Eeveelution Solutions: Enhancing your Stage 1 GXs

The latest Pokémon Trading Card game expansion Sun and Moon graces the world with five new Stage 1 GX Pokémon. These are Lurantis GX, Gumshoos GX, Lycanroc GX, Espeon GX and Umbreon GX. These GX Pokémon have the power of a mega, but are classified as a stage 1 rather than an evolved Pokémon. This means they can utilise the abilities of the Ancient Origins Vaporeon, Jolteon, and Flareon. Vaporeon’s Aqua Effect makes all your stage 1 Pokémon in play water-type in addition to their usual type. Jolteon’s Electric Effect and Flareon’s Flare Effect do the same thing for their respective types.

There is much hype surrounding these three Eeveelutions. But what benefits do they actually confer?

The most obvious use for these three evolutions of Eevee is to increase damage output by exploiting the weakness of opposing defending Pokémon.

Below is a summary of the meta-relevant Pokémon with a water, lightning or fire weakness.

Eevee Evolution (type): Super effective against (HP):
Vaporeon (water) Volcanion EX (180)
Jolteon (lightning) Shaymin EX (110)

Yveltal (130)

Gyarados (130)

Yveltal EX (170)

Lugia EX (170)

Mega Rayquaza-EX (220)

Flareon (fire) Vespiquen (90)

Lurantis GX (210)

Mega Sceptile (220)

Mega Scizor (220)

Decidueye GX (240)

 

Can the new Stage 1 GX Pokémon utilise the typing of the Eevee evolutions effectively? And how viable are they to use alongside the stage 1 GX Pokémon?

To answer this, we have discussed the implications of manipulating the typing of Stage 1 GX Pokémon through Eevee evolutions, in terms of;

  • The math of attacks
  • Viability of supporting Pokémon
  • Stadiums
  • Special Energy

1. Relevant Math

When the defending active Pokémon is weak to the opposing active Pokémon’s typing, damage dealt to the defending active Pokémon is doubled. Therefore, Pokémon that deal 70 (x2= 140 damage), 90 (x2=180 damage), or 110 damage (x2 = 220 damage; enough to one-hit knockout almost everything except Decidueye GX) to the opposing active Pokémon, will benefit greatly from the Eevee evolutions.

Lurantis GX

Lurantis GX is in a key position to utilise the Eeveelutions, as Solar Blade deals a base of 120 damage (120 x 2 = 240 damage). But which Eevee evolution would pair well with Lurantis GX?

It may seem that Vaporeon is an obvious choice, as Lurantis GX is weak to fire, and a counter to Volcanion EX is required. However using 3 Steam Ups from benched Volcanion EX, a baby Volcanion is able to consistently one-hit knockout Lurantis GX from turn 1. Even if you are able to Lysandre an EX from the bench to try to trade prizes evenly, you will not be achieving a one-hit knockout with Lurantis GX turn after turn because you will likely have to be using Flower Supply to accelerate energy for Solar Blade. This could be mitigated slightly by the use of Weakness Policy.

Flareon should be considered as a partner for Lurantis GX, as it will give players the advantage in the mirror match, and against Decidueye GX (both hyped decks).

Gumshoos GX

Gumshoos GX also works very well with these new Eeveelutions. Its GX attack deals 110 damage (110 x 2 = 220 damage) if the opposing Pokémon has two energy attached, which is not unrealistic in their format. In addition, Headbutt Bounce can deal 200 damage. This is useful to one-hit knockout all non-fighting fury belted Water / Lightning / Fire weak non-mega EX Pokémon. Trust me, that’s decent. It’s even better if you run tool removal options like Rattata.

Lycanroc GX

Lycanroc GX’s Accelerock deals 120 damage (120 x 2= 240 damage), making it another great candidate for the Eeveelutions. The math is even more favourable with Lycanroc GX’s first attack Crunch when you consider that Lycanroc GX benefits from strong energy and Regirock EX’s Regi-power ability. Crunch + strong energy + strong energy / 2 x Regirock EX = 70 damage (70 x 2 = 140 damage).

However, it is always important to remember the rules about how damage is calculated. Damage is multiplied for weakness, then resistance is subtracted. This means that a dual lightning- fighting type Lycanroc GX with two strong energy will deal 70 x 2 – 20 damage to a baby Yveltal EX. This is not enough to deal a one-hit knockout.

