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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Vanilluxe  

- Plasma Storm

Date Reviewed:
March 4, 2013

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 1.95
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

Vanilluxe (Plasma Storm) 

Hello and welcome to the week on Pojo’s CotD. Otaku has chosen the cards for this week with variety in mind, so expect a bit of everything. 

We kick off the week with Vanilluxe – a Pokémon so goofy and bizarre that it was instantly one of my Generation V favourites. (It was also designed by a British artist – not that I’m biased or anything). Vanilluxe NVI was once part of a mildly successful deck, while the NEX version had a Warp Point style Ability that some people attempted to exploit with rather less success. Will this downward trend continue with this new card? 

As you would expect, it’s a Water Type Stage 2 with 130 HP. That’s a pretty standard number, but it’s looking less substantial these days thanks to Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym. The Weakness to Metal may be a concern if facing a Klinklang deck, but the retreat cost of one is pretty good for a Pokémon of this kind. Water Typing I consider to be fairly neutral at the moment. You won’t see a lot that Vanilluxe can hit for Weakness except for the odd anti-Klinklang tech like Moltres NEX or Victini NVI 15. 

Vanilluxe has two attacks, the first being the somewhat awkwardly named Enefountain. For a single Energy of any Colour, you do 30 damage and get to attach two Basic Energy (of any kind) from your hand to one of your Pokémon. The damage is pretty insignificant and the Energy acceleration, although nice, isn’t really worth using a Stage 2 plus an attack. Not when there are better options available that use Abilities (Blastoise BCR, Emboar BLW, Eelektrik NVI) or are Trainers (Dark Patch, Colress Machine). Vanilluxe’s second attack, Blizzard, can be powered up with Enefountain, but isn’t really worth the bother. 70 damage to the Defending Pokémon, plus 10 to all the opponent’s Bench isn’t going to grab you any quick KOs and Vanilluxe won’t hang around on the field very long for the spread damage to accumulate. 

It’s not that Vanilluxe is a completely horrible card, or even a piece of boring filler. It’s just that compared to what else is out there, this is very mediocre, way below the standards needed to be a playable Stage 2. Let’s hope the next time we see this hilarious Pokémon, he’ll have something a bit better to offer players. 

Rating 

Modified: 2 (just . . . not up to standard)

Limited: 3 (quite an effective Stage 2 here. The acceleration is usable and spread damage is nice)

virusyosh

Hello once again, Pojo readers! I hope you're all getting ready for your upcoming State Championships this week! Today we're reviewing another new Pokemon from Plasma Storm with intriguing acceleration potential. Today's Card of the Day is Vanilluxe.

Vanilluxe is a Stage 2 Water Pokemon. Water-types are still incredibly popular as Blastoise/Keldeo is still largely the deck to beat in Modified, so Vanilluxe will have to be able to do something really extraordinary to compete. As a Stage 2, Vanilluxe is also going to have to be worth the resources it takes to bring it out. 130 HP is just about average for a Stage 2 (maybe even a bit lower), and it should allow Vanilluxe to take at least one medium-sized hit before going down. Metal Weakness is a problem with the advent of Klinklang decks, and thus Vanilluxe should avoid those whenever possible. Unfortunately, Vanilluxe has no Resistance, but it does have a favorable Retreat Cost of one, so switching shouldn't be too much trouble.

The Snowstorm Pokemon has two attacks: Enefountain does 30 damage and allows you to attach two basic Energy from your hand to one of your Pokemon for a single Colorless Energy. This attack is excellent in Limited, but there are generally much better options for acceleration in Modified that don't require attacking (like Blastoise, Eelektrik, or even Colress Machine). One thing that is nice about Enefountain is that the type of Energy isn't restricted, but even still, you generally don't want a Stage 2 doing your acceleration for you.

Blizzard is the ice cream cone's second attack, dealing 70 damage to the Defending Pokemon and 10 damage to each of your opponent's Benched Pokemon for two Water and a Colorless. Nothing too impressive for Modified here, but once again, pretty nice for Limited.

Modified: 1.75/5 Enefountain would be good if it were an Ability (or not on a Stage 2), but as it stands, there are generally better options for acceleration than Vanilluxe. Additionally, while Blizzard does have some spreading potential, it's largely too slow and doesn't hit hard enough in a metagame dominated by big Basic hitters.

