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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

 

 M Scizor-EX

- XY BREAKpoint

Date Reviewed:
Jan. 6, 2017

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3.35
Expanded: 3.00
Limited: 4.00

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

Back to the main COTD Page


Otaku

Finishing out our first, four card week of runner-up cards is M Scizor-EX (XY: BREAKpoint 77/122, 120/122).  It managed to take an effective 16th place in our extended Top 10 Cards of 2016 list.  Though we aren’t officially re-reviewing it, I’ll also address Scizor-EX (XY: BREAKpoint 76/122, 119/122).  To begin with I’ll link to the original reviews; M Scizor-EX was our 10th place pick for the best from its set, while here is where we looked at Scizor-EX.  I’ll (re)run through these cards before explaining why they made the list, which is basically me sharing their 2016 performance.  Just to give you the heads up ahead of time, I’ll be referencing Scizor (BW: Boundaries Crossed 94/149) just because it’s the only contemporary regular Scizor in the card pool, and even then it’s only legal for Expanded play.  It received a fairly accurate review (for the time) here for the curious.  It wasn’t pure filler, but it wasn’t a particular competitive card; fortunately being mediocre for competitive play doesn’t preclude it being a good benchmark for measuring its gimmick enhanced successors. 

Both of these cards are Metal Type Pokémon-EX with Fire Weakness, Psychic Resistance, and Retreat Cost [CC].  Being a Pokémon-EX is actually a neutral aspect; a card potentially gains access to great stats and effects, but that doesn’t always happen.  What does always happen is the card gives up an extra Prize when KO’d and has to deal card effects that punish Pokémon-EX usage; either through excluding them from beneficial effects, hitting them with detrimental effects, or both.  Being a Metal Type is solid (embrace the pun.  All Fairy Types are Metal Weak as are some Water Types while Metal Resistance exists on Lightning Types (barring BW-era ones).  Metal Pokémon Type specific support isn’t massive, but includes some useful tricks, as does Metal Energy Type support; there are also some worthwhile members of the Metal Type card pool that aren’t limited to helping out their own Type, but which naturally work better under such circumstances.  I’ll save specifics for when we address the actual performance of Scizor-EX and M Scizor-EX.  The Fire Type has either been hot or not throughout most of the year; right now (and for the last part of 2016) it was, making the Fire Weakness a real problem.  Resistance is usually unimportant, but not only has the Psychic Type fielded some strong, important attackers throughout the entire year, but as we will address later in this review, for Scizor-EX and M Scizor-EX is has a better chance of mattering.  What also matters more than normal is the Retreat Cost of [CC].  Usually it isn’t too big of an issue; while it is high enough you’ll feel it when you have to pay it, it is still low enough you often can pay.  Except again due to specifics with these cards and how they’ve been used, it has actually mattered. 

So far this is all inline with that one regular version of Scizor with which we can compare.  The first big difference is Stage; being a Basic is better than being a Stage 1, though being a Stage 1 is better than being a Mega Evolution as it doesn’t require a Spirit Link card to avoid ending your turn from Evolving.  Scizor-EX enjoys 50 more HP than regular Scizor, a nice bonus and it enables Scizor-EX survive attacks fairly often.  M Scizor-EX steps this up by another 50 HP, with 220 HP usually surviving a hit, and with some help, it might even survive two.  Scizor-EX has two attacks, the first being “Steel Wing” for [M]; this does 20 damage and also allows Scizor-EX to soak 20 damage from attacks during your opponent’s next turn.  For [MM] Scizor-EX can use “Gale Thrust” to do 50 damage, which does an extra 60 (totally 110) if that specific Scizor-EX was on your Bench during the turn.  These attacks aren’t quite good enough to make Scizor-EX a deck focus on its own; for [M] “Steel Wing” does 20 damage while allowing Scizor-EX to soak 20 damage during your opponent’s next turn, while for [MM] “Gale Thrust” does 50 damage that jumps by 60 to 110 if it was on your Bench at some point during your turn.  M Scizor-EX brings “Iron Crusher” and it also only costs [MM], making is nice and affordable.  It hits hard enough to score 2HKO’s against most targets, doing 120 damage, and its effect allows you to discard either the current Stadium in play or an Energy attached to the opponent’s Active.  This is good, but in a metagame dependent kind of way; when OHKO’s are required it just can’t cut it, but when 2HKO’s will do it can really mess with your opponent. 

If you went back and read the older reviews, you’ll notice I had some problems with both Scizor-EX and M Scizor-EX.  At first I was so impressed I expected to see not only an M Scizor-EX deck doing well in competitive play, but variants either mostly or totally focused on Scizor-EX as well.  What did I miss?  Basically the metagame for most of 2016.  I mean scoring OHKO’s against smaller targets doesn’t mean much when - as with Night March - those smaller targets are scoring OHKO’s (worth twice as many Prizes) right back.  Good disruption doesn’t mean much against great disruption/control decks.  Did I mention these decks were just as fast as M Scizor-EX, sometimes faster?  That was then, and “then” lasted until a little after set rotation.  Expanded still seems inhospitable to M Scizor-EX and Scizor-EX, but they have carved out a niche in Standard play.  It has to do with what else is at the top; M Scizor-EX does score OHKO’s against Fairy Types, so the rise of M Gardevoir-EX (XY: Steam Siege 79/114, 112/114) has certainly helped it.  While it is easier to reclaim Special Energy cards now than earlier in the year, we are seeing decks that aren’t completely dependent upon them but which lose their edge when an opponent is able to discard them turn after turn, like Yveltal-EX.  M Scizor-EX decks which I have seen do well are backed by Garbodor (XY: BREAKpoint 57/122), which should come as no real surprise; while some Abilities could be useful for enhancing an M Scizor-EX offensive, denying them to your opponent hurts them much more than it would yourself… and of course you can still run things like Shaymin-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 77/108, 106/108) and just try to use them before you get “Garbotoxin” up and running. 

