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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

 Shiftry
- Steam Siege

Date Reviewed:
Oct. 31, 2016

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.50
Expanded: 2.45
Limited: 3.00

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

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

Hello all and welcome to Dual Type Week where we round off some of the other interesting cards in the Steam Siege set like our good friend Shiftry here! While Volcanion-EX is probably the biggest addition to the Dual Type family, there are several others that made it in that, at the very least, I'm hoping will see featured in the next TCG set as well - Sun and Moon dual types maybe? But I digress. 

Shiftry is a Grass/Darkness dual-type, meaning not only does he hit certain Water and Fighting Pokemon for Weakness but also a few Psychic types as well. Sure it's not the most widespread Typing in terms of hitting for Weakness, but you get it where it counts. And luckily for Shiftry, that's not the only thing he's hitting for "weakness". His first attack Wicked Wind is a 1-for-40 hit that completely nullifies any Stadium and Tool cards in your opponent's possession during their turn - even if they come into play that turn! Take that Spirit Links and Rough Seas and Fighting Stadi-ohhhh, right, no more of that. You get the idea though. 

Extrasensory is something we've seen before, this time being a 2-for-60 that hits for 60 more if you've got the same cards in hand as your opponent - not as exciting, but pretty useful in the right setting. Really though I think Wicked Wind is the attack that's drawn the most attention to Shiftry, and combined with Forest of Broken Plants, he can get out fast and start locking down your opponent's goodies so they can't run you through before you run them through! 

Keep an eye on that Shiftry - I'm sure he'd be even more threatening with a BREAK. 

Rating 

Standard: 3.5/5 (truth be told his biggest weakness right now is his Stage 2 speed and that Fire weakness) 

Expanded: 4/5 (but he could very well end up being a powerful card in the long run) 

Limited: 4/5 (certainly locking out has proven to be a powerful aspect in the past) 

Arora Notealus: Seriously though how cool would Dual Types be in the next set? That would be really nice, personally. And it would show this isn't just a one set gimmick. Not like they've never done that before... 

Next Time: That flaming moth is next...


Otaku

Welcome to Dual Type Week here on Pojo!  Why?  I noticed I’d failed to review some of them during our last countdown… then realized we hadn’t looked at most of them, some of which have been pretty significant to competitive play.  So let’s remedy that situation right now. 

First up this week is Shifty (XY: Steam Siege 11/114), which is both Darkness and Grass Typed.  This blend means hitting chunks of the Fighting Type, Psychic Type, and Water Type for double damage, with Resistance only being a factor against the Fairy Type.  Type specific countermeasures are unimpressive, with me once again trotting out Parallel City as the one you’re most likely to encounter; it only reduces the damage done by -20 and it’s being run for the other effect but sometimes your opponent can afford to shrink his own Bench to fake Resistance.  The combination of Darkness and Grass support yields some interesting combinations.  Being a Grass Type doesn’t add much in direct support; Revitalizer springs to mind, but if there is a stand out trick, I’m going to have to look like an idiot for missing it.  Forest of Giant Plants does not care about what Shiftry is, only its lower Stages, so technically it doesn’t belong here.  Being able to share support with certain other Grass Types may or may not matter, and we’ll address that later in the review (same for sharing support with certain Darkness Types).  Speaking of which the Darkness Type also threatens to come up short.  It isn’t that the Type is lacking for tricks, but even in Expanded we have some issues with those tricks clashing.  For example, Dark Patch may not play nice with the rest of the deck as it works only with Darkness Energy and Reverse Valley has to compete with Forest of Giant Plants. 

