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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Solgaleo-GX
- Sun & Moon

Date Reviewed:
April 3, 2017

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3.43
Expanded: 3.75
Limited: 4.00

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

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

Hope you guys didn't get tricked too badly on April Fool's! And certainly I hope your pranks were all in good fun! Because now we've got something to prank your opponent's with - a Stage 2 switcheroo! That's right, we bring the review now to Solgaleo-GX! 

He's in a very similar position to Lunaala-GX, given that he also evolves as a Stage 2 from Cosmog/Cosmoem. The main difference is in his Ability, his attack, and of course his GX move! First off is his attack - the incredibly potent Sunsteel Strike! The move hits for a whopping 3-for-230 damage, giving Solgaleo-GX access to the strongest move currently in rotation! But like all great damaging moves, it does come back with a huge drawback - in this case, it's discarding all the Energy on him. There aren't too many things that accelerate Energy here in Standard, but Bronzong (PHF) does seem like a natural partner for Solgaleo-GX decks in Expanded. 

Especially combined with his Ability, Ultra Road! We've seen this kind of Ability before, but Solgaleo-GX's differs ever so slightly. It allows the rotation of your Active with any Benched Pokemon, which again is similar to Abilities like Keldeo-EX (BCR) and Zoroark (BKT), but UNLIKE these Abilities, Solgaleo-GX doesn't have to be on the Bench to use it. In fact, the Ability doesn't even require you to put Solgaleo-GX out front - he's a free Switch every turn for whoever's out front! You can swap him out after a Sunsteel Strike to let Bronzong load him up with Energy before next turn putting him out again to OHKO stuff! 

And then there's his GX attack, which is probably the quickest means of getting to Sunsteel Strike: Sol Burst GX. For 1 Energy, you can search your deck for any 5 Energy cards - and yes, that includes Special Energy - and then attach them to your Pokemon in any way you'd like. Now of course the obvious answer is, "Oh just put them onto Solgaleo-GX to power up his attack!" But the problem with that is that he'll just discard the Energy again, and that'll be two turns wasting on at least 3 Energy - never mind if you put more of it on top of him. So why not equip your other Pokemon with the Energy instead for a quick boost? 

Suddenly you'll have a Sunsteel Strike, a free Switch, and a powerful new attacker in the span of a single turn! And you've planned out your next few turns at that point! It may be a bit tell-tale if your opponent sees what you're up to, but they'll never see that Lysandre coming when you put it down, am I right? Just keep an eye out for Garbodor while he's around. 

Rating 

Standard: 3.5/5 (Ultra Road's a solid Ability, and Sol Burst GX can be great when used right) 

Expanded: 4/5 (and Sunsteel Strike has potential in its own right...just not without good acceleration) 

Limited: 3.5/5 (being a Stage 2 does hurt him a little too, but hopefully not so much here in the near future) 

Arora Notealus: Man, not only are the mascot legendaries really cool this generation, but they're also evolving legendaries too? And Stage 2s no less! Is it any wonder why I love this generation so much? Ahhhh, Gen 7, you'll never change~ ...well not until Gen 8 or whatever. 

Next Time: Sticky stuff to put on your 'mon, don't touch the tip~


Otaku

This week, we begin with Leo Convoy Leo Prime Voltron Solgaleo-GX (Sun & Moon 89/149, 143/149, 155/149; SM: Black Star Promos SM16).  It’s a Metal Type, so it will enjoy attacking into Weakness against Fairy Types and some Water Types, but XY- and SM-era Lightning Types are Metal Resistant; the former is much more significant than the latter, but exactly how much either ultimately proves will vary with the metagame.  The Metal Type has some solid (pun intended) tricks, mostly defensive and spread out among Pokémon Type based, Energy Type based, and sometimes “other” based (specific attacks, Abilities, etc.).  There are some good offensive attackers that don’t have an eye on defense as well.  Putting it all together, there are definitely rewards to being a Metal Type, just not enough for me to think of it as one of the best Types (perhaps one of the “better”, though).  As a Stage 2, it will take multiple cards and multiple turns to hit the field; using the fundamental Evolution mechanics of the game, you’ll need to Bench a Cosmog, Evolve into Cosmoem the next turn, and one more turn later, Evolve into Solgaleo-GX.  Rare Candy can replace Cosmoem while saving you a turn, but now you need two cards in hand at the same time, when our primary draw cards don’t lend themselves to such a thing, and relying upon an Item means dealing with Item lock.  Wally searches out the Evolution you need and (with the right timing) saves you a turn but at the cost of your Supporter for the turn (and another card’s investment).  This doesn’t mean Solgaleo-GX has no chance of being competitive, but it stacks the odds against it and will be the lens through which we view the rest of the card. 

