We come to our third technically new
(but actually a re-review) due to Secret
Altaria (BW: Dragons Exalted
84/124; BW Promo BW48; BW:
Boundaries Crossed 152/149).
This little dragon-birdie
received a lot of hype early on but the
deck it backed sees little if no play.
So… what happened, and should we
expect (or at least be trying) for a
is a Dragon-Type Pokémon.
The only pieces of support for
Dragon-Type Pokémon come in the form of
Gabite (BW: Dragons Exalted
89/124), which is capable of searching
out one Dragon-Type Pokémon per turn via
its Ability, and
When it comes to attacking all
Dragon-Type Pokémon share the same
Weakness to each other and nothing is
Resistant to the Type… but you shouldn’t
be attacking with
Altaria except out of desperation.
is a Stage 1 Pokémon, making much harder
to get out than the usual Basic Pokémon
that make up the bulk of the competitive
card pool, but it is better than the few
Stage 2 Pokémon that see competitive
play; hitting the field with only a turn
delay and without requiring
Rare Candy (or a turn sooner and
without a transitional Stage 1 form).
isn’t good, but it isn’t terrible.
70 HP makes
Altaria an almost guaranteed OHKO;
the main reason it isn’t guaranteed
isn’t due to a weak attacker but the
simple nature of some turns you may be
fortunate and your opponent isn’t using
the “main” attacks of the main attackers
in their decks.
This tells you that if
Altaria has a use, either something
needs to protect it or you’ll need to
swarm with it, getting as many out at
once as you can, or at least a steady
chain of them.
It does allow it to be searched
Level Ball, but that would have been
true with another 20 HP.
As already mentioned, since it is a
Dragon-Type it is Dragon Weak, and while
normally such a low HP would make
Weakness irrelevant, that isn’t the case
The big threat is the infamous
Rayquaza (BW: Dragons Exalted
128/124; Dragon Vault 11/20), as
for (L) it hits for 40… which becomes 80
and a OHKO.
Nor does the card have a
Resistance to balance this out, but with
70 HP that wouldn’t matter much either.
has what would normally be a “good”
Retreat score of just one, but as it is
so small it probably should have been
allowed a free Retreat score.
On the bright side, if your
opponent can attack it while active, you
won’t need to retreat it.
posses an Ability that is pretty good
and an attack that is not.
Fight Song provides a 20 point
boost to the damage from attacks by
This only applies to damage
against Active Pokémon, but it does
stack and apply to
This is great, and why this card
has ever seen play outside of Limited.
The attack on the other hand is bad.
Glide requires (WMC) and hits for
40 points of damage.
That would be weak even with all
Colorless Energy requirements, so
factoring in the two different Energy
Types required it is hitting for half
strength at best.
The going rate would be about 80
points for three Energy, and the only
way this card hits that is if it has a
Altaria on the Bench.
I can understand if the designers
thought that would be probable… but it
still doesn’t make it enough to support
Of course, it might still be
enough to support something else.
There are two versions of
Swablu to pick from: BW: Dragons
Exalted 104/124 and BW: Dragons
Both are Basic, Colorless-Type
Pokémon with 40 HP, Lightning Weakness,
Fighting Resistance, and a single Energy
If you’re attacking with one of
these, either you’re desperate or your
opponent is opening with something small
of their own; in either case I would
prefer 104/124 because it can cause
Sleep for one Energy.
If you’re desperate, Sleep can
help you survive.
Based on reports out of
Garchomp (BW: Dragons Exalted
90/124) became the attacker in a deck
The combo allowed strong attacks
for a single Energy… but the deck is
very resource hungry and
Altaria proved too fragile.
It just seemed too hard to build
up both a spare
Garchomp and keep a many
Altaria on your Bench as possible,
and you had to do both because there
were enough decks with good
I haven’t even thought of
tinkering around with this deck since
the release of BW: Boundaries Crossed,
so I can’t tell you if that set helped
it at all… but I doubt it.
My own idea of just using it to back
Rayquaza, turning its tiny opening
attack (Dragon Pulse)into something that
can 2HKO Pokémon-EX and with the ideal
set-up, its first attack to OHKO
anything with less than 180 HP.
While having some merit, relying
on Dragon Pulse is expensive in the long
run; even 2HKOing Pokémon-EX would mean
using it six times and that discards 12
cards from your own deck.
Any deck that can OHKO
Rayquaza (at worst tricky for some
decks, a given for others) will, while
the rest will just pop all your
You also have to dedicate a lot
of space to set-up still, even though it
replaces a Stage 2 with a Basic.
Altaria needs is a Basic,
Dragon-Type Pokémon or Pokémon-EX with
great HP that also has a good, reliable,
damaging attack for one Energy, or two
Energy all while being friendly to
simple Energy acceleration… plus a solid
“bigger” attack or useful Ability.
It sounds both general and yet
Many Dragon-Type Pokémon require
Energy Types that don’t share a
Blend Energy, and clash with forms
of Energy acceleration.
Most either aren’t reliable
attacks (requiring extra set-up or coin
flips) or contain a painful kick (like
While there are some Evolutions that
work, as we have seen being a Stage 1
Altaria from fitting into such decks
Garchomp even had a useful Stage 1
form and couldn’t make it stick.
So there isn’t much use for this
card in Modified right now, and
Unlimited is the same; Dragon-Types are
still quite new so there isn’t a “good
one” to power up that has rotated out
and even if there was… Unlimited has
easier methods of hitting crazy high
Limited is the one place to really
consider this… but obvious not with
BW: Boundaries Crossed; there isn’t
Swablu so it can’t be used.
If you are actually playing in a
Limited event with BW: Dragons
Exalted, then it is a solid pick due
to the abundant Dragon-Type Pokémon in
has an amazing Ability on a fragile
frame with a poor attack, and sadly even
trying to constantly set them up and
reclaim them from the discard… because
you’ll probably have one KOed per turn,
sometimes in addition to your main