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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Trevenant

- XY BREAKpoint

Date Reviewed:
February 29, 2016

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3.13
Expanded: 3.13
Limited: 4.38

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

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

Welcome back to another week of card game madness! To finally celebrate Leonardo DiCaprio's first Oscar (it's about time!), let's take a look at something the actor's had to deal a lot with in his new movie The Revenant: TREES!! 

...hey, I tried making it relevant somehow, you tell me how you'd have made it better. And no, referencing The Happening wouldn't be the same. 

...WHAT?! NO!! 

Anywho, Trevenant has always had an interesting batch of cards, starting out with his premiere over in XY and moving forward into today's card, which comes out a couple sets after his EX debut and tags along with his own BREAK evolution. Boy, somebody at the Pokemon Company really likes Trevenant! And who can blame them? He's a cool Pokemon in general! 

Now the thing about Trevenant is that so far his cards have usually had an Ability that puts him int the Active slot - with XY, it was Forest's Curse, which took away the power of Items as long as Trevenant was out in front, and now Trevenant gets Nervous Seed, tacking on another Energy to the cost of your opponent's Basic Pokemon's attacks. It's interesting to see a lot of cards coming out with this "Basic hate" vibe to them, especially in an era of Megas. You'd think the Pokemon Company was trying to get us to build around Megas...in any case, Nervous Seed is a nice way to force the opponent to pay more, and combined with stuff like Head Ringer, it oughta keep them at bay for a while. 

Which is nice considering Trevenant has Energy Press as his attack! At 3-for-70, it starts out fairly decent, but then it adds on an additional 10 damage for each Energy attached to your opponent's Active Pokemon. You can see where this is going - have Trevenant go up against a Basic, let the opponent stack on a bunch of Energy to use their Pokemon's attack, and punish them for it with Energy Press dealing more damage than it would normally. Heck even against non-Basic Pokemon, Energy Press is a pretty good damage-dealing blow that will probably be hitting anywhere from 90-110 damage on most Pokemon, which is enough to 2HKO even some Megas! 

But therein lies the problem with Trevenant. While he is technically equipped to fight off the Basics, he doesn't hold as much power over Megas. Sure, Energy Press could scare off stuff like M Mewtwo-EX who is weak to Psychic, but most Megas can easily deal the 110 damage that's standing in the way of Trevenant going from Active to KO'd. Even the Basic-EX that would normally be affected by Trevenant's tactics, when they get there, will have attacks that can easily beat out Trevenant, and Nervous Seed only really stalls them out for 1 Energy without Head Ringer to help out. 

So is Trevenant a bust? Well not entirely - again, he can dish out a lot of damage to the opposing Pokemon if he can get off an Energy Press, and Nervous Seed does make that easier to work around not barring things like Garbodor looming in the distance. So while he might not always be the main star of a deck, Trevenant can hold his own in the right company and against the right folk. 

Rating 

Standard: 3/5 (his attack and Ability go hand-in-hand, and while the game isn't as Basic-centric as it once was, he's still got a lot going for him) 

Expanded: 3/5 (never mind that he's a Stage 1 Psychic Pokemon with an Ability competing with Garbodor for deck space...again) 

Limited: 4/5 (still, who knows what possible combinations could come up? I mean, the original XY version seemed to hold onto a deck of his own for a time)

Arora Notealus: Trevenant's really got a lot going for him! I mean come on, he's a freaking haunted tree that can walk - A TREE THAT CAN WALK!! That's already nightmare fuel. I mean, can you just imagine if you're walking around at night, and all of a sudden you start noticing the trees are following you home? That'd creep me out personally. 

Next Time: Time to BREAK it down for you! :D


Otaku

Now it is time for… some regular Card of the Days, without any Top Whatever lists.  Well, a few cards might be runners up from past lists, but today we are looking at Trevenant (XY: BREAKpoint 65/122).  To begin with, it is a Psychic-Type, which gives it a solid capacity to exploit the Psychic Weakness found on a good chunk of Psychic-Types and a good chunk of Fighting-Types.  It will have to deal with Psychic Resistance, which is found on nearly all Darkness-Types and Metal-Types, and possibly the most abundant Resistance out there right now (Fighting-Types are also about as numerous), though “no Resistance” at all is truly the most common.  Fortunately (from the attacker’s standpoint) the damage doubling of Weakness is far more influential than the mere -20 from Resistance.  The Psychic-Type has a few key pieces of Type exclusive support, as well as some good cards that aren’t restricted to aiding the Psychic-Type, but have a bit better synergy with them.  There aren’t many of either but the former isn’t subjective so we’ll list all of those: Dimension Valley, often seen because it reduces the attack cost of Psychic-Types by [C], Gardevoir (BW: Next Destinies 57/99; BW: Dark Explorers 109/108), the one that causes basic Psychic Energy cards attached to Psychic-Type Pokémon to provide [PP] instead of [P] (but which I don’t recall having had any major, recurring success in competitive play), Mystery Energy, the Psychic-Type’s personal Special Energy card that reduces the Retreat Cost of the Psychic-Type to which it is attached by [CC], and Wobbuffet (XY: Phantom Forces 36/119), which while Active stops the Abilities of all Pokémon in play except fellow Psychic-Types. 

