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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

 Absol

- Roaring Skies

Date Reviewed:
May 29, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.63
Expanded: 2.88
Limited: 3.75

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

Absol (Roaring Skies) 

This card provides a few moments of nostalgia for long-time players, as it closely resembles the old Absol ex from Power Keepers: a card that was part of a Worlds-winning deck in 2007, no less. I have serious doubts as to whether the current card will match that feat, but what they do have in common is Cursed Eyes, an Ability (FKA Poké-Power), which allows you to move three damage counters from one of your opponent’s Pokémon to another. 

Yes, I know we have Sinister Hand Dusknoir from BCR to do that kind of thing all day, but Dusknoir is a clunky old Stage 2 that takes up a ton of deck space. Absol is just a Basic and it he is still capable of pulling off some neat damage calculation tricks by moving off ‘spare’ damage in a two-hit KO situation or manipulating the counters on a Poisoned Pokémon so that it is KO’d coming into your turn. 

Deck space is super tight these days (isn’t it always?) and Absol is by no means an automatic inclusion in every deck: OHKO monsters like M Rayquaza and P Groudon have no need for such toys. However, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see one or two players trying out a single copy: if played with care, it could just swing a game in the right circumstances. 

Rating 

Modified: 3

Expanded: 2.75

Limited: 3


aroramage

Poor Absol here has gotten a bad wrap for being the Disaster Pokemon. Just cause every time you show up something bad happens doesn't mean you should get treated as an omen of bad things to come. I mean come on! Okay, so you're Dark-type on top of that...and you've got a scythe-like horn on your head...and you Mega Evolve into an angelic Pokemon-COME ON, WHERE'S MY DARK/FAIRY TYPING?! 

In any case, Absol just has a couple of pieces to look over, one much MUCH better objectively than the other. Yeah, Mach Claw is "okay" if you have 2 Energy to spare towards an attack that does only 30 damage. But hey, at least it's not affected by resistance, so Absol can actually hit Fairies...except that there are much better Dark-types to use that'll do much more in the long run.

So Cursed Eyes is the big part of this Pokemon, and it's an interesting maneuver. When you put Absol down from your hand, you get to move around 3 damage counters from one of your opponent's Pokemon to another of their Pokemon. Immediately I think of adding on 30 damage to their Active Pokemon so that you can KO them more easily - 150 is easier to hit than 180 on a Pokemon-EX, just as an example. 

At least this makes Absol usable in a wide variety of decks. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised to see him getting run in Primal Kyogre and M Rayquaza-EX decks to simply snag that easy OHKO. The only trick with that is you need to already have some damage out on your opponent's Pokemon to move around, an easy task for Primal Kyogre-EX but not so much for M Rayquaza-EX. Unless you're planning on using that 150 damage as a buffer to then play several Absol down to set-up for the next few turns...which actually doesn't sound that unreasonable, considering Sky Field is a thing. 

Will Absol make it into these decks for Cursed Eyes? I don't see why not. Besides, it's not just set-ups - it's also potential KOs to get that 30 damage gap you're missing! 

Rating 

Standard: 2.5/5 (set him up with the right partner, and Cursed Eyes can set up so many victories) 

Expanded: 2.5/5 (I imagine Cursed Eyes gets a little better here, not to mention Dark support actually exists) 

Limited: 3.5/5 (moving damage around is awesome, and Mach Claw's...well, still terrible, but at least mildly less so) 

Arora Notealus: You know, it's funny, cause today we see the release of the Mega Absol Collection, meaning we just got Absol-EX and M Absol-EX as promos! I dunno about you guys, but Disaster Wing looks pretty good to me - mill a card and if it's a Trainer do double damage? Yes please! All he really needs is a Spirit Link card, and he's golden! 

Weekend Thought: Which one of these cards from this week do you think will be the most...memorable? Get it? Cause it was Memorial Day? And-yeah okay. But seriously, what're your thoughts on this week's set of cards?


Otaku

We close out our week an embarrassing update and a review.  Simply put, a few weeks ago I got behind schedule and stayed behind schedule, with several half-written or barely started CotDs just taunting me, telling me that I’d never finish them.  They are all posted now.  Yes, a month late (well, a few went up earlier than that).  So the bad news is I was horribly tardy, the good news is if you weren’t checking on your own, now you have five additional CotDs to tide you over for the weekend. 

