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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Top 13 Pokemon Cards of Dragon Exalted:

#12 - Altaria - #BW48

Date Reviewed: August 7, 2012

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 3.75
Limited: 3.75

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: See Below

virusyosh

Hello once again, Pojo! Today we're reviewing one of the new Dragon-types from Dragons Exalted, and this one is probably going to see some play in what's thought to be an upcoming popular deck. Today's Card of the Day is Altaria.

Altaria is a Stage 1 Dragon Pokemon. Dragons haven't seen any competitive play yet in the US, but will definitely see play due to the well-hyped decks involving Garchomp, Hydreigon, Rayquaza, and Rayquaza-EX. 70 HP is fairly dreadful for a Stage 1, as Altaria will probably be taken down with middling hits in Modified, as well as even weak hits targeting Altaria's Weakness. Dragon Weakness is bad but expected, as opponents using Dragons will easily be able to KO Altaria even using weak attacks. Oddly, Altaria has no Resistance despite being a Flying-type in the video games, and a Retreat Cost of 1, which is easily payable.

Altaria has an Ability and an attack. Fight Song increases the damage output by each of your Dragon Pokemon by 20, which is fairly useful when combined with heavy hitting Dragon-type attackers like Garchomp and Rayquaza. In fact, Altaria is commonly paired with Garchomp to increase the strength of its Dragonblade attack, dealing huge amounts of damage for only two Energy. Another added bonus of Fight Song is that it's stackable, meaning the more Altarias you have in play, the greater the damage boost. Generally, Altaria can work in any Dragon deck, if you can find the space.

Altaria's single attack, Glide, deals a vanilla 40 damage for a Water, a Metal, and a Colorless. While Fight Song increases the damage to 60 in most cases, 60 damage for three Energy (two of which are different Energy types!) is very overpriced, so you'll want to avoid attacking with Altaria in most cases. That being said, the attack can be fairly useful in Limited.

Modified: 3.5/5 Altaria is a great supporting Pokemon for the new Dragon decks, but it does have drawbacks. First off, 70 HP means that Altaria's survivability is VERY low, as your opponents will easily use a Pokemon Catcher to bring it Active and knock it out. Second, Glide is very weak for the price, and you likely won't want to waste the resources on a Pokemon with such a low HP stat. All in all, Fight Song is an amazingly powerful Ability to support Dragon decks, and if you're building a deck around a Dragon-type attacker, it's definitely worth giving Altaria a look.

Limited: 4/5 Altaria is solid as both an attacker and support Pokemon due to the number of Dragon types in Limited, although its HP still lets it down (though your opponent can't use Pokemon Catcher here). Fight Song is great for increasing damage output here, as even your Gabites and Zweilous will be formidable attackers with Fight Song's help. Additionally, while far from ideal, Glide can be used to deal solid, consistent damage. If you decide to run a lot of Dragons, Altaria will probably be worth running because of its very potent Ability.

Combos With: Dragon-type attackers, notably Garchomp #90

HD

Altaria: Humming the Song of Battle

Hello all you Pojo readers out there! Today's CotD is Card #12 of Pojo's Top 13 Dragons Exalted cards! Today we are looking at Altaria, the Humming Pokemon!

As usual, this review is based on the BW-on format.

First, let's take a look at its stats. 70 HP is the lowest HP for any Altaria in the history of the game, tied with Altaria from EX: Deoxys. It's also the second lowest possible HP score for a Fully Evolved Pokemon in the format, with only 3 having 60 HP; Plusle, Minun, and Victini. It also has the second lowest HP for a Stage 1 in the format, beaten only by the two Duosions' 60 HP. 70 HP is easily Catchered and KOed, so that's not a good sign.

Being a Stage 1 means it you can play it Turn 2 at the earliest, and even then you'd have to play a Swablu down Turn 1, which is quite risky since it only has 40 HP. While it may sound bad, it is definitely worth it.

