The Expert Belt – 1st March 2017

Greetings and welcome back to another weekly edition of The Expert Belt!

This time we have a whole lot going on so let’s get right to the point. With the release of the Sun & Moon expansion, we are introduced to many different and unique GX attackers. Here in Malaysia, if you are not around here, is filled with “legendary” decks (Mewtwo, Rayquaza, Yveltal and Volcanion) roaming around the meta-game. So is there anyhow a way for a GX to change the meta-game? Well, if you guessed Lurantis GX or Umbreon GX, then you are technically right (both cards are good too!), but as for this week’s edition of The Expert Belt, you are wrong (#rekt).

This week’s featured card on The Expert Belt has caused some waves during last weekend’s League Challenge in Cards and Hobbies is non-other than the marvelous and underrated Espeon GX!

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Normal Art
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Full Art
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Hyper Rare/Rainbow Rare Art

General Information

Espeon GX is a 200 HP, Stage 1 Psychic Type GX Pokemon from the Sun & Moon expansion. They are card numbered #61, #140 and #152. It has a weakness to Psychic type and has One Retreat Cost.

Stated are its attacks:

[P] – Psybeam for 30 damage and your opponent’s Active Pokemon is now Confused.

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[P][C][C] – Psychic which does 60 damage plus (+) 30 more damage times the amount of Energy attached to your opponent’s Active Pokemon.

(GX Attack) [P][C][C] – Divide GX which allows you to put 10 damage counters on your opponent’s Pokemon in any way you like.

Wowzers, both decent attacks overall and a board controlling GX attack, but still why is this card causing havoc in the meta-game instead of the hyped “cousin/brother/sister/famUmbreon GX? Let’s have a look in the “Playability” section below.

Playability

Now, usually I would discuss on why Espeon GX is played in our meta-game. But due to some lengthy (novel long) opinions on Player’s Perspective section, I’m just gonna state the basics of Espeon GX.

Espeon GX is now mostly used to take on Mega Mewtwo EX decks. It totally shits bombard on them, literally. Its Psychic attack decimates Mega Mewtwos that has 2 Energies attached to them while Mega Mewtwo EX needs to have 4 Energies + 3 Energy attached to Espeon GX to Knock it Out.

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Not one of the cool kids anymore

Besides Mega Mewtwo EX, Espeon GX‘s Psychic is a pretty all rounder attack that mostly 2-Shots other EX/GX attackers, unless its a “big” (and juicy) Yveltal EX (or basically any EX/GX) with a stockpile of Energies attached to it.

Espeon GX‘s Psybeam attack is its most underrated and most annoying attack due to it confusing the opposing Pokemon. Its a 50/50 when your opponent decides to attack while his Active Pokemon is Confused.

Divide GX attack is mostly used to finish off the damaged Pokemons on the Bench and/or setting up a Knock Out on the Active Pokemon. It also can be used to take out a Pokemon from the Bench entirely (cough Garbodor cough). More or less its used as setting up near the end of the game.

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The bread and butter of the Eeveelutions decks

Espeon GX also benefits a lot from the Eevee from Sun & Moon expansion with its Energy Evolution ability which can set up a Turn 1 Evolution.

Not to mention Espeon GX can benefit from the Stage 1 type additions of Eeveelutions from the Ancient Origins expansion.

jolteon-ancient-origins-aor-26 22 13

Common Weakness for Lightning is Yveltal EX, Shaymin EX and M-Rayquaza EX. For Water is mostly on Volcanion EX. While for Fire is mostly towards Vespiquen, Magearna EX and of course the newly added Lurantis GX.

Player’s Perspective 

Now this is the result of last weekend’s League Challenge that happened at Cards & Hobbies on the 26th of February 2017 with a total of 40 players!

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Yep, Yee Wei shut it down during last weekend’s League Challenge at Cards & Hobbies. Photo by Chloe Sim.

Pokemon League Challenge @ Cards & Hobbies:

1st – Yee Wei Chun (Yveltal/Garbodor/Tauros GX)
2nd – Nicholas Yong (Vespiquen/Espeon GX)
3rd – Rinesh John (Mega Mewtwo Y/Espeon GX)
4th – Izmir Armani (Mega Rayquaza/Jolteon EX)
5th – Ren Yi Ngo (Mega Gardevoir)
6th – Syahmi Razak (Yveltal/Garbodor/Tauros GX)
7th – Ryan Kai (Mega Mewtwo Y/Garbodor)
8th – Hafizuddin Mohamad (Vespiquen/Zoroark)


With Sun & Moon into full effect, we caught up with the Top 4 to ask their opinion on Espeon GX itself (let the pros explain better hor). Do note guys, it’s gonna be a long (tiring) 4 opinions which is well constructed and explained (for the better heh) for the community.

4th Placement – Izmir Armani with Mega Rayquaza EX/ Jolteon EX

giphy“I can see this 200 HP Psychic type GX impact the meta-game as a hard counter to the very established Mega Mewtwo decks. Espeon GX has 3 attacks with efficient energy costs.

On top of the cheap 30 damage, Psybeam’s auto confusion effect is very cool strategy as it can change the tide of the game if your opponent falls to the wrong side of the status effect. It forces your opponent to either cancel the confusion or take the 50/50 risk to either land an attack or obtain 3 damage counters to itself. In short, this attack can disrupt your opponent’s plan.

