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Pojo's Pokemon Card of the Day

 

Feraligatr  #108/123

HeartGold & SoulSilver

Date Reviewed: 02.25.10

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 3.40
Limited: 3.50

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

Baby Mario
Top 4 UK Nats

Feraligatr (Prime) HGSS

 

When the spoilers for HGSS became available, players took one look at Feraligatr Prime and thought ‘OMG! Base Set Blastoise is back!’ That’s because Feraligatr has exactly the same PokePower as that ancient card: Rain Dance.

 

Rain Dance is a Power that allows you to attach as many Water Energies as you like from your hand to your Water Pokémon. Sounds pretty broken, right? I mean, any effect that let’s you break the one Energy per turn rule is great, and this one lets you break it as often as you want (at least as far as Water Pokémon are concerned, anyway).

 

Feraligatr has other things going for it as well, though. It has a massive 140 HP, and even it’s x2 Weakness is a pretty good one as it is to Grass rather than Lightning. Feraligatr also has an attack which does 60 damage, plus 10 more for each damage counter on the Defending Pokémon. This means that it can 2HKO almost any Pokémon in the game. The attack, Hydro Crunch, is very expensive at [W][W][W][W], but then, Feraligatr has the means to pay for that attack built in to its Power.

 

So, is Feraligatr going to wash away all the competition at States, thanks to its broken Power? Well, maybe not. Just like the old Base Set Blastoise when it was first released, Feraligatr lacks the right partner to make the most of its abilities. There are a few candidates, but they all have severe drawbacks. Lumineon MT will hit very hard if you drop a lot of Energy on it (and return all the Energy to the hand), but is then very vulnerable to being knocked out. Starmie HGSS will do the same, but suffers from the same drawbacks and also puts the Energy back in the deck, forcing you to retrieve it with Rosanne or Bronzong SF’s Cycler PokePower. It may be that, for now, the best partner for Feraligatr is Feraligatr itself, though in a format of Poke Turns and Free retreaters, even a 2HKO is sometimes not enough.

 

Other problems the deck faces is its vulnerability to Power Lock (in the shape of Mesprit LA or Gardevoir SW), and the potential for hand disruption cards like Team Galactic’s Wager and Looker’s investigation to ruin your hand full of Energy. All of this means that Feraligatr is probably too slow to really shine at States.

 

But there is hope for Feraligatr. If future sets  give us a Water Pokémon that can take better advantage of Gatr’s awesome Power, then things will be very different and this card could be at the heart of a top tier deck.

 

Rating

 

Modified: 2.75 (for now, it lacks the right partner to be really effective. Later on, who knows?)

Limited: 3.5 (if you can get it out, you probably win)

virusyosh

Welcome back to Prime Week, dear Pojo readers. Today we are reviewing an incredibly hyped card from the HeartGold and SoulSilver set, Feraligatr Prime.

Back when the game first started in 1998, Base Set Blastoise was printed. Blastoise's Pokemon Power, Rain Dance, allowed for multiple Water Energy drops per turn, allowing the player to power up their big hitters ridiculously fast. Combine this with the absurdly powerful Trainers from Base Set and a few other friends along the way like Suicune ex, and Rain Dance is considered by many to be one of the best and most important deck archetypes in the Pokemon TCG.

Let us now look at HeartGold and SoulSilver, and Feraligatr Prime. For the first time since Wizards of the Coast were in charge of the game, Rain Dance has been reprinted in its original glory. But how will it do in our current metagame? Chances are, a pretty good Rain Dance deck could happen, even though we don't have the old Trainers. Immediate combos with Feraligatr Prime that come to mind are Lumineon MT, Lapras PL, or even Starmie HGSS as main attackers, and Delibird HGSS for card draw. Even more fun happens when the new Reviving Legends set comes out in the US, as Lanturn Prime is going to combo fantastically with Rain Dance.

As for Feraligatr's non-Power stats, it has 140 HP, which is pretty good for a Stage 2. Grass Weakness isn't too bad to have right now, but if this deck's popularity takes off, people will start playing potent Grass decks again in a tournament setting like Jumpluff and Meganium Prime. No Resistance is too bad, and a Retreat Cost of 3 is expensive, so hopefully you won't be retreating too much.

Other than Rain Dance, Feraligatr has a single attack. Hydro Crunch deals 60 damage plus 10 damage for each damage counter on the Defending Pokemon for [WWWW]. While the cost looks really expensive (and it is), Rain Dance powers this up very quickly and allows you to hit hard soon. While 60 damage for 4 energy is pretty bad on its own, Feraligatr can score many two-hit KOs because of the damage-increasing effect. Overall quite a solid choice.

