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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Gurdurr #63

Noble Victories

Date Reviewed: Feb. 6, 2012

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 1.25
Limited: 2.50

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

Baby Mario
2010 UK National
Seniors
Champion

Gurdurr 63/101 (Noble Victories)

Hello and welcome to a new week of reviews here on Pojo’s CotD. We missed yesterday, but will catch up later, I promise. Everyone is excited about the cards from Next Destinies that are out this week, but we’ve still got some Noble Victories cards to finish up, so let’s get on with it . . .

We kick off with Gurdurr, the Basic version of the Conkledurr line. We’ll look at the Conkledurr options later in the week, but for now let’s see what the Basic offers.

Well, for a start it has 80 HP which is very good for a Basic in a Stage 2 evolution line. In fact, I can’t think of any other Basic Pokémon that has a Stage 2 which can match that. Being a Fighting Type is also pretty decent in an environment where Lightning is so powerful . . . but there the good news stops. Psychic Weakness is most definitely not a good thing to have as we move into the era of Mewtwo-EX, and as for the Retreat cost of three? That isn’t something you ever want to see on an evolving Basic: it makes the card a terrible opening play, and leaves it vulnerable to Pokémon Catcher.

Another thing you don’t want to see on a Basic is Gurdurr’s attack costs. You really want Basics to be able to do at least something for you on turn 1. Gurdurr can’t manage this at all with its first attack, Strength, costing two Fighting Energy just to do a vanilla 30 damage. Pummel is also pretty expensive at [F][C][C]: you could use a Double Colourless to get it attacking by turn 2, but there’s not much reward for that considerable investment – just 40 base damage and a coin flip for 20 more.

Put simply, if you haven’t evolved Gurdurr before you get the required Energy on it, then something is going horribly wrong with your deck. You aren’t ever really going to attack with this card: the best you can hope for is that the 80 HP will allow it to survive long enough to evolve. Mostly, this will be the case unless you run into a first turn Zekrom/Pachi/Shaymin, or Celebi Prime/Mewtwo-EX combo. Even so, you are still better off using the BW version of Gurdurr: same HP, one less Retreat cost, and can do 20 damage for one Energy of any Colour, so there is really no reason to use today’s card in your Conkledurr deck. The more important question is should you be using a Conkledurr deck at all?

Find out later this week!

Rating

Modified: 1 (Gurdurr BW isn’t much good, but it’s a lot better than this)

Limited: 2 (decent HP and good Typing mean it’s not completely useless)

virusyosh

Welcome back, Pojo readers! We had an unexpected day off yesterday, but that's not going to stop us from giving you a full COTD week! Be sure to check back to see our latest reviews. Today we're going to kick things off by reviewing a Fighting-type from Noble Victories. Today's Card of the Day is Gurdurr.

Gurdurr is a Stage 1 Fighting Pokemon. Fighting-types aren't that common in Modified, with only Terrakion and Donphan seeing much play; the reasoning being that Fighting-types usually have difficult Weaknesses to Psychic, Grass, or Water, all common types in the format. 80 HP is average for a Stage 1, and Gurdurr will fall to Modified's more prominent threats, but should be able to take a hit or two in Limited. Psychic Weakness is indeed a problem for Gurdurr, as Mewtwo-EX will easily OHKO. Additionally, Gurdurr has no Resistance, and a rather large Retreat Cost of 3. Be sure to use Switch if you want to move Gurdurr from the Active position.

Gurdurr has two attacks. Strength deals a vanilla 30 damage for two Fighting Energy, which is rather expensive by today's standards. The attack shouldn't see much play in Modified, but is decent in Limited while you wait to power up the other attack. Speaking of the other attack, Pummel starts off at 40 damage for a Fighting and two Colorless, dealing 20 more damage on a coin flip. While the attack can deal 60 for 3 (an average amount), most of the time you'll average 50, which is rather lackluster. Overall, Gurdurr should only really be used in Limited, as its attacks are unspectacular.