Being a Stage 2 is rough, which is why Forest of Giant Plants keeps popping up; without it you’ll have to go Seedot => Nuzleaf => Shiftry taking three turns, Seedot => Rare Candy => Shiftry taking only two turns but more open to disruption, or Seedot => Nuzleaf => Shiftry with a Wally somewhere in there to take only two turns, but burn a Supporter usage.  All options are card intensive, and I do not expect anything other than the Forest of Giant Plants road to prove worthwhile (if even that).  140 HP is okay; Stage 2 Pokémon can have up to 160 (unless I missed a new record breaker), but the amount is still only a little above the average damage yield of your typical 2HKO deck.  Being a resource intensive Stage 2 means streaming Shiftry will be rough and that means being OHKO’d by so many decks is an issue; not a deal breaker (yet), but a definite concern.  Fire Weakness is dangerous right now; the most likely alternate Weakness (Fighting) wouldn’t have been any safer, so no complaining from me.  Fire Weakness is currently dangerous due to Volcanion and Volcanion-EX decks; if Abilities are online and Energy is in the hand, or else enough is already on the field, Shiftry is going down in one hit.  Maybe even for a single Energy attack.  No Resistance is the worst but still not a big deal, while a Retreat Cost of [CC] is neither a good nor a bad deal.  A bit too pricey to pay to retreat but low enough it’s still plausible when you don’t have a choice. 

Shiftry beings two attacks to bear: “Wicked Wind” and “Extrasensory”.  The former costs [G] and does 40 damage while negating the effects of all Pokémon Tools and Stadium cards in play until the end of your opponent’s next turn, while the latter requires [CC] and does 60 damage base and under the right conditions (if your hand is the same size as your opponent’s) another 60 for a total of 120.  40 for one is good, but not enough to make a Stage 2 attacker, and the same goes for doing 60 for two.  The effects hold some promise, but are not enough to offset the effort involved in reaching them, at least in and of themselves.  Wicked Wind does apply to Stadium and Tool cards played during your opponent’s next turn, so unless your opponent has Pokémon Ranger handy, he or she is basically without those cards.  Except when it comes to using them to trigger effects; the Stadium and/or Pokémon Tool is still there.  Your opponent can play a new Stadium card to discard one currently in play (assuming they have different names) or attach Pokémon Tools to clear out his or her hand.  More specialized examples would be how the “Dragon Road” Ability on Hydreigon-EX or “Garbotoxin” on Garbodor (XY: BREAKpoint 57/122) and the older Garbodor (BW: Dragons Exalted 54/124; BW: Plasma Freeze 119/116; BW: Legendary Treasures 68/113) still work with a negated Stadium in play and Pokémon Tool attached (respectively, and of course not at the same time).  Consistently synching up hand size is no mean feat either; it is easy enough you can do it without special deck preparation (with careful hand management and some luck) but tricky enough that you cannot rely on it even when a deck is built for it. 

Reading my own words, it seems like I keep hinting that there is a deck that might make this all work out, even though I keep pointing out Shiftry itself falls at least a little short.  That is not the case.  I have a few ideas, but before we delve into them, let’s run through what all Shiftry has to work with simply by being part of its Evolution line.  Seedot has four options: BW: Next Destinies 2/99, XY: Flashfire 5/106, XY: BREAKpoint 4/122, and XY: Steam Siege 9/114.  All are Basic, Grass Type Pokémon with Fire Weakness, Retreat Cost [C], no Ancient Trait, no Ability, and just one attack.  Only XY: BREAKpoint 4/122 and XY: Steam Siege 9/114 are Standard legal.  All but BW: Next Destinies 2/99 have 50 HP and no Resistance: it has 40 HP with Water Resistance) with the attack “Trip Over” for [C], doing 10 damage plus another 10 with a successful coin toss.  XY: Flashfire 5/106 has “Call for Family”, also at a cost of [C], which allows you to search your deck for one Basic Pokémon to add to your Bench.  XY: BREAKpoint 4/122 knows “Ram” to do 10 damage, and still at a cost of [C].  XY: Steam Siege 9/114 shakes things up by having an attack cost of [G] to use “Bide”, which allows you to flip a coin should an attack during your opponent’s next turn KO Seedot, and if “heads” Seedot isn’t KO’d but has 10 HP left instead.  I would favor XY: Flashfire 5/106 or XY: Steam Siege 9/114 as the former can at least aid in setup while the latter can try and stall to buy time to Evolve.  If you’re not running a source of [G] Energy though then Bide won’t be an option, but ideally you’ll have Forest of Giant Plants and Nuzleaf (if not Shiftry as well) and none of this will really matter. 

