Espeon (Dark Explorers DEX 48) – Card of the Day

BulbapediaBefore Dark EXplorers was released officially, RisingDawn requested somebody cover Espeon DEX so that we can get the rules clarified. So here it is, now that the set is legal. Ever since it was leaked in Japanese scans, this card was mildly hyped. But the closer it got to release, the hype started dying down bit by bit, and the card has a bit of a notorious nature.

The rules surrounding it are very clear, but it can look subjective and I’m clearing up everything. Let’s find out if it’s still worth any hype now that we know the legal cards and how exactly it works.

Base Stats

Espeon has never not been a Psychic type, so that’s to be expected. It’s a Stage 1, well known for being one of the Eeveelutions susceptible to fangirls because of its soft color, cat-like appearance, slim body, and because it evolves from Eevee. It has a one Retreat Cost¸ which is pretty good for a Bench-sitter in case of Catcher, and a subpar 90 HP, like Eelektrik.

The Psychic Weakness is a pretty big downside with Mewtwo EX in format, but as a Bench-sitter with fairly low HP, a Weakness isn’t the most relevant stat. And as a plus side to not having an irrelevant boost to 100 HP, you can easily search it out with a Level Ball. No Resistance, I have no more to say on that.

Ability: Solar Revelation

This is the reason everybody wanted this card when it was first leaked, comparing it to cards from a previous format. The concept was a big deal then, so why not now? If Espeon is in play, all effects of attack from your opponent’s Pokémon are negated, when applied to any of your Pokémon with Energy on them.

It’s a fairly straightforward rule, but the confusion isn’t in what it applies to, but what an effect of attack actually is. Because this is the biggest confusion about the card (and part of the request), I’m covering every part of this Ability’s rulings so that there’s no ambiguity left.

As a general rule to tell whether or not something is blocked by this Ability, the word “effect” is the opposite of cause, meaning it will happen “after.” And if that effect directly affects your Pokémon (assuming you’re the one with Espeon in play), usually specifying “the Defending Pokémon,” then it’s blocked.

1. Must Have Energy

Starting off with more explanations that people look over rather than the actual confusions, to keep it neat and organized. As the card says, your Pokémon needs Energy on them. This works well with all of the high-Energy and Energy acceleration decks as it’s easy to keep all of your Pokémon protected. Just remember, read the card, don’t play this and just forget that it requires Energy.

2. Only on Your Pokémon

This is something else prevented by reading the card. It only prevents effects on your own Pokémon. Solar Revelation does not protect your opponent’s Pokémon as it is not a Stadium. It’s an Ability that only helps you.

3. Effects From Your Own Attacks

Some attacks place an effect on yourself, such as Unfezant BLW’s Fly having an effect that prevents damage to Unfezant rather than preventing the Defending Pokémon from attacking. Espeon would not block this effect as it was not caused by your opponent’s Pokémon. Likewise, when using Reshiram’s Blue Flare, you still have to discard Energy.

4. Weakness and Resistance

I have actually never seen this confused for Espeon before, but I have seen it confused on other cards. Weakness and Resistance are applied because they aren’t an effect. They’re just a stat.

5. Effects of Things Other than Attacks

pokemon-paradijs.comLast one that can be fixed by just reading the card. I’ll try to keep this as short as the other ones. And I’ll say this right now before you guys get the chance to comment: yes I believe it’s necessary to say this stuff. I’ve seen people take only 1 Prize after KOing a Pokémon with Expert Belt on it. I’ve seen people discard Energy from Magnezone Prime and use FSL to retrieve it.

And more recently, people who retreat non-Basic Pokémon for SAB’s reduced cost. This is just another card likely to be subject to people not reading it in its entirety. (Unlike “effect”, damage calculation will count as a “cause” to the damage itself.)

If it’s an effect caused by a Poké-Power on either side, it won’t be blocked. If your opponent flips heads (or you flip tails) on Venomoth TM’s Poison Moth Wind, that Pokémon is Poisoned.

If it’s an effect caused by a Poké-Body, it still happens. Ampharos Prime still makes you drop a damage counter on every Pokémon that you place an Energy onto.

If it’s an effect caused by an Ability, it is not blocked. If Amoonguss NXD comes into play, your Active Pokémon is still Confused and Poisoned.

If a Trainer has an effect that an attack would normally have, it still isn’t blocked. The new Enhanced Hammer discards a Special Energy from the Defending Pokémon, and it still works with Espeon in play.

I couldn’t find any currently-legal Supporters that affect Pokémon, but the closest I found for a recent example is Bertha’s Warmth, which removed five damage counters from a Pokémon SP. Cards like this would still work whether the effects were good or bad.

