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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

 M Steelix EX
- Steam Siege

Date Reviewed:
Sep. 1, 2016

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3.0
Expanded: 3.5
Limited: 3.5

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

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

You know I don't feel that bad for skipping out on Pyroar BREAK. Kaiser Tackle's a powerful move, though the recoil is a bit much. Still, he's got good partners, so I can't blame him for that. 

Like M Steelix-EX here. 

See, M Steelix-EX has a lot of HP, a high Retreat Cost, and an even more expensive attack. Canyon Axe slams down at an overly pricey 5-for-160 hit, though it does also deal an extra 10 damage to each of your opponent's Pokemon. But man, that's a LOT to ask for. Heck, 4 Energy is almost a deal breaker most of the time, and 5 Energy is just asking for too much! 

...and yet some people think M Steelix-EX has a lot of potential. Why? 

Well, it's mainly the timing with his release. First of all, he comes into the game right as the Primal Clash-on rotation takes place. Sure, he loses access to Bronzong's Metal Links from Phantom Forces, and yes he also loses out on a lot of the Fighting support for Furious Fists, but he strangely has just enough to work with. See, the good thing about M Steelix-EX's Canyon Axe is it only requires 1 Metal Energy - the rest of the attack is Colorless. So any form of Energy acceleration works well with him - that's good to know! 

On top of that, he's got access to any remaining Metal and Fighting support for the rotation - which in this case includes Strong Energy, arguably the best Special Energy in the game, and Shield Energy, an underused Special Energy that...actually would work really well with M Steelix-EX. Having Dual-Typing means M Steelix-EX has the advantage of using both, meaning he can dish out 20 more damage on attacks while reducing any incoming hits by 10. That already means he's a lot bulkier than he first appears to be, never mind that Canyon Axe after 1 Strong Energy already KOs the smaller Pokemon-EX. 

But what else can he get? Well, there's Magearna-EX, who prevents anything from affecting Pokemon with Metal Energy aside from damage. That keeps things like Poison, Paralysis, the inability to attack - just about everything that could stop M Steelix-EX from wrecking face from...well, stopping him. Still that doesn't address the heavy cost of Canyon Axe...well, there are a couple of things that help. First, there's Mega Turbo, which is designed to accelerate Energy onto Mega Evolutions anyway, but we've also got the new Clawitzer, who specifically accelerates SPECIAL Energies onto Mega Evos - like Strong or Shield Energy. 

Combined together, it seems like there's a beautiful harmony to unleashing a behemoth like M Steelix-EX into the game, right? Well, unfortunately, the timing not only works for M Steelix-EX but against him as well. Volcanion and Volcanion-EX decks are beginning to run rampant, and M Steelix-EX unfortunately retains the Steel Weakness to Fire, which means for the moment he's going to have some stiff competition. Clawitzer can somewhat alleviate this if you're running Water Energy, but considering most of the M Steelix-EX deck ought to be focused on M Steelix-EX, it's not likely to happen outside of Rainbow Energy. 

Overall, M Steelix-EX does have a lot going for it, but he's also got a lot to work against. Fire Decks, his expensive attack, and his high Retreat Cost are a lot to deal with, but I'm sure we'll see a successful build or two triumph over the upcoming competitions. It's certainly possible. 

...maybe they'll run Ninja Boy to swap that Steelix-EX around for the Mega Evo Spirit Link Ninja Boy strats. 

Rating 

Standard: 3/5 (a fairly dominant power that has a lot to deal with) 

Expanded: 3.5/5 (but assuming the deck is built right, it can overcome a lot and utterly decimate the competition) 

Limited: 3.5/5 (hey, I applaud you for getting him out, but that attack is gonna need a LOT of help here) 

Arora Notealus: M Steelix-EX isn't going to likely be a dominant force in the game, but he's definitely gonna have a presence of some kind. No Pokemon with access to two of the best kinds of Special Energy ever is going to get snuffed out so easily. 

Next Time: Taking a double look at the fiery bird!


Otaku

Just a quick note: today the Standard Format of Pokémon Trading Card Game officially changes so that only cards (and previous printings of cards) from the XY: Primal Clash and later expansions are legal for main expansions, XY: Black Star Promos XY36 and after for that promo series, and then a few other odds and ends like mini-sets that aren’t so easy to concisely explain.  If this is news to you, you’re probably new either to Organized Play or perhaps the TCG as a whole, please don’t panic as this is a once per year occurrence.  Here is the official announcement about this “set rotation” (as we call it) from two months ago, and since it is a yearly thing, that was just when we learned the specifics.  For regular readers, this just means I can stop discussing the previous format except when its history is pertinent to the present. 

