In between "Pokémon" journeys, Jeremy enjoys working as a pharmaceutical chemist and campus manager.
Lugia in the Pokemon Trading Card Game
The mascot of Pokemon Silver and star monster of the movie Pokemon 2000, legendary Lugia has long captivated fans with its majestic appearance and fierce powers. Despite being a Psychic/Flying Pokemon, Lugia rests dormant in the ocean (just like Godzilla) to avoid accidentally harming others with its fierce powers and to guard the seas against evil forces.
Lugia's always been a mysterious entity, seen raising an infant in the anime and being capable of speech—odd considering that in the games, legendaries don't have genders. But today we're most interested in the several trading cards Lugia has adopted, spanning several types and abilities. But with over 20 cards depicting the silver guardian, which entries reign supreme? These are the 10 best Lugia Pokemon trading cards!
How to Play Lugia in the TCG
In the Pokemon TCG, (like most legendaries) Lugia counts as a basic Pokemon, making it easy to play since you don't have to evolve anything from weaker forms! Of course, Lugia can't transform into anything stronger; luckily, its fierce powers often rival that of evolved cards.
In the TCG, cards typically only have one type, so you'll see plenty of Psychic, Water, and Normal renditions of our mythical monster. Pay attention to energy requirements for attacks—often, Lugia will require energy of types other than its base attribute.
10. Lugia LEGEND (HeartGold & SoulSilver)
The LEGEND card set was a unique mechanic that typically combined two legendaries into one potent card, but you needed to draw both halves to play the card to your bench. Ho-oh and Lugia were the only legendaries deemed worthy of receiving their own LEGEND rendition, although you still have to gather both halves before playing them, making these cards tricky to actually use.
That said, Lugia LEGEND wields an impressive 130 HP (Hit Points), and when it's initially played, you get to attach any energy from the top five cards of your deck to it, discarding the unused cards. Lugia's Elemental Blast also nets an amazing 200 damage, but it needs a Fire, Water, and Electric energy, and it also discards one of each type. Unfortunately, even with Lugia's auto-energy gain, this card just isn't viable due to having to draw both halves and use three energy types; most decks will employ a maximum of two.
9. Shadow Lugia (Nintendo World Promo)
Based on its signature form from the GameCube title Pokemon XD: Gale of Darkness, Shadow Lugia descends with an unparalleled 300 HP and a Shadow Storm attack that deals 1000 damage!
But don't get too excited. Not only does this require four Psychic energy, it's also not going to happen in competitive play—Shadow Lugia was only released in jumbo card size, disqualifying it from tournament use. Lugia's also got a weakness to Psychic, no resistance, and a hefty retreat cost of three, but it's too bad we'll never be able to access its unrivaled attack strength in official events.
8. Secret Wonders Lugia
Pokemon cards undoubtedly increase in overall power as time passes, but this 2007 Lugia from the Diamond and Pearl era could almost hold its own even today. 90 HP on a Basic certainly isn't bad, and while Lugia is weak to Psychic, it resists Fighting and has a moderately low retreat cost of two. Even better, its first attack, Silver Wing, accepts any one energy to use, deals 20 damage, and flips a coin. A heads returns an energy from the defending Pokemon to your opponent's hand, drastically slowing their ability to use their best attacks.
Next, Psychic Destruction needs a Psychic energy and two of any other color, but remember to use those handy Double Colorless energy cards to meet this quota with just two cards. Destruction deals a solid 40 damage—unless the defending Pokemon has no energy attached, in which case it deals a lethal 120. What else can I say? This Lugia is a well-rounded and impressive card.
7. Call of Legends Lugia
Stemming from the 2011 Call of Legends expansion, Water-type Lugia resists Fighting and takes double pain from Electric, this time bearing a bigger retreat cost of three but also boosting HP to 100. Its first technique, Linear Attack, takes three energy (two with a Double Colorless), but deals 30 damage to an opponent's Pokemon of your choice, a great way to finish off weakened Bench Pokemon.
Hydro Splash is costly at 4-5 energy, but simply slams foes for an easy 80 damage, no gimmicks or coin flips required. If Lugia can last long enough to access this ability, odds are good you'll be feinting opposing cards before your opponent can properly prepare a counterattack.
6. HGSS Promo Lugia
Similar to the Secret Wonders Lugia, the HeartGold and SoulSilver promotional card wields 20 HP, a retreat cost of two, and resists Fighting, this time being weak to Electric attacks. Lugia again bears the Water element and first technique Wave Splash simply deals 20 damage, unfortunately lacking Silver Wing's energy-returning coin flip or other bonuses.
