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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

 Metagross

- Ancient Origins

Date Reviewed:
November 9, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.0
Expanded: 2.0
Limited: 2.5

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

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

HEY GUYS, I'm back. Sorry about missing the tail end of last week, I've been working on adjusting myself to my new workflow with the new job and stuff - one of those things of life. But now that we're getting closer to wrapping up our Ancient Origins list (and finally starting on the XY Breakthrough Top 10), IT'S TIME TO TAKE A LOOK AT META-FREAKING-AMAZING-GROSS!! 

...or just Metagross. 

Now Metagross here is one of two versions (what a surprise), and this one lacks the Ancient Trait (what a surprise). Instead, he's got an Ability in the form of Magnetic Wrap. Essentially, it's a Switch for both sides of the field, where you can switch out your Active Pokemon for a Bench-sitter for free, knowing your opponent will inevitably switch out their own Active for a Bench-sitter. This could be really good and put pressure on the opponent if they don't have anything they want to force out Active, or even better it can lead to an easy win if they don't have any other Benched folk, so there's potential for this card to say the least. 

And considering that Iron Cannon is a hefty 4-for-80 attack that can discard all your Metal Energy attached to him to give it another 80...well, you've got better attackers than Metagross. 

The only issue then with Metagross is actually getting him out onto the playing field, which at the very least is easier if only cause of the evolution support we've got. Besides that though, there's also having so much devotion towards playing Metagross in your deck, and that could lead to some problems in consistency. Not to mention you're still banking on your opponent to not be set-up well enough on their side of the field to throw away a monster while you bring out your main attacker to sweep. 

It's an idea kind of card but not an ideal card. 

Rating 

Standard: 2/5 (a bit of a tricky Ability and a generally bad attack won't get this Metagross very far) 

Expanded: 2/5 (that's about it really) 

Limited: 2.5/5 (...meh) 

Arora Notealus: At least he looks cool here! 

Next Time: Moving right along...


Otaku

One last week of XY: Ancient Origins reviews before we dive into XY: BREAKThrough!  Did we save the best for last?  Well, if we did then we did a bad job on our Top 15 list for this set.  Still there might be one or two buried gems this week… or will that be “ore” as we are starting with Metagross (XY: Ancient Origins 49/98), the one without an Ancient Trait and the first of three Metal-Type Pokémon we’ll be looking at this week.  The last two belong to the only Type we haven’t covered since our last Top 15 list: Colorless. 

Metal-Types enjoy hitting some Water-Types (namely those based on the TCG Ice-Type) and so far all Fairy-Types are Metal Weak, while most Lightning-Types released in the XY-era are Metal Resistant; not the best Types to smack for double damage or the worst Type to hit for 20 less damage.  I am finding “anti-Metal” card effects, but their Type specific is minimal: Klinklang (BW: Plasma Storm 90/135), Shield Energy and Steel Shelter.  All offer protective effects and have enjoyed some success, with Klinklang [Plasma] protecting all your Metal-Types from damage by opponent’s Pokémon-EX once it is in play, Shield Energy reducing the damage taken from opponent’s attacks by 10 before Weakness and Resistance (errata) while providing a unit of [M] Energy (can only be attached and work with Metal-Types though) and Steel Shelter not only prevents Special Conditions for Metal-Types but removes any already present on them when you play it.  All face steep competition; Klinklang [Plasma] is a Stage 2 line that takes over a deck and has no shortcuts beyond generic ones to get into play, Shield Energy competes for space against other potent Special Energy while Steel Shelter similarly competes against the many potent Stadiums available. 

Then things get a bit weird; sometimes I draw a distinction between kinds of Type support because frankly, there is an obvious difference between a card that supports a Type because it only works for said Type and a card that supports a Type because it happens to be that Type and/or requires that Type’s Energy to fully function.  There are some great Metal-Type attackers like 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).  They also have some nice Bench-sitters like Bronzong (XY: Phantom Forces 61/119) for from-the-discard acceleration of basic Metal Energy cards via its “Metal Links” Ability and Jirachi-EX to search out a Supporter through its “Stellar Guidance” Ability.  Jirachi-EX is not used for its lackluster attack, so it can be splashed into anything (though it isn’t always an optimal inclusion).  Bronzong and thus the attackers mentioned would seem locked into Metal-Type decks, but instead Bronzong has been combined with just about any attacker that has at least two [CC] in their attack costs so long as the rest can also be met easily.  Colorless-Types with all Colorless attacks and Dragon-Types using Double Dragon Energy are among a few different options that have successfully used Bronzong in this manner. 

