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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 Raticate BREAK - XY BREAKpoint
Date Reviewed: March 14, 2016

 

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.2
Expanded: 2.0
Limited: 3.7

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 now, a shorter week comes rolling by, so it looks like we might be running into some more BREAK Evos! And now we've got one that's probably on the more controversial end of things, Raticate BREAK! 

On one hand, he's nothing particularly special. I mean, Raticate isn't a hard Pokemon to really deal with, and his BREAK Evo's not too much worse than that. Sure, he gains a few extra HP bringing it up to 110, the highest score of any Raticate printed, but he's still not that bad. Add on top of that that he's going to inherit a Fighting Weakness but also usually a free Retreat Cost, and even then he doesn't seem like much more than a pest. 

On the other hand, it depends what Raticate you BREAK Evolve him from, and when you do, you get to add on Raticate BREAK's version of Super Fang, a popular Raticate attack! This one costs only 2 Energy and lets you put down counters on the opponent's Active Pokemon until they've got 10 HP remaining. We've seen this sort of thing on Raticate as late as Boundaries Crossed, though that version has only 60 HP, and it costs 3 Energy to use his Super Fang. 

Speaking of other versions of Raticate, that does beg the question of which Raticate would be the most useful with Raticate BREAK? In Expanded, there's Raticate (BCR) for sure, who basically just gets a large upgrade of +50 HP and a better Super Fang, but it doesn't really add much otherwise. Gnaw Through will still cripple the opponent's Tools, but aside from that, Raticate (BCR) doesn't really do damage. On the other hand, the Raticate from Plasma Freeze (PLF) does have a damaging attack, albeit it being a vanilla Bite at 2-for-30, but at least it does damage! Not to mention he works well in the Plasma Engine from back in the day, so he'll be able to use that in combination with BREAK! 

But then there's Raticate (BKP), and this one actually works pretty well with Raticate BREAK. He gives Raticate BREAK Antibodies, meaning he can't be affected by pesky Special Conditions like Confusion, Poison, Sleep (...PREPARE TO BE THE VICTIM OF MY SINISTER TECHNIQUE FWAHAHAHAHA) and the like. On top of that, he's got Dirty Shock to not only Poison your opponent's Pokemon but even get rid of their Tools attached to them - already an improvement over (BCR)'s Gnaw Through. 

So is this Raticate BREAK competitive? Well, with the unique Raticate (BKP), there's a little bit of a hefty deck that could potentially, with the right mix of cards in it, break into the metagame. My thought: combine him with Ariados. It'd be tough to run solely Raticate BREAK/Ariados, but the combo is simple enough: 

1) evolve a Rattata to Raticate (BKP) and a Spinarak to Ariados (AOR)

2) evolve to Raticate BREAK

3) Poison both Active Pokemon with Ariados on your Bench (it won't poison your Raticate cause of the Antibodies)

4) Super Fang with Raticate BREAK

5) Wait for your opponent to switch Pokemon, as the Poison KO's that 10 remaining HP 

It's a bit bulky with all the evolutions, but I imagine there will be some play based around it! Try it out yourself and see, but don't expect to always come out on top - you may be proud of KO'ing Megas, but that doesn't mean Raticate BREAK will stick around very long...110 HP only gets you so far these days...

Rating 

Standard: 2.5/5 (I'd say there's enough of a combination of cards to make him viable, and besides, having the ability to reduce a Pokemon's HP to 10? That leaves it all kinds of vulnerable!) 

Expanded: 2/5 (Poison damage, Burn damage, Confusion damage, sniping if they try and get back to the Bench...) 

Limited: 3.5/5 (I mean, that's pretty good! right?) 

Arora Notealus: I actually had Raticate BREAK almost make my own Top 10 list, just shooting under at 11. The reasoning's about as flimsy as Slowbro's was, to be fair - unique cards with big power plays behind them that could definitely make things worth it, at least in a casual sense. Competitively viable? Depends on the card, and there would be a couple more cards that made my own list that didn't quite make it in... 

Next Time:...this is just so happens to be one of those cards.


Otaku

We begin our week with Raticate BREAK (XY: BREAKpoint 89/122).  Being a BREAK Evolution for a Stage 1 means it is similar to a Stage 2, but without the actual perks of being a Stage 2; can’t use Rare Candy, trigger the damage bonus clause in “Powerful Friends” that is found on Miltank (XY: Flashfire 83/106), etc.  Nothing specifically references BREAK Evolutions themselves, though.  As a Colorless-Type there is support available, like Winona though not a huge amount of it, though fortunately for Colorless-Types the Type specific counters against them are lackluster and as such not worth using in competitive play.  There is no Colorless Resistance which is handy, but the lack of Colorless Weakness may potentially rob you of some important, favorable match-ups (and yes in Unlimited both Colorless Weakness and Resistance is a thing).  For all the cards you’re investing into Raticate BREAK, it only has 110 HP, within OHKO range for the stereotypical attacker (as opposed to the harder hitting decks).  Fighting-Types should barely break a sweat as they just need to rack up 60 damage before Weakness for a OHKO, which for a card like Landorus-EX is a Strong Energy and either Muscle Band or Fighting Fury Belt.  The last thing Raticate BREAK provides is an attack, “Super Fang”.  We’ve seen this before, and this version costs [CC] and places damage counters on your opponent’s Active until  it has 10 HP remaining.  At a glance this can seem worthless or wonderful, and it is really neither.  On its own it can’t ever score a KO, but with the right combo it provides an incredibly hard to prevent OHKO. 

