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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

 Beedrill
- XY: Evolutions

Date Reviewed:
Nov. 29, 2016

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 1.50
Expanded: 2.00
Limited: 2.50

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

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

Beedrill is a hard worker. He's got a nifty Poison Sting that's 1-for-30 and automatically Poisons - a plus! But then he loses sight of his potential and falls off the bee-ten path. His Swarming Sting is powerful certainly, but without a hive of other Beedrill to utilize, even the open-ended potential of stinging anything for 160 damage at only 2 Energy isn't that great. 

Not to mention the amount of effort to get to a 120 HP Stage 2 is already cumbersome enough without trying to get more of them out. Forest of Giant Plants may be powerful, but it can only do so much. 

Rating 

Standard: 1.5/5 (it's main positive attribute is tacking on Poison) 

Expanded: 2/5 (which some decks might appreciate, all things considered) 

Limited: 2.5/5 (but outside of that limited range, he's not that great) 

Arora Notealus: Such is the life of the endangered bee. No one really likes you in droves, and on your own you can't stop much. Such is life as a bee. According to all known laws of aviation, there is no way a bee should be able to fly. Its wings are too small to get its fat little body off the ground. The bee, of course, flies anyway because bees don't care what humans think is impossible. 

...eyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy 

Next Time: MORE BEES-no wait, hang on...that's not a bee, it's a psychic cat at best.


Otaku

Our second selection this week is Beedrill (XY: Evolutions 7/108).  Grass Weakness is found on many Water Types as well as a decent amount of Fighting Types, with nothing is Resistant as we aren’t concerned about the Unlimited Format.  Grass specific counters haven’t proven useful but a multi-Type counter that includes Grass is Parallel City. It is still a common sight in decks due to its Bench shrinking effect, but the other side slaps a -20 damage reduction on the attacks of Grass, Fire, and Water Types.  I would call Grass Type support a bit unusual except defying easy description actually is the norm.  The most important bit of Grass support right now is Forest of Giant Plants, except it cares not about Typing of Beedrill but of its previous Stages, Weedle and Kakuna.  They are Grass Types, so this potent Evolution acceleration is an option.  Even without Battle Compressor, the specifics of Beedrill may make Revitalizer a solid choice, and in Expanded the combo looks quite good.  Most of the rest is negligible, though Ariados (XY: Ancient Origins 6/98), Virizion (XY: Ancient Origins 12/98), and Virizion-EX may prove worthwhile after all; we’ll discuss them more (and how they could help Beedrill) later on. 

As a Stage 2, Beedrill would have been slow, but as stated we can use Forest of Giant Plants to speed through Evolving.  Still if you can’t get that Stadium into play, you’ll have to slog through two other Stages and turns of waiting to Evolve, a serious drawback when compared to almost all other Stages.  As a reminder, instead of insane Evolution acceleration like Broken Vine-Space Forest of Giant Plants I would much rather the designers gave us Weedle and Kakuna that could carry their own weight and stop making attackers (Basic or otherwise) that can hit the field and wreak havoc Turn 2 (or Turn 1 since I really want first turn attacks back).  That’s a diatribe for another time so let’s move onto the rest of the card’s stats.  Beedrill has 120 HP, not quite at the point where I think a Pokémon is more likely to survive a hit than be KO’d, and definitely below the point where it could reliably tank a hit.  This means Beedrill will need some nifty trick to justify the effort of running it.  Fire Weakness is dangerous, but the mixed blessing is that the relatively low HP means it just makes OHKO’s easier for Fire Types, as opposed to making them possible.  No Resistance is the worst Resistance, but it is also the most common; the mechanic is well balanced (at least compared to Weakness) so it wouldn’t be game breaking if it were present anyway.  Beedrill has a perfect free Retreat Cost; this means it can function as a pivot Pokémon and makes it less likely you’ll need to pack as many alternatives or assists for manually retreating as you would in other decks.  At least if nothing we might run with it changes that. 

