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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Espeon-EX
- Generations

Date Reviewed:
April 29, 2016

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.75
Expanded: 2.75
Limited: 3.5

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 being horrible.  3 ... average.  5 is awesome.

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

And lastly, we come to Espeon-EX, who I'm gonna just call EXpeon from now on XP 

EXpeon has only 2 attacks to go with her 170 HP and slightly lower costed Retreat Cost of 1 - at least compared to the other Eeveelution-EXs. Miraculous Shine is an interesting start, being a 1-cost Energy that moves the highest Evolution card off of your opponent's Pokemon and puts it in their hand. That's actually pretty good when you think about what we're dealing with - never mind the Stage 1s and 2s, there's also Mega Evolution Pokemon to consider, and having their HP reduced from anywhere from 40-60 is a massive improvement to getting them KO'd. Not to mention the few BREAK Evos that do see play will also get sent back to the hand, reducing the HP of those Pokemon by 40! 

Course, on its own it doesn't mean much. Spirit Links will circumvent the Mega rule, and if you're not KO'ing anything, Miraculous Shine...technically isn't doing anything either. If anything, it's just mildly inconvenient for your opponent to have their stuff shut off for a moment. Then again, Psyshock is supposed to make up for that in some way; although it is a miserable 3-for-70 hit, the good news is that EXpeon will be able to hit anything with it regardless of whatever effects they may have. No Resistance Blizzard will stand up to that Psyshock, which gives some Psychic decks a good tech in the match-up against Water decks running Regice! 

So while EXpeon herself isn't terribly effective on her own, she can combine with other Pokemon to become a decent supporter. Miraculous Shine can certainly finish off the base forms of some Pokemon if the opponent isn't careful, and Psyshock can be used as a follow-up to inflict just the right amount of damage - maybe even with a little damage boost - to KO the opponent for good. 

I mean, it's the thought that counts, right? 

Rating 

Standard: 2.5/5 (okay attacks that just need a boost to be a good boost) 

Expanded: 2.5/5 (at the very least, you shouldn't expect to be playing EXpeon as a main attacker) 

Limited: 3.5/5 (even in your Eeveelution deck, which I'm sure you're building right now) 

Arora Notealus: It's interesting that they took the idea of Eevee evolving in the day to go with Espeon. I don't think there's too many details about Espeon that relate to the sun that much, unlike with Umbreon. The only thing I can think of off the top of my head is the Morning Sun attack, which parallels Moonlight, but that's really about it. 

Weekend Thought: Eeveelutions sure are cool, eh? Which of this week's Eeveelution-EX did you admire the most? Which do you think can work out the best? Or are you secretly waiting for Umbreon-EX to come out in the next set? Any hype for the Fates Collide set? I bet some of you are!

Otaku

We conclude this week of Pokémon-EX Eeveelutions with Espeon-EX (XY: BREAKpoint 52/122, 117/122).  Starting with the most obvious aspect of this Pokémon, it is a Psychic Type.  Currently if a Pokémon is Psychic Weak, it will be either a Fighting Type or a fellow Psychic Type, but mostly the latter.  It isn’t the most abundant Weakness to exploit, but it’s not rare either.  Unfortunately, Psychic Resistance is also not Rare, being found on nearly all Darkness Types as well as Metal Types.  The good news is that Resistance is far less significant than Weakness, so this still will likely work out in the favor of Psychic Types (including Espeon-EX).  In terms of Type support, the Psychic Type enjoys Dimension Valley to shave off [C] from attack Energy requirements, but as of yet no Type specific Pokémon Tool or Supporter.  Mystery Energy can knock [CC] off of Retreat Costs for Psychic Types, and the rest is either inapplicable, weak, or obscure (sometimes all three).  At least for explicit support that names the Type; definitely nice being the same Type as Mewtwo-EX (BW: Next Destinies 54/99, 98/99; BW: Black Star Promos BW45; BW: Legendary Treasures 54/113), Mew-EX, and a few other notable Psychic Types simply because they are already strong and even if not normally run with Psychic Type support, the synergy provides an added edge.  There aren’t any cards that specifically counter the Psychic Type, though thanks to so many Psychic Types being Psychic Weak, in Expanded at least the common approach is to include your own Psychic Type, like the aforementioned Mewtwo-EX. 

As I’ve hammered on the entire week, being a Pokémon-EX comes with three drawbacks you can’t escape unless the designers intentionally include a work around in the card itself; giving up an extra Prize when KOed, being targeted by anti-Pokémon-EX effects, and being excluded from a few beneficial effects.  Not everyone reads ever CotD I write (shocking, I know) so there it is again, as well as the one intrinsic bonus granted by being a Pokémon-EX.  Not improved attributes; even the universal HP bump can be worth as little as +20, whether on the smallest Pokémon-EX (Jirachi-EX) or something in the more typical 180 HP range (Dragonite-EX).  Not improved effects; some Pokémon-EX have horribly overpriced attacks, without a redeeming Ability or Ancient Trait.  What Espeon-EX gets to enjoy is being a Basic Pokémon instead of a Stage 1, as nearly all other Espeon cards are.  Being a Basic is the best; while being a Stage 1 won’t keep a good card from being played, it can be the difference with more borderline examples because they end up not being worth the time and resources.  Being a Basic is simply the best right now, even though there are some anti-Basic Pokémon card effects out there. 

