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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

 Altaria

- Roaring Skies

Date Reviewed:
July 20, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3.10
Expanded: 3.20
Limited: 3.25

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

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

Welcome back to yet another week of Roaring Skies! This week we finally get to take a look at the Pokemon you've all been waiting for: the Colorless Pokemon!! Starting out, we've got the mystical Altaria, and there's certainly no better start to the Colorless week than with the best Colorless support in the set!

Sure, Altaria's Wing Attack is pathetic at 2-for-30 vanilla, but she's got a whole lot more to offer with that Ability of hers! Clear Humming gives Colorless Pokemon no Weakness - that means no Electric or Fighting types will hurt them! Now it's my understanding that Fighting isn't as major, but it's still fairly viable in decks like Primal Groudon, but Electric decks have been on the rise thanks to M Rayquaza-EX's popularity - no surprises there. So getting Altaria out can be a big game changer - M Manectric-EX's attack will OHKO M Rayquaza-EX after a Muscle Band after all! 

On top of that though, Altaria also is blessed with the Ancient Trait Delta Evolution, meaning you can get Altaria out and in-play as early as Turn 1! There aren't too many support Evolutions that can do that, so Altaria is a must-run for Colorless decks at least! Though you will have to be wary of that low 90 HP in case she gets Lysandre'd out onto the field. 

Rating 

Standard: 3/5 (a great supporter for Colorless decks, and really gives M Rayquaza-EX a fighting chance against a main threat) 

Expanded: 3/5 (same here) 

Limited: 3/5 (honestly depends on your Colorless selection - if it's a good portion, I'd run her for safety, otherwise pass) 

Arora Notealus: Altaria's a rather soothing Pokemon, the perfect companion for post-EVO resting. I mean, WOW, did you guys SEE EVO?! How about those last few USFIV matches, huh? That was insane!! But anywho, yeah, Altaria makes a nice comfy pillow~ 

Next Time: Behold a bird and his pride!


Otaku

Welcome to a week that was pretty obviously coming (bar any scheduling snafus): Colorless Week, XY: Roaring Skies flavor!  First up is Altaria (XY: Roaring Skies 74/108, XY: Black Star Promos XY46).  So how does the Colorless-Type currently stack up?  Nothing is Weak or Resistant to it, restoring it to its (assumed) original place as a “neutral” Type, not that it’s videogame counterparts - the Normal- or Flying-Type - or either perfectly Type neutral or that the Colorless-Type hasn’t been Type neutral for the last two TCG generations.  Still if you go back even as “recent” as the HS series of sets, you’ll see Colorless Weakness and Resistance on a few cards in HS: Call of Legends.  Dropping this means you won’t enjoy the (potential) huge benefit of doubling damage or the sometimes annoying -20 damage that Weakness and Resistance respectively cause, with the former a far greater loss to the Type than the latter was a boon.  You will have access to Type support, however, as Winona (also released this set) gives Colorless its own Supporter (something that most Types still lack) and until it rotates to Expanded only play, Aspertia City Gym gives Colorless-Types its own Stadium as well.  There are some potent Colorless-Type Pokémon as well, but most have nothing Type-specific about them and instead can work in the majority of decks quite easily.  All in all, this seems like a good Type but I am heavily relying upon the synergy between Winona and Shaymin-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 77/108, 106/108). 

The HP is a low 90, making Altaria an easy OHKO for most decks, with the usual exceptions (set-up issues, decks sacrificing damage for effects, etc.).  The Weakness… okay, peaking ahead this isn’t going to be an issue a lot of the time.  Normally with just 90 HP it wouldn’t matter much even if that which I am dancing around wasn’t here at all; with just 90 HP most serious attackers of a given Type are going to already have the OHKO.  When Weakness is in effect, though, it means a Raichu (XY 43/146) can do the deed with just three Pokémon on the Bench while Manectric-EX won’t need Altaria to have a Pokémon Tool equipped.  There is some Resistance here and while it only reduces damage by -20, it can really throw off damage calculations if Altaria is Active.  The single Energy Retreat Cost is inexpensive and easy to both pay and to recover from paying. 

