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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Top 10 Sun & Moon

#9 - Espeon-GX
- Sun & Moon

Date Reviewed:
Feb. 7, 2017

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3.38
Expanded: 4.00
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

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. 

Rating 

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 bit) 

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 together!...sort of?


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)! 

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. 

Espeon-GX 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. 

Espeon-GX 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. 

Espeon-EX 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. 

Ratings 

Standard: 3.25/5 

Expanded: 3.5/5 

Limited: 4/5 

Summary: 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. 

Espeon-GX 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.


Zach Carmichael
Had this at #5 on his Sun & Moon Top 10 List.


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