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Shine Bright Like a Diamond - Gedemer's Shining Legends Set Review

Caleb Gedemer

Introduction

Hey all, welcome back to Dead Draw Gaming. It’s that time again, time for another set review. This time, I’ll be going over the upcoming set, Shining Legends. It’s due for release on October 6, so there’s no time like the present to get acquainted with some of the cards, and start theorizing about potential archetypes, or additions, to existing decks that are sprung from the new cards.

As with any new set, I like to give you all a solid set review, browsing over most, if not all, of the playable cards. Using what’s become the norm, I’ll be using my five-star system to better characterize my thoughts on each of the cards I talk about. I’ll be writing up my unfiltered thoughts on each card, either persuading you to consider it, or dissuading you from doing just that.

Before I get started, it’s time for some credit to some other fantastic sites! Thanks to Bulbapedia, as well as Pokellector for the card scans, and card translations. Let’s hop to it, now. Shining Legends, I choose you!

The Cards


Venusaur 003/078 - 2/5 Stars

Let’s start off with Venusaur. With 160 HP, it’s quite the beast, but as a Stage 2, it might be difficult to get going. Since Forest of Giant Plants isn’t legal anymore, Rare Candy will be a must when trying to efficiently set up Venusaur. [It was mistranslated in its English print, saying that each Grass in play counts as two Grass instead. Maybe it will receive an errata, but for the purposes of this article, I am reviewing it as if it does do what the mistranslation is said to say.] As far as the card itself, it’s actually quite good, but only because of its Ability. Lord of the Jungle can work well with Tapu Bulu-GX, and provide a more efficient way of attacking with Nature’s Judgement.

The only problem, though, is that the Ability does not “stack”. Meaning, you can’t have two Venusaur in play causing a single Grass Energy to count as four Grass Energy. That’s a little disappointing, honestly, since the card would be nuts if that was the case, especially with Tapu Bulu-GX, like I already mentioned.

Regardless, this card could see some fringe play in Grass decks, but likely won’t stack up to the likes of better partners for Tapu Bulu-GX, like Vikavolt from Sun & Moon.

Carnivine 006/078 - 1/5 Stars

This card is a distant relative of a Dark Explorers print of Carnivine, which had the exact same effect for the same Energy cost as its first attack. That card saw a bit of play over the years, but was never a big player in the format. I expect more of the same when considering this card, as it serves as a neat tech in a Grass deck, but with Guzma’s existence, the Pokemon you want trapped Active probably won’t be hanging around for very long.

Shaymin 007/078 - 3/5 Stars

Flap is a pretty cool attack for a Grass Energy, and could maybe play a role in a Vikavolt deck. But, the best part of this card is Rally, which is a “super powered” revenge-type attack. It’s very similar to Bisharp from Steam Siege, or Terrakion from Legendary Treasures. Doing 120 damage, though, is a big difference, and because of that, this card could definitely see some play for countering Grass-weak Pokemon, or just as a way to provide some chip damage against bigger threats after a Knockout on one of your own Pokemon.

Virizion 008/078 - 2/5 Stars

Wrapped in Wind is neat, but probably not too influential. Pike, though, could see some play in Grass decks, like Vikavolt (why do I keep talking about Vikavolt?!). A 90-damage hit on your opponent’s Active, and thirty damage to the Bench is nothing to scoff at, and could set up some easier Knockouts with Tapu Bulu-GX. Tapu Koko with Flying Flip might be a better partner overall, though, so I’m not sure how great this Virizion will be.

Shining Genesect 009/078 - 2/5 Stars

Energy Reload is the exact same Ability as Flareon-EX from Generations, but just for Grass Energy. Its attack, on the other hand, is reminiscent of Flareon-EX as well! Pokemon that rely on having multiple Energy attached to increase damage output haven’t been very big contenders lately, though, since many decks are trying to take one-hit Knockouts, and you’ll just lose a load of Energy in the process. Maybe this card could see some play with the new Venusaur that I talked about earlier?

