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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Top 10 Sun & Moon

#2 Decidueye-GX
- Sun & Moon

Date Reviewed:
Feb. 16, 2017

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 4.44
Expanded: 4.50
Limited: 4.67

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

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

BUT IT IS!! Another Grass-type GX to bring ruin upon the masses! 

Decidueye-GX is another of the starter evolutions that got a GX, alongside of course Primarina-GX and Incineroar-GX, who didn't make it up to the Top 10 list this time around. Of the three though, it looks like it was no contest to see which one stood out on top - and wouldn't you know it, he's got an Ability! Maybe that helped out a lot, but let's take a look at what else he brings to the table!

While being a Stage 2 would normally make Decidueye-GX as slow as Primarina-GX or Incineroar-GX, he is a Grass-type meaning he gets access to Forest of Crazy-Growing Plants, so he's as good as active on Turn 1 in the right hands. His main attack isn't terribly impressive though; clocking in at a 3-for-90 vanilla strike, Razor Leaf isn't the type of attack that makes you say, "This is definitely one of the best cards in the set." No, Razor Leaf is probably the most boring part of the card - but everything else is fantastic! 

His Ability, Feather Arrow, is a super simple one - once per turn, hit an opponent's Pokemon for 20 damage. That's it! It's a small number, but if Muscle Band is anything to go by, hitting that extra 20 damage could mean the difference between a 3HKO and a 2HKO, or a 2HKO and a OHKO! And since there's no restriction on how many Feather Arrows can activate in a turn, you could have multiple Decidueye-GX in play all shooting out these pesky arrows for up to 80 damage every turn! 

...not that, you know, anyone would reasonably run 4 of these guys and the whole line-up, but details. 

But of course as a GX, he's also got a GX attack, and it's arguably one of the best ones. Hollow Hunt GX only costs 1 Grass Energy, and it lets you get back 3 cards from your discard pile and add them to your hand. Once again, simple enough, but the applications of such a maneuver are extraordinary! You can get back valuable resources, a powerful Supporter, a much-needed Pokemon, even those Special Energies that are so hard to keep a hold of! And since all 3 cards go back to your hand, they can be used again on your next turn! Ain't that just crazy? 

Feather Arrow alone makes Decidueye-GX worth playing, but with Hollow Hunt GX, you oughta expect him to be a headliner in a variety of Grass decks in the new format! 

Rating 

Standard: 4.5/5 (quick evolution thanks to Grass Stadium, a solid Ability, and a great GX attack) 

Expanded: 4.5/5 (his only real drawback is his Fire Weakness at that point!)

Limited: 5/5 (which means against anything else, he'll dominate) 

Arora Notealus: I wonder if they'll ever make a Psychic-type version of Decidueye. I mean I know he's a starter and he's Grass, but you ever think they'd make the starters with their other Type? Or even bring back Dual-typing for these guys! Water/Fairy Primarina, Fire/Dark Incineroar, Grass/Psychic (for Ghost) Decidueye - it's these sorts of possibilities that really get those creative juices flowing! 

Next Time: And the GX that took our #1 spot on this list is...


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)! 

So do I make a joke about CW’s The Arrow or Hawkmon/Shurimon?  That is right, taking second place in our countdown is Decidueye-GX (Sun & Moon 12/149).  So far - remember, even including Japanese releases we’ve got less than two full sets to reference - being a Pokémon-GX always means giving up an extra Prize, enjoying +50 or more HP over your regular counterpart, and either an Ability plus two attacks or three attacks, with either option including one GX attack you may use only once per game.  Decidueye-GX is a Grass Type, so like yesterday it does a solid job exploiting the Weakness found on many Water and Fighting Types (though far from all of either of those Types).  No worrying about Resistance, either.  Anti-Grass Type effects aren’t all that good, but they do exist, so that could be worse.  Grass Type support is great… in a sense.  Broken Vine Space Forest of Giant Plants technically helps Evolving Grass Types, but Decidueye-GX Evolves from a Grass Type, so it hits the field possibly in a single turn: pretty amazing. 