Nuzleaf has four options as well: BW: Next Destinies 71/99, XY: Flashfire 6/106, XY: BREAKpoint 72/122, and XY: Steam Siege 10/114.  All are less uniform than the Seedot were, but are all still Stage 1 Pokémon with Retreat Cost [C], no Ancient Trait and no Ability.  BW: Next Destinies 71/99 is a Darkness Type with 80 HP, FIghting Weakness, Psychic Resistance, and the attack “Surprise Punch” for [DC], doing 20 damage while moving an Energy from the opponent’s Active to one of his or her Benched Pokémon.  XY: Flashfire 6/106 is a Grass Type with 80 HP, Fire Weakness, no Resistance, and two attacks: “Razor Leaf” for [C] doing 20 and “Cut” for [GCC] doing 40.  XY: BREAKpoint 72/122 is another Darkness Type with 80 HP, Fighting Weakness, and Psychic Resistance but this time two attacks: for [D] “Corkscrew Punch” does 20 damage while for [CC] “Razor Wind” does 40 on “heads” but zero on “tails”.  XY: Steam Siege 10/114 is back to being a Grass Type with Fire Weakness, and no Resistance.  It has the least HP at 70, and its attacks are “Harden” for [G] and Razor Leaf for [CC].  Harden is an all or nothing damage soak; if an attack does more than 60 damage it all goes through but if 60 or less it is all absorbed by the effect.  Razor Leaf still only does 20 damage, even though this costs twice as much as it does on XY: Flashfire 6/106.  The big decider here is Forest of Giant Plants; unless your deck is skipping it, your real choices are between XY: Flashfire 6/106 and XY: Steam Siege 10/114, and their merits are small enough (and hopefully totally unneeded) so you may as well pick which one tickles your fancy. 

There are four three other options for Shiftry.  We have BW: Next Destinies 72/99, XY: Flashfire 7/106, XY: Black Star Promos XY23, and XY: BREAKpoint 73/122.  All of these are Stage 2 Pokémon with no Ancient Trait.  BW: Next Destinies 72/99 is a Darkness Type with 130 HP, Fighting Weakness, Psychic Resistance, Retreat Cost [C], the Ability “Giant Fan”, and the attack “Whirlwind”.  Giant Fan is an Ability that triggers when you Evolve one of your in play Pokémon into this Shiftry from hand; you flip a coin and if “heads” you choose one of your opponent’s Pokémon and shuffle it and all cards attached to it into your opponent’s deck.  Whirlwind costs [DDC] to do 60 damage and force your opponent’s Active to the Bench (after you do the damage); your opponent chooses his or her new Active.  I could have sworn we reviewed this before, but if we did my Ctrl+F search is failing to locate it.  For those unaware, in the Expanded format, due to Super Scoop Up and/or Devolution Spray, Forest of Giant Plants, several useful draw/search Item cards, and Shaymin-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 77/108, 106/108), it became possible to spam Giant Fan so many times that even with the risk of tails, even with some Basic Pokémon having the Ancient Trait “Θ Stop” for protection, odds were your opponent could win by Benching you out on his or her first turn.  This includes T1 of the game.  Just to add insult to injury, your opponent might need several minutes before he or she won, so it wasn’t even a fast loss.  Though the deck was hardly foolproof, but it proved reliable enough that Shiftry got the boot (even though it took Forest of Giant Plants to cause problems). 

