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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Top 10 BREAKpoint Cards

#10 - M Scizor-EX

- XY BREAKpoint

Date Reviewed:
February 8, 2016

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3.43
Expanded: 3.20
Limited: 4.50

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

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

Well, it's that time of year again! Time to review the best cards in the most recent set, BREAKpoint! Or as I'm gonna call it, Breakpoint. Cause capitalizing so many letters is silly. I'M LOOKING AT YOU BREAKThrough!! 

...well, I'm one to talk. 

So for our little list here, we start out with one of the new Mega Evos to hit the scene, M Scizor-EX! And to me, he's...decent. Honestly, maybe it's just my thoughts on the matter for now, but he doesn't seem like he's all that. Okay, so his attack is 2-Energy, which is as you may note a really cheap cost for a Mega Evo attack, and for what it's worth, he's very good at what he does. 

For a mere 2 Energy, M Scizor-EX here unleashes the power of Iron Crusher, dealing out 120 damage and granting you the ability to either get rid of a Special Energy card on the opposing Active Pokemon or discard a Stadium in play. Now I know what you're thinking: "But aroramage, that sounds amazing! Every deck runs Special Energies and/or Stadiums, and dealing 120 damage is enough to 2HKO most any Pokemon in the game! How can that NOT be good for 2 Energy?"

Well, yes, that's all technically true. M Scizor-EX can run against the grain of a lot of decks in general - Fighting decks running Strong Energy, Dragon decks using Double Dragon Energy, anything that runs DCE. And on top of that, he can just get rid of a Stadium, giving you the upper hand potentially in certain match-ups? Certainly, he's a great guy! But I think for me, it's that 120 damage bit. I know asking for more would probably warrant another Energy attachment, but given how easy it'd be with Bronzong hanging around, I doubt it would be an issue for Steel decks that will easily be running M Scizor-EX here. Maybe a slight boost to 140? 

I'd say that's what Muscle Band's for, but you already know he's gonna have Spirit Link equipped. In any case, M Scizor-EX should not be overlooked just cause I want him to do a smidge more damage - he's a very real threat in the game, and he's gonna be leading a slew of Steel decks to the meta! 

Rating 

Standard: 3.5/5 (he's powerful, no doubt - a cheap attack with a great effect - and he's definitely got the right support) 

Expanded: 3.5/5 (I just think he could have used a little extra oomph to him, ya know? Something that says, "If I wanted to, I could one-shot you right now!")

Limited: 5/5 (course, I'm also greedy and want my Megas to be silly OP, so what do I know?) 

Arora Notealus: You'd probably be surprised if I said that M Scizor-EX didn't somehow make it onto my list - but that's also probably because I really wanted to look at some other cards that would also push through for quite a bit. That's probably one of the great things about these lists - whereas a few cards may stand out as really good cards, there are others that would be up for debate, and the great thing about having multiple reviewers make different lists to compare is really nice! 

...that being said, having only two reviewers doesn't leave much to the imagination when you have an idea of what the other guy probably voted for XP

Next Time: SPEAKING OF SILLY OP MEGAS


Otaku

Welcome to our Top 10 Picks of XY: BREAKpoint Countdown!  However before we get to that, I have some bookkeeping.  There are two reviews I missed (here and here) that should hopefully be posted shortly, if they are not already up.  Much more problematic is that while going through CotDs from as far back as the Top 10 for the previous set, I noticed I badly messed up a review.  It wasn’t just that I overrated or underrated the card, it was that I misread the effect!  To make matters worse, both before and after we reviewed Brigette I understood the effect correctly but for some reason while writing the review, I was under the impression she added the searched for card(s) to hand as opposed to playing them directly to the field.  That means she is useless for accessing Abilities triggered when a Basic is put into play and that means she is a much less impressive card.  A corrected review might be posted for this, or it might not… and perhaps it is strangely useful that we start our current Top 10 with me being reminded of how easily I can utterly fail at reviewing. 

