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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

 Chandelure

- Phantom Forces

Date Reviewed:
Jan. 14, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2
Expanded: 2
Limited: 3.5

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


aroramage

When spooky scary things come to mind, aren't they normally lit up by candlelight? When you think about it, it's kinda...well, spooky. Welcome back to another card of the day, which today naturally is the mysterious Chandelure! You might wanna keep a good hold on your soul - he might just snag it when you're not looking!
 
His main attack is Cursed Drop, which is rather interesting as it spreads out 60 damage on all your opponent's Pokemon in any way you like. I always thought these kinds of attacks were interesting, since you could choose whether to stack them all on one big threat or work them onto multiple targets to set-up for KOs galore. It's a shame the attack costs 3, but at least with Dimension Valley that gets lowered to 2. Then again, I don't think you'd wanna make him your main attacker, and he's not gonna stave off the opponent's onslaught.
 
Or could he? Chandelure has an Ability, Fainting Spell, which may make the opponent reconsider their attacking option. It's a 50/50 chance of dragging the opposing Pokemon down into the discard pile with Chandelure - think Destiny Bond, only it works half of the time and without the Speed guesswork. Now it's not gonna decide games most of the time, and it's probably not gonna keep your opponent from attacking - after all, if Chandelure's gone, then the threat of Fainting Spell isn't a factor, and even if they do lose one attacker and 1-2 Prizes, they've probably got more in the wings ready to go. Either way, you're gonna need something to keep up with that Chandelure.
 
Maybe a Pumpkaboo or Joltik to feed on that Lampent's Night March? Assuming you didn't just skate right past to the Chandelure with Rare Candy.
 
Rating
 
Standard: 2.5/5 (I like the design of this card, giving you options while forcing your opponent to contend with chance-based conditions; shame it's a 50/50 though)
 
Expanded: 2.5/5 (probably would rate higher given Level Ball can search out Lampent with ease for evolving, but he's about as effective here as ever)
 
Limited: 3/5 (while slower here, he does have enough of a presence for set-ups and KOs, so maybe a thought for support)
 
Arora Notealus: Remember that tidbit about hanging onto your soul? That's cause when Chandelure burns you, it's not your body it's burning - it's your soul! At least, that's what the Dex says...kinda wonder how they figured that out...
 
Next Time: Like a shadow in the night, he flies until-!!


Otaku

Chandelure (XY: Phantom Forces 43/119) is our Wednesday review this week.  That purple card background tells us what the symbol in the corner confirms; this is a Psychic-Type.  They got some support in XY: Phantom Forces which is neither useless nor obviously mindblowing; I think that is probably for the best in the long run.  In terms of Weakness and Resistance, assuming the card does damage you’ll enjoy a x2 multiplier against popular Pokémon like Mewtwo-EX and Garbodor (BW: Dragons Exalted 54/124; BW: Plasma Freeze 119/116; BW: Legendary Treasures 68/113) as well as a good chunk of Psychic-Types and of Fighting-Types in general… though Psychic Weakness is hardly universal among either of those TCG Types as besides the dual-Types that used to regularly provide abnormal (and sometimes quite useful) alternate Type/Weakness/Resistance combinations, both the TCG Psychic- and Fighting-Types are made up of three distinct video game Types that don’t always share the same Weakness as the video game Type for which the TCG Type is named after.  Resistance is normally infrequent but against Psychic-Types it is almost universal on Darkness-Types and Metal-Types, though Yveltal-EX happens to be a notable exception. 

Chandelure is a Stage 2 Pokémon.  Sadly this is a serious issue as Stage 2 Pokémon are very hard to use right now; the short version is that Stage 2 decks have more complicated set-ups and are more dependent on Items than other Stages so not only do you have the crazy fast pace the game adopted years ago and refuses to abandon, but Seismitoad-EX means that Item lock is a regular part of the game.  Chandelure also has 130 HP; enough to have a reasonable chance of surviving one hit if Weakness isn’t a factor.  “Reasonable” in this case means something along the lines of “My opponent isn’t running a deck designed for OHKOs and isn’t running or at least getting their full set-up or able to exploit Weakness”; 130 won’t seem like much given the resources going into getting Chandelure into play.  Darkness Weakness ensures that some popular attackers can threaten it with less than major efforts - a minimum strength Evil Ball by Yveltal-EX will fall just 10 points of damage shy of scoring a OHKO, and quite a few cards can make up that shortfall.  Resistance normally isn’t a major factor, but while 130 HP isn’t much it is high enough that an additional -20 comes in real handy in key match-ups.  The Retreat Cost of [CC] isn’t bad but it isn’t good either; thankfully a single Mystery Energy zeroes it out, along with many other effects, and even if you don’t do that most decks should have at least a few options to change out the Active. 