Limited: 4.5/5 Vanilluxe is excellent in Limited. Enefountain is a fantastic accelerator in a format that desperately needs it, and the fact that it can accelerate any Energy type for such a low cost is really powerful. Also, Blizzard is excellent here, as spread damage is a powerful and damaging strategy in Limited. Like many powerful Stage 2s, if you're able to get Vanilluxe out, you'll probably end up winning in most cases.


Otaku

Sometimes it is good to start with dessert… but is this one of those times?  This week of Card of the Day reviews focuses on a solid variety of cards from BW: Plasma Storm.  We’ve looked at the best, so it is time to pan for gold amongst the rest.  We begin with Vanilluxe (BW: Plasma Storm 37/135); will it be a sweat treat or is running it a recipe for defeat? 

Stats 

Type: Vanilluxe is a Water-Type Pokémon; there is no specific Type support, though they have some good Pokémon in their ranks and there is support for Water-Type Energy.  In terms of Weakness and Resistance, both exist but Water Weakness actually sees play even in some competitive decks while Water Resistance seldom if ever does, baring metagame shifts I am unaware of presently. 

Stage: As a Stage 2 Pokémon, Vanilluxe will struggle to keep up with the big Basic Pokémon (usually Pokémon-EX) that dominate the Modified metagame.  Even if it manages to trade blows with them without falling behind, since you’re investing an extra turn of waiting and at least two extra cards of resources, it will require significantly more effort. As Vanilluxe takes up so much space itself, it may find itself choosing between dedicating spaces needed for stability (getting itself out reliably) and capability (what it can actually accomplish in a deck). 

Hit Points: Vanilluxe has just 130 HP; this is great for a Basic Pokémon (unless it is a Pokémon-EX), but pretty much everywhere else it is now lamentably low.  The metagame is now at the point where several prominent attackers are either going to OHKO Vanilluxe outright or effectively OHKO it when Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym are factored in.  It isn’t all main attackers, and but even some that miss can add one more piece to the combo. 

The slight upside is that it does take resources; few decks can score the OHKO without an appropriate resource cost, be it combos as just mentioned or a hefty Energy discard cost.  The actual Base Stats found on the video game counterpart to Vanilluxe, the Base HP and Defense scores are nine and two points below the average for fully Evolved Pokémon, respectively, which would lend itself to a slightly low HP score… but the Special Defense score is 12 points above average. 

If HP scores in the TCG had more range, this would justify being below average, but with scores as “squished” as they are and the format as brutal as it is, they might as well have given it another 10 HP for the “functional” (not mathematical) average Stage 2 score. 

Weakness: Vanilluxe has Metal Resistance like most Ice-Type Pokémon, which is probably somewhere in the middle of the spectrum for Weakness, leaning towards being “less bad” than most others (only “None” is good).  Referencing the video games, a pure Ice-Type like Vanilluxe has damage doubling Weakness to Rock-, Fighting-, Steel- and Fighting-Type attacks.  Given past examples, that pretty easily justifies either Fire-Type Weakness or Fighting-Type Weakness (which consists of the video game Ground-, Rock- and Fighting-Types). 

Fire-Type Weakness actually would have been best; right now Fire-Types are struggling even factoring in a rise in running them as off-Type attackers to counter the fear (whether warranted or not) of Klinklang (BW: Plasma Storm 90/135) backed Metal-Type decks.  Fire-Types in Modified are all Water Weak: if “None” isn’t an option for Weakness, best to take double damage from something you hit for double damage, especially when it isn’t doing well in the metagame. 

As for the “Plasma Steel” decks, the reason why Metal-Type Weakness is tolerable comes from three things.  First a lot of hype for the deck is fading; if you haven’t found credible articles challenging the potency of Plasma Steel decks, you need to look again (though I think they still have potential).  Second, even if they do prove good the deck’s best attacker is Cobalion EX (BW: Plasma Storm 93/135, 133/135), whose “big” attack doesn’t apply Weakness.  The other attack on Cobalion EX and attackers in the deck are less impressive, but will enjoy that boost, so it isn’t completely “safe”. 