Being a Pokémon-GX also affects how we’ll evaluate the rest of the card.  No matter what else, being a Pokémon-GX guarantees giving up an extra Prize when KO’d while having three effects on the card, one of which will be the once-per-game GX attack.  Peeking ahead, we see that Solgaleo-GX has an Ability, regular attack, and GX attack.  We don’t have them yet, but it appears we’ll be getting cards that can punish or reward a player for using a Pokémon-GX, probably in our next full expansion.  Being a Pokémon-GX has also meant higher than is typical HP; we don’t have any other versions of Solgaleo yet, but 250 HP is the maximum we’ve seen on anything printed, so it is safe to assume Solgaleo-GX got a nice boost.  Since Japan does have a regular Solgaleo already, we don’t have to settle for that guess; looks like the baseline version will clock in with 160 HP.  This is all relevant because even 160 HP isn’t overly likely to survive a hit in the current metagame, but 250 not only is likely to do just that but may even manage to survive two hits.  That Fire Weakness is dangerous for it, though; not only are we back to fearing a OHKO, but Volcanion-EX decks mean it might come from a low Energy Basic Fire Type attacker as well.  While Resistance isn’t as powerful as Weakness - not a bad thing, as Weakness seems to be a broken mechanic in the TCG - with HP and the metagame, that Psychic Resistance is a nice little bonus.  The chunky Retreat Cost of [CCC] could be a concern; it allows Solgaleo-GX to use Heavy Ball and/or Heavy Boots, but it is pricey enough it may be stranded up front.  As we’ll see, Solgaleo-GX has an effect that mitigates most of this risk… but which also would have made a [C] or free Retreat Cost amazing.  That is a bit of “glass half empty” thinking, however. 

That would be because the first effect is the Ability “Ultra Road”.  This is similar to the “Rush In” Ability of Keldeo-EX or the “Stand In” Ability of Zoroark (XY: BREAKpoint 91/162).  The big difference is an important one: Ultra Road is better!  Its effect allows you to Bench your Active and replace it with any of your Benched Pokémon, as opposed to only Solgaleo-GX itself.  This means that completely on its own, it is a free Switch each turn; no harm in adding a pivot Pokémon or Float Stone to the mix, though.  Up next is “Sunsteel Strike” for [MMC], which isn’t super-easy to meet, but is fairly plausible with some Energy acceleration (wait for it…).  Its effect forces you to discard all Energy attached to this Pokémon, which means it is going to need to hit for at least close to enough to OHKO most things in the game and it actually does!  230 damage is an impressive return; less “insanely generous” than “I totally expected a nerfed filler attacker”, but in the end, it is still good.  Again, you’ll want some form of Energy acceleration, but it doesn’t even have to be too much if you can avoid wasting it on single Prize targets.  Which brings us to “Sol Burst GX”; for [M] you can search your deck for five Energy cards to attach to your Pokémon as you wish.  Your opponent will have a turn to try and counter this (dropping it all on a single target is usually a bad idea), but even just looking at how Solgaleo-GX might combo with itself, this might give us a deck.  Use this attack to attach two Energy cards that each provide [M ontwo Benched Cosmog, Cosmoem, and/or Solgaleo-GX, plus one on your Active that just attacked.  If your opponent can’t discard some of that Energy or KO one of them (remember that HP), your manual Energy attachment on subsequent turns just needs three targets with less than 230 HP (and no unusual protection) worth two Prizes to power through over the next three turns. 

