The Eeveelutions never cease to
show up and show their might. And hey, why not have the
sun-related one show up for the Sun & Moon expansion?
Makes sense to me.
Espeon-GX is a faster GX to get,
being only a Stage 1 GX. Sure, she's only got 200 HP
(wow, who knew I'd say something like that?), but she's
got some...decent attacks. Psybeam is a simple 1-for-20
that Confuses the opponent. Not really much to say about
it, but it'll probably force a Switch or something, I
suppose. Then there's Psychic, a 3-for-60 hit that does
30 more damage for every Energy on the opponent's
Active. There's a little promise there in hitting
against M Mewtwo-EX or any Energy-heavy opponent for
good, but it's nothing we haven't seen before.
Then of course there's the main
appeal of Espeon-GX: Divide GX, which lets you spread
out 10 damage counters on your opponent's Pokemon any
way you like...for 3 Energy. Alright, 3-for-100, not
bad, and you can push them anywhere. Maybe set up a
stunning set of KOs or even take a couple easy ones
yourself - you have a lot of freedom with that!
My main problem with Espeon-GX is
she's overall a bit lackluster. Sure, her attacks
are...decent, but Divide GX is the only one that made me
think of her being any good, and even then you can only
use it once in the game. There's potential in it, but
I'm a bit iffy on it, even in an aggressive format. At
least as a 200 HP Stage 1 she'll be able to use her
power and then wreck shop a little before getting KO'd.
The bar just gets set a little higher for her.
Still, credit where credit is due.
Standard: 3.5/5 (I'm optimistic for
the GX move, less so with the rest of Espeon-GX)
Expanded: 4.5/5 (but you can bet in
a format with Dimension Valley, she'll nail it quite a
Limited: 5/5 (and you just don't
wanna mess with these guys in Limited)
Arora Notealus: It's probably gonna
be tough to fairly rate the GX until we really know how
to handle them more. After all, they did just start us
out on this new mechanic fresh off of BREAK
Evolution...wait a sec...you don't think BREAK Evolution
was the precursor?!
Next Time: The orb that connects us
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)!
Ninth place goes to Espeon-GX (Sun & Moon
61/149, 140/149, 152/149). Being a Psychic Type
means access to some great tricks like Dimension
Valley and Mystery Energy… in Expanded play.
When it comes to Standard play, I’m drawing a blank on
any worthwhile pieces of Type explicit support.
The Energy Type gains some new support from Lunala-GX,
as its Ability can move [P] Energy around on your side
of the field. There aren’t any anti-Psychic Type
effects of which I am aware, but Psychic Resistance is
found on nearly all Metal Types and most Darkness Types.
A good chunk of Psychic Types and Fighting Types are
Psychic Weak; at a glance, this doesn’t sound impressive
but there are enough prominent Psychic Weak Pokémon that
this could prove important. There are also some
Psychic Type Pokémon that work well off Type, but can
just do more in an actual Psychic Type deck. Put
it all together, and you get a solid Pokémon Type.
Next, we’ll briefly reflect upon Pokémon-GX; remember
that they get an HP boost and have a GX attack, but are
worth an extra Prize when KO’d. Being a Stage 1
means - without assistance - that Espeon-GX will
require an extra card and an extra turn to hit the
field, though this is quite reasonable… and as an
Eeveelution, it has a few specialized shortcuts which we
will discuss later. Espeon-GX has 200 HP, the
same as a small Mega Evolution. Outside of
Weakness, it is likely a tricky OHKO for most decks,
possibly even outside of OHKO range. This is over
twice what you can find in any Espeon legal for
Expanded play, and a solid 30 points higher than even
Espeon-EX. Its Psychic Weakness is dangerous,
but at least it is shared by many of the Pokémon who can
exploit it. Lack of Resistance is typical; had one
been present, it may have come in handy on rare
occasion, but I won’t be penalizing Espeon-GX for
lacking one. The Retreat Cost of [C] is low, easy
to pay both upfront and in the long run.
has three attacks. The first is “Psybeam” for [P],
which does 30 damage while Confusing your opponent’s
Active. For [PCC] Espeon-GX can use the
iconic “Psychic” attack to do 60 damage plus 20 per
Energy attached to the opponent’s Active. “Divide-GX”
requires [PCC] and allows you to place 10 damage
counters however you wish on your opponent’s side of the
field. Psybeam isn’t amazing, but it is a fast,
disruptive attack that still does a little bit of
damage. Psychic isn’t particularly strong but
seems intended as a means of OHKOing M Mewtwo-EX
(XY: BREAKthrough 64/162; 160/162) or any other
high Energy, Psychic Weak target. Divide-GX can be
fantastic under the right circumstances but
setting up those circumstances can be challenging. 100
damage for three is decent for a regular attack, so does
converting it to 10 damage counters you may place as you
wish really offset being a once-per-game trick?
In Expanded you can use Dimension Valley to
change the cost of Psychic and Divide-GX to [PC] which
makes a notable difference.
needs to Evolve from Eevee, and unlike with many
other Evolving Basics, we have some clear winners to
focus upon: BW: Plasma Freeze 90/116, XY:
Furious Fists 80/111, and Sun & Moon 101/149.
