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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Krookodile-EX

- Promo XY25

Date Reviewed:
Oct. 20, 2014

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.25
Expanded: 2.75
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


aroramage

Hey guys, welcome back to this week's crop of cards from the Furious Fists expansion! Nothing but Fighting fury for the world galore!
 
-except for this one! Today we're taking a look at the Krookodile-EX promo that came out in the Krookodile-EX Box! To think this thing came out in July and we haven't touched it! Is it that unimportant, or is it just not that great? Let's take a look and figure out if Krookodile-EX is a secret EX monstrosity or just another shiny card for the collection!
 
His first attack is Second Bite, and already we've got the high high cost of 3 for...40? That doesn't seem like that much, but taking into account the effect of adding 10 more damage for each counter on the Defending Pokemon, this makes it more...manageable. Even on consecutive turns, this attack gets crazy; the first time you use it, it's 40, then it's 80, then it's 120 - and that's all PRIOR to any damage boosts from Muscle Band (60 -> 120) and Hypnotoxic Laser (40 -> 100 -> 160) with Virbank in play (40 -> 140)! With an effect like that, it's no wonder they set it at 3; even at 2, this kind of attack is scary.
 
The scariest part? You don't have to rely solely on Second Bite. Add another Dark Energy, and you get the Megaton Fang dealing a whopping 130 damage! That's some insane power for an EX; even some of the earlier ones don't reach that kind of damage without some aid! Krookodile-EX really shows off his brutality with a flat damage strike like that! What downside could possibly keep him from walloping Pokemon turn after turn?
 

Actually, there is one, and it's kind of important: you have to discard a card in order to use Megaton Fang. If you don't, it does nothing. There's a simple combo to use between these two attacks; you strike once for 40 with Second Bite, next turn KO with 130 Megaton Fang, and then keep going from there! Reversing the order makes it deadlier, dealing 130 before dealing a powerful 170 with Second Bite for 3 Energy! How crazy is that? 

There are some fundamental flaws with Krookodile-EX, namely Megaton Fang's extra cost. The discard may seem manageable, but you have to be wary of what you're discarding! You might not need that Skyla or Ultra Ball now, but getting rid of it may land you in trouble if you lose Krookodile-EX! If you can work around the discard - perhaps by sending Energy to accelerate with Dark Patch in the future - then Megaton Fang will decimate the competition turn after turn with a little help from Muscle Band and HTL. 

Recently though, the competition is all Fighting-types, and that's currently Krookodile-EX's biggest flaw: his Weakness is Fighting. Against decks without Fighting, he has potential to be a nightmare, but against anything remotely colored brown, he's the laughing stock of the EXs. Don't get me wrong, he's not a bad EX, but the environment makes him difficult to work with rather than the monstrosity he could be. Maybe all he needs is the right set of partners...
 
Weren't Dusknoir and Flygon looking for a new guy to replace Accelgor?
 

Rating
 
Standard: 2.5/5 (not bad, just not his time)
 
Expanded: 3/5 (does better with the support here at least)
 
Limited: N/A (promo promo promo)
 
Arora Notealus: I've noted having a strange affinity for Pokemon based on animals from the order Crocodilia; you've got Krookodile here based on the Baryonyx and the slender-snouted crocodile, and then there's Feraligatr who's based on an alligator. Something about reptiles and big jaws, man.

BIG NOTE: I'm sorry that my first review on Krookodile-EX stated that he couldn't use Megaton Fang on consecutive turns. I completely got the card effect wrong, and I apologize for that. That being sad, Megaton Fang is still risky to use on consecutive turns, but you can still use it so long as you discard a card.
 
Next Time: This guy's just not that cute or cuddly...

 

We begin this week of aroramage picks with Krookodile-EX (XY Promos XY25), available in the U.S. through the aptly named “Krookodile-EX Box” this last July.  I don’t remember if I even realized this gift set had released, though I vaguely recall seeing translations for the card’s Japanese counterpart, which was released in Japan via others means from May through July (also of this year).  It is nice that we got this card almost at the same time as Japan and it sports a spiffy looking Krookodile in the art, though now that so many Pokémon have had similar poses on their Pokémon-EX cards, it does make it less impressive. 

