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Pojo's Pokemon Card of the Day

 

Vespiquen Lv. 44

Stormfront

Date Reviewed: 11.17.08

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 3.00
Limited: 4.00

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 being the worst. 
3 ... average.  
5 is the highest rating.

Back to the main COTD Page


Otaku

I am sad to say this will not be my normal, detailed review I like to write for Pokémon.  I will not make excuses; suffice to say I am just out of time.  I can give you my initial thoughts of the card, hoping to entertain and perhaps enlighten you (probably just the former), but I can’t delve in and dig for combos like I would prefer, or even type of quick text spoiler of the card and its lower Stages.

 

Vespiquen Lv.44 is our card for today, it is a Stage 1 Grass-Type Pokémon with 100 HP, +20 Fire Weakness, -20 Fighting Resistance, and a single Energy card cost for its Retreat Cost.  All those stats fall into the “average-to-good” range, or at least did when I was still active.  I was not kidding about my time limit, so if I am utterly wrong about that now, enjoy a laugh at my expense and factor that into the rest of the review.

 

Vespiquen has a Poké-Body, Green Dignity, that boosts the damage of its attacks by 10 more damage for each Grass Pokémon on your Bench, but only while you have more Prize Cards left than your opponent (that is, while you’re losing).  It has two attacks: the first requires only a single Grass Energy, and the second only requires one Grass and one of any other Energy type.  Bee Drain is the first attack, and does 20 damage plus removes damage counters equal to the damage you just did to the Defending Pokémon.  The second attack is Bee Powder.  It does a solid 50 damage, plus gives you a shot at three Special Conditions: Burn, Paralysis, and Poison.  The catch for that is you have to get all heads on a double coin-flip.  That would mean one out of four possible results.  Both attacks have average-to-good damage returns, moving closer to the “good” end of the spectrum when you weigh in the effects of the attacks and the potential damage boost from the Poké-Body.

 

This version of Vespiquen could be combined with the Diamond and Pearl, that has the same stats (except for a three energy Retreat Cost) and one attack that (for one Grass Energy) lets you discard a Grass Energy to heal all damage from a Grass Pokémon on your Bench and a second attack does 10 damage times the number of Grass Pokémon in play: in matches against other Grass Decks, this would clearly be a superior choice unless both benches are small and you’re winning already.  Against non-Grass decks, though, I think I’d prefer the newer version: less healing ability, but more reliable damage (and more damage if there just aren’t many Grass Pokémon in play).

 

As this is a Stage 1, I will touch upon the new Combee as well; the new one has a built in Pokémon Item, Honey.  This allows you to nab a Basic Pokémon from your discard pile when you play Combee Lv12 from your hand.  Although both older Combee has good attacks, neither is bench filling and thus as beneficial to your strategy.  Plus, on a basic you plan to Evolve as soon as possible, you generally prefer good effects that don’t require an attack to use.  If you do have to attack with the new Combee, then you can draw a card for just (C) and switch it with a Benched Pokémon, should a better option to soak damage be available on the Bench.

 

Unless there is a reliable method to a) intentionally get behind in Prizes without giving the opponent actual advantage and b) other cards that also benefit from that, I don’t think Vespiquen will be the real focus of your deck.  The attacks are good, but not great.  It might have been the star of its own deck back when we had things like Electrode ex that could blow itself up to load your Bench with damage and force the opponent to take Prizes before they’d really set up, Pow! Hand Extension and Rocket’s Admin to take advantage of their “fake lead” while eliminating the hand advantage gained by their taking of Prizes.  It does seem like a decent Stage 1 Pokémon to open or close the game with, and might be able to function as a main attack if it is combined with something worthwhile.  For example, the new Torterra Lv.47 isn’t a Grass Pokémon itself, but it aids a Grass deck greatly with its Evolution inducing Sunshine Song.  So it might be worth the 10 less damage you’d do when behind in Prizes to set yourself up with four Vespiquen very early game.  Sceptile with Wild Growth would allow Vespiquen to use either attack with a single Grass Energy.

 

The biggest challenge to Vespiquen seeing play, I think, will be the competition it faces for deck space from other Pokémon followed by 100 HP.  As I stated, that falls into the “average-to-good” range.  That of course takes into account it is a Stage 1.  Against heavy hitting Stage 2 and LV. X Pokémon, that won’t last more than a turn, if that.  So it must fill the Bench and begin attack as soon as possible to score a big lead, then either trade off with another attacker, waiting on the Bench in case your opponent pulls ahead or just stay up front and peck away, still waiting for your opponent to pull in the lead again.  The difference between the two strategies is that the former hopes you other attacker is strong enough to carry the day while the latter hopes you can just swing the game back into your favor once your Prize count drops.

 

Ratings

 

Unlimited: 3/5 – It has to be the focus of its own deck, but it has a few things that really help in this format: low Energy dependency (so Energy Removal is less of an annoyance and you maintain speed), Resistance to the opener/cleaner of choice, Tyrogue of Neo Discovery, and when you’re behind in Prizes you have a strong chance of OHKOing a lot of the commonly played cards I remember here.  It is hurt most by Slowking of Neo Genesis not being a Grass Pokémon: with Mind Games backing it, it would be safer, but each Slowking would knock down that damage boost and you really need both working full bore.

 

Modified: 3/5 – A solid card that can’t carry its own deck, but probably could aid another.

 

Limited: 4/5 – Solid basic?  Check.  Stage 1?  Workable.  Energy requirements?  Small and won’t force the deck to be mono-Grass.  Special Conditions?  Flippy but present.  Vespiquen should be a real force unless everyone and their bother pull Ponyta and Rapidash.

 

Summary

 

An “average-to-good” card, nothing about it seems powerful enough to carry a deck on its own, but it has almost everything it needs to be a great cleaner, if you can make room.

 

-Otaku

 


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