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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Swanna #27

Emerging Powers

Date Reviewed: Sept. 2, 2011

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 2.00
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
2010 UK National
Seniors
Champion

Swanna 27/98 (Emerging Powers)

Swanna is one of those rare Pokémon that look like they could actually be a real life animal. Actually, a lot of bird Pokémon (Chatot, Fearow, Pidgeot) fall into that category. The designers seem to hold back on the weirdness when it comes to birds.

One of the things that Swanna has going for it in the current format is that it is a Water type. This gives it excellent coverage with Reshiram-based Fire decks and Donphan being very popular. The Fighting Resistance is also helpful against the ugly elephant Pokémon, as it makes it very unlikely that it will be able to OHKO your Swanna (Heavy Impact + 2 PlusPower would be needed). The Lightning Weakness may not be the best but hey, Magnezone and Zekrom are going to one shot it regardless.

Swanna’s first attack, Wing Dance, is fairly priced at [C][C] and does 30 damage with a coin flip for next turn immunity from damage and effects. Luckily the effect lies on Swanna, so the opponent can’t avoid it by Retreating or evolving: they would need to switch Swanna out with Pokémon Catcher in order to get around it. It’s a potentially handy (though not infallible) stalling attack with some bonus damage. Up next is Swanna’s second attack, Air Slash. This is a bit less of a bargain: [W][C][C] for 70 damage and an Energy discard, but at least it keeps the synergy with Double Colourless Energy and packs enough of a punch to OHKO nearly every Fire Pokémon (except Emboar, but you use PlusPower for that) plus Donphan.

And if Swanna is ever going to be playable, that will be its niche. The low HP and lack of real attack damage make it pretty ineffective unless it is hitting for Weakness. Even as an anti Fire/Donphan tech, it’s not ideal: the Energy cost is a tad high for that, though the ability to one-shot most of its enemies does make it just a little better than the BW version.

Due to the lack of decent Water type techs, and the need for them in the metagame, it’s just possible that this Swanna could be tried in a deck. I’m not optimistic about the outcome, but until we get something better (looks at Kyurem and Cryogonal from the Japanese Red Collection), it’s probably one of the best of a bad bunch of choices.

Rating

Modified: 2.25 (may be used as a tech until we get a better one)

Limited: 3 (Reasonably splashable Stage 1s are always a good pick to exploit Weakness)


Otaku

We end this week with Swanna. So are we going out with a bang or a whimper? Do swans make either noise?

Stats

Swanna is a Water-Type Pokémon, so it can receive Water Energy from Rain Dance and enjoys double damage against nearly every Fire-Type Pokémon and at least one prominent Fighting-Type Pokémon, Donphan Prime. Weakness exists but it resides on largely underplayed Grass-Type Pokémon. It is a Stage 1 Pokémon so even without Pokémon Breeder, you can bust it out on your second turn.

Swanna has 90 HP, which is a bit low for a Stage 1 Pokémon that doesn’t further Evolve but fairly common for Stage 1 Pokémon. Many competitive decks will be able to OHKO Swanna, but not all of them and some will have to really push for it. Lightning Type decks will find it fairly easy since Swanna is Lightning Weak: Magnezone Prime just has to remove a single Energy and Zekrom can take it easy and just use Outrage if Zekrom has at least three damage counters on it, and even a Pachirisu can pop the White Bird Pokémon in a single shot. At least this is offset by some Fighting Resistance, making Swanna even more frustrating for Donphan Prime: even four PlusPower won’t boost Earthquake enough to enable a OHKO. The single energy Retreat Cost that finishes the bottom stats is technically good: a single Energy is usually isn’t a huge set-back and will rarely be unavailable… but this Pokémon is part Flying-Type in the video games and at just 90 HP, a free Retreat Cost is not only appropriate but needed.

Effects

Swanna has two attacks. Wing Dance requires (CC) and does 30 points of damage while giving Swanna a 50% chance (coin flip based) to prevent all effects of attacks, including damage, done to itself during your opponent’s next turn. Of course if it gets Benched the effect goes away. The attack isn’t bad but it isn’t quite strong enough to be good. The second attack is Air Slash and for (WCC) it hits for 70 points of damage but requires you discard an Energy attached to Swanna. Without the discard it would have been passable. The discard really hurts because it just isn’t needed. While I don’t think everything should match Donphan Prime and the 60 for (F), this is the card’s “big” attack, and this is the end of the line. As such it needed to be fairly good. You’re getting about twice as much damage as you pay for in Energy, but factoring in both the discard and being a Stage 1 Pokémon that can’t Evolve, it really needed another 10 or 20 points or better yet just no discard clause.

The good news is that the card has a little extra utility as not only can the first attack be powered fully by Double Colorless Energy, but the second attack can use it as well and since you only need a single Water Energy for the “big” attack the card could even work reasonably well off-type. Is this enough to make the card worth using? Probably not.

Usage

First and foremost, you’ll have to run a Ducklett in order to get Swanna into play. The set-mate to this card is rather poor. 60 HP is as low as I want to see on a Pokémon that only Evolves once, and I am glad this card maintains Fighting Resistance. The first attack would be good except… it’s an attack. You have to survive to heal 40, and if this card survives it wants to Evolve. The second attack does 20 for (WW) and that is quite bad. However this is still an improvement over the Black & White version which has the exact same stats but only a single attack that does 10 for (W).