Modified: 4/5 While it may not be running through many tournaments yet like it used to, Rain Dance is back and probably here to stay for a while. Even though Feraligatr's supporting cast is a bit weaker right now than can be desired, the deck is still very solid and will only become stronger as newer sets are released.

Limited: 3.5/5 If you can get it out here and you're running mostly Water, you're going to have such a jump on your opponent it's not even funny. However, playing one type in Limited is really difficult, and the Water Pokemon in HGSS aren't really that great. Even without other Water types, Feraligatr can power itself up very fast and get you many prizes quickly. While Feraligatr makes quick work of Donphan Prime, make sure to avoid Jumpluff and Meganium.


Otaku

You don’t know how fortunate you are folks… I don’t have time to come up with a Transformers joke!  Don’t think today’s CotD, Feraligatr “Prime” could lead to some, I’ll remind you that all animated versions of Optimus Prime have been one of two things: semi-truck and trailer or Fire Engines.  Granted, out of the latter two of the three still looked more like semi…

 

Name: Feraligatr

Rarity: Prime

Set/#: HeartGold and SoulSilver 108/123

Type: Water

Stage: 2 (Evolves from Croconaw)

HP: 140

Weakness: Grass x2

Resistance: None

Retreat Cost: CCC

Poké-Power: Rain Dace

As often as you like during your turn (before your attack), you may attach a (W) Energy card from your hand to 1 of your (W) Pokémon.  This power can’t be used if Feraligatr is affected by a Special Condition.

Attack: (WWWW) Hydro Crunch [60+]

Does 60 damage plus 10 more damage for each damage counter on the Defending Pokémon.

Name: Croconaw

Rarity: Uncommon

Set/#: HeartGold and SoulSilver 38/123

Type: Water

Stage: 1 (Evolves from Totodile)

HP: 80

Weakness: Grass x2

Resistance: None

Retreat Cost: CC
Attack#1:
(WC) Wave Splash [30]

Attack#2: (WCC) Big Bite [50]

The Defending Pokémon can’t retreat during your opponent’s next turn.

Name: Croconaw

Rarity: Uncommon

Set/#: Mysterious Treasures 44/123

Type: Water

Stage: 1 (Evolves from Totodile)

HP: 80

Weakness: Lightning +20

Resistance: None

Retreat Cost: CC

Poké-Power: Evolutionary Vitality

Once during your turn, when you play Croconaw from your hand to evolve 1 of your Pokémon, you may look at the top 5 cards of your deck.  Choose all Energy cards you find there, show them to your opponent, and put them into your hand.  Put the other cards back on top of your deck.  Shuffle your deck afterward.

Attack: (WC) Hover Over [30]

The Defending Pokémon can’t retreat during your opponent’s next turn.

Name: Totodile

Rarity: Common

Set/#: HeartGold and SoulSilver 86/123

Type: Water

Stage: Basic

HP: 60

Weakness: Grass x2

Resistance: None

Retreat Cost: C

Attack#1: (C) Gnaw [10]

Attack#2: (WC) Wave Splash [20]

Name: Totodile

Rarity: Common

Set/#: Mysterious Treasures 106/123

Type: Water

Stage: Basic

HP: 50

Weakness: Lightning +10

Resistance: None

Retreat Cost: C

Attack#1: (0) Bite [10]

Attack#2: (W) Shining Fang [10+]

If the Defending Pokémon already has any damage counters on it, this attack does 10 damage plus 10 more damage.

 

Attributes: Feraligatr Prime is a Stage 2 Water Pokémon, so you’ll have to either take it slow or rely on Rare Candy.  Just like old times, we once again have a Technical Machine that can devolve your Pokémon, so as long as that remains legal, going the slow, steady route for at least some copies of Feraligatr are a must.  Totodile and Croconaw each have two options for Modified.  Both Totodile are average Pokémon: the newest version has 10 more HP, but if your metagame is diverse, it may be best to split on them so you aren’t OHKO bait on that first turn.

