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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Top 15 Ancient Origin Cards

#5 - Hex Maniac

- Ancient Origins

Date Reviewed:
September 8, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 4.00
Expanded: 4.08
Limited: 4.50

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

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

Spooky scary gothic gals, man. That's pretty much Hex Maniacs in a nutshell, am I right? 

And MAN is Hex Maniac scary! No, I'm not just talking about her creeping up on that Poke Ball, I mean her effect is just downright scary! Sure, you sacrifice the Supporter for the turn, but she's exactly the kind of card that decks that wouldn't run Silent Lab or Wobbuffet or Garbodor would LOVE to have! 

Similar to all of these cards, Hex Maniac has the Ability to...well, shut down Abilities. Now whereas each of these has a specific limitation to their powers - Garbodor needs a Tool attached, Wobbuffet has to be Active and doesn't affect Psychic-types, and Silent Lab only works on Basic Pokemon - Hex Maniac doesn't have a limitation. She just shuts down all Abilities of all Pokemon in the player's hands, on their field, and in the discard pile until the end of your opponent's next turn! 

...ah, right. Till the end of the opponent's next turn. 

In a sense, Hex Maniac does have her own set of limitations - she prevents you from playing any other Supporters for the turn and only lasts till your next turn. But that's certainly more than long enough to make use of her - perhaps the most obvious use of Hex Maniac is as a counter to Safeguard Pokemon like Suicune, Sigilyph, or Pyroar to some degree so your massive EX can get rid of the threat with ease, but she's also got a few other good uses. For instance, keep in mind your opponent doesn't get to use Shaymin-EX to draw more cards during their next turn, they can't cycle Energy from their discard pile through Bronzong or Eelektrik or out from their hand via Blastoise or Emboar, and it'll keep your Pokemon safe from combos like Dusknoir, Crobat, and Flygon's damage-dealing and rearranging Abilities! 

Of course, most decks these days tend to run around on Abilities, so it can be detrimental to use Hex Maniac willy-nilly - you might have to accelerate Energy or draw cards or all sorts of other stuff! So the best way to use a Hex Maniac on any given turn is to use any Abilities you have right away - whether that's Dusknoir's rearranging damage to set-up for a KO or even Hoopa-EX's powers to grab a Shaymin-EX and draw cards to combo like crazy - and then when you're done and ready, THEN drop that Hex Maniac! 

Course, you still can't play Sycaper or any other Supporter during that turn, but hey, for that one turn you've got - and the next likely crippled turn your opponent's got - Hex Maniac may end up saving your life rather than taking it!

Rating 

Standard: 4/5 (when played correctly and at the right time, Hex Maniac can be a devastating card to the opponent, ensuring a solid KO and even crippling their next turn to make things difficult for a counterattack) 

Expanded: 4/5 (of course, once Hex Maniac's done and over with...well, everything's gonna go back online) 

Limited: 4/5 (while there are only so many Pokemon with Abilities in this set, those that do have POWERFUL effects!) 

Arora Notealus: So everyone has probably at least heard of the mysterious ghost girl in that one building in Lumiose City, right? The one with the Hex Maniac sprite and everything? Seriously, how creepy is that gal anyway? Why is she there?! What's her purpose!! I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS ABOUT HER!!! 

Next Time: And now for the new lead on Grass decks!


Otaku

We begin the week with our fifth most promising pick of the latest set: Hex Maniac (XY: Ancient Origins 75/98)!  Her effect is that after you play her until the end of your opponent’s next turn, all Pokémon on the field, in hand and in the discard pile are treated as if they have no Abilities.  The reminder text makes sure we realize that includes Pokémon not already in play the turn you actually used Hex Maniac… which I guess matters because the deck and Prize Cards aren’t referenced and people might not get that cards entering the affected zones from the unaffected zones are still shut down.  Be careful of Abilities that trigger between turns; you’ll stop them once but they’ll kick in before your next turn begins.  So what makes this card worthy of being in the Top 5? 

