Hey, I remember this card! I mean, I could've said
that about any card this week, but...well it's not
important, welcome back to today's card of the day! Here
we've got the mighty Landorus-EX, and knowing what's
coming up in the future, he's only going to get better,
but let's take a look at what makes him so good right
You'd probably be surprised to hear me say that when I
follow that up with, "Brandon Salazar was the only
person in the Top 12 that ran Landorus-EX in his deck."
So wait, what does that mean? It means that the Masters
Division Champion ran Landorus-EX in his deck, so that
should show you just how far Landorus-EX can take you!
But why, you ask? Well, let's take a look at Landorus-EX
and how he fit into Brandon's ultimate strategy!
First off, Landorus-EX doesn't have an Ability like the
other Pokemon we've reviewed this week. I know,
surprising isn't it? But that's because he's got this
one attack on him that makes him a strong lead. See,
Landorus-EX came into the format during a time when the
first turn player could attack on the first turn, and
that meant that you could attach your Energy and then go
right into attacking with Hammerhead. Now 30 damage may
not seem like much, even to the Benched Pokemon that it
can also hit, but on the first turn, that could be
devastating. Say you're running Duskull in your deck,
setting up for a Dusknoir on your next turn. Back then,
your opponent would go first, attack your Active with
Landorus-EX, and hit your Benched Dusknoir for 30.
That's already half of its health - and you can't evolve
him on your first turn, so you're already down a Prize
on Turn 3!!
Alright, so Landorus-EX has a strong leading attack,
though nowadays it's slightly nerfed for the first turn
player since they can't attack on their first turn.
Second player can attack, but the opponent can at least
evolve their Pokemon on their next turn, so they don't
lose that advantage (or they were running Squirtle with
Shell Shield or Mr. Mime with Bench Barrier). Now what
does Landorus-EX do? His only other attack, Land's
Judgment, only does 80 damage for 3 Energy. Although
there's that little paragraph saying that if you dump
the Fighting Energy on him, he does an extra
70-waaaaaaait a minute.
That's right, Hammerhead not only sets up the potential
to KO Bench-sitters later on down the line, it also sets
up the Active Pokemon to get wrecked by Land's Judgment.
Sure it takes a couple turns to work your way up to that
3 Energy cost, but the fact remains that Landorus-EX can
lay the smackdown with 150 damage - which combined with
the 30-60 damage already on the Active Pokemon, that's
180-210 damage, enough to KO most Pokemon easily!
Combine those numbers with Hypnotoxic Laser and Muscle
Band, and you may not even need to bother boosting
Land's Judgment to KO an Active Pokemon!
So why did Brandon run Landorus-EX as his main attacker?
Well the answer lies not only in his deck but also on
another card from earlier in the week: Garbodor.
Landorus-EX can now run over the mighty Pyroar (FLF) (no
doubt his biggest threat in the format with that
Intimidating Mane) by having his buddy Garbodor use his
Garbotoxin to cancel the Ability and lay the smack down!
Brandon also ran Pokemon like Mewtwo-EX, Raichu (XY),
and even Druddigon (FLF) to avoid suffering from
Garbodor's Ability while simultaneously dealing hefty
damage to his opponent's Pokemon. In fact, no doubt
Brandon had to utilize that very combination of Garbodor
and Landorus-EX to beat out the runner-up Michael
Pramawat's Pyroar deck!
Now what did I mean by Landorus-EX getting better?
Really, you shouldn't be asking that, as Landorus-EX is
a Fighting-type, and that means he's gonna run alongside
Lucario-EX and Machamp in the new Furious Fists
expansion! That means he gets access to that
damage-boosting Energy, the Machamp power Ability, and
even the Stadium designed for Fighting-types! He'll even
have a Supporter supporting him all the way - and that
means in a format where Landorus-EX is still very much
legal, he's going to be a top tier threat!
Modified: 4/5 (I'm really tempted to put him over
Lucario-EX, simply for the damage output in tandem with
the new stuff, but that wouldn't be fair to Lucario-EX's
drawing support and such)
Expanded: 4/5 (you'll find that he works even better
with those new cards despite the inclusion of those
older BW sets)
Limited: 4.5/5 (in his own set, what's going to stop
you? You can literally smash your way through anything!
