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Pojo's Pokemon Card of the Day

 

Sableye Lv. 31

Stormfront

Date Reviewed: March 29, 2011

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 4.13
Limited: 3.33

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

Sableye (Stormfront) 

Sableye is a bit of a sleeper card. Not used much at first until players discovered how to take its game-bending abilities and create new decks based on them. Without Sableye, Gyarados SF would have stayed in the binder and Cyrus’s Initiative would be played about as much as Mom’s Kindness (and by that I mean ‘not at all’). Some people might think that was a good thing, but I disagree: Gyarados and Sablelock are two of the most original decks we have seen for years, with strategies that are a little bit different from the usual ‘attach-attack-smash face’ of other decks. 

Are there any rules/conventions of the Pokémon TCG that this card doesn’t break? Let’s see . . . a PokeBody that means the Sableye player goes first without needing a coin flip? Check. A cost-free attack that effectively allows you to play a Supporter on your first turn and two Supporters per turn afterwards? Check. An attack that can abuse Special Dark Energy and Crobat G to grab a first turn win before your opponent has even had a turn? Check. Yep . . . Sableye is a card with a lot going for it (to put it mildly). 

It’s not all good news of course. Going first is usually a disadvantage unless your deck is prepared for it, especially against fast Trainer-heavy decks like SP. Also, Sableye’s HP is far from impressive and they can be easy Prizes on the bench for the likes of Luxray GL LV X and Garchomp C LV X. Nevertheless, first turn access to the Supporter of your choice, with a nice little sideline in donk wins, mean that Sableye has been able to bring certain decks to the top tier that would have been floundering on the bottom tables without it. 

Of course, if Sableye is still legal when we get the Black and White rulebook, all bets are off. The ability to use Trainers on your first turn will make Sableye the heart of a first turn kill deck. Use Pokémon Collector to grab Unown DARK and a couple of Crobat G. Throw in some Poke Turns and an Expert Belt, and it will all be over very quickly. 

Let’s hope Sableye gets rotated before that happens. It’s been a good card, it doesn’t need to become a broken one. 

Rating 

Modified: 4 (That’s the rating for now. We get the B&W rules with Sableye still in the format and you will be sick of the sight of it) 

virusyosh

Welcome back, Pojo readers! Today we are reviewing what used to be the best set-up card in the format, and still sees quite a bit of play today. Today's Card of the Day is Sableye from Stormfront.

Sableye, like Spiritomb yesterday, is a Basic Darkness Pokemon with 60 HP, no Weakness, Colorless Resistance, and a Retreat Cost of 1. This makes it on par with Spiritomb in terms of stats, so the only differentiating factors are its abilities.

Sableye has a Poke-Body and two attacks. The Body, Overeager, allows you to go first at the beginning of the game, as long as your opponent doesn't have an active Sableye with Overeager. This can be useful for a number of reasons, such as getting to attack first (in the case of a donk), or to quickly build up using Sableye's Impersonate attack.

Impersonate allows you to search your deck for a Supporter, discard it, and use the effect of that Supporter as the effect of the attack. This is a key attack in many decks, including Gyarados (use Pokemon Collector to get Magikarps/Regice), as well as Sablelock (to get Cyrus's Initiative). It works nicely in other decks as well, depending on their Supporter needs.

The other attack, Overconfident, starts at 10 damage for [D] but can increase to 40 damage if the Defending Pokemon has fewer HP than Sableye. Along with a Special Darkness Energy, this means that any Pokemon with 50 HP or lower (less than Sableye) will be OHKOed. From this, Overconfident forms the basis of the Sabledonk deck, and will allow other decks utilizing Sableye and Darkness Energy to have the potential to donk. Just keep in mind that most common decks in Modified nowadays run many Basics with more than 50 HP, so be sure to plan accordingly if you are building a deck in this way.

Modified: 4/5 Where Spiritomb does two things really well, Sableye is more versatile. It can fetch whatever Supporter you need at the time, as well as having the potential to donk. However, when deciding on which starter to use, make sure to pick the one that will maximize your deck's effectiveness, because like Spiritomb, Sableye isn't right for every deck.

