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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Butterfree
- Sun & Moon

Date Reviewed:
Feb. 20, 2017

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 1.67
Expanded: 1.67
Limited: 3.0

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

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

Normally this is the week that we start reviewing some of the runner-ups to the Top 10 list, but we're doing a couple of things different - new year, new us, know what I mean? 

Anyway, today's card is Butterfree, who holds a lot of advantage over most Stage 2s since he's a Grass-type and can benefit from Forest of Giant Plants. Heck, it's the reason a pair of Grass-GX ended up in our Top 3! The interesting thing to note about Butterfree is that his attacks are completely colorless, meaning technically he can be run anywhere. So what can he bring then? 

Well Psy Bolt is a simple 1-for-30 that has a 50/50 chance for Paralyzing. Never a bad thing, I suppose, but not something you wanna bank on. Then there's Whirlwind, which does 3-for-80 and switches out your opponent's Active Pokemon for their choice of a Benched Pokemon. This can mess things up for your opponent's formation and deal a lot of damage to a couple of their Pokemon, but would you rather be running a Butterfree to do 80 and Switch or a Lysandre to grab whatever YOU want and deal MORE damage? 

That's what I think will limit Butterfree's plays. Don't get me wrong, Whirlwind is great in a vacuum, but I don't see it as a replacement for something like Lysandre. And while Psy Bolt could be a nice stall tactic, it's not a damaging powerhouse of a move. Only try Butterfree if you're looking for that niche appeal in your Grass build, otherwise don't worry about him too much. 

Rating 

Standard: 2/5 (compared to other Stage 2s that you could run, Butterfree's more towards the bottom) 

Expanded: 2/5 (but Whirlwind's disruption is nice, even though the set-up takes a lot of investment) 

Limited: 2.5/5 (the Colorless requirements and Grass typing do help him out quite a bit) 

Arora Notealus: Butterfree could be a great asset to your deck, but don't expect him to pull off amazing work. He's good, but only so good after all. Kinda wish there was a better Butterfree, ya know? Maybe they'll make an Ash's Butterfree that gets super strong from all that off-screen training...or maybe he'll be a Bug Pokemon doomed to nothingness...nah, off-screen training for sure. 

Next Time: CAW CAW!! The sound of a metal bird approaches?


Otaku

Ah, with the top 10 out of the way I can take some time to rest and relax and… it’s already Monday afternoon as I write this, so obviously I had too much R & R!  This probably won’t be posted until Tuesday.  Let’s get started on Butterfree (Sun & Moon 3/149)!  It is a Stage 2 Grass Type Pokémon that Evolves from Metapod which Evolves from Caterpie, which are also Grass Type Pokémon; Forest of Giant Plants for the win!  Well, at least for avoiding waiting two turns to get Butterfree into play.  What it gains directly from being a Grass Type is hitting a decent chunk of cards (many Water and Fighting Types) for double damage thanks to their Grass Weakness.  We aren’t worried about Unlimited Format play, so that means Grass Resistance won’t be a problem either.  I am not seeing any Grass Type support beyond Forest of Giant Plants that would prove relevant, and Forest of Giant Plants - again - is technically working on Caterpie and then Metapod, and not Butterfree.  There are a few Grass specific effects that benefit Butterfree, I’m just not sure if they will really matter.  Same for other Grass Type Pokémon or effects that work with [G] Energy.  At least I also don’t expect the handful of anti-Grass Type effects to trouble Butterfree, either.  Being a Stage 2 is already going to be hard enough on it; even with Forest of Giant Plants to speed it to the field, you’ll still need to play three cards for one Butterfree to hit the field… and if Forest of Giant Plants isn’t available, then you’ll lose two turns waiting to fully Evolve (sans other shortcuts).

Butterfree has 130 HP, which was just around the point I expected a card to go from being less likely to survive a hit, to more likely.  I say “was” because I am still acclimatizing to the entirety of Sun & Moon and how it has changed the format.  I am debating raising this threshold a bit, and in either case, this still feels a bit small for a Stage 2, though regrettably appropriate for a Butterfree (they don’t seem like durable Pokémon).  As we’ll see when we get to our other Butterfree options, there hasn’t been any recent HP power creep.  The Fire Weakness is disappointing and dangerous.  Volcanion-EX decks may not have made a huge showing at this past weekend’s Anaheim Regional Championship, but it was still there, and I don’t expect it to completely go away anytime soon.  That isn’t why it is disappointing, however; Butterfree is a Bug/Flying hybrid in the video games, and TPC used to use such cards to give us things like Grass Types with Lightning Weakness and Fighting Resistance.  Lightning Weakness is dangerous as well right now, but just changing things around can create a niche for certain cards.  This Butterfree has no Resistance, which I normally wouldn’t sweat but here?  Again, disappointing: if they didn’t want to use Fighting Resistance, the typo combo for Butterfree would make Grass Resistance completely appropriate.  The Retreat Cost is good; I would have preferred a free Retreat Cost but just requiring a single Energy means much of the time, paying to manually Retreat ought not to be an issue. 

