Arbok δ (Dragon Frontiers)
Hello and welcome to a very strange week here on
Pojo’s CotD. Because Legendary Treasures was packed with
reprints, and we are still waiting for the first XY set
to hit, I thought we could do a novelty week (or as Pojo
himself put it, we could do some ‘goofing off’).
The theme I chose is Pokémon who haven’t featured on
a card since Great Encounters, which is a whole SIX
YEARS ago! Note that I excluded Kadabra as that is a
different case, tied up with various legal shenanigans.
The Pokémon we are looking at this week have been
ignored for reasons which are a complete mystery: ok,
some of them are obscure and not especially loved
Pokémon, but some, like today’s, are part of the
original 151 for goodness sake!
We kick off the week with Arbok, and the card I chose
to look at is this Arbok δ. Delta Species Pokémon
probably look really odd to newish players. Apparently
they are the result of weird experiments by Holon
Scientists which caused them to change Type, so here the
normally Grass (at that time) Arbok becomes a Fire
Pokémon. It was a nice mechanic with some interesting
support and a lot of players loved it.
Anyway, as for the card itself? Well, when it comes
to Arbok, there isn’t anything great to pick from. I
chose this one because I remember it from my very first
days as a player. One of the people who helped me a lot
in the early days played this in her deck and it was
super annoying. Burning Venom is a very cheap attack
that auto-inflicts Burn and Poison (as the name
implies). Not too scary now that everything has massive
HP and ways to combat Status Conditions, but back then
it could be nasty, especially as Status Conditions shut
off Pokémon Powers. Strangle was a decent attack too:
this was in the days when it wasn’t inconceivable to put
three Energy on an 80 HP Stage 1, and while the standard
50 damage wasn’t great, the bonus 30 for attacking
another δ Pokémon was pretty nice.
Ok, so even back in the day, this wasn’t a great card
or even a competitive one, but it was kind of playable
in a casual setting and wasn’t much fun to face. That
already makes it better than most of the new cards in
Legendary Treasures. I really hope we see Arbok again in
the new set: he’s an iconic member of the original line
up (as owned by James in the anime), and I’m kind of sad
that he’s been forgotten by the card designers for so
Brings back memories: 4
Arbok δ (Dragon
The first of this week's series on Pokémon who
haven’t got cards in the last 6 years is Arbok.
The version we’re going to look at today is the unusual
Fire type Arbok δ from the
Delta Species series. For those who don’t know about
this series, it featured Pokémon from the Holon region
where they would have different Types than normal. When
Delta Species was tournament legal is widely considered
as the best Modified format ever, with many viable deck
types and endless rogue options.
This was never a top tier card but it did see some play.
Burning Venom is a good, cheap attack, useful for
deactivating their Active’s Poke-Powers and dealing
damage. It could be combined with the Stadium card Full
Flame from Legend Maker which made Burns inflict 4
damage counters instead of 2.
The brutal sounding Strangle provided 80 damage for 3
energy against a high percentage of the metagame, which
was a good deal especially on a Stage 1 Pokémon.
I’m actually going to try to remember Limited for this
set as it was excellent around this time and strategies
other than “pull a big Basic then attach energy” were
viable. In Dragon Frontiers every Pokémon was delta
species (except 4 random reprints) so Strangle would
always deal the full 80 damage, a 1 hit KO against
almost everything that wasn’t a Stage 2 or ex. Smoochum
δ was a common every deck would want
to play but if you also had the Jynx to match you’d have
a really good Fire deck on your hands!
In this format, an evolved Pokémon’s
value is affected by the number of other playable
versions that exist. Unfortunately for Arbok, there’s
never really been a good card made for it. Arbok δ is
probably one of the best Arbok ever made but it
struggles to compete as 80 damage is much easier to
achieve in other ways, especially as delta species
Pokémon are spread thin across the format. The upcoming
Arbok in XY doesn’t even help the situation, if only
Gastro Acid worked on all your opponent’s Pokémon
perhaps hardcore Arbok fans could put some sort of deck
Unlimited 150: 1