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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Phantom Forces
Top 10

#6 - M Manectric EX

Date Reviewed:
Nov. 7, 2014

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3.93
Expanded: 3.83
Limited: 4.38

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

#6 M Manectric EX 

Megas, eh? Ridiculous HP, hugely powerful attacks, and a nice way to deal with Pyroar, but pretty much screwed over by their own mechanic which causes you to end your turn as soon as you get one into play. Going a turn without attacking is seriously bad in a fast, hard-hitting format, and that explains why only M Kangaskhan has really been playable so far. But those Pokémon TCG designers were never going to let their flagship ultra rares go unused forever, which explains why Phantom Forces sees the introduction of Spirit Link Tools which nullify the turn-ending effect of Mega Evolution. The first beneficiaries are Gengar, and today’s card: M Manectric EX. 

Like the other Megas, M Manectric doesn’t take long to review: he’s all about the artwork, HP, and a single attack (the card layout seriously restricts how interesting these cards can be). Luckily, that attack is very good: for just two Energy, Turbo Bolt does 110 damage and allows you to attach two Basic Energy (no Type restrictions) from your discard pile to a Benched Pokémon. The damage is . . . only ok. Basically you are looking at two-hit KOs on EX Pokémon and strong Evolutions like Donphan PLF (Muscle Band not being an option if you attached Spirit Link). It is good enough to deal with any Eeveelutions and Bench-dwelling Pokémon like Garbodor or Mr Mime though. Thanks to Weakness, it will also run through Yveltal EX and Lugia EX, which is a pretty good recommendation in itself. As for the Energy acceleration, this combos very well with the aforementioned Yveltal EX and Mewtwo EX, which love to stack Energy to boost their attack. You could also run this card in Virizion EX-based decks to recycle the Energy discard by G Booster and power up another Genesect EX. 

Decent cheap damage, great effect, hits a key Weakness . . . is there anything not to like about M Manectric? Well, yeah, there is his own Weakness. Taking double damage from Fighting Pokémon is not good in a format where Strong Energy, Fighting Stadium, and Muscle Band exist (three cards which would give Hawlucha FFI a single Energy OHKO on M Manectric). Donphan PLF in particular eats this card for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, so he is going to need the right supporting cast if he is to avoid some serious autolosses. That said, Manectric is good enough to make the effort worthwhile. 

Rating 

Modified: 3.75 (has a lot to offer, but Weakness is a big worry)

Expanded: 3.75 (same deal here)

Limited: 4.5 (you need super lucky pulls to use it, but if you do, you will most likely win) 


aroramage

When Mega Manectric was first revealed, I'm sure I had the same reaction as most people: "What is THAT supposed to be?!" It honestly looks like Mega Manectric was conceived to give the original a spikier hairier beastlier version of itself, and that was about it. In the context of the video games, it has been useful as an Intimidator, and while early on it was outclassed by things like the Mega Charizards, Mega Gengar, and even Mega Pinsir, it's become an OU threat worthy of its Mega-volution.
 
The TCG version of it is the honest-to-Arceus absolute best Mega evolution. Period.
 
Welcome back guys, today we're taking a look at the M Manectric-EX card, a super-simple card with one attack that outclasses all the other Mega-evo cards and even a majority of the regular EXs! Turbo Bolt only does 110 damage, but it has three separate attributes that contribute to making M Manectric-EX a very potential threat.
 
First off, the attack only costs 2. Yes, that's one Electric energy and one Colorless energy, and that is one of the cheapest attacks for one of the most beneficial strikes in the game. Comparing that to other Pokemon-EX, at 2 Energy you've got Seismitoad-EX's Item-Locking Quaking Punch, Lucario-EX's Corkscrew "6-Draw" Punch, Mewtwo-EX's "X = Energy" Ball and Yveltal's "Evil = Energy +20" Ball, and even Manetric-EX's own Tool-Assisted Assault Laser. Obviously some of the better attacks in the history of the game have come at 2, so this is a very VERY big consideration to take into account with M Manectric-EX.
 
