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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

 Joltik

- Phantom Forces

Date Reviewed:
Jan. 12, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.67
Expanded: 2.75
Limited: 2.75

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


Otaku

Today we look at Joltik (XY: Phantom Forces 26/119).  Joltik is a 30 HP Basic Lightning-Type Pokémon with Fighting Weakness, Metal Resistance and a Retreat Cost of [C] and two attacks.  Obviously 30 HP is terrible; the lowest printed on a Pokémon, and makes it so that the Weakness and Resistance are almost meaningless as Joltik.  The Retreat Cost is adequate (this small anything over one is bad) and obviously being a Basic is as good as it usually is.  The card’s first attack is just Gnaw for [L] and hitting for 10 damage; clearly bad… but of course you knew the moment you recognized the scan that this is all about the card’s second attack, Night March.  At a price of [CC], for each Pokémon in your discard pile that has the Night March attack themselves, Night March hits for 20 points of damage.  Currently there are only two other Pokémon with this attack: Lampent (XY: Phantom Forces 42/119) and Pumpkaboo (XY: Phantom Forces 44/119), so the attack can do from zero to 220 points of damage (before boosting effects).

 

So 220 for [CC] is obviously great but unlikely; fortunately it is also overkill most of the time (good to know if you’re facing Mega Evolutions, though).  hitting for less than 90 means that the Night March deck is performing horribly; a single Battle Compressor gets enough into the discard pile for that.  My own experience from facing them is that 120 is pretty common and for a glass cannon that gets OHKOed, that is still solid if you can trade well (either for Prizes or resources and preferably for both).  Getting into OHKO range of most regularly played, unprotected Basic Pokémon-EX seems to require merely a “good” set-up and not a great one; if you aren’t able to disrupt a Night March player assume they will hit it after a few turns.  Getting back to Joltik itself, the Type also makes it quite dangerous for Yveltal-EX players but Resistance is out there as well as well, which can be problematic with attacks like Night March that are something of a mathematical exercise.  So is this the best attacker for Night March decks?  

 

Maybe.  There are five other options.  The two most obvious are the other Night March Pokémon.  Both Lampent and Pumpkaboo are Psychic-Type Pokémon with Darkness Weakness, Fighting Resistance, Retreat Costs of [CC] and two attacks.  Lampent is a Stage 1 with 70 HP while Pumpkaboo is a Basic with 60 HP, and being a Basic makes the 30 HP of Joltik better, let alone the 60 of Pumpkaboo as 70 still too often OHKOed and Evolving is such a chore.  Lampent does get the better “filler” attack, though; for [P] it lets you place three damage counters how you like on the opponent’s Pokémon.  While not brilliant, it is better than Pumpkaboo, which does just 10 for [P].  Their Night March attacks are identical to that of Joltik except for cost; Pumpkaboo requires [CCC] while Lampent requires [PCC].  Simply put, this means Lampent on its own is out.  Pumpkaboo isn’t much better, merely tolerable if you can get Dimension Valley into play so that it can Night March for [CC], the same price as Joltik.

 

The other three options allow other Pokémon to use Night March.  Any Chandelure or Gourgeist can use Celebi-EX and its Time Recall so that it can use Night March off of the corresponding lower Stage; the new Shrine of Memories (XY: Primal Clash 139/160) also works but then you can’t use Dimension Valley (plus Shrine of Memories is hardly available and won’t be legal for Organized Play for quite some time).  The final trick is to use Mew-EX, as its Ability allows it to copy Night March off of a Pokémon in play, and it can even use Dimension Valley to lower its own cost; [C], [CC] and [PC] when copying from Joltik, Pumpkaboo and Lampent, respectively.  Based on my experiences facing (but so far never running) the deck, those that focus mostly on Joltik and Pumpkaboo as attackers are the most reliable; Mew-EX makes it easier to hit high numbers but as it only has 120 HP itself it too often ends up trading even.  Any Ability based version has to worry about Garbodor (BW: Dragons Exalted 54/124; BW: Plasma Freeze 119/116; BW: Legendary Treasures 68/113) and all versions dislike Item lock as the deck tends to be very Item heavy.

 

Ratings

 

Standard: 2.75/5

 

Expanded: 3/5

 

Limited: 2/5

 

Summary: For a glass cannon, Joltik is alright.  I bumped its Expanded score for access to Level Ball.  In Limited it can be painful getting copies into the discard, though with Battle Compressor and Professor Sycamore in this set, it still scores fairly well for when you pull several and something to combo with them.  Night March decks aren’t a top tier but I believe they are competitive.


aroramage

Wait, we're looking at a Basic Pokemon that isn't an EX? With only 30 HP? Shouldn't we be looking at its evolution instead? Big questions for our first big card of the week - or should I say, our smallest card of the week! Get it? Cause he's...well, it's Joltik!
 
At only 4 inches in height, it's no wonder Joltik isn't particular strong. In fact, he's really not particularly notable for anything! You give him an Electric Energy for Gnaw, which only deals a measly 10 damage. He's only got 30 HP, so even a little breeze would KO him! So why would you run him? Simple: Night March.
 
Lampent and Pumkaboo are the other two big Night March users, though the costs between the trio are very different. Lampent needs at least one Psychic Energy within his cost of 3, while Pumpkaboo and Joltik are flexible with Colorless costs. Between those two, Joltik's is only 2 while Pumpkaboo's is 3, making Joltik the cheapest Night March attacker. So what does it do? For every Pokemon in your discard pile with Night March, it deals 20 damage.
 
Now that may not sound like a lot, but then again, neither does Mewtwo-EX's X Ball and Yveltal-EX's Evil Ball. With Battle Compressor and Sycaper, it's rather easy to get Night Marchers into the discard pile, so the attack can rack up damage VERY quickly. Assuming you run 4 of each of these guys as you should, you're looking at a potential damage going as high as 220 - for just 2 or 3 energy! And that's not even including Weakness and Resistance!
 
Which leads me to the biggest problem in the deck: none of its users are particularly...bulky. Joltik will get swallowed up by anything, and Pumkaboo and Lampent aren't exactly the bulkiest of Pokemon at 60 and 70 HP respectively. While this does mean the potential for Night Marchers in the discard pile gets increasingly higher as the game goes on, it usually means if you're not quick in the beginning to throw down a bunch, you're not gonna be sticking around for long.
 
Night March is a cool gimmick deck at best, and while it can take down the likes of Mewtwo-EX and Yveltal-EX rather readily with some set-up, it can't take hits for very long. Granted, each hit only gives your opponent 1 Prize, so if you're fast enough, you might be able to snag your Prizes before they can get half of theirs!
 
Rating
 
Standard: 2.5/5 (that Night March attack really saves Joltik, but you need a good bit of set-up to make it work, and I'd think unless you're running against Yveltal-EX or something weak to Electric, you won't be using him primarily)
 
Expanded: 2.5/5 (oh yeah, better bring Mr. Mime into the deck as well to keep your opponents from sniping off Joltik on your Bench - you don't wanna lose him anytime quickly)
 
Limited: 3.5/5 (Night March is probably scariest here, especially since some of the bigger cards in the set have weaknesses to Electric and Psychic typing!)
 
Arora Notealus: The artwork for this is pretty cool! He's venturing through some kind of aquarium from the look of it...hmm...now where in Kalos was there an aquarium...hey, that Lass looks like she wants him!
 
Next Time: Speaking of cute small adorable Electric-types...


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