Top 5 Shining Legends Cards
– Shining Legends 29/73
October 10, 2017
Ratings & Reviews Summary
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
It was only a matter of time! Although maybe it was more expected it to be Alolan Raichu? In any case, Raichu-GX is a strong card from this set, and we’re gonna take a quick look as to why.
Powerful Spark emulates a new variant on the ever-popular “X Ball” line-up, featuring a very similar set of traits such as the 2 Energy cost, the 20 damage base, and…wait, it deals 20 more damage based on the amount of Electric Energy attached to your Pokemon? Well that’s almost like Gardevoir-GX’s Infinite Force, or rather Darkrai-EX (BKT)’s Dark Pulse. In fact, Powerful Spark is practically an Electric-version of Dark Pulse! At the very least, it puts you in total control of how much damage you deal.
Thunder comes as the next move, a guaranteed 3-for-160, but it does deal 30 damage to Raichu-GX. That’s not to say it’s unusable – in fact, I’ve begun noting these kinds of attacks as moves that can dish out OHKOs with a little extra support which can make the drawback worth it. At least, that’s the theory on it. You’re either going to match this by having 8 Electric Energy in play and Powerful Spark, or you’re going to use this in the event you need to get rid of something now.
And no Pokemon-GX is complete without a GX Attack! Voltail GX is Raichu-GX’s personal move, and it’s a 3-for-120 that tacks on Paralysis onto the opposing Pokemon. As far as GX Attacks go, it’s not bad, but I wouldn’t say it’s good either. Paralysis is the strongest Status to inflict outside of arguably Poison, but using a move that can only be used once, prevents other moves of its caliber from being used, and deals only so much? All to deal 120 damage and Paralyze? It might win you a game if you use it right, or you could just be mowing them over with Powerful Spark.
I’m putting a lot of personal emphasis on Powerful Spark, since it’s that style of attack, but it’s also worth noting that there aren’t a whole lot of Energy accelerators in Standard for Electric Pokemon. At least in Expanded you’ve got the Eelektrik Dynamotor combination.
Standard: 3.5/5 (still a very powerful GX to wield)
Arora Notealus: Only time will tell if we’ll see Raichu-GX stand with a lot of success. He doesn’t have the same Energy acceleration ability that Gardevoir-GX wields, so he can’t personally push out for high numbers. But who knows? Maybe he’ll surprise us.
Next Time: Thumping through the jungles of the world…
Raichu GX (Shining Legends, 29/73) blasts into the meta as our number four card from the Shining Legends expansion set. A Stage 1 Lightning Pokemon, it has three attacks, all of which will see use at various times. Powerful Spark, for two Colorless energy, does twenty damage times the amount of Lightning energy attached to all of your Pokemon. Thunder, for two Lightning and a Colorless, does 160 damage, but then incurs thirty damage to itself. Raichu’s GX attack, Voltail GX, does 120 damage and then paralyzes your opponent’s active Pokemon.
It’s still WAY too early to know what the optimal build for Raichu GX is, but I’ve seen it paired with Magnezone (Breakthrough, 54/162) in one version and Electrode (Evolutions, 40/108) in another. As expected, it runs a ton of basic energy, so you’re going to include Max Elixir (Breakpoint, 102/122), Exp. Share (Sun & Moon, 118/149), and (my suggestion) Wishful Baton (Burning Shadows, 128/147). I’m inclined to think it might actually go better with Garbodor (Breakpoint, 57/122) and neither Magnezone or Electrode. Regardless, a must include – and there can be no argument here – is Raikou (Breakthrough, 55/162).
