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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Top 15 Ancient Origin Cards

#11 - Faded Town

- Ancient Origins

Date Reviewed:
August xx, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3.58
Expanded: 3.65
Limited: 3.90

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

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

Now Faded Town here is the other Stadium in the set, and it offers something that, well, quite frankly can be scary in the right hands. 

You probably remember how Rough Seas has been used to heal off Water-types, and you definitely recall Virbank allowing more damage to be inflicted for Poison. Well, Faded Town works kinda like both of them...in a way. It can affect a wide range of Pokemon similarly to Rough Seas, and it inflicts damage similarly to Virbank City Gym - it even occurs between turns like Poison! But the major difference here: Faded Town inflicts 20 damage on every Mega-Evolved Pokemon. 

Yep. Every Mega-Evolved Pokemon. 

Now that's a pretty hefty damage boost - that's usually 40 damage to most Mega-Evolved Pokemon by the time it comes back to your turn, a guaranteed 20 damage just after you play it. And seeing as most of these Megas tend to have 230-240 HP, it's no surprise that it can be used dangerously. It's the kind of card Megas like M Heracross-EX hate and M Tyranitar-EX love more! 

Course, it's also a bit niche. Not every deck out there is running Megas, after all - Seismitoad-EX, Night March, etc. are all decks that tend to focus on non-Mega attackers. But against decks that do run Megas? This is a powerful tool to have. Stay close, friends, cause the last place I wanna be is in the same faded town as M Tyranitar-EX. 

Rating 

Standard: 3.5/5 (a niche card of sorts with a lot of relevance right now, and will probably be relevant later on as more Megas come out) 

Expanded: 3.5/5 (about the same here, Megas are a post-XY thing after all) 

Limited: 3/5 (...well, chances are your opponent isn't going to have a Mega any more than you are, but hey, if it helps) 

Arora Notealus: Where would this place be in the Pokemon world? Some old abandoned town on the outskirts of Nuvema Town? Or just in the desert outside Lumiose City? Or maybe it's closer to whatever lies between Pewter City and the Indigo League? Heck if I know, but doesn't it make you curious? 

Weekend Thought: You see potential in this week's card? The devastating stomp of M Tyranitar-EX making you quake in your boots, or is Machamp-EX's temper more of a problem? And are you ready for the cards that made out Top 10 list?! MAYBE YOU ARE!! 

Next Time: And then suddenly, off to the side, they spotted us!!

 

We cover our final final honorable mention, runner up, the 11th place card… Faded Town (XY: Ancient Origins 73/89).  This is the other Stadium from the set, so both nearly made our list.  Its effect places two damage counters between turns on all Mega Evolution Pokémon in play.  At first I thought the wording somewhat awkward, but then I realized the point: instead of saying “Mega Evolved” it specifically cites the Mega Evolution Stage and thus will affect a Mega Evolution put into play though alternate methods like Archie’s Ace in the Hole or Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick and of course it is hitting all of them; Active and Bench, your opponent’s and your own. 

Two damage counters may not seem like much, but it is just a single damage counter less than the Hypnotoxic Laser/Virbank City Gym combo inflicts and while hitting a specific sub-classification of a specific sub-classification of Pokémon (Pokémon > Pokémon-EX > Mega Evolution) affecting multiple at time coupled with their presence in the metagame makes for a very solid effect.  This card is reminiscent of older, past successes like Desert Ruins and Cursed Stone, which basically do the same thing but for only a single damage counter between turns and to Pokémon-ex (note the lower case suffix) and those with Poké-Powers (a precursor to Abilities).  It is possible that this won’t see much play, but only if we see a sudden shift away from Mega Evolutions (highly unlikely) or a shift to where just about everything runs their own Mega Evolution (unlikely) or where you just can’t keep a Stadium in play long enough for it to matter (probably the most likely, but still not expected). 

I don’t know if intentional, but to me this card helps signify that Mega Evolutions are still not “behaving” according to plan.  Clearly that is my opinion, but here is why I say this: I’ve never been too satisfied with the video game to begin with and would much rather they added depth by adding actual depth to the individual Pokémon.  Seems like if one takes away the window dressing of contemporary hardware, you don’t have a lot of contemporary game design improvement.  A lot of it seems like “busy work” more than really realizing the game as more than a very restrictive JRPG.  Of course that could just be personal taste; the main thing is the Mega Evolution mechanic wasn’t something the designers could gloss over (such as gendered Pokémon and reproduction, contests, in game baking, etc.).  I’ve tried to explain that it is reasonable for a game that wishes to optimize its market penetration and has such an easy to please customer base (seems like most buy TCG product just because it is Pokémon, not to play or even to really collect): with Pokémon you’ve got so many Types and Stages, let alone specific Pokémon and everyone has their favorites.  If you keep things as even as you can, you can attract the most people. 

