Venusaur Shining LegendsTop 5 Shining Legends Cards

 #3 – Venusaur
     – Shining Legends 3/73

Date Reviewed:
October 11, 2017

Ratings & Reviews Summary
Standard: 3.43
Expanded: 3.58
Limited: 3.75

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



And now for the OG Grass Starter Final Evolution, or the GSFE for short? Sounds like a sneeze. Anyways, here’s Venusaur!

This latest iteration into the line-up brings with it a hefty Stage 2 with a 4-for-90 vanilla Solar Beam!…that’s not exciting enough, so they graced it with the Jungle Totem Ability. This is probably the more interesting aspect of Venusaur, since it doubles the power of Grass Energy. While Venusaur is in play, every Grass Energy counts for 2 Grass Energy instead of just 1, thereby doubling the power of each one! Pretty handy overall, and it’s probably for the best that multiples of it can’t apply.

Naturally, this means that Solar Beam is honestly more of a 2-for-90 vanilla hit, the difference being it’s a WAY better attack at that exchange than before. But it also means that you don’t necessarily have to run a whole lot of energy in the deck to make your Pokemon work! Sure, you should still run enough to draw into and power up your Pokemon, but once Venusaur is in play, you can reap the benefits of only needing 1 or 2 Grass Energy on each of your Pokemon.

There’s just one problem with that, and that’s with getting Venusaur into play. Forest of Giant Plants would have been the go-to route, and that’s probably one of the reasons you’re thankful now that it’s been banned. Still, having it banned means that there’s a need for alternatives to accelerating into Venusaur quickly – Wally (ROS) comes to mind, as does Evosoda (GEN), but one’s only an option in Expanded, and the other is an Item…which is risky to play with Garbodor around.

Without these options, though, you’re running a bit of a slow set-up to Venusaur. Fortunately the game is becoming more evolution-oriented again, so this isn’t as big a drawback as it used to be back in BW or XY days. That may in fact be the saving grace that Venusaur gets with being in the SM era – a slowed down pace that lets it take advantage of its bulk and doubling power to become a powerhouse sensation. It may not end up being the best, but it’s far from being bad.


Standard: 3/5 (the slower pace will eventually help Venusaur out a lot)

Expanded: 3/5 (and that means it’ll be easier to take advantage of Jungle Totem)

Limited: 4/5 (definitely keep it in mind)

Arora Notealus: Venusaur offers something I don’t think too many Pokemon if any have in the Pokemon TCG – the ability to double all Energy. Sure, DCE has been a staple for years, but it’s not often you see an ability that doubles the amount of Energy ALL Energy produces. Granted, it is a specific type in this case, but if it wasn’t it might be considered a tempting must-run in a couple of decks, I’m sure.



Venusaur (Shining Legends, 3/73) got a new incarnation in the Shining Legends expansion set.  A 160 HP, Stage 2 Grass Pokemon, Venusaur will see use primarily for its ability Jungle Totem.  This ability essentially doubles the basic Grass energy on your Pokemon.  There was some confusion about this card prior to its release as there were slight differences to its translation, but, post release, we can clearly see that its ability can be applied to Pokemon other than just itself, which one of the translations indicated.

Jungle Totem basically doubles every basic Grass energy.  If you have two Grass energies on a Pokemon, Jungle Totem essentially makes them count as four.  Please note that Jungle Totem does not stack – meaning if you have two Venusaurs out, each Grass energy does not count as four energy.  You could have four Venusaurs on your bench, basic Grass energy will still only increase by a factor of X 2.

This doubling of Grass energy is great for attack cost … but really bad if you’re facing an attacker like Gardevoir GX (Burning Shadows, 93/147) or Tapu Lele GX (Guardians Rising, 60/145).  And, in case you haven’t read my analysis on attacks (sorry for the shameless plug), but guess which were the two most frequent Pokemon to attack me last month?  Uh huh that’s right Gardy and (somewhat surprisingly) Lele.  And I know that Tapu Koko GX (Guardians Rising, 47/145) only came in at number eleven on the most frequent attacker list, but Tapu Thunder GX will probably fulfill your opponent’s daily challenge damage requirement by itself if you have to go up against Big Daddy Koko.

Also worth noting is that Jungle Totem applies to retreat cost as well, and it affects any Pokemon, not just Grass Pokemon.  Theoretically, it might be worth trying a Gardevoir GX deck with Venusaur.  One last thing to mention: you definitely want to try to get two Venusaurs set up on your bench – if you only have one, your opponent can easily Guzma (Burning Shadows, 115/147) it up and take it out.  Although, at 160 HP, chances are they will have to two shot it, and (unless Garbodor (Breakpoint, 57/122) is in play with Tool attached) it essentially only has a two energy retreat cost.

