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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

 M Salamence-EX
- XY: Evolutions

Date Reviewed:
Jan. 10, 2017

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.75
Expanded: 2.75
Limited: Promo

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

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO BOYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY 

Seriously, 2017, and I haven't said ANYTHING!! Sorry about that, being in Canada with the flu will apparently do that to ya. But we're all better, we're back in the States, and WE'RE READY TO REVIEW THE NEXT- 

"There's been a change in the line-up, we're reviewing Salamence." 

...ALRIGHTY THEN, LET'S DO IT! 

Promo cards are always interesting, but apparently these two were requested by a reader. How about that? Yesterday was Salamence-EX, which has a really interesting attack, and then there's Dragon Strike. Dragon Strike's just a 4-for-130 Dragon-Slamming that holds off on being usable two turns in a row, which is okay, but Beastly Fang is 3-for-10 that does 50 more damage for each EX your opponent has. That's the real breadwinner here, since even having one or two boosts the power of the attack by a lot! 

M Salamence-EX ups the ante on such powerhouse attacks, bringing in Savage Wing. At 4-for-100, it's a decent attack, but it can also discard Fire Energies to add on 40 more damage for each one. 2 Energy boosts the attack to KO-ing most Basic Pokemon-EX, 2 more after that, and he can wipe out any other Mega Evo! That's insane! It's powerful! It's... 

...honestly a bit impractical. Unfortunately M-Salamence EX doesn't have a Fire-typing to benefit off of Burning Energy, which would make this attack ridiculous. Sure, you could discard Double Dragon Energy, which I think would actually count for 2 Fire Energy given that it's basically Double Rainbow Energy for Dragons, but then you're losing what's probably powering up half of M-Salamence EX's attack. It wouldn't be as savage as its name implies. 

But since Shrine of Memories is still around and about at the moment, it's probably the best card to combine with M Salamence-EX so he can have Salamence-EX's Beastly Fang attack! Options are always great, and since they come together with the Spirit Link card, he's not completely ineffectual. Who knows, maybe he's got some promise? 

...now if it wasn't so hard to actually find the Premium Collection, I mean seriously, WHY ARE SOME OF THESE LISTINGS AT $70?! 

Rating 

Standard: 2.5/5 (Savage Wing has a lot of promise, but it's only so good)

Expanded: 2.5/5 (but with access to the right stuff, M Salamence-EX can definitely power things out) 

Limited: N/A (and these are promos) 

Arora Notealus: So the boss man was telling me that said reader might have been hoping to hear from me. Really, I'm flattered, I don't even know who that reader could be, but I hope my review of these two cards (yes, I'd be rating Salamence-EX higher than M Salamence-EX) was at least satisfactory and a great start to your new year in 2017! Speaking of which, HAPPY NEW YEAR IT'S 2017!! 

Next Time: We now return to your regularly scheduled OH WOW THAT'S POWER


Otaku

Note: Yesterday I gave Salamence-EX a rating for Limited Play, even though it is not legal for any sanctioned Limited Format event (at least of which I am aware).  That is because the rating was supposed to be “N/A” (but if legal 2.5/5).  My apologies for any confusion! 

Time to finish what we started.  No, not the countdown (soon though), but M Salamence-EX (XY: Black Star Promos XY171).  If you didn’t read yesterday’s CotD, the short version is that Salamence-EX (XY: Black Star Promos XY170) is a Dragon Type Basic Pokémon-EX with 180 HP, Fairy Weakness, no Resistance, Retreat Cost [CC] and two attacks; for [RCC] it can use “Beastly Fang” to do 10 damage plus 50 per Pokémon-EX your opponent has in play, while for [RWCC] it can use “Dragon Strike” for 130 HP but cannot use Dragon Strike again on your next turn.  Being a Dragon Type is good specifically because of Double Dragon Energy and some of the other Dragon Types that can be slipped into a deck so long as it uses that fantastic Special Energy card.  Being a Basic is the best, and better than other Salamence cards, which are normally a Stage 2 and thus take more time and cards to hit the field.  180 HP is the higher of the two typical Basic Pokémon-EX scores, and 20 or more points higher than regular contemporary Salamence cards.  Fairy Weakness is unfortunate as that Type gave a strong showing recently (could be the new norm, could be a transitional state), while lack of Resistance and Retreat Cost [CC] are typical; any Resistance and a lower Retreat Cost would be better (barring some very specific match-ups), but this isn’t too bad.  Beastly Fang is beastly strong against most decks, though it might fall short against a few decks; Dragon Strike should only be used during those times, and when one can afford the Energy cost.  Being a Pokémon-EX colors all of this; it’s worth giving up an extra Prize when KO’d, dealing with Pokémon-EX counters, and being unable to use certain beneficial effects given the rest of the card. 

