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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Top 10 Boundaries Crossed Countdown!

#9 - Vileplume

Boundaries Crossed

Date Reviewed: Nov. 6, 2012

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 2.25
Limited: 2.50

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

Baby Mario
2010 UK National
Seniors
Champion

Vileplume (Boundaries Crossed)

I dunno about you, but whenever I hear of a new Vileplume card being released, I experience a little shudder of fear. The card designers seem to enjoy putting some nasty effects on this card, usually to do with Status Conditions or preventing Trainers being played. Fun fact: after Worlds this year, I had great fun ripping up all my copies of Vileplume UD . . . I hated that card.

This new Vileplume does have an interesting and unique Ability, but let’s get the basic stuff out of the way first. It’s a Stage 2 Grass Pokémon with 140 HP (pretty much the average these days, but still good). The Fire Weakness doesn’t matter much at the moment as Fire is very rarely played, while the Water Resistence could (slightly) come into play if the new Blastoise makes those decks popular again. The retreat cost of three means you can search this card out with Heavy Ball, but it will be a pain if Vileplume gets dragged active with Pokémon Catcher. In fact, you had better play some Switch if you use this card because the last place you want it to be is in the active position. Vileplume’s Pollen Spray attack is (to cut to the chase) overpriced, underpowered, and for emergency use only. Like most of its kind, this Vileplume is meant to sit on the Bench and be used for its Ability.

That Ability, Allergy Panic, has the extraordinary effect of making all Weaknesses apply for x4 damage. That’s right, all Pokémon on the Field that get hit for Weakness now take quadruple damage! That even brings 180 HP EX Pokémon in range of any attack that can hit for 50 or more.

But . . . what do you do with an Ability like that? Well it does open up the possibility of playing a deck that uses a range of low Energy, relatively low damage attackers to exploit Allergy Panic and take easy advantage of the x4 Weakness. Using Basic Pokémon with Prism and Blend Energy, you can construct a ‘toolbox’ style deck that (in theory) would have great coverage against almost anything. Stunfisk DRX can hit very cheaply against Fighting Weak Pokémon like Darkrai-EX and Eelektrik; non-EX Rayquaza can do likewise against Dragon Types; Virizion NVI is now a serious threat to the new, Grass-Weak Blastoise and Keldeo decks . . . it’s just a matter of working out what is going to be played and finding the appropriate low-Energy attacker to deal with it.

So . . . new playable archetype? Hmmm . . . new deck type for sure, and players will definitely want to play around with the idea. It’s fantastic in theory, but not that easy to make work in practice. Getting out, and keeping out, a Stage 2 is tough in this format and not being able to conserve or move around the Energy in play is another really big issue for this deck. Even so, it seems that this Vileplume has carried on the tradition of the card having a game-changing Ability that can seriously mess with opponents.

Rating

Modified: 3 (definitely worth experimenting with)

Limited: 2 (not convinced it’s worth the effort of getting a Stage 2 into play)


Otaku

Clocking in at number nine of our Top 10, we look at Vileplume (BW: Boundaries Crossed 3/149). Why do I think this isn’t the only result of voting I’ll be disappointed with this day?

Stats

Vileplume is a Stage 2 Pokémon; BW: Boundaries Crossed doesn’t appear to have changed things; Stage 2 Pokémon face the major twin hurdles of the slowest Stage and requiring the most slots to run. Still, we looked at a Stage 2 yesterday, and some of them do see play, so let us press on.

Vileplume is a Grass-Type Pokémon; as a Type it has very little support and none of it worthwhile. The Grass-Type Pokémon that are currently proving good work in multi-Type decks. Grass-Weakness is out there, and BW: Boundaries Crossed will likely give us a popular (and potent) deck with two major pieces that are Grass Weak. Grass Resistance is no longer present in Modified, which is a small boost to the usefulness of the Type.

Vileplume has 140 HP; this is solid for a Stage 2, allowing it to survive most attacks and if circumstances favor, even two attacks if they don’t equal out to two “average” attacks. The exception will be when it is being hit for Weakness; fortunately Fire-Type Weakness isn’t a major concern right now, though I know some are eyeing a certain Fire-Type Pokémon from BW: Boundaries Crossed. As is clear if you peak ahead at the Ability, you know that any Fire-Type that hits for at least 40 points of damage will score a OHKO.

Vileplume has Water-Type Resistance, which will be coming in handy (and I am just happy it has any at all). Vileplume has a chunky Retreat of three, which is hard to pay; it makes Vileplume a legal Heavy Ball target but unless your deck features a few more targets that won’t be much help. Regardless, make sure you pack some Switch or some other means of coping with the Retreat.

Effects

Vileplume has an Ability and an attack. The former is Allergy Panic, which causes Weakness to be treated as if it read “x4”. Quadruple damage is pretty amazing, and certainly got my creative juices going. This really is a potent effect… but when we get to usage you’ll see that it somehow isn’t good enough. I will cover one reason right here; it affects your own Pokémon as well, and decks tend to run multiple Types. If you run a deck with a variety of Types to take advantage of this, you’re increasing the likelihood your opponent will enjoy Type-matching against you!

