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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Ninjask

- Roaring Skies

Date Reviewed:
June 4, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.33
Expanded: 2.57
Limited: 3.23

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

Back to the main COTD Page

Baby Mario
2010 UK National
Seniors
Champion

Ninjask (Roaring Skies) 

One of the stated reasons for the ban on Lysandre’s Trump Card is that it eliminated the win condition of running your opponent out of cards. There have not been many decks built around this goal in the history of the TCG: Fossil Moltres, some Flygon LV X variants, Rhyperior DP, and Durant NVI (by far the most successful) are the only ones I can think of. 

Ninjask arrives with hopes of joining that list, thanks to his Wing Buzz Ability, which allows you to discard a card from your hand in order to discard one from your opponent’s deck. By taking advantage of Ninjask’s free retreat and Switch/Escape Rope, it may be possible to use this 2-4 times per turn. Sure, Ninjask isn’t going to stay on the Field very long with his meagre 70 HP, but the good news is that his attack, Afterimage Assault, allows you to Bench replacement Ninjask directly from your deck without having to evolve them. 

There are a number of cards in the format that work very well with Ninjask too. Wally can get him up and running on the first turn; Sacred Ash can be used to recycle KO’d Ninjask; Trick Shovel can help you discard something crucial from your opponent’s deck; Hammers can delay your opponent’s attacks; and Teammates is a great card when you can use it pretty much every turn too. Does all this mean that Ninjask has a chance of being the new Durant? I have serious doubts about that: he is even more frail than the old Basic (no Special Metal) and you need a lot more to keep the deck milling at a rate which will deliver the victory. 

Nevertheless, if you enjoyed playing Durant and want to try a deck which attempts to exploit a rarely-used win condition, then Ninjask could be the Pokémon for you. Against a complacent opponent and with the right build, the Ninja Pokémon might surprise people. Against an opponent who can plot a strategy for the match up, it will be a lot less effective. Still, it’s an interesting card with good synergy and that’s enough for me to give Ninjask a half-decent score.

Rating 

Modified: 3

Expanded: 3

Limited: 3.5


Otaku

I am so glad I didn’t schedule today’s card for Monday.  Why?  Probably obvious if you’ve read the card but if not, read on! 

Ninjask (XY: Roaring Skies 10/108) is a Grass-Type.  This is still a good Type for exploiting Weakness with popular cards like Primal Groudon-EX and Seismitoad-EX taking double damage from its attacks.  In terms of support, it’s a bit weak right now as while said support exists, it either never saw much success or is indirect and can work with non-Grass-Types.  It looks like XY: Ancient Origins could change that, but that will be then and this is now.  Resistance is easy; I am aware of nothing in the Standard or Expanded card pools that sports Grass Resistance.  There are some anti-Grass cards but they haven’t seen a lot of success, at least as an anti-Grass card: as an example there is M Rayquaza-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 61/108) and its Δ Wild Ancient Trait that reduces the damage done from attacks by Grass-Types by the same 20 that Resistance normally would (said Ancient Trait also does the same to Fire-, Lightning- and Water-Types). 

Ninjask is a Stage 1 Pokémon; while I’ve felt like the game has been on “fast forward” for a while now, the pacing doesn’t make it impossible to run a Stage 1 as a major part of your deck, but it would be quite optimistic to consider the Stage 1 as the happy medium instead of “slower but plausible.”  Ninjask has a very low 70 HP; this hurts as not only is it a OHKO for nearly every competitive deck that has completed its set-up, but even partial set-ups are quite a threat.  Fire Weakness is typical and while it isn’t good, it isn’t as bad as multiple other Types; the lack of Resistance is also typical, so while it is the worst a card can do it is more “missed opportunity” than “defect”.  The absence of a Retreat Card is the opposite, the best a card can do and a very useful feature for cards in general with something making it even better for this card. 

