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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

  From Subject Received Size Categories
Joseph Lee Pokemon CotD 03/22/16 (Stantler) 9:36 AM 49 KB

 Stantler

- XY BREAKpoint

Date Reviewed:
March 22, 2016

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.4
Expanded: 2.1
Limited: 2.8

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

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

Oh yeah, that's right, it's Stantler! He's just not been around in the TCG that much at all. Heck, last we saw him was back in Undaunted, so he's been overdue for a reprint I'm sure! 

Not that there have been any deck-breaking Stantler released in years. He's not that stellar of a Pokemon to begin with, but his design is pretty cool, and I think that deserves some credit! That being said, we're not here to talk Pokemon designs, we're here to talk about card games, and Stantler isn't going to be at the top of everyone's wish list. 

To start off, his Mystifying Horns attack is already pretty low-key. It's a nice shout-out to the original Stantler's attack from Neo Genesis, though it sacrifices damage for a much better cost of 1 Energy compared to 3. Not that it would do much damage, but now it's only up for flipping a coin to maybe Confuse the opponent's Pokemon, and that's not good enough to justify running him. 

Big Charge on the other hand might be something to take a closer look at. For 2 Energy, Stantler can use it to dish out 30 damage, or if you have a Mega Evolved Pokemon on your Bench, it can deal 80 damage. It reminds me a lot of Miltank (FLF)'s Powerful Friends attack, which for 1 Energy could do 10 damage or, if you had a Stage 2 Pokemon on your Bench, 80 damage. The main difference though is that Stantler's has more base damage for an extra Energy, but then it doesn't really pay off in a bigger way. 

The other downside would be relevance, and while Stantler's attack is more relevant to the game nowadays, Miltank was better timed. Back when Flashfire came out, there wasn't much threat coming from Mega Evolutions, and there were actually a couple of decent Stage 2 decks such as Empoleon (DEX) and Infernape (PLS) that could benefit from Miltank's presence. Nowadays, Mega-Evolution decks are...pretty good on their own. There's no real need to throw in a tech like Stantler, whose damage output isn't as fantastic as those Pokemon and who doesn't really add to their strategy in any big way. 

Novel as a reprint idea, but ultimately not enough to give Stantler relevance. Personally, I'd skip on this one, as he's just not good enough for your Mega deck.

Rating 

Standard: 2/5 (if it had come out a little earlier, Stantler might have actually seen play in some of the early Mega decks as a means of possibly justifying playing them) 

Expanded: 1.5/5 (but at this point, Megas are already well-supported enough to handle themselves, and Stantler doesn't really add much to the table in regards to that) 

Limited: 2.5/5 (and it's not like people were playing Megas in spades in Limited here) 

Arora Notealus: The majestic Stantler, once again outplayed by his own impotence...one day you'll get a good card, perhaps...one day... 

Next Time: ANOTHER OF THE MIGHTY EX APPROACH!! BEHOLD THEIR POWER


Otaku

As a reminder, CotDs are written ahead of time and I’ve only been able to glance at a few results from the first weekend of State Championships. 

Our second card this week is Stantler (XY: BREAKpoint 91/122).  It is a Colorless Type, which means it won’t encounter Weakness or Resistance unless we get crazy and discuss cards from the Unlimited Format (spoiler: we aren’t).  There are a few cards that explicitly reference the Colorless-Type, both to help and to hurt it. Altaria (XY: Roaring Skies 74/108; XY: Black Star Promo XY46) removes the Weakness of Colorless Type Pokémon, Aspertia City Gym gives Colorless Types +20 to their HP, while Winona allows a player to search his or her deck for up to three Colorless Type Pokémon; all three have seen successful competitive play at one time or another, though none are must-play cards for decks heavy with Colorless Type Pokémon.  Exeggcutor (XY: Roaring Skies 2/108) has an attack that does damage based on the amount of Colorless Type Pokémon in play while Haxorus (BW: Dragon Vault 16/20) has an attack that simply hits Colorless Types for extra damage; unlike the Type specific support, these haven’t ever proven worth it in competitive play, even when Colorless Type decks have been popular.  The non-explicit (implicit?) Colorless Type support is… odd.  The Colorless Type has returned to a point where nearly all of its Pokémon have Colorless Energy requirements, but many Pokémon have them as unlike all other Energy requirements they can be met by any Energy Type (as opposed to Energy cards with a matching Type symbol).  If you are not using specific Colorless Type support, there is no additional synergy between the cards.  Double Colorless Energy tends to be welcome here, but that is true of just about any card with [CC] in its attack costs, regardless of its Type. 

