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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Top 10 Cards of 2011 Countdown #8:

Tornadus #98

Emerging Powers

Date Reviewed: Dec. 28, 2011

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 4.00
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

Combos With: See Below

Baby Mario
2010 UK National
Seniors
Champion

#8 Tornadus EP

Number 8 in our countdown of the top 10 cards of 2011 is Tornadus from Emerging Powers: a card that we didn’t realise we needed until we got it.

After the unprecedented (but completely necessary) early rotation last June, Zekrom/Pachirisu/Shaymin decks won Nationals in both Canada and Mexico, but flopped terribly at both US Nationals and the World Championship. The problem was that ZPS just didn’t have much of a long game: with only four main attackers (which damaged themselves when attacking), the deck tended to either explode in the first couple of turns and win, or find itself in deep trouble by mid game. Some players tried to deal with this by adding cards like Yanmega and/or Lanturn Prime, and while this did result in some good, viable decks, it did detract from the sheer speed and first turn awesomeness of the Z/P/S combo. What was really needed was another big, hard-hitting Basic that could come out on the first turn and start taking Prizes.

Step forward Tornadus. With its Colourless Energy requirements, and its Hurricane attack that hit for 80 (while conserving Energy), it slotted perfectly into every ZPS deck, often being used more than Zekrom itself as an early game attacker. The fact that it was Double Colourless compatible was brilliant, and the fact that it Resisted the Fighting Pokémon (notably Donphan Prime) that Zekrom was Weak to, was a more than useful bonus. Now the fastest deck in the format had up to eight Pokémon in its armoury with which to get that first turn Prize, as well as a much improved mid-to-late game performance.

Tornadus has found its way into a few other decks besides: it’s that good as an early game Pokémon, and that easy to splash into almost anything. Its main achievement in 2011 though was in transforming Zekrom decks from a very risky option into a bona fide top tier contender.

Rating

Modified: 4 (another big hitting, splashable Basic to rule the format with)

virusyosh

Happy midweek, Pojo readers! Today we're going to review our #8 Card of the Year for 2011. Today's Card of the Day is a Colorless Basic that has seem quite a bit of play in Zekrom variants, and occasionally in other decks as well. Today's Card of the day is Tornadus from Emerging Powers.

Tornadus is a Basic Colorless Pokemon. As a Colorless Basic, Tornadus can fit into nearly any deck without any drawback, making it a very flexible choice if you need a secondary attacker. 110 HP is excellent for a Basic, even if it isn't up to the levels of Reshiram, Zekrom, or Kyurem. Lightning Weakness is unfortunately pretty bad in our current format, as Zekrom will eat Tornadus alive. Fighting Resistance is great against Donphan and the newly-popular Terrakion, and Tornadus' ability to counter Fighting-types effectively is why it has seen so much play. Finally, Tornadus has a Retreat Cost of 1, which is easily payable if necessary.

Tornadus has two attacks, Energy Wheel and Hurricane. Energy Wheel allows you to move an Energy attached to one of your Benched Pokemon to Tornadus for a single Colorless Energy. While Energy acceleration is good in any form, you often won't have time to use this attack unless it's in desperation. That being said, if your opponent won't be able to attack Tornadus for a while and you're strapped for Energy, Energy Wheel can be a good move to use.

Hurricane is Tornadus' main attack, dealing 80 damage for three Colorless Energy (most commonly powered up with a Double Colorless). Hurricane also moves a Basic Energy attached to Tornadus to one of your Benched Pokemon. While the Energy movement could be perceived as a drawback, this movement actually makes Tornadus an excellent setup Pokemon, as you are able to slowly power up your Benched Pokemon while still maintaining a decent offensive presence. Notably, Hurricane can get many 2HKOs, notably against Donphan and Terrakion, two Pokemon that will have a difficult time against Tornadus.

Modified: 4/5 Tornadus' great versatility is what made its place on our Cards of the Year list. While most commonly seen in Zekrom decks, Tornadus has also made some appearances in Six Corners and a few other decks, where it acts as an excellent offensive setup Pokemon. While Hurricane may not deal amazing damage and Lightning Weakness is a definite problem against Zekrom, Tornadus is definitely a Pokemon you need to watch out for.

Limited: 5/5 It's a Colorless Basic with powerful attacks, high HP, and acts as a team player to power up your other Pokemon. Absolutely worth running in every deck.

Mad Mattezhion
 Professor Bathurst League Australia

Top Card #8: Tornadus (Emergin Powers)
 
I missed reviewing this card the first time it appeared on Pojo, and I suffered for that when I faced a Zekrom Rush deck using Tornadus against my still evolving Rain Dance build featuring Donphan Prime. That 0-5  casual defeat at the local League was incredibly painful!
 
