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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Top 10 Cards of 2015

#7 - Vespiquen #10/98

- Ancient Origins

Date Reviewed:
December 17, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3.90
Expanded: 3.90
Limited: 4.40

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

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

Every now and again, there's a card within a set that sparks the imagination of the players. You'd think that because it's not a Rare card and doesn't have that nifty star in the corner that it'd be terrible, but as it turns out, it becomes an even bigger threat than some of those stars ever are! It happened with the mythical Flareon in Plasma Freeze, and now it's happened again with the mighty Vespiquen!! 

Vespiquen actually has done a lot in its short time out and about, and that should say quite a bit! Intelligence Gathering is a modest drawing attack, but her real strength comes from Bee Revenge, which does more damage based on how many Pokemon are in the discard! Combined with stuff like Forest of Giant Plants for quick evolution, Unown for an instant draw and a quick Pokemon in the discard, Battle Compressor for even more Pokemon in the discard, and even the Eeveelutions for Type coverage, Vespiquen has a lot of options available to her!

She's all about rushing down the opponent and smacking them around with those bees! It should come as no surprise, then, that she's been able to win a few tournaments here and there - there's even a deck list on the main Pokemon website for a Masters Division build by Jimmy O'Brien! Granted, it's a little outdated in Standard cause of the inclusion of things like Jirachi-EX and a single Audino with Busybody (not a bad idea though!), but in Expanded, anything goes!

So expect to run into Vespiquen often, and be prepared to deal with it...or else get stung!! 

Rating 

Standard: 4/5 (as an alternative to Flareon, she's actually a fairly powerful substitute, even with less HP and being weak to it) 

Expanded: 4/5 (really, she's proven to hold her own, and with things like free retreat and the ability to draw yourself out of a dead hand with Intelligence Gathering, she's got a bit more versatility to her than would be seen at first glance) 

Limited: 4/5 (I think I may be corrected on this one, since I mostly stuck her with a half-point lower on each of these when I first reviewed her back in September, and considering that Unown is in this set, she's a bit more viable than I initially thought of...still, she is bees) 

Arora Notealus: Is it alright if I make another bees joke? I mean, I know it's probably just a buzzkill at this point, but still! :D 

Next Time: Wait a sec, A TWOFER?!...well, then again, they are basically the same card.


Otaku

The lucky number seven slot goes to… Vespiquen (XY: Ancient Origins 10/98)!  Vespiquen is our second finisher to have never made a previous Top X list, but it does have a prior review.  I’m going to run through the card’s attributes and effects quick since it received a full review before.  Vespiquen is a Grass-Type which is a reasonable benefit thanks a little to support but mostly due to exploiting Weakness on many Water-Types and a few Fighting-Types; there is also no Resistance to worry about and the anti-Grass-Type cards are lackluster.  Being a Stage 1 is a small hurdle but not too bad; you could use Forest of Giant Plants to speed things up but there are good lists for Vespiquen that just don’t sweat it.  90 HP is as high as something that is a legal Level Ball target can have; still not sure how important that is but the main thing to understand is that Vespiquen is a probable OHKO, mostly surviving due to incomplete setups or decks focused on attack effects and not damage.  The Fire Weakness is only a slight problem because the vast majority of the time, the HP means even a half serious Fire-Type attacker scores the OHKO before Weakness even needs to be applied and while Resistance may have helped, surviving an extra 20 damage again only means so much with 90 HP.  That perfect free Retreat Cost is great and from experience, pretty important as well. 

Vespiquen has no Ability nor an Ancient Trait but does have two attacks.  The first (Intelligence Gathering) requires [C] to hit for 10 damage and allow you to draw until you have six cards in hand; this is an okay attack but one to use only when desperate for draw power or in the odd situation where one only needs to do 10 damage (and may as well draw a few cards).  The important thing is “Bee Revenge”, the second attack, which requires [CC] and does 20 damage plus 10 per Pokémon in your discard pile.  With the current cardpool, as long nothing is being blocked, the typical Vespiquen deck can hit 2HKO realms by its second turn with ease, with a decent chance of getting to OHKO level, barring Mega Evolutions or similar outliers.  When Items or Abilities or Special Energy or Evolving is cut off, it varies from tricky to difficult to impossible to get the proper set-up with Vespiquen.  Still this is enough for Vespiquen to either star or co-star in multiple Standard decks as well as tag team with Flareon (BW: Plasma Freeze 12/116) in a strong Expanded deck. 

When we first looked at this card, it was around the time of rotation for Standard play and before I had a lot of results for how the card would perform in Expanded.  Some cards like Vileplume (XY: Ancient Origins 3/98) haven’t had as big of an impact as I expected while some Grass Weak cards like Seismitoad-EX are still a presence.  While Item lock is potentially deadly to Vespiquen decks, most are set-up so that they can rip through much of the deck in a single turn, so only locks that go into effect T1 are going to give you near auto-losses.  Perhaps the biggest thing though is that in Expanded, instead of competing with Flareon [Plasma], the two merged for form a single, strong deck.  It has been more influential than its potency would suggest, because apart from the Shaymin-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 76/108, 106/108) that most decks run right now, Vespiquen is something of a budget deck. I’m not sure why I scored it so low for Limited play; you should skip it if you pull a Basic Pokémon-EX worth running as your only Basic or if you whiff on Combee but everywhere else, even a 1-1 line is a potent addition. 

Ratings 

Standard: 3.75/5 

Expanded: 3.75/5 

Limited: 4.8/5 

Summary: While I am scoring Vespiquen higher than in my original review of it, while it has made its presence known, at the same time I resist scoring it much higher than that.  Why?  This is a very combo heavy card; you need a deck that rips through itself to prep Vespiquen for OHKOs, and if Vespiquen isn’t scoring OHKOs it isn’t pulling ahead for the win.  If Abilities, Evolution, Items or Special Energy go down, you’ll have quite the uphill battle.  It is quite good on its own, but the rest of the decks that prove its worth are carrying a significant portion of the weight: together they are great so the score reflects that.  I’ve been running it myself often enough of the PTCGO to have a decent idea of how it can fall apart as well, like when a few too many Pokémon or Energy are Prized and you’re struggling for OHKOs against the bigger targets. 

Vespiquen edged out Hex Maniac by a single point, though it also only fell short of tying tomorrow’s cards by two points.  I actually had it as my own seventh place pick, though I can’t take credit for it because in my earlier drafts it was far lower (not even making the actual Top 10 in the earliest); the short version is I saw it rank a bit higher on the list of others (like Ness) and realized how badly I was lowballing it.


Jason Klaczynski
(Three time
World Champ)

#7 Vespiquen (Ancient Origins)

With so many ways to quickly place Pokémon in your discard pile (Professor Sycamore, Ultra Ball, Battle Compressor, etc.), and an Unown that can immediately discard itself to draw a card, Vespiquen’s Bee Revenge can turn a Double Colorless Energy into a lethal attack, capable of scoring a one-hit KO on virtually anything, even Mega EX Pokémon.


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