All are Basic, Colorless Type Pokémon with Fighting
Weakness and no Resistance. BW: Plasma Freeze
90/116 has 60 HP, Retreat Cost [C], and two attacks.
For [C] it can use “Signs of Evolution” to search your
deck for three Pokémon of different Types which Evolve
from Eevee and add them to your hand. Then
for [CCC] it can use “Bite” to do 30 damage. We
only care about Signs of Evolution, as it provides
search that isn’t dependent upon Trainers or Abilities.
Your opponent will have an entire turn to disrupt your
hand before you can make use of what you searched out,
and if you don’t need a diverse selection, it loses
potency, but it can also be useful for decks where you
need discard fodder and not just Eeveelutions you
actually want to put into play. XY: Furious Fists
80/111 only have 50 HP with a Retreat Cost of [C], but
has one Ability and one attack. The first is
“Energy Evolution”, and I will actually come back to it
in a bit; the second is just “Gnaw” for [CC], which does
10 damage. Sun & Moon 101/149 has 60 HP but a
Retreat Cost of [CC], and also has an attack and
Ability. In fact, the Ability is once again Energy
Evolution, but let us get the attack out of the way: for
[C] this Eevee may use “Quick Draw” to flip a
coin; “heads” means you draw a card, “tails” means the
attack does nothing.
Yes, Energy Evolution is getting its own paragraph.
The two Abilities are almost identical; on Sun & Moon
101/149 it specifies it only works during your turn, but
as you may only use this Ability when the Eevee
in question has a basic Energy attached to it from your
hand, I don’t know any way of triggering it except
during your turn. It does not specify
“before you attack”, and I could not find a ruling, so
it might be possible to trigger Energy Evolution with an
attack that attaches basic Energy cards from hand.
When these conditions are met, Energy Evolution allows
you to search your deck for a card that Evolves from
“this Pokémon” that is the same Type as the basic Energy
you just attached. I did find a ruling, reversing
an older one, that allows you to search your deck for an
Eeveelution even if you attach a basic Energy card for
which there is no Eeveelution (either at all or in the
current card pool). You won’t be able to snag
anything, but you still get to see your deck and then
shuffle it. Wait, there’s more! Energy Evolution
doesn’t just search your deck for a compatible
Evolution, but then Evolves “this Pokémon” into that
Evolution, even if it is the very first turn of the
game. This gets around many (all?) forms of
Evolution lock, and while there is text mentioning how
this counts as Evolving, that is reminder text so that
you remember to do the usual things associated with
Evolving (like removing attack effects and Special
Conditions), as well as for those odd situations where
you might use Energy Evolution, then follow up with
Devolution Spray, you couldn’t Evolve from hand
normally (doing it the other way around is fine,
though!). There are even more rulings, but the
short version is that this is a great Ability,
even if it means you need the correct basic Energy for
the correct Eeveelution.
So which Eevee to use? BW: Plasma Freeze
90/116 if it is Expanded play and you’ve got a
heavy focus on shutting down Abilities. For
example, if your deck is focused on Silent Lab,
you might want this. If you can work around
Ability denial, then go with XY: Furious Fists
80/111, and Sun & Moon 101/149; in Expanded
decide between the two based on whether +10 HP and a
flippy draw attack on something you hope to
immediately Evolve is worth a more expensive Retreat
Cost. After this, we get to consider all the
possible Pokémon into which Eevee may Evolve.
While my obsessive tendencies are screaming at me to
spend an hour or two running through them all, again
we’ll just focus on some highlights. Umbreon-GX
is a serious contender, but whether as part of the Top
10 or in the weeks immediately after, we’ll be covering
it in depth so I’ll just stick to the name drop. Flareon
(XY: Ancient Origins 13/98), Vaporeon (XY:
Ancient Origins 22/98), and Jolteon (XY:
Ancient Origins 26/98) each have an Ability that
makes all your Stage 1 Pokémon count as its respective
Type, in addition to whatever Type(s) your Pokémon may
already be. That means Espeon suddenly can
punish Energy heavy Fire Weak, Water Weak, or Lightning
Weak Pokémon. Flareon (BW: Plasma Freeze
12/116) a.k.a. Flareon [Plasma] has an attack
that hits harder the more Pokémon you have in your
discard pile and is another serious contender as a combo
partner (at least in Expanded play).
For comparison purposes more than anything else, I
will run through the regular Espeon cards, as
well as Espeon-EX. Yes, I know Espeon-EX
doesn't Evolve from Eevee, but it lets us
highlight the few differences between Pokémon-GX and
Pokémon-EX. Plus there are only two Espeon
to cover apart from Espeon-EX: BW: Dark
Explorers 48/108 (reprinted as BW: Black Star
Promos BW92) and BW: Plasma Freeze 48/116).
Both are Stage 1 Psychic Type Pokémon with 90 HP,
Psychic Weakness, no Resistance, and Retreat Cost [C].