Espeon-EX has 170 HP, which is significantly higher than we see on Espeon cards and which will often allow Espeon-EX to survive a hit.  “Often” is a bit ambiguous but unfortunately it varies so much by match-up that I can’t give you even a good estimate; most decks are pushing for 2HKOs at minimum and OHKOs are almost always a risk, even before Weakness.  Rapidly, reliably, and repeatedly hitting 170 is not easy, but pick any two of those three descriptors and it’s typical of competitive decks.  Espeon-EX is Psychic Weak and while that is to be expected (as the TCG swaps the video game Psychic Resistance to each other for Weakness), it is also dangerous.  I already named the Mewtwo-EX that once ruled competitive play, but Night March (with or without Mew-EX) will basically have to fail it’s setup to not reach OHKO levels of damage after a single turn.  As is often the case it isn’t all bad; the examples I just gave were likely to reach OHKO levels of damage output even without Weakness anyway (they’ll just have an easier time of it) and the Psychic Type often favors more technical attacks over brute force, giving you some chance of escaping a OHKO against such attackers, like Gengar-EX.  The lack of Resistance is typical, and unlike some of our earlier reviews this week, Espeon-EX doesn’t do anything that would make it more than a fringe benefit.  The Retreat Cost of [C] is good; most of the time you’ll be able to afford both paying it and recovering from having paid it. 

So after all of that, what does Espeon-EX do?  It has no Ability but does bring two attacks: “Miraculous Shine” and “Psyshock”.  The former requires [C] and bounces the higher Stage of Evolution from each of your opponent’s Evolved Pokémon to his or her hand, while the latter needs [PCC] to do 70 damage which ignores effects on the opponent’s Active.  These are familiar effects, and past cards that have used them (often by a different name); sometimes they’ve been huge, other times they’ve been inconsequential.  Here I believe they will prove useful but not game breaking.  I’m going to cover Psyshock first because it just requires less explaining.  Its wording means game mechanics like Weakness and Resistance still apply; overall that is a good thing because exploiting Weakness is much more beneficial than ignoring Resistance.  It also won’t help in unusual situation where an effect that lowers damage is placed on Espeon-EX (or something copying Psyshock).  Where it will help is punching through protection from Abilities or effects of attacks.  This reduces one of the few drawbacks of being a Basic Pokémon-EX; quite a few effects offer protection from attack damage because of one or the other aspect.  The damage could be a bit higher, but at least you’ll manage to 2HKO just about everything relying on such protection so long as you remember a Fighting Fury Belt or Muscle Band. 

So what about Miraculous Shine?  You’ll notice how it talks both about being “evolved Pokémon” as well as “Stage of Evolution”.  As far as the game is concerned, regardless of what Stage a card is labeled as, if it wasn’t put into play by Evolving from something else, it isn’t considered an Evolved Pokémon.  Did you Evolve Greninja (XY: BREAKpoint 40/122) from either a Frogadier or (via Rare Candy) from a Froakie?  Then it is getting bounced.  Did you put it into play directly through Archie’s Ace in the Hole?  Then it stays put.  If a Basic Pokémon could be put into play by Evolving from something else, then it would get bounced; that may sound odd but if you are using some older cards in Unlimited play, it actually is possible!  For Standard and Expanded play, however, it isn’t so if it seems to confusing, don’t worry about it; there Basic Pokémon and other Stages put directly into play are completely unaffected by Miraculous Shine.  So what does bouncing those Evolutions do for you?  This is where things get a bit complicated.  I’ll start with an unfortunate drawback of the timing; when you use Devolution Spray to devolve your own Pokémon, you aren’t allowed to immediately Evolve that Pokémon again.  You could take the Stage Devolution Spray returned to hand and Evolve a different (but compatible) Pokémon into it, but whatever remained in play is treated as if it had Evolved this turn.  Miraculous Shine is devolving stuff on your turn, so unless other factors apply, your opponent can simply play whatever you bounced to the field again. 

