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Pojo's Pokemon Card of the Day

 

Stoutland #83

Black & White

Date Reviewed: June 29, 2011

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 1.75
Limited: 2.75

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:

Baby Mario
2010 UK National
Seniors
Champion

Stoutland #83/114 (Black and White)

Today we look at the big dog of Black and White (but only in a literal sense): Stoutland.

It’s a Colourless Stage 2 with a pretty good 140 HP: even with the Fighting Weakness, Donphan needs a PlusPower to one shot it. The Retreat cost of three is appalling though. Usually I would just say ‘oh well, either play Switch or leave it active until it gets knocked out’. With Stoutland, however, those are just not good options, as we shall see.

Stoutland’s first attack, Odor Sleuth, costs two Energy of any Colour and has an interesting effect: flip three coins and for each heads, put a card from your discard pile into your hand. There are two obvious downsides here: first of all, it’s flippy and therefore unreliable. Secondly, most cards can be salvaged from the discard pile without having to go to all the effort of getting out a Stage 2 and wasting an attack. Energy Retrieval or Fisherman will recover Basic Energy and Junk Arm is a great way to recycle Trainers. This means that Stoutland is only good for getting back Special Energy and Supporters, neither of which you will be able to use until your next turn anyway (assuming your opponent doesn’t play Judge, which they may well do if they see you use this attack successfully). Yes, there will be times when getting a DCE or a Seeker from the discard would be great, but really Odor Sleuth is so situational, and takes so many resources to pull off that it really isn’t a good idea: just run more consistent quantities of needed cards instead.

Still, Odor Sleuth is much better than Giga Impact, Stoutland’s second attack. For four Colourless Energy, you do 90 damage . . . which is a little sub par in terms of cost to say the least. But I haven’t even got to the worst part yet . . .if Stoutland uses Giga Impact it can’t use any attack on your next turn. Why the card designers felt the need to give such a crippling drawback to such a mediocre attack, I’ll never know.

In any case, now we can see why Stoutland’s retreat cost is such a problem. If you wanted to send it up to recover some cards and retreat for an attacker next turn, it will cost a massive three Energy, or a Switch every time you do it. Same goes for Giga Impact: want to bring something else up to attack rather than just sit there and pass on your next turn? Yeah, that’s going to cost you as well. You could play Dodrio UD to help with the Retreat, but even then you will still need to spare another Energy.

Stoutland does have a unique and potentially useful attack, but it seems as if the designers have done everything possible to discourage us from using it. Shame.

Rating

Modified (HGSS-on): 1.75 (good HP and Odor Sleuth is interesting, but too many downsides)

Limited: 2.75 (Odor Sleuth is better here, and Colourless is always good, but it’s not a great reward for getting out a Stage 2)


Otaku

Stoutland is a Stage 2 Colorless Pokémon. I am unaware of any real Colorless "support" at the moment, and to an extent that makes sense as Colorless Pokémon are mostly about supporting other cards, often having all Colorless Energy requirements and thus able to work with almost anything, so no penalty for that. Technically since the rotation doesn’t officially occur for a few more days, there is a bit of Colorless Weakness/Resistance floating around, but next format we still lack a strong-but-Colorless-Weak Pokémon, while maintaining at least one notable Colorless Resistant line (Gengar). Stage 2 Pokémon have faired rather poor in the current format, because Broken Time Space can only pick up so much slack now that Rare Candy functions as an over glorified Pokémon Breeder. Next format, all the Stages appear to be on even footing again. Still Stoutland is going to eat up a lot of your deck's space, resources, and will take time to set up fully; it will need to deliver some great stats and effects, or at least "reasonably good" in both those areas to be worth it.

140 HP is high for the almost-gone MD-On format, but as we've been seeing, HP scores are the one thing remaining steady or perhaps still slowing inflating with the newest cards. Pokémon now regularly clocking in at scores that used to be reserved for higher Stages of Evolution or for "specialty" cards like Pokémon ex, Pokémon LEGEND, and Level-Up cards. Next format it looks to be about "average" for a Stage 2 Pokémon. The Fighting Weakness means that a Pokémon like Donphan Prime can still go for a quick OHKO (once it hits play), but it will need a little help (like PlusPower) to do it. No Resistance is disappointing but so common it shouldn't detract from the card, and the three Energy needed to retreat is enough to make retreating not an option. You'll need to factor in more deck space for the support needed to get this out of the Active slot when it isn't supposed to be there anymore, or cards that will allow it to endure.

