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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

 Sigilyph  

- Legendary Treasures

Date Reviewed:
December 17, 2013

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 3.60
Limited: 4.10

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 being the worst. 
3 ... average.  
5 is the highest rating.

Back to the main COTD Page

Combos With: See Below

Baby Mario
2010 UK National
Seniors
Champion

Sigilyph (Legendary Treasures) 

Yep, this is a reprint of the card we first saw in Dragons Exalted and was already reprinted in a blingtastic shiny version in Plasma Freeze. I think I like the art on this one best of all three versions though. 

Sigilyph is a Basic Pokémon with one big attraction: that Safeguard Ability that blocks all attacks (and effects of attacks) from EX Pokémon. This has been good enough for it to see play both in its own ‘Quad’ style deck (which enjoyed some success in metagames that were almost exclusively EX-based), and as a ‘tech’ card in decks like Darkrai/Hydreigon. Obviously its usefulness is entirely dependent on the extent to which EX decks dominate, but recently that’s been pretty much a given. 

The attack is . . . adequate for a Pokémon of this kind. Psychic is quite expensive and won’t do a ton of damage, but if the opponent can’t attack themselves, then this isn’t usually much of a problem. The new rules seem to help Sigilyph somewhat as the ‘flip-a-coin’ errata to Pokémon Catcher make it more difficult to play around, however the continuing presence of Garbodor, along with the rise of non-EX decks like Empoleon mean that the lock is far from guaranteed. Sigilyph also faces competition from Suicune PLB – a very similar card. Which one you play is likely to depend on which fits best into the Energy line up of a particular deck. I like the fact that Suicune and Sigilyph use different Blend Energy: that seems like good design to me. 

Sigilyph is one of those cards whose usage will fluctuate with shifts in the format. However, it is a good card (maybe even a necessary one) to have around, and as long as we have EX Pokémon, there will be people who consider using it when building a deck. 

Rating 

Modified: 3.5 (frustrating to play against if you’re not prepared, and a great option to have with our current card pool)

Limited: 3 (hilarious if you face one of those ‘EX +39 Energy’ decks, but not much good otherwise)


Otaku

Today we are looking at Sigilyph (BW: Legendary Treasures 66/113), another reprint of the “Safeguard” Sigilyph first printed as BW: Dragons Exalted 52/124.  The card is an interesting example of card design, and has definitely had an impact on the Pokémon TCG.

 

The idea behind “Safeguard” Pokémon is technically older than Pokémon-EX; instead dating back to Wobbuffet (EX: Sandstorm 26/100), released over a decade ago in only the second “post-WotC” set.  Its Safeguard was a Poké-Body, not an Ability (because Abilities didn’t exist at the time) and it worked on Pokémon-ex, the nearly identical predecessors of Pokémon-EX.  In fact, Sigilyph was quite obviously just the “new” Wobbuffet; both were Psychic-Type Basic Pokémon with Psychic Weakness, lack of Resistance, Safeguard and one attack that requires (PCC) and hits for 50 points of base damage.

 

Wobbuffet had only 80 HP, but at a time when only the then one set old Pokémon-ex could break the maximum for printed HP scores, and no Basic Pokémon-ex did that.  This makes the 90 HP of Sigilyph seem smaller due to HP scores having inflated since then in general, and especially for Pokémon-EX.  90 HP does keep Sigilyph a legal target for Level Ball.  Wobbuffet had a two Energy Retreat Cost, while Sigilyph not only has a better single Energy Retreat Cost, but in formats where it has access to cards like Skyarrow Bridge (which grants it a perfect free Retreat Cost).