Cosmog (Sun & Moon 64/149) and Cosmoem (Sun & Moon 65/149) are your only options for a Basic and Stage 1 in this line, and while there are no other versions of Solgaleo-GX (or regular Solgaleo), this is a split Evolution line, with Lunala-GX representing the other option.  We reviewed Lunala-GX here, and it is a viable option to run with Solgaleo-GX.  Thanks to Sol Burst-GX, you can attach any five Energy, and they can be basic Psychic Energy, or Special Energy cards like Rainbow Energy that can meet the needs of a variety of Pokémon but still be moved around with the “Psychic Transfer” Ability found on Lunala-GX.  This, in turn, allows you the option of powering a variety of attackers, and the inverse of the trick is also plausible; running Solgaleo-GX to help Lunala-GX, something I was uncertain of when we actually looked at Lunala-GX.  Do I think this is the best deck to run using the two?  Well, it might be the best trick for both if the focus is on Lunala-GX/another attacker, as multiple copies of Lunala-GX are redundant; unless you want a spare fully Evolved and sitting on your Bench in case of a surprise OHKO, a spare Cosmog (and Cosmoem if Rare Candy isn’t handy) will serve you better Evolving into Solgaleo-GX for Ultra Road.  If we are focusing more on Solgaleo-GX, then I have seen three other decks I prefer, at least as a concept (since I don’t have their actual lists). 

As stated, you can attempt a Quad Solgaleo-GX build (or at least something approaching it); just use Sol Burst-GX to facilitate your setup, then keep up on your manual Energy attachments and shoot for OHKO’s the next three turns.  This is probably a bad idea, as quite a bit can go wrong; a surprise OHKO is usually unlikely, but not a TecH Crushing Hammer, Enhanced Hammer, etc.  The next approach is for Expanded only and is the one I would really like to test: backing Solgaleo-GX with Bronzong (XY: Black Star Promos XY21; XY: Phantom Forces 61/119).  Its “Metal Links” Ability allows you to replenish the Energy discarded by Sunsteel Strike, and the Trainers available here mean you should be able to OHKO just about everything and have options for dealing with Ability denial like Garbodor (XY: BREAKpoint 57/122), or rather cards like Startling Megaphone, Tool Scrapper, and Xerosic to discard the Tool required for “Garbotoxin” to do its thing.  Conveniently, this also handles stuff like Fighting Fury Belt and Focus Sash.  Not sure how to hand the Fire Weakness, however; I mean you should be able to work in a Water Type, but I’m uncertain what really works well with mostly Metal Energy. 

The final deck idea is to use Solgaleo-GX to accelerate Energy for Darkrai-EX (XY: BREAKpoint 74/122, 118/122).  Specifically, one uses it to snag up to four Double Dragon Energy cards from the deck and attach them to a Benched Dragon Type or two, like Giratina-GX (XY: Ancient Origins 57/98, 93/98) to fuel the damage bonus for “Dark Pulse”.  You’ll usually power up Dark Pulse at the same time; besides the one leftover Energy with an optimal Double Dragon Energy yield, I expect one Double Dragon Energy will be Prized, in hand, and/or in the discard already (maybe more).  When this deck works, it can be pretty devastating, as (like all successful decks built around this Darkrai-EX), Darkrai-EX is swinging for OHKO’s or 2HKO’s, but even if you OHKO it back, your opponent probably already has the next Darkrai-EX ready and didn’t lose enough Energy to significantly diminish the damage output of Dark Pulse.  You only get one shot with Sol Burst-GX, however.  If this deck ever became big, Skarmory (Sun & Moon 88/149) is a game winning counter, because there isn’t room for Solgaleo-GX, a source of [M] Energy for it, and all the usual tricks decks built around this Darkrai-EX utilize.  Some of the tricks, sure, and you can attach basic Darkness Energy in addition to or instead of the Special Energy cards.  You want multiple recipients when you do hit it big with Double Dragon Energy, plenty of attackers like Yveltal-EX hit harder the more Energy is attached to the opponent’s (or both) Active Pokémon, and again you don’t get a second chance with Sol Burst-GX, even if you include Special Charge or the like to reclaim the lost Double Dragon Energy.  Finally, even if you don’t really need multiple Solgaleo-GX the whole game, you need to Bench multiple Cosmog ASAP so an opponent doesn’t keep picking them off. 

I think Solgaleo-GX has solid prospects in both Standard and Expanded play, but probably in different decks.  That Fire Weakness could ruin things for it because Volcanion-EX decks don’t seem to be going anywhere.  In Limited play, that Ability is fantastic even if you don’t include any Metal Energy to use the card’s attacks, but those are pretty great here as well.  It will be harder to run, but it seems like everything about Solgaleo-GX becomes better. 

