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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

 Bellossom

- Ancient Origins

Date Reviewed:
September 28, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 1.83
Expanded: 1.58
Limited: 3.17

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

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

Well, now we're getting into the basics once again with this set, taking a look at some of the other cards that may or may not have been so great. We start this week off with our friend Bellossom! 

Bellossom is actually a pretty cheap Pokemon with its attacks, which is already a fairly decent start in its favor, but we'll see if that reduction does anything for it. Windmill is a 1-for-20 strike that will get Bellossom out of trouble quickly by switching her out, though it does beg the question why you'd have her out to begin with if that's really all you're going to do. I mean, I know she's got a whole 1-Energy Retreat Cost, but come on. At least with Windmill, you can deal a little damage. 

Flower Tornado tacks on another Energy to deal 60 damage, which is about alright for two Energy, but then it has a rather...odd effect: you move around as many Grass Energy attached to your Pokemon as you'd like, rearranging them as you'd like. I suppose that's helpful for maybe getting the two Energy off of Bellossom you realized would be better off on Sceptile-EX, but again, why would you need this attack? 

Bellossom is in that odd spot of filling in niches that don't really need filling in; she can do her jobs well, but in the faster breed of Grass decks that have risen, she just seems...unnecessary. Not to mention it means that for some reason you're running her over the Item-locking Vileplume...which...ya know, why would you? 

Rating 

Standard: 2/5 (I mean, she's okay, but I wouldn't say competitive) 

Expanded: 1.5/5 (you've...you've got so many better options) 

Limited: 3/5 (...eh? I mean at least Forest of Giant Plants can evolve her quick)

Arora Notealus: I really do like Bellossom as a Pokemon - really, I do! She's got a smart design, a few interesting quirks, but she was also another option for an earlier evolution, kinda like Slowking or Politoed! I guess I appreciated these kinds of branching evolutions more so than the just straight-up "evolutions" to older Pokemon because they said, "Hey! You don't have to do it one way! You can do others!" 

Next Time: Funny, this guy seems familiar...


Otaku

We’ve covered the Trainers and the Energy from the latest set that didn’t make our Top 15 list and.  I’m not creative but was allowed to set the itinerary, so we’re going to cover our bases by again going through each Type to cover the ones that either have potential or can fake it enough that a review can serve as a decent PSA on why not to run that particular card.  This helps us look for both hidden gems and bombs, so I like to think it is helpful (or at least decent reading).  We may cover a few promo cards that have released recently (or not so recently but haven’t been covered and warrant a look). 

We begin the week with Bellossom (XY: Ancient Origins 4/98), which tells you that this first week is going to cover Grass-Types!  Being a Grass-Type is fairly good right now as this set gave us some nice new Grass-Types to play around with and a new piece of Type support (Forest of Giant Plants).  They also hit a decent amount of Pokémon in established decks for Weakness while Resistance is non-existent unless you go to Unlimited.  There are a few anti-Grass-Type cards in the Standard and Expanded card pools, but they are negligible.  Being a Stage 2 means being slower than all the other Stages and with the largest space requirement; this is fine when the Evolving lower Stages are worthwhile but we’ll touch upon that later as Forest of Giant Plants may add to the space requirement but eliminates the wait period.  Bellossom has 120 HP; small for a Stage 2 but enough that Bellossom isn’t a guaranteed OHKO for your opponent.  It is however hovering somewhere between “probable” and “extremely likely”, with Weakness bumping it up to “all but guaranteed”.  The lack of Resistance is typical, while the Retreat Cost of [C] is nice and low; easy to pay, easy to recover from and a little less likely on a Stage 2. 

Bellossom lacks both an Ability and Ancient Trait, though at least it has two attacks.  The first is “Windmill” for [G], which hits for 20 and switches Bellossom with one of your Benched Pokémon.  Hit-and-run style tactics can be very strong but this will require an extensive combo given the low damage output and high investment to get to this point.  The second attack is “Flower Tornado” for [GC], which hits for 60 damage while allowing you to move as many [G] Energy attached to your Pokémon to your other Pokémon as you like.  This again can be a very useful effect, but not so much given the damage to Energy and being on a Stage 2.  The attacks have only the most basic of synergy as the first costs one less Energy than the second, though both are fairly inexpensive. 