This means regardless of which regular Espeon we
reference, Espeon-GX is enjoying +110 HP, more
than double what it had. The catch? These
are two Expanded-only cards from the BW-era; a
hypothetical XY-era Espeon may have gotten a
boost thanks to power creep, but we will never know.
As for what they do, BW: Dark Explorers 48/108
has the Ability “Solar Revelation” that protects any and
all of your Pokémon with Energy attached from the
effects of attacks other than damage made by your
opponent’s Pokémon. This is quite handy. The
attack is “Psy Report” which costs [PCC] and does 60
damage while revealing your opponent’s hand; the attack
is too expensive for what it does, but the Ability may
be adequate compensation.
BW: Plasma Freeze
48/116) is a Team Plasma Pokémon, so I’ll refer to it as
Espeon [Plasma] henceforth. It has two
attacks; for [C] it can use “Psy Alert” to do 20 damage
and then you draw until you have six cards in hand,
while for [P] its “Shadow Ball” does 40 damage to the
opposing Pokémon of your choice. Unlike most such
attacks, this one states it does apply
Weakness/Resistance when hitting a Benched target.
Not great, but it can take out Benched Trubbish.
Possibly one or both of these could serve as TecH in an
Espeon-EX deck, but I don’t know if there will be
room; the great downfall of many Eeveelutions is that
the best crowd out the rest as they all must Evolve from
Eevee. Well, sometimes there are
alternatives; you could Archie’s Ace in the Hole
on Glaceon and Vaporeon, but space is
still tight. Espeon-EX is a Basic Pokémon, so at
least it takes less space and is faster to the field.
Again, I realize that, mechanically, it is not part of
the line, but looking at it is so educational; Stage
already makes a sizable difference between Espeon-EX
and Espeon-GX, in the favor of the older card. Espeon-EX
is still a Psychic Weak Psychic Type with no Resistance
and Retreat Cost of [C], but it has 170 HP; only 30
lower than Espeon-GX. Obvious 200 is better
than 170, but 170 on a Basic Pokémon-EX has proven
successful in the current metagame, especially with
cards like Fighting Fury Belt to give it some
added help. Espeon-EX sports only two attacks,
no three, and of course has no GX-attack. For [C]
you may Devolve each of your opponent’s Evolved Pokémon,
with the highest Stage of Evolution (what was removed by
Devolving) returning to your opponent’s hand. For
[PCC] you get “Psy Shock”, which only does 70 damage but
is able to ignore effects on the opponent’s Active.
Weakness and Resistance are not considered
effects, but this can cut through protective Ability,
attack, and even Tool effects, as long as they apply to
the opponent’s Active and not Espeon-EX.
These two attacks are niche, but good.
might become a hot commodity if people do shift to
Evolved Pokémon-GX; it combos with Espeon-GX!
Divide-GX could spread some damage counters on
Evolutions with much, much smaller lower Stages and
Espeon-EX can then take multiple KO’s the next turn
as it bounces the highest Stage away. Is that the
main use for Espeon-GX? It isn’t strong
enough for that, and I haven’t seen it yet, but I’ve
only run into a few Eeveelution decks post-Sun & Moon.
The main thing is backing up Umbreon-EX and
exploiting Psychic Weakness, particularly on Energy
heavy Pokémon. Thanks to the trio of Eeveelutions
from XY: Ancient Origins, Espeon-GX can
also punish additional forms of Weakness. Sounds
like a deck to me. I ran into it once on the
PTCGO, in the Standard format, and it seemed reasonably
good, but that’s just an anecdote; real evidence
would require several examples (preferably a few dozen),
involving skilled players. Needless to say, I
don’t have that. Espeon-EX has a place in
Standard and Expanded play, and thanks to Eevee
it is amazing in Limited as well. There you
can even risk running a deck where Eevee is your
only Basic! Just attach a Psychic Energy
and as long as Espeon-GX isn’t Prized, you’re
probably going to win. If it is Prized, you’re
almost certainly going to lose, so I can’t recommend
such a strategy.
As long as you can pair it with an Energy Evolution
Eevee, Espeon-GX is fast, and that can offset
its big attacks being a bit mediocre without Weakness to
exploit. You can also include the XY: Ancient
Origins Eeveelutions to improve your odds of
exploiting Weakness and believe me that hurts for many
decks. Expanded means you can try the same tricks,
possibly a few more if there is room in the deck.
I don’t consider Espeon-GX to be one of those
cards you’ve got to have… but it works well with
Umbreon-EX and that has seen some serious hype.
You might want to get a copy or two of this quickly, in
case the ever popular Eeveelution deck ends up being one
of the better decks in the game.
secured ninth place with nine voting points,
coincidentally enough. As both 8th and 10th place
also received nine voting points, it boiled down to
having a good tiebreaker (appeared on two lists), but
not the best tie breaker (more on that tomorrow).
This part of the Top 10 was quite close in scores; 11th
place had 8 points, so one less and Espeon-GX is
fighting to make the list, while one more and it could
have been fighting for 6th place.