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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Top 15 Ancient Origin Cards

#2 - Vileplume

- Ancient Origins

Date Reviewed:
September 10, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 4.25
Expanded: 4.10
Limited: 4.25

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

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

Yep, we're back baby! 

Vileplume hasn't always appeared on the radar of tourney decks, but when he has, it's almost always ALWAYS because he's got a lockdown Ability! (says the guy who was out of the game for many many years...) Really though, it's a testament to Vileplume's heritage that another promising young card takes to the scene to lock down player decks - and he's probably going to be the most dangerous one yet! 

First off, let's kick out the old Solar Beam attack so it's out of the way. You're never gonna use it. It's a 3-for-70 vanilla blow, and it's not worth your time to make it work, so don't. Vileplume was built as a Bench-sitter, and by Arceus, he's gonna be a Bench-sitter!! 

Now here's the kicker: Vileplume's Ability will keep players in check the way Seismitoad-EX's Quaking Punch kept opponents at bay for so long. That's right, Irritating Pollen completely neutralizes the players' ability to play any Item cards from their hand.  

Please take a moment to look up grammar and note that that apostrophe is coming after the "s" there, not before. 

That's because Irritating Pollen affects BOTH sides of the playing field - not unlike Undaunted's Vileplume did. At first glance though, you'll recall that that Vileplume negated the entire class of Trainer cards rather than just Items, so why would this Vileplume be more powerful? Well, there's one very obvious reason: Forest of Giant Plants. 

That's right, the most powerful Grass support lands itself right on top of Vileplume and gives him the Ability to come out as early as Turn 1. And a Turn 1 Item-lock is terrifying when you get down to it! Heck, Seismitoad-EX proved that theory true for the longest time - and now Vileplume's here to make it ever more certain! 

Now any deck tailored around Vileplume is going to have to take into consideration that they're out of the Item race just as much as their opponent's gonna be, and that's where a smart player can take advantage of this with Giratina-EX to lock the opponent down. And if you're really crafty and play Hex Maniac at just the right time, you can open up your Items for the turn to devastate your opponent - though be warned, your opponent will get their Items back too! 

In any case, Vileplume is a nasty little card that takes some skill to use, and as any crafty player will know, he's a fairly powerful card in the format - at least, in the right deck. 

Rating 

Standard: 4.5/5 (a little slow at Stage 2, but that's circumvented by the introduction of Forest of Giant Plants - and once the lock is down, say goodbye to everything you ever cared for!) 

Expanded: 4/5 (Item lock will still be prevalent, but then there's also Garbodor to watch out for) 

Limited: 4.5/5 (the only reason you wouldn't play him is you lack the evolutions...and you drafted a lot of good Items...but hey, he's good for keeping that opponent locked!) 

Arora Notealus: Vileplume was always an interesting Pokemon since day one, what with that giant flower on his head. Seriously, how do you go through life with what's basically a giant beanbag growing out of your head? It's gotta be rough...well, unless it's a really light flower on its head. 

Next Time: Oh you probably know by now...well if not, I guess I'll just count my 2000 Pokemon movies.


Otaku

Our second place card is the latest iteration of my lovely dark rose, Vileplume (XY: Ancient Origins 03/98)! @};- 

If you’re not sure what I mean, it will become clear almost immediately because this is one of those cards where I’m jumping immediately to the main feature that justifies running the card.  In this case that would be its Ability “Irritating Pollen” which states “Each player can’t play any Item cards from his or her hand.”  This is a two-sided, no other requirements Item lock.  It is a bit weaker than some other examples because you are also denied Items, but unlike those others this one can work from the Bench and doesn’t require you use a specific attack alongside it.  My goofy intro refers to one of my favorite older cards and its string of successors: Dark Vileplume (Team Rocket 13/82, 30/82), which sports an even more impressive effect, its Pokémon Power “Hay Fever” that prevents any and all Trainers from being played from hand by either player (though it can be turned off if Dark Vileplume is afflicted with a Special Condition).  That wasn’t the first Vileplume but it was the first one to actually matter.  Since then other versions have taken up the Trainer denying mantle, though like today’s they did things a little differently. 

