Now we start off this week with an
unusual choice, Servine. Nothing really of note for a
Stage 1 Evolving Pokemon, right? Well, maybe that's why
we oughta take a closer look.
Servine has 70 HP, Fire Weakness,
and a 1-for-20 vanilla Vine Whip. Nothing more
remarkable than having access to Forest of Giant Plants.
But that's where his Ability comes in for sure. With
Serpentine Strangle, Servine Evolving from one of your
Pokemon lets you use the Strangle to flip a coin to
maybe Paralyze the opponent.
There's definitely a lot of
potential, but Servine is a combination piece at best.
There is no way that Servine himself can do much, but
for what his Ability does, he's certainly worth pushing
forth in a deck that can work with him.
Standard: 2/5 (combined with other
Pokemon, Servine is very useful)
Expanded: 2/5 (but aside from
that...well, not much)
Limited: 3/5 (definitely useful in
this format though)
Arora Notealus: And this is
primarily why we're not usually reviewing these kinds of
cards, since most of them tend not to have anything
particularly special about them or are unfairly costed
for what they give. Servine offers potential as one of
many exceptions, but whether people will be able to take
advantage of that remains a mystery.
Next Time: The evolution of Servine!!
We begin this week with Servine (XY: Fates
Collide 6/124). It is a Grass Type, allowing
it to hit the Weakness on a good chunk of the Water Type
and some of the Fighting Type, with no Resistance in
sight. There are almost no Type specific counters
for the Grass Type, and while there isn’t a huge amount
of support, there is a key piece that matters greatly to
this card: Forest of Giant Plants. If you
need a refresher, this Stadium allows you to immediately
Evolve your Grass Type Pokémon, whether it is their
first turn in play or even the first turn of the game. Servine
is a Stage 1 so that might seem kind of obvious, but
there is a bit more too it that you probably have
figured out if you’ve read the rest of the card.
As a Stage 1 it isn’t as efficient as a Basic but it is
easier than other Stages to run. Its 70 HP isn’t
much; expect Servine to be OHKO’d, especially
against Fire Types thanks to Fire Weakness. No
Resistance is typical and even if it was present, -20
damage against a single Type doesn’t mean much with 70
HP. The Retreat Cost of [C] is low and easy to pay
up front and recover from having paid.
has the Ability “Serpentine Strangle”, which triggers
when you play it from hand to Evolve one of your
Pokémon. This Ability allows you to flip a coin
and if “heads”, the opponent’s Active is Paralyzed;
“tails” does nothing. Paralysis is one of the
better Special Conditions; your opponent can’t attack or
retreat. Besides effects that specifically block
or remove Special Conditions, you can ditch Paralysis by
Evolving, using an effect to send your Active to the
Bench, or to bounce your Active. This is a good
effect, the kind we need to see more of on Evolving
Stage 1 Pokémon to help offset the added resources and
time needed to manually Evolve into them. Servine
also has an attack called “Vine Whip” which needs [G] to
do 20 damage. Vanilla and a bit weak, but at least
it is almost as inexpensive as it could be.
We aren’t going to be running Servine alone,
obviously; it will at least require a Snivy.
Only XY: Fates Collide 5/124 is legal for
Standard play; for Expanded you can pick between BW:
Black Star Promos BW01 (reprinted as McDonald’s
Collection 2011 1/12), Black & White 1/114,
Black & White 2/114 (reprinted as BW:
Legendary Treasures 6/113), BW: Black Star Promos
BW06, BW: Boundaries Crossed 11/149, and BW:
Legendary Treasures RC1/RC25. All are Basic,
Grass Type Pokémon with Fire Weakness, Retreat Cost [C],
and no Ability. All but BW: Legendary Treasures
RC1/RC25 have 60 HP (it has 50). All but XY:
Fates Collide 5/124 are Water Resistant (it has no
Resistance). BW: Black Star Promos BW01 has one
attack (Slam) that requires [GC] to flip two coins good
for 20 damage per “heads”. Black & White 1/114
can use “Tackle” for [G] to do 10 damage or for [GC] can
use “Vine Whip” to do 20 damage. Black & White
2/114 can use “Leaf Blade” for [GC] to do 10 damage and
flip a coin; “heads” means an extra 30 damage (“tails”
means just the base 10). BW: Black Star Promos
BW06 can use “Paralyzing Gaze” for [C] to flip a coin
and try to Paralyze the opponent’s Active, while for
[GC] it can use “Tail Smack” to do 20 damage. BW:
Boundaries Crossed 11/149 can also use Vine Whip,
but this time for [G] and only doing 10 damage, or for
[GC] it can use “Cut” to do 20. BW: Legendary
Treasures RC1/RC25 can use “Growth” for [C] to
attach a [G] Energy to itself or for [GCC] can use
“Razor Leaf” to do 30 damage. XY: Fates Collide
5/124 can do 10 while healing 10 with “Blot” at a cost
of [G]. This card unfortunately is only useful for
Evolving, so I favor BW: Black Star Promos BW06
for Expanded play because the Paralysis it can inflict
via attacking may buy another turn to Evolve.