With that, let us dive into M Salamence-EX; differences between it and Salamence-EX are that is a Mega Evolution, has 230 HP, Retreat Cost [C], and a single attack (“Savage Wing”).  Being a Mega Evolution means dealing with the Mega Evolution rule; thankfully Salamence Spirit Link exists so one can basically give up the line’s Tool slot to fake being a Stage 1.  It also grants access to help like Mega Turbo but means dealing with counter like Faded Town.  The HP is just 10 shy of the maximum, while the Retreat Cost is [C] less and just one over the minimum (perfect) free Retreat Cost.  Savage Wing costs [RWCC], the same as Dragon Strike”, and does 100 damage with an optional discard effect.  If you wish, you may discard as many basic [R] Energy cards (attached to M Salamence) to do an additional 40 damage for each Energy discarded.  Not sure if there are any oddball ways to make basic Energy cards other than Fire Energy count as [R] in Standard or Expanded play, but it has happened before with older releases so just keep that in mind in case it pops up somewhere.  If you don’t discard any Energy, this is underpowered; Dragon Strike did the right amount of damage for its four Energy cost, just nerfed a little due to the attack restriction clause, so cutting 30 damage to avoid that problem is not a good trade.  The restrictions on what can be discarded mean that on paper, Savage Wing will always be underpowered; mixed type four Energy cost and no discard for 100, with a discard of one basic Fire Energy to do 140, two to do 180, etc. 

However, in practice this could be just right; notice how we just hit or exceeded some key OHKO numbers, and would continue to do so with sufficient Energy to discard.  Unlike Salamence-EX, M Salamence-EX fits into fewer decks naturally.  Yes, Salamence-EX needed a deck to already have [R] Energy (plus some acceleration) or Double Dragon Energy (still preferably with some additional, compatible Energy acceleration); M Salamence-EX needs more.  You could use (as an example) Mega Turbo to help attach basic Fire Energy cards from the discard pile, but you can only run four of that card and even including options to recycle it, we just aren’t looking at an efficient combo to hit those vital OHKO amounts.  Reshiram (XY: Roaring Skies 63/108) just might be an option though; if you can promote it, then Bench it each turn, you would get one bonus attachment via its “Turboblaze” Ability, which allows you to attach a basic Fire Energy card from hand to one of your Dragon Type Pokémon.  This is a “once per turn” effect, though if you can get multiple different copies of Reshiram in your Active position, it is once per turn for each.  So if you can stream Switch or similar cards and have Fire Energy in hand at the right time, you could do 180 damage turn after turn.  Not thrilling for all that effort, but on top of regular Salamence-EX it might be tempting. 

In addition to or instead of Reshiram you might consider Volcanion (XY: Black Star Promos XY145; XY: Steam Siege 25/114); you’ll have a solid, single Energy attacker to open that can prep multiple Salamence-EX/M Salamence-EX at once.  Yes that means taking some time early game, and I think I’d prefer to just use Volcanion-EX with Salamence-EX and (again) skip the Mega Evolution, but it is an option.  Otherwise all I can think of is using various Evolution cards for Energy acceleration, none of which I believe have proven worth the effort and most (if not all) of which are Expanded only.  As you can tell, I’m don’t expect much out of M Salamence-EX… but as a reader suggestion maybe it plays a role and I’m missing the forest for the trees.  If you’re buying first hand product, you’re going to be getting M Salamence-EX alongside regular Salamence-EX anyway, so feel free to experiment in either Standard or Expanded play.  Who knows, maybe the Mega Evolution will prove more worthwhile than the Basic in Expanded (Salamence-EX is doing fairly well in Standard right now)? 

M Salamence-EX is not legal for Limited play due to being released only as a promo, but if it were re-released as part of a set it would likely be a solid pull.  I stated that Salamence-EX wasn’t so great here because your opponent would usually lack Pokémon-EX, forcing you to slowly build to Dragon Strike and then attack every other turn.  Using Salamence-EX completely solo was thus a risky proposition as that meant three of your turns before it could do 10 damage (unless that bonus kicked in) and one more before it hit 130.  If your Energy didn’t behave, you might even miss out on the needed Fire Energy or Water Energy!  M Salamence-EX has it a bit better; still not something to build a +39 deck around (where Salamence-EX is your only Basic Pokémon and you try to cruise to a win on its raw power), but backing up a more typical Limited deck you can hopefully build Salamence-EX on your Bench and then Mega Evolve, at which point even the 100-per-turn shots from Savage Wing should prove good… or 140 per turn if you keep getting more Fire Energy to attach a spare each turn.  The periodic larger hit could prevent your opponent from really countering, as the 230 HP should help weather most larger hits.  Well, it would if it were legal for Limited play. 

Ratings 

Standard: 3/5 

Expanded: 3/5 

Limited: N/A (if legal, 3.5/5) 

Summary: Fairly average scores, with the Standard and Expanded bolstered because Salamence-EX is supposed to be so useful; M Salamence-EX appeals to my inner Timmy as a big, hard hitting Dragon Type and to my inner Johnny because it takes some creativity to hit those big numbers, but my not-so-inner Spike is warning me that it’s too much effort for the payoff and even if I want to be creative, there are some other Pokémon with which I could experiment.  Actually, I allowed myself to do just that with a few decks recently; the stench of failure still hangs heavily in the air, so I’m in no hurry to try again.


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