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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Top 13 Pokemon Cards of Dragon Exalted:

#10 - Gabite #89

Date Reviewed: August 13, 2012

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 3.90
Limited: 3.90

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

Mad Mattezhion
 Professor Bathurst League Australia

Our Dragons Exalted Top 10: #10 Gabite #89
 
It's a glorious Monday and we are back with more of our Top 10 from the latest expansion. Today's offering is one of the cards I pulled at the local prerelease yesterday, and I am certainly glad I did.
 
Gabite is an evolving Stage 1 so you can already guess how this review would go if it was a normal week. Fortunately this week is special, and this card has something that stops it being filler.
 
That happens to the the brilliant Ability Dragon Call. Once during your turn, before your attack you may search your deck for any one Dragon type Poke'mon, reveal it and put it into your hand. No doubt you are all already brimming with ideas of how to abuse this Ability but for the newer players in the audience I want to go into minute detail of how cool this is.
 
First of all, Gabite's purpose is to evolve into Garchomp and this is the second best way of doing so (the best way is to search and evolve with the same Ability/attack, like Zorua DEX with Ascension). This major consistency boost makes both Garchomp cards better than they would be otherwise, and saves you the cost of a search card which you can now dedicate to something else in your deck.
 
Second, Gabite is repeatable card advantage at no extra cost. Once you get it into play, you can grab an extra card per turn until you evolve or run out of Dragons. Either way, it's one less card in the deck so you are more likely to draw the energy and Trainers you need but can't search for, and you'll never be out of fodder for Ultra Ball or Empoleon's Diving Draw.
 
Third, and most important, Gabite is a repeatable search engine for any deck that relies on Dragons. Whether you want to grab a few Altaria to boost your damage output or you want to stack several Rayquaza EX so you constantly switch them around, Gabite makes sure you can do it every turn.
 
Of course, there are still some drawbacks. Gabite is a prime target for Poke'mon Catcher, and with only 80 HP it won't survive the experience. The other stats are almost inconsequential next to the insubstantial HP and none of them do anything to enhance Gabite's lifespan. As such, it's a gamble to leave Gabite on the bench without evolving it and should only be attempted if you want to protect something more important (your Eelektrik and evolving Basics, for example).
 
The other hurdle in the way of using Gabite as a search engine is that while all of the other available Dragons are at least marginally playable, none of them work very well together. Both of the new Hydreigon cards and Rayquaza EX all have heavy discard penalties attached to their attacks and will need energy recursion/acceleration to function, which between the space-hungry Eelektrik and Dark Patch engines leaves room in a deck for only one or the other. Garchomp can work very well alongside Altaria since all of the attack costs can be paid with Blend WFLM Energy, but that makes it an evolution deck in a format still dominated by Big Basics. Giratina EX is all on it's lonesome as an anti-Dragon, anti-Eviolite beater for players using Prism Energy and Blend GFPD Energy but it won't sit well alongside any of its cousins (not even the Shiny Rayquaza that shares similar mechanics).
 
To put it bluntly, there aren't yet enough Dragons in the card pool to make a Gabite powered-deck carry itself, so the savvy players will grab an Altaria when they first play Gabite and immediately upgrade to one or the other Garchomp on the following turn.
 
Don't get me wrong, Gabite is the best evolving Stage 1 in the format (Eelektrik NV counts as a terminal Stage 1 in my book) but I don't think it will see play by itself. Of course Garchomp/Altaria players will use it but they will also play other non-Dragon Poke'mon (like Terrakion NV, Terrakion EX and Emploeon DEX) to cover their bases.
 
Maybe Gabite DRX #89 will become the main focus of a future mono-Dragon deck that will make Garchomp an optional extra (much like Eelektross DEX), but for now just enjoy it for what it is and don't worry about trying to break the Ability as if it's Pigeot FRLG.
 
Modified: 3.75 (For evolving quickly and grabbing extra hand fodder, Gabite cannot be beaten but it will only be as effective as the available Garchomp cards allow it to be)
 
Limited: 4 (you will almost certainly have another Dragon type worth searching out in your deck so Gabite earns its keep just by finding your major attacker. Add in the deck thinning and Gabite only gets better, and having even a single Gible and Garchomp makes this a must-run)
 
Combos with: Garchomp and any Dragons that also combo well with any Garchomp.


Otaku

Worlds is over; I would like to congratulate all who participated (seriously, just earning an invite or grinding in is an accomplishment), and of course even more is due those who finished well. Now, time for our Top 10 Promising Picks of Dragons Exalted with number 10… Gabite (BW: Dragons Exalted 89/124)?

