Digging Up Bones: The Past, The Present, and the Future of Fossil Pokemon

by Pikkdogs ~ March 2nd, 2012.

A big hello to all you OHKOers out there.  This is Pikkdogs here with an article about Fossil Pokemon. Fossil Pokemon have almost always been in the game, and they have almost always been just a gimmick.  However, lately there have been some changes to the fossil gimmick and there will be more in the near future.  So, let’s take a quick overview of the fossils and find out if they will ever have a chance to be a good game mechanic.  But first, we must say hello to a good car mechanic, Pedro.

How’s it going Pikkdogs?  Wait, I am not a mechanic.

Of course you are, don’t you remember you said you would look at my hot rod.

Oh, that was something else.  Let’s just skip on to the opening segment of the article.  Foxnews.com is reporting that the Playboy Company and “space tourism company” Virgin Galactic are planning to create a space station.  The space station will be what Fox News is calling a “Cosmic Men’s Club.”  It will have a casino, a restaurant, and a zero gravity dancing floor.  The restaurant will serve meals delivered to your table by sexy waitresses wearing a Playboy Bunny costume and a jet-pack.  What do you think of that Pikkdogs.

This is like my dream.  Hot girls and jetpacks!  What could be better than that?

That sounds pretty cool.  I wonder how one would dance without gravity. 

Well, I don’t care about that, I couldn’t dance with gravity, I don’t really have anything to lose without it I guess.

I wonder if  the casino would have artificial gravity in it?  If not it would be hard to hide your hand while playing Poker and flipping around. 


Hey Pikkdogs, I asked you about casinos in space.

Sorry, I was thinking about hot girls and jetpacks.  No more casino talk, time to talk about Fossils.

The History of Fossils in Pokemon

Hey Pedro, what set did Fossils first appear in?


No, Fossil.

Trick question. 

No, it was not.  Anyway, the fossils first debuted in the Fossil set that came out shortly after Base Set.  The way the Fossil mechanic worked back then was that every fossil Pokemon like Kabuto and Aerodactyl evolved from a trainer card called Mysterious Fossil.  You would play down this card as a basic Pokemon, and you could then evolve it into a Fossil Pokemon like Omanyte.  It  had 10 HP, it later was reprinted with as much as 50 HP, and if it got knocked out before it became a regular Pokemon, it did not cost you a prize.  I did not play the game when the Mysterious Fossil was legal, so I don’t know a lot about how well it was played.  I know that Aerodactyl from Fossil with its “Prehistoric Power” Pokemon Power did see some play.  Though I don’t think Fossil Pokemon were ever that great in this era.  If someone who has played in that era could chime in the comment section, I would appreciate it.

The Mysterious Fossil era doesn’t end until modern times in the Mysterious Treasures set.  From this set on we get cards like Claw Fossil, Old Amber, and Root Fossil that evolve into specific Pokemon.  This was good because it allowed you to comfortably run more than 1 Fossil line in a deck.  But, it was bad because it meant that you couldn’t run several different fossil Pokemon without running several different types of fossils.  Another thing that these fossils could do is that they could be discarded while in play by the player of the fossil.  It wasn’t great, but it was nice to have the option.  There were some new things about fossils with the loss of Mysterious Fossil, but the same problems still lingered.  For one, you could not get the fossils from your deck with a card like Roseane’s Research.  This left you with some basic Pokemon and some fossils, it just hurt consistency to not have a way to search out fossils.  They were also still trainer cards, so they couldn’t be played on your first turn.  They also couldn’t be played during trainer lock, which came around in the Undaunted Set with Vileplume.  It was hard to reccomend playing a deck with basics that you can’t search, and basics that you might not be able to play down. 

Even though the deck was stacked against Fossil Pokemon they still saw some play.  Rampardos was actually one of the better decks in the format when the Platinum set was released.  It didn’t last too long since SP Pokemon, Gengar, and Machamp soon took over, but it was pretty good for a while.  Kabutops also saw some decent play as a rogue deck, and did fairly well at Nationals 2009 if I remember correctly.  During Cities 2010, I was paired up against a rogue Cradily deck that very nearly beat my very good Gyarados deck.  So Fossil Pokemon were good and were around, they just were never mainstream.  They stayed more of a rogue choice until SP Pokemon got really good and then an early rotation was announced.

