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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Articuno #17

- Roaring Skies

Date Reviewed:
June 11, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3.00
Expanded: 2.95
Limited: 4.40

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

Back to the main COTD Page


Otaku

Today we look at Articuno (XY: Roaring Skies 17/108).  Yes, this means there is going to be a lot of redundancy with yesterday’s CotD.  The Water-Type hasn’t changed since yesterday: it is a solid but not great Type that hits nearly all Fire-Types for Weakness and some Fighting-Types for Weakness but neither is overly numerous.  Still a few high profile targets exist, like Landorus-EX.  Water Resistance is also out there, but on older Grass-Type Pokémon from the BW sets; the main notable sporting it in competitive decks is Virizion-EX.  Water-Type support exists but it isn’t on the level of the top Types, and it doesn’t have its own Special Energy (at least not yet).  It does have some good options though especially with the indirect support (stuff that works for more than just Water-Types, though usually it favors them) like Blastoise (BW: Boundaries Crossed 31/149; BW: Plasma Storm 137/135; BW: Plasma Blast 16/101) and its fantastic Energy acceleration or Keldeo-EX (usually paired with something like Float Stone to enable it to retreat for free) to fake a free Switch each turn.  There are some “anti-Water-Type” cards that punish the opponent for using a Water-Type Pokémon.  Somewhat unusual, there are both support and counter-cards that affect the Water-Type alongside another Type, like how Rough Seas can heal both Lightning-Types and Water-Types. 

120 HP seems just barely more likely to survive a hit than be OHKOed, with the survival margin owed in large part to decks that set-up slow (with weaker damage the first few turns) or that trade damage for a potent effect (like Seismitoad-EX and its Quaking Punch).  The maximum printed on a “regular” Basic is only 10 more at 130 so this is almost as good as it gets.  No Weakness is the best Weakness but right now, Metal Weakness may be one of the “least bad” ones to have.  With the banning of Lysandre’s Trump Card going into effect soon, the results of the Spring Regionals (which I got from the Charizard Lounge) there aren’t any notable Metal-Type attackers even if there are a few decks that could would them in and use them with some reliability.  Considering the card might have gotten Lightning Weakness (popular to exploit due to Yveltal-EX among others) or Grass Weakness (found on the other Water-Types I’ve referenced so far), probably the best to have of the three most likely.  Fighting Resistance is about as good as Resistance can be; it isn’t a major hurdle but it improves your chances of surviving in some match-ups, even if only a little and most cards lack it entirely.  The Retreat Cost of [CC] isn’t bad, but it isn’t good: you can probably afford to pay it and it won’t set you impossibly back but sometimes you might not be able to spare the Energy.  Most decks make room for alternatives, one of which was already mentioned earlier (Keldeo-EX with a Float Stone). 

Unlike yesterday’s Articuno, today’s enjoys an Ancient Trait.  This time it is “Δ Plus” which has you take an extra Prize when Articuno KOs an opponent’s Pokémon.  It also sports two attacks: “Chilling Sigh” for [W], which puts the opponent’s Active to Sleep and “Tri Edge” which costs [WWC] and has you flip three coins to do 20 damage plus 40 per “heads”.  It is good you’ve got a smaller attack to buy sometime, and in an example of how “big Basic” Pokémon probably ought to be done, something possibly intended as a main attacker has an underpowered single Energy attack so that the game’s pace isn’t so rushed.  Unfortunately when scoring cards in our breakneck-speed format and not pondering some hypothetical balanced future format, it is an overpriced attack. 

Tri Edge at least does damage so that it can try to earn you the edge with by triggering Δ Plus (the first pun was accidental, but then I went for it with the second one).  Tri Edge is better than I expected it to be; by including a minimum amount of damage other than “zero” the card still does something at its worse, which means even when you whiff you still can enjoy bonus damage from the likes of Muscle Band or Silver Bangle.  There are eight possible outcomes with one resulting in 20 damage (the minimum), three resulting in 60 damage, three resulting in 100 damage and one resulting in 140.  The mean damage is 80, only a bit low for three Energy (and a few years ago, the going rate).  If the Energy cost was [WCC] and/or the base damage was 30+ instead of 20+, we might have discussed this card sooner.  Chilling Sigh only complements it by being the inexpensive placeholder attack, though I suppose even that it doesn’t do terribly - if your opponent stays Asleep and can’t ditch the Special Condition, Articuno isn’t taking damage (well, from said Pokémon attacking). 

