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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Top 10 New Pokemon Cards of 2016

#6 - M Audino-EX

- Fates Collide

Date Reviewed:
Dec. 23, 2016

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3.25
Expanded: 3.25
Limited: 3.67

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

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

...but I wasn't actually arrested, that's a joke.

But I was serious about what made it to Worlds, and M Audino-EX I suppose deserves its spot on the list just as much as the last few cards this week...which your mileage may vary a bit. In any case, M Audino-EX is probably a unique pic if only because it started out in Japan as nothing more than the main headliner for what you might call a "structured deck" - the M Audino-EX Mega Battle deck.

You know, like the Hyper Metal Chain deck that Dialga-EX and Aegislash-EX from Phantom Forces came from originally. Such are English releases. 

So what makes M Audino-EX so special? Well like I said, it's the deck that won Worlds. Shintaro Ito from Japan ended up taking the title home with him when he beat out not just runner-up Cody Walinski but several other noteworthy competitors running decks like Night March, Trevenant/Vileplume, and even Greninja BREAK. This deck was completely under the radar up until the Championship, and considering M Audino-EX's stats, it's probably not that surprising. 

At first glance, M Audino-EX is just a 220 HP Mega Evolution (with a Spirit Link, thankfully) that has Magical Symphony, a 3-for-110 attack that can snipe for 50 if you played a Supporter for the turn. Really doesn't seem all that special - and that's probably why nobody really played it. She's nothing particularly special, but if you cater a deck to her particular strengths and compensate with additional techs, you might see the same success that Shintaro did. 

Here's the basic set-up of the deck: Shintaro ran a 4-3 line-up on Audino-EX and M Audino-EX, as his main attacker. For draw power, he implemented 2 Shaymin-EX in addition to 4 Sycamore, along with a couple of Ns to help out. Hoopa-EX, Ultra Ball, and Trainer's Mail were all used to search out exactly what he needed, and VS Seeker was used to bring back his Supporters when he needed them. From there, it's all techs and line-ups - Magearna-EX using Mystic Heart to protect M Audino-EX from any effects aside from damage with attacks, Mega Turbo to accelerate Energy, cards like Lysandre, Hex Maniac, Xerosic, and Startling Megaphone to tilt things in his favor, and a line-up of 4 DCE and 6 Metal Energy. 

You might call this M Audino-EX Turbo, given that the goal is to get out M Audino-EX as quickly as you can, power it up with Energy, then spam Supporters every turn to get what you need to cripple your opponent and win the game. There's even Pokemon Center Lady to give M Audino-EX that extra longevity! Now could this work with any other Mega Evolution? Probably not to this degree, but it's worth noting that when your deck is tailored to getting your main attacker out and running as fast as possible, you can get away with a lot. That's not to say the techs weren't critical choices - Absol for instance could be used to KO Joltiks in Night March, and Cobalion had a lot of power in Revenge Blast if Shintaro might fall behind from a KO himself. Even Parallel City had its uses!

So while M Audino-EX at first glance isn't much to look at or noteworthy the way other crazier Pokemon-EX can be, I think it's very deserving of its spot if only to show that you should never count out a Pokemon that looks "okay". Who knows? It might be the one that wins the Championship. 

Rating 

Standard: 3.5/5 (can you believe this thing was running around terrorizing Japan before that though?) 

Expanded: 3.5/5 (I mean seriously, that was a thing! THIS thing!) 

Limited: 4/5 (ain't that just crazy or what?) 

Arora Notealus: It's because of people like Shintaro that I love the deck-building aspect in card games. Just the ability to innovate and build around a concept so effectively and push it into the competitive scene, it's just...it's a skill to be envious of, in my opinion. I mean I wouldn't have thought M Audino-EX could win Worlds any more than Blue-Eyes could win in Yugioh! But I guess time is always a factor in these sorts of things...2016's been a weird year. 

Weekend Thought: But enough about me rambling, what're your thoughts on this week's cards? Think some are too much for the list? Think there's something better? Or maybe you think something should be higher up on the list? 

Next Time: The answer lies...in the heat of battle.


