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Pojo's Pokemon Card of the Day


Mandibuzz #73

Black & White

Date Reviewed: June 22, 2011

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 3.15
Limited: 3.25

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

Mandibuzz #73/114 (Black and White)

Yesterday’s Dark Type Pokémon was pretty cool-looking. Today’s is not. Sorry, but vultures are one of nature’s most disgusting creations, and no, I don’t even think the Basic form is cute either.

On the other hand, as a card, Mandibuzz has a whole lot more going for it than Liepard. True, 90 HP isn’t much to boast about on a Stage 1, but it might just be that Mandibuzz has the attacks and stats to make it playable. Sure, the Lightning Weakness makes it easy prey for Magnezone and Zekrom (but then there isn’t much that those Pokémon don’t one-shot), but the Fighting Resistance is fantastic. This is particularly true when you consider that most of the other playable Dark Types (Tyranitar Prime, Zoroark, Umbreon) are all limited by their tendency to get destroyed by Donphan due to Weakness. With Mandibuzz you have the possibility of a counter without having to go off-type.

The attacks are more than decent too. Blindside will do 50 damage to ANY of your opponent’s Pokémon that already has damage counter on it . . . for only one Dark Energy. Sniping for 50 at that cost is amazing, and while it is true that the rotation of Crobat G means we have lost the easiest way to get damage on to Benched Pokémon, we still have Absol, Kindra, and Tyranitar (the Prime versions), that can spread or place damage on your opponent’s bench.

Mandibuzz’s Punishment attack is also pretty handy. For the cost of [D][C][C] (which makes it one of the few BW Pokémon that can really abuse Double Colourless), you get a poor 40 damage . . . unless the Defending Pokémon is a Stage 2, in which case you are hitting for 100. Against a Stage 2, Punishment goes from being completely horrible to very good. Against Gengar Prime, it is positively excellent.

Taken individually, nothing Mandibuzz does is amazing. When you put it all together though – the Fighting Resistance, the sniping, the big damage to Stage 2s - it’s clear that this is a Pokémon that has the potential to see play in the right deck and with the right combination of Pokémon.


Modified (HGSS-on): 3.5 (extremely versatile, and combos well with some already good Pokémon)

Limited: 3 (difficult to use until late game, where hopefully it will pick up Prizes from your opponent’s damaged Bench)


Mandibuzz is a Stage 1 Darkness-Type Pokémon whose Basic form is surprisingly adorable for a carrion-eater. Being a Darkness-Type Pokémon seems to be a small advantage since it will allow the attacks to potentially boost their damage through use of the Special Energy version of Darkness Energy. Mandibuzz itself has only 90 HP, which is a little low for a Stage 1 that can't further Evolve. The Lightning-Type Weakness is somewhat problematic, making it an easy OHKO for pretty much all Lightning-Type Pokémon that I've heard of being commonly used. Now many of those decks could OHKO Mandibuzz anyway, but at least a few are aided by being able to do it for less effort or a turn sooner. At least this is different from the default Fighting-Type Weakness seen on most Darkness-Type Pokémon. In fact, this card not only has a Resistance, but it is even to Fighting-Types! Alone this probably won't be enough to get the card into a Darkness-Type focused deck, but it certainly helps. It is bittersweet that Mandibuzz has a single Energy Retreat Cost. This is technically a good stat, because it is fairly easy to pay. I call it bittersweet because as a long time player I just tend to expect my winged Pokémon to have a free Retreat Cost, and having no Retreat Cost would have helped to offset the HP a little more.

The attacks are interesting, but not really complimentary or strong. Blindside looks to have some real promise: 50 points of damage to the Pokémon of your choice, so long as it already has at least one damage counter on it. Even restricted sniping tends to be useful. Punishment is poor except when used against Stage 2 Pokémon. Its base damage is just 40 points for a three Energy (DCC) investment, even with possible Darkness Energy bonus damage and/or Double Colorless Energy to speed the attack up. Now if it is used on a Stage 2 Pokémon, it does another 60 points of damage for a total of 100 points of damage, which is pretty good for the energy invested.

This card really feels incomplete, as the right Ability could really make it. As is, I can still see a few potential combo partners for it. Absol from HS-Triumphant has a solid attack of its own (when you aren't staring down Lost World) but more importantly a Poke-Body that places two damage counters whenever your opponent plays a Basic Pokémon from the hand to the Bench, as long as Absol is Active. As long as we still have it,
Miasma Valley can place another two damage counters onto Pokémon as they are being played on the Bench, but it be careful as it applies to both players and it won't affect Psychic- or Grass-Type Pokémon. The Cacturne from Platinum (also the only currently Modified legal Cacturne) has an attack, Spike Wound, that is a slightly more expensive version of Blindside, requiring (CC), but that can still be powered in a single turn by a Double Colorless Energy. The bad news is that it is a Grass-Type so it can't get a damage bonus from the Special Energy version of Darkness Energy, but that also means it wouldn't be affected by Miasma Valley. This trio could probably make a fun deck for the current format, but it'd seem like a pale imitation of the damage-counter-placement shenanigans of Pokémon SP and it isn’t like you’ll have that much time to enjoy it even if it did work.

