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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

 Natu

- Roaring Skies

Date Reviewed:
June 23, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.17
Expanded: 2.38
Limited: 3.17

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

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

Get it? See it's funny because Natu's pecking, and he's a bird, but he's a Psychic-type here! Huh? Huh? 

Anywho, Natu here is definitely the better between the two Natus of the set - the other one being a rather vanilla card that uses a 1-for-10 Peck attack (HO HO). While his attack isn't very strong, it's still better than Peck; Psywave comes in a similar vein as Mewtwo-EX's X Ball, Yveltal-EX's Evil Ball, and soon another Pokemon-EX's attack (hints for Ancient Origins, for all you lovelies out there). But it's definitely not that powerful, even if it costs the same. 

The main differences between Psywave and those attacks is effectively the lower damage output and the accounting for only the opponent's Energy. But there is something on Natu that makes him stand out just a little bit more than usual, and that's the inclusion of the Delta Plus trait. Now while Natu is typically far too weak to really deal significant amounts of damage, he can actually pose a threat with this trait. 

Think about it - your opponent just KO'd a big guy, but his is pretty weak. He's probably got 2-3 Energy, maybe even 4 Energy depending, and he's a small attack away from getting KO'd. Then you put out Natu and get him for the KO - that's 2 Prizes on a normal Pokemon, 3 Prizes on a Pokemon-EX! That could effectively turn the entire match around for you and maybe even win you the game! 

Obviously that's an extremely niche situation to apply Natu for, but it's just the sort of thing he could be useful for. Okay, so there's stuff like snipe damage that could KO him before you get the chance to power him up, and your opponent will be far more conscious about how he takes damage to make sure you don't sneak in your bird, but it's certainly better than just Pecking at them for 10. 

Rating 

Standard: 2/5 (not the most powerful Pokemon, but could be an effective surprise reversal) 

Expanded: 2/5 (pretty much the same here) 

Limited: 3/5 (again, not the most powerful, but lower HP overall means it's more likely he'll net you 2 Prizes here - which can actually win you the game here) 

Arora Notealus: Can I just level with you guys about Natu for a second here? This bird is only 8 inches - INCHES - tall!! And his whole body is practically his head!! He must not eat a whole lot, cause he ain't even finishing a 6" flatbread sandwich from Subway with that anatomy man! Heck, you could probably EAT Natu at that point! 

......okay, don't think about it. 

Next Time: What?! Natu's evolv-actually, I already saw this one coming.


Otaku

Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, Natu!  Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, Natu!  Natu, Natu, Natu! 

Adding yet another lame parody of the old ‘60s Batman theme, today we look at Natu (XY: Roaring Skies 28/108).  This is an Evolving Basic Pokémon which technically is an advantage even such cards usually get the short end of the stick on just about everything.  There is a reason for that though; even though I often champion ideals of game design that can seem quite lofty, even I am at a loss for how to make everything somehow equal and yet unequal at the same time: it makes sense for all fully Evolved Pokémon to be “on the same level”, adjusted only for where mechanical differences (like the earliest turn a card could see play) justify such things.  As such, Evolving Basics simply can’t be on even footing, but they also don’t have to be pure filler, mere stepping stones for getting to their fully Evolved forms.  Indeed they can be quite useful, appropriate to their station, even potentially being the reason to run a particular Evolution, where the Evolved form supplements the usage of the lower Stage.  The capacity to have another card played upon you is always a benefit, though you may lack an Evolved form worth running. 

So… what specifically applies to Natu?  It is a Psychic-Type which is honestly more potent than I tend to give it credit for in passing.  As I wrote this I had to remember all the little areas where it makes its presence known: mostly backing up something of another Type but still having a noteworthy deck or two that are mostly Psychic-Type (allowing for the odd off-Type supporting Pokémon).  It hits a decent chunk of (released) Fighting-Types and (other released) Psychic-Types for Weakness but in both cases those TCG Types are composed of three video game Types; combined with dual-Type cards there are plenty of non-Weak examples in each and what actually sees competitive play skews things farther.  Resistance is found on most Darkness-Type and Metal-Type Pokémon as well, while the final component is Psychic-Type support; not as impressive as that of the Standard standard setting (try saying that five times fast) Fighting-Type but with some very noteworthy examples like Dimension Valley and Wobbuffet (XY: Phantom Forces 36/119). 