With the prevalence of Alolan Ninetales (Burning Shadows, 28/147) and now Hoopa (Shining Legends, 55/73), every EX or GX deck must include a couple of non-EX / non-GX attackers. This is unequivocal – if you run a deck that’s built around a GX or EX attacker, you absolutely MUST run at least two single prize attackers as well. I saw Alolan Vulpix (Guardians Rising, 21/145) 52 times in September – it was the third most common Pokemon I encountered. It’s very easy to slip in a baby Ninetales and wall your opponent. I’ve played seventeen games now with Andrew Mahone’s Decitales deck he took to the Hartford regionals a couple weekends back, and in almost half of the matches, I just parked Ninetales in the active and won. You can only Guzma (Burning Shadows, 115/147) so many times, and I even included an Acerola (Burning Shadows, 112/147) to pick up one of my two prize Pokemon and remove it from play. Sorry if this is not what you want to hear, but that’s the meta we live in right now. Expect to face some “Wall” Pokemon whether IRL or on PTCGO.
Standard: 3.5 out of 5
I had the three main GX’s (Zoroark, Raichu, and Entei) from Shining Legends as my top three cards coming out of this set, and I still feel that they are the best cards in the set, but after seeing them in action just a little bit over the past couple of days, I am less impressed than I was when previewing this expansion. I thought there was a huge gap between these three cards and everything else in the set, but I am now starting to come down on the top three cards a bit and actually a few of the non-GX cards are definitely narrowing what I had previously thought was going to be a large distance between the GX cards and everything else in Shining Legends. Overall, however, I still feel that this is the worst expansion since Evolutions… although I will say it’s got to be better than that one which was almost completely devoid of competitive cards.
Coming at #4 is a card I wished that I put it on my personal top 5 list: Raichu-GX! This card has some great qualities and can work with other cards.
But let’s go through this card! Raichu-GX has 210 HP, weak to Fighting, resists Metal, and a retreat of one (wish it was free). There are some support for Lightning decks; Magnezone’s Magnetic Circuit creates unlimited Lightning energy attachments; Flash Energy helps Lightning Pokemon remove its own x2 weakness; Clemont fetches 4 Lightning energies from the deck to your hand, which synergizes well with Magnezone; and Eelektrik’s Dynamotor recovers Lightning energy from the discard to one of your Benched Pokemon; Rough Seas restores HP from Water and Lightning Pokemon. Being a Stage 1 means being able to abuse abilities from Vaporeon, Jolteon, and Flareon (XY Ancient Origins). So it seems like Raichu has a lot going for it, and that’s before considering other options!
Raichu-GX has three attacks. Powerful Spark costs CC and does 20 damage plus 20 more for each Lightning Energy attached to all of your Pokemon (Special Energy that provide Lightning energy counts too, since the wording didn’t say Basic Lightning Energy). With sufficient amount of energies in play, this attach can reach OHKO levels (8-9 for most Basic EX/GX Pokemon, 12 energies to OHKO anything). Fortunately, some cards that I mentioned earlier, like Magnezone and Clemont, can help Powerful Spark reach its potential. Thunder costs LLC and does 160 damage, with the clause of doing 30 damage to itself. The damage output is good for the cost and can reach OHKOs on most Basic EX/GX Pokemon if backed with a Choice Band and/or Professor Kukui/Giovanni’s Scheme. The self damage is not good, however, as it bring down from 210 to 180 HP, helping your opponent by finishing off your Raichu. And then there’s Voltail GX which also costs LLC for 120 damage and it paralyzes the Defending Pokemon (no coin flips needed). As this is a GX attack, this helps you follow up with either Powerful Spark or Thunder to finish off the opponent’s weakened Pokemon after being struck with Voltail GX.
There are other Raichu cards that are not an GX. But probably the viable option would be Raichu XY with the attack called Circle Circuit, which does 20 damage times the number of benched Pokemon you have in play. Raichu Break has Grand Bolt which does 170 for LCC with all energies being discarded in the process. I still think Powerful Spark is still the way to go rather than Circle Circuit.
