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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Swadloon #5

Emerging Powers

Date Reviewed: Sept. 6, 2011

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 1.87
Limited: 2.25

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

Combos With:

Baby Mario
2010 UK National
Seniors
Champion

Swadloon 5/98 (Emerging Powers)

Hello and welcome to a shorter than usual week of reviews on Pojo’s CotD. I hope that US readers enjoyed their Holiday Weekend.

We kick off with one of those difficult reviews . . . yep, it’s an evolving Stage 1 card, in this case one of the two Swadloon from Emerging Powers (guess what’s coming tomorrow?). As is usual with these cards, their real purpose is to evolve into the Stage 2 in the absence of Rare Candy, and hopefully avoid being KO’d before that happens. As is also usual, their playability is entirely dependent on how viable the Stage 2 is. So, is Leavanny good enough to make people wonder about using this Swadloon? The answer will appear later in the week.

Meanwhile, let’s look at Swadloon for what it is. Its 80 HP is only mediocre, and its Grass Typing rather unfortunate in a metagame with a very heavy Fire presence (Emboar, Typhlosion, Reshiram). That’s just one reason why you would want to keep it on the Bench and pray that it doesn’t get 2HKOd by Yanmega snipes or dragged out with Pokémon Catcher.

The second reason would be the attacks. You have the classic vanilla Gnaw, which does an inconsequential 20 damage for one Energy, and the expensive and super-risky Double Razor Leaf which costs [G][C][C] and allows you to flip two coins and do 50 damage for each heads. Investing three Energy on a Swadloon wouldn’t be a good idea in any case, and when the pay-off is so random it just makes things a lot worse.

Basically, this is a standard (maybe even sub-par) evolving Stage 1 which offers no reason in and of itself to play it. Tune in tomorrow and find out if the alternative is any better.

Rating

Modified: 1.5 (it can evolve. That’s about it, really)

Limited: 1.5 (it isn’t even good here. Low HP, flippy, slow . . . )

virusyosh

Welcome back, Pojo readers! I hope that all of you in the US enjoyed your Labor Day holiday, and that others around the world had great weekends as well. This week we will be reviewing more cards from the Emerging Powers expansion, and all of our cards this week are variations on the same evolutionary line. We'll kick things off by reviewing Swadloon (#5) from Emerging Powers.

Swadloon is a Stage 1 Grass Pokemon. Grass-types are very uncommon in Modified today, possibly due to the presence of the very powerful Reshiram. That being said, you can still see a Jumpluff deck around every so often, and Vileplume also appears in toolbox decks as well as making a nice combo with Beartic. 80 HP is fairly average for an evolving Stage 1, as it should be able to take most early game hits, but given the fast pace of our metagame, care should still be taken to make sure that you can evolve your Swadloon into Leavanny pretty quickly. Fire Weakness means that Reshiram can take you out with relatively little effort, as can Typhlosion Prime and Emboar. No Resistance is sad but somewhat expected. Finally, a Retreat Cost of 1 is decent and payable, so it won't hurt too much to get Swadloon out of the Active position.

Swadloon has two rather forgettable attacks, and neither one will see much play at the Modified level. Gnaw deals a vanilla 20 damage for a single Colorless Energy, and Double Razor Leaf allows you to flip two coins, dealing 50 damage times the number of heads for a Grass Energy and two Colorless. In Modified, you probably shouldn't be attacking with a Swadloon unless you're really in trouble, but even still, Gnaw's damage is relatively insignificant, and Double Razor Leaf is too flippy and inconsistent for its cost. In Limited, Gnaw is a great attack to use while waiting for Double Razor Leaf, and although Double Razor Leaf is flippy, it can be a decent, given that it can hit for 100 damage.

Modified: 2.25/5 Swadloon is an evolving Stage 1, making it rather difficult to rate. If you're running Leavanny, you'll want to know that this Swadloon has more HP than its counterpart in the set, and it has the capacity to deal more damage and a lower Retreat Cost. Therefore, although both Swadloon are playable in the Leavanny deck, this one may be a bit better for those reasons above.