Tornadus is seemingly the weakest of the three Weather Genies, and in a vacuum this card doesn't offer nearly as much as either Thunderus or Landorus. However, that doesn't mean Tornadus can't hold its own. With 110 HP and Fighting Resistance, Tornadus is Donphan's worst nightmare and is one of the reasons that Fighting types have become an endangered species at tournaments. Tornadus isn't very gentle on any other type either, but the Lightning Weakness makes for an uneven contest against Thunderus, Zekrom or Magnezone.
 
The Colourless typing doesn't help Tornadus offensively against anything except Rayquaza & Deoxys Legend, but it does allow the hideous abuse of Double Colourless Energy, FanBoar, the Pachirisu/Shaymin combo and the Jirachi/Mismagius energy combo. As such, Tornadus can justify a spot in MagneBoar, Magic Room and Zekrom Rush builds as well as the experimental multitype decks aiming for Weakness coverage (Four Corners, Six corners or Haymaker depending on what Basics/Evolutions you use and who you play against). Particularly, Zekrom Rush decks love Tornadus for its ability to shut down Donphan but Corners decks also like the versatility since they have so many conflicting energy costs as well as using a lot of DCE.
 
The retreat cost is cheap (making Tornadus is easy to move) and the fact that it's a Basic is great for ease of play, so all in all Tornadus will very rarely disappoint you if it's in your opening hand and will usually be a good draw at any stage of the game.
 
Still, good stats and good combos are only 2 corners of the playable trinity with the thirs being good attacks. Sadly Energy Wheel is nowhere near being useful, since the effect is only to move an energy from one of your Benched Poke'mon to Tornadus. This is a very poor substitute for all of the energy acceleration available to Tornadus and isn't even very useful in Limited. Even if you have an energy on your Bench that you need to move, you'll most likely lose it when your opponent attacks and KOs Tornadus, seeing as how your attack will end yout turn before you can do anything useful. Since you have to attach an energy to Tornadus as well (the cost is [c]), Energy Wheel is nigh on completely useless in the early game and isn't worth the effort later on.
 
Hurricane more than makes up forthe deficiencies of Energy Wheel, since it has the opposite effect. For a cost of [c][c][c], Tornadus deals 80 damage and then moves an energy attached to itself to one of your Benched Poke' on (provided you have one). While the damage output is overshadowed by many other popular cards, it is still enough to 2HKO any Poke'mon except Armourott or Wailord (which conveniently enough, are easy prey for Zekrom). The energy moving may also seem like a drawback (especially given how terrible Energy Wheel is) but although you'll have to attach another energy to Tornadus every turn, you will also be powering up your other Poke'mon for when Tornadus bites the dust, with the added advantage of preserving your Special energy by moving them away if you expect Tornadus to be taken out.
 
Even if you don't have any worthy Poke'mon to power up then at least you'll be able to retreat that unlucky support Poke'mon when it comes up as cannon fodder so that another Tornadus or other Big Basic can takes its place, or as a last resort you can go down swinging. Or if Tornadus is all alone when you use Energy Whell, the part about moving energy is completely ignored so it's just a vanilla but effective attack.
 
Tornadus was the missing ingredient from Zekrom Donk decks and is one of the best ways to fill a gap in a new build you are testing. Whether you need another big body but don't like the other options, or you want to keep Donphan off your back, or even if you have a way to attach extra energy, Torndaus is your friend!
 
Modified: 4.5 (the lack of raw power can be problematic and Reshiram is stiff competition due to using many of the same energy acceleration tricks, but Tornadus makes a great patch for your deck's weaknesses so long as you don't mind the Lightning Weakness)
 
Limited: 5 (it's very rare to be able to build a deck that only uses a single energy type, so Tornadus is brilliant for both the huge HP and Colourless attack costs. Just be wary of Thunderus)
 
Combos with: Zekrom/Pachirisu/Shaymin decks ahould all run a full set of Tornadus and any other archetype aside from Rain Dance could make a case for including a copy or two.

Otaku

Tornadus is #8 in our Top 10 countdown and… he didn’t make my list. It isn’t that he isn’t a good card, it is just I felt there were 10 more “better” cards, though in my case that includes the tell end of last format and thus a card or two that are no longer as widely played.

Stats

Tornadus is a Basic Pokémon, meaning it fits into the current format quite well, as Basic Pokémon are both the easiest to fit into a deck and the easiest to get into play, while also being well supported in this format, both with actual cards like Eviolite and BW-era rules. Being a Colorless Pokémon means it won’t have any real support, be useful for hitting Weakness, or have to worry about running into a lot of Resistance Pokémon. 110 HP goes a long way for this: it is the third possible highest score for a Basic Pokémon that doesn’t use “special” rules, such as the upcoming Pokémon-EX. Even with help Tornadus can fall to the biggest attackers in the format, but with a little help (or a poor set-up on the opponent’s shot) you’ve probably got a turn, maybe two from it, unless you’re facing the card’s Weakness or Resistance.

