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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Latios EX #58

- Roaring Skies

Date Reviewed:
July 9, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3.65
Expanded: 3.75
Limited: 4.25

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

Back to the main COTD Page


Emma Starr

            Today, we have Latios EX, and with a cool new Mega form, does his base form still pack on the heat? With a standard 170 HP, the common but nice weakness to the not-used-to-often Fairy, and the uncharacteristic Retreat Cost of two (I mean, have you seen him and Latias in SSB? How would he need two Energies to retreat?!), he seems to be right on par with a lot of the other Dragon type EXs we’ve seen in this set. So, let’s examine his attacks.

            For one Psychic Energy, you do 40 damage, but the real uniqueness is in the effect. Unlike any other Pokémon in the game before, Latios can use this on your first turn (if you go first, that is). Being the first effect of its kind, although it’s not much damage, it could still take down some of the weakest Basics, if you’re lucky. Latios EX can certainly be a very nice lead because of this, but be aware that it’s only other attack costs 4 energy, and you’ll still need 2-3 turns to power it up completely, whether you’re using Double Dragon Energy or not. So, although it’s situational effect is nice, you still have to rely on your chances of going first, and having Latios EX in your starting hand, or enough Sycipers, Ns, or other forms of draw/search support to get him in. Ultra Balls always work nice for this as well, if you don’t mind discarding two cards. You could also bump this up to 60 damage if you combine this with a Muscle Band, which actually can keep the damage more respectable until you can use Latios EX’s second attack. But really, it’s still a pretty decent for a first-turn (literally!) attack.

            Light Pulse does 110 damage for one Water, Two Psychic, and one Colorless Energies. You also get the added effect of all effects of attacks not doing anything to Latios EX, other than damage. But obviously, these effects have to target Latios EX, so Pokémon like Electrode (ROS 22) can still re-arrange energy, and Mega Gallade EX can still attack you if Latios EX or anyone else is on the bench. But things such as Beedrill’s (PC 3) Allergic Shock won’t work, Jirachi’s (ROS 42) Doom Desire can’t kill you, and Thundurus EX can’t paralyze you. So, it’s definitely a neat bonus that could come in handy, especially with all these little quirks that this set seems to be experimenting with (seriously, Jirachi can be pretty scary if used right!). However 110 damage is still kind of low for an EX attack, especially after we saw how Zekrom was able to do 100 for four energies just a couple days ago, but if he still has the Muscle Band on that I mentioned earlier, the damage will be bumped to 130, which really isn’t too shabby. So, will his Mega form deliver the power we hope for? You’ll have to stay tuned to find out! ;) 

            Standard: 3.8/5 (The effect of the first attack is rather nice, but the second attack is somewhat situational, and will most likely require Double Dragon Energy, if you don’t run Psychic-Water.)

            Expanded: 3.8/5

            Limited: 3.5/5 (Again, the first attack can provide to be quite useful, though it will be stuck at doing 40 due to no access to Muscle Band. And the lack of Syciper or Ultra Balls can be worrying as well, since chances are you’ll only be pulling one of these, if any at all, unless you have truly insane luck. Big damage on EXs are usually pretty good, though.)


Otaku

Latios-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 58/108, 101/108) is our next-to-last card for the week and I won’t even pretend we aren’t looking at M Latios-EX tomorrow: I will still be discussing the Mega Evolution but I’ll try to stick to the correct perspective and save the details for tomorrow.  So since this is part of Dragon Week Part II, I’ll yet again state that the Dragon-Type is a solid Type; it isn’t one of the Types with a major competitive presence right now, but it has the support it needs that it realistically could be.  What it lacks are a lot of Dragon Weak Pokémon; only the BW-era Dragon-Types themselves, missing one of the major bonuses enjoyed by some of the better Types.  It also lacks anything being Dragon Resistant, but that is a bonus, albeit a very slight one.

The next two obvious things are that this is a Basic Pokémon and a Pokémon-EX; the former is pure advantage as Basics enjoy the least complicated (and time and space consuming) method of getting into play: simply put them into play if you have an open Bench slot (or Active slot, if it is during the opening set-up).  The latter is technically pure disadvantage; although Pokémon-EX usually have attributes and effects that are superior to their “regular” brethren, it isn’t guaranteed and we’ve had some iffy examples in the past.  Had Latios-EX not naturally been a Basic Pokémon, then like yesterday’s Flygon-EX it could have counted that as an inherent bonus.  There are some inherent drawbacks though; as per the rules text on the card, Pokémon-EX give up an additional Prize and while not built into the card, built into other cards are beneficial effects that specifically exclude Pokémon-EX and detrimental effects that specifically apply to them. 