So why didn’t M Scizor-EX make the actual Top 10 list if it has a strong deck right now?  To begin with, as stated this is a somewhat recent development, and it only applies to a single format.  The other is that the kind of list that seems to work with M Scizor-EX doesn’t have room for any real extras, at least in terms of Pokémon.  As an example, here is the list Devon Tilson used to take seventh place at the Fort Wayne Regional Championship back in November.  I’ve also seen a deck built around M Scizor-EX and Raticate (XY: Evolutions 67/108) and another simply referred to as M Scizor-EX/Red Card listed among top finishers over on The Charizard Lounge, but I don’t recall running into them myself on the PTCGO so the best I could do is Google for them, maybe see if someone posted a video of them (either from the PTCGO or the events in question) on Youtube… and you may as well do that for yourself if you’re interested.  These variants didn’t win their events, and some were from smaller venues like League Challenges, so your mileage could definitely vary… and I doubt any has a solution for I believe is really keeping M Scizor-EX down; its Fire Weakness.  Volcanion-EX decks aren’t the top thing in Standard right now, but they are a thing, often showing up in the Top 8 and even winning some League Challenges.  It is a deck that may be enhanced by its Abilities and Stadium, but is not dependent upon them and also doesn’t even bother with Special Energy cards.  The Donphan in the room I haven’t mentioned is that as a Fire deck, it slags M Scizor-EX pretty bad.  This deck easily OHKO’s either Scizor-EX or M Scizor-EX while its Abilities are up and running, and even without them Volcanion (XY: Black Star Promos XY145; XY; Steam Siege 25/114) can use its first attack to prep Volcanion-EX or more copies of itself to use bigger, three Energy attacks.  It is also one of the few Ability heavy decks that can actually counter Garbodor via Lysandre and KO, because again, it can reliably and with reasonable speed power up attacks that hit for 100+ damage even without Abilities.  I don’t think the Raticate and/or Red Card variants are going to help here either. 

Still this is a solid deck for Standard play, and one I recommend trying.  If M Gardevoir-EX decks are the wave of the future, this is a hard counter for it.  If Volcanion-EX decks start winning events reliably, that is why I said “trying” and not “Run this for sure at your next tournament!”.  It is possible that M Scizor-EX is just waiting on the right partner; personally I’ve got a hankering to give Zoroark (XY: BREAKthrough 97/162) a try, helping with the Retreat Cost a bit more and providing an alternate attacker against Volcanion-EX.  The problem there is that it precludes running Garbodor, and while it can attack with any Energy, stuff like Shield Energy and Mega Turbo will have to be replaced with either more Basic Metal Energy, Rainbow Energy (in case I also add Zoroark BREAK), or Double Colorless Energy (which doesn’t help Scizor-EX or M Scizor-EX).  Might let me work in Magearna-EX, though, and Reverse Valley might become a good additional/alternate Stadium under such circumstances… but yeah, all I have for you there is some brainstorming.  It also is the best I can give you for Expanded play.  Limited Format decks are 39 cards, assembled from what you are given at the event (usually booster packs and basic Energy), and only play with four Prizes.  In Limited play, the old +39 strategy does not work for Scizor-EX, which means it doesn’t work for M Scizor-EX either; if you aren’t familiar with the notation is means running a single Basic Pokémon with 39 other non-Basic Pokémon cards.  This guarantees you open with said Basic but also that you lose when it is KO’d.  Well worth it for certain big, Basic Pokémon but not in this case.  While Scizor-EX and M Scizor-EX only use Metal Energy, the costs are low enough that working them into most other decks you might build should be a successful endeavor. 

Ratings 

Standard: 3.35/5 

Expanded: 3/5 

Limited: 4/5 

Summary: M Scizor-EX is a pretty good card but it it has issues with the current metagame.  It relies on more technical feats than brute force, whether in terms of raw damage output or disruption/control elements; at the time when it could be rewarded for such things, another strong deck (Volcanion-EX) is there and it isn’t reliant on the stuff M Scizor-EX can punish and instead punishes M Scizor-EX for its Fire Weakness.  It is still far from hopeless, just also a bit far from doing more than the occasional top cut at tournaments.  I ended up giving it the same score as I originally did in Standard and Limited play, though I bumped it up just a bit for Expanded; this owes to the shifts in the Expanded metagame.

 

M Scizor-EX scored three voting points, and they all came from me as it was my eighth place pick.  I had been trying the deck out around the time we were composing our lists, and as I should have allowed for I simply was having a lot of beginners’ luck with it.  That isn’t to say it doesn’t deserve to make our Top 10 list, just that a few cards that clocked in below it like M Gardevoir-EX and Bursting Balloon should really be above it.  Even though Scizor and Scyther aren’t my favorite Pokémon, I guess I still have a soft spot for them.  Yes, I know Scyther wasn’t involved in this CotD at all.


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