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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Altaria-EX
and M Altaria-EX

- Fates Collide

Date Reviewed:
July 19, 2016

Ratings & Reviews Summary

S
ee Below

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

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

WHY AN ALTARIA-EX DECK, OF COURSE!! 

Altaria-EX actually is a Colorless EX, unlike M Altaria-EX - nice little mix-up on the part of the TCG crew, since Altaria does change from a Dragon/Flying to a Dragon/Fairy in the games. And with the Colorless typing, Altaria-EX can also make use of the Colorless support released back in Roaring Skies, like Winona or even the Altaria released in that set! 

On top of that, Altaria-EX has two attacks, one of which is Powerful Gain. It's only a 2-for-30 hit, but if Altaria-EX was healed this turn, it can deal an extra 60 damage and heal off another 30 damage. If Altaria-EX has Fairy Energy on it - an easy task, if you're running a full M Altaria-EX deck - then Fairy Drop can become a big boost to it, healing off 50 damage and then letting Altaria-EX deal 90 damage and heal off another 30 all for 2 Energy. Not a bad deal, all things considered. 

Shining Wind then becomes a bit of a back-up in the event Altaria-EX can't be healed for whatever reason. At 3-for-80, its only boon is that it removes Altaria-EX's Weakness to Lightning until the end of your opponent's turn. It's a nice attack in the event that you can't heal for Powerful Gain's effects, but with such an aggressive format, it's hard to think when that would be. Not to mention how many Electric decks are you gonna run into anyway? 

Still, not too bad for a Mega-Evolving EX. I'd almost gotten used to them being exceptionally terrible in lieu of their Mega form. 

Rating 

Standard: 2.5/5 (with the right set of tools in hand, Altaria-EX can do pretty well for herself) 

Expanded: 2.5/5 (which is good, cause we wouldn't want things to get all complicated from not being able to do stuff) 

Limited: 3.5/5 (I mean seriously, how terrible would that be?) 

------ 

And then there's M Altaria-EX. Honestly makes me wish that Mega-Evos worked more mechanically like BREAK Evos, letting you use previous attacks, but details. If they were, Mist Purge and Powerful Gain would probably work differently and become super powerful. Heck, even just altering Powerful Gain the way I'm thinking of would tear it apart. 

But enough about that, what's Mist Purge all about? Well, it's a little like Powerful Gain in that if you fulfill a condition, the attack will do more damage and heal M Altaria-EX for a certain amount. The big difference is that the condition is a bit easier to fulfill than healing yourself each turn, albeit at a slightly higher cost. As long as M Altaria-EX has a Special Energy attached - like, say, Wonder Energy - Mist Purge goes from a 3-for-100 hit to a 3-for-130 hit, and it'll even heal off 30 damage from M Altaria-EX. 

Combined with M Altaria-EX's bulk, Mist Purge is a pretty good attack. Having that Special Energy attached means she can start 2HKO-ing any Pokemon in the format, and if we've learned anything from cards like Rough Seas, constantly healing off even 30 damage each and every turn is a big boost to one's survivability. This can make M Altaria-EX a pretty bulky threat to deal with, even considering she's got 220 HP to start with. Healing off 30 damage every turn simply makes the effective score that much higher. 

Of course, like all new Mega Evos, M Altaria-EX also has the power of a Spirit Link card to keep you from losing out on your turn, and since Mist Purge doesn't require anything other than Special Energy, you can get away with moving your Spirit Link off and throwing down a damage boosting Tool like Muscle Band or Fighting Fury Belt, the latter of which is arguably better given M Altaria-EX's bulk. Outside of that though, there's not a whole lot else in her favor. Still, she's working with enough, so it's certainly a doable deck to build. 

Still wish Mist Purge could power Powerful Gain. Man that'd be crazy. 

Rating 

Standard: 3/5 (a decently powerful EX with a good amount of support can do a lot) 

Expanded: 3/5 (and M Altaria-EX is a great example of one that can do well with the support) 

Limited: 4/5 (of course, Limited limits her playability, but that doesn't mean she isn't strong if you get the right pieces) 

Arora Notealus: I think the only other Pokemon-EX that can Mega Evolve into another Type is Rayquaza-EX, since he's either Colorless or Dragon who can become Colorless or Dragon. That's pretty interesting, huh? I wonder if they'll try that with Ampharos-EX at some point...or Aggron-EX? 