Overall, Raichu-GX is a solid beatstick in Standard and Expanded. It also does very well in Limited, in which Powerful Spark is all you need to wreak havoc. Thunder is still pretty good, despite the self damage, and Voltail GX gives you one turn protection (sort of; Paralyzed Pokemon can’t attack or retreat).
Sylveon’s Notes: Lots of Raichu cards on the Pokémon TCG, but at least they made some cards playable from time to time.
Coming Up: Time to double the blooming process!
Oof, how long have we waited for a reliable Electric-type attacker to take center stage! Raichu-GX does seem very promising, and especially after Sky Field (XY ROS) rotated out not too long ago, which puts Raichu (XY Base, XY Gen) at a lower damage cap again, can this 2 prizer Raichu do what its older brethren once did?
Raichu-GX has 210 HP, which is even bulkier than all the Eeveelution-GX and Salazzle-GX, which all sits at 200 HP, so it is better at soaking up hits. As a Stage 1, it is for the most part very simple to get to play, as you just need a 2 card investment. You can use Evosoda (XY Base, XY Gen) or Wally (XY ROS, XY Gen) to quickly get a Pikachu to a Raichu-GX to play, and you can also use the Raikou from earlier to accelerate energy to the field. It does have a 1 energy retreat cost though, which although is low, is still worse than the free retreat cost the old Raichu had.
What makes Raichu great here is that all 3 of its attacks are amazing, and it equals to Raichu-GX able to perform 2 different roles on a whim, while still keeping its main stat and attacks intact, which is rare to see in any Pokemon. Most sweepers or cleaners are rather one-dimensional in play, such as Darkrai-EX (XY BKP), but not this mouse. Powerful Spark is basically the aforementioned Darkrai-EX’s Dark Pulse attack for Electric energies, dealing 20 plus 20 more for each Electric energy in your side of the field. The way to play this is similar to the old Turbo Darkrai deck; you’ll need a lot of Max Elixir (XY BKP) and a energy accelerator. And don’t we have that in the Raikou card from this set? And, similar to Darkrai, once a lot of energy are gathered, be ready to laugh as they will all crumble before you. This means that Raichu-GX is now a energy scaling sweeper.
And the second way to use Raichu is by using him as nuking sweeper with its two other attacks. This way can also be combined with its first way, meaning that aside from being very flexible, Raichu can also be quickly dangerous. Thunder costs 2 Electric and 1 Colorless energy, deals 160 damage and has a 30 damage backlash. Interestingly, the Japanese translation for this card first reads this attack as “Volt Tackle”, which is more fitting to be honest. Anyway, back to Thunder. 160 damage for 3 energies is a very quick way to get knockouts quickly, as Powerful Spark takes time to deal the big damage. In other words, unlike Darkrai-EX, Raichu-GX has two main nukes, which makes it more dangerous. The GX attack, Voltail GX, is basically like Lapras-GX’s (SM Base Set) Ice Beam GX attack, but it deals 120 damage and costs 2 Electric + 1 Colorless instead of 2 Water + 1 Colorless. But it does paralyze the opposing Active Pokemon, allowing you to buy some time.
It is hard to think of any glaring weakness for Raichu, as it is very flexible and deals quick damage in fast delivery. Maybe using 3 energies and only having 210 HP can be quickly punished by strong attackers like Tapu Bulu-GX and Gardevoir-GX, but the majority of the other Stage 1 Pokemon-GXs also have that problem and they managed to pull through. In short, Raichu-GX is a very strong sweeper that is very flexible and is really worth it to build a deck around.
Standard: 4/5 (A superb attacker with two modes that can intertwine well with many decks)
Expanded: 4.4/5 (More support in Expanded, such as Eeletrik NVI, Battle Compressor, and also the Raikou with Booming Thunder, makes Raichu a must watch in Expanded. May just be the best Lighting deck in the format.)
Limited: 4.6/5 (Despite not having that much support, it is easy to pull out, get rolling, gets the numbers done, and is very reliable.)
Next in SM Shining Legends: