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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

 Slowbro

- XY BREAKpoint

Date Reviewed:
March 3, 2016

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 1.67
Expanded: 1.67
Limited: 3.08

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

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

Normally, a card like this would completely fly under the radar - I mean, who cares about Slowbro, am I right? A Stage 1 with only 100 HP? Uncommon? Doesn't seem that impressive, really. And Careless Head doesn't really help much; even at 1 Energy, it only does 10 damage with a coin flip to determine getting an extra 50. Though that is pretty good, it's not something to actively rely on. 

So why are we looking at Slowbro at all? He seems awfully slow, bro...heh, I went there. 

Well it's naturally because of his second attack that I did, in fact, put him down at the bare bottom of my "Top List" for this set, an attack that's so very unique in this game and such a refreshing idea to build around that I wouldn't be surprised if one of you got beat by a guy who pulled out a surprise on you with this little guy right here. What's the attack? 

WALK-OFF HOMER 

Now 90% of the time, this 3-Energy cost attack looks like nothing. In fact, it really does nothing. There's no damage value, nothing to really gain off of it, it's all in the effect. And the effect is simple: if you use this attack while you've got 1 Prize left, you win. 

Yes, you read that right: IF YOU HAVE 1 PRIZE LEFT, YOU WIN THE GAME 

This is the kind of attack that just BEGS to be played around! Course, the only trouble with that is that, while you could play around it...you do still need to put in the effort to GETTING the attack to work, and that ain't easy. Honestly, when I first read this card, I was like, "WHOA, YOU COULD TOTALLY LET YOUR OPPONENT WIN THE ENTIRE GAME, AND THEN SNATCH VICTORY AT THE LAST SECOND!!" But that would've been, "If your opponent has 1 Prize left, you win the game." 

And this is supposed to be a "walk-off homer." You know, like how a batter in baseball hits the ball, doesn't get immediately out, and because there's a guy on every base, the guy on third gets to go to home plate automatically and score? Walk-off homer. 

In other words, you still gotta actually play the game to make it work, and you DO need to have 1 Prize left - not 2, not 0, not 3, 1 Prize. So does that mean he'd be an interesting auto-win tech card? Maybe! I would probably recommend running Splash Energy with this if only to cycle back attackers or to get Slowbro back so you can potentially use him, and besides, if you can go toe-to-toe against something like Vespiquen and deal lots of damage to get 5 Prizes, Slowbro can win it right off the bat, but if not...well, there ya go. 

Such a neat attack though. 

Rating 

Standard: 1.5/5 (but practically speaking, it's much harder to pull off) 

Expanded: 1.5/5 (could be done though, and hey, it would be funny to see!) 

Limited: 3/5 (...very, very funny to see) 

Arora Notealus: Slowbro has a specifically unique win condition that makes a game go from "almost but not quite there" to "done and done" in an instant without the need for a "6th KO". But if you're gonna play him right...you kinda need to play the game. And at that point, you might as well be dealing the attack that nets you 6 Prizes. 

Next Time: On the other hand, or should I say "other head"...


Otaku

*cues up playlist* 

While it isn’t Slowpoke itself, today we look at the latest card of its original Evolution: Slowbro (XY: BREAKpoint 20/122).  This version is a Water-Type, keeping to the set’s theme, which means it can hit nearly all Fire-Types and a portion of the Fighting-Type for double damage thanks to Weakness and only has to deal with Resistance when facing some (but not all) BW-era Grass-Type Pokémon.  The Water-Type has some great direct support like Archie’s Ace in the Hole and some potent less exclusive support like Blastoise (BW: Boundaries Crossed 31/149; BW: Plasma Storm 137/135; BW: Plasma Blast 16/101) and Keldeo-EX.  There are a few effects that reference Water-Types in a negative light but… they really aren’t worth going into detail because they are lackluster at best.  Being a Stage 1 is pretty obviously not as good as being a Basic but it isn’t bad; you’ll need another card to get Slowbro into play and (if Evolving normally) two turns, but it can be done reasonably well.  Its 100 HP is a bit disappointing: too high for Level Ball but is too low to have much durability, hence even bringing up Level Ball when you’d have better options.  Its Grass Weakness can be dangerous but not too much because again, only 100 HP; that isn’t super fragile but in a format where decks seem to average more like 120 per turn, it isn’t likely to survive even a single hit.  Lack of Resistance isn’t a huge deal; “no Resistance” is actually the most common Resistance by a large margin.  The Retreat Cost of [CC] is low enough you can probably afford to pay it if you must, but high enough you really ought to have an alternative plan. 