So being a Psychic-Type looks like it is reasonably good, how about its Stage?  Being a Stage 1 is adequate in the current environment; Basic Pokémon are dominant though less in an “every deck must play this Stage!” kind of a way and more of a “the game just naturally favors them” manner.  Compared to a Basic Pokémon, a Stage 1 needs an extra card (usually its Basic counterpart) and an extra turn to enter play.  There are a few cards that specifically help Evolutions, but there are more and better ones that help Basics (or else Basics are just so inherently blessed that their support seems to do more).  Of note for what specifically helps Evolutions is Wally; it eats up your Supporter for the turn but it allows you to search your deck for an Evolution that Evolves directly from something you already have in play, then it puts that Evolution into play directly from the deck, which gets around Evolution blocking effects.  It also lets you skip the usual turn wait to Evolve.  Basics have to deal with more Stage-based counters, but in Expanded Evolutions face a pretty nasty one in the form if Archeops (BW: Noble Victories 67/101; BW: Dark Explorers 110/108).  Compared to being a Basic, being a Stage 1 is worse but compared to every other Stage it is better and the fact that when we ignore Evolutions that enter play via Archie’s Ace in the Hole or Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick, Stage 1 Pokémon are only rivaled by Mega Evolutions (which are just Stage 1 Pokémon that require a Pokémon Tool to Evolve without a serious drawback). 

Trevenant has 110 HP; against a lot of attackers that is within OHKO range.  Against the hypothetical average (as in “typical” not the mathematical mean) attack, this is still a OHKO against a good, solid set-up.  If something goes wrong though, Trevenant is as likely (perhaps a little more so) to hang on for an extra turn.  If something major goes wrong, it can hang on turn after turn.  Hint: this card is designed to make something go wrong, and we’ll get to that soon.  Next though is Weakness, and Trevenant takes double damage from Darkness-Types.  I’m not on the bleeding edge of metagame awareness, but thankfully The Charizard Lounge has been keeping track of what won in the Masters Division for recent regionals. Other sites have as well, but this is the one I use so there you go.  Prior to XY: BREAKpoint joining the metagame, Yveltal-EX was on top in Expanded and it appears to still be there.  It isn’t the only Darkness-Type deck either, though without lists it can be hard to tell how distinct a variant truly is, it is enough for me to really, really not like that Weakness.  I don’t have recent results for a major Standard event, but prior to Trevenant and its friends becoming tournament legal, Darkness Weakness was still one of (if not the) worst to have and possibly worse than in Expanded as Keldeo-EX plus Float Stone is sometimes replaced by Zoroark (XY: BREAKthrough 91/162).  At least Trevenant enjoys Fighting Resistance, which may be more important with its borderline HP.  Just to finish out the bottom stats, its Retreat Cost of [CCC] is too high to pay; include something to lower it or bypass it entirely. 

Okay, now we get to the card’s effects, an Ability and an attack that are pretty closely related.  The former is “Nervous Seed”, which increases the attack cost of your opponent’s Basic Pokémon by [C] while Trevenant is Active.  No deck fails to use Basic attackers at all, with some being more or less totally dependant upon them.  Some use them rather sparingly though, like Vespiquen (XY: Ancient Origins 10/98)/Flareon (XY: Plasma Freeze 12/116) decks.  Without added support, this also will only slow down said Basic Pokémon; a serious hurdle for a deck like Night March but just a speed bump for something that can either Mega Evolve or attach the extra Energy.  As it places the effect on the opponent’s Active instead of say blocking damage, the usual workarounds for such effects won’t apply, but since Nervous Seed only works while Trevenant is Active, having a different Pokémon on your Bench allows Escape Rope, Lysandre, etc. to also provide an out.  As such, Nervous Seed is not a be-all-end-all kind of lock effect, but it is still a good one (kind of getting tired of the former turning the game into solitaire anyway).  The attack is “Energy Press” for [PCC], doing 70 damage plus an extra 1 for each Energy attached to the opponent’s Active.  Not good against something big, Energy efficient and Resistance like say M Scizor-EX, and unless it is Energy laden or suffers one of the usual risks (abnormally small, Psychic Weak) it isn’t going to score a OHKO.  It isn’t hopeless though, as Dimension Valley turns it into 70+ damage for [PC] and Nervous Seed can both slow down the opponent’s attacks (giving you an extra hit) but also force them to commit extra Energy yielding extra damage.  Taken as a whole, this is a solid combination. 

