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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Drapion

- Furious Fists

Date Reviewed:
Sep. 30, 2014

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 1.67
Expanded: 1.67
Limited: 1.50

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

I dunno if Gen IV was the most "original" in terms of Pokemon, but they did give us some interesting ones to say the least. For instance, who would've thought that a Bug/Poison type would suddenly evolve into a Poison/Dark type? Sure messed with me battling Aaron of the Elite Four! Welcome back to today's card of the day, Drapion!
 
Drapion is a Stage 1 Dark-type, with two attacks on very different ends of the spectrum. First, we've got the 1-for-20 Venoshock, which deals 60 on a Poisoned Pokemon. Could make for an easy combo with Hypnotoxic Laser, and that's probably the best partner for it. Sure, you've got stuff like Victreebel from last week, but let's be honest, you'd rather just run Hypnotoxic Laser for this attack. Not that 60's a whole lot, but combine that with Muscle Band and Virbank Gym, and you've got around 110 damage prior to any weakness. Not too shabby!
 
But then you hit his second attack Venomous Fang, which costs 4 Energy for 80 (really?) and...Poisons the Active Pokemon. Wait, was I supposed to combo this with Venoshock? So over the course of 2 turns I can deal 160 damage prior to Muscle Band? Sounds a bit backwards to charge 4 Energy for an attack that sets up your cheaper one, doesn't it? And that's why Drapion here just doesn't cut it.
 
If he were better, maybe his Venoshock would cost a little more (2-3), do more damage (60), and THEN plus out of Poison (+40) while Venomous Fang would be MUCH cheaper (1-2), do MUCH less damage (20-40), but still Poison. As he is, though, Drapion just feels mixed-up; why should I attach 4 Energies to a Pokemon that could just as easily benefit from having a Muscle Band and an Item that Poisons for 1? Sure, the damage output is appropriate, but when Pokemon-EX can deal upwards of 120-200 damage for 4 Energy, it feels a bit cheap that Stage 1s and Stage 2s continue to get cheated out like this. Yeah yeah, they're not supposed to be as powerful as EX, but it's hard to justify playing them to begin with when this sort of thing comes up.
 
Drapion is a cool Pokemon with cool Typing, but his attacks work against each other rather than compliment each other because the more expensive attack leads up to the cheaper attack rather than it being the other way around. Because of this, even with all the benefits he could gain, he's just not good.
 
Rating
 
Standard: 1.5/5 (sorry, there's just no good reason to run him)
 
Expanded: 1.5/5 (no amount of Dark support can justify a bad card)
 
Limited: 2/5 (as much as I'd imagine the Poison aspect to be useful, I still can't say that he's better here because again, his 4-Energy attack sets up his 1-Energy attack, and that's no good here)
 
Arora Notealus: The "ogre scorpion" Pokemon is really brutal according to the data entry. Even when he can tear opponents apart, he chooses to use his poison instead. It'd be so noble if it wasn't a choice between "death" and "dying". Also, where's my Drapion-EX? Come on, you know you wanna see this guy as an EX! Not with these attacks, of course...
 
Next Time: Now where did I put the key to that safe...


Otaku

Drapion (XY: Furious Fists 65/111) is a Darkness-Type; from the release of BW: Dark Explorers May 9th, 2012 until the rotation September 3rd of this year, the Darkness-Type was one of if not the best supported Pokémon-Type.  With the rotation to BCR-On and XY: Furious Fists becoming legal Darkness-Types took a huge hit as as they lost Dark Patch (plus a few other things) while Fighting-Types gained a lot of direct and indirect Type support; coupled with Fire-Types already having been bolstered by XY: Flashfire, I would now put it as about the third best Type in terms of support and that is primarily based on the indirect support from having some amazing Darkness-Type [D] Energy using attackers and/or triggered Abilities.  The actual, direct support left in Standard appears to be just Zoroark (BW: Dark Explorers 71/108; BW: Legendary Treasures 90/113) - because it does damage based on the amount of Darkness-Type Pokémon in play - and that is it.  Even Shadow Circle is “indirect” support as it works with any Pokémon with a source of [D] Energy attached. 

