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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Top 10 Sun & Moon

#6 - Lunala-GX
- Sun & Moon

Date Reviewed:
Feb. 10, 2017

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3.65
Expanded: 3.88
Limited: 4.50

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 now we come to one of the mascot legendaries of the generation, Lunala - now in GX form! Between the two legendaries, I do like Solgaleo JUUUUUUUUUUST a little more, but I won't deny that both of them - in their designs and their cards - are a great set! 

Lunala-GX ended up on our list though between the two, though that's not to say Solgaleo-GX is bad by any means. Really that probably goes for a majority of the good cards in the set - they're just so good right now, it's hard to pick one over the other. But Lunala-GX did end up as my personal #1, so what do I think of it? 

First of all is the Ability, Psychic Transfer. We've seen this type of Ability before - you get to move around any Energy of a particular Type around as much as you want - so you know how it can be applied in a variety of situations. In Expanded, this continues with cards like Klinklang (BW) and Hydreigon (DEX), although it's notable that a lot of these types of Abilities weren't overtly present in the XY sets. Still, the potential is there, and combined with some of the Psychic support, it can really add up to a good deal. In Standard it's a bit limited, but hey, I had Primarina-GX on here for that sweet potential. 

Lunala-GX also has Moongeist Beam, which while it's expensive at 4 Energy for 120 damage, it prevents the opponent's Pokemon from getting healed. I know I haven't looked on healing as a generally favorable mechanic, but against decks running Pokemon Center Lady and Rough Seas, this is a powerful attack to use. Just imagine the ability to 2HKO most anything in the format without being inhibited by your opponent recovering just enough HP to push it to a 3HKO - that's good stuff right there! 

Lastly we come to Lunala-GX's GX attack, Lunar Fall GX. It's an Energy cheaper than Moongeist Beam, but it comes with a powerful effect of its own. It simply KOs a Basic Pokemon in play - no ifs, ands, or buts about it. Just as long as it isn't a Pokemon-GX, of course. Sure, the attack itself doesn't seem that great - you just KO a Basic Pokemon and get a free Prize? Eh, it's okay, but when you realize this doesn't include those pesky Pokemon-EX - WELL NOW!! I'm ready to wipe that smirk off my opponent's face when I instantly KO their Pokemon-EX and claim those 2 Prizes for game! This could be anywhere from a key Bench-sitter in their strategy like Volcanion-EX to a main attacker like Seismitoad-EX or Zygarde-EX!! 

So what faults does Lunala-GX come with then? I mean, there's definitely a catch to a 250 HP GX. Well, like Primarina-GX, she's also a Stage 2 GX, so she'll be taking up a lot of deck space. And I'm not gonna lie...Cosmog and Cosmoem aren't the most stellar evolutionary line-up of the set. Neither of them have damaging attacks, just moves to help out; Cosmog can draw cards while Cosmoem Teleports itself to the Bench to keep itself from getting KO'd easily, which at 90 HP isn't that hard. Luckily their attacks are cheap and flexible, but they're mainly just stepping stones to Lunala-GX or Solgaleo-GX. On top of all of that, Lunala-GX's Energy requirements are all entirely Psychic Energy, meaning Psychic Transfer is a must to get the Energy she needs, and she's currently sporting a Dark weakness, which while not generally bad against things like M Mewtwo-EX or Greninja BREAK, it does have a tough time against Yveltal-EX decks, which happen to be the deck of choice in the format currently. 

Lunala-GX has a lot to live up to, but I think the potential here is high. Psychic Transfer is a replication of a previously successful Ability, and Lunar Fall GX is too good to just pass up on...at the moment. Depending on future sets, she may see more play or less play, but one things for sure - Lunala-GX is going to shape part of the format towards Psychic decks and hopefully give folks a run for their money. 

Rating 

Standard: 4/5 (she's got potential, but it's hard to judge if it's going to be tapped into well at the moment) 

Expanded: 4.5/5 (and while she can't benefit off of things like Dimension Valley herself, she can easily aid Psychic decks with her Lunar Fall GX and Psychic Transfer) 

Limited: 5/5 (and let's not forget, we're dealing with a 250 HP powerhouse over here) 

Arora Notealus: Lunala-GX or Solgaleo-GX...both are Stage 2s, GX, with really useful Abilities in their own right. I wonder if Solgaleo-GX though will see more play due to his own Ability, whereas Lunala-GX ends up having more of a sideline role with her GX attack and Ability. Really only time will tell, given that this set is just so new... 

Weekend Thought: Do you agree with the list so far? What cards made the list that you think shouldn't have? What about cards you think ought to have made the list? Any thoughts on what could possibly be in our Top 5? Keep an eye out for the rest of the list this next week! 

Next Time: A double-serving of effects, and a helping of familiarity!


