The Expert Belt, Guardian of Akala Island, 26 April 2017

Hello and welcome Poke’readers to another edition of The Expert Belt! With Guardians Rising expansion release on the horizon, along with the pre-release this weekend, The Expert Belt will be covering cards from Guardians Rising from now on.

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Now, the first featured card from Guardians Rising is probably the most hyped card of the set. Why hyped? Well, let’s begin with Mewtwo EX from Next Destinies.

bw4_en_98This card is literally the card that defined Big Basics EX decks. Its the beginning of an era back in 2012. This Mewtwo EX has been in the meta-game for a long time, due to reprints and of course it’s sheer power. It was everywhere, with the infamous term of Mewtwo Wars always happening in battle, due to Weakness against each other. “X-Ball” was the most devastating attack during that time, dealing either a 1 Hit KO or a 2 Hit KO against anything most of the time, with only a DCE attachment. Besides it’s attack, its a 170 HP Basic Pokemon. Nothing came close to that amount of HP for a Basic Pokemon (during that era), not to mention with a crazy high damage output attack.

Then, we have the popular Jirachi EX from the 2013’s Plasma Blast expansion (See where we going?).

200px-jirachiexplasmablast98Jirachi EX has the first defining Ability called “Stellar Guidance” that can search out a Supporter card from your deck. It was unique and it made decks a whole lot more consistent during that time. It was mostly a “One-off” in most decks to help aid during a “bad hand“. With just an Ultra Ball, you get to search a Supporter card of your choice and put it into your hand, which in most cases, you will use that Supporter card. Only drawback? 90 HP EX Pokemon. It was always the target the moment you put Jirachi EX on your bench. But its Ability always out-weigh the cons (90 HP EX) in almost every game. Before there was a VS Seeker for Lysandre to win the game, it was the Ultra Ball for Jirachi EX for a Lysandre to win the game. (Yes I do know Lysandre is only first printed in 2014’s set, Flashfire)

So why am I mentioning this two old cards that has already been rotated? Based on the impact each card has created in the past, which was quite significant, just imagine if somehow we had a card that has both the Pros of Mewtwo EX and Jirachi EX. Well, look no further. After the first initial scans of SM2 in Japan, we found out that this card is in fact a combination of Mewtwo EX and Jirachi EX.

This week’s featured card is non-other than the most hyped and probably the most expensive card in Guardians Rising, it’s Tapu Lele GX.

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Normal Art print

Just looking at it is already expensive. Anyway, let’s get down to business.


General Information

Tapu Lele GX is a 170 freaking HP Basic Psychic Pokemon. It has NO WEAKNESS, and a Retreat Cost of ONE. #brokenasF

holy-sht

It’s Ability is called “Stellar Guidance”Wonder Tag“, when you play Tapu Lele GX onto your Bench, you get to search your deck for a Supporter Card and put it into your hand. Familiar much?

It also has an attack which costs [C][C] called “X-Ball” Energy Drive which does 20 damage times the number of Energy attached to both Active Pokemon. Familiar again? However, this damage is not affected by Weakness or Resistance. So a slightly nerfed X-Ball, or technically “Aeroball” from Lugia EX.

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It’s GX attack costs [P] and its called Tapu Cure GX, which fully heals TWO of your Benched Pokemon. That’s good but probably will be used in Psychic orientated decks.

So to sum it all up, Tapu Lele GX has the Power and HP matching Mewtwo EX NXD, and the powerful consistency Ability of Jirachi EX, all that and it has One less Retreat Cost than Mewtwo EX and it has NO WEAKNESS. What??


Playability

Tapu Lele GX can and will be played in all decks and its due to mainly its Ability alone. Although cannot be searched with a Level Ball like Jirachi EX was, Tapu Lele GX can always be searched via Ultra Ball. With its high HP and above average attack, it can serve as a secondary attacker in decks due to the cost of its attack.

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Need 20 more damage to KO your opponent’s Active but you only have an Ultra Ball in hand?

With the amount of Supporter cards in format, there is endless possibilities for a Turn 1 play. There will always be the common consistent play of searching out a Professor Sycamore or N. Or you can get a Turn 1 Hex Maniac to slow down your opponent’s Turn 1 (No Shaymin EX/ Hoopa EX/ Tapu Lele GX). Or getting a Turn 1 Delinquent too can cause your opponent to lose resources early in the game. Professor Kukui, Olympia, Fisherman (For mainly Volcanion decks), Wally (Turn 1 Evolve) and more are up for the taking. The possibilities are endless now with the re-introduction to this Ability. Especially in this high speed format.

Tapu Lele’s GX attack is its most insignificant part of the card. Although a good GX attack in fully healing 2 of your Benched Pokemon, the meta-game today always OHKOs anyways. With it’s [P] cost too will see lack of this attack being used, unless sometimes with a M-Mewtwo EX (Psychic variant) deck.

However, with the new Garbodor coming along with Guardians Rising, which wrecks havoc in the format of Item cards, Tapu Lele GX is to help aid the shift of meta-game. (Garbodor’s attack does 20 damage times the number of Item Cards in your opponent’s discard pile). Hey don’t rule out the fact that Tapu Lele GX can also be played together with the new Garbodor.

With Guardians Rising on the horizon, Tapu Lele GX is gonna cost you some cash, just like Credit Card EX Shaymin EX when it was first released (but not as cheap as Shaymin EX when it was released). So do get it when the set releases and when its cheap before it skyrockets in price in around one year’s time. Furthermore, with Shaymin EX on the brink of rotating out of the Standard format, Tapu Lele GX will definitely takes its place in every deck.

For deck wise, Tapu Lele GX would benefit a lot from mainly, M-Mewtwo EX decks (due to Psychic Energy + DCE being played in the deck), Volcanion EX decks (due to normal Volcanion able to charge Energy to Tapu Lele GX and use it as an attacker), and Turbo Darkrai decks (due to a lot of Energy stacking on the Bench, so the Active Darkrai EX can dish out the damage, stack on few Dark energy on Tapu Lele GX for a surprise attack).

Other notable decks are the disgusting Deciplume deck, as Tapu Lele GX can help out Lugia EX as a secondary attacker (Lugia EX is a better attacker with its second attack although Tapu Lele GX has no Weakness compared to Lugia EX), Gardevoir STS decks (help search out particular Supporter card), Mega Rayquaza EX decks, as a secondary attacker with DCE and the upcoming Tapu Bulu GX/Lurantis GX deck.

In Japan, Tapu Lele GX has been a great impact to the meta-game. Some were even playing 4 Copies in their deck, crazy to think about it at this time. Although Japan’s meta-game is different to what we have here in Malaysia, we can see the impact Tapu Lele GX will do in the future meta-game. Not to mention, Worlds 2017 is gonna be interesting as F with Tapu Lele GX, and of course SM3 will be in play as well.

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Sun & Moon Burning Shadows or SM3 is our August release set

Conclusion

Guardians Rising set release is only slightly over a week away, but the pre-release is happening this weekend in Malaysia with all sessions booked within minutes. Everyone, and I mean everyone in the most logical Pokemon TCG mind would want to pull Tapu Lele GX from their pre-release packs. Its a card that will definitely change the way we set up our board and even strategies.

When you do get ANY Tapu Lele GX from the Pre-Release. OR just the SR DCE

And that’s it for this week’s edition of The Expert Belt! See ya for the next edition of The Expert Belt. Till then, thank you for reading!

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

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