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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Giratina  

- Plasma Storm

Date Reviewed:
March 7, 2013

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 2.85
Limited: 4.12

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

Giratina (Plasma Storm) 

I think (and I fully admit I haven’t checked) that Giratina is the first non-Unova Legendary to get the post-Black and White Legendary treatment. You know the score: 130 HP on a non-EX Basic and a couple of substantial attacks. When Zekrom, Reshiram and company were first released they seemed massively overpowered and were very successful. Now you occasionally see a tech Terrakion or Zekrom but in the main they have been outclassed by the EX Pokémon. Will Giratina get a time to shine or is it a day late and a dollar short? Let’s find out. 

As previously mentioned, Giratina is a Basic Pokémon with a generous 130 HP. Sadly, that’s no guarantee of durability with Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym in the format, but it’s still pretty good. Giratina is a Team Plasma Pokémon, so it can benefit from Energy acceleration via Colress Machine, but it isn’t the best Pokémon to use with that combo. On the minus side, the retreat cost of three is a pain and the Weakness to Dark just about the worst possible . . . yes, Darkrai-EX is still very much a thing. 

Giratina’s first attack, Hex, costs a pretty heavy one Psychic and two Colourless Energy (at least you can use Double Colourless). For that you get a very ordinary 50 base damage, but if the Defending Pokémon is affected by a Special Condition, that damage is upped by another 50. The obvious combo here is Hypnotoxic Laser (and Virbank Gym) which will result in a total of 130 damage for the cost of three Energy. That’s actually very good value, but it’s not exactly the quickest or most efficient attack and won’t one-shot an EX Pokémon either. Add another Psychic Energy to the cost and you can use Shadow Claw, which does 90 damage and discards a random card from the opponent’s hand. Personally, I think this is the lesser attack, relying on luck to hit a key discard and being very expensive in relation to the damage. 

Like most, if not all, of the cards we are looking at this week, Giratina isn’t exactly bad. It’s a solid card with decent attacks that can be used in combination with other cards to good effect (Lasers for more damage, even Gardevoir NEX for Energy acceleration). It just isn’t quite strong enough to really find a niche in competitive play though, especially with that Darkness Weakness. I guess one option would be to use Plasma Frigate, but then we are approaching the point of including an awful lot of cards to support a Pokémon with fairly ordinary attacks. Right now, I don’t believe it would be worth it. 

Rating 

Modified: 2.5 (flirts with playability, but doesn’t go all the way)

Limited: 3.75 (high HP and solid attacks make it a good choice, despite the lack of speed)

virusyosh

Hello once again, Pojo viewers! I hope you are all getting ready for the upcoming State and Provincial Championships starting the weekend, so hopefully you all have your decks in order! Today we're reviewing a new Basic Pokemon from Plasma Storm with some interesting attacks. Today's Card of the Day is Giratina.

Giratina is a Basic Psychic Team Plasma Pokemon. The most common Psychic-type in Modified right now is Mewtwo-EX, so Giratina will have to fill a niche (or displace Mewtwo) in order to see Modified play. As a Team Plasma Pokemon, Giratina gets support from the likes of Colress Machine and can be discarded by Team Rocket Grunt (as well as getting the support of other cards that aren't currently released yet). 130 HP is excellent for a non-EX Basic, meaning that Giratina can take at least one large unboosted hit before going down. Darkness Weakness is very bad right now against the likes of Darkrai, who will easily OHKO with a Night Spear. Giratina also has no Resistance and a Retreat Cost of 3, meaning that you should probably use a Switch or Escape Rope to get it out of the Active spot.

This Renegade Pokemon has two attacks, Hex and Shadow Claw. Hex starts off at 50 damage but does 50 more if the opponent is affected by a Special Condition for a Psychic and two Colorless. A potential 100 damage for three Energy is just about right for the cost in this format, and inflicting the opponent with a Special Condition is now incredibly simple with Hypnotoxic Laser. Combined with Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym, Hex will ultimately result in 130 damage dealt to the opponent, which is fairly strong. Of course, if you don't have a Hypnotoxic Laser handy, this attack becomes a very expensive 50 damage, so be sure to plan accordingly.

Shadow Claw is Giratina's second attack, dealing 90 damage and forcing a random discard from your opponent's hand for four Energy (two Psychic, two Colorless). Random discard is a very rare (and significant) effect in the Pokemon TCG, and the fact that Giratina can repeat it without drawback is quite powerful. Of course, 90 damage for four Energy is still a tad expensive in today's metagame (where that amount on other Pokemon will likely get you well over 100), so once again, be sure to know what you're up against when fighting with Giratina in Modified.