In terms of hitting Weakness Darkness-Types aren’t actually that good; just some Psychic-Types that correspond to the Ghost-Type in the video games, even though both Ghost- and Psychic-Type Pokémon take double damage from Dark-Type attacks.  In the TCG, currently only few such Pokémon see serious, competitive play; mainly just Dusknoir (BW: Boundaries Crossed 63/149; BW: Plasma Blast 104/101.  Darkness Resistance is common to all the new Fairy-Type Pokémon barring an error on my part, though thankfully only Xerneas (XY: 96/146) and Xerneas-EX currently see substantial play.  There are actually four counter-cards for this Type: Cobalion (BW Promos BW72), Terrakion (BW Promo BW71), and Virizion (BW Promo BW70).  I don’t mean that these cards are useful against Darkness-Types for the usual reasons (like exploiting Weakness), but all have the Ability “Justified” which adds 50 points to the damage their attacks do to Darkness-Types… but their attacks are all pretty bad.  Factoring all of this together, it means that overall being a Darkness-Type is still good but not great; there are more important Weaknesses to hit and/or better supported Types out there, but what you do get is solid. 

Drapion is a Stage 1 Pokémon, which means it is a turn slower and takes one more card than the Basic Pokémon and takes one less card (and barring Evolution acceleration) is a turn faster than Stage 2 Pokémon… but instead of ultimately being equals that function differently or the happy medium between the best and the worst, Basic Pokémon are still the dominant force of the format, and by a significant margin.  At least at this point, running an Evolution isn’t hopelessly crippling and if Pyroar (XY: Flashfire 20/106) and its Intimidating Mane Ability can make having at least one non-Basic attacker useful, though Pyroar usage itself is not stable. 

110 HP is can sometimes take a hit; usually this means one with the damage not being boosted, more likely early/late game when resources are scarce or when an opponent is struggling than against most competitive decks with a solid set-up.  Despite the pace and draw power of the game (or perhaps even because of them) there are enough exceptions to keep this from being especially bad, though it isn’t really good either.  Weakness, Strong Energy and Muscle Band make it almost certain that Fighting-Types will score a OHKO as most that are used for attacking can hit for at least 20 damage before those buffs thus 120 after them as they apply before Weakness.  The card’s Psychic Resistance is a welcome sight and somewhat useful as Mewtwo-EX is one against a major player in the format; with five whole Energy between an attacking Mewtwo-EX and a Defending Drapion, Mewtwo-EX still requires another damage counter for the OHKO so if Drapion can hit effectively for a single Energy, this could provide an effective niche use.  Its hefty three Energy Retreat Cost could be problematic as that is too much to easily afford, but Darkrai-EX and its Dark Cloak should handle that (one of the indirect pieces of Darkness-Type support) and in Expanded the Retreat Cost is a small bonus as it makes the card a legal Heavy Ball target. 

Drapion has two attacks.  For [D] Venoshock does 20 points of damage, plus another 40 if the Defending Pokémon is poisoned.  Thanks to Hypnotoxic Laser this should be an easy 60-for-1, though remember that conditional is conditional and a combo is a combo; even an easily triggered one is going to fail some of the time.  You’ll need to add to that combo to make this attack anything more than a set-up for something else.  The second attack is Venomous Fang, which requires a massive [DDCC] investment to deliver 80 points of damage and Poison.  Even with automatic Poison in a format that begs you to use Virbank City Gym, you’re 30 to 40 points below where you might dare to use this as a glass canon; Yveltal (XY 78/146; XY Promo XY06) can help build it on the Bench while the two [C] requirements make the car friendly to many forms of general Energy acceleration, most notably Double Colorless Energy, but the return means it just isn’t worth it (for the price you need to be hitting for an effective 120 before things like Poison damage) and that hurts Venoshock, which could have used an inexpensive attack or Ability that Poisons for a better built-in combo… or at least a better finishing attack (Hypnotoxic Laser really is an easy combo for the Poison). 