 

The attack is where Sigilyph is blatantly more powerful than Wobbuffet; first Wobbuffet didn’t have Double Colorless Energy.  There were some other alternatives that were similar, but required using a Wynaut with the Baby Evolution Poké-Power to play Wobbuffet as an Evolution because said cards only worked on Evolutions.  Wobbuffet did a flat 50 points of damage to the Defending Pokémon (before other effects) plus placed a damage counter on itself, while Sigilyph has no drawback to its attack; instead the effect clause states that it does +10 damage (on top of the base 50) for each Energy attached to the Defending Pokémon; not a brilliant attack, but solid as most of the Pokémon that can hit hard for one Energy and saw play also have tended to be Pokémon-EX.

 

So has anything changed lately?  Since the next to last printing of this Sigilyph, which was as BW: Plasma Freeze 118/116, we’ve had a format rotation, two more sets, and a rules change, and I believe all benefit Sigilyph.  I don’t expect Quad Sigilyph decks to come back; that trick requires a lot of luck on top of skill, because you need decks to leave out alternative attackers or at least anything “good” that can attack through Safeguard.  Well, or for your opponent to regularly Prize such cards.  Most decks now have reason to run non-Pokémon-EX attackers apart from bypassing Safeguard; a lot of the “gaps” in offense have been filled in.

 

Making good use of Sigilyph on the other hand has become easier; Pokémon Catcher now requires a coin toss to work and a lot of players have cut it for more reliable cards.  You’ll still have to deal with decks that have attacks or Abilities to force a Sigilyph out of the way of unprotected Bench-sitters, as well as those simply running Escape Rope, but this is significantly easier to deal with.  Attacks that hit the Bench can also be blocked by Mr. Mime (BW: Plasma Freeze 47/116), another chink in its armor.  Garbodor (originally released as BW: Dragons Exalted 54/124) are still popular last I checked, but now that Pokémon Catcher isn’t as good, decks also have more room for an extra Tool Scrapper or three to counter that metagame counter.

 

There are also a lot more options for helping out Sigilyph.  Silver Bangle and/or Hypnotoxic Laser (itself usually accompanied by Virbank City Gym) can allow Sigilyph (like many Pokémon) to hit a lot harder a lot faster, and there are even some more obscure combos if you want to get fancy.  Silver Mirror allows Sigilyph to wall against Pokémon-EX and Team Plasma Pokémon, at least until they get an attacker that bypasses the protective effects or (against Silver Mirror) a Tool Scrapper.  I never saw anything major come of it, but we even have Latias EX to provide another hard-to-attack card thanks to its Ability – Bright Down – that protects against attacks by Pokémon with Abilities.  There are even a few more anti-Pokémon-EX cards plus older examples already proven successful, like Bouffalant (BW: Dragons Exalted 110/124).

 

The downside for Sigilyph (though an upside in general) is that the competitive metagame is more diverse, including a lot more varied attackers; besides Pokémon that are neither Pokémon-EX nor Team Plasma, the change in rules has really helped the Evolution decks that were on the periphery, like various Empoleon (BW: Dark Explorers 29/108; BW: Plasma Freeze 117/116) decks.  That specifically is a real kicker; not only is it something you can’t really block without getting crazy elaborate (by which I mean “fragile Soft Lock with Amnesia or Torment attacks”), it isn’t even the kind of card vulnerable to the attack on Sigilyph; Empoleon attacks for a single Energy.

 

Overall though, I think things are looking up for Sigilyph.  I already stated I don’t see Quad Sigilyph decks coming back, but running Sigilyph just splashed into other decks, even as TecH seems to be a legitimate option again… less so for true walling than to just force your opponent to use a less effective attacker so you can try to swing the momentum to your favor.  I am also wondering if some former failures are worth revisiting: other than losing most games horribly, I greatly enjoyed Golurk (BW: Dragons Exalted 59/124; BW: Boundaries Crossed 150/149) decks.  The main problem I had with it was that I couldn’t keep a Golett on my Bench alive long enough to build, and even if I did, at that time there were so few Evolutions worth smacking with a Devolution Punch.  In fact, even if the deck still doesn’t work (and the relevance is that it also relied heavily on Sigilyph) it may be worth running for “lolz” due to the upcoming Mega Pokémon-EX mechanic.  The revealed Mega Pokémon-EX aren’t that impressive, but I am sure someone will try to make them work and if so… bouncing it back to the hand over and over again would be quite fun.

