Of all the cards we get to review, the hardest ones to
say something useful about are Evolving Stage 1s. At
least Evolving Basics need to be on the Field before
they Evolve. With very rare exceptions (such as Vibrava
RR in certain situations), Evolving Stage 1s are cards
that no-one ever really wants to see in play, as it is
much better to get the Stage 2 out ASAP by using Rare
Candy or Broken Time-Space.
But let’s assume that, for some reason or other, you
can’t get your Blastoise out just yet, and you are stuck
with Wartortle in play for a turn or three. Can he
actually do anything worthwhile for you?
Wartortle has 80 HP, which is pretty average for a
Pokémon of this type. He can probably take a hit early
game, but will be destroyed by a quick Luxray, thanks to
the x2 Lightning Weakness. The Retreat cost of one is
ok, so if you had to Retreat him, it shouldn’t be an
The first attack, Water Arrow, is a cheap one Energy for
20 snipe attack. Not bad, and maybe semi-useful for
whittling down the HP of a potential threat, but really
nothing special or game-changing, especially in a format
with Nidoqueen RR and Garchomp C LV X. The second, Surf,
IS bad . . . just a vanilla 50 damage for the steep cost
of [W][C][C]. I suppose you could use it and hope for a
Blastoise next turn, but really, if you have three
Energy on a Stage 1, and the Stage 2 is nowhere in
sight, then your deck is just not working properly.
In the end, Wartortle’s playability completely depends
on whether Blastoise is playable. Neither the SW nor the
PL Blastoise made much of an impact on the tournament
scene (despite the latter getting quite a bit of hype).
The new Blastoise (the promo from Unleashed!) is getting
a bit of attention with people looking at possible
combos with Feraligatr Prime, but I have my doubts as to
whether a deck with two Stage 2s and Lightning Weakness
is viable in this format. If you want to give Blastoise
a try, then this Wartortle is not significantly better
or worse than the other modified legal ones: their only
value is the help they give in getting out the Stage 2.
Modified: 1.5 (no reason why you shouldn’t just skip
straight to Blastoise)
Limited: 2 (semi-useful cheap snipe is ok here)
Combos with . . .
Ummmm . . . Blastoise and Squirtle?