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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Accelgor #11

Dark Explorers

Date Reviewed: May 21, 2012

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 3.00
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

Accelgor (Dark Explorers)

Hello and welcome back to Pojo’s CotD. This week we will be looking at some of the cards that got a vote or two for our Top Ten list, but didn’t quite make the final cut.

We kick off with Accelgor, which is one of the most original cards we have seen for quite some time.

At first glance Accelgor doesn’t appear to have much to offer. He’s a low 90HP Stage 1 (on the plus side, searchable with Level Ball), that evolves from a frankly rubbish Basic (Shelmet). The Grass Typing isn’t anything special: there’s not a lot of Fire around to worry Accelgor, but nothing outside of Terrakion will get hit for Weakness by Accelgor either. The free Retreat is good though . . . maybe things are looking up for this card.

The first attack, Hammer In, is . . . pretty dull and ineffective. Yes, 20 damage for a single Grass Energy is reasonable value, but you really don’t want to be evolving a Stage 1 to do that, do you? Nope. To find out why Accelgor is getting some attention these days, we have to look at the pun-tastic second attack: Deck and Cover. For two Energy of any Colour (so DCE, basically), this does 50 damage (not a bad start) but also inflicts Paralysis and Poison (which is brilliant). The catch? After using the attack, Accelgor and all cards attached to him are shuffled back into the deck.

While auto Paralysis is fantastic, it’s clear that Accelgor will take some effort to be turned into a playable deck. For a start, you need to keep streaming Stage 1s and Double Colourless Energy, which is not an easy thing to do. Sunflora HGSS may be a help here, as will Trainers like Dual Ball and Level Ball. Ideally, you would also want to lock your opponent’s Trainers with Vileplume UD or Gothitelle EPO so that they couldn’t use Switch to get out of the Lock. Then there is the problem that all of these types of decks face: how do you prevent the revenge KO once your opponent’s active has been knocked out?

Basically, Accelgor is very similar to the existing Vanilluxe and Mew Prime/Vanilluxe decks, except instead of relying on coin flips, you are banking on being able to keep searching out Accelgors and (even more difficult) Double Colourless Energy. It’s an interesting twist on Paralyse lock decks, and it’s appealing enough for players to experiment with the card and try to make it work. At the same time, the combo is a bit fragile and very vulnerable to late game N.

Nevertheless, I wouldn’t be shocked if a few of these turned up at Battle Roads this year, though it remains to be seen if anyone can come up a list that is fast and consistent enough to top cut.

Rating

Modified: 3.25 (you can definitely have fun with this card, and maybe even a surprise rogue deck)

Limited: 3.5 (the Paralysis makes it quite good against the big EX Pokémon in the set, but it’s more of a one hit wonder here)

virusyosh

Welcome back, Pojo readers! This week we're going to review some Dark Explorers cards that just missed our Top 10 cut. We'll kick things off by reviewing a Stage 1 that is thought to have some potential, though doesn't really have a deck yet. Today's Card of the Day is Accelgor.
 
Accelgor is a Stage 1 Grass Pokemon. Grass-types are literally non-existent in Modified right now, with Virizion seeing very little play on the attacking side of things, and Vileplume UD occasionally seeing use for its Item-blocking ability, but little else. Therefore, if Accelgor can be broken somehow, it could have quite a niche, as the ever-popular Terrakion is weak to Grass. 90 HP is fairly standard for a Stage 1, and Accelgor can take small assaults, but falls to larger ones. However, this may not be all that relevant, if played properly. Having 90 HP also makes Accelgor searchable with Level Ball, which is fantastic. Fire Weakness is bad against Reshiram, Emboar, and Typhlosion; but they don't really see much play anymore. Likewise, having no Resistance is irrelevant, and a free Retreat is amazing.
 
Accelgor has two attacks. The first is Hammer In, which deals a solid 20 damage for a single Grass Energy. 20 damage for one Energy has always been good in the Pokemon TCG, and this attack should serve you well in Limited. In Modified, however, the attack doesn't do quite enough damage to be a main attack, but can be used while waiting to power up the second attack, or in a pinch. Speaking of the second attack, Deck and Cover is what will make Accelgor see play, dealing a decent 50 damage for two Colorless Energy (or a Double Colorless!) while inflicting the Defending Pokemon with Paralysis and Poison, as well as shuffling Accelgor and all cards attached into your deck. Automatic Paralysis is amazing, the Energy cost is very abusable, and Poison simply makes things even better. The key to making Accelgor work is to somehow chain Accelgors and keep a chain of Deck and Cover running, keeping the opponent Paralyzed and Poisoned. Unfortunately, keeping a Deck and Cover chain going can be somewhat difficult, as Accelgor is a somewhat vulnerable Stage 1.
 
