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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Terrakion  

- Legendary Treasures

Date Reviewed:
November 25, 2013

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 3.50
Limited: 3.75

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

Terrakion (Legendary Treasures) 

Hello and welcome to a short week of reviews on Pojo’s CotD. This is because of the US holiday dedicated to turkey eating and discount shopping (that is my understanding anyway). Sounds fun. We kick off with Terrakion which is the second reprint of the card we first saw in Noble Victories. During all that time it has always been present as a threat to varying degrees, and this is almost exclusively down to the Retaliate attack and the fact that Terrakion has excellent Typing. 

This is because Retaliate allows Terrakion to hit 90 damage for the relatively cheap cost of two Energy, on the condition that one of your Pokémon has been KO’d the previous turn. Of course 90 won’t take down an EX by itself, but fortunately there have been enough Fighting-Weak Pokémon in competitive play to make Terrakion a worthwhile play: think of Darkrai EX, Zekrom BLW, Raikou EX, or Bouffalant DRX for example. At one point there was even a successful Quad Terrakion deck that had a great match up against the dominant Darkrai and Eelektrik decks of its time. 

Those days are gone, but Terrakion still has a niche to fill as to obvious go-to card for coping with Darkrai. It’s not too difficult to fit into decks that can find the room for a couple of Fighting Energy (or make use of Blend WFLM or Prism), and it has arguably been strengthened by the Catcher errata and the return of Energy Switch, both of which make it more difficult to launch a pre-emptive strike against Terrakion. On the other hand, decks that can take KOs by other methods than attack damage (Hypnotoxic Laser or moving counters with Dusknoir for example) can dodge Retaliate pretty effectively and Terrakion remains somewhat clumsy thanks to its big Retreat cost and need for two Energy attachments. 

Nevertheless, very solid HP, great Typing, and the potential to do some serious damage while only giving up one Prize when it’s KO’d all mean that Terrakion still has a role to play. It’s still the best tech we have for hitting Fighting Weakness, and Fighting-Weak Pokémon seem to be as popular as ever. 

Rating 

Modified: 3.5 (still the best answer to Darkrai – yes, better than Landorus EX)

Limited: 4 (big Basic that will survive most attacks and can do some damage) 


Otaku

Welcome to a sort-of-holiday themed short week.  In the United States it is the week of Thanksgiving, a holiday that is all about appreciating what you have… too bad we are so shallow it now appears to be all about Black Friday Eve.  I am glad that stores are now starting their Black Friday Stuff before Thanksgiving; I just wish they would still take the day off.  I suggested the cards for this week based on flimsy holiday themes plus the general idea that these cards should be grateful that between rotation and rule changes these cards once again have a shot at the big time. 

We begin this week with roast beef or a pseudo-reindeer… I said the holiday imagery was flimsy!  Terrakion (BW: Legendary Treasures 84/113) was first printed as BW: Noble Victories 73/101 and 99/101, then reprinted for the first time as the secret rare BW: Boundaries Crossed 151/149.  Pojo has reviewed it twice: here and here.  Why look at it for a third time? 

As you should be able to see in the scan above all the reviews, the artwork of the re-release is timely; it depicts a Terrakion in the falling snow, in a setting where the ground is not yet completely covered.  The featured Terrakion even looks to be enjoying the snow; in North America that’s going to be seasonal until March due to various holidays, which are usually joyous and snowy (said snow does not apply to the entire continent).  Being festive won’t justify playing Terrakion competitively, but it helps to catch the eye (plus a few players will play it even at tournaments because they are all about winning or losing while sticking to a “theme” or “story” for their deck). 

A lot of what this card once had going for it never left or has returned.  Being a Fighting-Type never stopped being a good thing; most Colorless-, Darkness-, and Lightning-Type Pokémon are still Weak and thus will take double damage, though we still lack worthwhile Fighting-Type support.  You will have to deal with the running into Resistance, but it is still a significant net gain.  Being a basic Pokémon is still the best, even after all the recent changes, and is not only as good as we have seen printed for “regular” Basic Pokémon, but enough that the card is not an easy OHKO. 

Grass Weakness is an exception, as it is now a risky thing with Virizion EX and Genesect EX on the prowl; the latter wouldn’t even need G Booster for the OHKO.  The lack of Resistance still means little, and the massive four Energy Retreat Cost is more relevant to most decks in that it makes Terrakion a legal target for Heavy Ball as few decks will lack a means of zeroing out the Retreat Cost or bypassing it (and manually retreating) entirely. 

