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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Salamence

Dragon Vault

Date Reviewed: Oct. 19, 2012

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 2.75
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

Baby Mario
2010 UK National
Seniors
Champion

Salamence (Dragon Vault)

It’s been a looooong time since we last saw this powerful (in the video game) and popular Pokémon in the TCG. Even longer since it was actually a great card. I know some people tried to make the LV X work a couple of years ago, but really you have to go back the original ex era and the Salamence ex/Metagross ex decks for the last time it was truly good.

Will this one bring it back to prominence? Well, it’s a Stage 2, so right of the bat we know it will have to do something really special. The 140 HP is probably standard for this Stage now, so there is little to complain about or celebrate. It does put it outside the range where it can be cheaply one-shot by Dragon Type counters like Kyurem DV and Rayquaza DV (though Sally’s evolutions are still vulnerable). The Retreat cost of two is enough of a pain to cause you to run multiple Switch.

Salamence has an Ability, Scornful Storm, which has the potential to be extremely disruptive. Once during your turn, you may have your opponent discard cards from their hand until they have four cards left. Obviously, this can be brutal against opponents who are holding large hand sizes, but players will see this coming and try to get around it either by playing out their hand, or by responding to the Ability by losing stuff they don’t need. Of course decks running Eelektrik NVI or Dark Patch might positively welcome the chance to get their Energy in the Discard Pile. Nevertheless, there is no denying that Scornful Storm will be an unwelcome sight for most players, forcing them to use cards they would rather hoard, or make tough decisions on what to lose. For maximum effect, you could always combine it with Hooligans Jim & Cas and hope for the coin flip which would leave your opponent holding a single card and in a lot of trouble.

Salamence also has an attack, and it’s one we have seen on these Dragon cards before. Shred is very good because it ignores all effects (significantly, Eviolite) on the defending Pokémon. That means that the 90 damage it does will be guaranteed to two-hit KO virtually every Pokémon in the format, including any EX. (Wailord DRX is the exception). The problem here is the Energy cost: one Water, one Fire (not even on the same Blend Energy), and two Colourless is not easy to do. You are going to need other main attackers to support this card.

So, ironically, one of the most powerful hitters in the video game seems designed to be a bench-sitting disruptive Pokémon in the TCG. The two Energy Retreat and often impractical attack means that Sally is going to be an obvious Catcher target, which is why I recommend multiple Switch to anyone thinking of running him. Should you be thinking that way? Hmmm . . . this is actually quite a tricky card to assess. Obviously if you hit the Ability/Hooligans combo, you are in great shape. However, you are committing a lot of resources to that and if it fails, or the opponent plays their way out (Juniper topdecks are fun), or if they exploit the slow and vulnerable nature of your set up . . . then it is you who will have problems.

I think some people will try this card. I also think that they will frustrate and annoy the heck out of some of their opponents with its disruption strategy. At the moment though, I don’t think it is solid enough or well supported enough to be a top tier strategy. For now, I’ll file it under ‘interesting/has potential’.

Rating

Modified: 2.75 (I kind of like it, but maybe too slow and unreliable for competitive play)

Limtied: N/A (mini set)


Otaku

If you’re reading this, then I forgot to write an actual intro.

Stats

Salamence is a Stage 2 Pokémon; right now they need to do some pretty spectacular things to see play right now. The format is quite fast, and Stage 2 Pokémon can’t match Basic Pokémon for speed and space efficiency, though at the “cost” of using Rare Candy instead of the appropriate Stage 1 form, they can match the speed of Stage 1 Pokémon. To top it all off, Basic Pokémon have added support right now; widening the gap.

Salamence is one of the spiffy, still fairly new, Dragon-Type Pokémon. All currently revealed Dragon-Type Pokémon have Dragon-Type Weakness, so Salamence can hit all of them for double damage. Nothing we have seen so far is naturally Dragon Resistant, and there is a little bit of support specific to the Dragon-Type. All in all, it is a good Type to be.