Otaku

Sometimes the greatest advantage in the Pokémon TCG is to be unassuming, even underestimated, like our sixth place finisher M Audino-EX (XY: Fates Collide 84/124).  We first reviewed it here, where that is just what happened: aroramage and I underestimated these cards.  They went on to become the myth made real, the infamous “secret deck” players always try to invent (or at least deduce the existence of) that shows up at a major event and wins the whole thing.  In this case?  M Audino-EX won the 2016 World Championship in the Masters Division.  So let’s look at it again with fresh eyes. 

M Audino-EX is a Colorless Type; no huge bonus from exploiting Weakness, no minor irritation from dealing with Resistance.  The anti-Colorless Pokémon effects we have for Standard and Expanded play aren’t worth listing, let alone using (Sprout Tower they ain’t).  It is unfortunately also one of the less supported Types and I’m not going to mention them because none were used in that winning deck anyway (which you can see for yourself here).  None of the other useful Colorless Type attackers were included either, and so while Shaymin-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 77/108, 106/108) was in the deck, it was the only other Colorless Type and its used off Type in pretty much everything.  The real benefit to being Colorless for M Audino-EX is to help people underestimate it.  That might be true of being a Pokémon-EX as well.  Audino are already Basic Pokémon so all being a Pokémon-EX automatically grants on the positive side is extra HP and the possibility of other better stats and/or effects.  The negative side is giving up an extra Prize when KO’d, dealing with anti-Pokémon-EX effects, and being unable to use a few beneficial effects.  Being a Mega Evolution actually does come with access to some Mega Evolution support (namely Mega Turbo), but includes dealing with anti-Mega Evolution effects and your turn ending when you Mega Evolve unless you have the appropriate Spirit Link attached (Audino Spirit Link thankfully does exist).  People expect a lot out of Mega Evolutions because of what they demand, and if they don’t deliver something mind blowing at a glance, then it becomes easy to dismiss them.

220 HP is good - able to survive a hit much of the time - but typical of a Mega Evolution, so that doesn’t make M Audino-EX stand out.  Fighting Weakness stands out in the bad way, as the Fighting Type specializes in good damage for the Energy invested (including many strong single Energy attacks) and stacking damage bonuses; it might require a four or five card combo but for one Energy (usually a Strong Energy) many of their go-to attackers can OHKO M Audino-EX.  Lack of Resistance is typical; -20 damage against a single Type is a mild bonus when present, but in this case its absence again helped M Audino-EX to blend in with the masses of other cards released this year and before.  The Retreat Cost of [CCC] stands out a bit since it is kind of chunky and means a deck should have multiple ways of dealing with it being stuck up front, but again this is standing out in a manner that makes the card easier to underestimate.  The attack that proved so important to this card’s success continues to mislead: “Magical Symphony” requires [CCC] to use and does 110 damage to the opponent’s Active, a decent enough return.  Should you have used a Supporter this turn (highly probable) then you also can hit one of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon for 50 damage.  160 for three is a good return, but split between two targets, scoring a OHKO requires a lot of work, too much for most competitive decks.  So how did it do so well? 

I don’t know how vital it was to the success of M Audino-EX, but permit me to address Audino-EX quickly as well; a Colorless Basic Pokémon-EX with 180 HP, Fighting Weakness, no Resistance, Retreat Cost [CCC], and two attacks.  The first is “Drain Slap” for [C], doing 20 damage while healing 20 from Audino-EX.  The second is “Do the Wave”, an attack with a rich history in the Pokémon TCG and decent here: [CCC] to do 60 damage plus 10 more for each of your Benched Pokémon.  Bad if you don’t have a Bench, mediocre if you don’t have more than two Benched Pokémon, but adequate past that point for scoring 2HKOs.  Sky Field cannot up the damage to OHKO level against typical Basic Pokémon-EX; even with a Muscle Band, Sky Field in play, and a full bench Do the Wave maxes out at 160.  Yes you could use a copy of Giovanni’s Scheme to reach that magical 180, but now we’ve gotten to such a sizable combo level that we may as well be running M Rayquaza-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 76/108, 105/108) instead, even though it’s a Mega Evolution and not a Basic.  At the same time, this is a solid Basic Pokémon from which to Evolve M Audino-EX, and it continues the trend of being adequate without being overly intimidating, and being quite friendly to the right kind of support. 