You know from yesterday there are two other versions (one released twice) of Articuno available.  If you skipped that review, here is the remix: BW: Next Destinies 27/99, it’s alternate art re-print BW: Legendary Treasures 32/133 and XY: Roaring Skies 16/108.  The clearly out of date review for the former can be seen here while yet again here is yesterday’s still fresh CotD.  The differences between these two and today’s version are that they have different attacks and lack an Ancient Trait (plus XY: Roaring Skies 16/108 only needs [C] to retreat).  BW: Next Destinies 27/99 (and BW: Legendary Treasures 32/133) saw next-to-no successful, competitive play and you can tell why when you look at the attacks; for “Ice Beam” needs [WCC] and that only buys 50 damage plus a coin flip for Paralysis while “Ice Wing” charges [WCCC] to hit for 80 damage (and nothing else).  XY: Roaring Skies 16/108 doesn’t blow the mind, but its “Find Ice” attack only requires [W] and lets you search your deck for up to three [W] Energy to add to hand (for now that just means basic Water Energy) while it’s Freezing Wind requires [WWCC] to hit for 100.  While a bit pricey, both attacks are on a solid frame and so it may have a nice in certain decks (Primal Kyogre-EX?).  It also might compete a little with today’s version, but only if you’ve got a deck that needs to max out the Articuno count. 

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? 

Suicune (BW: Plasma Blast 20/101) mainly; as I mentioned earlier this week, part of why I wanted to look at all of these big, Basic Water-Types was because Suicune is likely to rotate out of Standard play soon and I wanted to scout for potential replacements.  Doesn’t look too great as it is a Safeguard Pokémon that for [WCC] can use Aurora Beam for a less-impressive-than-when-it-released 70 points of damage.  No walling with any of these and for decks that only wanted to include a few sources of [W] Energy (like a Fairy Transfer deck relying on four Rainbow Energy) none of these need apply… though at least here today’s Articuno is somewhat tempting: you’re probably trying to exploit Weakness anyway so the average damage now becomes 160 and you get an extra Prize, but it might whiff and you are out two Rainbow Energy success or fail if your opponent can take the OHKO back.  Primal Kyogre-EX (the only other Water deck coming to mind at the moment) does enjoy being able to freely attach Energy to Articuno with its Tidal Storm attack, plus the Bench damage might soften up some Pokémon-EX for Tri Edge to finish off, without losing momentum. 

Momentum being the major drawback here; you only truly come out ahead with Tri Edge when you’re taking a KO (and thus getting a bonus Prize) in the same amount of attacks as the next best thing.  If you take the time and set-up to score a KO with Articuno but said next best thing would have simply scored the KO in a turn less, your Prize yield may be no better or even worse with Articuno.  Target Whistle and/or Absol (XY: Roaring Skies 40/108) may help with this, getting smaller targets back into play (probably with a Lysandre to force them Active) or by moving damage that would otherwise go to waste to soften up the opposing Active for Tri Edge.  You might even risk going all out; Crobat (XY: Phantom Forces 33/119) and Golbat (XY: Phantom Forces 32/119), especially in multiples can really drop the HP on an opponent’s Active and still leave you able to attack it that turn while Victini (BW: Legendary Treasures 23/113 most recent printing) improves your odds with your coin flips thanks to its Victory Star Ability.  It is quite reliant upon chance, so it probably isn’t the best choice for someone preferring to rely upon skill more than luck. 

In Expanded, there are likely a few other options, but none memorable enough to mention, nor any additional combos to really consider.  In Limited, like yesterday it is an impressive pull.  Unlike yesterday it will mean a mostly Water Energy compatible deck.  You have all the same benefits in terms of stats, save for a slightly more demanding Retreat Cost and it won’t be a lot of help setting things up, but Sleep from Chilling Sigh is harder to ditch and HP scores are likely lower, giving Tri Edge less to deal with and thus effectively making it more reliable.  This already makes Δ Plus more promising, but remember that in Limited Play like a Booster Draft you build a 40 card deck and only place four Prizes down at the start… so two KOs with Δ Plus in effect and you’ve won.  With Chilling Sigh (hopefully) buying you more turns without damage and Tri Edge needing three Energy instead of four, it might be less reckless to run this in a +39 deck than its sibling from yesterday. 