The Lightning-Type Weakness is a big problem. Zekrom was already going to OHKO it with Bolt Strike, so the real issue comes from making it easier for all the other Lightning-Type Pokémon to take down (as well as allowing the top Lightning-Type attackers to save their “A” game for later). Unlike many recent cards, Tornadus enjoys having a Resistance, and at least when it came out it was a useful one: Fighting Resistance -20. Doesn’t sound like this is really a major concern right now, but maybe I just was blinded by the latest deck buzz.

Finishing off the card’s stats we come to its Retreat Cost; a single Energy Retreat Cost is great, especially on top of the high HP score. This is low enough you should almost always be able to pay it with little difficulty, though obviously it pales next to a free Retreat Cost. Plus since there are some decks that just won’t let you Retreat, you’ll need to make room for some copies of Switch anyway (or some other Retreat alternative), which is a bit of a killjoy.

Effects

Two attacks, but it much of the time it might as well be just one. The first attack is Energy Wheel for (C), and all it does is allow you to move an Energy from one of your Benched Pokémon to Tornadus. The second attack, Hurricane, is what you’ll use most: for (CCC) you hit for 80 points of damage with a mild drawback that might be more of an enhancement: Hurricane also forces you to move a basic Energy attached to Tornadus to one of your Benched Pokémon. If you have only Special Energy attached, this clause does nothing. If you have at least one Basic Energy card attached, you have to move it but with the nature of the game, half the time that just saves the Energy from being discarded when Tornadus gets KOed (and the other half it will rarely matter that you need to attach a single Energy the next turn).

The all Colorless attack costs are great: besides allowing you to fuel the second attack with Double Colorless Energy plus one other Energy card, it makes Tornadus universally easy to splash. The first attack does have some synergy with the second, but in a good build I would expect to have Tornadus attacking with Hurricane by the second turn… thanks to Double Colorless Energy, not somehow getting a second Basic Energy into play. By the time you set-up for Energy Wheel, you might as well have gone all the way and add Shaymin to shift the Energy right away so you can attack with Hurricane first turn, except that by now you realize “I might as well be running Zekrom or the like instead.” unless you’re running it in addition to Zekrom.

Usage

As touched upon in the effects, you could run this like a little Zekrom or Reshiram and in fact it makes a solid back-up for Zekrom decks since it is Fighting Resistant, while Pachirisu and Zekrom are Fighting Weak. Tornadus can be used as an alternate opener, cleaner, or middle attacker, and thanks to the effect of Hurricane you’ll have a good chance of having another Tornadus or Zekrom prepped when the current one falls. Any deck that needs to harass Fighting Pokémon has great incentive to run this card, at least in Modified.

In Unlimited, I haven’t been exposed to any major shifting of the decks so as far as I know, you still have to fear First Turn Win decks, and aside from that it is mostly a matter of who sets up their Trainer denial first to back-up an otherwise strong attacker. Tornadus would be able to make use of many older Special Energy cards that were Colorless, but Recycle Energy is probably the only one worthwhile. Tornadus wouldn’t be especially good or bad here: expect some decks to hit your Weakness (when it matters), but you do Resistance annoyances like the classic Neo Discovery Tyrogue (even if 10 points of damage would go through on a successful Smash Punch). Hurricane would OHKO many attackers, since this format sees some of the vicious-but-lower-HP older Pokémon. Basically, it becomes a great card amongst the “broken” phenomenal cards of the past… and in a format where speed is key. Normally that works in a Basic Pokémon’s favor, but not when you’re probably already running Broken Time-Space so you can get Neo Genesis Slowking into play in a single turn, will have access (barring hand disruption or Trainer denial) to the most potent draw/search engine in the history of the game, and are going to be relying on Pokémon that just need less Energy to do as much. After all, we are including Evolutions as competition for a Basic here. I will bump its score up from my previous review though, since Evolutions still eat up more card slots, and that might be exactly the space you need for vital Trainer TecH.

In Modified I’d think this would be a top pick. Pretty much everything about this card becomes better, and the first attack might even come in useful (Retreating an injured Pokémon being a common strategy in Limited). With no specific Energy-Type requirements, this should be run in any deck that pulls it.

Ratings

Unlimited: 3.25/5

Modified: 4.25/5

Limited: 5/5

Summary

I can see why Tornadus made the Top 10 of 2011 list. I had my reasons for not including it, mainly because the deck it seems to be most influential in is also the one where it is riding the coattails of a card I did include in my list.


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