XY: Flashfire 7/106 has 140 HP, Fire Weakness, no Resistance, and Retreat Cost [CC].  Its Ability is “Leaf Draw”, which allows you to (once per turn) discard a [G] Energy card from hand to draw three cards; its attack is “Deranged Dance” which costs [GCC] and does 20 damage times the number of Benched Pokémon in play (for both players).  That gives Deranged Dance a range of zero to 200 damage (or 320 if Sky Field is in play), though much of the time your opponent will minimize his or her Bench size.  We’ve looked at this card before right here and my review underscores why it was a problem for me to try to review without having even a modicum of contemporary, hands-on experience. I expected a lot out of Shifty because the Ability and attack are each, separately good.  Maybe even very good.  It wasn’t enough though as your opponent often could manage his or her Bench to deny you OHKOs against Pokémon-EX and Shiftry wasn’t likely enough to survive to attack twice.  Deranged Dance was just pricey enough that as control decks started stepping up, even though it ought to have been handy against Seismitoad-EX, it wasn’t.  Each time this Shiftry looked like it ought to catch a break (Sky Field increasing Bench size and thus damage output, Forest of Giant Plants providing Evolution acceleration) some other aspect of the card got in the way.  It is Expanded legal only and I am still tempted to try and make it work, except Volcanion/Volcanion-EX decks now make it even more likely your opponent can torch these before you finish building them. 

XY: Black Star Promos XY23 is again a Grass Type with 140 HP, Fire Weakness, no Resistance, and a Retreat Cost of [CC].  Like today’s Shiftry, it is bringing two attacks to the table.  In fact, the first attack - “Whisk Away” - only costs [G] like Wicked Wind.  Whisk Away does 30 damage, lets you pick a card from your opponent’s hand and look at it; if it is a Pokémon it gets sent to the bottom of your opponent’s deck and the attack does an extra 30 damage (so 60 total).  If it is any other kind of card, it’s just 30 for [G].  Its “Spirit Dance” costs [GCC] and does 60 damage and has you flip two coins; each “heads” adds 30 more damage.  So 60-90-120 split, with 90 being the most likely.  Whisk Away might have some merit, but Spirit Dance is underwhelming and so the entire package falls far short of being competitive.  For more details, check out our Card of the Day on it here; we were running through various promos and so it got a look, and we were too generous with it.  XY: BREAKpoint 73/122 is a Stage 2 Darkness Type with 140 HP, Fighting Weakness, Psychic Resistance, Retreat Cost [C], and two attacks.  For [DC] it can use “Roll Up” to flip three coins and if any of them are “heads” your opponent reveals his or her hand and for each “heads” you get to discard a card you find there.  For [DCC] you can use “Otherworldly Return” to do 60 damage plus add a Trainer card from your discard pile to hand.  Effects are nice, but not for the Energy.  The damage is poor for the Energy in the second attack and non-existent in the first.  Don’t waste time on this one. 

Still with me?  I wish I had good news, but the best I can come up with for today’s Shifty (XY: Steam Siege 11/114) is a kind of “rush” deck using it with Yanmega (XY: Steam Siege 7/114)/Yanmega BREAK.  Why?  Both are Grass decks, and that’s the Yanmega that with “Sonic Vision”, allowing it to use its attacks for [0] instead of their usual costs, so long as you have four cards in hand.  How does these two attackers combo?  Judge forces both players to draw until each has four cards in hand, Shiftry has low Energy costs and can use Grass Type support, so together they all have just barely enough synergy to give it a try (by which I mean probably half a dozen or so games to see if it works at all).  With Ability denial being not Uncommon in Standard and Expanded, you cannot get by with no Energy in a Yanmega deck, but Vespiquen and/or Vileplume (XY: Ancient Origins 3/98) may no longer be the best partners for it.  Shiftry is Energy efficient enough that with some Grass Energy and four Double Colorless Energy, you’ve got a possible back up attacker.  Shutting down Stadium cards and Tools may also prove worthwhile; rushing out a Shiftry can stall Mega Evolving decks and force those relying upon Sky Field, Forest of Giant Plants, etc. to effectively go without.  In the case of Sky Field, players still end up discarding excess Benched Pokémon, as Wicked Wind temporarily shuts off their effects. 

So… not a whole lot of hope for Standard play, but at least it is legal.  Slightly worse odds in Expanded; while it gains access to some extra dance partners I think it ends up being worse off for the competition.  Yes, even shutting down Fighting Fury Belt isn’t that big of a deal as the attack doing it doesn’t hit very hard.  Do enjoy this in Limited play, but mostly because it is a Stage 2 with inexpensive attack costs.  There are no Stadium cards in XY: Steam Siege and the only Pokémon Tools are Spirit Link cards that either won’t matter at all or will be very important (but still only for one turn).  You’ll have even less of a chance to match your opponent’s hand size as well, but the +60 damage is even more worthwhile here, as are the base damage scores for both attacks.

