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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

 Porygon-Z

- Ancient Origins

Date Reviewed:
November 13, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.35
Expanded: 2.43
Limited: 3.68

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

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

Alright, finally to wrap up all of this Ancient Origins shenanigans, we've got Porygon-Z. Get it? Like the last letter in the alphabet-never mind. 

Actually, there are two Porygon-Z in the set, but the other one is just a Theta Stopping Devolver that probably works better over in Expanded where we've got more access to "upon Evolution" Abilities, and even then a Stage 2 attacker to use that is a bit...well, extreme. So in the meanwhile, we've got this Porygon-Z, and he's actually got some nifty attacks! 

For starters, Cyber Crush doesn't deal any damage, but for a single Energy, it gets rid of any and all of your opponent's Special Energies. Yep, ALL of them on ALL of your opponent's Pokemon. And given the abundance of such Energy since Furious Fists, I'm gonna say that that's gonna see some usage! 

But why stop there? Tack on the Slowing Beam, and you get a 3-for-70 strike that makes the cost of your opponent's attacks cost 1 additional Energy, making their weaker attacks slightly more expensive and their biggest attacks just out of reach without the right investment. Amazing, right? 

That's about where all the goodness ends though. Sure, Porygon-Z can combine well with stuff like Head Ringer and the Hammers to make a super-disruptive deck, but he's a slow Stage 2 Pokemon, and Slowing Beam is a temporary effect that can be worked around and doesn't necessarily bring a full halt to your opponent's attacks. In short, he's only gonna go so far with his attacks. 

But hey, he's crazy enough to work, right? 

Rating 

Standard: 2/5 (...okay, maybe not that well) 

Expanded: 2.5/5 (at least the Hammers work well here) 

Limited: 3/5 (not a lot of Special Energy to discard, but maybe Slowing Beam will slow your opponent down enough to make it worthwhile) 

Arora Notealus: Ahhh, Porygon-Z, you crazy crazy Porygon. Maybe one day you'll be...less crazy? 

...nahhhhhhhhhhh 

Weekend Thought: What are some of your favorite cards from Ancient Origins? Like what you see? Did you attend the BREAKThrough event a couple weeks ago, or have you started looking into the new set? Cause next up, we've got our own Top 10 list rolling!


Otaku

This time on Porygon-Z 

C’mon, read it in the booming Dragon Ball Z English announcer voice… no?  Alright, enough with that joke: Porygon-Z (XY: Ancient Origins 66/98) is our final subject for this week.  It is a Colorless-Type which means a few things.  Never exploiting Weakness, a major benefit for the top Types and while that is alongside never crashing into Resistance, “x2” helps a lot more than “-20” hurts.  When it comes to cards with beneficial or detrimental effects that specifically affect Colorless-Type (and only Colorless-Type) Pokémon, we are in a similar boat; only a few instances of each with slightly more (and better) support, though as the “anti-Colorless” cards are fairly poor, that isn’t saying much.  As it largely seems to be a point of the Colorless-Type, most of its members can use any Type of Energy, making it so that they don’t really support each other any better than they do anything else, barring decks that include some of the explicitly Colorless-Type boosting cards. 

Being a Stage 2 is rough; I don’t think it is the most difficult type to currently run but Stage 1 Pokémon that Evolve from Restored Pokémon and Mega Evolutions that lack Spirit Links may not count as legitimate “Stages” to some.  Without any rule bending effects, you’ll need three total cards (Porygon, Porygon2 and Porygon-Z) and three turns to get Porygon-Z into play.  You can shave a turn off by using Rare Candy or Wally, which come with their own pros and cons.  Porygon-Z has 130 HP, which is enough to survive a hit some of the time, but it is 30 below the max we’ve seen on Stage 2 Pokémon and not something to rely on being able to take a hit.  Especially against Fighting-Types because Fighting Weakness is so dangerous; we’ve got quite a few capable of hitting hard and fast with single Energy attacks that are usually bolstered with multiple buffs… and when something gets both Muscle Band and a Strong Energy it just needs to hit for 30 damage for one Energy (like Landorus-EX and Lucario-EX) to take Porygon-Z down in one hit.  Lack of Resistance is typical, so while it is the worst it isn’t a major drawback (the Resistance mechanic is appropriately balanced so it actually isn’t a huge deal right now).  Its Retreat Cost of [CC] is low enough that you likely will have the Energy available to pay it and can recover from having paid it, but you’d really rather not and sometimes it will be too much. 