In the video games, Krookodile are Ground/Dark Dual-Type Pokémon; part of me does not want to see any new or returning mechanics until what I view as issues with the current game are resolved, but had it been the TCG equivalent (Fighting/Darkness) it would have had some phenomenal support, both direct (specifically aides Fighting- or Darkness-Type Pokémon) or indirect (the relevant Energy-Type support, better synergy with potent Pokémon of its Type, etc.).  Why talk about what is not?  Perspective; Fighting-Types are probably the overall best supported Type right now in Standard and possibly in Expanded.  Darkness-Types have great indirect support, but their direct support is either forgettable or Expanded only: assuming the wording would have allowed it, being a Fighting/Darkness-Type would have been an amazing starting point for a card… and just maybe Krookodile-EX would have been better off as a Fighting-Type. 

As we go through the rest of the card, what Type it should be will become more clear… and the next set may reverse things anyway: XY: Phantom Force is set to introduce many potent Psychic-Types, especially video game Ghost-Types that are often Fighting Resistant and/or Darkness Weak.  Right now, hitting Fighting Weakness is a huge benefit while hitting Darkness Weakness is mostly a bonus, as few Pokémon with the latter see significant competitive play.  Resistance is usually a non-issue; even when present on cards its fairly easy to bypass and an annoyance, completely out of scale with the Achilles’ Heel that is Weakness.  So right now, being a Fighting-Type would have been better, but being a Darkness-Type is still good. 

Being a Basic Pokémon is still the best; there’s a natural synergy with things like search cards because one search yields one complete Pokémon, unlike with Evolutions and similarly needing just one slot per copy and being able to drop them into play without any lead in is a huge, huge advantage and will likely remain so barring more counter-cards like Pyroar (XY: Flashfire 20/106), more Evolution support like Rare Candy or my preferred solution, slowly start designing big Basic Pokémon so that they can’t function as opener, closer and/or main attacker while also designing Evolving Basic and Stage 1 Pokémon to have a purpose other than being a placeholder.  As I know of none of these things on the horizon… being Basic isn’t going to stop being the best anytime soon. 

180 HP is as good as it gets for a Pokémon-EX, unless you count the Mega Evolutions and I still haven’t figured out if it is more or less confusing when I separate them out or do include them with general Pokémon-EX statements: sorry folks!  While in our incredibly aggressive format, 180 HP still isn’t safe from being OHKOed (even without Weakness or through Resistance), its going to require something somewhat exceptional; that hard-to-repeat power combo or a deck with a somewhat complicated set-up (and probably designed to score raw power OHKOs), so most of the time you should get two turns out of this card.  Now factoring in Weakness, things get messy as Fighting-Types are all about fast, reliable damage for low Energy through stacking bonuses: a Landorus-EX or Lucario-EX with Fighting Stadium, Muscle Band and a Strength Energy will hit 180 and be able to do it again the next turn unless you specifically counter some part of the combo.  Smaller Fighting-Types that can hit for at least 20 points of damage for [C] or [F] can do the same stunt, albeit they need a Silver Bangle instead of a Muscle Band.  The good news is that getting the right opening Pokémon, the right Pokémon Tool, the right Stadium and the right Special Energy in or with one’s opening hand is prone to misfires, the bad news is that getting it by your second turn or getting enough of it to leave Krookodile half- or nearly KOed has a much greater probability. 

So Fighting Weakness is probably the worst Weakness to have right now, but not only does Krookodile-EX have Resistance, it might even be the best Resistance to have right now.  Mewtwo-EX has again become a major presence in the metagame, appearing in a wide variety of decks as either a main or supporting attacker (including to counter other Mewtwo-EX) and both it (and some of its counters) are about counting Energy to deliver the big hits.  That simple -20 means an extra Energy (or other form of damage boost) is required; a Krookodile-EX with three Energy attached requires some small (but often important) piece of effort to secure the 2HKO.  That doesn’t seem like much, and it isn’t: Resistance is far less significant than Weakness, but this is about as useful as Resistance can get right now.  Finishing off the bottom Attributes, we see a Retreat Cost of three; too much to easily pay without devastating your momentum, but most decks were going to include something to lower or even totally bypass manually retreating anyway and Darkrai-EX is a natural fit here.  In Expanded, it actually becomes a potential, small bonus as it allows Heavy Ball to search out the card.