Honestly, this is a solid foundation for a Stage 2 Pokémon: a good Ability could turn it into a great back-up for many decks. This is not unprecedented for Stage 2 Colorless Pokémon: Pidgeot (FireRed/LeafGreen, 10/112) is perhaps the most famous example, a card that was very nearly a true staple run in almost every deck due to the easy (at the time) of running even a 1-0-1 line of it with Rare Candy, though I favored a 2-1-2 line myself. As we can clearly see this Stoutland possesses two attacks. This does not bode well. The Energy requirements are spaced well: a single Double Colorless Energy can power up the first attack in one go, and two will get you to the second quite quickly. Lamentably what the attacks do is provide a poor return on your Energy and time investment, even when using shortcuts.

Odor Sleuth would be great as a once-per-turn Ability, and perhaps that is why it is an attack. We do have plenty of "discarding" tricks now (Professor Juniper and Junk Arm spring readily to mind) so even as an attack, you might have several great cards to "rescue" from your discard pile. Flipping three coins for such an effect isn't too bad: the odds of not getting a single card are low (one in eight) and offset by the same odds of getting three cards back. You're just as likely to get one card back as you are two. The catch is that being an attack neuters the potency of this kind of effect. Unless your expended cards are building to a win condition, every turn you recycle them with Odor Sleuth your opponent is potentially pulling ahead in Prizes. Attacks that fetch cards from your deck sometimes work because early game most of your cards are in your deck, and since you're building you can theoretically trade one or two Prizes lost for a near perfect set up that will quickly even things out or give you the lead with good consistency. Doesn't work too well here: I said getting three cards was a decent way to offset the chance of getting zero, but that only works if you have three worthwhile cards to rescue: unlikely early in the game. You won't be able to get Stoutland out before your second turn, anyway, but even by then you'll be doing good to have used enough Trainers that are worth recycling to re-use. Your opponent also gets an entire turn to make those cards dead-in-hand, shuffle them back into your deck, or possibly fuel a card effect of their own. I do like that this makes a somewhat continuous theme for the entire line: as one Lillipup and Stoutland draw cards for you (why wasn’t it called “Fetch?”) while the other Lillipup can retrieve an Item card from the discard pile with its first attack, but again it doesn’t feel well thought out for how the game actually plays out.

Giga Impact may have had good Energy structuring to take advantage of Double Colorless Energy, but the end result is pretty poor. If you use it, you can only attack with Stoutland every other turn. Any attacks, not just Giga Impact are prevented by said attack’s effect. You'd have to Bench Stoutland and re-promote it to attack repeatedly with it, and its just more efficient to alternate attackers. If you don't, you average a measly 45 points of damage a turn: that is a horrible return for four Energy, even if they can be any Energy. This attack would have to deal massive amounts of damage, well over 100 and possibly more than 120 to really be worth using every other turn and have Stoutland just sit there as a punching bad. I have to come back to how Odor Sleuth should have been an Ability again: even with stipulations like ending your turn and/or only working while Active, at least there would be an inherent combo between the two instead of just making some sense thematically but failing to be practical in the slightest.

Lillipup and Herdier do feel like logical beginnings for the effects, and are a little better designed than Stoutland. They aren't blessed with as good of HP (even proportionately) as Stoutland. We have two Lillipup, and while adorable one has 50 HP and the other 60, both scores being average for a Basic Pokémon that can Evolve twice for the Black & White sets. Both are Fighting Weak, lack Resistance, and have an affordable single Energy Retreat Cost and vanilla low damage attacks: 10 for (C) on the 50 HP version and 20 for (CC) on the 60 HP version. They also each have a decent, single Energy attack. The smaller has the more combo-oriented attack, Pick Up. This lets you get one Item from the discard pile and add it back to your hand. Why is this "good" while Odor Sleuth isn't? You'll use this to get a useful Item back and then Evolve, unless you can Evolve sooner. It isn't part of the "meat" of the Evolution line, but instead a tasty appetizer. The bigger Lillipup has a generic "draw 1 card" attack for (C), and while never really powerful it is at least occasionally useful. Herdier was covered in detail yesterday, and was very close to being good in its own right. 80 HP is just too low and was even back in the days of Base Set. If it is active for a turn there is a real good chance it will be OHKO'd by most decks. For attacks you won't be relying on and probably using once before Evolving, Herdier does some solid things, letting you draw three cards for (CC) or Bite for 50 points of damage using (CCC). Even if your normal acceleration tricks fail, you could quite easily drop Lillipup first turn, attach an Energy card, and attack for a decent return. Next turn you can drop Herdier onto that Lillipup, attach another Energy card, and again attack for a decent return. If the Energy is a Double Colorless Energy, that even includes using Bite. Since Stoutland is so poor, it detracts from these as they aren't good enough to justify playing them for their own sake. I state this because if we magically renamed them to fit in with a proven Stage 2 Pokémon, they’d probably be top picks.

