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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Conkeldurr #64

Noble Victories

Date Reviewed: Feb. 8, 2012

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 1.75
Limited: 4.20

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

Conkeldurr 64/101 (Noble Victories)

Ok, first of all a confession/apology. I completely spaced out yesterday and reviewed Gurdurr as Basic. That was wrong of me. Sorry. I don’t even know how that happened. It’s still not a good card though, and you should still play the BW version. Anyways, on with today’s review which hopefully won’t suck quite as much.

One of the things I like about the Black and White generation is the way that the new Pokémon often have equivalents in the older Generations (Gigalith/Golem, Garbodor/Muk) . . . it seems to show how different species develop in parallel in different regions. The Pokémon we will be looking at today is definitely the Gen V version of Machamp: Conkeldurr.

The first Conkeldurr up for consideration is the rare version (which usually means the better one). It’s a Stage 2 Fighting Type (which is good), with a very solid 140 HP, a Weakness to Psychic which Mewtwo-EX will expose painfully, and a Retreat cost of four which is on the appalling side of bad.

It does have an Ability though: Craftsmanship means that Conkeldurr get to increase its already substantial HP by 20 for each Fighting Energy attached to it. Seeing as it’s only attack costs [F][C][C][C] that at least gives you an incentive to go for four Fighting and a total HP of 220 . . . which would be brilliant.

I say ‘would be’ because getting four Fighting Energy on a Stage 2 is not going to be so simple. Since Regirock LA was rotated out of the picture there is no real viable Energy acceleration for Fighting Types. Electrode Prime is pretty much the only option, and that doesn’t work so well with Stage 2 Pokémon (you will want to Energymite by turn 2, and setting up an Electrode and a Conkledurr by then isn’t easy). Of course, you could pay for Conkeldurr’s attack with Double Colourless, but then you would miss out on the HP boost which is the major attraction of the card in the first place.

And just what does Conkeldurr’s Top Down attack do for you anyway? Well, the damage of 80 is not very special when you consider the cost, and the effect is somewhat flaky: flip a coin until you get tails, and for each heads discard a card from the top of your opponent’s deck. Yes the discard thing is a nice bonus, and a lucky streak could really hurt an opponent by getting rid of some needed stuff . . . but it’s very luck based and like I said, is more of a bonus than part of a core milling strategy.

So what we have is a Pokémon that did have the potential to be something of a tank, but is let down by Mewtwo Weakness and a lack of damage output. Not something you would want to build a deck around at all.

Rating

Modified: 1.5 (could have been ok . . . in a completely different metagame with appropriate support)

Limited: 3.5 (not a huge fan of Stage 2s in limited, but it should survive long enough and milling 40 card decks is always fun)

virusyosh

Happy midweek, Pojo readers! Due a scheduling conflict earlier this week, we're going to have two Cards of the Day today! Both cards are versions of the same Pokemon, and both are from Noble Victories. Today's Card of the Day is Conkeldurr (#64).

Conkeldurr is a Stage 2 Fighting Pokemon. Fighting-types are relatively scarce aside from Terrakion and Donphan in Modified; this is generally due to Fighting Pokemon having less-than-favorable Weaknesses to commonly-seen types like Psychic, Water, or Grass. 140 HP is fairly good for a Stage 2, but Conkeldurr is unique in that it can gain more HP, so more on that in a minute. Psychic Weakness is a major problem against Mewtwo-EX, Gothitelle, and Mew; no Resistance is sad; and a Retreat Cost of 4 is huge, so make sure to use Switch to get Conkeldurr to the Bench.

Conkeldurr has an Ability and a single attack. Craftsmanship gives Conkeldurr 20 more HP per Fighting Energy attached, which is fairly straightforward and useful. Most of the time, Conkeldurr can easily have multiple Fighting Energy attached, easily raising the maximum HP value to 200 and above. Unfortunately, Fighting is a type that lacks in Energy acceleration, so a Pokemon outside of the Fighting-type is needed. Electrode Prime could fit the bill here, as Energymite can easily put many Fighting Energies onto Conkeldurr. Furthermore, these Pokemon can be paired up with Reuniclus and Vileplume to spread the damage around, although running 3 Stage 2 lines isn't practical in Modified.