Limited: 3/5 Much like Spiritomb yesterday, Sableye isn't quite as good in Limited. Chances are you won't draft that many Supporters and Overconfident probably won't be terribly useful. That being said, Overeager is still good, Impersonate gives you search power, and Overconfident can be great for a surprise KO or at the start of the match.

Combos With: Gyarados SF (with Pokemon Collector)

Mad Mattezhion
 Professor Bathurst League Australia

Sableye (Stormfront)
 
We continue our review week with Sableye, who bears a striking number of similarities to Spiritomb PA from yesterday's review. Even better, Sableye is currently the subject of a lot of discussion with the anticipated rule changes that the English release of Black and White will bring to the game, so today's reviews will probably be lengthy and hopefully useful.
 
First the stats. Sableye has precisely the same stats as Spiritomb PA (which makes sense since the are both Ghost/Dark), being a Dark type non-evolving Basic with 60 HP, no weakness, Colourless resistance, a retreat cost of 1, a Poke-body and 2 attacks. Again, the lack of weakness and the useful resistance will stop weak Poke'mon from getting a lucky hit in against Sableye, but the 60 HP isn't going to last long against a stronger attack. The main diffrence between Sableye and Spiritomb is that Spiritomb hurts itself while Sableye likes to remain healthy so it can fight effectively.
 
The Poke-body is titled Overeager, and is almost unique in that it activates before play has actually begun. If Sableye is your Active Poke'mon at the start of the game before anyone takes a turn, you automatically go first. Unless the opponent also has a Poke'mon with the Overeager Pokebody as their Active Poke'mon, in which case both Overeager Poke-bodies are ignored and you flip a coin as usual.
 
The usefuleness of this Poke-body is somewhat debatable. Sableye has the attacks to take advantage of definitely going first, but in this current format going second is usually better because then you can use Trainer, Stadium and Supporter cards to get all kinds of useful results such as search power, early evolution and other bonuses that the player going first doesn't have the chance to use until . The main reason to avoid going second is if you have a lone Poke'mon at the start of the game, which is a situation that Sableye exploits very effectively with its second attack.
 
However, with the release of Black and White we expect to be able to use those cards right from the first turn which will make Sableye extremely popular. Both Smeargle UD and Spiritomb PA like to go first as well (Smeargle likes to copy Supporter cards before you can play them and Spiritomb likes to get the most from the early evolution and the Trainer lock) so Sableye is good at countering both of those starters.
 
Enough of that, now we do the attacks. Unlike Spiritomb yesterday, both of these attacks are worth using so running Dark energy is the way to get the most out of Sableye. Also, there is a more offensive focus so this starter can double as an attacker, at least against Poke'mon with low remaining HP.
 
Impersonate is the first attack and it is energy-free (like all of the best starters' setup attacks). The effect is to search your deck for a Supporter card and discard it. Then you use the effect of the discarded Supporter as the effect of the attack (shuffle your deck afterward). Obviously being able to use Supporter cards on the first turn is very helpful (though it will end your turn and leave you open to being hit with Judge) and being able to play 2 Supporter cards on any subsequent turn is also useful, though after turn 3 you will probably want to use a different attack. As far as likely targets are concerned, you can either grab cards that will boost your setup or pick out a Judge/Looker's Investigation/Cyrus' Conspiracy and disrupt your opponent tot cripple them.
 
It is important to note that you can discard any Supporter from your deck even if you can't use the effect (choosing a Bebe's Search when you have an empty hand for example), but you still have to meet the requirements of the card to get the effect. So you can't get the search effect from Twins unless you are behind on Prizes even if you discard it with Impersonate.
 