Altaria sports an Ancient Trait, an Ability and an attack.  The Ancient Trait is Δ Evolution, allowing you to skip the usual waiting period to Evolve, but only when you play this Altaria from your hand in order to Evolve something that (apart from time restrictions) could already Evolve into Altaria.  You can’t use it to Evolve any Pokémon (Ancient Trait text is intentionally generic so it can be the same all all cards with a particular trait), you can’t access it when using an effect like Evosoda to play Altaria from the deck and you can’t combine it with something like Rare Candy… which doesn’t matter for Altaria but since Δ Evolution shows up on some Stage 2 Pokémon I thought I’d throw that in as well.  This is a great Ancient Trait and makes for some nice combo material with Winona.  So what is next?  The card’s Ability “Clear Humming” which eliminates Weakness for your Colorless-Type Pokémon.  Yes, that makes Altaria an example of “true” Colorless-Type support (support that won’t help another Pokémon-Type) and is why I worded things so awkwardly when discussing Weakness.  This is pretty important as most Colorless-Types have two (currently) devastating forms of Weakness (Fighting or Lightning).  The attack is “Wing Attack” which needs [CC] and does 30; this is vanilla filler though better than nothing. 

To get to Altaria you’ll need to Evolve from a Swablu.  BW: Dragons Exalted 104/124, BW: Dragons Exalted 105/124, BW: Legendary Treasures 103/113 and XY: Roaring Skies 79/108 are surprisingly all different versions of the card, so you’ve got four choices, though the first two are Expanded only (with the third soon to join them as such once the rotation to XY-On occurs).  All four of these are Basic, Colorless-Type Pokémon with 40 HP, Lightning Weakness, Fighting Resistance, a Retreat Cost of [C] and a lack of either Abilities or Ancient Traits.  BW: Dragons Exalted 104/124 is the only one with two attacks: “Sing” for [C] (which puts the Defending Pokémon to Sleep) and “Peck” for [CC] (which simply does 20 damage).  BW: Dragons Exalted 105/124 just has “Peck” costing [C] and doing 10, BW: Legendary Treasures 103/113 has “Glare and Peck” (yes, a single attack named that) which needs [CC] and does 10 plus (with a “heads” on a required coin toss) inflicting Paralysis on the opponent’s Active and lastly XY: Roaring Skies 79/108 has “Bind Wound” for [C] allowing it to heal 20 from one of your Pokémon.  None of these are good but BW: Dragons Exalted 104/124 and BW: Legendary Treasures 103/113 and BW: Legendary Treasures 103/113 can attempt to keep the opponent’s Active from attacking, thus buying time to Evolve; go with the former for Expanded and the latter for Standard. 

For Altaria we have five other releases during the BW and XY blocks, but two are reprints.  Your choices are BW: Dragons Exalted 84/124, reprinted as both BW: Black Star Promo BW48 and BW: Boundaries Crossed 152/149 (the last one keeping it Standard legal) plus BW: Legendary Treasures 92/113 and XY: Roaring Skies 53/108.  All three of these are Stage 1 Dragon-Type Pokémon with no Resistance, Retreat Cost [C] and no Ancient Trait.  BW: Dragons Exalted 84/124 (and reprints) are 70 HP, Dragon Weak Pokémon with the Ability “Fight Song” and the attack “Glide”.  The former provides +20 to the damage done by attacks from your Dragon-Type Pokémon and does stack so you can get a pretty big bonus with multiples.  Maybe that is why the latter does 40 damage even though it costs [WMC] to use; the Ability is great while the attack is quite poor.  BW: Legendary Treasures 92/113 has 80 HP and also is Dragon Weak, but has two attacks: the first (Speed Dive) requires [CC] to hit for 20 damage while the second (Cleave) requires [WMC] and hits for 40 damage just like Glide did, but includes an effect that has you flip two coins: if both are “heads” you discard all Energy attached to the Defending Pokémon.  These attacks aren’t good, both hitting to soft for what the damage they do, even with the effect of (Cleave).  Actually, discarding Energy when it is unreliable and expensive isn’t really an good effect. 

Last up is XY: Roaring Skies 53/108 which also has 80 HP and two attacks (no Ability) but switches to Fairy-Type Weakness.  “Song of Echoes” is a cool name and has a familiar effect; for [C] it allows you to shuffle your hand into your deck then draw a number of cards equal to the total amount of Benched Pokémon in play.  So it is Colress as an attack.  For [MC] “Midnight Eyes” does 30 damage while putting the opponent’s Active to Sleep.  The game is too quickly paced for me to want to use an attack on a Stage 1 that doesn’t further Evolve to aid in draw power, especially a Stage 1 that is so likely to be OHKOed; that was why I left this out of the two Dragon Weeks.  BW: Legendary Treasures 92/113 also failed to impress and likewise didn’t receive a review but BW: Dragons Exalted 84/124 made our Top 10 for BW: Dragons Exalted and we even used BW: Boundaries Crossed 152/149 as an excuse to review it again later.  Of course these reviews are over two years old and quite out of date, but take a look if you’d like.  As these are all Dragon-Types and the only one worth using is support for the Dragon-Type, it is quite unlikely that a deck suited to the one would also be suited to the other: they won’t be complimenting each other but they won’t be competing either. 

