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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

 Aerodactyl

- Fates Collide

Date Reviewed:
June 10, 2016

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.37
Expanded: 2.37
Limited: 3.25

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

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

Finally we come to Aerodactyl, the winged terror of the skies, the fearsome predator of the ancient past, and the first Normal-typed Fossil/Restored Pokemon...ever! ...well, okay, not ever ever, technically Colorless and all that, but still, Aerodactyl is the first Restored Pokemon to have Colorless as his typing, even if previous iterations have him have shared that typing at one point. 

That all being said, he's also the easiest Restored Pokemon to get out, as either Omastar or his own Old Amber Aerodactyl will retrieve him with ease...the latter less so than the former, but them's the breaks. The real question here is if he's worth bringing out, and given that he starts off with 120 HP and a vanilla 1-for-30 strike, the odds aren't looking in his favor. 

But then something unusual happens, and Aerodactyl goes from modest Bite to the obscenely powerful Jet Draft. Normally a 2-for-120 strike would be crazy enough on its own, already viable enough to 2HKO even most Megas, but then it gets better with the addition of the effect to discard a Special Energy attached to the opponent's Active Pokemon! This gets rid of DCE, Strong Energy, and even Double Dragon Energy off of some of the more troublesome decks of the format, while being fueled by a single DCE itself, making Aerodactyl a potentially viable threat! 

I say potentially though, considering how difficult it is to get him out in the first place. He may be the easiest Restored Pokemon to work with, outside of using Maxie's/Archie's with Kabutops/Omastar respectively to get them out, but that's about all he's got going for him - you'll need to have at least set up Omastar to get him out from your deck, otherwise good luck working around Old Amber Aerodactyl and recycling it with your Fossil Excavation Kit. 

But if you can get Aerodactyl to come out, you can bet he'll put in some good work against your opponent before getting KO'd for having the magic number as his HP score. If only he had even 10 more HP... 

Rating 

Standard: 2.5/5 (arguably the most powerful but definitely the most accessible of the new Restored Pokemon) 

Expanded: 2.5/5 (I dunno what else to say about him - if you play Restored, you oughta be running Aerodactyl) 

Limited: 3/5 (and hey, at least you can ATTEMPT to play him in Limited successfully) 

Arora Notealus: And that brings us to the rolling boulder that ends our journey into the ruins of the ancient past. We may not have gotten that golden idol we were looking for, but at least we know where all these Restored Pokemon belong............in a museum. 

Weekend Thought: What Restored Pokemon or support from this week got you the most excited to unearth? Brushing off any of those ancient cards you had lying around, or are you just letting them sit in the dirt? Just saying, they're probably not gonna change into oil for a loooooooooong time...long time.


Otaku

We finish the week with Aerodactyl (XY: Fates Collide 53/108).  This is a Colorless Type Pokémon; no enjoying double damage from Weakness but at least no annoying -20 from Resistance.  In terms of support the Colorless Type has Altaria (XY: Roaring Skies 74/108; XY: Black Star Promos XY46) to cancel out their Weakness, Aspertia City Gym to gain +20 HP (Expanded only), and Winona to search out three of them at a time from the deck.  Their true strength comes from the fact that most (but not all) Colorless Type Pokémon will have just Colorless Energy requirements making them easy to slip into the majority of decks.  There are actually two Type specific counters for Colorless Types, with attacks that hit Colorless Type Pokémon for added damage: Exeggutor (XY: Roaring Skies 2/108) and Haxorus (BW: Dragon Vault 16/20).  Neither have seen success in competitive play and they have indeed been available in formats where Colorless Pokémon were part of strong, popular decks.  As usual, the narrow focus just isn’t worth it.  Before I move on, part of me really wishes Aerodactyl had been given its other TCG appropriate Typing of Fighting, based on its video game Type being Rock/Flying.  As I mentioned earlier this week the Fighting Type has some of if not the best Type support in the game and as we are about to see, it may have been quite useful for this card, but even if not just exploiting Fighting Weakness would have been worth it. 