Still, it's a nice way to spend your turn while you build resources for Aeroblast, which takes four energy, or three if you use a Double Colorless, but deals 50 damage plus 20 more for each heads you land on two coin flips. This averages 70 per turn, a more-reliable ultimate than Psychic Destruction that offers an advanced attack without having to evolve basic Pokemon cards.
5. Fates Collide Lugia
Remember, Pokemon cards definitely increase in strength over time, so it's only natural that the 2016 Fates Collide units would bear more power than their predecessors. Even factoring this in, Lugia's Fates form definitely impresses. The passive ability Pressure reduces any damage from opposing attacks by 20 as long as Lugia is your active Pokemon, an amazing barrier that severely slows your opponent's offense and can even guard your bench.
Accepting three energy of any color, Intensifying Burn deals a hearty 60 damage, but if used against a Pokemon-EX (the strongest cards in the game), you instead deal a severe 120 damage! This gives you a buff exactly when you need it and makes Lugia one of the best EX counters in the game. But speaking of EX cards...
4. Lugia ex PLAY Promo
Lots of weird capitalization going on in this Japan-only card, Lugia was released to members of the Pokemon Players Club who qualified by winning enough points through various activities. For a 2006 rendition, this Lugia definitely impresses. Poke-Body Wave Veil simply prevents any damage or effects from impacting Lugia, while it's on your bench, a handy guard that defends against collateral damage—even your own!
Lugia's first attack, Stream Burst, needs only one Psychic energy and deals 20 damage. Even better, if the defending Pokemon has more energy attached to it than Lugia, you get to attach two energy cards from your discard pile to Lugia, an awesome recovery that rapidly hastens your ability to access the next attack. Psyburn costs four energy, but nets a daunting 70 damage, and thanks to Stream Burst, you should be wielding this move far quicker than you normally could. Overall, a great rendition that I wish had been translated overseas, but note that this Lugia lacks its typical resistance to Fighting.
3. Ancient Origins Lugia-EX
The 2015 Ancient Origins expansion introduced this towering Lugia form, but remember that (like all EX Pokemon), your opponent gets to take two prize cards rather than one when Lugia feints. Six prize cards earns a win, so you're taking a risk with EX cards, but their power often justifies the price. Lugia EX brandishes a hefty 170 HP, and its Aero Ball costs only two energy (or a single Double Colorless) to deal 20 damage times the number of energys attached to both Active Pokemon, ranging from a modest 20 to over 100.
Next, Deep Hurricane scores an impressive 80 damage, but if there's a stadium card in play, it also destroys that stadium and instead deals a monstrous 150! This move costs four energy, but you can use it with only two if both are Double Colorless. Since Lugia EX doesn't need specific energy types, it's accessible to all decks, and it once again bears the handy resistance to Fighting and relatively low energy cost of two.
2. XY Promo Lugia
A newer version of Lugia that packs a powerful punch, especially for a non-EX unit. Lugia bears a healthy 120 HP, and its first attack, Gust, simply deals 30 damage for two energy, a respectable way to weaken foes while you accumulate fuel for your next move. Aeroblast takes four energy but deals 80 damage plus 20 more for each heads you land on two coin flips, averaging a stellar 100 per use!
What else can I say? 100 damage every turn is a huge amount, and since you can use the move in just two turns with two Double Colorless cards, this promo fits well in almost any deck. It's also got the appreciated Fighting resistance and two retreat cost; just keep Lugia away from Electric attacks.
1. SM Promo Shining Lugia
SM standing for Sun and Moon, this Lugia bears many similarities to its XY promo. Shining Lugia has a slight HP advantage at a fierce 130, and shares its usual Electric weakness, Fighting resistance, and two retreat cost. This time around, its first attack costs three energy, but Argent Wing deals a hearty 60 damage, plus 60 more if the defending Pokemon has an ability!
Then, for four energy, Aero Force totals a whopping 130 damage, but you have to discard an energy attached to Lugia. I like the XY promo's Aeroblast a bit more than Aero Force, but Argent Wing blows Gust out of the water, and with Shining Lugia's slight HP boost, it takes the cake for the best Lugia yet. Plus it's a rare shiny—and we all know we're suckers for palette swaps.
Future of Lugia Cards
As we've seen, Lugia's an unpredictable force since it comes in many elements and formats. Its normal variants can fit into any deck, so you never quite know when your opponent is going to toss a Lugia at you, typically bearing a weak utility move that helps stall while you gather energy for its ultimate strike.
The guardian of the seas has long been one of Pokemon's most adored creatures, and with the TCG going as strong as ever, we'll undoubtedly see more Lugia trading cards in the future. But for now, as we eagerly await Nintendo's next batch of legendary creatures, vote for your favorite card and I'll see you at our next Pokemon countdown!
© 2018 Jeremy Gill
Dab on June 13, 2019: