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Pojo's Pokemon Card of the Day


Ambipom #13/102

HS Triumphant

Date Reviewed: Dec. 13, 2010

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 2.25
Limited: 3.50

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 being the worst. 
3 ... average.  
5 is the highest rating.

Back to the main COTD Page

Combos With:

Baby Mario
2010 UK National

Ambipom (Triumphant)


Hello and welcome to a week of rares (the non-shiny kind) from the latest set.


We kick off with Ambipom, a Pokémon that always seems to want to cause some mischief for the opponent.


Unfortunately, it could cause some mischief for you if you opted to play it. Low HP Stage 1s with Fighting Weakness are not known for their ability to hang around in this format, but then Ambipom offers something a bit different from the usual, and that something is hand disruption.


Hand disruption decks have seen resurgence in popularity over the last few months. This is mainly due to Sablelock’s appearance as a top tier deck, but other builds (such as Houndoom/Weavile) have also been tried with varying success. How does Ambipom fit into this kind of strategy? Well, that comes courtesy of its Astonish attack.


Astonish costs [C][C] (or a Double Colourless Energy) and does an almost irrelevant 20 damage. The real goodness of this attack lies in the effect: when you use it, you choose two cards from your opponent’s hand without looking, see what they are, and then have your opponent shuffle them back into their deck. Seeing the cards is great as it will likely give you an insight into your opponent’s deck and strategy; shuffling them back in can cripple your opponent by leaving them with few options as to what to play. Combine it with cards like Judge or Giratina Let Loose, and you can leave your opponent with a hand of two. Fix their nest turn draw with Chatot G or Slowking HGSS, and you make it practically impossible for them to set up.


So, will Ambipom be the star of some new disruptive decks? I’m not convinced of that for two main reasons. Firstly, Ambipom is just a little on the slow side, as you need to evolve and drop a DCE on it to use Astonish. Hand disruption is at its most effective on the first turn or so of the game: if your opponent gets even one chance to play Collector and drop an Uxie, then they will likely set up anyway. Secondly, I think there are simply better options out there. The Sableye/Cyrus’s Initiative combo hits on Turn 1; Weavile UD disrupts with a Power, leaving you with an attack to perform; and finally Persian HGSS has a single Energy attack which can discard (not shuffle in) up to three cards depending on coin flips. Any or all of those are faster and more effective than Ambipom in my opinion.


One other advantage Persian has is a decent second attack than can actually do some damage (after all, even in a hand disruption deck, you still need to take six Prizes, right?). Ambipom does have Tail Spank (!) which can do 60 for [C][C], but it requires you to discard two cards from your own hand. That’s just too heavy a price to pay consistently (especially if you are reducing your own hand with Judge) and isn’t even good in a deck that likes to discard (such as Gyarados): Regice and Junk Arm are much faster and more efficient options here.


Ambipom is one of those cards that you never really want to see your opponent play simply because if they can somehow use it early enough it can be crippling. Nevertheless, I think there are many better hand disruption cards out there if you want to build the kind of deck that will have your opponent cursing their bad luck.




Modified: 2 (in some ways a scary card . . . but others do the job better)

Limited: 3 (Colourless attackers are good here although the disruption is less likely to hurt)


Combos with . . .


Slowking HGSS

Chatot G SV



12/13/10: Ambipom(Triumphant)
The Pokemon season is plowing through Cities at the moment, so let's plow through another week of Cards of the Day! Or something.
Today's card is Ambipom, and today's COTD review is brought to you by the number 2! This is because Ambipom has two tails, its attacks require 2 energy each, they both require a player to take 2 cards out of their hand, and its HP is 2—oh.
Its attacks are interesting, combined with Double Colorless Energy, but don't merit playability in Modified. Astonish is the superior attack, only dealing 20 damage, but forcing your opponent to shuffle two random cards from their hand into their deck. It's a neat disruption attack, but the randomness of the disruption may not affect the opponent at all, compared with something like Cyrus' Initiative. Tail Spank deals 60 damage, one-shotting Garchomp, but at the cost of discarding two cards from your hand. There aren't that many Garchomp counters out there, so this has less competition in decks, but the discard requirement would have me looking for a better answer.
That said, this card is a monster in Limited, and possibly a rare form of aggro in such a ordinarily slow format. With the right hand, Tail Spank can OHKO most basics on turn 2, and while you may run out of a hand quickly, you'll be so far ahead on prizes that it won't matter. Astonish is also very good, too. The only problem in this format is a high-HP basic, like Kangaskhan.
Or, if you're feeling creative, you could make a fun themed casual deck with this. My recommendations? Double Colorless Energy, Twins, Dual Ball, and Double Gust if it's for Unlimited.*
Modified: 2.5/5
Limited: 4/5
Combos With: Double Colorless Energy
*not Double Full Heal though, because it's bad.