Modified: 2.5/5 Giratina, much like Lucario yesterday, has potential in Modified, but also has some major hurdles to overcome to fulfill that potential. Both Hex and Shadow Claw are decent to very good in a vacuum, but the current format causes some problems. First, Darkrai-EX is everywhere, meaning that obliterating Giratina with a Night Spear won't be all that hard for an opponent. Plasma Frigate and Plasma Energy can help mitigate this somewhat, but as most Darkrai variants are running Enhanced Hammer now, it's only a temporary solution. Second, Giratina's attacks are fairly slow by Modified standards, and there aren't very many good Psychic accelerators available right now. That being said, I can still see Giratina being played in Team Plasma decks later this year with the release of more Plasma sets, as well as being a key player in a rogue deck or two due to its relatively good stats and unpredictable attacks.

Limited: 4.5/5 Giratina is a big Basic that can deal lots of damage, and gets Team Plasma support to boot. If you manage to pull a few Hypnotoxic Lasers and Colress Machines, even better. Giratina's main downside is that both attacks are very expensive, but given the potential payoff, it's still very much worth running if you are running any Psychic Energy (and is probably worth splashing for, too).

Combos With: Hypnotoxic Laser

Otaku

If you are reading this, I forgot to write an introduction.

 

Stats

 

Miscellaneous: Giratina is a Team Plasma Pokémon, allowing it to tap the support they have available, which isn’t as much as I would like but should grow with the next set or two released outside of Japan.  Although we don’t have a “plain” Giratina available in Modified right now, as we have had Giratina EX (BW: Dragons Exalted 92/124, 124/124) and that has received some noteworthy play, I will still address the card as Giratina [Plasma] to help distinguish it.

 

Type: Giratina [Plasma] is a Psychic-Type Pokémon; Psychic is one of the few TCG Types that currently has true Type Support.  Unfortunately that support, Gardevoir (BW: Next Destinies 57/99; BW: Dark Explorers 109/108) has had a hard time getting into the competitive scene.  Shortly before BW: Plasma Storm released, a deck using it managed to place reasonably high in a competitive event, but I haven’t heard anything out of it since then.

 

The Psychic-Type sees a lot of Weakness and Resistance, but it is mostly in the form of two cards: Mewtwo EX (BW: Next Destinies 54/99, 98/99; BW Promo BW45) and Darkrai EX (BW: Dark Explorers 63/108, 107/108; BW Promo BW46), respectively.  The combination has chased off most other Psychic Weak Pokémon, because a significant chunk of those are Psychic-Types themselves.  Hitting Mewtwo EX for double damage is always a good thing, though.

 

There is one other likely source of Resistance, but it is unsure if it will be a lasting presence; Plasma Steel decks built around Klinklang (BW: Plasma Storm 90/135) are looking to be pretty popular for at least a few weeks of competitive tournament play, and are the kind of deck that loves it when you forget about it so they will never truly “go away”.  These decks are almost always pure Metal-Type decks and almost all Metal-Type Pokémon in the Black & White-era are Psychic Resistant.

 

For the record, the same can be said of most Darkness-Type Pokémon as well; they also are mostly Psychic Resistant.  Fortunately Weakness functions in a manner that it easily outweighs Resistance on a one-to-one basis, and Psychic Resistance isn’t common enough to make up for that even when it is a mainstay of two different Types.  It also helps that besides Plasma Steel decks you will rarely find a deck where everything is Psychic Resistant and thus it can be played around to some degree.

 

I will note that Giratina in the video games are Ghost/Dragon-Type hybrids, and I still believe the game can handle and is long overdue for the return of “dual-Type” Pokémon in the TCG.  The only slightly plausible excuse is that several other new or revised mechanics have been implemented, but frankly this probably should have been part of the game since the beginning, or close to it.  A Dragon-Type Giratina [Plasma] would be nice, but I doubt they would have allowed it to resemble the rest of this card.

 

Stage: As a Basic Pokémon, Giratina [Plasma] enjoys a format where Basic Pokémon are clearly dominant and even get a few pieces of support just for themselves, like Eviolite and Prism Energy.  This is in addition to the natural benefits Basic Pokémon enjoy over Evolutions: they are both faster and easier to get into play while requiring less space to run in your deck.  There are even incidental side effects of those attributes, such search effects naturally working better for Basic Pokémon; you find one card and you’re done.

 

Hit Points: Giratina [Plasma] enjoys 130 HP, the maximum printed on a Basic Pokémon without it being balanced out by a detrimental gimmick, such as being a Pokémon-EX: remember Pokémon-EX are worth two Prizes so technically it is a “bad” thing.  The video game version of Giratina (Altered forme, as depicted in the card’s art) enjoys significantly above average HP and above average Defense and Special Defense, so I would say this Pokémon definitely deserves such an HP score.

