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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

 Team Flare Grunt  

- XY

Date Reviewed:
February 26, 2014

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 3.0
Limited: 4.5

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

Team Flare Grunt 

Back in the early days of Pokémon, Energy removal was such a dominant strategy that it made any attack that cost more than two Energy virtually unusable. Since then, Pokémon has been understandably wary of cards that do this, meaning that they normally come with some kind of heavy restriction such as a tails-fails coin flip (Crushing Hammer, Dragonite DRV) or being limited to Special Energy only (Enhanced Hammer, Cobalion EX).

Team Flare Grunt is an Energy removal card that doesn’t have those particular restrictions (it can discard any kind of Energy without a flip), but it does come with its own set of pretty important drawbacks. 

For a start, it’s a Supporter. This is a big problem in itself because we are so heavily dependent on Supporters just to draw cards and keep decks flowing. Taking a turn without draw in order to discard an Energy means this card has a huge opportunity cost, making it difficult to use under most circumstances. Also Team Flare Grunt only lets you discard from your opponent’s Active Pokémon. While this may be something you want to do anyway, it does make the card a lot less useful. For example, if you are able to KO their active, you are going to be a lot more interested in removing Energy from an attacker they are preparing on the Bench. 

My first thought with Team Flare Grunt was that if we ever got some decent non-Supporter draw cards, it could be a very powerful card that would see some serious play. However that Active-only rule is a bigger downside than it appears, robbing the card of much-needed flexibility. Can’t say I’m sad about that though: Energy Removal (along with hand disruption) is something that can easily ruin the game if the designers aren’t careful. 

Rating 

Modified: 2 (too restricted . . . but that’s probably a good thing)

Limited: 4.5 (you won’t have a draw Supporter to use most of the time, so why not use this?)


HEZ
Intro to
Unlimited 150

Team Flare Grunt.

Standard.
Supporters were invented so you could put powerful effects on a Trainer card without it being overpowered. We got Juniper in Black and White, a Supporter reprint of regular Trainer (i.e. Item) Professor Oak. Now we’ve got Team Flare Grunt, a slightly depowered Supporter version of Energy Removal.
Energy removing strategies have been big the last year or so, largely due to the power of Sableye (Dark Explorers) in Darkrai EX decks, being able to reuse the Hammer Item cards over and over. Team Flare adds another piece of removal to such decks, making their disruptive strategy more reliable. Only being able to hit the Active Pokémon is more of a drawback than you might imagine as people can build things up on the Bench in relative safety then send it out. Still, this will always be a powerful effect and will definitely affect how this format shapes up. Just like when Energy Removal was legal around Base Set, it will means Pokémon with high energy costs will be unplayable unless they have a highly efficient acceleration engine such as Blastoise, also just like back in the days of Base Set!

Unlimited 150.
In a format where you can play Energy Removal and Super Energy Removal, Team Flare Grunt seems slightly less impressive. Still, most decks could find room for it and any deck that has a disruptive element will definitely want to use it. Being a Supporter can even be a benefit, it adds another effect to the toolbox of Staraptor FB LV.X and lets you use remove energy during Item locks. Because there’s access to “Catcher-without-a-flip” Gust of Wind the Active only clause isn’t as much of a drawback either.
Basically, it’s a simple card but it’s really good!

As a side note, why hasn’t this got a red border and “Team Flare” in the top right? It’s clearly the same design team working on XY as BW so why not continue the theme they started with Team Plasma cards? It’d at least give me some more interactions to talk about then. I can’t understand these guys…

Ratings.
Standard: 4
Unlimited 150: 4.5


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