Chandelure enjoys an Ability and a single attack.  The Ability - Fainting Spell - triggers when Chandelure is KOed by damage from an opponent’s attack.  This is a little trickier than it sounds; besides obviously preventing you from using your own card effect to KO your own Chandelure, it means effects (including Special Conditions and damage counter placement sans actual damage) won’t trigger Fainting Spell.  Damage originating from something other than the attack of an opponent’s Pokémon (your own attacks, Abilities, Trainers, etc.) won’t trigger either and if there is a way for an opponent’s attack do do damage during your turn (there is in Unlimited) that wouldn’t trigger Fainting Spell either.  For practical intents and purposes, the main concern is Hypnotoxic Laser finishing off Chandelure between turns via Item inflicted Poison.  Still your opponent is probably going to trigger this effect more often than not, in which case you get to… flip a coin.  On “tails” the Ability does nothing but on “heads” the attacking Pokémon is KOed as well.  Pretty unreliable, but when it works that is a pretty useful effect. 

The attack that goes along with it is Cursed Drop to place 6 damage counters how you like on your opponent’s Pokémon, which means a single target can receive all six or you can split it up how you see fit.  The Energy cost is [PCC] which is pretty terrible, all things considered.  Not only will it take time to power-up, but you’re talking a 3HKO against anything with more than 120 HP, which includes not only Pokémon-EX but a lot of attacking big (plain) Basic Pokémon and Evolutions.  There is some synergy between the attack and Ability as you can avoid damaging something you hope is being KOed by Fainting Spell, but you are really overpaying… even with the obvious combo of Dimension Valley to cut the cost down to [PC]... which still is ultimately overpriced factoring in the realities of the game.  There are a couple tweaks that might make this work better, but that’s Create-A-Card territory and today I don’t feel like indulging.

So let’s move onto related cards and then combos and see if we can make things work a little better… and hinting at such things, I’ll actually be covering Litwick in detail, even though it is somewhat prolific; though its a Gen V Pokémon it has a total of seven different versions in the TCG.  Not seven releases in which some are reprints, not with only some released outside of Japan, but a full seven releases: BW: Noble Victories 57/101, BW: Noble Victories 58/101, BW Black Star Promos BW27*, BW: Next Destinies 18/99, BW: Plasma Storm 21/135, BW: Plasma Freeze 14/116 and XY: Phantom Forces 41/119.  Only the last three are Standard legal, but as the Pokémon itself is so recent you can use any of these in Expanded.  All are Basic Pokémon with a Retreat Cost of [C] and no Abilities.   BW: Noble Victories 57/101, BW: Noble Victories 58/101, BW Black Star Promos BW27* and XY: Phantom Forces 41/119 are Psychic-Types with 50 HP and Darkness Weakness while BW: Next Destinies 18/99, BW: Plasma Storm 21/135 and BW: Plasma Freeze 14/116 are Fire-Types with 60 HP and Water Weakness.  XY: Phantom Forces 41/119 is the only version with Resistance, specifically to Fighting. 