140 HP is about average for a Stage 2 Pokémon; just large enough that only the biggest attackers can score a OHKO. The exception of course would be other Dragon-Type Pokémon, since Salamence has their universal Weakness to their own Type. The biggest hitters amongst the Dragon-Type already would have OHKOed Salamence, but now anything that can hit for at least 70 (before Weakness) can manage it, and some of those bigger one’s will manage it for less of an investment than would otherwise have been required. In short, it isn’t the worst Weakness, but it isn’t the greatest.

No Resistance, on the other hand, is the obvious worst Resistance. I can understand the fear of making Dragon-Type Pokémon too potent since exactly how they would play out was unknown, but looking at its options for Resistance, I don’t think this was a major issue; to avoid “conflict” due to multiple video game Types being merged into a single TCG Type, Fire and Grass Resistance were still real options.

Neither would be an especially useful Resistance, but unless they felt the need to ding Salamence elsewhere, better than nothing. If the designers wouldn’t mind being “off” by a Type, the Dragon/Flying hybrid that is Salamence is immune to Ground-, Resistant to Fighting-, and Weak to Rock-Types in the video games, which are all combined into the TCG Rock-Type. Lastly, it could have been Water Resistant, though the TCG type includes Water- and Ice-Types from the video games, the latter being a Weakness of Dragon-Type Pokémon… Flying-Types; so Ice-Type moves do quadruple damage to Salamence in the video games!

Lastly we come to the Retreat Cost of two; this is low enough that it can be paid, but usually costly enough you won’t want to. Additionally, this is just one shy of being a legal Heavy Ball target, but for a Stage 2 still reasonably good.

Effects

Salamence has an Ability and an attack: Scornful Storm and Shred. Scornful Storm allows you to, once per turn, force your opponent to discard cards from his or her hand. That is amazing, which is why there is a small restriction; you just force them to discard down to four cards in hand. This means a skilled player can avoid discarding at all, and without much effort or skill most players are only going to lose cards every few turns; it is probably generous to assume a “one-per-turn” average.

Scornful Storm isn’t overly good; mostly a nice threat against opponent’s who are bad at hand management. Sadly, Shred does not combo well with it; nothing that makes your opponent draw cards or gets stronger based on what is in your opponent’s discard pile, but I would hope you knew that already. We have seen this attack multiple times recently, and all that tends to change is the cost and damage done.

Four (RWCC) this version scores 90 damage, disappointing considering Rayquaza (BW: Dragons Exalted 128/124, Dragon Vault 11/20) hits just as hard for (RLC), though both suffer for having costs that aren’t found on the same Blend Energy. Considering this is a Stage 2 and not a Basic Pokémon, that really hurts; one hopes this means the powers-that-be feel Scornful Storm will prove better than I expect.

For four Energy, even with the added benefit of ignoring all damage altering effects on the target Pokémon, it really should have hit for 100; after all much of the time, there won’t be anything altering the damage! Also remember that Weakness and Resistance are not considered “effects” but game mechanics. It is a good effect, but its biggest contribution is ignoring Eviolite, should it be present.

It isn’t all bad, however; 90 points of damage will be enough to 2HKO anything in the game with 180 HP or less. That means the exceptions to the 2HKO or less parameters are Wailord (BW: Dragons Exalted 26/124), roughly have the Pokémon-EX in the game if they were to use Giant Cape instead of Eviolite (unlikely), and the few odd Pokémon that protect themselves not by reducing damage, but by preventing the attack from happening or by altering it on the attacker (that is, the Pokémon that would be using Shred).

Usage

For now, Salamence is the only legal version of itself in Modified. Unlike the other Stage 2 Dragon-Type Pokémon in Dragon Vault and BW: Dragons Exalted, Salamence only has one version of each of its lower Stages available. Bagon (Dragon Vault 6/20) is a Basic Pokémon with 50 HP, Dragon Weakness, no Resistance, and a single Energy Retreat Cost. For (C) it can attack for 10 points of damage, and for (RW) it can hit for 20. Simply put, filler with the only sign of effort being that it matches the same odd Energy pairing as Salamence.

