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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Top 15 Ancient Origin Cards

#14 - Machamp EX

- Ancient Origins

Date Reviewed:
August 25, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3.65
Expanded: 3.38
Limited: 4.00

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 being horrible.  3 ... average.  5 is awesome.

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

When I first caught sight of Machamp-EX, I couldn't help but smile a little. To think that he's been getting so much attention lately - what with being in Pokken Tournament and now with receiving his own EX card! And not only is it a neat card - it's an amazing card! 

...well, in its own way. 

Like most Pokemon-EX, Machamp-EX has two attacks to work with, which would in theory deal 180 damage or so. But the way they do it is unique and - at the same time - fairly risky depending on how you handle it. First off, there's Steaming Mad, an Outrage-esque attack that deals twice the amount of damage done to Machamp onto  the opposing Pokemon - and then he gets Confused. Already though there's a lot to profit off of Machamp's power here, as if your opponent doesn't KO him, they're gonna have to deal with a furious counterpunch! 

And then there's Crazy Hammer, which deals 80 damage at first followed up by another 80 damage if Machamp-EX is affected by a Special Condition, and then the attack removes the Special Condition. Here's the thing about that Special Condition though: there aren't that many that guarantee you can still attack. Sleep and Paralyzed keep you from attacking at all, so they're no good, and Confusion (which can be self-inflicted via Steaming Mad) ends up with a 50/50 shot of hitting in the first place. The only reliable ones that you can use are Burn (which does that even exist anymore in this game?) and Poison, and there aren't many cards that deal yourself Poison. 

...well, at least, not before. In Expanded, Machamp-EX can make foes hesitate to play their HTL, and combining his powers with stuff like Strong Energy and Fighting Stadium will wildly benefit his plays. His major strength in being a Fighting type is also a bit of a major flaw, since the main Fighting-type acceleration is currently Landorus (FUF). So it's gonna be a little tough - but Machamp-EX? He's tough too. 

He'll prolly get his own deck for a bit, and he'll definitely be a good card to have around, so watch out - or else Machamp-EX will be Steaming Mad and Crazy Hammer your face off!! 

Rating 

Standard: 3.5/5 (powerful attacks that work well together, though Confusion's not the best Status to have, and Fighting acceleration's a little slow) 

Expanded: 3.5/5 (prolly about the same here, there wasn't much Fighting support/acceleration pre-XY) 

Limited: 4.5/5 (Steaming Mad can potential OHKO anything, and if it won't, Crazy Hammer will) 

Arora Notealus: OH YEAHHHHHHHHHHH, I'M BRINGING A WORLD OF PAIN TO YA, YOU KNOW WHAT I'M SAYING?! HOO HAH HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!! 

...*er-hem* Macho Madness, oh yeah it's Macho Madness. 

Nexxt Time: A goliath among Pokemon descends!!


Otaku

Before we get to our fourth runner up a.k.a. 14th place card, a quick note.  First, my review for yesterday’s CotD has now been posted.  Sorry folks; I grew complacent thinking I was on schedule which means of course I fell behind.  Second, there were several CotD reviews of mine that never went up since the previous set because I hadn’t finished them in time.  They should either be posted as of this review or about to go up later today: feel free to go back and read any or all of said reviews.  Of course the main reason for finishing them now is a matter of posterity… and because I’m obsessive.  Pojo is willing to post them so I went ahead and finish them. 

