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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Throwback Thursday

Weavile 
- Plasma Freeze

Date Reviewed:
Feb. 23, 2017

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

So yeah, here's the big surprise of the week: we're starting up Throwback Thursdays! Here we get to take a look at an older card  just for kicks! We can see where it's gone competitively, what it's been up to in its spare time, how its teeing off has vastly improved since last year...good times... 

Today's throwback is to Weavile from Plasma Freeze! That would be nearly 4 years ago - how about that nonsense? We did have a review on this card from back then, but that was done by entirely different staffers - ain't that just crazy! otaku and I hadn't even been reviewing stuff back in those days! And now here we are, ready to go on reviewing it again. 

First let's take a look at Weavile's attacks - the 1-cost Hail can dish out 10 damage to every opposing Pokemon, and Villify costs 2 Energy and can get you to discard a bunch of Pokemon in order to deal 30 damage for each one. Well that's an interesting pair of attacks. On the one hand, you've got okay spread, and on the other you've got OHKO potential, if you're crazy enough! 

Thing is, though, the game has changed a lot since Weavile's introduction, so what's his potential? Well for starters there are those Mega-EX that are hanging around, and the new Pokemon-GX just hit the scene as well. That means overall there are higher HP scores to hit, and if you thought discarding 6 Pokemon to achieve the rare OHKO on a Pokemon-EX was hard enough, you can imagine how much harder it is to obtain 8 or 9! Okay, it's really just a couple more cards - but I don't think you wanna go tossing that many Pokemon JUST to one-shot something. But it's not all bad news! 

Being Dark-Type, Weavile does get a lot of the support for Dark Pokemon in recent years like Yveltal and Shadow Circle, and while being a Plasma Pokemon was only really good in a short period, he does have those advantages as well. The good thing is that he also doesn't require Plasma Energy for his attack, so he can be run in a pure Dark build that profits off of Vilify. But how does one do that? Well Exeggcute (PLF) and his Propogation are the main appeal here - discarding him lets you get him right back thanks to his own Ability! But are there other Pokemon that can profit from being discarded? 

How about Night March or Vespiquen? Yes indeedy, Weavile could be a potent fueler for Vengeance-style decks easily with his attack - dealing out massive damage while loading the discard pile with lots of Pokemon for heavier offenses later on, all while spreading Hail to weaken the opponent's defenses! This could've comboed well with Flareon as well, which along with Night March and Vespiquen need only DCE for their attackers and can reserve the Dark Energy for Weavile! How nifty is that? 

...wait Battle Compressor exists to make this all go by faster. 

...welp...guess Weavile's stuck in the dust at that point. 

Rating 

Standard: N/A (what a surprise! he can't be played in Standard!) 

Expanded: 1.5/5 (and his range in Expanded...is surprisingly limited) 

Limited: 3/5 (though in a vacuum, he's a bit better) 

Arora Notealus: I never did run into this Weavile back in the day. I'm sure there'd have been a rally behind Villify before Flareon in the same set would just trample over a few decks with Vengeance. Perhaps in the days before Battle Compressor, Weavile had a place...if not...well who knows what he'd do? 

Next Time: Yo yo, back to present day with the new crew in school!


Otaku

Welcome to the Pojo version of Throwback Thursday.  No, we aren’t going to post old photos or CotDs with a quick hashtag, but we are going to take this opportunity to look at an older card once per week.  “Older” is a relative term, and that is intentional so we aren’t locked into only focusing on a specific time period.  Some of this is so that we can just have some fun looking at what once was, and other times it is because something old will be relevant to what is or what will be… and specifying a time frame other than “not new” could just be setting a rule we’d have to break in the future.  Yes, somehow I made being laidback sound uptight; I am just that talented.  As you might expect, I’ll be discussing not only how this card performs at present in the formats for which it is legal, but how it has done since it released. 

Our first subject is Weavile (BW: Plasma Freeze 66/116); the reason why should become quite clear by the end of this review.  To begin with, this card was originally released (along with the rest of its set) in Japan back on December 14, 2012 and in North America on May 8, 2013; this is not an ancient card, and is, in fact, legal for use in the Expanded Format, as well as the PTCGO exclusive Legacy Format.  We originally reviewed it here, except I had to skip the review because I was in the middle of moving at the time.  This Weavile is a Team Plasma Pokémon, giving it access to additional support based on this characteristic, but meaning it also must deals with counters for Team Plasma cards.  It also means I’ll be referring to it as Weavile [Plasma] henceforth.  Team Plasma really does have some amazing support, but little (if any) of it seems suited to Weavile [Plasma] because it simply has access to something better due to another aspect of the card.  Team Plasma counters have too narrow of a focus to be worth including in the Expanded format, but back when this card released and in the Legacy Format, where multiple strong Team Plasma decks made or make up a significant part of the competitive metagame, stuff like Silver Mirror did or does range from a minor nuisance to a game-ending play.  So what looks like an advantage for Weavile [Plasma] is actually a bit of a disadvantage. 