In terms of attacks they are… surprisingly better than most Evolving Basics though still underpowered.  For [CC], BW: Noble Victories 57/101 can use Searing Flames for 20 damage and a chance of inflicting Burn; not great but a Double Colorless Energy plus Muscle Band will allow it to make a surprise OHKO against a Trubbish while using a Silver Bangle would score 100 (possibly with Burn) against the likes of a Mewtwo-EX (against a Mew-EX, you might even get an effective OHKO).  BW: Noble Victories 58/101 can use Teleport Burst for [P], scoring 10 points of damage while getting itself to the Bench.  BW Black Star Promos BW27* has Call For Family to search out and Bench a Basic Pokémon from your deck at a cost of [C] as well as Will-O-Wisp for [PC] that does 20 points of damage; its the first attack I care about as that can allow it to aid in set-up even if it won’t likely survive the process.  BW: Next Destinies 18/99 has Flare for [R] which does… 10 points of damage.  BW: Plasma Storm 21/135 has Surprise Attack, also for [R] and it does 20… but fails if you get “tails” on a mandatory coin flip.  BW: Plasma Freeze 14/116 can also attack for [R]; this time it is Singe which also requires a coin flip to work, but this time it inflicts Burn.  For [RC] it simply can use Live Coal for 20 points of damage.  XY: Phantom Forces 41/119 has just one attack, Trip Over, that costs [P] and is good for 10 damage, plus another 10 if you get “heads” on a required coin toss.

Lampent only gives us five total options - BW: Noble Victories 59/101, BW: Next Destinies 19/99, BW: Plasma Storm 22/135, BW: Plasma Freeze 15/116 and XY: Phantom Forces 42/119 - but again for reasons you likely have already deduced, I’ll be covering them in detail again, but they have enough differences I can’t apply any broad statement to them other than all are Stage 1 Pokémon.  BW: Noble Victories 59/101 is a Psychic-Type with 80 HP, Darkness Weakness, no Resistance, a Retreat Cost of [C] and two attacks: Luring Light for [C] lets you switch the Defending Pokémon with something on your opponent’s Bench (handy) while for [PC] its Will-O-Wisp hits for 30 (poor).  BW: Next Destinies 19/99 is a Fire-Type with 80 HP, Water Weakness, no Resistance, a Retreat Cost of [C] and just one attack: Ember does 40 for [RC], but you have to flip a coin and if it is “tails” then you discard an Energy from it.  These two are Expanded (and Unlimited) only, for the record; the next three are legal in all three constructed formats.  Surprisingly, BW: Noble Victories 59/101 was reviewed before here.

BW: Plasma Storm 22/135 has a lower 70 HP but the same Water Weakness, lack of Resistance and single Energy Retreat Cost, then further shakes things up by having the Ability “Freefloating” that zeroes out its own Retreat Cost if it has no Energy attached to itself, plus Will-O-Wisp again, this time 20 for [RC].  BW: Plasma Freeze 15/116 is another Fire-Type, back up to 80 HP and still having Water Weakness, no Resistance, a Retreat Cost of [C], but it has two attacks: for [CC] its Live Coal hits for 20 and for [RCC] its searing flame hits for 40 and inflicts Burn (no coin flip required).  XY: Phantom Forces 42/119 is back to being a Psychic-Type and unfortunately back to having just 70 HP and Darkness Resistance, enjoys Fighting Resistance but then also gets the minor inconvenience of a Retreat Cost of [CC].  Its attacks are Cursed Drop for [P] to place 3 damage counters how you wish on the opponent’s Pokémon (why does an additional [CC] only place three more damage counters on Chandelure from the same set then?) and the thing that ties this into Monday’s CotD, Nightmarch for [PCC] which if you somehow forgot, does 20 damage times the number of Pokémon in your discard pile with their own copy of Night March.  I little less surprising to me since it has an Ability, BW: Plasma Storm 22/135 was reviewed before here. 

So as you definitely should realize by now, we are going to look at ways to allow Chandelure to use the attacks from its lower Stages… as well as satisfy my often unreasonable desire to be thorough (at least before my other desire to be lazy kicks in and supersedes it).  Speaking of being thorough, we might as well go through the other options for Chandelure as well: BW: Noble Victories 60/101, BW: Next Destinies 20/99, BW: Next Destinies 101/99 and  BW: Plasma Freeze 16/116.  BW: Noble Victories 60/101 are BW: Next Destinies 101/99 just alternate versions of the same card, and have the same Stage, Type, HP, Weakness, Resistance and Retreat Cost as today’s version.  When this version is Active, it can use its Cursed Shadow Ability to place three damage counters on your opponent’s Pokémon how you wish but Cursed Shadow is a once-per-turn effect.  Fortunately not in the universal sense; if you have more than one Chandelure in play with this Ability, so long as you can get more than one Active in a turn (such as by having one Active, then retreating to another copy), you can use each copy’s Cursed Shadow.  The attack is Eerie Glow, which does 50 points of damage for [PPC] plus both Confuses and Burns the Defending Pokémon.  This card has actually been reviewed twice; here for the original and here for the Secret Rare reprint.  I seem to recall it having a solid deck, at least for a time, in terms of competitive play, though its pretty poor now unless a different version makes good in a manner that could justify a TecH copy (hint: I don’t have a suggestion like that). 

