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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Manectric-EX and M Manectric-EX
- Phantom Forces

Date Reviewed:
Oct. 4, 2016

Ratings & Reviews Summary

See Below

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

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

Manectric-EX and M Manectric-EX were probably the first Mega deck that everyone was excited to play when it came out in Phantom Forces. Sure, we had Gengar-EX/M Gengar-EX, but only one of those was ridiculously playable, and while we had had several other Megas show up by then, it wasn't until this set that Spirit Links started getting printed and became an essential staple into the decks. 

Manectric-EX has a lot going for him, being a 170 HP EX with his most expensive attack costing only 2 Energy. Overrun is a simple starting attack though, at 1-for-20 that also did an extra 20 damage to a Benched Pokemon. Nothing to get terribly excited for, in all honesty. Assault Laser though costs 2 Energy, and it deals 60 damage plus 60 more damage if the opposing Pokemon has a Tool attached to it. 

That was all fine and dandy in its own right - Muscle Band was proving to be a popular card, after all - but this set also brought with it Team Flare Gear, which were Tools that could be attached to the opposing Pokemon to inflict crippling effects on them. Combined with Assault Laser, Manectric-EX could easily overpower opponents that were struck with a Head Ringer or a Jamming Net and take an early lead! 

Rating 

Standard: N/A 

Expanded: 3.5/5 (a pretty good start-up, which sadly not many Pokemon with Mega Evolutions can say at the moment) 

Limited: 4.5/5 (and probably one of the best Pokemon in the set) 

------ 

And then M Manectric-EX showed up, and it was just a matter of time. 

Arguably the best Mega Pokemon ever printed, M Manectric-EX comes in with the lower end of 210 HP but a single attack that only costs 2 Energy - an insanely low number compared to the 3-4 Energy costs of some of the other Megas (or 5 Energy, if you look at M Steelix-EX). Only top of that, Turbo Bolt didn't just deal 110 damage - it brought out any 2 basic Energy cards and attached them to one of your Benched Pokemon. 

Which if that just so happened to be another Manectric-EX or even another M Manectric-EX, well then you were pretty much set! 

The deck has had a good following throughout its lifespan in Standard, and I imagine it'll continue to hurry along in Expanded without too much to worry about. After all, how many other Megas can tote that they can deal a good bit of damage while also charging up their Benched Pokemon? 

Rating 

Standard: N/A 

Expanded: 4/5 (an awesome Mega Evolution that deserves a lot of respect for what it can do) 

Limited: 5/5 (powerful, chargeable, and cheap!) 

Arora Notealus: The Manectric line-up is one that, while not as dominating in the game, held a lot of speed and power that could leave other decks in the dust. That said, there wasn't much it could do against decks of its time period if they got set-up, and that's the real kicker - against slower decks, the deck could power through and dominate, but against fast decks with fast set-ups, it ends up falling behind. 

Next Time: The greatest fighter of our time!...or at least one of them.


Otaku

Today we have an intentional draw for our review.  Why?  Because the two cards involved are so closely related it seemed like a waste to treat them as separate entities: Manectric-EX (XY: Phantom Forces 23/119, 113/119) and M Manectric-EX (XY: Phantom Forces 24/119, 114/119).  If you want to see what we initially thought of them, Manectric-EX was our 10th place finisher and M Manectric-EX our 6th place pick when we gave our Top 10 picks for XY: Phantom Forces.  Though not perfect, those reviews are pretty good.  It helps to remember that the Standard Format was still BW: Boundaries Crossed through XY: Phantom Forces: Lysandre’s Trump Card had just debuted (instead of having been used, abused, and finally banned), while several important cards like Acro Bike, Shaymin-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 77/108, 106/108), and Trainer’s Mail were still a set or two away.  If you don’t feel like reading though, I’ll run through Manectric-EX and M Manectric-EX quick.  Both are Lightning Type Pokémon-EX with Fighting Weakness, Metal Resistance, no Ancient Traits, and no Abilities.  So… what does that mean? 

