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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 
Wobbuffet BREAK - Fates Collide

Date Reviewed: July 29, 2016

Ratings & Reviews Summary
Standard:      Expanded:       Limited: Promo

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

Back to the main COTD Page


Otaku

We finish the week with Wobbuffet BREAK (XY: Black Star Promo XY155).  As a quick disclaimer, Wobbuffet is my second favorite Pokémon (and favorite of Gen II) so I am biased in its favor.  I’ll try not to let it color my review too much. 

Wobbuffet BREAK is a Psychic Type.  With regards to exploiting Weakness, a good chunk of the Fighting Type as well as much of the Psychic Type are Psychic Weak; Resistance to Psychic Types is almost universal on Darkness and Metal Type Pokémon.  The Psychic Type has a penchant for attacks that don’t do plain damage, plus in the competitive card pool some of the most commonly played Psychic and Fighting Types are the ones that are not Psychic Weak, so your mileage will definitely vary.  The Psychic Type has a decent amount of support; not as much as some Types given they don’t have a (successful) Evolved Bench-sitter or a Supporter dedicated to them, but Dimension Valley is amazing due to shaving [C] off their attack costs while Mystery Energy is handy for reducing Retreat Costs by [CC].  There are a few potent Psychic Type attackers used in just about any deck, but they become even better on Type, which is also good (either due to the expected Type specific support, better access to [P] Energy, or both).  I can think of no specific anti-Psychic Type effects in the current card pool; countering them usually works by countering their specific purpose or exploiting Weakness, instead of a one-size-fits-all beatstick.  A good start for Wobbuffet BREAK, I think. 

As a BREAK Evolution, this card acts a lot like a Stage 1 Pokémon; it is about as easy (or hard) to play as you get the usual turn wait to Evolve, need just one extra card, and get to deal with all effects that apply to general Evolutions (both the good and the bad).  So you can use Wally to speed Wobbuffet BREAK into play and your opponent can use “Crystal Ray” from Glaceon-EX to wall against damage from Wobbuffet BREAK, but you cannot use something like Training Center to gain +20 HP, whether they BREAK Evolve from a Basic, a Stage 1, or a Stage 2.  If you wonder why I stress this, I could confuse you with an older, similar game mechanic that worked the opposite way, but I’ll just reference it vaguely instead of going into details as a compromise.  So our pseudo-Stage 1 Pokémon has 140 HP; this is at that point where surviving a hit seems a tiny bit more likely than not.  Plenty of decks will score a OHKO, and a few decks will rarely managed it because they focus on non-damaging attack effects, but the decks that fall in between the extremes may whiff or at least require a full set up to manage it.  This time I will go into detail because I often make this claim without fully backing it up, so as an example we have Giratina-EX (XY: Ancient Origins 57/98, 93/98) and its “Chaos Wheel” attack.  Even if it is part of a deck that has another attacker capable of the OHKO, Chaos Wheel is used for solid damage and keeping your opponent from playing Pokémon Tool, Stadium, and Special Energy cards.  If it has Muscle Band and Giovanni’s Scheme it can manage the OHKO, but most of the time it would have just Muscle Band or Fighting Fury Belt. 

Wobbuffet BREAK has no Weakness, Resistance, or Retreat cost of its own; we’ll cover the potential Wobbuffet you could use separately and address them there.  So we move onto the card’s attack and it has a fun name that will either please or haunt fans of the “Kirby” video game franchise: “Right Back At You”.  For [PC] you can discard all Energy attached to Wobbuffet BREAK so that during your opponent’s next turn, should the opponent’s Pokémon attack and damage Wobbuffet BREAK, Right Back At You will place damage counters on the attacking Pokémon equal to the damage done to Wobbuffet BREAK.  Damage counters means Weakness, Resistance, and various other effects won’t apply, for better or worse.  The attack also states that it works even if Wobbuffet BREAK would be KO’d.  This is another attacker that seems borderline adequate on its own; with 140 HP your opponent has to be using a Pokémon-EX or bigger Evolution to take out Wobbuffet BREAK if it wants to avoid KOing itself as well.  If you have a Bench, your opponent can use an effect to change out your Active, attack your Bench, or get rid of Wobbuffet BREAK without doing damage to it.  Before we consider other cards, I’d say that makes this attack maybe just a bit shy of being “adequate”; it does something you might want it to do, but for a bit more than you might want to pay and your opponent still has ways around it. 

So what Wobbuffet can we use?  There are three Expanded legal options, two of which are also Standard legal: BW: Boundaries Crossed 58/149 (the Expanded only option), XY: Phantom Forces 36/119 (re-released as Generations RC11/RC32), and XY: BREAKthrough 67/162.  All three are Basic, Psychic Type Pokémon with Psychic Weakness, no Resistance, and no Ancient Trait.  We already covered being a Psychic Type; being a Basic is the best and why playing something which Evolves from a Basic is fairly functional.  Lack of an Ancient Trait is not a surprise; none of these come from the right expansion for that to be a thing.  Psychic Weakness is dangerous, but with a slight twist; the Psychic Type has some impressive brawlers who are used just to do damage, but it also has some more technical cards that do damage plus an effect.  With Weakness to boost damage, it just makes the former work more reliably and/or with less time or cards, while the latter suddenly get to be heavy hitters in addition those effects.  Safer than some of the other Weaknesses out there, but definitely not safe.  Lack of Resistance is a mixed bag; -20 damage doesn’t mean much and given how Right Back At You works, it could either help by forcing your opponent to hit themselves twice or hurt by making sure they don’t have as much overkill as they otherwise may have. 