Weavile [Plasma] is a Darkness Type, which was more impressive back then (or in the current Legacy Format) than in present day Expanded play.  The Darkness Type was really the first to get some serious, strong Type support in the BW-era.  Dark Claw was their Muscle Band before anything had Muscle Band, which is why it is obsolete in modern decks.  Dark Patch is Item based Energy acceleration from the discard pile; this is still good now, and was incredible back in the day.  Darkrai-EX (BW: Dark Explorers 63/108, 107/108; BW: Black Star Promos BW46; BW: Legendary Treasures 88/113) allowed anything with a [D] Energy attached to retreat for free via its “Dark Cloak” Ability and was otherwise one of the top attackers of its day.  Sableye (BW: Dark Explorers 62/108) was frequently used in decks with access to [D] Energy for its “Junk Hunt” attack; even if Sableye didn’t survive, regaining two Items of your choice from your discard pile was often worth it, especially when one was an Ace Spec card.  These two are still good now with Sableye recently performing well once again as a deck focus in Expanded.  Darkrai-EX isn’t the big deal it was back in its Modified (a.k.a. Standard) legal days, but both of these two are important parts of the Legacy Format.  Darkness Weakness hasn’t often been a big benefit, and it isn’t too important in the current Expanded or Legacy Formats, either.  What does matter for contemporary Expanded Format play is the Fairy Type’s introduction, as all of them are Darkness Resistant.  As we’ll see, Weavile [Plasma] is going to suffer for that, even though it is just -20 to damage.  Even at the times when Darkness Types have ruled the format, the anti-Darkness Type cards haven’t been worth the effort, so that is one for Weavile [Plasma]. 

Weavile [Plasma] is a Stage 1 Pokémon; being a Basic has been, is, and will most likely continue to be better, but waiting a turn to Evolve and needing two cards to get a single copy of your chosen Pokémon into play has proven manageable for competitive decks, whether for a Bench-sitter or Active.  It has been more of a problem at certain times since this card released than others, but overall it has proven adequate.  90 HP is fairly low; when the card first released, competitive decks were expected to hit at least this hard each turn once they were fully set up.  All that has changed since then is an increasing typical damage output; now it is more like 120 damage per turn for a deck to be remotely competitive, save the few not focused on damaging a single opposing Pokémon.  Even a partial setup is likely to OHKO Weavile [Plasma].  It does make it a legal Level Ball target, at least.  The Legacy Format falls somewhere in between, owing to a few specific decks capable of blistering speed upping the performance averages of the others.  Fighting Weakness was and remains dangerous to this card.  Perhaps not as much in present day Expanded play, but both back then and presently in the Legacy Format, it is typical to see Landorus-EX either scoring some effective OHKO’s thanks to hitting both Active and a Benched Pokémon, or with Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym.  Psychic Weakness doesn’t mean a whole lot with just 90 HP in the present, but it came in handy in the late BW- and early XY-eras, and yet again is still helpful in the Legacy Format.  The Retreat Cost of [C] is low and usually easy to afford but can come back to haunt you if Energy gets tight. 

Weavile [Plasma] has two attacks, “Hail” and “Vilify”.  The first costs [C] and does 10 damage to all of your opponent’s Pokémon (both Active and Benched) while the second costs [DC] and allows you to discard Pokémon from your hand to do 30 damage for each to the opponent’s Active.  Hail isn’t bad, but it isn’t especially good, either; the winner here is Vilify.  Though it will usually require about six Pokémon be discarded from your hand, it allows you to OHKO typical Basic Pokémon-EX.  The rising HP scores of competitive Pokémon, thanks to Mega Evolutions, BREAK Evolutions, and Pokémon-GX, are a real problem for Vilify in present day Expanded play, but it does help somewhat that Weavile [Plasma] is only worth one Prize (and not the two of Pokémon-EX or Pokémon-GX), and can be swarmed with the proper deck build.  Back in the day, it enjoyed a brief period of success but is one of the top decks in the Legacy Format at present.  We’ll discuss how and why in a moment, but we’ve got several Sneasel and Weavile to look at; after all, the Legacy Format means I’ll need to go back five sets further than usual.  For Sneasel we have HS: Undaunted 68/90, BW: Next Destinies 69/99, BW: Plasma Freeze 65/116, XY: Flashfire 50/106, XY: Flashfire 51/106, and XY: Steam Siege 60/114.  For alternate Weavile we have HS: Undaunted 25/90, BW: Next Destinies 70/99, XY: Flashfire 52/106, and XY: Steam Siege 61/114.  All are Darkness Type Pokémon with Fighting Weakness and Psychic Resistance.  All Sneasel lack an Ability.  They also all have 60 HP with Retreat Cost [C] except HS: Undaunted 68/90 (60 HP with a free Retreat Cost) and BW: Plasma Freeze 65/116 (70 HP with Retreat Cost [C]).  All Weavile have 90 HP and Retreat Cost [C] except HS: Undaunted 25/90; it has 80 HP and a free Retreat Cost. 