I can think of a few tricks to make a minimally functional deck out of Stoutland. Functional should not be taken as high praise: it basically means that if your opponent doesn’t slaughter you quickly the deck should set-up and have at least a 10% chance of winning the game provided both players are of equal ability and luck doesn’t heavily favor one play over the other. Option one is simple: Energy acceleration. It works for almost everything and that includes Stoutland, but also means all acceleration has better options. Damage swap is another option, since Stoutland is just barely big enough to tank, and while tanking out could at least attempt to recycle key combo cards. Again better options exist, even for a large Stage 2 attacker. Lastly maybe something that could make it easier to get it out of the Active slot to reset its effect (or alternate as an attacker). Yet again, the return yield is so low as to make it not worth even trying.

Like so many cards this Set, Limited is where Stoutland can and should see play. The lower Stages are good enough to warrant playing without the later Stages, provided you have room (and a few Item cards to recycle with the smaller Lillipup). No Colorless Resistance this set, so if you have one of the few types likely to encounter Resistance (Fighting and Psychic), that is a small bonus as well. Mostly it is just that they can all use any Energy in your deck, always important for the often three and four Type decks of Limited play. Two versions of the Basic of the line will make pulling a stronger line easier as well, and as usual HP scores and damage output just aren't as good on average in this format, making the output of this line effectively better. With so many decks having single copies of important cards, re-using them or drawing extras is very important. Be very careful when using Stoutland itself. Drop it into play only when you can Giga Impact for a KO or really want to use Odor Sleuth. Even with its HP score, it will only have two or three attacks coming from it: remember that Giga Impact will almost always waste two attacks due to its effect, unless you use it right before being KO’d. I'd actually rely on Herdier more and Evolve for one last big attack, or if your opponent has a very weak set up an Odor Sleuth followed by Giga Impact.

Ratings

Unlimited: 1/5 – Minimally functional here is truly low: the resources of this format both prop up and cripple so many decks.

Modified (MD-On): 1.3/5 - It would be able to use Expert Belt and OHKO many commonly played things like Pokémon SP. It’d still be filling the place of something better.

Modified (HGSS-On): 1.5/5 - Why were people complaining about Scolipede again?

Limited: 3.5/5 - A solid line with a so-so finale, but you should be able to at least break even for Prizes when not facing Fighting-Type Pokémon.

Summary


Stoutland is a great example of a card that is less than the sum of its parts. Everything but Giga Impact would range from "average" to "good" on Stage 2 Pokémon in general, and even Giga Impact wouldn't be so bad if there was another good, damaging attack on the card and it was reserved for big hits. Instead we have a Stage 2 Pokémon with a supporting attack that doesn't work for a Stage 2 Pokémon and a big attack that isn't that big in the damage department. Looks like being able to make good use of Double Colorless Energy isn't everything.

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Mad Mattezhion
 Professor Bathurst League Australia
Stoutland (Black & White)
 
Hey Pojo readers, today's card is Stoutland, which looks like the terrier that guards Hell when Cerberus is on break. Does that translate to a good card?
 
Stoutland is a Colourless type Stage 2 with 140 HP, Fighting weakness, a retreat cost of 3 and two attacks.
 
Between Donphan Prime, Machamp Prime and Pluspower the weakness is a problem but the HP is high enough to stop almost any other card getting an OHKO (you'l either need a complete setup or a large boost to damage to take down a healthy Stoutland). The retreat cost is not surprising, but you will need Switch to get out of trouble. Or you can just leave Stoutland  hanging, which based on the attacks is what most players will do.
 
Odor Sleuth is the useful attack and costs [c][c] for 3 coin flips. Fore each Heads result, you can search your discard pile for any card and put it into your hand. This would be great if it wasn't on a Stage 2, because noone is going to dedicate that many deck slots to flippy retrieval, despite how useful it would be to get back certain cards (Supporters, Special energy, Legend pieces, evolutions, etc). As it stands, needing to evolve a Stage 2 and play two energy (or a DCE) for an attack that might not even work is too much effort. Especially since Judge is still popular and can ruin all of your effort by shuffiling your hand into the deck.
 
Giga Impact does nothing to help Stoutland. For [c][c][c][c] you deal a paltry 90 damage and cannot attack during the next turn. I know that the damage-to-energy ratio is being lowered, but there is no way you will ever want to pay for an expensive attack that not only fails to score an OHKO on all but the weakest of evolutions but also has the added cost of cancelling your attack on the next turn.
 
Stoutland looks awesome and it would make a brilliant guard dog, but this card will never see play.
 
Modified: 2 (the retrieval effect can be awesome but the costs far outweigh the benefits)
 
Limited: 3 (the two Lilipup cards and the Herdier in this set are perfect for Limited, so you might as well run Stoutland as well. Giga Impact still sucks terribly)
 
Combos with: the binder


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