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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Tsareena
- Sun & Moon

Date Reviewed:
March 6, 2017

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3
Expanded: 3
Limited: 3.75

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 now we come back to another week with one of the most...interesting Pokemon designs, Tsareena. An entirely female evolutionary line that has some...boots. 

...interesting. 

So Tsareena migrates into the TCG with an attack and an Ability. Trop Kick is a 3-for-80 that...also does Big Malasada on Tsareena? Wow, and we've completely invalidated the need for that Item, thus freeing up 4 spaces in your Tsareena-based deck! Might I recommend a Rare Candy or two? All kidding aside, Tsareena's Trop Kick doesn't really replace Big Malasada - it COMPLETELY OUTDOES IT!! Not only do you heal 20 damage, you also get to remove ALL Special Conditions (reminder that Big Malasada only removes 1) AND you get to deal 80 damage. All that in this one attack? Not too bad! It's a shame the damage output isn't somewhat higher, but it makes her viable at the least.

Which leads me into her Ability, Queenly Majesty. In the games, it's a unique Ability to the Tsareena family that nullifies priority attacks. Since there's no such thing as priority attacking in the TCG, the Ability is reworked to the next best thing: taking a look at your opponent's hand and discarding a card from it. Course you can only do this when you evolve into Tsareena, but there is potential to be really mean and loop her with Forest of Giant Plants and Devolution Spray to discard your opponent's entire hand!! 

...wait, it's only one per turn? Oh...never mind then. 

Still the Ability is useful as it gives you information on your opponent's deck and can be used to get rid of a useful card in their hand, like a Sycamore or Kukui they've got. Combined with other hand reduction cards, this could be a potentially devastating deck to work with, but the major drawback that comes to mind is that Tsareena is still a Stage 2, meaning you'd have to run the Basic and the Stage 1 to efficiently take advantage of Forest of Giant Plants to use her Ability. Don't get me wrong, her attack is pretty good, but I dunno if it's the kind of attack to center your deck around. 

Who knows what potential she'll hold for the future though? 

Rating 

Standard: 3/5 (being a Grass-type is great, and a free discard is really nice too)

Expanded: 3/5 (it's just a great time to be around in this format) 

Limited: 4/5 (though it probably won't last forever) 

Arora Notealus:...Tsareena...is such an interesting Pokemon. Like how do they take the concept of the snoody high-end rich person and personify that onto a plant? Pokemon just never ceases to amaze. Course she's also part of the crowd of Gen VII Pokemon that got TOTALLY UNIQUE ABILITIES to themselves, which that's amazing in its own right. Like they thought of the Ability first and then made the Pokemon around that. 

Next Time: When you've got too many Pokemon to deal with, what you need is some of this!


Otaku

Another week, another review!  Unfortunately, in this case, another late review, which is more the pity because it steps on my opening joke of “Go Killer Queen!” as a not-so-subtle reference to Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable.  It is probably better this way.  Since the character’s name in that story is a reference to the song by the band Queen and I think I’ve just earned a Confusion check for myself with this introduction.  Speaking of confusion, while researching today’s card, I found out that there is some over how it works, seemingly due to the combination of a slightly off translation, some Pokémon reference websites still using said translation for their text spoilers (instead of referencing the actual, English card), and some confusion over a pretty typical phrase for Pokémon Abilities… that is admittedly a poor choice on TPCi’s part as a straightforward reading of the text runs contrary to how it works in the game.  Oh, my!  So without further ado, onto the review of Tsareena (Sun & Moon 20/149)! 