Second of all, this attack doesn't just deal 110 damage - it also charges up your Bench. How much? 2 Energy to any 1 Benched Pokemon using ANY Basic Energies in your discard pile. Again, we've seen the potency of cards like this with Eeletrik and Landorus, the former's being a power and the latter's being an attack, but the idea that not only can you wipe out your opponent's Yveltal-EX while simultaneously charging up one of your Bench-sitters - probably one ready for the offense - is amazing. And since the cost only requires 1 Electric Energy, M Manectric-EX is actually partially splashable with Rainbow Energy; obviously you're going to run him more so in Electric decks, and he's not as widespread as, say, Seismitoad-EX, but adding in a charger element into potential any deck - one that KO AND supercharge someone on the Bench - that's game-changing!
 
Okay, you're probably still looking at me like, "Well, that all sounds pretty cool, but he's still a Mega Evo. Doesn't that mean my turn ends when I play him?" And most of the time, you'd be right. However, if you've seen any of those special packs out there with a Gengar Spirit Link card hanging around, then you're probably aware of the existence of a card that can override the turn-ending effect. And if you've been digging around Phantom Forces enough already, you've probably discovered that there's also a Manectric Spirit Link card around too. That means you've got a Tool that can be attached to Manectric-EX, and that the moment you get M Manectric-EX, you no longer have to say, "Darn, this isn't a great time to Mega Evo."
 
Granted, that does assume you run the deck with the Spirit Link card to begin with, and deck space has always been a precious commodity with these sorts of cards. M Manectric-EX will love having Spirit Link, but even putting that aside, his attack is just too good to ignore. Aside from the disadvantage of being a Mega, he also retains the classic Electric weakness to Fighting, a bad Type to be weak against right now. Unfortunately, that's just the historical impact of the last set - the rise of the Fighting type, and that alone may be what overshadows what is probably the best Mega Evo so far.
 
If you can and are willing though, you're gonna run him. And you won't regret it lest you face a Landorus-EX with Strong Energy.
 
Rating
 
Standard: 4/5 (a super-powered super-charging move that comes cheap is enough to turn heads, even considering the Mega Evo status which can be cancelled)
 
Expanded: 4/5 (generally the same here, but I can imagine he might even see play in Rayquaza-EX decks as a faster Eelektrik)
 
Limited: 4.5/5 (if you also get the Spirit Link card, this guy's a solid 5/5; his attack is cheap and powerful, and anything that can charge up your next attacker is going to be solid here!)
 
Arora Notealus: Considering Manectric's Pokedex entries, it's actually a very dangerous Pokemon even before the Mega Evolution. I mean, it can summon lightning bolts and frequently discharges electricity from its mane - kinda dangerous, don't you think?!
 
Next Time: What's the best way I can tease the next guy without saying anything sword-related......dangit!
 
Weekend Thought: Do you agree with our picks so far? Hoping for a card to be in the Top 5 next week? 

 

We wrap up the first week of our Top 10 Promising Cards of XY: Phantom Forces with our sixth place pick!  As a reminder, reprint cards were not eligible for the Top 10 list, which was created via each member of the review crew each submitting their own Top 10 card list to Pojo, who then averages them out to produce the master Top 10 list we use for the review order.  The official release date for this set in the U.S. was November 5th, so XY: Phantom Forces cards aren’t tournament legal until November 21st; however we’ll be scoring them as if they were indeed legal. 

We finally get to one of the bigguns this set: M Manectric-EX (XY: Phantom Forces 24/119, 120/119)!  While we all know what Pokémon Tool I’ll you should run with this and what it does, for the sake of review, let us prepare that Manectric Spirit Link (XY: Phantom Forces 100/119) doesn’t exist until we get to the “how to play it” section.  So being a Mega Evolution is… complicated.  Though it looks like a Stage 1, it isn’t though it does still count as an Evolved Pokémon.  When you Evolve into a Mega Evolution, your turn ends as per the rule’s text on the card.  It includes being a Pokémon-EX, so when it is KOed you give up an extra Prize, you’re not able to use certain pieces of support and you’re vulnerable to all the Pokémon-EX specific counter-effects.  You do get the benefit of HP beyond the maximum printed amount seen on anything but other Mega Evolutions: in this case  210 HP.  This is the lowest we’ve seen on a Mega Evolution released so far, but it is still enough to be a very hard OHKO most of the time, and sometimes to even last two turns. 

