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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Electrode

- Roaring Skies

Date Reviewed:
June 16, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard:
Expanded:
Limited:

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

Back to the main COTD Page


Otaku

Before we begin today’s CotD, I thought I’d mention that yesterday the PTCGO did indeed implement the banning of Lysandre’s Trump Card.  This was to be expected, however I was disappointed that they included the ban in their “Unlimited” mode.  On one hand it makes sense: how is it anymore balanced there?  On the other hand, this means the card has zero play value for the PTCGO now and there are some pretty sick, slick combos already available thanks to access to older cards… and on the PTCGO Unlimited only extends back to HeartGold/SoulSilver! 

Our second review of the week is Electrode (XY: Roaring Skies 22/108), another Stage 1 Lightning-Type.  Lysandre’s Trump Card being banned will change things, but it is far too soon to know exactly how and even then I doubt it would make being a Stage 1 Pokémon significantly better; it doesn’t address how most Evolving Pokémon (as opposed to fully Evolved Pokémon) don’t do anything but act as “stepping stones” to get to said fully Evolved form, which turns them into pure burdens instead of combo pieces.  We’ll address this in more detail when I talk about options for Voltorb, but even if Voltorb is amazing it won’t solve the other side of things: pacing issues whereby you have little incentive to run something other than Basic Pokémon (usually but not always fully Evolved) because they don’t have niche protection.  So a non-Evolving Basic Pokémon meant to be the main attacker will often have something about it that allows it to start contributing in a meaningful way the first turn or two it is in play (if not jump right into being a main attacker) even though a Stage 2 naturally has to wait to Evolve (or run Evolution acceleration, if available). 

As for being a Lightning-type, that is much easier to explain: some important cards like Yveltal-EX are Lightning Weak which makes it a good Type to be, though currently there is hardly any Lightning-Type support (let alone worth using) and you do have to worry about Resistance on older Fighting-Types like Landorus-EX.  90 HP is small - in Expanded it isn’t quite as bad as it makes Electrode a legal Level Ball target and in both formats it means you’re only surviving a hit when your opponent has an incomplete set-up or because the attack being used isn’t meant to score said OHKO (as in certain lock strategies).  The Fighting Weakness is dangerous, and exacerbates the low HP as most Fighting-Types will need just one or two of the many buffs for the single Energy attacks only a few lack can score the OHKO.  Metal Resistance is unlikely to save this card often, but it is still very much appreciated; likewise the single Energy Retreat Cost is easy to pay and recover from, the best best possible. 

No Ability or Ancient Trait but at least there are two attacks.  The first (Continuous Tumble) requires [C] and has you flip a coin until you get “tails”, doing 20 damage for each “heads” you flip.  For [LCC] the second attack (Energy Bomb) gives you the option to move all the Energy attached to Electrode to your Benched Pokémon.  Moving the Energy is optional but you have to move all or none (as opposed to just “some”) though when it comes to attaching it, you have the freedom to attach all of it to a single Benched Pokémon or spread it out among multiple targets.  The attacks have synergy in their Energy costs as you can pretty easily use Continuous Tumble with a single Energy card attached and with a Double Colorless Energy jump to Energy Bomb, but the damage for both attacks is lower than the going rate (and preferably Continuous Tumble would have done “20+” instead of “20-” for its damage yield, even if we had to bump the attack cost up to [L] or [CC] so that it couldn’t whiff.  Energy Bomb is just a bit low to 2HKO Pokémon-EX without help and Mega Evolutions even with help, unless they are Lightning Weak (in which case the goal would be to OHKO under those circumstances). 

For Voltorb we have four options, both Expanded and Standard legal: BW: Boundaries Crossed 51/149; BW: Plasma Freeze 32/116; XY 44/146 and XY: Roaring Skies 21/108.  All are Basic Lightning-Type Pokémon with Fighting Weakness, Retreat Cost [C] and no Ancient Traits.  BW: Boundaries Crossed 51/149 has 50 HP, no Resistance and a single attack (Static Shock) that might sound cool but only does 10 for [C].  BW: Plasma Freeze 32/116 has 60 HP but still no Resistance and a single attack (Rollout) for [LC], doing a vanilla 20 damage.  XY 44/146 reverts to 50 HP,still has no Resistance, but adds in an Ability (Destiny Burst) that triggers when it is KOed by damage from an attack by one of your opponent’s Pokémon: place five damage counters on the opponent’s Active.  Its lone attack - Rollout - does just 10 for [C].  XY: Roaring Skies 21/108 is back to 60 HP, gets Metal Resistance and two attacks: for [L] the first (Thunder Wave) lets you flip a coin with “tails” doing nothing while “heads” inflicts Paralysis while the second attack (Big Explosion) requires [LC] and does 60 damage, but also does 60 damage to itself.  XY 44/146 and XY: Roaring Skies 21/108 potential, with the former discouraging attacks (and potentially punishing something that does attack) but the latter actually Paralyzes (improving survival odds) and if you do have to attack (while it won’t survive without help) it might actually hit hard enough to matter. 