The second attack, Land Crush, is still unlikely to see a lot of use; if however you can’t get the bonus damage from Retaliate and can afford the Energy cost of (FFC) you’ll average a 2HKO for most Pokémon-EX.  A few may take longer due to Resistance or combos and any that are Fighting Weak become a guaranteed OHKO!  Most of the time you should be using Retaliate, which for (FC) does 30 points of damage plus another 60 if your opponent KOed one of your Pokémon via damage from an attack on the previous turn. 

While Hypnotoxic Laser can help bypass Retaliate, we now have the means to block Hypnotoxic Laser: Virizion EX.  A mixed blessing for Terrakion is the erratum to Pokémon Catcher; a Benched Terrakion is no longer an easy target for force out prematurely, but it also makes it harder to score OHKOs via Type-matching.  The new first turn rule benefits Terrakion; while Ether or complicated Team Plasma Badge shenanigans could get the Energy for Retaliate ready first turn, without the effect you aren’t hitting hard enough to make it worthwhile (and Land Crush would require two very lucky shots of Ether).  Instead you can now leave it up front to soak a weak early game hit and either turn it into a sacrificial play or Bench it for a different Active; unless your opponent has spread or bonus sniping damage, it will be hard to justify the effort to finish off a  Benched Terrakion that isn’t also Prize number six. 

Terrakion first became famous a few months after baby_mario first reviewed it, when it popularized the “Quad” deck formula (four of the same Pokémon as the bulk of or only Pokémon in the deck).  I do not think Quad Terrakion decks will make a return; playing it straight would leave room for damage boosting cards like Silver Bangle and/or Hypnotoxic Laser with Virbank City Gym, but those still won’t OHKO non-Fighting Weak Pokémon-EX.  Adding support from cards like Mr. Mime (BW: Plasma Freeze 47/116) and Virizion EX is a possibility, but you’re still going to need some luck and/or Type-matching to secure a win. 

With all the Energy acceleration still available, including the return of Energy Switch, running a “surprise” Terrakion just requires having a source of (F) Energy plus one of any other Energy.  Decks that already run basic Fighting Energy may not be common, but between that, Blend Energy WLFM and/or Prism Energy there are a few established options and others making their debut or attempting a comeback.  Right now I don’t know of any Fighting Weak decks to replace Eelektrik (BW: Noble Victories 40/101) decks, but Darkrai EX is still a major presence and thus potential major score.  One of the previous scourges of the Fighting Weak, Landorus EX, is badly hurt by the new rule changes (and probable increase of Mr. Mime TecH), which may open up a niche as the new-old (or is that old-new) go-to Fighting-Type. 

For Unlimited play, the card is not bad but it isn’t really good.  It won’t help secure a First Turn Win or set-up a lock, and there are plenty of card that can use the same resources to deliver a solid, surprise hit.  Its main strength would be that 130 HP isn’t easy for a deck like Sabledonk to score a FTKO again now that it has to rely solely on spamming Flash Bite from Crobat [G] and maybe a Hypnotoxic Laser with Virbank City Gym to do the total 130 points of damage.  It definitely can still happen; the deck can spam Flash Bite enough to do it without anything else, but cards being Prized or draw/search/recursion cards improperly flowing give Terrakion a chance to survive; its just there are other, better options. 

For Limited play, I encourage running this card unless you’re going for a +39 deck.  You won’t get a “good” hit in until your third turn which could be the fifth or sixth overall turn of the game; nothing else to be KOed means Retaliate is just a two for 30 attack.  Even if you score a OHKO your second and third turns, it will take serious luck to win before your opponent can overwhelm that 130 HP.  I doubt even a second big, Basic partner would help… but if you pull enough you can build a real (though light) deck, and any “real” Limited deck that can run at least three or four Fighting Energy will find Terrakion pretty amazing; hitting Fighting Weakness is usually huge due to the popularity of Colorless Pokémon!

Ratings 

Unlimited: 1.5/5 

Modified: 3.5/5 

Limited: 3.5/5 

Summary

Terrakion does not look like it can reclaim its place as the focus of a top deck, but it does look like it could become one of if not the top Fighting-Type attacker again, returning to its place of “surprise supporting attacker”.


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