Modified: 2.75/5 Accelgor's ability to automatically Paralyze is quite unique, and one that could prove to be very powerful if broken. Unfortunately, with Broken Time-Space gone and the rise of the huge Basic Pokemon-EX, there doesn't seem to be an easy way for Accelgor to force itself into the metagame. It's probably only a matter of time before someone breaks it, but until then, there are probably better options.
 
Limited: 3.5/5 Accelgor is quite strong in Limited, but with a few limitations. Hammer In and free Retreat are both great for quick beats, and even then, if Accelgor is in danger of being Knocked Out, you can simply Deck and Cover away to deny your opponent the prize. Accelgor may be harder to abuse in Limited due to the lack of draw options when compared to Modified, but the Shell Out Pokemon can be quite dangerous in its own right if included in a deck, since both of its attacks are great for their cost.

 

So now that we’ve covered the top 10 promising picks of BW: Dark Explorers, what is next? The near misses that almost made the list; we’ve got Battle Roads to worry about, so it is best to get the most promising new cards covered now instead of spreading them out. With that we come to our first candidate: Accelgor.

Stats

Accelgor is a Stage 1 Grass-Type Pokémon. Being a Stage 1 isn’t terrible, but right now Modified is really focused on Basic Pokémon. Grass-Type Pokémon have some good cards, but most are as good at supporting other Pokémon Types as they are Grass-Type Pokémon. There is only one significant source of Weakness to hit at the moment, and that is Terrakion (BW: Noble Victories 73/101, 99/101), but in some metagames that will be enough. On the bright side, Grass-Resistance appears non-existent in Modified, at least according to a quick Pokepedia.net check; the Metal-Type Pokémon that used to always Resist Grass-Types now Resist Psychic-Types. So overall, this is an okay Stage and an okay Type; could be better but could also be worse.

90 HP is small, and vulnerable to OHKOs, but there is a silver-lining; 90 HP makes Accelgor a legal search target for Level Ball, and as we’ll find out in Usage, this may be quite important to the card indeed. Fire Weakness isn’t great, but neither is it especially bad. No Resistance is the worst Resistance but no Retreat Cost is the best Retreat Cost! However as we’ll find out, those bottom stats aren’t likely to matter a whole lot to Accelgor.

Effects

Accelgor has two attacks, and normally that’s a kiss of death for a small Stage 1. The first attack, Hammer In, does 20 for (G) making it better than nothing, but pretty underpowered for a Stage 1 Pokémon with no Ability and low HP. Fortunately the second attack literally makes this card, and an entire deck (or two): Deck and Cover. That is a most excellent name, I must say: I do so enjoy a good pun. I also enjoy creative effects that actually can work! For (CC) Deck and Cover hits for a solid 50 points of damage and automatically inflicts both Poison and Paralysis on the Defending Pokémon. That on its own would be a good return for the investment, but would cause some issues; there is more to the effects of the attack, however. When you use Deck and Cover, you must then shuffle away Accelgor and all card’s attached to it back into your deck.

Without that secondary effect, I can’t say if Deck and Cover would be better or worse without that second effect, though I can firmly say that the name wouldn’t make sense then. Yeah. Right now, Deck and Cover allows Accelgor to hit and run; the Weakness, Resistance, and Retreat Cost become meaningless, the first attack is only needed in worst-case-scenarios, and the HP only matters since it is small enough Level Ball can snag it. Without proper support it could still strike and flee, (if your opponent has no answer for Paralysis) setting-up most Pokémon for a 2HKO even factoring in protective effects. With the right set-up, it allows an interesting “soft-lock”, only broken if you can’t keep replenishing Accelgor and its Energy, or when you finally KO the target Pokémon.