Latios-EX has 170 HP the lower of the two typical HP scores for Basic Pokémon-EX, it will reduce its survival chances but not in a major way; not because 170 is so durable but because right now nothing is truly safe.  You should be able to take a single hit and keep going most of the time, but decks that are focused on the OHKO are more than likely going to take it and 2HKOs should be assumed to happen unless you take steps to prevent them or your opponent’s deck suddenly flames out.  Another repeat, the Fairy-Type Weakness is still “not good” but one of the more tolerable Weaknesses to have: the Fairy-Type is not in widespread usage (at least in an offensive capacity), mostly seen in Fairy Transfer decks at the competitive level.  In those decks, this is going to enable one or two supporting attackers to score a OHKO with slight overkill instead of a 2HKO with slight overkill while the “big” attackers get by with fewer resources than they otherwise would have required.  No Resistance is common so I won’t be docking the card’s score for lacking it, but had it been here, it might have been worth a small bonus.  The Retreat Cost of [CC] is high enough you’ll want to try and avoid paying the full price but low enough that when you have to, you likely will be able to afford it.  It also conveniently is as high as you can get where a single copy of Hydreigon-EX can still drop its Retreat Cost to zero. 

Latios-EX has no Ability or Ancient Trait but does have two attacks.  The first (Fast Raid) is one of only two attacks we’ve seen so far that have a clause stating said attack may be used the very first turn of the game.  This is not just important from a gameplay standpoint but from a design one as well; does this mean that the designers are dedicated to maintaining the first turn rules or is this a sign they are thinking of bringing first turn attacks back?  Either way it concerns me because the rest of the attack is [P] for 40.  Simple but effective… and potential trouble in the long run.  I have actually tried in the past to write articles explaining why, but for now I ask that you simply accept that this returns the capacity to donk* Pokémon with HP scores of 90 or less to the game (Muscle Band, Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym are factored into that range).  If the idea of Pokémon is to have a fun game between two players, winning before the other person even gets a chance to take a turn seems very much antithetical to the Spirit of the Game. 

So far this card hasn’t caused a lot of problems, likely because there are other (of what I would consider to be) problem areas that for better or worse, mean this isn’t the best deck to play right now and relevant to scoring it because if you are the statistical “norm” you’re only going first about half the time… so even if your deck has no other Basic Pokémon than this card, you’ll only benefit from the clause half the time.  So what about the card’s second attack, “Light Pulse”?  It needs [WPPC] to hit for 110 damage, with the added bonus of protecting Latios-EX from the effects (but not damage) done to it by attacks from your opponent’s Pokémon during your opponent’s next turn.  Besides damage still getting through, effects done to anything other than Latios-EX still happen; this won’t protect your Bench, the field or your hand, etc.  The damage is a bit low for the Energy required: not only does the attack demand four Energy, but only one of the requirements is Colorless and two different, specific Types are listed as well.  110 is enough to OHKO smaller things and 2HKO a decent amount of the larger ones… all of the larger ones that lack protection if you can get and keep a Muscle Band attached and the effect can be quite handy, so in the end I’d call it a solid attack; not quite good, definitely not great, but far from being bad. 

There is another Latios-EX that you can play in either Standard or Expanded: BW: Plasma Freeze 86/116 (and 113/116).  It is actually quite similar to today’s: for game relevant features, only the Weakness and the attacks are different.  Being from the BW-era it has Dragon Weakness which is more dangerous than the Fairy-Type.  The first attack (Mach Flight) requires [PC] and hits for 40 points of damage; it also has an effect that prevents the opponent’s Active from retreating.  Its second attack (Luster Purge) requires [PWC] and hits for 150 damage but also discards all Energy attached to itself.  This card was originally reviewed here about two years ago: I didn’t get a review in but baby_mario and Ness did and they were not kind… but they were pretty accurate. 

However two years can be a long time for a card pool and in this case the differences are significant.  Now we have Double Dragon Energy to power up Mach Flight with a single manual Energy attachment and fewer decks running tricks like Keldeo-EX/Float Stone (probably because we also see more counters for said tricks).  This also means it is much easier to power up Luster Purge… in fact no matter what other Energy is being run in the deck, Double Dragon Energy can cover the specific Energy-Type requirements for both attacks.  We didn’t have Muscle Band back then nor did we have Mega Evolutions (or Wailord-EX) that were difficult enough to OHKO that even the unboosted 150 looked nice for securing a 2HKO.  If you are focused on M Latios-EX, this card will compete with today’s Latios-EX… however the two cards are surprisingly complimentary, with today’s version being useful for fast attacks while this older one is nice for the bigger, relatively inexpensive hits.  So even in a deck focused on the new Latios-EX, the old one can prove useful. 