Last one, Stadiums. Obligatory example, Skyarrow Bridge still works. We’re done with this and now we can clear up the subjectivity.

6. Damage Calculation

Now we can finally get down to the biggest question about Espeon: “What qualifies as an effect of attack, and what doesn’t?” One misconception that confused people is that if there’s text under an attack, it counts as an effect. In fact, one of the reasons this was hyped at first is because of one claim: Mewtwo EX can’t attack when you have Espeon in play. Is this wrong? Definitely yes, so let’s explain about damage calculation.

The one I believe is most used in terms of every card printed is the coin flip. Too many Basics who have yet to evolve use one of the following phrases: “Flip a coin. If heads, this attack does 10 damage plus 10 more damage,” or, “Flip 2 coins. This attack does 10 damage times the number of heads.” While there are many, many other examples, if an attacks damage is calculated by coin flips, that is not an effect of attack. It’s calculating how much damage will be done.

Mewtwo EX is the example named above, the “this attack does X damages times the number of Y.” The attack’s text is simply telling you how much damage will be caused and is no different from the coin flips above. Sometimes it’s the number of Energy somewhere, and others it’s the number of Pokémon in play (Zoroark DEX and Empoleon DEX). Only damage is done to the Defending Pokémon, and not an effect.

A small number of cards – some used, most not – do more damage if something applies, normally if something else is on the field. Pokémon like Muk UD, Leafeon UD, and Whirlipede EPO do more damage if the Defending Pokémon is afflicted with a Special Condition (specifically Poison for Whirlipede). A less-seen donk deck is Illumise TM, who does damage based on both coin flips and the number of Volbeat you have in play.

The current two most common examples, however, are Tornadus EX (who does more damage if there’s a Stadium in play) and Terrakion NVI (who does more damage if a Pokémon on their side of the field was KO’d). This is looking at the game state as a whole and not an effect.

The last one is seen of several cards, again too many to count. There are two versions of this one, although they can overlap. “This attacks damage isn’t affected Poké-Powers, Poké-Bodies [or Abilities], or any other effects on the Defending Pokémon,” and, “This attack’s damage isn’t affected by Weakness or Resistance.” Once again, this is applied before damage, and is not an effect.

7. Trainer Lock Attacks

pokemon-paradijs.comZebstrika NXD got a little bit of publicity for a while after showing up as a surprise tech at the ECC. Its second attack imitated the popular Raikou-EX before it was released, but the first attack was a surprise and applies to some confusion on what Espeon blocks.

Zebstrika is one of few Pokémon with an attack that blocks Trainers for a turn (others including Teddiursa CL and Gastly SF). Blocking Trainers is an effect on the game state or the opposing player, and is not an effect on any Pokémon.

8. Discarding Cards From Your Hand or Deck

Lots of cards are played with effects that discard cards from a players hand, sometimes after looking and sometimes randomly, or discards the top (or bottom) cards from the player’s deck. This is an effect of attack, but it’s an effect applied to the player, their hand, or their deck, and not on any Pokémon.

9. Spreading and Sniping

Another reason this card was hyped was fear of Raikou-EX, and for a while some people assumed Espeon could protect against damage caused by Volt Bolt. But sniping is only damage and not an effect. Just because the damage can be dealt anywhere doesn’t make it any different from attacking the Defending Pokémon, whether it’s spread out or hitting one target.

10. Special Conditions

This is where we get to some things that Espeon can prevent. A lot of Pokémon now have attacks that cause Special Conditions, either as their first attack, or in a pre-evolved form. If the Condition is part of the attack, then Espeon blocks it.

However, if a Special Condition is caused by other means (such as through an Ability) before or while Espeon is in play, Espeon doesn’t negate or cure it. It doesn’t block effects after they were caused. Also, it doesn’t prevent damage between turns. They may be caused indirectly by an effect of an attack, but the damage itself is from the Condition and not from the attack.

pokemon-paradijs.comGliscor UD is a good example of calculation vs effect. Its first attack, Ninja Fang, does only 30 damage. But if the Defending Pokémon had no damage counters on it before this attack, the Defending Pokémon is Paralyzed. Assuming the Defending Pokémon in this case has no damage and Espeon DEX is in play, Poison Fang is still set to trigger because the game state says that there are no damage counters; checking the game state is not an effect.

However, Paralysis is an effect, and even though the game state says it can trigger, Espeon blocks it.

11. Cannot Retreat

This is another effect of attack seen on lots of Pokémon that aren’t often played, other than a teched Spinarak HS that was popular for a little while in Trainer lock decks. Some attacks will say, “The Defending Pokémon can’t retreat during your opponent’s next turn,” while a few others will add or remove Energy from their Retreat Cost. This effect is blocked as it directly affects the Defending Pokémon.