Stantler is a Basic Pokémon which is the best.  Basic Pokémon just need a slot for each copy you desire, can be put it into play directly with no other card effects, can function as your opening Pokémon (potentially important for deck legality), enjoy better functionality with many card effects/game mechanics simply be being a single card, and there are even some effects that specifically benefit Basic Pokémon.  It is true that there are card effects designed to punish players for using or at least relying on Basic Pokémon, with the most recent being Jolteon-EX, but such cards tend to be very metagame dependent and so far just need an Evolution to be dealt with effectively.  Stantler has 90 HP, which is not enough to survive a hit from most competitive decks once they have even a half decent set-up, though sometimes you will be fortunate and Stantler will encounter just that.  Slight benefit is that it is Level Ball legal, but Level Ball is only really worth it in decks right now that have a lot of other, important Level Ball legal targets and still would not be better served by Ultra Ball.  There aren’t a lot of decks like that.  Fighting Weakness is typical and dangerous; while the Fighting-Types that can manage a OHKO for a single Energy and nothing more are Evolutions, it is a Type that usually begins with a solid, damaging single Energy attack and then layers multiple damage buffs so pretty much any Fighting-Type that can do damage will also be able to score a OHKO with just one or two other cards.  No Resistance is typical so no sense worrying about it, while the Retreat Cost of [C] is nice and affordable. 

Stantler has two attacks but no Ancient Trait or Abilities.  For [C] it can use “Mystifying Horns” to flip a coin; “heads” and it Confuses the opponent’s Active, while “tails” means it does nothing.  For [CC] it can use “Big Charge” to do 30 damage; if you have a Mega Evolution in play, the attack does 30+50 for a total of 80 damage.  Mystifying Horns is far too weak; it should really just Confuse automatically or perhaps do some damage as well if it doesn’t want to have a guaranteed effect.  That would not actually be good, it just would not be bad.  Big Charge is similar to “Powerful Friends”, an attack found on Miltank (XY: Flashfire 83/106).  Some pretty key differences though.  To begin with, Powerful Friends only requires [C] but also only hits for 10 points of damage normally, but does 10+70 if you have a Stage 2 card in play.  Getting a Stage 2 Pokémon into play isn’t easy; cards like Archie’s Ace in the Hole and Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick have been a huge help for Water and Fighting Types (respectively), but even they require decks with a particular build to work reliably (and “reliably” still allows that they fail some of the time).  So does that mean Big Charge is better as Mega Evolutions are a hair easier to put into play normally (via Mega Evolution) than Stage 2 Pokémon are? 

Nope.  I am not talking about needing a Spirit Link card to avoid the “Your turn ends.” part of Mega Evolving, but rather the difference in role.  Are any Mega Evolutions meant to sit on the Bench?  Miltank was not just useful as an alternate attacker, but as the main attacker in some decks, where the Stage 2 it was paired with could try to hide on the Bench, providing useful Abilities.  Stantler still might be handy in some Mega Evolution decks, but only as an alternative, Colorless-Type attacker.  Good, but not great; in fact only somewhat good.  Still it is probably worth some experimentation in Standard and Expanded play.  For Limited, it lucks out that average damage output and HP scores are naturally lower as you are making do with what you can pull from your booster packs.  Special Conditions and having all Colorless Energy requirements are also more important here.  You are unlikely to pull both a Mega Evolution and its Basic form, though unlike past sets you might be more inclined to run the options from XY: BREAKpoint in decks than focusing on their Basic forms run completely on their own. 

Ratings 

Standard: 2.75/5 

Expanded: 2.7/5 

Limited: 3.25/5 

Summary: Stantler is an okay bit of Mega Evolution support, providing a universal backup attacker for Mega Evolutions that can hit hard for a single Double Colorless Energy.  The big issue is that as Mega Evolutions are meant to be main attackers and/or already have less generic alternates backing them up and/or might not have Energy acceleration, Stantler is not as useful to them as Miltank was and is for Stage 2 Pokémon (and Miltank is not universally used with Stage 2 cards).


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