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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Pinsir #1

Next Destinies

Date Reviewed: March 12, 2012

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 2.15
Limited: 3.00

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:

Baby Mario
2010 UK National
Seniors
Champion

Pinsir

Hello and welcome to a new week of reviews on Pojo’s CotD. We’ve done the Top 10 from Next Destinies, and we’ve done the near-misses, but that still leaves us with a lot of card of varying quality, including today’s offering.

We kick off the week with Pinsir, a Pokémon who looks very intimidating, thanks to the great card art. Will your opponent be intimated when you flip this card over at the start of a game though? Ummm . . . no, they won’t. Pinsir is an unevolving Basic with a low 80 HP. Its Fire Weakness is all but irrelevant seeing as most attackers can do 80 damage very swiftly these days (notably Tornadus and Thundurus). The Retreat cost of two isn’t helping Pinsir’s case much either.

The first attack, Power Pinch, can be powered up by a Double Colourless Energy. It does no damage whatsoever, but does give you two coin flips and for each heads you can discard an Energy from the Defending Pokémon. Although Energy removal can be a nice tactic to buy some turns (Durant uses it very effectively with Crushing Hammer and Lost Remover), here it’s just a worthless gimmick on a weak Pokémon: flippy (which means unreliable), and of no use at all against the very popular decks that recycle discarded Energy using Typhlosion Prime or Eelektrik NV. Yes, you could supplement it with Crushing Hammer and/or Lost Remover, but if you are using them, why would you even need Pinsir? Why not use something that actually does some damage?

Of course, with its second attack, Grip and Squeeze(!) Pinsir can do damage . . . but it’s not very good at it. The fairly steep cost of [G][G][C] gets you just 70 damage and prevents the Defending Pokémon from Retreating. The Retreat Lock can be disruptive, but putting three Energy on a frail Basic Pokémon in order to use it is not a viable strategy. Meanwhile the damage output is below par . . . especially if you consider that, apart from Terrakion NV, there aren’t really any playable Pokémon that will be hit for Weakness.

The best thing you can say about Pinsir is that Power Pinch is at least a bit more interesting than the weak generic attacks we usually get on filler Basics like this. Other than that, this card doesn’t have anything to recommend it.

Rating

Modified: 1.5 (It’s not frightening anyone)

Limited: 2.25 (the Energy removal could set an opponent back a couple of turns I guess and at least the attack cost is Colourless)

Mad Mattezhion
 Professor Bathurst League Australia

Pinsir (Next Destinies)
 
Hello folks, we're beginning a new week here on Pojo with a largely overlooked Bug Poke'mon. I'm talking about Pinsir!
 
Now this mean looking critter is yet another prehistoric throwback that would make me scream like a little girl if I ever got jumped by one in the garden, but it seems that in the world of Poke'mon noone suffers from a fear of creepy-crawlies and the reaction is to try stuffing it into a Poke'ball. Which is quite different from what I would do after I finished screaming (my response would involve heavy ordnance and lots of fire!).
 
This version of the facehugger is a Rare card, which usually for a Grass type non-evolving Basic means that it is a terrible card. Fortunately, there are redeeming examples like Shaymin UL, Illumise TM and Virizion NV so Pinsir may be in with a chance.
 
To round out the stats, Pinsir has 80 HP, Fire Weakness, a retreat cost of 2 and two attacks. While the Weakness is music to the ears of any Reshiram user, it can be removed by Metapod HGSS or Leavanny NV. The relatively low HP cannot be fixed however, so Pinsir won't get more than a single turn in battle if your opponent has an attacker ready to roll.
 
A short life expectancy is rather common amoung Poke'mon today, so Pinisr could still make the grade if it has something to offer that is worth the loss of a Prize. Being a Basic helps a great deal with all of the fun cards like Revive and Prism Energy helping to tip the scales. But what saves Pinsir from obscurity is its first attack.
 
Power Pinch costs [c][c] and makes you flip two coins. For each Heads, dsicard an Energy attached to the Defending Poke'mon.
 
Since the attack cost is Colourless you can happily run Pinsir in an off-type deck and we have Fliptini to improve the odds of discarding many of those Special Energy that our opponents depend on. Since Vileplume/Vanilluxe decks already use both cards, Pinsir makes a natural fit here to add to the destructive disruption. If you can't keep the enemy paralysed, destroy all of their energy instead!
 
