you think this review is too long to read, just skip
straight to the scores and then read the summary for a
Rocket’s Articuno ex
EX: Team Rocket Returns
As long as
Rocket’s Articuno ex has any (D) Energy attached to it,
prevent all effects, except damage, by an opponent’s attack
done to Rocket’s Articuno.
(C) Freeze Solid 
your discard pile for a (W) Energy card and attach it to
Rocket’s Articuno ex.
(WWC) Ice Wing 
Being a Rocket’s Pokémon is good: you gain access to
a lot of built in combos. Being a Pokémon ex tends to be a
bad thing: you get more power, but at a steep price: you
lose two prizes instead of one. Rocket’s Articuno ex
so far has one thing going for it and one thing going
against it. As we continue, we see that it is a
Darkness-Type Pokémon. I would think they could have made
it dual-typed, but at least if it gets stuck with only one
type, it’s Darkness, which means nothing Resistant, a small
number of Pokémon that are Weak to it, and most important of
all, the ability to get extra damage from Darkness Energy.
Rocket’s Articuno ex
is a Basic Pokémon. This is the best: long as there is
room, you can drop it into play. It has 100 HP. For a
Pokémon ex, this is not a happy number. It more or less
breaks even with 90 HP, so it is acceptable, but due to the
large amount of Desert Ruins being played, there are
many times when this thing will seem like it only has 90,
80, sometimes even less HP as those damage counters from
said Stadium pile up. Fortunately, there are many excellent
Rockets’ Stadiums to run as counters. More on that
later. You shouldn’t really expect more HP: this is just 10
less than Articuno ex, and just 20 under [the
current] maximum 120 HP seen on Basic Pokémon ex.
onto the bottom stats, we see a mixed blessing: Metal
Weakness. Right now, no real Metal deck stands out. Don’t
misunderstand, there are a few that are quite nasty, but
they haven’t yet proven themselves to be tier one decks.
Against those decks, Rocket’s Articuno ex is pretty
much D.O.A.: they’ll soak any damage you do and probably
OHKO you in response. The slight upside is that Metal is
nearly impossible to effectively TecH into most decks. So
in the end, we have a more or less “average” Weakness. The
Resistance, on the other hand, is the worst: nothing.
Considering Fighting Pokémon seem to specialize in ignoring
Weakness/Resistance anymore, you’d think they’d at least
give it that. The last bottom stat is a great Retreat of
one: as long as you wouldn’t be discarding something really
important, it’s usually no problem to retreat.
Rocket’s Articuno ex has a Poké-Body and two
attacks. The Poké-Body, Darkness Veil, is reasonably good.
Yes, it does require something providing at least one (D) be
attached, but that is easy enough: Rainbow Energy is in most
decks, and since you get the damage bonus, you probably
would run a few in a deck with this anyway. The effect is
wonderful: Special Conditions won’t affect you. Tricks like
Smokescreen’s “make them flip to attack effect” won’t work.
You’ll only have to worry about damage management. I guess
there is one other downside: weird attacks that, for
example, heal the Defending Pokémon won’t work on you.
attack, Freeze Solid, is good. It can use any Energy, so
you can drop a Darkness Energy and hit for 20 damage first
turn. More importantly, if you can somehow get a Water
Energy into the discard first turn (other than by
Retreating), you’ll just need to use your normal Water
Energy attachment next turn to hit for a solid 60. Speaking
of which, Ice Wing is a nice, straight damage attack: 50 for
(WWC) means a 10 damage bonus. Unfortunately, here is where
things hit a snag. First, since it needs more than one
Water Energy, Ice Wing doesn’t lend itself to a
Darkness-Type Rocket’s Pokémon as well. If it were (WCC),
especially with the same damage, it’d be real slick: drop a
Water, then even if you couldn’t use Freeze Solid First
turn, you could drop an R Energy and do a quick 60.
Oh well. The only reason to justify this being a Pokémon ex
is solid HP (all recent Legendary Birds tend to clock in at
60 to 70 HP), and the combination of the two attacks and the
Poké-Body. The fact that you get the effect of Freeze Solid
“for free” (you only paid for 10 damage with it) and that
damage bonus to Ice Wing could be attributed to this card
lacking pre-Evolutions or Evolutions. In other words, its
merely average for a Pokémon ex.
If you are running a Dark/Water Deck, especially if it fits
a Rocket Theme, consider this. Otherwise, I might
consider this on its own, teamed with Sandstorm Xatu
to heal it, and Energy Draw Delcatty for speed, just
because you’d be able to set up and attack relatively
quickly and (assuming you have something providing (D) on
it) you’d mainly just have to fend off OHKO’s: the Xatu
would deal with damage while Darkness Veil handled
anything else an attack could do.
refer to recent Pokémon CotDs if you are unfamiliar with the
recent string of Rocket’s supporting cards.
3.25/5-Given all the inherent support, you could always slap
it with something like Dark Vileplume, then hope that
you could just set up fast and OHKO most threats. You would
also stand a chance of re-setting up fast… the only real
downside would be the double prize loss… or if you opponent
out paces you.
3/5-I just can’t think of a deck that really needs it, and
yet, despite some of my complaints, it’s technically solid.
Maybe I am just being soft.
3.75/5-Good here. Special Conditions and other attack
effects tend to become lethal here. If you can actually
snag two or three Dark Metal Energy, consider it a
4/5. On its own, it will just be a reasonably solid big
Basic Pokémon ex that can power itself up a turn faster if
there is Water Energy in the discard. The only reason not
to use it is if you aren’t running Water. Just watch out
for Dark Steelix.
Rocket’s Articuno ex
needs a good home. If you find it, it could be something
special. Chances are it will just be something pretty to go
in your binder, or fill a spot in a Water deck while waiting
for something better.