BW: Next Destinies 20/99 is a Fire-Type Stage 2 Pokémon with 120 HP, Water Weakness, no Resistance and a Retreat Cost of [CC].  The HP is just a tiny bit worse, the Water Weakness a little safer, but neither are really major traits to worry about.  The first attack is Flame Burst, good for 30 to the Defending Pokémon and another 30 to up to two of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon (your choice if there are more than two present).  Technically a 90-for-1 attack isn’t as good as it might sound since it doesn’t put enough pressure on the Active and only on the Bench with proper combos.  Inferno, with a cost of [RC] does 80 with the option of discarding all of the Energy attached to this Chandelure to inflict Burn, a somewhat safe choice given Chandelure isn’t too likely to survive being attacked.  I believe this saw a tiny bit of competitive play as the one attacking Chandelure paired up with multiple copies of BW: Noble Victories 60/101 (and/or BW: Next Destinies 101/99).  This might be why it also received two reviews: first here and then here.  Don’t worry about running this one. 

That just leaves BW: Plasma Freeze 16/116 is a Team Plasma Pokémon, with the benefits and penalties associated by their support and counters.  Back up to 130 HP but sporting Water Weakness and no Resistance (plus the usual Retreat Cost of [CC]), this version also goes back to having an Ability: Flare Navigation is a once-per-turn-per copy Ability (at least this one doesn’t require it be Active) that allows you to search your deck for a [R] Energy card to attach to one of your Pokémon, with the small additional drawback of placing a damage counter on the recipient.  For [RRC] its Absorb Life attack hits for 70 while healing 30 from itself, a decent combo with its own effect; if you had to you could power up entirely but then heal all damage.  I had hope for this card but it never saw much success nor do I expect it too enjoy it in the future.  The Energy acceleration and making yourself a bit easier to KO (or rather making sure your opponent isn’t KOing you with Poison damage between turns) does combo somewhat with today’s card, but splitting the line and having to work in Fire Energy (or focused on Fire Energy and run a source of [P] Energy) doesn’t seem worth it. 

So with all that out of the way (and realizing after midnight that I never went back and finished this), I suspect the best way to play Chandelure is to use Dimension Valley plus Celebi-EX so that it can use the attacks from its lower Stages, the most obvious being Night March because while setting up is incredibly difficult, the reward is the chance to both OHKO Pokémon-EX with your attack and then OHKO them with your Ability.  Yes, a bit anticlimactic after all that build up; the Litwick are relevant because sometimes Night March won’t be ready and but some other effect like searching out a Basic, hitting for small but reliable damage or hitting and heading to the Bench are lifesavers.  Soon we’ll have Shrine of Memories (though it’ll be a bit longer after that before its legal for tournament play); you can get rid of the Lysandre bait that is Celebi-EX and use it to access the attacks of lower Stages, but in doing so you have to give up your main Energy acceleration (or rather attack cost reduction) via Dimension Valley.  The other other option is to try and run a good hit-and-run style attacker and just send Chandelure up as a sacrifice; Donphan (BW: Plasma Storm 72/135) for example.  This seems far less effective than other options, though. 

Ratings

Standard: 1.5/5 

Expanded: 1.5/5 

Limited: 4/5 

Summary: So after a thorough dissection, even though Fainting Spell was something to fear when an earlier incarnation of it appeared on a different Pokémon in a different format, the terrible attack and risk involved giving Chandelure access to a good attack seem like too much to strive for in a format where Item and/or Ability lock are popular.  Maybe try this for some fun, if you love truly complicated decks or all-or-nothing coin flips or both… unless it is Limited where the short version is the HP lasts longer, the attacks are being made against lower HP targets, hitting the Bench is at a premium and it will be hard for the opponent to bypass Fainting Spell.


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