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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Hypno

- Furious Fists

Date Reviewed:
Oct. 7, 2014

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.25
Expanded: 1.75
Limited: 2.12

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

We've all heard of Alakazam from Gen I, pure Psychic-type, monstrous Special Attack, and now has a Mega Evo with a beard to rival Dumbledore. But there's only one other pure Psychic Gen I line, and that evolves into Hypno. Welcome back to the haunting tales of a Pokemon that feeds off the dreams of its victims. Will his ever-swinging pendulum and honking big nose lead to a strategy unheard of in the Pokemon TCG?
 
Maybe. He's certainly sparked a bit of controversy for his first attack, Hand Control. His second attack, Hypnoblast, is just a simple 3-for-60 damage dealer with a Sleep clause thrown in to keep opponents on their toes, but let's face it, Hypno is nowhere near the top of your "attackers" list. Heck, there are better Stage 1s to run than him. No, his first attack is definitely the more interesting - and far more confusing - of the two.
 
Hand Control costs 1 Energy and lets you look at your opponent's hand. If there is a Supporter, you choose it. The opponent then plays the Supporter card and follows the text accordingly. Any decision to be made is up to you. The Supporter is then discarded.
 
Sounds rather complicated, doesn't it? But think of it this way: you can force them to use up an N while you have more Prize cards than they do, or make them use up a Sycaper while something valuable is in their hand. There's also Skyla, whose search you can fail, and there's also Lysandre, probably the most useful Supporter in this instance as it lets you switch Hypno out for another guy on your Bench. Preferably one that's been set-up, can take a hit from the opposing Active Pokemon, and isn't going to force Hypno to come out again any time soon.
 
Now the big controversies over Hypno's Hand Control are such things as what Supporters will do what. I've gone over the more noteworthy Supporters, but some basic rules to keep in mind when using Hypno are:
 
1) You don't get the effects of the Supporter; your opponent gets the effects
2) You make all decisions indicated on a Supporter, such as which cards your opponent gets or which Pokemon certain cards get attached to
3) You're choosing which Supporter to activate; your opponent activates that Supporter
 
I've seen a couple of forum threads talking about Hypno's Hand Control attack being strangely worded, and given the text I can understand that. Still, the fact is you're letting your opponent play a Supporter on your turn, and if they do have something along the lines of Sycaper, then it's not going to be useful. Most other Supporters, though, Hypno will have some strange usage, but then he's also a Stage 1 Psychic, and I don't think you're going to be running Hypno just to mess with your opponent.
 
...well, unless you're some kind of weird sadistic type of person who takes pleasure in watching their opponents play Supporters.
 
Rating
 
Standard: 2.5/5 (I do see some usage out of Hypno's Hand Control, but most of the time I imagine you're giving your opponent the advantage, not to mention a free turn with that effect)
 
Expanded: 1.5/5 (more Supporters, but also MUCH more competition, and unfortunately Hypno is a gimmick at best)
 
Limited: 1.5/5 (what are you gonna do, hit Battle Reporter? Fossil Researcher? Korrina is probably the one you'd hit, but I guess you could fail that? I dunno)
 
Arora Notealus: Hypno's Hand Control kinda reminds me of the Yugioh! anime's Graverobber and The Pillager, where it takes an opponent's card and uses it! Although it's not going to always be against them...
 
Next Time: SUCK EM UP


Otaku

Today we look at Hypno (XY: Furious Fists 36/111).  Being a Psychic-Type is mostly of value right now for exploiting the Psychic Weakness found on popular Pokémon like Deoxys-EX, Mewtwo-EX and Lucario-EX as the available Type support is extremely limited and wanting, though it will be greatly expanded upon by EX: Phantom Forces (we’ll have to wait and see if it proves to be any good, though).  You also have to worry about Resistance creeping up somewhat often; most Darkness-Types and Metal-Types possess Psychic Resistance and while -20 isn’t huge, it can really add up.  Overall, I’d consider it better than “average”, but its hard to flat out label it “good” when Types that are well supported and hit a popular Weakness exist (re: Fighting). 