If you’ve never read any of our Top 10 countdowns before, let me quickly run through how we determine what makes the Pojo Top 10 (or 5 or 15 or however many cards make the list).  Each individual reviewer may submit a Top 10 list.  Often you’re allowed to include a few extra cards (sometimes useful for breaking ties) or if you for some reason had a shorter list, we aren’t too fussy about that either.  Each card is assigned a value based on how it placed on a person’s list, and these are then summed to compile the final Top 10.  Reprints are not eligible most of the time; initially this was because our Top 10 lists were an end-of-year feature and many (most?) TCGs are good about keeping strong, staple cards available in new product through periodic reprints, enough that something like Professor Sycamore is getting reprinted at least once per year until they decide they are done with it and allow it to rotate out of Standard play.  In fact, Professor Sycamore is card #107 of 122 in XY: BREAKpoint and it is still a strong, important card (though not quite what it once was).  A card that is similar to a past release but distinct enough that the game recognizes them as two different cards is still fair game.  Now onto the 10th place! 

M Scizor-EX has to deal with giving up an extra Prize when KOed and being unable to access certain useful effects while also being targeted by certain detrimental ones due to being a Pokémon-EX.  As a Mega Evolution, it also has the painful effect of ending your turn when you actually Mega Evolve into it, though this can be avoided with Scizor Spirit Link.  There are a few cards like Mega Turbo that help out Mega Evolutions and a few like Faded Town that are an extra obstacle just for them.  Being a Metal-Type means all Fairy-Types and a chunk of Water-Types will not like M Scizor-EX because it is hitting their Weakness.  XY-era Lightning-Types sport Metal Resistance, which may be a pain or may not even be noticed as the -20 only matters in borderline cases.  I’m not seeing any counter-cards that explicitly reference Metal-Type Pokémon, but there also isn’t much in the way of Metal-Type support either: Klinklang (BW: Plasma Storm 90/135), Reverse Valley (XY: BREAKpoint 110/122), Shield Energy and Steel Shelter. 

Klinklang [Plasma] offers full protection against damage done by Pokémon-EX to Metal-Type Pokémon thanks to its “Plasma Steel” Ability; potent but sometimes painful to actually get into play.  Reverse Valley and Steel Shelter are both Stadiums, with the former have two different effects that operate simultaneously but apply to only one player or the other (determined by how the card is facing).  Reverse Valley provides a 10 point damage boost for Darkness-Types before Weakness/Resistance for one player while decreasing the damage Metal-Type Pokémon receive by 10 after Weakness/Resistance for the other.  Steel Shelter prevents all Metal-Types from being affected by Special Conditions: both could be useful but also be dead weight depending on the match, so while they compete for space they could work together.  Shield Energy is the Type-specific Special Energy for Metal and reduces the damage done to Metal-Types by 10 after Weakness/Resistance (multiples stack).  There are also cards that can support other Types but work better with Metal, like Bronzong (XY: Phantom Forces 61/119), Klinklang (Black & White 76/114) and several Metal-Type attackers.  Overall it doesn’t strike me as the strongest Type, but it does have its benefits. 

M Scizor-EX has 220 HP; the lower of the most common scores for Mega Evolutions, but still difficult to OHKO outside of Weakness or decks that rely upon brute force/combos specifically meant to OHKO anything.  Speaking of Weakness, it could be a real problem here as it is Fire, and while that makes sense we also just came off of a stretch where Entei (XY: Ancient Origins 15/98)/Charizard-EX (XY: Flashfire 12/106) were a somewhat novel, successful choice for Standard play, while Flareon (BW: Plasma Freeze 12/116) has been a success in Expanded (usually with a partner) for a while now.  There are a few other less prominent Fire-Type decks out there, and hypothetically any Stage 1 attacker can become a Fire-Type if it can squeeze in Flareon (XY: Ancient Origins 13/98).  This is probably the card’s biggest danger.  Far less important but appreciated nonetheless is Psychic Resistance; so many cards don’t have any and while -20 damage won’t shift things much, definitely better to have it than not.  Finishing up the bottom of the card, the Retreat Cost of [CC] is high enough you prefer not to pay it but low enough you’ll often be able to afford both paying it and recovering from having paid it. 