We should consider the other cards to which Bellossom has a connection.  It is a split Evolution line with Oddish as its Basic, Gloom as the Stage 1 and your choice of Bellossom or Vileplume for your Stage 2.  You could skip Gloom via Rare Candy or Cradily (BW: Plasma Blast 4/101) but I wouldn’t bother; unless you come up with a strategy that absolutely requires a different Stadium you’re better off with Forest of Giant Plants.  That Stadium’s effect doesn’t work with Rare Candy so no sense mixing the two and Cradily has never really worked in general.  Getting back to the actual Evolution line, you have two options for each of these in Expanded play: BW: Boundaries Crossed 1/149 and XY: Ancient Origins 1/98 for Oddish, BW: Boundaries Crossed 2/149 and XY: Ancient Origins 2/98 for Gloom, BW: Boundaries Crossed 4/149) and today’s card for Bellossom and finally BW: Boundaries Crossed 3/149 and XY: Ancient Origins 3/98 for Vileplume.  Only the XY: Ancient Origins cards are Standard legal, significantly reducing your choices.  They are also a rather homogenous lot, hence not separating them out: all are Grass-Types with Fire Weakness, a Retreat Cost of [C] or more and no Ancient Trait.  All the BW: Boundaries Crossed versions have Water Resistance, as this was typical of Grass-Types during the BW-era. 

Both Oddish have 50 HP and no Abilities.  BW: Boundaries Crossed 1/149 has “Absorb” for [G], hitting for 10 damage while healing 10 from itself and “Acid” for [CC] which does a flat 20 damage.  XY: Ancient Origins 1/98 just has “Trip Over” for [G] which does 10 damage plus another 10 if you get “heads” on a mandatory coin flip (“tails” just does the initial 10 damage).  Next is Gloom, both of which have 80 HP.  BW: Boundaries Crossed 2/149 can use “Foul Odor” for [CC] to Confuse both itself and the opponent’s Active or for [GCC] it can use “Poison Powder” to Poison the opponent’s Active while hitting it for 40 points of damage up front.  The other Bellossom (BW: Boundaries Crossed 4/149) has 10 less HP than today’s version (so 110) but still sports two attacks: “Grass Knot” requires [G] to hit for 10 damage plus 20 more for each [C] in the Defending Pokémon’s Retreat Cost, and “Petal Dance” for [GCC] which has you flip three coins good for 50 points of damage per “heads”, but then Bellossom is Confused.  Neither of these attacks are great but they seem a bit better than those of today’s card.  This version of Bellsom got its own CotD here; being over two and a half years old, the review is surprisingly accurate, mostly just needing to reference contemporary strategies.  Said review also isn’t overly positive. 

Vileplume (BW: Boundaries Crossed 3/149) took ninth place for our BW: Boundaries Crossed top 10 list here while Vileplume (XY: Ancient Origins 3/98) made our Top 15 list here as the second place pick.  The former has proven overrated while it is still too early to tell with the latter.  Both sport a Retreat Cost of [CCC] that makes them difficult to manually retreat.  BW: Boundaries Crossed 3/149 has 140 HP, the highest of our options and enough to probably survive a hit.  Its Ability (Allergy Panic) causes Weakness to quadruple damage instead of just doubling it, which can lead to some incredible results, but for the most part is overkill; doubling damage in a format where 2HKOs are the standard speed and OHKOs are fast gets the job done more than adequately.  Throw in the game adding more Types recently (and more forms of Weakness) and we lacked enough easy to combine attackers of the various Types, at least given that we were also running a Stage 2 line.  It’s attack - Pollen Spray - required [GCCC] to hit for 50 with Poison, which didn’t completely clash with its Ability but was horribly overpriced.  XY: Ancient Origins 3/98 on the other hand has a still somewhat solid 130 HP and the broadly useful Ability “Irritating Pollen” which prevents both players from using Item cards from hand (ones in play already still function).  It has a decent “Solar Beam” attack that does 70 damage for [GGC] but should rarely be used.  In fact both versions are clearly meant as Bench-sitters, it is just BW: Boundaries Crossed 3/149 decks then had to use something else to exploit Grass Weakness and decks using it didn’t really have room. 