Stats

Gabite is a Stage 1 Dragon-Type Pokémon. It can tap the small amount of Dragon support, in part because it is half of Dragon-Type support! As Dragon-Types have existed for all of one set, having two pieces of Type specific support is great; it isn’t even pseudo-Type support, where it actually works for any Type even if it favors its own. If it ever has to attack, at least can exploit the currently universal Dragon-Type Pokémon Weakness to their own Type. Being a Stage 1 does slow it down a bit, but not enough to render it useless.

80 HP is low, even for a transitional Stage 1 Pokémon, though with Level Ball I would settle for just 90; in fact remaining Level Ball “compliant” is pretty important, as I will address in the Usage section. Any main attacker can OHKO it, unfortunately, while the various spread/snipe attackers will take advantage of the situation to set-up some multi-KO combos if you don’t Evolve quickly enough. There is no Resistance to help balance that out so we’ll just have to move onto the single Energy Retreat Cost; this is fairly painless to pay and quite useful.

Effects

Gabite has one Ability and one attack. The Ability is what makes this card shine; Dragon Call allows the player to search his or her deck for a Dragon-Type Pokémon and add it to hand once per turn. This allows you to spend a resource on Gabite and “redeem” it for a Dragon-Type Pokémon. Simple, but powerful… which half describes the attack; Dragonslice only does 20 points of damage for two Energy, and those Energy are even two different Types (Water and Fighting)! It easily could have hit for 40 and still be balanced.

Usage

Sad but true; TPC does not have a track record of making “good” Evolving Stage 1 cards. Most exist purely to get to the related Stage 2 form(s) into play; coupled with Rare Candy existing as not only Evolution acceleration, but as a complete and total alternative to using a Stage 1, it regularly is the superior choice. This is the inherent flaw in introducing a form of generic Evolution acceleration to the game, especially as an Item that completely bypasses the Stage 1 form; the solution to making all Pokémon that don’t Evolve function as equals is to actually start with that as the design premise. Things like not making non-Evolving Basic Pokémon that can wrack up KOs before Evolutions hit the field and fill all “areas” of a deck (set-up, main game, end game), and making lower Stages worth using without overshadowing the final form. That is an article for another time, however.

I don’t think Gabite can stand on its own; I’ve had people refer me to Sunflora (HeartGold/SoulSilver 31/123) which is a very similar, non-Evolving Stage 1 Grass-Type Pokémon whose Poké-Power searched out Grass-Type Pokémon. Obviously Gabite can Evolve into Garchomp and the importance of that cannot be understated, but I must add that Sunflora existed in a format where a Grass-Type Pokémon (Vileplume HS: Undaunted 24/90) that blocked Item usage to protect it. Gabite really does need Garchomp, because an 80 HP Bench-sitter is just too tempting.

The best known Garchomp deck uses Altaria (BW: Dragons Exalted 84/124) alongside Garchomp (BW: Dragons Exalted 90/124) to get into OHKO/2HKO range for just one or two Energy. I finally got to use the deck once, and I’ve gone against it a handful of times. The deck must constantly set up replacements for each of those two, to the point that you will regularly need Dragon Call. I found relying on Dragon Call in these situations to be both a bane and a blessing, as with the obvious importance of setting up either initial or replacement Altaria and Garchomp, taking out an 80 HP Gabite is a high (if not top) priority when facing the deck. If you can keep the replacements coming, you’re probably going to win; if not, expect to lose quickly and painfully.

At first I didn’t see how important “Level Ball =>Gabite=> Altaria, Gabite, or Garchomp (as needed)” was to the deck. With as tight as most builds I’ve seen run, Ultra Ball would tear it up pretty bad. The only Pokémon regularly run that Level Ball doesn’t hit in the build I ran is Garchomp, and the only Pokémon that Dragon Call misses are Emolga (BW: Dragons Exalted 45/124) and Swablu (whichever version from BW: Dragons Exalted you choose); between the two is total coverage.

There are two Gible to pick from right now: BW: Dragons Exalted 86/124 and BW: Dragons Exalted 87/124. Both are Dragon-Type Basic Pokémon with Dragon-Type Weakness, no Resistance, Retreat Cost of one, and two attacks. BW: Dragons Exalted 86/124 has just 50 HP with two vanilla attacks doing 10 for (C) or 20 for (WF). That is rather lackluster, but I suppose if you anticipate seldom failing to set-up your except then we have BW: Dragons Exalted 87/124, the superior choice. For (F) it has Sand-Attack; no damage but it forces a coin flip requirement on the Defending Pokémon if it attacks next turn. This plus having 10 more HP (that is, 60) to slightly improve its chance of survival, and if you’re stuck attacking for damage with it, (WC) gives you 10 with a 50% chance at doing 30 instead.

