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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Amoonguss  

- Plasma Storm

Date Reviewed:
April 29, 2013

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 1.75
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

Combos With: See Below

Baby Mario
2010 UK National
Seniors
Champion

Amoonguss (Plasma Storm) 

Hello and welcome to a new week of cards here at Pojo. The new set is just around the corner and looks set to really shake the game up, in the meantime we have some unfinished business to take care of with Plasma Storm. 

Do you enjoy absurd gimmick decks with unusual strategies that don’t always work, but when they do they leave your opponent shocked and amazed at how they just lost? Not me. I mean they’re fun for League and all, but I’ll go for consistency, speed and power in a tournament every time. If you do, however, then today’s card might just be right up your street. 

On the face of it, there’s nothing remarkable or even very good about Amoonguss. It’s a Grass Type Plasma Stage 1 with just 90 HP (making the Weakness and Reistance more or less irrelevant). The retreat cost of two is kind of horrible as well. You can’t use Heavy Ball and you don’t really want to pay it. Even the attack that actually does damage is mediocre at best: Miracle Powder costs one Grass and one Colourless Energy for just 30 damage and a coin flip for the Status Condition of your choice (that will be Paralysis then . . . or may Poison if you don’t have a Hypnotoxic Laser handy). 

So, what does this card have to attract the player who like their decks somewhat off-beat? Well, there’s Astonish. For just one Energy of any Type, you get to flip a coin and, if heads, choose three random cards from your opponent’s hand which they have to reveal and shuffle into their deck. Is it risky, yep. Will Victory Star Victini help? Yeah . . . maybe. Can you combine it with Hooligans Jim & Cas for even more fliptastic fun? Sure you can . . . why, you can even include Watchog EPO’s Watcheck attack to try and fix the opponent’s draw so that they can’t topdeck their way out of Amoonguss/Hooligans shenanigans. 

What I’ve just described there is a deck that was successful at one large Japanese tournament and got a lot of attention as a result. That’s the kind of thing that happens when people see a ‘cool new rogue’. If you enjoy exploring more subtle alternatives to simply smashing face with a giant Basic EX, then why not build it and see how it works out for you. It’s a little too flaky and frail for me, though. 

Rating 

Modified: 2.5 (Don’t be surprised to see people trying WatchLock decks at Battle Roads)

Limited: 3 (both attacks are kind of ok here) 


Otaku

We begin this week with Foongus Amoonguss… well technically we begin it with Amoonguss (BW: Plasma Storm 13/135) but as you would expect given that I usually do it, I will be looking at the Foongus options as well, and I decided to go with the pathetic pun (does that even qualify as a pun proper?) of naming them off together like that.

 

Did I mention I hate the double “s” at the end of “Amoonguss”?  Just seems, excessive.

 

Stats

 

Miscellaneous: Amoonguss is a Team Plasma affiliated Pokémon, so I’ll be referring to it as Amoonguss [Plasma] to help distinguish it from the other versions throughout the rest of the review.  As far as game mechanics go, being a Team Plasma affiliated card is still purely an advantage, though in Japan we have some cards that will punish you for siding with Team Plasma.

 

Also… does its face remind anyone else of Homer Simpson?

 

Type: Amoonguss [Plasma] is a Grass-Type Pokémon; there isn’t any useful Grass-Type support available and the lack of any truly successful Grass-Type Pokémon might make you think that it was a terrible Type.  Well, the irony is it is a Type very much in demand due to its Weakness/Resistance match-ups; mostly the former because Blastoise (BW: Boundaries Crossed 31/149; BW: Plasma Storm 137/135) and Keldeo EX are so popular, though it is nice knowing that nothing that is Modified legal is naturally Grass Resistant.

 

In the video games, Amoonguss is one of the oh-so-common Grass/Poison hybrids; as such it might have been represented as a Psychic-Type in the TCG.  Given that being a Psychic-Type isn’t as useful as being a Grass-Type, the design team made the right choice.

 

Stage: Amoonguss [Plasma] is a Stage 1; not much you can really do about that without undermining perhaps the most defining mechanic of the entire Pokémon franchise (Evolution) as that is its correct Stage.  Hopefully the card will prove to have been designed with the kind of forethought and insight that will allow it to find at least a small niche that only it can really fill, helping to offset its slower pace and extra space requirements over the Basic Pokémon that dominate the format.

 

Wouldn’t hurt if the-powers-that-be would release some good Foongus for it to Evolve from.

