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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

 Aurorus-EX
- XY102 Promo

Date Reviewed:
Sep. 27, 2016

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.08
Expanded: 2.13
Limited: N/A Promo

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

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

Hopefully today's card will end up working more for Water decks than...well, Ash-Greninja-EX did. 

Aurorus-EX is a welcome tag-along to fan favorite Fossil promo Tyrantrum-EX, and she's arguably just as powerful...just not quite in the way one's expecting. Her attack isn't as powerful as Dragon Impact even though it costs the same 4 Energy. That being said, Crystal Breath does only need 1 specific Energy type rather than 2, and while it only does 160 damage, it doesn't require you to discard 3 Energy. Well that's pretty good, all it does is keep Aurorus-EX from attacking on your next tu-ohhhhhhh... 

Yeah, Aurorus-EX will want at least a little more damage to justify maining Crystal Breath, and even then you're gonna want an alternate attacker to use on your other turns. On the plus side, Aurorus-EX can help out with that! In fact, her Ability Frozen Charm helps out any Pokemon with Water Energy - similar to Manaphy-EX or the Dark-Type Darkrai-EX. And what does it do? Well it...keeps them from being Paralyzed. 

Honestly that's a pretty good Ability. I mean, aside from certain effects, this keeps your Pokemon from being unable to attack because they got inflicted with arguably the best Status Condition in the game. So you at least don't have to worry about that! That said though, what was the last deck you remember that mained a Paralysis strategy? My first thought is Vanilluxe...from Noble Victories.

It's not to say that Aurorus-EX is a bad card, but given the timing of its arrival, she's only so good. Maybe if Electric, Grass, or Water decks - the Types most known for inflicting the Paralysis condition - were more focused on it, then Aurorus-EX could easily prove to be a valuable asset even in decks like the Xerneas-maining Rainbow Road. And although her attack has pretty good output in terms of damage, its drawback makes Aurorus-EX very difficult to work with. She's a Bench-Sitter at the moment, and at the moment she's not a huge priority over other cards. 

Feel free to keep her in mind in case a Paralysis-Stun deck surfaces. 

Rating 

Standard: 2.5/5 (useful attack and Ability are rendered useless in light of the metagame and the drawback) 

Expanded: 2.5/5 (once space opens up or maybe once the format slows down a little, she could see play as a tech card) 

Limited: N/A (but until then, TO THE BINDERS WITH YOU!!) 

Arora Notealus: At least Aurorus-EX has a neat concept behind her. Similar to Tyrantrum-EX before her, only Tyrantrum-EX had the pleasure of a curb-stomping offensive powerhouse while Aurorus-EX is more of a defensive healer of sorts. Still, pretty cool idea. 

Next Time: Everyone's favorite mascot gets the EX treatment!


Otaku

Our second subject this week is Aurorus-EX (XY: Black Star Promos XY102), which is the first “Aurorus” card we’ve looked at.  Granted, the only other such card is Aurorus (XY: Furious Fists 26/111), which I hadn’t realized we skipped.  Guess I’ll use it as a reference point; even though mechanically Aurorus and Aurorus-EX are totally separate entities clearly they share a common source of inspiration in Aurorus of the video games.  So to begin with, being a Pokémon-EX (but not a Mega Evolution) means Aurorus-EX is a Basic Pokémon even though the original Aurorus (and presumably most future versions) is a Stage 1.  It is even more a bonus than usual as Aurorus isn’t just a regular Stage 1 but the Evolution of a Restored Pokémon.  I have been pretty clear (at least once I figured it out) that the Restored Pokémon mechanic is just too cumbersome, so this is an even better bonus than it usually is.  Not guaranteed but often applicable is that a Basic Pokémon-EX (especially sans Mega Evolution) is going to be just a bit more gifted in terms of either its stats, effects, or both.  There are some real duds out there, however, and there are three guaranteed drawbacks; in order of diminishing relevance a Pokémon-EX gives up an extra Prize when KO’d, can be punished by certain Pokémon-EX specific card effects, and are excluded from certain beneficial effects. 

Being a Water Type is good, though Aurorus are Rock/Ice Types in the video games, so Fighting would have been an option for both Aurorus-EX and Aurorus (and if you’ve been reading long enough, you know how I just love Strong Energy).  The Water Type has some nice support both in terms of the Pokémon specific (like Dive Ball), Energy (Manaphy-EX), and multiple useful Pokémon that work better with the Type but aren’t married to it (like Keldeo-EX). The noteworthy counter is Parallel City, shared with two other types and mostly used for its other non-Type based effect of shrinking the Bench.  In terms of exploiting Weakness, most Fire Types, a chunk of the Fighting Type, and one Colorless Type are Water Weak.  The oddball Colorless Pokémon is Ho-Oh-EX (XY: BREAKpoint 92/122, 121/122) because it’s a Fire/Flying in the video games and sometimes the designers blend the attributes of the two Types together for a mono-Type TCG card.  The Fire Type still has some residual heat from XY: Steam Siege expansion, so while I don’t know if stuff like Volcanion-EX decks are going to be a major presence competitively, odds are they’ll matter for a little while longer before burning out (if they burn out).  That’s good for the Water Type.  The Fighting Type also contains some Water Weakness, but you have to go back to Expanded for a noteworthy example, and even there I can’t find many (basically Landorus-EX).  Perhaps it is being phased out? 

