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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Top 10 Cards of 2015

#8 - Hex Maniac

- Ancient Origins

Date Reviewed:
December 16, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 4.0
Expanded: 4.0
Limited: 4.0

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

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

Is it weird that Hex Maniac only came out in August? Probably not, but she's been a major contender for Supporter space ever since her introduction! I mean, come on, who wouldn't wanna be running this crazy-eyed lady?
 
Well considering most of our Supporters these days are things like Sycamore that draw us more cards than we sometimes know what to do with or Skyla that grab us some card that we need from some place or even...umm...I guess no one really runs Giovanni's Scheme? I mean, I would. Come on, Giovanni would totally want to be run! Besides, it's the first Giovanni card in a while, and you can either draw with him or give your attacks an extra oomph! But I digress...
 
Hex Maniac has a particularly powerful effect, something we've seen on cards like Wobbuffet, Silent Lab, and perhaps most of all Garbodor. That's right, it's another card that shuts off Abilities! Granted, while Wobbuffet will keep things open for Psychic-types, Garbodor needs to be holding onto a Tool, and Silent Lab really only works against Basics, Hex Maniac doesn't discriminate. Granted, she's only going to be active until the end of your opponent's next turn, but as we've mentioned in the last review when she ended up as #5 on our Top 15 List for Ancient Origins, this can easily be more than enough time to finish things up.
 
Back then, I'd mentioned stuff like Energy accelerators like Blastoise and Emboar (now including Magnezone) and Safeguard Pokemon like Suicune and Sigilyph, but now we've got some other major stuff that makes playing something like Hex Maniac at the right time even better! Knocking off Mr. Mime's Bench Barrier can easily open up a good KO if your opponent plays it in Night March, and making sure your opponent can't retreat for free with Zoroark is a nice way to Poison their Active Pokemon for the KO! 
 
There's a lot of different ways that Hex Maniac can mess things up for either you or your opponent, so if you're crafty and play around it, Hex Maniac can easily be a major aid! And that's why she's landed the #8 spot on our list!
 
Rating

Standard: 4/5 (when played correctly and at the right time, Hex Maniac can be a devastating card to the opponent, ensuring a solid KO and even crippling their next turn to make things difficult for a counterattack)

Expanded: 4/5 (of course, once Hex Maniac's done and over with...well, everything's gonna go back online)

Limited: 4/5 (she's still going to be useful in a limited setting where the Abilities are really powerful)
 
Arora Notealus:...she's still really creepy.
 
Next Time: BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEES


Otaku

Welcome to our eighth place pick, Hex Maniac (XY: Ancient Origins 75/98)!  She managed to finish in fifth place for her set’s Top 15 list by being a Supporter that can shut down all Abilities on Pokémon in play, in either player’s hand and even in either player’s discard pile until the end of your opponent’s next turn.  Even a card moving between zones (such as entering play from the hand or discard) still has its Ability shut down.  Only the deck and Lost Zone are left out, and that is probably because I can think of no examples of Abilities that trigger in the deck or Lost Zone; the latter was abandoned before Abilities became a mechanic.  Hex Maniac appears to be the successor to the much older Item Goop Gas Attack (Team Rocket 78/82), which is so old that not only does it work against “Pokémon Powers” (the earliest equivalent of Abilities) but it was released as simply a “Trainer”: not only did it predate the “Item” designation but at the time of its release we didn’t have Supporters or Stadiums or even most subclassifications of Items (like Pokémon Tools)! 

Hex Maniac has proven pretty impressive; at a glance one might underestimate how useful shutting down Abilities for a single turn can prove, but in practice it can be quite devastating.  Besides someone running multiples and/or spamming a single via VS Seeker to block Abilities for multiple turns, the timing is pretty crucial: you can use your own Abilities (unless timing or costs prevent it) before you use Hex Maniac and after her effect has ended on your next turn.  Hex Maniac released after Shaymin-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 77/108, 106/108) had become more or less a deck staple, with some decks trying to use its “Setup” Ability multiple times for a massive single (preferably first) turn push.  Hex Maniac can’t stop your opponent from using it the absolute first turn of the game, but from the second turn on not only can it prevent even a single use of Setup, but one can their own Shaymin-EX before denying it to the opposition.  Beyond that protective Abilities that are well entrenched (especially in Expanded play) can be shut down for a turn to attack, and in a format of mostly OHKOs and 2HKOs that is an ample opening.  Last but not least are the Abilities your opponent may use turn after turn; while your opponent can resume using such Abilities after the effect Hex Maniac subsides, with proper timing that will be too late, if not to avoid the loss then to avoid you (the player of Hex Maniac) gaining serious advantage. 

