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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Top 10 Cards of 2013

#2 - Float Stone  

- Plasma Freeze

Date Reviewed:
Jan. 2, 2014

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 4.13
Limited: 4.90

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


Otaku

Float Stone is our pick for the second best card of 2013; we first reviewed it here where it took fourth place out of our Top 10 list for BW: Plasma Freeze.  Perhaps we underrated it?  Given the release of Tool Scrapper almost two years ago in BW: Dragons Exalted, it almost surprised me at how effective some Pokémon Tools remained, but then I realized that Float Stone meets the qualifications to thrive under such adversity.  How so?

 

First a basic recap for those unwilling or able to check out the older reviews: Float Stone is a Pokémon Tool that zeros out the Retreat Cost of the Pokémon to which it is attached.  For much of the game’s life, having a free Retreat Cost has been a great thing, enabling some useful combos or at least easier general play.  While you do still use your once-per-turn manual retreat, that only matters in those circumstances where you needed to change your Active out twice; there are many legitimate circumstances that justify it, and while it is hardly rare neither is it common.  More pressing is that it uses up that Pokémon’s “Item slot”.  An occasional bonus is that it zeros out your Retreat Cost (as opposed to just allowing you to retreat without discarding anything) occasionally helps against certain Abilities and attacks.

 

You can basically play Float Stone as an alternative to Switch; the trade off is that you still burn your manual retreat for the turn and can’t get around effects that would prevent manually retreating, but in return Float Stone isn’t “one and done”; unless your opponent is going to KO the Pokémon it is attached to or use an effect to discard Pokémon Tools anyway, you can likely generate more advantage with the card.  I believe what may have lead us (or at least me) to underrate it is the timing; unlike Switch you can attach a Float Stone before you “need” it should it prove advantageous, such as immediately before you use Professor Juniper (and it would have been wastefully discarded), but you can also try to hold it until the exact moment you need it, preventing it from being a Tool Scrapper target (though N may then shuffle it away).  Waiting until the last minute means you trade that Trainer for the Energy you would have had to discard, and unless your opponent already was going to KO that Pokémon before it could retreat again or you had another Pokémon Tool in play so that Tool Scrapper (or another discard effect) were going to be used… congrats, you just earned some more advantage.

 

While not enough to propel Float Stone to the top, there were other factors.  Keldeo EX was an obvious partner to Float Stone, because together with the Rush In Ability on Keldeo EX, Float Stone allowed you to essentially trade in your manual retreat of the turn for a Switch; as long as there wasn’t something that prevented manually retreating or negating Abilities, it tends to generate some serious advantage.  Other big combos have been slapping one onto Garbodor (BW: Dragons Exalted 54/124; BW: Plasma Freeze 119/116, BW: Legendary Treasures 68/113) to activate its Garbotoxin Ability while at the same time making it easy to get out of the Active slot (should it survive being promoted), and making it easier to retreat Pokémon like Kyurem (BW: Plasma Freeze 31/116) after using its Blizzard Burn attack, bypassing its effect that prevents said Kyurem [Plasma] from using that same attack the next turn.

 

The format was also right, because players had been getting by using Darkrai EX for its Dark Cloak Ability alongside Keldeo EX to perform the same trick as Keldeo EX/Float Stone.  Sparing players the need to run another Pokémon-EX, eat up a space on the Bench, run a source of Darkness Energy, and get said Energy onto Keldeo EX (manually attaching it detracting from setting up something else in most decks) are why said obvious combo was obvious.  While there are decks that would rather run the Darkrai EX, plenty switched over to the easy Pokémon-EX with Pokémon Tool combo, and the savings in space really helped elaborate decks like Accelgor (BW: Dark Explorers 11/108)/Gothitelle (BW: Emerging Powers 47/98; BW: Legendary Treasures 72/113).  All of this helped make this a key card for a few decks, a good card for many, and prevented it from being a poor choice for all but a few.  So players were already in the proper frame of mind to answer the question “How can I generate advantage via retreating for free?” and helping to ensure it was used well.

 

For Unlimited I must still base my analysis purely on Theorymon due to a lack of personal play-testing opportunities or published results by other players that I trust (the former makes the latter even more difficult).  I would assume that this card would at best see niche usage.  I cannot think of any First Turn Win decks that need to retreat the Active for free (as opposed to just using Switch), but if there is one then this is the card to use.  I can see a few Lock decks at least toying with the idea and perhaps even a few beatdown decks if they are using attackers with draw backs like the previously cited Kyurem [Plasma].  This is enough to keep it from getting a minimum score, but definitely not enough to rival all the fantastic older Pokémon Tools like Focus Band.

 

For Limited play, the only reason to skip this card is if you are running a deck built around a single Pokémon.  Otherwise make room for it as the basic uses for a free retreating Pokémon become even more important with your diminished options; things like being able to promote whatever has Float Stone attached after a Pokémon is KOed so you can decide what is best to make your “real” Active Pokémon after your opening draw and any Trainers or Pokémon effects that might otherwise matter is a serious benefit.

 

Summary

 

Unlimited: 1.75/5

 

Modified: 4/5

 

Limited: 4.9/5

 

Summary

Float Stone is a great card, almost always a little useful but only a “must run” for certain decks; a good combination of “quality” and “quantity”.  About the only thing that makes me question its placement is that outside of Accelgor/Gothitelle, I can’t think of a deck that really suffers for want of Float Stone; diminished performance, but nothing really “make or break”.  Then again, this wasn’t the distinguishing feature it often is for such lists, and most of the Top 10 worked the same; making something (or several things) “better” while not adding much “new” to the metagame.

 

When we first looked at Float Stone, I had it in the fifth place slot on my own Top 10 Promising Picks of BW: Plasma Freeze, but this time I ended up placing it in the same spot as the final tally; second place.

Baby
Mario

#2 Float Stone 

One of the notable features of the Black and White era of Pokémon is the important role that Tools have played in the format. Eviolite, Dark Claw, Silver Bangle, Silver Mirror have all seen significant play, while cards like Exp Share, Rocky Helmet, and Rescue Scarf haven’t gone unused either. We’ve even had ACE SPEC Tools (G Booster, Victory Piece, Life Dew) which are good enough to justify taking up that valuable one-per-deck slot. 

Probably the most significant of all has been the runner-up card on our top 10 countdown, Float Stone. There’s nothing new about the card – it’s virtually a reprint of the old Fluffy Berry – and there’s nothing complex or amazing about its effect either – it removes the Retreat cost from whatever Pokémon it is attached to – but it has appeared at the right time and with the right cards in the format to have a major impact. 

Float Stone is the card that turned Keldeo-EX into a permanent Switch and Status Condition counter; it made Garbodor DRX much less of a liability to use; and it converted Gothitelle/Accelgor from a hilariously clunky and silly uber-combo deck into the winner of more than one National Championship. Unlike Switch, it wasn’t limited to a one-off use and so was ideal for decks with relatively high retreat Pokémon that needed a certain amount of mobility (such as Kyurem PLF after it had used Blizzard Burn), or feared being dragged out with Pokémon Catcher to buy the opponent some time. 

The errata to Catcher has made Float Stone slightly less attractive for general use, and Tool Scrapper seems to be experiencing a increase in popularity. Nevertheless, there are decks out there which just wouldn’t really work without this card, and it remains a good option to have in virtually everything. 

Rating 

Modified: 4.25 (not game-winning in its own right, but a very good ‘enabler’)


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