Now though it is time to pump *clap* you up with today’s CotD: Machamp-EX (XY: Ancient Origins 37/98; 90/98).  As you can tell at a glance, it is a Fighting-Type Pokémon-EX.  Being a Fighting-Type is pretty great; many Colorless-Types and most Darkness- and Lightning-Types are Fighting Weak, often giving you a huge edge over them.  The Type enjoys perhaps the overall best support in the game right now with their own personal Stadium (Fighting Stadium), Energy (Strong Energy), Pokémon Tool (Focus Sash) and not one but two Supporters (Korrina and Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick).  Not all of those are “must runs” but even the lesser ones are nice to have… and there is more as there are cards like Scorched Earth that work with either basic Fighting Energy or Fire Energy to draw two cards as indirect support.  The Fighting-Type is one of the more commonly Resisted (though “no Resistance” is even more common) and there are a few “anti-Fighting” cards floating around but… they are pretty easy to forget and not all that effective.  Being a Pokémon-EX is normally just guaranteed drawbacks (gives up an extra Prize, “anti-Pokémon-EX” cards plus those that just won’t work for Pokémon-EX) with the potential to have significantly better attributes and/or effects but as Machamp are normally Stage 2 Pokémon, Machamp-EX instantly benefits by being a Basic Pokémon. 

It also didn’t get shafted in the HP department as it has the 180 HP that is the higher of the two more common values (the lower is 170).  Nothing is safe from a OHKO but 180 is about as good as it get without Mega Evolving (there are a few exceptions like Wailord-EX which have more).  Machamp-EX will probably survive a hit, though besides the harder hitting decks its Weakness is a serious concern: Psychic.  Mewtwo-EX should be rotating: I haven’t yet heard whether or not the reported re-release was a full fledged reprint or just older product being released again.  In Expanded it will be a serious concern given how likely it is to score a OHKO for a minimal investment.  Unless you’re dealing with the Psychic-Types that have intentionally low damage attacks (usually because they’ve got an awesome Ability or because they don’t see much play), it will likely be brutal.  The lack of Resistance is so common that while I am kind of disappointed, it doesn’t really detract from the card: Resistance isn’t exactly a strong mechanic anyway as it is probably still more or less “balanced” unlike Weakness.  The Retreat Cost of three is chunky.  In Expanded it would make Heavy Ball an option, but the main thing is you’ll need to build your deck with alternatives to retreating at full cost; either reducing it, bypassing it entirely or being able to tank. 

Machamp-EX has two attacks.  The first (Steaming Mad) requires [FC] to hit for 20 damage per damage counter on Machamp-EX itself… after which point Machamp-EX is Confused.  The second (Crazy Hammer) requires [FFC] to hit for 80 plus another 80 if Machamp-EX is affected by a Special Condition, and after which all Special Conditions on Machamp-EX are removed.  It can take some time to set-up for either attack, but the end result can be quite potent; as low as nothing or as high as 340 damage before other effects with Steaming Mad and while 80 for three isn’t too hot 160 for three is.  Steaming Mad Confusing Machamp-EX is likely intended to set up for Crazy Hammer, but as you’re not getting much unless you use Steaming Mad after Machamp-EX has at least three damage counters on it (and preferably when he has more like nine), Machamp-EX is unlikely to survive a turn to have to even worry about Confusion.  Which is good because while Crazy Hammer can hit crazy hard, of the five Special Conditions, two prevent attacking at all (Paralysis and Sleep) and one leaves you with a 50% chance of failure (Confusion).  Only Burn and Poison won’t affect the capacity of Machamp-EX to attack. 

Conveniently this leads to the exact combo for Machamp-EX: Ariados (XY: Ancient Origins 6/98).  It is a Stage 1 with an Ability (Poisonous Nest) allowing it to Poison both non-Grass-Type Active Pokémon.  So unless the opposing Active is a Grass-Type, you have an easy combo to deliver 140/160/320 (Resistant/Neutral/Weak to Fighting) damage plus a damage counter of Poison.  Muscle Band can be tacked onto that, or you could use Focus Sash so that your opponent is forced to hold back a bit when attacking if they can’t neutralize its effect.  Otherwise what would have been a OHKO sets up for a full power Steaming Mad.  Against Grass-Types, that may have to be the plan unless you pack an alternate attacker.  I expect this to see some play (maybe even some success) in Standard, maybe in Expanded as well; Mew-EX and Mewtwo-EX are a an additional threat in Expanded.  In Limited play, I’m not sure if I would take the risk and run it as my only Basic Pokémon (a +39 deck - Limited decks are only 40 cards).  Steaming Mad Confuses you but that is the only way apart from your opponent inflicted a Special Condition on Machamp-EX to get the full damage from Crazy Hammer, and while Steaming Mad can Confuse you to get the bonus from Crazy Hammer, you’ve got a 50% chance of your attack just placing three damage counters on Machamp-EX itself.  In a “normal” Limited deck with mostly basic Fighting Energy though it could be a tremendous asset.

