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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Donphan  

- Plasma Storm

Date Reviewed:
April 1, 2013

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 1.90
Limited: 4.00

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

Donphan (Plasma Storm)

Hello and welcome to the week of reviews here on Pojo’s CotD! We kick off with Donphan. The Prime version from the HGSS set was a pretty powerful Pokémon with durability and cheap attacks. How will this one measure up?

The basic stats of this card don’t offer too many surprises. The 130 HP is very good for a Stage 1 and would make OHKOs very difficult if it wasn’t for the extra damage that some decks get from Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gy. Even so, it’s solid enough unless Donphan runs into a Blastoise deck, when the Water Weakness comes into play. Lightning Resistance isn’t too important right now, though it’s better than nothing, while the Retreat cost of four isn’t much fun . . . though as we shall see, Donphan has its own way of dealing with that.

Donphan’s first attack is Spinning Turn, which is a variation on a common Donphan theme (see also the SW and NG versions, for example). This time it costs just one Energy, does a good value 40 damage, and switches Donphan with one of your Benched Pokémon. Sometimes these Punch-and-Run style attacks work well in a format (as with Gengar AR) when you can switch into something that is more-or-less guaranteed to wall the opponent. You could try Sigilyph DRX, I guess, but it won’t help against non-EX attackers and we do have Pokémon Catcher in the format which makes the whole retreating out of harm’s way thing a lot less achievable. Nevertheless, I’m not going to complain about a single Energy attack that does 40 and has a nice effect.

I shouldn’t really complain about Wreck either, even though the cost is incredibly high (two Fighting, two Colourless). For that, you get a mediocre base damage of 80, but if there is a Stadium in play you get to hit for an extra 60 and then discard it. 140 damage is very good: enough to OHKO most Stage 2s and do substantial hurt to an EX. The Stadium discard is a double-edged thing. Getting rid of an opponent’s Tropical Beach or Virbank is very useful, but it also makes it impossible to use Virbank (or any other Stadium) yourself if you want to use this attack. More importantly, although most decks are playing Stadiums these days, you can’t always count on one being available when you need it.

Donphan is actually a pretty solid Stage 1 with decent HP and reasonable attacks. It also has the advantage of being a Fighting Type, which means hitting very popular Pokémon like Darkrai-EX, Eelektrik NVI, and the forthcoming Thundurus-EX for Weakness. Unfortunately, like just about everything else these days, it finds itself outclassed by big Basics (in this case Terrakion NVI and Landorus-EX). Oh well, it probably wouldn’t have been all that playable anyway.

Rating

Modified: 2.25 (it tries hard . . . but kinda fails)

Limited: 4 (the cheap PAR attack is excellent here)

virusyosh

Welcome back, Pojo readers! Today we're reviewing a new iteration of a well-liked Fighting Pokemon. Today's Card of the Day is Donphan from Plasma Storm.

Donphan is a Stage 1 Fighting Pokemon. Landorus-EX and the uncommon Terrakion NVI are the main Fighting types seeing play in today's Modified metagame, and with each of them being plenty powerful, Donphan will need to carve out its own niche. 130 HP is great for a Stage 1, as it means that Donphan should be able to take one moderate hit before going down. Water Weakness is a bit of a problem against Blastoise and Keldeo; Lightning Resistance is unfortunately not as relevant as it probably should be; and a Retreat Cost of four is gigantic, and should be avoided at all costs. Use Switch or Escape Rope instead.

Donphan has two attacks. Spinning Turn does 40 damage for a single Fighting Energy, and switches Donphan out with one of your Benched Pokemon. This provides a very elegant solution to Donphan's monstrous Retreat Cost in Limited, but you'll rarely want to be using this in Modified unless it's in the early game and you have a free/low Retreater handy. At any rate, 40 damage for a single Energy is pretty good, although Landorus-EX still outclasses it. Wreck starts off at a very expensive 80 damage for two Fighting and two Colorless Energy, but does 60 more if there is a Stadium card in play, and then discards the Stadium. 140 damage plus a Stadium discard is pretty good, but is unfortunately very expensive in terms of Energy and hard to replicate unless you run a ton of Stadiums. Wreck can, however, work quite effectively in Limited, where Plasma Frigates should be all over the place and powering up Donphan to four Energy isn't too hard.

Modified: 1.5/5 Donphan is largely a "poor man's" Landorus-EX, as both of its attacks are outclassed by the legendary Pokemon-EX. Therefore, if you're looking to use something similar to Donphan in this format to be competitive, use Landorus instead.

Limited: 4/5 Donphan is, however, quite good in Limited. High HP, favorable Resistance, and a cheap but damaging attack are all quite excellent for Donphan here. While Wreck is very expensive, it deals massive damage to most opponents when fully powered, and should OHKO most of the format if there's a Stadium in play. Overall, Donphan is a very solid choice for your Limited roster, and seeing as it's only Uncommon, it shouldn't be difficult to pick up if you're running Fighting, either!


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