Its HP is tiny; 40 is just 10 above the minimum printed on a card that is an actual Pokémon and not just with an effect that causes it to be treated as such.  Barring luck this isn’t surviving a turn in the Active slot and frankly decks focused on hitting the Bench (as opposed to more general spread) can probably take it out in a single turn there as well.  So this is not good but it is kind of expected given its station; of course I’d rather HP scores across the board be raised (without raising damage output - the idea is to slow the pacing down and give designers more “wiggle room) as well as see Evolving Pokémon “front loaded” with their HP scores (when TCG mechanics simply can’t replicate the video game, we need to adjust accordingly) so that they have a better chance of surviving to Evolve.  Enough of that tangent though; Natu is Psychic Weak which is likely to be irrelevant most of the time since it’s so small.  If an attack does 40 or more damage, it already had the OHKO.  No Resistance is typical but disappointing - it wasn’t likely to help but rarely are you worse off for having it.  The single Energy Retreat Cost is technically good - second best possible, easy to pay and to recover from the loss - but with the low odds of Natu surviving a hit, you won’t get to use it all that often. 

Now we come to why we are looking at Natu - generally I prefer Evolving Pokémon just be covered alongside their Evolved forms in that particular card’s review, but when there is something noteworthy about the lower Stage I do like to give it its own CotD.  As the card’s art would lead us to believe Natu has an Ancient Trait, Δ Plus.  We’ve seen this on some other Pokémon this set, including some previous reviews.  Taking an additional Prize off of KOing an opponent’s Pokémon via attacking is a substantial bonus; does Natu make it easy (or at least cost effective) to do so?  It has a single attack - Psywave - that requires [PC] to use and hits for 10 points of damage times the number of Energy attached to the opponent’s Active Pokémon.  That is not so great of an attack but with some support might be worth a place in some decks.  Before we delve into combos let us explore the rest of this card’s “family”. 

If Xatu are already deck worthy that creates an additional niche for Natu - you can always just not Evolve one to take advantage of it even if the deck is meant for Xatu.  That also means seeing if it is even the best Natu to run so we’ll start with the other Expanded/Standard legal iterations: BW: Legendary Treasures 55/113 and XY: Roaring Skies 27/108.  They aren’t too different from today’s version: similar across the board except for 10 more HP and no Ancient Trait, each even just having a single attack.  In fact they are even more similar to each other having the same attack, just with a different Energy cost and damage: Peck.  On BW: Legendary Treasures 55/113 the attack does 20 for [PC] while on XY: Roaring Skies 27/108 it hits for 10 while only needing [C].  So the only thing they really have going for them is the 50 HP; being just slightly more durable versus the potential to “steal” an extra Prize?  Odds are against the 10 additional HP being a game changer so I’d go with today’s version. 

There are two options for Xatu; we looked at BW: Legendary Treasures 56/113 18 months ago and will be covering XY: Roaring Skies 29/108 tomorrow.  Note: Unless this review is going up late then the link for the June 24, 2015 review won’t be working at first.  Both are 90 HP Stage 1 Psychic-Type Pokémon with two attacks.  BW: Legendary Treasures 56/113 can use “Fortunate Draw” for [P]: you and your opponent play Rock-Paper-Scissors with the winner drawing and the loser discarding the top three cards of his/her respective deck.  The second attack is “Miracle Wing” for [PCC] which does 60 damage and (on a successful coin flip) inflicts Confusion.  This card is slightly better because of the game’s pacing (Lysandre’s Trump Card didn’t exist when it came out) and metagame: having an attack to draw or discard at least has a chance of mattering in the face of players ripping through their own decks so fast or hoping denying access to a particular card type/effect (usually Items) will slow you down is a little less “bad” now than it was back then, but still far from good.  The Psychic-Type support we’ve received since then doesn’t help a lot either.  XY: Roaring Skies 29/108 will get a proper review tomorrow; for now I’ll just say that I don’t see it comboing particularly well with today’s Natu. 