Being a Stage 1 is not good, but there are some potent ones that still see play even though they are a turn slower than Basic Pokémon and require an additional card to get into play - their Basic Stage - though the latter could theoretically be remedied by making sure said Basic Pokémon was well worth playing.  We’ll discuss Drowzee - what Hypno Evolves from - after we finish with the ‘mon itself.  It is a smaller Stage 1, with just 90 HP: most decks should score a OHKO so long as their set-up isn’t “bad”... and being a Stage 1 means that you don’t even have as many “awkward, early game” turns to buy time; your opponent will be on his or her second or third turn by the time Hypno is on the field.  Normally being small helps to mitigate Weakness, but the Psychic-Type to worry about right now is Mewtwo-EX and it has a scalable attack, X-Ball: instead of being just under half-KOed with a minimum damage X-Ball (no Energy on Hypno, two on Mewtwo-EX), Hypno will barely hang in there with 10 HP.  This is better than a flat out OHKO that 80 HP would yield, but besides the usual damage boosting tricks, an additional Energy on Hypno or Mewtwo-EX will suffice. 

Hypno has no Resistance and a Retreat Cost of two.  Neither of these are “bad” per se; Resistance is lacking on many if not most Pokémon and most decks already are packing ways to lower or bypass entirely the cost of retreating and even if you do have to pay up, two Energy is only going to be an issue in a deck that is amazingly tight on both Energy count and attachments.   At the same time, neither is “good” either, and while Resistance might be a bit iffy due to how the video game Types have been translated to the TCG, as Hypno is stuck being relatively small I could have seen just giving it a single Energy Retreat Cost, even if it isn’t known for having an amazing speed or being especially mobile or any other trait I can think of that might justify having a lower Retreat Cost. 

Hypno has two attacks; the second attack is not what caught my eye about this card, so I will cover it first simply to “get it out of the way”.  For the hefty cost of [PPP] Hypno does 60 points of damage plus afflicts the Defending Pokémon with Sleep.  That is it; this is a very expensive cost and even if we had the Energy acceleration to power it up in a single turn (we don’t), it would be horribly overpriced or underpowered.  The going rate tends to be at least 90 for three, in part because two 90 points hits is enough to 2HKO most Pokémon-EX (apart from healing, protective effects, etc.).  Though Sleep can be useful, a Special Condition with a 50% chance of curing itself between turns and that you might be getting off of Hypnotoxic Laser isn’t worth the cost of admission when tacked onto just 60 points of damage.

So is the first attack any good?  For [P] you can use Hand Control, which forces your opponent to reveal his or her hand to you.  From there “...you may choose a Supporter card you find there.” so it is optional to do more than just look at the opponent’s hand.  If you do select a Supporter, the attack forces your opponent to play the card, however you (the player who used Hand Control) make all the decisions.  This is a potent effect, even for an attack and especially as players are finally diversifying Supporters a little.  Forcing Professor Juniper or Professor Sycamore is an amazing mill/hand disruption effect, even if with the risk of giving your opponent an awesome set-up.  N can provide more disruption, possibly shrinking your opponent’s hand and/or increasing the size of your own.  Colress can force the opponent to draw a massive amount of cards, which again can equate to massive mill at the cost of giving your opponent access to a wide amount of resources.  Lysandre can allow you to protect Hypno with your preferred “wall” of a Pokémon.  Korrina allows you to see your opponent’s deck and might allow you to even fail both searches (using this effect doesn’t render your opponent’s deck public knowledge, so I would think you could elect to fail the searches even though both players at that point would know if there were legal targets).  In all cases, your opponent is down one precious Supporter. 

As mentioned earlier, you’ve got to go through Drowzee to get to Hypno, and much as we only have a single option for Hypno we only have the one Drowzee: XY: Furious Fists 35/111.  It is a Basic Psychic-Type with a solid (for an Evolving Basic) 70 HP.  I don’t know if it occurred to the design team or just worked out that way after the fact, but I do approve “front loading” HP for Evolving Pokémon; while that would be bad for the video games (where you slowly level up as you face opponent’s, both human and CPU trainers as well as “wild” Pokémon also controlled by the computer, in the TCG where its always player versus player and you may be facing the equivalent of a high level Pokémon as soon as both players flip over their opening Pokémon, its very much needed.   The Psychic Weakness and lack of Resistance is no worse here than for Hypno, though the Retreat Cost of two I find hurts a little more on Evolving Basics than for Evolutions (the former being something you might be forced to open with and thus desire to retreat). 

Again similar to Hypno is has two attacks and the “big” second attack (Psyshot) is overpriced ([PP] for 20) while the first is intriguing: for [P] Sinister Suggestion has you to treat the results of all coin flips your opponent makes on his or her next turn as “tails”.  It doesn’t specify attacks or Abilities or even Pokémon, but applies to any, so for any card Type or game mechanic (though the only non-card-effect related game mechanic that uses a coin flip is determining who goes first and that of course happens before you could ever use this attack).  While useful and having some potential at keeping Drowzee alive long enough to Evolve, it only marginally combos with your attack in that it might keep Drowzee alive long enough to Evolve or sabotage other efforts to undermine your own set-up, like Crushing Hammer or Pokémon Catcher flips. 