Just don't get overzealous with Land's Judgment,
Fighting Energy still doesn't have any huge Energy
Arora Notealus: Interesting how the tiger-esque form of
Landorus has proven to be so potent in our TCG. It's
almost like the designers were...putting him on the
Next Time: More greenery, less punnery, with no
This week we’ve been looking at some of the cards that
played role at the U.S. Nationals, as a precursor to the
pending World Championships. We’re on the downward
slope now, with the next to last of these picks:
Landorus-EX (BW: Boundaries Crossed 89/149,
144/149). As this was partnered with
it may seem like I favored just one deck in my picks…
and I kind of did; Masters’ Division U.S. Nationals
winning deck and all. Still, like Garbodor (BW:
54/124; BW: Plasma Freeze 119/116; BW:
Legendary Treasures 68/113) its a card that can be
used in quite a few decks, so I feel the attention
warranted regardless. We originally reviewed
Even though Landorus-EX is overly familiar for
most of us, let’s run through it: some readers are very
new and it helps the more experienced (myself included)
avoid missing the forest for the trees. Landorus-EX
is a Fighting-Type; this is already great for hitting
most Colorless-Types and nearly all Fighting- and
Lightning-Types for Weakness, and while they are light
on support (especially worthwhile support) right now,
XY: Furious Fists should give them a huge boost. In
fact part of the timing for this review is to get one
last, good look before that support is legal,
maybe make a few predictions, and then have some time
before we might need to review it again if it dominates
the City Championships. It isn’t all perfect, of
course; Fighting Resistance is one of the most abundant,
though Resistance as a whole isn’t a major concern.
Being a Basic is obviously great; easy to run, easy to
play; there is and even will still be some Basic-only
support left in the card pool after the coming rotation.
Of course, Pyroar (XY: Flashfire 20/106)
is a counter to Basic cards, something I glossed over
when looking at Jirachi-EX
because you really shouldn’t be attacking with that card
anyway, and why you’re likely to see Landorus-EX
paired up with Garbodor. Being a Pokémon-EX has
its usual drawbacks; most important is giving up an
additional Prize when KOed, but being unable to tap
certain support cards can hurt and the various
Pokémon-EX counter cards can be a serious threat. The
benefits of being a Pokémon-EX aren’t hardwired into the
actual game; they usually get great HP and at least one
good-to-great attack and either a second decent attack
or good-to-great Ability… but that’s a card-by-card
design decision, and there are some well known
180 HP is the maximum we’ve seen printed on Basic
Pokémon-EX and makes it likely (though still not
guaranteed) that Landorus-EX can take a hit.
Many - perhaps most - decks have at least some sort of
a combo that can score an effective 180 in a single
turn, and some decks are built around OHKOs, but only
the latter are likely to be able to OHKO Landorus-EX
reliably and repeatedly… with the exception of
Water-Type attackers, which can exploit Weakness. The
Water-Type Weakness is not a good thing, especially for
Pokémon-EX. Suicune posses Safeguard and just
needs to tap some of the common damage boosting tricks
like attaching a Silver Bangle to score a OHKO.
Many Plasma decks can make good use of Kyurem (BW:
Plasma Freeze 31/116) a.k.a. Kyurem [Plasma],
but at the same time this still isn’t as bad as dealing
with Darkness Weakness and Yveltal-EX,
Dragon-Type Weakness and Druddigon (XY:
Flashfire 70/106), Psychic Weakness and Mewtwo-EX,
has Lightning Resistance; any Resistance is welcome, but
to give you an idea of how important it is, I forgot the
card even had it. It will come in handy from time to
time, mostly to make the match up with Lightning-Types
even more lopsided. The card sports a hefty Retreat
Cost of three. As the set before it, BW: Dragons
Exalted, gave us Heavy Ball, this has in some
ways been a benefit, but BW: Dragons Exalted and
thus Heavy Ball are getting the axe, so soon the
downside will be all that remains; that is a difficult
cost to pay and even if you can, it will set you back
quite a bit. This is somewhat mitigated by how most
decks will be packing retreat reducing effects or even
cards to bypass manually retreating all together, though
my personal experience is Landorus-EX still gets
stuck up front at least some of the time, to its user’s
Of the two attacks, Hammerhead has proven much more
important; for [F] you get 30 damage to the opponent’s
Active and 30 to one of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon
(assuming there are any on the Bench). 60 for one is a
great deal, even if it is being divided out. Factor in
Weakness and its 90 for one, and throw in common
boosting tricks and Hammerhead alone quickly moves into
2HKO territory of Fighting Weak Pokémon-EX. Land’s
Judgment tends to be hard to use as there so far isn’t a
good way to acceleration basic Fighting Energy.