Top Down, Conkeldurr's only attack, deals an average 80 damage for one Fighting and three Colorless Energy. While abusable with Double Colorless, chances are you'll want to attach as many Fighting as you possibly can to Conkeldurr anyway. The attack also has the secondary effect of flipping a coin until you get tails and discarding the top card of your opponent's deck for each heads. While this effect can be quite annoying, there are generally better options for dedicated milling, like Durant. However, if you want the ability to get a few cards off of the top of your opponent's deck with regularity, Victory Star Victini is another combo option.

Modified: 2/5 Conkeldurr has a very unique Ability, but its attack and bottom stats aren't so hot. If it weren't weak to Psychic or had a slightly better attack, there is a chance Conkeldurr could see some play in a rogue deck or two. However, as it stands, these drawbacks are keeping Conkeldurr from seeing Modified play.

Limited: 4.5/5 Conkeldurr is amazing in Limited, especially in a dedicated Fighting deck. 140 HP is monstrous, and Craftsmanship only makes that value larger. Additionally, Top Down is fairly decent here in terms of damage output, and the Energy cost is great, especially if you decide to run more types in addition to Fighting. Overall, Conkeldurr is an excellent choice for Noble Victories Limited, and is something you should definitely watch out for.

Combos With: Electrode Prime, Victory Star Victini

Mad Mattezhion
 Professor Bathurst League Australia

Conkeldurr 64/111 (Noble Victories)

Today is our double feature, with both Conkeldurr cards under the spotlight. This version is the first of the two, which in my opinion has the best art. Hulk smash puny columns!

Joking aside, Conkeldurr is the poster monster for Fighting Poke'mon with massive HP. While the base rate is just 140 (definitely healthy but not exceptional), this Conkeldurr has Craftmanship, which is a new take on a very old Poke'mon Power last seen on Sabrina's Gastly. For each [f] energy attached to Conkeldurr, it gets an extra 20 HP which goes a long way towards surviving even the most brutal attacks in the history of the game! Conkeldurr now holds the crown of highest possible HP with a possible maximum of 56 [f] energy attached (the 57th would be in the prizes) to total 1260 HP, which leaves Sabrina's Gastly and Nidoking TM in the dust!

Sadly, the Psychic Weakness is a handicap since Mewtwo will be able to score a 1HKO on Conkeldurr no matter how much you boost the HP (damn that X-ball attack!), and in Unlimited it would take a lot of energy to survive a Supreme Blast from Mesprit Lv X. Against pretty much everything else Conkledurr should be able to laugh off the damage, and will keep laughing as long as you can keep up the healing, possibly using Serperior BW and Leavanny NV to heal and remove that inconvenient Weakness.

The retreat cost is 4 energy which is nothing unexpected, but still an issue that you will have to prepare for, so Switch is a must. Still, why would you want to play Conkeldurr in the first place?

The reason is the attack, Top Down. At a cost of [f][c][c][c], you get 80 damage which is far below the cost-to-damage ratio we want as well as being too weak for the main attack of your heavy hitter. However, there is a flip-until-Tails bonus effect that discards a card from your opponent's deck for every heads, which will hopefully get rid of the more dangerous cards before they can hit the table. With Victory Star Victini to better your odds and the abovementioned Serperior and Leavanny, you can make a very entertaining League deck with your Little Conkeldurr That Could!

Unfortunately for competitive players, this Conkeldurr just doesn't have the chops for Modified. While Top Down is acceptable because you are practically guaranteed a second shot, Conkeldurr's speed is only slightly faster than continental drift. With only one energy attachement per turn it's going to take too long to get up and running, and if you lose the Conkledurr (probably to one of the many Mewtwos running around) it takes even longer to get another copy set up for a counterattack.

It is quite obvious to me that Fighting Poke'mon desperately need energy acceleration. Landorus, Terrakion NV, last week's Gigalith and Conkeldurr today would all be much more impressive if there was an equivalent to Feraligtar Prime, Eelektrik NV or Gardevoir ND in the Fighting tyoe to feed the energy-hungry beasts. Until there is a balancing of the scales, the Fighting Poke'mon will be on the verge of extinction.

