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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Flygon Promo

- XY61

Date Reviewed:
July 8, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3
Expanded: 3
Limited: Promo

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

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

So for the next few days, we've got some dragonic Pokemon-EX to work our way through! Today's comes to us in the form of Flygon-EX, which was released in the Flygon-EX Box. Nifty! Maybe this is a sign that one day we'll get ourselves a Mega Flygon!! :D 

...okay, maybe not. 

In any case, Flygon-EX has an Ability and an attack, which partially work in tandem with each other. The attack Spiral Buzz is a hefty 4-Energy and does 80 damage, but interestingly enough it also has a "Stone Barrage" effect. You get to flip a coin until you get Tails, and for every heads that comes up, you get to add 30 damage onto your attack. It's nothing special, but it's a lot better than most Stone Barrage-esque attacks; usually you won't deal any damage if you flip Tails on the first toss, but with Spiral Buzz, you're at least guaranteed to deal 80. On average, you should be dealing 80-110 damage, but there's definitely potential to OHKO most anything with enough luck. 

But maybe you don't want to risk trying your luck against something like M Rayquaza-EX. Maybe there's something on the Bench you wanna take care of right now, or maybe it'll be more difficult for the opponent to switch them out! That's where Voice of the Sands comes in - if Flygon-EX is your Active Pokemon, you can do some swapping to get your opponent's Pokemon out into the open. It oughta be pretty easy too! And if you're lucky, you might just OHKO something right off the bat. 

Here's the thing though: while Flygon-EX himself can do a lot of good switching things around, I don't think you'd want to necessarily go for the KO. I think you'd wanna use him as a set-up for one of your other guys to sweep, swapping things around on your opponent's field so they aren't sure what to power up before switching to your main attacker and halting their plans all at once! Combined with the right partner and some strategic usage, Flygon-EX could potentially be a devastating switcher. 

He may not be the best Dragon out there, but he's definitely one of the better Promos. 

Rating 

Standard: 3/5 (a switcher with a decent flipping attack? not too shabby!)

Expanded: 3/5 (about the same here) 

Limited: N/A (he's a promo, so there's no using him in the set) 

Arora Notealus: One of these days, Flygon's gonna just be amazing. I dunno, get some attack that just decimates opponents, one that completely opens things up for him. Who knows? Maybe his evolution will be awesome enough to warrant use! 

Next Time: There's only one dragon that hasn't been mentioned yet...


Otaku

Time to push through the middle of the week with a promo.  Why?  Well we only had eight XY: Roaring Skies Dragon-Types left to review that looked like they were worth a review and we need to keep up with the promos so why not?  So that means Flygon-EX (XY Black Star Promos XY61) is of course a Dragon-Type with the same pros (good-but-not-great Type support, no Resistance) and the same con (Weakness only found on BW-era Dragon-Types) that do result in a net positive, but along with the actual metagame have resulted in them enjoying little to no success in the recent competitive scene.  Being a Basic is the best; as good as it gets for deck space and for ease/speed of getting the card into play.  It is also the only guaranteed benefit of being a Pokémon-EX (but also not a Mega Evolution): a Pokémon that is actually an Evolution in the video games and typical examples of it in the TCG still ends up as a Basic: no need for Trapinch and Vibrava.  Usually being a Pokémon-EX also includes better attributes and/or effects than non-Pokémon-EX cards receive, but it isn’t guaranteed and there are three drawbacks that are assured because of either rules text or cards already in the metagame: giving up an extra Prize when KOed, being the target of negative card effects and being unable to access certain forms of support.  Unless you run Life Dew or avoid being KOed, you can’t escape the extra Prize clause, though how many “anti-Pokémon-EX” cards you slam into will depend on the rest of the metagame and only a few cards with beneficial effects state they won’t work with Pokémon-EX (which is probably why those cards don’t see a lot of play). 

Flygon-EX has 170 HP; although this is the lower of the two most common HP scores printed on Basic Pokémon-EX and only 10 less than the higher such score.  There aren’t a lot higher than the 180 without going to Mega Evolutions and 170 is probably going to survive a hit, so I’d call it pretty good (but not great).  “Probably survive” includes hits from decks that aren’t fully set-up (including early game) or that aren’t trying to score a OHKO (such as many lock decks), so be aware that sometimes Flygon-EX will go down in one hit.  That brings us to Weakness: unsurprisingly it is to the Fairy-Type (the default Weakness for Dragon-Types in the XY expansions).  No Weakness is the best Weakness, but if you’ve got to have one, the Fairy-Type (at least for now) probably falls in the middle of the pack (at worst): they seem confined to Fairy-Type decks and said decks often use off-Type attackers or were trying to go for a OHKO strategy, even when we stick to the more competitive decks.  This means Weakness is still going to help your opponent but its “You need a less intensive set-up” instead of “Unheard of offensive capacity”.  Yes, Weakness is so powerful that “I only kill ya a lil’ faster” is seen as not so bad.  No Resistance is disappointing but typical so we’ll move on to the Retreat Cost: [CC] is high enough you’ll want to find a workaround but low enough that if you can’t, you’ll probably be able to afford it.  It also is low enough that Hydreigon-EX and its Dragon Road Ability can lower it to a perfect free Retreat Cost, assuming no mitigating effects and a Stadium in play. 

