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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

 Arbok δ

- Dragon Frontiers

Date Reviewed:
January 27, 2014

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 3.75
Limited: 4.00

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

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 long.

Nostalgia Rating

Brings back memories: 4


HEZ
Intro to
Unlimited 150

Arbok δ (Dragon Frontiers)

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.

Modified:
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.

Limited:
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!


Unlimited 150:
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 together.

Ratings.
Modified: 3.5
Limited: 4
Unlimited 150: 1

 


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