Usage

First things first, since this is a Stage 1 Pokémon we need to look at what it evolves from and that would be Shelmet. There are two possibilities: BW: Noble Victories 11/101 and BW: Dark Explorers 10/108. Both are Basic Grass-Type Pokémon with 60 HP with Fire Weakness, no Resistance, and a massive Retreat Cost of three! BW: Noble Victories 11/101 has two attacks and both are bad. The first attack let’s you search for a Pokémon that Evolves from Shelmet but only works if you have Karrablast in play… plus we already established part of the strength of Accelgor comes from it being able to “hide” in the deck. The second attack does 10 for (G) so boring and overpriced! BW: Dark Explorers 10/108 win isn’t thrilling doing 20 with just a 50% chance of Paralysis for (GG) as its only attack, but the other versions attacks are so unlikely to help it survive that going a turn without attack (or needing Energy acceleration) just to try for Paralysis seems better. You’ll note that we also have another Accelgor. The fact that I forgot it existed tells you how poorly it does. Its attacks aren’t bad: (C) does 20 with a 50% chance of discarding an Energy from the Defending Pokémon and for (G) it does 60 but can’t use that attack again the next turn. The problem is that its stats are identical to today’s version, so you basically attack once and get KOed, and you’d lack an answer for anything “big”. It’d have been a good Basic Pokémon, but not a Stage 1. At least it wasn’t totally vanilla.

Before launching into the decks that can be built around this, it would be an interesting method for dealing with Terrakion. You need a PlusPower for Poison to KO Terrakion between turns, and since PlusPower received an errata so that it no longer attaches to the Pokémon in question that wouldn’t get recycled. Still it does its job and gets out of the way, so a 1-1 could be used over and over again. If your opponent doesn’t have an answer for Paralysis, anything you have can finish the Terrakion next turn. Eviolite also messes up the OHKO, but not a 2HKO. Not a brilliant use, but perhaps I am missing some small piece of a combo. Evolving from Shelmet is probably the worst part.

I should also mention that I know of the decks, but I haven’t personally seen or run them; this is mostly Theorymon based on accounts passed along to me or discussion with others. I do hope to test one this weekend, but it was a last minute plan and not surprisingly it fell through.

The actual deck for Accelgor comes in two flavors that function similarly but use quite different Pokémon. The option I got almost right away was backing Accelgor with Celebi (HS: Triumphant 92/102) “Prime”, Sunflora (HeartGold/SoulSilver 31/123) and Vileplume (HS: Undaunted 24/90). You’ll also need Skyarrow Bridge so that Celebi has a free Retreat Cost. Your opponent can’t use Trainers to break the soft lock (making it almost a hard lock), only being able to retaliate when you KO the Defending Pokémon. When Accelgor jets to the deck, Celebi pops up front. Sunflora uses its Sunshine Grace Poké-Power to snag a Grass-Type from the deck while Celebi uses its Forest Breath Poké-Power before you retreat it (again for free thanks to Skyarrow Bridge) to bring up a newly assembled Accelgor. Of course Vileplume is needed so that its Allergy Flower Poké-Body prevents the usual Items from disrupting it all.

You can of course also use Double Colorless Energy, possibly even dropping Celebi Prime and Skyarrow Bridge. Relying on a Stadium can be scary, but fortunately it seems to be the most commonly played Stadium at the moment; if your opponent is running something else, that may even bode well for you considering the established, potent decks that tend to run Skyarrow Bridge or nothing. Relying on Double Colorless Energy means counting on good draws or that you’ll be able to safely build up some in hand with Twins or finally finding a good use for Interviewer’s Questions. Given the existence of N and Judge (and the popularity of the former), relying purely on Double Colorless Energy worries me… plus if you aren’t at least even in Prizes (and thus unable to use Twins) eventually, you’re in trouble as well. With either version, you may also want to run something just to soak a hit those turns the lock is broken by KOing whatever your opponent had out; I’d say Tornadus EX just because it work well with Skyarrow Bridge and Double Colorless Energy and seriously, it makes a great distraction to give you time to set-up if you do open with the three aforementioned cards.