Ratings 

Standard: 3/5 

Expanded: 2.9/5 

Limited: 4.8/5 

Summary: I can’t tell if I am scoring this card generously or if I am being stingy; as a Δ Plus attack it may be one of the better ones (for what that is worth), but I doubt there is a particularly good deck one could build around Articuno.  It might be a nice surprise in certain decks that can accommodate it, and probably terrifying in Limited play and while the art doesn’t blow my mind, the extended art treatment makes sure it looks pretty cool. 

Yes, that last one was totally intentional.


Emma Starr

                After yesterday’s review, I realized that it left me only wanting one thing – to review another Articuno! So, what makes this other Articuno so special? Well, he has an Ancient Trait, which lets you take an extra Prize Card for whatever Pokémon you defeat with it, which means taking 2 prize cards for normal Pokémon, and 3 for EXs. With 120 HP, weakness to Steel, and Resistance to Fighting, his stats seem to echo the previous Articuno, except that he has one more retreat cost.

                His first attack, Chilling Sigh, makes the opponent get so unmotivated, that they fall asleep.  Basically, it’s one water energy for making the opponent go to sleep. However, there’s always the 50% chance that it will wake up by the next turn anyway, so keep that in mind.

                For the second attack, we have the actual damage dealer. For 2 Water and a Colorless, you do 20, in addition to flipping 3 coins, which do 40 for each heads. So, this attack can do anywhere from 20-140 damage. That actually sounds…pretty decent, considering the Ancient Trait it’s been given. Even if you only get one heads, you’ll be doing 60 damage, and while that probably won’t KO too much, if you get to do the attack twice, you’ll be knocking out most non-EXs pretty quickly, and taking all the prizes!*

* not really, unless you have like 2-3 prizes left.

                So, is Articuno worth it? Usually, I would think twice about recommending cards that rely on coin flips too heavily like this one does, but its overall damage output combined with its Ancient Trait is something with quite a bit of potential if used right. Not to mention that you can equip it with Trick Coin to further boost your chances of doing nice damage.  It’s one of those cards you rarely see any more – a card that relies on coin flips that actually pulls it’s weight.

                Standard: 3/5

                Expanded: 3/5

                Limited 4/5 (smaller Prize Card requirements = bigger potential for Articuno!)

 

And then there's this Articuno, one blessed with what might be one of the best Ancient Traits to be seen...though it's not really on anything particularly noteworthy, and Articuno here isn't an exception. 

Let's start with what its Ancient Trait is: Delta Plus. Remember Lugia-EX's Overflow Ability? This is the Ancient Trait equivalent - when Articuno KOs a Pokemon, you get to claim an extra Prize card. That makes Articuno pretty valuable! Except that Articuno needs to be actually capable of claiming that KO in the first place, so what are his attacks? 

First off is Chilling Sigh, which doesn't do any damage but at least puts the opponent's Pokemon to Sleep. Not bad, but it could be better. Maybe 10 damage on the attack? It is only 1 Energy after all. And then we've got Articuno's Tri Edge attack, which flips 3 coins and does 20 damage to start plus 40 more damage for every heads you land. On average, you're doing about 80 damage a turn (you can't actually HIT 80 damage, but knowing the probability of 3 coins and over the course of, say, two turns, on average you'll hit 80 as you hit 60 one turn and 100 on the next). Potentially, you'll hit 140 damage on its own, add in Muscle Band and HTL, and you've got just what you need! 

So here's the Articuno strategy: put the opponent to sleep, and then ideally KO them in two turns with 60 + 100 damage, maybe even 80+120 with Muscle Band. That's not too bad, honestly, not the most reliable strategy (it's no M Rayquaza-EX set-up-the-Bench-for-MASSIVE-DAMAGE), but it's decent. And if nothing else, he's probably the most viable of the Delta Plus gang. The designers knew the power of Delta Plus, and to compensate they made anything that got it pretty weak. 

Not Swellow levels of weak, but weaker than normal. YOU KNOW WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT, SWELLOW FROM ROARING SKIES 

Rating 

Standard: 2.5/5 (a powerful ability on generally weaker chance-based attacks, but at least it's doing damage) 

Expanded: 2.5/5 (probably about the same here) 

Limited: 4/5 (the overall damage output combined with that ability is just too good here, though keep an eye out for Switch since that's in the set) 

Arora Notealus: This wouldn't be the first time Articuno's been beat. Even in the video games, Ice/Flying is a terrible typing defensively, getting Rocked, set on Fire, Electrified, and even beaten down by Steel. I couldn't come up with something clever for that, but there ya go. It's pretty much the reason Articuno's in NU anyway...it's a shame, I still like him though. 

Next Time: And now for a NEW bird!


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