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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

 Sceptile EX

- Ancient Origins

Date Reviewed:
September 29, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3.40
Expanded: 3.75
Limited: 4.67

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

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

Anyone remember my comments about Sceptile-EX from the M Sceptile-EX review?

"Of course, a good Mega EX deserves a good EX, and Sceptile-EX is worked up to be probably one of the more powerful and dangerous EX to come out. Sceptile-EX can take care of opponent's in a simple 2-turn maneuver with Sleep Poison causing Sleep AND Poison for 1 (with a coin toss and an extra 10 damage for trying), and Unseen Claw, which will deal an extra 70 damage on top of its 60 damage if the opposing Pokemon's affected by a Status Condition - all for 2 Energy. Not too shabby, really, and it combos insanely well with Ariados from earlier. "

Yeah, that hasn't changed much. Sceptile-EX is fairly solid, and knowing that he can quickly evolve into M Sceptile-EX, it's understandable that he might get overlooked. But he really shouldn't, cause he's a fairly powerful Pokemon-EX in his own right! Like I said, Sleep Poison can cause, well, Sleep and Poison! Sure, it requires a coin flip, but even trying for it is worth it. And Unseen Claw works so well with Ariados, there's no real reason NOT to at least be running the two alongside each other! 

If you're running M Sceptile-EX, obviously this is a must, since the only other Sceptile-EX I'm aware of being legal is the promo, and while it too has a chance at falling behind on a coin flip (since it's using Agility), this Sceptile-EX can benefit off of some combos more than the promo version can. That's not to say the other Sceptile-EX doesn't have to necessarily see play though - I can imagine using Strong Slash from the promo could be a reliable means of striking down an opponent, though Unseen Claw does the same thing for less Energy, only needs 1 Grass Energy and another Energy to be used, and does the damage if the opponent has a Special Condition, again easily done with Ariados - have I mentioned Unseen Claw can be used two turns in a row? 

So all-in-all, play this one. It's solid! 

Rating 

Standard: 3/5 (the coin flip can hurt its chances, but Ariados alone can make up for that, and that means Sceptile-EX can smack around for 130 pretty early!) 

Expanded: 3.5/5 (with HTL here, it becomes even EASIER to inflict a Status Condition - and you don't even have to get Poisoned yourself!) 

Limited: 4.5/5 (high HP, decent first attack to threaten a super-strong second attack - what's not to like?) 

Arora Notealus: Sceptile remains one of the coolest Pokemon of all time, and in fact, I dare say that Gen III had the best line-up of starters. It didn't really matter which starter you picked between Torchic, Treecko, or Mudkip, you managed to get a cool-looking Pokemon - and better yet, a cool-looking Mega Evo in ORAS - that would stick by your side for life! Of course, Blaziken has always stood out the most, but Sceptile and Swampert shouldn't be shunned just cause they're not Blaziken - they're cool in their own ways! 

Next Time: BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEES


Otaku

Our second Card of the Day this week has given me some trouble.  Oh, not talking about while playing: I just had an epic memory failure and accidentally wrote and submitted a review for tomorrow’s pick instead of today’s.  I didn’t catch it until after I asked Pojo to post a revised version of the same (incorrect) CotD and then somehow really goofed things up, leading to four month old review of Wally to go up instead!  So is Sceptile-EX (XY: Ancient Origins 7/98, 84/98) as impressive as the series of mistakes that occurred before I wrote this review?  Let’s find out. 

Sceptile-EX is a Grass-Type and you’re going to get tired of hearing me rehash why this is a good, solid-Type (possibly one of the better ones to be) right now.  The big thing is that the Grass-Type just got a key piece of support this set called Forest of Giant Plants and I’ll probably be mentioning it in almost every review this week.  This Stadium allows Grass-Types to Evolve immediately, including multiple times in a single turn and on the first turn a Grass-Type is in play (even the very first turn of the game).  So with Sceptile Spirit Link you can instantly go from Sceptile-EX to M Sceptile-EX.  This makes Sceptile-EX less important than it might otherwise have been and will affect the rest of the review.  Otherwise being a Grass-Type allows Sceptile-EX to hit Weakness on at least a few key cards: exactly how many is still uncertain with the current data because things are still in flux.  You never have to worry about Resistance though there are a few anti-Grass-Type cards: neither are big deals. 