BW: Boundaries Crossed 58/149 has 90 HP, a Retreat Cost of [CC] and a single attack (Headbutt Bounce) that does 60 damage for [PPC].  We never reviewed this card and you can see why; it is pretty much pure set filler.  As you’ll soon see it has the lowest HP score out of the three and even with Dimension Valley has underwhelming damage output, both in general and specifically for [PP].  I’ll skip to XY: BREAKthrough 67/162 next and you can see why: the HP jumps to 100 while the Retreat Cost jumps to [CCC], so now our alternative Item search is Heavy Ball instead of Level Ball.  Its first attack is “Mirror Barrier” which can prevent all damage done by attacks from your opponent’s Pokémon during your opponent’s next turn, all for [C] Energy and a lucky coin flip (“tails” fails).  That kind of works with Wobbuffet BREAK as on a turn where you couldn’t use Right Back At You or where it was just better not to take the damage, say when you want Wobbuffet BREAK to give up its HP against a more important attacker.  Unfortunately we see a familiar [PPC] for flat damage, only this time it is called “Rolling Tackle” and just does 50 damage.  This is another skip as well. 

So now we come to XY: Phantom Forces 36/119, which will survive rotation thanks to Generations RC11/RC32.  This Wobbuffet has 110 HP, giving it slightly better odds of surviving to BREAK Evolve.  Its Retreat Cost is [CC] so while it can’t use Heavy Ball or Heavy Boots, it can still cover its entire Retreat Cost with the effect from Mystery Energy.  This Wobbuffet has the Ability “Bide Barricade”: while it is your Active the Abilities on anything that isn’t a Psychic Type don’t work for either player, whether the Pokémon is in the hand, on the field, or in the discard pile (and at least currently nothing has an Ability which works in the deck, Prizes, or Lost Zone).  This is a great Ability as many decks don’t just have a useful Ability supporting them or a crucial Ability driving the deck once they get going, but use something like Shaymin-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 77/180, 106/108) and its “Set Up” Ability for some or all of the deck’s… erm… set up.  This Wobbuffet also has an attack called “Psychic Assault” that costs [PC] and does 10 damage plus another 10 per damage counter already on the opponent’s Active, which is great against anything about half KO’d already but poor otherwise.  This Wobbuffet is the Wobbuffet in the game right now, with some decks using it as a disruptive opener while others use it as a key part of a larger strategy.  We reviewed it here where it was a runner up for our Top 10 Cards of XY: Phantom Forces list and it may have deserved to make the list instead (that set has so many still important cards). 

Wobbuffet (XY: Phantom Forces 36/119) is good enough to run on its own.  Wobbuffet BREAK could thus be used simply to give XY: Phantom Forces 36/119 +30 HP.  If you really want to wall while stopping Abilities, that may be a legitimate trick; you’ll still have your Tool slot for the Pokémon this way, unlike if you say just used Fighting Fury Belt on plain Wobbuffet.  If the deck has a source of [P] Energy you can afford to discard, then Right Back At You can actually be a worthwhile attack.  Your opponent may be struggling because you’ve shut down Abilities, and so may not be able to get around Wobbuffet or may actually need to specifically take out Wobbuffet (and thus Wobbuffet BREAK); make them pay for doing so.  Your opponent may not need Abilities in the first place, so this would keep Wobbuffet (as Wobbuffet BREAK) from doing nothing, though you are giving up at least one Energy attachment.  Dimension Valley is amazing as is so often the case; for just [P] Right Back At You is good; you could probably afford it turn after turn so your opponent couldn’t try to wait it out, at least not effectively.  If something is already wounded enough, Psychic Assault could be used to finish it off instead. 

That open Tool slot could be used for the typical Tool choices, though as a BREAK Evolution Fighting Fury Belt is off the table and Muscle Band won’t help Right Back At You.  Something to reduce damage taken like Assault Vest or Hard Charm might be counterproductive, but Bursting Balloon fits well.  Yes it discards itself at the end of your opponent’s next turn, but if Wobbuffet BREAK has no damage on it, your opponent will need to hit for 140 damage that Right Back At You will turn into 14 damage counters on them as well, and Bursting Balloon then places six more damage counters, totalling 20 damage counters.  20 damage counters means either your opponent is using something with an HP boost, protection from effects, or a Mega Evolution to attack, or it’s getting KO’d right back (Wailord-EX isn’t used as an attacker).  You also won’t always need combos to do the job either; if the attack that hits Wobbuffet BREAK results in overkill, Right Back At You still gets to place all those damage counters.  There are also many non-Pokémon-EX attackers, often included because of getting around problematic effects or the need for a favorable Prize trade, and few are going to have more than 140 HP.  There is even the super niche (and so probably unnecessary) versus Glaceon-EX matchup.  I mentioned earlier how Crystal Ray protects against damage from the attacks of Evolutions; if Wobbuffet BREAK is up front and used Right Back At You, the damage counters Right Back At You places aren’t stopped by Crystal Ray and if Glaceon-EX does not use Crystal Ray then there will be a gap in its protection. 

Ratings 

Standard: 3.35/5 

Expanded: 3.35/5 

Limited: N/A 

Summary: I don’t have a specific deck for Wobbuffet BREAK, but especially before Dimension Valley rotates, I really want to try it out in Standard.  I should have time enough to get a few for Expanded play at least.  Wobbuffet BREAK looks like it has enough potential to be worth it at least one deck, maybe a few, that already use Wobbuffet (XY: Phantom Forces 36/119).  If it were Limited legal, it would also be a nice pull.


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