12. Placing damage counters

This is confusing thing for newer people who don’t know the difference. Most in-game effects not caused by Pokémon are distinctly damage counters placed rather than damage taken, such as Rainbow Energy and Confusion. For an example of an attack, Gengar Prime says to put four damage counters on your opponent’s Pokémon.

Usually the biggest difference is that Eviolite and Defender don’t block damage counters placed, only damage dealt. But right now, the biggest difference is that placing damage counters is an effect, not damage. If it comes from an attack, and not an Ability like Chandelure NVI, it is blocked and no counters are placed.

As some neat trivia, Espeon DEX is a direct counter to Espeon Prime, which places damage counters and causes Confusion.

13. Discards Energy

pokemon-paradijs.comThis is an effect not seen on many Pokémon that are used at the moment, as it’s more convenient to use the Trainer versions than dedicate attackers for this purpose, if the slots are even worth it at all. “Discard an Energy Card attached to the Defending Pokémon,” although some cards specify Special Energy. If your opponent’s attack discards Energy from your Pokémon and you have Espeon in play, the discarding is blocked.

If the attack would discard the opponent’s last Energy card, this doesn’t matter, as the check for Espeon’s Ability occurs before the Energy itself is discarded.

14. Moving Energy

There are a few cards out there that move Energy from one Pokémon to other, such as Smoochum HS. If a Pokémon is protected from effects of attack, then you can’t use an attack to move Energy. However, if you remove Energy from an unprotected Pokémon and try to move it to a Pokémon who is covered, then the Energy has nowhere to go and it’s discarded.

Note that as it stands now, the scenario of moving an Energy off of any Pokémon through an attack while Espeon DEX is in play is impossible. If the Pokémon has Energy on it then it’s protected from the effect entirely. This rule is just preemptive at best.

15. “Catcher” Attacks

To be honest, this rule confused me while writing this and I had to spend a lot of time looking up the difference based on the card text. This rule’s effect was switched in the English translation so it reads opposite, and the ruling on which card took the effect was changed in 2010. There are references linked below to PokéGym’s rules forum, especially about this rule. If a card says to switch the Defending Pokémon with a Benched Pokémon, no matter which player picks the Pokémon, the effect is on the Benched Pokémon.

This means that if I attack with Eelektross DEX’s Slurp Shakedown to, say, drag up the opponent’s Benched Espeon, the attack affects Espeon. If the Defending Pokémon has an Energy on it while Espeon doesn’t, Espeon is still dragged Active and takes 60 damage.


If the Benched Pokémon you target does have an Energy on it (if for any reason that you’d do this instead of using its other attack or ending), then it does not switch the two Pokémon out. The switching is the condition for the damage, so if there is no switch, there is no damage to the Defending Pokémon. (The same rule applies to a card like Carnivine DEX, which causes a Status Condition rather than damage upon switching.)

And yes. Slurp Shakedown is a funny name that exists. Let’s just push that out of the way now.

16. Alternate KO Effects

I have no idea what to call this, but it is strictly an effect that is blocked by Espeon. I only have one example and I’m not sure how to group this, so I’ll give the most recent example I have. Machamp SF was famous for its attack Take Out. It did 40 damage for one F Energy, but the best part was its effect, as SPs were unevolved Basic Pokémon. If the Defending Pokémon hasn’t evolved, then it’s Knocked Out, no damage taken, instant KO.

In this case, if the Basic Pokémon is protected by Espeon (or Unown G as per this ruling), it is not KO’d and takes no damage from the attack. This is a lot like the Catcher/Circulator attacks above, in that it’s all in calculation. In calculating the damage, the game state is looked at first to see whether or not the Defending Pokémon is unevolved. This decides the attack, and, due to the word “instead,” Machamp’s attack is to “Knock Out the Defending Pokémon without dealing damage.” This is where Espeon is checked, and negates the effect.

17. Changing Stats

Like Machamp SF, I don’t have a legal (or even recent) example that I haven’t named yet, but the principle applies. The Porygon from Base set, literally as old as it gets, has an attack called Conversion 1: if the Defending Pokémon has a Weakness, you can change it to any type but colorless. Exactly like changing a Pokémon’s Retreat Cost above, changing any stat on a Pokémon with Energy is blocked because it’s an effect.

18. Unown G

There is a simple fact that applies to any rule about Espeon DEX, unless something crazy changes in the future. If you can’t find a ruling for Espeon specifically, every ruling for Unown G from Great Encounters applies to Espeon as confirmed by PokéPop. Instead of applying an effect to all Pokémon, Unown G could be attached as a Pokémon Tool, and all effects were blocked in the same manner as Espeon.