Modified: 2/5 This particular Gurdurr isn't that great in Modified, with low HP and weak, costly attacks. If you're looking to use a Gurdurr here (perhaps for a Conkeldurr deck), use the Black and White version.

Limited: 2.5/5 Gurdurr is fairly average in Limited. Strength is about as average an attack as you can get, and Pummel deals decent damage for a rather expensive cost. 80 HP isn't terrible, either. Overall, Gurdurr is usable if you're Fighting-heavy and/or pulled a Conkeldurr, but isn't very impressive outside of that.

Mad Mattezhion
 Professor Bathurst League Australia

Tuesday's review:

Gurdurr (Noble Victories)

We're starting a little late this week, but to make up for that we're doing a double feature tomorrow with both of the evolutions of today's card. So pay attention as the review crew presnets the amazing Gurdurr!

Actually, Gurdurr is sub-par even for an evolving Stage 1. 90 HP is the lower limit for any acceptable evolving Stage 1, allowing said Poke'mon to survive at least one middling hit before going down or evolving. With only 80 HP and a Psychic Weakness (Mewtwo Ex and Mew Prime say hello), Gurdurr is below the curve and looking at an early grave.

Being a Fighting type isn't much help either. The decent odds of hitting at least some of your various opponent's Poke'mon for double damage is a plus, but the prevalence of Fighting Resistance (curse you, Tornadus!) is a negative as is the complete lack of usable energy acceleration for the type.

Especially in Gurdurr's case, the energy crisis is a killer. Both the retreat cost (three energy is massive for suach a small Poke'mon) and the attacks are that much worse because you are forced to use your manual energy attachment for the turn.

At least for the retreat cost you can use Switch, Machamp Prime or the new Vanilluxe but the attacks can't be cheated out any faster than a snail's pace, even if you did have a good reason to use them. Strength is a regularly printed vanilla attack and this version costs [f][f] to deal a measly 30 damage, when I would have expected at least 50 damage to make the effort worthwhile.

Pummel is just as bad, costing [f][c][c] to deal 40 damage, with a coin flip to decide whether or not you deal an additional 20 damage. Aside from being well below the competitive damage curve even for Limited, the cost is either 3 energy or a [f] and a wasted Double Colourless Energy, since no other attacks in the line are compatible with it. Either way, you should avoid attacking with Gurdurr.

Tomorrow's reviews will cover whether or not the Conkledurr cards are fun and/or competitive in the current format, but either way this Gurdurr card is terrible. Which is a shame because I have a soft spot for any Poke'mon that can swing a steel girder around like a gymnastics ribbon, especially if said monster looks like a long-time advocate of steroid use. At least the BW version is marginally more usable for Conkledurr fans because Gurdurr NV is the finest argumaent for using Rare Candy that I've seen this year!

Modified: 1 (outnumbered and outranked, this card will sit in the shoebox until dry rot sets in)

Limited: 2 (both Conkledurr cards are worth playing here but I still don't like having to go through Gurdurr to get to them)

Combos with: don't ask, the first answer that springs to mind involves accelerants and a certain disregard for safety regulations. It's always painful when a Poke'mon you love is printed on a terrible card, it kills the joy of ranting!


Otaku

We begin this week with Gurdurr (BW: Noble Victories 63/101). So how does the Black & White construction worker version of Machoke do?

Stats

Gurdurr is a Stage 1 Fighting-Type Pokémon. This is a pretty poor start for the card. Fighting-Types have little if any “true” support, and what I can find is based around Fighting Energy (as opposed to the actual Type) and on cards meant to be the focus of a deck, really supporting themselves more than other Pokémon. Stage 1 Pokémon are better off than Stage 2 Pokémon from a game mechanics standpoint, but either way it means waiting a turn to drop it and only if the Basic it Evolves from survived. In the current format this usually means sacrificing something else (often a second copy of the Basic Pokémon in question) or hitting so hard with your open that your opponent can’t afford not to deal with your attacker.