Beedrill has two attacks, so given what we just discussed it is probably shooting for “glass cannon” status; something that delivers such a strong hit you don’t mind that it is probably getting KO’d by your opponent immediately afterwards.  The first attack is “Poison Sting” for [G], doing 30 damage and Poisoning the opponent’s Active.  While not mind-blowing it is still a good, solid attack one can fall back upon in emergencies or while preparing something bigger.  The second attack is “Swarming Sting” for [GC], and it allows you to select one of your opponent’s Pokémon (Active or Benched) and do 40 damage per Beedrill you have in play.  This is a very good attack, nearly a great attack, when viewed in isolation.  40-for-2 with the option to hit Bench or Active, the minimum this attack can do unless you copy it from an opponent’s Beedrill with something like Mew-EX, is mediocre, but 80-for-two is good, 120-for-two is very good, and 160-for-two is great.  The reason the overall attack isn’t great, though, is the specifics of its implementation; the attack is not only on a Stage 2 but one prone to being OHKO’d, with an Energy cost that is a bit tricky to meet in a single turn.  Don’t forget that you’re normally beginning with six Prizes set aside; when your goal is four of a Stage 2 line, odds are at least one of those Pokémon will be Prized.  There is a significant (but lower) chance that two of the same Stage will be Prized as well, thus dropping the max damage to 80.

Time for lower Stages and alternatives.  For Weedle we are looking at BW: Plasma Freeze 1/116, XY: Kalos Starter Set 1/39 (also available as McDonald’s Collection 2014 1/12), XY 3/146, XY: Primal Clash 1/160, and XY: Evolutions 5/108.  Kakuna is a bit less prolific with BW: Plasma Freeze 2/116, XY 4/146, XY: Primal Clash 2/160, and XY: Evolutions 6/108.  As for other Beedrill we have BW: Plasma Freeze 3/116, XY 5/146, and XY: Primal Clash 3/160.  All of these are Grass Type Pokémon with Fire Weakness, no Resistance, no Ability, and no Ancient Trait.  Only the XY: Primal Clash and XY: Evolutions versions being Standard legal.  None of the Weedle have been reviewed, but Kakuna (XY 4/146) was here, Beedrill (XY 5/146) here, and Beedrill (XY: Primal Clash 3/160) here.  All Weedle are Basic Pokémon with Retreat Cost [C] and just one attack that costs [G], with only   BW: Plasma Freeze 1/116 has 50 HP and the attack “Triple Stab”, where you flip three coins good for 10 damage per “heads”.  XY: Kalos Starter Set 1/39 has 40 HP and uses “String Shot” to do 10 damage and (on a coin flip) Paralyze the opponent’s Active.  XY 3/146 has 50 HP and has one of the unsuccessful anti-Grass attacks in the form of “Leaf Munch”, doing 10 damage normally but +20 if the opponent’s Active is a Grass Type.  XY: Primal Clash 1/160 also has 50 HP and its attack is “Multiply”, which has you search your deck for a Weedle and Bench it.  XY: Evolutions 5/108 is back down to 40 HP, and its attack is a weaker version of Poison Sting, now doing only 10 damage and requiring a successful coin flip to Poison.  No Weedle is great, but I would favor XY: Primal Clash 1/160. 

All Kakuna are Stage 1 Pokémon that are very similar but not enough for me to summarize more.  BW: Plasma Freeze 2/116 has 80 HP with a Retreat Cost of [CC] and the attack “Hide” for [G].  Hide has you flip a coin and if “heads” prevents all effects of attacks, including damage, done to itself during your opponent’s next turn.  XY 4/146 has just 70 HP with a Retreat Cost of [CC] and the attack “Harden”, which also costs [G] and offers some protection.  This time it just soaks 60 damage from attacks during your opponent’s next turn, and then only if the attack does 60 or less; an attack that does 70 or more hits at full force.  XY: Primal Clash 2/160 is back at 80 HP but has a Retreat Cost of [CCC].  Its “Bugbite” attack still costs [C] but does 20 damage.  XY: Evolutions 6/108 still has 80 HP and Retreat Cost [CC], but has two attacks.  For [CC] “Stiffen” to soak 40 damage after Weakness/Resistance; attacks that do 40 or less are completely soaked while those that do more still have their damage reduced.  For [GG] it can use “Poison Powder” to do 20 damage and flip a coin; “tails” means just the damage while “heads” means you also Poison the opponent’s Active.  Again none of these are particularly good, but I’d favor BW: Plasma Freeze 2/116 or XY: Evolutions 6/108.  Kakuna is meant to Evolve, so the focus is on the attacks that help it survive, and we have a flippy chance at blocking everything and a reliable -40 to the opponent’s damage in these two.  Decide between them based on Energy costs and format. 