That something is the card’s Ability: Wing Buzz can only be used while Ninjask is Active and it is once per turn per copy, so if you Bench it and promote another that Ninjask can also use Wing Buzz.  Wing Buzz allows you to discard a card from your hand in order to discard a card from the top of your opponent’s deck.  This can vary from something that can win you the game by forcing your opponent to deck out to something that cripples your opponent by discarding vital cards to something that just annoys your opponent by chipping away his or her resources to accidentally helping your opponent by sending something to the discard pile that benefits your opponent or getting something off of the top of his or her deck that they didn’t want to draw.  The attack is called Afterimage Assault and requires [GC], hitting for 30 while allowing you to search your deck for two Ninjask and put them directly onto your Bench.  While it isn’t much for damage at least it is some and obviously the big deal is swarming your Ninjask while also skipping having to Evolve (at least for the ones searched out).  While your active Ninjask is almost guaranteed to fall, you’ll have two replacements ready.  With the free Retreat Cost and Ability, this provides combos for additional milling. 

Unless you’re putting it into play via Afterimage Assault (and you can’t do that with your first Ninjask) then you’ll need to run a Nincada; you have one Expanded only option in the form of BW: Dragons Exalted 10/124 in addition to XY: Roaring Skies 9/108.  Both are 40 HP Basic Grass-Types with Fire Weakness, no Resistance, Retreat Cost [C], no Abilities, no Ancient Traits and a single attack.  BW: Dragons Exalted 10/124 can use Dig for [C], hitting for 10 damage and (on “heads”) preventing all effects of attacks done to itself including damage.  For the same price XY: Roaring Skies 9/108 hits for 20 damage while doing 10 to itself.  You don’t have a choice in Standard but in Expanded I’d favor BW: Dragons Exalted 10/124 as it might save itself and thus allow you to Evolve it… unless you’re taking advantage of the branching Evolution (more on that in a bit).  There is one other Ninjask in Expanded, BW: Dragons Exalted 11/124.  It has 10 less HP than today’s card, one more in the Retreat Cost and a different Ability and attack.  The Ability is Cast-off Shell; when you Evolve one of your in play Pokémon into (this) Ninjask you can search your deck for a Shedinja and put it onto your Bench.  Its attack is Night Slash for [GC] which does 60 and allows you to switch Ninjask with one of your Benched Pokémon.  This card was reviewed when it was new (but apparently during a week I sat things out); you can read it here but the article isn’t just from a past card pool but rules iteration.  Later on it saw some play but was never quite competitive.

So what about Shedinja: we have BW: Dragons Exalted 48/124 and XY: Roaring Skies 11/108.  Both are Stage 1 Pokémon with 30 HP, no Resistance and no Ancient Trait.  BW: Dragons Exalted 48/124 is a Psychic-Type with no Weakness or Retreat Cost (yay!), the Ability “Empty Shell” which means it isn’t worth any Prize cards when KOed and the attack “Cursed Drop” which requires [P] and allows you to place three damage counters on your opponent’s Pokémon as you wish (so they don’t all have to be placed on the same target).  XY: Roaring Skies 11/108 is a Grass-Type with Fire Weakness and a Retreat Cost of [C] and two attacks: for [G] it can use “Cursed Rain” to place a damage counter on each of your opponent’s Pokémon and then must switch with something on your Bench.  For [C] it can use Hopless Scream to do 50 damage for each damage counter on itself.  This card has potential, and we’ll be discussing it tomorrow.  I can’t say I’d recommend the other Ninjask or older Shedinja for use with today’s card, but the version we’ll discuss more tomorrow might work as TecH (since to run Ninjask you’d already have everything else you needed for the card).  So… what do you do with today’s Ninjask? 