Also available this format and continuing to be available next format, is Tyranitar Prime from HS-Unleashed. For a single Energy, its Darkness Howl attack does 20 to all Pokémon that aren't Darkness-Type. Appropriately enough, Mandibuzz can swoop in and take out stragglers who survive Tyranitar's rampage.

I’d be tempted to toy with this in Unlimited: you won’t be smacking a lot of Stage 2 Pokémon, but if you can find a good partner to spread damage, Blindside should have ample OHKO targets, from Benched Baby Pokémon to Benched Neo Genesis Slowking. The place I know you'll want to run this is Limited, unless of course you can't get the Basic or have enough Darkness Energy using Pokémon to justify including at least a handful in your deck. Otherwise sniping stuff on the Bench is incredibly important in this format where retreating to avoid giving up a Prize is a strategic mainstay. The fact it can actually hit a Stage 2 Pokémon reasonably hard gives it two niche uses that make up for it being a poor performer against uninjured or aren't Stage 2.


Unlimited: 2/5

Modified (MD-On): 2.5/10

Modified (HGSS-On): 3/10

Limited: 3.75/5


A sniper with a counter-Stage 2 attack, the card feels incomplete and is a bit too specialized to be considered "strong", but it does have its uses in the right deck, namely something with good damage spread and focusing on Darkness-Type Pokémon.


Hello once again, Pojo viewers! Today we continue our Black and White reviews by reviewing a card that received a bit of hype, at least in my area. Today's Card of the Day is Mandibuzz.

Mandibuzz is a Stage 1 Darkness-type Pokemon. As I said yesterday, Darkness-type Pokemon aren't all that common right now, but Tyranitar Prime and this card may change that. 90 HP is decent for a Stage 1, allowing Mandibuzz to take a hit or two, although it is still taken down by Reshiram, Zekrom, and Magnezone Prime. Lightning Weakness makes it that much easier for Magnezone Prime to OHKO you, Fighting Resistance is great against the Donphan Prime and Machamp Prime matchup. Finally, a Retreat Cost of 1 is totally decent and payable.

Mandibuzz's two attacks, Blindside and Punishment, are both interesting enough to be used in today's Modified metagame. Blindside deals 50 damage to one of your opponent's Pokemon that already has damage counters on it for the low price of a single Darkness Energy. This attack is great for picking off your opponent's damaged Pokemon, and does a great amount of damage for the cost. It also combos incredibly well with Kingdra Prime's Spray Splash Poke-Power, as well as Tyranitar Prime's Darkness Howl. However, it is important to note that if you pair this up with Kingdra Prime, both will have a Weakness to Magnezone, and since Kingdra's attack is weakened by the presence of Fire Pokemon, using this combination against Magnezone/Emboar could easily end up being an auto-loss. Using this attack, you can easily take out benched Cleffas and the like, as well as any Pokemon your opponent happened to retreat within KO range.

Punishment starts off at a rather lackluster 40 damage for a Darkness and two Colorless, but does 60 more if the Defending Pokemon is a Stage 2. 100 damage to a Stage 2 is really good, although a tad bit situational. However, it makes it so that Mandibuzz can deal a decent amount of damage to Magnezone, Emboar, and other common Stage 2s quickly, and even OHKOs Jumpluff.

Modified: 3.5/5 I think Mandibuzz has some real potential, as both of its attacks serve it well in Modified. The low HP and Weakness to Magnezone Prime really hurt, but Blindiside is easily exploited through Kingdra and Tyranitar as mentioned above, and Punishment is great against Stage 2s, especially Jumpluff and the now increasingly rare Gengar Prime, who will be OHKOed by the attack.

Limited: 3/5 Mandibuzz isn't quite as good in Limited as it is in Modified, as Blindside is less easy to break and there are fewer Stage 2s in the format. However, it is also likely that your opponent will often have damaged Pokemon on their Bench, so Blindside is still good.

Combos With: Kingdra Prime, Tyranitar Prime

Mad Mattezhion

Mandibuzz (Black and White)

Here we have one of the few cards from Black & White to receive any hype besides the Dragon twins. Todays card (which is incidentally the 1950th CotD) is the big, bad vulture itself, Mandibuzz!

