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Pojo's Pokemon Card of the Day


Watchog #79

Black & White

Date Reviewed: June 27, 2011

Ratings & Reviews Summary


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

Baby Mario
2010 UK National

Watchog #79/114 (Black and White)

Hello, and welcome to a week of Colourless reviews on Pojo’s CotD. And by that I mean that we are reviewing Colourless Pokémon: hopefully the reviews themselves won’t be colourless.

We kick off with Watchog, which is the Generation V Bibarel, only a bit more mean-looking. It’s a 90 HP Stage 1 with Fighting Weakness and a (good for BW) Retreat cost of one, so you know it will have to do something very special to avoid the binder.

Unfortunately, as far as Modified is concerned, it doesn’t. Watchog has two attacks, which both cost two Energy of any colour (easy enough to pay for, I guess). The first, Confuse Ray, inflicts Confusion (well duh) – a Status Condition that hasn’t been any good since they changed the ruling years ago and allowed Confused Pokémon to Retreat without penalty. The second attack, Hyper Fang, does a straight 60 damage, which would at least be reasonable for the cost if it wasn’t for the fact that it is a ‘tails fails’ attack.

No use in Modified then, but I think this card is underrated and fun in the Limited format. Confusion will make the defending Pokémon’s attacks a risky proposition and you can hopefully watch them self-damage while you wait to get the flip you need for the KO.


Modified (HGSS-on): 1.25 (an auto Status Condition, but not much else)

Limited: 2.5 (annoy your opponent and win by hax!)

Mad Mattezhion
 Professor Bathurst League Australia

Watchog (Black & White)
Hello Pojo readers, we welcome another week with the latest version of the 'ubiquitous rodent', Watchog.
In every generation of games, there is a Stage 1 line that resmebles a toothy little pest which is ridiculously common and usually winds up becoming a HM slave in the video games. Gen I had Rattata and Raticate (rats), Gen II followed with Sentret and Furret (squirrel/meerkat crosses), Gen III introduced Zigzagoon and Linoone (a hedgehog and a weasel) and Gen IV gaves us Bidoof and Bibarel (a guinea pig and a beaver). Now we have Patrat and Watchog making their debut in Gen V (chipmunks), so will they impress us as much as their forebears?
Strangely enough, Watchog does have a reputation to uphold. Furret SW was well loved until Glaydol GE stole it's thunder and  Bibarel SF was a beast at the prerelease with stats that almost made it worth playing competitively. Sadly, this card won't make the grade so it is up to a future release to win Watchog some fans.
Watchog is a Colourless type none-evolving Stage 1 with 90 HP, Fighting weakness, a retreat cost of 1 and two attacks.
Donphan Prime just loves the feel of squished rodents under its feet so the weakness is obviously a problem, but the HP won't last long even against backup attackers of different types. At least the retreat cost is as cheap as it gets in B&W, a single energy to move out of the Active slot. The type is also good as Watchog is easy to splash, assuming that you actually want to use it.
The first attack is Confuse Ray. For a cost of [c][c] you cause auto-Confusion and... absolutely nothing else. Considering that Confusion is just as flippy as Sleep and is almost as easy to remove, this is a terrible attack, made even worse by the lack of damage or other effects. Never, ever wats energy on this trash.
Hyper Fang is the second attack, and it also costs [c][c] to use, so both attacks can be powered by a single Double Colourless Energy. Why you would want to is beyond me though, as Hyper Fang deals a mere vanilla 60 damage. Unless you flip Tails, in which case you do absolutely nothing and have completely wasted an attack that would be at least a 2HKO on any important target anyway.
Watchog is the complete opposite to the Dragon Twins. Reshiram and Zekrom represent the completely broken end of the spectrum while Watchog is the poster-Poke'mon for underpowered binder fodder. Even in Unlimited, both attacks have at least an even chance of doing absoutely nothing to your opponent, so Watchog should be avoided if at all possible.
Modified: 1 (I don't often give the bottom score, but Watchog has certainly earned it with those completely underpowered attacks)
Limited: 1.5 (between the Dragon Twins and all of the setup Trainers you can pull in B&W, Watchog's splashability and cheap cost aren't as big an advantage as they should be. The attacks still suck in this format, with Switch and Full Heal keeping Confuse Ray from being even semi-useful while Hyper Fang remains completely underpowered)
Combos with: my undying scorn


Watchog is a devastating quasi-pun. That sadly might be its greatest strength: inducing Flinch in the other player.