It's weak to Dragon, just like every Dragon type in the format, and has no Resistance, like every Dragon type in the format. Its low HP means its Weakness for the most part is irrelevant, although it does allow Rayquaza EX to OHKO with just 1 Energy and Mach Cut Garchomp to KO without Altaria support. Resistance is irrelevant in general, as it only reduces 1 type's damage by 20 anyway, although I would've liked to see the multi-type Resistances from Dragons in earlier sets make their return.

A Retreat Cost of 1 is not bad to have, as it makes it relatively easy to get out of the Active spot if it gets up there, since you do not under almost any circumstances want it Active.

Its attack, "Glide", is quite mediocre; for [WMC], you do a vanilla 40 damage, which is quite low for the format. Therefore, the Ability better be its saving grace.

Indeed it is. Fight Song (personally I prefer the Japanese name "Battle Song" but oh well) increases the damage all Dragon types in play do to the Active by 20. It also stacks, meaning if you have 2 Altarias in play, Dragons do +40 damage, if you have 3 in play, Dragons do +60, etc.

Aerodactyl from Dark Explorers has a similar Ability, "Ancient Scream", which increases the damage output of all your Pokemon by 10, regardless of type. Now, keep in mind that Aerodactyl is a Restored Pokemon, which are really hard to play in this format, since the only ways to get them out (Twist Mountain and the respective Fossils) are quite mediocre. Also, most attackers in the upcoming format are most likely Dragon-types, so it seems quite logical that Altaria is the superior card.

In fact, Altaria is considered so good that it is a main Pokemon in an upcoming top tier deck: GarTaria. The deck takes advantage of Garchomp's Mach Cut ([F] for 60) attack while boosting it via the Fight Songs of multiple Altaria for massive damage.

In Unlimited, this is pretty bad since actual Dragon type Pokemon were just introduced and there aren't very many in the Unlimited format.

In Limited, it's one of the best things you can pull if you have enough Dragon types to run a deck with them. Obviously, if you don't get many Dragons, things don't work out too well for it.

Ratings (bolded):

Modified (BW-on): 4/5
Unlimited: 1/5
Limited: 3.5/5

Combos with:

Garchomp DRX 90

Any Dragon type capable of attacking.

Mad Mattezhion
 Professor Bathurst League Australia

Our Dragons Exalted Top 10: #12 Altaria
 
We're back for another of our top card segments, with the promotional card from the prerelease in our sights. Here's to the cloudy bird finally getting some respect!
 
Of course, like the card from yesterday the stats are nothing to celebrate. 70 HP is the lowest I've seen on a terminal Stage 1 for quite some time and it means that between Poke'mon Catcher and the current power level of the game, Altaria is a massive liability on the offense. Expect to lose several early Prizes and N will be your best bet to stem to onslaught.
 
The other stats don't even matter (a lack of Resistance really stings here) so it's on the to the attacks. Glide helps make up for the terrible HP, costing [w][m][c] to deal 40 damage.
 
Okay, so the attack sucks the big one as well. Needing multiple energy types is a typical Dragon thing but the damage has to be worth the effort and 60 for 3 energy just does not cut it.
 
I say 60 damage because of the Ability, Fight Song. This is the reason that players may well put up with the terrible stats of Altaria because dealing 20 extra damage to the defending Poke'mon is just that powerful. Stacking it to add as much as 80 damage to each attack is truly amazing, but unfortunately it gobbles up a lot of bench space. More likely, Altaria will be played in pairs alongside other support Poke'mon such as Eelektrik NV and Empoleon DEX to add the boost that means a guaranteed 1HKO.
 
Of course, this means that we need some excellent Dragon beasticks. Rayquaza EX, shining Rayquaza, both Hydreigon cards and one of the Garchomps all look like possible contenders, any of which would appreciate an extra 20 or 40 damage per swing.
 