Aurorus-EX has 180 HP, the higher of the two common values for Basic Pokémon-EX.  This is pretty good, and is 50 points higher than the regular Aurorus.  It by no means makes Aurorus-EX OHKO proof, but most decks aren’t going to manage rapid, reliable, repeated OHKOs.  Most competitive decks will manage one of those (or have a useful trick like Item lock), with those that can do two of the three or even all three being part of the competitive metagame.  Metal Types can exploit the Metal Weakness again found on Aurorus-EX for the trifecta of qualifiers I just listed.  Something like M Scizor-EX or even just regular Scizor-EX should power up almost instantly thanks to Max Elixir and/or Mega Turbo, and their damage output goes from 2HKO to OHKO thanks to Weakness.  In Expanded, various Bronzong (XY: Phantom Forces 61/119; XY: Black Star Promos XY21) decks are also a threat; the mixed blessing is they may be used off Type, but even those decks can likely afford a token Metal Type attacker in a supporting role.  Resistance is not a strong mechanic but it would have been nice, especially with the 180 HP; the total lack of it is the worst the card can do but is also so common it isn’t a big deal (I just hate glossing over it).  The Retreat Cost of three is a big deal, in the sense that it is important (it is not a bargain).  Might be useful if the deck already has a reason for Heavy Ball or Heavy Boots but mostly it just means dedicating an extra slot or three over the usual for retreat aids and/or alternatives.  So you don’t have to look up a scan for it, yes Aurorus has the same “bottom stats” as its Pokémon-EX counterpart; no bonus for being a “Pokémon-EX” here, but at least it didn’t get worse. 

Aurorus-EX has an Ability called “Frozen Charm” and an attack called “Crystal Breath”.  Frozen Charm protects your Pokémon from being Paralyzed, but only if it has a [W] Energy attached to it.  Paralysis is a potent Special Conditions, at least when it isn’t cost adjusted; being immune to it is handy, though alone isn’t enough to justify this card in a deck.  Crystal Breath requires [WWWC] to do 160 damage, and it places an effect on whatever is using it (usually Aurorus-EX) preventing that Pokémon from attacking the next turn.  160 damage OHKOs a lot of Pokémon that are not Pokémon-EX, BREAK Evolutions of a Stage 2, or that enjoy certain defensive buffs.  Judicious use of Fighting Fury Belt, Hex Maniac, and/or Pokémon Ranger will leave only the largest (and somewhat exceptional) Basic Pokémon-EX, all Mega Evolutions, and the largest BREAK Evolutions out of OHKO range, though it is only fair to acknowledge that all Basic Pokémon with 130+ HP are likely also protected via Fighting Fury Belt and so should survive as well.  What about being unable to attack next turn?  Pokémon Ranger, Switch plus a Pokémon with a free Retreat Cost, etc. can all deal with that in a reasonable manner.  Still, that inconvenience plus the Energy required really should buy more damage; you should really be enjoying at least 180, and upwards of I’d say 240.  Can’t change what the card says, though, and as it still clears some key OHKO (and easily key 2HKO) thresholds without much trouble, it’s alright. 

Since I keep doing it… what about regular Aurorus?  It also had an Ability and an attack: “Ice Shield” reduced the damage your Water Type Pokémon took from the attacks of your opponent’s Pokémon by 20, but once again you needed at least a source of [W] Energy attached to that Pokémon.  Way better than Frozen Charm, but Frozen Charm would be way too good on a Basic because the wording is such that it stacks (multiple instances of Ice Shield each reduce damage taken by 20).  The attack on Aurorus is “Icy Wind” and for [WCCCC] it does 70 damage and leaves the opponent’s Active Asleep; that’s really underpowered for the Energy going into it, and unlike Crystal Breath this is whiffing on key numbers unless you’re in Expanded and… oh right, that is the only format where this is legal.  Still, it isn’t great having the Stage 1 of a Restored Pokémon require a Muscle Band, Silver Bangle, and/or the Hypnotoxic Laser/Virbank City Gym combo to hit 2HKO level (and it takes one Toll and the Item/Stadium combo to 2HKO larger targets like Mega Evolutions).  So Aurorus-EX is probably in line with Aurorus in terms of overall power… but with the foundation of being a typical, solid, Basic Pokémon-EX. 

