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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

#8 - Barbaracle

- Fate Collide

Date Reviewed:
May 11, 2016

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3.55
Expanded: 3.55
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

...alright, I'll bite. 

Barbaracle here IS a good card, for starters. At first glance though, he doesn't seem like much. Stage 1 with 100 HP and an unimpressive Claw Slash attack that does 3-for-70 vanilla damage. His Retreat Cost isn't even that good at 3 Energy! So what's the big deal? Why's Barbaracle on the list? 

Well truth be told, it's his Ability: Hand Block. With it, if you've got Barbaracle in play and a Stadium on your side of the board, your opponent can't put down any Special Energy cards onto his Pokemon! And let's face it, a LOT of decks use Special Energy. Heck, I even mentioned a Special Energy over on M Alakazam-EX - would you want your opponent to be able to play that down on him or something that scary? And that's not including Strong Energy, DCE, Rainbow, Splash, Lightning, Shield, Wonder, Herbal, or any of the other Special Energies out there! I mean, look at what this can do to Dragon decks - Double Dragon Energy can't go down on your Dragon and power it up faster? Too bad for you!

But does that mean Barbaracle is good to play?...well, actually, yeah. In order to put down a key part of most decks into play, your opponent has to do something about Barbaracle's Ability. Garbodor is probably the most obvious solution, but not all decks can run him due to their own reliance on Abilities. Similarly, Hex Maniac can be used, but it uses up your Supporter for the turn, and you STILL have to contend with Barbaracle next turn!  

The easiest way to deal with Barbaracle is to have a Stadium of your own - something that's not always quite as accessible, but every deck runs at least one. Remember, Barbaracle's only active if the Stadium is on his side of the board - if you play a Stadium or get rid of your opponent's Stadium in some manner, it's offline, and that can help you out a lot. The use of one card to effectively get a minus to shut off Barbarcle's Ability oughta be worth it for the access to such a powerful - and sometimes vital - part of a player's deck. 

This is probably the hyped-up reason that Barbaracle has hit #8 on our list. 

Rating 

Standard: 3.5/5 (there's no denying that Barbaracle has merit, and given the Water-typing there is Archie's to consider as an alternative to putting him into play) 

Expanded: 3.5/5 (it's just that once people know how to play around Barbaracle, I don't see it as being that big of a threat) 

Limited: 3.5/5 (but hey, we are talking about a format where the biggest archetype runs on DCE) 

Arora Notealus: Barbaracle does a lot for a little, and there's no doubt he'll see play. Amidst the various options for Archie's though, he might fall a bit short to be put in most decks, and others will probably work some way around him. I'm just imagining decks slowing down with him around, but that's not necessarily a bad thing - sometimes, you need to slow the pace of the game down so others can pick it back up. 

Next Time: Speaking of cards that'll help slow the pace of the game down...


Otaku

Barbaracle (XY: Fates Collide 23/124) is our eighth place finisher.  As a Water Type it faces a little bit of Resistance from BW-era Grass Types but nearly every Fire Type and a chunk of the Fighting Type sport Water Weakness, definitely a net benefit.  Water Type doesn’t impress me as much as what Fighting has going for it, but it is still abundant.  There are plenty of winners among them both in terms of explicit support that only works for the Water Type (or specified Types including Water), as well as those cards that just work better with the Water Type but can still function well with others.  There are some anti-Water Type effects but they just are only relevant enough to acknowledge, but not to detail.  Being a Stage 1 means it takes some extra effort and/or time to get into play over being a Basic, but the Stage still has a presence, sometimes even without Evolution acceleration, so it’s solid.  100 HP means it is a likely OHKO, but it might last two turns against a poor setup or serious attack focused on something other than damaging the opponent’s Active.  The Grass Weakness can be dangerous; even though 100 HP won’t go that far anyway, key numbers like the 50 damage Virizion-EX does with “Emerald Slash” get doubled into OHKO territory.  No Resistance is typical but more a missed opportunity than a flaw, so moving onto the Retreat Cost of [CCC]; this is chunky so pack an out in case Barbaracle gets stuck up front but not OHKOed. 

Barbaracle has an Ability and an attack.  The Ability is “Hand Block”, which only works while you have a Stadium in play.  I am emphasizing “you” because in all honesty that didn’t sink in until the third or fourth time I read the grovyle kids reasoning behind picking Barbaracle for his Top 10 list, and that was maybe 30 minutes ago!  If your opponent can discard your Stadium (whether by playing their own, using Delinquent, etc.), Hand Block shuts itself off.  So it had better have an awesome effect for something which most decks have at least three answers.  Hand Block prevents your opponent (not both players) from attaching Special Energy cards from his or her hand to his or her Pokémon in play.  That… that just might do it.  Obviously meaningless against a deck relying on Basic Energy cards, against the many that favor Special Energy cards, there is a rhythm to the game and if you miss an attachment it can cost you big.  So a one-sided soft lock can still be quite effective.  The attack is “Claw Slash” for [WWC] to do 70 damage; overpriced vanilla filler, but at least it isn’t totally unreasonable.  Still the Ability is why you would bother with this card. 

