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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

 Slowking

- XY BREAKpoint

Date Reviewed:
March 4, 2016

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.38
Expanded: 2.50
Limited: 3.88

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

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

And now at the end of a bit of a long week, we finally come to Slowbro's cousin, Slowking. And man does he look peaceful calm, like the nap we wanna take after coming home from school or work or wherever we go. Just, ya know, with less standing involved. 

Slowking isn't much of an attacker, especially not with Psych Up. At 2-for-40, its only saving grace is that it can double its damage output on the next turn, tacking on an extra 40 damage. That being said, it's too slow for competitive play, especially given Slowking's low HP score of 100. Chances are if you're using Slowking as your attacker, you're not in a very good position. 

On the other hand, you might be using him to gain the advantage, since he does come with an Ability in the form of Royal Flash. This nifty little trick gives you the opportunity to flip a coin, and if it's heads, you get to move around an Energy attached to your opponent's Active Pokemon to one of their Benched Pokemon. Think of it as a reverse Pokemon Catcher that pushes Energy away from the attacker and onto something else. Ideally you could use this to shove Energy onto a Bench-Sitter whose intended purpose isn't to come out and be Active - Garbodor anyone? 

...no? No? Well, he does have a better attack now. 

Still, the disruption to your opponent's tempo will be nice, but you do need to be careful where you're moving it around - if you end up just fueling their back-up attacker, you're not in any better position than you were before. That being said, this puts Slowking in a niche position that doesn't lend itself to a very competitive level of play. If you're teching him in, it's to keep him on the Bench and mess up your opponent while pressuring with your own attacker. 

Course, you're also relying on coin flips, so that should tell you how viable this is. 

Rating 

Standard: 2/5 (he's not an absolutely awful Pokemon by a long shot, but his Ability can only do so much on its own) 

Expanded: 2.5/5 (probably combined with stuff like Head Ringer and the Hammers, Slowking's disruption game can become even better) 

Limited: 3.5/5 (and besides, nobody expects their Energy to move!) 

Arora Notealus:...I could use pants. 

Weekend Thought: So how do this week's cards look to you? Are they hidden treasures overlooked? Powerful cards whose potential is yet to be tapped? Or are they collectibles only?


Otaku

We end the week with Slowking (XY: BREAKpoint 21/122), set-mate and alternate evolution to yesterday’s Slowbro (XY: BREAKpoint 20/122).  The cards are very similar in attributes (only differing in name) but fairly different in effects as Slowking sports an Ability and an attack instead of two attacks.  For the sake of being thorough (and because it decreases my reading comprehension fails) I will still run through the details, but fair warning this is going to be very familiar if you have been keeping up. 

Slowking is a Water-Type, allowing it to tap incredibly support like Archie’s Ace in the Hole while only dealing with forgettable “anti-Water” cards in exchange.  In terms of exploiting Weakness, nearly all Fire-Types fit the bill in addition to a decent chunk of the Fighting-Type, though it doesn’t look like any of those clocked in during the final weekend of Regionals, at least in the Masters division (still using The Charizard Lounge as a reference).  Water Resistance is limited to some BW-era Grass-Types, which may still come up from time to time (like Virizion-EX).  Overall it is a good Type with only minor concerns, the worst of which may not exploiting Weakness as often as some other Types.  Being a Stage 1 is a small burden, but quite manageable even if we don’t use the aforementioned shortcut (Archie’s Ace in the Hole) to put Slowking into play directly.  Obviously not as good as being a Basic, but you should still be able to manage.  The 100 HP means an Active Slowking is probably a goner, even more so against Grass-Types.  The lack of Resistance is technically the worst, but also the most common so no sense holding it against the card; likewise the Retreat Cost of two, though not as the most common cost but as the point where it is still significantly advantageous to reduce the cost but not crippling to pay at full price, at least not most of the time. 

The Ability on Slowking is “Royal Flash”; it can only be used one-per-turn, but that is per copy of the card (so multiples in play can each be used once each turn).  The effect has you flip a coin and it “tails” it does nothing, which is bad but actually not the worst that could happen.  On “heads” you can move an Energy from the opponent’s Active to one of his or her Benched Pokémon, which for your opponent is bad but not the worst that could happen.  You can use this Ability if your opponent has no Bench but that just means it does nothing.  Obviously a deck using Energy it can freely move around is only in trouble if this can be made to matter that very turn.  Silly as that sounds, there are examples of that.  Let us say you were facing a Fairy Transfer deck.  A player with Slowking could try to use Royal Flash to force at least one Energy from the Active to Aromatisse (XY 93/146), Lysandre it forward and take a highly probable OHKO.  You already had good reason to take out Aromatisse in that example, of course. 