Limited: 2.75/5 Swadloon is a serviceable, if not unspectacular choice if you decide to run Grass in Limited. Gnaw is a decent cheap attack and Double Razor Leaf has the capability of doing a lot of damage, but aside from that, Swadloon doesn't really do anything in an outstanding way. That being said, if you have a Leavanny or a running heavy in Grass, it's far from a bad choice.


Otaku

We begin our shortened post-Labor Day week with… Yoda? Oh, one of the newer Pokémon I am still unfamiliar with, Swadloon!

Stats

Swadloon is a Stage 1 Grass-Type Pokémon. In terms of Weakness/Resistance that isn’t really a good or bad thing: we don’t see a lot with either being played competitively. In terms of actual Pokémon-Type support, Grass has access to one or two things but neither has proven especially useful. Fortunately most types lack any Support actually based on Pokémon (and not Energy) Type so that isn’t really a disadvantage right now. Swadloon is not only a Stage 1 Pokémon, but a transitional Stage 1, bridging the gap between a Basic and Stage 2 Pokémon. At first this would seem to be welcome: if Swadloon is good in and of itself it could still be played even if the other two Pokémon were bad, and if they are good and Swadloon isn’t then the burden of earning play time can be passed onto them. Rare Candy however can easily replace Swadloon and while it makes you vulnerable to being de-Evolved, it does mean your Stage 2 Pokémon enters play a turn sooner. In fact, it is only the threat of Trainer lock that keeps most such Stage 1 Pokémon seeing play.

Swadloon has 80 HP, which even for a transitional Stage 1 Pokémon is too low. I realize that even with HP scores still hitting record (for “plain” Pokémon) highs there is still a limit to how much this kind of Pokémon should have, but there is still a lot more room to work with. Too often Stage 1 Pokémon in general seem to be stuck with lower HP scores to make the already impressive Stage 2 scores stand out even more, and this is not needed. Basic Pokémon may have as little as 30 HP, but now we have 70 HP on Basic Pokémon that Evolve twice more and 130 HP on Basic Pokémon that don’t Evolve at all, so “saving” all the HP boosting for the final Evolution Stage just annoys me; the Stage 2 forms (when properly designed) are already good for having the best effects, so when a Basic is at 50 HP and a Stage 2 is at 130, we push the Stage 1 closer to the Stage 2 score. In the current format 80 HP is a OHKO for most competitive decks, and an easy OHKO for several.

The ease of OHKOing something with 80 HP has the bittersweet effect of making the Weakness less of a problem: most Fire-Type Pokémon attacking you will already be scoring a OHKO! Still it is a disadvantage since it will allow weaker attacks or cards not played for their attacks to still take Swadloon down in a single blow. No Resistance is disappointing since anything to help this card survive would be appreciated, though at the same time with its HP it might not have mattered and having no Resistance is quite common. The single Energy Retreat Cost is at least good: a free Retreat is of course better but as the second best option it still results in something easy to pay.

Effects

Swadloon has two attacks: Gnaw and Double Razor Leaf. Gnaw requires (C) and does 20 damage. Not the greatest, but not really bad as even for a non-Evolving Stage 1 Pokémon you only should be able to do so much for (C). If you couldn’t invest Energy before Evolving then at least you can Evolve a Sewaddle that has no Energy, then drop any Energy card onto it and still be able to attack. The second attack requires (GCC) and lets you flip two coins, scoring 50 points of damage per heads. So a 0/50/100 split with 50 being the most likely result (half the possible outcomes) and zero and 100 are both equally likely (each one of four possible outcomes). Given the Energy investment and fact that all the damage is being “wagered” on coin tosses this seems like a solid attack: you get just a little bit more than you paid for but not by much.