If someone needs a Stage 1 Fighting-Type Pokémon, odds are they would be using (or go back to using) Donphan “Prime” (HeartGold and SoulSilver 107/123), due to its protective Poké-Body and great damage-to-Energy ration on the first attack (and drawbacks that can be dealt with fairly easily). Donphan Prime use is way down from what I’ve observed, and given that we have a format full of popular, potent Fighting Weak Pokémon, something that should be good for Gurdurr instead bodes ill.

80 HP for a Stage 1 Pokémon is bad. It was always poor, even when the game first began and it was irritatingly common. Even though this is a transitional Stage 1 (that is, it Evolves once more) this is far too low. The HP scores in the TCG have been creeping up for years now. Basic Pokémon that can be Evolved twice now can hit 70 HP, and regularly hit 50 or 60. Stage 2 Pokémon now usually range from 130 to 150 HP, with anything lower being an intentional disadvantage to “balance” a powerful effect. I would have hoped TPC would have learnt its lesson by now: pony up the extra HP for the Stage 1 and just let the Stage 2 enjoy a mild boost.

Timburr, from which Gurdurr Evolves, can have either 60 or 70 HP in the TCG while Conkeldurr, which Gurdurr Evolves into, can have 140 HP (well, ignoring effects but I’ll get to that later). So going from Basic to Stage 1 adds merely 10 or 20 HP while going from Stage 1 to Stage 2 adds 60. This kind of pacing for HP is also a major contributor to the balance/pacing issues currently facing the game: at 80 HP but a turn later, you are more likely to be KOed than at 70 HP the first turn. We really need Stage 1 Pokémon to get an HP boost so that they are the ones who are 30 or 40 HP bigger than the Basic, and then add another 30 or 40 when they Evolve into a Stage 2, and possible skewed even more in favor of the Stage 1 (and possible the Basic form of the line as well).

Moving on, Psychic Weakness is officially the worst Weakness in the current metagame starting tomorrow if you’re reading this the day it goes up. The reason is that is when BW: Next Destinies is street legal and thus so is Mewtwo EX. Unless our metagame is radically different than the equivalent Japanese timeframe, Mewtwo EX will be in almost every competitive deck as a simple universal opener/sweeper/back-up attacker. It also means that Gurdurr is a OHKO due to its Weakness. Of course Resistance to something else would help compensate, if only a little, but this card has none.

Gurdurr are slow in the video games, so I understand the massive three Energy needed to Retreat… except the rest of Stats don’t reflect it. It is a painfully high Retreat Cost and you’ll need to be packing Switch or some form of Retreat aid if you want to get Gurdurr out of the Active slot, or else build your deck so it can just tough it out. All in all, this card has very bad Stats, only rivaled by “gimmick” Stage 1 cards that enjoy phenomenal effects or have an alternate means of coming into play (often functionally as a Basic Pokémon).

Effects

So does Gurdurr have the effects to justify its heinous stats? No it does not. It has two attacks that are uninspired and overpriced. For (FF) Gurdurr can hit for 30 points of damage with Strength. Now I know this card shouldn’t be as good as Donphan Prime: what we call Prime Pokémon are, for some reason, supposed to be the “best” versions of that particular Pokémon even though there is nothing about them to truly balance out being better than other cards. Even if that weren’t the case, Donphan can’t Evolve and so it has to be better than a Stage 1 Pokémon that Evolves in order to stay competitive. Even stripping all that away, averaging 15 points of damage per specified Energy requirement is the kind of return you expect on a twice Evolving Basic Pokémon. Strength should do exactly what it does, but for a single Fighting Energy.