Which brings us to M Latios-EX; this Mega Evolution keeps the same Type but jumps the HP up to 220 while actually lowering the Retreat Cost… to free!  It has no Ancient Trait (...no Mega Evolution released so far has had an Ability) but instead has the usual, single attack: in this case, it is “Sonic Ace”.  It requires [PWC] (the same as Luster Purge) and then has you discard two Energy attached to itself (less severe than Luster Purge), but the reward is 120 damage to the opponent’s Pokémon of your choice.  In a metagame where players really like Jirachi-EX and Shaymin-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 77/108, 106/108) that can make for a sick, easy finish.  It also is a way to take out injured Pokémon hiding on the Bench or get around problematic Active Pokémon apart from a switching cards like Lysandre.  So again, even in a deck focused on Latios-EX, M Latios-EX can be a nice option to have… preferably with Latios Spirit Link. 

So what does a deck focused upon Latios-EX look like?  I am not sure: it hasn’t been tearing up the competitive scene and the one noteworthy finish I could find wasn’t that high and had a lot of stuff I never tested with the card.  I have been testing this card but not extensively - I was quite excited (and anxious) about it but so far it hasn’t had much of an impact.  Probably because the most abusive way to use it, going for donks or incredibly fast, early KOs also requires a lot of Items and Item lock is still significant even after Lysandre’s Trump Card was banned (as many of us assumed it would be).  Losing Lysandre’s Trump Card hurt because this was a deck that tried to throw as much of itself as it could at the opponent: get a Latios-EX into play, power it up, throw on Muscle Band, Hypnotoxic Laser, Virbank City Gym and (in Expanded) Plus Power.  Of course, decks focusing on all but the smaller Pokémon-EX aren’t going to be donked.  Instead you’ll be rushing to 2HKO and then as your resources run low, 3HKO and even 4HKO.  You can see the problem; if you’re not too good at planning in the long term it might still be appealing, but you’re basically trying to get lucky (pardon the expression).  Super Scoop Up and/or Max Potion can help you avoid giving up Prizes and in re-using resources. 

So, for those looking at more substantial offerings the divide seems to be between backing Latios-EX up with Crobat (XY: Phantom Forces 33/119) or Altaria (BW: Dragons Exalted 84/124; BW: Black Star Promos BW48; BW: Boundaries Crossed 152/149).  Crobat is a Stage 2 line, though Golbat (XY: Phantom Forces 32/119) is also contributing since these two are being used primarily for their Abilities… each of which places damage counters on one of the opponent’s Pokémon when you Evolve something into them from hand.  This is compatible with some of the other damage boosting tricks and together gives you a shot at taking out some of the big stuff in a single hit, or more reliably in two hits.  With Altaria, you are simply upping the damage done by your Dragon-Types.  While unlikely to happen in game, a full four Altaria Benched and working jumps the damage on Fast Raid to 100.  Muscle Band is still an easy inclusion further bumping it to 120, while Light Pulse can take out a lot of stuff in a single hit. 

In either case, Latios-EX (BW: Plasma Freeze 86/116, 113/116) and M Latios-EX compliment the involved strategies.  Mach Flight can help trap something up front to finish it off while a boosted Luster Purge can get big enough to take out anything without protection in one hit, though the upper end requires an ideal set-up.  Just taking out almost anything with 190 HP or less (a single Altaria and Muscle Band) even at the cost of discarding all Energy attached can still be a game winning play.  Crobat and Golbat can enable similar OHKOs and can instead hit something on the Bench, avoiding overkill but they are harder to re-use (Altaria just keeps working so long as a Dragon-Type is attacking).  M Latios-EX works better with Crobat and Golbat as they can all snipe the same target but still enjoys Altaria when you are hitting the opponent’s Active and sometimes… that won’t be a wasteful move.  Also something for both builds, make sure you run one or two Hydreigon-EX.  Why?  Besides M Latios-EX being the only Dragon-Type that doesn’t usually benefit (it already has a free Retreat Cost), you need Hydreigon-EX for its Shred attack.  This means either working in some [D] Energy or being totally reliant upon Double Dragon Energy, but it too works with the other damage buffs and saves you from Safeguard Pokémon and various other protective effects that can be problematic. 

Almost none of this is available for Limited play and… that is okay, Latios-EX is still likely the only true “must run” card in the set.  Why?  It may not be nice but this is the poster child for a +39 deck.  For those not familiar with Limited play, you don’t bring your deck to the game but instead will be provided with cards to build your deck there.  Usually this takes the form of six unopened booster packs; Pre-Releases are probably the most common Limited Format event.  Basic Energy cards are also provided, for the record.  This format only allows for 40 card decks and four Prize play most of the time; running 39 non-Basic Pokémon plus Latios-EX means you always start with it.  You can build the deck so that you cannot whiff on having an Energy for the turn either (apart from your opponent’s card effects). 

