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Pojo's Pokemon Card of the Day

 

Swanna #37

Black & White

Date Reviewed: June 1, 2011

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 2.67
Limited: 3.25

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 #37/114 (Black and White)

Hello and welcome to a short week of reviews here on Pojo’s CotD. I hope you enjoyed your holiday weekend (if you happen to live in a country that had one).

We kick off with Swanna this week, one of the more ‘realistic’ looking Pokémon in my opinion.

At first glance, things don’t seem too promising: a 90 HP Stage 1 with Lightning Weakness? Since when were they playable? Well, not with Luxray around obviously, but even once that’s rotated, then it will have to worry about Zekrom and Magnezone Prime . . . or will it? While it’s pretty obvious that Swanna will never be able to function as a main attacker. That doesn’t mean you should dismiss it completely though as it may well find a niche as an anti-Donphan tech in the HGSS-BW format.

Swanna’s first attack, Feather Dance, costs one Energy and will boost its next attack by 40 damage. That may seem like a waste of time as the second attack, Aqua Ring, does 40 damage itself for [W][C], so why not just use Aqua Ring twice? Well, there are a couple of situations where Feather Dance could be an option. One is if you are having to wait a turn for the second Energy you need, and the other is if you want to do 80 damage with Swanna without having to promote and retreat another Pokémon between attacks. That’s because Aqua Ring is a Punch-and-Run attack which automatically switches Swanna to the bench after attacking. This can actually be pretty useful: a tech that benches itself after attacking and saves you from wasting Energy or switching cards to Retreat it is a good thing. Sure, the damage output is low, but it has the potential to cause anyone playing Water Weak Pokémon some issues (Remember Quagsire GL? No? Oh well, it did see some play, I promise).

As I mentioned earlier, this card is most likely to see some play as a Donphan counter. Thanks to Swanna’s Fighting Resistance, it can take a couple of hits from Donphan and get the KO itself. Donphan is predicted to be a very common card in the HGSS-on metagame and right now we are lacking some solid, cheap answers to it. Until Beartic shows up outside of Japan, Swanna, though not exactly brilliant, is one of the best options we have. If you run a deck that struggles against the Armour Pokémon, this is an overlooked tech that could help you out.

Rating

Modified (HGSS-on): 2.25 (On the face of it, a pretty mediocre stage 1 but one that may have tech potential)

Limited: 3.5 (A Stage 1 with cheap attacks that can get itself out of trouble? I’ll take it)

Mad Mattezhion
 Professor Bathurst League Australia

Hello Bill, I hope the college move went well. If it didn't, here's hoping the aches will fade quickly!
 
Swanna (Black & White)
 
This is going to be a short week of Water Poke'mon, I'm pretty sure we'll have covered all of the Water Poke'mon in the set by the end of it.
 
Swanna is today's card and it looks quite elegant, which is expected for a swan Poke'mon. Sadly that doesn't translate to being a good card.
 
Swanna is a Water type non-evolving Stage 1 with 90 HP, Lightning weakness, Fighting resistance, a retreat cost of 1 and two attacks.
 
The HP is below the minimum I would want for an attacking Stage 1 but the resistance helps take some of the sting out of that, forcing Donphan Prime to waste three Earthquake attacks (or 2 with either a Pluspower or a Ruins of Alph in play) to take a KO. The weakness hurts since Zekrom won't need many damage counters to Outrage for the KO and Magnezone Prime will only need to burn a single energy. The retreat cost is easily managed but in the end this Poke'mon is too fragile for the top end of the game.
 
The first attack is Feather Dance, which boosts the damage of Swanna's next attack by 40 points for the cost of [c]. While this damage boost is awesome and the cost is cheap, there is a decent chance that you will never get to use that boosted attack power because Swanna will either be forced to switch, or more likely KOed outright.
 
What really rains on Swanna's parade though is Aqua Ring, which costs [w][c] to deal 40 damage and force you to switch Swanna with one of your benched Poke'mon. While the cost is fair and adding the damage from Feather Dance makes it a powerful hit, being forced to switch is very counterproductive. Add this to the fact you are still only dealing 80 damage every 2 turns and you know that Swanna is nothing but binder fodder.
 
For newer players who buy the Blue Assault theme deck this card will be a fun introduction to the hit-and-run technique but experienced players will all steer clear of Swanna.
 
Modified: 3 (below average HP with above average damage puts this bird in the middle of the road... where it is hit by a truck representing all of the tournament viable cards)
 
Limited: 3 (Zekrom eats you up and Reshiram won't have too much trouble either but at least you will hit for weakness)
 
Combos with: the binder.


Otaku

Swanna disappoints me, but primarily because I was hoping it was a crane and not a swan (before seeing the name), and that it'd be a Fighting/Flying Type. Have we ever gotten one of those yet?