There are also four Electrode to consider: BW: Boundaries Crossed 52/149; BW: Plasma Freeze 33/116; BW Black Star Promos BW79 and XY 45/146.  All are Stage 1 Lightning-Types with Fighting Weakness, no Resistance and no Ancient Traits, just like today’s card (except for Resistance).  BW: Boundaries Crossed 52/149 has 80 HP, a perfect free Retreat Cost and two vanilla attacks: “Static Shock” again for [C] but this time hitting for 20 and “Electro Ball” for [LCC] and 60.  BW: Plasma Freeze 33/116 was actually reviewed before here; it has 90 HP, Retreat Cost [C], the Ability “Magnetic Draw” that allows you to (once per turn) to draw until you have four cards in hand, with multiple instances of Magnetic Draw can be used on the same turn if your hand is low enough to activate it each time.  The attack is oddly Electro Ball again and it is identical to the previous instance, still doing 60 damage for [LCC].  BW Black Star Promos BW79 has 100 HP, the highest of the currently legal versions of Electrode but breaks the usual pattern by having the same perfect zero Energy Retreat Cost of the lowest HP version.  It is also unusual in that it is a Team Plasma affiliated Pokémon, though still no Resistance or Ability.  Electrode [Plasma] has two attacks; the first (Electribeam) requires [L] to do 20 with a coin flip to inflict Paralysis while the second (Self Destruct) requires [LCC] to hit for 100 to the opponent’s Active in addition to 100 to itself.  XY 45/146 is back down to 90 HP, back up to Retreat Cost [C] and has no Ability but two attacks: the first (Eerie Impulse) costs [L] to flip a coin and if it is “heads” allow you to select and discard a single Energy attached to the opponent’s Pokémon (“tails” means it does nothing).  For [CC] we get another Rollout attack, this time hitting for 40. 

BW: Plasma Freeze 33/116 and BW Black Star Promos BW79 actually do some interesting things, with the former actually seeing some success in competitive play as additional draw power in certain decks but a lot of people don’t know or forget that Electrode [Plasma] even exists and while it does a few things right, even with Team Plasma support it isn’t a good enough attacker: you can ready it quickly with Colress Machine and Plasma Energy, buff its HP with Umbreon (BW: Plasma Freeze 64/116) and the HP with Deoxys-EX (still only one, though it has multiple releases) but even with a four Deoxys-EX and a Silver Bangle it is only just hitting 170 HP.  You could toss in a few more resources like Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym but you’ll still miss the OHKO against Mega Evolutions and we’ve basically just built an entire deck for that purpose.  So… do either of these help today’s Electrode?  Maybe to the former; if you wanted to run the Magnetic Draw version you could probably add in one of today’s should you want a somewhat decent Lightning-Type attacker. 

That isn’t much but that is probably its best chance of seeing competitive play.  As a stand alone Lightning-Type attacker, it faces too steep of competition from Raichu (XY 43/146), with its Circle Circuit attack and free Retreat Cost allowing it to often hit harder while being a pivot Pokémon.  No Energy salvaging options but unlike Electrode (XY 45/146), Raichu of the same set still got Metal Resistance.  No clue why.  So not much of a use for Standard or Expanded, but Limited treats Electrode (XY: Roaring Skies 22/108) pretty well.  The Energy costs would allow you to run it completely off-Type, just unable to access Energy Bomb, but with just a few basic Lightning Energy you’ll have good odds of being able to use Energy Bomb as well, and getting three Energy off of something that might be about to be KOed and onto your next attacker is pretty valuable.  Continuous Tumble is a bit better here as well, and as you might actually survive a turn in the Active slot, is a decent enough fallback should you survive using Energy Bomb.  Furthermore this card is present in the Storm Rider theme deck for XY: Roaring Skies which not only matters to certain kinds of Limited events but the PTCGO has a specific “Theme deck only” mode, including for tournaments.  There it demonstrates what I just said and unlike some other attackers, you don’t have to worry as much about sinking needed extra Lightning Energy or Grass Energy cards into the Colorless Energy costs.  There are even two of them! 