With a cost of [FFC] the acceleration that does work,
like multiple Energy-Type providing Special Energy
coupled with an Ability to move your own Energy around,
is the best bet, but that doesn’t mesh too well with the
effect of Land’s Judgment. While it is totally
optional, you can choose to discard all sources of [F]
Energy to jump the attacks damage from 80 to 150! This
is actually a very impressive attack and it complements
Hammerhead quite well; the Bench hits can set-up so that
Land’s Judgment can OHKO just about anything by the time
its ready to go… and if Landorus-EX doesn’t
survive after attacking anyway, the Energy discard ends
up being meaningless.
So what has changed since the last time? In a weird
way, the more things change the more they stay the same.
The main thing is that we’ve gotten to a place where
once again, the best approach is a mostly
straightforward damage deck that is quick, relatively
reliable, and exploits Weakness as much as possible.
Its own Weakness will be an issue, but fortunately most
of the Water-Type attackers that are popular right now
either have or rely on an Ability as part of their
tactics, so by backing up Landorus-EX with
Garbodor, they are less of (though definitely still)
a threat. It is just the subtle shifts in the metagame,
which may change again before Worlds, that made
Landorus-EX such a great play for U.S. Nationals.
When not partnered up with Garbodor, remember
how many things can be an issue for Landorus-EX;
there’s even Mr. Mime (BW: Plasma Freeze
47/116) to block Bench damage!
Looking ahead, past Worlds, once we shift to BCR-On
Landorus-EX should get even better, though it may
become a victim of its own success; notice how Darkness
Weakness is so crippling that only the very best
Darkness Weak Pokémon Bench sitters have seen successful
competitive play. XY: Furious Fists may do the
same thing to Fighting Weakness, especially as
Darkness-Types are losing their BW: Dark Explorers
exclusive support like Dark Patch. Do I think
that will happen? No, but there is enough of a chance
to warrant broaching the subject and while the odds are
low for the general metagame or events in general, for
some non-specific tournament I do expect it will happen.
In general I expect Landorus-EX to get even
better. For Expanded, I similarly expect it to get a
bit better, because Eelektrik (BW: Noble
Victories 40/101) was a popular and successful
backer for attackers that could use Lightning-Type
Energy, so unless it fails to make a comeback there, the
low HP of it (and Basic form Tynamo) should make
Hammerhead a serious counter whether Active or Benched…
and indeed that is how it was when the two were both
Lastly for Limited… if you pull this, you run it.
You’re fortunate enough to be able to use BW:
Boundaries Crossed for a Limited event to begin
with, and if you pull this, you run it. If you’re not
willing to risk it in a +39 deck (even with several
solid Water-Types in this set, I believe it is worth
it), then work some Fighting Energy into your
deck. If it shows up when early, use Hammerhead. If it
shows up late, try to build it on your Bench for Land’s
Judgment or send it up to finish Pokémon your opponent
is trying to hide on the Bench.
4/5 - This is awkward; I actually scored Landorus-EX
higher when we first reviewed it. Why is it
lower? Back then you could attack with it first turn,
and use Pokémon Catcher without a coin flip to
reliably force up the most appropriate targets: now
you’d have to give up a Supporter for Lysandre or
Ability to do the same (and never on the first turn of
the game). It is as much Landorus-EX as the
cards it was partnered with that created a U.S.
Nationals winning deck.
4.25/5 - I expect Landorus-EX to become better
when it gains access to the new support in XY:
Furious Fists, but it gains some more competition
and again, it isn’t like it can attack first turn like
it used to. Plus so far its success has been being the
Fighting-Type in decks that are at most partially
Fighting; only some of the new support will be flexible
enough for such strategy.
4.25/5 - As with BCR-On, it gains more support but more
rivals, in this case either foes from the past, the “new
stuff”, or both: whatever proves strong enough to rise
to the top in this format.
5/5 - Run it! Even if you pulled one of each Pokémon-EX
from this set, its likely the best one for a +39 build;
only Keldeo-EX has a chance at being better, and
I am uncertain of that.
Landorus-EX is a strong Fighting-Type that has
proven itself more than once, however by that same token
it has also experienced the lows of being out of step
with the metagame. It seems most likely that XY:
Furious Fists will make it stronger, but that isn’t
guaranteed. Likewise, its performance at the U.S.
Nationals suggests it is a strong presence in the
current metagame, but even that might shift before
Worlds actually happens. Overall, this is a potent card
that should be trying to get a hold of, though perhaps
only if prices come down at least a little bit from
where they are now or you’re better than me (not a
unlikely), on your way to Worlds (excludes most) and
convinced that this is the best card to play (no idea on
the exact odds there).