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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Braviary #88

Emerging Powers

Date Reviewed: August 17, 2011

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 2.00
Limited: 4.50

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

virusyosh

Pleasant midweek, Pojo readers! Today we're continuing our reviews of the new Emerging Powers expansion by reviewing a Stage 1 card that is rather popular in the video games. Today's Card of the Day is the Valiant Pokemon, Braviary.

Braviary is a Stage 1 Colorless-type Pokemon. Colorless Pokemon are very flexible, being able to use Energy of any type, as well as therefore being able to fit into pretty much any deck. Braviary has 100 HP, which is rather average for a Stage 1, although still sadly lower than high-HP Basics like Reshiram, Zekrom, and even Tornadus and Thundurus. Lightning Weakness is pretty bad right now with the popularity of Magnezone, Zekrom, and Pachirisu, Fighting Resistance is great against Donphan, and a Retreat Cost of one is basically what we'd expect.

Like many other Pokemon in the TCG (and this set), Braviary has two attacks. Wing Attack does a vanilla 40 damage for two Colorless Energy (or a Double Colorless), which is...an average amount of damage. Good for Limited, but not enough for Modified. The second attack, Brave Bird, deals a fairly good 90 damage for three Colorless, but Braviary also does 30 damage to itself. 90 damage for three Colorless Energy is very well costed, and may see some play as a tech, however, dealing 30 damage to yourself when you already are kind of frail to begin with isn't the best strategy in Modified. In Limited, 90 damage will severely dent pretty much everything in Emerging Powers, with many smaller targets being OHKO'd outright, with everything else requiring an extra Wing Attack to get the job done.

Modified: 1.75/5 90 damage is great for the cost, the only problem is that other Pokemon do the same amount if not more for the cost (Reshiram, Zekrom, Magnezone) or have better stats. 100 HP, Lightning Weakness, and a self-damaging attack really don't help Braviary's playability, either.

Limited: 4/5 Braviary is yet another strong Colorless Pokemon from Emerging Powers, making it a good pick for Limited. Both Wing Attack and Brave Bird deal a nice amount of consistent damage, and although Brave Bird essentially can only be used two or three times, Max Potion can help if you think you can load the Energy back onto Braviary. 100 HP on a Stage 1 is also fairly good for the Limited format, as most attacks won't even come close to an OHKO.


Otaku

I want to like Braviary because it just has such a patriotic vibe to it. Can he (yeah, all male species) escape the curse of being a Stage 1 Colorless Pokémon based upon a Normal/Flying hybrid from the video games?

Stats

Braviary is a Stage 1 Colorless Pokémon, as stated in my little intro. The good news is that Stage 2 Pokémon no longer have access to sick tricks like Rare Candy. The bad news is that neither do Stage 1 Pokémon and Basic Pokémon are both well supported now and getting more in the future. This card is going to have to be stronger than… well… anything but a Stage 2 Pokémon. If Stage 1 Pokémon that don’t Evolve aren’t that powerful, they have little reason for existing. It should be noted that as of right now, Colorless Weakness, Resistance, support, and counter cards are either rare or non-existent in the Modified format. This could of course change with later sets, but for now it is almost a neutral Type, not unlike when the game began.

100 HP is about right for a Stage 1 and will let it survive a decent hit. The Lightning Weakness makes sense when combined with this HP score is unfortunate: there are a few popular Lightning-Type Pokémon that would hit for 50 points of damage that now simply OHKO Braviary. The Fighting Resistance is appreciated and should come in handy on occasion. The single Energy Retreat Cost is technically good, as it is fairly easy to pay, but since this card is a Normal/Flying Type in the video games, a free Retreat Cost would have been more appropriate.

Effects

Braviary has two attacks, both named after actual video game attacks it learns: Wing Attack and Brave Bird. Wing Attack does an adequate 40 for (CC) while Brave Bird does a good 90 for (CCC)… at least until you factor in the 30 points of recoil damage. Generally if you’re willing to hit yourself for that much damage, you should be able to hit your opponent for that much which means in the end we are scoring 60 points of damage for (CCC). Using my pricing guidelines where a Colorless Energy requirement yields 10 points of damage, you’d think I’d be happy, but then we factor in this is a Stage 1, and a Stage 1 that doesn’t Evolve and we are probably just breaking even in a format full of good deals. These attacks don’t really compliment each other and are just for damage. It feels somewhat unimaginative and lacking, and probably plays that way as well.