Ratings 

Standard: 2/5 

Expanded: 1.9/5 

Limited: 4.25/5 

Theme Deck: 4.25/5 

Summary: Electrode is a near “near miss”; so close to being useful in so many ways but clearly being outdone by Raichu and its Circle Circuit.  It isn’t as good as I would like it to have been, and it would have taken both the absence of something clearly better and being a bit better itself to really rise to the occasion but at least you can enjoy it in Limited play as well as Theme Deck matches and tournaments on the PTCGO and I’ll appreciate that as being better than many other cards in the set. 


Emma Starr

                Lately, it seems we’ve been managing only to find some mostly so-so evolved Pokémon lately. Have the tides changed with Electrode? Well, with 90 HP, a weakness to Fighting, a resistance to Steel, and a retreat cost of one, this guy is basically the Heliolisk from yesterday. And you DON’T want to be the Heliolisk from yesterday.  With Fighting types everywhere currently, one 50+ damage attack from them will spell the end for Electrode. What can he do for the most-likely short time he’s around?

                His first attack, with a cost of one Colorless is Continuous Tumble, does 20 damage times how many times you can flip heads in a row. This means at most a 50% chance of even doing 20 damage, a 25% chance of doing 40, etc. Needless to say, you shouldn’t rely too much on this for damage, though of course, Trick Coin can always help with attacks like these.

                Things get a bit more interesting with Energy Bomb, where for one Lightning and two Colorless, you do 70 damage, but you also get the chance to move ALL of the energy attached to this Pokémon to your benched Pokémon in any way you like. Notice that I emphasized the word ALL. So, no shifting one energy per turn to a benched but with continuous 70 damage, or anything creative like that. It’s all or nothing with Electrode, much like many Electrodes from the past. The ideal way to use this would be to use this attack to power up someone (such as say…a certain EX coming up later this week), then have a way to switch Electrode out as quickly as possible with something such as Switch or Escape Rope, since he’ll have no means of attacking or escaping after using this attack. It’s a bit of a hassle, but it’s still a way to quickly power up someone who just got to your bench, while still getting 70 free damage in the process. Although Electrode is certainly not the most conventional card, he’s still very capable of turning things around quickly, if played right.

                Standard: 2.5/5

                Expanded: 2.5/5

                Limited: 3.5/5 (can be a nice asset to any Electric-running deck, but also has some really awesome potential with a certain aforementioned EX too. ;) )


aroramage

Ah Electrode, you sit around power plants and villainous bases, disguising yourself as an item in order to blow up in my face. You know that'd be interesting to see - Electrode being used in some way with Items! But then again, we've seen enough of Item-dealing Pokemon with Seismitoad-EX, and he's only got a weak little Item-locking attack. 

So what all can Electrode do? Well in the realm of theory, he could DESTROY ENTIRE PLANETS, TRAMPLE OVER LEGENDARIES, AND RACE ACROSS THE GALAXY TO PERSONALLY SMACK DEOXYS UPSIDE THE HEAD!! But in reality, we've got this little thing called "Probability" that makes it seem unlikely that he'll see play. You've probably guessed I'm talking about Continuous Tumble, and you'd be right. At least it only costs 1 Energy, so while your average would be something like 20 damage, you do have a theory of pulling off a good old fashioned Fossil set Geodude "Stone Barrage" maneuver. Side note: can you believe there's a Stone Barrage-like attack that's cheaper, stronger, and yet still no good? 

Aside from that, there is the small attack of Energy Bomb, which costs a whole three Energy. I don't know why you'd be throwing 3 Energy onto Electrode here, but if you, you get a decent 70 damage rolling in before having the option to move ALL the Energy off of Electrode to your Benched Pokemon. At least it's any way you like rather than forcing you into just one, but still I'd think there are better options to energy attachment than relying on a 90 HP Stage 1 to survive long enough to make that work. You're honestly better off just attaching the Energy to whatever you need rather than Electrode. 

Still, it's possible he'll have a little bit of a niche. Electric-types are going to be pretty big with the rise of Colorless decks - notably M Rayquaza-EX, who is weak to Electric. Continuous Tumble becomes a 40 damage hit for every heads you land, and that could be spell trouble. Even Energy Bomb takes off 140 damage...unless there's an Altaria (ROS) in play. 

All things considered though, try and find a better Electric type. Electrode probably won't be your go-to. 

Rating 

Standard: 1.5/5 (a flippy attack with a 50/50 chance to fail right off the bat and an Energy dispersal attack that doesn't need to be used ever) 

Exapnded: 1.5/5 (not much better here) 

Limited: 3.5/5 (Energy Bomb is much more likely to go off successfully here, and Continuous Tumble will do a generally larger amount of damage here, based on the lower HP scores) 

Arora Notealus: Rolling around at the speed of BOOM, that's Electrode in a nutshell. Now for the real question: which came first, the Pokeball or the Voltorb? Hmmm... 

Next Time: Ca-CRACKATHOOM!!


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