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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

 Metagross #50

- Ancient Origins

Date Reviewed:
November 10, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.25
Expanded: 1.88
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

And then we've got the Ancient Trait-wielding version of Metagross here, with Theta Double giving him access to two Tools at once. So there's always the potential to be sticking two Muscle Bands on this guy as always, but is he gonna be worth the trouble? Let's find out! 

His first attack is Machine Gun Stomp, which is a 2-for-20 blow that does an extra 10 damage for every card in your hand. That's actually not too bad on its own, to be fair. Granted, most players will want to have played out the cards in their hand before they attack, since once you're done with the attack, your turn's over. But if you throw down a Sycamore and use this, hey! That's 90 damage for only 2 Energy! Not too shabby. 

By comparison, Guard Press is a bit...eh? At 4 Energy, it does 80 damage, kinda like the Iron Cannon from yesterday's Metagross, but instead of dealing more damage, it reduces the damage Metagross takes by 20 after Weakness and Resistance. It's okay, I'd have rather taken Iron Cannon from the other Metagross and slapped it on this one, since then you could utilize a DCE for Machine Gun Stomp and KO stuff with Iron Cannon, but Guard Press? Not so great. 

So once again, we've found ourselves with a relatively okay kinda card. MEH DAY IS BEST DAY, AM I RIGHT EH?!?! 

Rating 

Standard: 2/5 (one day Metagross will be awesome in the TCG...again, if he has before) 

Expanded: 2/5 (I'm just covering my bases, sorry >_>) 

Limited: 3.5/5 (HEY LOOK, AT LEAST HE CAN WRECK STUFF HERE) 

Arora Notealus: So yeah. Metagross. He's awesome. His cards aren't, but he is, so...there ya go. 

Next Time: The last of the Regis!


Otaku

Okay, now it is officially time for Metagross (XY: Ancient Origins 49/98), the one with an Ancient Trait and thus the distinctive not-quite-full-art.  To my knowledge there has been no great upsets or revelations so… being a Metal-Type is still “alright”.  The good news is that they do have some nice cards like Bronzong (XY: Phantom Forces 61/119), Cobalion (BW: Noble Victories 84/101, 100/101; BW: Legendary Treasures 91/113), Cobalion-EX, Dialga-EX (XY: Phantom Forces 62/119, 122/119), Heatran (XY: Phantom Forces 63/119), Jirachi-EX, Klinklang (Black & White 76/114) and Klinklang (BW: Plasma Storm 90/135).  The bad side?  That is probably their strongest point and most of those either require building a deck around them (the two Klinklang) are so generic they work in anything (Jirachi-EX) or somehow fall in between but still end up more likely to support a main attacker that is otherwise not a Metal-Type (the rest).  Cards that specifically provide a beneficial effect only to Metal-Types are Klinklang [Plasma] which I already mentioned, Shield Energy (which kind of clashes with the basic Metal Energy acceleration of Bronzong and preference not to run too many Special Energy) and Steel Shelter (a solid Stadium that prevents Special Types against Metal-Types; not always useful and facing steep competition.  Metal-Type Resistance is currently only present on most XY-era Lightning-Types, which isn’t so bad, and Metal Weakness is universal so far for Fairy-Types plus on the Water-Types that represent the video game Ice-Type, which isn’t as useful as it might be if those two were more popular. 

Being a Stage 2 is difficult.  The core game mechanics seem like they would work best with HP scores “front-loaded” so that Evolving Pokémon could soak more hits (important as we aren’t leveling them up to Evolve against similarly strong Pokémon, but whatever your opponent is using) and have useful features to help justify running them instead of having most or all of the burden on the final Stage of Evolution (last two Stages I guess in the case of BREAK Evolutions).  Plus instead of the designers keeping a pace that allows time for Evolutions to hit the field without falling too far behind, such as by having some time for attacks meant to set-up to play a roll and not making big Basics or Stage 1 Pokémon able to hit hard and fast… they game does just the opposite, then attempts to patch the issue by adding some Evolution acceleration that instead seems to just help a few cards enough to see play while not making a substantial difference for the others… unless the pendulum swings all the way towards the other direction and it overpowers them. 