Vileplume has the attack “Solar Beam” for [GGC], hitting for 70 damage.  This is a filler attack though not too bad of one: if it required [GCC] and/or hit a bit harder it would be good, but as is you’ll still may occasionally find it worth using.  Historically Vileplume have not been great attackers.  It has a Retreat Cost of [CCC] that is painful to pay: probably requires more Energy than you’ll have attached and definitely more than most decks will be able to afford to discard.  Bring an alternative that the Ability won’t block and if you have room in Expanded, Heavy Ball for a decent spare search option.  The lack of Resistance is typical so we’ll move onto the Weakness which is also typical but quite clearly present.  The Fire-Type never amounted to much most of the previous format, apart from a few key attackers that didn’t always need Weakness in the first place, but this new set gave us Flareon (XY: Ancient Origins 13/98).  You may remember that one from me referencing it before and if not, we did a whole CotD on it here.  There are also a few promising Fire-Types in this set (though the rest weren’t promising enough to make the list).  Between semi-random Stage 1 Pokémon becoming Fire-Types and cards like Entei (XY: Ancient Origins 14/98) and the other Entei (XY: Ancient Origins 15/98) I am thinking you can’t trust this Weakness to remain hard to hit but then I have to remind myself I’ve thought that before, so just keep an eye out. 

Vileplume has 130 HP.  For a Stage 2, this is the “low” end of “typical”: as if I didn’t sound wishy-washy enough right now that amount is pretty badly split between “OHKO” and “survival”.  You’ve got the usual exceptions to the OHKO: decks that have an incomplete set-up or which focus on effects over damage, but you’ve also got a few that are more 2HKO oriented or prone to misfiring and either will whiff on the OHKO at least some of the time.  Too high to accurately write off as a OHKO and too low to count on it being a 2HKO… except of course when that Weakness factors in.  As for the rest of being a Stage 2, it is a hurdle to overcome.  You’ll need three cards to get a single Vileplume into play, and without Evolution acceleration you’ll also need two turns.  Good thing because this would be insane even with the card investment if you could drop it first turn… which demonstrates why I have trust issues with the powers-that-be because they made it a Grass-Type.  That is right: with our #12 pick Forest of Giant Plants you can try to rush into a Vileplume and cut your opponent off from his or her Item cards on not only your first turn but even the very first turn of the game!  The slight break is that your opponent probably needs to rely on their opening Supporter plus any Shaymin-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 77/108; 106/108) to puff off such a feat.  While it won’t too often be relevant, Vileplume also enjoys exploiting a decent amount of Weakness if you want it attacking and never has to worry about Resistance.  There is at least one anti-Grass-Type card, maybe more: they are forgettable so even I only feel a general mention is warranted. 

Especially if you want to take advantage of Forest of Giant Plants you’ll have to go through Oddish and Gloom: no Rare Candy on this route!  The only Standard legal option for Oddish is XY: Ancient Origins 1/98, while Expanded adds in BW: Boundaries Crossed 1/149.  For Gloom it is the same: XY: Ancient Origins 2/98 for Standard or Expanded, while BW: Boundaries Crossed 2/149 is Expanded only.  Expanded also adds in a second option for Vileplume, BW: Boundaries Crossed 3/149.  All of these are Fire Weak Grass-Types without Ancient Traits and everything that isn’t Vileplume (BW: Boundaries Crossed 3/149) has a Retreat Cost of [C] and no Abilities.  The three from BW: Boundaries Crossed all share Water Resistance because that was common to Grass-Types at the time; the newer ones have none. 

Oddish (XY: Ancient Origins 1/98) has 50 and the attack “Trip Over” that costs [G]; it does 10 damage and has you flip a coin with “heads” granting an additional 10 damage (“tails” just means the original 10 only).  Oddish (Boundaries Crossed) 1/149 Also has only 50 HP, but two attacks: for [G] it can use “Absorb” to hit for 10 damage while healing 10 damage from itself and for [CC] it can use “Acid” to hit for 20 damage.  Gloom (XY: Ancient Origins 2/98) has 80 HP and a single attack (Drool) that does 30 for [GC]; Gloom (BW: Boundaries Crossed 2/149) can use “Foul Odor” at a cost of [CC] to Confuse itself and the opponent’s Active or for [GCC] can use “Poison Powder” for 40 damage and of course Poison.  Vileplume (BW: Boundaries Crossed 3/149) has the same [CCC] Retreat Cost as today’s version but with 140 HP.  Its Ability (Allergy Panic) causes Weakness to count as 4x instead of 2x.  Its attack is “Pollen Spray” and it costs [GCCC] to hit for 50 leave the opponent’s Active both Asleep and Poisoned.  It was reviewed way back in late 2012 and we really, really overestimated it.  You see with the absurd damage output of competitive cards, most just didn’t need to double the current Weakness they faced so much as to find a way to hit more than one kind of Weakness. 

