Is It Playable? Blastoise Cold Flare

by coolestman22 ~ September 27th, 2012.

Hey OneHitKO people, it’s me, coolestman22, trying to get out another article because of the absence of our good friend, Pikkdogs. Today I will do another of my Is It Playable? articles where I review a somewhat controversial card from an upcoming set and try to determine whether it’s playable or not.

But you ask “What controversy is there around Blastoise?”. Well, remember back in the Summer of 2011 when Emboar had just come out and we were about to rotate to HS-on? Remember how everyone had said “ReshiBoar and MagneBoar are BDIF!”

I assume you also remember how wrong they were. Yes, MagneBoar did win Worlds, but only after a very poor U.S. Nationals performance. And ReshiBoar was never good. Never ever. Reshiram found a partner with Typhlosion Prime HS and Emboar BW 20 became the laughingstock of the Pokemon community. In fact, the best Emboar deck ever may have been the Foretress LA/Emboar deck that revolves around using Inferno Fandango to attach fires to Foretress and using its Poke-Body to hit for 20 against everything on the field.

Well, now that a fairly similar card is coming out we must once again ask ourselves “Is this actually good, or does it just look good on paper, like the last two?” Well, let’s look at Blastoise (again):

Blastoise – Water – HP140
Stage 1 – Evolves from Wartortle
Ability: Bursting Stream
As often as you like during your turn (before your attack), you may attach 1 [W] Energy card to 1 of your Pokemon. (This doesn’t use up your 1 Energy card attachment for the turn.)
[C][C][C][C] Hydro Pump: 60+ damage. This attack does 10 more damage for each [W] Energy attached to this Pokemon.
Weakness: Grass (x2)
Resistance: none
Retreat: 4

Well, let’s review the stats first: 140 HP is good, but it is still within OHKO range of Hydreigon DRX 97. Not something you want your Stage Two engine to have to deal with, but in BW-BoC I would assume it’s easier to set up an additional Stage Two.

The Weakness to grass is good. While it does mean it gets OHKOed by Virizion NVI with either Vileplume Freeze Bolt or an attack last turn, it also means that the Lightning attackers don’t hit it for weakness. This is why Kyogre EX was looked at as pish-posh by the community, because without the Lightning weakness it’s a very good card against Zekeels (I think John Roberts II proved this to some extent).

The No Resistance is fairly common. After all, what would the Resistance be on a water Pokemon? It might be fire in the VG, but in the TCG I don’t believe that has happened once (Except the random Quagsire or Swampert with the Lightning Resistance).

The Four retreat is less than optimal, but if you’re playing the variant with Keldeo EX that everyone is hyping, Keldeo’s Step In Ability will solve this problem for you.

The Ability, Bursting Stream, is pretty good. We have only had three other power/abilities like this ever. Blastoise Base Set had this as a Pokemon Power, and then Feraligatr Prime had a version of it that only attached to water types in HG/SS. Then, Emboar BW had a version that used fires that could go anywhere, and now the new Blastoise. Sure, there have been others like it (Blastoise ex, where you have Rain Dance but you put 10 damage where you dropped the energy, comes to mind), but these are the only four that I’ve heard of that have no drawbacks.

The Attack is probably the best ever from something with “Rain Dance”, which includes the Emboar. Being able to attack with Blastoise is a nice option to have, even though you generally only will against Sigilyph DRX.

Ability – Step In: Once during your turn, if this Pokemon is on your bench, you may switch it with your Active Pokemon.
CCC – Hydro Pump 50+
Does 20 more damage for each W energy attached to this Pokemon.

So, let’s move on to the question that’s on everyone’s mind: Is it playable?

Well, there were three main reasons that Emboar BW wasn’t playable:

The first was that with both ReshiBoar and MagneBoar you had to replace some energy almost every turn. Whether you used Blue Flare or Lost Burn, you were still using up energy, and at some points it could be fairly hard to replace. With the main partners people are playing Blastoise with, whether it’s Keldeo EX, Kyurem NVI, or even Wailord DRX, you don’t discard or lost zone energy to attack. While you may need to replace them due to a knockout or other reasons, you won’t need to every turn. With Emboar you did, and at some points in the game you missed your attack because of it.

The second was that Emboar had a retreat cost of four. Well, if you look at Blastoise’s retreat cost, it’s also four, so how do you solve this problem?

The answer is, of course, Keldeo EX’s Ability, Step In. Step In means that you can’t really Catcher-stall anything with

Blastoise, because the Keldeo you want attacking will always be able to attack providing there’s no Garbodor DRX with a tool on the field, at which point you aren’t in good shape anyway because you won’t be able to Rain Dance. But, there’s always a couple Tool Scrapper in most decks to counter Garbodor, and if you manage to get a Scrapper then you can again use Step In, and because of Skyla you will frequently be able to get a Scrapper in these sort of situations.

The third problem was Judge and N, which got rid of the energy from hand that Emboar would be attaching. At first you may think that there’s nothing that Blastoise can do about this, but remember Step In? If you play Musharna NXD your odds of drawing into a Supporter increase, and you will have more cards to look through to draw into an energy. While this doesn’t very effectively solve the problem, it still somewhat does. And not all Keldeo variants will play Musharna, but this would make it more of something to keep in mind while building any Keldeo variant. While this doesn’t completely solve the problem, it definitely does more than Emboar which had no answer to the problem other than having a higher retreat cost than Musharna.

Another thing to remember is that by solving problem one, you also somewhat solve problem three. By not needing to attach the energy, you don’t have the problem of needing to attach the energy. Unless your Keldeo just got knocked out and you need a replacement Keldeo, you won’t have to draw into energy right away off of the N. You can sit in topdeck mode a couple more turns while you Hydro Pump away, and when you draw the Bianca or Juniper or Bicycle you can play it and draw into what you need.

Another thing I want to take a brief look at why Feraligatr Prime was never good.

Well, you ask, why wasn’t it good? Well, it just never had a good partner. It never had a partner quite like Keldeo EX, and among the best it had were Lumineon MT, Lanturn Prime, and Blastoise UL. As you can see, none of those were particularly appealing to play, unlike Keldeo for Blastoise. As for Kyurem/Feraligatr, well, Kyurem was instead played in CaKE, because that was a faster option, and Kyurem was one of those things that you wanted attacking ASAP. In HS-NXD Kyurem saw a bit of play with Exp. Share when 30 HP Tynamo was the norm, and that was considered a better way to play it than Feraligatr.

Blastoise will have a better partner right off the bat in Keldeo, and it will also see some play with Kyurem NVI (Although I would prefer the Ether/Exp. Share variant or the Dusknoir variant) and possibly even Wailord DRX and Fliptini.

So I do think Blastoise will be good, however that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be. This hasn’t been a good game mechanic since Base Set, but I guess everything is good at some point.

What do you guys think of Blastoise? All discussion is welcomed in the comments below, and thanks for reading!

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