So now for the other Beedrill; all are Stage 2 Pokémon with 120 HP and two attacks, with all but XY 5/146 have a free Retreat Cost (XY 5/146 has a Retreat Cost of [C]).   BW: Plasma Freeze 3/116 can use “Swift Sting” for [G] and “Pierce” for [CCC].  Swift Sting does 20 damage, and if Beedrill (“this Pokémon”) has full HP the attack does an additional 40 damage and both Poisons and Confuses the opponent’s Active.  Pierce is simply a vanilla 60-for-three, at least 10 (and more like 30) shy of where it needed to be to seem vaguely competitive.  XY 5/146 can also attack for [G], but it just has “Poison Jab” doing 20 damage and (of course) Poisoning the opponent’s active.  Not horrible considering the price and how there are no additional requirements for inflicting Poison; a little weaker than the Poison Sting on XY: Evolutions 7/102 but it might be functional as a supporting attack.  The main attack is “Flash Needle” and it requires [GG] to flip three coins; each “heads” is worth 40 damage while each “tails” is worth zero.  It also has an additional effect should you flip all three “heads”: Flash Needle protects “this Pokémon” from all effects of attacks until the end of your opponent’s next turn, including damage.  XY: Primal Clash 3/160 has two attacks for [G] and [GG] respectively as well.  The first is “Allergic Shock”, which places an effect on the Defending Pokémon so that if it should be damaged by an attack on your next turn, it is KO’d.  The second is “Twineedle” which gives you two coin flips good for 50 damage per “heads”. 

Some of the attacks on these other Beedrill are pretty good.  One of first decks for the PTCGO, and maybe my very first, that really was a deck and not a mishmash of the best cards on hand was built around Swift Sting.  I used the then still fairly new Dragalge (XY: Flashfire 71/106) to block my opponent manually retreating after a Swift Sting.  I may have even had a few Virbank City Gym cards to up the effective damage from Swift Sting.  Properly competitive decks usually had an answer for this, though some were surprisingly vulnerable.  I may have also included a copy or two of XY 5/146 in case the main strategy just couldn’t work; a one-in-eight chance of being protected during the next turn isn’t great, and even with tricks to allow a reflip like Trick Coin the odds still aren’t good, but it was an emergency fallback for a combination budget/fun deck being run by someone who couldn’t manage anything better.  Though tempting, I don’t think either of these would complement today’s Beedrill enough to bother running them; without support you’re asking for more luck than you need just focusing on XY: Evolutions 7/108.  XY: Primal Clash 3/160 doesn’t even rank that highly; a “2HKO anything” strategy that goes away if your opponent can change out his or her Active isn’t worth it; we have OHKO strategies that involve a similar effort but haven’t proven competitive.  Allergy Shock might have made for a good Ability (though hard to balance out), and just to annoy me a bit more, they couldn’t even have the KO effect be more easily triggered (it has to be one of your Pokémon attacking on your next turn). 