If you have questions that aren’t answered for Espeon, you can look up Unown G’s GUARD Poké-Power before asking somebody on a forum to save time you both you and the person answering.

First Attack: Psy Report

After all that, does the attack even matter? Not particularly because, spoilers, the attack isn’t really related to its Ability. But it wouldn’t be a full card review if I didn’t go over this, so here goes.

Psy Report is honestly not the worst possible attack that a Bench-sitter could have. Let’s first look at Eelektrik NVI, a very popular Bench-sitter that also has 90 HP. For LLC, Eelektrik does a vanilla 50. This is pretty bad. Espeon immediately looks better with a PCC cost, although loses the advantage of Eelektrik belonging only in Lightning decks; Espeon is okay in decks that run Rainbow or P Energy, however.

The attack itself is also more appealing at a glance, dealing 60 damage base. It even has an effect! You get to look at your opponent’s hand. While this isn’t the most useful effect, it isn’t blocked by an opposing Pokémon, and it’s better than vanilla or a negative effect. However, if your deck relies on seeing your opponent’s hand, there are much better slots to dedicate this to. A line of Weavile UD lets you look and disrupt, while Mr. Mime CL lets you look every turn you want.

“Effect” vs “Affect”

What does this have to do with Espeon’s performance? Nothing, but it’s my article and I’ll write whatever I want. If you take a question about this to the forums, “effect” is a noun and “affect” is a verb. “Effect of attack.” “Affects your Pokémon.” “The effect is affecting your Pokémon.” (Also proper grammar is a 6P rule, so it’s kind of relevant.)


fineartamerica.comThe soft colors, low shading on Espeon, thin lens flares, subtle sun rays, and dew sparkles create a great morning impression. Possibly one of my favorite backgrounds in terms of the card it’s related to. Espeon itself, however, honestly leads a bit to be desired. While Espeon is supposed to be very slim, it’s commonly drawn with too big a head or too thin a waist.

It looks like either one foot is shorter than the other, or both legs on its right side are lifted; on a cat this is correct, but unless it’s moving or putting those feet down to look over its shoulder, it’s going to topple over. It looks like it has a pixel-wide white drop shadow around the lineart which makes it look a little bit fuzzy, but this may or may not work to its advantage for the morning effect; I haven’t decided.

Overall it’s a great pose idea and an amazing background, but I care about biology things more than I should and it bothers me a little.


While normally I’d do my best to give a number rating, I can’t here. This card’s worth is entirely dependent on the metagame. Right now, there’s very little played that it blocks against, unless you count Raikou-EX using Thunder Fang (rarely), either Eelektross teched into anything-Eels (rare), or few other examples.

As of now, it’s a good Ability that works well with the high-Energy metagame, but not with the low reliance on effects of attacks. If the metagame changes one day, this could become something valuable, but right now, it’s cool, but impractical.

This is the first time I feel the need to include links to rulings, only because the rules are such an important part of this CotD. All of these are 100% legal and official sources.

Compendium LV.X
Compendium BW
Damage and calculation
Discarding cards from your deck
Everything about Unown G
Espeon DEX is no different from Unown G, at the moment
Espeon DEX and placing damage counters
Eelektross DEX switching
Eelektross DEX damage without switching
Smoochum HS and moving Energy (ruled as Ambipom G)
Machamp SF Take Out

Reader Interactions

10 replies

  1. Brandon13Jones

    Oh my gosh, this is longer then some articles on this site.

    +1 because it was good and not only long.

    Keep it up

  2. Grant Manley

    It was thorough but a little boring honestly. Sorry. At least you know you’re good at articles anyway.
    Not disliked but not liked either. I’m half glad you did this because it needed clearing-up, but half not glad because clearing-up was tedious reading.

  3. Jak Stewart-Armstead

    This article was both necessary and entertaining.

    Linking to it will save a ton of time on the forums.

  4. Bryan Ward

    “Assuming the Defending Pokémon in this case has no damage and Espeon DEX is in play, Poison Fang is still set to trigger…”

    This is under #10; I believe you meant Ninja Fang. :P

  5. theo Seeds

    This is more of a rule set than a COTD. It would have been better if you had gone over the ability more instead of just the rulings based off of it.

    • Alton Aderhold  → theo

      I concur. This should be a sticky in all forums on poke sites. If I could count the amount of threads that were created about this card and the ability lol. Too many people were hyped about this ability blocking damage.

  6. sam woofter

    slightly boring but very informative and definitely helped +1

  7. disqus_8RTFJ1BIcE

    would espeon effect work on thurdous charge attack

  8. Ekanseeclearlynow

    “Effect” can be a verb and “affect” can be a noun, but they have different meanings.

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