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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Golurk

- Boundaries Crossed

Date Reviewed:
January 21, 2013

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 2.25
Limited: 3.50

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

Golurk (Boundaries Crossed) 

Hello and welcome to this new week of reviews here on Pojo’s CotD. For the first few days we are looking at the shiny reprints of Pokémon that we got in Boundaries Crossed. They’re rare (much rarer than any EX), very collectible, and in at least one case highly playable. Yes, they’ve all been reviewed before, but it doesn’t hurt to take a second look, does it? 

We kick off the week with what is probably the least viable of the three: Golurk. Not that Golurk doesn’t have some good things going for it: 130 HP on a Stage 1 isn’t bad at all, and its attacks come with some very nice effects. Devolution Punch does 60 damage (admittedly not great) but it does send the highest Stage of an evolved Pokémon back to the opponent’s hand. This means that if you hit a Stage 2 that was evolved with Rare Candy (say a Blastoise or a Hydreigon), you will be getting a OHKO once the Stage 2 card is removed and they are left with a Basic with sixty damage on it. For non-evolved Pokémon, Ghost Hammer isn’t bad either. The 90 damage it inflicts is a magic number, enabling a two-hit KO on any EX Pokémon that doesn’t have Eviolite attached. As a bonus, using this attack also removes Golurk’s nasty Dark Weakness for a turn. 

So, given all this, why is it that we never see this Pokémon in competitive decks? Well, partly it is that Dark Weakness: there’s just too much Darkrai-EX around and you won’t always be able to nullify it with Ghost Hammer. The huge Retreat cost of four doesn’t help much either. The real problem though is those attack costs. With Devolution Punch costing one Psychic and two Colourless and Ghost Hammer adding another Psychic to the cost, Golurk is just too slow to be a consistent main attacker and too Energy hungry to use as a back-up hitter. You could try pairing him with Gardevoir NXD for some Energy acceleration, but that would make for a pretty clunky deck and in any case, there are better partners for that combo (looks at Mewtwo-EX). 

Golurk is basically one of those interesting nearly cards that look as though they should work out better in theory than they actually do in real life. Keep him for fun/league decks only. 

Rating 

Modified: 2.25 (too slow for this format)

Limited: 2.75 (almost too slow for limited as well, though at least he’s a bit more durable here) 

Jebulous Maryland Player

Golurk
 
Golurk is a Stage 1 Psychic Pokemon with 130 HP.  It is weak to Dark and has a retreat of 4.  It is searchable by Heavy Ball.
 
'Devolution Punch' costs 1 Psychic and 2 colorless energy.  It does 60 damage, then devolves the Defending Pokemon.  This is most effective on a Pokemon with the stage below having 60 or less HP.  That way you knock out a high HP Pokemon in one shot.  For instance, a Blastoise that was Rare Candied from Squirtle.  Use this attack and you OHKO the Squirtle.  Souns great and competitive, right?  Not really.  Right now it can do that to Blastoise and Hydreigon. Other than that you'll be working hard.  There is mostly big Basics running around, especially in the very competitive decks.
 
'Ghost Hammer' costs 2 Psychic and 2 colorless energy.  It does 90 damage and makes Golurks weakness disappear for the next turn.  It does enough to OHKO a Mewtwo, however, it costs a lot and Mewtwo can easily OHKO it.
 
So this is a card that I like, it's just that I don't think it's very competitive.  With it's low HP, it can get KOed pretty quick.  Plus, with Darkrai in the format, it won't last 1 'Night Spear'.  It would be nice if the attacks were cheaper.  You're dedicating a lot of energy to something that can be quickly KOed.
 
So in the end, I like it, I want to try it, but I need to get some.
 
Modified: 2.5/5
Limited: 4/5
Combos With:  ...
 
Questions, comments, concerns: jebulousthemighty@yahoo.com


Otaku

Welcome to a new week of Card of the Days, dear readers!  We begin the week with a secret… well a Secret Rare anyway: Golurk (BW: Boundaries Crossed 150/149).  We first reviewed the card here.  Maybe it is pure optimism, but I always feel like “Secret Rares” are the designers wanting us to take a look at certain cards again (especially if those cards aren’t already heavily played). 