 

Hit Points: Amoonguss [Plasma] has 90 HP; a pretty easy OHKO for most decks once they get going and even if you can get Amoonguss [Plasma] out second turn, it is still that vulnerable.  In fact, even if you could somehow get it into play first turn, the current Modified format has decks capable of hitting that hard first turn.  That probably isn’t the best design idea when your signature mechanic for the franchise is… Evolution.

 

90 HP does make Amoonguss [Plasma] a legal Level Ball target, which is somewhat useful and its HP would have to be at least 120 to really be more useful than being the maximum amount Level Ball can target; 100 an 110 are hardly any safer right now, especially for Stage 1 Pokémon as they give the opponent a shot at OHKOing the lower Stage before it Evolves, setting up an easy 2HKO, or simply having the time to set-up where those numbers are an easy OHKO themselves.

 

I would complain about the HP being so low when in the video games, the HP Base Stat for Amoonguss is 114 (which results in a range of 174 to 221), but it has a slightly below average Special Defense and below average Defense, and with nothing else to express those stats in the TCG but HP, it makes sense to have it clock in a bit low.

 

Weakness: Amoonguss [Plasma] takes double damage from Fire-Types; this matches a similar Weakness it possesses in the video games and as Fire-Types aren’t much used, it is to its benefit.  Once again, even when we consider its state in the video games, it makes sense to go with Fire because it converts directly and any other Weakness a Grass/Poison hybrid has shares a Type (or two) with something it is Resistant or Neutral towards.

 

Resistance: Amoonguss [Plasma] is Water Resistant, like most Grass-Type Pokémon in the Black & White block of sets that are also video game Grass-Types.  I prefer a card have Resistance, and while it usually won’t save Amoonguss [Plasma] from our current Water-Type attackers, maybe it will be more useful in the future (and is unlikely to hurt).

 

So I am quite torn when I have to point out, this really doesn’t make much sense from a translation point.  Yes, Grass-Type Pokémon can collectively use the help, but the TCG Water-Type is composed of the video game Water-Type but also the video game Ice-Type; video game Grass-Types take half damage from attacks of the former but double damage from attacks of the latter.

 

Are there other Resistance options?  Well, Grass-Types are Resistant to Electric-Type attacks in the video games, and honestly, Lightning-Type Resistance is about as useful right now as Water Resistance, and after all is said and done might even remain so in the future.

 

Retreat: Amoonguss [Plasma] has a Retreat Cost of two and honestly, this is too low.  Yes, you read that correct; it has an abysmal Speed in the video games, it is a mobile version of a normally immobile real world life form (mushroom), and most import, in the video games right now a Retreat Cost of two is the worst.  It is high enough you won’t want to pay it even though you often could because of how much it would set you back… and the format is crazy with Special Conditions so you need to be able to get out of the Active slot easily!

 

So why make it higher?  Well the best options you have are going to completely wipe out your Retreat Cost anyway bypass it entirely, so the card might as well be a legal Heavy Ball target.  Again, some would argue that this will change in the future but I’ll address that in the appropriate section.

 

Effects

 

Attack#1: Astonish is a great attack… for Foongus.  Unfortunately it is less useful for a Stage 1 that is so small one attack is likely all it will get.  For (C), Astonish gives you a single coin toss that does nothing on “tails” but lets you randomly select and shuffle back into your opponent’s deck three cards from his or her hand.

 

This would be a lot better if it was three coin flips worth one card a piece, though probably still not good enough to be competitive on a 90 HP Stage 1 in this format.  The only things going for it are that it has what is currently the easiest-to-pay cost in the game right now; one of any Energy and it is ready to roll.  I’ll explain later why, like the Retreat Cost, this wasn’t actually an optimal design idea.

 

I will give a little credit for at least choosing something Amoonguss learns in the video games (though of course there it functions in a totally different manner).

 

Attack#2: Miracle Powder requires (GC), which isn’t too bad to pay (Colress Machine/Plasma Energy makes it a single turn trick).  You only get 30 points of damage and the chance to flip a coin; if “heads” you pick a Special Condition to afflict the Defending Pokémon with, which is a poor return this format.  This would be underpowered without the flip.

 

I’ll keep it simple; if an attack’s focus is in its effect, make the effect spectacular or make the attack as inexpensive as possible.  This is a fully Evolved Pokémon, not an Evolving Basic Pokémon, so if the attack isn’t doing a big chunk of damage (to the point that the Special Condition is almost purely a “bonus”), then just make it so inexpensive it is a useful fall back measure.  In this case, either solid damage would be more useful (remember those Keldeo EX we want to KO), or we need more than just “Special Conditions”, because the TCG makes them too easy to get rid off.