This brings us to how today’s Bellossom might make its way into a competitive deck; a single copy just so that you can surprise your opponent while you run Vileplume (XY: Ancient Origins 3/98).  Its Ability doesn’t stack so a second copy in play is just a redundancy, only useful if you are worried about something happening to the first.  Having an attacker that comes from the line means spare Oddish and Gloom have an additional purpose.  Unfortunately the attacks on today’s version aren’t so great; you might try a porter deck but those tend to run heavy on Items, clashing with Vileplume.  Windmill isn’t the only attack and it is Flower Tornado that almost makes this seem plausible.  It doesn’t care about the Energy being Basic or Special and it doesn’t about the Type of Pokémon to which the Energy is attached.  This could be handy when moving around things like Double Dragon Energy for Giratina-EX (XY: Ancient Origins 57/98, 93/98), one of the popular partners for Vileplume.  However if I have the option and want to include such a thing in a Vileplume deck, I’d go with the older BW: Boundaries Crossed 4/149 Bellossom as it might pack a decent punch and the main counter to it (Float Stone) is blocked by Irritating Pollen.  Neither use is overly compelling, just an option that has a slight chance of working out.

So in the end, there isn’t much for today’s card to do in Standard or Expanded.  In Limited play, it performs much better.  Limited is already an odd one with its 40 card decks constructed from six booster packs you open at the event (plus however many basic Energy cards you need) and four Prize structure.  Decks usually are light on draw/search power and major combos, making it harder to Evolve but also making Evolutions much more powerful, simply because they are bigger than most of the Basics a person can hope to pull because now card rarity becomes a factor.  Being an Uncommon and having an alternate Evolution that ever so slightly improves your odds of pulling out a more fleshed out Evolution line is useful.  Needing only [G] Energy for specific Energy costs is also handy as this Bellossom to splash into decks more easily, though Flower Tornado will give you incentive to run mostly basic Grass Energy.  Moving Energy around to conserve it (and avoid being punished because you had little choice but to attach the wrong Type to fuel something’s Colorless costs) becomes important as it is a weak form of Energy acceleration.  At the very least Bellossom can take its own Energy and put it on something else while attacking when you know it is going to be KO'd afterwards.  Bellossom still isn’t fantastic here, but compared to constructed formats, it has a shot. 

Ratings 

Standard: 1.5/5 

Expanded: 1.25/5 

Limited: 3/5 

Summary: Bellossom (XY: Ancient Origins 4/98) does some things that would be more useful on a Basic Pokémon; not just for speed reasons (otherwise Forest of Giant Plants could compensate) but because they are tricks suited to cards that take less space.  Even if the attacks hit harder, they still would be lacking.  It might have some use as a single added to Vileplume (XY: Ancient Origins 3/98) decks, but not much of a use and in Expanded it doesn’t really have that as the older Bellossom (BW: Boundaries Crossed 4/149) seems like the better choice for this niche usage.


Emma Starr

    Bellossom, the Pokemon who had a normal-sized sprite in Gen 2, then became itty-bitty in future generations. She’s so tiny, it’s a wonder she can do much damage! However, this may have been what this card was after, since her most damaging attack does 60.

    So, with 120 HP, she obviously isn’t sticking around too long, and being a Stage 2 isn’t doing any favors either, but at least with Forest of Giant Plants, it could be possible to get her out on Turn 1/2, but why would you?

    Her first attack, Windmill, only costs 1 Grass (which is nice if you did manage to get her out so early), and does 20 damage, and lets you switch out Bellossom with one of your benched Pokemon, making it seem like the card designers knew you wouldn’t want Bellossom as your active! If anything, I guess it can help Bellossom get out of risky situations, while switching to a Pokemon who can take what your opponent may be ready to dish out…

    Now, the main reason you may want to play her is for Flower Tornado, which only costs one Colorless more than the previous attack. It does 60 damage, and lets you re-arrange Grass Energies around on your Pokemon to your liking. This could actually prove to be very useful. Let’s say your Lugia EX is loaded with energies, but is heavily damaged. Just Switch or Retreat to Bellossom, and Flower Tornado, which will let you move all the energies on Lugia EX to your other Pokemon who are less vulnerable, while doing 60 damage on the side! However, this is still an attack, which means Bellossom has to be active, which is a problem, due to her lack of HP. She may still last a Turn or two though, so you could always switch out to someone else afterwards, and use her again later, which is very feasible, due to having a Retreat Cost of only 1. If this was an ability, similar to Aromatisse’s (XY 93) Fairy Transfer, however, I could see her being very useful, but with all the boons Grass Pokemon have gotten in this set, it’s probably for the best.
 
    Modified: 2/5 (risky, but could be worth it in the right situations.)
    Expanded: 2/5
    Limited: 3.5/5 (if you get Oddish and Gloom, and enough of other Grass Pokemon, have at thee!)


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