So if you wanted a Stage 1 Water Pokémon, there are better options but this card would at least be functional. In a Rain Dance deck the discard cost of the second attack wouldn’t matter but it still isn’t the best Stage 1 to use. I will mention that since it can use Double Colorless Energy so well, unless you’re not running enough Water Energy to get away with it you should be able to fairly easily take a badly damaged Swanna and use a Max Potion to completely heal it and then attack by simply dropping a replacement Double Colorless Energy. Will this win you a major tournament? No. Will it win you a small town tournament? I consider that extremely unlikely. Will it let you use this Swanna about as effectively as you could hope to if you insist on running it? Yes, yes it would. Keep in mind that Swanna isn’t all that likely to survive without also dropping a Defender but for those turns Swanna does hang on, it’s going to have plenty of damage to flush away.

The Unlimited format finds the card even less useful, though it is a good pull for Limited play: the stats go from sub-par to solid as do the attacks, with the added benefit of the card being able to be functionally run without any Water Energy cards (just relying on Wing Dance) or with very few to full effect.

Create-A-Card

As I find this card so disappointing, I will attempt to preserve the basic idea but make it something that is hopefully worth playing, but not overpowered. Odds are I will fail miserably and we’ll all be able to get a good laugh at my ego. I am actually going to leave the stats alone (with the possible exception of the HP), because I will give it something to warrant these stats: I am going to turn Wing Dance into a useful Ability. As far as I am aware, players are pretty sick of coin flips and have been since before Worlds, so let’s find a different way to enable the protective effect. How about discarding (W) Energy cards from Swanna? A single discard for total immunity is ludicrous, and we are designing this card so that it could constantly be re-supplied in two different decks. How about this for the Ability’s text: “When this Pokémon is attacked by one of your opponent’s Pokémon, you may discard as many (W) Energy attached to this Pokémon as you wish. If you do, reduce the damage done to this Pokémon (after applying Weakness and Resistance) by 30 points for each (W) Energy discarded for this effect.” As for the attack, I’d change the effect to read “You may discard a (W) Energy attached to this Pokémon. If you do, this attack does nothing to the Defending Pokémon. Select one of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon and do 70 damage to it. (Do not apply Weakness or Resistance for Benched Pokémon.) Air Slash is a somewhat generic looking move in the video games, but this way you can use it to hit the Bench as well; with a protective effect it’s a proven combination.

This hypothetical Swanna could then give Rain Dance decks a nice Stage 1 Active. The rest of the deck would be all about drawing into and later recycling the massive amount of Water Energy cards the set-up requires, but it’d be a pretty potent deck overall. Potent, but I don’t think overpowered: Swanna can’t block effects of attacks and the stats are still sub-par. Something like Magnezone or Zekrom are probably going to OHKO it even with the protective effect, since the damage reduction doesn’t happen until after Weakness. Worst case scenario, I am sure that testing done before the card was released would reveal that the only required balancing agent would be lowering the HP. As is, I am assuming at least a single Energy discarded each turn against most decks, just to blunt the damage, with many requiring two.

Ratings

Unlimited: 1/5

Modified: 2/5

Limited: 4/5

Summary

Another Stage 1 that seems to be a miss, though I suppose that’s better than something plainly overpowered. If you must use Swanna, I’d try some sort of “porter” deck using the other one though I guess this card is at least basically functional in its own deck. Hopefully my own imaginative musings were entertaining, even if only because they make me look quite silly and overbearing.

Enjoy your weekend! :)

virusyosh

Happy Friday, Pojo readers! I know that many of us in the US are gearing up for a nice long Labor Day weekend, but before we do that, we have one last card to review for this week. It's still from Emerging Powers, and I believe this is another card that EP received before Japan. Today's Card of the Day is Swanna.

Swanna is a Stage 1 Water Pokemon. With the release of Beartic, a number of variants of the deck have descended upon us, and this has really been the go-to Water deck since Gyarados and the rotation. Also, this appears to be the format of Stage 1s, with many potent choices available in the format. Does Swanna have what it takes to find a place in a deck? 90 HP is sadly average for a terminally-evolved Stage 1, meaning that many heavy hitters such as Reshiram, Zekrom, Magnezone, and various others will OHKO without any trouble at all (the list gets even bigger if Swanna has damage). Lightning Weakness is also a problem, as Zekrom and Magnezone will have a field day, as will Pachirisu. Fighting Resistance is nice against Donphan, but not much else. One Retreat is also fairly decent, although it would have been nice if it were for free.

Swanna has two attacks: Wing Dance and Air Slash. Wing Dance deals 30 damage for two Colorless Energy, and has the "Agility" effect: if you flip heads, you prevent all effects of attacks, including damage, done to Swanna during your opponent's next turn. This is a fairly nice attack for Limited, as the protection will be handy more often than not. In Modified, 30 damage is a bit low, and the protective effect is realistically only going to save you for a turn or two unless you get really lucky or your opponent doesn't have a way to get Swanna out of the Active Position.

Air Slash deals a solid 70 damage for a Water and two Colorless, forcing you to discard an Energy attached to Swanna. Fairly solid, if unspectacular. In Limited, this attack is great, as you should be running enough Energy to replenish the discard every turn. In Modified, there are generally better options (Yanmega Prime, Donphan, and others come to mind).

Modified: 1.75/5 It's not useless, but Swanna is greatly outclassed by many things in the Modified metagame. Maybe once the Ability Victini is released someone can have some fun with Wing Dance, but outside of that, Swanna won't be making a splash in Modified any time soon.

Limited: 3.5/5 Swanna is quite good in Limited. Wing Dance deals decent damage for the cost, and the protective effect is excellent. Air Slash deals reliable damage with a minimal drawback, which is also a major plus. Both attacks also have very nice mostly Colorless Energy requirements, meaning Swanna can be easily splashed into almost any deck that runs a little bit of Water Energy. The only real downside to Swanna is its relatively low HP, which will hamper its usefulness if your opponent brings out a heavy hitter like Thundurus, Tornadus, or one of the Musketeer trio. Even still, Swanna is a very solid choice for this format.

Have a wonderful weekend!


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