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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

 Articuno #16

- Roaring Skies

Date Reviewed:
June 10, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.25
Expanded: 2.25
Limited: 3.00

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

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

If you're old school like most of us elderly gentlemen and ladies, you probably remember picking up this archaic device called a GameBoy and playing Pokemon Red or Blue on it wayyyyy back in the day. You may also recall a location called the Seafoam Islands, inside of which was a crystalline treasure trove of icy Pokemon, and towards the very bottom floor in the furthest depths of the islands was none other than Articuno. 

Of the three original legendary birds, Articuno was my favorite. I just loved its design, its blue color, its icy cool nature, that sound it makes like it's singing - I love it! I even remember one of my earliest rare cards being Articuno from the Fossil set. Such a pretty card...not that great, but still! Come to think of it, not too many Articuno cards are "great," per se (what's up with that Water Immunity, am I right?), but they have been interesting! 

Take today's card for instance. Articuno here has two attacks, one of which is just Freezing Wind, a vanilla 4-for-100 attack. And it's clear to see where they were going with this set-up when they gave it Find Ice, a 1-Energy attack that nets you 3 Water Energy from your deck. So that's where we stand: Articuno is a great set-up, but its ultimate attack is nothing to worry about. 

So what kind of things should we worry about? Well, adding 3 Energy to the hand can be a very good early set-up to anything using Water Energy. Seismitoad-EX doesn't really rely on that as much, being splashable in any deck, but Primal Kyogre-EX would LOVE this! I can imagine players starting off with an Articuno to add Energy to their hand, then Turn 2 evolve their Kyogre-EX to a Primal before throwing down a bunch of Energy - maybe even grabbing some more with Articuno before swapping out with a Switch! 

So this Articuno has its uses. There may be other Water-types in the future that will benefit from his quick retrieval of Energy, but for now I'm thinking Primal Kyogre-EX decks will want 1-2 of this guy. A great early game option to have! 

Rating 

Standard: 2.5/5 (a good set-up for Primal Kyogre-EX, though I wouldn't rely on this guy as a back-up) 

Expanded: 2.5/5 (works well with Blastoise too! And with rotation coming up, the two may only end up together in the Expanded format) 

Limited: 3/5 (the slower pace will allow for Articuno to set-up more readily here, though 4 Energy is STILL a lot to wait on) 

Arora Notealus: Just want to point out and remind people of Articuno's Japanese name being Freezer. You know who else has a Japanese name of freezer? FRIEZA!! Frieza would totally have a Freezer named Frieza because Freezer is AWESOME!!...I mean, Articuno!

...and not competitively, like, Ice/Flying's not that great typing. 

Next Time: MORE OF YOUR FAVORITE BIRD!!...well, my favorite bird


Emma Starr

                Following the tail of Kyogre, we get non-EX Articuno. With 120 HP, he’s on the lower end of normal when it comes to non-EX basics, but Steel Weakness usually isn’t too bad, at least, compared to the more popular types. The Retreat Cost of 1 is okay, and a Resistance to Fighting is always nice. So, does he get to do any other ‘cool’ things (no, I’m not making puns, I swear)?

                For one Water Energy, Find Ice lets you search your deck for 3 Water Energy. It’s a simple way to FIND the energy you need for the second attack, but without Blastoise (BC 31) (in Standard, at least), you’d still need to wait 3 turns to get everything attached before you can even use his second attack, which normally isn’t worth powering up for four turns normally. Even with Blastoise, it may be more bearable, but you’re still putting on four energies to a normal, basic Pokémon. Since I’ve been talking about the second attack so much, let’s take a look at that one.

                Freezing Wind does 100 for 2 Water and 2 Colorless. That’s really all there is to it. Well, I actually do think it’s kind of nice that they took away what would probably be a really situational side effect from the attack in exchange for giving it an attack that does a little more than usual. It’s nice in that regard; I’ll give it credit for that. But if you’re playing this in Standard, or even in Expanded, if you don’t have a Blastoise set up, you’re still going to be spending four turns powering this guy up. That means you won’t be able to give that energy to any of your other higher-attacking EXs for those four turns either, under normal circumstances. So although it’s a nice ‘little’ attack, it gets outclassed just due to how long it takes to be useful.