All of that together makes it hard for me to accurately gauge how strong Metal-Type Pokémon currently are: if Fairy-Types or the correct Water-Types suddenly saw a huge upswing, if a Metal-Type Pokémon was released that utilized other Metal-Type Pokémon I listed better than everything else, etc. it would benefit far more than other Types, but so it hasn’t happened; does that mean the Metal-Type is a bit weak or does that just mean certain cards are far too overpowered?  I think it is a little bit of both.  Moving on we see that this is a Stage 2; as per usual I’ll run through the prior Stages of Evolution after we finish with the specifics of this Metagross, but if you’re new the game (or at least the remotely competitive side of things), know that being a Stage 2 is difficult.  The designers seem to have allowed the game’s pacing to get badly out of whack, so even though core game design has Stage 2 Pokémon needing two extra cards and turns to enter play, top decks often lack the time or space for that.  Those with sufficient shortcuts can still be the backbone of a World Championship winning deck… but the Metal-Type has no such shortcut (nor would I want them to because that doesn’t fix the pacing issue, it just hides it while creating more problems). 

Metagross has 150 HP; this is 10 less than the maximum we’ve seen printed Stage 2 Pokémon is still within OHKO range of many top decks.  It isn’t bad though, in fact it’s reasonably good; it just isn’t because it will rarely fail to survive a hit, but because your opponent will usually need a primary attacker and more or less complete set-up to dispatch it with one blow.  Fire-Types will find this easier because of Weakness; the main reason this will matter is Flareon (BW: Plasma Freeze 12/116) though thanks to Flareon (XY: Ancient Origins 13/98) any Stage 1 Pokémon might function as a Fire-Type.  This is still far safer than being Fighting or Darkness Weak in the current metagame, possibly safer than being Water or Lightning Weak either.  Psychic Resistance won’t make a huge difference; -20 damage just isn’t that much and “raw damage” attackers will likely be able to offset it while more technical attackers are about attack effects than damage (possibly scoring KOs without doing damage at all) but it is of course superior to the usual lack of Resistance and as such is a most welcome sight.  The cards Retreat Cost of [CCCC] is massive and you should make sure you can avoid paying for it; even if you have enough Energy attached to Metagross, it is incredibly difficult to recover from losing that much Energy… fortunately as we are about to discuss, this card has a built in work around. 

Metagross (XY: Ancient Origins 49/98) may not have an Ancient Trait but it has an Ability named “Magnetic Warp” that acts very similar to Escape Rope: once per turn Magnetic Warp allows you to Bench your Active Pokémon and replace it with one of your other Benched Pokémon (your choice) and if you do, your opponent must do the same (unless he or she has no Bench).  This definitely helps deal with the Retreat Cost and could set-up some nice combos, but at the same time since it is not as good as Escape Rope, that raises concerns.  Since Escape Rope already exists we know the times it is useful and the times it is lacking, plus as Escape Rope is almost identical to the much older Warp Point long time players really know its ins and outs; so all the places where Magnetic Warp falls short are glaring.  First the way this is worded, you cannot use Magnetic Warp to force the opponent to change his or her Active Pokémon unless you’ve got a Bench.  One of the nice things about Escape Rope is that if you have no Bench (or a good pivot Pokémon) it can function as a Pokémon Circulator, good for when your opponent has only one target on the Bench you want to hit or only one target currently Active that you do not want to hit.  You also have to change out yours first, so your opponent can adjust accordingly.  These may seem quite small, but such a niggling detail may come back to haunt this card. 

