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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Maractus #16

Dragons Exalted

Date Reviewed: Oct. 2, 2012

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 1.35
Limited: 3.40

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

Maractus (Dragons Exalted)

Now that we have so many Pokémon across five Generations, it’s not surprising that you sort of forget that some of them exist. Maractus is one of those Pokémon for me, even though the card designers have repeatedly done their best to remind me of him by putting him on no less than 4 Black and White era cards. Let’s see if there’s any reason why this one would do a better job of sticking in my memory.

What we have here is an unevolving Grass Type Basic Pokémon with 90 HP. In itself, that’s decent, but let’s face it: it won’t stand up to much for very long. Neither the Weakness (Fire) not the Resistance (Water) are played very much at the moment. Even if that changes, it won’t make much difference with a relatively low HP card. The Retreat cost of two falls into that awkward zone between being easy to pay and allowing Heavy Ball searches. In some respects, it’s the worst Retreat cost of all.

The first attack, Stun Needle, costs one Grass and one Colourless Energy for 20 damage and a coin flip for Paralysis. That Paralysis flip is a nice bonus, and you could help the odds by playing Victory Star Victini (though Maractus is really too mediocre to merit playing support Pokémon for it). The cost is a little high in my opinion: if it was a single Energy, it would at least offer the chance to stall for a bit, but the fact that it takes two attachments makes it slow and hardly worth the effort. If it’s Paralysis you are looking for, stick with Accelgor DEX. Sad to say that Reinforced Needle isn’t really worth waiting for. Add another Energy to the cost of Stun Needle and you do just 40 Damage. Add a Pokémon Tool and it will hit for 80. In a modified tournament that is a pretty poor return on your investment.

Maractus can shine in Limited, however. Here, its attacks are relatively cheap, the Paralysis flip can win games, and Tools are easy to come by in this set. Use for your pre-release by all means . . . then retire it to the binder.

Rating

Modified: 1.5 (eh, the Paralysis flip means it isn’t totally useless)

Limited: 3.75 (easy to splash in a deck, and potentially annoying for the opponent)

virusyosh

Hello again, Pojo viewers! We're continuing our reviews of Grass-types today by reviewing a Pokemon that seems to get reprinted very often in these Black and White sets. Today's Card of the Day is Maractus from Dragons Exalted.
 
Maractus is a Basic Grass Pokemon. As stated yesterday, Grass types hardly ever see play in Modified, so you'll probably not find a current deck in which to use Maractus (although coming up with rogue decks is always a great idea!). 90 HP is solid for a non-evolving Basic, allowing Maractus to take at least one medium-sized hit before going down. Fire Weakness is bad against Ho-Oh-EX and the rare Reshiram, Water Resistance is good against Empoleon and Kyurem, and a Retreat Cost of 2 is a bit pricey, but you can afford to pay it in a pinch.
 
Maractus has two attacks. Stun Needle does 20 damage and Paralyzes on a coin flip for a Grass and a Colorless, which is pretty mediocre by most standards. That being said, Paralysis is probably one of the best, if not the best Status Condition in the Pokemon TCG, so Paralyzing your opponent is always a welcome sight, regardless of format.
 
The Cactus Pokemon's second attack, Reinforced Needle, starts off at 40 damage for a Grass and two Colorless, but does 40 more damage if Maractus has a Pokemon Tool attached to it. 80 damage for three Energy is average by most standards, and Maractus can easily use the benefits of holding a Giant Cape or Rescue Scarf, especially in Limited. In Modified, however, there are generally better options.
 
Modified: 1.5/5 Much like Roserade yesterday, there are generally much better options to use in Modified, and you should probably use those instead.
 
Limited: 3/5 Maractus is pretty average, even by Limited standards. While 90 HP is great on a Basic, both Stun Needle and Reinforced Needle are simply average for their costs (and Reinforced Needle is below average if Maractus doesn't have a Pokemon Tool attached). That being said, Paralysis is always a great Status Condition, and Maractus makes excellent use of Giant Cape and Rescue Scarf. If you're building a Grass deck and need a few more Basics, Maractus is a solid (though unspectacular) choice.


Otaku

Intro

Stats

Maractus is a Basic Grass-Type Pokémon. Being a Basic is the best right now; it doesn’t guarantee it will be good, but rather makes it less difficult. Basic Pokémon enjoy their usual benefits of requiring less resources and time to get into play, plus actually have support cards to make using them easier. Grass ironically doesn’t have any real support I am aware of, and even pseudo-support (that helps cards using Grass Energy) is pretty lackluster. The main benefit comes from hitting a few popular Fighting-Type Pokémon for double damage via Weakness.

90 HP is not really small, but in a format with this combination of speed and damage yield, it isn’t big either; many decks can hit this figure through just basic attacking. You’re probably safe the first turn and maybe even the second, but most decks should OHKO Maractus come turn three. At least you enjoy the slight benefit of Maractus being a legal Level Ball target.

Fire Weakness is relatively safe at the moment, as the only Fire-Type I can think of seeing tournament level play in a serious amount is Ho-Oh EX (BW: Dragons Exalted 22/124, BW: Dragons Exalted 119/124), but that is basically just saving it needing one extra basic Energy (and basic Energy Type) attached. Again, most decks will come close anyway once they get their main attacker using its preferred attack.

The Water Resistance could come in handy; right now all I am seeing played for Water is Empoleon (BW: Dark Explorers 29/108), but even if I am not mistaken there are some powerful looking Water-Types next set and they actually seem like they will live up to the hype. Of course, most Water attackers will have the option of mowing down Maractus anyway, but at least it will take a slightly bigger effort.