M Scizor-EX lacks an Ancient Trait (seems like that mechanic is done now), and isn’t changing the pattern of Mega Evolutions having no Abilities while only having a single attack.  This time the attack is “Iron Crusher”.  As I am writing this late, I just got an image of Wil Wheaton in a suit of powered armor.  I don’t think the attack will have this effect on most opponents though, so you’ll need to rely on just what is printed: 120 damage for [MM] and the option to either discard a Special Energy card attached to the opponent’s Active or to discard a Stadium from play.  This is a fantastic damage to Energy ratio with no drawbacks.  The cost means Mega Turbo and a manual Energy attachment can take you from zero to attacking in a single turn.  Being able to discard either an attached Special Energy or the current Stadium in play or neither means the effect shouldn’t ever backfire while the current metagame makes it unlikely you wouldn’t be able to use at one effect or the other.  This also opens up the possibility of using a beneficial Stadium that applies to both players but then discarding it to prevent your opponent the same bonuses.  Of course it isn’t perfect: 120 scores a 2HKO on almost anything that sees competitive play, except cards with protective effects.  However it also doesn’t OHKO a lot of things, and this is a format that is big on OHKOs.  Even stacking multiple buffs, it will struggle to take down typical Pokémon-EX attackers in a single hit.

So what about Scizor-EX?  We’ve got to go through it to get to its Mega Evolution.  It is very similar to M Scizor-EX: same Type, Weakness, Resistance, Retreat Cost and lack of Ability or Ancient Trait, but as a Basic Pokémon-EX with two attacks.  The first is “Steel Wing” for [M] which does 20 damage while reducing the damage done to Scizor-EX (or rather “this Pokémon) by 20 once again after Weakness or Resistance.  The damage and effect aren’t brilliant but they aren’t bad either; in fact for something likely intended only to Mega Evolve, it is a solid deal.  For [MM] Scizor-EX can use “Gale Thrust” to hit for 50+ damage.  The “plus” is that the attack does an additional 60 damage (so 110 damage total) if Scizor-EX moves from your Bench to the Active position during your turn.  Thanks to Pokémon like Zoroark (XY: BREAKthrough 91/162) and its “Stand In” Ability or Keldeo-EX and its functionally identical “Rush In” Ability, plus Float Stone or another effect to zero out Retreat Costs, Gale Thrust should be pretty easy to spam for the 110.  A solid basis for M Scizor-EX, but I don’t think there is the damage base for Scizor-EX to prove worthwhile on its own.

So how should you run this Pokémon?  If Fire Weakness isn’t too big of a danger, you probably should go with a fast deck designed to exploit the disruption that is already present in Iron Crusher… probably with more disruption.  If you use Bronzong and its “Metal Links” Ability, you might take up more space than with Mega Turbo but you’ll also have Energy acceleration that can be used over and over again, including for alternate attackers.  I am uncertain which approach is better, but with so many decks relying on Special Energy cards, Stadiums, and/or getting by with smaller attackers (like Night March), Iron Crusher could take you far.  At least in Standard; Expanded adds Flareon [Plasma] back into the mix as well as more competition, including more decks that use few or no Special Energy cards.  As such I don’t expect as much out of M Scizor-EX here.  In Limited play, this is a great pull, unless of course you don’t get a Scizor-EX.  The attack costs aren’t particularly easy to splash as they are mono-Typed, but they also cost only one or two Energy, which helps.  If you go the +39 route, where Scizor-EX is combined with 39 other non-Basic Pokémon cards to form your 40 card Limited Format deck, you probably want one of those 39 cards to be M Scizor-EX.  Even though you’ll lose an attack to Mega Evolving and it might take a bit to draw into M Scizor-EX in the first place, Scizor-EX won’t be able to get the damage bonus for Gale Thrust. 

Ratings 

Standard: 3.35/5 

Expanded: 2.85/5 

Limited: 4/5 

Summary: Part of me thinks we’ll be seeing a lot of M Scizor-EX as it discards our precious Special Energy cards and/or Stadiums while setting up for a 2HKO and for only two Energy but then I realize that just might not work as the format is so rapidly paced.  M Scizor-EX actually tied with tomorrow's ninth place pick in terms of voting points.  I had M Scizor-EX as my fifth place pick because of what I expect of it in Standard, with the cards that placed above it seeming like strong plays for either Standard or Expanded play.  Given how I’ve meandered back and forth in my own review, I won’t deserve credit even should it exceed my expectations.  It was actually pretty tight in this part of the list, as 11th and 12th place tied with only one less voting point than 9th and 10th.


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