Trevenant has to Evolve from something and that something is Phantump (XY: BREAKpoint 64/122).  Yes, there is another Phantump, XY 54/146, and both are Basic, Psychic-Type Pokémon with 60 HP, Darkness Weakness, Fighting Resistance, Retreat Cost [CC], no Ancient Trait and no Ability, the attacks decide things rather forcefully.  XY 54/146 has been the only option for a while, and we have appreciated its “Astonish” attack for [P] which allows its player to select a random card from the opponent’s hand, then forces said opponent to reveal the card and shuffle it back into his or her deck.  Even its “Hook” attack for [PCC] wasn’t totally without use (close to, but not totally).  XY: BREAKpoint 64/122 has an attack that almost got it a CotD review: “Ascension”.  Yeah, it would have been more of a PSA to make sure no one was unaware that this superior Phantump was out there, but while XY: BREAKpoint 64/122 has but a single attack, it is focused on doing the exact thing it needs to do ASAP: Evolve!  It is even priced at [C]; not only can you do it for a single Energy but if Dimension Valley is in play the attack requires no Energy at all!  This also means Wally is only needed for turns where you go first or when you just need to Evolve in a single turn to attack as well as get the Ability. 

So what about the rest of the line?  There is one other Trevenant, XY 55/146, and while it isn’t the kind of the format it has periodically been a major component of successful, competitive decks.  It is also very, very similar to today’s card with the only differences (relevant to game mechanics) being a different Ability and attack.  Even then it remains similar as its “Forest’s Curse” Ability also requires it be Active to work and its “Tree Slam” attack has the same [PCC] cost as Energy Press.  Forest’s Curse stops your opponent from playing Items from hand, which leaves most decks with about a quarter of their cards as dead in hand or deck, though this number can vary a lot due both to build and the fact that many (most?) decks right now are so speed focused that they’ll burn through several Items on the player’s opening turn.  As such even a deck running more like 20 Items might still only have 10 left in deck by the time you can get Trevenant into play, even if you are just going second but get Trevenant into play first turn.  Usually though this is hard (if not devastating) to your opponent, and while it has some of the same vulnerabilities as Nervous Seed (Lysandre out something else) it is time tested as a good Ability.  Tree Slam is a decent attack; it only does 60 damage to the opponent’s Active but strikes up to two of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon for 20 damage.  I think this has less synergy with Forest’s Curse than Energy Press has with Nervous Seed but again Dimension Valley can help it remain competitive.  Still I’d say that this version has the strong Ability while today’s Trevenant has the (slightly) better attack. 

In the end though, XY 55/146 is the superior Trevenant and not only are both cards competing for the same slots in your deck, both must be Active to use their Abilities.  So have we seen today’s version win any tournaments?  Well that brings us to the final part of the Trevenant family.  No, not Trevenant-EX as Pokémon-EX may as well be totally different Pokémon as their names are considered different and they have no interaction with the Evolution line unless a specific card effect states otherwise.  This set we received Trevenant BREAK (XY: BREAKpoint 66/122).  This BREAK Evolution has 160 HP the attack “Silent Fear”, which places three damage counters on each of your opponent’s Pokémon at a cost of [PC].  It has to be played on a Trevenant though and it then gains that card’s Ability, attack, Weakness, Resistance and Retreat Cost.  We are covering that card tomorrow, so I’ll go into detail then but it is pretty clearly designed to work with either Trevenant and had an excellent showing at the most recent Regionals.  As I don’t have decklists and the brief descriptions just mention Trevenant BREAK and not which regular Trevenant it Evolved from, I don’t know how much either is currently being played.  It is hard to imagine XY 55/146 not being the main version, but based on more casual encounters on the PTCGO, a copy of XY: BREAKpoint 65/122 might actually be a good idea.  When you can’t get Trainers locked down fast enough but are still facing either Basics or Energy laden attackers, it can be a good deal.  You might even risk two if the deck is built around Energy control… and though it means that this does once again become solitaire, that is the best way to run these cards.  Sure removing Energy means Energy Press does less damage each time it hits, but it also probably means it gets to hit at least one extra time.  Crushing Hammer, Enhanced Hammer, Team Flare Grunt (against Pokémon-EX) Head Ringer can leave most Basics totally worthless against Nervous Seed and still devastate your opponent if he or she is slamming into Forest’s Curse instead and/or is attacking with Evolutions. 

I think this card is going to matter in both Standard and Expanded, though again the other Trevenant is still going to be the main focus.  I think we have that odd dynamic where XY: BREAKpoint 65/122 may end up less important to Trevenant decks but more successful than it would have been on its own thanks to XY 55/146.  In Limited play it is a magnificent pull.  Yes you need a Phantump as well, but that is a Common so the odds are not terrible that you will pull at least one in addition to Trevenant.  Remember this Phantump?  Yeah, so unlike most other Evolutions you get to bring out Trevenant from your deck instead of desperately trying to draw into it.  Your opponent will likely be relying on Basic Pokémon, so Nervous Seed and Energy Press are going to be much stronger, and your 110 HP is likely to last much longer. 

Ratings 

Standard: 3.35/5 

Expanded: 3.25/5 

Limited: 4.75/5 

Summary: Today’s Trevenant may be overshadowed by the original but it is still a good, solid card.  I think a single copy of it will become a common play in Trevenant decks and Trevenant decks appear to be doing quite well right now, though I do not know how long that will last.  I scored the card ever-so-slightly higher in Standard because there are a few additional Evolution decks that see play here.  This isn’t something to rush out and trade for like crazy, but if you plan on making using of Trevenant BREAK, which we will cover tomorrow, you really ought to have at least one copy of XY: BREAKpoint 65/122.


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