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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Shiinotic
- Sun & Moon

Date Reviewed:
March 21, 2017

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.75
Expanded: 2.25
Limited: 3.5

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

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

And for the last card this week, Shiinotic reveals where he's been hiding this entire time! THERE HE IS!! 

So Shiinotic is an interesting Pokemon that doesn't do much in terms of attacking. Flickering Spores only does 2-for-30 and puts the opponent to Sleep, which is fine unless they flip out of it or Switch or something, but Shiinotic himself does have a hefty Retreat Cost and a low 100 HP to work with. Overall, not exactly screaming for top shelf material in terms of attacking. 

That leaves us with his Ability, Illuminate. Once per turn, Shiinotic gets to light the way for another Grass Pokemon in your deck to add to your hand. Combine this with stuff like Forest of Giant Plants, and you've got easy access to most any Grass Evolution Pokemon you can think of. It's pretty simple to pull off even on Turn 1, so long as you get Forest of Giant Plants. Even without the Forest, you can still grab a powerful Basic Grass Pokemon to put down immediately, or you could even grab the evolution of a card you've got in play! The possibilities are pretty widespread. 

So why would Shiinotic not be that great? Or not show up in so many decks? Well the main reason would be deck space - at minimum, Shiinotic is a 1-1 evolutionary line-up, which means he'll take up 2 spaces in the deck (one for himself, and one for his pre-evo Morellul). Having 2 cards take up the space of what could be something like an Ultra Ball or a Level Ball might not be that appealing in the long run, but we'll have to see. Sometimes people don't wanna discard stuff! 

...wait, Lurantis-GX likes the discard pile. 

Rating 

Standard: 2.5/5 (tutors are usually pretty good, but how many does a deck need?) 

Expanded: 2.5/5 (the short answer is all of them. A deck needs all of the tutors)

Expanded: 3/5 (cooooooooooooonsistency~) 

Arora Notealus: Shiinotic is probably...one of the most forgettable Gen 7 Pokemon out there. I mean don't get me wrong, he's unique in his own way...but he is also another mushroom Pokemon, and at least Foongus and Amoongus had a gimmick in Gen 5 to be one of those Pokeballs out in the middle of nowhere.

Week...end? Thought: I know, early end to the week, but what do you think of this week's cards? Dragonite seems pretty powerful, but is he impractical or just waiting to get tapped into becoming a player? Is Shiinotic good enough for your Grass deck, or do you think he's not worth it? I wonder if Shiinotic and Vikavolt would get along better than Vikavolt and Dragonite? Probably not, considering.


21times

Shiinotic (Sun & Moon, 17/149) is a Stage 1 Grass Pokemon with 100 HP.  As if Grass Pokemon didn’t have enough going for them already, Shiinotics ability, Illuminate, allows you to search your deck for any Grass Pokemon and place it in your hand.  I remember Shiinotic initially getting significant acclaim in Sun & Moon pre-reviews, but I haven’t seen much of him at all in the month and a half since the SUM release.  I saw him three times in February (one win and two losses) and only once in March (I lost).  I used Shiinotic initially but also left him out of deck builds after the first couple of weeks.  It seemed to me that he didn’t bring enough value or I couldn’t get him out early enough to make a difference.  However, this review gave me the opportunity to revisit Shiinotic and objectively evalutate whether he truly improves the winning percentage of a Grass deck.

I decided to use a deck that carries as many Grass Pokemon as possible.  The decklist I chose:

Decidueye Lock (pre Shiinotic) 

##Pokémon - 24 

* 2 Shaymin-EX ROS 77
* 3 Tauros-GX SUM 100
* 1 Beedrill-EX PR-XY XY157
* 2 Oddish AOR 1
* 2 Gloom AOR 2
* 2 Vileplume AOR 3
* 4 Rowlet SUM 9
* 4 Dartrix SUM 10
* 4 Decidueye-GX SUM 12 

##Trainer Cards - 29 

* 3 Professor Sycamore STS 114
* 4 Trainers' Mail ROS 92
* 4 Lillie SUM 147
* 1 Revitalizer GEN 70
* 1 Professor Sycamore BKP 107
* 4 Forest of Giant Plants AOR 74
* 4 Ultra Ball SUM 135
* 1 Lysandre FLF 104
* 3 Float Stone BKT 137
* 2 Level Ball NXD 89
* 2 Fighting Fury Belt BKP 99 

##Energy - 7 

* 4 Double Colorless Energy EVO 90
* 3 Grass Energy EVO 91 

With this decklist, I had 16 wins and 9 losses for a 64% winning percentage.  Then I took out a Level Ball (NXD, 89/103) and Beedrill EX (PR-XY XY157).  I took out the Beedrill because of the simple fact that I rarely run into Garbodor (Breakpoint, 57/122) anymore.  I saw him zero times in the first 25 matches, and I’ve only come across him 18 times in 233 matches this month (less than 8%).  I did have one match against Garbodor in the second group of 25 matches, and I lost that game.  If Garbodor becomes more prevalent again, I would definitely tech Beedrill back in. 