Butterfree has two attacks, both of which have all Colorless Energy requirements.  This could be pretty important, as not only does it allow Butterfree to make use of a variety of Energy acceleration options, but it means it can fit into nearly any deck; the exceptions are those with no Energy and those running only (or at least mostly) incompatible Special Energy like Double Dragon Energy, Strong Energy, etc.  We’ll look at “Psy Bolt” in detail first; for [C] it does 30 damage and has you flip a coin.  If “heads” the opponent’s Active is also Paralyzed while “tails” means just the damage occurs.  For [CCC] Butterfree can attack using “Whirlwind” to do 80 damage; the attack also forces your opponent to change out his or her Active Pokémon.  I am really trying to avoid delving into Create-a-Card territory here, or being unduly harsh: neither of these attacks is terrible.  They aren’t even bad.  Whirlwind is poor because the damage is a bit low and the effect isn’t optional.  This is not a format when you want to whiff on the 2HKO against Mega Evolutions and/or Evolved Pokémon-GX, let alone against your typical Basic Pokémon-EX attacker.  As for the effect, forcing the change out means the times when it helps you are likely far less than the combined total of the times when it makes no difference or actively backfires.  Psy Bolt is adequate; the damage and effect decent for the Energy, and thanks to Forest of Giant Plants you want an attack you can fuel for a single Energy attachment.  I actually wouldn’t mind it costing [CC] and doing a bit more, however, as Double Colorless Energy is already so common in the format.

Butterfree cannot hit the field directly.  We may choose from XY: Flashfire 1/106 (reprinted as Generations 3/83), Evolutions 3/108, and Sun & Moon 1/149 for Caterpie.  Metapod follows suite: XY: Flashfire 2/106 (reprinted as Generations 4/83), Evolutions 4/108, and Sun & Moon 2/149.  The only alternative to today’s Butterfree is XY: Flashfire 3/106 (reprinted as Generations 5/83).  All are Standard legal Grass Type Pokémon, and all but the Butterfree (XY: Flashfire 3/106) are Fire Weak and lack Resistance.  All Caterpie have 40 HP with Retreat Cost [C], except for Sun & Moon 1/149, which has 50 HP.  XY: Flashfire 1/106 has the Ability “Adaptive Evolution”, allowing it to Evolve the turn it is put into play, including the first turn of the game, and the attack “Bug Bite” for [G], doing 10.   Evolutions 3/108 is very old-school.  In fact, it is a reprint of Base Set 45/102, Base Set 2 68/130, and Legendary Collection 69/110, so close it may still be possible to use the original.  I don’t think you’ll want to, though, as all it has is “String Shot” for [G] to do 10 damage and flip a coin for Paralysis.  Sun & Moon 1/149 is our final contender, and besides the better HP score, it has all Colorless attacks.  [C] pays for “Nap”, which heals 20 damage from itself, while “Gnaw” does 20 for [CC].  I actually favor XY: Flashfire 1/106 (even with Forest of Giant Plants) because none of these are worth attacking with, so improve your odds of instantly Evolving!  Otherwise, go with Sun & Moon 1/149 for the HP. 

Rare Candy is technically an option to run instead of a Metapod, but besides requiring you have it and Butterfree in hand at the same time, you’ll have to deal with Item lock.  It also won’t work with Forest of Giant Plants (should you be running it), or the Adaptive Evolution Ability on Caterpie (XY: Flashfire 1/106).  All Metapod but Sun & Moon 2/149 have 70 HP with Retreat Cost [CC]; our exception has 80 with Retreat Cost [CCC].  XY: Flashfire 2/106 sports Adaptive Evolution, working just like it did the first time.  Unlike last time, though, the attack alongside it isn’t pure filler: for [CC] this Metapod can use “Harden” to prevent the damage from attacks that hit for 60 or less, but anything stronger punches through with no reduction.  The effect lasts until the end of your opponent’s next turn.  XY: Evolutions 4/108 can be mistaken as a reprint of the original Metapod (Base Set 54/102, Base Set 2 81/130, Legendary Collection 54/110), as both have the same stats, an attack named “Stiffen” for [CC] and another named “Stun Spore” for [GG].  Stun Spore is functionally identical as well; both attacks do 20 and give you a coin flip to Paralyze the opponent’s Active.  Stiffen has changed, however; the original was a coin flip to prevent all damage done to Metapod itself during your opponent’s next turn, while the new version blocks 40 damage without a coin flip.  Our final option, Sun & Moon 2/149, actually has the effect of the old Stiffen as its “Iron Defense” attack; the cost is only [C] and the wording simplified.  For [CCC] it can use its version of Bug Bite to do 40 damage.  Once again, I favor Adaptive Evolution as an alternative or fallback for Forest of Giant Plants.  The other two are decent enough if for some reason that isn’t an option. 