Now what about the other Gabite and Garchomp? Gabite (BW: Dragons Exalted 88/124) comes close to being totally forgettable; it has the same Stats as today’s CotD, other than possessing two attacks instead of one attack and one Ability. Tackle does a vanilla 20 for (C); not enough to be impressive or overly relevant, especially since the set gives us two Garchomp that best this: why not just use Rare Candy and hit even harder? The second attack, Shred, could have been useful but unless an effect totally blocks your damage, you’re better off powering through with a Garchomp.

I am sure we’ll get around to giving both Garchomp full reviews, so I’ll try to keep this short (at least by my standards); both are Stage 2 Dragon-Type Pokémon with 140 HP, Dragon-Type Weakness, no Resistance, and two attacks. BW: Dragons Exalted 90/124 is the preferred version and has a Retreat Cost of just one. For (F) it his for an impressive 60 points of damage and discards a Special Energy (if present) attached to the Defending Pokémon. For (WF) it hits for 100, but makes you discard the top two cards from your deck. BW: Dragons Exalted 91/124 has a free Retreat Cost, only needs (C) to hit for 40, but needs (WFC) to hit for 80 while blocking the Defending Pokémon from retreating. Honestly both are potent, but extra damage done on the two attacks (and effect of the first attack) is worth the difference in Retreat Cost, the specific Energy requirement of the first attack, and drawback of the second.

Unlimited play is pretty irrelevant for Gabite, due to the dominance of First Turn Win decks. Still, if something happens that would slow them down enough give even the old, slower-but-still-brutally-fast decks of Unlimited a shot again, Broken Time Space would love this line! For Limited, what Dragons did you pull? The usual “lower average HP” scores factor helps it, but its own attack is still overpriced even here. If you don’t have either a lot of Dragons and/or an especially good Dragon to go with it, you’re not going to get good use from it. The Garchomp Evolution line has two versions of each Pokémon; two Common Gible, two Uncommon Gabite, and both a Rare and a Holo-Rare Garchomp, increasing the likely hood of a well fleshed out line, and if you have this Gabite it’s phenomenal. The rating will reflect all these possibilities, good and bad.

Ratings

Unlimited: 1/5

Modified: 3.5/5

Limited: 3.5/5

Summary

Today’s Gabite is one of the times when they do a Stage 1 right: Gabite enhances its Evolved form to the point skipping it with Rare Candy should only be done when it must. That being said, on my own list I rank it at Top 30. My list is technically a bit in flux (and originally before play-testing I had it several places lower). While the search effect is good, in a fast format with nothing to protect it, Gabite needs Garchomp to justify its place in a deck. That being said, Garchomp appears to need this Gabite as well, so it still scores well.

Please check out my eBay sales by clicking here. It’s me whittling away at about two decades worth of attempted collecting, spanning action figures, comic books, TCGs, and video games. Exactly what is up is a bit random. Pojo.com is in no way responsible for any transactions; Pojo is merely doing me a favor by letting me link at the end of my reviews.

Jebulous Maryland Player

Gabite 89
 
Gabite is a Stage 1 Dragon Pokemon with 80 HP.  It has a weakness to Dragon and a retreat cost of 1.  It is searchable by Level Ball, which only makes it even better since there a way to get it faster.
 
'Dragon Call' is an ability that lets you search your deck for a Dragon type Pokemon once per turn.  Awesome. Awesome! AWESOME! I'm trying to figure out how to convey my feelings for this card through the computer.  I always like type specific cards (I played Yugioh before and like cards that support certain archetypes).  My reasoning?
 It makes cards less splashable.  This ability is meant for a Dragon deck.  Though you don't have to make a pure Dragon deck, it would speed up your deck considerably.  Anyway, the ability is great for setting up.  You get one of these guys into play, and then just go crazy with the searching.  Why not get another? Then you search for 2 per turn.  What's great is that the entire evolution line is Dragon, so you can get its evolution as well.
 
'Dragonslice' is... well now, this is my first time reading the attack.  1 Water and 1 Fighting and does 20.  Hah! That's awful.  Not worth 2 specific types of energy when Basics (bad ones) can even hit for the same damage.  This attack is used out of desperation or for an upset victory.
 
Well this card is one of the main factors of the Garchomp/Altaria deck that has become popular.  Use Gabite to get Altarias and Garchomps, and then have the Altarias beef up the Garchomps' attacks.  Hey, it's been successful; we'll have to wait to see if it can win tournaments.
 
As you can probably tell you will have this guy on the bench while he exists in this form.  So Pokemon Catchers and Bench attackers are some things to worry about.  For Catcher, if you survive, the cheap retreat helps.  If you survive.  80 HP is not a lot, especially if your opponent is running Dragons.  Darkrai EX will need 3 'Night Spears'
before taking it out, but by then you should just evolve it... Raikou EX will laugh at it.
 
Modified: 4.5/5
Limited: 4/5
Combo's With: any Dragon type
 
Questions, comments, concerns: jebulousthemighty@yahoo.com


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