The third and final reason is that Fighting-Type Weakness would have been so much worse; it isn’t as common to run a Fighting-Type attacker splashed into your deck as it was before BW: Plasma Storm hit, but it still can happen and would pick back up if a new deck made it important.  True, a few of those attackers are Water Weak, but not all of them are and unlike Fire-Types they have a proven track record. 

Resistance: Sadly, Vanilluxe has no Resistance, but this time it isn’t just because Resistance is uncommon in the TCG, but because Ice-Type Pokémon “Resist” only one thing in the video games: their own Type!  This is where I will resist a full on rant, but the video game “Type” taxonomy system fails in many ways and the Ice-Type is one of the big offenders.  It seems redundant since it doesn’t just represent “cold” but also “ice” itself, which is merely “cold +water”… making things redundant with Water-Types.  Plus you can test things in the real world; ice versus ice comes down to other properties (shape and mass) while equal amounts of cold and heat cancel out. 

Yes, that is the “short” version. 

Retreat: Perhaps the only true “good” point of the card is that even as a Stage 2, it has a single Energy Retreat cost.  There isn’t a convenient trick to zero it out like for Basic Pokémon (Skyarrow Bridge), but a single Energy is pretty reasonable, plus one of the attacks on this card can also help.  The Ability to easily vacate the Active slot has become quite, quite important in light of Hypnotoxic Laser use. 

Effects 

Attack#1: Enefountain works with just one of any Energy to hit for 30 points of damage; not good in and of itself but it allows you to attach up to two basic Energy cards from your hand to one of your Pokémon in play, including itself.  Energy acceleration is a potent effect, and this works with any basic Energy Type, opening up more combos.  It is nice that it isn’t just restricted to Benched targets, but you can’t spread the attachments out, either. 

Attack#2: Blizzard requires (WCC), making it fairly easy to run off-Type (just requiring one Blend Energy WLFM or Prism Energy), and allowing it to tap most forms of Energy acceleration in the format.  It hits for 70 points of damage, which is just a bit shy of what seems competitive; it can’t OHKO the biggest Water Weak Pokémon or 2HKO most Pokémon-EX.  It does have a solid effect though; a 10 points of spread damage to soften up targets on the Bench.

If Vanilluxe could find a way to survive multiple turns (or set-up multiple times fast enough to keep up the pressure), you would have a chance for Bench damage to accumulate giving good odds of repeated Blizzard use hitting that OHKO against Weakness/2HKO against everything else range.  It even helps that it lessens the impact of Water Resistance: not that said Resistance is a regular sight in competitive play. 

Synergy: The two attacks do compliment each other; Enefountain attaches enough Energy that you can either choose to sacrifice one Vanilluxe to prep the next one or two so that they need just one manual attachment to use Blizzard.  If your opponent surprisingly lacks an offensive, you could even have an attacking Vanilluxe attach to itself.  It is only unfortunate that this assault falls just a little short of the needed standards, even before factoring in other concerns. 

Usage 

Card Family: There are four versions of Vanillite, four versions of Vanillish, and two other versions (for three total) of Vanilluxe.  All are Water-Type Pokémon with Metal-Weakness and no Resistance. 

The options for Vanillite are BW: Noble Victories 27/101, BW: Next Destinies 31/99, BW: Dark Explorers 33/108, and BW: Plasma Storm 35/135.  They all Basic Pokémon with single Energy Retreat costs, in addition to the traits shared by the entire line.  The attacks all fail to aid in set-up or disrupt the opponent early game, which are important for Evolving Basic Pokémon to be more than placeholders for their Evolved forms.  The attacks are all disappointing, so just choose from BW: Next Destinies 31/99 and BW: Plasma Storm 35/135 for their 60 HP scores (though that is only 10 points higher than the other two). 

Vanillish falls into the same trap: BW: Noble Victories 28/101, BW: Next Destinies 32/99, BW: Dark Explorers 34/108, and BW: Plasma Storm 36/135 are all Stage 1 Pokémon sharing the common traits of the line, and are all pretty much filler.  BW: Dark Explorers 34/108 has 70 HP while the rest all have 80, but either amount is paltry; the designers really need to “front load” HP scores if they want to have a format like we have now; neither score is out of FTKO range… which means they are well within OHKO range for later turns. 