Slowbro has two attacks; for [W] you can use the first (Careless Head) while for [CCC] you can use the second (Walk-Off Homer).  The former does 10 damage and has you flip a coin; “tails” means you still just do 10 but “heads” means Slowbro hits for 10+50!  60 damage for one Energy is very good but being unreliable tempers this quite a bit.  The latter had many of us (myself included) quite worried at first glance, likely because we misunderstood it.  “Walk-Off Homer” is a baseball reference, and the short definition is that it is a home run (by knocking it out of the park) in the bottom of the final inning that wins the game; no risk of being tagged out but apparently you still have to officially run (or in this case, walk) around the bases for it to count.  So what does it do on Slowbro?  As long as you were on your last Prize, you win the game.  Its [CCC] cost makes it easy to pay in decks that have any compatible Energy acceleration, but the main use of this attack is showing off or ensuring your opponent has no way of preventing a win (like with something immune to damage, that doesn’t give up a Prize, etc. in your opponent’s Active slot).  Most of the time there will be easier ways around such an issue, though, like Lysandre. 

Slowbro could be put directly into play via Archie’s Ace in the Hole, but let us take a look at our Slowpoke options.  There are three to consider, though the oldest is only legal for Expanded play: BW: Dark Explorers 23/108, XY: BREAKpoint 19/122, and Generations 32/83.  All are Basic Pokémon with no Resistance, Ability or Ancient Trait but two attacks.  BW: Dark Explorers 23/108 is a Water-Type with 70 HP, Lightning Weakness, Retreat Cost [CCC], the attack “Big Yawn” for [C], which renders both itself and the opponent’s Active Asleep), and the attack “Shot In the Dark” for [WC], which requires two coin flips and both must be heads just to do 20 damage.  XY: BREAKpoint 19/122 is also a Basic Water-Type Pokémon with 70 HP, but it has Grass Weakness and a Retreat Cost of [CC]; its first attack (Headbutt) does 10 damage for [C] and its second attack (Tail Lure) costs [CC] while allowing you to search your deck for a Pokémon and add it to your hand.  Generations 32/83 is a Basic, Psychic-Type with 50 HP, Psychic Weakness and a Retreat Cost of [C].  Its first attack (Spacing Out) costing C to heal 10 damage from itself, but only if you get “heads” on a coin flip.  Its second attack (Scavenge) requires [PP] and then has you discard a [P] Energy from itself; if you do you may add an Item card from your discard pile to your hand.  This card is not a reprint of Fossil 55/62 and Legendary Collection 93/110, however they did alter Scavenge from adding a Trainer to your hand to just an Item card.  This is unfortunate; the cards use the same art and so especially for someone not paying attention they could easily be mistaken for one another.  Unless it would really help to have a Psychic-Type version, go with one of the two Water-Type options instead; BW: Dark Explorers 23/108 can try to stall by putting both Actives to Sleep while XY: BREAKpoint 19/122 can fish something important from your deck. 