M Audino-EX and Audino-EX have all [C] Energy requirements; I didn’t mention this with being a Colorless Type as while it is rare for a Colorless Type to require a specific Energy Type sometimes they do and a little more common are all [C] Energy costs on non-Colorless Type Pokémon.  Usually [C] Energy costs are important because of being easy to fill; in this case the [CCC] cost of the bigger attacks can use Double Colorless Energy to fill two-thirds of their cost, and M Audino-EX itself can add in a Mega Turbo if it needs to prep itself in a single turn.  Since it can use any Energy, that means it can work with most forms of Energy acceleration, and/or take advantage of Energy Type support.  The deck that won Worlds used Magearna-EX for its “Mystic Heart” Ability that protects Pokémon with [M] Energy attached from the effects of your opponent’s attacks (damage still happens).  Magearna-EX also has a solid attack and can make use of Double Colorless Energy to speed it up.  A deck that still did well enough at Worlds to be on my radar but didn’t make the Top 8 used M Audino-EX with Darkness Type Pokémon in a similar manner.  Now, all of this still doesn’t explain how M Audino-EX took first place.  For that, we need to look at the other decks in the Top 8. 

Same link as gave to look at the winning M Audino-EX deck.  The big deck to beat was Night March, which gives M Audino-EX the chance not only for two OHKO’s in a turn, but if you can use Lysandre to force up a Shaymin-EX, three Prizes in a single turn!  The rest of the metagame was made up of decks that had at least a decent Night March matchup and then were strong in their own right… and you’ll notice that most of them aren’t going to like M Audino-EX.  Not because it had a great matchup against all of them, but more that it didn’t have a bad matchup against any of them.  So how has M Audino-EX done since Worlds?  Well, I don’t see any Top 8 finishes for it since.  Not that the list over at The Charizard Lounge is exhaustive, but it covers the majority of tournaments for the Masters Division for the 2015-2016 season and what has happened so far for the 2016-2017 season.  This leads me to believe M Audino-EX really needs Night March to be one of, if not the, top deck in the metagame.  Probably also means M Audino-EX needs the element of surprise as well.  I suspect it is still a functional deck, especially in Expanded where Night March is still a thing and it hasn’t lost any cards due to rotation, but unless you can creatively reinvent it, the torch has already been passed on.  We’ve got other cards that have been overlooked… well maybe: the entire point is if we are overlooking them, we wouldn’t be aware of it.  Cards like Pidgeot-EX did not go by unnoticed largely because of the success of M Audino-EX… and a certain Pidgeot fan whom I know through various Pokémon message boards.  He made sure I gave Pidgeot-EX a serious look. 

Ratings 

Standard: 3/5 

Expanded: 3/5 

Limited: 3.25/5 

Summary: M Audino-EX won Worlds 2016 but since hasn’t been making the top cut of major events.  Likely this is because of the specific metagame going into Worlds, including the fact that most of us (well, me at least) overlooked what M Audino-EX had to offer.  Now it once again seems almost perfectly average for Standard and Expanded, and near so for Limited (Mega Evolutions are typically good here if you can get them out, but you need a Supporter for the Bench hit).  I will add the caveat that maybe we are being fooled again; maybe M Audino-EX is more of a cyclical deck; you don’t expect it so it hits you hard, then when you do it can’t so you stop worrying about it, then it hits you hard again because you stopped worrying about it, etc.  Probably not though. 

M Audino-EX managed eight voting points, beating out the tie we had for seventh and eighth place by just one point, and falling short of fifth place by a not insignificant six points.  It didn’t make my Top 10 list at all, but I wish I would have had room for it.  Winning Worlds is quite important, even if M Audino-EX didn’t do much before or after.  There were so many cards that did do a lot before, after, and at Worlds that while I did include M Audino-EX on my long list, it was in 25th place.  Of course, some of this was because I thought we had re-reviewed it after Worlds (but we didn’t; oops!).  Sixth place seems too high for this card, but leaving it out completely wouldn’t have been good either; glad we looked at it again (just wish it had been in tenth place).


Zach Carmichael
Coming Soon.


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