Sceptile-EX has 170 HP, the lower of the two commonly seen amounts on Basic Pokémon-EX, which is still likely to survive a hit but a little more vulnerable than the other common score of 180 or the larger scores seen on a handful of other Basics and on all Mega Evolutions.  The Fire Weakness means the typical Fire-Type attackers are all but guaranteed a OHKO so long as they are using their “big” or “main” attack.  Thanks to Flareon (XY: Ancient Origins 13/98) this Weakness is a bit worse than it once was because hypothetically any Stage 1 can be its own Type plus Fire.  No Resistance is the worst and yet isn’t that bad because it is also the most common; being able to soak 20 damage from one Type would have been a nice little bonus, but it isn’t a necessity and the difference is rarely dramatic.  The Retreat Cost of [C] is very good; it isn’t the best but it is very easy to pay and yet recover from paying and if you’ve got any sort of Retreat Cost decreasing trick (like Skyarrow Bridge though that isn’t a recommendation) it will become a perfect free Retreat Cost. 

Sceptile-EX has no Ability or Ancient Trait but the usual two attacks.  The first attack (Sleep Poison) requires [G] to hit for 10 damage with a coin flip based effect: “heads” means you inflict both Sleep and Poison on the opponent’s Active while “tails” means just the base 10 damage.  For [GC] the second attack (Unseen Claw) does 60 damage, but states it does another 70 (130 total) if the opponent’s Active is affected by a Special Condition.  Sleep Poison is nice and inexpensive, and if you inflict Sleep and it sticks around it can buy you time to Mega Evolve or avoid being damaged while you move onto Unseen Claw.  The Poison can also drop a few more targets into 2HKO range, but if you want to take out anything major you’re going to need additional buffs.  Sleep Poison fails to deliver either Special Condition half the time (give or take “luck”) which means Unseen Claw would need other support if you want it to be your go-to-attack. 

You have another Sceptile-EX to consider as well as the aforementioned M Sceptile-EX and Sceptile Spirit Link.  Sceptile-EX (XY Black Star Promo XY53) was reviewed here the week before we did our Top 15 for XY: Ancient Origins.  It is very similar to today’s card, with the only game relevant text differences being the two attacks.  The first (Agility) requires [G] to hit for 20 and if you get “heads” on the required coin flip it will protect Sceptile-EX from all effects of attacks (including damage) done to Sceptile-EX during your opponent’s next turn (“tails” just means the base 20 damage).  For [GGG] the second attack (Strong Slash) scores 130 damage, but its effect states it cannot be used during your next turn (benching, bouncing and/or Mega Evolution can reset that effect).  This is actually a solid Pokémon in its own right: Agility also can buy time to Mega Evolve or help set-up for a 2HKO (needing a little help against most Pokémon-EX), but it is harder to fuel Strong Slash and you can easily use Strong Slash twice in a row. 

M Sceptile-EX was reviewed here as our fourth place pick for this set.  It is a Grass-Type Mega Evolution with 220 HP, Fire Weakness, no Resistance, a Retreat Cost of [CC], no Ability, an Ancient Trait and a single attack.  The Ancient Trait is Θ Stop, which prevents all effects of the Abilities of opponent’s Pokémon done to M Sceptile-EX, while the attack is Jagged Saber which costs [GC] and hits for 100 damage with the option of attaching zero, one or two [G] Energy from hand (currently only basic Grass Energy is an option) to your Benched Pokémon.  You can attach two Energy to a single target or one apiece to two targets.  If that wasn’t enough, the effect does more; the Pokémon to which the Energy is attached have all their damage healed.  My final conclusion hasn’t changed; if your deck can’t score a OHKO or otherwise mess with the game plan of the typical M Sceptile-EX deck you’re in trouble.  “Messing with the game plan” can include disruption or simply having enough Pokémon just outside of the 2HKO (for Pokémon-EX) or OHKO (for non-Pokémon-EX) range.  This brings us to our first use for today’s Sceptile-EX. 

Of course you can Mega Evolve it, but it also acts as a back-up attacker to help stall while setting up if you whiff on what you need (with Forest of Giant Plants and Mega Turbo, you may be able to access Jagged Saber immediately) or delivering a slightly strong hit if the opponent’s Active is already afflicted with a Special Condition.  Ariados (XY: Ancient Origins 6/98), our ninth place pick for this set, has an Ability that allows you to Poison non-Grass-Type Active Pokémon from the Bench, though it hits both Actives.  While it does require some extra space, it shores up the damage of Jagged Saber as well and allows you to fall back onto Sceptile-EX and its Unseen Claw.  Especially in Expanded, you may instead focus on Sceptile-EX itself as the main attacker; you can run Virbank City Gym, Hypnotoxic Laser and Muscle Band so that Unseen Claw does an effective 180 damage before Weakness, Resistance and other effects.  For two Energy and being a Basic Pokémon-EX, that is actually a solid deal.  You might be able to the same in Standard, except you’ll lack Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym; I’m not sure if sure if suitable replacements exist. 

