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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Simisage #7

Next Destinies

Date Reviewed: March 14, 2012

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 1.45
Limited: 3.67

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

Simisage

Wow, the Pokémon card designers really love the Monkey Trio, don’t they? Since they made their debut in Black and White there have been thirteen cards featuring them. Sadly, none have been any good (ok, Simisear BW was decent-ish, but completely outclassed by other cards). Will this version of the Grass Monkey buck that trend?

It has an uphill battle, that’s for sure. This is because it is a Stage 1 with just 90 HP. The Fire Weakness seems bad, but in practice won’t make a lot of difference if Simisage finds itself staring at a Reshiram, and the Water Resistance would only be any good against Kyurem NV, which is not getting much play at all these days. The Retreat cost of two is just another reason not to like this card.

Simisage’s first attack, Collect, costs a single Grass Energy and lets you draw three cards from your deck. While early draw can be a very good thing, it is simply not good enough to justify using a weak Stage 1 to do it. Virizion NV is a much superior option here: a Basic Pokémon with higher HP that draws two for one Colourless Energy. Because it doesn’t need to evolve, it effectively nets you four cards by the second turn, as opposed to Simisage’s three . . . plus you are not having to search out an evolution in order to do it.

When it comes to dealing damage, Virizion also does a better job. An attack which does 40 damage, then 80 on subsequent turns for [G][C] is always going to be preferable to one which, for the same cost, does 30 damage, or 60 if there is a Stadium in play. Yes, Simisage’s Stadium Drain does come with the added bonus of healing 30 damage, but that is almost never going to be relevant on a Pokémon that is so easy to OHKO.

As is usual with the Monkey Trio, Simisage is a Pokémon that can perform somewhat decently in a Limited format (where early draw is brilliant and low HP not so much of an issue), but has no place whatsoever in Modified. I guess if the card designers really really loved them, they would do something about that.

Rating

Modified: 1.5 (You want a Grass Pokémon that draws cards? Use Virizion NV)

Limited: 3.75 (Nice enough here, where any kind of draw is very welcome, and the set does include two Stadiums to work with the second attack)

virusyosh

Hello, Pojo readers! I'm back from my spring break, and now I'll get back to doing reviews. Today we're reviewing the newest iteration of one of the Gen V monkey trio. Today's Card of the Day is Simisage from Next Destinies.
 
Simisage is a Stage 1 Grass Pokemon. The only common Grass-types in Modified right now are Virizion and Shaymin-EX; with Shaymin UL seeing some play for its Celebration Wind Poke-Power, and little else. Therefore, Simisage will have to do something very well in order to get a deck slot. 90 HP is simply average for a Stage 1, and will likely get OHKO'd by a majority of the Modified metagame, though 90 HP should be enough to take at least one hit in Limited. Fire Weakness is a problem against the likes of Reshiram, Reshiram-EX, Typhlosion, and Emboar; Water Resistance is great against Kyurem and Kyurem-EX; and a Retreat Cost of 2 is a bit pricey for this grass monkey, but payable if you absolutely must.
 
Simisage has two attacks. Collect draws 3 cards for a single Grass Energy, which is amazing in Limited (where card draw is rare) but terrible in Modified (where card draw is best achieved with Items, Supporters, and Stadiums). Stadium Drain is Simisage's form of offense, dealing 30 damage for a Grass and a Colorless, but also dealing 30 more damage and healing 30 damage from Simisage if there is a Stadium in play. 60 damage for two Energy is great in Limited, but sadly lacking in Modified, where attacks should do at least 80 damage if they want serious consideration (though there are a few notable exceptions). Overall, Simisage is great in Limited, but not in Modified.
 
Modified: 1.5/5 Simisage isn't totally useless in Modified, but it's not worth running, either. Collect is a bad attack for the format, and Stadium Drain doesn't do enough damage to be effective. If you want to run a Grass-type attacker, run something like Virizion or Shaymin-EX.
 
Limited: 4/5 Simisage is really good in Limited. Collect provides an awesome amount of card draw that isn't easily available in this format, and Stadium Drain can be quite effective, especially if you pull a few Pokemon Center or Skyarrow Bridge in Next Destinies Limited. Overall, the Next Destinies monkey trio are quite effective in Limited, and you can't go wrong using them.

Mad Mattezhion
 Professor Bathurst League Australia

Simisage (Next Destinies)
 
Another day, another review. Today's lucky contestant is Simisage. With 3 versions already to its name, itis one of the most common Gen V cards so you would hope that at least one marginally playable version would be available. This card comes the closest, fingers crossed for a brutally powerful Monkey trio in the next set!
 
Simisage is both a Stage 1 and a Grass type, so it is already fighting an uphill battle without either effective support or the chance to exploit an opposing Poke'mon's Weakness. 90 HP, an unresonable retreat cost of 2 and Fire Weakness are shoveling more dirt over the grave, but at least it gets Water resistance.
 
The reason you might want to play this printing of Simisage is the first attack. Like Simipour and Simisear, Simisage has Collect, which costs [g] and draws 3 cards. Combined with the weaker Collect printed on Pansage from Emerging Powers ([c] to draw 1 card), you get some serious repeatable draw power to start your game.
 