I will end this section on a positive note by pointing out at least the attacks are priced so that you could have a logical progression without and major gaps and you can make use of Double Colorless Energy for either attack. Even if you start at zero Energy, a Double Colorless Energy enables Wing Attack. If you attached an Energy to Rufflet the turn before, a Double Colorless Energy takes you straight to Brave Bird. If Double Colorless Energy is a no show, as long as you drop an Energy card the same turn you drop Rufflet, you can still steadily build to your better attack.

Usage

First and foremost, we have to Evolve Braviary from Rufflet. The two Rufflet are nearly identical: both are Colorless Basic Pokémon with 60 HP, Lighting Weakness, Fighting Resistance, and single Energy Retreat Costs. I’d have liked another 10 HP but as a whole this is solid for a Basic that Evolves once more into a Stage 1 Pokémon. Unfortunately they come in vanilla and French vanilla flavors. Both have two attacks, the first costing (C) and the latter requiring (CC). Version 86/98 can do 10 or 20, respectively. Version 87/98 adds the slightest twist, doing 10 or 30 on a successful coin toss, respectively. In all honesty as a supporting Basic for a Stage 1 you don’t really want to be attacking unless it is for a KO or to aid in set-up. If Sweet Sleeping Face Pokémon are still seeing play in your area, I’d use 87/98 in case you can go for a quick OHKO with Double Colorless Energy. Otherwise you should stick to the more reliable 86/98, but in either case you really shouldn’t be attacking very often.

Unfortunately there isn’t much you can do with this card that is worthwhile. It certainly isn’t a bad card, but it isn’t especially good unless we get something that enhances self-damaging or Colorless Pokémon. Defender can help, since a single copy drops you to 10 points of self damage and an otherwise healthy specimen could use Brave Bird for 90 damage and both retain 90 HP while requiring 110 points of damage to be KOed. This seems like a card that needs Boost Energy to return, since a “from nearly nowhere” 90 might actually stand up to the raw power most of the Legendary Basic Pokémon can so easily dish out right now. There aren’t enough good cards that do self-damage to build a deck entirely around them, and what we do have edges it out in decks that might otherwise welcome the self-damage.

In Unlimited you have the means of getting this going first turn… but those resources are better spent elsewhere, though a Broken Time-Space and Boost Energy, Double Colorless Energy, and Recycle Energy selection isn’t an especially specific or intense investment. As usual, ignoring the brutal decks that basically take you out of the game (either by actually donking you, stripping your hand to nothing, and/or actually “locking” you), you could probably build a reasonably competitive fun deck out of it, just by virtue of combining it with Neo Genesis Slowking and the above… and maybe add a Call Energy since it is most important to fill your Bench with Slowpoke for the deck.

For Limited play it’s a great pull and top pick. As usual the stats and attacks are just better here, since so much of the competition pulled will be unplayable due to a lack of lower Stages or fundamental support structures for the decks. This is further enhanced by having two versions available of the Basic (better chance of getting a solid line) and the ability to use any Energy Type.

Create-A-Card

What’s this, another section? While I haven’t been using this format long, I figured I might as well officially cordon off my “what-if” scenarios about card design. This also gives those completely uninterested in reading this kind of thing the chance to just skip straight to the Ratings section.

At its most basic level Braviary really needed another 10 HP: odd numbers are always a little more useful than even due to Weakness always making damage happen in even numbered increments. In this case, Pachirisu wouldn’t be able to OHKO it and Magnezone Prime would still have to burn two Energy cards instead of just a single Energy card. The free Retreat Cost I mentioned earlier would have been helpful but not critical.