Ratings 

Standard: 2/5 

Expanded: 1.75/5 

Limited: 3.5/5 

Summary: Not an exciting start to the week; a long (and late) review to tell you that this card is at best mediocre.  Hopefully another reviewer knows something I don’t, but then again I picked the cards this week so probably not.  Shiftry has a Type combo without too much synergy and okay attacks, but it may as well have been a pure Grass Type.


Zach Carmichael

With our list of top cards rotating from Standard, we can now focus on cards from newer sets such as Steam Siege. Today we kick it off by looking at Shiftry, one of the first dual-type Pokémon we’ve had in a long time. I like that Pokémon decided to bring this mechanic back, as it allows for greater diversity in terms of deck-building and players to experiment with these Pokémon in new and creative ways. Though the card has not seen play as of yet, I think it has a bit of potential, and I will try to use my “theorymon” skills to give ideas on potential decks and strategies! 

Shiftry is both Grass and Dark-types. It has a solid 140 HP and two attacks: Wicked Wind and Extrasensory. The first does 40 damage for a single Grass Energy and negates the effects of both Stadium and Tool cards. Considering pretty much all decks use these types of cards, right away I can see the usefulness here, though the poor damage output is concerning. The second attack does 60 damage for two Colorless Energy and can inflict 60 more if you and your opponent have the hand size. Being able to hit 120 damage for a single Energy attachment is nothing to scoff at, especially since you can use Max Potion to heal off damage to rinse and repeat.  

Adding to this is the fact that Shiftry can, in fact, take advantage of Forest of Giant Plants, so you can potentially get it out the first turn. The Grass-typing makes it an ideal counter to both Greninja BREAK and Zygarde-EX decks, though neither deck is popular at the moment thanks to the popularity of both Vespiquen and Garbodor in Standard. Being a Dark-type in addition to Grass is nice, but it would have been better had Trevenant XY stayed in the format. There aren’t really many Pokémon weak to Dark, unfortunately, so this typing is a bit useless at the moment. 

To be honest, I’m not sure what type of deck you would build Shiftry around. The first attack does a solid job in shutting off Stadiums and Tools, but I can’t see the viability of it besides the first couple turns when your opponent is setting up their board. Had the attack shut it off until the end of your next turn versus your opponent’s, it would have been a fantastic way to counter Garbodor and use your Abilities, but this is not the case. The second attack can quickly two-shot most Pokémon in the format and is Energy-efficient, but having played Yanmega BREAK I can say that it is harder than one might think to pull off the same hand size as your opponent. Judge is the easiest way to accomplish this, but I am not a fan of this Supporter because drawing a meager four cards is vastly inferior to other shuffle and draw cards like N. 

I think the best pairing would be another attacker than can hit for a Double Colorless Energy, perhaps one whose attack can do just enough damage to compliment Shiftry’s Extrasensory to hit those magic numbers. Keep in mind that Rainbow Energy counts as any Energy, so another option might be an attacker than can use Rainbow and Double Colorless Energy, such as Jolteon or Glaceon. Something else to consider is that Mew-EX has returned, so its Versatile Ability can copy Shiftry’s attacks to potentially counter M Mewtwo-EX decks, at least before Garbodor comes into play. 

Ratings 

Standard: 2/5

Expanded: 1.5/5

Limited: 1.5/5

Summary:
Shiftry brings fresh life into the game with its dual-typing and ability to evolve right away thanks to Forest of Giant Plants, but I’m not so sure how playable it will be. I don’t believe the right partner has been revealed yet, but that is not to say that it will not be used competitively in the coming months. A case study to look at is the Ancient Trait Gyarados from Ancient Origins, a card which recently became its own deck after placing Top 16 at a recent Regional Championship. The Standard format is relatively young and will continue to grow as new decks emerge with new set releases this 2016-17 season.


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