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
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.
Modified: 2.25 (it tries hard . . . but kinda fails)
Limited: 4 (the cheap PAR attack is excellent here)
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,