Overall, Krookodile-EX has promising Attributes so what about its Effects?  It has two attacks and just looking at the costs, we see one major problem: Second Bite requires [DCC] while Megaton Fang requires [DDCC].  Even if - like me - you think Pokémon-EX need to be a bit “slower” at attacking for game balance, for the here and now this hurts a card’s offensive; the best attackers are able to do something on their first turn of attacking, or else need to really bring it if they need a lead in.  The good news is that the mostly Colorless Energy requirements in the attacks makes them much easier to meet; Double Colorless Energy shaves a turn of set-up time off of both attacks and in Expanded, the well known Dark Patch combos actually could allow Krookodile-EX to attack ASAP with either move, though Second Bite is a bit more likely. 

This brings us to the other issue; Second Bite is an attack that really needs something else leading into it, not the other way around.  As you can see, the attack does 40 points of damage plus 10 points of damage for each damage counter on the Defending Pokémon; barring other damage altering effects, Second Bite will finish off anything with less than or equal to (half maximum HP + 20) remaining.  That sounds impressive until you do the math.  Assuming I myself did the math correctly, a 180 HP Pokémon-EX needs to already been down to 110 or less HP (so having 7 damage counters on it) for the follow-up KO.  This is a three Energy attack, meaning we want to average at least a good 90 points of damage with it, and also expect most competitive attackers to do the same thing.  The base damage isn’t enough to reliably score OHKOs off of things like Bench damage from Darkrai-EX and its Night Spear… unless the targets are so small that you would be just as well off attacking again with Night Spear. 

Consider Dunsparce (XY 101/146); though it is a tiny 40 HP Basic that does not Evolve, its Second Bite is much more useful.  Why?  You can drop Dunsparce along with a Double Colorless Energy to “surprise” an opponent, readying and attacking with it in the same turn.  The effect text of Second Bite is its true strength; the flat damage it is guaranteed to do basically just needs to be 10 so that odd numbered HP scores aren’t near misses.  That isn’t to say such damage can’t be useful, it just turns out that Krookodile-EX would perhaps be better off if its attack did less base damage and for a lower Energy cost.  The other factor is that Dunsparce is expendable; its going to be OHKOed the next turn but its intended use is to be traded for +1 Prize (or breaking even if we include whatever attacker(s) set up for it).  Krookodile-EX is going to be a Pokémon-EX with three Energy attached… that is not going to break even (let alone pull ahead) very often. 

So what of Megaton Fang?  Four Energy attached plus a generic one card discard from hand yields 130 points of damage.  With a Muscle Band, Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym you can OHKO anything that isn’t Darkness Resistant and has 180 or less HP… assuming Special Conditions work on it.  This is good but not great; first the wording makes it clear if you can’t discard a card from your hand (as in your hand contains no cards) the attack does nothing.  Without that clarification, this would have been no worse and potentially much better than the typical restrictions, but as is this means where most other such restrictions will allow you at least one attack guaranteed while fully powered, there is no such assurance with Megaton Fang.  Attacks that discard your own Energy or can’t be used the next turn will work in the same situations where Krookodile-EX would not work… likely when you’re most desperate.  It is not a fatal flaw though; more than likely you’ll just be forced to discard some cards you’d really prefer not to as opposed to being unable to attack and in a well made, well functioning deck you should rarely have to discard a card you don’t want to see in the discard pile. 