Ratings 

Standard: 3.5/5 

Expanded: 3.25/5 

Limited: 4/5 

Summary: Machamp-EX has a strong but not perfect combo to build a deck around.  With Fighting-Type support helping it out, I think it will enjoy some success, but I’m not confident enough to assume it will become one of the top decks.  Should be a nice option though.  On my own list, Machamp-EX also made the Top 15 as the 13th place finisher, so 14th place seems accurate.


Emma Starr

Today we introduce Machamp EX, a contender who is literally mad enough to try and hold his own against all of the crazy EXs and Megas. Can he do it? Let’s watch the action unfold!           

With 180 HP, he’s on the slightly bulkier side of EXness, by having 10 more than some EXs. Psychic Pokemon can take him down quickly, though thankfully for him, Mewtwo EX will be forced out of the ring soon. With a Retreat Cost of here though, he’s most likely going to have to stay in the match until the bitter en(FuF 46d, unless he has some other source to help him escape.           

His first attack is a brutal and risky one! Steaming Mad costs one Fighting and one Colorless Energy, and does 2 times the amount of damage counters he has received. While sounding alright so far, there is one big risk in this attack – Machamp EX becomes confused. So, you attacks will now be crippled into having only a 50% success rate; if the coin lands on tails, and you will also do 3 damage to yourself, to add insult to injury. What’s further counter-productive about this attack is that it costs two Energy, so you’ll most likely be using this before the other attack, which means Machamp EX may not have enough damage yet to fully take advantage of this attack. On the plus side however, using this attack before the next does carry some very nice rewards, if you’re gutsy enough to try it…   

    His second attack, Crazy Hammer, does 80 damage for two Fighting and a Colorless, but if Machamp EX is affected by a Status Condition, such as say...Confusion, it does a crazy 160 damage, which is enough to OHKO any EX if Machamp EX is equipped with a Muscle Band (barring Wailord) in one single hit! Sure, there is the 50% chance of failure and 30 damage of recoil with the strategy of using Steaming Mad, then Crazy Hammer, but with such potential power, it’s a good thing it is nerfed to this extent. It’s also worth remembering that said Confusion will be cured once this attack is successfully used.   

    A couple of other things I thought were worth noting were that you could just try to get Machamp EX hit with a Hypnotoxic Laser instead, while not bothering with using Steaming Mad at all, but most of the time, your opponent will probably not want to risk doing this in the first place. Also, you could substitute Muscle Band for Strong Energy if you wanted, though Strong Energy will take up one of your four Special Energy spots, but since you’re most likely running Fighting types in a deck with Machamp EX in it, Strong Energy would most likely be your best bet for Fighting decks anyway. Ironically, a bench-sitting Machamp (FuF 46) could also help fulfill this role. Finally, there is a devastating combo to be had if you have Ariados (AO 6) on your bench - use it to Poison Machamp and the opposing Pokemon. The best part? You can use this repeatedly, once per turn! I can see lots of evil, devastating destruction sprees happening with this one already! 

Modified: 3.9/5 (I almost want to score this higher, but to use Machamp EX most effectively, you still need Ariados to be on the bench, and Ariados is a Stage 1 Pokemon, so not the quickest setup, but well worth it if you can make the pieces work!)
Limited: 3.5/5 (No access to Strong Energy, the other Machamp, or Muscle Band is a real bummer...but that strength is still impressive, along with the Ariados combo still being possible.)


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