Next Time: That's no gemstone...THAT'S A FAIRY!!


Otaku

Another double header today as we look at Altaria-EX (XY: Fates Collide 83/124, 123/124) and M Altaria-EX (XY: Fates Collide 69/124, 121/124) for the very obvious reason that Pokémon A Mega Evolves into Pokémon B.  The two cards have many differences so I’ll run through Altaria-EX and then M Altaria-EX.  Altaria-EX is a Colorless Type, so it does not have to worry about Weakness or Resistance unless we get crazy and play under the Unlimited Format.  There are some Colorless Type counters but they haven’t proven worthwhile and are unlikely to start now.  The Type does have some dedicated support though in the likes of Altaria (XY: Roaring Skies 74/108, XY: Black Star Promos XY46), Aspertia City Gym, and Winona; respectively for Colorless Type Pokémon they cancel out Weakness, grant +20 HP, or search out up to three Pokémon.  They don’t have the same natural synergy bonus of many other Types but in a sense that is because they are so “neutral” (usually with Colorless Energy costs) that they work almost as well with every Type as a Type normally works as well with its own Pokémon.  Being a Pokémon-EX doesn’t guarantee many inherent positives but does have three negatives you can’t avoid: you always give up an extra Prize when KO’d, have to deal with effects specifically to counter Pokémon-EX, and are excluded from certain beneficial effects. 

I said “few” but not “no” guarantees.  Being a Pokémon-EX has always meant an HP boost over the the non-Pokémon-EX version of the Pokémon, but that can be as low as 20 more HP.  It sometimes means better card effects, but that doesn’t always pan out.  What it does guarantee though is being a Basic Pokémon, which matters for Altaria (normally a Stage 1).  Being a Basic is the best: one card is one copy of the Pokémon, no waiting to put it into play, can be your opening Active, some great Stage support, and a natural synergy with various card effects/game mechanics.  The only drawback to being a Basic Pokémon is certain card effects specifically punish the Stage.  Its 170 HP also cashes in on the promise of being a Pokémon-EX, as it is nearly double what you see on contemporary Altaria.  170 is the lower of the two common Basic Pokémon-EX scores and is more likely to survive a hit than be OHKO’d, though not too extreme levels (like Wailord-EX).  The notable current competitive examples of Lightning Type attackers are Jolteon-EX decks and M Manectric-EX/Manectric-EX decks, and that is enough to make the Weakness relevant; the incentive to run something off Type to exploit Lightning Weakness on notable Pokémon like Yveltal-EX makes it dangerous, though far from the worst.  Fighting Resistance is appreciated, and even though Fighting Types often include something to get around it, at least it forces them to use an extra resource; plus on top of 170 HP even their heavy hitters might fall a bit shy.  The single Energy Retreat Cost is good; easy not only to pay but to recover from having paid. 

Altaria-EX has two attacks with no other effects.  The first is “Powerful Gain” which does 30 damage for [CC], plus another 60 damage while healing 30 from itself if Altaria-EX (or whatever is using this attack) was healed this turn.  For [CCC] Altaria-EX can use “Shining Wind” to do 80 damage while canceling out its Weakness.  These attacks aren’t good but they aren’t bad.  Powerful Gain seems pretty good at a glance since you could include a reusable form of healing to score 90 for two while healing even more, but what if Altaria-EX has no damage on it to heal?  Even if your opponent isn’t trying to avoid damaging Altaria-EX, whenever your opponent scores a KO, odds are a fresh Altaria-EX won’t have damage unless you do something to damage it yourself.  Shining Wind is okay but underwhelming. 

M Altaria-EX is a Fairy Type, hitting Weakness against XY-era Dragon Types and so far never have to worry about Resistance.  There are no explicit Fairy Type counters but similar support has been more miss than hit.  What they do have going for them are some great cards that work around the Fairy Energy Type, like Aromatisse (XY 93/146), Fairy Garden, and a few others.  Being a Mega Evolution includes all the baggage of being a Pokémon-EX but shifts Stage specific support and counters to those for Mega Evolutions (as opposed to Basic Pokémon).  It also feels a bit like being a Stage 1 but adds the huge drawback of your turn ending when you Mega Evolve; Altaria Spirit Link can help with that at least.  Being a Mega Evolution also includes another HP bump as now we are dealing with 220, the lower of the two typical scores (again) but still enough to be a tricky OHKO outside of Weakness.  Said Weakness is to the Metal Type and with the (relatively) recent success of decks combining Genesect-EX (XY: Fates Collide 64/124, 120/124) and Bronzong (XY: Phantom Forces 61/119, XY: Black Star Promos XY21), being Metal Weak is a bad thing again, probably on par with Lightning Weakness.  Darkness Resistance is appreciated; -20 won’t make a huge difference but then again, it’s on 220 HP.  The Retreat Cost of [CC] actually surprised me; you can probably afford to pay it, even recover from paying it, but it is still worth it to include cards to cover the cost instead. 

Mega Evolutions only have one attack and on M Altaria-EX it is “Mist Purge” for [YCC].  This is nice and easy to cover as Double Colorless Energy plus a Mega Turbo (or any manual Energy attachment plus two Mega Turbo) take M Altaria-EX from zero to “attacking” in a single turn.  The attack’s effect provides two benefits so long as M Altaria-EX (or again, anything copying the attack) has a Special Energy attached: +30 damage done and healing 30 from all of your Pokémon.  While not brilliant this should be enough to 2HKO just about anything lacking protection, buffed HP (on already sizable cards), healing between attacks, etc.  M Altaria-EX also should have the HP to survive for said two hits, at least much of the time.  The healing is less impressive when you remember you have to be facing specific decks or including something to move damage counters around your own side of the field for said healing to actually matter.  You can try to include some offensive buffs to get Mist Purge into OHKO range, but even in Expanded you’ll fall short combining Giovanni, Hypnotoxic Laser, Muscle Band, and Virbank City Gym all going at the same time it maxes out at 200 damage.  Once again not bad, but if that sounds good remember you had to either skip Altaria Spirit Link or include a way to bounce/discard it to then attach Muscle Band, that we are using a specific Stadium that doesn’t otherwise naturally complement M Altaria-EX or anything we are likely to run with it, using your Supporter on something other than draw/search and are relying on an Item.

So can you build a functional deck around either of these two?  Yes, but I can’t recommend it.  Altaria-EX isn’t worth being a focus for the reasons I gave but it is the only option to run M Altaria-EX (lucky it).  So if you insist M Altaria-EX itself can be that solid 2HKO attacker.  You could back it up with Reuniclus (Black & White 57/114; BW: Dragons Exalted 126/124) to move around the damage M Altaria-EX takes while up front, spreading it around for Mist Purge to heal.  Of course Reuniclus is an easy OHKO if your opponent forces it Active with Lysandre.  I’ve got nothing to help it for Standard, at least that wouldn’t apply to other Mega Evolutions.  Both of these should prove worthwhile in Limited play.  Altaria-EX won’t often be able to heal up; Fairy Drop finally shows up in this review though at the time I had intended to mention it for Standard to use with Powerful Gain, but it isn’t worth it there.  In Limited should you pull some form of compatible healing like Fairy Drop, you have a great chance of Altaria-EX being damaged from attacks without it being OHKO’d.  Maybe not even 2HKO’d.  Mostly though you’ll use Shining Wind for 80 and be glad that with lower average HP scores and damage outputs that is enough.  M Altaria-EX requires Altaria-EX so that is two Ultra Rares to pull versus one, but if you manage it and get M Altaria-EX into play, 220 HP plus a solid 100 for three should earn you the win unless you run into Metal Types.  Double Colorless Energy is in this set so you might even get the bonus effect from Mist Purge.

Ratings 

Altaria-EX 

Standard: 2/5 

Expanded: 1.8/5 

Limited: 4/5

M Altaria-EX

 

Standard: 2/5 

Expanded: 2.35/5 

Limited: 3.75/5 

Summary: Paradoxically better and worse than I expected, possible since we covered two cards and I thought more of Altaria-EX and less of M Altaria-EX going in.  Healing to boost damage on Altaria-EX requires running cards to damage and then heal it or accepting that Powerful Gain probably won’t trigger when you really need it.  M Altaria-EX needs a partner or a particular opponent so that Mist Purge can really cash in on its effect, keeping it mediocre as well.  Still, neither car is totally without merit.  Indeed they are functional and without so much competitive they might even has a shot.  Maybe.


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