The sole attack on this Metagross is “Iron Cannon” which requires a sizable [MMCC] to hit with and unless you use its effect it only does 80 damage - at least 20 below where I really like four Energy attacks to weigh and more like 40 short for a main attacker.  The effect allows you to discard all [M] Energy attached to Metagross for an extra 80 damage (total 160).  If you only have two [MM] Energy attached that is a good deal, with a loss of [MMM] being merely “okay” and if you use a full [MMMM] it is actually a little underwhelming.  In most cases it isn’t the option to do more damage so much as the option to do less when you aren’t trying for a massive blow; again 150 HP is no guarantee Metagross will survive.  160 for four Energy is enough to realistic consider this card; with a Muscle Band alone you are OHKOing anything with 180 HP or less (360 HP or less for Metal Weak targets, 160 or less for Metal Resistant ones).  With the rest of its attributes and its Ability factored in, this seems like it might be worth the effort for competitive play… but we need to go over a few more details first. 

There are two Beldum to choose from in Expanded: BW: Plasma Freeze 50/116 and XY: Ancient Origins 47/98.  Both are Basic Pokémon with 60 HP, no Ancient Trait, no Ability and two attacks.  BW: Plasma Freeze 50/116 is a Psychic-Type with Psychic Weakness, no Resistance, Retreat Cost [C]; its “Calculate” attack requires [C] to use and allows you to look at and rearrange the top four cards of your deck while its “Psypunch” requires [PC] to hit for 20 damage.  XY: Ancient Origins 47/98 is a Metal-Type with Fire Weakness, Psychic Resistance and a Retreat Cost of [CC]; for [M] it can use “Ram” to do 10 damage while for [MCC] it can use “Spinning Attack” to hit for 30.  Neither of these is good, but “Calculate”  does potentially aid in setting up and can use one of any Energy; unless you are extremely concerned about Psychic Weakness or using something like Shield Energy, I would go with BW: Plasma Freeze 50/116 when I can; in Standard you are stuck with XY: Ancient Origins 47/98.  An odd area for disappointment; I think I would have preferred one or the other have a higher Retreat Cost; besides the possibility the designers would have also included higher HP or a similar bonus to “compensate”, it would have made whichever Beldom had it a legal Heavy Ball target and as soon as a Metagross hits the field, you’ll be a lot less likely to have to pay the cost anyway. 

Besides using Rare Candy to skip directly from Beldum to Metagross (something you’ll want to include but not rely solely upon due to Item lock) you’ll need to consider Metang.  Again we have two Expanded candidates - BW: Plasma Freeze 51/116 and XY: Ancient Origins 48/98 - with the latter being the only option for Standard play.  Both are Stage 1 cards with 90 HP, no Ancient Trait, no Ability and two attacks.  BW: Plasma Freeze 51/116 is a Psychic-Type with Psychic Weakness, no Resistance, Retreat Cost of [CC], the attack “Psybolt” for [P] which does 10 damage and (on a coin flip) Paralysis as well as the attack “Psypunch” for [PCC] and doing 50 this time.  XY: Ancient Origins 48/98 is a Metal-Type with Fire Weakness, Psychic Resistance, Retreat Cost [CCC], plus attacks “Metal Claw” for [MC] which does 30 damage and “Bullet Punch” for [MMC] which does 50 damage plus two coin flips good for another 20 damage per “heads”.  Once again neither are especially good, though they are somewhat depressingly better than many other transitional Stage 1 forms because their attacks are not as overpriced.  BW: Plasma Freeze 51/116 can Paralyze which could buy it time to Evolve while is Heavy Ball and Metal-Type support compliant.  Both are as large as they can be while still being Level Ball legal targets.  If a deck is using something other than Ultra Ball, Heavy Ball and Level Ball are likely to matter, but otherwise use whichever one matches up to any Type support in the deck.  Plus some Rare Candy. 

