– Cosmic Eclipse
January 28, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Ultra Necrozma from Cosmic Eclipse seems to be a card that tries to hinder itself, but I think it has a lot of potential, even if it isn’t seeing as much play. Ultra Burst states that Ultra Necrozma cannot attack unless you’re opponent has two or less prizes remaining. Pretty much Ultra Necrozma is a sitting duck with its 110 HP, which is vulnerable to being OHKOed. So it’s important to know when is the good time to actually use it as opposed to putting it in play unless you’re forced to start with one.
However, Ultra Necrozma isn’t obliged to follow the rules if there other cards that can help you break it. Because Ultra Burst is an ability, it can be deactivated at will. I don’t think there’s any ability denial here in Standard unless you can bring your opponent’s Slaking from Celestial Storm in the Active spot to turn it off for you. Otherwise, you’ll have to use other Pokémon. For Expanded, however, there’s two more Pokémon that can get rid of this ability. Garbodor’s Garbotoxin works when there’s a Pokémon tool attached to it; Alolan Muk’s Power of Alchemy gets rid of abilities from Basic Pokémon. Silent Lab also turns off abilities of Basic Pokémon and is a Stadium card. With either one of those three, Ultra Necrozma can attack without any repercussions.
And what attack can it repeatedly use when abilities are offline? It’s only attack is Luster of Downfall, which costs a Psychic energy and a Metal energy, and it does 170 damage AND discards an Energy attached to the Defending Pokémon. I have to say, though, this attack is awesome on a Basic Pokémon! So awesome that this is perhaps why this ability is there to put Ultra Necrozma in check, otherwise it’d be the best single prized Pokémon ever printed next to Night March. And because it is a dragon type, it can hit for neutral damage since neither Pokémon is weak to dragon (except BW-era dragons) or resist dragon. It also benefit from Double Dragon Energy because it’s a dragon type; this Special Energy card provide 2 units of energy that covers all types.
The decks I’ve see Ultra Necrozma be in Standard are Malamar or Dusknoir decks. Malamar is there so that you can recover Psychic energy, and Unit Energy LPM fulfills one of the attack cost. Dusknoir is also another Psychic Type that does good damage for one energy (and the potential to do even more), and it’s ability combined with Spell Tag means you get to control which damage you want to place so that either Blacephalon or Ultra Necrozma can finish off a certain Pokémon with exact HP remaining. As for Expanded, well, it already made a deck of itself. Just get a Pokémon that turns off abilities, and you’re ready to swing. 170 with a Energy discard is a very good bargain, but that means it’ll barely 2HKO any Pokemon when dealing with V-Max Pokemon. Adding Muscle Band can help reach OHKO levels on most Basic EX/GX/V Pokémon. The rest of them like single prized Pokémon is already in OHKO range otherwise.
All in all, this is a decent card to use in Standard despite not being able to shut off that ability, but you should fear this Pokémon in Expanded because of combos helping this Pokémon. For Limited, since the game starts with four prizes, you’ll need your opponent to KO two of your Pokémon, and eventually Ultra Necrozma will start attacking.
Standard: 2.5/5 (Ultra Necrozma may have a crippling ability…)
Expanded: 4.5/5 (…but ability denial helps overcome that obstacle, and Double Dragon Energy really pushes it to the top.)
Limited: 4/5 (Be patient with it, and it’ll eventually delivers.)
Ultra Necrozma (SM – Cosmic Eclipse 164/236) is a [N] Type, and that means it is nearly useless for exploiting Weakness, doesn’t have to worry about Resistance, might have to worry about the odd [N]-specific counter, and has access to worthwhile Type-based support. As an Ultra Beast, Ultra Necrozma gains access to even more worthwhile support, but might run afoul of Ultra Beast-based counters on rare occasions. Being a Basic is the best, same as always. 110 is underwhelming, but it might survive a hit every now and then. It is low enough that the most likely [Y] attacker doesn’t need Weakness to still score the OHKO, and that Resistance probably wouldn’t matter even if it was present. A Retreat Cost of [CC] is low enough you might be able to pay it, but high enough you’ll rarely want to.
Ultra Necrozma has the Ability “Ultra Burst”, which states it cannot attack unless your opponent has just one or two Prize cards left to take. That’s pretty restrictive, and means Ultra Necrozma needs something to compensate, and it gets it in the form of its attack, “Luster of Downfall”. For [PM], this Basic Pokémon swings for 170 damage and discards an Energy from your opponent’s Active Pokémon. Even though, under normal circumstances, you can only bust this attack out when your opponent has nearly won, you hit hard enough to OHKO nearly all single-Prize Pokémon and the smaller Basic Pokémon-EX/GX cards.
In the Standard Format, all you can really do is function as combination closer and emergency “comeback” card. You wait until your opponent is down to one or two Prizes, and hope the raw damage coupled with the discard let you turn things around. I don’t recall seeing it used this way, but that doesn’t mean it can’t or won’t happen. Not a great use, but a use. In the Limited Format, players start with only four Prizes, and your opponent is unlikely to have massive Pokémon-GX. Together, I think these factors should make Ultra Necrozma a great pull… but not something to try running solo.
So, why did I skip Expanded? There is much to discuss. The Dallas, TX Regional Championships were held on January 18th, with 756 in the Masters Division. In the top 64, there were eight decks running this Ultra Necrozma. None of them were in the Top 8, but they did take 9th, 10th, 28th, 31st, 38th, 41st, 45th, and 57th place. I won’t be going through the lists in detail, but you can see them for yourself here, at LimitlessTCG. I will, however, cover some of the broad stokes.
The following are not mutually exclusive, as some decks will use multiple of them, even where it is a little redundant. As with Standard, you have the decks that just use Ultra Necrozma and accept that Ultra Burst will limit what it can do. Decks already running Beast Ring, Counter Energy, and/or Double Dragon Energy make this tactic a lot more effective than in Standard. The next trick is to just turn Ultra Burst off. Alolan Muk (Sun & Moon 58/149), Garbodor (XY – BREAKpoint 57/122) and/or Silent Lab can all handle that. Copying Luster of Downfall is done in one deck by Mew (XY – Fates Collide 29/124), who doesn’t have to worry about Ultra Burst. Multiple decks also use Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX, because nothing trades well once Ultra Necrozma does another 30 damage and also takes an extra Prize.
Ultra Necrozma seems like a dud in Standard, but given how often PCL recycles card mechanics, it could easily gain access to the same tricks that make it amazing in Expanded. It does require a proper setup to avoid being a useless lump, however.
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