Tsareena is a Grass Type, allowing her to exploit the Weakness found on many Water Pokémon and a decent chunk of the Fighting Type, and nothing in Expanded or Standard is Grass Resistant; a solid performance overall. There are some anti-Grass Type effects, but outside of Parallel City, you won’t encounter much, and it just means -20 damage if the opponent doesn’t mind capping his or her Bench at three Pokémon.  The Grass Type has two standout pieces of support.  Forest of Giant Plants provides amazing Evolution acceleration, but actually only cares about Steenee being a Grass Type.  Revitalizer allows you to add two Grass Type Pokémon from the discard pile to hand, which is good for Standard play and great for Expanded, where you have Battle Compressor.  I don’t recall any [G] Energy-based effects which are likely to help Tsareena; there are a few but they don’t seem particularly relevant to this card.  The natural synergy from running on [G] Energy and/or sharing Grass Pokémon Type based support may come into play.  Be prepared for Tsareena to struggle if you cannot open with (and maybe keep) Forest of Giant Plants on the field, and even with she’s still a three card investment.  Tsareena has 140 HP, just barely at the point where it becomes more likely to survive a typical attack mid and late game than not.  Fire Weakness means a OHKO is all but assured by competitive Fire Type attackers, barring the usual bad setup that may plague any deck.  Lack of Resistance is typical; while it would have helped, no sense holding this against Tsareena.  Her Retreat Cost of [CC] isn’t low enough to be good, but at least it isn’t so high as to be crippling, either. 

Tsareena has one Ability and one attack.  “Queenly Majesty” is the Ability, which triggers when you Evolve one of your in play Pokémon into her, during your turn.  When this happens, you may force your opponent to reveal his or her hand, then discard a card of your choice from it.  Just seeing your opponent’s hand is a small treat, but the targeted discard is quite, quite potent.  Even before building in combos, your opponent has to have a very good or very bad hand for Queenly Majesty not to generate some solid advantage.  It is also where there is confusion about Tsareena; this Ability can be used as often as you can trigger it whether through Evolving into multiple Tsareena or using something like Devolution Spray to devolve Tsareena, then re-Evolving.  The latter could be a ready-to-Evolve Bounsweet or Steenee or the same Steenee if you have Forest of Giant Plants in play.  The only restrictions are that you must Evolve into this Tsareena from hand and during your own turn.  If you use something like Evo Soda or Wally, it won’t work as those Evolutions count as coming from your deck and not your hand.  I cannot think of any examples of Evolving between turns or during your opponent’s turn, but if they exist, they won’t trigger Queenly Majesty either.  From what I can tell, there are some that think this effect cannot be used multiple times in a single turn due to minor error from one of the more popular translations of the Japanese version of the card (prior to the release of it in other languages), the fear that this effect is better than it looks, and the disbelief that an effect which would indeed be broken in other TCGs could be used multiple times per turn, even in Pokémon.

The weird thing?  The attack is going to need some explanation as well, but not because of ruling or translation issues.  “Trop Kick” is an awesome name, and like Queenly Majesty, is from the video games, though with a much different effect.  For [GCC], Trop Kick does 80 damage while also healing 20 damage from Tsareena plus removing all Special Conditions.  80 damage a pop means even your typical 170 HP Basic Pokémon-EX survive three turns unless Weakness or other damage buffs are a factor.  Some of the biggest Pokémon can survive three hits from Trop Kick.  This is definitely below the competitive curve; there are exceptions, but they require less Energy, are on Stages that require less setup, and/or include something else to offset the low yield like useful Ability or attack effect.  While we may have such an Ability in Queenly Majesty, we also have an attack effect, but it doesn’t contribute as much as it may appear.  Like damage buffs, healing only matters if it shifts the number of turns until your Pokémon is KO’d in your favor, or if there is some effect dependent upon having a specific amount of HP or damage.  An attack that scores a OHKO still scores a OHKO, so no luck there.  Things aren’t much better when it comes to 2HKO’s, as it only will delay things a turn if the combination of two attacks (and any other effects) would have resulted in an effective 140 or 150 damage; less and it wouldn’t have been a 2HKO anyway, while more and it is still a 2HKO (or OHKO).  That’s most of the competitive metagame, and we haven’t gotten to the other misleading bit. 

