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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

 Xatu  

- Legendary Treasures

Date Reviewed:
December 10, 2013

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 1.38
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

Xatu (Legendary Treasures) 

Long time players (relatively speaking) will remember the fun we had with Team Galactic’s Wager, the Rock-Paper-Scissors (RPS) draw/disruption Supporter that saw a lot of play in the HP-on/DP-on formats. RPS is more involving (and more skilful) than simply flipping a coin, so it’s kind of nice to see it return to the format in the shape of this Xatu. 

But is it going to see any play? Well, let’s look at the attack in question: Fortunate Draw costs one Psychic Energy to use. The winner of the RPS gets to draw three cards while the loser discards three from the top of their deck. It’s a nice enough effect but just difficult to make work in this format. Generally, you do not have time to mess about with draw attacks when you could be doing actual damage. Also, there’s no real way to leverage Fortunate Draw so that it benefits you either way: even decks that like specific cards in the discard pile (Ho-oh EX and Flareon PLF for example) will likely shy away from a card that does it blindly and risks losing needed resources alongside the Energy or Pokémon that you want in the discard. 

Factor in that Xatu is a low HP Stage 1 with a pretty useless offensive attack (three Energy for 60 and a Confusion flip? Bleh), and I honestly can’t see this being used. Fortunate Draw might have made for an interesting Supporter, but it’s not worth giving up an attack and deckspace to a Stage 1 for the chance of some ok-ish draw and a bit of milling, especially when it can backfire horribly. 

Rating 

Modified: 1.75 (not worth the risk or the resources)

Limited: 3 (probably not worth the risk here either, especially with a 40 card deck, but seems too much fun to resist) 


Otaku

Today we look at Xatu (BW: Legendary Treasures 56/113).  This is a Stage 1 Pokémon; slower and more cards than a Basic, less cards than a Stage 2 but only faster if the Stage 2 lacks Rare Candy.  It is a Psychic-Type; while there is some Psychic-Type support in the form of Gardevoir (BW: Next Destinies 54/99; BW: Dark Explorers 109/108), last format it didn’t have much success and I haven’t heard of that changing this format, personal hopes aside.  Pokémon with Psychic Weakness see enough play that exploiting it may prove beneficial, but so to is Psychic Resistance common enough that it may impede you; fortunately Weakness is almost always more potent than Resistance.

 

Xatu has a mere 90 HP; this does not bode well as few decks will fail to score a OHKO; even an incomplete set-up is no guarantee of survival.  It does at least make the card a legal target for Level Ball.  The Psychic Weakness feels a bit unfortunate; Xatu is a Psychic/Flying-Type hybrid in the video games, and unless it was causing problems of which I was unaware, I thought it always enriched the game when they would “blend” stats so that such a card might be a Lightning Weak, Fighting Resistant Psychic-Type.  As is, anything Xatu can hit for double damage can slam it back… and the most commonly played Psychic-Type Pokémon I can think of have inexpensive attacks that might not have scored a OHKO against Xatu if it were not Psychic Weak.

 

As already implied, the card has no Resistance, even though Fighting-Type Resistance would have made a good deal of sense.  This isn’t crippling, but it is a missed opportunity.  Xatu even has a single Energy Retreat Cost; normally a good thing as it is easy enough to pay in most decks, once you factor in the rest of the card you have to wonder why they just didn’t allow it to retreat for free; it is already a fairly fragile Pokémon and I don’t see how it would have overpowered the card; just made it a little less dependent on the retreat aids and alternatives most decks already run.

 

Obviously Xatu is not a card to play for its stats, but what about its effects?  It has two attacks: Fortunate Draw and Miracle Wing.  The former requires (P) and has you play Rock-Paper-Scissors with an opponent; the victor draws three cards while the loser discards three cards from the top of his or her deck.  That means that either way, both players will end up with a deck three cards smaller.  The second attack requires (PCC) and does 60 points of damage, plus Confusion if you get “heads” on a coin toss.  These attacks are not good; Miracle Wing’s problem is easy to explain; Confusion is no where near good enough to justify the expense of the attack in a format where three Energy should pay for 90 points of damage, not 60.  If it were not so overpriced, the cost structure would make it work well with most Energy acceleration as you could use common tricks like attaching a Psychic Energy to a Natu, then Evolving into Xatu the next turn, attaching a Double Colorless Energy, and proceeding to attack.