Metagross has 150 HP.  Even though this is just 10 shy of the maximum printed on a Stage 2 you have a few Stage 1 cards that tie it, one Stage 1 card that exceeds it - Wailord (BW: Dragons Exalted 26/124) has 200 HP - as of course most Pokémon-EX (Mega or plain Basics), though they are of course worth two Prizes instead of one.  The offensive side of the game has kept pace with these larger cards (or rather outpaced HP everywhere else) so 150 is still within OHKO range for at least the main attacker of most decks (sometimes secondary).  Some decks will need a few turns to reach that high of a damage yield or won’t be able to reliably hit 150+ over and over again, but their numbers are low among the competitive field which should do both and and in not much time.  Fire Weakness seems to mostly mean Flareon (BW: Plasma Freeze 12/116) needs just less Pokémon for the OHKO it already can achieve.  The Psychic Resistance is appreciated, mostly because a lot of cards have none, however -20 damage just isn’t that much against cards that either tend toward massive amounts of damage like Mew-EX or Pumpkaboo (XY: Phantom Forces 44/119) in Night March decks or those focused on alternate methods of taking out your Pokémon like the new Gengar (XY: BREAKThrough 60/162) that don’t care as much about doing “damage”.  The massive Retreat Cost of four is painful; too expensive to pay unless Metagross is fully powered and even when you can, losing four Energy is a huge setback even for decks with Energy acceleration.  Pack something to help it out of or endure in the Active slot. 

Metagross (XY: Ancient Origins 50/98) has the Ancient Trait “Θ Double” which allows it to have two Pokémon Tools attached at once.  Its first attack is “Machine Gun Stomp” for [CC], which does 20 damage plus 10 per card in your hand, while its second attack is “Guard Press” for [MMCC] which hits for 80 damage in addition to reducing the damage Metagross takes from attacks during your opponent’s next turn.  Let us start by considering these in isolation.  I would say that Θ Double is a good-but-not-great Ancient Trait, owing to needing to either run extra Pokémon Tools or really focus on getting what you do run onto this card, as well as having a natural vulnerability to mass/multi-Pokémon Tool discarding effects like Startling Megaphone and Tool Scrapper.  Machine Gun Stomp isn’t brilliant but due to its cost that a single Double Colorless Energy can meet and the fact that even though decks tend to focus on ripping through themselves to your advantage, you shouldn’t have too hard of a time holding onto at least a three or four card hand with the possibility of something truly massive, it also seems at least somewhat good.  Its big drawback is again, whatever you hold onto isn’t being used elsewhere and even if you build your hand up, a card like N can send it crashing back down.  Only good enough to build a deck around if your hand can be made relatively safe. 

Guard Press is underpowered or overpriced, or probably a bit of both.  While a protective effect can help on a card this size, an extra -20 only makes this as difficult to OHKO as a 170 HP Pokémon and… we have Pokémon-EX that size and they are only a little less likely to be OHKOed than the 150 HP Pokémon.  80 damage is at least 20 or 40 short given the Energy invested and the mild bonus effect.  Four Energy really is massively expensive, even when they are half Colorless.  Now when we start blending these together we see some synergy; Pokémon Tools often help attacks, whether through boosting damage done to the opponent’s Pokémon or blocking damage that would have been done to your own, accelerating Energy eliminating your Retreat Cost, two Pokémon Tools can do a lot and you can even mix and match those effects.  You might even include Lucky Helmet so that as Metagross takes damage, your hand size gets larger!  The [CC] cost of Machine Gun Stomp flows into the [MMCC] cost of Guard Press; not as smooth as possible, but notable better than if say the cost was [MMMC] or even [MM] leading to [MMCC].  Other than that and Guard Press providing guaranteed damage, there isn’t more between it and Machine Gun Stomp, which is a bit of a problem because if Guard Press falls short then yes one does need to rely on Machine Gun Stomp. 

So what about the lower Stages?  In Standard you only have Beldum (XY: Ancient Origins 47/98), Metang (XY: Ancient Origins 48/98) and Metagross (XY: Ancient Origins 49/98) to also consider.  All are Metal-Type Pokémon with Fire Weakness, Psychic Resistance and no Ancient Traits.  The Beldum is a Basic with 60 HP, Retreat Cost of [CC], no Ability and two attacks; for [M] it can use “Ram” to do 10 damage while for [MCC] it can use “Spinning Attack” to hit for 30.  Metang is a Stage 1 with 90 HP, Retreat Cost [CCC] and again two attacks: “Metal Claw” for [MC] does 30 damage while “Bullet Punch” costs [MMC] and does 50 damage, with two coin flips good for an additional 20 per “heads”.  Metagross (XY: Ancient Origins 49/98) has the same 150 HP and Retreat Cost of [CCCC] as today’s Metagross, but with an Ability called “Magnetic Warp” and attack called “Iron Cannon”.  The former is a slightly weakened Escape Rope; it allows you to Bench your Active and then promote any other of your Benched Pokémon as the new Active, then force your opponent to do likewise.  I say “weakened” because if you have no Bench you won’t be able to force your opponent to change out and as you must go first, your opponent is able to adjust to your decision instead of you adjusting to his or hers.  Iron Cannon costs the same [MMCC] and Guard Press and also does 80 damage, but its effect is that you may discard all [M] Energy attached to Metagross in order to do 80+80 (160) damage. 