 

I don’t expect much of this card in Unlimited; it does nothing against the iconic Sabledonk decks, and while I would expect Pokémon-EX to be favored because they do resist Sabledonk a little by simply being so massive that (with the new rules) it is harder to spam a damage counter placing non-attack effect the 17-18 times you need to while also abusing combos to remove an opponent’s Benched Pokémon… just seems like there are too many ways around Safeguard.  Maybe for a deck that already is engaging in Trainer denial… but even that isn’t certain as this format still has cards like Cyclone Energy.  For Limited play on the other hand, run this.  If you can’t attack with it, it still might by the time you need against a Pokémon-EX+39 deck.  If you can afford any Psychic Energy at all then it just becomes a decent attacker against everything else and a huge deal against Pokémon-EX.  Don’t bother with it if you can run a single big, Basic Pokémon like a good Pokémon-EX.

 

Ratings

 

Unlimited: 1.5/5

 

Modified: 3.75/5

 

Limited: 4.25/5

 

Summary

Sigilyph remains a very good card that is highly metagame dependent.  It has more going for it now overall than in the past, but at the same time the diversified format makes it harder for it to wall.  Probably not something you can truly build a deck around, but if you can fit it into your existing strategy with no other additions required, it is probably worth a slot.


HEZ

Everyone who's been playing since Dragons Exalted knows this card well, now returning with some nice new Black City artwork.
 
Modified:
  Safeguard, on a decent Basic Pokemon. That's all you need to know to realise this card is playable in Modified, a format ruled by Basic Pokemon EX. Decks that rely solely on EXs to do their damage will have trouble getting around this card and will have to resort to using their supporting Pokemon to deal with it. The main thing Sigilyph needs to watch out for are decks that don't rely on EXs (such as Empoleon), EXs that can ignore it (Cobalion EX) and Pokemon that can switch off its Ability (Garbodor). Of course, unless you start with just a Sigilyph these threats shouldn't be too much of a problem as its a tech card, not a main attacker, meaning you include 1 or 2 in your deck to search out when you need it against a certain deck and just leave it in your deck against anything that can deal with it easily. Any deck that runs Psychic energy can afford to play 1 of this card.
 
Limited:
  The ultimate bane of "39 energy 1 EX" decks. Not something you'll want to go 39/1 with yourself but if you pull one, make sure to include ways to find it such as Emolga (in the set twice!) incase you come up against the numerous EXs in this set's Limited format. Otherwise, it's still a fine Basic attacker and will rip through decks trying to do foolish things like play evolution cards.
 
Unlimited 150:
  Strangely, Sigilyph's main competition was also reprinted in its generation's "end of series reprint set". I'm talking about Wobbuffet from Sandstorm/Power Keepers. Wobbuffet is from the time when EXs (or exs back then) were first introduced and has the same Poke-Body/Ability of Safeguard. Wobbuffet is clearly weaker, with worse HP and a self-damaging attack, but the power-creep fighting rules in 150 ("Fully evolved cards printed in sets as Pokémon Prime and B&W series holo rares also count as Pokémon ex") possibly work a little too well in this particular case. In addition to the counters listed in the Modified section there will be many more in the vast 150 format, especially considering LV.Xs aren't stopped by Safeguard.
  If you're picking between Wobbuffet and Sigilyph it will often, unfortunately come down to availability but both cards have pros and cons. Wobbuffet is a regular Basic with quite low HP and a poor attack, on the other hand we have "Sigilyph ex" with a little more HP and a much better attack, though the extra prize might not be worth the upgrade.
 
Ratings.
Modified: 3.5
Limited: 5
Unlimited 150: 3 


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