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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Volcarona #17

- Ancient Origins

Date Reviewed:
October 7, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3
Expanded: 3
Limited: 4.38

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, something to get excited about! A giant flaming moth!! 

...yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh 

Volcarona's always been a cool Pokemon, and in the games he's a reasonably powerful Pokemon too - great special stats offset by lower physical stats and an okay Typing of Bug/Fire. Of course, if Volcarona ever took advantage of his Bug-typing in the TCG, he might benefit from it quite a bit more, especially given the appearance of Forest of Giant Plants. Let us lament our brethren in arms that...aren't our brethren in arms cause of Typing. 

On the other hand, did you need a means of setting something up? Because this Volcarona can actually work out even in a Grass deck! No, not with Flamethrower, which isn't that good anyway. 2-for-60 and discard an Energy? Yeah no thanks. I'd rather just attach the 1 Energy of ANY Type I want and use it on Sun Birth! 

Sun Birth is essentially "set up a Basic Pokemon on your Bench" the attack, drawing out any Basic Pokemon and putting it down. The best part is that you're not restricted to choose regular Basics either, so you can actually bring out a Pokemon-EX straight from the deck onto your Bench - easy play! What's more, you get to attach 2 basic Energy from your deck straight to the Pokemon you just played, meaning not only did you bring out your main Pokemon - you've got it powered up enough to attack the moment you put it in the active slot! That's an instant Seismitoad-EX, Lucario-EX, Rayquaza-EX, Sceptile-EX, Manectric-EX - whatever Basic you want, it's golden! 

With that said though, Volcarona is not a perfectly flawless Pokemon. He's still a Stage 1, meaning you have to evolve a Larvesta on your field first, and without the Typing or the Delta Evolution trait, you will have to do this over the course of two turns - the first to put Larvesta down, and the second to evolve it into Volcarona. Of course, you can make this go by faster with Evosoda, drawing out a Volcarona from the deck, or better yet you can use Wally to evolve him right away regardless, put down an Energy, and (assuming you haven't gone first) use Sun Birth for an instant set-up! There is also the slight problem with Volcarona being Active, and while it only costs the 1 Energy to retreat, you are counting on your opponent to not KO Volcarona early on. 

In short, Volcarona's a somewhat slow set-up card but a means of quickly setting up a new attacker. He's not going to be the last Pokemon you'll play, but he's not easily going to be the first one you put out. There's a lot of ways to make sure he works out just right in the deck though, but it really depends on how much space you've got to work with - and if you can make him work, you won't be disappointed with the results! 

...well, unless you run something like Magnezone-EX...but why would you. 

Rating 

Standard: 3/5 (a fairly good if slow set-up for your big attacker - could run very well in the right deck build!) 

Expanded: 3/5 (got a lot of wiggle room to work with, though it gets harder to sort him somewhere here) 

Limited: 4/5 (instant Basic ready to roll? absolutely! heck, you could pull Sun Birth off twice if you wanted to!) 

Arora Notealus: Seriously Volcarona's got such a cool concept behind his design! Fiery moth, mythological elements, the only Bug/Fire Pokemon aside from his pre-evo in existence - golden! Like his shiny form! Such cool stuff~ 

Next Time: Through a new means of evolution, the distant past comes back to life!!......again!!


Otaku

Today we look at Volcarona (XY: Ancient Origins 17/98).  This is a Fire-Type, allowing it to tap some decent-ish support, hit nearly all Grass- and Metal-Type Pokémon for Weakness, never worry about Resistance and if there are any anti-Fire-Type cards in the legal card pool, I still am overlooking them.  All in all, I’d say it is alright with more potential depending on the metagame.  Being a Stage 1 is means taking an extra turn and an extra card to get into play as compared to a Basic Pokémon, but only Basic Pokémon have it easier and if you care to invest a Wally you can get a Stage 1 into play in a single turn (even a player’s first turn).  Being a Stage 1 isn’t good, but neither is it bad.  100 HP is a bit disappointing, and not just in the usual way; it isn’t big enough to be likely to survive a hit and if it were just 10 HP smaller, Level Ball would be an option.  Water Weakness matters mostly because of Seismitoad-EX because it is still seeing successful play and with a Muscle Band it gets a OHKO instead of a 2HKO.  The lack of Resistance is repetitive, so I’ll keep up the deja vu and move straight to the Retreat Cost of [C], which is pretty good as it is easy to pay and to recover from having paid. 

Volcarona has neither an Ability nor a an Ancient Trait but instead brings two attacks to the table: for [C] it can use “Solar Birth” and for [RC] it can use “Flamethrower”.  The latter is pretty typical of Fire-Types and not very good: 60 damage plus you must discard an Energy from Volcarona.  Still in a pinch it can be useful.  What netted the card a review is Solar Birth because it allows you to search out a Basic Pokémon from your deck and Bench it, then search your deck for up to two Basic Energy and attach them to said Basic Pokémon.  Attack based Energy acceleration on a Stage 1 isn’t brilliant, but two of any Energy for any Basic Pokémon and no other restrictions might actually be useful. 