                Standard: 2/5

                Expanded: 2/5

                Limited: 3/5 (if you didn’t happen to pull an EX, you can still do some solid, consistent damage with this bird instead.)


Otaku

From one Legendary to another, today we look at Articuno (XY: Roaring Skies 16/108).  This is our second Water-Type for the week (and not the last); the Water-Type hits some Fighting-Types and nearly all Fire-Types for Weakness, but unless the banning of Lysandre’s Trump Card changes things (and it might) it doesn’t look like those two groups are all that numerous in the competitive scene.  Water-Type support can be a bit odd as are the “anti-Water” cards: the unusual part is that some will reference Water-Types alongside another.  An example of this is the Water support card Rough Seas, a Stadium you can use once-per-turn to heal 30 damage from all of your Water-Type and Lightning-Type Pokémon.  There is some support though and while it isn’t on par with things like Strong Energy, Korrina and Fighting Stadium (three examples of direct Fighting-Type support) it is there, plus the indirect support has some big names though they aren’t as big as they used to be and to varying degrees can be used by other Types like Keldeo-EX and Blastoise (BW: Boundaries Crossed 31/149; BW: Plasma Storm 137/135; BW: Plasma Blast 16/101).  There is some Water Resistance left in Standard, but it seems to be confined to older sets so the only notable example I can think of is Virizion-EX. 

120 HP is solid; so far it is only 10 less than the maximum we’ve seen printed, but I can’t gush about it because power creep is pretty crazy and while even a few years ago I was telling you how most decks hit for a perceived average (re: I haven’t crunched the real numbers) of 90 per turn, now it has gone up and I’m not sure if 120 is too far beyond it.  Many times the lower values come from decks that trade damage for potent effects (Seismitoad-EX) or take some time to get their offense fully set-up; a deck focused on hitting you for damage that is set-up is probably taking a OHKO or an effective OHKO (where something like Poison damage finishes off the Pokémon).  Metal Weakness isn’t good but right now I can’t say it is bad; again it won’t represent the actual metagame in past June 15th, but according to the Spring Regional Results over at the Charizard Lounge, we aren’t seeing a lot of Metal-Type attackers.  Bronzong (XY: Phantom Forces 61/1149,  XY Promos XY21) did anchor a few decks but it is a support card and not an attacker, with players able to use any attacker that can make adequate use of [M] Energy.  Far safer than say Lightning Weakness that is shared by cards like Yveltal-EX. 

Any Resistance is welcome but Fighting Resistance is quite handy.  Not only is it a popular, potent Type but even though the Type has a penchant for ignoring Resistance and/or stacking damage, the its poster-mon is Landorus-EX and he is focused on splitting damage between the Active and Bench with Hammerhead.  With not damage boosting effects, Hammerhead would only hit an Active Articuno for 10 damage and even with buffs that is still 20 more damage to cough up.  Also impressive is the single Energy Retreat Cost; it isn’t as good as it gets but it is just one off, making it easy to recover from and to afford in the first place.  All in all, these are good stats so we just need the card’s effects to not be bad.  Does Articuno deliver? 

The first attack is “Find Ice”, which requires [W] and allows you to search your deck for up to three [W] Energy and add them to your hand.  As always, adding cards to your hand at the end of your turn carries the risk of your opponent shuffling them away again with an N and Basic Energy is one of the easiest cards to add to your hand but for the investment that isn’t bad.  The second attack is “Freezing Wind” for [WWCC] and hits for a flat 100 damage.  “Flat” is a good descriptor as the attack again isn’t bad but it isn’t good either.  For the Energy involved 100 is just a bit low.  Together, this may very well be adequate; you can use Double Colorless Energy to speed up the second attack after all.  Still, what else should you be considering? 