The second attack is Stadium Drain, which deals 30 damage and deals an extra 30 damage as well as healing 30 from Simisage if there is a Stadium card in play. At a cost of [g][c], this is quite decent (even though the healing is largely irrelevant due to the low HP) but unfortunately Simisage is comprehensively outgunned by the competition.
 
Virizion NV can fill the same niche as Simisage, being a Grass type Poke'mon that draws cards with a decent secondary attack and equal or better stats in every category. The Weakness, Resistance and retreat cost are all the same, but Vririzion doesn't need to evolve and it also has 20 more HP as well as abusing cards like poke'mon Collector, Skyarrow Bridge and Eviolite. True, Virizion's Collect attack only draws 2 cards compared to the 3 promised by Simisage, but it does get them a turn earlier and without any specific energy being needed. Also, the damage output of Leaf Wallop from the second attack onwards is greater than what you get from Stadium Drain, even with a Stadium on hand.
 
Simisage was obsolete even before it was released, and most players these days seem to value a quick opening salvo rather than losing a Prize while using attacks to set up. Still, starter Poke'mon have their place and maybe Simispour or Simisear will fare better since they don't have the same competition from Virizion. At least Simisage gets to shine, hoever briefly, in Limited.
 
Modified: 3 (Simisage makes a decent opener, but 'decent' is not what competitive tournaments are looking for)
 
Limited: 4 (Draw power plus cheap damage with continual healing is great for Limited. With the option to either attack or dig deeper to bring out your biggest monsters, getting Si isage out guarantees you the win unless your opponent can get an 1HKO)
 
Combos with: Pansage EP, a sudden erasure of Virizion NV and a general reversal of power creep


Otaku

Time for some monkey business: we are looking Simisage (BW: Next Destinies 7/99), one of the Simian Trio!

Stats

If you’ve been reading the last few CotDs, you know what I’ve got to say: being a Stage 1 Pokémon is rough right now as the most popular Basic Pokémon would make okay Stage 2 Pokémon with their Stats and Effects. When something is easier to fit into a deck, faster to get into play, and possibly even stronger than you, things are bleak. Grass-Type Pokémon lack support that has proven useful enough to warrant play, barring a few pieces that are generic enough to work in non-Grass decks. You aren’t going to hit Weakness a lot either, since the two Types most likely to be Grass Weak (Fighting and Water) are also struggling to form winning, on theme decks.

90 HP is still to low for a Stage 1, especially one that can’t Evolve into a Stage 2. This is a format where the popular basic attacking Pokémon regularly hit close or above 90, and thus it means you’re investing in an Evolution that is a OHKO. The Fire Weakness is more a nuisance since the big Fire attackers are going to also hit that OHKO range before triggering it, though a few will now get by with lesser attacks. At least they gave Simisage Water Resistance; it isn’t much and it won’t come in all that useful, but it is still there, and that is more than many Pokémon can say. Unfortunately the Retreat Cost is pretty “there” as well. Needing to discard two Energy to retreat is functionally average for most decks: they will often have enough Energy attached to pay for it and the deck and while it won’t be easy, it won’t be horribly crippling to pay it. Given the rest of the stats, it seems like overkill: make the monkey bigger or give it a lower Retreat Cost.

Effects

Simisage has two attacks; this doesn’t bode well for most Stage 1 Pokémon right now in general, and it hasn’t been good for past Simisage. The first attack is Collect, requiring (G) to use and allowing you to draw three cards. This isn’t worth losing a Stage 1 Pokémon for, and we’ve established Simisage is almost guaranteed to be a OHKO. I prefer this kind of set-up attacks on basic Pokémon, but it isn’t totally useless: if you need to soak your opponent’s next attack, you might as well increase your hand, and it is enough cards to make ignoring Simisage potentially hazardous. “Potentially”, and only just meeting that threshold.

Stadium Drain is the second attack; for (GC) you hit for 30 points of damage, and if there is a Stadium in play the attack does another 30 points of damage while healing 30 points of damage from Simisage. It fails in a manner similar to yesterday’s Kricketune: healing a small Pokémon that will be OHKOed does no good. I mean odds are it will never be damaged before using this attack, since being attacked would OHKO it. Ignoring that, it should heal more and/or work on all of your Pokémon. Yes, the Energy cost is low and friendly to a multi-Type deck (where the Simian Trio can work together), but you’re giving up a Prize. It also means this Pokémon maxes out at 60 points of damage (and then only with a Stadium in play), barely enough to OHKO most Evolving Basic Pokémon.

The attacks have the most minimal synergy: if you’re starting from scratch you’ll be able to pay for Collect before you can Stadium Drain. The basic concepts for both attacks are close, but the execution is flawed. Collect needs to be a bit better even to be considered the “booby prize”, and since we have a format full of Energy acceleration, why not up the cost of Stadium Drain to (GCC), but tweak the effect: if there is a Stadium in play, hit all your opponent’s Pokémon for 30 points of damage and heal all of your Pokémon an amount equal to what you hit the Defending Pokémon for. Solid spread and solid healing are worth giving up a Prize and that much Energy. Maybe also boost the damage to the Defending Pokémon (it takes a lot of healing and I did just up it to a three Energy attack). Enough playing Create-a-Card though, let’s move on.