M Steelix-EX (XY: Steam Siege 68/114, 109/114) is our subject today, and is one of the new Dual Type Poké!  It is a Metal/Fighting Type, getting the benefits of both but only some of the drawbacks.  In terms of Weakness it will hit all currently available Fairy Types (unless I missed one) and a decent chunk of the Water Type due to its Metal half while the Fighting half allows it to hit a large chunk of the Colorless Type and most of both the Darkness and the Lightning Type.  Fighting Resistance is one of the most common and spread throughout almost all the other Types, while Metal Resistance is native to XY-era Lightning Types; I believe that means all XY-era Lightning Types will be Resistant, even though some are going to be Weak as well!  This came up before and if it hasn’t changed, you’d apply the Weakness first, then the Resistance, so double the damage but then subtract 20.  The Metal side provides access to several bits of support, most of it providing some form of protection to Metal Type Pokémon, some of it providing Energy acceleration, and most of it probably not being the best choice to run with M Steelix-EX; if you want to know about those anyway, we mentioned it just last week when we reviewed Cobalion (XY: Steam Siege 74/114). 

Metal support possibly relevant today includes Aegislash-EX for opening stall and perhaps a backup attacker, Bronzong (XY: Phantom Forces 61/119) for basic Metal Energy acceleration fromt the discard pile, Cobalion (XY: Steam Siege 74/114) as an inexpensive backup attacker and/or opening staller, Magearna-EX to protect from attack effects and be a backup attacker (yet again), Reverse Valley for a little damage reduction, Shield Energy for a little damage reduction (again), and Steel Shelter to shed Special Conditions.  Only Shield Energy is pretty much a guaranteed inclusion, though, for how I’m seeing people run this card (and that’s mostly via video).  The Fighting side provides some great support as well; I don’t think I’ve listed most of this in a while and in the interest of not adding another two or three paragraphs, especially most of it is now Expanded only, what will matter to M Steelix is probably Strong Energy, with the possibility of Carbink (XY: Fates Collide 50/124) and Carbink BREAK.  Respectively that gives us a way to bump up damage, a staller, and a decent form of from-the-discard Energy acceleration.  Any Dual Type that is part Fighting is going to have ample Type support and hit a good deal of Weakness: M Steelix-EX is no exception. 

So what does it mean to be a Mega Evolution?  First the downside: they have all the baggage of being a Pokémon-EX (extra Prize when KO’d, Pokémon-EX specific counters, unable to access certain beneficial effects) with the added hassles of being a Mega Evolution (turn ends when you Mega Evolve, Mega Evolution specific counters).  On the upside, a “regular” Steelix is a Stage 1 but Steelix-EX (from which M Steelix-EX Mega Evolves) is a Basic, and Steelix Spirit Link prevents your turn from ending if it is equipped to Steelix-EX as it Mega Evolves.  There is also access to Mega Evolution support like Mega Turbo, may be why M Steelix-EX is one of the few, new Dual Type Pokémon, and most likely explains its HP score and attack.  Its HP is 240, the maximum we’ve seen printed on a Mega Evolution; others before M Steelix-EX have hit this number, and it isn’t quite the max printed HP score (Wailord-EX still owns that with its 250 HP).  This is high enough to actually be difficult to OHKO; but even apart from Weakness some decks will manage it with enough time.  Pulling it off more than once and with some speed further shrinks the risk pool.  Said Weakness is likely to matter though; XY: Steam Siege contained Volcanion-EX which is a decent enough attacker but much more importantly, can spike the damage of attacks made by that player’s Basic Fire Type Pokémon.  A good set up allows regular Volcanion to pull off a OHKO for just [R] Energy attached (you’ll need three or four to discard, depending on other damage buffs). 

M Steelix-EX has Psychic Resistance and any Resistance is welcome.  Still too early to know for certain, but early hype likes M Mewtwo-EX (XY: BREAKthrough 64/162; 160/162) for Standard and Night March is still Expanded legal, so an extra -20 damage should be handy enough for this to be more than a token “Well, better than no Resistance” kind of thing.  The Retreat Cost of [CCCC] is massive; hypothetically there will be times when you ought to pay it, I’m sure someone somewhere will play a game where they actually ought to pay it, but the general rule of thumb is never pay it.  At this expensive, don’t just pack multiple cards to get it out of the Active position, but also include some to allow M Steelix-EX to tank while up front.  M Steelix-EX has a single attack, like all Mega Evolutions we have seen so far.  “Canyon Axe” requires a massive five Energy to use, though it isn’t quite as bad as it looks like at first glance owing to the specific cost being [MCCCC]; mostly Colorless gives us more options.  The return for this will need to be great in order to justify the effort and it just might be: 160 damage to your opponent’s Active and 10 to everything on his or her Bench.  M Steelix-EX will need Energy acceleration as it won’t survive five turns of manually, single Energy attachments.  Even using Double Colorless Energy so that you could do it in three isn’t enough, but Canyon Axe provides a firm foundation to make it worth investing additional resources to both speed things up and even improve its damage output a bit more. 

