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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

 #8 Dragonite EX 

- Furious Fists Top 10

Date Reviewed:
Aug. 27, 2014

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3.75
Expanded: 3.67
Limited: 4.08

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

Baby Mario
2010 UK National
Seniors
Champion

#8 Dragonite EX 

A classic Generation I Pokémon, with a classic ex-era Ability makes its way into our countdown today. Yep, the quasi-Legendary Dragonite gets an EX card, and it’s about time too! Old school players will recognise that Dragonite’s Bust In Ability bears more than a passing resemblance to Zapdos ex’s Legendary Ascent. That card was very good back in the day, so Dragonite has a lot to live up to. 

Bust In is one of those ‘when you play this Pokémon from your hand’ Abilities which we don’t see much of any more – Jirachi EX is the only other one in the format. It allows you to move as many basic Energy as you like on to Dragonite when he hits the Field and then switch him to the active slot. Obviously, this can be great: provided the Energy is there, you get a fully powered up, undamaged EX to start battering your opponent with. There are less obvious benefits too, such as being able to get an unwanted active Pokémon to the Bench and moving Energy from damaged Pokémon before using Max Potion. 

There are however, a couple of factors that make me undecided on whether Dragonite can make the most of his Ability and become a top level card. First, there are the odd Energy requirements of Grass and Lightning, forcing you to run two Types. More important than that though is the slightly underpowered attack, Jet Sonic, which only does 80 damage, or 120 if you discard an Energy. It’s almost as if Dragonite rushes into battle in dramatic style, but just lacks the killer KO punch that would really make him special. Both Muscle Band and Laser/Virbank would be needed to get the job done on a 170 HP EX.

Nevertheless, I think this card is going to be played. The most likely partner is Virizion EX, which can use Emerald Slash to get Grass Energy on the Field, and set up Dragonite KOs with its 50 damage. The newly reprinted Super Scoop Up and the virtually forgotten ACE SPEC Scoop Up Cyclone might also have a role to play in allowing Dragonite to be re-used. 

Rating 

Modified: 3.5 (nice Ability, but can he back it up?)

Expanded: 3 (not sure I see a clear role for him here)

Limited: 4.5 (time to count out 39 Energy cards . . . )


aroramage

Welcome back to our Top 10 Furious Fists cards list! Today's card is extremely interesting, and perhaps in the right deck could bring about a major upset! So here is the OG Dragon-type from Gen I, now styled as an EX, Dragonite-EX!
 
So what is so interesting about Dragonite-EX that he's ranked #8 on the list? Well, he's got an Ability and an attack, and chances are you saw the Ability first: Bust In. Bust In lets Dragonite-EX take advantage of all the Energy you put out onto your field - by giving it to Dragonite-EX the moment he comes in play! It's rare to see a Pokemon come into play all decked out and ready to rumble right off the bat, and Dragonite-EX has the great potential to smash right through without hassle!
 
And of course no Pokemon-EX is complete without a nice attack like Jet Sonic! For 3 Energy, you deal 80 damage and get the option to discard 1 for an extra 40. So over the course of two turns, Dragonite-EX gets the benefit of dealing anywhere between 160-240 damage, a hefty amount for sure! And that's before things like Muscle Band and Hypno-Virbank combos! But there is a catch; as with most Dragon-types in the TCG, Dragonite-EX has a combination of Energies to work with, and Jet Sonic costs 2 Grass and 1 Electric.
 
Well that's not so bad; Grass Energy can be gathered with Virizion-EX's Emerald Slash attack easily, and the 1 Electric Energy can be covered with Rainbow Energy, right? Technically, yes, but because of Bust In's phrasing - that you can only reattach BASIC Energy with it - you're going to have to put Rainbow Energy on Dragonite-EX directly. Right at the moment, Electric doesn't have the crazy acceleration it had back in Eelektrik days, but I'd say Dragonite-EX has more potential in a Virizion/Genesect deck more than anything else.
 
On that note, I mentioned how Rainbow Energy wouldn't be reattachable for Bust In, so I think I should point out that the new Herbal Energy - which may see play in VirGen decks - simply can't be attached to Dragonite-EX at all, since it specifically designates that it can only attach itself to Grass types, so don't try using it to heal off damage on Dragonite-EX. Just a cautionary warning, seeing as Herbal Energy does provide Grass Energy.
 
Now when I first saw Dragonite-EX, I thought really highly of it, but seeing the awkward Energy costs pulled me back a bit. Looking back into it, Dragonite-EX does have an interesting combo to pull with itself and Max Potion; if your Active Dragonite-EX is hurting and about to take a dive, you can play another from your hand, reattach most of if not all of the Energies on the Active One to it, Max Potion on the Active, and then Switch/retreat with Float Stone/return the Active to your hand with Super Scoop Up to bring out a fresh Dragonite-EX raring to go! Not too shabby, huh?
 