So… Latios-EX has 170 HP and can always hit for 40 damage before your opponent can attack you.  Even if you fail to pull (and draw) a Double Dragon Energy you should be able to switch to Light Pulse no later than your fourth turn, protecting you from attack effects (though again, a ridiculously lucky opponent might somehow constantly Paralyze you until they KO you).  Is this a guaranteed win?  No.  Even without the extreme versions, your opponent might just pull something like Jirachi (XY: Roaring Skies 42/108) and get it out, powered up and attack with Doom Desire and have Doom Desire resolve before you can take four Prizes.  They might actually be running Fairy-Types (and Fairy Energy so they can attack) as well.  Your opponent might slow you down long enough that they can power-up something too big for you to OHKO that hits hard enough to finish you off (or even take you down in a single hit)... but you have great odds of taking four Prizes (or scoring a Bench out) before then.  Even the other Pokémon-EX an opponent may also be running in a +39 deck need some luck (though not as much as the other decks) to KO Latios-EX befor Latios-EX takes out their own Pokémon-EX. 

Ratings 

Standard: 3.5/5 
Expanded:
3.7/5 
Limited:
5/5 

Summary: Latios-EX brings donks back to Pokémon, and the only reason we aren’t noticing is because we’ve got some insanely fast, insanely big attackers that are a bigger presence (and concern).  This puts it in a somewhat odd position of being pretty good but just not as good as the likes of Seismitoad-EX, Yveltal-EX, etc.  Throw in some of the faster Mega Evolutions and I’m not sure if I should be relieved or disappointed this card isn’t dominating tournaments.  For now I guess enjoy it for casual play, perhaps seeing if you can find whatever missing element is needed to make it a contender in competitive play. 

*A donk is a win achieved via a OHKO of your opponent’s lone opening Pokémon, before he or she has had a chance to play.  I have both used and encountered it being used for any win coming close to this but believe it best to stick closely to the definition I just gave as we have other terms for winning by KOing an opponent’s last Pokémon in play (Bench Out) later in the game.  Under older rules, it was possible to take out more than one opening Pokémon at a time (perhaps it still is in Unlimited) but that might call for a new term because that just takes things to an even greater extreme.


aroramage

So now we come to Latios-EX, which was up for consideration in the Top 10 list a little while back. I find it's a little hard to judge cards when they're revealed cause sometimes it's not super obvious what it's all about...well, unless you're looking at a common card with a 1-Energy vanilla attack that does 10-20 damage at best. Sometimes though you get cards that need a second look, so here's Latios-EX's! 

His first attack, Fast Raid, is pretty simple: a 1-for-40 that's vanilla on any other turn aside from Turn 1. We've seen an attack pretty similar to this with Deoxys, only that attack did no damage, drew two cards, and had the advantage of Dimension Valley. Latios-EX just does damage. That's not necessarily a bad thing though, since it grants him a lot of advantage on that front. After all, an early strike could decide the entire pace of the game and put a lot of pressure onto your opponent from the get-go. 

Ultimately, you'd be building up from Fast Raid up into Light Pulse, which does 4-for-110 damage. Not too shabby, and it safeguards you from your opponent's attack's effects. So ultimately he's an anti-Seismitoad-EX Dragon...which is a shame since Seismitoad-EX has been on the decline thanks to Lysandre's Banned Card. There are a few other attack effects that Latios-EX could prevent though like Exeggutor (PLF), so it's still a nice effect to have. 

So Latios-EX had a big game early on then, may have declined a little since then, but soon he'll probably come back up again because of what I suspect to be a rise in a new Grass archetype with the next set. Aside from that, he's a solid choice for an EX - not the greatest option in the world, but far from the worst.

Now if we just attach a Muscle Band here... 

Rating 

Standard: 3/5 (again, a solid choice for an EX, and definitely far from the worst you could grab) 

Expanded: 3/5 (same here) 

Limited: 4/5 (once again, his solidity is backed up by a smaller card pool overall; few things outside of that lucky guy who pulled M Rayquaza-EX and all its components will match well against Latios-EX) 

Arora Notealus: Apparently Latios is a lot like your average pilot - he can fly in the air really fast, is super intelligent, and can understand human speech! Hehehehe...oh come on, you thought it was clever, admit it! 

Next Time: LATIOS, MEGA EVOLVE TO...


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