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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Wishiwashi
- Sun & Moon

Date Reviewed:
Feb. 28, 2017

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 1.50
Expanded: 1.38
Limited: 2.25

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

Back to the main COTD Page


Otaku

Today we look at a card where my tendency to meander back and forth between loving or hating it would be appropriate due to its name: Wishiwashi (Sun & moon 44/149).  Wishiwashi is a Water Type; if you have looked ahead, you know that we are not likely to ever attack with this card, so it doesn’t matter that it can hit nearly all Water Types and some Fighting Types for double damage, or that only the bulk of BW-era Grass Types are Water Resistant.  This also means most anti-Water effects won’t matter because they are stuff like Parallel City; not the bench-shrinking side, but the other one that reduces the damage done by the attacks of a Water Type (and Grass and Fire Types as well) by 20.  What may matter is Dive Ball, and that is about it.  Even other Water Type Pokémon or [W] Energy based support isn’t going to make much of a difference with this card.  Neither is the Grass Weakness or lack of Resistance because Wishiwashi only has 30 HP!  This is the minimum printed amount and leaves you open to being donked if Wishiwashi is your only Active and you face something like Hypnotoxic Laser with Virbank City Gym (in Expanded play) or Forest of Giant Plants plus two full Decidueye-GX lines (in Standard).  Many bonus Bench hits (via attack or Ability) can take it out no problem at this size, though at least it means Level Ball can target it.  The Retreat Cost of [C] is good, but on a Pokémon this small I prefer a free Retreat Cost unless it has something else that is amazing about it.  So… what effects are found on Wishiwashi? 

One Ability and one attack.  I’ll start with the attack because it is blatant filler: for [W] Wishiwashi may use “Water Gun” to do 10 damage.  That’s it.  It is better than not having an attack at all unless a lack of it would have lead to the designers making another aspect of the card better.  The reason we are looking at this card is its Ability, “Cowardice”; once per turn, you can bounce this card to your hand, discarding any attached cards.  It has to be before you attack, and the text clearly states you cannot use it right away; not at all the first turn of the game, and not on any turn Wishiwashi was just put into play.  You can use more than one in a single turn, however; it isn’t an absolute “once per turn” effect, at least.  Cowardice has shown up only once before in the Pokémon TCG, as a Pokémon Power (a precursor to Abilities) on Tentacool (Fossil 56/62; Legendary Collection 96/110).  Tentacool was also a Basic, Water Type Pokémon with 30 HP and an attack that did 10 for [W], but it could Evolve into Tentacruel (for what little that was worth) and had Lightning Weakness.  Back then attacks did less damage but we had PlusPower, so the Weakness/HP probably even out for effectiveness.  As you could attack on the first turn of the game back then, and we had Gust of Wind, I’d say that made Tentacool worse, but its version of Cowardice can be used regardless of how long it has been in play.  The only added drawback is that it stopped working if Tentacool was affected by a Special Condition. 

So is there any purpose to Cowardice?  Yes; it allows Wishiwashi to be a placeholder Pokémon.  Did something just get KO’d?  Promote Wishiwashi and bounce it to your hand.  If we had a good counter moving effect for your own side of the field or had to deal with self-inflicted Bench damage of 20 or less (at least per Pokémon), Cowardice would allow Wishwashi to safely dispose of it.  We actually do have such effects in the Expanded card pool (a few attacks do the Bench hit thing in Standard as well), but we don’t have a particularly good option.  For example, Reuniclus (Black & White 57/114; BW: Dragons Exalted 126/124) has “Damage Swap”, which is specifically is about moving your damage counters around your side of the field.  Zygarde (XY: Black Star Promos XY129, XY152; XY: Fates Collide 53/124) provides a decent enough example of an attack that damages your own Bench for less than 20… or at least less than 20 per Pokémon, as it hits everything on your Bench for 10 damage each time it uses its “Geostrike” attack.  Geostrike also does 120 to the opponent’s Active, at a cost of [FFC], so it isn’t too bad, actually, but you can deal with the Bench damage through various other effects that can heal or prevent it. 