Ambipom is a Colorless Pokémon, allowing it to hit the Weakness of a few popular Pokémon.  According to a quick Poképedia search, there are roughly 35 Colorless Weak Pokémon in the current Modified format, but a few are actually quite prominent depending on the metagame (Garchomp).  It is a Stage 1 Pokémon, which means it has to be stronger than the average Basic Pokémon and faster than the average Stage 2; quite challenging this format given the power of Pokémon SP and the speed boost provided to Evolutions via Broken Time Space and Rare Candy.  Speaking of Evolution, this has to come from something and in this case it’s Aipom.  You have four Modified legal choices: two from Majestic Dawn, one from HS – Unleashed and one from HS – Triumphant.  The all are Basic Colorless Pokémon (naturally), and three have 60 HP: the version from HS – Unleashed only has 50.  The two from Majestic Dawn have Fighting +10 Weakness which is clearly preferably to having the Fighting x2 Weakness of the HS sets, but won’t mean a whole lot even for the bigger versions due to the speed and potency of most Fighting decks.  They all lack any form of Resistance but do enjoy a single Energy Retreat Cost; easy enough to pay.  Looking at the attacks, all have single Colorless Energy requiring attacks and all but the HS – Triumphant version have an attack for two Colorless.  Unless I am forgetting a combo, I’d go with the newest version: its attack for damage is a sad 10 for (C), but its first attack will let you draw until your hand size matches your opponent’s.  You should only be using this attack on your first turn, so you have solid odds of getting a decent draw out of it.


Ambipom has 80 HP, and that is low for a Stage 1 Pokémon, especially one that has no Stage 2 or Level X option.  Simply put, a lot of decks will be able to one-shot it, and a few can do so even when it is on the Bench!  The Fighting Weakness x2 basically lets Fighting decks use their inexpensive opening attacks, without PlusPower, to go for the OHKO: this is bad, but probably not crippling.  Again, a lack of Resistance is depressing but single Energy Retreat Cost useful.


The attacks are what make me want to find a good deck for this card.  Both can be powered with a single Double Colorless Energy as they each cost (CC).  The first, Astonish, hits for a paltry 20 damage but lets you select two cards from your opponent’s hand without looking, then you do get to see them and your opponent has to shuffle them back into their deck!  If your opponent goes first and you can nail them with an early game Judge, you won’t lock them or anything but it can set them back a few turns.  I may have belittled the damage, but at the same time it is needed: inflicting no damage would have made the attack too weak.  We’ve learned from past attacks that if you aren’t doing damage, hand disruption attacks have to completely incapacitate the hand, because if they don’t you are stuck using it each turn and never can take any Prizes!  The second attack is Tail Spank, and I am happy that they made it a solid hitting one: 60 points of damage!  The catch is that you have to discard two cards from your own hand!  These attacks mostly compliment each other, though the discarding of two cards from your own hand can make it so you can’t attack at all, especially since you might want to use a card like Judge to make sure your opponent is starting with next to nothing.


Like I said, I can really see this being a nice, annoying opener in the right kind of deck, but it’s also a short-lived one.  You can’t attack with it immediately, and the current format will allow most opponents just enough time to try to an Uxie or get of a Supporter (or both).  Sure, you can hope that your opponent starts with a single Basic Pokémon with 60 or less HP, and that you open with (or cards to obtain) Apiom, Ambipom, Double Colorless Energy, and Broken Time Space, but besides being a dodgy way to win a game, that’s significant hunk of luck.


So what is the right kind of deck?  I can think of three: hand control, “donk” decks, and decks that need to discard specific cards from their own hand.  Ambipom is not the best choice for any single style of deck, so you need to design a deck around at least two of the options, or at least one that can take advantage of the occasional fortuitous set-up.  Unfortunately looking at the pre-existing hand control Pokémon, I think we have a bit of a clash in tactics.  You’ll have to hinder your own set up if you use a card like Judge: this hurts Weavile from HS – Undaunted, which could be used after Judge if you already have in play two copies of Sneasel and Broken Time Space, and then draw into the two Weavile or a Trainer that can fetch them.  Sweet if it happens, but really unlikely.  Factor in that you really need to use a card like Chatot G or Slowking from HeartGold & SoulSilver to control what your opponent is top-decking.  Too bad those Poké-Powers can’t be used until after your opponent has gotten one draw.


It fairs marginally better in decks that need discards.  Energy is pretty easy to discard so I can’t say that is a good use.  Gyarados could use it to load the Discard Pile with Magikarp but it already has effective tools for that.  I think back to Honchkrow with Vengeance, an attack that gets stronger the more Darkness-Type Pokémon that are in your Discard Pile, but it means cutting said Darkness-Type Pokémon to make room for Ambipom.  Now remember all the draw power in the format that will ruin this plan, and maybe we should wait until the next format or a worthy partner show up for it.


In Limited play, the HP isn’t as bad: Pokémon are higher Stage evolutions also tend to be a higher rarity, so the average HP of what can be played is lower than in Modified.  Conversely, this format results in the attacks being more potent: less damage goes farther and the lack of draw/search power in most decks means your opponent just can’t afford you taking out two cards a turn while hitting for even 20 points of damage.  As long as your hand can spare it, Tail Spank will enjoy the lowered average HP score.  Unlike the random card loss you inflict on your opponent with Astonish, you can see what you need least, like something run only for Type-matching purposes, and ditch it.  An Evolution you can no longer get into play is also a good, bittersweet choice.  Bumping itself up from “okay” to “very good” territory is that the attacks are both Colorless, so any type of Energy will do.  If you’re really lucky, your opponent will mistake you running Apiom as just an early game draw strategy, play out their hand as much as they can to avoid giving you a big draw, and setting up for Astonish!




Modified: 2.75/5


Limited: 3.5/5


Combos with: Judge

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