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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

 Delphox

- Fates Collide

Date Reviewed:
May 24, 2016

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.93
Expanded: 2.75
Limited: 4.25

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

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

Well, this oughta be an easy day. I briefly talked about Delphox with Delphox BREAK, but today we're gonna expand on what Delphox can do on her own! 

She comes around with two attacks, the first of which is Flickering Flames. It's a 1-for-40 hit, which is pretty good all things considered, and it even adds on the effect of putting your opponent's Pokemon to Sleep. While that's not really saying much, it's nice to know that it's a somewhat decent attack on its own, even if Sleep is but a temporary setback. 

Then there's Psystorm, which is what Delphox got noted for when its BREAK form was being reviewed. For 3 Energy, Delphox can deal out 20 damage for every Energy attached to Pokemon in play. Did you catch that? That's EVERY Energy - yours, mine, ours, and your neighbor's!...okay, maybe not his, he's on his own with Seismitoad-EX, but you and your opponent for sure. And that's the kind of attack that stacks up! Combined with the BREAK Evolution, that's an extra 40 damage almost guaranteed during your turn, never mind what your opponent puts down during theirs. 

So how come Delphox didn't quite make the cut? Well, to put it simply, she's still a Stage 2, and that alone means it's going to take time to get her into play and powered up. Sure, once she's in - and heck, if she's got a BREAK on top of her - she'll be fine, probably even set up thanks to whatever your opponent's been doing, but beyond that, she's going to end up being a little behind. Not to mention if she KO's an opposing Pokemon, you lose anywhere from 2-4 Energy, depending on what it was, which means Psystorm loses 40-80 damage in one strike. 

Course, you should be able to make up for that easily enough, but unless Stage 2s become competitive, she may only been an "every now and again" kind of deck. 

Rating 

Standard: 3/5 (she's still got a great attack though, just bogged down by her Stage 2 investments) 

Expanded: 3/5 (that's including Fennekin, maybe a Blaixen or two, and any evolution cards you use to get to Stage 2 like Rare Candy) 

Limited: 4/5 (but hey, if sh'es in the right environment, you can certainly go nuts) 

Arora Notealus: Delphox certainly has a lot going for herself - more so than the other Delphox that have been printed, so it's good to know that this is the one that will be sticking around for a while. 

Next Time: And now for something completely different - EX!!


Otaku

Today we look at Delphox (XY: Fates Collide 13/124).  I gave it a quick runthrough when we reviewed Delphox BREAK as our ninth place pick but now it is time to do it for real.  This is a Fire Type, so it can smack Grass and Metal Types for double damage, doesn’t have to worry about Resistance, does have to worry about a few anti-Fire effects (that mostly just fake being Resistance), and lastly has some good tricks like Blacksmith and (less Type restrictive), Scorched Earth, but is somewhat slim pickings compared to Fighting or Water.  Delphox is a Stage 2 which means it takes a good deal to get it into play.  Fennekin is required, and you can either Evolve to Braixen, and finally to Delphox itself; Rare Candy allows you to skip Braixen and save a turn, and if you want to get to Delphox BREAK ASAP you’ll need to Wally two turns in a row or else on your second turn use the Rare Candy into this Delphox and then Wally into Delphox BREAK.  Even without BREAK Evolving, this is a good deal of effort and the Stage 2 Pokémon which have proven successful have some form of shortcut beyond the norm and/or their lower Stages do something to prove worthwhile as well (even if just making the whole line more efficient at setting up).  We’ll take a look at those later as the related cards could make the difference. 

Delphox has 140 HP, the middle ground for Stage 2 HP scores.  My guesstimate is that this should be the high end of moderate damage; 150+ is the realm of the major (or whatever further descriptors you desire to use) attacks.  So those major damage decks are going to manage rapid, reliable, and/or repeatable OHKOs against 140 HP (upwards of all three), while moderate damage will probably only manage one, maybe two.  Water Weakness will matter, especially as Seismitoad-EX refuses to go away, Greninja BREAK has claimed its place, and there are still nasty tricks like attacking with Regice or Glaceon-EX that can score a OHKO without additional boosts against Delphox.  No Resistance is typical and may have mattered but probably not as decks trying to OHKO 170 HP Pokémon-EX clear an effective 160 damage with room to spare.  Retreat Cost [CC] is functionally (but not mathematically) average; low enough you can pay but high enough you prefer not to so pack some options to deal with it. 