If Hand Control (or Sinister Suggestion) were Abilities able to stack (with each other or in the case of Hand Control, other copies of itself) this might have lead to a new top deck.  Instead, you are going to need to get Hypno into play, burn an Energy attachment and attack to do the deed, and you don’t have a way of ensuring your opponent has a detrimental to them/beneficial to you Supporter in hand.  If we ever get an effect that isn’t prohibitively expense to add the Supporter of our choice to the opponent’s hand (whether from the deck, the discard pile, or our choice of either), we might have gotten a top deck out of it… except from translations of the next set we are getting a Supporter likely to kill mill decks (and badly damage several others) if said Supporter proves worthwhile. 

For now, if you want to have fun with it, my suggestion is… experiment.  Ive got nothing concrete, just two approaches based purely on Theorymon.  The first is straightforward: Quad Hypno, or something akin to it.  Focus on loading the deck up with various disruptive Trainers and hope that between messing with the opponent’s Supporters (via Hand Control) and everything else via your own Trainers, before your opponent can take six Prizes you’ve either decked them out or left them unable to attack. 

The second is to attack your opponent’s resources in a slightly different manner.  Trying to open with Seismitoad-EX (for example), you force your opponent into a “big hand” so that your first Hand Control does major damage… “damage” in the sense that a bunch of Items plus a Professor Juniper or Sycamore are now wasted.  It might even be something of a “bookend” strategy; open with Seismitoad-EX, use as many Hypno as seems appropriate, then back to Seismitoad-EX when your opponent’s deck is (hopefully) running on fumes and low on Supporters.  You could even consider working in Garbodor (BW: Dragons Exalted 54/124; BW: Plasma Freeze 119/116; BW: Legendary Treasures 68/113) as neither Pokémon suggested uses Abilities, and if the whole thing works your opponent will have to rely on brute force with few or none of the usual buffs aggressive decks normally rely upon. 

I don’t expect either strategy to carry you to a tournament win in Standard, or even to the top cut.  Expanded looks no better, with the usual trade off; slight benefits from the greater card pool as you gain access to things like Level Ball, but with the trade off of facing older powerhouses that would still be part of the competitive metagame in Standard if they were legal. 

For Limited, Hypno is only worth taking because Drowzee is worth it if you can include enough Psychic Energy.  Messing with coin flips via Sinister Suggestion will not win you the game, but it should throw your opponent off and buy time to set up a “real” attacker, and again if you meet those first two provisions, Evolving into Hypno and following through with Hypnoblast is adequate due to the lower than average HP scores/damage yields coupled with Special Conditions generally being more effective.  Hand Control can be useful, but usually only to sneak a peek at your opponent’s hand; the Supporters in this aren’t the kind to make for easy deck outs or directly help your opponent (which in this case would be you, the player using Hand Control), and your opponent also isn’t likely to keep a Supporter in hand; even without Hand Control, most Supporters are more advantageous to use right away.  If you do get lucky and catch a Korrina or Fossil Researcher in hand, or a Battle Reporter when it could lead to deck out, enjoy it but don’t rely on it happening again. 

Ratings 

Standard: 2/5 - If this seems a tad high for a card I rated as a “fun” deck, it is because this format rewards rushing through your deck; there is a reason I fixate on Hand Control hitting a Professor Juniper or Professor Sycamore. 

Expanded: 2/5 - As explained above, while there are indeed differences I suspect they even out in the end. 

Limited: 2.75/5 - This is mostly because of the typical “bump” cards receive when players must work with what they pull as well as my fondness for Drowzee, though perhaps the latter is misplaced. 

Summary: Hand Control could be amazing, but being stuck on a 90 HP Stage 1 as an attack that requires [P] is an issue.  You will likely have to stream Stage 1s as each Hypno is probably going down in a single hit… and you’re still stuck hoping your opponent has a Supporter worth forcing.  You can elect not to force a Supporter that will actually hurt you, forcing your opponent to still burn his or her Supporter usage for the turn on it, but I have mostly been considering this from a “mill” angle and you can’t spare many turns where you aren’t effectively lowering your opponent’s deck size.  As is, this is a card for “fun” decks, though if there is a combo I missed (Mew-EX using Hand Control doesn’t seem like an improvement) then much like the many Item locking attacks, real success depends on a bigger Pokémon later sporting a similar attack (not that such a thing will help Hypno).


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