In Standard you have no choice with the line, but in Expanded I’d use the older BW: Boundaries Crossed Oddish and Gloom as they seem ever-so-slightly better.  If you have a spare slot go ahead and include a lone copy of Vileplume (BW: Boundaries Crossed 3/149) alongside two or three of today’s Vileplume (XY: Ancient Origins 03/98), because “Irritating Pollen” doesn’t stack: multiples are only there to function as an immediate backup in case your opponent can somehow neutralize a single one that is in play (and presumably can’t do the same to a second).  At the same time though you won’t want to skimp on them because you’ll want to set them up quickly and reliably.  A full four is probably overkill for the final Stage but not the lower Stages… this is why for something so niche you still may wish to consider including the older Vileplume.  At least in Expanded; for Standard it isn’t even an option.  Fortunately the most likely deck for Vileplume doesn’t really need it anyway: instead it will focus on attacking with yesterday’s CotD, Giratina-EX (XY: Ancient Origins 57/98, 93/98).  While it isn’t worth the effort of pulling off the entire lock (Vileplume on the Bench and Giratina-EX attacking) on your first turn when you go second (it is possible) you have a decent chance of getting it going by your second turn and if you do a lot of decks are going to struggle without their Items, Special Energy and Stadiums plus if their main attacker is a Mega Evolution, it needs a work-around to touch Giratina-EX.  There are a few key cards (like Hex Maniac or Xerosic) that can disrupt the lock. 

Another option is M Sceptile-EX, our review from two days ago.  Nice to the the Top 15 approach earning its keep, given all the older cards I’ve linked back to in this one review.  I mentioned there that the deck would probably want to hold off until it has access to Fisherman (confirmed for a Japanese reprint and thus highly likely to return to outside of Japan) to help with getting basic Energy back into hand, but if you did want to try it now you could also consider AZ: bounce your own Vileplume into hand, use the needed Items (Sceptile Spirit Link, Energy Retrieval or Energy Recycler plus a Professor’s Letter, etc.) then thanks to Forest of Giant Plants you can immediately drop Oddish, Evolve back into Gloom and finally back into Vileplume.  Are there other potential combos?  I would assume so but these are the two that seemed the most fleshed out.  Especially in Expanded, I suggest combing for other dance partners for our lovely rose. As for Limited play, that is a tough one.  The set has a decent chunk of Items and shutting them down sounds good, but Vileplume isn’t overly easy to splash: you’d either be forcing yourself to run more basic Grass Energy or accepting Vileplume as a Bench-sitter.  In the end I think unless you’re running a deck built around a single Basic Pokémon (+39 deck) then you should try to work in Vileplume.  Even here three slots (or more if you can manage better than a 1-1-1 line) is a lot to dedicate to such a thing, but blocking the handful of Items your opponent is running can be disproportionately important, enough to compensate for the times when it ends up being a total waste. 

Ratings 

Standard: 4/5 

Expanded: 4.2/5 

Limited: 4/5 

Summary: Vileplume is somewhat deck specific; perhaps people will find a way to run it in a as a stripped down Bench-sitter but for now it will be a major part of any deck which contains it, so that is not a “general usage” rating.  That being said it shuts down Items and from the Bench, which is seriously potent.  I can’t tell if I’m just not encountering the people who are using it well right now or if we had a false start on the best dance partners for the card, but I still expect great things from it. 

My confidence has waned a little so were I writing the list now I would have put it below the more “general usage” cards that made the list, though not by much.  It probably shouldn’t be any lower than 5th place unless everything else expected to help make it was already rated above it.


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