could have some use such as moving damage around. If Jolteon-EX’s Flash Ray prevent damage done from Basic Pokemon, in your next turn, you use Feather Arrows on any Pokémon and then move all the damage counters to Jolteon-EX. This attack can be met with ease with Counter Energy.


Apparently there is another Tapu Lele card which does the same thing (the HP, retreat cost, and attack effects) but as an alternate type. That card is a Fairy type with 110 HP with weakness to Metal, resistance to Dark, and a retreat of one. Even Psywave and Magical Swap costs Y and YC respectively. So depending on your deck build, you can choose one of these two types: Psychic or Fairy.

Spoilers ends here!

Standard: 2/5
Expanded: 2/5
Limited: N/A (promo)


Tapu Lele (SM 45), as far as I know, has not been made eligible for play outside of Japan yet (it’s got the banned card label attached to it).  I  don’t know exactly what the issue is – I don’t know why this card has been banned and why it’s not available.  It seems pretty innocuous to me.  It’s single Psychic attachment attack Psywave is great against like three attachment Psychic weak Pokemon (looking at you Buzz) but meh against everything else.  And it’s two attachment attack Magical Swap is the same as Meowstic (Generations, RC15) … except Meowstic’s attack is a single Psychic attachment.

I’ve used Ear Influence Meowstic a number of times in my spread decks, and I’ve detailed out before how it’s better than Spiritomb‘s (Steam Siege, 62) Damage Play if only because it’s a single attachment.  It’s far easier to evolve into a stage 1 Pokemon than try to get two energy attachments in a single turn.  Even if this card were available in the meta today, I wouldn’t choose it over Meowstic.  


Standard: 1.5 out of 5


Again, I don’t know the backstory behind why this card has found itself on the banned list – certainly it’s no Forest of Giant Plants – but I just don’t think it would see much use anyway … but please feel free to let me know if I’m completely whiffed on my analysis here.

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