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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Golduck
- Sun & Moon 29/19

Date Reviewed:
Feb. 22, 2017

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.13
Expanded: 2.13
Limited: 3.67

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

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

Clearly when you've got a card that has two attacks that only cost 1 Energy, that's definitely something to worth noting. Just like if a Pokemon could use any of their attacks for just a DCE! Looking at you, Tauros-GX. 

But let's ignore that for a moment and talk about Golduck, the Stage 1 evo of everyone's favorite confused duck. He's got two attacks, the first of which is Scratch at a vanilla 1-for-20. Not a great start. Then there's Double Jet, which for 1 Energy gives you the option to discard up to 2 Water Energies and deal 60 damage for each. Now 1-for-120 is great, but consider that you're going to minus off of this attack greatly while potential fueling up your discard pile for Energy acceleration that Water decks...don't honestly have, last I checked. Best case is you're using Fisherman to combo with this, and that means you're running a Supporter for a Stage 1 that does in an attack what Greninja decks do with their Abilities. 

Hmmm...Golduck's got potential, I suppose, but is now the best time for the duck? Cause otherwise he's still got a Free Retreat Cost. 

Rating 

Standard: 1.5/5 (personally, I'm of the opinion that Golduck has potential...but not right now) 

Expanded: 1.5/5 (the reliance on discarding Energy consistently to use his attack, which is potent, is a bit of a letdown) 

Limited: 3.5/5 (even though doing 120 for 1 Energy is AWESOME) 

Arora Notealus: 2HKOs are a treasure in this day and age, and Golduck does offer an interesting cheap variant - heck, even a cheap OHKO against Fire-types. But to that end, it's hard to really see how you'd be able to consistently and effective cycle through Double Jet's cost in order to make things work. Don't get me wrong, it could work...just not all the time. 

Next Time: Wait a sec, this card's not even FROM this set?! What's going on?!


Otaku

Today is the birthday of George Washington and (over two centuries later) of my sister.  Happy birthday Jennie! 

Today is also the day we look at Golduck (Sun & Moon 29/149).  This is a Water Type, so it can exploit the Weakness found on nearly all Fire and some Fighting Type Pokémon.  Water Resistance was still a thing back in the BW-era, where many Grass Types had it, but I can’t recall any examples of it on XY-era or new Sun & Moon cards.  There are some anti-Water effects, but you’re not likely to see them in most competitive decks except Parallel City; that Stadium is run for its Bench-shrinking effect but applies a 20 point damage reduction to Grass, Fire, and Water Type Pokémon and sometimes, your opponent will be able to endure or even want to shrink his or her Bench.  Water Type support includes some nice tricks, like Archie’s Ace in the Hole (probably not relevant here), Dive Ball, Rough Seas (shared with Lightning Types), and Splash Energy (if you can keep it from being discarded).  Water Energy tricks that are not also restricted to Water Pokémon include the infamous Blastoise (BW: Boundaries Crossed 31/149; BW: Plasma Storm 137/135; BW: Plasma Blast 16/101), Manaphy zeroing out Retreat Costs for Pokémon with a source of [W] Energy attached, and Palkia-EX (XY: BREAKpoint 31/122) accelerating Energy.  Finally, for the Water Type, it is home to both great Water Type attackers and Bench-sitters, including some that qualify as both: Glaceon-EX, Keldeo-EX, Regice, Seismitoad-EX, etc.  These cards are often included in multi-Type decks but also benefit greatly from being in a deck focused on their own Type (as is usually the case). 