Now for the actual review: Absol (XY: Roaring Skies 40/160)!  It is a Basic Pokémon, making it easy to fit into decks and get into play (trust me, this time it is going to be especially relevant).  It is a Darkness-Type; not too great at hitting Weakness (just certain Psychic-Types) and so for all Fairy-Types are Darkness Resistant, plus while it was I believe the first recent Type to receive Type support, that has been so long that most of the direct support has rotated out.  Still there are a few solid tricks like Shadow Circle in Standard, and Expanded still has the amazing Dark Patch.  Overall its a good, solid Type for Standard and a great Type for Expanded.  Its 100 HP won’t last too long; at this point its probably just as likely to be OHKOed as not, and the “not” comes from incomplete set-ups by the opponent or decks that sacrifice damage for other tricks (like Seismitoad-EX and Quaking Punch locking down Items).  Fighting Weakness is a pain and all but guarantees a Fighting deck (excluding those with crazy long prep times) will score a rapidfire OHKO: things like Landorus-EX and Lucario-EX only need a Strong Energy or a source of [F] Energy plus a Muscle Band for the Weakness to transform 50 damage into 100.  The Psychic Resistance is appreciated and can come in handy at least some of the time.  The Retreat Cost of [C] is good; easy to pay and to recover from paying, plus anything that reduces the Retreat Cost at all will result in a free retreat (such as with Skyarrow Bridge). 

Absol has an Ability and an attack.  The Ability is Cursed Eyes, and it triggers when you play Absol from your hand to your Bench, allowing you to move three damage counters from one of your opponent’s Pokémon to another.  This looks pretty spiffy as it can help you both avoid overkill while ideally setting something else up to be KOed a turn more quickly (including KOed by this effect if it is small enough).  This isn’t the first time we’ve seen an effect with this name: Absol ex (EX: Power Keepers 92/108) had this as its Poké-Power released a little over eight years ago: you can read our CotD for that one here.  As a reminder, Pokémon-ex were the predecessors of Pokémon-EX so if you’re wondering why over eight years that has been no power creep, Absol ex was worth two Prizes when KOed, couldn’t use certain support cards, etc.  I have to confess that while I was pretty sure this was the case I don’t actually remember how much this card was played.  Checking Bulbapedia, looks like Absol ex was included as a single copy in the 2007 Junior Division World Champion Jun Hasebe winning “Flyvees” deck.  And Tom Roos’ 2007 World Championship Masters Division winning Legendary Ascent deck, maxed out at four copies.  So yeah, it was a great card back then; makes me wish I’d scored it higher.  I do remember that it was the Poké-Power and not the attack that really made that card.  Speaking of attack...

Today’s Absol can use Mach Claw at a cost of [DC] for 30 damage that is unaffected by Resistance.  This isn’t a horrible attack but it's pretty much filler.  If you face a Fairy-Type deck running Klefki (XY: Furious Fists 73/111) it… still isn’t all that much damage, though at least it would take another Darkness-Type hitting with base damage of 70 to hit for as much under the same circumstances.  Not sure how much that Klefki gets played but without it, then it only takes 50 base damage to do the same effective 30 and for two Energy and the only attack on a card, 50 damage would be reasonable and much more useful in general.  As such I suspect this was an intentional, preemptive “nerf” to keep the card from being so good without giving it an even more blatant filler attack.  For the record, Absol ex had (has?) Psychic Pulse for the same Energy cost, also hitting for 30 but also hits each of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon that already has damage counters on it for 10 damage.  Both attacks are probably meant to form a mild combo with the Ability/Poké-Power, assuming multiple copies of the respective Pokémon are being played or you’ve got a way of reusing it (move three damage counters to ensure something is hit for the spread with Absol ex, make sure you can punch through Resistance and have three damage counters to move with today’s Absol). 

Proving how spotty my memory is today, I realized I had also forgot the other currently legal Absol: BW: Plasma Freeze 67/119!  Absol [Plasma] was first reviewed here as our eighth place pick for BW: Plasma Freeze.  The differences between it and today’s subject are that it is a Team Plasma affiliated Pokémon, has no Ability and has two attacks: Mind Jack requires [DC] and does 20 damage plus another 20 for each Pokémon on your opponent’s Bench (this has recently become more fun and effective again thanks to Sky Field) and Fearsome Shadow for [DCC] that hits for 60 damage and lets you see your opponent’s hand (which has never been used much and now seems even less worth it).  Absol [Plasma] has always been more of a “supporting attacker” kind of Pokémon; originally we were excited for it because the Darkness-Type decks of the time were already amazing but needed an attacker that could get around protective effects like Safeguard, Plasma Steel, and Bright Down which all stopped the then dominant Darkness-Type attacker Darkrai-EX (remember the time before Yveltal-EX?), though it was also used in other Team Plasma decks as most could afford the Energy cost.  The good news is that means these two actually play nice with each other; no super amazing combos, but Absol [Plasma] is unlikely to be maxed out so our new Absol can still fit in the deck… and do its “damage counter management” to avert overkill/set-up KOs, including for its Team Plasma counterpart. 

