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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

 Cobalion  

- Legendary Treasures

Date Reviewed:
November 21, 2013

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 3.40
Limited: 4.45

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:

Baby Mario
2010 UK National
Seniors
Champion

Cobalion (Legendary Treasures) 

Today’s card is a reprint of one of the Musketeer Trio from Noble Victories. The other two never left the format, thanks to ultra rare ‘shiny’ reprints, so I suppose it’s only fair that we get Cobalion back to join them. 

When it was legal, Cobalion appeared in a few decks as either a Weakness tech/specialist counter (Electrode Prime/Kyurem NVI) or alternative, non-EX attacker (Klinklang), and that seems to be his level really. Cobalion is a solid Pokémon with respectable HP, good Typing, and decent enough attacks. Energy Press punishes Pokémon which stack large amounts of Energy, while Iron Breaker can execute a (somewhat frail) attack lock. 

Cobalion isn’t a spectacular card, especially when measured against the dominant EX Pokémon, but he has enough qualities to be a useful card in some decks. That Typing is a key factor here: Fire is just not played much at the moment, while the popular Kyurem PLF is easily taken down with Energy Press. It might be worth noting that the new Fairy Type is also Weak to Metal Pokémon, so that could encourage Cobalion use in the future. 

I guess I’m glad to see this card return: he won’t be sweeping tournaments any time soon, but that doesn’t mean he can’t find a role. 

Rating 

Modified: 3 (like I said . . . solid)

Limited: 4 (big Basic with usable attacks)


Otaku

Today we look at the next to last runner up from our dual Top 5 lists, Cobalion (BW: Legendary Treasures 91/113).  This is a reprint of Cobalion (BW: Noble Victories 84/101, 100/101), first reviewed here.  So what makes it so special?

 

First and foremost, reprinting returned it to legality, which was a requirement for my own Top 5 Reprints list.  Second, this is a big, Basic Pokémon… always a good start in the Pokémon TCG.  Being a Metal-Type allows it to tap some support, and hit a few cards that are (were?) seeing competitive play for double damage.  120 HP is good; 10 under the max printed on Basic Pokémon that lack special gimmicks (like being a Pokémon-EX).  It doesn’t guarantee you’ll survive a hit, but most decks will need to invest quite a few cards to pull a OHKO off.

 

Fire Weakness is not the worst Weakness to have right now.  Yes, Fire Decks are getting a shot again and thanks to the popularity of Virizion EX and Genesect EX, hitting said Weakness will be quite rewarding.  I would expect to run into some Fire decks as people try to revive something old or invent something new thanks to the new rules.  I don’t expect most to succeed, at least with the current card pool.  Victini (BW: Noble Victories 15/101) is no longer part of the format, and that was one of the best, semi-splashable Fire attackers we had… which is good news for Cobalion and other Fire Weak Pokémon.

 

Cobalion enjoys not only Resistance, but one that might be relevant: Psychic!  We’ll have to see if Mewtwo EX keeps ascending towards its former glory, remains where it is at now, or begins to fall again… but at least until the next set I am expecting the next two.  This in turn means that reducing damage by 20 forces Mewtwo EX to score 140 points of damage (less Hypnotoxic Laser induced Poison damage, if applicable)… which is normally going to put Mewtwo EX into a dangerous place as loading it up with Energy has its own hassles.

 

To finish off the bottom Stats, the two Energy Retreat Cost is not good; most decks will be able to reduce it/bypass it, so it isn’t a deal breaker, but lower is obviously better (you then don’t have to rely on the other options) and it turns out that if this had a Retreat Cost of three or more, there are enough decks that use Heavy Ball that could also work in Cobalion.  So while not apparent when this card was first released, a Retreat Cost of two ended up being the worst option for it.

 

Now while the stats are solid, they aren’t enough to make this card worth playing.  When we first reviewed Cobalion, the attacks were solid; nothing great, but certainly not bad.  Since then, things have really improved for it.  The most recent change is that while the card requires (MC) or (MMC) to attack, the new first turn rules will give it more time to build up to said attacks, and the nerfing of Pokémon Catcher means it should be safe being powered up on the Bench.

 

Energy Press was already an attack worth using; with the pace slowed down even by just a single turn, this attack no longer needs to “rush”.  It also means single Energy attacks (that weren’t fun for Cobalion to face) also aren’t as impressive as they can no longer be used first turn.  Iron Breaker suffers because most decks are capable of either retreating for free or using an effect to change out Actives (either of which reset the effect), sometimes it will work and sometimes when it doesn’t, just forcing the change out will be beneficial (if not the damage).

 

So… what decks can use Cobalion?  The most obvious would be Klinklang [Plasma] decks; while said decks still are unproven (in recent times) and no longer can no longer run Klinklang (Black & White 76/114), the protection provided by Plasma Steel, the Ability of Klinklang (BW: Plasma Storm 90/135) is still a fantastic thing, and this gives them access once again to a non-Pokémon-EX big, Basic attacker worth using.  Otherwise, while the second attack is too Energy specific to be easily splashed into decks, we still have Prism Energy and Blend Energy WLFM to make it work well enough for decks already running those.  Unlike its “big brother” Cobalion EX, this card can also make excellent use out of both Silver Bangle and Silver Mirror.

 

For Unlimited play, the best you can likely accomplish is a “soft lock” with Iron Breaker, which will still require so many resources it compares poorly with generic beatdown decks let alone First Turn Win or other lock decks.  You just can’t shut down all the options here.  It is hard to tell how Energy efficient the Pokémon you encounter will be, and thanks to Focus Band you will probably need Tool Scrapper or Hypnotoxic Laser to score a OHKO even if Energy Press is hitting hard enough.

 

For Limited play, you might be able to risk this in a +39 build.  The downside is your opponent can try to build something good on the Bench, or just overwhelm your 120 HP before you can take four Prizes.  The good news is that both attacks are even more potent here – you often aren’t facing the most efficient Pokémon and average HP scores are lower, making both attacks more potent; the lack of alternatives to retreating and the cost of doing it manually will make Iron Breaker more useful… to the point its soft-lock prevents your opponent from finishing Cobalion before you take enough Prizes.  Unless you have so many fantastic pulls that you get a different big, Basic Pokémon better suited to a +39 deck or that allows you to build a Limited deck that can’t afford a few copies of Metal Energy, you should be running Cobalion.

 

Ratings

 

Unlimited: 1.25/5

 

Modified: 3.8/5

 

Limited: 4.9/5

 

Summary

Cobalion may be proving that absence makes the heart grow fonder; I didn’t think I would “miss” this card but as it might help revive Plasma Steel decks and it might benefit from the “slow down” forced by new rules more than many other previously successful big, Basic Pokémon, I think it should become a familiar site in the right decks… at least until the next set.


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