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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

 Golem EX

- Generations

Date Reviewed:
March 23, 2016

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 1.9
Expanded: 1.7
Limited: 3.9

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

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

OH MAN GOLEM GOT THE EX TREATMENT!! THIS GUY'S GONNA FINALLY CRAWL OUT OF THE STONE WORKS IN A BIG FASHION, CHISELING HIS SPOT IN THE META STATUE'S SIDE AND CARVING A PATH THROUGH TO THE TOP, PIERCING WITH HIS DRILL TO THE HEAVENS!!! 

...is what I'd love to say, but let's be honest, he wasn't even good enough to make our Top 3 list on Generations. Not that I'm gonna say he's a bad card...just a bad-EX. He does have a lot going for him though, since Fighting-types have all that Furious Fist support still. That being said, his first attack Boulder Crush leaves a lot to be desired, being a 3-for-80 vanilla attack. Seriously needs a lot more in his second attack to see play. 

And to be fair, Megaton Fall delivers!...sort of. It's a tremendous 4-for-180 hit - more than the might of even some Mega Pokemon and able to KO any other Pokemon-EX that lacks the resistance - but it comes with a huge drawback of dealing Golem-EX 60 damage in return, cutting off an entire 1/3rd of his HP. To be fair though, I'm sure there are people who will combine Golem-EX with that one Tool from Flashfire that can keep Pokemon from damaging themselves...what was its name again? Protection Cube? I wonder why I forgot about it... 

...oh right. Cause no one uses it. 

So Golem-EX: terrible EX unless you've got a Tool no one uses. Niche enough? Certainly. 

Rating 

Standard: 2/5 (his high attack costs and lackluster attacks for those costs make Golem-EX very niche - not to say the Fighting support couldn't help him on his own, but don't expect him to be the star of his own regional win) 

Expanded: 2/5 (...well, then again, maybe someone will come up with a way to take Golem-EX's power seriously enough to drive it home) 

Limited: 4/5 (but hey, until then am I right?) 

Arora Notealus: Golem hasn't been terribly impressive in the long run, but throw in some good stuff here and there, and you've got something scary to deal with!

Next Time: From the stars in the sky, he dives to us!


Otaku

As a reminder, CotDs are written ahead of time and I’ve seen few results from State Championships. 

Golem-EX (Generations 46/83) is a Fighting Type, which means it can strike Weakness against the majority of Colorless Types, most Darkness Types and most Lightning Types. It also encounters Resistance across those same Types and periodically across others which is traced to the video game Flying Type; as it is represented by Colorless Typing in the TCG, it seems to be one of the few places the designers are still comfortable blending aspects of multiple Types.  Fortunately while this is either the most abundant or second most abundant form of Resistance - I don’t have an exact count and when I did it was only a few dozen cards apart - Resistance is more a nuisance while Weakness creates a dramatic shift in match-ups.  Plus “No Resistance” is still the most common.  We see a similar relationship in terms of Type support and counters.  The Fighting Type has some great cards that specifically benefit their Type and some strong cards that might work elsewhere but work best with that same support, which bolsters the Type quite a bit, while the cards that explicitly counter the Fighting Type for being the Fighting Type just aren’t that good.  Cards that effectively counter common Fighting Type strategies are probably more effective, but with three different forms of Weakness for the Type and a tendency to be enhanced but not truly dependent on almost everything, with respect to Golem-EX it will have to be fairly card specific (and thus covered elsewhere). 

Being a Pokémon-EX comes with a lot of built in drawbacks while the rewards are not set in stone.  No matter what, Golem-EX gives up an additional Prize versus what is normally required when it is KOed.  It also can’t access certain beneficial effects and is the target of specific detrimental effects, with Silver Bangle being the dated but still simplest example of both as it provides +30 damage when the equipped Pokémon attacks a Pokémon-EX but said effect states it does not work when the card is attached to a Pokémon-EX.  Pokémon-EX tend to have better attributes and/or effects than their non-Pokémon-EX counterparts but doesn’t seem to be guaranteed; at the very least sometimes the benefits are far less substantial.  Golem-EX gets to be part of the exceptions in that it does have one flat out benefit from being a Pokémon-EX; when they are based on something that is normally an Evolution and isn’t a Mega Evolution, they get to be Basic Pokémon instead.  Being a Basic is the best; while I think the game could be designed to balance things out, it requires specifically designing the cards to better manage the pace of the game so that the end results (fully Evolved Pokémon) are on par with each other and the tradeoffs of Basic versus Stage 1 versus Stage 2 versus anything else added in (Restored?) ends up be different but balanced.  That is a subject for a whole other article though; being a Basic is currently simpler and more effective than being an Evolution, even when factoring in the various forms of Basic and Evolution support and counters. 