Modified: 2.5 (there is a lot of fun to be had by whacking away at both your opponent's Poke'mon and deck with a monster too beefy to hurt, but without a way to dump lots of Fighting energy onto Conkeldurr it isn't actually going to happen)

Limited: 4.5 (the Timburr and Gurdurr are both subpar cards but if you can run a heavy Fighting energy count and put this beast into play you will be unstoppable!)

Combos with: a Fighting type Emboar, maybe Gigalith or a new Infernape could be printed with the matching Ability (my suggestions for names are Earth Power, Crystal Growth and Monolithic Strength)


Otaku

It is a special double CotD today! We’ll be looking at both Conkeldurr. This article is for Conkeldurr (BW Noble Victories 64/101).

Stats

Conkeldurr a Stage 2 Pokémon, which is unfortunately a disadvantage right now: you’ll need two other cards to get it into play (Timburr and either Gurdurr or Rare Candy), and with the incredibly aggressive nature of this format you have to Bench multiple “targets” to have a prayer of getting an Evolution up and running. It can be spamming the basic you want to Evolve, it can be your own attacker that is already to go and that your opponent can’t afford to ignore, but it has to be something. If it is your second turn or later, you get the other option of running a Trainer lock, but that takes over your deck so it is pretty specialized. Alas this seems to be the struggle for TPC: either Basic Pokémon dominate (like both now and when the game first came out) or Evolutions dominate (like most of the time in between).

Conkeldurr is a Fighting-Type Pokémon with is both a blessing and a curse. The good news is Fighting Weakness is everywhere right now! Sure Resistance is popping up as well, but mostly to cover that Weakness. Plus, no other big Fighting deck seems to be able to capitalize upon it. The bad news is no other big Fighting deck seems to be able to capitalize upon it, including some that were good until a few sets ago; this is a very hostile format for Evolution decks, so Conkeldurr will really need to be something special not to go the same way as other, well made Stage 2 Fighting Pokémon that haven’t found a toehold. Plus Fighting-Type Pokémon have no real support worth mentioning; what I can remember actually “supports” Fighting-Type Energy and not the Pokémon themselves, but either way it hurts.

Conkeldurr has 140 HP, which should be good, but isn’t. As you should have read the card for yourself by now, let alone the other reviews, you know this isn’t the end of the story for this card’s longevity. Still for the stat itself, 140 HP is in the middle of the expected range for Stage 2 Pokémon (130 HP to 150 HP). 130 HP usually means a great effects and/or Bench-sitter status (at least if it wasn’t for Pokémon Catcher it would be), with anything lower possessing some truly amazing effects (almost always an Ability by this point since attacks usually can’t offset significantly low HP). Something with 140 or 150 HP should be big enough to get by on bulk alone so long as the rest of the card isn’t actually bad.

That is how it “should” be based on the history of the game and seeming intentions of the designers. I could be wrong though. What actually is, on the other hand, is not open to interpretation. We have Basic Pokémon with great HP scores themselves, sometimes even before factoring in that they are a Basic Pokémon! More importantly, these same Basic Pokémon get fantastic attacks, often enough to OHKO Stage 2 Pokémon with a little help. Finally street legal today are Pokémon EX, so far all of which are Basic Pokémon and worth two Prizes when KOed. The most notable amongst them can also OHKO Stage 2 Pokémon, but without any help (other than the set-up almost every Pokémon requires).

So 140 HP now means Conkeldurr should survive one shot if your opponent isn’t fully set-up, hitting your Weakness, or seeking to win through raw brute force. Today is the official release date for BW: Next Destinies, which means Mewtwo EX is now legal for Modified play and thus Psychic Weakness like that of Conkeldurr is the worst Weakness in the format. Fully powered a Mewtwo EX will OHKO Conkeldurr, and it has a nasty Energy counting attack that will also usually do the job. Irritatingly, there is no Resistance to help offset this even a smidge. I really feel that diminishes the game when they skimp on Resistance. Last we come to the Retreat Cost of four. You don’t want to ever pay this: pack an alternative like Switch or prepare to “tank out” Conkeldurr. Odds are you’ll want to plan on doing both.