Trop Kick cannot actually remove Paralysis or Sleep; those prevent you from attacking, so an attack that heals them is for show only, barring some future hypothetical card.  Confusion forces a coin flip, with “heads” having Trop Kick work as intended (and removing Confusion), while “tails” means it places three damage counters on Tsareena instead of its intended effects.  That means Trop Kick only reliably treats Burn and Poison, and even there, we have some timing issues.  Usually, it is your opponent afflicting your Pokémon with Special Conditions, including Burn and Poison, so you’ll have already taken damage from them (and possibly had Burn go away on its own) before you have a chance to attack with Trop Kick.  There are also things like Poison Barb, which Poisons you on your turn, but after you attack.  The way things resolve, Trop Kick will resolve completely before Poison Barb Poisons Tsareena, so you’ll take Poison damage twice before Trop Kick could heal it.  There is also how Special Conditions can be removed through a few others methods.  Of particular note here is through Evolving and Devolving; if Tsareena doesn’t so much damage on herself so as to be KO’d from reverting to Steenee, one of the tricks for spamming her Ability will also shake Special Conditions and many attack effects.  It isn’t all bad for Trop Kick; when we get Choice Band, it will still be behind other competitive attackers in terms of damage output, but it will be a bit easier to reach key KO amounts.  Queenly Majesty does have some synergy with Trop Kick; the disruption may slow down your opponent’s damage output, allowing the healing to make a difference, and keeping the cycle going by allowing you a chance to safely reuse Queenly Majesty via stuff like Devolution Spray.  I just wouldn’t count on it.  

So how to use Tsareena?  We need to look at from that which she Evolves.  The only options we have for the lower Stages are Bounsweet (Sun & Moon 18/149) and Steenee (Sun & Moon 19/149).  You could skip Steenee and use Rare Candy, but remember that won’t work with the effect of Forest of Giant Plants.  Both are Grass Type Pokémon with Fire Weakness and no Resistance (like Tsareena), as well as no Ability and two attacks (unlike Tsareena).  Bounsweet a Basic Pokémon with 60 HP, can heal 30 damage from one of your Pokémon for [G] via its “Sweet Scent” attack, or for [C] can do 10 damage through “Splash”.  Steenee is a Stage 1 Pokémon with 90 HP that also has Sweet Scent (same cost and effect), but has “Stomp” for [CC] to do 20 damage and flip a coin; “heads” means another 20 damage while “tails” means just the base 20 is done.  These are not particularly great, but I will give a smidgen of credit in that HP scores; though still well below what they need to be, for what a Basic and Stage 1 typically possess they aren’t as low as they could be. 

How can one go about optimizing the usage of Tsareena?  First, by not forgetting the usual rules of deckbuilding; we want something as reliable as possible given the circumstances.  I’m not going to worry too much about the specifics of that; just remember that a big issue for why we cannot make use of every strategy (let alone card) I am about to suggest is because we’ll still need room for Tsareena, whether we go all-out with a full 4-4-4 line or slip a 1-0-1 line into a deck that already runs spare Rare Candy (...that used to be a real common thing, long ago).  So assuming we can build a deck utilizing Tsareena that is sufficiently fast and reliable, how else can we capitalize on her effects?  I am going to start with her attack, Trop Kick.  Max Elixir and a Double Colorless Energy can ready Trop Kick in a single turn if you also use Forest of Giant Plants to immediately Evolve.  If other attackers in the deck lend to this, I see no problem with the strategy, but I don’t believe the return is worth it for a deck that will likely be running quite low on space.  The same goes for most other compatible Energy acceleration; it needs to complement something else, barring some new release that significantly alters the situation.  Which makes it clear that you really want a different primary attacker, with Trop Kick held in reserve (or not used at all). 