In the second group of 25 matches with Shiinotic, I went 19 and 6, a definite improvement to 76%.  Was it all because of Shiinotic though?  In the first group of 25 matches, I had the advantage 9 times, neither of us had it 13 times, and my opponent had it 3 times.  In the second group with Shiinotic, I had the advantage 14 times, neither of us had it 5 times, but my opponent had the advantage 6 times.  If we give a numerical weight to each category, we can objectively measure strength of schedule.  I gave matches where I had the advantage 1 point, where neither of us had the advantage 2 points, and where my opponent had the advantage 3 points.  Using this system, the first test group without Shiinotic had an opponent strength rating of 44 (9 X 1 plus 13 X 2 plus 3 X 3).  The second group with Shiinotic had a strength rating of 42 (14 X 1 plus 5 X 2 plus 6 X 3).  Therefore, I would say that the level of opponents that I played with both groups was basically the same. 

Part of what is difficult to gauge, however, is that I only actually played Shiinotic five times in those 25 matches.  Granted, I won all five of those matches, but would I really have lost 3 of those 5 matches had I not played Shiinotic?  My notes for those five matches indicate the following:

·         In three out of the five matches, my notes state that Shiinotic was good or helped

·         In one out of the five matches, I wrote that Shiinotic was “huge”

·         In one out of the five matches, I wrote that Shiinotic helped a little

So maybe it is that Shiinotic was the difference in four of those five matches.  Maybe I would have lost three of the five without him.  Maybe I would have won even more matches had I made a more concerted effort to get him into play.  I will say that I felt that getting him onto the bench was a bit of a challenge unless I actually had Morelull (Sun & Moon, 16/149) in my opening hand or early in the match.  There are only five bench spots: one of them’s going to be allocated for Vileplume (Ancient Origins, 3/98), you’re probably going to play Shaymin-EX (Roaring Skies, 106/108) in another, you gotta put a backup Tauros-GX (Sun & Moon, 144/149) in another, and that leaves only room for one Decidueye-GX (Sun & Moon, 12/149) if you put down Shiinotic.  The bench crams up quickly, and that makes it difficult to get Shiinotic into play.  It’s almost a first come, first serve situation – you snooze you lose.  I’m definitely going to continue playing him, though, and I may even add an additional Morelull to help increase the odds of my getting Shiinotic early on.

Rating

Standard: 3.5 out of 5

Summary

Without a doubt, if you are running a Grass deck, you need to at least test Shiinotic yourself.  Give it a run and objectively track how you do with it, if it helped improve your win percentage.  As I mentioned, I would probably add an additional Morelull (I would substitute it for a Trainer’s Mail).  Hopefully, it will help your winning percentage as much if not more than it helped mine.


Otaku

We wrap up our super short week with Shiinotic (SM: Black Star Promos SM10; Sun & Moon 17/149).  This is a Grass Type, which is less useful than it may sound.  We aren’t going to worry about Weakness or Resistance, as Shiinotic isn’t something you use for its attack.  The biggest advantage of a Grass Type right now stems from Forest of Giant Plants, but it is for Grass Types that Evolve if you want to get technical; it can help Shiinotic because Morelull is available as a Grass Type.  There is Revitalizer, an Item to snag two Grass Types from your discard pile and add them to your hand; this has proven quite useful in most decks not only to reclaim Pokémon that have been KO’d but to make freely discarding such cards during setup less painful (sometimes even helpful).  The other pieces of explicit Grass Pokémon support may prove useful on a deck-by-deck basis, and I’ll bring them up later if need be, but the next useful aspect of being a Grass Type is the synergy with other Grass Type Pokémon, some of which are attackers like Lurantis-GX, others of which are Bench-sitters included for their Abilities like Vileplume (XY: Ancient Origins 3/98).  None of the [G] Energy-based support is particularly relevant right now either, save Virizion-EX in the Expanded format.  At least I think; as it can be run in most decks compatible with its “Verdant Wind” Ability in a low count, it may have fallen out of favor, especially if the metagame (of that area, if not in general) shifts away from heavy Special Condition usage.  There are a few anti-Grass effects, but the only one you’re likely to encounter is one-side of Parallel City (normally run for its Bench-shrinking effect), which reduces the damage Grass Types (and Fire and Water Types) do by 20… and like I said, Shiinotic shouldn’t be attacking. 