In the end, my real concern is how much effort is required for the OHKO with Megaton Fang, because the first attack is already niche usage at best.  If you’re running a Pokémon-EX for a four Energy attack, even with Energy acceleration you want to be hitting OHKOs more often than not.  Charizard-EX (XY: Flashfire 12/106) shows us how its done.  While the “This Pokémon cannot use Combustion Blast during your next turn.” clause forces you to either alternate attacks, alternate attackers or use a combo to reset the effect, Charizard-EX can still go from zero to OHKOing almost anything that is not a Pokémon-EX (and a few things that are) in a single turn.  This includes the second turn of the game (the first turn you can attack); a Double Colorless Energy and Blacksmith (assuming you have the needed Fire Energy already in the discard) does the job.  Taking out upwards of 170 HP Pokémon-EX just requires Muscle Band; those with 180 HP just need a Hypnotoxic Laser on top of the previous combo or to use the Hypnotoxic Laser/Virbank City Gym combo instead.  Krookodile-EX needs all three of those to do the job plus a card in hand to discard.  Even when it survives with everything intact, you would need another copy of Hypnotoxic Laser to take out nearly all Pokémon-EX.  Even going back to the first batch of Pokémon-EX, a Mewtwo-EX with four Energy was swinging for 80+ (before Resistance and protective effects) for four of any Energy… and if we did get to specifics, Psydrive could deal 120 (just 10 less) for [PPC] and a single Energy discard.  That is 10 less damage for a slightly lower cost, though even in Standard Krookodile-EX would have better Energy acceleration options… then again we come back to the other Darkness-Type Pokémon-EX attackers. 

Can you build a deck around this card?  Yes you can.  You also can probably work it into at least some existing Darkness-Type decks.  The catch is that it just doesn’t seem like the optimum play.  Yveltal-EX and Darkrai-EX are amazing cards; neither is as good as it once was, but both are still relevant, competitive cards (though Yveltal-EX more so).  It may not seem “fair”, but those two are what Krookodile-EX needs to compete against.  Darkrai-EX has the same Attributes save a better Retreat Cost (unless you are running Heavy Ball) while bringing a great Ability and still good attack that is barely more expensive than Second Bite (Night Spear can’t use Double Colorless Energy to shave off a turn).  Yveltal-EX has 10 less HP but a better Weakness and about as useful Resistance, plus again a two Energy Retreat Cost… but its big deal is Evil Ball, which is a clearly superior attack.  Even Y Cyclone, however, is likely to be more useful than Second Bite and if the Defending Pokémon has two or more Energy attached, Evil Ball is going to clearly outperform Megaton Fang with the same four Energy invested. 

If you’re going to try it, I recommend Expanded.  Dark Patch makes for a world of difference as now you can try to spring a surprise Second Bite on the opponent, or even a surprise Megaton Fang if you are extremely lucky; you can’t use it in Limited and I spent almost an entire article explaining why it comes up short for Standard. 

Ratings 

Standard: 2/5 - Coming up short doesn’t mean a card is abysmal; you can make it functional, it is just the effort is clearly not worth the return.  So many little changes would have made it a decent third choice for Darkness-Type decks. 

Expanded: 2.5/5 - A little more support makes it a little less inadequate, but it still isn’t quite worth it, even ignoring the likes of Yveltal-EX and Darkrai-EX. 

Limited: N/A - If this were reprinted in a Limited legal manner (or somehow an event does incorporate its gift box and allow its use), you can consider using it completely alone but I would probably just work it into a more fleshed out deck; its attacks make it reasonable to run in a two or three Energy Type deck.  If you want to take the risk of doing a +39 deck (no other Basic Pokémon but Krookodile-EX), its slow “start-up” means things must more or less go exactly your way to win: any solid attacker on top of weenies batting clean-up could edge you out.

Summary: Krookodile-EX is not something I anticipate seeing used successfully in competitive play; while it has a solid foundation its two attacks aren’t sufficiently complementary with Second Bite seemingly having forgotten how such an attack can work well and Megaton Fang simply having too much competition for a mostly reasonable cost versus reward.  Krookodile-EX isn’t fast enough to be an opener (not that I want more Pokémon-EX like that), falls just a bit shy of what it needs to be the secondary or tertiary main attacker in Darkness decks and requires too heavy an investment (in terms of Energy and set-up) to be a good closer.  Most decks already have one, two or even three great Pokémon-EX primary attack options and even getting specific Yveltal-EX, Darkrai-EX and Mewtwo-EX are going to crowd it out of Darkness Decks… and even if you really wanted something with Second Bite, Dunsparce does it better.

Also, the Krookodile line still makes me want Cookie Crisp cereal… which I haven’t been able to safely eat since the mid-2000s. =P


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