The second attack, Pummel, doesn’t fair much better, though it does yield more damage for the Energy invested. It requires (FCC) to use and does 40 points of damage plus another 20 points of damage if you get “heads” on a coin toss. This means it does an average of 50 points of damage. While better than Strength, the return is still sub par even for a transitional Stage 1 Pokémon. To put it into perspective, Pummel would be reasonably useful on a Timburr requiring the same amount of Energy and doing the same amount of damage.

Being able to use a Double Colorless Energy helps this attack a little, but jumping ahead a bit, I assume we are only playing Gurdurr to Evolve into Conkeldurr. One version can’t use Double Colorless Energy to pay for attacks, and the other rewards using as much Fighting Energy as possible, so that creates a bit of a clash. If you do use Double Colorless Energy, then odds are Strength will be useless. Just to add insult to injury, this attack is also incredibly boring and uncreative by Pokémon TCG standards.

Usage

For constructed formats, I would use this card only if I really wanted to run a Conkeldurr deck and because I don’t like relying solely on Rare Candy and I didn’t have any of copies of Gurdurr (Black & White 60/114). This slightly older Gurdurr is of course still a Stage 1 Fighting Pokémon, and unfortunately still has only 80 HP, remains Psychic Weak, and lacks any Resistance, but has a slightly less painful two Energy Retreat Cost and marginally better attacks. Specifically for (C) it does 20 points of damage with the added effect of its next attack doing 20 extra points of damage before Weakness and Resistance. So after one use, you can 40 points of damage each turn unless your opponent Benches or Devolves Gurdurr (or you do for some reason). Once you get (FFC) on it you can hit for 60, or 80 points of damage if you used the first attack the previous turn. Since I am saying to only run Gurdurr if you plan on Evolving, odds are you won’t be attacking more than twice with it anyway.

There are three versions of Timburr to pick from: Black & White 58/114, Black & White 59/114, and Noble Victories 62/101. All three are Basic Fighting-Type Pokémon with Psychic Weakness and no Resistance. Black & White 58/114 has the best Retreat Cost; a single Energy instead of two Energy like the other versions. Black & White 59/114 has the best HP; 70 HP instead of 60 HP like the other two versions. Noble Victories 62/101 has the best single attack, but this one is pretty close. It can do 10 for (F) and does another 10 points of damage if you get heads on a coin toss. Black & White 58/114 has a single attack as well, 30 for (FF) which isn’t bad for a Basic Pokémon except that is its only attack, meaning it can’t do anything first turn. Black & White 59/114 can do 10 for (C) or 20 for (FC), which is better than nothing and at least lets you do something first turn, but ultimately won’t mean much. Since Timburr is also being played only to Evolve and no version has an attack likely to keep it alive longer while Active, I’d err in favor of HP and pick Black & White 59/114. 70 isn’t much sturdier than 60, but it will require just a little more effort to KO.

So what Conkeldurr should a player use? According to our review schedule, we’ll be looking at them both tomorrow so I won’t go into details, but I’d favor Noble Victories 64/101. Whether or not the deck can handle the competitive scene at all is the big question, and that will have to wait for tomorrow.

Based on the Modified portion of the review, you can tell that I wouldn’t use this at all in Unlimited either, so the only place I would consider using it is at a Limited event. The set has two different Conkeldurr, increasing the odds of pulling a full Stage 2 line. Even if that is not the case, as is usually the case the overall Stats and Effects for every member are much, much better here. This Gurdurr will still be the low point of the line, but its big attack only needs for one of three Energy to be Fighting, making it a reasonable splash. I wouldn’t call it a “good” pick, but it isn’t “bad”, so I’d go with “adequate”. The good news is Fighting Pokémon have a good presence in this set, but the bad news is Psychic-Type Pokémon have an even stronger one.

Ratings

Unlimited: 1/5

Modified: 1/5

Limited: 3/5

Summary

Gurdurr could be worse, but it would require effort on the designer’s part. The only place to consider using it is in Limited, where being “adequate” can get you into an otherwise competitive build.


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