So is Aurorus-EX worth using in Standard?  Nope; easier ways to deal with Paralysis, and there are better attackers.  This seems to be a nerfed form of the “Verdant Wind” Ability found on Virizion-EX and “Sweet Veil” Ability found on Slurpuff (XY 95/146).  They require your Pokémon have a [G] or [Y] Energy attached, respectively, so the same as Frozen Charm but adjusted for Type.  Verdant Wind and even Sweet Veil protect from all Special Conditions.  Protecting against just Paralysis is not bad, but it obviously isn’t as good, plus Virizion-EX isn’t the near staple it once was either even before becoming an “Expanded only” option.  If the Special Condition isn’t Poison that finishes you off between turns (I am unaware of any cards that inflict Burn in Standard), then you have the option of using the many switching effects (especially paired with a pivot Pokémon) instead.  In fact if you wanted to use Aurorus-EX for its attack, you’d want such a combo in your deck anyway to reset the effect of Crystal Breath.  What about in Expanded play?  Nope, same deal only with more options like Keldeo-EX with Float Stone or the aforementioned Virizion-EX and cards like Rainbow Energy or Prism Energy.  Keldeo-EX also outclasses it as an attacker here as well.  Should ever be reprinted into a set, unless specific circumstances (like nothing inflicting Paralysis) prove relevant, Aurorus-EX ought to be a must run.  For now though, it is simply not applicable. 

Ratings 

Standard: 2.25/5 

Expanded: 1.75/5 

Limited: N/A 

Summary:  Not unlike yesterday’s CotD, Aurorus-EX isn’t truly bad, but is simply not good enough.  It protects against a single Special Condition, one that won’t matter until your own turn, in a card pool with many alternate solutions and a metagame where OHKO's or 2HKO's that do not involve Paralysis are all too common (Standard) or one where locks and 2HKO's involving Paralysis are a “thing” but where there are better answers (Expanded).


Zach Carmichael

For the past few days, you might have noticed my posts refer to the popular “Water Box” deck – and with good reason! The deck is extremely versatile with multiple attackers to counter other decks and is able to incorporate mechanics like healing via Rough Seas, free retreat via the “Aqua Tube” Ability of Manaphy-EX, etc. That said, today’s Card of the Day is yet another Pokemon that can fit nicely into the Water archetype, and that is Aurorus-EX. With an interesting Ability and attack that can take out most Pokemon-EX in a single blow with the help of Fighting Fury Belt, it goes to say that Aurorus-EX is an interesting yet niche option for some decks. 

In both Standard and Expanded, Aurorus-EX has its uses. Firstly, its “Frozen Charm” Ability prevents and removes paralysis from any of your Pokemon that has a Water Energy attached to it. This would be immensely better if it was any Status Condition, as it would make the card more versatile and splashable – excuse the pun – in other decks like “Vileplume Toolbox” variants and anything that can take advantage of Rainbow Energy. However, paralysis just isn’t common in the competitive meta-game right now. The only instance you will really see it at work is in Greninja BREAK decks by use of Froakie’s Bubble attack to hopefully stall via a coin flip. At this past U.S. Nationals, many top competitors did, in fact, tech in a single copy of Aurorus-EX not just for this reason, but also for the math. With a Fighting Fury Belt, the Pokemon’s Crystal Breath attack can hit the “magic” number of 170 damage, enabling it to KO most Pokemon-EX in the format. This is just enough damage to also KO Greninja BREAK, which was hyped going into the competition and saw moderate play. While it was a clever play that took others by surprise, I don’t think the card is all that great looking ahead. 

The biggest issue with Aurorus-EX now is that it no longer really have a place anywhere. I suppose in Expanded it could be decent for the reasons stated above, letting it quickly KO a lot of popular attackers, however, the attack cost is simply too much now. Committing a whopping 4 Energy – a good third of the Energy in many popular decks – is unfeasible when attackers like Volcanion-EX and M Mewtwo-EX (Y) can one-shot the Water Pokemon. Greninja decks are also seeing less and less play as Garbodor becomes a dominant force in Standard, so one of the key points of playing the card just isn’t there anymore. Lastly, note that with “Crystal Breath” Aurorus-EX can not attack the following turn. This can be circumvented by retreating or playing Pokemon Ranger, but given the already high Energy cost, this becomes a pretty big drawback for the card, making even obscure cards like Ash-Greninja-EX seem like a better option. 

Ratings 

Standard: 1.5/5
Expanded:
2/5
Limited:
N/A 

Summary: Aurorus-EX saw its fifteen minutes of fame at U.S. Nationals by Water Box players, and it paid off. These Water decks were able to shine at the event and greatly kept Greninja variants in check. Fast forward into the new format, however, and things have shifted greatly. New decks have emerged – namely Garbodor variants – that outclass Aurorus-EX both in terms of speed and raw damage output with new attackers. I can see it becoming a hot tech again if paralysis decks become a thing, but until then I think it will stay in players’ binders.


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