M Manectric-EX is a Lightning-Type; right now they don’t have any noteworthy Type direct or indirect Type support in Standard, though in Expanded they’ve got Eelektrik (BW: Noble Victories 40/101).  It does enjoy hitting some nice targets for double damage, like Yveltal-EX.  Speaking of Weakness, its own is quite painful: Fighting.  Once a Fighting-Type gets a solid set-up, its going to score a OHKO.  Before that, you’ll have them scoring OHKOs in an inconvenient manner, like a Landorus-EX hitting it for 30 damage on the Bench before or after doing 180 to it while Active.  In short, this is a very dangerous Weakness and thanks to the set-up potential of your typical Fighting-Type decks even in dire circumstances, you aren’t really ever going to be safe.  It does enjoy some Resistance, and it is even a useful one: Metal.  Thanks to this set bolstering Metal-Types its now handy to soak 20 damage from their attacks, though its only going to make a difference a small amount of the time.  What really amazes me is that this card gets a perfect free Retreat Cost!  It is unusual when something Evolves for its Retreat Cost to go down (Manectric-EX has a Retreat Cost of one). 

M Manectric-EX has only one attack so it had better be good.  For [LC] it can use Turbo Volt for 110 damage plus attach two Basic Energy cards from your discard pile to one of your Benched Pokémon.  That is a great deal; you’re 20 points into the easily competitive damage range, setting up just about anything you don’t OHKO for a 2HKO the following turn.  Its even worse for Lightning Weak Pokémon; in terms of raw HP scores none can survive a hit.  You unleash this much damage while attaching just enough basic Energy cards from the discard pile to set-up your next Manectric-EX or M Manectric-EX or the original poster-mon for Pokémon-EX, Mewtwo-EX.  If you are willing to complicate things slightly, instead of punishing Yveltal-EX this becomes a new partner for it: the Type of Basic Energy is not restricted so you could run some off-Type Energy. 

None of this would be quite good enough, I think, if we had to wait that turn due to Mega Evolving; Fighting-Type decks would have the time to prep something to score a OHKO, possibly while taking a Prize or two against whatever you’ve got up front buying time.  So now we get to the Manectric Spirit Link Pokémon Tool; sure it means you can’t use a Hard Charm or Muscle Band or whatever other Item you’d want to include (at least without running something like Tool Retriever, which might not be a bad idea anyway).  Manectric-EX itself being a solid attacker is also important, since you might have to lead with one and no matter what, you’re going to have to keep one intact and in play a turn to Mega Evolve it; if you need a refresher, here is a link to Monday’s CotD covering it.  So what happens when you can attempt to get this into play and swinging by your second turn (especially Turn 2)?  A deck able to not only overcome its Weakness, but make this ol’ otaku eat some very humble pie.  I confess, I missed the potential this card had completely.  I don’t know if I was just being stubborn, just being thick or if the people trying to convince me just did a bad job of it; while reviewing this card a bunch of combos popped into my head that I don’t remember “them” ever saying.  Was I not paying attention or did they keep things intentionally vague?  Well me being me, I’ll definitely spell it out.

Turbo Bolt is many things, but it is not a OHKO machine (barring Weakness).  Even tacking on Hypnotoxic Laser, Virbank City Gym and a Muscle Band you would only score an effective 170 points of damage.  Okay, that is good enough for a OHKO, but you’ll either be Mega Evolving the old way, counting on your opponent to burn a Startling Megaphone (and not follow up with a Pokémon Tool F) or running your own Tool Retriever to make way for said Muscle Band.  Plus blocking Special Conditions is not a new thing and while you can run counters for each option… this combo that will still just miss on Pokémon with 180 HP or more and of course, this isn’t working against Seismitoad-EX if it already got off a Quaking Punch.  So instead, I would embrace the 2HKO aspect as you can do that while building up your next attacker… one that might have OHKO potential or simply replaces your M Manectric-EX that probably just took a big hit after using Turbo Volt.  The free Retreat Cost on M Manectric-EX, coupled with attaching two Basic Energy from the discard pile means it can Retreat, ditch all the damage via Max Potion while a second copy or prepped secondary attacker takes its place.  Battle Charger, Energy Retrieval, Professor’s Letter and Ultra Ball give you a lot of flexibility in what you use to back up M Manectric-EX; you can shoot for Type-matching as needed… which is good because you’ll probably need it. 