Shelgon (Dragon Vault 7/20) does only slightly better. A Stage 1 Dragon-Type Pokémon that of course has Dragon Weakness, no Resistance, and 80 HP; this is a bit low for an Evolving Stage 1 Pokémon functionally, though in terms of actual releases far too common an amount. It has a Retreat Cost of three making it a legal target for Heavy Ball, but since the rest of the line can’t use it, it doesn’t do Shelgon much good.

Its first attack is “okay”: for (C) it does 10 points of damage and you flip a coin, with the attack doing 20 more points of damage on a result of “heads”, and still doing 10 points of damage for a result of “tails”. The second attack requires (RWC) and hits for 50 points of damage; about 70 short of the minimum proven effective in the current format. At least again, the challenging Energy pairing isn’t something extra; though skipping it with such a low return would have been fine by me. Focus on using mostly Rare Candy.

So for Modified, there isn’t much to do with this card; as a Stage 2 Pokémon Energy acceleration besides Double Colorless Energy and perhaps Exp. Share would require too much space. I suppose Entei EX (BW: Dark Explorers 13/108, 103/108) could help as well, but you won’t be able to optimize it by running on purely basic Fire Energy.

There aren’t a lot of ways to make your opponent draw cards, though with some luck you can hit a cluttered hand. Remember that discarding may help an opponent; you might set-up for a Dark Patch or improve the draw from a Bianca… or both at the same time!

With Scornful Storm you can make sure your opponent keeps no more than four cards in hand from N; since the maximum they would get is six, as soon as said opponent takes two Prizes, this combo won’t matter. N is just a generally useful Supporter a deck is likely to run, so this is less “run this” than “don’t forget to do it”.

For Unlimited, you can have some more fun. First, recognize that you’re shooting for a fun win over the most effective win; there are still decks that win (or can get you in an effective lock) first turn. Still, if you want to somewhat creatively mill your opponent, it can do that here.

Broken Time Space allows you to get it into play first turn and without telegraphing it if your cards cooperate. Most cards you would consider allow (and not force) your opponent to draw, so not dropping Bagon until right before you Evolve is important. If your opponent doesn’t see Bagon (or of course Salamence itself), most will take the change and draw thinking you are only going to slam them with Imposter Oak’s Revenge.

This card isn’t really an option for Limited, since it comes from a mini-set. If it is reprinted (along with a Bagon and Shelgon) it would be a solid pull; you might have to skip it is you only got a risky 1-1-1 line or if you couldn’t work both basic Fire Energy and Water Energy into your deck, but half of the price of Shred is Colorless, and Limited will often feature dual color and tricolor decks.

Spoiler

So while we won’t get “great” Support for Salamence, in a few sets we will get the Supporter Colress. Colress allows you to shuffle your hand into your deck, and then draw an amount of cards up to the total number of Pokémon on both players’ Benches. While this is a variable amount drawn, and while your opponent has the chance to play down their hand before your turn even begins, most players are going to want to draw as much as they can, and not every card can be played down in the same turn.

So if your opponent has a choice; don’t draw as much as they could (helping you), or draw as much as they are allowed but risk not being able to play out their hands to the point that Scornful Storm misses them. It is a small but important boost (let alone Colress is just great draw power to begin with). The other hope hasn’t been seen yet; if we get another Salamence, this one will likely be an easy combo piece, since most of the time multiple Scornful Storms will be a waste.

We also will be getting Ether soon, an Item that reveals the top card of your deck, and if that card is a Basic Energy card, you can attach it to one of your Pokémon. That small burst of speed may help Salamence anchor its own deck; as a Stage 2 most other forms of Energy acceleration don’t seem like efficient options.

Ratings

Unlimited: 2/5

Modified: 2/5

Limited: N/A

Combos With: N, Exp. Share

Summary

Salamence is another borderline card; a little more and it might be worth running competitively, or at least be a strong “fun” deck. Type-matching might help it out more than I expect, but otherwise it is waiting for future support that may never materialize.