 

 

Synergy: So, we have that fundamental synergy of a weaker attack that leads into a smaller attack, right?  Not really.  If you are running Amoonguss [Plasma] with no Team Plasma supporting cards, okay then you have it.  Otherwise, the aforementioned Colress Machine/Plasma Energy combo allows you to instantly jump to Miracle Powder.

 

Usage

 

Card Family: There are currently four Foongus: all are Basic, Grass-Type Pokémon with 40 HP, Fire Weakness, Water Resistance, and Retreat Costs of just one.  BW: Noble Victories 9/101 has one attack that for (G) hits for 20 points of damage; if you really think you’ll be lucky enough to open with Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym as well, I suppose you could try for donks with it, but that 40 HP means Foongus is probably the one getting FTKOed.

 

BW: Next Destinies 8/99 has two attacks.  The first requires (C) and a coin flip and on “tails” does nothing while on “heads” allows you to search your deck for a Pokémon and add it to your hand.  The second attack requires (GC) and does 10 points of damage and again includes a coin toss; this time “heads” results in +20 points of damage (for a total of 30) while “tails” results in just the base 10.  This one is unreliable, but at least the first attack aids in your set-up.

 

BW: Dragons Exalted 17/124 has just one attack: for (C) you flip two coins and do 10 points of damage times the number of “heads”.  This is a pretty obvious “skip”.  The last is BW: Plasma Storm 12/135.  It too has only one attack, a weaker version of Astonish.  It still costs (C); not like they could lower that and keep it an attack since they abandoned zero-Energy attacks).  Unfortunately, they do lower its effectiveness; even on “heads” this version only shuffles away one randomly succeeded card.

 

I say go with BW: Next Destinies 8/99, as helps you set-up.  Now for the other Amoonguss; there only two and other than not being Team Plasma Pokémon, they have the same Stats as today’s card.  BW: Noble Victories 10/101 has two attacks; for (G) it can use Toxic to “double Poison” the Defending Pokémon (placing two counts between turns instead of just one) and for (CC) it can Body Slam for 30 points of damage and a coin toss to score Paralysis.  Virbank City Gym would bump the Toxic damage up to four counters between turns, but that still isn’t enough to be worth playing.

 

BW: Next Destinies 9/99 is the Amoonguss that is best known; its Sporprise Ability triggers only when you Evolve one of your Pokémon into it and automatically Poisons and Confuses your opponent’s Active Pokémon.  It’s attack is unfortunately quite forgettable; (GC) pays for Rising Lunge which is only good for 20 points of damage plus a coin flip where “heads” means another 30 (total of 50) while “tails” means just the basic 20.  Honestly, I don’t think either Amoonguss is going to help Amoonguss [Plasma] see play, or vice versa.

 

The Team Plasma support is really its only hope; besides the Colress Machine/Plasma Energy trick I’ve mentioned twice already, you… really don’t have much until BW: Plasma Freeze becomes street legal.

 

Combos: You could add in Victini (BW: Noble Victories 14/101; 98/101) to improve your odds of flipping “heads”, but that is really it.  If you want a Team Plasma Grass-Type deck, you don’t have enough other choices to skip Amoonguss [Plasma], but the question then becomes why would you want such a deck?

 

Unlimited: Skip it; better hand disruption, better Special Condition options, and that is after ignoring the first turn win decks or traditional control or even donk decks you could be using instead.

 

Modified: Skip it; there are better Stage 1 options and probably better hand disruption options as well.  Even if not, hand disruption is almost totally useless in Pokémon without something to block Supporters, given how a single one will often totally refresh a player’s hand.

 

Limited: Overall a solid pick; not overly good, but Amoonguss [Plasma] has its uses.  Yes, it won’t be much good against a good Pokémon-EX pull or Heatmor (BW: Plasma Storm 23/135), but against everything else, the scarcity of big, Basic Pokémon and Evolutions that can be run well in Limited means the HP and the damage will be better, and without the usual draw/search support even flippy disruption is scary.  Lastly, without the tricks to shake Special Conditions, those become amazing.

 

Future: This weekend we saw the first Pre-Release events for BW: Plasma Freeze.  Nothing I saw will truly help Amoonguss [Plasma]; it benefits from new support like Team Plasma Ball, but that is unlikely to help it see play.

 

Ratings

 

Unlimited: 1/5

 

Modified: 1/5

 

Limited: 3/5

 

Summary

Amoonguss [Plasma] tries to do things, but it doesn’t do them well.  It doesn’t require a lot of Energy but as a Stage 1 with just 90 HP, it is unlikely to survive attacking.  Run it only if you want to challenge yourself in finding a good use for it.


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