Have things changed for Golurk in a meaningful way?  I’ll go ahead and give the card my usual, thorough treatment, but for those familiar with the card, you can probably skip to the Ratings and Summary, as I’ll naturally summarize what has changed since the previous review. 

Stats

Golurk is a Stage 1 Psychic-Type Pokémon.  Psychic Resistance is still fairly common, though almost exclusively due to Darkrai EX (BW: Dark Explorers 63/108, 107/108; BW Promo BW46) being heavily played and not a variety of Pokémon possessing Resistance.  In a format full of damaging boosting, damage reducing, spread, and strategic healing, running into Darkrai EX could be bad (and yes, if you skip ahead to Weakness of Golurk, you know it becomes even worse). 

Back to being a Psychic-Type, Weakness to Psychic Pokémon isn’t universal at a deck level, but comes fairly close; however this is again due to a single card, Mewtwo EX (BW: Next Destinies 54/99, 98/99; BW Promo BW45).  The Psychic-Type has one single piece of support, which also requires the usage of basic Psychic-Type Energy, in the form of Gardevoir (BW: Next Destinies 57/99; BW: Dark Explorers 109/108).  As I don’t know of any Gardevoir decks that have made good showings in the competitive sphere, this is a mixed start for the Stats. 

The Stage is a similarly mixed bag; Basic Pokémon dominate right now, with Evolutions suffering for being slower and requiring more cards.  Golurk is a Stage 1, so while it is a turn slower and needs twice the cards, this still much more manageable than a Stage 2, and a few of those do see play. 

Golurk has 130 HP, allowing it can take a hit from all but the biggest attacks, unless hit by its Weakness, Darkness-Types.  As already stated (and frankly hard to miss), Darkrai EX still popular and potent, but at least it isn’t run purely as an attacker and some decks utilizing it for its Ability won’t easily switch it to the offensive.  Golurk lacks Resistance, which is unfortunate as it could have really helped the card out, but it is also common so it more missed opportunity than a failing. 

We finish this section with the Retreat: for Golurk it is four.  This is so high you’ll rarely be able to pay it and shouldn’t even if you could unless the game was on the line; make sure your deck is built so that it can handle being the Active and so that you have an alternative to manually retreating, such as Switch. There is the bonus that this card is Heavy Ball, and this is one of the Pokémon where that also applies to its Basic form (Golett) as well. 

Effects

Golurk has two attacks.  The bad news is the “fast” attack, Devolution Punch still requires three Energy to use: specifically (PCC).  This cost isn’t impossibly high and a good deck should have a reasonable chance of pulling it off T2, but it will need to be the focus of the deck.  The attack only does 60 points of damage, which is about 20 below where a three Energy attack needs to hit right now, but it comes with an effect; you get to return the highest Evolution card attached to the Pokémon back to your opponent’s hand. 

If you’re fast at setting up, odds are any Stage 2 Pokémon you encounter used Rare Candy, meaning your opponent may not be able to easily re-Evolve the next turn while also being small enough that particular Pokémon is KOed; that is a win-win scenario.  Some Pokémon will have enough HP to survive Devolving, especially if you aren’t hitting a Stage 2 that used Rare Candy, and on the whole Evolutions are still a minority in competitive decks, used mostly for Abilities while hiding out on the Bench. 

Ghost Hammer is the big attack clocking in at (PPCC).  Four Energy, even with all the acceleration in the format, is pretty significant; at this price I generally want to see at least triple digit damage, and we don’t get that here.  Instead Ghost Hammer does 90 while negating the Weakness on Golurk.  Certainly useful when facing down a Darkrai EX (it would allow you to survive one hit), but also only applicable to that scenario and capable of being worked around, plus you aren’t hitting hard enough to take out Darkrai EX before it takes out Golurk, even if both Pokémon start out uninjured but Golurk swings first. 