 

You have good odds of surviving one attack from your opponent, “good” being a relative term.  Right now the format has a few decks that can OHKO anything in the game, so obviously you are no better off there; at best you force them to burn more resources then normal.  Thanks to the Hypnotoxic Laser/Virbank City Gym combo, Giratina [Plasma] is never really safe from most competitive decks; it might require a large combo but a OHKO can still be executed.

 

Weakness: Darkness Weakness is not good, but it is far from the worst to have right now.  The only strong and regularly used Darkness-Type attacker is Darkrai EX; it no longer has to rely on combos for a OHKO which is to its benefit but this is far better than being vulnerable to a Type that (for example) excels at OHKOs.  Due to the Pokémon-Types that make up the TCG Psychic-Type and the decision to make the Pokémon that are also Psychic-Types in the video games “Weak” to each other instead of “Resistant”, being a Psychic-Type that isn’t Psychic Weak is uncommon and fairly handy in and of itself.

 

The Ghost/Dragon-Type combination results in only four video game Weaknesses, all at the standard damage doubling level: Ghost, Dragon, Ice, and Darkness.  Ghost and Ice are part of the Psychic- and Water-Types in the TCG, respectively, and at least one other component of each of those is Resisted by this combination, so only Dragon Weakness would have also been appropriate.  It would have been better for Giratina [Plasma] but only by a little, and at least for now I suspect that Weakness to Dragon-Types in the TCG is being reserved for cards actually printed as Dragon-Types.

 

Resistance: Giratina [Plasma] has no Resistance, and again it doesn’t really harm the card as lacking Resistance has become the default and the nature of the Resistance mechanic is no where near as game-changing as Weakness, but it also comes from a card with several plausible options.

 

In the video games, Giratina are completely immune (that is, take no damage from) Normal- and Fighting-Type attacks.  It should take only half damage from Poison-, Bug-, Fire-, Water-, Grass-, and Electric-Type moves.  Comparing this with TCG Types, I understand skipping out on Colorless Resistance; that is Normal plus Flying and besides that being a contradiction, the designers phased Colorless Weakness and Resistance out of the game.

 

Psychic Resistance would clash too badly; Giratina are only immune Poison-Types, takes normal damage from true Psychic-Types, and should take double damage from Ghost-Types (all that make up the TCG Psychic-Type).  Almost as bad would be Water Resistance, as the TCG Water-Type includes the video game Ice-Type, which hits for double damage in the video games.

 

That still leaves the TCG Grass-Type (Grass and Bug), Fire-Type (same in both), and Lightning-Type (Electric Type) as complete matches; the last of those would be the most useful, but any would be an improvement and given that Resistance is only somewhat useful it shouldn’t “ruin” the chances of Grass- and Fire-Type Pokémon to find a place in the format.

 

Retreat: A Retreat cost of three is definitely too big to manually pay in all but a few decks; you would need to both have the Energy attached and be able to spare it and that  is quite, quite rare.  Definitely pair this card with alternatives to manually retreating, which most decks would want anyway given the popularity of Hypnotoxic Laser with Virbank City Gym.  There is a definite upside to this stat as it makes Giratina [Plasma] a legal Heavy Ball target.

 

It seems a bit odd that it has such a score, given that it has a good Speed Base Stat in the video games, but as it wasn’t high enough to completely justify a single Energy Retreat cost and two is functionally worse than three right now, I’ll take being big and able to access Heavy Ball.

 

Effects

 

Attack#1: Hex requires (PCC) and only hits for 50, unless the Defending Pokémon is afflicted by at least one Special Condition, in which case it hits for an additional 50 and thus 100 total points of base damage.  50 is awful for this price, and 100 is a little on the good side.  Obviously if you have a deck that can almost always guarantee a Special Condition, you will get a good return; if not it is terrible.

 

Attack#2: Shadow Claw requires (PPCC) and hits for 90 points of damage while discarding a random card from your opponent’s hand.  I cannot justify spending four Energy for less than 100 points of damage, at least on its own.  If you can regularly trash your opponent’s hand and have some tricks to boost damage, you might have a nifty trick.

 

The investment going into this attack means you’ll need to strip your opponent’s hand to as little as possible so that the average deck requires a lucky top-deck to mount anything beyond the most simplistic and basic of counterattacks, and even that will require boosting the damage as 90 per turn (for this price) won’t leave you enough time to recover from a probable deficit and build up a new lead.  So again, you will need to both find a good way to boost your damage output and control your opponent’s hand size.

