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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

 Wailord EX

- Primal Clash

Date Reviewed:
March 17, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.13
Expanded: 2.17
Limited: 4.13

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

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

Wailord. So majestic. So powerful. So...whale! Welcome back, today we take a look at another interesting Pokemon EX choice in Wailord-EX! And with a guy like this, the end result is...well...something. 

Of note and what will probably attract people to Wailord-EX in the first place is that 250 HP BASE that he rests on, laughing at other Pokemon that dream of hitting that high of a number. Most Basic Pokemon tend to cap out around 130 HP, most Pokemon-EX around 180, and a large number of M Pokemon-EX around 230-240, so Wailord-EX having 250 HP shows how high the cap has gone. But having a big number is not the only thing a Pokemon should have! 

That's where Wailord-EX has a pair of...interesting features. His Ability Water Veil cures him of all Status Conditions whenever you put an Energy on him from your hand, which could be useful against things like HTL but that's about the extent of it. Then there's High Breaching, which costs a criminally high 5 energy and deals 120 damage. Oh, and it puts Wailord-EX to Sleep. 

See the idea here? You're meant to cure High Breaching's negative Sleep effect with Water Veil's Status-healer to be an effective attacker each turn. The damage output - however appropriate for a Wailord it may be - is just far too low. Remember the last time we saw Pokemon with attacks that cost 5 Energy? You had Gyarados (LTR) which does 120 damage without putting him to Sleep, and then you've got Charizard (BCR) that dealt 150 damage and discarded a Fire Energy. And then you've got both M Charizard-EX from Flashfire, which have huge negatives (one discards the top 5 cards of your deck while the other hits itself with 50 damage recoil) but dealt 300 DAMAGE!! 

Limited is pretty much the only format I think you could get away with Wailord-EX, cause competitively speaking none of those Pokemon I just named are viable - not even the "I kill anything no matter what" M Charizard-EX's see play outside of casual - and I don't think I want to commit Energy to something that's already hugely expensive and demanding for more Energy just to cure itself of its own Sleep. 

Wake up, Wailord, we've got better things to do as Pokemon EX. 

Rating 

Standard: 1/5 (way too expensive and way too impractical) 

Expanded: 1/5 (could debatably be one of the worst Pokemon EX - if not THE worst - ever) 

Limited: 4/5 (alright, rating it so high here may seem like a godsend for it, BUT giving its high HP stat, the access to healing from Rough Seas and Fresh Water Set, and the fact that you'd probably only run this in a deck with lots of Water Energy anyway, not to mention the constant 120 strike it'll deal, I'd say he holds his own here fairly well. Just prepare for a slow start) 

Arora Notealus: Did you know Wailord's the largest Pokemon in existence? According to your Pokedex, Wailord's "height" - or more accurately the length between the front of him to the tip of his tail - is about 47 feet, 7 inches, or 14.5 meters! That's about all the way out to the 15-yard mark on a football field - that's right, Wailord is almost 1/5th the length of a FOOTBALL FIELD!! Course, he's not the heaviest cause most of that bulk is fat and air as opposed to rocks or metal. 

Next Time: That moment when you land the big one and an earthquake suddenly hits...


Otaku

Happy St. Patrick’s Day readers; our CotD has nothing to do with the holiday!  Instead we have entry #2 of Water Week: Wailord-EX (XY: Primal Clash 38/160, 147/160).  So as you’re going to see me say (write?) a lot this week, being a Water-Type is at worst average, and might be fairly good.  The Type didn’t get its own Energy card (yet?) but it did get some more direct support (Archie’s Ace in the Hole, Rough Seas and Dive Ball) and already enjoys some solid indirect support in the form of some strong Basics like Keldeo-EX, Suicune and Seismitoad-EX (to stick to the more generic options).  Archie’s Ace in the Hole even has some of the less generic options seeing renewed (and successful) usage, like Empoleon (BW: Dark Explorers 29/10; BW: Plasma Freeze 117/116).  In terms of exploiting Weakness, a decent chunk of Fighting-Types (namely those that correspond to the video game Rock-Type) and almost all Fire-Types sport Water Weakness, though of those the only big name that springs readily to mind is Landorus-EX.  Water-Types have to worry about Resistance, though only on the “older” cards, which in Expanded and Standard means those that date back to the BW-era releases; I haven’t noticed anything in the XY-sets that had Water Resistance.  There are a few “anti” Water cards though like Hariyama (XY: Furious Fists 52/111), who has an Ability that reduces the damage it takes from Water-Types (and Fire-Types, but that isn’t relevant to today’s review) by 30 damage.  Fortunately for Water-Types, such counter cards haven’t proven worthwhile. 