Entei-GX 010/078 - 2/5 Stars

Another partner for Fire decks? Meh, probably not. Entei-GX is strong for sure, but just doesn’t stack up to the likes of cards like Ho-Oh-GX, or even Turtonator-GX. I like its Brave Burn GX, but just wish it did another twenty damage, because then it would be just enough to down a Tapu Lele-GX sitting on your opponent’s Bench. Fire Fang is also nice, since it can utilize the not-so-oftenly used Burn condition, but there are simply better attacks to be used that can deal guaranteed damage when it comes to Fire builds.

Volcarona 013/078 - 2/5 Stars

There was a Swellow from X & Y with an Ability like this, which never saw much play, but I was always a fan of the Ability. I feel like that same thought will hold true with Volcarona, simply being a strong Ability, but not as strong as it needs to be to see play in a variety of decks. Heat Blast isn’t good, either, for the record. Overall, Escape Rope and Guzma are just all-around better options.

Reshiram 014/078 - 3/5 Stars 

If you’re familiar with Yehoshua Tate, you’ll know that he, for one, will be enthralled with the reprinting of some of his beloved Outrage Pokemon. Reshiram’s Outrage is a pretty sweet attack, but in a format filled with one-hit Knockouts, I don’t know how great it will actually be. It requires you to be damaged in some capacity before dealing meaningful damage, but if you can find a way to make it work, it could potentially be a solid counter to Metagross-GX decks. Scorching Breath, on the other hand, could maybe find a home in Volcanion decks, but probably not, since like Entei-GX, there are simply better options. I like the potential utility of this card, and that’s why it received a bit of a higher ranking.

Qwilfish 021/078 - 1/5 Stars

This card is bad, but it’s a neat way to inflict instant Poison on your opponent’s defending Pokemon. I don’t think that makes it good my any means, but it’s a neat attack. Shock Sting could maybe be good? Probably not, since again, it requires a Special Condition to deal extra damage, and would prove to be a bit too clunky, at least in either of our two formats (Expanded and Standard).

Palkia 024/078 - 2/5 Stars

I enjoy seeing vanilla attacks being printed for the cost of a Double Colorless Energy, because it provides non-type specific decks to wield the power of alternate type decks, like Water, in this instance. The only disappointing thing, though, is that Spiral Drain only does 30 damage, so it won’t be quite enough to make it a serious threat against Water-weak decks. With a Choice band it can do 60, but again, still not enough to cut it in a one-hit Knockout format. Aqua Blade is a solid 100 damage crack, but there are better Water type Pokemon in the format, like Lapras-GX, if you’re trying to play a Water deck.

Manaphy 025/078 - 1/5 Stars

This Ability could have been a lot better, but since it only heals damage from one of your Pokemon, it won’t be played. It’s worth mentioning, since it’s a cool Ability, though.

Keldeo 026/078 - 2/5 Stars

Bail Out isn’t great, but Resolute Sword could be okay in a Water deck. I like attacks that can push your opponent into uncomfortable situations, potentially forcing him or her to limit his or her Benched Pokemon, in this instance. While the damage output isn’t as strong as it could be, for a lower Energy cost, it is relatively solid.

Shining Volcanion 027/078 - 2/5 Stars

Dual Pump is cool, but for its higher Energy cost of purely Water Energy, it’s not exactly incredible. Spread attacks are always fun, and can set up some important Knockouts. In a Water deck, though, I think simply playing other attackers that can deal big damage upfront is probably better right now, like Lapras-GX, as I just mentioned a bit earlier. Quad Smash is not very good, especially for the cost.

Raichu-GX 029/078 - 5/5 Stars

This is the biggest star of the set in my opinion, at least for the time being. Powerful Spark is really good, especially a new tool that I’ll talk about right after this entry. Darkrai-EX from BREAKpoint had its time as a big piece in the format last season, and this season, I think there are some big things in store for Raichu-GX.

Powerful Spark has the potential to do oodles of damage and one-shot virtually anything. Thunder is pretty good too, and assuming you only play Lightning Energy and are already attacking with Powerful Spark, then you’re going to be just one Energy away from using it at all times.