So how does one go about making use of Cursed Eyes?  Don’t have attackers that specialize in OHKOs or precision 2HKOs.  As long as you’ve got some damage to spare on one Pokémon and an open Bench slot, you can drop Absol make those three damage counters matter.  Decks that already run Super Scoop Up (or similar effects) will enjoy having the capacity to move several damage counters in a single turn or use it multiple times off of the same copy of Absol.  If you have an attacker that is scoring overkill for its OHKOs or 2HKOs, this might allow it to fake being a Crobat (XY: Phantom Forces 33/119)... without the Stage 2 line.  Keep in mind though that I am specifically talking about decks with wasted damage for the Crobat comparison. 

To give you an idea, Absol allows Landorus-EX to act like Lucario-EX and Lucario-EX to act like Landorus-EX but only when there would be inefficiency to begin with: when you’re doing 30 damage to the Bench but you really needed it back on the Active or when you’re slamming the Active for damage that you really need to move to something on the Bench.  You won’t get the amazing feats of scoring multiple KOs or massive OHKOs against an opponent whose field is clear of damage, like you would with the Crobat line.  You might consider working in a clutch Absol to a Crobat deck if you find you need even finer control over where the damage goes… but since you choose for Crobat and Golbat (XY: Phantom Forces 33/119) and Cursed Eyes can only move less than three damage counters if there are less than that on the target Pokémon, it might be overkill.

Expanded should do its usual thing of providing both more competition but also more opportunities.  I’m not sure if Dark Patch is a big deal because you shouldn’t really be attacking with Absol, but Dark Patch tends to turbo charge Yveltal-EX making it more likely to hit overkill territory, thus indirectly helping Absol use Cursed Eyes better.  For Limited play, the only reason you don’t run this is because you didn’t pull it, or because you got something worth building a +39 deck around instead.  A common tactic here is going to be to retreat an injured attacker (since they are not as likely to be OHKOed) to the Bench to deny your opponent the Prize… this really helps with that. 

Ratings

Standard: 3.5/5 

Expanded: 3.6/5 

Limited: 4.9/5 

Summary: Absol is a great card and probable TecH for multiple decks.  It actually can function in most any deck since it is moving damage counters, it just won’t be super-special-awesome without some thinking or some luck to really capitalize on that one-shot movement of three damage counters (or a good way to make it more than a one-shot trick).  So if it scores so well in general, why didn’t it make our Top 10?  Good question: it didn’t make my list due to so many other cards either being amazing in their own decks (leading to new decks or revamped old ones), being about as good of general plays and the fact that I really think more decks should run Silent Lab.  Was I right?  We’ll see; if this shows up maxed out in World Championship winning decks then I’ll have low-balled it… again. 


Emma Starr

                Don’t you hate it when you’re about 10-30 damage away from knocking out your opponent’s EX, but then they switch? Well, be annoyed no more, as Absol can help!

                With his Cursed Eyes ability, you can move 3 damage counters from ONE of your opponent’s Pokémon to another of theirs. It’s nothing crazy like Dusknoir (BC 63), but he’s a basic, what do you expect? He’s actually useful for what he’s designed to be – a sniper. Just get him on the bench, and activate his ability, simple as that. Of course, it would also be wise to use a Super Scoop Up on him, if you happen to have one on you, just so he doesn’t become Lysandre fodder. Why, well, he isn’t going to survive long, with 100 HP, and worst of all, Fighting weakness. Just be glad he has a Retreat Cost of 1.

                His attack is laughably pathetic, which does 30 for a Dark and Colorless, and makes the damage not affected by Resistance. Unfortuantely, most Pokémon don’t even have Resistances too much these days, and with an output of 30, you wouldn’t need to worry about that very much anyway. He’s a sniper, and that’s really all he’s good for. Poor Absol. :<

                Standard: 1.5/5 (well, if you really want a sniper, you don’t have much of a choice.)

                Expanded: 1.39/5 (you have Dusknoir (BC 63) over here, but he’s a Stage 2. But he can potentially be very much worth the setup required, as his ability is an amped up form of Absol’s. He also has a pathetic attack, so he can be pretty splashable in any deck type, and be used for the same purpose as Absol.)

                Limited: 3.5/5 (hey, who knows, he could be handy. He’s pretty splashable, at least.)


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