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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Alolan Dugtrio
- Sun & Moon

Date Reviewed:
April 12, 2017

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 1.5/5 
Expanded:
1.5/5 
Limited:
3.25/5 

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

Back to the main COTD Page


Otaku

Alolan Dugtrio (Sun & Moon 87/149) is a Metal Type Pokémon, allowing it to tap the solid support of the Metal Type. 

 

Yes, yes I am starting with a pun.  Steel yourself and let us continue!  Metal Type Pokémon can access a couple protective effects like the “Plasma Steel” Ability of Klinklang (BW: Plasma Storm 90/135, one side of Reverse Valley, Shield Energy, and Steel Shelter.  You got Metal Type Energy has a few tricks in the form of Bronzong (XY: Black Star Promos XY21; XY: Phantom Forces 61/119) and Klinklang (Black & White 76/114); the former can attach a basic Metal Energy from the discard to a Benched Pokémon once per turn via its “Metal Links” Ability, while the latter can move any source of [M] Energy from Pokémon to Pokémon on your side of the field via its “Shift Gear” Ability.  While it lacks some of the heavies seen in a lot of contemporary decks, the Metal Type can claim Aegislash-EX, Cobalion (XY: Steam Siege 74/114), Cobalion-EX, Genesect-EX (XY: Fates Collide 64/124, 120/124), Heatran (XY: Phantom Forces 63/119), Solgaleo-GX, and others we won’t worry about naming.  I don’t recall any explicitly anti-Metal effects, but you will find Metal Resistance on most Lightning Types released after the BW-era.  Metal Weakness shows up on all Fairy Types and certain Water Types.  All in all, being a Metal Type is a pretty good deal. 

Being a Stage 1 is okay; you’ll have to invest two cards for a single Alolan Dugtrio, and wait a turn to Evolve (or use a Wally), but for competitive Stage 1 cards, this proves to be a speed bump and not an insurmountable hurdle.  The 100 HP isn’t doing the card any real favors; it is, of course, better than having 80 or less HP, but 90 would have been almost exactly as durable and still been a legal Level Ball target (for what that is worth).  Fire Weakness is typical of the Metal Type and one of the things holding it back, as we’ve got some popular, potent Fire Decks in the metagame and a Weakness shared with some popular, potent Grass decks.  If you see Fire, Alolan Dugtrio is almost certainly going down in one hit.  Though it won’t make a huge difference thanks to the HP, the Psychic Resistance is still appreciated.  The Retreat Cost of [CC] is low enough not to be crippling but high enough not to be a selling point; you’ll still probably want some alternatives to paying full price to manually retreat Alolan Dugtrio.  Your opponent will also need some help retreating because Alolan Dugtrio has the Ability “Tangling Hair”; each instance you have of Tangling Hair in play increases the Retreat Cost of your opponent’s Active by [C].  Unfortunately for Alolan Dugtrio, effects that set the Retreat Cost of a Pokémon to zero, like that of Float Stone, will still override this effect.  The last thing Alolan Dugtrio brings to the table itself is its “Dig Under” attack for [CCC]; it allows you to select one of your opponent’s Pokémon and do 50 damage, sans Weakness or Resistance (yes, even if you select your opponent’s Active).  Even with the wide open Energy cost, even though hitting the Bench is useful, the damage output still seems too low given the Energy invested. 

Alolan Dugtrio Evolves from Alolan Diglett.  It is a Basic Metal Type Pokémon with 50 HP, Fire Weakness, Psychic Resistance, Retreat Cost [C], and two attacks.  The first is “Spelunk” for [0], which allows you to look at the top three cards of your deck, then rearrange them as you wish.  The second is “Mud-Slap” for [M], doing 10 damage.  Spelunk isn’t a bad trick to have, but it won’t keep Alolan Diglett alive to Evolve, and Mud-Slap is going to be pointless except for that odd occasion you just need to attack for 10 damage to finish something off or set it up for the next turn.  I am not particularly impressed by either member of this Evolution line, but you might be able to make use of it to power-up certain attacks that work based on the Retreat Cost of the opponent’s Active.  Specifically the opponent’s Active, as unlike some other Pokémon with similar effects, Tangling Hair only works on the opponent’s Active.  Sorry folks; I’ve got nothing for this card.  I wasn’t able to come up with any ideas and test them, and I haven’t run into anyone using it either.  I think I’ve seen a few ideas online, but that was well before the card released (and they didn’t seem worth it).

Ratings 

Standard: 1.5/5 

Expanded: 1.5/5 

Limited: 3.25/5 

Conclusion 

We’ve had effects that increase Retreat Costs and attacks that feed off increased Retreat Costs since before the last rotation, and they are still intact for Standard play.  They haven’t been able to overcome stuff like Fairy Garden and Float Stone, and I don’t see anything in Alolan Dugtrio to change that.  I wouldn’t bother with this card except in Limited play but do remember it for the future, just in case.


21times

Alolan Dugtrio (Sun & Moon, 87/149) comes from the Sun & Moon expansion and features the ability Tangling Hair.  Tangling Hair adds one Energy to your opponent’s retreat cost for their active Pokemon.  This means that unless your opponent has an alternative means of switching their Pokemon out of the active, it becomes even more burdensome to retreat an active Pokemon.  Attaching energy plays a vital part of almost every deck strategy.  To lose two or three energy cards to get your active Pokemon back on the bench can significantly hinder your attacking ability.  Tangling Hair stacks as well – if you have three Alolan Dugtrio on your bench, your opponent’s active Pokemon’s retreat cost increases by three energy.

Unfortunately, the meta contains a wide variety of options when it comes to moving cards out of the active position and back down on to the bench:

          Float Stone (Breakthrough, 137/162)

          Escape Rope (Primal Clash, 127/160)

          Switch (Sun & Moon, 160/149)

          Solgaleo GX (Sun & Moon, 89/149) 

Part of this comes in response to the extremely powerful card Lysandre (Ancient Origins, 78/98).  Because forcing a high retreat, incapacitated active Pokemon up from the bench has become an integral part of the strategy of many decks, players have developed counter measures to deal with this potentially devastating tactic.  Stocking three to five switching cards in the typical deck reduces the value of Alolan Dugtrio’s Tangling Hair.

However, Tangling Hair has another use besides making retreat more difficult.  Tangling Hair has good synergy with another Sun & Moon Pokemon, Sharpedo (Sun & Moon, 82/149).  Sharpedo’s attack Aqua Impact does base sixty damage plus twenty damage for each energy in the opponent’s retreat cost.  This means if the opponent’s active Pokemon has free retreat, it only does sixty damage.  However, if the opponent has a four energy retreat cost, Aqua Impact does 140 damage.  Tangling Hair adds to this.  For every Alolan Dugtrio on the bench, it increases the damage done by another twenty.  Plus, you can add Team Aqua’s Secret Base (Double Crisis, 28/34) and that adds another twenty damage as well.  If you have a couple Alolan Dugtrio on the bench, Secret Base in play, and an opponent with a two retreat cost, Aqua Impact does 160 damage.  Unfortunately, I did not have a lot of success with this deck – I only went two and eight in ten matches.  It also occurred to me that Alolan Dugtrio might match well with Fright Night Yveltal (Breakthrough, 94/162), but I’ve played enough Yveltal to last me awhile… someone else can try that pairing.

Rating

Standard: 1.5 out of 5

Summary

Alolan Dugtrio has a reasonable ability and we may discover a better use for it at some point in the future, but right now I would not spend much time trying to squeeze it into a deck somewhere.


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