Volt Tackle GX in the late game is incredible too, since your opponent will be unlikely to have a Guzma or switching card to get out of the Paralysis. In the past, Darkrai-EX decks would struggle by fizzling out in the late game, but Raichu-GX’s GX attack can bring you back out of a slump in a pinch. This card is the brightest shining card in the set for now, no doubt in my mind.

Raikou 032/078 - 5/5 Stars

Raichu-GX has a new partner in crime! I love the art on this card, and it’s super cool that the card designers opted to create a psuedo-Yveltal with Oblivion Wing for Lightning type decks. Roaring Thunderclap can assist you in accelerating Energy and increase the damage of Raichu-GX’s Powerful Spark. Electric Ball isn’t too great, but could be a nice solid crack of damage if you need it.

Zekrom 035/078 - 3/5 Stars

Here’s Reshiram’s opposite, printed with an identical Outrage attack. Again, Outrage isn’t the greatest positioned attack right now, but it has some utility for sure. Thunder Blade is just a solid attack, but the discarding of the Energy isn’t very attractive. Someday, the Outrage attackers will have a time to shine again, I do believe.

Mewtwo-GX 039/078 - 3/5 Stars

Full Burst is solid, and pretty reminiscent to Mewtwo-EX’s Shatter Shot from BREAKpoint, only difference, though, is that it counts any Energy, not just Psychic Energy. While an attack like this is certainly powerful, there are so many Pokemon in the format right now that can easily knock it out in return after a big bop.

Its second attack isn’t too great, but Psystrike GX is super good; it can knock out just about anything.

Shining Mew, which is coming up on my review, is a spectacular partner for Mewtwo-GX, and while it can accelerate Energy onto it, the problem with losing all those Energy in return remains. Tapu Lele-GX itself can even overpower a Mewtwo-GX if it’s given a few Energy and a Choice Band. Gardevoir-GX is a problem, too. Time will tell, and while I could certainly be wrong, Mewtwo-GX seems to be in the right place at the wrong time.

Shining Mew 040/078 - 5/5 Stars

This card is sick. Legendary Guidance might be the best Energy-accelerating attack of all time. It can even take two Double Colorless Energy from your deck! This is the go-to partner for Mewtwo-GX. There are other uses for this cutie, too, like in a Garbodor deck that plays Espeon-GX, or even Necrozma-GX. This kind of Energy acceleration is very unprecedented, and exciting! Beam isn’t too great, but don’t worry about that. The 30 HP number is a bit concerning, but shouldn’t matter too much. Free Retreat is stupendous too. I’m pretty enamored with this card.

Latios 041/078 - 3/5 Stars

Like with Palkia before, I’m happy that there are more and more type-specific Double Colorless attackers being printed. Not only that, but Break Through is a good attack. Many decks in the format are just a couple damage counters from taking Knockouts, but a 30, 30 snipe can fix that. Lagoon Flight isn’t great, but that’s not the highlight of this card anyways.

Shining Jirachi 042/078 - 5/5 Stars

It seems like just about all the Shining cards are exciting in this set, and Jirachi is no exception. Star Destiny is a better Miraculous Shine (Espeon-EX). Not only does it Devolve your opponent’s Active Pokemon’s highest Stage, but all Stages underneath! This means when you’re against a Gardevoir-GX, all you need to inflict is 60 damage, and you’ll be able to score a Knockout when you use Star Destiny. The only downside is that it only Devolves the Active Pokemon, and nothing more. The card is pretty amazing, nonetheless.

Marshadow 045/078 - 4/5 Stars

There was an old Giratina from the Platinum expansion, and it had a somewhat similar Ability to Let Loose. Speaking of which, if I remember correctly, that might have even been the name of Giratina’s effect! Anyways, Marshadow is a lot better. Each player can draw up to four cards (the fact that you can draw up to that many is interesting), which means this card can be a form of draw support in your own deck. It remains to be seen if it’s viable, because it does take up a space on your Bench, which will be a prohibiting factor when playing down multiple Marshadow in a turn. Either way, this card is pretty sweet.

