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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Hydreigon #103

Next Destinies

Date Reviewed: March 8, 2012

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 2.40
Limited: 2.67

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

Hydreigon

The final two cards for this week weren’t on anyone’s top 10 list but . . . they are shiny! Actually they are shiny reprints of cards from previous sets. Pretty hard to pull (one in every three boxes I believe), but really more of interest to collectors, rather than players . . . unless you are one of those players that likes to bling their deck out as much as possible with reverse holos and Full Art cards.

We didn’t review Hydreigon when it first came out, so it’s nice to have another opportunity. The card got quite a bit of interest at first but hasn’t really made any impact on the tournament scene. Of course part of that interest is due to Hydriegon being a proper fanboy card . . . it’s Dark, it’s a Dragon, and it looks pretty scary with its hands that are actually extra heads, so people want it to be good. To be fair, it did appear to have something to offer . . .

For a start it has a massive 150 HP, which is great even for a Stage 2. The Dark Typing also gives it some advantages: Psychic Resistance and the ability to profit from damage-boosting Special Dark Energy. Fighting Weakness is a bit of a problem with Terrakion NV a popular tech, and Donphan Prime refusing to go away entirely. The Retreat cost of three is very heavy too: you won’t want to have to retreat it without the use of a Switch.

Hydreigon has an Ability, Dark Aura, which is pretty much the same as Base Set Charizard’s Energy Burn . . . only for Dark Pokémon. It states that all Energy attached to Hydreigon becomes Dark Energy instead of their usual Type. Is this useful? Well, Hydreigon would be absolutely unplayable if it wasn’t for the Ability. It’s one and only attack costs four Dark Energy and right now there is no Energy acceleration for that particular Type, meaning it would take four turns of attachments to get this thing up and running (and we all know that’s just not happening). Instead, thanks to Dark Aura, you are free to take advantage of Double Colourless Energy, and/or pair it with an Energy accelerator like Emboar BW to load it with Fire Energy.

So, Hydreigon needs quite a bit of support to get it attacking, and what do you get for that investment? The answer is Beserker Blade, an attack which does 60 damage to the active while also sniping two of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon for 40. On the face of it, this looks brilliant: that’s 140 damage you are putting on the Field. The snipe element of the attack is enough to OHKO Babies and weak Basics like Tynamo, and can also be used to set up multiple KOs later in the game. The big problem comes in the shape of Hydreigon’s weak output against the active Pokémon. Unless the attack is boosted Hydriegon can’t even KO a Unova Dragon or a Stage 2 in two turns. Against the EX Pokémon (Shaymin aside) it will always take three turns to send it to the discard pile, unless you can use an awful lot of PlusPowers and Special Dark. Meanwhile your opponent will be busy using Pokémon Catcher to take out your Energy acceleration, or simply KOing Hydreigons and sending your massive investment of four Energy and a Stage 2 to the discard pile.

It’s not that Hydreigon is a bad Pokémon exactly, it’s just that the current format mostly revolves around Basic Pokémon and OHKOs. A needy Stage 2 that tries to set up for multiple KOs is going to be too slow and too easily disrupted to really function well in that environment. Without Energy acceleration, it will never get going. Without a way to score OHKOs it is never going to survive long enough to do its job. It was hyped because the attack does have a bit of a wow factor, but unfortunately the card is way better in theory than it is in actual tournaments.

Rating

Modified: 2.5 (intimidating, but too high maintenance)

Limited: 3.25 (still pretty slow to set up, but at least it’s a game winner if you can get it out in time)

Mad Mattezhion
 Professor Bathurst League Australia

Hydreigon (Next Destinies)
 
Hello readers, sorry for my recent absence. The flooding over here has really messed with my week. Anyway, on with the show.
 
Hydreigon is on of the Secret Rare cards from Next Destinies, which means it is a reprint of an earlier card with much prettier artwork. Since the first and only other printing of Hydreigon was in Noble Victories, there isn't much more to say about the card that we haven't already covered, but I'm going to try anyway.
 
The vital statistics on Hydreigon were good last set and still worth the price of entry now, espcially with the recent explosion of Psychic Poke'mon that hit a wall when faced with Resistance. Coupled with 150 HP and Rocky Helmet, Hydreigon should be able to give Mewtwo and friends a nasty headache.
 
Unfortunately, the gist of the last set of reviews was that Hydreigon was mainly a decent rogue build for casual games at the local League, because the attack just isn't right for the competitive events. Beserker Blade has an awesome effect, dealing 60 damage to the Defending Poke'mon  with 2 opposing benched targets of your choice getting 40 damage each as well. The cost is easy enough to pay since Hydreigon doesn't card what energy you use or how you attach it, but the massive HP scores of all of the popular attackers means that Hydreigon will usually bite the dust after a 2HKO, which doesn't give it enough time to get an KO's of its own (unless your opponent is playing tiny Poke'mon like Solosis and Pichu). Add in the Outrage ste attacks that are so popular and you can see that the math doesn't work out, despite the surprisingly large number of potential dance partners that could go into a deck led by Hydreigon.
 