Delphox has two attacks.  For [R] it can use “Flickering Flames” for 40 damage, plus it leaves the opponent’s Active Asleep.  This is a good return for a single Energy, but due to the investment to reach this point it should be a fallback play; you can’t afford to rely on inexpensive hits because you have to invest so much to get there, but if it is all you have at least you do some damage while the opponent has a chance of being unable to attack the next turn.  Meanwhile for [CCC] Delphox can use Psystorm to hit your opponent’s Active for 20 damage times the amount of Energy attached to Pokémon in play.  That is all the Energy attached to all the Pokémon, both yours and your opponent’s.  Unless you’re copying the attack with something that can attack for less, this means it does a minimum of 60 damage.  The maximum requires more time to calculate than I can spare right now and is pretty useless because I’d be cashing in on Weakness, some obscure combos, and trying to figure out how to maximize Energy in play for both sides.  This is not as good as it may sound at first.  Remember Gallade (BW: Plasma Storm 61/135)?  I do because the PTCGO stuck it in an online exclusive Theme Deck, but otherwise I probably wouldn’t; it has Psystorm and only for [CC] so that a single Double Colorless Energy can cover the cost, and despite having several things seemingly going for it, it didn’t manage a deck that could build Psystorm up to OHKOs levels well enough for a competitive deck. 

Still, we are discussing Delphox so we should cover related cards.  We’ll start with versions of Fennekin: XY: Kalos Starter Set 8/39 (also available as XY: Black Star Promos XY02 and McDonald’s 2014 3/12), XY 24/146, XY: BREAKthrough 25/162, XY: Fates Collide 10/124, and XY: Fates Collide 11/124.  They all have a lot in common as each is a Basic, Fire Type Pokémon with Water Weakness, no Resistance, Retreat Cost [C], no Ancient Trait, and no Ability.  XY: Kalos Starter Set 8/39 has 60 HP and two attacks: “Scratch” for [R] to do 10 damage and “Live Coal” for [RC] to do 20.  XY 24/146 has 10 less HP (so just 50) and “Will-O-Wisp” is its only attack, doing 20 for [R].  XY: BREAKthrough 25/162 also has just 50 HP a single attack (Firebreathing), which does 10 damage and has you flip a coin for [RC]; “heads” means +30 damage (40 total).  XY: Fates Collide 10/124 goes back up to 60 HP.  It also reuses Will-O-Wisp, still needing [R] but only doing 10, while it can use “Tail Whip” for [CC] to flip a coin; “heads” means the Defending Pokémon can’t attack during your opponent’s next turn, “tails” does nothing.  Last possibility is XY: Fates Collide 11/124 and it still has only 50 HP.  For [C] it can use “Invite Out” which requires a coin flip; “heads” means you can select one of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon and switch it with your opponent’s Active while “tails” means the attack does nothing.  All are just placeholders waiting to Evolve, but XY: Fates Collide 10/124 gives both the slightly higher HP and an attack that can maybe buy you time. 

I am telling you upfront that Rare Candy is probably the way to go, but Item lock means even those decks ought to have a copy or two of Braixen.  We have XY: Kalos Starter Set 9/39, XY 25/146, XY: BREAKthrough 26/162, and XY: Fates Collide 12/124.  These four are Stage 1 Fire Type Pokémon with 80 HP, Water Weakness, no Resistance, Retreat Cost [C], no Ancient Trait, and no Ability.  Firebreathing returns on  XY: Kalos Starter Set 9/39, still requiring [RC] and a coin flip but doing 20 on “tails” and 40 on “heads”.  It also has “Flame Tail” for [RCC] to do 60.  XY 25/146 can use “Clairvoyant Eye” to look at the top three cards of your deck and rearrange them as you wish for only [C], or for [RC] it can use “Fire Tail Slap” to do 40 damage with the added cost of discarding a [R] Energy from itself.  “Flamethrower” is the only attack on XY: BREAKthrough 26/162, doing 70 damage for [RCC] discarding an Energy attached to Braixen itself.  XY: Fates Collide 12/124 rounds things out with “Destructive Flames” for [R] and “Crackling Ribbon” for [CC].  The former does 20 and has you flip a coin; if “heads” you also discard an Energy attached to the opponent’s Active, while the latter does a flat 30 damage.  Again none are brilliant but I’d favor XY 25/146 as Clairvoyant Eye can improve your next few draws while XY: Fates Collide 12/124 as with luck you can not only discard an Energy, but it will be one that your opponent really needed.  In either case though the attack is a desperation play. 