Porygon-Z has two attacks but no Ancient Traits or Abilities; the first attack is “Cyber Crush” for [C], making it as affordable as it can be for a printed attack in the contemporary card pool.  This attack does no damage but it discards all Special Energy attached to all of your opponent’s Pokémon.  Against some decks this is worthless, against some it is amazing… give or take the fact that if you are using it over and over again to prevent your opponent building up a lot of Special Energy cards, you’ll usually just be taking out one at a time.  For [CCC] Porygon-Z can use “Slowing Beam” to hit for 70 damage and force the Defending Pokémon (so whatever was specifically hit by this attack) to pay [C] more for the attacks on that Pokémon.  If you can keep your opponent from changing out his or her Active and they don’t have ample Energy acceleration built into the deck, this can create a soft lock but again when facing other decks it will be pretty worthless.  The effect is always pointless on a turn where you score a KO… and the damage is actually just about right for 2HKOs (with a Muscle Band).  There is some synergy here, besides being priced so you can go from the first attack to the second with a Double Colorless Energy, Slowing Beam can be used to do some damage while your opponent powers up other Pokémon (perhaps on the Bench) but if your opponent is using Special Energy cards, you just discard them all before he or she builds up enough to attack… at least in theory. 

We have to start somewhere for the lower Stages, so let us go to the beginning with Porygon, specifically BW: Plasma Blast 72/101 and XY: Ancient Origins 64/98, both of which are Basic Colorless Pokémon with 60 HP, Fighting Weakness, no Resistance, a Retreat Cost [C], no Ancient Trait and no Ability.  BW: Plasma Blast 72/101 can use “Tackle” to do 10 for [C].  That’s it.  XY: Ancient Origins 64/98 can use “Data Check” for [C] to look at your deck (then shuffle it after you’re done).  For [CC] it can use “Sharpen” to do 20 damage.  Neither are good, but XY: Ancient Origins 64/98 just does a little more.  The two candidates for Porygon2 - BW: Plasma Blast 73/101 and XY: Ancient Origins 65/98 - are similar to their Basic counterparts; both are Stage 1 Colorless Pokémon with 80 HP with Fighting Weakness, no Resistance, no Ancient Traits or Abilities.  BW: Plasma Blast 73/101 has a Retreat Cost of [C] and a single attack (Destructive Beam) which requires [CC] and hits for 30, with a coin flip to see if you discard an Energy attached to the Defending Pokémon.  XY: Ancient Origins 65/98 has a Retreat Cost of [CC] and two attacks.  The first (Sharpen) requires [C] to hit for 20 while the second (Tri Attack) requires [CCC] to flip three coins good for 30 damage per “heads”.  I’d go with BW: Plasma Blast 73/101 as discard an Energy is on theme and might keep Porygon2 alive long enough to Evolve.  I’d also use Rare Candy as well as when Item lock isn’t a thing, it is the better choice. 

There are two other options for Porygon-Z: BW: Plasma Blast 74/101 (also available as BW: Black Star Promos BW84) and XY: Ancient Origins 67/98.  They are very similar to today’s card: Colorless Stage 2 Pokémon with Fighting Weakness and no Resistance.  BW: Plasma Blast 74/101 is a Team Plasma Pokémon so I’ll just refer to it as Porygon-Z [Plasma] from this point on in the review.  It has a Retreat Cost of only [C], the Ability “Plasma Transfer” and the familiar “Tri Attack”.  The former allows you to move your Plasma Energy, one at a time, from one of your Pokémon to another of your Pokémon, as many times as you like on your turn.  Kind of nice in that you can search those things out and attach them with Colress Machine, at least to a Team Plasma Pokémon like Porygon-Z, then move them wherever you want.  However they are Special Energy that do nothing but provide [C], though many cards have effects triggered by them.  This version of Tri Attack still costs [CCC] and has you flip three coins but does 50 per “heads” which is okay if it you can make the Ability the primary focus.  I don’t think you can; with only four Plasma Energy allowed in a deck, even with all their tricks, it wasn’t enough to justify running a Stage 2 in a deck and I don’t think you have room even in a deck where you slipped two of these in alongside another Porygon-Z.  You can see our… er… baby_mario’s review of it here; he was overly generous with it, but at the time I was optimistic as well. 

Porygon-Z is not our next CotD.  It has a Retreat Cost of [CC] and shakes things up a bit by having an Ancient Trait (Θ Stop) which protects it from Abilities, in addition to two attacks.  For [C] it can use “Digital Reboot” to devolve as many of your Benched Pokémon in play as you like, including devolving them more than once plus the Evolved forms go to your hand and not the discard pile.  This might set-up for some crazy combos, but is a bit scary at the same time as you need to keep your hand intact (and the lower Stages to survive) long enough to re-Evolve them.  Plus you’ve got a kind of fragile Stage 2 that just attacked in order to do all that.  For [CC] it can use “Dazzle Blast” to do 50 damage and Confuse the opponent’s Active.  This is an okay fall back attack but again, not something to build a deck around.  The first attack really is tempting due to cards like Crobat (XY: Phantom Forces 33/119) and Golbat (XY: Phantom Forces 33/119); though you can’t Evolve your Zubat twice the next turn, if you have a Bench full you could do up to four two-damage-counter-placements and then the next turn four three-damage-counter-placements… which isn’t awful for what is ultimately the attack of a Stage 2, at least until you remember that I just suggested a Bench full of four more Stage 2 cards.  Forretress (XY: Flashfire 60/106) is a Stage 1 that causes a single damage counters worth of spread that hits all of your opponent’s Pokémon but even with a full four count, that is just spread that hits for four damage counters and is vulnerable to being disrupted.  So it doesn’t help Porygon-Z (XY: Ancient Origins 66/98), but if you insist on playing Porygon-Z (XY: Ancient Origins 67/98) I’d include one of today’s card as back-up. 