When it comes to Metagross there are two other options for Expanded (one for Standard) besides today’s card: BW: Plasma Freeze 53/116 and XY: Ancient Origins 50/98.  Technically BW: Plasma Freeze 53/116 was first released as BW: Black Star Promo BW75 as that was the BW:Plasma Freeze prerelease promo.  Both are Stage 2 Pokémon with nothing else in common - surprise?  BW: Plasma Freeze 53/116 is a Psychic-Type with 140 HP, Psychic Weakness, no Resistance, Retreat Cost [CC], no Ancient Trait, one Ability and one attack.  It is also a Team Plasma affiliated card so I’ll refer to it as Metagross [Plasma] for the rest of the review.  Its Ability makes it Team Plasma support; “Plasma Search” allows you to search your deck for a Team Plasma card (Pokémon, Trainer or Energy), show it to your opponent, add it to your hand and then shuffle your deck.  You can use it once-per-turn, though multiples can each use their own Plasma Search each turn.  For [PCCC] it can use “Mind Bench” to hit for 60 damage plus Confuse the opponent’s Active.  We (or rather baby_mario) reviewed this card already here: apparently this was a week of cards that nearly made the crew’s Top 10.  I didn’t have a review up (and Metagross [Plasma] wasn’t even in my Top 20, let alone my Top 10) but I probably thought it had a chance just because it could snag so many useful Team Plasma cards, but being a Stage 2 meant it was too slow and took so much room that even back then (let alone now) it is just easier to run more non-Supporter draw power. 

XY: Ancient Origins 50/98 is tomorrow’s CotD so I won’t be going into intricate detail… well by my standards.  The quick rundown is that it is that besides art, card ID, etc. the only differences are that it has the Ancient Trait “Θ Double” (which allows it to have two Pokémon Tools attached to itself instead of just one) and the attacks “Machine Gun Stomp” and “Guard Press” instead of the Ability and attack on today’s version.  The former requires [CC] and does 20 damage plus 10 for each card in your hand while the latter does 80 damage while reducing the damage it (Metagross) takes from attacks during your opponent’s next turn, after applying Weakness/Resistance.  If you’re building a deck around this version, working in one of today’s is recommended.  If you’re focused on today’s version, I actually might consider one copy of XY: Ancient Origins 50/98.  Most of the time it won’t hit very hard but if your opponent isn’t destroying your hand with N or Judge or Red Card and neither are you ripping through it yourself, a massive hand would buy massive damage.  This only applies if you have a strategy that calls for enough of today’s Metagross without maxing it out or being able to go light on the lower Stages. 

So why should you consider using this card?  Cashing in on the existing synergy, though that seems somewhat vague.  If you can fit in a few Bronzong to help with the Energy costs alongside some Double Colorless Energy (or else you need a maxed out Bronzong count) this can be a good attacker.  Not great; you’re investing a lot and aren’t getting more than what has already been paid for, plus you’ll need something else to tackle things that are outside of OHKO range, either to set-up for the 2HKO or score the OHKO themselves.  This is a lot of space so in Expanded, I wouldn’t bother; if I want to run a Stage 2 Metal-Type with an Ability, Klinklang (Black & White 76/114) and/or Klinklang [Plasma] win hands down.  In Standard, just maybe it can work as Magnetic Warp also helps compensate for lack of Keldeo-EX and its “Rush In” Ability.  There is one other possibility; there are various cards with “once per turn per copy while Active” effects and like Vanilluxe (BW: Next Destinies 33/99) before it, Metagross might be an option for spamming such effects in either format.  As for Limited play it is a good pull; you’ll need the entire line of course but otherwise you need to be trying for a +39 deck or something else that would prevent you from using Metagross just for the Ability.  The attack rewards running some off-Type Energy so most of the time you will also enjoy it has at least a back-up big hitter as well.  This is found in the “Iron Tide” theme deck that released as part of XY: Ancient Origins where it is is the deck’s MVP.  The deck isn’t the greatest but as far as such decks go, it is reasonably well made with only a few “filler” or “why include this?” cards. 

Ratings 

Standard: 2.25/5 

Expanded: 1.5/5 

Limited: 4.75/5 

Theme Deck: 4/5 

Summary: Metagross can be a useful Bench-sitter or deliver a nice, big hit for something that isn’t a Pokémon-EX, but like nearly all Stage 2 Pokémon it suffers because by the time you get it up and running your opponent will have already begun to tear into your own Pokémon, plus if you use Metagross as an attacker, when it goes down you lose a pretty major investment except in Prizes.  It does a lot, just not well enough for all that is being invested in it.  Go ahead and play around with it; besides more obvious uses there may be some specific combo (most likely involving Abilities you may only Active once per turn per copy while said Pokémon is Active) that earns this a place in the top cut, even if only for one event.


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