Grip and Squeeze is the second attack, which has an unforgiving cost of [g][g][c] and deals 70 damage while leaving the Defending Poke'mon unable to retreat. This is great for hitting an energy-deprived Poke'mon while your opponent's are having their Items locked in their hands by Vileplume, but it does lack oomph as a main attack if your opponent has manged to get ahead of you. Also, risking 2 Prism energy on the same Poke'mon is dangerous so you'll have to tech in some [g] energy to get consistent use out of it. That isn't actually a bad idea though, as it gives you an excuse to run Virizion NV as your opener and Virizion DOES have ommph!
 
Pinsir is a niche card that will probably be ignored by most players, but if you happent to be building a Vanilluxe/Vilplume/Victoni deck (3 V's, oh my!), you would do well to add a copy or 2 of Pinsir as a backup plan.
 
Modified: 3.25 (Pinsir looks like a junk rare at first, but due to a fortuitous mixture of other cards in the format it will have an impact in any decks that both run DCE and Victini, expecially if they also run Vileplume to stop an opponent dropping Switch to escape)
 
Limited: 4 (80 HP Basic Poke'mon are always a strong choice here, and removing that all-important energy from play will cripple an attacker. If you haven't got much [g] energy though, you won't be able to counterattack with Pinsir itself so you should be mindful that in most cases you will end up sacrificing Pinsir after removing the energy from that big Poke'mon EX monster and using another Poke'mon to actually finish the job)
 
Combos with: Double Colourless Energy, Fliptini, Vileplume UD, Vanilluxe ND


Otaku

We begin the week by taking a look at Pinsir, the Stag Beetle Pokémon that TPC seems to have forgotten. I began my Pokémon video game journey with Pokémon Blue, which had Pinsir and not perennial fan-favorite Scyther. As such I have long noticed that while Scyther regularly got great cards before Scizor came out, and still got some good cards afterwards, Pinsir is always getting short-changed, especially after we got Heracross and Pinsir got even less attention.

Stats

Pinsir is a Basic Pokémon, but quite frankly it should be a Stage 1. No, not because it is so powerful, but because it is a Basic that didn't Evolve back in Gen 1 and still doesn't Evolve now! It even looks like its halfway from an attempt at making a "cute" insect and halfway to the fierce/formidable looking "cool" Stage 2 form at least I would desire.

Still, as a Basic Pokémon it does enjoy the fundamental advantages they have always enjoyed: minimal deck space and ease of entering play. This format also allows it to tap significant sources of Basic only support: Dual Ball, Eviolite, Pokémon Collector, Prism Energy, and
Skyarrow Bridge. Of course, not all of those are going to be especially helpful or see optimal use with Pinsir.

Being a Grass-Type is both a blessing and a curse. The bad news is that most Grass-Type Pokémon struggle to see play, in part because no currently legal Grass-Type Pokémon has proven worthy of seeing major play, except those that either don't lend themselves to a Grass-Type deck, or at least have shown they are more effective off-type. Plus the two Types most likely to be Weak to Grass-Type Pokémon (Fighting and Water) have similarly been struggling (Water for the whole format). The good news is this does indeed create a void to be filled; hitting Terrakion for double damage is at least moderately useful.

80 HP would have been great on so many past Pinsir, but is a minor handicap in the current format: few decks will fail to do that in a turn, though part of this is due to the overpowered nature of the famous Zekrom, who can open for 120 in its own decks and Reshiram, who can easily keep a steady 120 barrage turn after turn where it is most often used. Even disregarding that, just to keep up with power creep, Pinsir deserved 90 to 100 HP. TCG HP is a combination of factors (since there is no direct equivalent to the Defense and Special Defense stats of the video games). At least at 90, an Eviolite would require most decks resort to a Pokémon EX or one of the Dragons.

Fire Weakness is to be expected and only hurts when a Fire-Type is able to OHKO Pinsir with a less resource intensive attack, such as Reshiram having two Fire Energy cards attached from the discard by Typhlosion Prime's Afterburner, then scoring a OHKO with just Outrage, instead of having to discard for Blue Flare. The lack of Resistance is disappointing: given how historically weak and underplayed Pinsir is, it really couldn't have hurt to give it at least a token Resistance to something.