Flygon-EX has no Ancient Trait but it does have an Ability: Voice of the Sands.  This is an interesting name for a somewhat familiar effect: Flygon-EX itself must be Active in order to use this Ability and it is once-per-turn, but not the “absolute” kind but the form where if you can either reset the effect (such as by returning Flygon-EX to hand, Benching it again, then finding a way to promote it to the Active slot again) or simply promoting another Pokémon with Voice of the Sands to the Active slot, you can use Voice of the Sands again.  Odds are rare you will want to use it more than once though, because it is just Pokémon Circulator: if your opponent has anything on his or her Bench, he or she selects one of those Pokémon and makes it his or her new Active; unless your opponent has no Bench you’re guaranteed to force his or her current Active out of your way, but it is unlikely you’ll benefit from doing so more than once per turn.  So is it worth using once?  Sometimes - it will depend on the card’s attack or whether you can get it out of the way efficiently so a different card can take the Active position (whether to go on the offensive or try and wall). 

Flygon-EX has only one attack (Spiral Buzz): it requires [GFFC] and hits for 80+ damage, where the “+” means a “flip until ‘tails’” clause good for 30 additional damage per “heads”.  Even with Double Dragon Energy this is pricey and it isn’t good but neither would I call it bad: it is unreliable.  If you get statistically average results, half would hit for 80, falling short of OHKOing even some smaller, supporting Pokémon.  The other half hit for at least 110 damage, 2HKOing all but the biggest (or defensively buffed Pokémon).  Half of the half (or a quarter of the overall results)the hit for at least 140 damage, OHKOing most non-Pokémon-EX (printed, not necessarily that see play) as well as the smallest of the Pokémon-EX.  With some additional boosting, you can start hitting OHKO range on Pokémon-EX.  Halving the results yet again (so an eighth of the overall possible results) hit for at least 170 damage, which is a great amount that OHKOs a good chunk of the basic Pokémon-EX and almost everything that isn’t a Pokémon-EX and lacks protective effects.  The odds of this are not great, but the threat is there.  If the Energy costs were easier to meet, the base damage was a bit higher or damage added per heads just a little more, this could have been a very annoying part of our metagame because it would shift from “eh” to “Oh yeah!”. 

There are no other cards named Flygon-EX… so what is this card’s competition?  There really aren’t a lot of specific examples in terms of attack but rather a few broad categories: 

  • Other “flip until ‘tails’” attackers
  • Other Dragon-Type attackers
  • Other Grass and/or Fighting Energy using attackers
  • Other useful Abilities

The first category is a bit tricky; I don’t know all the attackers that use this mechanic off the top of my head and in fact I only can distinctly remember a few.  I lack a good resource to quickly look it up (sadly pokepedia.net hasn’t been updated in about nine months now) and while there are other resources, they tend to take longer to use and… this isn’t exactly an established competitive strategy so even I am unwilling to commit the time to it.  For Dragon-Type attackers… we’ve been discussing a lot of competition and we’ll have even more tomorrow.  The short version is that the combination of Energy requirements and the amount of Energy just make this very unappealing when compared to the proven quantities and even some of the other “iffy” prospects.  Even other useful Abilities, you’ve got the question of whether to run this or say Reshiram (XY: Roaring Skies 63/108); if you’ve got no real use for Turboblaze then Voice Of The Sands can make use of the same set-up (less having basic Fire Energy in hand).  You get a Hydreigon-EX (or something else to enable a free retreat) and a few additional switching cards so that as needed you can get Flygon-EX Active, use the Ability and then change out into the Active you do need. 

If you are determined you can build a deck around Flygon-EX or rather its attack.  Use Altaria (BW: Dragons Exalted 84/124; BW Black Star Promos BW48; BW: Boundaries Crossed 152/149) and while you won’t be powering up any faster, you’ll up your damage even when you whiff on coin flips.  Victini (most recent printing BW: Legendary Treasures 23/113) and its “Victory Star” Ability or Trick Coin can improve your coin flips… but you need multiple “heads” to get into remotely competitive range, so I wouldn’t rely on this alone but perhaps stack it with the Altaria.  Using Victini allows you to use your Pokémon Tool slot for something else; whether it is something to make powering Flygon-EX up go a bit smoother (Exp. Share), take more hits (Hard Charm) or hit harder without the added set-up (Muscle Band).  All of it together is likely overkill, but the point is to have multiple methods of boosting to improve the odds of getting enough of a cumulative bump to reach OHKO levels.  Landorus (XY: Furious Fists 58/111) can help some with Energy acceleration or you could hand the task over to Virizion-EX (which would also allow you to tap its Ability to block Special Conditions), with either supplementing Double Dragon Energy.  Special Energy has its own drawbacks so you’ll still want at least a single TecH copy of either Fighting Energy or Grass Energy (whichever of the two you aren’t accelerating) “just in case”. 

Mostly though it seems like something you might include because the rest of your deck makes the Ability a nice option in Standard or Expanded.  In Expanded it faces added competition, but I am talking general and not specific… enough to warrant a slightly lower score.  It can’t be used in Limited to my knowledge; I don’t know of any sanctioned Limited Events that use the gift box this game in as part of the product from which you would build a deck.  If it were re-released in a set, it wouldn’t be good enough for a +39 deck - too slow powering up - and most decks would lack an easy way of getting it into and then back out of the Active slot, but if a deck is already running sufficient Grass Energy and Fighting Energy it would be a welcome addition and strong presence. 

Ratings 

Standard: 3/5 

Expanded: 2.9/5 

Limited: N/A 

Summary: Not a good card but certainly not a bad one, Flygon-EX has some use but not enough to justify working it into most decks.  We are better off for having it as an option, but don’t expect to make use of that option very often (if at all) for competitive play.  The scores may seem a bit high for what I just said, but remember the scope and quality of the competition it faces; we are at a point where there are just too many cards that score higher for “average” cards to see a lot of competitive play.


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