Wailord-EX is a bit, Basic Pokémon and it loves it.  This is still more or less a format of big, Basic Pokémon; things aren’t so bad that Evolutions see no serious play, but even adjusting for how the gap between the best cards (which can be subdivided if we want to get… obsessive) and the rest (which includes some good but not great cards) is wide and deep for all Stages, it hits Evolutions (especially Stage 2 Pokémon) really hard.  Being a Basic underscores that for this card, there actually is an immediate advantage to it being a Pokémon-EX as normally Wailord are Stage 1 cards.  This comes with the drawbacks of being worth an extra Prize when KOed, being targeted by certain anti-Pokémon-EX cards and (though only rarely relevant) being unable to tap certain pieces of support as they exclude Pokémon-EX.  Of the other potential rewards of being a Pokémon-EX, the other one Wailord-EX manages to clearly cash-in on is having abnormally high HP.  In fact as the only other Wailord card legal in Expanded play (this is currently it for Standard), Wailord (BW: Dragons Exalted 26/124) holds the record for non-Pokémon-EX with the highest printed HP of 200; Wailord-EX now holds the same record for Pokémon-EX with a massive 250 HP, beating out even Mega Evolutions.  This is a simple but great advantage, and while I often lament power creep one of the few areas that (at least currently) I am convinced we need it is in HP scores; the TCG lacks the design wiggle room of the video games in so many areas and subtle variations on damage and HP are already lost due to HP scores needing to remain multiples of 10, so even though it can make tracking damage a bit awkward I still think it is better to get HP scores closer in range to the video games. 

So with this much HP, Wailord-EX is incredibly hard to OHKO, though it is still possible for certain decks.  Scalable attacks will have to commit vast amounts of resources; in Expanded a Rayquaza-EX (assuming no buffs as it usually doesn’t run them) will need to be able to discard five Energy (four just barely misses the OHKO).  Massive damaging attacks like the one on either M Charizard-EX still go into overkill range with their base 300 damage.  Pseudo-OHKOs vary in how the HP affects them; the tactic of a Landorus-EX backed Crobat (XY: Phantom Forces 33/119) deck can still work but only because of how many options it has, and even then you’ll need multiple instances of Crobat and/or Golbat (XY: Phantom Forces 32/119) placing damage via their Abilities, Muscle Band, Strong Energy, Fighting Stadium and the discard clause on Land’s Judgment to boost its damage.  On the other hand the effective OHKO Gourgeist (XY 57/146) can pull off with its Spirit Scream attack and a Hypnotoxic Laser wouldn’t care if you slapped a Plasma Badge onto Wailord-EX and backed it up with four Umbreon (BW: Plasma Freeze 64/116).  As always Weakness creates a dramatic difference; the only major Grass-Type deck is still VirGen (though there are a few other Grass-Type attackers that kind-of fit into other decks) and while Virizion-EX can’t hope to score the OHKO, thanks to Weakness a G Booster equipped Genesect-EX can indeed deliver.  If the deck bothers with some lesser (but usually easier to play) buffs, a OHKO or effective OHKO is pretty reasonable.  If you really wanted this card to feel sort-of festive, the Grass Weakness also matches the token amount of green some people will add to their outfit. ;) 

No Resistance is the norm but it really is a missed opportunity here.  Granted having one of the appropriate options might have created balance issues; based on the video games the only options would have been Fire Resistance (nothing currently legal has it), Metal Resistance or Water Resistance (in the video games Wailord take half damage from both Water- and Ice-Type attacks).  Resistance would have bumped up the damage required for a OHKO to to 270, for a 2HKO to a combined 290.  Speaking of 2HKO, as is it is hard for many non-Grass-Types to score even a 2HKO against Wailord-EX; it is so big I’ve basically been talking about how massive it is through discussing the Weakness and non-existent Resistance, and had to put the Resistance and Retreat Cost in their own paragraph!  The Retreat Cost itself also massive, though not record setting as it is [CCCC]; this is terrible to have to pay but fortunately most decks will have something to zero out the cost or bypass manually retreating this Pokémon altogether, and for a while now such tricks have pretty much been standard in decks so it isn’t like you’re even out “extra” space in doing so.  It is still a drawback, but not as great as it could have been and in Expanded it even has the slight benefit-within-a-drawback of being a legal Heavy Ball target. 