That can make it seem pointless to use Miraculous Shine at all, and in some cases it will be worthless to use.  The most obvious example where it is not is when you are hitting something that has damage counters on it, and while the highest Stage on it had more HP than damage, the Stage below it does not; this KO’s that Pokémon.  While not a major example, next is certain cards attached to your opponent’s Pokémon; said cards may require they be attached to Pokémon of a specific name, Stage, Type, etc.  Sometimes you will be fortunate and the the previous Stage still in play won’t quality.  More likely is when your opponent used up a resource in Evolving.  If your opponent used Rare Candy to jump from being a Basic to a Stage 2 and that Stage 2 is bounced, Rare Candy doesn’t come back from the discard.  Your opponent can use another Rare Candy (or something to recycle the copy they used before) if they have it, or manually Evolve into the Stage 1 form if it is available, but they can’t just play the Stage 2 down on the Basic form.  Thanks to BREAK Evolutions, another resource is simply time; let us go back to the Greninja (XY: BREAKpoint 40/122) example.  If your opponent is trying to get Greninja BREAK into play, spamming Miraculous Shine can leave them in a bind.  If they haven’t gotten Greninja BREAK to the field yet, they will need Wally or a Greninja you put into play directly (so it cannot be bounced) to get around constantly having to re-Evolve.  Unless of course Greninja BREAK has already hit the field; BREAK Evolutions are a Stage of Evolution in the TCG so they are bounced, but the Stage below them remains and so they can just BREAK Evolve again the next turn. 

There are two more cases where devolving can matter.  One is timing; this can be used to temporarily turn on or off certain effects because something else is preventing them or because said effect is on a prior Stage.  I am not thinking of a Stage 1 with such an Ability that you would want to expose it to turn said Ability back on, but I can come up with a relatively straightforward example of turning off an Ability by devolving and having it matter even if your opponent re-Evolves right away.  If your opponent has something like a single Garbodor (XY: BREAKpoint 57/122) in play with a Pokémon Tool attached.  Your Espeon-EX is currently Poisoned, but has a [G] Energy attached.  You also have Virizion-EX on your Bench; bouncing Garbodor with Miraculous Shine will do away with Garbotoxin so that Verdant Wind starts working again, curing Espeon-EX of Poison.  Not a huge deal, but what if your opponent cannot Evolve again the next turn?  What if you have Archeops (BW: Noble Victories 67/101; BW: Next Destinies 110/108) on your Bench?  Its “Ancient Power” starts working again, so unless your opponent has Wally handy and another Garbodor in deck, the Garbodor in hand is stuck there.  While we are adding in more cards, let us also consider Mega Evolutions; most are put into play via Spirit Link cards, to avoid giving up a turn due to Mega Evolving.  Just flash the field with Startling Megaphone to discard all of your opponent’s Pokémon Tools in play, then do a mass bounce; just like with Rare Candy your opponent has to supply another or pay the price.  In this case they still can Mega Evolve without needing another card, but ending your turn right away hurts.  If your opponent is actually dependent upon the Mega Evolved form to attack, you just created a lock (this is not likely though). 

So do we have two specialized areas of use that together create a reason for Espeon-EX to see play, or is this an example of doing one or two things that nothing really needs, or at least don’t need bad enough to justify the space?  Espeon-EX is useful, but not enough to work into most decks.  Miraculous Shine is something almost every deck could afford, but which very few decks need.  There are a few deck that will want Espeon-EX primarily for MIraculous Shine; Jolteon-EX/Archeops decks spring to mind, though if you’re doing a lot of spread, that mass devolution could rack up multiple KOs.  Psyshock actually should come in handy fairly often, in that protective effects are out there.  Here the catch is that [PCC] isn’t easy for a lot of decks and there is also competition from running a different counter instead.  Still if you already are running a Psychic Type deck, Espeon-EX should be high on your list of potential TecH.  Why?  Dimension Valley.  Miraculous Shine is a lot better when it costs no Energy.  Psyshock doesn’t gain as much of an edge; after all [PCC] can use Double Colorless Energy to still take just two turns to prep but [PC] is going to require something more to avoid also taking two turns to ready. 

Still you will find decks where Espeon-EX seems like the missing piece, and many decks would be happy to include it except there just isn’t enough room (admittedly a low threshold to clear).  In Limited, you’ll definitely run this if you pull it but opportunities to do so are low as the most common form of Limited Format play is the Pre-Release and XY: BREAKpoint is long past those.  Though normally one is tempted to run a card like this as your only Basic in Limited, ensuring you open with it but also that you lose if Espeon-EX gets KO’d.  Espeon-EX doesn’t hit hard enough, fast enough to pull off that trick, at least not well enough for my tastes. 

Ratings 

Standard: 3/5 

Expanded: 3/5 

Limited: 3.5/5 

Summary: This review was a slog to get through; Espeon-EX is not a bad card, but because of the misconceptions I’ve run into with this card, caused in part by the nuances in game mechanics exposed by the current card pool.  It won’t affect Evolutions put directly into play as “unevolved” Pokémon and your opponent won’t have to wait a turn to re-Evolve, or rather they do but since you’re devolving on your turn, your opponent’s turn is the next turn. 

With all that out of the way, we get a solid card; part of me wishes it did what it did just a little more efficiently or with a little more power behind it, but this is a Card-of-the-Day and not a Create-A-Card session.  Once you understand how you ought to use it, you’ll find where Espeon-EX is the best choice for getting around problematic protective effects or where mass devolution is going to make a real difference.  The net result is something that could function in most decks but not particularly well except in select cases.  Now I really wish I had scheduled this for Thursday as it is the second best card we’ve looked at this week.


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