Swanna is a Stage 1 Water-Type Pokémon. This is a solid start as we have some Stage 2 Water Pokémon (like Feraligatr Prime) looking for partners, and being a Stage 1 makes it a little easier to work in than another Stage 2. 90 HP seems to be the high end of "low": too many decks are good at dealing a reliable 70 to 90 points of damage. Of course two of those three amounts aren't OHKOs but with PlusPower and (before the rotation) damage counter placement options, or even the basic fact the Basic form of this Pokémon (Duckett) might take damage before it can Evolve means the following reasonable combinations of damage can take this card down in two turns or less: 0/90, 10/80, 20/70, 30/60, and 40/50. The first is obvious, and the second a bit of a pun, and the last one should be unlikely unless your opponent's deck is geared towards FTKOs and it chokes or they actually run the underutilized Black Belt. The middle two actually look like a lot of solid decks, and is why I jumped my "minimum" Stage 1 HP up to 100.

Lightning Weakness wrecks this in the current format and will barely be any better next: good ol' Luxray GL Lv.X decks were big because of the Gust of Wind like effect, and we'll be getting what amounts to a reprint of Gust of Wind (but with a new name, Pokémon Catcher) soon enough... so all Lightning-Type decks will essentially have that power, but as the more easily blocked Trainer Item. Fighting Resistance is appreciated, but the low HP combined with Fighting-Type Pokémon being known for raw brute force attacks (or the ability to simply bypass Resistance anyway) means it will only be helpful the first turn or two. Still, quite happy to see it and this just underscores how it needed another 10 or 20 HP. I find the single Energy Retreat cost to almost be insulting: this is a Stage 1 Pokémon that was a Flying-Type in the video games, which used to be good enough for a Free Retreat cost.

Swanna has two attacks. The first is Feather Dance exists for two reasons, and they aren't good reasons. It only needs (C) so it can be used with a single of any Energy, unlike the second attack. When we get to the second attack, we'll see it has a mandatory effect you might not want to trip, so this might let you avoid the drawback for a turn. Assuming your opponent doesn't cheat you out of the effect (like by forcing Swanna to the Bench), Feather Dance simply increases the damage done by 40 points when Swanna attacks, but I am assuming that only applies to an attack that already does damage. Since it is a Stage 1 and its Basic will have to be in play for a turn anyway, that makes the next attack your go to move: Aqua Ring does 40 points of damage for (WC) and forces you to change out Swanna with one of your other Pokémon. This is a solid attack though I think it does suffer a little for lacking a good "meat shield" Pokémon. Something to come up and take the hits, be it having a sizable HP and easy method of returning to the Bench, a defensive Ability that lets it reduce or rapidly heal the damage it takes, or an offensive attack or Ability that makes having something else take the damage an advantage.

Swanna Evolves from Duckett, and the only Duckett we have is a sad, 60 HP Basic (should be more like 70 HP since it only Evolves once), has the same Weakness, Resistance, and Retreat Cost as Swanna, but can only do 10 damage for (W). That's it. This poor start means Swanna (assuming no Duckett released while this Swanna is legal will intentionally be made better) should have been given even better stats or effects to compensate.

In Limited play Swanna can be great or it can backfire horribly. Did you pull Reshiram or Zekrom or some other Pokémon that does more damage while it is injured? Then you have a good combo going. If your deck is already mostly Water, you might as well. Just be careful you aren't forced to skip attacks (or at least burn them on non-stacking, repeated uses of Feather Dance) because everything you have on your Bench needs to stay on your Bench.

Interestingly enough, I'd say that Unlimited is where this card is the best. Why? It taps into a classic build of the early Modified formats that was solid enough to warrant using in Unlimited, the Baby-Porter. "Porter" decks existed before Baby Pokémon, but "Baby-Porter" decks have been the most successful version. They are decks that have something attack that can force itself to the Bench then promote a Neo or e-Card era Baby Pokémon, which is one protected by the Baby Rule. When this is combined with Focus Band and Neo Genesis Slowking for Mind Games, it is incredibly hard to KO a Baby in one attack and you won’t have a lot of luck hitting the Bench (or forcing Pokémon up from the Bench). I don't know if Swanna is the best option for such a deck, but in Unlimited it could use Broken Time Space to Evolve first turn and Double Rainbow Energy to still attack. You'll only do 30 points of damage a pop, but since it is a stall/control deck that is still enough. You always have the option of powering up another Swanna manually while doing this or using Holon's Electrode or Holon's Magnemite the next turn to bounce the Double Rainbow Energy to hand while still meeting the Energy requirements for Aqua Ring. It won't be a brilliant deck, but it would be a functional (and irritating to face) deck.

Ratings

Unlimited: 3/5

Modified (MD-On): 2/5

Modified (HGSS-On): 2/5

Limited: 2.75/5

Summary

The main problem is that the second attack's effect is mandatory and the card just doesn't have a good dance partner for a Porter deck, barring cards that work better elsewhere like Reshiram or Zekrom. At least the tactic makes the slightly low HP largely irrelevant. This is one of several recent cards I’ve noticed seem better for Unlimited play, what a shock!

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