So is there a place for Altaria (XY: Roaring Skies 74/108, XY: Black Star Promos XY46)?  Oh yes!  M Rayquaza-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 76/108, 105/108) sometimes run it to protect it from the Lightning Weakness they both share, aided by both sharing the same Ancient Trait. M Rayquaza-EX needing a big Bench anyway to beef up its “Emerald Break” attack and the aforementioned Shaymin-EX all being searchable by Winona.  As I believe I’ve stated before, we had this deck spoonfed to us and while there are other variants that were less obvious seeing success, the “default” is still a contender as well.  Any other deck with heavy Colorless influence should consider it as well since again, it works well with Winona and Shaymin-EX; you can afford to run those two in heavier counts as excess Winona search power can snag Swablu and Altaria plus immediately Bench Swablu and then Evolve into Altaria so that Shaymin-EX and its “Set Up” Ability don’t have their draw yield reduced.  In Expanded, you gain access to Level Ball as well as a few older, useful Colorless-Type cards.  The best example I can think of is Bouffalant (BW: Dragons Exalted 110/124).  Neither of these are are likely to make a huge difference in how effective Altaria is, but I think they are worth a small bump.  For Limited play, its usefulness is all about what you can run alongside it; if you don’t have at least a few other Colorless-Types in your deck, obviously it won’t be worth the space (even here its attack isn’t good).  Fortunately you should have some other Colorless-TYpes and it won’t take many to justify the inclusion.  Also remember that in a +39 deck, by definition you only have one Basic and that is not gonna be Swablu, so you pull an appropriate Pokémon-EX you also won’t be using Altaria. 

Ratings 

Standard: 3.2/5 

Expanded: 3.4/5 

Limited: 3.5/5 

Summary:  The scores may seem a bit funny - remember that while Altaria is providing a very useful benefit and Colorless-Types can work into multiple decks, it is still a Type restriction and not every game has you facing an attacker that can exploit Weakness, let alone entire decks that can hammer Weakness.  Throw in effects that shut off Abilities and attackers that score the OHKO without Weakness and admittedly, when you expect less out of a card it makes anything positive look good while if you expect a lot, every little fault seems significant.  In the end, this is a card you should snag as even if you aren’t running a compatible deck right now, Colorless-Types are flexible enough you might find your deck evolving that direction anyway.


Emma Starr

            Today we examine Altaria, the fluffy- I mean, the Humming(?) Pokémon. With the Ancient Trait Alpha Evolution, one will realize that this Pokémon has been blessed with the ability to evolve on the first turn! Then one will disappointedly look down to the attack it has, and see it only does 30, with no effects. Well, you won’t be winning many battles with him alone, but with his help, might another Pokémon be able to turn the tides?

            If anything, Altaria’s typing is nice, as it allows you to use Winona to search for it and evolve Swablu much easier, and even be able to take advantage of that Alpha Evolution Trait (though I still wouldn’t bother attacking with it). He’s a prime bench-sitter, however, as his ability, Clear Humming (hey, so that’s how they became known as the Humming Pokémon!) gives every one of your Colorless type Pokémon no Weaknesses! So, Kanghaskhan EX/Mega Kanghaskhan EX is no longer weak to fighting types, and Shaymin EX, Rayquaza EX (75) and Mega Rayquaza EX (76), and even Altaria himself no longer have that pesky Electric weakness either, protecting them from being 1HKOed by baddies like Mega Manectric EX. Along with Sky Field support, you can have Altaria in a much more expanded bench, allowing him to have his ability running while not clogging up the bench for all of your other ability mons or attackers you may have. So, how would I score this one? Well, being Colorless, he’s splashable in any deck, really. Along with cards like Shaymin EX and the Rayquaza EXs I talked about earlier being splashable as well, along with all of the other newly released Colorless support, he’s definitely worth a look, at least.         

Standard: 3/5

            Expanded: 3.1/5 (Look, you can play that trollingsome Boufalant (DRX 110) here, so just because of that, I’ll bump him up a tiny bit.)

            Limited: 2.9/5 (With all of the Colorless support in this set, you may as well run him if you’re running Shaymin EX or the Colorless Rayquazas, though you may not have as much to worry about here, due to a much less threatening presence of Electric or Fighting types here.)


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