Being a Lightning Type means exploiting some key bits of Weakness; Yveltal-EX and Shaymin-EX are two of the noteworthy examples that reward you for running a Lightning Type attacker.  Lightning Resistance seems limited to certain BW-era Fighting Type Pokémon; good that it is relatively rare but bad in that Manectric-EX, M Manectric-EX, and most other Lightning Type are Fighting Weak.  Anti-Lightning Type effects are almost non-existent, which is good for the Lightning Type.  There isn’t a lot of explicit Lighting Type Pokémon support and what is there is good but not great: Flash Energy, Rough Seas, and Zebstrika (XY: BREAKpoint 49/122).  Things are arguably a bit better on the [L] Energy front, mostly because Eelektrik (BW: Noble Victories 40/101) is still a solid form of Energy acceleration in Expanded and was originally great when introduced to the Standard Format years ago.  Magnezone (XY: BREAKthrough 54/162) provides mass [L] Energy acceleration from hand, is Standard legal, but it has not proven competitive (I almost didn’t mention it).  There are some Lightning Type attackers worth noting like Jolteon-EX, Raikou, and Raikou-EX, plus while it is a Dragon Type, Rayquaza-EX (BW: Dragons Exalted 85/124, 123/124; BW: Black Star Promos BW47) runs (mostly) on Lightning Energy.  So the Lightning Type isn’t totally lacking in anyone area, but its strength comes from Type matching. 

Pokémon-EX means give up an extra Prize when KO’d, are targeted by certain counters, and excluded from certain pieces of support.  So far it has also always meant better stats (usually HP), being a Basic or Mega Evolution instead of the usual Stage plus a BREAK Evolution, and often means improved effects (some Pokémon-EX are real duds though).  Manectric-EX is a Basic, which is as good as it gets; minimum card count to run, no waiting to Evolve, etc.  M Manectric-EX is a Mega Evolution, so you do have to run two cards instead of one, wait a turn to attack, and (if you can’t get Manectric Spirit Link into place) your turn ends when you Mega Evolve.  It also includes access to Mega Evolution support but dealing with Mega Evolution counters.  Manectric-EX has 170 HP while M Manectric-EX has 210; the former is the lower of the two typical scores while the latter is a bit low for a Mega Evolution.  Both are high enough that the cards aren’t often facing rapid, reliable, repeated OHKOs but low enough that at least one (usually two) of those “three R’s” apply.  Fighting Weakness is dangerous because it allows that Type to claim all three R’s, even in Standard and whether Manectric-EX or M Manectric-EX is up front.  Resistance isn’t a major lifesaver, but having any is better than none and you can do worse than Metal Resistance.  The Retreat Cost of [C] on Manectric-EX is good (easy to pay and recover from having to pay) while the free Retreat Cost on M Manectric-EX is perfect. 

Let us take a look at what these two Pokémon can actually do.  Manectric-EX has two attacks.  “Overrun” costs [C] and does 20 to the opponent’s Active and 20 to one of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon.  For [LC] it can use “Assault Laser” for a solid 60 before its effect; +60 damage if the opponent’s Active has a Tool attached.  This isn’t mindblowing, but it’s good; up to 40 damage for one Energy and 120 for two.  As long as it has a low cost like Overrun, some small Active/Bench split can be handy for finishing off something hiding on the Bench while few decks lack Pokémon Tools, and most stick them on the important cards.  M Manectric-EX only has one attack, “Turbo Bolt”, and the cost is still just [LC].  This keeps the entire line inexpensive with both Max Elixir and Mega Turbo being options (before and after Mega Evolving, respectively) for Energy acceleration.  That is mostly a backup (or startup) plan though because Turbo Bolt does 110 damage while attaching two Basic Energy cards from your discard pile to one of your Benched Pokémon.  This means one M Manectric-EX can set up the next and you’ll still have a manual Energy attachment to spare.  In fact if M Manectric-EX isn’t being OHKO’d and you have the Energy available, the first M Manectric-EX can set up two more while your manual Energy attachments set up a fourth! 