As a fully Evolved Basic we lack lower or higher Stages, but we do have other Articuno to consider and there are two other options spread through three other releases: BW: Next Destinies 27/99, BW: Legendary Treasures 32/133 (a reprint of the former, keeping it Standard legal) and XY: Roaring Skies 17/108.  Articuno does not vary a lot in terms of stats; the other Articuno have the same Stage, Type, HP, Weakness, Resistance, lack of Abilities and number of attacks as today’s version.  They do have a Retreat Cost fo [CC] instead of one (making today’s the exception).  BW: Next Destinies 27/99 (and BW: Legendary Treasures 32/133) can use “Ice Beam” for [WCC] to hit for 50 damage with a coin flip to Paralyze the Defending Pokémon or [WCCC] to use “Ice Wing” to hit for 80.  These attacks are just not as useful as today’s being either overpriced or underpowered, which is probably why this Articuno never saw much play.  If you’re curious, you can read the out-of-date review here.  XY: Roaring Skies 17/108 on the other hand is reviewed here… which is tomorrow’s CotD (yeah, late review on my part again).  Since I won’t really be spoiling anything, the short version is that it has the Ancient Trait “Δ Plus” that allows it to take an additional Prize when it KOs an opponent’s Pokémon.  Its first attack is “Chilling Sigh” which requires [W] and puts the opponent’s Active to Sleep, which won’t be cashing in on Δ Plus.  Tri Edge can though; it requires [WWC] and gives you three coin flips, hitting for 20 damage plus 40 per “heads”.  This version is tempting because of Δ Plus but remember you’re only ahead if you don’t take an extra attacks in scoring the KOs (since more attacks = more KOs with something else = more Prizes anyway).  So while the older options should be ignored, XY: Roaring Skies 17/108 can be a rival or a partner. 

The real reason not to run Articuno is that you’re probably better off with Suicune (BW: Plasma Blast 20/101)... unless you really do need an attacker to fetch some Energy while (hopefully) soaking a hit.  That might actually be an option; something like Primal Kyogre-EX mostly needs the Energy in hand as it can use its “α Growth” Ancient Trait to attach Energy from hand, and you can also use an easy combo (like Ultra Ball and two basic Water Energy) to set up for Mega Turbo to also attach Primal Kyogre-EX from the discard.  Unlike Suicune, Articuno can also receive Energy from the attack on Primal Kyogre-EX - Tidal Storm - and it doesn’t have the same Grass Weakness.  It also is nice to help demonstrate improvements in card design; not only is this more competitive than its predecessor, but it seems like it understands “pacing” a bit better.  While it can attack right away (as long as it isn’t the very first turn of the game), it is just an adequate set-up attack, not something inexpensive but still capable of inflicting damage (or even KOs).  Even if the second attack could hit hard enough to warrant it being the main attacker, you could have your deck come out swinging without some other form of Energy acceleration (that in a well balanced format wouldn’t be available your first turn or two).  Yes it is a strange point for me to make, but I’m not ignoring such an opportunity. 

Speaking of opportunity, while it is slightly diminished in Expanded (more competition, though none that particularly stick out) in Limited this card should have some chops.  The Weakness is a non-issue; the set’s one Metal-Type doesn’t hit for damage and being a big, Basic is even better here.  The Energy costs are open enough to work into a multi-Type deck and thanks to Find Ice you can get by with fewer Water Energy even though Freezing Wind requires two of four Energy be [W].  Probably not quite fast enough to run in a +39 build, where it is the only Basic Pokémon in the deck, run that way so you have to open with it.  Your opponent would get three attacks before you got to start swinging away for probable OHKOs, and even if they are just dinging you for 10 or 20 damage a pop they will likely win the race to KO your lone Pokémon before you take all four Prizes.  Should work into almost any non +39 deck though and if you want to be reckless there is some chance you could make the +39 build work.  It also shows up in the Aurora Blast Theme deck, where it is unsurprisingly a great card, whether to wall while getting Energy to set itself or something else up, or just as a good, straightforward attacker. 

Ratings 

Standard: 2.25/5 

Expanded: 2.2/5 

Limited: 4.75/5 

Theme Deck: 4/5 

Summary: While the scores aren’t much higher, that is because there is competition and it appears to be competition for decks that aren’t dominating right now anyway.  This is not a bad card, just not quite good enough, especially when there isn’t a lot of opportunity for Articuno.  It isn’t a great attacker or set-up Pokémon, not even simply a “good” one, but neither is it “bad”; a little beyond “adequate”.  Don’t forget about it, especially with its fancier set-mate. 


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