Dragonite-EX is going to see play, that much I'm sure about. Probably in 2s, maybe more if he becomes a predominant heavy-hitter, which combined with Virizion-EX's Verdant Wind (which negates Special Conditions on Pokemon with Grass Energy attached) could very well be the case. He may look like a lot, he may not look so tough, but if you're not careful, Dragonite-EX will Bust In and take control of a match!
 
Rating
 
Standard: 4/5 (VirGen decks just got a Dragon to throw around, and that can be potentially devastating!)
 
Expanded: 4/5 (with a Fairy Weakness, I'd say he's a viable check to Rayquaza-EX decks, giving VirGen a strong strike against it and forcing Rayquaza-EX to use up 3 Energy to take it out as opposed to 2 - and sometimes 1 Energy can mean the difference between a win and a loss!)
 
Limited: 3/5 (better off as a +39 deck here, there's just not enough support for him in this one set alone to make him outmatch Lucario-EX)
 
Arora Notealus: I like how all the Dragonite-EX art has him "busting out" of the card, like he's actually busting into play! Not to mention it reminds me of Iris' Dragonite from the anime, with its tough-as-nails attitude - a nice touch!
 
Next Time: Behold, the glory of our arena!


Otaku

Welcome readers as we continue with our latest Top 10 list: the Top 10 Promising Picks of XY: Furious Fists!  Of course, that’s just the name I am using; I don’t think we have an “official” one for it.  The reviewers compiled their own separate lists, and Pojo crunched the numbers to determine the site list.  As these cards aren’t technically legal for competitive play under NXD-On Modified (the current Standard Format), I’ll be using this list as the official transition point and scores will be for Standard (BCR-On), Expanded (BW-On) and Limited. 

The seventh most promising pick of XY: Furious Fists is Dragonite-EX (XY: Furious Fists 74/111, 108/111).  It is a Dragon-Type, allowing it to tap the remaining Dragon-Type support - Altaria (BW: Dragons Exalted 84/124; BW Promos BW48; BW: Boundaries Crossed 152/149) to boost its damage output.  It was just on the PTCGO, but I’ve actually already encountered a deck doing just that!  In terms of Weakness it can hit older Dragon-Types nice and hard, but nothing else (all the Dragon-Types for the XY-sets are Fairy Weak).  Being a Basic Type is still the best, though Evolutions have a little bit of support exclusive to them and of course, Pyroar (BW: Flashfire 20/106) can be a major issue for a deck unprepared to face it.  Being a Pokémon-EX is technically only a drawback; Dragonite-EX will give up an extra Prize when KOed, can’t use certain pieces of support and faces certain counter cards just for being a Pokémon-EX.  There are benefits, but they aren’t hardwired into the game (and are absent on some Pokémon-EX); this is why Dragonite-EX isn’t an Evolution and likely why it has the HP, Ability and attack printed on it. 

The HP is obviously good; 180 isn’t immune to OHKOs, but its usually something a deck struggles to take down in one shot, either needing a lot of resources, a near perfect set-up, to strike Weakness, or some combination of the above.  No Basic Pokémon-EX has more and (since we are dealing with BCR-On) the only cards with more printed maximum HP are Mega Evolutions (though some others can top that with the right card effects).  Fairy Weakness is not good, though its not one of the top ones to be concerned about.  So far only Fairy-Type decks have significant Fairy-Type attackers, with Xerneas (XY 96/146; Blackstar Promo XY05) and Xerneas-EX that hit hard enough without outside help to really matter.  The lack of Resistance is disappointing; Resistance is only good for -20 points of damage (which pales in comparison to damage doubling Weakness).  In the TCG Dragonite are Dragon/Flying hybrids so they are Immune to Ground-Type attacks, take half damage from Fighting, Bug, Fire and Water-Types, and only a quarter damage from Grass-Types!  TCG Grass or Fire Resistance would have caused no mismatches, and Fighting would only have been incorrect for the TCG Fighting-Types are are video game Rock-Types (Rock-Type attacks actually score double damage against video game Dragonite). 

Dragonite-EX has a Retreat Cost of [CCC]; you don’t want to pay this and will need to pack some alternative options, though with the need to quickly change out attackers, shake Special Conditions, etc. you probably would have needed to do that anyway.  In Expanded, this does make Dragonite-EX a legal Heavy Ball target.  The Ability is the main reason to run this card, so let us look at the attack first both because it will need its own paragraph, while this one is still running a bit short.  For [GGL] Dragonite-EX can attack with Jet Sonic (Don’t give Sega ideas!); this is good for 80 points of damage, with an additional 40 if you discard an Energy attached to Dragonite-EX.  Normally three for 80 would be just a bit weak, and three plus a discard for 120 solid, but all three are specific Energy requirements, and its split between two basic Energy Types.  Throw in the Pokémon-EX angle, and its definitely underwhelming. 