The Retreat Cost is bitter; CC is a bit big for a Basic Pokémon but manageable since a Double Colorless Energy can pay for it as a single Energy attachment. Normally you wouldn't want to use a Double Colorless Energy just for this, so running Switch would be a good idea. What makes this Retreat Cost worse than it looks are missed combo opportunities. You can still use
Skyarrow Bridge to knock it down to an easy to manage single Energy Retreat Cost, but if Pinsir had cost one less to Retreat like all but the 90 HP version of Pinsir, then it could have had a versatile free Retreat Cost. If you include Giovanni’s Pinsir, yes technically two versions have a two Energy Retreat Cost… but still even the other 80 HP Pinsir just needs a single Energy Retreat to retreat.

Effects

Pinsir has two attacks. The first, Power Pinch, requires (CC), so with a Double Colorless Energy it could be used first turn. You get to flip two coins and discard an Energy card attached to the Defending Pokémon for each result of "heads". I believe this is overpriced; you do no damage with the attack, so you have to attach two Energy and probably give up a Prize for the results.

Power Pinch needs pumping up. Not to turn this into a “Create-a-Card” session, but for what you’re giving up, you need reliable Energy discards, more Energy discards, some damage, and probably some combination of all three. This is also a format with a lot of Energy acceleration, where the discards will just be an annoyance; not only can many decks replace the lost Energy, but some even recycle it from the discard pile!

Even if you hit Special Energy, you have to ask why you didn't just use a better attacker and run Lost Remover or Crushing Hammer alongside said attacker. Rushing Power Pinch is counterproductive unless your opponent had a fantastic opening turn; there will be no Energy to discard if you go first! While Item blocking effects would stop it, I’d rather take my chances with Items supplementing a useful attack.

Grip and Squeeze unfortunately can't make good use of Double Colorless Energy, clashing with Power Pinch. Still (GGC) is reasonable to meet for a "big attack" on a Basic Pokémon, even one that doesn’t Evolve. You pay for 40 points of damage and get 70 points (30 points extra) and a potentially useful effect: the Defending Pokémon you hit with this attack can't Retreat during the next turn. On its own Grip and Squeeze is a somewhat good attack.

Together the two attacks would have some synergy: strip something of Energy, and then trap it up front while it is helpless. Unfortunately the Energy involved and likelihood it will be KOed in a single shot mean that the attacks leave much to be desired. Had one of the (G) Energy requirements on the second attack been Colorless, it would have greatly improved the synergy, but still probably wouldn’t be enough to make it worth playing.

Usage

If you absolutely just want to run a Pinsir, there is another version (HS: Undaunted 32/90) to consider for Modified. It has 10 less HP but a single Energy Retreat Cost and better "small" attack; for (G) it does 10, plus another 20 if you get "heads" on a mandatory coin toss. Given the format the 80 HP of today's version isn't going to last any longer than the 70 of the slightly older version.

If you can come up with some sort of Special Condition combo to work with it, maybe Grip and Squeeze could actually justify including Pinsir. There are numerous cards that can inflict Special Conditions from the Bench, so if you really wanted to, packing Pinsir up with them and Vileplume (HS: Undaunted 24/90) to block Trainers. It'd be an inferior version of a more serious strategy, but it could at least be a "fun Pinsir deck". Power Pinch might be more useful if the Item blocking is preventing a full deck set-up for your opponent, slowing down his/her Energy acceleration.

Unlimited is even less kind to Pinsir: decks that win first turn make removing Energy from an attack even less useful than you'd expect in a format with cards like Energy Removal and Super Energy Removal, and you can get a lot more damage on a lot better stats than Pinsir delivers.

In Limited you can at last enjoy Pinsir. You can use it in any deck to strip away an opponent's Energy, turn after turn, you can power up your "real" attacker. In a Grass Energy using deck, that would be Pinsir itself! If your opponent is careless or you're lucky, you may be able to discard enough Energy they won't be able to attack with anything worthwhile.

Ratings

Unlimited: 1/5

Modified: 1.6/5

Limited: 3.5/5

Summary

Pinsir is a Pokémon that seems to be a good idea with poor execution and even worse timing. Too small and too low of damage to hang with the current Big Basic Pokémon, and removing Energy isn't worth a Prize (as it won't protect from being OHKOed in this format).

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