Effects

Conkeldurr has one attack (Top Down) and one Ability (Craftsmanship). The Ability is pretty cool, and while not something we’ve never seen before, neither is it something we see often: for each (F) Energy attached to it, Conkeldurr gets +20 HP. Just in case you’re new (or have been around long enough to worry about mistranslations), this means 20 additional HP on top of what is printed, so with one Fighting Energy attached an uninjured Conkeldurr would have 160 HP. Sadly I haven’t seen any official rulings on this. I am assuming that, as the text doesn’t specify basic Energy or Energy “card”, that Special Energy that provide Fighting Energy will count towards the effect and if we ever get (or get back) something that provided multiple Fighting Energy, it too will add +20 HP per Fighting Energy provided.

Past rulings for other cards makes it clear that if Craftsmanship is somehow shut off or the Energy fueling it is removed from Conkeldurr, the extra HP is immediately lost but none of the damage. This may sound obvious, but I know in the past players have tried to argue that the extra HP from the effect is somehow lost “first”; so if Conkeldurr had four Fighting Energy attached and 80 damage on it and then Retreated to the Bench and discarded that Energy, that the damage counters represented the injury to the “extra” HP and should also be discarded. Not a chance! This is most important if Conkeldurr is only avoiding being Knocked Out because of the HP boost from Craftsmanship; if Craftsmanship is shut off or some of the Fighting Energy is removed, calculate the new, current maximum HP for Conkeldurr, subtract the amount of damage from the current maximum HP and if Conkeldurr doesn’t have at least 10 HP left it is KOed.

Despite requiring a lot of math, extra HP is always useful. So what about the attack? Top Down requires (FCCC) to use and does 80 points of damage with a bonus effect; flip a coin until you get tails and discard that many cards from the top of your opponent’s deck. At a glance this seems pretty good. In terms of Energy, you’re only paying for about 50 points of damage, so for being a Stage 2 you’re getting an extra 30 points of damage plus an effect. There is even some basic synergy, since Craftsmanship should allow Conkeldurr to “tank”. This would allow you more time to power it up and/or to get off more attacks once it is powered up, and this increases the chances you’ll have to get a streak of heads and discard a lot of cards from your opponent’s deck.

Look deeper and think about it longer. This card has no other attacks and I’ve already reminded you that Fighting-Types don’t have their own form of Energy acceleration. Without any Energy acceleration Conkeldurr can’t attack until it has four Energy cards manually attached: four turns. Even if we Evolve Timburr into Gurdurr, that’s one more turn after Conkeldurr hits the field, and two more after if we used Rare Candy to skip Gurdurr!

If we use Energy acceleration, we encounter different issues. Double Colorless Energy is the least intrusive, but it only speeds things up by one turn (since you still need at least one card providing (F) Energy). Other forms of acceleration have their own drawbacks, but all require running several cards (be it a combo of basic Pokémon and/or Trainers or another Evolution line). Plus anything that remains in play through the end of the turn becomes a target for sniping or Pokémon Catcher, preventing Conkeldurr from performing the role of being “the tank”. Who cares if it has over 200 HP if your opponent just scores six Prizes KOing your supporting Pokémon?

This card really needed a less expensive attack or a more expensive attack. The former statement probably makes sense, even if the attack did less than this one, by virtue of being more affordable you could rush to Conkeldurr sooner without needing the Energy acceleration. So why do I say the attack should have been more expensive? Well, this assumes that the greater cost would have been appropriately compensated for and that you aren’t ignoring Craftsmanship. If you want to load this card up with Fighting Energy anyway, the attack might as well cost at least (FFCC) – which would still allow for one turn of acceleration from Double Colorless Energy – or (FFFF) so that you got an appropriate return for the Energy investment you’re going to make anyway.

Once you factor all that in, you see this card has a “good” ability and an “adequate” attack, but they clash which hurts the overall package. Now onto actual usage and what this faces in the metagame!

Usage

Covering the basics, what Timburr and Gurdurr should you use? If you read yesterday’s Gurdurr CotD, you’d know that I recommend Timburr (Black & White 59/114) because none of the versions we have of Timburr have useful attacks, so we might as well enjoy the 70 HP this version has (the other two only have 60 HP). Gurdurr (Black & White 60/114) requires one less Energy to Retreat and has a little bit better attacks than the most recent version released, so I recommend it, though only because I dislike relying entirely upon Rare Candy to Evolve.