Usage

First you’ll need to pick a Pansage. All are Basic Grass-Type Pokémon with Fire Weakness, Water Resistance, and single Energy Retreat Costs. Black & White 7/114 has 60 HP (10 less than the other two) and bad attacks, making it easy to dismiss. BW: Emerging Powers 1/98 can make use of any Energy for both its attacks, which are priced at (C) and (CC), respectively. The first lets you draw a card; the second allows it to do a vanilla 20 points of damage. BW: Next Destinies 6/99 only has one attack for (GC) that hits for 30 points of damage. Needing a specific Energy type, needing two Energy, and not helping it Evolve means I’ll take BW: Emerging Powers 1/98. Ideally, you’ll never have to attack with any of them.

There are also two other versions of Simisage to pick from. All have the same Stats as today’s card, so it comes down to the effects, which again are two attacks for each of them. Black & White 8/114 does a solid 30 for (G), but its big attack for (CCC) just flipping three coins and scoring 40 points of damage per “heads”. Three Energy, even when they can be any Type, is a lot for a 0/40/80/120 split where 60 points of damage is your average. BW: Emerging Powers 2/98 can do 30 for (CC), and if you have a source of (R) Energy attached it also scores Burn. That is unusual, but not necessarily bad. Unfortunately its big attack also fails: (GCC) for 60. These two don’t seem worth playing, so while they won’t crowd out today’s version, neither will they help it get played.

There are three potential uses for Simisage: supporting opener/attacker in a Grass-Type deck, Grass-Type splash in deck that can meet a single Grass-Energy requirement (probably via Rainbow Energy), or filling the role of Simisage in a Simian deck. There are multiple candidates that outshine it in the first two slots, but by definition it only competes against other Simisage cards for a Simian deck. What I find deeply disappointing is that with as poor as I just said the other two versions were, all three really are on par with each other, unless the Simian deck in question runs few or no Stadium cards, in which case this one should be skipped entirely). The fact that this Simisage is worth running a single copy of in a Simian deck which uses Stadiums isn’t worth much; that’s a fun deck, not a competitive one. I find this a bit sad, since you’d think the Simians could find enough support to upgrade into the old Four Corners (Stage 1 Type-matching deck) formula.

In Unlimited play, Simian decks probably exist, but they aren’t a first turn win, donk, or lock which instantly knocks them down a tier. They also won’t hang with the obscene powerhouses that still see play in Unlimited (either because a player doesn’t like the “first turn” decks, or because they have first turn capability while being more reliable later on). So again, its only hope is in a “fun” deck, but at least here such a thing might work in the Simian trio’s favor. Many old powerhouses came before (or at least only shortly into) the power creep that has steadily upped HP and damage yields, and useful Pokémon Powers/Poké-Powers/Poké-Bodies allow such cards to still anchor decks. Unfortunately healing is not one of the useful “tricks” for the Simians in this format; it’d actually be the Bench damage and Burn that other Simisage and Simians can inflict, on top of general Type-matching.

So like too many releases (recent or otherwise), only Limited play allows you to really enjoy Simisage. As is usual, average HP and damage output plummets because so many cards a person pulls will lack essential support and thus won’t even function in a deck. Even ones that could be played will often not be able to be played well; needing too many resources for how much of it/them you can run in the deck. 90 HP becomes solid, if not good, HP for a Stage 1 Pokémon; expect at least two turns unless you’re walking into an amazing pull or something average that your opponent already fully powered up. Draw power is amazing here; not only is it relatively rare but your starting deck is a third smaller than normal; by your second turn (the first you could theoretically use Collect), drawing three cards would be 1/9th of your remaining deck! With two Stadium cards in the set, you have a solid chance of getting one (at all). Getting it into play can take time (Collect should help), and if you don’t telegraph this by Benching Pansage too soon, your opponent may help you out. At this point, doing 60 and healing 30 can keep Simisage going for a few extra turns.

Pansage is a solid Pokémon to use on its own, being a 70 HP Basic Pokémon that can hit for 30 points of damage, making Simisage even better. Just remember that you’ll need at least some Grass Energy, even if you’re just using a 1-1 line. If you don’t get any Stadium cards but pulled enough Grass Pokémon that you’re running Grassy Energy anyway, still consider it just for the draw power and being a slightly sub-par beatstick.

Ratings

Unlimited: 1/5

Modified: 1.25/5

Limited: 3/5 (Composite score +/- half a point for having/lacking a Stadium)

Summary

Simisage, like all the Simian Pokémon, disappoints again. Unfortunately the designers have given us a format where being a Stage 1 is hard, and instead of making the Simian Trio interdependent, with effects that not only reflect a multi-Type Energy pool but actually reference Pokémon whose names end in “sage”, they just can’t compete. Simisage wasn’t designed to sit on the Bench and it wasn’t designed to OHKO whatever it was facing, so it gets trampled on.

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