There is one other Slowbro, BW: Dark Explorers 24/108.  Other than Lightning Weakness and a Retreat Cost of [CCC] (one higher) its attributes are the same as today’s version, but it has the Ability “Airhead” that prevents it from attacking if you have two, four or six Prizes left.  The attack you get in exchange for a detrimental Ability is “Lazy Headbutt” for [WC], which does 80 and leaves Slowbro (“this Pokémon”) Asleep.  This wasn’t good enough when we reviewed it before - well not really “we” as I didn’t get a review in for it and aroramage wasn’t around back then - and it remains a fun joke but not something to seriously use.  Yes, even when you’ve got Mew-EX to copy and use Lazy Headbutt for just [W] thanks to Dimension Valley; 80 for 1 is nice but unless you’ve got an entire Slowbro/Slowking/Mew-EX deck, you’ve got better things to copy.  Speaking of Slowking there are two options there to consider, as they can also Evolve from Slowpoke: BW: Dark Explorers 49/108 which is only legal for Expanded play and XY: BREAKpoint 21/122, with which we will wrap up our week tomorrow (surprise?).  BW: Dark Explorers 49/10 shakes things up a bit by being a Stage 1 Psychic-Type with 90 HP, Psychic Weakness, no Resistance and a Retreat Cost of [CC], but it lacks an Ability or Ancient Trait, again having just two attacks.  Not very promising, eh? 

At least it doesn’t have a self-limiting Ability.  So for [P] it can use “Psy Bolt” to do 20 damage and flip a coin; “heads” means the opponent’s Active is Paralyzed, “tails” means you still just do 20 damage.  For [PCC] it can do “Hand Press” for 50 damage plus 30 for each card you have in hand more than your opponent.  This card was also reviewed when it was recent and once again I missed it.  Still not good as even if you can make your hand big, Slowking goes down in one hit… and if your opponent has N or just a large hand, the damage is likely quite bad for the Energy.  For the effort involved, you really need to manage a OHKO of typical Basic Pokémon-EX (170 to 180 damage), if not Mega Evolutions (typically 210 to 240).  As for XY: BREAKpoint 21/122, other than its name its attributes are identical to Slowbro (XY: BREAKpoint 20/122).  It has an Ability though, named “Royal Flash” in addition to a single attack named “Psych Up”.  Royal Flash requires a coin flip to work, and it is a once-per-turn effect (though multiple copies can be used in a single turn).  If you get “tails” it simply does nothing.  “Heads” allows you to select and move an Energy from your opponent’s Active to something on his or her Bench.  “Psych Up” has been seen before; this version costs [WC] and does 40 damage initially, but if you use it again the next turn (and the effect isn’t somehow reset) it will do 80 damage instead.  The damage does not keep increasing, but if you use it over and over you’ll go 40, 80, 80, 80, etc.  We’ll discuss this in detail tomorrow, but it seems to be at least a decent card. 

So, what all helps Slowbro?  Mostly I would say the new Slowking if you feel like including a single copy of Slowbro just in case you get into that weird situation where you have one Prize left and can attack but could not otherwise attack for the win.  Thanks to Archie’s Ace in the Hole and the Energy cost for Walk-Off Homer, just about any deck with some Energy acceleration and the combos necessary to pull off an Archie’s Ace in the Hole could include this Slowbro.  If you are very paranoid about a last minute stall, I suppose it could be useful, but the unsportsmanlike use of finishing someone off with Slowbro as a kind of taunt is its true calling.  Well, that and intimidation if your opponent can be intimidated (instead of encouraged) by such plays.  I don’t recommend this for Standard or Expanded, and the reason it is good for Limited is because a split Evolution line gives you the slight potential of pulling like a 2-1/1 line but mostly because Careless Head is decent here and it's Limited; you are probably kind of desperate. 

Ratings 

Standard: 1.75/5 

Expanded: 1.75/5 

Limited: 3.15/5 

Summary: As is often the case, we get another gimmicky card for Slowbro.  While I kind of enjoy such things, I always worry because sometimes “fun” stuff ends up being more useful than intended, which by its nature means more powerful than intended.  There is also the amount of filler already in packs; making a card you know isn’t going to be worth it works better when it’s one of the few, not when it is the norm. 

The Pojo Top 20 for XY: BREAKpoint list had this just making it as the 20th place pick with 4 points, typing with the 19th place pick.  We actually had 22 cards nominated, with two being part of a “twofer”, so Slowbro did beat one card by two points.  Slowbro did not make my personal list.


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