July 25, 2012

Card of the Day Review - Rayquaza EX (Dragons Exalted 85)

Hey guys! It's LuxrayMogul here with another Card of the Day Review! Volcachu will be taking over after today as I am on vacation! So yeah. Today's card is Rayquaza EX, a pretty hyped up card that's coming out with the new Dragons Exalted set on August 15th. Let's take a look.

Rayquaza EX is a Dragon-Type Basic Pokémon (Dragon type - so thrilled!) with a solid 170 HP. Like in the games, its weakness is its own type. It has no resistance and a retreat cost of 1 (which, with Skyarrow Bridge [ND91], reduces to zero, which is useful!) Because it's an EX, the regular prize card rule applies: two prize cards is drawn if this majestic Pokémon is knocked out. Anyways, let's look at its attacks.

Celestial Roar lets you discard the top 3 cards of your deck and attach all energy you discard to Rayquaza EX. This is particularly useful for its second attack, Dragon Burst. I'll get into that later. All of this costs a Colourless energy. Which is decent, but it wastes a turn that could be spent doing damage.

Dragon Burst requires a Fire and a Lightning (no Dragon energy yet, so all dragon types have assorted attack costs) and requires you to choose either fire or lightning. You must then discard all the energy cards of that type attached to Rayquaza EX and it does 60 damage for every energy you discard. Which is a super awesome attack! But you'll need to average 2-3 energy discarding a turn, assuming you need to deal 70-180 damage, which is the average HP of Pokémon nowadays and also assuming you don't run PlusPower.

Energy acceleration is still a big part of the metagame, but luckily for Rayquaza EX the format's slowed down quite a bit after Pokémon Collector and Junk Arm are now gone, for example. A good method I've been seeing is running Rayquaza EX with Eelektrik (Noble Victories 40) whose Ability Dynamotor lets you attach Lightning energy from your discard to your Benched Pokémon. Combine this with Skyarrow and Rayquaza can retreat to recharge while another Rayquaza EX can do the attacking. This can allow a steady stream of damage assuming you have enough Eelektrik. Using Level Ball (ND89) and Ultra Ball (DE102) to get the Eelektrik out (and also to send Lightning to the discard with Ultra Ball) and then even having a few Super Rod (NV95) to ensure the fire energies are returning to the deck is a good strategy. So, discarding Lightning energy is more preferable than discarding Fire, which should remain on the card as energy requirement because of the lack of fire energy acceleration. (Well, Emboar is always an option but let's not talk about that).

Another good tech is to run Pokédex (BLW98) so you can at least attempt to move energies to the front of the deck for Celestial Roar. But again, I've already warned against using that attack unless it's near the beginning of the game. After that, it's too risky to not damage your opponent with your EX becoming a target.

The art work is stunning. I simply can't wait for this card to come out and me to get my hands on one! I am actually thrilled about this artwork out of all the EXes that are being released in Dragons Exalted, to be honest. (Whoa... Dragons Exalted as the same initials as Dark Explorers... I think I'll refer to Dragons Exalted as DEX then.)

I'm going to go ahead and give 5/5 for Rayquaza EX for being a fast attacker, large damage output, good HP, great retreat cost, being playable (of course!) and of course for simply being a Dragon. Thank you every one for tuning in and have a wonderful day!

July 11, 2012

Card of the Day Review - Luxray (Next Destinies 46)

Hey everyone! It's LuxrayMogul here with your daily card review! Today we discuss my favourite Pokémon that just got a card in a (relatively) recent set! Yes, it's Luxray, card number 46 from Next Destinies. Let's just get right to it!

Luxray is a Stage 2 Lightning-type Pokémon with a decent 140 HP. It has a weakness to Fighting types, which is not a surprise given that it's a common Lightning-type weakness. It has no resistance and a pretty good retreat cost of one. Considering that it's a Stage 2 Pokémon, a one retreat cost is pretty decent considering the twos and threes that other Stage 2s get!

Let's take a look at the attacks. The first attack, Flash Impact does a decent 60 damage with a the single drawback that it does 20 damage to one of your own Benched Pokémon. Still, one for sixty is pretty decent, and we should be expecting such things from a Stage 2. The extra damage is undesirable, but it comes as a price to such a big attack!
Crunch costs two Lightning and a Colorless, and does a measly 80 with a chance of discarding an Energy attached to the Defending Pokémon. It's decent... but compared to Zekrom (BLW114) who does 120 with the same energy requirements, taking the time to evolve up two stages to a Luxray to do a measly 80 damage and an effect that Crushing Hammer (Emerging Powers 92) or Enhanced Hammer (Dark Explorers 94) can do is... not that great to say the least. If Luxray was a Basic then it would have been much better.