 

Fortunate Draw is what caught my eye about this card; I enjoy Rock-Paper-Scissors and I enjoy decks built around milling the opponent into decking out.  Unfortunately this too has flaws.  Rock-Paper-Scissors is a game of skill if you:

 

1)      Know your opponent well.

2)      Are generally skilled at reading body language or psychology.

3)      Cheat.

 

Reasons “1” and “2” don’t often apply, and even when they do I question if these skills should be made so necessary to the game: should I be rewarded because I know Bob always picks scissors because they remind him of knives, that Dave always picks rocks because they smash scissors and he “feels” like paper is weak, and that Brian thinks himself so clever that if I flash one of the signs before throwing, he’ll assume I’ve made up my mind and choose its counter, allowing me to play the third sign to win?  Silly as that sounds, we all know people either like that or with even less complicated hang ups (they don’t like Rock-Paper-Scissors so they just always throw “rock”).  Then of course you’ve just got the types that can throw their sign a split second late, after the opposing player has already begun to form a sign and… that’s cheating: the entire point is to throw at the same time, and if it wasn’t there would be another “mechanic” to prevent people from always choosing to pick a sign and reveal it after the opponent did.

 

I think I would have rather the effect involved a coin toss; it would just be simpler and I am a lot less worried about someone that has successful trained at flipping a coin significantly more often in his or her own favor than I am someone just having the reflexes to trick me into thinking s/he went at the same time instead of a half second later so they could adjust to my sign.  Plus you could then use Victini (BW: Noble Victories 14/101, 98/101; BW Promo BW32, BW: Legendary Treasures 23/113) to improve your odds.

 

The really sad part is that Fortunate Draw, while “interesting” isn’t remotely good.  Let us examine the outcomes again.  You are spending an Energy and an Energy attachment of some sort to attack with a Stage 1 Pokémon the “average” deck “should” OHKO on the next turn; in order to be fair this needs to not only compete with other once-per-turn draw effects (like Supporters), and once you get that big you can’t have yourself discarding that many cards when it “backfires”, even if you’re still depleting your opponent’s deck one way or the other.  I really do like the basic idea of this attack, but the method of randomization (or is it supposed to be a contest of skill?) for determining who draws and who discards, the idea that it has to be equal which means only smaller amounts are “safe” but also not worth the effort while larger amounts would be worth the effort when your opponent is discarding but destroy yourself when it was you… the execution is terrible.  Did I mention you can’t reliably enjoy N as it would undermine those turns when your opponent drew instead of discarding from the deck?  That was a significant part of more recent milling decks; the harder your opponent worked to defeat you, the more vulnerable they became to N.

 

What about Unlimited?  Better ways to mill your opponent (some don’t even require attacking) and even if you just want to use Xatu, there are better versions from past releases.  The only place to honestly consider this card is in Limited.  It still isn’t a “good” card, but what few things it has going for it are enhance here while the bad is slightly diminished.  Unless you are pulling big, Basic Pokémon, the difficulty of assembling an Evolution line often means lower average HP scores than in a constructed format: 90 HP still isn’t “good” but instead is fairly typical.  Being “splashable” becomes more important, and as Xatu needs just a single source of (P) for both attacks, that improves.  Having a single Energy attack and having an attack that helps you draw also becomes better.  Confusion is more useful here where it isn’t as easy to get out of or prevent, average damage output is lower and slower, and with the lower HP scores, that 60 points of damage can be worth it.  Lastly, and this is a bit of a double-edged sword: decks are smaller.  Even if you’re constantly losing at Rock-Paper-Scissors, each player has but a 40 card deck that by the time a player has taken an opening hand, laid down four Prizes, and made an opening draw for his or her first turn is down to just 26 cards.  With little to no means of getting cards back from the discard, every attack may send something unique and vital to the discard pile.

 

Ratings

 

Unlimited: 1/5

 

Modified: 1/5

 

Limited: 3/5

 

Summary

Xatu is a risky play that might pay off for Limited; everywhere else it’s a bad play.  I couldn’t even justify bumping its score up a little for being the only Modified Legal Xatu; the minimum score we assign here is one out of five, and I think that adequately covers the value of using Xatu because you really want to use Xatu.  Still it was useful because before this, I hadn’t really considered the implications of Rock-Paper-Scissors and what is it trying to accomplish (randomizer or game of skill?).


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