So solid stats but a nerfed attack; the Ability will make or break this card.  Bust In can only be used when you play Dragonite-EX to the Bench from hand (and of course not during set-up).  If you use Bust In, you may move any number of basic Energy cards from your Pokémon (that is a plural Pokémon) to Dragonite-EX… and if you do then you have to promote Dragonite-EX as your new Active (Benching the former Active unless for some reason this would KO it).  This is an improved version of the Ability seen on a few different cards and its actually fairly potent.  Less so in a OHKO focused format, but if you don’t OHKO Dragonite-EX, you can expect your opponent to play another one (and their deck will be built to try and ensure they always have another one) to change out and hit you with a fresh one.  Not affecting Special Energy probably helps to balance out the card and isn’t as bad as it might sound; while moving Rainbow Energy around is a good way to get around the damage counter it places, basic Energy cards are the ones with Item support like Professor’s Letter and Energy Retrieval.  Still it is a drawback, though you can always just manually attach a Rainbow Energy.  Bit annoying for Expanded that you can’t make good use of either Blend Energy (Grass and Lighting are on opposite cards), but you can still use Prism Energy. 

So the attack cost/damage output of Jet Sonic become a lot more manageable with Bust In, and the Retreat Cost is also easier to handle.  Virizion-EX is a likely partner; Poison is a pretty common component to OHKOs that can take down a 180 HP Pokémon and as Dragonite-EX needs to sources of it attached to attack anyway, its a no-brainer to protect it via Verdant Wind.  Emerald Slash can be a decent early game attack as well; obviously not on your first turn but if you get at least two hits off, you can pull ahead on Energy attachments and if you time it right, you don’t even need that many as you can use Bust In to move those two Energy to a Dragonite-EX.  Bust-In means you also can Emerald Slash to something other than Dragonite-EX but still ultimately power up Dragonite-EX. 

As long as you’re avoiding giving up Prizes and your opponent isn’t running something that also requires OHKOs to take down or able to hide behind Intimidating Mane or Safeguard, you have decent odds of pulling ahead.  Still it is probably better to augment the combo further.  Super Scoop Up was reprinted in XY: Furious Fists, so while it requires a coin flip to use, its pretty potent when you bounce an injured whatever back to hand after having moved its Energy to your next attacker.  A guaranteed version of this trick is Scoop Up Cyclone, but that will cost you your Ace Spec slot.  If you aren’t worried about using Boost In more than once per Dragonite-EX, Max Potion can heal off the damage and hey, if you aren’t discarding to boost the damage of Jet Sonic (or had enough of a build up in Energy) you’ll have a chance to manually power-up whatever you just healed. 

Boosting damage is probably a good idea, however; general options like Muscle Band and Hypnotoxic Laser/Virbank City Gym are definitely worth running, but as mentioned before I was caught off guard when I slammed into one of these decks running Altaria.  It still takes quite the set-up to get into OHKO range of Pokémon-EX, but the format isn’t just Pokémon-EX now, and even in that case if your opponent can’t take down Altaria while also striking Dragonite-EX… you’re probably better off since an attack at -20 points of damage usually beats no such attack at all.  You’ll need an Evolution or an attacker that bypasses effects on the Defending Pokémon to deal with Intimidating Mane and Safeguard, and you’ll need to work extra hard if Abilities are shut down.  Nothing Expanded adds in other than Prism Energy and Heavy Ball strike me as improving Dragonite-EX, though if the older decks bring some of the older Dragon-Types back to the fore, it may be beneficial as they are easier OHKOs for Dragonite-EX (except that things like Rayquaza-EX are prone to OHKOing targets). 

In Limited, you can try to work it into a regular deck or go with the +39 route; the latter is a bit risky even though you’re probably scoring OHKOs as the build time leaves you open to being overwhelmed before then.  In all three cases, remember that anything that can meet the [GGL] Energy cost without being overly reliant on Special Energy wants to run Dragonite-EX if it can make room and doesn’t shut down Abilities.  A TecH copy can be quite the nasty surprise! 

Ratings 

Standard: 3.75/5 - This is a card you have adequate reason to attempt to build a competitive deck around, but the strategy is overall fairly luck dependent as a good KO can mess up the Energy flow.  It also earns a small bonus as a few decks can include it as TecH, instead of being the main attacker. 

Expanded: 3.75/5 - It gains Heavy Ball and for better or worse, likely a few more Dragon Weak Dragon-Types to clash with… but that happen to be used for OHKO decks.  In the end, I am thinking things will even out for it. 

Limited: 4.75/5 - Only skip it if you truly can’t accommodate the Energy, or are running a different big Basic Pokémon in a +39 (one Basic Pokémon and 39 other cards) build. 

Summary: It is hard not to let nostalgia blind me to the hurdles this card faces, but at the same time the tactic of shifting Energy onto a spare copy of the attacker, even if the attacker is a little underwhelming, has proven competitive before.  I think it should at least be one of those lower level competitive decks, and could be quite high up, with coin flips in either case making it a bit volatile and prone to over- or underperforming. 


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