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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

 Sceptile #9

- Primal Clash

Date Reviewed:
March 4, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.75
Expanded: 2.75
Limited: 4.00

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

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

As for this Sceptile, he's pretty good. In a manner of speaking. His first attack is Leaf Blade - you know, like the two he's got on his arms? - which for 1 Energy does 30 damage. Not bad, and not too bad for flipping to double it. If you're lucky, he'll 3HKO something, but nothing ever survives long enough to deliver three hits...except Seismitoad-EX, but that's cause he stun-locks a LOT of things. So he's alright then.
 
Power Poison's much heftier though, and the damage output makes me think that the designers figured if you were going to just play down Energy turn after turn after you've fully leveled up, this would work. I'm talking about that 3-for-120 damage output, which coupled with a couple of unsuccessful Leaf Blades at 30 a piece would be 30+30+120 = 180! Enough to KO Pokemon-EX! You know what they'll do faster? Hit 140.
 
Alright, but that's not the only thing Sceptile's got going for it with Power Poison. You'll have to discard an Energy attached to Sceptile, but the opposing Pokemon gets Poisoned instantly! Combined with Virbank, this attack effectively deals 150 damage on its own! Add in Muscle Band, and you've just about KO'd most Pokemon-EX! Not too bad, eh?
 
Well, no, but not good enough. Omega Barrier will at least help protect Sceptile from things like HTL, but otherwise he's not gonna be doing too much. He's certainly a better attacker than the Sceptile from yesterday, but the other's much better at support than this one. So really it's a matter of taste at that point.
 
But then again, leafy lizards let loose leathery taste. HEY-OOOOO!!
 
No? No? Okay...
 
Rating
 
Standard: 2.5/5 (he's a good attacker, but that's about it)
 
Expanded: 2.5/5 (about the same here)
 
Limited: 3.5/5 (he doesn't have the survivability offered by the other Sceptile, but he can deal quite a hefty chunk of damage)
 
Arora Notealus: Looks like he's reflecting off some kind of attack off the card there, what with the shiny barrier thingie. Or maybe that's the Omega Barrier in action? Maybe...have to take a look at some of the other cards with these Ancient Traits. THEY'RE SO COOL
 
Next Time: Enough about lizards, time for a dance party!


Otaku

We hit the middle of our XY: Primal Clash Grass Week.  If you are just joining us, there are 19 different Grass-Type Pokémon in this set and I convinced the others to let me pick the five that either seemed to have the most potential and/or were the most interesting, so if this week ends up being disappointing, its all on me.  Eep.  Since the whole week covers Grass-Types, there will be a lot of overlap.  For example, as these are all Grass-Types, that feature is equally good or bad for all of them (at least before other aspects of the card and combos factor in).  The Grass-Type has support, both of direct (specifically boosts Grass-Types) and indirect (helps Grass-Types but is not restricted to just helping Grass-Types).  Some of this support is tried and true like Virizion-EX, an example of indirect support because its Ability benefits any Type of card so long as it has a source of [G] Energy attached (which can be provided by things like Rainbow Energy) or that has either [G] or [C] Energy requirements, or direct support like Herbal Energy, which can only be attached to Grass-Types but provides 30 points of healing when attached and [G] Energy while attached (and isn’t viewed as being all that good).  Nothing currently legal has Grass Resistance, and the Weakness seems to be on the rise again, with Seismitoad-EX being the most famous example. 

Today we look at Sceptile (XY: Primal Clash 9/160), which means even more overlap as yesterday we looked at Sceptile (XY: Primal Clash 8/160).  This version is the Full Art, or whatever term is being used for them as I know they aren’t quite the same as the traditional style of Full Art still seen in this set; the art doesn’t extend all the way to the border, plus the pictures shift to mono-color (well, multiple shades of one color) about three-quarters of the way down the card, though if you look, you’ll still see design elements, such as the blades of grass and a log on today’s card’s art.  So what does today’s Sceptile offer? Since I already covered the Type we’ll cover the obvious downside: it is of course a Stage 2, just like all other Sceptile.  You’ll need to invest three cards to get it into play, you’ll need to take time to Evolve at least once (twice if you don’t use Rare Candy) and whether you use Rare Candy or not, Item lock (like from Quaking Punch on Seismitoad-EX) is going to be a problem - Evolutions are practically dependent upon search cards to get all the pieces at the right time(s).  Moving onto HP, Sceptile sports 140 (10 more than yesterday’s version).  This is enough to be more likely to survive a hit than be OHKOed, but not by a large margin (better than the odds for having 110 to 130 HP, though).  There is also the usual issue with HP and Weakness; as this is an even number, when it comes to Weakness there is no difference between having 130 or 140 HP. 

As stated multiple times already this Weak, Fire Weakness isn’t “good” but its definitely not the worst; Fire-Types tend to be about big hits so the main risk is that they can get by with a “lesser” attack (either a weaker attack than normal or skipping buffs) to score the OHKO, as opposed to enabling OHKOs that had no chance of happening otherwise.  140 is even nicely positioned so that (as an example) Charizard-EX (XY: Flashfire 12/106) already would have scored a OHKO with its Combustion Blast (which does 150), but for it to score a OHKO with its less expensive Wing Attack (does 60 before Weakness) will require a buff.  No Resistance is typical so I won’t dock it points for that and the Retreat Cost of [CC] is also pretty standard; expensive enough you don’t want to pay but low enough you often (both having that much Energy attached and being able to recover from the discard).  Plus it is likely most decks will be packing a few switching cards or effects that cancel out Retreat Costs or even a combination of the two. 