Golduck is a Stage 1 Pokémon, so while it isn’t as fast or space-efficient as a Basic, it isn’t dramatically slow or clunky; many Stage 1 cards have proven themselves, even recently.  They even have a few bits of Stage-specific support, like Flareon (XY: Ancient Origins 13/98), Jolteon (XY: Ancient Origins 26/98), and Vaporeon (XY: Ancient Origins 22/98).  I don’t think that last one is going to matter to Golduck, but the first two might.  Golduck has 90 HP, high enough to be out of what I think of as “All-but-guaranteed-OHKO-range!”, but unless the opponent is still setting up I would expect it to go down in one shot most of the time.  There is a small upside to this, as - assuming you’re not running a deck that ought to run (more?) Dive Ball and/or Ultra Ball instead, you can use Level Ball to fetch it.  The Grass Weakness isn’t as bad as it might be specifically because of the HP; anything doing 90+ already has a OHKO, anything doing 40 or less still whiffs on the OHKO, so only attacks that do 50, 60, 70, or 80 really benefit.  Lack of Resistance is a bit disappointing but expected, so we’ll move onto the perfect free Retreat Cost!  Golduck has two attacks, the first of which is “Scratch”; it costs [C] to do 20 damage and is on the border between low quality and medium quality filler.  Probably would have been safe to give it a little something better, but let us look at the next attack, “Double Jet”; for [W] you may discard up to two [W] Energy from hand to do 60 damage per each you discarded.  This isn’t brilliant, and even could be a bit pricey used over and over again, but with the right support it has some potential; one Energy (attached) and two (from hand) to do 120 is somewhat good. 

Before we consider how to work with Golduck, we should explore the rest of its Evolution line.  For Psyduck we have BW: Boundaries Crossed 32/149, BW: Boundaries Crossed 33/149, XY: BREAKpoint 16/122, and Sun & Moon 28/149.  When it comes to other Golduck, we can pick from BW: Boundaries Crossed 34/149, BW: Boundaries Crossed 35/149, and XY: BREAKpoint 17/122.  There is also Golduck BREAK (XY: BREAKpoint 18/122); I normally don’t include the set name and ID number for cards with a unique name, but I find these a little too easy to miss so there it is.  All of these are Water Type Pokémon with no Resistance, while all Psyduck are also Basic Pokémon with just one attack, and all Golduck are Stage 1 Pokémon with two attacks.  BW: Boundaries Crossed 32/149 is only legal for Expanded play, has 60 HP, Lightning Weakness, Retreat Cost [C], and the attack “Dazzle Dance” for [C] which has you flip a coin to try and confuse the opponent’s Active.  BW: Boundaries Crossed 33/149 is also Expanded-only with Lightning Weakness but has 70 HP, a Retreat Cost of [CCC], and the attack “Firefighting” that discards a [R] Energy attached to the opponent’s Active.  XY: BREAKpoint 16/122 is legal in either Expanded or Standard play, has 60 HP, Grass Weakness, Retreat Cost [C], and the attack “Stampede” for [CC], doing 20 damage.  Sun & Moon 28/149 is also legal for both the Expanded and Standard Formats, has 70 HP, Grass Weakness, Retreat Cost [CC], and the attack “Confuse Wave” for [C] that leaves both Active Pokémon Confused.  As usual, none of these are good, but with an eye on surviving to Evolve, I think Sun & Moon 28/149, even with its Retreat Cost of [CC] due to its 70 HP and guaranteed Confusion (even though it hits itself as well). 

Golduck (BW: Boundaries Crossed 34/149) has 80 HP, Lightning Weakness, a free Retreat Cost, the attack “Confuse Ray”  which costs [C] and Confuses the opponent’s Active, and the attack “Water Gun” which costs [WG] and does 30 damage.  The Retreat Cost is the highlight and only good point of this card; we actually reviewed it here when it was new and everyone who chimed in (myself included) gave it the minimum allowed score of one-out-of-five.  Don’t use this one!  Golduck (BW: Boundaries Crossed 35/149) has the same stats as today’s Golduck except with Lightning Weakness.  Its first attack is “Amnesia” for [C], doing 20 damage preventing the opponent’s Active from using one of its attacks (your choice if that Pokémon has more than one attack) during your opponent’s next turn.  For [WW] it can use “Aquafall” instead to do 90 damage but has to discard all Energy attached to itself.  I actually had high hopes for the card at the time, probably because Landorus-EX debuted in this set, was as good or better than we expected, and so something that could exploit its Water Weakness was extra tempting.  Guess it was a good thing I missed that review, given how wrong I was.  Amnesia and Aquafall actually looked decent on paper at the time but proved to be insufficient.  The previous two are Expanded-only options; Golduck (XY: BREAKpoint 17/122) is our only other Standard-legal Golduck.  It sports 100 HP with Grass Weakness, and has a Retreat Cost of [C], making it just barely the largest but the only one that does not Retreat for free.  Its first attack is “Derail” for [W], which does 20 damage and discards a Special Energy from the opponent’s Active (if it has one attached).  For [WCC] it may use “Hydro Splash” instead to do 70 damage.  Derail is nice but Hydrosplash is overpriced. 