Barbaracle Evolves from Binacle, and we have three options: XY: Flashfire 48/106, XY: Roaring Skies 38/108, and XY: Fates Collide 22/124.  All are Basic Pokémon with Grass Weakness, no Resistance, no Ancient Trait, and no Ability.  XY: Flashfire 48/106 is a Fighting Type with 70 HP and a single attack - Double Scratch - that requires [FF] to flip two coins and does 30 damage per “heads”.  XY: Roaring Skies 38/108 also a Fighting Type, this time with 60 HP and two attacks; for [F] it can use “Sand Attack” to force the Defending Pokémon to flip a coin if it tries to attack the next turn while for [FFC] it can use “Mud-Slap” for 40.  XY: Fates Collide 22/124 is a Water Type with 60 HP and (once again) a single attack: this time it is “Swing Around” for [WC] to do 10 damage plus two coin flips good for 20 more damage per “heads”.  None of these are worth attacking with so just go with XY: Flashfire 48/106 for its 70 HP or - if you are including an expendable source of [F] Energy then XY: Roaring Skies 38/108 can try to buy time with its Sand Attack, sadly the best attack available on these Pokémon.  You could use Archie’s Ace in the Hole, but that tends to be overkill for a Stage 1, as I had to learn through trial and error even though plenty tried to warn me. 

There is only one other Barbaracle, XY: Flashfire 49/106, which is a Stage 1 Fighting Type with 110 HP, Grass Weakness, no Resistance, Retreat Cost [CC], no Ancient Trait, no Ability and two attacks.  For [FF] you can use “Rock Rush” which does 30 damage times how ever many [F] Energy you decided to discard from hand for the attack.  [FFF] allows you to use “Boulder Crash” instead for a flat 80 points of damage.  Baby Mario and aroramage looked at the card here and thought it had a little potential as a fun card and I personally tried to make it work back when it was newish and struggled to keep streaming Barbaracle while filling my hand with a fresh supply of Fighting Energy; we’ve gotten some potential help since then but even if it were to help the damage output is just a bit low; you need to discard six or more Energy to discard to OHKO most major Pokémon-EX.  So Barbaracle isn’t getting any help from its lower Stages or its alternate version. 

Where should you use Barbaracle?  I honestly don’t know, which (hint hint) might be why this card didn’t rank higher in this Top 10.  It isn’t too difficult to slap a Stage 1 like this as a 1-1 or a 2-2 line into a variety of decks, so long as they don’t go skimpy on Stadium cards.  Bench Binacle when you’ve got another target worth taking out, and your opponent either risks losing (usually important) Special Energy card attachments or it has to ignore said other target and take out Binacle.  It is at least plausible to include it in a variety of aggressive decks to make countering your assault more difficult or tacked onto anything other than Ability lock, to deny your opponent another option.  The question is what decks can make room for the tactic and will the soft lock really be enough to propel Barbaracle over a similar Bench-sitter.  So it is a card with promise for Standard and Expanded play, but what about Limited?  If you’re going to run a Water focused deck, go for it, but while there are Double Colorless Energy and Strong Energy to potentially block, they aren’t prevalent enough for it to be worth the effort unless your deck already needs padding out.

Ratings 

Standard: 3.6/5 

Expanded: 3.6/5 

Limited: 3/5 

Summary: Barbaracle can effect a somewhat soft Special Energy lock; a few decks go light on ways to get rid of opposing Stadium cards, and if they rely on Special Energy Barbaracle would be a terror, but for most it strikes me as a “Hope to make a bad moment for the opponent worse by getting Hand Block going.  If you could avoid telegraphic it, the sudden surprise could be quite effective late game, when your opponent has fewer options to get rid of your own Stadium cards. 

I had Barbaracle as my sixth place pick, but remember I already confessed to misreading Hand Block as requiring a Stadium be in play instead of requiring your Stadium being in play.  I’d probably have still kept it in my Top 10, but dropped it to the ninth or tenth place spot had I noticed.

the
grovyle
kid

Barbaracle is interesting. Its ability, Stadium Block, stops your opponent from playing Special Energy cards as long as you have a Stadium in play. Due to most decks at least benefiting from Special Energy in some way, this lock is extremely powerful if you can keep it up, and on average, your opponent shouldn't be able to get more than 1 turn in a row to attach Special Energy, as it can be difficult to stream Hex Maniac or your own Stadium Card, especially if you combine it with some form of  locking like Seismitoad-EX. Barbaracle has the makings of a good card in a variety of decks if they can afford the space.
 
I had this as my 8th place pick.


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