In Expanded, Beldum (BW: Plasma Freeze 50/116), Metang (BW: Plasma Freeze 51/116) and Metagross (BW: Black Star Promo BW75, BW: Plasma Freeze 52/116) are also options.  These are all Psychic-Types with Psychic Weakness, no Resistance and (of course) no Ancient Traits, though the Metagross is a Team Plasma Pokémon and will be referred to in the rest of the review as Metagross [Plasma].  This Beldum also has 60 HP but with Retreat Cost [C].  Its two attacks are “Calculate” for [C], which to use and allows you to look at and rearrange the top four cards of your deck, and “Psypunch” for [PC] which does 20 damage.  Its set-mate Metang has 90 HP with a Retreat Cost of [CC], and two attacks.  For [P] it can use “Psybolt” to hit for 20 damage and attempt to Paralyze the opponent’s Active (“heads” on a mandatory coin flip) or its own version of “Psypunch” that costs a bit more at [PCC] but hits a bit harder at 50 damage this time.  Metagross [Plasma] has 140 HP, a Retreat Cost of [CC], an Ability and an attack.  The former is “Plasma Search” which allows a player to search his or her deck for a Team Plasma card (Pokémon, Trainer or Energy), show it to your opponent and then add it to your hand.  It is once per turn before you attack, though if you have multiple copies in play you may use each.  For [PCCC] it can attack with “Mind Bend”, doing 60 damage and Confusing the opponent’s Active. 

None of these cards are stellar but some are better than others… at least where you have a choice.  If avoiding Psychic Weakness or not being a Metal-Type isn’t a concern, the Calculate attack on Beldum (BW: Plasma Freeze 50/116) at least allows you to attempt to improve your set-up; probably a good idea if you are stuck attacking with something like Beldum.  Rare Candy is preferred to the two Metang, but due to item lock one shouldn’t rely on it alone; a mix of either or which ever one handles your Weakness avoiding or Type-support matching needs.  Metagross [Plasma] just wasn’t needed by Team Plasma decks, nor is it particularly useful elsewhere; skip it.  Metagross (XY: Ancient Origins 49/98) actually has a decent Ability and attack, plus even if you are focused on today’s Metagross, a single one can be quite handy (again, the Ability).  You can find a review of Metagross [Plasma] here and a review of Metagross (XY: Ancient Origins 49/98) here; the Metagross [Plasma] review is dated but the other is just from yesterday.

So… what to do with Metagross (XY: Ancient Origins 50/98)?  In Expanded not much; too difficult to get your hand size up and keep it up.  In Standard, it has become a budget deck on the PTCGO.  Yeah, not a huge claim to fame but something; in Standard it isn’t quite as easy to shrink your opponent’s hand size; multiple card effects do it, but none of them are a staple like N.  As such using a bunch of draw effects that don’t shuffle or discard your hand or only allow you to draw until you have X cards in hand, a player slowly builds until Machine Gun Stomp is good for a 2HKO and then a OHKO.  Maybe early on the player tries to power up Guard Press, either using two Hard Charm so it can soak decent damage (60 total) or some Muscle Band so it can hit for a decent amount (another 40 means 120 total) while the hand builds.  If your opponent can’t cut through all your Metagross quickly, the fact that they eventually can make use of Machine Gun Stomp to hit for OHKOs at a cost a Double Colorless Energy can fill can overtake you in Prizes… sometimes.  Unfortunately, this card was originally slated for an earlier review and was then postponed, because this trick doesn’t work on the PTCGO as well anymore; XY: BREAKThrough is already included in Standard there and that means Judge is now an option.  I don’t know if a lot of people will be running Judge but as one still has Battle Compressor plus VS Seeker available but lacks as many potent Supporters worth running in high counts, it seems probable. 

If you do pull it in Limited, at least you can probably enjoy it there.  Everything about the card becomes better, though Θ Double is difficult to access and you do still need to pull the lower Stages.  You may have to rely on Guard Press if your hand thins to quickly and can’t build back up, but often in Limited you’ll have many cards in hand you just can’t play right away, so I do not think this will be a major hinderance to Machine Gun Stomp. 

Ratings 

Standard: 2.5/5 (on the PTCGO, 1.75/5) 

Expanded: 1.25/5 

Limited: 4.5/5 

Summary: A gimmicky attacker and unfortunately for Metagross that gimmick has already become old news on the PTCGO.  Might be fun to try a massive hand deck offline for the short time left before Judge joins, or if you just like the strategy in general and want to play for fun, but Metagross is pretty lacking overall.


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