The rest of the Grass Type support is hit or miss, or at least deck specific for those things.  Shiinotic (Sun & Moon 17/149) is a good example; its Ability allows you a once-per-turn search for a Grass Type but you’re running a Stage 1 to get that effect.  That space could just go for more search Items, which you can still use even when Abilities go offline.  The Type doesn’t lack useful Grass Types to try and combo with, but I am uncertain if any really complement a Stage 2 Pokémon-GX.  Decidueye-GX has 240 HP, just 10 under the maximum.  This is still enough to frequently survive a single attack, sometimes two if you get a bit lucky.  Fire Weakness is no surprise, but it is also quite dangerous.  Volcanion-EX can jack up the damage from Basic attackers with its Ability, all but ensuring a OHKO if Abilities are working and they have enough Fire Energy to meet the discard costs.  Flareon (XY: Ancient Origins 13/98) means any Stage 1 can suddenly become a Fire Type and exploit Weakness as well (though again, only if Abilities are working).  Lack of Resistance is typical; it may have come in handy, but likely wouldn’t have made a major difference if present.  The Retreat Cost of [CC] is high enough you can pay it but low enough you’d prefer not to; just another reason to include some alternatives to retreating at full price. 

Decidueye-GX has one Ability and two attacks.  “Feather Arrow” may be used once per turn, prior to attacking, and allows you to place two damage counters on the one opposing Pokémon of your choice.  As is often the case, “once per turn” doesn’t mean overall; we’ve had some effects like that, but each instance of Feather Arrow may be used once per turn.  That means if you can get enough copies of Decidueye-GX into play on your first turn, you might be able to win via Ability based donk.  Otherwise, it is still great just to have the rest of the game; it can function as support or it can also take KO’s in and of itself.  “Razor Leaf” costs [GCC] to do 90 damage.  This is a vanilla attack, and almost feels like filler;  almost, but not quite, as the return is just enough to be a viable threat, especially when backed by Feather Arrow.  Last up is the GX attack, “Hollow Hunt-GX”, which costs [G] and allows you to put three cards from your discard pile into your hand.  This can get any kind of card, and they go directly to your hand, which is very nice.  At the same time, being a GX attack means you will have to use it wisely as cannot spam it.  That doesn’t make it bad, just (hopefully) makes it balanced; I would not want a Standard legal equivalent Puzzle of Time being constantly recycled via Sableye (BW: Dark Explorers 62/108) and its “Junk Hunt” attack.  None of these three effects are reliant upon each other, but they do complement each other when used well. 

Forest of Giant Plants allows Decidueye-GX to hit the field ASAP, but you still have to run the lower Stages.  We have two options for Rowlet: SM: Black Star Promos SM01 and Sun & Moon 9/149.  Both are Basic Grass Type Pokémon with Fire Weakness, no Resistance, Retreat Cost [C], and no Ability.  SM: Black Star Promos SM01 has 50 HP and “Fury Attack” for [G], which lets you flip three coins and does 10 damage per “heads”.  Sun & Moon 9/149 has 60 HP, and two attacks: “Tackle” for [C] which does 10, and “Leafage” for [GC] to do 20.  The attacks are all filler, so take the +10 HP of Sun & Moon 9/149.  Rare Candy cannot be used with the effect of Forest of Giant Plants, so Dartrix (Sun & Moon 10/149) is the only option.  It is a Stage 1 Grass Type Pokémon with 80 HP, Fire Weakness, no Resistance, Retreat Cost [C], and two attacks: “Sharp Blade Quill” costs [C] and allows you to hit one of opposing Pokémon of your choice for 20 damage, while “Leaf Blade” costs [GCC] to do 50 damage plus flip a coin, where “heads” gives you +20 damage while “tails” does just the base 50.  You also have an alternate Stage 2 option, Decidueye (Sun & Moon 11/149).  It is still a Grass Type, has 140 HP, Fire Weakness, no Resistance, Retreat Cost [C], and two attacks.  For [G] it can use its version of Leaf Blade to do 30 damage. +30 damage if you get “heads” on the coin flip, and for [GCC] you can use “Brave Bird” to do 120 damage, but Decidueye does 20 damage to itself.  Though Decidueye-GX and Decidueye count as two different Pokémon (you may run up to four of each in your deck), sharing lower Stages means you can only have four total in play at a time.  I’d stick with just Decidueye-GX. 

So how and where do you use Decidueye-GX?  Though not what it once was, Crobat (XY: Phantom Forces 33/119) was used in a variety of decks, either to spread damage about or to offset lower damage to the opponent’s Active.  Its Ability “Surprise Bite” places three damage counters on one of the opponent’s Pokémon of your choice, but only triggers when you Evolve one of your in play Pokémon into said Crobat.  Golbat (XY: Phantom Forces 32/119; Generations 31/83) has a similar Ability that triggers when you Evolve one of your Pokémon in play into it: “Sneaky Bite” then places two damage counters on the opposing Pokémon of your choice.  Before factoring in combos, counters, etc. Golbat plus Crobat places a total of five damage counters spread out over two turns, while Decidueye-GX would need three turns just to place the first two (remember, we aren’t factoring in Forest of Giant Plants yet).  Two more turns (so five total), and Golbat/Crobat aren’t placing any more damage counters via their Abilities, but Decidueye-GX now reaches six damage counters and can place even more each consecutive turn. 