Otaku

At last, it is time to countdown the top 10 cards of Sun & Moon, as determined by the aggregate efforts of aroramage, Zach, and myself!  As usual, each reviewer submitted his own personal top 10 list, and the results were averaged out to produce the list we are actually using.  Reprints were not permitted for the list; we already know a card like Ultra Ball is good (and actually pretty hard to top)! 

We conclude the week with sixth place, Lunala-GX (Sun & Moon 66/149, 141/149, 153/149), one of the two poster Pokémon for the seventh generation of Pokémon games.  I’ll start by running through what it means to be a Pokémon-GX: 

  • Giving up an extra Prize when KO’d.
  • Possessing an Ability and two attacks or no Ability with three attacks.
  • One of those attacks being the once-per-game GX attack.

So far all of them have had sizable HP gains, ranging from +50 to +110 over their most recent regular counterpart, and those that have a Pokémon-EX counterpart have had 30 more HP than it as well.  Even the latest rule book describes them as  

“Pokémon-GX are powerful Pokémon with more HP and stronger attacks. Each one also has a super-powerful GX attack.” 

on page 29.  The only card effect that mentions Pokémon-GX so far is an attack on this very card, and it doesn’t penalize them.  This is a marked difference from Pokémon-EX, but one shouldn’t get used to it as card effects that punish your opponent for using Pokémon-GX have already been revealed in Japan.  For now, though, it is quite good to be a Pokémon-GX. 

Lunala-GX is a Psychic Type.  Many Fighting and Psychic Type Pokémon are Psychic Weak, a useful thing for Lunala-GX.  It isn’t the most abundant Weakness, though.  Most Darkness and Metal Type Pokémon are Psychic Resistance; that is worse than it sounds between the efficacy of Resistance and exact makeup of Darkness Pokémon used in competitive play.  The Psychic Type has some great exclusive support like Dimension Valley and Mystery Energy… in the Expanded Format.  There are some other tricks for the Energy, but only one will be relevant to this review (we’ll bring it up later), and some good Psychic Pokémon that can work off-Type, but have more options in an actual Psychic Type deck.  Then there is Wobbuffet (XY: Phantom Forces 36/119; Generations RC11/RC32).  I used to count it as Psychic Type support because its Ability shuts down all Abilities in play except those of fellow Psychic Types, but it can and so often is used off-Type that seems like a mistake.  As you know from looking at the card scan, Lunala-GX has an Ability so being immune to Wobbuffet should be at least a small bonus (maybe a big one).  This is also a Stage 2, one of the most resource intensive, slowest Stages to hit the field.  That doesn’t mean the card is automatically bad, but it does mean viewing everything it does in that context. 

Lunala-GX has 250 HP, the maximum we’ve seen printed on anything legal to play, and shared only by a few other Pokémon-GX plus Wailord-EX.  This should allow it to survive many attacks, maybe even requiring an opponent go for no better than a 3HKO in some matchups.  It is Darkness Weak, which helps against other Psychics but is terrible right now unless Yveltal-EX and friends suddenly drop off the face of the competitive scene.  I expect the metagame to shift because of all these new cards, but not that much, that quickly.  Lunala-GX has Fighting Resistance, which is kind of like the icing on top of the massive cake that is its HP; even though Fighting Types can often stack bonuses and some can ignore Resistance, with this much HP there is a better chance Resistance will matter.  The Retreat Cost of [CC] may matter as well; just a bit high to easily pay, though you can if you must.  Pack some alternatives to manually retreating at full price; besides the usual, generic options, in Expanded Mystery Energy can zero this out. 

Lunala-GX has an Ability and two attacks.  First up is “Psychic Transfer”, and like many similarly named Abilities, it allows you to move one kind of Energy (...Psychic) around your field, one at a time but as often as you wish during your turn (so long as it is before your attack).  This enables some potent combos, like moving all the Energy off nearly KO’d Pokémon, healing it with Max Potion, then moving the Energy back so you may resume attacking.  It acts as a weak form of Energy acceleration, optimizing what you already have on the field.  The first attack is “Moongeist Beam”, which costs [PPPP] to do 120 damage, with the added effect that the target Pokémon cannot be healed during your opponent’s next turn.  The damage is enough to 2HKO most targets, and it prevents healing so that helps to enable those 2HKO’s, but the cost?  For four Energy of a specific Type, I generally expect something at least close to a OHKO.  Even with the Ability, this is pricey.  The GX attack is “Lunar Fall GX” and it costs [PPP]; you won’t be able to access it much before Moongeist Beam, then.  Its effect is quite potent; select one of your opponent’s Basic Pokémon that is not a Pokémon-GX, and KO it!  Until the metagame shifts away from Basic Pokémon-EX, that’s going to be pretty potent, and probably worth its status as a GX attack.  Already, though, any Evolution cards and all Pokémon-GX are off-limits, and for that much Energy, I expect a Stage 2 to be capable of OHKOing most (if not all) regular Basic Pokémon through more traditional means.  Finally, remember that it is still the effect of an attack, so Pokémon immune to attack effects can’t be touched by it. 