Should a Conkeldurr player run the other Conkeldurr (BW: Noble Victories 65/101)? Maybe a single copy if you also plan on running Shaymin (HS: Unleashed 8/95)to move Energy around en masse, since it can hit faster than this version (barring combos) and possibly harder if you are lucky with some coin tosses. Not without Shaymin to move Energy around, though, and no more than one copy. See that review for a more detailed explanation.

For Energy acceleration, I’d say take the risk and use Electrode “Prime” (HS: Triumphant 93/102). Ideally Conkeldurr will last long enough to make-up for the lost Prize (from using Energymite) and you won’t lose too many good cards while also hitting enough Fighting Energy to matter. I’d include Landorus as an alternate opener, just because it is pretty effective on its own. If you can make room for Shaymin, you also might be able to load up a single Conkeldurr with a massive amount of Energy by the endgame. You’ll also want room for some form of healing if at all possible, unless you do plan on constantly sacrificing Conkeldurr who are loaded with damage counters and Energy via Shaymin transferring that Energy to the next Conkeldurr.

The problem is that all of this would probably be for naught. I already brought up Mewtwo EX, without going into a lot of detail (this CotD is long enough), its first attack does more damage for each Energy attached to itself and the Defending Pokémon, and the second just hits really hard. Between the two, Mewtwo EX will be able to OHKO Conkeldurr. Besides that, there is still Drifblim (HS: Undaunted 12/90). If Conkeldurr did somehow become a threat, most established decks could run a 1-1 or 2-2 line of Drifblim and shuffle away a Conkeldurr that was loaded with Energy, no matter how much HP it had. There is also Jirachi (HS: Unleashed 1/95, Call of Legends 11/95) that can Devolve an opponent’s Pokémon, also an easy semi-generic counter to work into decks and that completely undermines Craftsmanship.

Even without specific counters, you can’t have a Bench for Conkeldurr unless you also have something blocking Pokémon Catcher. The only candidate is Vileplume (HS: Undaunted 24/90), another Stage 2 line, and it shuts off your own Items. Having a massive HP score isn’t much good if you can’t use Items to heal and maintain that score. If you aren’t using Items, that means effects of Pokémon, and the best option there is yet another Stage 2 Pokémon, Serperior (Black & White 6/114). Trying to run a Conkeldurr/Vileplume/Serperior deck seems like a lot of effort for a modest return.

What of Unlimited? The usual reminder: Unlimited not only has access to the best decks (and cards) ever released, but horrific combos that allow a player to win the first turn of the game, or strip an opponent’s hand away so that they are top decking, etc. Conkeldurr isn’t completely useless here: with access to all this support, it would have options. The catch is that specific counters to this kind of strategy do exist, and the effort involved would again yield better returns elsewhere. Still Conkeldurr backed by Slowking (Neo Genesis 14/111) to block opposing Trainers while allowing your own, coupled with the right Trainer/Energy mix should at least be fun to play, if not effective.

In Limited, Conkeldurr shines. A second Conkeldurr in the set makes just a little easier to pull a fleshed out line. The lower average damage output and HP scores means your beefed up HP should last longer, especially since Top Down is likely scoring OHKOs. With the smaller deck size of Limited (40 instead of 60), every card discarded by Top Down is even more vital to your opponent, and brings them closer to decking out even faster. Craftsmanship becomes the icing on the cake at this point: if you pulled the right cards to get by with pure or almost pure Fighting Energy, it can be quite sick, but if you are running multiple Energy types the 20 or 40 HP you’ll probably get from it should still buy another turn and thus another attack and probable KO.

Ratings

Unlimited: 2.5/5

Modified: 1/5

Limited: 3.75/5

Summary

Conkeldurr is another card that feels like it was released too late. Even if it had debuted in Black & White, it might have enjoyed a little time in the spotlight. Releasing it now when the most hyped card of the next set will soon be everywhere and acting as a natural counter and not optimizing the design of the card mean it won’t be able to hang with most competitive decks this format. Its stats are solid, as are its effects, but that doesn’t work in a format where stats and effects are often amazing.


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