180 HP is the higher of the two typical HP scores for Basic Pokémon-EX.  Nothing in this game is safe from a OHKO, but this is enough to probably survive a hit (though usually only by a small margin).  Grass Weakness is not good, though neither is it the worst.  Probably the big concern is Vespiquen (XY: Ancient Origins 10/98) still being a popular and potent deck choice; while such decks still build enough damage to start taking OHKOs, Weakness means they need just a little less than half as many Pokémon in the discard pile.  No Resistance is disappointing but as stated earlier, the most common and Resistance is usually not a huge benefit even when it is present.  The Retreat Cost of [CCCC] matters, though; gaining access to Heavy Ball and Heavy Boots does not compensate for such a massive cost.  You will only be able to afford to retreat manually at full price with a Golem-EX when you’ve got the same amount of Energy you need for its biggest attack, so if you’re using the first attack you won’t even be able to afford it up front and losing that much Energy can be fatal in a deck that doesn’t carry easy Energy recycling.  Be sure to pack something that dramatically lowers Retreat Costs, bypasses manually retreating Golem-EX, or both unless your deck is set-up to leave Golem-EX up front no matter what. 

Golem-EX has no Abilities and no Ancient Trait (I don’t think they bother with the latter anymore), so it all comes down to its attacks and any useful combos they might enjoy.  “Boulder Crash” requires [FFC] and does 80 damage.  “Megaton Fall” requires [FFFC] and does 180 but also does 60 to Golem-EX itself.  Just looking at Boulder Crash, three Energy (and two of them being Type specific) is below the going rate.  We are used to costs of [XCC] - where “X” is a non-Colorless Energy Type) doing 90 to 120 damage.  Lower amounts still work but need a beneficial effect or something special about the rest of the card.  Megaton Fall is a bit better; while 60 points of self-damage is serious, so is hitting for 180 damage with no coin flips, discards, etc. even at a cost of four mostly specific Energy.  Somewhat disappointing is the lack of synergy between the attacks.  Boulder Crash hits a turn faster than Megaton Fall assuming no well timed Energy acceleration, but with the amount of damage Megaton Fall does the lead in may not even be necessary.  Mostly it helps when you can use two Boulder Crash in place of any uses of Megaton Fall since you avoid self-damage in this way.  The self-damage from Megaton Fall may be fair to a bit high (for the Energy alone I’d want 120 to 150 damage).  For Fighting-Types, with their access to Focus Sash, the self-damage seems extra painful, though more decks are prepared for such things than they were a few months ago.  A Strong Energy, a Muscle Band or Fighting Fury Belt and a Fighting Stadium put most Mega Evolutions into OHKO range, at least. 

There are no other Golem-EX and despite what I just said, you may have to resort to Protection Cube instead of other Pokémon Tools, give or take a Bursting Balloon to ward off opposing attacks and Pokémon Tool F cards.  As such it means I now wish that the card hit itself even harder with Megaton Slam but for some other benefit, be it opposing Bench damage/damage counter placement, lowered Energy costs, even more raw damage so that Strong Energy was totally unneeded.  Boulder Crash really just needs to be a different attack; costing less is good and/or having at least one useful effect, even at the cost of some damage is fine.  Golem-EX makes me wish it had Θ Double so that I could attach both a Focus Sash and a Protection Cube to it; even with the risk of various discarding effects when they didn’t happen you’d be able to build something that could take two OHKOs without other hassles.  Then again getting the needed Energy on it is also a problem; there is a reason Primal Groudon-EX works and that is because its Ω Barrier protects it while it is on the Bench, plus it has Mega Turbo.  Golem-EX will need three Mega Elixir that actually work plus an Energy from hand to go full on Megaton Slash in a single turn and that might be all the time you have!  Grass Weakness and being Energy heavy can get you badly punished right now. 

The laments and the Create-A-Card sidetrip tell you that I don’t have much to recommend with or for this card.  Skip it in Standard and Expanded.  On the unlikely chance you can play in some sort of Limited Format event using Generations cards, it is a great pull, but its self-damage and slow start-up make me leery of the typical +39 tactic of running it no other Basic Pokémon to ensure you start with it.  If you’re not familiar, Limited Formats usually involve a 40 card deck and four Prizes instead of 60 and six, so +39 comes from having only that one, single Basic Pokémon in your deck.  Golem-EX has a higher risk of being overwhelmed before it takes four Prizes, because again, you’ll have to wait three turns to start attacking and if you use its big attack you take out 60 of your own HP.  Backing several other Pokémon should be fine, though needing so much Fighting Energy in a format where you’ll be relying on basic Fighting Energy cards makes it more difficult.  You may not pull any other good Fighting-Types or even Pokémon that have mostly or all Colorless costs. 

Ratings 

Standard: 1.75/5 

Expanded: 1.25/5 

Limited: 3.75/5 

Summary: Golem-EX had my hopes up largely because in Standard I really want an alternate Fighting-Type Pokémon-EX to tag team with Lucario-EX, not unlike what I tend to do with Landorus-EX in Expanded (Lucario-EX being the alternate for Landorus-EX).  Golem-EX doesn’t do that, nor does it do the “massive tank” trick like Primal Groudon-EX well enough to bother.  Any complicated strategy I can come up with to make it somewhat functional is just that - complicated - plus works better with other cards (like Primal Groudon-EX).


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