Since this reprint isn't going to change any of those facts, let's focus on the rarity and the pretty art. I can't help thinking that choosing green as the alternative colour was a slight miscalculation though, as it now looks like my grnadmother's lillies are trying to jump out and out and bite me!
 
At the end of the day, Hydreigon is a lot of fun when combined with Emboar and the two Mandibuzz cards that have been printed and this version will serve as massive trader bait to boot, but I don't expect to see this tyrant at any serious competitions. I'd love to be proven wrong though!
 
Modified: 3 (the Ability and stats are good, but Hydreigon doesn't punish the Active enough to be competitive in this Modified format)
 
Limited: 1 (the lower stages aren't even in this set, and you'll want to keep this masterwork of art safe from harm anyway, but it would be awesome if you were actually able to use it)
 
Combos with: protective sleeves to keep Hydreigon in pristine condition!


Otaku

Interesting; Hydreigon (BW: Next Destinies 103/99) is the Secret Rare reprint of Hydreigon (BW: Noble Victories 79/101), but I am not seeing a review of the original. Did we miss something, or did we hold off for good reason?

Stats

Hydreigon is a Stage 2, so it faces an uphill battle this format: Basic Pokémon enjoy all their natural advantages with specialized support and Stats/Effects good enough for at least a Stage 1 (at least until recently). Being a Darkness-Type could be a good start: it doesn’t help much in terms of Type-matching, but it does provide access to Special Energy Darkness Energy, and getting plus 10 points of damage from your Energy attachments can go a long way. The support they currently have probably isn’t enough to make this anything more than a mild benefit overall.

150 HP is almost as good as it currently gets for Stage 2 Pokémon (technically 160 is the highest on a current Stage 2 Pokémon). Still it means anything less than a Pokémon EX is going to need something to boost its damage (on top of any actual support the attacker needs in general); you should survive a hit outside of your Weakness. That Weakness is certainly a mixed blessing: Fighting-Type decks have been struggling, with formerly dominant (or at least prominent) decks like those built around Donphan Prime becoming less and less common. The amazingly strong Lightning-Type decks though encourage people to keep trying, and if not as a full-fledged Fighting deck, then a clutch Terrakion if the deck can justify running Fighting Energy, Prism Energy, or Rainbow Energy (honestly one of those three are often already present). If you see your opponent play brown down, expect a OHKO.

On the bright side, Hydreigon actually has Resistance, and it is to something useful: Psychic-Type Pokémon! That’s an extra Energy Mewtwo EX requires for X-Ball and… well that is the one that matters most. The three Energy required to Retreat is hefty: it is hard for the average deck to pay, especially without it being a major set-back even if the Energy is available. The small silver lining is that it makes Hydreigon a legal target for Heavy Ball.

Effects

We have the familiar pattern of an Ability and a large attack. The Ability, has appeared before as a Poké-Body: all Energy attached to Hydreigon provide (D) instead of their usual Energy type, and should (though I didn’t see a specific, recent ruling) only affect the Type and not the quantity produced: a Double Colorless Energy provides two Energy still, just (DD) instead of (CC). This allows Hydreigon to function with any Energy; a very potent ability tempered by it being a Stage 2 Pokémon.

Berserker Blade requires (DDDD) to use, though thanks to the Ability (and lack of ways to shut them off, unlike older Pokémon Powers/Poké-Powers/Poké-Bodies) it acts more like (CCCC), but then we’d have to treat it as a Stage 2 with a single effect (just one attack), which provides at least as much of a compensatory damage increase as the shift to all Colorless Energy saved. So for (DDDD), you earn about 60 points of damage before factoring in the Stage of the Pokémon. Just requiring four Energy for any attack is usually worth another 10 or even 20 points of damage. Lacking a less expensive attack option on the card (that is an attack with a lower amount of Energy required) is also worth another 10 to 20 points of anticipated damage. Finally as a fully Evolved Pokémon, again we expect another 10 to 20 points, perhaps even a bit more. Since the Ability in no way acts as a “second attack”, I really should add yet another 10 to 20 points to the total, so we need to hit 100 to 140 points of damage.

We do, but there is a caveat. The attack does 60 to the Defending Pokémon and 40 to up to two Benched Pokémon. This is where the format itself factors in. If Hydreigon is only surviving one hit and not two or more, then it had better OHKO or 2HKO most other Pokémon, or rather those that see competitive play. It doesn’t, but should at least 3HKO almost anything without protection. As long as you’re doing the full expected Bench damage, you have the chance to keep up with your opponent, trading several Hydreigon for a like amount of Prizes. Here is that catch: by spreading the damage your opponent has more time to respond to it, and wont lose resources as quickly, overall decreasing the likelihood of those KOs at all. Factoring in how many cards you’re investing into each Hydreigon and that you probably need at least three to pay off, you’re dedicating at least half your deck to this strategy before adding in any support, when most offensive Pokémon are Basics with three or four Energy attached before additional support is added.