So can Beedrill (XY: Evolutions 7/108) hack it in its own deck?  Not at a serious, competitive level I am afraid.  It comes reasonably close, but the issue is reliability.  Forest of Giant Plants can give you the needed speed to that Evolving is only an issue in that we are talking a lot of cards here: ideally four each of Weedle, Kakuna, and Beedrill plus anything (like Forest of Giant Plants) you use to help them out.  You need to meet an attack cost of [GC] as well, and probably the best option is Max Elixir onto your Weedle… even though you want to Evolve them ASAP.  Exp. Share might work in Standard, but it keeps you from running other important Tools so maybe not.  Either way that is more cards, plus for Max Elixir you need a healthy amount of basic Grass Energy cards in your deck to keep its odds up.  Pulling all of this off reliably is a challenge, even if you’re also using Shaymin-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 77/108, 106/108) and all the other typical tricks to help out.  You really want at least three Beedrill on your side of the field when you attack, because 120 damage is enough to OHKO your opponent’s Shaymin-EX on his or her Bench.  Assuming your opponent isn’t running something to protect said Shaymin-EX, or lacking one on the Bench (for reasons that could be good or bad for you), you’ll need that at least three Beedrill to shoot for 2HKOs unless your opponent has other small, important things unprotected on his or her Bench.  If your opponent just has a non-Grass Weak Beatdown deck without such Bench-sitters, or where they are optional…

...well that is why I said Beedrill isn’t going to cut it as a competitive deck.  You’ll need all four Beedrill hitting the field ASAP, a way to constantly recycle them, set them back up, and probably a little something else as 160 falls short of OHKOing your typical big beatstick that can OHKO Beedrill.  There are additional tricks like Bursting Balloon or (in Expanded) Muscle Band/Silver Bangle that can help but for the effort involved?  Only players looking for a (hopefully) fun challenge need apply.  Assuming you get the full line, Beedrill is a decent pull for Limited play; fantastic if you pull multiples of everything and can get them out, but realistically you use its Poison Sting and free Retreat, maybe a weak Swarming Sting to finish something off something that retreated to your opponent’s Bench (or soften it up if it is being built there).  There is one more thing I’d like to cover though before wrapping this review up: the original Beedrill that inspired this card. 

Beedrill (Base Set 17/102; Base Set 2 21/130; Legendary Collection 20/110) is a Stage 2 Grass Type Pokémon with 80 HP, Fire Weakness x2, Fighting Resistance -30, a free Retreat Cost, and two attacks.  The first attack is Twineedle, which back then was priced at [CCC], still gave two coin flips, but they did only 30 damage per “heads”.  For [GGG] it had Poison Sting, doing 40 damage and Poison, but the latter was only if you flipped “heads”.  Now adjusting for differences in the rules and card pool, this card is better than it looks but probably only about as good as today’s Beedrill.  I remember some decks being built around it, but against a properly outfitted competitive deck of the time, it probably meant the Beedrill player would feel the sting defeat and not the opponent.  There are a few areas where the original does surpass its modern counterpart, like having Resistance and the HP perhaps scaling better (at least if we ignore things like Pokémon-EX as there was no similar mechanic back then).  I won’t detail them, but other Beedrill between then and now have also re-imagined the original, but without reusing the art and with just as many tweaks… including attack similar to Swarming Sting.  Weedle (Base Set 69/102; Base Set 2 100/130; Legendary Collection 99/110) actually is the same as Weedle (XY: Evolutions 5/108) save a very slight update to the wording of Poison Sting, making it actually a reprint.  Kakuna (Base Set 33/102; Base Set 2 47/130; Legendary Collection 50/110) is almost in the same boat; besides a slight wording revision that don’t really change Poison Powder, though, Stiffen works differently.  The original was a “tails fails” attack that when it worked, protected Kakuna from all damage done to it during your opponent’s next turn (other effects of attacks still happened).  As I’m still struggling to properly apply the rules for cards that are practically reprints saved for updated text or slightly tweaked text, I am uncertain how the older Weedle and Kakuna would be handled. 

Ratings 

Standard: 1.65/5 

Expanded: 1.75/5 

Limited: 2/5 

Summary: I so want to like this Beedrill; it may not be my favorite Pokémon but various other hobbies plus some of my past decks have given me a soft spot for the Pokémon.  Obliterating an opponent’s Benched Shaymin-EX in a single shot, with a non-Pokémon-EX and for two Energy is just so tempting but the odds of pulling it off reliably aren’t high enough… and when that isn’t an option and you have to go toe to toe (wait, do Beedrill have any toes?) with some of the other strong beatsticks (…which also may not have actual toes because pocket monster) requires a massive early game set up that a single piece Prized can ruin, but a little additional luck on the side.


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