Spiritomb 047/078 - 2/5 Stars

Snorlax from Plasma Storm had the same Ability as Harvest Sword, and saw a bit of play. Spiritomb doesn’t have a decent attack like Snorlax did, but the Ability is the highlight to pay attention to here. You could potentially trap a Pokemon your opponent has down in the Active position, and prevent him or her from attacking! With Guzma around, though, this card probably isn’t much more than a gimmick for now, though.

Zoroark-GX 053/078 - 4/5 Stars

This is another one of the stars of this set, and most of this ranking is based upon its use in the Standard format; it is super close to deserving a five-star rating. Every part of this card is beautiful, including the artwork.

Its Ability, Transaction, is a powerful form of draw support, and helps a Zoroark-GX deck be self-sufficient. Riot Beat without the utility of Sky Field can only top out at 120 before damage modifiers, which isn’t as up to par as much of the rest of the format, but is a solid attack, regardless.

Trickster GX is cool, but with a two Darkness Energy cost, is a little hard to pull off if you’re going to want to be putting Double Colorless Energy on Zoroark-GX, primarily. No matter what happens, though, this card is going to be part of a successful archetype at some point.

Yveltal 054/078 - 2/5 Stars

Like Palkia and Latios, Yveltal has a similar Double Colorless Energy cost 30 damage attack. Switching to the Bench as an effect is solid, but I’m afraid the damage output is a bit too little to be viable. Oblivion Wing happens to don the exact same name as this cards Steam Siege successor, and also has the same attack effect. The only downside, though, is the increased attack cost, which is probably too much to be an option that is considered when building a Darkness type deck.

Hoopa 055/078 - 4/5 Stars

I really like this card, especially after Alolan Ninetales from Burning Shadows has seen some success as a Stage 1. Basic Pokemon with “safeguarding” effects have always been strong, and they’ve been something that have been missing from the format for a while. Super Psy Bolt isn’t much to write home about, but it provides a middle-tier damage output. With a Choice Band, it can bop for 110, which is enough to two-shot many of the popular Pokemon in the format. In the Standard format, this card will be very good, especially with the absence of Hex Maniac.

Shining Arceus 057/078 - 2/5 Stars

Mythical Protection is neat, but not very good, since Mr. Mime from Generations is just strictly better as opposed to leaving a Pokemon like Shining Arceus in your Active spot. Ultimate Arrow is a nice way to spread damage, but Tapu Koko with Flying Flip is much better for a two Colorless Energy cost instead of a massive four Colorless requirement. This card probably won’t see much play.

Damage Remover 058/078 - 2/5 Stars

The only reason I can think that you would play this card at the moment would be to pair it with Reshiram, Tauros-GX, or Zekrom. There may be something else I’m missing, but those are the first ones that come to mind. Damage Remover (which should be called Damage Mover) can help fuel those Outrage-style attacks, which isn’t that bad. If you’re just looking to truly remove damage, you should pay more attention to the likes of Max Potion, Potion, Super Potion, and other cards of the like.

Pokemon Breeder 063/078 - 1/5 Stars

This card is really bad, but I can see where the design team was trying to combine two potential necessities into one card. Drawing only two cards is super weak, and a healing of 20 damage is also abysmal. Hau (although awful itself) and Pokemon Center Lady are both better than this card, since they simply do their respective jobs better than this card does in conjunction.

Warp Energy 070/078 - 3/5 Stars

I have come to the last card on this set review! It’s a card that’s been out of the format for a long time, and something I’m a little excited about. In the past, Warp Energy was a stronger card since Energy requirements weren’t as costly as they are on many Pokemon nowadays. Once Float Stone rotates, if it ever does, then maybe this card could see more play. For now, it’s a great card, but not in the right spot to see widespread play.

Conclusion

There you have it, you’ve come to the end of my Shining Legends set review. The best cards in the set are without a doubt Hoopa, Marshadow, Mewtwo-GX, Raichu-GX, Raikou, Shining Jirachi, Shining Mew, and Zoroark-GX. There’s a lot to be excited about in this set, even though it’s on the smaller side. See you next time, I should be back soon with a review of Crimson Invasion, our next set after Shining Legends. Be sure to check out Dead Draw Gaming for Shining Legends pre-orders, or any cards you don’t have yet from older sets. Take care, and thanks for stopping by and reading!



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