So when a particular Type or Stage (let alone specific Pokémon) dominates the game to the point it impacts how well the other Types or Stages can be used, it diminishes the enjoyment of people that just don’t like that Type or Stage, potentially leading them to quit (or never start) because “Why play a TCG about Pokémon if I can’t use the ones I like and still have a sporting chance of winning?”.  I’ve often said that if you want the various fully Evolved versions of each Stage to be on even footing, you’ve got to design them that way and then figure out how to balance out the different approaches to them; slowing down how quickly a “main attacker” Basic Pokémon can set-up, maybe making it a bit more dependent on additional Trainer or Pokémon support to offset the major card and speed advantage it has on Evolutions, but without artificially downgrading its attributes or effects, while Evolutions don’t need to be “bigger” or “stronger”, but need the time to Evolve plus lower Stages that provide a return when you use them.  Mega Evolutions have even higher HP scores and often better attacks their their Basic Pokémon-EX counterparts, but are also supposed to end your turn when you Evolve into them, giving an additional cost.  Like how even when dealing with a Pokémon-EX counterpart to something that is already normally a Basic Pokémon, it costs an extra Prize but gets better attributes (usually HP) and effects (either Ability, attack or both) than what the non-Pokémon-EX version possesses. 

Unfortunately the game’s pacing was too fast for early Mega Evolutions to have much of a chance (even the ones that otherwise looked well designed) and the game seems to be getting faster, not slower with the first turn rules being the main “speed bump” to keep things from being faster still.  Spirit Link cards are pretty much a must for a Mega Evolution to compete but then we get the opposite problems; the best Mega Evolutions basically become 2 Prize Stage 1 Pokémon that lose a Tool slot.  Of course losing a Tool slot to a Spirit Link isn’t so bad when two of the usual benefits of a Pokémon Tool (improved offense and defense) are both already built in.  Which gets us to our current situation where we see cards like Faded Town that makes it just that much easier for attackers in general to OHKO Mega Evolutions.  Fighting-Types already had Fighting Stadium but now everything else not already locked into a different Stadium has the option.  If your opponent can’t discard Faded Town immediately, it gets rather ugly for them but beautiful for you: you are almost certainly not going to discard it for them, so instead of two extra damage counters from a between turns phase you’ll get six extra damage counters: your turn to your opponent’s turn, your opponent’s turn to your next turn and your next turn to your opponent’s next turn!  That effectively drops a 240 HP Mega Evolution to 180.  

Plenty of decks already need their current Stadium (including in their damage calculations to hit that 180 over one or two turns) but the ones that don’t can now consider Faded Town and if someone rushes multiple Mega Evolutions to the field, you’ll get the benefit of shaving off their HP at the same time as you erode the Active’s.  As with a lot of current “counters”, expect players to figure out a way around the drawbacks of damaging one’s own Mega Evolutions with Faded Town.  The simplest is that most decks don’t rush multiple Mega Evolutions to the field and nearly all can choose not to (which is probably why this didn’t make the list as it does undermine my point about damaging multiple Mega Evolutions at the same time).  So you can run this alongside your own Mega Evolution, just try to time it so that your Mega Evolution has already hit the field, done its job and been KO'd, hits the field after Faded Town is already been used and discarded (either by yourself or your opponent) or pack some form of healing as the extra damage has to lead to a KO with less effort to really be a benefit.  If a deck already uses and abuses Super Scoop Up or AZ and bounces an injured Pokémon to hand before it can be 2HKOed, it doesn’t really matter if the Pokémon in question had 80, 60, 40 or 20 HP left instead of 20 more. 

I expect this to be a major presence in Standard play.  I think it might do even better in Expanded because there are older decks that have weathered the changing card pool and metagame without adding Mega Evolutions in; this just gives them another weapon.  In Limited this may be a must run.  This set has Paint Roller so you might have an answer to an opponent’s Stadium without having to run a counter Stadium, but while it is unlikely an opponent will be running four Forest of Giant Plants, two isn’t that rare so even a deck hoping to get out its own Mega Evolution may wish to risk a copy of Faded Town should the other Stadium be a larger threat. 

Ratings 

Standard: 3.65/5 

Expanded: 3.8/5 

Limited: 4.8/5 

Summary: Faded Town is going to be an important card; Cursed Stone and Desert Ruins were also major factors in their day.  It isn’t going to be a staple for all decks but for a lot this just became the new “default” Stadium and for others it became one to TecH in or run full on split.  So I was a bit surprised it didn’t make the actual list, but then again I only managed a seventh place finish on my personal list.  Finishing four places lower seems “too low” and yet I understand why: even I thought there were six other cards more important, either for generic use or because of how influential I believe they will make specific decks.


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