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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

 Salamence EX
- XYP - XY170

Date Reviewed:
Jan. xx, 2017

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard:
Expanded:
Limited:

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

Back to the main COTD Page


Otaku

All right, it is time to cover our 15th place finisher, Z- 

HERE COMES A NEW CHALLENGER! 

Huh?  Oh, seems we have a request from the readership.  While I hate interrupting a countdown, I said there would be surprises, so we will be looking at Salamence-EX (XY: Black Star Promos XY170).  We’ll begin with the usual reminder; being a Pokémon-EX means giving up an extra Prize when KO’d, detrimental card effects specific to you, beneficial effects which exclude you, at least a small HP bump, and being a Basic or Mega Evolution.  Salamence-EX enjoys being a Basic instead of a Stage 2 (faster and fewer cards required).  Its HP is hearty 180, the higher of the two scores typical of Basic Pokémon-EX, capable of often surviving a hit, and is indeed 20 (or more) points higher than any contemporary regular Salamence card.  Being a Dragon Type allows it access to the powerful Double Dragon Energy; there are some other bits of support, but that is the one that will most likely matter.  There are some anti-Dragon Type effects, but they aren’t worth using in competitive play.  Dragon Weakness is only found on BW-era Dragon Types, which is not a good thing for Salamence-EX as - to be blunt - the x2 Weakness mechanic is horribly broken, so exploiting it is usually part of a deck’s success.  No Resistance to worry about, at least.  Another important factor are other Dragon Types; if Double Dragon Energy is already in the deck, then many other Dragon Types can plausible be added, and with a few it is even quite easy.  Salamence-EX has Fairy Weakness, which may be one of the worst to have right now; we’ve seen a spike in high performing Fairy Type decks recently and not all of them are focused on OHKO tactics.  The lack of Resistance is typical and likely would have only been a small bonus if present, while a Retreat Cost of [CC] is decent; more than you want to pay but low enough you can if you must.  If you can include Hydreigon-EX, a single instance of its “Dragon Road” Ability can zero it out. 

Salamence-EX has two attacks; the first is “Beastly Fang” for [RCC], which does 10 damage plus another 50 for each Pokémon-EX your opponent has in play.  If your opponent doesn’t have any Pokémon-EX in play, Beastly Fang is pathetic, and if your opponent has one, it is still subpar.  Fortunately many (most?) decks are going to have two more, and even at just two you get a good 110 damage for three Energy.  Past this point, it just keeps getting better until OHKO’s of pretty much anything in the game become possible.  There are some decks where Beastly Fang won’t be worth it, but most of the time Salamence-EX should force your opponent to mind his or her Bench, or else be capable of good damage.  For [RWCC] Salamence-EX can use “Dragon Strike” to do 130 damage, which would be somewhat good except the attack’s effect text states Salamence-EX (“this Pokémon”) cannot use Dragon Strike during your next turn.  You likely won’t use this attack much (if ever), but thanks to Double Dragon Energy if your opponent managed to psych you out (maybe using their own Parallel City to mass discard a Bench full of Pokémon-EX) you can shift gears and still get off a decent enough attack.  Beastly Fang is very good (maybe great) and instead of getting a totally useless Ability or attack alongside it, it gets decent filler. 

There are no other Salamence-EX cards for this version to compete with; instead you might have to choose between it and other Dragon Types like Giratina-EX (XY: Ancient Origins 57/98, 93/98) and perhaps Hydreigon-EX.  Why those two?  Both are fellow Dragon Type Basic Pokémon-EX, both have useful Abilities, and both have good attacks that can be fueled by whatever other Energy is in the deck plus Double Dragon Energy.  Fortunately as these are all Basic Pokémon, so you likely can just use a combination of them together.  We’ve seen several Darkrai-EX (XY: BREAKpoint 74/122, 118/122) decks that usually partner up with Giratina-EX start including Salamence-EX.  Volcanion-EX decks have also been adding in Salamence-EX; while it cannot benefit from “Steam Up” and they aren’t adding in Double Dragon Energy, Beastly Fang doesn’t require either here.  Salamence-EX probably isn’t good enough to change your deck to make it compatible with Beastly Fang, but if your deck can already afford the Energy cost, you probably should get a copy or two of this card.  Salamence-EX isn’t a bad thing to have on hand for Expanded decks that could incorporate it either, but I don’t think the combination of card pool/metagame is quite as conducive.  This card isn’t legal for Limited play due to its nature, and if it were reprinted in a set Beastly Fang would usually be worthless, making it mediocre due to relying upon its size and Dragon Strike. 

Ratings 

Standard: 3.75/5 

Expanded: 3.5/5 

Limited: 2.5/5 

Summary: Salamence-EX seems to be the “Surprise it’s good!” promo from the end of 2016.  While it was an option for our Top 10 lists, it didn’t start doing really well until said lists were done.  If Pokémon-GX don’t prove worthwhile (at least for a bit), other non-Pokémon-EX fall out of the competitive scene, or similar metagame shifts occur, then Salamence-EX will only get stronger.  You’ll note I said nothing about M Salamence-EX in this review… guess what we are looking at tomorrow?


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