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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

 Delphox EX

- Promo XY-19

Date Reviewed:
July 30, 2014

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.17
Limited: Promo

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

Delphox (Promo XY-19) 

Out of all the Generation VI starter EX Pokémon, this is the one that sparked the most interest. It’s all relative though, even if one or two players considered it briefly. 

Delphox does have Psybeam: a very cheap early game attack for 20 damage and a Confusion flip. It’s nice to be able to do something straight off, even if the attack doesn’t exactly blow you (or your opponent’s Pokémon) away. Most of the slight attention this card got, however, was down to its second attack, Wonder Flare. 

Wonder Flare is pretty expensive at four Energy (though DCE and Blacksmith can help) and only has a base damage of 80. That increases by 40 for every Energy card you opponent is holding. The hand reveal can be useful, but really you can never bank on this attack doing a whole lot more than the minimum. Most decks run low on Energy these days (10-14 is the standard range), and it is unlikely that your opponent will be holding more than one. If there was some way of forcing Energy back from the Field into your opponent’s hand, then Delphox might have been decent, but such an effect seems like it could be pretty broken anyway, so it’s probably just as well it doesn’t exist. 

When it comes down to it, Delphox is just a standard EX that will most probably be dishing out 80-120 damage for a fairly large investment. This means that there a lot of much better cards you should play instead. 

Rating 

Modified: 2 (Wonder Flare might hold your attention for the 10 seconds it takes to realise that it isn’t much good)

Limited: N/A (promo) 


aroramage

Hello once again, amigos! Continuing down the line of our line-up of 6th Gen Final Starter Tintastic Promos, we've got the mighty Delphox-EX, working her way to profiteering off of the new Flashfire set! Will she be good enough to warrant the usage of the great support she's been giving, or will she, like Chesnaught and Charizard before her, just not be up to the task?

Unlike either of the two, Delphox-EX's first attack is actually pretty cheap, costing only 1 Fire Energy to use Psybeam. Unfortunately, this only gets you a 20-damage attack with the potential for Confusion, which is about what one might expect out of an EX with a cheap attack. There have been better attacks in the format, but it's not bad for what it is.

Her second attack, Wonder Flare, is a little different for a lot more expense. At the cost of 4 Energy, it does 80 damage plus an extra 40 for every Energy card in your opponent's hand. Now while the opponent could work around that by either not activating stuff like Professor's Letter or drawing ridiculous amounts of cards with the Pokemon Professors, the really strategy with this move is that you can get a sneak peek at what your opponent has to play. Never mind that you're in KO range when they have 3 Energy in hand, just the fact that you get the chance to look at your opponent's hand AND deal damage makes this a very nice attack!

Now for the two big questions: is this going to make a big splash on the format, and is it better than its Stage 2 counterpart from the XY set? Obviously she's better than the starter version, but I think the Stage 2's Mystical Fire ability is just so good that it's worth running over the EX version. The EX version does have more synergy with stuff like Emboar (LTR) and anything from the new Flashfire set, but the Stage 2 can beat an opposing Pyroar (FLF) and gain you card advantage. It's one of those up-in-the-air views, but I wouldn't fault anyone for running both of them.

That unfortunately brings me back to the first question, and there's a reason I phrased it that way: Water-types are still very active. Since the new rotation still includes the Boundaries Crossed set, we're still going to see Blastoise decks for days, and not only does this play against Delphox-EX's weakness but it also reduces the chances of her getting Wonder Flare anywhere above 80. It's hard to damage an opponent when they play out all the Energies in their hand.

Delphox-EX is a solid Pokemon-EX, all things considered, and she does have a lot of support, but against mirror matches running Emboar and with Blastoise decks still hanging around, she won't do too well. Never mind the oncoming splurge of Fighting support that will bring out Lucario-EX decks to rampage, though maybe there's a counterpick for Energy-burdened hands?

Rating

Modified: 2.5/5 (she's good, but she's got competition)

Expanded: 2/5 (I think stuff like Empoleon decks would just wreck Delphox-EX here, but who can say?)

Limited: N/A

Arora Notealus: Some fox witches just want to watch the card border burn.
Next Time: You look familiar, have you threatened me before?


Otaku

As a reminder September 3, 2014 will mark the official annual rotation, when the Standard format shifts from the 2013-2014 Modified (BW:Next Destinies to XY: Flashfire, BW Promo BW33+, McDonald’s Collection 2012, and all XY Promos) to the 2014-2015 Modified (BW: Boundaries Crossed and later, BW Promos BW55+, McDonald’s Collection, and all XY Promos); nothing from XY: Furious Fists will be legal for sanctioned Standard play until that time.  If I believe I can make a sufficiently educated guess, I’ll score for both Modified Formats and the new Expanded Format (Black & White and later sets, all BW Promo and XY Promo series cards, all McDonald’s Collection cards) that also begins then. 

This Wednesday we come to Delphox-EX (XY Promo XY19).  Fire-Types are still riding high from XY: Flashfire; success with Fire decks in general and Pyroar (XY: Flashfire 20/106), so any solid Fire-Type can be a serious threat though some are well worth using over the rest.  Virizion-EX/Genesect-EX has kept hitting Fire Weakness valuable, and of course Fire Resistance doesn’t exist on anything Modified legal. 