Looking at all three older Golduck, I don’t think there is a reason to use any instead of Golduck (Sun & Moon 29/149), but what about Golduck BREAK?  As the BREAK Evolution of a Stage 1, it acts like a Stage 2, but without the perks.  It has 140 HP, though, and carries the Ability “Hyper Transfer” which allows you to move a Basic Energy card from one of your Pokémon to another as often as you like during your turn, as long as it is before you attack.  Essentially, it is like you have an Infinite supply of Energy Switch.  Golduck BREAK will also retain access to the attacks of the Golduck from which it Evolved (if any had Abilities, it would retain those as well), and will use their Weakness, (lack of) Resistance, and Retreat Cost as its own.  I don’t think Hyper Transfer does much (if anything) for these attacks but it might be useful for other Pokémon being run alongside Golduck and Golduck BREAK; that 140 HP is the main reason to run it, I believe, as that is a significant jump that keeps Golduck from being an easy OHKO.  It still isn’t enough to keep it from being a OHKO much of the time, and it interferes with how I think Golduck (Sun & Moon 29/149) may be best utilized, though not enough to completely rule it out.  You can see our more in-depth thoughts on Golduck BREAK here, where I entertained some hope its Energy moving shenanigans would have already made it competitive.  I know people have tried, but I don’t recall any meeting with significant success. 

So how do I think Golduck (Sun & Moon 29/149) has a chance?  Double Jet really is a solid attack, at least right now while we’ve got the likes of Professor’s Letter, Energy Retrieval, Fisherman, and VS Seeker.  Streaming Psyduck and Golduck shouldn’t be too challenging either, so a string of 2HKO’s is quite doable against most decks.  That isn’t enough to be competitive, however, which gets us back to Flareon (XY: Ancient Origins 13/98) and Jolteon (XY: Ancient Origins 26/98).  With these two, we are covering three Weaknesses, with each currently relevant to competitive play.  The only real problem is… why not just use an Eeveelutions deck?  Vaporeon (XY: Ancient Origins 22/98) can be included so another Stage 1 hits these same three Weaknesses plus whatever matches its own Type.  For a pure Eeveelution deck, Espeon-GX and Umbreon-GX add Psychic and Darkness Weakness.  Some have been trying to make Vespiquen (XY: Ancient Origins 10/98) once again work with Eeveelutions as well, and we already mentioned Lurantis-GX backed by them is another anticipated deck.  The most recent Regional Championship, held in Anaheim, California this past weekend didn’t see these decks make the top 32.  That could be even worse for a more niche version, or it could mean there is still a void for Golduck to fill.  It is also important to remember that sometimes, a deck works for just one or two events because everyone already dismissed it, which might work in the favor of a Golduck deck. 

So that is how I think it might work in Standard; what about in the Expanded format?  The same kind of deck would be possible, and it even gains some useful cards that could help it but also faces a lot more competition, and possibly more diverse Weakness spreads.  For now, I’m just going to call it even, but knowing I am doing this somewhat reluctantly, for want of actual data, is why reading more than just the Ratings and Summary pays off.  This Golduck looks like a great pull for Limited play.  As with any Stage 1, you’ll need Psyduck as well, but Psyduck also is a little better here.  You won’t be able to pull off Double Jet as easily or as reliably, but that 120 damage is huge here, and even just discarding one Energy for 60 won’t be bad.  The need to run a lot of Water Energy does make it a little less able to be run off Type than it looks just based on its actual attack costs.  You also can enjoy this card in the “Bright Tide” Theme Deck, though sadly it is only included as a single.  The deck only uses Water Energy cards, though, so if you can get it up and running, only the usual instability of most Theme decks is likely to stand in your way. 

Ratings 

Standard: 2.75/5 

Expanded: 2.75/5 

Limited: 3.75/5 

Theme: 4/5 

Summary: Golduck is a new glass cannon, and the metagame may be just right for it to be worth giving it a shot.  I actually had higher hopes for this card when When I first saw this card, I gave it a “D+”, but a second glance left me bumping it up to a “C”.  Today’s score would be a “C-” on that grading scale, so I’ve gone a bit more negative on the card with a third look.  Try it if you want something fun, and maybe if you’re looking for a surprise deck for a smaller event.


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