 

Synergy: The good news is that the attack costs have some basic synergy; obviously the first attack needs just one less Energy so it becomes available one turn sooner, and both can make use of all Energy acceleration except Dark Patch (though only some of it works well).  This is due to both attacks having (CC) as at least half of the Energy requirement.

 

Unfortunately even with acceleration, it will take some good combos to get Hex hitting first turn, and some extreme, complicated and/or expensive combos to pull off an opening Shadow Claw.  While not a requirement, an opening assault is important for many decks.  Things don’t get much better as the game progresses; again Hex takes some doing but you can probably set it up in a single turn if you’ve got some acceleration, but Shadow Claw probably won’t be worth the effort.

 

I will add that I am pleased both of these attacks are same-name adaptations of attacks from the video games.  Hex is pretty faithful while Shadow Claw is a reinvention; in the video games Hex also hits harder if the Defending Pokémon is afflicted with a major Status condition but Shadow Claw is just a Darkness-Type version of “Slash”; having a high chance of scoring a critical hit.

 

Usage

 

Card Family: Currently there is only one legal Giratina: this one!  This isn’t even a “plain” version, so hopefully we will see another soon.  In fact, this is a Pokémon with two “formes” in the video games: Altered and Origin.  Today’s version is the “Altered” forme, which is actually the default to my understanding (you must use an item to get a Giratina in its Origin forme).

 

Unlimited: This is a format built around first turn win decks, or at least it was the last time I could afford to pursue it and I haven’t seen anything that should have changed that significantly.  Giratina [Plasma] doesn’t help that.  You could build a deck around it, but I believe there are better cards for exploiting Special Conditions or discarding cards from an opponent’s hand, so even “for fun” options are much more limited.

 

Modified: Hypnotoxic Laser should make it fairly easy to trigger the effect clause of Hex, and Virbank City Gym can be added to bump up the Poison damage: the combo would result in an effective 130 damage by the time of your opponents turn, or 230 if the Defending Pokémon is Weak or 110 if the Defending Pokémon is Resistant.  This can OHKO any non-Resistant Basic Pokémon that lacks protection (and isn’t able to exceed the HP cap, like Pokémon-EX), and should 2HKO anything barring some sort of protection.

 

Shadow Claw can fortunately use the same combo to up its damage, though it also needs to be supported by other disruption if it is meant to be used; you’ll do 10 less points of damage with Shadow Claw than you would with Hex since we are explicitly combining it with Poison, a Special Condition that triggers the bonus damage of Hex.  A random discard from hand isn’t going to be worth the effort of powering a four Energy attack.

 

In the case of either attack, an added bonus is that (as we are already relying on Hypnotoxic Laser/Virbank City Gym) opposing Pokémon will suffer unless they shake it or heal damage; pushing through means two more rounds of Poison triggering, or an extra 60 points of damage.  Most decks can shake it, but it is still good to know; you can try to target whatever they are relying on to deal with Special Conditions!

 

Despite being pleased with potential performance, I believe it may be a little too soon for this card; it needs the rest of the Team Plasma support.  With it, several Team Plasma decks can consider it as a decent, Basic Pokémon attacker (that isn’t a Pokémon-EX).  Without it, the main use I can come up with for this card is in decks built around Ninetales (BW: Dragons Exalted 19/124).  While not a perfect Energy match, both can use Blend Energy GRPD and Ninetales only has a single (R) Energy requirement in its attack.  It also hits harder based on Special Conditions, plus its Ability provides a Pokémon Catcher­-like effect.

 

Limited: As a big, Basic Pokémon this becomes a high priority to run.  Your deck has to be able to fit at least a few Psychic Energy cards in, and if you have no possible source of Special Conditions it would be better to fit in several Psychic Energy cards so you can rely on Shadow Claw.  Few opposing Pokémon will be able to match your HP score and in Limited it is easy for good, important cards to be stuck in hand for several turns.

 

In terms of Type matching you’ll have some good odds for hitting Weakness while few decks will have a worthwhile attacker to hit your own; this set has quite a few Psychic-Type Pokémon and very few Darkness-Types.  Several of those Psychic-Type Pokémon aren’t Psychic Weak, but they can still fill out a deck and you should be able to run at least a good dual-Type deck.  Giratina [Plasma] doesn’t have enough HP (or fast enough offensive might) to pull off the “Basic Pokémon + 39 Energy” trick.

 

Ratings

 

Unlimited: 1.5/5

 

Modified: 3.25/5

 

Limited: 4.5/5

 

 

Summary

Giratina [Plasma] does a lot of stuff right, but a few pieces are troubling.  In the correct deck I believe it could do quite well in Modified, I am just uncertain if we have that deck available yet and the competition is already so fierce, hence its rather average looking score.


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