Jebulous Maryland Player

Salamence
 
Salamence is a Stage 2 Dragon Pokemon with 140 HP.  It is weak to Dragons and has a retreat cost of 2.
 
'Scornful Storm' is an ability that, once per turn, forces your opponent to discard until they have 4 cards in their hand.  That's sounds like it'd be fun to run.  Just the thought of how many times my opponent has had 6+ cards, this would have wrecked them.  But alas, reality sets in and this isn't as easy as it sounds.  Since Salamence is a Stage 2, you have to set it up.  Then you have to keep it alive.
Being weak to Dragon means you have Rayquazas and, now, all the other Dragons going after it.  140 HP is not much when they hit hard and for weakness.
 
'Shred' costs 1 Fire, 1 Water, and 2 colorless energy.  It does 90 damage and isn't affected by any effects on the Defending Pokemon.
Just like Rayquaza, just a higher energy cost.  It's good for OHKOing all of the Dragons without worry.
 
So I don't know how to feel about this card.  On one hand, the hand disruption is great, but how often do people hold more than 4 cards (recent memory tells me that it's not too often, and if so, they are destroying me).  Plus this is a Stage 2, so you have to dedicate resources to setting it up and saving it.  The attack isn't spectacular, seeing as how there is a cheaper version out there.
 
Though the thought of using this ability and then flipping heads on Hooligans makes me smile.
 
Modified: 3/5
Limited: 3/5
Combos With:  ...
 
Questions, comments, concerns: jebulousthemighty@yahoo.com

virusyosh

Happy midweek, Pojo readers! Today we're reviewing my personal favorite card from Dragon Vault, which may be able to see some Modified play eventually (though not really so much right now). Today's Card of the Day is Salamence.
 
Salamence is a Stage 2 Dragon Pokemon. As a Dragon, Salamence has competition with Garchomp and Hydreigon from Dragons Exalted, as well as Rayquaza and Rayquaza-EX. 140 HP is standard for a Stage 2, allowing Salamence to take at least one large unboosted hit, or a couple of smaller ones. Dragon Weakness is a problem against the aforementioned Dragons that are prevalent in today's Modified, as a single hit from each of them will generally be enough to take Salamence out. Unfortunately, Salamence has no Resistance, but it does have a Retreat Cost of 2, which is payable without setting you back too far.
 
Salamence has an Ability and a single attack. Scornful Storm allows you to force your opponent to discard down to four cards in hand every turn, which is really good for applying constant pressure, especially in a format with limited recovery options. Of course, given that hand sizes tend to be kind of low right now, you often won't get a ton of bang for your buck. However, with some very potent draw Supporters coming up in the next few sets, Scornful Storm has potential.
 
Shred, Salamence's only attack, does 90 damage for a Fire, a Water, and two Colorless Energy, all while ignoring any effects on the Defending Pokemon. Water and Fire are once again somewhat difficult to work with (given that Fire and Water are on two different Blend Energies and Salamence can't use Prism), but the attack is pretty solid nonetheless.
 
Modified: 3/5 While Hydreigon and other Dragons will scare it away and its attack is just a little too slow to be competitive, I can't help but feel that someone will figure out a way how to break this card. Scornful Storm provides a source of constant discard with no drawback, which can often force the opponent to overextend. While it may not be a top-tier deck, this is definitely a card that could see some success if it finds the right partners to build around.
 
Limited: 3.75/5 Salamence would also be fairly decent in Dragon Vault Limited. Scornful Storm would be great in a Limited environment where playing multiple cards a turn is often difficult, and although Shred is very expensive for the format, it will easily take out anything that it hits. Scornful Storm also has good synergy with Shred in this format, as forcing your opponent to constantly discard will extend the game long enough to allow you to power up Salamence. Overall, Salamence would be a solid, if not great, choice for your Limited deck.


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