Last for the Stats is the two Energy retreat; I don’t know why Maractus is saddled with it, but this is not a good Retreat score. Functionally, it would seem average; two Energy is not so much that it is especially hard (Double Colorless Energy can fund it in one go), but it certainly sets you back. It feels a bit worse since you are too big to enjoy Skyarrow Bridge granting a free Retreat (though lowering it to one is still much better) and you don’t get the slight bonus of being a legal Heavy Ball target (but that isn’t really a huge benefit).

Effects

Maractus has two attacks. The first is Stun Needle, and for (GC) it does 20 points of damage and gives you a 50% shot a Paralysis (via a coin flip, of course). This is underwhelming and would maybe be adequate on a Basic Pokémon that Evolved twice more.

The second attack is Reinforced Needle, and it isn’t much better, requiring (GCC) and hitting for 40 with an effect; 40 more points of damage if Maractus has a Pokémon Tool attached. Simply put, the card needed to hit for 80 flat given the Energy required and lackluster first attack, though one would probably want to have a Pokémon Tool attached.

Usage

Maractus has two alternate options. All versions are Basic Grass-Type Pokémon with Fire Weakness, Water Resistance, a Retreat of two and two attacks. The first candidate has multiple printings: Black & White 11/114 and McDonald’s 2011 2/12. We’ve reviewed this version before, and while the format has changed, it hasn’t gotten better.

It has 80 HP, 10 less than the other two versions. For (G) it hits for 20 while healing 20 from itself; healing usually doesn’t work too well unless you’re massive and it’s a sizable amount, and the damage done is merely okay. I would much rather it just did a flat 30 or 40 without the healing. Its big attack requires (GGC) and gives you four coin flips, scoring 20 points of damage per heads. It isn’t even Double Colorless Energy compliant, so it really should have been scoring 30, 40, maybe even 50 per “heads”.

BW: Dragons Exalted 12/124 is the last alternative, and has stats identical to today’s review. For (G) it lets you flip three coins, which means a total of eight possible outcomes; however since only the amount of the “heads” results and not the order affects outcome, there are just four effective outcomes.

Getting no “heads” is one of eight (12.5%) outcomes, result in no damage; the same odds apply for getting all “heads” and scoring 60 points of damage. This leaves three of eight (37.5%) outcomes resulting in one “heads” and a mere 10 points of damage, and again the same odds of flipping two “heads” to score 30 points of damage.

You also can pay (GGG) for an overpriced 50 points of damage, while healing as much damage as was done to the Defending Pokémon from Maractus. Like most healing attacks, it overvalues healing and how useful it will be; again 90 HP is a likely OHKO past the opening few turns… and you seldom could afford such an attack then. For this price, we need a good 100 points of damage with no drawbacks, maybe more.

So… all are pretty pathetic, but today’s is just barely better, owing to its big attack probably getting its bonus since you’re going to need an Eviolite if you want it to have a chance of surviving, or perhaps an Exp. Share to get it powered up off of Energy that would otherwise be discarded. I would not use any of them for Modified or Unlimited play, however.

This card is best saved for Limited, and even then, you need to be able to make room for Grass Energy in your deck. 80 HP is a lot in Limited, since most Evolutions aren’t able to be played due to lack of lower Stages, and likewise this makes the damage (even with the unboosted second attack) adequate. Special Conditions are more of a threat.

If you didn’t get any Pokémon Tools (BW: Dragons Exalted has two, Rescue Scarf and Giant Cape) and you can’t easily make room for Grass Energy, skip it; its size is good but if you can’t reliably attack, its just a wall that isn’t easy enough to Retreat (should it survive and need to). With Grass Energy already in the deck, then you need good reason to skip it; 90 HP is hard to pass up.

Giant Cape would make this quite impressive, and with Rescue Scarf it is pretty good (the first time), but you might want to save both for something better; still if you’ve got multiple Pokémon Tools (not sure how likely that was, but probably not very) then you have reason to try and squeeze in Grass Energy.

Ratings

Unlimited: 1/5

Modified: 1.25/5

Limited: 3.5/5

Summary

Maractus isn’t a disappointment only because its predecessors haven’t set the bar high; this version fails mostly because the “does-more-damage-when-a-Pokémon-Tool-is-attached” restriction doesn’t generate enough extra damage, though a less expensive first attack would have helped as well. Really, with just a few slight revisions, the card would have been not good, but functional. As is, definitely skip it.

Jebulous Maryland Player

Maractus
 
Maractus is a Basic Grass Pokemon with 90 HP.  It is weak to Fire, resistant to Water, and has a retreat cost of 2.  It is searchable by Level Ball.
 
'Stun Needle' costs 1 Grass and 1 Colorless energy.  Its does 20 damage and Paralyzes if heads.  I don't think the cost is worth it.
It should be doing more damage if you are spending 2 turns powering it up.
 
'Reinforced Needle' costs 1 Grass and 2 Colorless energy.  It does 40 damage, and if a tool is attached, it does 80.  Still not great damage output.  Eviolite and Exp Share would be the most likely choices for the tool to attach.  Still, with Eviolite it can be pretty easily OHKOed.
 
This card just kind of falls short.  The HP is low enough that it won't last long (you'll be lucky if it can attack twice).  The damage is too low to be effective, though with a tool it can OHKO a Terrakion.  Other than that, there's not too much to say about it.
 
Modified: 1/5
Limited: 3/5
Combo's With:  ...
 
Questions, comments, concerns: jebulousthemighty@yahoo.com


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