For starters, you can freely use your Abilities both before you initially use it and after it wears off.  Instead of having to minimize usage of your own Abilities, you are free to run several, though preferably ones you won’t care about going offline (or want suppressed) until the end of your opponent’s next turn.  Sometimes this will backfire because the timing won’t work out quite right.  As an example of both, let us consider Shaymin-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 77/108, 106/108) and its “Setup” Ability.  You can drop Shaymin-EX, draw and then follow up with Hex Maniac to shut down Abilities, but sometimes you’ll be in an awkward position where you’ll wish you could have played them the otherway round.  Unless you get into some pretty specific situations (turns out the one additional card you would have drawn had you been able to play Hex Maniac was the one you really needed), it isn’t a big deal, but it can happen.  You aren’t likely to generate a lot of direct card advantage with this card - a little more relevant as that is still the chief function of the usual Supporter play, drawing or searching out needed cards - but more like Lysandre its value comes from what it does to the field or prevents from happening to the field.  You can enjoy it as either an “insurance” policy (use it to prevent expected but not guaranteed Abilities from hitting the field) or to shut down something that matters on your own turn with the bonus of still being assured of no potential Ability usage.   

This card’s effect isn’t unprecedented, with its earliest ancestor being Goop Gas (Team Rocket 78/82), a “normal Trainer” (what we would call an “Item” now) that stated all Pokémon Powers stopped working until the end of your opponent’s next turn.  Pokémon Powers are the earliest version of Abilities, though for the record if you are using older cards with newer cards they are not considered the same thing (Goop Gas does nothing to Abilities and Hex Maniac won’t bother Pokémon Powers).  This goes back before it was easy to find sanctioned events, let alone tournament reports for them and it is hard for me to tell exactly how good Goop Gas was or wasn’t; I know I enjoyed some success with it but given how little I knew at the time, it may have been something that was good, but not the optimal play.  Still it meant I had a real good idea of how to enjoy a Supporter that fakes a turn of having Garbodor (BW: Dragons Exalted 54/124; BW: Plasma Freeze 119/116; BW: Legendary Treasures 68/113) with its “Garbotoxin” Ability active.  It won’t be multiple turns of not having to sorry about Safeguard or Setup but just one turn blocking it (so you can still enjoy it yourself before and after) is pretty handy. 

Thanks to VS Seeker a single copy of Hex Maniac can be used in multiples when needed, while that lone copy is usually useful enough to justify its inclusion in general.  Some specialized decks may even run multiples.  I expect this to become a near or actual staple for decks; only the most Ability dependent should skip it and the most crowded may have to make do without, but everything else really can enjoy that one turn of being Ability free.  Few decks lack at least a Pokémon or two with an Ability, though a little more than that will have no Ability worth denying or will be too likely to use up said Ability when you aren’t blocking it (an early game Shaymin-EX again being the perfect example).  Thanks to Safeguard Pokémon still being in Expanded and so many decks still using Pokémon-EX (Basic or Mega) as their preferred (sometimes only serious) attacker, I would favor this card even more in Expanded.  For Limited play you should have room for it and there are Abilities in this set, so run it! 

Ratings 

Standard: 4/5 

Expanded: 4.15/5 

Limited: 5/5 

Summary: Those are general scores; I assume there is a deck that would benefit even more than normal from heavy Hex Maniac use, but I don’t actually know of them so I’m just giving a score for how useful it is as a single copy in most decks.  On my own list Hex Maniac only clocked in as the 10th place pick; while the two weeks since I completed my own list lead me to believe I should have ranked her higher, I also think the four cards that finished above her have also already proven themselves this early or are so loaded with potential, I’m not sure if she really should outrank them.  Then again, she is far more “general usage” than any of them and I do value that trait. 

Since I love to emphasize how close things have been for this list, had I listed Hex Maniac as my first, second or third place choice on my own list would have meant a first place finish on the collective Top 15, with a personal fourth place still tying with our actual first place pick you’ll see friday.  Even if I had ranked her as my 7th place pick she’d have topped our next card!


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