Which is just how Manectric-EX and M Manectric-EX have been used in competitive play, with much success.  The moderate damage amounts often become OHKOs thanks to Weakness, and while Turbo Bolt cannot make use of Special Energy cards there is enough basic Energy support that an M Manectric-EX deck can easily accommodate a non-Lightning Type attacker, even one with heavier Energy demands.  Cards that just need a single Energy don’t really need M Manectric-EX while those that need four or more tax even Turbo Bolt, but those with two or three Energy requirements are “just right”, especially if only one of those Energy requirements is Type specific if it is not an [L] requirement.  This has enabled M Manectric-EX decks to take a Toolbox approach, where you have different attackers (based on Type and/or attack effects) that you favor for a particular match up, but the deck itself runs a variety.  For example, Jolteon-EX is on Type anyway, but has a free Retreat Cost and useful walling effect from its second attack, while Glaceon-EX and Regice are off Type, don’t Retreat for free but do have good walling effects in their second attacks (and covering a match up than Jolteon-EX).  Manectric-EX can be quite fierce as well, with abundant Pokémon-EX usage and Pokémon Tool F cards or Lysandre and Shaymin-EX making for some fast and/or safe Prizes.  This is just a sampling of the ideas that have been built around these two (together or separate), and if you didn’t notice the lack of Abilities, I’ll add that yes they sometimes are also backed with Garbodor (BW: Dragons Exalted 54/124; BW: Plasma Freeze 119/116; BW: Legendary Treasures 68/113) or Garbodor (XY: BREAKpoint 57/122). 

Okay, so these are good cards, but why are they more important than all but 18 of the other cards that rotated out of Standard play alongside them?  They do lose access to Pokémon Tool F cards, but they also lose a lot of rivals and counters.  As stated before, the Fighting Weakness is dangerous but it is safer in Standard than in Expanded.  Standard has no Trainer based Tool removal (at least not yet) so players are running more Tools, which helps Assault Laser.  While Mega Evolutions are on a lot of people’s minds when it comes to the competitive scene, seems like there is actually a good deal of variety for intended Active Pokémon; that means Assault Laser and Turbo Bolt can enjoy OHKOs against the smaller Actives and 2HKOs against the larger ones.  If that seems obvious, remember that in Standard there is no more Night March and Karen may make Vespiquen (XY: Ancient Origins 10/98) obsolete as a main attacker, so this level of damage output can better keep up.  Type matching is trickier because players are still figuring out the Standard Format, but it looks like those skilled at reading a metagame can make sure to run the right supporting attackers alongside M Manectric-EX to optimize results at tournaments.  So no single, blatant reason but a lot of smaller points that all add up. 

Keep enjoying Manectric-EX and M Manectric-EX in Expanded.  Both are great cards that can still do well, plus Karen is here now to reduce the number of Night March and Vespiquen match ups.  If you manage some Limited Format play with XY: Phantom Forces, which is impressive as most Pokémon Limited play comes in the form of Pre-Releases, then Manectric-EX is a fantastic pull and almost certainly is going into your deck.  M Manectric-EX needs Manectric-EX but as long as that is the case, it too is going into your deck.  Normally I’d be more certain, but this set includes some obvious exceptions; Night March Pokémon (remember the rule of four doesn’t apply in Limited), plus a few other Basic Pokémon-EX that might be worth running completely on their own, even if you pulled Manectric-EX. 

Ratings 

Manectric-EX 

Standard: N/A 

Expanded: 3.65/5 

Limited: 4.5/5 

M Manectric-EX 

Standard: N/A 

Expanded: 3.9/5 

Limited: 4.25/5 

Summary: Manectric-EX and M Manectric-EX are two strong Pokémon-EX that we usually see together, but Manectric-EX may be worth it solo.  They’ve been a part of multiple decks, sometimes as the main attacker while other times acting as a lead in for something else.  They provide Energy acceleration from the discard pile via attack; sometimes this is bad but usually it’s great!  If they had stuck around, they had good prospects of remaining a strong play for Standard, and will remain one for Expanded.  Like all cards, some hypothetical future release could totally ruin them, but what I would actually be on the lookout for is some future attacker or Bench-sitter that combos with them, elevating them into the spotlight once again.  I don’t expect it, but it’s happened often enough I would be foolish to forget about these two! 

Manectric-EX and M Manectric-EX together amassed 15 voting points.  They beat yesterday’s Fiery Torch by 4 voting points, a reasonably comfy margin.  I actually expected the two (especially when combined) to clock in much higher; my own list put them as #12 and while I’m already nitpicking my own choices, I do think they were robbed at least a little.  I am glad they didn’t make it super high either though; there were a lot of general (and a few deck specific) cards that have proven to be an even more jarring loss.


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