The likely roadblocks are the already mentioned criminally low HP and the competition for space, both in the bench and in the deck. Still, if you are playtesting any new Dragon and constantly find yourself short a Pluspower or two at a critical moment, give Altaria a whirl.
 
Modified: 3.25 (currently Altaria is more of a liability than an asset, although if it eats a Catcher intended for your Eelektrik I'd say you've broken even. The future release of more Dragons will likely increase Altaria's popularity, and the eventual rotation of Poke'mon Catcher will work wonders for its longevity)
 
Limited: 2.5 (if you happen to be running a few other Dragons this great support, but the contrary energy costs mean that you'll likely never use Glide and both Swablu cards are pathetic)
 
Combos with: Dragons, as well as
N to offset the Prize losses. Crushing Hammer will also help keep Altaria alive longer than one turn.

Jebulous Maryland Player

Altaria

 

Altaria is a Stage 1 Dragon Pokemon with 70 HP.  It has a weakness to Dragon and a retreat cost of 1.  It is searchable by Level Ball.

 

'Fight Song' is an ability that makes your Dragon Pokemon do 20 more damage to your opponent's Active Pokemon.  This ability STACKS.  I built a deck with the Aerodactyl that was recently released, and it was not that great (more of a fun deck).  The extra 10 damage was good, but this extra 20 is better.

 

'Glide' does 40 damage for the cost of 1 Water, 1 Metal, and 1 Colorless.  The cost is definitely not worth it.  Blend Energy helps with the Water/Metal, but 3 energies for 40 damage just isn't worth it (though it will be doing 60 damage if it attacks).

 

So from what I understand, Altaria should just sit on the bench and do its thing with its ability.  get a couple of them out and let your other dragons do the attacking.  The Garchomp/Altaria deck is exactly what does that.  Gabite's ability can search out Altaria, and Altaris makes the Garchomp line do more damage (at a cheap cost).

 

I want to play against the deck to see how it runs.  I'm not sure if I want to build it though.

 

Modified: 4/5

Limited: 3/5

Combo's With: Enhanced Hammer

 

Questions, comments, concerns: jebulousthemighty@yahoo.com


Otaku

We continue our Top 10 Top 13 Promising Picks of Dragons Exalted with Altaria! As a reminder, since the cards are not tournament legal until after Worlds and there isn’t much happening between then and the rotation just over two weeks later, I’ll be scoring only for BW-On Modified.

Stats

Altaria is one of the new “Dragon-Type” Pokémon. This is the first new Type (Color) of Pokémon to be added to the game since Dark and Metal (Darkness and Steel) were adapted from the video games. The reason those two were added to the core Types when they were is because they were also added to the video games of the time as well; in this case Dragon-Type Pokémon were shoehorned into the “Colorless” Type (which also contains video game Types Normal and Flying). This caused some issues since Dragon-Types were primarily weak to other Dragon-Types, but giving them Colorless Weakness led to other awkward scenarios (namely a lot of Pokémon slaying Dragons with ease they shouldn’t know).

Nothing resists Dragon-Type Pokémon, but all currently released Dragon-Type Pokémon are also Dragon Weak, so if one becomes popular, other Types may benefit from being extra effective against their kin. There is a tiny bit of support for Dragon-Types, and as I’ll discuss later, Altaria is in a prime position to tap it. One does need to be careful, because even with all Altaria has going for it, it has two huge drawbacks: 70 HP and Dragon Weakness. Any fully Evolved Dragon whose smallest attack does damage, ends up scoring a OHKO due to Weakness, and even some of the lower Stage versions can as well if they use the bigger of their attacks. There is no Resistance, but perhaps it would do little good anyway, given that an effective “90” HP is only slightly less likely to be a OHKO after a player's second turn. There is a small bonus to being so small; Level Ball can search it out. On such a small (and winged) Pokémon, the single Energy Retreat Cost almost seems excessive, but it isn’t legitimately bad. The card will likely only be Active when your opponent has used Pokémon Catcher to force it there, and of course a single Energy Retreat cost is the second best and easy enough to pay most of the time.