I’ve seen a couple of videos where Venusaur has been paired with Tapu Bulu GX (SM32) and Genesect (Shining Legends, 9/73).  This pairing seems logical, and it had some success (beat a Salazzle GX (Burning Shadows, 25/147) Ho-Oh GX (Burning Shadows, 21/147) deck).   Whenever I manage to get my hands on some Venusaurs, though, I think I might try them with Mega Beedrill EX (XY Promo XXX).  Jungle Totem would make Mega Beedrill EX a one attachment attacker, and you could easily run Max Potion (Breakpoint, 103/122), Acerola (Burning Shadows, 142/147), and Super Scoop Up (Burning Shadows, 127/147) to consistently wipe out damage done to your Beedrill-EXs and Mega Beedrill EXs.  Throw a couple of Sevipers (Burning Shadows, 50/147) on the bench and you’re doing triple digit damage and OHKOing anything that doesn’t retreat out of the active position.


Standard: 3 out of 5


So I think that Venusaur is not bad – there’s a decklist out there for it that will probably sit in that “Tier 2” level.  There are a number of different Pokemon that might combo nicely with Venusaur, but I’m just not rushing out to get them.  Honestly, I’m saving my PTCGO coins for Crimson Invasion.  I know that this is a smaller set and that with all the shiny cards it’s maybe aimed more at collectors, but I’m looking at Crimson Invasion and I look at Shining Legends, and there’s no comparison.  I initially thought that the GX attackers in this set would be very good and move into the top tier of Pokemon, but now I’m just not so sure.  I think this set overall isn’t that good, and I think that over time we may even see less play from the cards in this set than from the comparable release Generations last year.


Meet another reason Forest of Giant Plants needed to go: Venusaur Shining Legends 3/73, our third place pick.  This is a Grass-Type Stage 2 Pokémon with 160 HP, Fire Weakness, no Resistance, Retreat Cost [CCCC], the Ability “Jungle Totem” and the attack “Solar Beam”.  Jungle Totem causes each basic [G] Energy attached to your Pokémon to count as [GG]; multiple instances of it do not stack, as per the wording of the Ability.  Solar Beam does 90 for [CC].  So why do I think this is so good?  I’m short on time, so I’m going to have to skip most of the details and cover the broad strokes.

The Grass-Typing doesn’t do as much for the card as you might think; you probably ought not to be attacking with it, and the Ability doesn’t care about the Typing on anything except basic Energy cards.  Being a Stage 2 is a drag but this is one of those times where I’m really glad it takes this much to reach Jungle Totem.  160 HP is great for a Stage 2, though we seeing Pokémon-EX/GX with more being OHKO’d, so don’t imagine it is safe.  No Weakness is safe, and we’ve already got proven Fire decks established in the metagame, so be wary of it.  No Resistance is typical, so we move onto the chunky Retreat Cost of [CCCC]; the Ability helps a bit with this, but pack additional help anyway.  Jungle Totem is brilliant, we’ve seen similar effects do wonders and also fall flat in the past, but I believe this is the first time that it works with any of your Pokémon, so that each Grass Energy provides [GG]!  Solar Beam is badly overpriced before the Ability, and decent when fueled by it.

Shining Legends gave us some nice new basic beatsticks for the Grass-Type, like Shaymin (Shining Legends 7/73), and  Expanded offers classics like Virizion-EX.  What is more, anything that can run on [G] Energy is fair game, so nearly all Colorless Pokémon and a nice assortment of off-Type attackers means we don’t have just one new deck, but a few related ones that can all be built around Venusaur and Jungle Totem.  I expect we’ll see Venusaur doing its thing in both Standard and Expanded.  If you somehow can use Shining Legends for Limited play and pull at least a 1-1-1 line, the only reason you’re not using it is because you pulled another must-run card (for Limited) that doesn’t need Jungle Totem, like a Mewtwo-GX.


Standard: 3.75/5
Expanded: 3.5/5
Limited: 4/5


Hopefully it is clear even though I’m not giving you a lot of specifics, but Venusaur is a force because of “Jungle Totem”; it is a new way to pay for several attackers, both old and new.  Even in the face of anti-Ability effects, the burdens of being a Stage 2, and a hazardous Weakness, covering any [CC], [GC], or [GG] cost


Coming at number three is Venusaur! We haven’t seen a regular Venusaur card since it’s been last printed in BW Dark Explorers (not talking about EX or the Mega). And looking at the card, it also has an ability which we haven’t seen in a long time either!

