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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Claydol Lv. 45

Great Encounters

Date Reviewed: August 2, 2011

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: DNA
Limited: 5.0

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 Greetings, Pojo readers! This will be our last review until about the middle of next week, as the COTD team is taking a bit of a break. After that, though, we'll be reviewing some new cards from Emerging Powers. Today we're reviewing an older card from the Great Encounters expansion that was incredibly important when it legal in Modified. Today's Card of the Day is Claydol.

Claydol is a Stage 1 Fighting Pokemon, however its Fighting-type rarely mattered, as Claydol is rarely used as an attacker, but primarily for its amazing Poke-POWER. 80 HP on a Stage 1 is decent, but could be a bit higher. Grass Weakness isn't that big of a deal either, as there weren't that many common Grass-types available when Claydol was Modified-legal. No Resistance is unfortunate, as was a Retreat Cost of 2, making Claydol difficult to retreat when Bright Looked up by your opponent's Luxray GL Lv. X (The same would be true today with things like Pokemon Catcher and Pokemon Reversal).

Claydol has a Poke-POWER and a single attack. No one really ever used Spinning Attack, which does 40 damage for the decent cost of [FC]. While decently costed, Claydol was primarily used as a bench-sitter due to its significant Power, although the attack was sometimes used to take out weakened Luxray GLs and Luxray GL Lv. X.

Cosmic Power, Claydol's Poke-POWER, is simply amazing. Once per turn, you may put up to two cards from your hand on the bottom of your deck, then draw until you have six cards in hand. Cosmic Power is truly amazing, in that it gets rid of bad hands through putting cards on the bottom of your deck, and then gives you what amounts to a fresh new hand each turn. This card was single-handedly able to make Evolution decks very fast, and to keep them competitive against other very popular decks that relied on Basics. Even now, if Claydol were still legal in Modified, it would be very welcome in a format with so little Power-based draw, especially as a Stage 1 (Magnezone Prime has a similar Power, but is a Stage 2 and is much more difficult to get out). In closing, Claydol is an amazing card, and we probably won't see another card like it for a very long time.

Modified: N/A. Great Encounters hasn't been legal for a while now, but if Claydol were reprinted or something like that, it'd be a 5/5. Sure it can be called up with Pokemon Catcher and doesn't have very much HP, but the sheer draw power, card cycling, and advantage Claydol allows you is unmatched by anything we currently have in Modified.

Limited: 5/5 Claydol's a top pick here as well. Draw power is at a premium in Limited, and Claydol allows you to draw a lot of cards, cycle through your deck, and keep your hand filled. 40 damage for 2 Energy isn't even that bad in Limited, so it can even attack if necessary! Overall an excellent card.


Today we look at Claydol (DP: Great Expectations 15/106). Why? Honestly because I completely messed up our review schedule in a moment that blended ambition with panic!

So the Pojosama stepped in to clear things up and decided that since no current reviewer had covered Claydol before, we might as well enjoy some nostalgia as well as perhaps learn a thing or two about the current format and where it is headed. Claydol was a Stage 1 Fighting-Type Pokémon, and as Donphan Prime can tell you that isn’t a bad thing. Of course, now this card is only legal for Unlimited where being a Stage 1 is… not necessarily a bad thing, since there is still Broken Time Space. As long as it’s a Stage 1 that has something going for it to make it worth running over the stupendous Basics available, it might be able to see some play. When Claydol first came out, I was winding down a few year run on Pokémon, as it seems like life forces me to take a vacation for a format or three. I remember it being used in most decks, but it wasn’t for the 80 HP: that is too low now for a Stage 1 that doesn’t further Evolve, and was honestly low back then as well. The Grass+20 Weakness shouldn’t have been too terrible: Grass is such an unusual type in that it seems like there is always a rogue Grass deck of some sort, but it beats having a widely played archetype and of course, +20 is only worse than no Weakness or +10 Weakness. No Resistance was lame when the game began. It was lame when this card came out. It is lame now. Still, it also seems to be the default for a card so there is no penalty for lacking it. Two Energy needed to Retreat isn’t good or bad: by the time this card had come out it was pretty clear that Basic Pokémon by default had a single Energy Retreat Cost and Stage 2 Pokémon by default clocked in at a two or three, and so Stage 1 Pokémon seemed to either be single or double Energy Retreat Costs. This was enough that you’d want another card to help it retreat but that if you had to, you could usually cough up the Energy needed.

This card was played for Cosmic Draw, a Poké-Power that let you bottom deck up to two cards from your hand, then draw until you had six cards in hand. This was a good way to filter through your deck, and encouraged decks to run so that you could play out your hand quickly and then reload. It is the greatest Bench Sitter Pokémon Power/Poké-Power/Poké-Body/Ability/Whatever-else-they’ve-added-that-I-might-have-missed ever? No, because we have Slowking (Neo Genesis 14/111). Still there aren’t a lot of draw or search based effects like this that can be used sitting on the Bench that compare. The attack was decent to have for hitting Weakness. “Spinning Attack” did a vanilla 40 for (FC). Personally I’d have been leery to use it since at 80 HP it was practically a suicide move and I wouldn’t want to give up the draw power unless I had both a spare and a significant lead… or of course if it was the last Prize I needed to win.

With the brutal decks of Unlimited, this card might actually have a use. Of course things are much trickier than when I last could play in this format seriously: I mean Umbreon* with Scoop Up is brutal. Then again with Broken Time Space and Slowking, this might be nasty to face as well: between search/draw Trainers and Claydol, you should be able to fill your Bench with a combination of the two, which would frustrate many Unlimited strategies as I remember them. Indeed, from there you mostly just need a solid beatstick to hide behind and do damage.

As I said, in the Modified Formats this was legal for, I recall it being a must run. Of course, I never had more than one so I did without… which might be why it was so easy to take a break from the game. Now what is interesting is… would this be worth it for the current Modified format? Yes, but with a stipulation: it is an amazing set-up too but in this format 80 HP on a Bench-sitter probably only works when combined with Trainer disruption. Of course, there are some upcoming cards giving more Trainer disruption options coming, if spoilers are accurate. Those decks most definitely would love Claydol, and be able to protect it. What about everything else? It’d be tempting for those that don’t already have something with a draw effect, but with the high damage output Claydol is too easy to OHKO. I don’t think it could reclaim its spot because of this.

Oh, and if you’re actually managing to use this set for Limited play, the only reason not to run this is that you pulled no Baltoy, and I don’t dock points for that.


Unlimited: 3/5 – The key is being a Stage 1 Broken Time Space can get into play first turn, and hopefully chaining them together. But without Trainer denial they are all easy Prizes.

Modified: N/A – If it were legal I’d say it’d be a 4/5 but only for use with Trainer Lock decks.

Limited: 5/5 – Only skip it if you don’t have any copies of Baltoy.


This card was amazing when it came out. In a format where a single Item can force it Active and the vast majority of decks can OHKO it either normally or with minimal extra effort? Still potent, but it’d probably just make Lock Decks the top decks of the format.

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