Shiinotic is a Stage 1 Pokémon, so it isn’t especially easy to slip into a deck, but it is pretty reasonable; just one extra card and one extra turn over using a Basic Pokémon.  As a non-attacker, I don’t think Flareon (XY: Ancient Origins 13/98), Jolteon (XY: Ancient Origins 26/98), and Vaporeon (XY: Ancient Origins 22/98) are going to matter, either, though maybe there is some trick enabled by adding Fire/Lighting/Water-Typing to Shiinotic could prove worthwhile.  Shiinotic has 100 HP, enough to survive small hits, but easily taken down in one shot by most decks with a half-decent setup.  Instead of wishing it was higher, it might have been better for it to be 10 HP lower so that Level Ball could search it out.  Fire Weakness just means Fire decks are quite, quite likely to score a OHKO, as opposed to being just “likely”.  Lack of Resistance is typical and only means so much to a 100 HP Pokémon, so while I would prefer it to be present, it doesn't really hurt Shiinotic to be lacking any.  The Retreat Cost of [CC] is low enough you can often pay it but high enough you’ll feel it sooner or later if you do.  Mostly a concern should Shiinotic be stranded up front to stall, as decks looking for the KO probably will manage it in one. 

Shiinotic has the Ability “Illuminate”, which allows you to search your deck once per turn, before you attack, for a Grass Type Pokémon, then add it to your hand.  While not powerful in and of itself, Illuminate provides reliable, reusable search for the Grass Type.  As is usually the case, “once per turn” refers to a particular instance of the Ability; if you have multiple Shiinotic with Illuminate on your Bench, each can be used once per turn.  Shiinotic has an attack called “Flickering Spores” for [GC]; it does 30 damage and leaves your opponent’s Active Asleep.  Sleep can help when you’re desperate, trying to stall, but the two Energy cost means you must be very desperate to try it.  Pretty clear Shiinotic is all about its Ability.  There is only one Morelull (Sun & Moon 16/149), so let’s cover it quickly.  A Basic, Grass Type Pokémon with 60 HP, Fire Weakness, no Resistance, Retreat Cost [C], and two attacks.  Flickering Spores shows up here as well, this time doing no damage, but still inflicting Sleep and at a cost of [C].  That means it is actually more useful here for stalling than it is on Shiinotic.  The second attack is “Ram” for [G], and it just does 10 damage; almost worthless filler, but at least it only requires one Energy.  Morelull doesn’t look like a big help to Shiinotic, except for working with Forest of Giant Plants to speed Shiinotic into play. 

Shiinotic has been popping up in Grass decks since Sun & Moon released, and the one place I’ve seen it be amazing is… “Forest Shadow”, the Grass Theme Deck for the set.  I expect it is great for Limited play as well.  Of course, I haven’t been running any of the older Vileplume builds since Sun & Moon released, and I don’t have enough copies of Lurantis-GX or Decidueye-GX to run those decks either.  What I have done is face multiple decks using Shiinotic, and I haven’t been impressed.  Sometimes it really is a game changer, like when you need to setup multiple Decidueye-GX under Vileplume, but even then I’m not sure if it is better than just adding a bit more general search.  It is a nice fallback for when you have to lock down Items before your own setup is complete, but Decidueye-GX and Vileplume decks aren’t about getting one of each out.  You may only need one Vileplume, with a second only there as a spare, but you want to get out as many Decidueye-GX as you can so that you can assail your opponent with its “Feather Arrow” Ability.  If you’re limping along with one or none and you only have your Supporter for the turn plus a single search from Shiinotic (not like you’ll have room for multiples of it), your opponent has time to brute force their way to a win.  Most Grass decks using Forest of Giant Plants can take advantage of the usual draw Supporter, Shaymin-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 77/108, 106/108), and Ultra Ball fueled power-players: if they don’t need multiple Stage 2 Grass Types, Shiinotic isn’t really needed, and if they do it isn’t as fast as just including a bit more support. 

Ratings 

Standard: 2.25/5 

Expanded: 2/5 

Limited: 4/5 

Theme: 4/5 

Summary 

I’ve done so many 180ş turns trying to evaluate Shiinotic that I ought to be in a halfpipe.  It began when we first saw the card and continued through this review; it may continue on, as I don’t have the time or resources needed to conduct a truly thorough study, seeing how it works in dozens of matches for each of dozens up match-ups for a single deck, let alone all the possible Grass decks that may incorporate it. 

At first glance, I awarded this card a “C”, the equivalent of a three-out-of-five score; might be good for slower Grass decks, but fast stuff like Vespiquen (XY: Ancient Origins 10/98) probably wouldn’t have any use for it.  Then my second evaluation dropped that to a “D-”, about a two-out-of-five.  Just because Decidueye-GX/Vileplume decks are the current big bad, in Standard I bumped it up to the equivalent of a “D”.  Expanded has Battle Compressor; besides its usual benefits, that means Revitalizer can fake being search (at least when not under Item lock); I think that makes Shiinotic and its Illuminate less useful.  Still nice in the Limited and Theme Deck formats, where most decks just won’t have a lot of other search options.


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