Lunala-GX Evolves from Cosmoem (Sun & Moon 65/149), which in turn Evolves from Cosmog (Sun & Moon 64/149).  Both are Psychic Type Pokémon with Psychic Weakness, no Resistance, and just one attack.  Cosmog is the Basic Stage of the line and has 60 HP with a Retreat Cost of [C]; its attack is “Dust Gathering” for [C] and lets you draw a card.  Cosmoem is a Stage 1 Pokémon with 90 HP and Retreat Cost [CCC]; its lone attack is “Teleport” for [C], which allows you to switch it with a Pokémon from your Bench.  These aren’t good, but at least the attacks don’t waste time doing damage when this card exists to Evolve.  This Evolution line splits, so instead of Lunala-GX, you may Evolve into Solgaleo-GX (Sun & Moon 89/149, 143/149, 155/149).  So this is also a Stage 2 Pokémon-GX with 250 HP, an Ability, and two attacks, but it is a Metal Type with Fire Weakness and Psychic Resistance.  Its Ability is Ultra Road, which allows you to switch your Active Pokémon with one from your Bench, once per turn before you attack: a free Switch once per turn, essentially.  For [MMC] it can use "Sunsteel Strike” to do 230 damage, but you must discard all Energy from Solgaleo-GX.  Though the discard cost is steep, but the damage is good.  Its GX attack is “Sol Burst-GX” for [M], which allows you to search your deck for up to five Energy cards and attach them to your Pokémon in any way you wish.  If you have the field full of potential attackers to go with it, this is a great GX attack.  We won’t discuss it more deeply now, as I don’t know if it can really complement Lunala-GX all that well due to the different Energy requirements.  We don’t have any yet, but any regular Lunala and Solgaleo will also become options once they exist. 

Lunala-GX is the focus of its own Energy transferral deck.  With it backing similarly beefy attackers, your opponent will be hard pressed to score a KO for several turns.  Unfortunately, the timing isn’t great for this card right now.  Ability denial decks are pretty common, and while some of them are specialized for Basics, Garbodor (XY: BREAKpoint 57/122) and Greninja BREAK - via Greninja (XY: BREAKpoint 40/122) will affect it, as can Hex Maniac for a turn.  I already mentioned my concern with Darkness Weakness as well; that applies for any attacker with a commonly played Weakness.  We’ve seen some decks with a similar strategy do well over the last few years, but they fall apart when Ability denial or OHKO’s are too easy, and I think that will be the case now.  I have faced one Lunala-GX deck so far, using Mewtwo-EX (XY: BREAKthrough 62/162, 158/162, 164/162; XY: Black Star Promos XY107), and somehow it seemed to squeeze in those Pokémon, a few others I forgot, Max Potion, Max Elixir, etc. It beat me handily… but I was running BRaH, a Bunnelby (XY: Primal Clash 121/162), Raticate (XY: Evolutions 67/108), and Houndoom-EX based mill deck.  BRaH isn’t an overly competitive, so the fact that I lost doesn’t prove Psychic Transfer decks are the next big thing, but it does show me that they can make room for the Pokémon, Trainers, and Energy they’ll need.  I will add that if I had been running an aggressive deck, I don’t think they would have had the time needed to set up… or maybe I was luckier than I realized even in defeat.  Expanded offers a lot more problems to deal with, but additional support as well.  If you pull Lunala-GX in Limited, run it unless you get a big, Basic Pokémon that would be better run completely on its own (a +39 deck). 

Ratings 

Standard: 3.35/5 
Expanded:
3.25/5 
Limited:
4/5 

Summary: Lunala-GX has some great things going for it, but all come with caveats.  It has 250 HP to survive some big hits but not against Darkness Types thanks to Weakness.  Psychic Transfer has big potential when the many anti-Ability effects don’t shut it down, and amazing combo potential if you can make room in the deck for it all.  Lunar Fall-GX allows you one strategic OHKO, provided the opportunity presents itself.  Moongeist Beam is can score 2HKO’s and has an effect to facilitate this, but the Energy cost is massive.  All of this has to be viewed in light of being a Stage 2 Pokémon-GX. 

Lunala-GX had 10 voting points, none of which came from me, but this is one of the times when I can see the potential in the card.  If I didn’t expect power creep and/or counters to be included in future releases, I’d expect a lot from this card after the XY-era sets rotate from Standard play.  Sixth place feels a bit high for it, but I don’t begrudge it making the list.  It tied with yesterday’s seventh place finisher, but due to extenuating circumstances, Lunala-GX came out on top.  Good thing, too, as my review would have been less favorable if I had submitted it a day earlier.  One less point and Lunala-GX would have been part of a massive four-way tie involving seventh through tenth place, while one more would have forced a tie between fifth and sixth.  I mention this to illustrate that 5th through 10th place are all pretty close together.


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