Time to look at the “other” new
Excadrill (BW: Dark Explorers
57/108); let’s get down… but first a
word of warning.
Yes I am literally writing this
review “over” yesterday’s CotD.
I reviewed yesterday’s
Excadrill and if I want to review
this, I can’t waste time trying to
restate the same points “differently”.
is a Stage 1 Fighting-Type Pokémon.
Being a Stage 1 isn’t the
greatest right now; the format is a
little more diverse than it has been
recently, but for the most part big
Basic Pokémon (some Pokémon EX, some
not) dominate and Evolutions are played
in a supporting role or not at all.
Still, at least you can get into
play second turn without relying on
Evolution acceleration like
The Fighting-Type is handy,
though; still a good amount of Fighting
Weakness (and on important Pokémon)
Damage being doubled for Weakness
really is pretty broken when you think
about it, at least given the differences
between the Pokémon TCG and its video
sports 120 HP, which should be/would be
good except as anyone actively playing
now knows, attacks are hitting harder
and faster than in most previous
The maximum HP a Stage 1 Pokémon
currently sports is 140, and the biggest
attackers can OHKO even that without
120 wouldn’t be that bad, except
many decks can still hit this with only
a little extra effort or set-up.
The good news is that
Excadrill has Weakness that isn’t
too painful and actually posses
Water Weakness isn’t completely
safe, but the decks that really use it
best are more focused on spread than big
hits, and of course Weakness is not
applied while a Pokémon is on the Bench.
Lightning Resistance is helps
against the Lightning decks that are
still seeing adequate play, allowing you
to survive but their biggest attacks
(just remember most will have off-Type
attackers as well).
The four Energy Retreat Cost is pretty
bad; make sure you don’t have to pay it!
You need to pack not just one
alternative, but probably two or three
to manually retreating at full price.
The good news is that this big a
Retreat Cost qualifies
Excadrill as a target for
Heavy Ball, making it just a little
easier to search out of your deck… too
bad it couldn’t do that with a three
Energy Retreat Cost like yesterday’s
has two attacks, so it won’t be
Bench-sitting if it sees play.
Reinforced Drill, the “small”
attack, still requires (FCC) so you need
to be running at least some mild Energy
Double Colorless Energy.
For just the Energy invested, you
get 50 points of damage, which is 10 to
20 points shy of “adequate”.
There is an effect though; when
triggers it bumps the damage up to 80.
The requirement is that
Excadrill has a Pokémon Tool
attached, which is a bit mixed;
Evolutions don’t have that “gotta run”
Pokémon Tool like Basic Pokémon have
In some ways that is good as it
means more flexibility with your
choices… but Pokémon Tools are often
just as easy
not to run.
“Needing” to run Pokémon Tools
makes this sort of like a Stage 1.5
Pokémon; more flexible than a Stage 2
but just as many cards, and for
significantly less return.
A straight 80 for (FCC) would
have been better.
Mach Claw costs a hefty (FCCC); you’ll
score 70 points of damage and get to
ignore Resistance, which is horribly
Once you hit three Energy, an
attack really needs great damage, a
great effect, or good damage and a good
This is neither; ignoring
Resistance is a good but specialized
70 points of damage even with
such an effect is worth the price of the
first attack… not the second.
First let’s see where
Excadrill comes from:
We’ve got three options in
English: BW: Emerging Powers
54/98, BW: Emerging Powers 55/98,
and BW: Dark Explorers 55/108.
All are Fighting-Type Basic
Pokémon with Water Weakness and
BW: Emerging Powers 55/98
has 60 HP and a single Energy Retreat
Cost while the other two clock in at 70
HP with two Energy Retreat Costs.
BW: Emerging Powers 54/98
has two attacks with the first needing
(C) and the second needing (F).
They form a basic combo: said
opening attack (Hone) raises the damage
done by the Pokémon’s next attack by 30.
Given that there is always a risk
of being KOed before delivering that
and I would hope to be Evolved next
turn (which erases the effect of Hone),
it isn’t especially appealing.
BW: Emerging Powers 55/98
has a monstrous (FFC) on his lone
attack, which hits for 40.
For a basic the damage return is
only poor because it is the card’s only
attack… but again I would rather be
Evolving and attacking with
Excadrill, and today’s version
doesn’t even need that much Energy.
BW: Dark Explorers 55/108
needs (FF) to deliver a solid 30 points
of damage… but again this is a Basic
going into a Stage 1 so I don’t really
want two Energy attacks.
Unless your deck also runs
Skyarrow Bridge for some reason,
stick with one of the two 70 HP
Interestingly enough, there are
That is a bit odd, but could be
Besides today’s version we have
BW: Emerging Powers 56/98, BW:
Emerging Powers 57/98, and BW:
Dark Explorers 56/108 (reviewed in
All are Stage 1 Fighting-Type
Pokémon with Water Weakness and
Lightning Resistance, like today’s card.
BW: Emerging Powers 56/98
only has 110 HP and a Retreat Cost of
two (so no
Heavy Ball); all other versions
sport 120 HP.
Its first attack for (C) hits for
30 and for (FFF) it hits for 80 and
allows you to discard an Energy attached
to the Defending Pokémon.
That missing 10 HP could matter,
but 110 is an unusual amount of damage,
with most attacks being more likely to
hit for 100 or 120 without extra help.
What really holds it back is that
(FFF) is a pretty massive Energy cost in
today’s game, and 80 damage a low
return, even with the nice Energy
BW: Emerging Powers
57/98 also has a Retreat Cost of just
two (still not easy to pay and not a
For (FC) it hits for 30 points of
damage and gets a coin toss dependent
effect; tails does nothing but heads
blocks all effects of attacks, including
damage, done to
Excadrill the next turn.
The wording means the effect
Excadrill and not the Pokémon it
attacked, making it a bit harder to
Handy for the effect, but the
damage is a bit low.
Earthquake hits everything on
your Bench for 10 points of damage, but
at least it scores a solid 70 points of
damage for (FCC); with almost any form
of Energy acceleration you’ll need two
turns at most to use it (probably on
your first turn as
The final choice is BW: Dark
Explorers 56/108, which again got a
full review yesterday.
It can hit the Bench or attack
while retrieving a card from the discard
pile quite affordably, and has a Retreat
Cost that is one lower than today’s; if
I was going to run today’s version I’d
prefer to make room for a copy of
yesterday’s as well.
So is there a deck for this card?
I won’t rule it out completely,
but it will be coasting on Type-matching
and only having one Fighting Energy
requirement on its big attacks… but
those attacks are only worth it when
you’re hitting for Weakness: 100 for
(FCC) is very good and hitting 160 when
a Pokémon Tool is equipped is great!
140 for (FCCC) also becomes very
good when hitting Weakness.
The problem is when you’re not
hitting Weakness; you’re just not
Nor do I believe switching to
BW-On will yield much of an improvement.
In Unlimited play, the good news if of
course you’d want a Pokémon Tool
equipped, but even ignoring the first
turn win or lock decks, in a sustained
game you’ve got many better options.
At least in Limited play it isn’t
bad; you won’t get any other benefit but
you can use
Darkness Claw to trigger the extra
damage from Reinforced Drill, and if you
don’t, having just a single Fighting
Energy in the attack requirements allows
Excadrill to squeeze into many decks
to hit abundant Fighting Weakness.
As is so often the case, the
lower average HP and damage output makes
Excadrill better by comparison.
I would stick with yesterday’s version
Excadrill if you want to use one,
though maybe a copy of this will be good
for adding a slightly beefier attacker.
Both are relying on hitting