In summary, in a format where Electric-types dominate, Luxray may have a difficult time being played because of all the other hard hitting Electric-types that are dominating right now, like the mentioned Zekrom and Zekrom EX (Next Destinies 51, 97).

Luxray's artwork is awesome. Maybe that's just because I love Luxray, and that it's a holo. But Luxray is actually an artwork I like a lot from Next Destinies... compared to some of the newer Pokémon whose artworks seem overly simple. (Understandable because they just came out a year ago).

Overall I'll give Luxray 3.5/5 for awesome artwork, low retreat cost, decent attacks, and for simply being my favourite Pokémon. It loses points for its relatively low damage output for a Stage 2 and lack of playability in this format as an Electric type. It's decent, but I won't expect to see it a lot in tournaments this upcoming season (or this current season for that matter).

LuxrayMogul signing out. Until next time!

July 10, 2012

Card of the Day Review - Entei EX (Dark Explorers 13, 103)

Hey everyone! LuxrayMogul here with your daily card of the day review! To push the button first, our One Year Anniversary Raffle and Show will take place on July 19th. To find out how you can enter, check out our YouTube video. Anyways, back to the review!

Today we're going to discuss one of the newer EXes, Entei EX from Dark Explorers (DE13, full art DE103). Let's just get started.

Entei EX is a Basic Fire type Pokémon EX, with 180HP, which means, like all EXes, that your opponent draws two prize cards when Entei EX is knocked out. Like Reshiram EX, it has a x2 Water-type weakness, which is predictable but again, not preferable. Luckily there aren't too many water-types that are in the metagame right now. It has no resistance and the same fat retreat cost of three as Reshiram EX, which again, sucks.

Entei EX has been receiving a little bit of hype recently, and let's look at the attacks and try to figure out why. Fire Fang, which requires a Fire and a Colorless, does 30 damage and burns the Defending Pokémon. This is decent attack, and the guaranteed burn makes it better. But because Burn itself doesn't guarantee damage, it isn't the best special condition there is out there. But, at least Burning the Defending Pokémon will prevent if from using most Abilities.
Its second attack, Grand Flame, needs to two Fire energy and a colourless energy. It does a decent 90 damage, but compared to Reshiram (BLW113) which deals 120 with the same costs, is meh. But its effect allows you to attach a fire energy card from your discard to one of your Benched Pokémon, so that completely makes up for the damage shortage. And plus, there is no need to discard an energy to use the attack so dealing 90 every turn is solid. It just means that most Pokémon will have to be hit with Grand Flame twice before it gets knocked out.

Interestingly though, this may present one of the new ways of energy acceleration. Technically, you are attaching two fire energies a turn once Entei attacks, although one is done after attacking so it's not really useful. But other than Emboar (BLW20), Entei EX may actually be one of the only available Fire energy acceleration methods in this format now as Fire's presence in the metagame is slowly fading away after Typhlosion Prime (HGSS110) leaves. Entei can rescue energies from the discard just like Typhlosion can, without the 10 damage penalty (which makes it useful for charging up other Entei EX or just other fire-types on the bench) even though it can only be done once a turn, after attacking. It's not much of an acceleration, but it's still better than nothing.

I enjoy the artwork on both the regular and full art. I mean, Entei is one of my favourite Pokémon so it's hard not to enjoy the artwork. It's splendidly done, so full marks for that!

Overall, I'll give Entei EX 4/5 for playability, energy acceleration possibility, high HP, and being a consistent attacker. It loses points for again, being a "fat" Pokémon (at least it's not flippy - refer to Reshiram EX) and having a low damage output that can be out-competed in this fast format. But overall, Entei EX is a very interesting card and I think it should be seeing a decent amount of play as we enter this new Black and White-on season.

Until next time, I'm LuxrayMogul signing out. Peace!

July 9, 2012

Card of the Day Review - Reshiram EX (Next Destinies 22, 95)

Hello everyone! It's LuxrayMogul here again for your daily Card of the Day review! Today I'm covering the only EX card I've played with in this format, Reshiram EX (Next Destinies 22, full art ND  95). It's part of the first wave of EXes that were released in this new format. So, let's cut the chase and start talking about it!

Reshiram EX comes in a normal card and a full art card, with the full art (obviously) relatively rarer and more expensive. It is a Basic Fire type Pokémon with 180 HP. Because it's an EX, the EX rule applies, which states that if it gets knocked out, your opponent is permitted to draw two prize cards. It has a Water-type weakness (not preferable, but expected), no resistance, and a fat retreat cost of three. Slap in Skyarrow Bridge (Next Destinies 91) and that's two, which is better. Considering that more powerful EXes like Mewtwo EX only has two retreat cost (one with Skyarrow), Reshiram EX is already considered to have a relatively "fat" retreat cost. So... eh.