Once Lysandre’s Trump Card is banned (June 15 everywhere but Japan, June 20th there) you try to build a mill deck!  If you can work in Exeggcute (BW: Plasma Freeze 4/116; BW: Plasma Blast 102/101) you can keep spamming it for the discard cost to trigger Wing Buzz.  So the question is… how much of the focus should be on using Wing Buzz?  While you could have up to four Ninjask in play, without a switching effect you’ll only be able to use two (whatever one is up front at the beginning of your turn, then the one you manually retreat into).  You might turn to Vanilluxe (BW: Next Destinies 33/99), as it has an Ability (Slippery Soles) that amounts to an Escape Rope each turn (and stacks if you have more than one).  With two of the Vanilluxe you could manually retreat once and then use Slippery Soles twice to get off four uses of Wing Buzz, but your Ninjask aren’t going to last too long that way.  Perhaps one should just try for three of them plus something else you can throw up front to wall with, either something disposable like Robo Substitute - I don’t recommend Shedinja (BW: Dragons Exalted 48/124) because of the resources it eats up - or something that is just so hard to KO it can soak hits like Wailord-EX or a Safeguard Pokémon.

The other option is to find an attacker that also discards (even if it is likely to be OHKOed) and just keep milling.  With a Bunnelby (XY: Primal Clash 121/160), a Vanilluxe or two and the rest as Ninjask you could try to keep milling for five per turn.  Not much but if your opponent can’t KO anything other than Bunnelby, it is a Basic that is easy to get back and is only worth a Prize.  Five doesn’t seem like much but you can discard a few more with Trick Shovel and when a player takes his first draw of the game, his deck is already down to 46: 60 card deck - (6 Prizes + 7 card opening hand + 1 card opening draw).  If your opponent doesn’t include cards to replenish his or her deck, he/she will always burn at least one card per turn on the opening draw making your discard amount an effective six cards or about 8 turns worth, with Trick Shovel and your opponent’s own draw efforts making it pretty uncertain; maybe you can pull off the win maybe you can’t. 

Sounds like it is at least a fun deck for Standard but you might consider other partners for Expanded, such as Aggron (BW: Dragons Exalted 80/104) and its Toppling Wind Ability, but that triggers when it Evolves and Ninjask does gain Level Ball here.  For Limited play I like it; decks are only 40 cards so while your opponent needs to take less Prizes and won’t be ripping through the deck like an opponent in the other formats, you’ll probably have plenty of filler to spare while your opponent has to worry some key card they probably can’t recycle is going to get hit. 

Ratings 

Standard: 3/5 

Expanded: 3/5 

Limited: 4.7/5 

Summary: Ninjask could be the face of a new mill deck, but it is going to be a tight race.  I am scoring it on the high side because I think the format is still very fast paced and so a lot of players even after Lysandre’s Trump Card is gone will be still be ripping through their decks, creating an opening for this card and a deck build around it.  It also might wind up as a creative Bench-sitter in a few builds, not in multiples but as a single.


Emma Starr

                Today, we have the Ninja-bug himself, Ninjask. With 70 HP, free retreat, and a weakness to fire, he’s about as average as they get. Being a Stage 1 with 70 HP though…is pretty awful, let’s admit it. Hopefully he can fulfill himself in another way?

                His ability, Wing Buzz, let’s you discard a card from your hand, to discard the top card of your opponent’s deck. However, Ninjask has to be active to do this, which has to be the biggest fault it has yet. It COULD have been a decent little thing you could activate on the side, but do you really want a 70 HP Pokémon with an attack that only does 30 damage to be your active Pokémon at ANY point? Especially with a lot of people running Vs. Seeker nowadays, it probably won’t hurt your opponent in any major way.  But hey, what if you really like this card anyway, despite all of his flaws? Well, use his attack!

                Afterimage Assault does 2-for-30, despite sounding really cool. Its effect (it’s going to need a REALLY good one to outset that damage output) lets you search for ANOTHER Ninjask, and put it into your hand. Considering each Ninjask has to be ACTIVE to activate the ability sure dosen’t help anything, so really, you just summoned a bunch of bench-warmers. At least in Expanded, you could use this to search your deck for the more decent Ninjask (DEX 11), which has a 2-for-60 attack, and lets you switch to a benched Pokémon. But even then, there are better cards out there you could use.

                Standard: 1/5

                Expanded: 1.7/5

                Limited: 1.5/5 (smaller decks = more of a chance this could be useful…maybe)


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