Butterfree (XY: Flashfire 3/106) has the same 130 HP as today’s Butterfree, which I already mentioned when pointing out this isn’t an overly safe amount.  What it changes up are the Weakness and Resistance; here we do get Lightning Weakness alongside Fighting Resistance.  This is nice unless you’re attacked by something like Zebstrika (XY: BREAKpoint 49/122), and that is a popular option to smack Yveltal-EX (plus a few others) silly.  The Resistance is still [C], so we’ll move onto its attacks.  For [G] you may use “Quiver Dance” to search your deck for a basic Energy to attach to itself.  As long as you do attach the Energy (you whiff on the search), you also heal 40 damage from Butterfree itself.  For [GCC] you may use “Gust” to do 70 damage.  These attacks are not good, though they aren’t all bad.  Quiver Dance is hurt because it cannot attach to other targets and only grabs one Energy.  Gust just needs to bit a bit harder.  Needing [G] means it isn’t a simple splash, even though Quiver Dance can grab any basic Energy card.  During my last major hiatus from reviews, the team looked at this Butterfree here.  It didn’t wow them, and I probably would have felt the same way.  That said, this Butterfree enjoyed a tiny bit of success in competitive play for a time due to Miltank (XY: Flashfire 83/106).  This Miltank has the attack “Powerful Friends”, allowing it to do 80 damage for [C] if you have a Stage 2 Pokémon in play.  Adaptive Evolution made set-mate Butterfree an early partner, but it was replaced later on with other Stage 2 cards that could do more than speed into play one turn faster.  This Butterfree won’t be helping or hurting today’s offering. 

So what purpose have we for using today’s Butterfree?  Almost none.  Thanks to its older lower Stages with Adaptive Evolution, it isn’t completely out of the question using this in an off Type deck that needs to exploit Grass Weakness.  What about an actual Grass Deck?  If you’ve got Grass Energy in the deck, you really don’t gain anything from Psy Bolt or Whirlwind; their strength is in their costs being completely Colorless.  They aren’t even that great to copy; Mew-EX and Dimension Valley technically makes them better, but not by much.  If you’re not running other Grass Types, then Forest of Giant Plants is probably best replaced by Adaptive Evolution, which is why I keep stressing the Ability.  With a strong early game push, you can hopefully beat an opponent’s anti-Ability effects to play (should they run any).  Unfortunately, even with Adaptive Evolution, a deck that might want a Grass Type attacker splashed in, shouldn’t turn to Butterfree.  Neither Psy Bolt nor Whirlwind is good enough even with such a narrow niche; find a way to work in some [G] Energy for a different attacker, or if you’ve got enough Pokémon, go with the Vespiquen (XY: Ancient Origins 10/98) line.  The one place Butterfree can shine is in Limited play, where the entire line having Colorless attacks matters, and all those attacks are worth the Energy involved.  It still isn’t a must run, but it’s a solid pull you’ll probably wish to include. 

Ratings 

Standard: 1.25/5 

Expanded: 1.25/5 

Limited: 3.5/5 

Summary: I’ve had a few Water Weak decks that would love a Grass Type attacker splashed in, as most of the Water Type Pokémon giving them problems are Grass Weak.  Vespiquen hasn’t been a good fit, and it looks like Butterfree won’t be either.  Generally, when you want to splash in an off-Type attacker, it shouldn’t be a Stage 2, and while this Butterfree at least has speed, it still eats up too much space to be viable.  Even if it were a Basic, the attacks are such that only by being an easy to splash Basic would it have a chance.  At least it isn’t pure filler, and we’ve taken a look at the first three cards of Sun & Moon.  Not a thrilling start to our week, but I think things should only get better from here on out.


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