Also, the attack order is pretty complex. You have to shuffle your deck before drawing any cards if you search out a card like Engineer's Adjustments (and shuffle your hand in at the same time if you zre using Cynthia's Feelings or a similar card) but as a matter of saving time you can use any search effect like Pokemon Collector before shuffling as you would just be searching and shuffling again anyway. I haven't seen any official ruling so ask before you do this at a tournament, but it seems practical and doesn't give any advantage.
 
With all of the technicalities explained, I can move on to my favourite bit of this card (it may not be the best bit but it is the most fun!). The second attack is Overconfident (I'm sensing a theme here) and it deals 10 damage for [d]. Obviously, based on what we said for Spiritomb's Will-o'-the-wisp attack, this is crap value but the attack text says that if the Defending Poke'mon has less remaining HP than Sableye, you deal 40 damage instead. If you add a Special Dark energy to the mix, you can deal an OHKO to any Poke'mon with less HP left than Sableye. Throw in some Crobat G into the mix to drop your opponent's HP with Flash Bite and you can take down any starter Poke'mon in the game, as well as keep Sableye ready for a revenge KO if your main attacker gets taken out. The best part of this is guaranteeing a win if your opponent has the bad luck to have a lone Poke'mon at the start of the game.
 
With the new rules coming in however, this ability to take first turn knockouts may well prove a game breaker with Unown DARK able to search out Special Dark energy and a first turn Poke'mon Collector capable of grabbing all of the pieces you need, along with first turn Poketurn uses getting you more mileage out of your Crobat G drops. Sableye, with a little luck, would be able to destroy any Basic you are likely to see at the tournament level and a lone start would become a death sentence.
 
To be fair, you would be burning a lot of resources to take only 1 KO, but the early lead could easily snowball especially if the KO disrupts your opponent's setup (because you took out their starter before they could use it) and lead to a frustrating run of first turn wins with very little strategy involved. True, that sometimes happens with Sableye now, but it doesn't happen often enough to make Sableye the dominant starter in the format and is more of a calculated gamble than a dependable strategy, especially since the decks most vulnerable to Overconfident (Gyarados and Jumpluff with their 30 HP Basics) use Sableye to stop that happening.
 
I don't want to see an early rotation so I think an errata should be applied to Sableye that prevents you attacking with Overconfident on either player's first turn to stop the nightmare return of the first turn win. Rare Candy is getting a text change to the same effect (it can't be used to evole a Poke'mon you couldn't evolve normally so that rules out using it on the first turn of the game) and I believe Broken Time Space should also be disallowed during each player's first turn. If these errata are applied, each of these cards can still be useful without being broken and there won't be a need for an early rotation (which would make me pull a Sad Face and Ragequit from Poke'mon!).
 
Back on the review though, Sableye is effective in any deck that really likes Supporter cards and wants to be aggressive right from the first draw, especially if you have vulnerable Basics to protect. For evolution decks Spirtomb is the key and if you want to peek at your opponent you should use Smeargle (notice how these starters all have names starting with 'S'? I think the design team are trying to tell us something!) but Sableye if definitely the best option for countering your opponent's starter, at the cost of a slightly weaker setup.
 
Modified: 4 (If Sableye isn't banned or errata'd when the rules change, make that a 5)
Limited: 3 (There are a lot of great Trainer cards in this set and not a lot of Supporter cards, but Overconfident can really shine here IF you have the energy)

Combos with: Unown UD, Crobat G, any Supporter card worth running

conical

3/29/10: Sableye(Stormfront)
 
Most players complain about starting first, because you can't play Trainers, Supporters, or Stadiums unless you go second. Then there's Sableye, who forces the player to go first.
 
Sableye is a pretty interesting card, which has been used in a large variety of decks. However, it first gained popularity in a starter role, particularly in Gyarados. Over time, however, it has become the main part of its own archetype, using Impersonate to search out disruption Supporters, or get a quick KO with Overconfident. It could become even more powerful in a format with B/W rules, since you can play Trainers first turn, meaning that Sableye will give its user an advantage.
 
All in all, a pretty creative card, who breaks the general rules of the game in multiple ways.
 
Modified: 4.5/5
Limited: 4/5  


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