Venusaur has 160 HP, even higher than the previous Venusaur cards. It’s weak to fire and has a retreat cost of four. Being a Grass type would’ve mattered even more if Forest of Giant Plants wasn’t banned, but it is banned, so we’ll have to live without it.

It’s ability, Jungle Totem, makes every Basic Grass energy provide TWO Grass energies!  This greatly helps Grass Pokemon meet attack costs! Even Venusaur itself needs just two grass energies to meet the GGCC cost for Solarbeam that does 90 damage.  With the ability on, 2 for 90 is great, but if the ability goes offline, then 4 for 90 is terrible. 90 damage is still enough to pose a threat to grass weak Pokemon.

So what can you do with such an awesome ability?  I guess it’ll help fuel Delphox’s Psystorm and Xerneas BREAK’s Life Stream attack even faster. There’s not too many good Grass type attackers that can take advantage regarding how many grass energies are in play. Even if you do, having two stage 2s ruins consistency.

I am certain someone would eventually make great use of this ability. This Pokémon with the ability is far bulkier than, say, Gardevoir BW Next Destines or Sceptile DP Great Encounters!


Standard: 3.5/5
Expanded: 3.5/5
Limited: 3/5

Sylveon’s Notes: Venusaur’s ability makes it even more greener! Like I said, it’s nice to see an reintroduction of an familiar concept and come to Standard.

Coming Up: The Pokemon who summons other Pokemon from its six rings!


Ever since the demise of Forest Of Giant Plants, Grass decks has been down the drain a bit. Only Tapu Bulu-GX and Golisopod-GX survive, and that is because they didn’t desperately need that Stadium to be working well. But, this time, as a new support Grass type arrived, can Grass decks be worth looking at again?

The new Grass support in question is Venusaur….. and it looks really good. It may be a Stage 2, but it has 160 HP, which is monstrous for a Pokemon that is meant to stay on the bench most of the times. This means that a Gardevoir-GX needs 6 energies between you and it to beat one up.  It also means that it is resilient to chip damage, and with it being a Stage 2, you can just a Rare Candy to help evolve from a Bulbasaur. So what is it that made Venusaur so powerful?

Jungle Totem, its ability, is actually a rehash of an earlier concept. As long as this Venusaur is in play, each basic Grass energy in play counts as 2 Grass energies during interactions between Pokemon. You also can’t have more than 1 Pokemon with this ability during a game. Sounds familiar? Well, because this is the Grass version of Gardevoir (BW NXD)’s Psychic Mirage ability! Back then, Gardevoir is used in its fair share of decks; mostly in Gallade (BW PLS) decks with Powerful Storm, or with Mewtwo-EX (BW NXD) with X-Ball, allowing them to hit the numbers faster and dish knockouts like nobody’s business. And in this meta situation, Venusaur does have a place in the meta, and with a comfy sofa there to boot.

As we look at the best 3 Grass attackers in the meta, with those being Shining Genesect, Tapu Bulu-GX and Golisopod-GX, Venusaur is actually in line to be a great tech in those decks. The most obvious and the most hyped is the combo with Shining Genesect; by doubling counts of the Grass energies, it can actually go ahead attacking for 2 Grass energies (as it becomes 4 in the interactions) and strike for 130. Add one more Grass energy and it can hit 170 damage for 3 energies! Now that’s impressive. The Tapu Bulu-GX variant might be a tad clunkier because you also will use another Stage 2 Pokemon in Vikavolt, but it means that Vikavolt’s Strong Energy can power up a Bulu with just a single Ability usage, and so you only need to discard two energies (1 Grass and 1 Electric) to deal the 180 damage, making energy conservation easier. And the last, Golisopod-GX, doesn’t desperately need Venusaur, but, like Tapu Bulu, you now just need 2 Grass energies to power up all of Goli’s attacks, which help save resources and momentum, which is crucial.

I believe that as time passed on, there will be more Grass energy using Pokemon that appreciates Venusaur’s support, and thus Venusaur will be more important than ever, making sure that Grass decks are here to stay.


Standard: 3.9/5 (There are that not many Grass energy snowballers aside from Shining Genesect that took full advantage of Venusaur’s Jungle Totem, but give it time and Venusaur might just be the card that shapes Grass decks in this format.)

Expanded: 4.3/5 (There are a lot of Pokemon that uses Grass energies that will appreciate the support Venusaur brings. Venusaur is bulky too, improving its usability.)

Limited: 4/5 (Not a lot of Pokemon in this set abuses Grass energies, so Jungle Totem’s potency is reduced a tad.)

Next in SM Shining Legends:
Uber to OU to BL. And its not Black Kyurem. Although Kyurem-B is never Uber in the first place….