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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Cobalion
- Steam Siege

Date Reviewed:
Aug. 22, 2016

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard:
Expanded:
Limited:

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

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

Cobalion has returned to us in an interesting form. It's been a while since we last saw him in the game, since he got rotated out with Legendary Treasures last we checked. Now he's back, and he's...better than ever? Let's just see about that!

Cobalion has two attacks, the first of which is Quick Guard. It effectively makes him immune to your opponent's Basic Pokemon's attacks, which is fine and all...save for that you can't use it on your next turn, and it doesn't do any damage. In other words, it's at best a stall attack of sorts. It's got its uses for sure, but what can't be done one turn can always be done the next turn, and your opponent will no doubt take advantage of that. So...don't let your guard down! 

Revenge Blast is a familiar attack, this one being 2-for-30 and adding on 30 more damage for each Prize your opponent's taken. It's always been one of those "come from behind" attacks, but it's only really good late in the game when it's dealing 90-150 damage. It's more of something to be pushing for if you need that big hit, not an attack to rely on. 

So ultimately what does this make Cobalion? At his best...he's okay. Not that great, but a decent option of sorts. He'll probably be shooed out for better options. Which is to say, this is pretty much some of the best you can expect in this set - it's okay, but there's probably something better. 

Rating 

Standard: 2/5 (Quick Guard is okay for a turn's long stall maybe) 

Expanded: 2/5 (but Revenge Blast isn't strong enough to be its own thing) 

Limited: 3/5 (Revenge Blast could have a bigger impact on lower HP scores, but keep in mind there are less Prizes too) 

Arora Notealus: So Cobalion's return is a bit marred by his mediocre attacks, but hey, not every reprint can be amazing. Could be much worse, they could be terrible! 

Next Time: Well now that's...captivating.


Otaku

The next of our runners up/honorable mentions/stuff that didn’t quite make any of our lists is Cobalion (XY: Steam Siege 74/114).  It is a Metal Type which means it hits all Fairy Types and some Water types for double damage thanks to Weakness.  Metal Resistance is currently only found on XY-era Lightning Types.  If there are some anti-Metal effects (Pokémon or the Energy) then I don’t remember them off the top of my head and a quick search couldn’t find them either.  There are some impressive bits of Metal Type support, for both the Pokémon and the Energy.  Bronzong (XY: Phantom Forces 61/119; XY: Black Star Promos XY21) accelerates [M] Energy from the discard pile while Klinklang (Black & White 76/114) can move them around on your side of the field, both via Abilities.  For your Metal Types, Klinklang (BW: Plasma Storm 90/135) offers total protection from damage by attacks from your opponent’s Pokémon-EX, one side of Reverse Shelter allows Metal Types to soak 10 damage from attacks by the other player’s Pokémon, Shield Energy also soaks 10 damage for each attached and provides [M] (only for Metal Types, but it stacks), and Steel Shelter prevents Metal Pokémon from being affected by Special Conditions, and removes any present when the effect activates.  The Type also has some useful Pokémon walls and beatsticks, though some are easy to use off Type (though not to full potential). 

Cobalion is a Basic Pokémon, the current best Stage; minimum deck space, effort/time to put into play, can be your opening Pokémon, a natural synergy with various card effects, and Stage specific support like Fighting Fury Belt more than compensates for Evolutions being allowed more HP and the anti-Basic effects in the card pool.  The 120 HP on Cobalion is 20 shy of the printed maximum for Basic Pokémon that are not Pokémon-EX; in my estimation, this is just before it becomes more likely to survive a hit than not.  As it is borderline, it also doesn’t seem more likely to be KO’d than not either; actually a very good number, just not great.  The Fire Weakness is pretty dangerous right now, thanks to players experimenting with new Fire support from XY: Steam Siege; as Volcanion and a few others now make lower damaging attacks a regular thing, while Volcanion-EX can bump those lower attacks into mid-range via its Ability, OHKOs that wouldn’t have otherwise happened become common.  Psychic Resistance won’t mean much on its own, but the Metal Type has the option of bolstering it with other damage reducers, plus Cobalion has that 120 HP.  The Retreat Cost of [CC] is high enough you really won’t want to pay it if you can avoid it, but low enough you can if you must without it always seriously hurting your chances of winning. 

Cobalion has two attacks.  The first is “Quick Guard” for [M], and it blocks all damage from attacks by your opponent’s Basic Pokémon during his or her next turn.  It also states it cannot be used the next turn, so long term stalling not only has to worry about Evolutions and ways your opponent could mitigate the effect, but you’ll need to deal with that last part as well.  I recommend just not expecting long term protection.  For [MM] Cobalion can use “Revenge Blast” for 30 damage plus 30 per Prize your opponent has taken.  This means a range of 30 damage to 180 under normal circumstances for Expanded or Standard, but only 30 to 120 for Limited.  Given the attributes on this card, your opponent having taken no Prizes means a poor 30 damage, one Prize means a decent 60, two means a good 90, three means a very good 120, four means a great 150, and five means an amazing 180.  Both the pricing and the effects work together; if you have to open with Cobalion it can buy time for just one Energy, while two Energy means it can be a decent supplemental attack mid game and by end game, it is a great finisher. 