Sneasel (HS: Undaunted 68/90) can use “Fury Swipes” for [C] to flip three coins (good for 10 damage per “heads”) or for [DD] can use “Beat Up” to flip a coin for each of your Pokémon in play (good for 20 damage per “heads”).  It is only legal in the Legacy Format.  BW: Next Destinies 69/99 can use “Corner” for [D] to do 10 damage and prevent the Defending Pokémon from retreating, or resort to “Scratch” for [CC] to do 20 damage.  BW: Plasma Freeze 65/116 has only “Quick Attack” for [DC], which does 20 damage with a coin flip to determine if it does an extra 20, for 40 total on “heads”.  XY: Flashfire 50/106 also has Scratch, but this time for [C] and doing 10 damage, with its second attack “Flash Claw” costing [DC] and doing no damage, but discarding a card from your opponent’s hand (your opponent chooses which card).  XY: Flashfire 51/106 can use “Icy Wind” for [C] to leave the opponent’s Active Asleep or can use Scratch, but its version costs [DC] to do 20.  XY: Steam Siege 60/114 only has “Nyan Roll” for [D], which does 10 damage and has you flip a coin; if “tails” Nyan Roll just does the 10 damage but if “heads” Nyan Roll prevents all effects of attacks (including damage) done to Sneasel itself.  It is the only option for Standard play.  None of these Sneasel cards received its own review, which probably isn’t much of a surprise.  HS: Undaunted 68/90 is almost a reprint of the dread Sneasel (Neo Genesis 25/111), but power creep and the addition of Fighting Weakness just means it is the best of the bunch.  That free Retreat can be mighty important in a tight spot, as can the still decent Beat Up (assuming your Bench is full).  For Expanded and Standard play, I would go with XY: Steam Siege 60/114 to try and stall if you are stuck with Sneasel up front. 

Weavile (HS: Undaunted 25/90) is legal for the Legacy Format only, and has the Poké-Power “Claw Snag”.  Poké-Powers are one of the precursor effects to Abilities; they work in a similar fashion but effects that refer to one do not apply to the other.  Claw Snag triggers when you Evolve one of your in play Pokémon into this card from hand; you may look at your opponent’s hand and discard a card you find there.  It may also use “Feint Attack” for [DC] to do 30 to the opposing Pokémon of your choice, ignoring all effects plus Weakness and Resistance on the target.  Feint Attack was a bit better when it first released during the HS-era, though not great.  I wasn’t active at the time, but I suspect it had some use because of the “baby” Pokémon (not an official designation, hence the quotation marks) of the sets released at this time.  They had 30 HP and a protective Poké-Body (another precursor to Abilities) that would make them totally immune to damage and attack effects while Asleep, and all had no Energy attacks that did something at least a little useful but also put itself to Sleep.  What I do know is that there is a vicious, though not heavily played, control deck built around this card in the Legacy Format.  I don’t think the two cards can work well together in the same deck, so if you go with one, you won’t be able to include the other.  You may read a review of this card here. 

BW: Next Destinies 70/99 can use “Dark Penalty” for [D] to do 90 damage, but only if the Defending Pokémon has a Pokémon Tool attached to it.  This isn’t as good as it might sound, even though Tools have often been important to competitive play.  This Weavile may also use Fury Swipes, its version costing [CCC] and doing 30 damage per “heads”, but still giving you three coin flips.  Even back then, you wanted to do about 90 damage for three Energy; the all Colorless cost might have allowed it to get away with more like 70, but not a mean damage output of 45.  Could be why I am not seeing a review for this card.  XY: Flashfire 52/106 has “Call for Family” at a cost of [C], searching your deck for up to two Basic Pokémon and immediately putting them on your Bench.  [DCC] pays for “Claw Rend”, which does 60 damage; if there are any damage counters on the opponent’s Active, it will do another 30 for 90 damage total.  These attacks were already outdated by the time they appeared on this Weavile, though Call for Family isn’t totally worthless when it still shows up on a Basic Pokémon.  This version still received a review, though.  XY: Steam Siege 61/114 is the only Standard legal option, and has the Ability “Tear Away”, which allows you to return to hand a Pokémon Tool currently attached to one of your Pokémon.  For [DC] it can use “Slash” to do 40 damage.  The attack is mediocre filler, but Tear Away has proven useful enough for some to use it in their Standard format decks, bouncing around useful Tools like Float Stone, Spirit Link cards, etc.  You can read our review of it here. 