 

Croconaw is not an average Pokémon or I wouldn’t be starting a new paragraph to talk about it.  I feel it worth the space to discuss; while we still only have two versions, both know interesting tricks.  The lesser of the two is the new one: it can hit reasonably hard for its size and the Energy put into it, and at least sometimes, the effect of Big Bite will be an asset since a second Big Bite or Evolving into Feraligatr and attacking will net you a Prize.  Not spectacular, but above average for a “filler” Stage 1 Pokémon.  The older Croconaw from Mysterious Treasures has Evolutionary Vitality as a Poké-Power.  Reading the Rulings Compendium LVX you can Rare Candy from Totodile into Croconaw and still get the effect, though this is a reverse of an older ruling (originally involving Dark Crobat).  As we want to avoid Feraligatr being KO’d by devolution and have Energy in hand to Rain Dance (which I will get to in the next section), the Croconaw from Mysterious Treasures should have a spot in your deck.

 

Getting back to Feraligatr itself, it has a sturdy 140 HP that should let it survive some serious hits… unless they are from its Weakness, Grass.  Water Pokémon tend to be Weak to Grass, Lightning, or Metal Pokémon in the TCG.  Grass tends to be the safest as they don’t seem as prone to hitting hard and fast like Lightning Pokémon or able to soak damage as well as Metal Pokémon.  It is still a big enough problem that your deck will have to pack answers (note the plural) for it.  You also get no Resistance to help offset your Weakness, and of course any Resistance is better than none.  It always strikes me as a bit lazy, since very few cards would be broken by having a Resistance (the only valid reason I can think of for having none).  A hefty three Energy Retreat Cost means you should pack something to get around it.  Feraligatr will find paying a little easier due to its Poké-Power, but its still a waste of resources.

 

Abilities: Rain Dance is the reason to run this card.  It will be the focus of your deck.  Cards that bend the major rules of the game, like Energy attachment, rarely fail to generate a strong deck.  As long as you can load and reload your hand with Water Energy, Rain Dance will you instantly fuel your Water Pokémon, making most attack costs irrelevant.

 

Since you only have so much room in your deck, Feraligatr will have to attack.  Hydro Crunch isn’t a perfect fit, but it will do.  Without Rain Dance, it would require a lot of support.  You’re investing four Water Energy and only getting 60 damage against a healthy Defending Pokémon.  If they are already injured, then you’ll get an extra 10 damage for each damage counter already on them.  You’d need something else spreading damage to set up for Feraligatr.  Thanks to Rain Dance you should be able to go in swinging, scoring a lot of two hit KOs.  Most of the time, your opponent’s deck won’t be able to keep up since you can crank out the Feraligatr fully powered in a single turn.

 

So the attack and Poké-Power have the basic kind of synergy you’d expect, but nothing spectacular.  Against most opponent’s, the extra damage won’t be needed for a two hit KO and won’t be enough to take a Prize in a single hit.

 

Uses and

Combinations: For now, I’d say Blissey.  As I alluded to in her CotD, this is another kind of deck that can reap the benefits of Blissful Nurse while shrugging off the cost: flush away all your damage counters as the cost of all your Energy.  Early game normal draw power and late game a Fisherman should snag enough back to power your next attacker.  Certainly not a perfect strategy, as you have to way the risk of a Bench full of injured Pokémon against a smaller return from using Blissey early, but it should be a strong strategy nonetheless.

 

As more sets come out, we’ll see other potential partners for Feraligatr.  I don’t know enough to say whether they’ll replace Blissey or supplement her, but once you have Rain Dance it’s hard for Water Pokémon to completely fail.  In Unlimited, Rain Dance was strong for years before it got most of its modern day line-up: the ability to nearly ignore Energy Cost kicked every Water Pokémon up a notch.

 

Ratings

 

Modified: 3.5/5 – I feel like I am scoring it low because I know it will become better and better.  Right now, if Rain Dance is shut down, so is the entire deck.  We may just have to re-review this card in a few sets.

 

Limited: 3/5 – Feraligatr will be vicious when it hits the field and powers itself up.  The problem comes from only affecting Water Energy and Water Pokémon when it will be nearly impossible to run a mono-Water deck.  You’ll have to settle for mostly Water and a weak deck if Feraligatr, its lower Stages, and your Water Energy don’t show up together.

 

Summary

Feraligatr is totally dependant upon Rain Dance to make its attack (and deck strategy) work.  Since Rain Dance can and will face decks that shut your Poké-Powers down, that’s a serious weakness.  If Rain Dance isn’t shut down, skilled play should allow you to wear your opponent down as you trade Prizes for a few turns before they can’t keep up.  I expect Rain Dance decks to place high in tournaments, but no regularly win them with the current card pool.


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