So where does that leave our subject of review for today?  Natu can use Dimension Valley or the “Psychic Mirage” Ability found on Gardevoir (BW: Next Destinies 57/99; BW: Dark Explorers 109/108) to halve its attack cost.  This is a lot more appealing and outside of perhaps Energy transfer decks that could add the needed Energy off of something else, you really shouldn’t bother with Natu otherwise.  At this point we come to the issue that all Δ Plus attackers face: efficiency.  Taking an extra Prize is great but only if it is staying ahead of the opponent and therein lies the rub.  Natu can’t take down a lot of small Pokémon because usually players don’t commit Energy to them right away and even when they do Natu is still likely to need help: a Joltik (XY: Phantom Forces 26/119) has only 30 HP and needs [CC] to attack, but even powered up it only takes 20 damage from Psywave.  A random Evolving Basic is normally going to have more HP and less Energy attached and a typical attacker can score the OHKO for an easy Prize without giving up an almost as easy Prize in return. 

All hope is not lost, though; there will be times when something will have just enough HP to survive an attack but be within range that a Psywave could finish it off the next turn.  Combined with one of the above two acceleration effects, we finally find a small niche for Natu - clutch finisher.  More importantly, you want to time it so that it is taking your last two or three Prizes; being a glass cannon doesn’t matter when the game is already over.  It is a small role, but one it can fill in Standard, Expanded and especially in Limited play.  Night March decks have an additional reason to consider it as well - while their focus is on using similar diminutive, easy to OHKO attackers to take OHKOs, when a trade fails and leaves something badly wounded Natu has the chance to swoop in and take the KO with an additional Prize… so when it is OHKOed (as you would expect most other Night March attackers to be) you’re keeping pace.  Expanded normally takes a hit because of more competition, but not this time; besides Level Ball still being legal here, so is PlusPower.  Limited lacks all the fun little combos, but also has you facing a lot of lower HP and less Energy efficient attackers, on top of there only being four Prizes to claim.  As such Natu might be worth splashing into any deck (even though it means adding basic Psychic Energy as well) that isn’t a +39 deck. 

Ratings 

Standard: 2/5 

Expanded: 2.5/5 

Limited: 3.5/5 

Summary: Not as impressive as I had hoped, Natu still has a small place in competitive play.  A very small place.  This means the above scores can be misleading: Limited is a “general” score but Standard and Expanded are composites - Natu is a bit more useful in the decks that cater to its needs but deadweight anywhere else.  If you’ve got one of the decks that can work it in easily, test a single copy and see if you’ve got one of my theoretical exceptions. 


Emma Starr

Today, we have the mightiest of Pokémon, who can stand up to any challenge, and could even take on a whole Pokémon League by itself if trained properly! Hold on to your hats, because today’s review is about…Natu??

Yes, good ol’ Natu, the unevolved version of Xatu. As you could probably guess, it’s brutally weak when it comes to HP; having only 40 to speak of. With a standard Physchic Weakness and Retreat Cost of one, you may think Natu could just be another run-of-the-mill basic Pokémon. But, you could be wrong! In fact, if played right, Natu can be a great anti-meta card. First off, let’s look at his Ancient Trait. Alpha Plus let’s you take an extra prize from your opponent if the opposing Pokémon is knocked out by Natu, which would mean taking 2 prizes for knocking out a normal Pokémon, and 3 for taking down an EX. A great trait as usual, but it all comes down to Natu’s attack, so let’s examine that now.

For a Psychic and Colorless energy, Psywave does 10 times the amount of energy attached to the opposing Pokémon. Under normal circumstances, most Pokémon would have, say, 4 energy on them at best, which would equal 40 damage. Obviously he wouldn’t do great as a main attacker, but if one of your Pokémon just got knocked out, and the opposing Pokémon only has 40 or less HP left, Natu could make a great revenge-killer. Obviously you’ll want to be wary of your opponent switching out in their turn after you pick your next Pokémon, when they could easily switch to something that could easily kill Natu. A better strategy could be to switch to a bulkier Pokémon to absorb whatever blow your opponent may dish out, then switch to Natu during your next turn, and using Lysandre to bring out the Pokémon that had 40 HP or less back into the active slot, then take it out. Then, even if Natu gets killed in the next turn, you’ll still come out ahead. Thus, he can be a great anti-meta card. Do I even need to tell you what could happen if you used him against something like Yveltal EX or Mewtwo EX?

Standard: 2.5/5 (Situational, but if played right, you’ll still end up ahead most times. He’s still reliant on the opposing Pokémon being close to dead though, and Lysandres also will be of great importance to him)

Expanded: 2.5/5

Limited: 3/5 (Alpha Plus = god tier in four prize battles, but he’s still very frail…)


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