So what does Wailord-EX actually do?  It has an Ability and an attack.  The former is Water Veil; it triggers when you attach an Energy to Wailord-EX and removes any Special Conditions that are on it.  This certainly isn’t a powerhouse Ability like on most Pokémon-EX that have an Ability, but it is useful; Special Conditions are usually an issue for larger Pokémon.  At the same time, it isn’t the same as being totally immune; one of the reasons I mentioned the Spirit Scream and Poison combo earlier is that by the time you could get rid of the Poison with Water Veil, Wailord-EX will already have been KOed.  This shouldn’t be mistaken for the kind of protection one can get with Virizion-EX and a source of [G] Energy or that Metal-Types enjoy while Steel Shelter is in play, though neither of those are foolproof either.  For attacks Wailord-EX has just one; High Breaching with a massive five Energy cost, specifically [WWWWW].  This is challenging to meet though something like Blastoise (BW: Boundaries Crossed 31/149; BW: Plasma Storm 137/135; BW: Plasma Blast 16/101) and its Deluge can meet it easily.  For that cost you… just hit for 120 damage plus Wailord-EX puts itself to Sleep, not the opponent’s Active.  This is an intentionally nerfed attack; without the effect and for one less Energy it would still be overpriced.  It doesn’t seem unworkable however; it still hits hard enough to 2HKO anything lacking protection, other than itself and it has the HP that it should survive long enough to get the 2HKO.  If you absolutely have to (and Abilities aren’t down) you can attach an extra Energy should the Sleep caused by High Breaching manage to stick around. 

I am not sure if you should bother attacking at all with this card; instead it might be meant as a “meat shield”, a Pokémon to throw up front confident that it will be almost impossible to OHKO, especially for the typical deck.  Plus the decks where such a strategy may prove viable are apt to run a few other blockers for those situations where yes, even Wailord-EX is at risk of being OHKOed, such as against Night March decks.  If you do want to try and use it as an attacker, you might consider Aurorus (XY: Furious Fists 26/111), either instead of our alongside Blastoise.  Space will be tight but while Aurorus is in play and its Ability working, as long as Wailord-EX has even a single source of [W] attached it will soak 20 damage, and the effect stacks with each Aurorus in play.  It would be very difficult to get going, especially in a timely manner, but 250 HP that soaks 80 damage is really hard to OHKO by doing straight damage.  Super Potion might also make sense; while it seems counterintuitive especially if you are trying this without Blastoise, at 250 HP healing even 60 can slow your opponent down quite a bit.  Max Potion makes sense for builds where Wailord-EX isn’t even trying to attack; it forces the opponent to score a OHKO to make any real progress.  Max Potion is probably an option with Blastoise but as you will need to cough up another five Water Energy to attack that could have remained attached otherwise, I’m not sure if it would be worth it.  If you don’t mind the flip Super Scoop Up still flushes away the damage but also puts the Energy back in hand, or you might use AZ if you can afford to give up a Supporter. 

In the end though, these aren’t major uses for this card in Standard or Expanded.  In Limited this is likely a great pull.  You can build a +39 deck around this, but the massive four Energy attack cost keeps you from coming out too far ahead; even if you go first and never miss an attachment you’ll give your opponent three turns before you can attack once.  That is enough not only for something small to savage Wailord-EX to bring it down to a KO-able level, but to even build something up front if the cards go your opponent’s way.  The set also has quite a few Grass-Types.  The set also has some healing and Water-Type support, so if you get that as well Wailord-EX is probably good unless it crashes into something like Primal Kyogre-EX.  It isn’t so good in a “real” deck unless you can afford most (preferably all) of your Energy be basic Water Energy; good thing the set has so many Water-Types. 

Ratings 

Standard: 3.25/5 

Expanded: 3.35/5 

Limited: 4.25/5 

Summary: Wailord-EX only really has its HP going for it, but fortunately that could actually be enough to see some use, though mostly as something you throw up front to soak hits and not as an attacker in and of itself. 


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