The best use for this card I have heard is as insurance.  Tying into how you can promote it then bounce it to bring up the Active you really want for the turn, including after you’ve used a bunch of other card effects that would change what was desirable at the start of your turn to something different by the time you went to attack, think of all the times you need to shrink your hand but are likely to need discard fodder in hand, on the field, or in the discard pile.  If you have two of these in play, you can drop your hand down to Ultra Ball, then bounce these two back into hand to search out a Shaymin-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 77/108, 106/108).  I’ve heard some speculate that this could help out decks using attackers like Vespiquen (XY: Ancient Origins 10/98), or Weavile (BW: Plasma Freeze 66/116).  Of course, the latter would still rely upon Exeggcute (BW: Plasma Freeze 4/116, BW: Plasma Blast 102/101) for its primary discard fodder.  So why won’t your opponent KO Wishiwashi before you bounce it?  Unless the only other thing you have in play is something your opponent cannot significantly damage, odds are Wishiwashi isn’t worth burning a Lysandre to force Active; too many attackers can gain momentum if left untouched for a turn.  Tauros-GX or those with protective effects are the obvious exceptions.  As for bonus Bench hits, that is a metagame thing and can act a bit like the attack; if Umbreon-GX is seeing heavy play, you might want to include Mr. Mime (BW: Plasma Freeze 47/116) or Mr. Mime (XY: BREAKthrough 97/162; Generations 52/83) to protect your Bench, while it takes two uses of “Feather Arrow” to KO Wishiwashi… and that is four damage counters that could have gone towards weakening your Active. 

So am I sold on Wishiwashi?  Nope.  I think being stuck in play for a turn kills off most of these uses, especially with Ability denial being so common.  While you can see some of it coming, like Alolan Muk (Sun & Moon 58/149) or Garbodor (XY: BREAKpoint 57/122), Hex Maniac and Silent Lab can shut down Abilities with no warning and after you’ve already Benched Wishiwashi.  Bench protection isn’t foolproof, and indeed any of the Ability denial also shuts down our best Bench protecting option (either of those Mr. Mime).  As Alolan Muk is in this set, it would take a pretty radical shift in the nature of play for this to change; possible, but a long time removed from the present.  This is a nifty trick for Limited play, so enjoy it there. 

Ratings 

Standard: 1.5/5 

Expanded: 1.25/5 

Limited: 3.5/5 

Summary 

Wishiwashi could be one of those stealth good cards, not great, but better than I realize.  There are uses for its Cowardice Ability, but I believe the inability to use it immediately nerfs or flat out ruins all of said combos.  When I was previewing this set, I gave Wishiwashi an F, which means I expected to score it at 1.75/5 or lower, and in this case, it was lower.  Just don’t forget about this card; some of the people saying it has a little (or a lot) of potential have proven me wrong before.


aroramage

You know, I remember my first experience with Wishiwashi being, "Hmm, this guy has a pretty cool gimmick, I wonder how the Ability affects his stats."

Then I saw the stats...and I got scared. 

Wishiwashi on his little tiny lonesome self, though, isn't that scary. In fact, this is probably the equivalent of a TCG Magikarp these days. 30 HP, a weak attack in Water Gun that's 1-for-10 - it's hard to take this thing with any sort of seriousness. But then there's this weird Ability - Cowardice. Once per turn, you can discard all the cards from Wishiwashi to put him back into your hand, although you can't do that on your first turn or the turn he comes into play. 

On the one hand, this Ability is terrible. Never mind that you wouldn't want to attach anything to discard off of Wishiwashi anyway, but then you can't even bounce him back when he comes into play? What if you get stuck with him out front as your starter? If you didn't have a Bench-sitter, would he even be usable? And if he's on the Bench instead, what's to stop your opponent from just taking an early Prize card? Or better yet, late game, what's to stop them from Lysandre-ing him out and then grabbing that extra Prize they need? 

On the other hand...the combos you can make. Can you imagine what you could do when you bounce this guy back to your hand? I've seen some places discuss how you could use him to get that extra discard for Ultra Ball or to fuel up a Sycamore with more Pokemon for Vespiquen decks. The potential for Wishiwashi is there - but the phrasing on the Ability, the way it works, what you'd be setting up otherwise? It just doesn't strike me as the kind of thing that could bring this guy full circle. 

But let's not be fooled by his innocence right now, because chances are we'll see a Wishiwashi soon that's going to...School us? 

...I'll leave now thank you. 

Rating 

Standard: 1.5/5 (right now, Wishiwashi is in that weird place where he's got potential...) 

Expanded: 1.5/5 (...but the deck or the cards don't exist to benefit off of it majorly) 

Limited: 1/5 (there's just no reasonable way of saying he's good on his own) 

Arora Notealus: I'll wait for Wishiwashi-GX to be the ban of our existence. 

Next Time: Say alola to a new Alolan Pokemon!


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