The card’s effects, which in this card are just attacks, are a big let down. I don’t know Braviary well enough to design a super unique card just for it, but writing this review I had a few workable ideas occur that should match-up to the concept okay. The most basic is realizing the card might as well have a more expensive (and damaging) second attack. If Braviary is hitting the Defending Pokémon for 120 or so damage, even if the kickback is more like 40 points of damage, it’s enough to actually matter. The first attack is fast and not completely worthless, so you might be able to get away with either using two copies of Double Colorless Energy on Braviary or just powering him up manually.

Given its “brave” theme I might have given it a “flip until tails attack” or a Rage-Style attack to better combo with the damage. Resisting my crazier ideas, how about something as simple as making Brave Bird the smaller attack and Rage the big, powerful move? Something as simple as 60 for (CC) and doing 10 or 20 points of self-damage would be useful. A straight-up Rage like move that only does 10 extra damage for each damage counter wouldn’t be creative and would need to high of a base damage to be that good but could work. TPC could even have been daring and given us a low base damage, (CCC) cost, but done 20 or 30 points of damage for each damage counter on Braviary.

Ratings

Unlimited: 2/5

Modified: 2/5

Limited: 5/5

Combos with: Defender

Summary

Braviary is better built than some more recent Stage 1 Colorless Pokémon, but it is still lacking. It isn’t terribly creative and doesn’t lend itself to very many useful combos.

Mad Mattezhion

Braviary (Emerging Powers)
 
Greetings and salutations, I'm back now that my technical issues have been solved. I'm working double time to catch up the reviews I missed and once again I solemnly pledge not to fall behind. I think this is pledge number #482, maybe it'll stick this time?
 
Anyway, on with the show. Braviary is a giant and vicious bird which also happens to be a non-evolving Stage 1 of the Colourless type with 100 HP, Lightning weakness, Fighting resistance, a retreat cost of 1 and two attacks.
 
The HP is acceptable and the resistance sweetens the deal so survivability seems to be decent, although the weakness is a problem against Magnezone Prime and Pachirisu CL. The retreat cost is good (for B&W onwards at least) and the typing is a bonus since you can fit Braviary just about anywhere and take advantage of a lot of the energy support we have available. So far, Braviary is looking good.
 
Are the attacks up to standard though? Wing attacks is the first and I'd have to say it is disappointing. Maybe my standards have become too high, but 40 damage for [c][c] doesn't cause me any excitement. It's okay for the cost and can take advantage of Double Colourless Energy but Braviary is heavily outgunned by the more popular Stage 1 Poke'mon (Zoroark BW, Mandibuzz BW, Donphan Prime, Yanmega Prime, you get the picture) when it comes to first attacks.
 
Brave Bird is where Braviary jumps from being vanilla to being sour. For a cost of [c][c][c], you get 100 damage (which is great) but suffer 30 recoil damage (which is terrible). With recoil eating away at your HP, you will quickly fall to a revenge hit and 100 damage just isn't quite enough to deal with all of the legendary Poke'mon we have in the card pool at the moment, even with the help of Pluspower.
 
You could use Braviary as a cheap bomb that can be easily sacrificed while you build your main threat on the bench, but Braviary is inferior to Cinccino BW in the same role simpl because of the higher energy cost. Maybe if you expect to face a stampede of Donphan Prime cards you would prefer Braviary over Cinccino, but the fact remains that having to use another energy card on top of a DCE for Braviary's attacks just takes away too many resources from your main attacker. And without that DCE, Braviary falls behind and will likely be wiped out without having a chance to attack in the first place. Maybe Magnezone Prime players will give Braviary a look, but to be honest both Tornadus and Zekrom are far better at dealing with Donphan and friends than Braviary could ever be.
 
Modified: 3.5 (Braviary does have a survival advantage over Cincinno and fills the same niche as a speedy sacrificial bomb, but the attack costs and recoil damage pose a serious problem. Use with care)
 
Limited: 3.75 (being splashable is a much bigger advantage in Limited and the slower speed allows you to attach the necessary energy manually without getting wiped out. The recoil still hurts severely though, as the legendaries in this set [which you cannot OHKO] are quite vicious in the smaller cardpool and there aren't any healing Trainer cards available)
 
Combos with: Double Colourless Energy


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