Fennekin and Braixen aren’t doing Delphox any favors, but they are pretty typical stepping stones for reaching a Stage 2.  How about the other Delphox?  We have two others to consider, XY: Kalos Starter Set 10/39 and XY 26/146 which both have the same attributes as today’s Delphox.  XY: Kalos Starter Set 10/39 brings back Will-O-Wisp but for [RC] and doing 30 damage, while for [RCCC] its “Fire Blast” does 120 damage but requires you discard an Energy attached to Delphox itself.  Other reviews covered it here here and seemed to have gotten it right; it isn’t a good card though it isn’t absolutely horrible.  XY 26/146 has the Ability “Mystical Fire” which allows you to draw until you have six cards in hand once per turn before you attack.  It stacks, so if you have multiple Pokémon in play, each with Mystical Fire, as long as you haven’t attacked you can use each.  Not much point if you can’t get your hand down to at least five cards, but nice insurance against N and a well made deck should be getting at least two to three extra cards drawn per card even with just a single copy of said Delphox in play.  For [CCC] it can attack via “Blaze Ball”, which does 50 damage plus 20 per [R] Energy attached to itself.  This is like the “Secret Sword” attack on Keldeo-EX; it isn’t as useful simply because the game favors a Basic Pokémon-EX more than a Stage 2, but it also isn’t useless.  If you can quickly attach [RRR], such as with a manual Energy attachment and a single Blacksmith, Blaze Ball does 110 damage, 2HKO range.  If you can load it up, it can OHKO anything.  In practice, this will likely outdo Psystorm unless the opponent has a very Energy heavy field, though with the significant drawback of leaving a massive amount of Energy on your very vulnerable attacker.  XY 26/146 is probably the Delphox to use. 

There is one more card to consider of course: Delphox BREAK.  I am already a bit less optimistic for it than with our recent review, but it means 180 HP (10 more than Delphox-EX) plus the Ability “Flare Witch”.  Flare Witch allows you to search your deck for a [R] Energy once per turn to attach to one of your Pokémon.  No added costs or conditions, and the way it is worded, multiple instances of Flare Witch can be used during the same turn (yes, there are some Abilities or at least Ability predecessors that are once per turn even with multiples in play).  This helps any of these Delphox but it will take multiple copies and multiple turns for it to flood your side of the field with Energy.  I like it better with XY 26/146, but a single copy of today’s Delphox (XY: Fates Collide 13/124) because you probably won’t need four copies of the other, and one Delphox with Psystorm should be enough to punish the decks that are Energy heavy and thus providing a good return for the attack.  Should you use such a deck in Expanded or Standard?  If you really feel like it, but as stated I’m less impressed by it than I was just two weeks ago to the day.  Perhaps there is some rogue deck that uses a different form of Energy acceleration which I ought to be considering.  For now though just enjoy this Delphox in Limited, as if I understand the contents of the Evolution Packs, you should be getting a solid Fennekin and Braixen count. 

Ratings 

Standard: 2.85/5 

Expanded: 2.5/5 

Limited: 4.5/5 

Summary: Delphox should be great for Limited play but it seems like a niche attacker for a Delphox BREAK deck that may not actually click.  I don’t know what the future will hold for this card, but even should the other Delphox options rotate from Standard, I doubt enough of the competition from other decks will join them to improve this card’s odds.  Delphox didn’t make my personal Top 10 or Top 15 but it only missed making the Pojo Top 10 by one place and three voting points.


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