This deck pair may pair well with Flareon in order to counter Lycanroc GX’s weakness (grass). Vaporeon on the other hand, may not be as useful. This is because a Lycanroc GX deck will likely run Carbink, which already aids you in the match-up against the only water weak deck in the meta (Volcanion EX) by accelerating energy (including strong energy) and having an immunity to EX Pokémon.

Espeon GX

Psychic is Espeon GX’s only attack that really benefits from the Eeveelutions. If the opponent has 1 energy attached, Psychic can deal 180 damage. If the opponent has 2 energy attached, Psychic can deal 240 damage. Neither situations are unrealistic. Furthermore, it is easy to splash the Eevee evolutions into an Espeon GX deck as the deck will run Eevees already. However, it is important to be mindful that you can only run 4 Eevees in your deck. Therefore, having additional Eevee evolutions in play may detract from the consistency of getting an Espeon GX live.

Umbreon GX

Akin to Espeon GX, Umbreon GX’s Shadow Bullet is also its only move that stands to benefit from the Eeveelutions. This attack can deal 180 damage to the opponent’s active Pokémon AND 30 damage to a benched Pokémon at the same time. This means that a Lysandre on the following turn can result in the knockout of two Pokémon with 210 HP (potentially a 4-prize turn).

Consider the damage of Shadow Bullet when Umbreon GX has a wide lens attached. With the correct dual-typing, Umbreon GX could deal 180 damage to the opponent’s active Pokémon AND potentially 60 damage to a benched Pokémon at the same time. If you have a Jolteon on line, this could be 60 damage to a benched Shaymin EX, pressuring a 4-prize turn on the following turn. If they can’t knockout Umbreon GX, do they try to nullify Jolteon? Do they try to heal the active Pokémon with 180 damage? Do they heal the benched Pokémon? It will require your opponent to waste a considerable amount of resources if they want to avoid giving up 4 prizes. As with Espeon GX, you should be aware of the consistency impacts of extra Eeveelutions given the limit of 4 Eevees.

Important to note:

Under Jolteon’s Electric Effect ability, Stage 1 lightning Pokémon can benefit from Zebstrika’s Zap Zone. Their attacks are then unaffected by Glaceon EX, Jirachi stalling, Assault Vest, and Weakness Policy.

Under Jolteon’s Electric Effect ability, Stage 1 lightning Pokémon can benefit from Electrode’s Buzzap Thunder. Espeon GX, Umbreon GX and Gumshoos GX, in particular, could use two lightning energy to fill their attack costs.

2. The effect of typing change on Stadiums

Rough Seas

With a Vaporeon or Jolteon in play, Stage 1 GX Pokémon can utilise the healing effect of Rough Seas. In this format of one-hit knockouts or perfect math (+- 20 damage) two-hit knockouts, the ability to heal 30 damage may be enough to require your opponent to take an extra turn to achieve the knockout, completely shifting the momentum of the game. For Lurantis GX in particular, if you consider Rough Seas + healing from Solar Blade + Pokémon Centre Lady, you have the potential to heal 120 damage per turn without consequence. With an Assault Vest on Lurantis GX, this would make a very bulky Pokémon and could be part of a near damage suppression deck.

Parallel City

Parallel City is probably the most played stadium in standard competitive play. Be aware that Stage 1 GX Pokémon that become water or fire type through the abilities of Vaporeon and Flareon respectively will have their attacks reduced by 20 (before applying weakness and resistance) if the stadium is in that direction. This is relevant because Lycanroc GX deals 120 with Accelerock, Gumshoos GX deals 120 (when the opponent has two energy attached), and Espeon GX deals 120 damage with Psychic (when the opponent has two energy attached). All are reduced to 100 with Parallel City when dual-typing is applied. This means they will only deal 200 damage when applying weakness. This is not enough to one-hit knockout Lurantis GX or fury-belted Volcanion EX. In the case of Lycanroc GX, this is also relevant against opposing Fury-Belted Tauros GX.

Fortunately, Parallel City does not reduce the damage from lightning Pokémon meaning that;

  • Mega Rayquaza-EX can still be one-hit knocked-out by any Pokémon dealing 110 or greater damage.
  • In the mirror, Umbreon GX can achieve a one-hit knockout on an unbelted Yveltal EX with Shadow Bullet, with Electric Effect live.