The attack is called Pollen Spray; for (GCCC) Vileplume does 50 points of damage plus guaranteed Sleep and Poison. For four Energy, this is terrible, and will only be worth using when Vileplume is scoring quadruple damage due to its Ability and striking Weakness.

Related Cards

Vileplume Evolves from Gloom, which in turn Evolves from Oddish. The line also has an alternative Stage 2 in the form of Bellossom, there is currently a single Modified legal version of each that all were released in this set. Oddish (BW: Boundaries Crossed 1/149) is a 50 HP Basic Grass-Type Pokémon with Fire Weakness, Water Resistance, and a single Energy Retreat. 50 HP is “small average” anymore for a Basic Pokémon that Evolves twice more, and because of it the Weakness and Resistance are almost meaningless (most serious attacks OHKO it either way.

For (G) it can attack with Absorb, scoring 10 points of damage while healing 10 from itself; the damage is so low it will seldom matter, and both its own HP and the amount healed are so low that they too are irrelevant. The second attack, Acid, is almost useful; a vanilla 20 for (CC), this could prove useful since Vileplume begs to be played in a multi-Type deck (more on that later).

Gloom (BW: Boundaries Crossed 2/149) is an 80 HP Stage 1 Grass-Type Pokémon with Fire Weakness, Water Resistance, and a single Energy Retreat cost; not a surprise and the HP is almost low enough to repeat my message about Weakness/Resistance but on occasion a weaker Fire attack will score a OHKO while a Water-Type attack of average power won’t, due to Weakness/Resistance.

Foul Odor is a bad attack; for (CC) it merely Confuses both Gloom and the Defending Pokémon! Poison Powder does 40 with guaranteed Poison (to just the Defending Pokémon) for (GCC); this is overpriced, but at it isn’t worthless. Overall, this is another reason you’ll probably want to use Rare Candy.

Bellossom (BW: Boundaries Crossed 4/149)is a Stage 2 Grass-Type Pokémon with 110 HP, Fire Weakness, Water Resistance, and that same single Energy to retreat, meaning that no other Pokémon in this family but Vileplume can use Heavy Ball. It also means it needs amazing attacks, because that is what it has; two attacks.

For (G) Grass Knot hits for 10 points of damage plus 20 per (C) in the Retreat of the Defending Pokémon, which would be good except this is a format where it is common to use effects that reduce or even zero out the Retreat scores on Pokémon. For (GCC), Bellossom can use Petal Dance for three coin flips yielding 50 points of damage per “heads”, but also Confuses itself.

Overall, this doesn’t help Vileplume; Vileplume (as we will finally discuss) is either being run heavy (and every slot becomes essential) or being run light (…and every slot is still essential). If Bellossom ever proves itself worth playing, then such a deck might consider running one Vileplume as TecH.

Usage

Vileplume appears to be meant as the Bench-sitter anchoring a deck built around Type-matching. The problem is this may be the worst format and card pool for such a tactic. I haven’t even succeeded in building a deck around it, so frustrating do I find this combination.

This is a format where normal “double damage” Weakness basically results in a OHKO from a serious attacker using its big attack. As such, Allergy Panic triggering quadruple Weakness results in overkill when you can use such attacks. What of smaller attack? Those could work some of the time, but most that are “fast” enough aren’t quite strong enough to still OHKO a Pokémon-EX even with quadruple Weakness.

Vileplume is a space heavy Stage 2, and the Weaknesses this format are likely to become more diverse, not less. Colorless Weakness isn’t a thing anymore and Darkness-Type Weakness will likely remain a rare sight. Fire Weakness and Metal Weakness aren’t especially prominent right now, so for the sake of argument let’s assume they are safe to skip.

Dragon-Types are still “new” and since they are Weak to themselves, this is a Weakness you can’t ignore. Decks utilizing Colorless-, Darkness-, or Lightning-Type Pokémon are going to sport Fighting-Type Weakness, making Fighting-Type probably the most important Weakness to be able to exploit. Psychic-Type Weakness remains huge because Mewtwo EX (BW: Next Destinies 54/99, 98/99) remains huge.

Lightning-Type Weakness shouldn’t be skipped because of Pokémon like Empoleon (BW: Dark Explorers 29/108) and Tornadus EX (BW: Dark Explorers 90/108, 108/108). As of BW: Boundaries Crossed, hitting Water- and Grass-Type Weakness is important for dealing with the Fighting-Type Pokémon worth playing, with Grass-Type Weakness also becoming more important for dealing with some potent new Water-Type Pokémon.

Next I want to focus on how this is not a format where it is easy to spam Basic Pokémon, especially compared to HGSS-On, and as I realized most Types don’t have a good single Energy attacker or a good splashable attacker… that isn’t already a phenomenal card in its own right. I’ve seen some lists but most are forced to run heavy on Special Energy, and heavy on Pokémon that frankly would be more effective losing Vileplume and settling for slower KOs that don’t require Weakness, just an extra turn or two of attaching Energy.