So we get to the first major difference from yesterday; this card has an Ancient Trait, specifically Ω Barrier, which keeps your opponent’s Trainers (other than Pokémon Tools and Stadiums) from affecting Sceptile.  Sometimes it can be “indirectly” affects; if Sceptile is Active, an opponent’s Escape Rope has no effect on it, but if it is on the Bench, as Escape Rope is considered to affect the Active Pokémon, Sceptile will have to be promoted (unless you have another Pokémon on your Bench you’d rather promote instead).  Lysandre won’t do anything to a Benched Sceptile though while common annoyance cards like Crushing Hammer, Enhanced Hammer and Hypnotoxic Laser won’t work whether Sceptile is Active or on the Bench (not that Hypnotoxic Laser can hit the Bench anyway).  All in all, this is a solid Ancient Trait though its less impressive than say Ω Barrage.  Sceptile also has two attacks.  For [G] it can use Leaf Blade for 30 damage, with a coin flip for an additional 30 damage (so total 60 damage on “heads”).  This is a pretty good attack; it isn’t reason enough to use the card but on “tails” its just mediocre (I am using that word a lot this week) while on “heads” its a great return.  With a Silver Bangle, this would threaten a Grass Weak 180 HP Pokémon-EX (like Seismitoad-EX) with a OHKO, and regular 180 HP Pokémon-EX with a 2HKO, provided you can get “heads” both times.  Again for a “filler” attack this is good.  So what about the “big” attack? 

For [GGC] Sceptile can use Power Poison, hitting for 120 damage plus Poison, but requiring you discard an Energy attached to Sceptile.  The wording does not indicate the discard and Poisoning are optional.  With a Silver Bangle and Virbank City Gym, this would threaten up to a 180 HP Pokémon with a OHKO; against Grass Weak attackers this OHKOs anything without some form of protection.  Yeah, even Wailord-EX would be finished off by the Poison between turns, having taken 240 damage from the attack.  Needing two of the three Energy be [G] keeps it from taking advantage of easier Energy acceleration like Double Colorless Energy.  Again we can’t get away from yesterday’s version, which does off Energy acceleration albeit it merely one [G] Energy (currently restricted to just basic Grass Energy) from hand per turn, though with the bonus of 30 points of healing.  That coupled with a solid single Energy attack may be just enough to make this duo work as a deck.  Before going more in depth on that, let’s get the lower Stages out of the way. 

I say “out of the way” because it is even more redundant than usual.  For those that didn’t read yesterday’s review and for some reason won’t or can’t, the short version is that none of the Treecko or Grovyle are all that great; they are just stepping stones to get to Sceptile, as opposed to contributing something themselves (which could really help in balancing “big” Basics versus Evolutions).  No versions are especially great but if you really need help deciding, I think I’d favor the older versions of Treecko and Grovyle (BW: Plasma Freeze 6/116 and BW: Plasma Freeze 7/116, respectively) because they enjoy Water Resistance, which might improve their odds of survival.  Yesterday I also explained that their set-mate, Sceptile (BW: Plasma Freeze 8/116) isn’t worth running because its basically got a worse version of today’s card, requiring more Energy for the first attack just to do +40 on the flip instead of +30 and with some hard-to-use and hardly-worth-it healing instead of Poison plus hitting for 40 less damage on the second.  Sceptile (XY: Primal Clash 9/160) on the other hand is a must run with this card; you really need at least one on the Bench to speed things up, with two being preferred. 

In fact, you’ll probably want to run a 3-1 split with today’s version as just an emergency attacker, if that.  Energy acceleration is going to be more valuable.  Even running today’s version alongside yesterday’s to help with Pyroar (BW: Flashfire 20/106) doesn’t seem like its niche; you’ll also need Weakness Policy though with your Weakness protected (and hoping your opponent can’t just discard said Tool), Sceptile should easily cleave through two Pyroar.  At the same time, I am hesitant to tell you not to give this card a try.  Why?  Well if you are already taking the risk with the other Sceptile, then you may find yourself struggling to find good, Grass-Type attackers that really merit such a deck… at least in the current format.  Keep in mind I hope to try such things with yesterday’s (and possibly today’s) when I can get both the time and the cards, but I’d have scored yesterday’s Sceptile much higher if I knew I had a good deck waiting for it and not just high hopes.  Genesect-EX could work but it seems unlikely that this would be a better fit for it than VirGen.  Heracross-EX/M Heracross-EX still suffers due to lack of a Spirit Link.  Tropius (BW: Plasma Blast 5/101) should actually work well, but it isn’t a good “main” attacker.  Trevenant-EX fits except its not likely to do a better job than Genesect-EX, unless the deck lacks room for any additional support for the latter. 

On the other hand, some of the non-Grass-Type Pokémon might just be a solid fit.  Mewtwo-EX seems to work in anything; you won’t often be able to dump enough Energy on it for the OHKO, powering it up while healing a bit could work… and with off-Type attacker such as this, that niche for “Grass-Type heavy hitter” once again might open up.  There is of course the slight chance that simply using Virizion-EX for some earlier acceleration (as one does in VirGen) might allow this Sceptile to function apart from the other (though I’d still be tempted to TecH in a copy of yesterday’s even then), but that definitely strikes me as more of a “for fun” idea, creating a knock-off of VirGen that attacks with a Stage 2. 

Ratings 

Standard: 3/5 

Expanded: 3/5 

Limited: 4.5/5 

Summary: It might be surprising that I scored this Sceptile identically to yesterday’s, even though I think the former has a better chance of seeing competitive play.  It might simply be that right now I really, really want to KO Seismitoad-EX.  A lot.  As far as Stage 2 Pokémon meant for attacking go, this one really does come at least close to being something to really consider.  Again, try to get a few (though a full playset is overkill) so long as the price is right.  You should at least get a good “fun” deck out of it, unless everyone else runs Fire decks for run.


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