Psychic’s increment for every Energy attached on your opponent’s Pokemon is pretty good. The more energy the opponent has, Espeon GX will punish them harder. With 1-3 energy attached on your opponent, Espeon is already landing 90-150 damage range. A decent damage number as it allows you to achieve OHKO on popular EX/Mega/GX by hitting their respective weakness.

Pair Espeon GX with other Eeveelutions like Flareon/Vaporeon/Jolteon from Ancient Origins to take advantage of their respective typings; thats a total of 4 type coverage! Divide GX is a neat GX utility as a sweeper or to set up future kills. The freedom to place 10 damage counter can win you games. Overall, I feel Espeon GX has a place in the current meta-game with its attractive attributes”.

3rd Placement – The Myth The Legend, Rinesh John with Mega Mewtwo EX Y/ Espeon GX

Espeon GX is a situational card in my opinion. There are pros and cons to it.

Cons – Makes the deck a little clunky and a 1-1 line means it does not always come out perfectly. Had a play-test last week before the League Challenge and out of 7 times at least 5 times I could not set it up.

Pros – It’s a good card against mirror Mewtwo. It can hit Giratina EX and Carbink.

Don’t get me wrong. I still find it a very strong card. I give it a 8/10.

2nd Placement – Nicholas Yong with Vespiqueen/ Espeon GX

“Leading up to the League Challenge, I had play-tested Vespiquen-Eeveelutions to try and counter the suspected Yveltal/Mega-Rayquaza/Volcanion decks, though I still did not have an answer to the prevailing Mega-Mewtwo sans Klefki (adding to the fact I felt playing the SUM Eevee just for AOR Eeveelutions was a waste).

It was only on the day before the League Challenge that I recall stumbling upon a few Japanese decks using either Espeon-GX or Umbreon-GX with Vespiquen. I decided to add Espeon-GX at the last minute with little time to try it out.

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One of the most hated cards ever since Seismitoad EX

Espeon-GX made a good front-line attacker while I set up Vespiquen on the bench. The Psybeam attack was easy to do and good enough to stall opponents, and when combined with AOR Eeveelutions, it managed to hold its own. The Divide GX attack was a great counter against Garbodor, dealing a one-hit KO even if the trash Pokémon hid on the bench. It was key in my one and only Mega-Mewtwo matchup where, combined with Klefki, dealt one-hit KOs with its Psychic attack and was protected from the backup, energy-ready second Mega-Mewtwo”.

1st Placement – LCW of Pokemon TCG, Yee Wei Chun with Yveltal EX/ Tauros GX/ Garbodor

“In my opinion , I estimated the meta-decks like the following : –

Tier 1: M-Mewtwo EX, M-Rayquaza EX, Volcanion EX

Tier 2: Yveltal/Garbodor, Vespi/Espeon, Turbo Dark / Turbo Tina

Tier 3: Vespi-Zoroark, WaterBox, Lurantis/Vileplume, Decidueye/Vileplume,  Lunala/Woobuffet

Pros about Espeon GX – with 200 HP its quite difficult to get OHKO-ed by M-Mewtwo (with total 7 Energy to KO), M-Rayquaza EX (need Skyfield and with 7 Pokemon on the Bench) – Can combo with other eeveelution like Flareon / Vaporeon / Jolteon to hit opposing weakness at the same time also add on Stadium choice like Rough Seas as healing card while also acts as a counter Stadium card.

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First Attack is Psybeam. Usually just to stall 1 or 2 turns against tankers like Tauros GX, Giratina EX, M Rayquaza EX and so on.

Second Attack is Psychic. This main Attack can OHKO M-Mewtwo , M-Rayquaza EX with Jolteon’s ability, Volcanion EX with Vaporeon’s ability. Divide GX is a good counter to Garbodor lock with just ngam ngam (100) damage to KO without Lysandre to unlock back all your eeveelutions ability. Cheap retreat cost with 1 Colourless .200px-yveltalexxy144

Cons about Espeon GX. Bad Weakness (Psychic) Stage 1 Pokemon – although with Eevee’s ability. Too many Stage 1 Pokemon combo in deck like Vespiqueen and Eevee family can spoil the deck’s consistency. High energy cost attack and the need of DCE (Double Colorless Energy) to perform the attack. Badly bad against Yveltal EX. Return damage is high due to the 3 Energy cost attack”.


Conclusion

With Sun & Moon in its place in the meta-game, Espeon GX totally took the players by storm (at least those who didn’t play it). Espeon GX is here to keep mainly M-Mewtwo EX decks in check. It might not be the best play all the time, but if timed right, it can cause havoc in the meta-game scene. As long as the Eeveelutions from Ancient Origins are still legal, Espeon GX can definitely have an impact when you are least expecting it.

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But I thought I was the hyped one 😦

And that’s it for this week’s edition of The Expert Belt! Hope some epic opinions and thoughts from the pros here in Malaysia can help you (yes, you the person reading now) understand Espeon GX‘s place in our current Pokemon TCG meta-game.

Thanks for reading everyone and have a great week ahead.

*All graphics belong to their original owners and no copyright infringement intended.

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