Here is what I didn’t expect; in either case, I think you might need to run a Sceptile-EX (XY: Black Star Promos XY53), maybe even two if you’re focused on M Sceptile-EX.  Why?  It could be a mistaken notion because of what I am facing on the PTCGO, but a flat 130 is needed for things like Wobbuffet (XY: Phantom Forces 36/119).  It isn’t the only one, but it is probably the best example of what messes up the strategies as it has 110 HP and shuts down the Abilities of non-Psychic-Type Pokémon.  You have to either have a totally separate attacker or have a non-Ability or attack based method of nailing Wobbuffet with a Special Condition for Sceptile-EX (XY: Ancient Origins 7/98, 84/98) to do the job.  I haven’t found a good “totally separate attacker” that fits in the available space and doesn’t have other issues, so I am starting to think the promo Sceptile-EX could be the answer, even if it needs three Energy to attack.  Special Conditions can also be disabled apart from Abilities, so again Unseen Claw has its limits… and so even in Expanded using a deck focused on Unseen Claw you might want the promo as back-up. 

M Sceptile-EX means you can find a good use for today’s card in either Standard or Expanded and you could try to use Sceptile-EX on its own (though less promising for Standard).  For Limited, it is a great pull as the costs allow it to work off-Type so long as you can still run some basic Grass Energy.  It also is strong enough to consider for “+39” status, where the other 39 cards in your Limited deck are anything other than Basic Pokémon, ensuring you open with Sceptile-EX.  Just remember that you also are guaranteed to lose if Sceptile-EX is KOed and you’ll only score OHKOs against targets with 60 HP or less (2HKOs can take down those with 140 or less if they can be affected by Special Conditions) and while there isn’t a huge Fire presence in this set, what is there could be a problem.  So in Limited, only skip it if you have such good other pulls that people are going to think you cheated. ;) 

Ratings 

Standard: 3.25/5 

Expanded: 3.25/5 

Limited: 5/5 

Summary: Sceptile-EX (XY: Ancient Origins 7/98, 84/98) is a good, solid foundation for M Sceptile-EX, providing a back-up/alternate attacker.  It may even have enough potential for its own deck, though I’m not sure if it is really worth pursuing.  It isn’t as far beyond Sceptile-EX (XY: Black Star Promos XY53) as I thought and the latter may still have a place in Sceptile-EX or M Sceptile-EX decks. 


Emma Starr

            Sceptile EX, one of the many feared Grass Pokemon of this set, mainly due to his Mega, whom we already discussed a few weeks back. But can his base form pack on the hurt too?

            For a mere one Grass Energy, Sleep Poison does 10 damage, but lets you flip a coin. If it lands heads, the opponent gets Poisoned, and falls asleep! It’s almost like a less accessible, and less reliable version of Hypnotoxic Laser! As stated though, it’s less accessible due to Sleep Poison being an attack, and not an easily-useable Item (though I guess that can be good if you’re getting Vile-locked), and less reliable, due to the whole effect of the attack (minus the 10 damage) being tails-fails. You could bring a Trick Coin, but many Grass decks I’ve played with Sceptile EX just don’t have enough room for it. If you really feel the need to get a status down, I’d rather run a Hypnotoxic Laser anyway, though in Standard, you’re best bet is probably Ariados, whom we also already covered. In any way, if you’re able to inflict the defending Pokemon with a status, be prepared to really lay on the damage with the next attack!

            Unseen Claw (or the cooler ‘Assassin Claw’ in Japanese) costs only one more Colorless in addition to the Grass from the last attack (again…pretty cheap energy costs!) does 60 damage, but if they’re afflicted with ANY status, you add 70 more damage, which will equate to 130 damage! Pretty nice for an attack you could use on your second turn! Coupled with the poison they’re probably still inflicted with, and perhaps a Muscle Band, you could potentially even score a OHKO with this!

            Standard: 4/5 (Status-reliant, but even without Hypnotoxic Laser, there are plenty of ways to inflict status, even if Sleep Poison fails.)

            Expanded: 4.5/5 (Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym provide even more support, allowing even better odds on a OHKO!)

            Limited: 4.5/5 (Got some nice Grass support? Run it.)


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