Usage

Golurk can evolve from Golett, and there are two versions: BW: Noble Victories 71/101 and BW: Dragons Exalted 58/124.  The former is a Fighting-Type Basic Pokémon with 80 HP, Water Weakness, Lightning Resistance, and a Retreat of three.  It has a single attack for (FC) that does 20 points of damage plus (if you get “heads” on a mandatory coin toss) another 20 with Confusion to the Defending Pokémon (so total 40).  If you get “tails”, it still does 20.  The latter is a Psychic-Type Basic Pokémon that has 90 HP, Darkness Weakness, no Resistance, a Retreat of three and two attacks.  The first attack requires (CC) and heals 40 from Golett while the second requires (PCC) and does 40 damage to the Defending Pokémon. 

Both Golett have pros and cons; most important of all, both have poor Weaknesses for this format.  A split may be in order, or else favor BW: Dragons Exalted 58/124; Darkrai EX would OHKO it before the Weakness anyway, while a Keldeo EX (BW: Boundaries Crossed 49/149, 142/149) doesn’t need any actual (W) attached to OHKO BW: Noble Victories 71/101.  There is also one other version of Golurk: BW: Noble Victories 72/101.  It is a Fighting-Type with Water Weakness and poor attacks so don’t bother with it. 

So has anything changed that would make it worth running Golurk now?  One thing: Blastoise (BW: Boundaries Crossed 31/149) seems to be heavily played, rarely Evolves from Wartortle (BW: Boundaries Crossed 30/149), but instead uses Rare Candy to Evolve directly from Squirtle (BW: Boundaries Crossed 29/149).  Squirtle has just 60 HP.  We also still see Eelektrik (BW: Noble Victories 40/101) backed decks and Hydreigon (BW: Dragons Exalted 97/124) decks.  In all cases, this provides you with an important Evolution that Devolution Punch either will or almost certainly will score a OHKO against. 

However the rest of the format is built around decks using only Basic Pokémon and the above exceptions don’t attack with or only sparingly attack with the Evolved Pokémon; so you’re always going to need something else in the deck to deal with the Basic Pokémon.  I’ve experimented a little, and I have to say, Golurk probably would have been one of the cards that benefited from Ether being released as we expected in BW: Boundaries Crossed. 

It might have been bad for the format, but the Ether/Pokédex combination probably would have made it fast enough that just throwing in Mewtwo EX would have pretty much given you a deck.  I am already assuming Double Colorless Energy as well, so Sigilyph (BW: Dragons Exalted 52/124) would have fit as well, and the deck would have covered its bases.  Without Ether, I don’t know if it has the necessary speed, and my other attempts to use it didn’t show much promise (though testing was so scant I can’t even call it testing). 

For Unlimited, even ignoring the “lock” and decks that flat out win first turn, we have Ancient Technical Machine [Rock] (EX: Hidden Legends (85/101); simply the better Devolution option.  Limited is where this card shines… with the original release: Darkness Weakness isn’t as painful, Ghost Hammer is better protection, and Devolution Punch becomes amazing except against those annoying “Pokémon-EX plus 39 Energy” decks.  It even was friendly to being run in a mostly non-Psychic deck.  If you pull it with just BW: Boundaries Crossed, you can’t run it at all. 

Ratings 

Unlimited: 1/5 

Modified: 2/5 

Limited: N/A; 3.75/5 for previous release. 

Summary

Golurk makes me think I have to be missing something… possibly something other than Ether.  If it was just a little faster/more reliable, it might fit into a potential rogue deck, though all the matches that lack Evolutions or opposing Psychic-Weak Pokémon would have you discarding it for Ultra Ball or the like as it would be dead weight. 

It looks so good on paper even without Ether; I humbly ask you see what you can do with it.  While it probably won’t pan out, at least it isn’t a major investment; the deck idea I suggested uses cards you should already have/want, and it isn’t that pricey a Secret Rare… plus you can even get the older version in the DragonSnarl starter deck.


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