It is of course possible that its Basic form, Skorupi, could help.  Skorupi (XY: Furious Fists 38/111) is a 70 HP Basic Psychic-Type with 70 HP, Psychic Weakness, no Resistance, a Retreat Cost of two and two attacks.  Yes, its Type changes as it Evolves; in the video games it goes from being a Bug/Poison hybrid to a Poison/Dark hybrid.  This is worth noting as the Poison-Type is currently lumped in with the Psychic-Type (it was originally part of the Grass-Type), so Drapion could also have been a Psychic-Type which - at least for now - might have been an improvement (hitting Psychic Weakness is handy), especially if the “dual-Type is Type 1 but has Energy costs, Weakness and Resistance associated with Type 2”.  I mention this here because it is just a “What if?” and on extremely rare occasions, you may be glad that Skorupi can hit Psychic Weakness… not that the attacks lend to that tactic very well.  For (C) the Poison Sting attack allows a coin flip to Poison; useful for leading into Venoshock except for being unreliable (coin flip) and overpriced.  C’mon designers, even a slightly better attack could have made for a combo that was - well - still a bit desperate as Skorupi would be hard pressed to survive to Evolve, but functional while a solid Ability or really good attack could have made this into a combo that took Advantage of being a Stage 1 (Skorupi acting like spare Hypnotoxic Laser instead of just a stepping stone).  I am talking even with Drapion still stuck with Venomous Fang.  Oh, and for [PCC] it can hit for 30.  Pity as even 20 for [CC] would have been preferable due to ease of use and the occasional solid hit against Weakness. 

Enough criticism-via-Create-A-Card: are there any reasons to use this card, and what can be done to make it perform to the best of its Ability?  It is the Stage 1 Darkness-Type Pokémon with the highest printed HP in Standard; in Expanded it ties with Honchkrow (BW: Dragons Exalted 37/124) and if we factor in Abilities, Umbreon (BW: Plasma Freeze 64/116) boosts its printed HP of 100 to 120 (in addition to raising the HP of all Team Plasma Pokémon by 20, including other copies of itself).  Venoshock is fortunate that using Hypnotoxic Laser is quite common; with a Virbank City Gym you can hit an effective 90 points of damage for [D], which as long as the deck can afford the trade, is glass cannon status.  If facing something on the small to low-average side or something big is already damage, Muscle Band or Silver Bangle can allow it to provide an inexpensive finishing blow as now the combo clocks in at 110 or 120 effective points of damage.  I don’t really think it is worth it, but if you really want a Stage 1 Darkness-Type attacker and Zoroark isn’t an option, this at least is mostly functional.  Interestingly enough, I don’t think I can say the same for Limited; not only is this set stocked with Fighting-Type Pokémon and their support, but it is unlikely you’ll have a good means of inflicting Poison outside of the attacks of Skorupi or Drapion, and even here they are still fairly bad.  Skip it. 

Ratings 

Standard: 1.75/5 - Close to having a semi-legitimate niche use, at least if you ignore design disappointments that are problematically probable. 

Expanded: 1.75/5 - Gains additional support but also additional competition, both in general and for Stage 1 Darkness-Type Pokémon.  Net result is it scores the same as in Standard. 

Limited: 1/5 - I really don’t like Fighting Weakness this set, so while I would normally say “just work with what you’ve got”... not this time. 

Summary: It is almost like Drapion, or at least Venoshock, was expected to be too good because so much of this card screams intentional nerfing.  It was released in a set that boosted its own Weakness, the second attack is horribly overpriced instead of giving us two nice low Energy attacks (or complimentary Ability and attack, or complimentary Basic for the attack, etc.).

 


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