The next build is one I only say a minimal description of in a list top cut decks from Japan. This build combines Accelgor with Gothitelle: every time you deck and cover, you bring up Gothitelle, providing a one-sided Item lock. It also used a card we don’t have access to, so I don’t know if the remaining cards we do have access to are enough: Darkrai EX (BW: Dark Explorers 63/108, 107/108) and Musharna (not specified, so I am guessing BW: Next Destinies 59/99) is used for the draw. Stacking wouldn’t make sense since Accelgor going to the deck would block that, unless there is some part of the combo I am missing focused on getting that second card right away (besides multiple Musharna, of course). With what we do have (and with or without Musharna), I am guessing it works by having Accelgor do its thing, bringing up Gothitelle in between so that you can still spam Items but the opponent can’t, thus allowing you to use Level Ball and/or Ultra Ball to keep the stream of Accelgor coming. Dark Patch coupled with either Shaymin (HS: Unleashed 8/95) or Energy Switch allows you to accelerate basic Darkness Energy onto anything, fueling Deck and Cover. Darkrai EX is needed for the intermediary step (the legal target of Dark Patch) and to give a Darkness Energy sporting Gothitelle a free Retreat Cost. While relying on the Dark Patch combo would be scary, remember you are doing this alongside running Double Colorless Energy.

Provided you include the Energy to use See Off, either build can use Mew (HS: Triumphant 97/102) “Prime” in place of Accelgor in either version. You’ll almost certainly lose the one Mew Prime doing this, and this makes Sunflora superfluous since you shouldn’t need to build up Accelgor and Vileplume can be built just with normal means. Mew Prime can be easily fetched in either deck, though it is easier in the Gothitelle version. That would also allow you to let it “go down swinging” and then use Revive on it, should you wish. You’ll probably lose one to using “See Off”, unless you go an alternate route and use Absol (HS: Triumphant 91/102) “Prime” and its Vicious Claw attack, though that is tricky to pull of first turn. You’d need an Absol Prime on the Bench, then to use Dark Patch at least once to get the Energy it needs on it, and then something up front you can retreat (preferably for free) so that Absol Prime can finally attack. Probably easier just to lose a Mew and have to run some Prism Energy.

Accelgor might actually make for a fun Unlimited deck; you can back it up with (arguably) more effective locks and obviously try to get it off first turn. You won’t need Celebi Prime since you can just run four Double Colorless Energy, four Double Rainbow Energy, and four Boost Energy to easily fuel Deck and Cover, so no worries running Broken Time-Space to Evolve first turn. Some options would preserve your own Trainer usage, making setting up again quite easily, though with the kind of Trainer locks (and Evolution acceleration) available, Sunflora could be used again (if you’re running more Grass-Type Pokémon). You also would have some excellent options for what to stall with between turns, and again if you aren’t locking down your own Trainers Focus Band will make sure anything has a 50% chance to survive while it blocks for you… while your own Poison will bypass opposing copies of Focus Band (should they get around your Trainer denial). Not as good as Sabledonk, but pretty brutal even in “soft” lock form. There are other options to use for the lock deck builds, however.

In Limited play, this can be a risky card. If you’re stuck with just it, you can’t Deck and Cover without losing, you’ll have to power it up over two turns, and you’ll mostly be using your basic draw for the turn to get it back. As long as sending it away isn’t death, it is a nasty piece of work. You’ll rarely need to worry about being OHKOed, so you can use Hammer In until you need to Deck and Cover to avoid being KOed, and that sets up nicely for anything and everything else. With the lower average HP scores, even if you have something that can’t attack for damage, the Poison might finish the Defending Pokémon off before Paralysis vanishes. If you don’t mind not having access to the attacks of Shelmet or the ability to use Hammer In, you can run it completely off-type as well. So despite the risk of being unable to Deck and Cover, I think this is a great pick.

Ratings

Unlimited: 3.75/5

Modified: 3/5

Limited: 4.5/5

Summary

Accelgor looks to be a fun deck to play, though perhaps a bit irritating to face. I think it gives the opponent just enough ability to fight back to still be “fair”, though. As for performance, as long as your opponent doesn’t get an insurmountable lead before you set-up, it should be tricky to play against as you never know when someone will have a good enough set-up to just break the lock and use a more conventional strategy (re: bust out a Pokémon EX). Dropping a Pokémon EX against it is a bad idea, of course. Lastly, you should note the Modified score is a composite; it technically could work in many decks as a very specialized card and not really be worth it, but it is essential of course to its own deck, and I believe that deck should be fairly good. Good enough to win the occasional tournament, at least.


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