There are decks that run so many Abilities, it almost seems cruel to use Hex Maniac against them!  The typical “Deluge” deck provides a great example as it is one of the heaviest of Ability based decks.  You block the draw power of Shaymin-EX and its Setup Ability, the Energy acceleration from Blastoise (BW: Boundaries Crossed 31/149; BW: Plasma Storm 137/135; BW: Plasma Blast 16/101), the nigh unlimited discard fodder of Exeggcute (BW: Plasma Freeze 004/116; BW: Plasma Blast 102/101), the “Rush In” tactics of Keldeo-EX, the “Safeguard” protection of Suicune (BW: Plasma Blast 20/101) and the capacity for Wailord-EX ditch Special Conditions with an Energy attachment (kind of important as it is hard to OHKO but its own attack puts it to Sleep and since you’re also neutralizing Rush In).  A Deluge player can prepare for this by keeping multiple attackers ready to go and not assuming he or she will have access to Abilities turn after turn, but an early Hex Maniac leaves the deck little defense.  If the deck using Hex Maniac is a strong, fast deck in its own right, even a turn delay for the Deluge deck to “get going” can clinch the game.  This also brings us to one kind of deck that will likely not include Hex Maniac; not only does Deluge have so many Abilities it uses throughout a single turn, Hex Maniac becomes not only another card to squeeze in but a Supporter that is harder to “burn” if you need to ditch it so you can pull off Archie’s Ace in the Hole. 

So there are decks incredibly laden with Abilities, but the other extreme exists as well: decks that run few to no Abilities and/or use them all in a rush (like multiple Shaymin-EX) in the first few turns, minimizing the amount of time you have to sabotage them with Hex Maniac.  This makes it easier for such decks to run Hex Maniac but also provides a match-up where she isn’t much use.  There are also a few decks that might skip her because they simply have no room, even if otherwise she’d be welcome.  I believe these are why Hex Maniac is clocking in here and not higher on the list.  For Standard and Expanded, she’s attained “loose staple” status; a card you both plan on including and usually do, but when you absolutely must (due to space requirements or clashing with other elements of your deck) you can cut Hex Maniac from your list and still possibly have the best build you can manage.  She’s also nice for Limited play; most Pokémon lack Abilities so in this format, which might lead one to skip her but you will almost always have the space in your deck to easily include a Hex Maniac and Abilities are often more effective here when they do show up, making the insurance greatly appreciated. 

Ratings 

Standard: 4/5 

Expanded: 4.15/5 

Limited: 4/5 

Summary: Hex Maniac is a great card; I don’t think she has caused any new decks to spring up or old decks to die off (at least not ones that weren’t likely to already), she’s shifted how the decks we do have interact.  I give her a higher score for Expanded for the same reason I did last time; dealing with Safeguard Pokémon and a few other common Expanded sights no longer legal for Standard.

Addendum: Much like last time, there is a bit more than my personal placement of the card to discuss here at the end.  Hex Maniac actually took third place on my own list, which is kind of funny given my original XY: Ancient Origins list had her in 10th place; you might say she’s made a believer out of me.  I think eighth place is a bit on the low side for her, and it was a close finish both directions  Hex Maniac earned just one “voting” point less than tomorrow’s pick and two more than the 9th and 10th place cards, Mega Turbo and Jirachi.  For the record those two were actually tied with an “honorable mention” (included for this reason) actually putting Mega Turbo ahead of Jirachi.  They beat the 11th place finisher by three voting points.


Jason Klaczynski
(Three time
World Champ)

Hex Maniac (Jason had this at #10 on his list)

Abilities are rampant in competitive play, but before Hex Maniac, you had to devote deck spots to either Wobbuffet or Garbodor to disable them, while also shutting off your own abilities. Hex Maniac is a card that splashes into just about any deck, and if you time it perfectly, you can put your opponent in some tough spots.


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