So I am not digging Vileplume for Modified… what about Unlimited? There might be a fun deck here, because we’ve got Pokémon with more than one “Type”. Some are dual-Types printed with two Types, while others possess effects that allow them to change their Type, some even assuming all Types at once! If the change of Computer Search slows things down enough, this should at least be a fun deck.

In Limited, Vileplume is a gamble; the good news is that its attack (and the attacks of its lower Stages) is decent here due to lower average HP scores, damage output, and the need to run multi-Type decks. However the odds of building a deck to Type-match well is low, and since you lack the infrastructure of constructed play there is a huge risk you not only won’t be able to exploit your opponent’s quadruple Weakness, but enable them to exploit your own.

Ratings

Unlimited: 2.75/5

Modified: 1.75/5

Limited: 2.5/5

Summary

If you can’t tell, Vileplume did not make my Top 10 list; it just barely makes my Top 20 for the novelty value. This is the wrong format for this kind of effect; with the effort required to run a Stage 2 behind strong Basic attackers, I would rather dedicate those resources to fortifying said strong Basic attackers. If this effect was on a Stadium or a Basic Pokémon, possibly even a Stage 1 I would be much more optimistic (in fact, on a Stadium it would make “Corners” decks).

Those in the United States, who are able to vote, remember to fulfill your civic duty today; as soon as you’ve educated yourself on the candidates and issues, get out there and vote!

Mad Mattezhion
 Professor Bathurst League Australia

Vileplume (Boundaries Crossed)
 
Since the vagaries of the internet decided to destroy my review of yesterday's card (curse you, gods of the Internet!), I've kindly asked Pojo to repost it. In the mean time, I get to repeat my apologies for not writing in the last 3 months, and then we get to talk about Vileplume.
 
Of all the Grass Poke'mon, Vileplume has the best history. Dark Vileplume, Vileplume EX and Vileplume UD were all tournament viable cards with strong Poke'mon Powers/Abilities that made life very difficult for your opponent (to be fair, they made life almost as difficult for you but at least you had  advance warning). Is today's card also going to make that honoured list?
 
Allergy Panic is definitely a step in the right direction, as the best Vileplume cards have all focused on the poison/allergy aspect of the Poke'mon causing havic for the entire table. Sadly the effect is a little underwhelming, changing all Weakness from the usual x2 (or +10 to +40 on some older cards) to x4.
 
Now I mean no disrespect to the awesomeness that is inflicting 600 damage on some unlucky Poke'mon EX who made the mistake of looking at you sideways, but from a competitive point of view there is very little difference between x2 and x4. With a maximum HP of 200 in most cases (Black Kyurem EX is just a freak of science), you go from needing 100 damage to 50 damage in a hit for the 1HKO. That means about 1 energy in practical terms which can be important (it's faster, saves on resources and frees up deck space if you run less energy) but most players aren't going to bank on a 50 point attacker when 120 point attackers backed up energy acceleration are still so effective (and when running Stage 2 Poke'mon eats up more deck space than it saves).
 
But more critically, you only get the benefit if you could already tap the natural Weakness of your opponent's Poke'mon. Dragon and Fighting Weakness are a common enough sight, but Electric, Water, Fire, Psychic, Colourless and Dark very rarely get to hit for Weakness in today's metagame (as usual, the only Grass and Metal Poke'mon being played aren't used for their damage potential so the point is moot).
 
To boil it all down, Vileplume is a "win more" card. If you were already light years ahead then the poison spore spitting monstrosity will help you finish with a flourish. If you're behind, Vileplume will do nothing to help you and may in fact be a very memorable way of conceding because of the "both yours and your opponent's" clause in Allergy Panic giving your opponent the same access to x4 damage (I have an image of a vengeful Ho-oh Ex going to town on Vileplume that I can't unsee).
 
Concerning the rest of the card, there isn't much to say. It's a Stage 2 Grass type, which is a bit like saying it's specifically intended as a drinks coaster. Lousy stats (except for the workable 140 HP) and a narrow Ability means this won't see serious play in the near future, but I expect it to be a key card in more casual decks built for the express purpose of breaking the local damage record. Mix it into an Eels/Rayquaza EX build for some hilarity against other Dragon Poke'mon. It's over 9000!
 
Modified: 2 (Vileplume doesn't advance your game plan so it's a bad idea if you want to win tournaments, but as a card that inspires fun and high damage counts, I like it. This recommendation is subject to abrupt change if we ever receive a card like the original Porygon that can change an opponent's Weakness, preferably with an Abilty)
 
Limited: 3 (matching Weakness is a route to Victory in a multi-type encouraging format like Limited, but as I said above this card won't do much to help you take down big critters by itself. At least the attack is beautifully disruptive and Poison wins games)
 
Combos with: a new Porygon/Porygon 2/Porygon Z that can change Weakness and Resistance from the bench while you produce a stream of small attackers that can be cheaply replaced after a KO. It probably still won't be all that competitive with Poke'mon Catcher around, but at least You'll be more likely to get that magical 'I just dealt 600 damage' moment of joy!

virusyosh (Had this at #9 on his Top 10 List)


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