Ratings 

Standard: 3.25/5 

Expanded: 3.5/5 

Limited: 4.5/5 

Summary 

Solgaleo-GX is really quite impressive but so far I don’t believe it has delivered in competitive play.  I am, however, behind on the results from the most recent events, so maybe it has and I am just unaware.  I suspect the Fire Weakness and pacing issues are what keep it from really having a presence, though.  Plus, while its Ability is great, a Stage 2 line is not an easy inclusion for most decks, so I expect Keldeo-EX and Zoroark to remain the pseudo-Switch trick. 

Solgaleo-GX earned two voting points, so if we extend our Top 10 out far enough, it clocks in at 18th place.  It was my 11th place pick for the set, at least at the time we submitted our personal top 10 lists, which gave it a tiebreaker it didn’t need because Skarmory and Lillie tied with three voting points while our 19th place finisher managed only a single voting point.


21times

Solgaleo GX (Sun & Moon, 89/149) really wowed me when I first saw him.   I remember thinking that this would be the best card coming out of the set.  I thought that Tauros GX (Sun & Moon, 144/149) would play similarly to Machamp EX (Ancient Origins, 90/98) and that Decidueye GX (Sun & Moon, 12/149) wouldn’t have nearly the impact everyone had hyped him up to. 

Hmm, maybe a reviewer shouldn’t start the review by pointing out several mistakes he made in rubbing the crystal ball and guessing which Pokemon would stand out from this latest expansion.  At any rate, Solgaleo GX has not had any success at any of the major tournaments since SUM’s release at the beginning of February.  I have seen it featured in a number of videos, paired with such Pokemon as Lurantis GX (Sun & Moon, 138/149), Lunala GX (Sun & Moon, 141/149), Mega Scizor EX (Breakpoint, 120/122), and Darkrai EX (Breakpoint,      118/122).  I’ve had the most success with Lurantis GX and Solgaleo, but I’ve only gone 11-9 with it. 

Solgaleo GX does appear to have everything you would want in a feature, top tier Pokemon.  With 250 HP, most decks will have to three shot it (I’m doing a study right now on average amount of damage done to an active Pokemon, and the average hovers around 100).  Furthermore, with the unprecedented ability of Ultra Road, you can move your Pokemon freely in and out of the active position.  Also, if you have more than one Solgaleo GX on the bench, you can move your Pokemon as many times as you have Solgaleo GX’s on the bench.  If you have two Solgaleo GX on the bench and your opponent’s last attack placed an effect on your active Pokemon, then you can retreat the active Pokemon to the bench – the effect will fall off – and then return it back up to the active position.   

Like the other GX Pokemon that have an ability, Solgaleo GX only has two attacks.  Solgaleo GX’s only attack that does damage is Sunsteel Strike, which does an almost unbelievable 230 damage – for only three energy!  Granted you have to discard all three energy after attacking, but by using Ultra Road and a Pokemon like Lurantis GX, you will have very little trouble putting that energy back on your Solgaleo GX.  Obviously, considering Solgaleo GX will also not have any energy on it, this presents itself as the perfect opportunity to play Max Potion (Breakpoint, 103/122) to heal all of the damage that Solgaleo GX might have taken. 

Finally, Solgaleo GX’s most important attack, Sol Burst GX, allows you for only one metal energy to place up to five energy of any type (including special energy) onto your Pokemon as you see fit.  You can easily power up two Solgaleo GX’s this way and potentially hit for 230 damage on successive turns.  Combining all of these features together, the 250 HP, Ultra Road, Sunsteel Strike, and Sol Burst GX, you can see why it perplexes me a little that this card hasn’t seen a top eight finish yet.  It might have to wait until the next rotation, though, when Forest of Giant Plants (Ancient Origins, 74/98) has left the meta.

Rating

Standard: 3.5 out of 5

Summary

Pokemon has definitely marketed Solgaleo GX as one of the two premier Pokemon coming out of the most recent Sun & Moon expansion.  It certainly seems to deserve top tier status, but time will tell if it can achieve success at the highest level of the game. 


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