Energy transfer decks may have some Energy that they cannot easily move around, because it only counts as the correct Type under certain circumstances or because it has other attachment restrictions; this too can apply to various decks.  In fact the Type exclusive Energy like Wednesday’s Splash Energy will discard itself if it winds up attached to the wrong Pokémon-Type; Prism Energy counts as all Types but only when attached to a Basic, so if it gets moved to an Evolution it loses its effect.  There are also decks where moving the Energy to something that already has enough - be it something not meant to have any Energy or something your opponent already has prepped to attack - is better than discarding it, like against Bronzong (XY: Phantom Forces 61/119) decks that can attach Energy from the discard pile.  As you can use it turn after turn, the coin flip is probably not the biggest challenge for this card, but rather the fact that it can only move Energy off the Active and to the Bench.  The attack (Psych Up) is nothing new; literally we’ve seen it before.  This iteration requires [WC] to use and hits for 40 base damage, with an extra 40 if you used Psych Up the turn before (and the effect wasn’t somehow reset). For two Energy, 40 is low but not unworkable, while the 80-for-two you get if you used it the previous turn is adequate (though still not overly good). 

We covered Slowpoke options yesterday, as well as Slowbro (the other possible Evolution of Slowpoke) and one other Slowking still legal.  For those either too lazy to go read it or unable to for some reason, I am just going to copy and paste my own work for those, tweaked ever so slightly since it is in reference to today’s Slowking and not yesterday’s Slowbro.  This is because I am too lazy and am also running out of time to get this written.  So 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.  You also could skip Slowpoke entirely by using Archie’s Ace in the Hole but for a Stage 1 like Slowking that isn’t being put into play for a lock or early aggressive play, that seems a bit excessive (at least as the main method). 

We have two options for Slowbro: BW: Dark Explorers 24/108 and XY: BREAKpoint 20/122.  I mentioned earlier that XY: BREAKpoint 20/122 is a close match for today’s Slowking; BW: Dark Explorers 24/108 is similar as other than its name, Lightning Weakness, and Retreat Cost of [CCC] it is the same.  BW: Dark Explorers 24/108 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.  XY: BREAKpoint 20/122 does a bit better because its first attack (Careless Head) does 10+ for [W], where the “plus” is flipping a coin that adds 50 damage on “heads” (“tails” still does the minimum 10 damage).  For [CCC] it can use “Walk-Off Homer” to win the game, so long as you already have just one Prize left.  Neither are very good, but theoretically XY: BREAKpoint 20/122 might become useful if some amazing protective effect or combo developed (and even then, you’d still need to be able to take five Prizes first). 

BW: Dark Explorers 49/10 is the other, Expanded Only option for Slowking.  It 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. 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).  This is another card not likely to be used alongside today’s Slowking. 

Okay, with that out of the way, is this Slowking any good and what should it be used with if it is?  I believe the card has some potential, but as much as I once did.  The space used on a Stage 1 for disruption can go to quite a few cards and while Slowking can be handy, something that makes it easier to KO the opponent’s Active, or which reliably shuts down some of their resources, seem preferred.  All hope is not lost, though as Royal Flash (especially in a swarm) should make some locks easier to execute… provided you need to move Energy off the Active.  With something like Head Ringer or Trevenant (XY 55/146) or Trevenant (XY: BREAKpoint 65/122), preferably via Trevenant BREAK just maybe the full control would be worth it.  So that is as much as I can say for Standard and Expanded; it should come as little surprise that even a 1-1 for a Stage 1 line is a great pull here.  The Energy demands are not too bad for squeezing into a mostly off-Type deck (as one expects to be stuck with) and of course Royal Flash can be used by (and against) any deck that has a Bench. 

Ratings 

Standard: 2.75/5 

Expanded: 2.5/5 

Limited: 4.25/5 

Summary: Slowking could be a diabolical Energy moving machine, but probably is going to be doing well to find a niche deck where reusable Energy manipulation sets up for some sort of softlock.  I guess it could also function as a kind of counter against Giratina-EX (XY: Ancient Origins 57/98, 93/98), as it tends to be reliant on Double Dragon Energy, which you could move to a Benched anything-that-isn’t-a-Dragon-Type to force a discard. 

As you can tell I want this card to be good, probably because at first I was quite impressed by it.  It actually just missed making an earlier version of my Top 10 for XY: BREAKpoint, and I kind of wish it had stayed there, because I got it into my head that a reusable pseudo-Crushing Hammer was going to shape the format, so it jumped up to my sixth place pick!  I believe I forgot how constraining only being able to move off of the Active was as again, most decks are going to have an aggressive plan of attack so why use a flippy Stage 1 Bench-sitter to move Energy off of something about to be KO'd?  Slowking finished with 10 voting points on the site list, putting it in 11th place (tied with 12th place, actually).


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