When we start adding combos, it matters exactly what ones we include.  Golbat and Crobat have “okay” attacks which cost only [C], so Dimension Valley allows them to attack for free.  Usually, though, the Stadium has nothing to do with the Crobat line, instead, the Stadium is whatever something else in the deck requires.  What is included at least partially, if not primarily, for the Crobat line are various bounce effects: AZ, Super Scoop Up, and (often) Scoop Up Cyclone.  This allows you to reuse the Abilities of Golbat and Crobat, sometimes right away if you have a different Zubat and Golbat in play, ready to Evolve.  These cards are also often used by a low Energy attacker in the deck as well.  Other Pokémon in the deck may also join in, such as Shaymin-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 77/108, 106/108) or more specialized deck choices.  Decidueye-GX technically doesn’t have to use Forest of Giant Plants, but the speed really makes it tempting.  I may be mistaken, but you might make use of those same bounce cards, especially if Forest of Giant Plants is still in play: leaving play ought to reset the Ability (it isn’t worded in a manner to prevent this).  I believe Devolution Spray could be substituted in Standard, as (again) with Forest of Giant Plants you could immediately re-Evolve and use that instance of Feather Arrow again that turn.  Probably not worth it, unless you are trying to create a donk deck. 

So actually using it to backup another attack just depends on it significantly benefitting from the extra damage counter placement, and Crobat provides a good model.  Seismitoad-EX/Decidueye-GX is already a thing in Expanded play, and you might try it with a nice selection of Fighting Type attackers like Landorus-EX, Lucario-EX, and/or Zygarde-EX.  With the former, it is because you want to lock down Items with “Quaking Punch”, which doesn’t do much damage itself, while with the latter it is because these attackers actually do good damage for just one Energy.  You can build them beyond that, but the main idea is that you just wreck your opponent, with damage counter placement allowing you to focus on multiple targets at once as opposed to just focusing on the Active (as you would just boosting damage via the Ability on Regirock-EX).  You may even consider not maxing out the entire line; even a 1-1-1 line might be nice as a small damage buff.  Something to remember, especially in Standard play, is dealing with Ability denial.  Garbodor (XY: BREAKpoint 57/122) usually isn’t rushed to the field via Wally, so if your opponent doesn’t Bench multiple Trubbish at once, you can try to take out whatever Trubbish your opponent is trying to run.  Otherwise, you’ll have to hope your main attacker can OHKO a Garbodor you force up front (such as with Lysandre), or include Beedrill-EX to discard Tools.  This threat is why I resist the idea of running Decidueye-GX sans Energy, just using the Ability to take KOs and spamming healing cards.  You also have to be ready for things like an opponent dropping a Hex Maniac to buy a turn of no Feather Arrow.  It is also great for Limited play, assuming you can pull the entire line.  Run it even if it is totally off Type and you cannot attack.  If you are on Type, the regular Decidueye can come in handy, fleshing out the rest of the line. 

Ratings 

Standard: 4.35/5 

Expanded: 4.5/5 

Limited: 4.25/5 

Summary: I worry I am not doing this card justice; just resuscitating Seismitoad-EX as a deck focus yet again in Expanded play is a huge deal.  The competitive present of Fire Types and Ability denial in Standard play are actually what cost it taking first place. 

Decidueye-GX received 19 voting points, tying with tomorrow’s number one pick.  Once again, both cards appeared on two of the three personal top 10 lists (one of which was my own), so I couldn’t break the tie by which card appeared on more lists, or according to which card was closer to making my own list.  That means once again, I used a six-sided die and rolled to see which card finish first, and which card would finish second.  Wait!  Didn’t I say that Fire Weakness and Ability denial in Standard play kept Decidueye-GX from taking first place?  On my own top 10 list, Decidueye-GX also took second place, for those reasons; if those had not been an issue, Decidueye-GX would have taken first place on my list, and thus received one more voting point and taken first place overall.  Then there would have been no need to roll a die to break the tie!


Zach Carmichael
Had this at #1 on his Top 10 List. 


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