First, the statistics: Mandibuzz is a Dark type non-evolving Stage 1 with 90 HP, Lightning weakness, Fighting resistance, a retreat cost of 1 and two attacks.

The HP is good enough but not great although the resistance to Fighting goes a long way towards making it better, not least because Fighting types are a really bad matchup for Dark Poke'mon. The Lightning weakness is the tradeoff, which is bad (I have nightmares about Magnezone) but could be a lot worse. The retreat cost is annoying but easily payable, although free retreat really isn't too much to ask here, is it? Vultures and condors glide for hundreds of kilometers per day to find carcasses to eat so surely Mandibuzz can reach the bench without effort?

Now we reach the attacks. Blindside is the first attack, and it is also the one getting all of the attention from players. For the low cost of a single [d] energy, you can deal 50 damage to one of your opponent's Poke'mon, provided that the target already has at least one damage counter on it. This kind of damage-to-energy ratio was great even for the MD-on format we just left, and with Garchomp C out of the picture it goes from respectable to absolutely brilliant.

The main drawback is having to place that first damage counter as the intended target will beout of harm's way on the bench 5 times out of 6. Fortunately, there are several workable options to make that happen.

The first to come to mind is Kingdra Prime, a personal favourite of mine and a very finely balanced card. You can use that Spray Splash Poke-power to place the damage counter you need and you can also use it to add extra 'oomph' to your sniping attacks, as well as using the Dragon Steam attack to get rid of pesky Donphans.

Speaking of Donphan, not only does Mandibuzz take reduced damage (turning Earthquake into a 3HKO if your opponent doesn't have any Pluspower or other damage boosters) but the backlash from Earthquake gives you the damage counters you need to start sniping with Blindside. This little tidbit could make for a very effective psychological play against Donphan/Machamp decks, which ususally beat the living daylights out of Dark Poke'mon (if there was a pun in there, it was not intentional).

Another viable option is Tyranitar Prime. A turn or two of Darkness Howl will soften most targets so that when Tyranitar retires (either scooped up, switched or KOed) you can promote Mandibuzz to start tearing through the ranks and finish off those 90 HP techs one by one (Ninetales HGSS, Noctowl HGSS, etc).

The third option I can think of would be using Mandibuzz as a rogue tech in a completely different deck, relying on the soon-to-be-released Poke'mon Catcher to send a hurt Defending Poke'mon back to the bench and brining up an unmovable bench sitter to give you time to snipe the wounded attacker in safety. Only the future will tell us how crazy that idea is but it could well be a surprise move you face at a tournament.

Any deck wanting to use Absol Prime as a starter could also rely on the Eye of Disaster Poke-body to place the necessary damage counters. Or you could run a Magnezone variant with Ampharos Prime teched in the place damage counters on any Poke'mon your opponent is trying to power up, giving Mandibuzz a chance to take out an emerging threat.

There are downsides to Blindside, however. Healing Poke'mon like Serperior BW will ruin your sniping and if you can't place that first damage counter on your target, Mandibuzz is absolutely useless. Also, you lose the use of Special Dark energy as the bonus damage only applies to the Active Poke'mon, making the investment somewhat pointless. I wouldn't worry too much about it though, Special Dark energy belong on Tyranitar anyway.

There is a second attack, however so I'll continue the review. Punishment is an awesome attack name but the effect isn't quite as inspiring. For the cost of [d][c][c] you deal 60 damage, with a bonus 40 damage if the Defending Poke'mon is a Stage 2. While the ability to deal 100 damage is quite helpful and you can use DCE to power it up quickly, the condition for the bonus damage is somewhat difficult to meet. If the Defending Poke'mon is a Stage 2, it usually means that they have already KOed Mandibuzz, or are going to at the end of the turn (if you dragged them up with Poke'mon Reversal/Poke'mon Catcher). Punishment can be used in an emergency but if your setup is that terrible you are better off just conceding to save time.

Mandibuzz will be good friends with any player who loves Tyranitar or Kingdra, and future combos could also make this buzzard your worst nightmare. Along with Zoroark, this card is set to redeem Dark types which have been getting very little respect in recent times. Playtest this as soon as you can!

Modified: 4 (a cheap sniper with an awesome resistance and multiple partners waiting in the wings? Yes please!)

Limited: 2.5 (Mandibuzz is pretty ordinary here with Zekrom ruining your day, but if you also get Zoroark then run it. Or even if you don't you can still run Mandibuzz to hit the 'one that got away')

Combos with: Kingdra Prime, Tyranitar Prime, Absol Prime, Ampharos Prime

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