The attack really needs to hit the Defending Pokémon harder (even if Bench damage was a bit lower) or hit more Pokémon (even if every Pokémon hit was only good for 40 or 50 points of damage). As a Darkness Pokémon, spread damage seems to be common but then you don’t get to enjoy extra damage from Special Energy Darkness Energy except against the Defending Pokémon. Still, these two effects compliment each other and it is only the brutally difficult nature of our current format that really hampers Hydreigon.

Usage

Right now, I’d there isn’t much to do with Hydreigon. If you really want to use it, you’ve only got a single Zweilous and Deino available (though Rare Candy could replace the Zweilous) and they are average for their Stages and Status as Evolving Pokémon; in short they won’t help or hurt Hydreigon. You can back it with several forms of Energy acceleration so that you can quickly and repeatedly power-up replacement copies, but the actual in deck logistics make such an approach inferior to better known builds using those Pokémon. With the current card pool, there isn’t much to do, save perhaps open with an Absol Prime to try and buy time and maybe spread damage for no Energy (via the Poké-Body on Absol).

Stop reading here if you don’t want to know about potential upcoming releases, a.k.a.

Spoiler Alert!

Many players are already well aware that the next set contains Darkness-Type Support, and it might be just enough to make a Hydreigon damage spread viable. If the text spoiler translations are accurate, we’ll get at least four important cards for it: Dark Patch, Darkness Claw, and Darkrai EX. Dark Patch is an Item that attaches a Basic Darkness Energy from your discard pile to something on your Bench. It might not seem like much, but that allows a Benched Hydreigon (sadly not an Active one) to be readied in a single turn by using two and manually attaching a Double Colorless Energy. That could be enough (when spammed via Junk Arm) to avoid needing another source of Energy acceleration, or at least reduce it to a one-time source like Electrode Prime. In general it helps all Darkness-Type Pokémon. Darkness Claw is a Pokémon Tool that adds an extra 20 points of damage to attacks by the equipped Darkness-Type Pokémon. It won’t help Bench damage, but at least it essentially negates Eviolite, and moves more Pokémon into the 2HKO range. Darkrai EX is another big, Basic Pokémon EX. It has an Ability (the first Pokémon EX I’ve seen with one) and that Ability zeroes out the Retreat Cost for Darkness Pokémon with (D) Energy attached. This can help exploit Dark Patch and Absol Prime. The attack on Darkrai EX needs (DDD) but does 90 to the Defending Pokémon and 30 to the Bench, which looks might handy for a damage spread deck. Plus it still clocks in at 180 HP. This could still all fall apart, but the potential is worth considering still, especially if components we do already have (like Hydreigon) aren’t too hard to come by in your area.

End Spoiler!

For Unlimited, it is nice that you can really pile on the Bench damage. It isn’t a new first-turn-win, lock, or donk deck, but backed by a Bench full of Neo Genesis Slowking, Broken Time-Space, and abusing several useful Colorless Energy Special Energy cards, you’ve got at least a solid deck for the format, perhaps even a semi-competitive one: this is a format of Neo and e-card era Baby Pokémon (30 HP but while Active protected by “the Baby Rule”) and small but nasty Bench-sitters (the aforementioned Slowking has just 80 HP). Two successful Berserker Claws could yield six Prizes!

In Limited, if you get even a 1-1-1 line, run it unless the rest of your pulls are amazing and you can justify focusing on reliability over raw power. Thanks to Dark Aura, while the lower Stages aren’t any good without a source of Darkness Energy, Hydreigon itself is taken care of. Lower average HP and damage outputs mean it has a better chance of lasting several turns, and should at least be good for two unless you’re very unfortunate or foolish. It also means that when it does come up, between an opponent’s smaller Basic Pokémon, and injured Pokémon retreated to the Bench to avoid being KOed, two turns should net you four Prizes, and even a single attack might score three.

Ratings

Unlimited: 3/5

Modified: 1.75/5

Limited: 4.25/5

Summary

Hydreigon is a card to check back on later, but for now it isn’t as good at spreading damage as a few other decks, and spreading damage is already a risky strategy. It doesn’t hit enough Pokémon hard enough to make the spread effective, at least when you’re investing a Stage 2 Pokémon with four Energy to do it. It looks great though, and I especially like this variant art since green is my favorite color, followed by black.

Please check out my eBay sales by clicking here. It’s me whittling away at about two decades worth of attempted collecting, spanning action figures, comic books, TCGs, and video games. Exactly what is up is a bit random. As of writing this I have some Transformers toys and a few video games up, including the Pokémon Trading Game for the Game Boy Color. Pojo.com is in no way responsible for any transactions; Pojo is merely doing me a favor by letting me link at the end of my reviews.


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