Aerodactyl is a Restored Pokémon, and that is actually a step up from the rest of the Pokémon this week.  While I’ve been critical of the Stage all week, Evolving from a Restored Pokémon is even worse than being one.  If you skipped the rest of the reviews from earlier this week, Restored Pokémon are a Stage that can only be put into play by other card effects.  Each one gets a dedicated Item (based on the card name) that lets you look at the bottom seven cards of your deck and then if you find any copies of that Pokémon there, you may select one and Bench it.  This is even less reliable than it sounds.  Max Elixir has had some success and it only looks at the top six cards of your deck.  While these Fossil Items look at one more card, you only have up to four targets in your entire deck.  Most builds I see using Max Elixir include at least double that amount of Basic Energy cards.  There are two pieces of Restored Pokémon Stage support.  In Expanded you have Twist Mountain, which allows you to Bench a Restored Pokémon from hand.  It sounds better than it is: not only does it require a coin flip (“tails fails”) but it can only be used once per turn.  Omastar (reviewed Wednesday) has the Ability Restoring Beam which lets you both search out and Bench a Restored Pokémon from hand once per turn.  Effects meant to benefit a particular Stage won’t help help Restored Pokémon, but their counters won’t affect Restored Pokémon either.  In fact, they are neither Basic Pokémon nor are they Evolutions, so Aerodactyl can attack through the effects of things like “Flash Ray” (Jolteon-EX) and “Crystal Ray” (Glaceon-EX). 

Aerodactyl has 120 HP; if it were a Basic this would be very good and pretty good for a Stage 1.  The max printed score for a regular Basic is 140, only just set by Snorlax (XY: Fates Collide 77/124).  Stage 1 record holder Wailord (BW: Dragons Exalted 26/124) far outstrips and has been out for years, but hasn’t been used for years, with the next best being a few with 150.  In terms of actual function, 120 HP is in the hazy area where odds of surviving a hit or being OHKO’d are about even.  Except when hit by Weakness, in which case it is an easy OHKO.  The Lightning Weakness on this card seems to be moderate (instead of a severe).  It will enable attackers like Jolteon-EX, M Manectric-EX, and regular Manectric-EX to score a OHKO without additional buffs, as well as a few less common attackers.  Not good, but right now that is far better than Darkness or Fighting Weakness.  Aerodactyl actually has Fighting Resistance!  There are tricks to allow any Type to ignore Resistance, but the main thing is the Fighting Type has access to a variety of buffs to just overwhelm it.  Still an effective 140 HP is still better than the real 120 against them.  Aerodactyl also enjoys a perfect free Retreat Cost; this means once you get it into play it can function as a pivot Pokémon, being promoted up front between turns, or when you need something to immediately retreat again (such as helping another Pokémon shake an attack effect). 

Aerodactyl has two attacks, “Bite” and “Jet Draft”.  Bite is a vanilla 30 for [C]; not a reason to run the card but better than nothing (and if this had been a Fighting Type, it actually could have been useful).  Jet Draft only requires [CC] so with most forms of Energy acceleration - including good ol’ Double Colorless Energy - you can just skip directly to it.  It does 120 while discarding a Special Energy attached to your opponent’s Active (assuming there is one).  There are some situations where you actually would not want to discard a Special Energy from the opponent’s Active, but it is somewhere between niche and obscure so I only mention it to be thorough.  Jet Draft is a great attack and might be even better if we had some easy damage bonuses and a Supporter that could put Aerodactyl directly into play from the discard pile.  As is, you can still try to build up Jet Draft into OHKO range, but it might be better to just have a 2HKO attacker worth a single Prize.  I am sure the goal in making it a Colorless Type was to diversify: Omastar and Kabutops are both Rock/Water in the video games and so their cards each took one of the corresponding TCG Types.  Jet Draft really makes me wish it was a Fighting Type, though. 