Taking a step back, let us look at Larvesta.  You can pick from BW: Noble Victories 19/101, BW: Noble Victories 20/101, BW: Dark Explorers 20/108, BW: Dark Explorers 21/108, BW: Plasma Blast 12/101 and XY: Ancient Origins 16/98 in Expanded play, but only that last one is Standard legal.  All are Fire-Type Basic Pokémon with Water Weakness, no Resistance, no Abilities and no Ancient Traits.  BW: Noble Victories 19/101 has 70 HP, a Retreat Cost of [CC] and just one attack (Ember) that needs [R] to do 20 damage and flip a coin, with “tails” resulting in discarding an Energy from itself.  BW: Noble Victories 20/101 has 80 HP, a Retreat Cost of [CC] and its “Takedown” attack also costs [CC], doing 30 damage to the opponent’s Active and 10 damage to itself.  BW: Dark Explorers 20/108 also has 80 HP, this time with a Retreat Cost of [CCC] and two attacks: for [CC] it can use “Ram” to hit for 20 damage and for [RRC] it can use “Flare” to hit for 40.  BW: Dark Explorers 21/108 has only 60 HP with a Retreat Cost of [C] and a single attack (Super Singe) for [RC]; Super Singe does 10 damage and Burns the opponent’s Active.  BW: Plasma Blast 12/101 is back up to 70 HP and a Retreat Cost of [CCC], with the attacks “Flare” and “Ember”: the former does 10 damage for [R] while the latter does 30 for [RC] and requires you discard an Energy attached to itself.  Last for the Larvesta is XY: Ancient Origins 16/98, sporting 70 HP, a Retreat Cost of [CC] and a single attack (Combustion) for [RC] which hits for 30 damage.  When available, I’d go with one of the 80 HP versions. 

For Volcarona we don’t have quite as many options: BW: Noble Victories 21/101, BW: Dark Explorers 22/108 (also released as BW: Black Star Promo BW40), BW: Plasma Blast 13/101 and XY: Ancient Origins 18/98.  Again only that last one is Standard legal.  All are Stage 1 Fire-Types with Water Weakness and no Resistance.  BW: Noble Victories 21/101 has 110 HP, a Retreat Cost of [C] and two attacks: for [R] it can use “Fiery Dance” to attach a Basic Energy card from your discard pile to one of your Benched Pokémon and for [RCC] it can use Heat Wave to do 60 damage and Burn the opponent’s Active.  BW: Dark Explorers 22/108 also has 110 HP but with a Retreat Cost of [CCC], an Ability (Scorching Scales) and attack (Burning Wind).  Scorching Scales has your opponent place four damage counters instead of two when failing a Burn check while Burning Wind does 70 and gives you the option of discarding an Energy from itself; doing it means you also Burn the opponent’s Active.  BW: Plasma Blast 13/101 is a 100 HP Team Plasma Pokémon with a Retreat Cost of [C], the attack “Solar Transporter” for [C] - reveals Top five cards of your deck; Team Plasma cards go to your hand while everything else goes to the discard pile - and “Leech Life for [RRC] - does 50 damage and heals Volcarona by the amount of damage done.  XY: Ancient Origins 18/98 has 110 HP and Retreat Cost of [CC].  It bears the Ancient Trait “Θ Stop”, protecting it from your opponent’s Abilities as well as two attacks: for [R] it can use “Burning Scales” to do 20+, where the “plus” is flipping two coins good for an additional 20 damage per “heads” or use “Wind Wheel” for [RCC] to hit for 80 then force your opponent to send up a new Active (your opponent chooses). 

We’ve got older reviews for BW: Noble Victories 21/101, BW: Dark Explorers 22/108 and BW: Plasma Blast 13/101 you can reference, but the older they are the less likely they are to prove relevant to the present other than showing that we weren’t sure if they would prove significant back and so far they never have.  XY: Ancient Origins 18/98 seems likely to join them; neither attack does anything really worth the effort of running a Stage 1, especially as there are Basic Fire-Types that can do a better job.  Even Θ Stop can’t offer it enough of a boost.  Today’s version won’t get any useful support out of these but at least it won’t be competing against them either.  So, how do you use Volcarona (XY: Ancient Origins 17/98) effectively?  I don’t know about some secret (or not-so-secret) successful deck for it, but the basic premise would be to get it out ASAP (Wally) so that it can set-up a Basic Pokémon with two basic Energy attached.  It might be a Basic you hope to safely Evolve (...probably not the best idea though) or it might be something you hope to attack with next turn (still a bit of a risk) but especially with a few Shaymin-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 77/108, 106/108) to help out, it seems at least plausible.  As the speed boost isn’t huge unless your can use Solar Birth more than once or are setting up something with a normally awkward/expensive Energy cost, you can kind of narrow down some choices.

So that pretty much covers Standard and Expanded; it might seem like a bit of a cheat but without a lot of hard data I can only go with the usual: if there is nothing that specifically combos, competes with or counters it, then it does just as well in Expanded as in the Standard Format.  For Limited, the downside is it is a Stage 1 so you’ll need at least one Larvesta but the effect is well worth it due to the lack of other resources and tools for set-up.  Plus it is even decent attacking for damage here! 

Ratings 

Standard: 3/5 

Expanded: 3/5 

Limited: 4.75/5 

Summary: Making myself look like a fool, I have to confess I am most likely overrating this card, but though I can’t think of a good combo partner, it just seems like too useful a combo for so many cards that lack something better for Energy acceleration.  Not something to bank on winning Worlds with, Volcarona is definitely something to test; at the very least so you aren’t surprised when someone decides to use it just for fun (even though it is a tournament) or as part of their super-secret-awesome deck that actually isn’t all that good but will still steal a win if you don’t quickly grasp how it works.


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