Before we go too far into how best to use M Steelix-EX, let us address Steelix-EX (XY: Steam Siege 67/114; 108/114).  It is a Basic Pokémon-EX and Metal Type, with 180 HP, Fire Weakness, and Psychic Weakness; nothing surprising, but a solid foundation.  The only recent Steelix to compare it to for a base line is Steelix (XY: Plasma Freeze 79/116).  Steelix [Plasma] has a massive 150 HP but being a Pokémon-EX not only let Steelix-EX avoid Evolving, but gain 30 HP.  Steelix-EX has two attacks: “Wild Edge” for [MCCC] and “Iron Tail” for [MCCCC].  Wild Edge is does 80 damage, with the option of doing an additional 50 (so 130 total) but then it does 20 to itself.  Iron Tail has you flip a coin until you get “tails”, doing 100 per “heads”.  You’ve nearly paid for 130 damage with the Energy cost of  Wild Edge, and Iron Tail is just not worth the risk unless you are absolutely desperate; yes each time you use it there is about a %25 chance of doing at least 200 damage, but there is a 50% chance you’re doing none.  I often point out that while Pokémon-EX often have better attacks, not only are some quite “iffy” on that prospect but others are only relative to what its non-Pokémon-EX counterpart has.  Steelix [Plasma] isn’t all that great either, but it is clear that Steelix-EX is only here to Evolve, so M Steelix-EX has to justify the entire Evolution line. 

I believe it does, and am actually disappointed I didn’t notice this sooner.  There are two different M Steelix-EX decks which I am seeing.  Some use Carbink BREAK to stall while attacking to build M Steelix-EX on the Bench for a turn or two.  Others are looking to Clawitzer (XY: Steam Siege 34/114), with its Ability to attach a Special Energy from your hand once each turn, in addition of course to your manual Energy attachment; multiples of it will stack as well.  Both of these cards made Top 10s for their respective sets: Carbink BREAK in second place and Clawitzer in ninth.  This is basically what I was asking for to justify Clawitzer.  M Steelix-EX loves Double Colorless Energy, Shield Energy, and Strong Energy and attaching to it makes a massive difference to its deck in both speed, power, and durability.  So which of these two should back up M Steelix-EX?  Carbink BREAK is slower (as it needs to attack) but it attaches from the discard, while Clawitzer is faster but attaches from the hand and is vulnerable to Garbodor (XY: BREAKpoint 57/122) and other cards which stop Abilities.  Crazy as it sounds, I would try to run both.  I don’t just mean testing both decks out, I mean trying to work both Stage 1 cards into a deck built around a Mega Evolution.  Space will be tight but you’ll have both speed and sustainability in this manner.  That is, if you can make it work. 

So what else goes in there?  Unfortunately I don’t know; I haven’t encountered this deck all that much on the PTCGO.  Could be a bad sign, could be because the format just officially changed.  You’ll need draw power.  You’ll need something to help you retreat and/or heal M Steelix-EX.  You’ll need more than just Carbink BREAK and/or Clawitzer to deal with Fire Types.  This is a pretty tall order, but only when it comes to fitting it all into a crowded deck.  There are so many options, like Zoroark (XY: BREAKthrough 91/162) to both aid in getting M Steelix-EX out of the Active slot and to be a non-Fire Weak attacker that easily uses Double Colorless Energy.  It all comes down to deck space.  Still I think this leaves M Steelix-EX in a good way for Standard.  For Expanded, it gains some useful lost tricks like Fighting Stadium as another means of upping damage and Bronzong (mentioned above) as another means of Energy acceleration.  Might be a bit lazy, but I’m going to operate as though those two balance out.  For Limited play, this is probably great with a proper Limited deck behind it, but especially with the Fire Weakness it seems to dangerous to try and build your deck around just one of it and one Steelix-EX.  You could risk it though. 

Ratings 

Standard: 3.25/5 

Expanded: 3.25/5 

Limited: 3.5/5 

Summary: A tank of a Pokémon, M Steelix-EX is slow, not fuel efficient, but can both hit hard and take hard hits.  I really underestimated it at first glance, and am looking forward to snagging some copies of it to experiment with on the PTCGO.  Whether you play there or the physical TCG, I recommend doing the same unless you have no choice but to focus on your main deck.  Even then, this might become main deck material.


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