The specific Item that puts this Pokémon into play is Old Amber Aerodactyl, which works like all the Fossil Items I described as a group earlier.  Unlike the rest of the cards this week, there is one other Aerodactyl in the legal card pool, at least for Expanded: Aerodactyl (BW: Dark Explorers 53/108).  It is a Fighting Type Restored Pokémon with 90 HP, Grass Weakness, no Resistance, Retreat Cost [C], an Ability, and an attack.  The Ability is “Ancient Scream” and it increases the damage the attacks of your Pokémon do to Active Pokémon (that includes your own Actives as well) before applying Weakness and Resistance.  For [CCC] it can use “Wing Attack” to do 40 damage, which is better than nothing but was still badly underpowered at the time.  We actually looked at this card here a little over four years ago and we were far, far too optimistic about it.  I don’t know if it was because Ability lock and Item lock weren’t dominant strategies at the time or simply because we didn’t realize how difficult it was to make use of Restored Pokémon.  Probably a little of each; so on paper it looked like you could try to spam some Items to get a permanent (until KO’d) +10 damage to your attacks, maybe more if you were exceptionally lucky.  It never panned out and so I’d forgotten about it until I went to write this review, hence not bringing it up earlier this week.  I don’t think it is worth the +10 bonus, unless you figure out a deck that already uses Omastar and really does need just 10 more damage. 

Probably not as an Omastar/Omastar BREAK deck will probably want today’s Aerodactyl as a searchable beatstick for Restoring Beam more than a +10 damage bonus.  While this is the deck idea to which I keep returning, don’t mistake it as a serious suggestion for competitive play.  I still am uncertain what else to run with them as you’ll need at least one Basic to include in the deck for it to be legal, and I don’t know if how long it has been since I’ve seen a serious, competitive deck perform well with less than six Basics (and six was an exception: 10 is the usual minimum with 12 being preferred).  At first I thought it would fare worse in Expanded for the usual reason (more competition/counters) but here Aerodactyl has access to something important.  No, not Twist Mountain (though that is an option), but Hypnotoxic Laser, Silver Bangle, and Virbank City Gym.  You could run a split gym but the main thing is that the combo I just mentioned, capable of working with many other cards, would allow Aerodactyl to effectively OHKO any Pokémon-EX with 180 or less HP (and anything else with 150 or less).  In Standard, one might run Aerodactyl because it can take out certain nuisances, though being a Restored Pokémon means you’ll get a far worse return for what would otherwise be a pivot Pokémon that was a solid beatstick and could discard Special Energy at the same time it hit for 120 damage. 

In Limited play Aerodactyl could be a decent pull, with the main issue (as expected) being the need to pull at least one Old Amber Aerodactyl.  While there is still a serious risk you’ll draw into Aerodactyl without a way to shuffle it back into your deck (and thus it will be dead in hand), just like the other Restored Pokémon in this set (Kabuto and Omanyte), this card fares much better for a few reasons.  First you’re not relying on any other specific cards after that point, and second, its Retreat Cost and attacks become better here.  Bite finally has a purpose as you probably won’t have a Double Colorless Energy handy, and though Jet Draft is less likely to discard a Special Energy here (Double Colorless Energy and Strong Energy are in this set!), average HP scores should be lower and thus Jet Draft goes from scoring a reliable 2HKO to a likely OHKO. 

Ratings 

Standard: 2.25/5 

Expanded: 2.25/5 

Limited: 3.5/5 

Summary: Aerodactyl is almost a worthwhile Restored Pokémon.  If it wasn’t so difficult to stream them then it could be a solid attacker, good but not great. 

I had this as my 11th place pick, giving it over half its nine voting points.  Why did I rank it so high?  I incorrectly remembered the effect of Fossil Researcher as working with any Restored Pokémon, instead of just Amaura and Tyrunt.  A Supporter for two 120 HP attackers that could run off Double Colorless Energy seemed good-but-not great, but I guess was actually too good to be true.


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