Queenly Majesty is the reason to run this card and to optimize it we should look for effects that complement it.  Other effects that attack your opponent’s hand seem like a good start.  Using Judge or Red Card before you Evolve means your opponent has a smaller hand, and so every remaining card most likely matters that much more.  On the other hand, using Queenly Majesty before another discard effect will further shrink the opponent’s hand, while also informing you of whether the follow-up effect is worth it.  Supporters like Delinquent, Ghetsis, and Team Skull Grunt can really wreck an opponent’s hand, but not only do you have the usual burden of justifying your use of a Supporter for the turn, but all three have other issues that Queenly Majesty may help counteract.  Delinquent means discarding the Stadium card in play, and especially if it is your own, that may not be worth it for your opponent to discard the three cards they’d have trashed anyway with a Professor Sycamore the next turn.  Ghetsis and Team Skull Grunt only affect specific targets; if those targets aren’t in your opponent’s hand, all you get is an even worse version of Hand Scope.  You may wish to consider other effects to make the discard hurt worse; Alolan Muk or Silent Lab can keep cards like Oranguru and Shaymin-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 77/108, 106/108) from refilling your opponent’s hand.  Ideally (if we disregard potential game balance), we’d have some means of controlling what your opponent topdecks, but the only option that springs to mind is Trick Shovel, a finite resource with finite reach (still worth considering for Expanded play).

It badly hurts most Item based combos, but Vileplume (XY: Ancient Origins 3/98) means all your opponent’s Items are also dead in hand, so you just need to focus on discarding the best of the rest.  While Vileplume is also a Stage 2, both are Grass Types and thus may share worthwhile support.  By this same logic, Ariados (XY: Ancient Origins 6/98) is also worth considering; this time because it can offset some (but not all) of the damage deficit from Trop Kick, by Poisoning all non-Grass Type Active Pokémon via its Ability.  Expanded offers AZ, Cassius, Scoop Up Cyclone, and Super Scoop Up as additional or alternate ways of reusing Queenly Majesty; all will work a lot better if you have Forest of Giant Plants in play but don’t technically require it.  Other than AZ, I’d only include the rest if they work well with another aspect of your deck, such as if you have a worthwhile main attacker to bounce.  Seismitoad-EX can also provide Item lock, and while its damage output isn’t great, it won’t need to hit hard if your opponent can hardly ever fight back.  Lurantis-GX is back on the Grass train, and if you did have to attack with Tsareena, it does make powering up Trop Kick a simpler affair.  It may behoove you to try hit-and-run tactics; while Tsareena isn’t large, she isn’t small, either.  This means something like Donphan (BW: Plasma Storm 72/135) could toss it up front while hiding (and building) itself upon the Bench.  At least with this particular Expanded-only example, you could use AZ to bounce the entire Tsareena line when she survives, and the various bits of Pokémon recycling if she doesn’t.  Speaking of which, at times shrinking your Bench such as with Parallel City may be to your advantage, especially if Forest of Giant Plants and Revitalizer are handy.

While writing this, I started to wonder if I ought to try Tsareena behind something like Houndoom-EX and its mill tactics, as mill also compliments hand control.  So as you can see, there is a lot that can work with Tsareena, even more so in Expanded play, but which bits to use and in what amounts is hard to answer.  I think Tsareena has much potential, but also a lot of hangups.  The net result is, for Standard and Expanded, a somewhat average performance.  For Limited play, she’s pretty good.  Her HP will last longer, her lower Stages are a bit less useless, and Trop Kick will face lower HP foes while the lower average damage output gives its healing a better chance of making a difference.  You won’t be able to spam Queenly Majesty, and there is a better chance your opponent will have a hand with nothing important to discard, but seeing your opponent’s hand matters more in Limited play, and it is harder to recover when something good is discarded. 

Ratings 

Standard: 3/5 

Expanded: 3/5 

Limited: 3.5/5 

Summary 

Such a scary and (to my surprise) confusing card as Tsareena, and in the end I only score her as if she were average.  That is because the good just about equals the bad; messing with your opponent’s hand is powerful, but it has been a while since Pokémon gave all the tools necessary for this kind of effect to be blatantly broken. 

Tsareena didn’t make any of our Top 10 lists, but I did panic when I first saw her… which wasn’t when I first graded her.  By then, I remembered this wasn’t the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG when Yata-Lock decks ruled thanks to the combos required to wipe out an opponent’s entire hand and field in a single turn, then stop them from drawing ever again.  So Tsareena received a “C” both times I graded her, which does indeed translate to a three-out-of-five.  With all that said, keep an eye on her in case we do get the needed pieces for devastating decks (or had them and just needed time to put it all together).


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