3. Special Energy that may be used

Splash energy, Flash energy, and Burning energy are all special energy that provide interesting effects. They may only be attached to Pokémon of the corresponding type. By using Vaporeon, Jolteon, or Flareon to add typing, these special energies may be attached to Stage 1 GXs. Unfortunately, they are discarded from the Pokémon when the abilities of Vaporeon, Jolteon, or Flareon are shut off (e.g. through Hex Maniac or Garbodor).

Splash Energy

Splash Energy provides one water energy. In addition, if the Pokémon that splash energy is attached to is knocked out by damage from an opponent’s attack, the player whose Pokémon was knocked out puts that Pokémon into their hand.

On the surface, it appears that Splash Energy could be utilised by any of the stage 1 GX Pokémon, as returning Pokémon to your hand is almost always useful. It is perhaps less relevant for Lurantis GX, as this deck may play Revitaliser.

Umbreon GX and Espeon GX decks may find this a useful way to retrieve Eevees. This is given that there can only be 4 in a deck, and 2 are always likely to be used to provide the basic for Umbreon GXs or Espeon GXs. Unfortunately, the attack cost of Umbreon GX and Espeon GX lend themselves to being filled with a basic energy and a DCE. Attaching a Splash Energy is a luxury that the deck is unlikely to be able to afford.

In a control/ manipulation deck, Splash energy may be useful to attach to Gumshoos GX to keep a Gumshoos GX in play at all times and ensure a “Search the Premises” is conducted every turn.

Flash Energy

Flash Energy provides one lightning energy. In addition, the lightning Pokémon it is attached to has no weakness. This is particularly important for Pokémon that have meta-relevant weaknesses: specifically Lurantis GX (weak to Volcanion EX) and Lycanroc GX (weak to Lurantis GX, Vespiquen, and Mega Sceptile). Unfortunately, the attacks of Lurantis GX will not benefit from the attachment of a flash energy. Given the special energy hate and limited tool removal in the format, it may be better to use Weakness Policy.

Lycanroc GX decks are likely to run Carbink Break to accelerate energy. Carbink Break can accelerate Flash Energy from the discard pile to a lightning-fighting type Lycanroc GX. Importantly, Flash Energy can also fill the colourless-requirement for all three of Lycanroc GX’s attacks.

Burning Energy

Burning Energy provides one fire energy. In addition, if the card is discarded by an attack of the Pokémon the card is attached to, the energy is re-attached to the Pokémon after the attack is resolved.

The only stage 1 GX Pokémon that can utilise the Burning Energy mechanic is Lycanroc GX, as LycanFang discards two energy from Lycanroc GX. As LycanFang costs FFC rather than FFF, Burning Energy is a relevant attachment rather than simply a luxury. As Accelerock is also an FFC requirement when Burning energy is part of the energy discard to satisfy the requirement of LycanFang, only one energy needs to be attached to Lycanroc GX on the following turn to follow with an Accelerock that turn.  Carbink Break can also help here by accelerating Burning Energy from the discard pile to a Fire-fighting type Lycanroc GX.

Note that Burning Energy cannot be used to pay for Scorched Earth.

Final Thoughts

While Vaporeon, Jolteon, and Flareon may provide stage 1 GX Pokémon with the tools necessary to edge ahead in even match-ups or remain competitive in weaker match-ups, there is a cost to running the Eeveelutions in your 60-card list. Running Eeveelution lines hurts the consistency of decks particularly if they are not necessary for a match-up. This is especially since they are so easily negated by Hex Maniac and Garbodor. In both cases, the Pokémon become dead cards in your deck. They cannot easily be filtered out now that Battle Compressor has rotated out. Consequently, if Vaporeon, Jolteon and Flareon become popular in the metagame; Hex Maniac and Garbodor may see increased play. Furthermore, it will mean that Pokémon without a water, lightning and fire weakness are put in a slightly better position.

This article is part of a weekly series for competitive Pokémon Trading Card Game players. Never miss an article! Follow me on Twitter here.

Special thanks to fellow Sydney player, David Patane, for his contributions to this article.

About Ellis Longhurst

Competitive Pokemon Trading Card game player since 2006.
Competed for Australia at the 2015 World Championships, & the 2017 European International Championships.
On-stream commentator and post-match interviewer at the 2016 Australian National Championships. Currently invested in supporting the growth of the Australian Pokemon TCG community.
Current Video Game journalist for GameCloud Australia.

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