We cannot put Raticate BREAK into play on its own, nor can we skip its Stage 1, so let us cover the options for these cards.  For Rattata you only have XY: BREAKpoint 87/122 in Standard, but in Expanded you also have the older BW: Boundaries Crossed 104/149 and BW: Plasma Freeze 87/116.  All three are Basic Colorless-Type Pokémon with Fighting Weakness, no Resistance, Retreat Cost [C], no Ancient Traits, no Abilities, and just a single attack.  BW: Boundaries Crossed 104/149 is the oldest so we’ll start with it: 30 HP and “Paralyzing Gaze”, which requires [C] and Paralyzes the opponent’s Active with a successful coin toss (“tails” does nothing).  BW: Plasma Freeze 87/116 jumps it to 40 HP plus needs [CC] for its attack, “Lunge”, which is also a “tails fails” attack but this time it is for 30 damage.  XY: BREAKpoint 87/122 is back down to 30 HP and for [C] can use “Dangerous Suspicion” which has you draw a card and then (if you want) swap Rattata with one of your Benched Pokémon.  Dangerous Suspicion is the best of the attacks, but attacks that hit the Bench for 30 are just common enough I would still favor BW: Plasma Freeze 87/116 for Expanded.

Three options as well for Raticate: BW: Boundaries Crossed 105/149, BW: Plasma Freeze 88/116, and XY: BREAKpoint 88/122.  All are Stage 1 Colorless-Types with Fighting Weakness, no Resistance, no Retreat Cost and no Ancient Trait.  BW: Boundaries Crossed 105/149 has 60 HP and two attacks; for [C] it can use “Gnaw Through” to discard a Pokémon Tool attached to the Defending Pokémon, while for [CCC] it also sports a slightly more expensive version of Super Fang, but it works the exact same as it does on Raticate BREAK (it reads a bit different due to attack template changes).  It was reviewed here and the reviews didn’t expect too much and that was what we got: not much.  Many of us kept trying to make it work but in the end while the OHKO was amazing it was too slow and Rattata made it too fragile.  BW: Plasma Freeze 88/116 has 70 HP and is a Team Plasma Pokémon.  For [C] it can use “Transfer Junk” to up to three cards from your discard pile to your hand: one Team Plasma Pokémon, one Team Plasma Trainer, and one Team Plasma Energy card.  For that last one, the only option is Plasma Energy but you have a little more variety for the Trainers and a lot for the Pokémon.  It can also use “Bite” for 30 at a cost of [CC].  The first attack would be amazing on a Basic (even a not-so-great one), but Bite is filler and Raticate is not a good Stage 1: you can see our site review of it here.

This leaves XY: BREAKpoint 88/122, which has 70 HP, an Ability and one attack.  The Ability is “Antibodies”, which prevents Raticate from being affected by Special Conditions.  It also states that any Special Conditions that happen anyway (for example if Abilities were turned off but then switch back on), Antibodies will remove the Special Condition(s).  While not super vital (with its HP Special Conditions aren’t likely an issue), it is far better than nothing and might even have a specific use.  The attack costs [C] and is called “Dirty Shock”; it Poisons the opponent’s Active and then discards all Pokémon Tools attached to it.  It is a shame the effects occur in that order; I believe a Sparkling Robe would block Poison before it was discarded (for example), though this is unlikely to be a major issue.  Discarding all Tools attached to the opponent’s Active may be quite useful, unless the waxing and waning of Pokémon Tools versus counters is already at the point where Tool usage decreases.  Otherwise this can strip up to four Pokémon Tools away from Sigilyph (BW: Plasma Blast 41/101) or two from a Pokémon with Θ Double like Entei (XY: Ancient Origins 15/98).  It isn’t brilliant, but this is the one to go with; after you at least can finish something off with Dirty Shock via the Poison damage. 

So how do you run Raticate BREAK?  In Expanded you try to rush it into play, drop a Double Colorless Energy, use a Hypnotoxic Laser, and take the opponent’s Active out in one hit.  Additional support would likely be disruption based, to avoid the various cards that can otherwise block part of the combo.  In Standard you don’t have Hypnotoxic Laser, but against anything that is not a Grass-Type, you can use Ariados (XY: Ancient Origins 6/98) and its “Poisonous Nest” Ability.  Thanks to Antibodies, you won’t poison your Raticate BREAK, though with just 110 HP it isn’t long for this world anyway.  When taking out Pokémon-EX or targets that are difficult to re-ready (like Evolutions or the Energy heavy that don’t have reusable Energy acceleration), this is a powerhouse combo, but against something like Night March, you’ll desperately want something simpler to fall back upon.  It is possible a competitive deck could be built around this card, but so far I haven’t seen one.  Too much can go wrong for what otherwise seems like an obvious killer deck.  Raticate BREAK is good for Limited pay, though, assuming you can get the entire line and get it onto the field.  You’ll have to shoot for 2HKOs, but it is a good threat to have on your Bench. 

Ratings 

Standard: 1.9/5 

Expanded: 2/5 

Limited: 3.75/5 

Summary: I actually have long been fond of this kind of OHKO combo, since the days of Weezing (EX: Deoxys 51/107) 11 years ago, and am wondering if I should be giving Gourgeist (XY 57/146) another shot thanks to recent support, but Raticate BREAK feels (and more importantly, actually resembles) Raticate (BW: Boundaries Crossed 105/149) too much for me to really recommend it.  The main flaw is that being a pseudo-Stage 2 is both too slow and resource intensive; even if used indirectly like with Mew-EX (the normal consideration for this kind of card), Raticate BREAK remains the weakest link. 

Raticate BREAK didn’t make my list, but on the collective list it was our 18th place finisher with five voting points.  There actually was a tie between it and the 17th place pick; there was also a tie (at four voting points apiece) for the 19th and 20th places.  Raticate BREAK could easily have jumped up or down to places based on a single voting point difference.


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