Currently nothing Evolves from Cobalion, but there are several other Cobalion cards that directly compete with it for space but may also help compliment it if you don’t need four of the new version: BW: Emerging Powers 77/98, BW: Noble Victories 84/101 (also released as BW: Noble Victories 101/101 and BW: Legendary Treasures 91/113), and BW: Black Star Promos BW72/114.  All are Basic, Metal Type Pokémon with Fire Weakness and Psychic Resistance like XY: Steam Siege 74/114.  BW: Emerging Powers 77/98 has 110 HP and Retreat Cost [CC], with the attacks “Metal Horn” and “Sacred Sword”.  The former needs [MC] to do 30 damage and forces the opponent to change out his or her Active with one of his or her Benched Pokémon (your opponent chooses).  The latter does 100 damage and cannot be used the next turn.  I reviewed it here and it is unfortunate I was on my own; simply put I was wrong as it just wasn’t worth it for the attacks back then, nor is it worth it now. 

BW: Noble Victories 84/101 increases to 120 HP, but still has a Retreat Cost of [CC] and two attacks.  For the familiar cost of [MC] it can use “Energy Press” to do 20 damage plus 20 more per Energy attached to the opponent’s Active; naturally this is great against Energy heavy targets but not so much against those with few or no Energy attached.  For [MMC] it can use “Iron Breaker” to do 80 damage, plus place an effect on the Defending Pokémon that keeps it from attacking on the next turn; this soft lock is useful as it is combined with a good amount of damage for the Energy involved.  This version of Cobalion was first reviewed here where Baby Mario and myself scored it highly, and later here where it was (again) an honorable mention/runner up.  In this case, it was for the Top 5 Cards Reprinted in BW: Legendary Treasures.  In the follow up, it did not fare quite as well because of how radically Pokémon-EX had changed our standards.  BW: Black Star Promos BW72/114 also has 120 HP with a Retreat Cost of [CC], but changes things up by having an Ability with one attack.  The Ability is “Justified” which increases the damage its attacks do to Darkness Type Pokémon by 50.  The attack is “Iron Head” which costs [MMC] to do 60, but it also has you flip a coin until you get “tails”, which adds +20 damage per “heads”.  So if reality gave us a perfectly even distribution of results, half the time you would just do 60, a fourth of the time you’d do 80, an eighth of the time you’d do 100, etc.  Really only getting a good deal against Darkness Types, which wasn’t good enough to get the card played or reviewed. 

XY: Steam Siege 74/114 is at least as good as BW: Noble Victories 84/101, or at least as good as it is now in Expanded and would be if it were legal for Standard.  Both have attacks that are a bit specialized, but together give you something for most situations.  The good news is you probably never will need a full four of either, but the bad news is that they are most likely competing for just one or two slots in the same deck in Expanded.  This means that Cobalion is technically better in Standard, where it faces less competition.  Its niche seems to be Metal decks that in need of a low Energy attacher, non-Pokémon-EX attacker.  Decks built around the previously mentioned Bronzong often have just such a need, and specifically the deck built around Bronzong and Genesect-EX (XY: Fates Collide 64/124, 120/124) has exactly that need.  This isn’t Theorymon either; not only did I test it myself, but the reason I tried it was because Cobalion (XY: Steam Siege 74/114) in the deck of Gustavo Wada of Brazil, which he piloted to a fifth place finish in the Masters Division of the 2016 World Championships this past weekend.  In hindsight I feel silly for not having tried it myself, as it provides a cleaner that isn’t entirely dependent upon Energy acceleration, though a little is appreciated, as otherwise it takes two turns to prep Revenge Blast.  Though the damage output is lowered in Limited play, so are typical HP scores so Cobalion remains a good pull here… unless you can’t work basic Metal Energy into your deck. 

Ratings 

Standard: 3.5/5 

Expanded: 3.25/5 

Limited: 3.8/5 

Summary: Cobalion may be a near staple for Metal Energy using decks in Standard now, which translates to a good but not great score.  It isn’t like you can use Cobalion in just any deck after all, but some of the cards we review do fit in nearly all decks.  Meeting a need in a competitive, pre-existing deck is still pretty great. 

Cobalion is another card that was in my Top 15, but I don’t remember where because I rearranged it without saving until I had shrunk it into a Top 10.  Maybe this set did deserve a Top 15 from the website and not just me?


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