Being a Basic Pokémon is still the best; almost all Evolving Basic and Stage 1 Pokémon are little more than filler, so the space and speed advantage is huge.  Be nice if a Stage 2 line was its own self-contained combo, and at a level worth playing… I think.  The top cards in the format are so strong I always worry comments like that will backfire.  Being a Pokémon-EX is a penalty… which sounds odd because until around BW: Plasma Blast they pretty much dominated the format, and even now are still a major presence.  However in terms of actual game mechanics, they are just worth an additional Prize when KOed, can’t make use of certain pieces of support, and have specific counters that target them for being Pokémon-EX; the benefits of a Pokémon that should be an Evolution being instead a Basic Pokémon, having HP scores that violate normal standards, often having better attacks and Abilities than their regular counterparts, etc. are not hardwired into the mechanic, but instead are just design choices that sometimes don’t materialize (we’ve got some Pokémon-EX with just 90 HP, after all). 

Delphox-EX itself sports 170 HP; 10 under the maximum we see printed on Basic Pokémon-EX, but still among the top scores in the game and more likely to survive a hit than not, though most decks due have at least a somewhat clunky combo to take scores this high down in one hit, and a few just hit hard enough as a part of the core strategy, though its still usually resource intensive.  Water Weakness seems to be roughly “middle of the road right now: there isn’t some über-attacker like Mewtwo-EX or Yveltal-EX but you’ll run into threats that can OHKO Delphox-EX more than if its Weakness was Fairy or Metal.  The lack of Resistance is disappointing but also trivial; -20 damage to attacks received isn’t the issue that x2 damage is.  The two Energy Retreat Cost will be (functionally) average once Heavy Ball rotates; its low enough you can often pay it but is high enough it won’t be trivial, but most decks pack tricks to lower or zero out Retreat Costs, if not bypass manually retreating entirely so it too is easily glossed over. 

For (R) Psybeam hits for 20 points of damage with a flip for Confusion.  This is underpowered; Confusion isn’t the threat it was when the game began because originally, you had to flip a coin to retreat out of it (tails failed and you couldn’t try again that turn).  Back then, it was arguably the best as it was a 50% chance of both thwarting your opponent’s attack and scoring some extra damage.  The attack’s base damage is also too low; being able to hit 50 with Muscle Band ends up being significant when striking Weakness. 

The second attack - Wonder Flare - thus has to carry the card; for [RCCC] scores 80 points of base damage, plus 40 for each Energy card in your opponent’s hand.  Energy in hand is a bit of a sticky situation; most decks can only play one per turn, and even in decks that can do better there just isn’t an incentive to keep it stockpiled in hand.  Most decks run low Energy, Items that make it easy to keep Energy in the discard pile or deck and some run both.  Hitting a single Energy seems reasonable, but for the Energy cost you need to hit at least two (and still have a Muscle Band attached) and preferably three (so that you don’t need the Muscle Band). 

Still, if you really want to run Delphox-EX, it does enough to have a real strategy.  Double Colorless Energy plus Blacksmith can ready Delphox-EX in a single turn, albeit at the cost of your Supporter for the turn.  If you haven’t burned your Supporter for the turn and your opponent hasn’t taken too many Prizes, N (already a given for nearly every deck) can force your opponent to draw and thus increase the odds of him/her having Energy cards in hand.  I can’t think of any good “tricks” in the current card pool to bounce Energy from in play to the opponent’s hand, which could easily have turned this into a powerful play.  Neither BCR-On nor BW-On seems to make a substantial difference for this.  Limited would likely find this card amazing, given that most decks run close to half Energy, but as this is a promo that isn’t happening. 

Ratings

Modified (NXD-On): 2/5 - You can build a deck around it and not have an auto-loss against most competitive decks, but even the success you do enjoy is tempered by how similar support would yield better results with a better focus. 

Modified (BCR-On): 2/5 - The same as NXD-On, though with a little more hope as a future combo piece becomes possible. 

Expanded (BW-On): 1.75/5 - I didn’t notice anything among the additional cards that would bolster the core combo but it is likely that Delphox-EX will face either more competition or stronger competition here; I can’t see a larger card pool helping. 

Limited: N/A - If it were legal it’d be an automatic inclusion in any deck (make room for the few Fire Energy you’d need) and unlike earlier offerings this week it would indeed be a decent “+39” candidate as Psybeam buys time for Wonder Flare, the latter of which should safely take any remaining Prizes.  Well, unless its a set rampant with anti-Pokémon-EX and/or good Water-Types. 

Summary: Delphox-EX is a textbook example of a near miss for the Pokémon TCG; something to improve the odds of your opponent having Energy cards in hand is all it should take for it to from functional to slightly competitive.  It also suffers due to so much competition; three different Charizard-EX and Reshiram-EX make for better “big Fire” Pokémon-EX attackers.  Still, it might be fun to play.


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