The Stage 1 forms don’t provide aids to set up and they don’t provide adequate back-up/opening attacks, especially factoring in their small HP scores.  Pick an 80 HP version and go with it; either it will have a single Energy Retreat cost or it will have one attack capable of stalling for a turn (via Special Condition).  This means we can move onto the other two Vanilluxe. 

BW: Noble Victories 29/101 and BW: Next Destinies 33/99 have the same Stats as today’s Vanilluxe, save a slightly more expensive Retreat cost of two, which isn’t good but it isn’t really bad: you’ll need alternatives to manually Retreating at full price, but in this format you would need that anyway.  Both have seen some competitive play in past decks (and in the previous format) that featured them, though they weren’t amongst the major, dominant decks. 

BW: Noble Victories 29/101 has two attacks, the first for (WC) and the second for (WW); not slow but, unable to effectively tap Energy acceleration, neither are they fast.  The first attack was the important one; two coin flips for 40 points of damage per “heads” and if at least one is “heads” the Defending Pokémon is Paralyzed. 

When backed up by something to block Items like Vileplume (HS: Undaunted 24/90) and Victini (BW: Noble Victories 14/101, 98/101) to further increase the good odds of scoring Paralysis, it didn’t hit overly hard but your opponent tended to only get a shot in once every four or five turns.  Unfortunately without backing like Vileplume in a format where decks already need to be prepared to shake Poison and/or Sleep from Hypnotoxic Laser, no deck should be vulnerable to this tactic. 

BW: Dark Explorers 33/108 has an Ability that acts as a “free” Escape Rope once per turn, which is useful but not worth a Stage 2 slot.  It saw some use to exploit Abilities with both “once-per-turn” and “only-while-Active” restrictions, and possible to eliminate problem attack clauses like “This Pokémon cannot attack on your next turn.” or “This Pokémon cannot use this attack next turn.” 

Darkrai EX (BW: Dark Explorers 63/108, 107/108; BW Promo BW46) and its Dark Cloak is usually a better deal: running a source of (D) Energy and a Pokémon-EX is usually less of a problem than running a Stage 2 Pokémon.  Dark Cloak zeroing out Retreat scores also makes Crushing Ice (the attack on this Vanilluxe) an abysmal attack. 

The lower Stages for this line aren’t going to help it but don’t hurt as much as they could: their Stats are poor but most Evolving Basic and Stage 1 Pokémon are this bad).  Vanilluxe (BW: Dark Explorers 33/108) might be worthwhile as a single if you can justify running today’s card in a deck, but that requires you have room for it. 

Unlimited: As usual, there is little reason to play this card in Unlimited.  The format doesn’t seem open enough for such a card, and instead the usual decks will continue to dominate even though they have been weakened by Computer Search becoming an Ace Spec. 

Modified: As usual, there is little reason to run a Stage 2 in Modified.  If Enefountain was an Ability this might have spawned a new archetype but attacking to attach Energy when that attack is on a Stage 2 Pokémon is too slow, and with the high probability of Vanilluxe not surviving more than a turn (when you do successfully Evolve) only come out one Energy attachment ahead for all that investment. 

Limited: As usual (thankfully this time), this card can really shine in Limited.  If you pull this line and you don’t get a big, Basic Pokémon worth running on its own with 39 Energy (give or take a few useful Trainers), you really should add this line.  The HP should last a while here unless your opponent was fortunate enough to pull and draw into the Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym combo or running into an already prepped attacker.  Even if you only use Enefountain to set-up, you should get a worthwhile return. 

If you can run enough Water Energy to hit with Blizzard, spread damage is extra useful in Limited where building on the Bench or hiding injured Pokémon on the Bench is standard operating procedure. 

Ratings 

Unlimited: 1.25/5 

Modified: 2/5 

Limited: 4.5/5 

Summary

Vanilluxe is actually a fairly well designed Pokémon; the format shouldn’t be so fast and hard hitting that this card can’t compete, but it is.  Not the best way to start of the week, though if you enjoy my rants about the game it certainly provided a good excuse.  Vanilluxe cannot accelerate Energy fast enough or hit hard enough to justify making room for or building a deck around this Stage 2 Pokémon.


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