So with all of this out of the way, how does Weavile [Plasma] fair in the various formats?  It isn’t legal for Standard play, though when it was it did periodically see surges of (successful) competitive play.  I recall it being one of those decks that wer very sensitive to the metagame, showing up and scoring some wins when we weren’t expecting it.  Exeggcute (BW: Plasma Freeze 4/116; BW: Plasma Blast 102/101) was an obvious partner, as its Ability allowed you to constantly discard four Pokémon for Vilify.  Lileep (BW: Plasma Blast 3/101) and Tirtouga (BW: Plasma Blast 27/101) had an Ability called “Prehistoric Call” that allowed you to put them on the bottom of your deck from your discard pile; while meant to help them use the cumbersome Fossil mechanic of that era, it was a less direct Pokémon recycling option.  Lopunny (XY: Flashfire 85/106) would partner up with it some of the time, as you could leave it on the Bench until you needed it thanks to its Ability to bounce to your hand.  All of this is still available to Weavile [Plasma] in Expanded play, as is Dark Patch, necessary for powering a Weavile [Plasma] up in a single turn.  Besides the rising HP costs and presence of Darkness Resistance, several better swarm style decks have emerged since this card’s release; Night March and Vespiquen (XY: Ancient Origins 10/98) to name just two.  Hex Maniac can leave you without discard fodder for a turn as well and is a common enough piece of TecH. 

The Legacy Format, however, is a place where Weavile [Plasma] can stand triumphant.  I am uncertain as to whether it is the absolute best deck in the format, but it is one of the powerhouses.  Here, HP scores are rarely above 180, and you have Silver Bangle to so that, apart from a few seldom used exceptions (including combos!), you won’t need to discard more than five Pokémon from hand at a time.  The aforementioned Exeggcute, spare copies of supporting Pokémon, and a clutch Lileep or Tirtouga provide this.  The Darkrai-EX and Sableye mentioned earlier are also on hand, and plus a few other commonly run supporting Pokémon that means the deck often has a few spare bodies when needed.  This format also includes Junk Arm, which makes all that discard fodder even more useful, as you can quickly reclaim and reuse key Item cards, plus it prevents Junk Hunt from telegraphing exactly what you are planning for the next turn.  This means counts like Silver Mirror or Garbodor (BW: Dragons Exalted 54/124; BW: Plasma Freeze 119/116; BW: Legendary Treasures 68/113) and its “Garbotoxin” Ability requires some bad luck and/or resource management to shut you down cold, but it does still happen some of the time.

As for Limited play, this card is great… if you can somehow find sealed BW: Plasma Freeze product with which to actually run a Limited Format event.  I know some folks actually do have procedures for reusing opened product, but odds are you’ll never get to enjoy this card in a Limited event unless you attended a Pre-Release way back when.  For the record, though, as long as you also got a Sneasel to run alongside it and did not pull a Pokémon-EX worth using solo, this was something to work into your deck for at least a single, big attack.  Vilify probably needed too many Pokémon to use over and over again, but Hail and its damage spread are also more useful here, so whether you used Vilify right away or were saving up for it, you had a good option.  This set contains some of the Team Plasma support that Weavile [Plasma] couldn’t use optimally in constructed play, which was a nice help.  This set also contains Mr. Mime (BW: Plasma Freeze 47/116), so be aware that Hail may not always be an effective option as its Bench Barrier Ability can protect one’s Bench.  You still have a chance of pulling Exeggcute, though Limited play only uses four Prizes and with less draw/search, you are at more of a risk of losing due to opening with it. 

Ratings 

Standard: N/A 

Expanded: 1.75/5 

Limited: 3.75/5 

Legacy: 4.5/5 

Summary: Weavile [Plasma] was a solid card when it released but not good enough to become a major factor for competitive play.  It saw a little success, but not enough to widely remembered or even felt at the time even though it had the combos to swarm a Stage 1 capable of OHKOing almost anything.  Now that we have more Pokémon with over 180 HP (and those faking it with Fighting Fury Belt), Weavile [Plasma] just can’t cut it in Expanded play, one of the two formats where it is still legal.  Fortunately, on the PTCGO, we have the Legacy Format and Weavile [Plasma] will cut through most other decks, at least offering an even match-up and usually finding things are in its favor.


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