Fortunately it is mostly a moot point if you can use it
with Forest of Giant Plants.
The other Servine are BW: Black & White
3/114 (reprinted as McDonald’s Collection 2012
1/12), Black & White 4/114 (reprinted as BW:
Legendary Treasures 7/113), BW: Boundaries
Crossed 12/149, and BW: Legendary Treasures
RC2/RC25. All are Grass Type Stage 1 Pokémon with
80 HP, Fire Weakness, Retreat Cost [C] and no Abilities.
All but BW: Boundaries Crossed 12/149 and BW:
Legendary Treasures RC2/RC25 are Water Resistant.
BW: Black & White 3/114 can use “Wrap” for [C] to do
20 damage and flip a coin; “heads” means the opponent’s
Active is Paralyzed. For [GC] it can use Tackle to
hit for 30 damage. Black & White 4/114 can use
“Wring Out” for [GC] to do 30 damage and flip a coin; if
“heads” the Defending Pokémon is now Paralyzed and
you get to discard an Energy from it. BW: Boundaries
Crossed 12/149 brings Vine Whip back yet again, for
[G] doing 20, while for [GCC] it can use “Double Slash”
to flip two coins, good for 40 damage per “heads”. BW:
Legendary Treasures RC2/RC25 features two more
recycled attacks, though the cost and damage output is
different: Leaf Blade for [C] to do 10 (“tails”) or 10
plus 30 (“heads”), while [GCC] does 40 with Vine Whip.
Some of these are better than the usual Evolving Stage 1
cards, but none are anywhere near as good as today’s
Servine (XY: Fates Collide 6/124).
Oddly enough, Black & White 3/114 was even
So what Serperior should we use with it?
Well, we’ll be reviewing XY: Fates Collide 7/124)
I think we’ll run through those others then. For
now I can tell you if a deck runs Serperior, it
ought to Evolve from Servine (XY: Fates
Collide 6/124), since Rare Candy is not
compatible with Forest of Giant Plants. If
you have a deck that already runs Forest of Giant
Plants, a 1-1 Snivy - Servine line
might be a nice trick, possibly even something more
fleshed out. If you want to build a deck around
Servine you’ll also want a Serperior (again,
we’ll discuss that tomorrow) but also cards like AZ,
Devolution Spray, and Super Scoop Up to
repeatedly use Serpentine Strangle; as long as Forest
of Giant Plants is on the field, you can ignore the
usual Evolution restrictions so any of those allows you
to immediately play everything you returned to hand back
to the field. You can’t run everything you need to
try and force the Paralysis to stick as it would
interfere with other parts of the combo, but I don’t
believe the goal should be a permanent Paralysis lock,
but using it to enhance something else the deck is
doing. Also, if you pull this and a Snivy
in Limited, run them unless you’re doing a +39 deck (1
Basic Pokémon in a 40 card Limited deck).
This is a lot closer to what Evolving Stage 1 Pokémon
need to be; something that makes them worth running
instead of using a shortcut like Rare Candy.
A little worried because it also makes it worth running
a super-short-cut like Forest of Giant Plants,
but Servine being able to try and Paralyze via
Ability when it is played to the field helps level the
playing field between its Stage 2 (Serperior) and
a big, Basic Pokémon or even a non-Evolving Stage 1
attacker, as they need less space and so have that room
for other Pokémon or Trainers or Energy cards.