The good news is that the attack structure is such that you can power up the second attack quite rapidly with Double Colorless Energy. It won’t be a single turn drop, but if you opened with a Sewaddle and used your Energy attachment on it, you could then Evolve on your second turn, attach a Double Colorless Energy, and go straight into attacking with Double Razor Leaf. Second turn, such a luck-dependant attack can still prove useful because of the threat value: your opponent will be leery of committing anything to the field that could be forced Active and then OHKOed, even if there is only a 25% chance of the attack doing it. For a Stage 1, this isn’t too bad a gig. Most of my problem comes with how Gnaw feels a little wasteful. The first attack could easily have required (G) or (CC) and done more, something really worth having, and the card would barely have been any harder to play. As is, you’re apt to rarely ever use Gnaw since a competent deck build should see Swadloon (even if oddly being run as an attacker) powered up reliably enough to go straight into Double Razor Leaf a significant majority of the time. (G) or (CC) can get quite a bit these days.

Usage

Swadloon Evolves from Sewaddle. The two currently legal Sewaddle are from BW: Emerging Powers, specifically 03/98 and 04/98. Both Basic Pokémon have the same Type, Weakness, Resistance, and Retreat Cost as Swadloon. 03/98 has 40 HP and can Tackle for 10 damage at a cost of (C) or use String Shot for no damage and a 50% chance of inflicting Paralysis for (G). String Shot is definitely overpriced, but at least that would help it to survive. 04/98 can Gnaw for 10 damage, costing (C), or perform Razor Leaf at a cost of (GC) and doing 20 points of damage. The latter attack is again slightly overpriced. 04/98 does enjoy 50 HP, so while pure vanilla filler I am inclined to choose it: ideally you’d never attack with either so 10 more HP is more conducive to survival than an overpriced chance at Paralysis you never want to have been in a position to have used!

There is also a second Sewaddle to consider, but we are reviewing it later this week, so I am loathe to comment to extensively on it: I will simply say that I prefer this version. Similarly, we are to review Leavanny later this week as well, so again I don’t want to go into detail on it: I will merely stat that Swadloon will not make Leavanny any better of a pick than it would merit on its own. If that comment seems odd, remember that it is at least feasible that a Stage 1 Pokémon could be good enough to run on its own (possibly including the Stage 2 just for the option) or with both Stage 1 and Stage 2 forms being equally useful.

Swadloon unfortunately appears to be a fairly average Stage 1 Pokémon that Evolves, and that means in Modified its only going to see some play with Leavanny (assuming Leavanny sees play). In Unlimited it is far outclassed by many other cards and it should come as no surprise that I don’t expect Leavanny to see play except as an intentionally challenging deck some players like to ‘test’ themselves with. In Limited, though, the card finally has a reason to see at least some play. While there are only six Grass Weak Pokémon in the set (and all are members of the same Evolution line which has two copies of each Stage), I found no Resistance at all (the Metal-Types all Resist Psychic Pokémon). Given the ease of splashing Sewaddle and Swadloon (and at least the one Leavanny) into multi-Type decks, this is actually a solid pull for Limited. Additionally the redundant nature of the line in the set (two of each Stage) makes pulling a fleshed out line easier, and this format as usual makes all the stats and effects of the entire line better.

Ratings

Unlimited: 1/5

Modified: 1.75/5

Limited: 3/5

Summary

Swadloon needs just a bit more HP and it would have been a solid Stage 1 Pokémon, still not worth playing on its own but a boon to Leavanny. The stats it has, even being a transitory Stage 1 Pokémon, require being a good Basic or a great, non-Evolving Stage 1 Pokémon to justify use in competitive play, and it doesn’t look “fun” enough to be worth using in casual play, either.

I am selling my various toys, trinkets, games, and collectibles on eBay here. Right now I am about halfway through selling my Transformers: Classics collection. Currently on the block are Optimus Prime (Voyager), Grimlock (Deluxe), and all the Mini-Con three figure sets released as a part of the line. Feel free to help an Otaku out and give them a look. :)


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