The Present

The Black and White sets brought a final change to the Fossil mechanic.  Seperate cards like Old Amber and Plume Fossil were produced, and they were still trainer cards.  But, they were no longer to be played on the bench like a benched Pokemon.  Instead, you are to look at the bottom 7 cards of your deck and if the Pokemon that the fossil evolves from is there, you can put it onto your bench.  People were not too excited about this mechanic, since it didn’t really fix any of the major fossil problems.  You still couldn’t search them out with Pokemon Collector, meaning that any fossil deck is not nearly as consistent as a non-fossil deck.  And, they still can’t be played during trainer lock.  The fact that a fossil is a trainer card is what is holding the mechanic back, not the cards they evolve into.  Hopefully some day Nintendo will see this and make fossils like basic Pokemon, or they introduce better ways to play down fossil evolutions.  Well, maybe they just might.

The Future

Fossil Pokemon have not had a huge push lately, or any push at all since Platinum, but things might change a little bit.  To get a better look at some of the new Fossil and Fossil related cards in the format, let’s do a couple card reviews and pre-views.  Then we can wrap up the article and then send it up to Pedro to end it.

Card Review #1 Archeops

Description– Archeops is a stage 2 Fighting Pokemon from  Noble Victories.  It has 130 HP, a grass weakness, and a 2 retreat cost.  It has the “Ancient Power” Ability.  This Ability prevents either player from evolving any Pokemon from his/her hand.  It also has one attack called “Rock Slide.”  This attack does 60 damage and snipes two Pokemon for 10.

Analysis– So let’s get the basics out of the way first.  130 HP is not that great for a stage 2 now-a-days, but it is what you expect for a flying type.  The 2 retreat cost is baffling since the darn thing has wings.  The weakness is a good one to have.  The attack is really bad.  No body is going to want to attach three energies to do a total of 80 damage between 3 Pokemon.  It is just very under-powered.  The Ability is actually not bad.  Even though the future of the game is with the basic Pokemon, some decks do still evolve, so it would be cool to stop that.  The question is, is stopping evolutions worth all the trouble?

I don’t know of any serious deck that ever played this card, it is more of a fun deck to use the fossil gimmick.  It recieved no hype whatsoever in Noble Victories, and nobody has talked about it since.

It doesn’t really fit into any deck right now.  If a deck needed to stop evolutions, there is a possiblity that they could work this fossil line in their deck, but right now their is no reason to.  It seems better to dedicate most of your deck space for trainers, and leave techs like this out of your deck.

This card could be in the format for a while, if so, there is a possibility that this deck could work.   Cards that work well with this card are Research Record and Twist Mountain (which will be talked about later).  As of right now, this is just a card to keep in your binder just in case something weird happens in the format.

Card  Pre-View #2 Aerodactyl Dark Rush

Description– Our first Dark Rush card is Aerodactyl.  The Japanese Dark Rush set had a few cool fossil cards in it, so let’s look and see if any of them can save Fossils from obscurity.

Aerodactyl has 90 HP Fighting Pokemon with a grass weakness and a 1 retreat cost.  It has the “Primal Scream” ability, which let’s you do 10 more damage when your active Pokemon attack.  Since this is only a translation, we do not know if this power will stack, but I would guess that it probably will.  This Pokemon also has one attack,  Called “Wing Attack”, the attack does 40 damage for CCC.

Analysis-  Let’s start with the basics again.  90 HP is terrible in this format, but it could work if you just plan to use him as a bench sitter.  The grass weakness is pretty good, no complaint there.  The 1 retreat cost is again a head scratcher, it has wings and 90 HP?  Can a brother get some slack with the retreat cost?  The attack is really bad, and won’t ever be used.  But, I don’t think Aerodactyl is a lost cause.