Let's look at its attacks. Glinting Claw, its first attack, requires a Fire energy and two colourless energy. With the rotation of Lost Remover (Call of Legends 80) in a month or so, I think Double Colourless Energy will be much more playable, so that definitely benefits Reshiram EX. A Fire and a DCE and Reshiram is ready to attack on its second turn. It does a decent 50 damage, possibly 80 on a coin flip.
It's second attack, Brave Fire, does an impressive 150 damage with the cost of two Fires and a DCE. However, a coin flip determines if Reshiram EX does 50 to itself. Considering it has 180 HP and also considering that EXes become targets the second they enter the field, you can afford flipping two, maybe three, tails before two prizes go bye-bye. So I mean, the 50 self-damage isn't that decent, and I don't care how lucky you are with coins. (I usually flip tails, much to my annoyance!)

Overall impressions now. Because Typhlosion Prime (HGSS110) is being rotated in a month or so along with the entire HeartGold SoulSilver series cards (NOOO TYPHLO...), a big part of Fire energy acceleration is lost; with the only real acceleration coming from Emboar (BLW20), which is a fat Pokémon itself (figuratively and literally) and hard to get out. Luckily, only two fire energies are really needed and there is no discarding, but in a format that is as fast as the one that we're in currently, three turns (maybe even four, if you don't draw the DCE) is just too long for a Pokémon to start using its most powerful attack. And again, because Reshiram EX is an EX, it becomes a target once it comes on and probably won't even last that long.
Another annoying thing about Reshiram is the amount of coin flipping there it is. Most Basic Pokémon nowadays have more than 50HP, and if Glinting Claw doesn't get a heads, you're just dealing 50, and most likely, not knocking out anyone, thus, wasting a turn. All these factors add to its relatively unplayability in this format. I personally think that the loss of Typhlosion Prime personally adds to the unplayability of this card. On the contrary, Reshiram EX's brother card, Zekrom EX (ND51 and 97) is a much better card in the format because of Electric energy acceleration by Mr. Eelektrik (Noble Victories 40).

The artwork... the regular artwork is stunning, but the full art is... meh. It looks intense alright, but it just doesn't seem like my cup of tea.

Overall, I'll give Reshiram EX a 3/5 for relative playability and awesome artwork on the regular card. It loses points for lack of energy acceleration and being a "fat" and "flippy" card. So, I mean if there was decent fire energy acceleration it may have been a better card. But it simply won't be that good in this format. Of course, sound out your opinion in the comments below!

Until tomorrow, LuxrayMogul signing out. Peace!

July 8, 2012

Card of the Day Review - Random Receiver (Dark Explorers 99)

Hey everyone! It's LuxrayMogul here with a brand new Card Review (I know we haven't done one in a while) and it's Random Receiver (99/108) from the recent Dark Explorers set. Let's take a look.

Random Receiver is quite similar to Xtransceiver (Noble Victories 96) but without the coin flip. However, Random Receiver forces you to take the first Supporter you reveal, whereas if you get a Heads on a coin flip, Xtransceiver lets you search your deck for any Supporter. So, both have their own risks attached to them: Random Receiver adds the risk that you may not get the Supporter you need, but Xtransceiver adds the risk that you might not get heads.

Wait: let's backtrack. Random Receiver's effect allows the player to reveal cards from the top of their deck until a Supporter is revealed. Because Random Receiver is a regular Trainer card, many copies of the card can be used during a turn if the Supporter desired isn't found. It's quite a useful card and quite fun too, talking from personal experience. Sometimes almost half the deck is revealed until a Supporter is found!

Strategy wise, I think it can potentially be a very useful card in the soon to be Black and White-on format and is a much better card than Xtranceiver. Luckily, because they are both Trainers, more than one can be played a turn if the Supporter you want is unavailable. Then, combining with Junk Arm (Triumphant 87) you can recycle those Trainers as much as you want Sorry, Junk Arm's getting rotated :(

Aaaaanyways, it's a very useful addition to any deck because Supporters will always need to be used in competitive gaming for faster results. And if you're like me, who has NO luck with starting with the cards I need, drawing a Random Receiver in your first hand or in your first couple turns will definitely assist your game and your deck in performing well. And if you already have a Supporter - Random Receiver will give you some choice on which one is the best to use first too.

The artwork's pretty decent. I mean, most of the Trainer artworks from the Black and White sets are pretty decent anyways. They aren't as exciting or old-school feel as the HGSS trainers, but still good nevertheless.

Let's give Random Receiver full marks, 5/5, for its playability, its ability to assist players, as well as its artwork. In conclusion, Random Receiver is a pretty good card released with Dark Explorers and it is sure to assist Pokémon players on their road to victory.