So how do you use today’s card?  Well, doing something I hate; you make your opponent hurry up and wait, basically turning this into slow, agonizing solitaire through a vicious control deck. Seismitoad-EX can open to help buy time.  You might also have room for Giratina-EX (XY: Ancient Origins 57/98, 93/98) which gets to the issue of “Why not just run what already is proven?”.  With cards like Head Ringer, Team Flare Grunt and perhaps Crushing Hammer (Enhanced Hammer might not make as much sense due to the first attack, but maybe it is still needed) only decks with massive amounts of Energy acceleration or that can spam low Energy attacks from non-Pokémon-EX are likely to overwhelm your defenses… which could be the problem because that describes a couple strong decks.  Seismitoad-EX and Giratina-EX can help with that, but as they are attackers, at that point the deck stops feeling like a Porygon-Z deck and becomes a just another Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX control deck.  Still, it does do something, and in Limited play the only concern is pulling a full line and not having something blatantly better, like a Basic Pokémon-EX that is worth building a +39 deck around (a deck that runs a single Basic Pokémon and 39 non-Basic Pokémon cards). 

Ratings 

Standard: 2.75/5 

Expanded: 2.5/5 

Limited: 4.75/5 

Summary: Porygon-Z does a lot of things well, but not well enough to compete with the cards already doing more or less the same thing, but through slightly different mechanics.  You can try and control what your opponent does by striking at his or her Energy cards, but honestly, is that really fun?  Beating on an opponent that can’t fight back?  Even if it is, too many match-ups your opponent not only fights back but can flatten you so either way, it isn’t a good deal.


Emma Starr

To conclude the week, we look at the Pokemon who can travel dimensions, although there may have been an error (check the card description if you have no idea what I’m talking about)! Now I’m pretty curious what they mean by this. Did one of the developers in the game reference their own fanfiction, and the other developers liked it so much, they allowed him to make reference to it in Pokemon Y (since that is where the description came from). Who knows, but now I’m getting tempted to write my own fanfiction to explain this mysterious message…

Well, although it’s only a 130 HP, Fighting weak, Stage 2 Pokemon, Porygon Z is here to troll the competition. For one Colorless, he can use Cyber Crush to discard ALL special Energy from the opposing bench, by taking away segments of their DNA. This does trump Hammer cards, however, as NONE of your opponent’s Pokemon are safe. Combine that with having very few options to get Special Energy out of the Discard Pile (Only in Unlimited with Lysandre’s Trump Card? Most ways of getting Energies back limit them to only basic energies.), this can be a very effective strategy. However, this comes at the cost of damage, as there is none to be had. But you should ideally only want to use the attack once anyway, maybe later into the game, so it shouldn’t matter much anyway.

Slow Beam costs 3 Colorless, does 70 damage, and makes the Defending Pokemon’s attack cost one Colorless more next turn. If you’re feeling especially evil, combine a Head Ringer with this effect to any non-Tool-equipped Pokemon to cause them to potentially take an additional 2 turns to power up! Thankfully, the damage on this attack isn’t too bad, and can 2HKO 99% of EXs with a Muscle Band, which makes full use of your potential 2 free turns!

Would I recommend Porygon Z though? Well, although the gimmicks are nice, you’ll still have to dedicate a sizable portion of your deck for him to work this well (all 3 cards for Porygon’s evolution family, any extras you’d need, potential Rare Candies and Wally’s. For the last attack, you need in addition to what I just mentioned, a Muscle Band, 2 more energies, a Jamming Net, and an optional Lysandre if your target is on the bench. Although many decks carry most of these, this still poses the problem of dedicating so many resources to a Stage 2 that only normally does 70 damage.), but if you feel especially trollish, it may just be worth running at least one, if only because Energy Crush can be pretty useful late game. 

Standard: 2.3/5

Expanded: 2.3/5

Limited: 1.5/5 (Flash and Dangerous Energy can be run here, but not every deck will be using those, obviously. Slow Beam is ironically, a little too slow to be useful here, either…)


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