Effects

Shortly after Nintendo got the rights to the TCG over WotC, who originally handled the game outside of Japan until the beginning of the EX-block of sets, Dragons began getting powerful but expensive effects that required two specific Energy-Types, as a way of setting them apart from most other Colorless Pokémon. This trend continues with this new Dragon-Type. Altaria has an Ability and an Attack, and the attack does indeed require two different Energy Types… but you’ll be running this for the Ability. “Fight Song”, as it is named, boosts the damage done by your Dragon-Type Pokémon’s attacks 20; as the effect stacks, it can really pump the hardest hitting Dragon-Types to record levels of output (or at least close to it).

Its own attack, Glide, was designed with this in mind. It requires (WMC) to use and only hits for 40 damage… which had Metal Energy existed back then, would have been a poor return even in the Base Set! By modern standards, it is hitting at least half as hard as it “should”, but this is likely due to the logical assumption Altaria will almost always be a part of a swarm, and thus multiple Fight Song are likely to up the damage to acceptable levels. You shouldn’t be attacking with it, anyway, unless desperate.

Usage

Despite this being the first BW-On Modified legal Altaria, there are two versions of Swablu to pick from: BW: Dragons Exalted 104/124 and BW: Dragons Exalted 105/124. Both are Basic, Colorless-Type Pokémon with 40 HP, Lightning Weakness, Fighting Resistance, and a single Energy to Retreat. If you’re attacking with one of these, either you’re desperate or your opponent is opening with something small of their own; in either case I would prefer 104/124 because it can cause Sleep for one Energy. If you’re desperate, Sleep can help you survive.

So what many (perhaps most) of you reading already know, this card is already the co-star of an established, high placing deck in the Japan metagame. It is paired with Garchomp (BW: Dragons Exalted 90/124) to create a Stage 2 Pokémon capable of big damage for little Energy. I would like to test (or know the results of other players testing) with all fully Evolved Dragon Pokémon form this set. That may sound overkill and most I am assuming are inferior (or else Altaria is inferior support for that deck), but at least one looks like it could have real potential: Rayquaza (BW: Dragons Exalted 128/124).

When you choose to run Altaria, having a plentiful supply of cards like Super Rod or Rescue Scarf is in order: 70 HP is a OHKO for so many decks and a Giant Cape would only bump Altaria up to a still inadequate 90 HP. This really influences how you have to run the card; in the Altaria/Garchomp decks you are constantly rebuilding one or the other, made even more challenging because several attackers already hit multiple Pokémon at once and thus can set-up multiple KOs in a single turn.

In Unlimited, such a brute force approach is overcomplicated, especially as you have no additional Pokémon to combo with and are slamming into decks that can win on that player’s first turn. Looking past that, many Pokémon have a protective effect and/or low HP: you just don’t need the damage boost for the KO. In Limited play, it all depends on what you pull: barring bad luck you should have more than a few other Dragon-Type Pokémon and thus can boost them, but without any help setting up you really are taking a huge risk of getting stuck with a 40 HP Swablu that gets KOed before you can get anything else on your Bench. While Altaria does benefit from lower average HP and damage output, it is still pretty bad here. Also without Blend Energy WLFM, paying for the attack might be a challenge; who wants to run both Fighting Energy and Metal Energy cards just for one Pokémon?

Ratings

Unlimited: 1/5

Modified: 3.5/5

Limited: 3/5

Combos with: Rescue Scarf, Super Rod

Summary

Altaria has an amazing Ability on a fragile frame with a poor attack, but if you can build a deck that can constantly resurrect and replay it, you can make some fast attackers capable of taking a small lead and then trading Prizes until you win. All that being said, I only ranked Altaria at 17th place on my own list because it really needs to be used to enhance another Pokémon; by itself a swarm would be more annoying than threatening.

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