This card very much reminds me of Cherrim SF, that card also let you do 10 more damage on your attacks.  So these cards act as Plus Powers.  Aerodactyl is nice because he doesn’t even require the attacker to be of a specific type, that gives him a huge advantage over Cherrim.

I could really see this card getting some play.  I could imagine this card working well with something like Donphan Prime.  It only needs 1 energy to attack, and it can do 100 damage for just that 1 energy with the help of 4 Aerodactyls.  I could see a deck like this being at least a good rouge choice.  It won’t ever be awesome, but it could be playable.

Their are bad things about this card.  First you are probably be going to need to run 4 Old Ambers, 4 Aerodactyls, 4 Research Records, and 2 Twist Mountains.  That is a lot of resources to devout to something that doesn’t attack.  It won’t be the most consistent thing on the planet, although it won’t be super inconsistent.  I do really think that this card has promise to be the most played fossil card since Rampardos Pt. 

Card Pre-View #3 Twist Mountain

Description-  Here is the card that I have been talking about for a while, Twist Mountain.  It is a stadium card that is also came out of the Dark Rush set.  I expect that we will be getting both Twist Mountain and Aerodactyl in our next set, but I can’t be sure.

The effect of Twist Mountain is this:  Once during either player’s turn they may flip a coin, if heads they may play a Revived Pokemon (the stage 1 of a Fossil line) to their bench as if it were a basic.

Analysis– This is what we have always been waiting for with Fossil Pokemon, kind of.  A way to put Pokemon on the bench without having to use a stupid Trainer card.  The trainer card has always held Fossils back, if a Stadium card can replace the item card, than Fossil Pokemon can be given a chance to be more consistent.  This could the card that saves Fossils and makes them just as consistent as all the other evolution lines.

So is this card what Fossils need?  Not really.  The flip is what kills this card.  If you could play Revived Pokemon down with a stadium card without the flip, than yes Fossil Pokemon could be saved.  But, the flip again hurts consistency. Consistency has always been the problem with Fossil Pokemon, and the added flip here does not help that much.

Does it help at all?  Yes, I think it does.  I could see 2 of these cards in every deck that plays a fossil Pokemon.  You would still need to play the same old fossil item cards, but this could be a secondary way of getting the Fossil Pokemon out.  It will increase consistency in some ways, but it will not cure all of the consistency woes that these decks have.

So I could see this card seeing a little play, but is not the savior of  Fossil Pokemon that we are all waiting for.


Well, that is what is coming up in terms of fossils.  I would say that even though Nintendo is trying to make the Fossil mechanic better, all of their support so far is not enough.  We need to make Fossils a basic Pokemon that can be search out with Pokemon Collector.  Either that, or Twist Mountain needs to be able to work without a coin flip.  If they don’t do either one of those options, or something similar, Fossils will always be get a raw deal. It seems like fossils are better left buried and untouched.

Hey Pedro, why don’t you end the article with some news.

Well, this past week was the Republican Presidential Primary for your home state of Michigan.  It was won by the very rich former son of Michigan, Mitt Romney.  Do you like the Mitt Romney, Pikkdogs?


Well, that was short and sweet.  You do know Pikkdogs that Presidential Primaries only happen once every four years.  How about we play a game where we try to think of other things that happen every four years. 

Sounds fun to me, you can start.

Okay, Once every four years…………someone in England brushes their teeth. 

Picking on the English, hey.  That’s fun, but if you pick on them you gotta pick on another British group.  Once every four years…………..a guy in Scotland has sex with something that isn’t a sheep.

Oh, sex jokes, okay I will see that one.  Once every fours years someone in Alabama mates with someone that isn’t their relative.

Time for some celebrity humor.  Once every four years Ryan Seacrest dates a woman.

Okay, I can do that.  Once every four years Demi Moore eats a carbohydrate. 

Once every four years, Charlie Sheen sobers up.

Okay, let’s wrap it up with some racial humor.  Once every four years a Black Guy smiles in a photograph.

This a is a slippery slope here, but I will go for it.  Once every four years a Mexican Guy stops drinking after one beer.

Well, that seems like that is quite enough.  Good Night everybody.


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