It might just be me, but between slamming into Safeguard Pokémon and Item blocking tactics as well as getting slammed by Fighting-Type decks, I am not worried about this deck being overpowered, at least anymore than what already exists.  You can deal with just about every counter someone uses against a Manectric-EX deck, but that takes space which detracts from your other options.  Garbodor (BW: Dragons Exalted 54/124; BW: Plasma Freeze 119/116; BW: Legendary Treasures 68/113) can help deal with Safeguard or deny other useful Abilities to opposing decks but this might be a case where running a non-Pokémon-EX attacker is a better solution.  You might use Shadow Circle and run a few basic Darkness Energy cards to try and mitigate your Weakness (I am aware of the Abilities available to do that but to be frank, they are very bad) but Stadiums are becoming a common play so even if it isn’t your “main” Stadium you’d need three others (whatever Stadium they end up being) to make sure Shadow Circle is the last one to remain in play: otherwise most Fighting decks will drop a Fighting Stadium or Virbank City Gym to shoot for the OHKO even against Manectric-EX.  I’ve got the least answers for Item locking tactics; pretty much all the potent tricks I would like to use alongside M Manectric-EX are Item based, and even though there are Supporter or Ability based alternatives those are slower and/or take more space. 

Ratings 

Standard: 4/5 - This is and yet is not a glass cannon; a deck unprepared for it stands a good chance of getting wrecked.  210 HP with one (and not two) turns of building thanks to Manectric Spirit Link that scores 110 damage while prepping a replacement on the Bench and has a free Retreat so it can run away as needed?  If it didn’t have one of if not the worst Weakness in the game at the moment as well as being quite vulnerable to Item lock and anti-Pokémon-EX effects, I’d be incredibly worried about it taking over the format and driving everything but specific counter decks out of business.  As is, several prominent decks are already halfway or all the way towards being counter decks and it still has a shot at that title. 

Expanded: 3.8/5 - Yes, I’m docking it a fifth of a point.  Why?  Remember that part of the competitive metagame is not just what decks should be played but will be played.  Eelektrik doesn’t help M Manectric-EX; instead it helps back up an additional problem it doesn’t usually have to worry about sans Weakness: being OHKOed.  It won’t be easy, but a Rayquaza-EX that can discard four Lightning Energy will OHKO M Manectric-EX while three are enough to deal with regular Manectric-EX.  There may be some more obscure counters that prove useful here, even if they were already present in Standard. 

Limited: 4/5 - First, yes I am docking it because of rarity; this is a real issue for Limited and just as I give a bonus when a card (or its needed combo pieces) are easier than normal to pull, the inverse applies for when it is difficult.  The good news is that the pace is slow enough that manually Mega Evolving isn’t quite as painful.  The bad news is that most of what makes this card awesome?  Isn’t doing anything in a +39 deck.  You’ll have to wait for it as a lucky draw no matter how you run it unless I missed a search effect (and you then still have to pull, run, draw, set-up and use that search effect).  110 damage for two is nice and should win you the game quick, but it has to get out there first… and the 2 Prize penalty is a factor if you are running it in a fleshed out deck as if M Manectric-EX goes down, you’re halfway to losing (only four Prizes to start with in this format, not six). 

Summary: M Manectric-EX may be the most competitive Pokémon-EX we have yet received; a lot of the releases I’ve questioned over the last few sets start to make some sense if this is the new power-level we’ll be dealing as they may have been counters released ahead of time.  Of course, I’d rather they not jack up the power and pacing of the game at all and instead smooth things out.  I actually had it in sixth place on my personal list.  I’d have likely listed it higher had I better understood how to use it, though I’m not sure if it would have been much higher; it isn’t something you can run in just any deck. 


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