Watchog (as a TCG card) is a Stage 1 Colorless Pokémon. Colorless is an odd type because it combines some diverse types. The "
Normal" Type of the video games exists as a "placeholder": if it isn't anything else, it ends up a Normal-Type. This is often most obvious when looking at some of the first generation Pokémon that later gained a type because of the addition of Dark- and Steel-Types (again, using video game and not TCG terminology). Colorless-Type Pokémon also include Flying-Type Pokémon (from the video games), which isn't too bad since they really are just one step removed from Normal-Type Pokémon in most cases, and can adequately be represented by merely altering their bottom stats. Dragon-Type Pokémon are the final video game type included in Colorless, and it is the one that causes the most problems. Especially in the original generation, this type had great Weakness/Resistance match-ups and really was their own type compared to Normal or Flying Pokémon, with the caveat that there was only one "true" Dragon Evolution line, and it ended with a Dragon/Flying hybrid (Dragonite).

What this means for the TCG is it is hard to do anything with video game Normal-, Flying-, or Dragon-Type Pokémon because it affects the other two, dissimilar Pokémon-Types most of the time. Maybe I missed it, but I see no Colorless Support (or conversely, counter-Colorless cards) for the current or next Modified format. Like so many things, this can be good and it can be bad: sometimes you really need something "neutral" to buffer your deck. There are cards that are Colorless Weak or Resistant (unlike when the game began) and as a rule it only matters when a good Weak/Resistant card rises to prominence because as a whole it ends up being so rare as to be inconsequential. Right now there are a few cards that matter, but almost all rotate out. It remains to be seen if anything new will rise to prominence.

90 HP is poor for a Stage 1, especially that doesn't Evolve again. This used to be "just okay" but even with the damage creep dialing back, the most prominent decks (which aren't even the best for raw power) can often score a OHKO, and those that do specialize in the tactic can do so reliably. Many such decks are Fighting-Type, which makes the Weakness matter, but not in the extreme: they just go from a probable OHKO to an all-but guaranteed OHKO. The lack of Resistance is disappointing but so common it doesn't detract from the card. Given the slightly low HP, a free Retreat Cost would have been good compensation, but a single Energy Retreat Cost like Watchog has is still good; you won't have a hard time paying for it or recovering from it.

Watchog has two attacks, and both cost (CC), which would be brilliant, if the actual effects weren't so poor. It really is potent to be able to choose from two different attacks with a single Double Colorless Energy attachment. The problem is that each attack doesn't do enough. Even in an Emboar deck where Inferno Fandango would let you power it in one turn without burning a Special Energy, the attacks are just overpriced. When you have to use a Special Energy (re: Double Colorless Energy) or two manual Energy attachments, it's even worse. Confuse Ray needs to do some damage, because automatic Confusion is so weak it might not even be worth (C). Perhaps TPC should consider revising the effects of the Special Conditions, as they did years ago, because as a whole they are still ineffective. For a Stage 1 Pokémon that can't Evolve into anything else, this attack should easily do 30 damage with with the Confusion as a bonus.

Hyperfang is actually pretty close to playable. While it is a "tails fails" attack, you're hitting for 60 damage. If you rush Watchog to the field (and you easily can) so that it hits on your second turn reliably, you'd enjoy a flip to KO many Basic Pokémon, and with a boost almost all Basic Pokémon (exclusions being the quite beefy ones, like Reshiram) and some of the smaller Stage 1 Pokémon. If the attack did 20 more damage this would have seen some play, or perhaps if it was a "flip two coins, if at least one is heads..." kind of thing so that it was better odds, making it worth dropping PlusPower.

There are already two Patrat I am aware of to Evolve Watchog from: Black & White 77/114 and Black & White 78/114. The former has 50 HP and two attacks, the latter 60 HP and one attack. Both are Fighting Weak, lack Resistance, and have single Energy Retreat Costs. 77/114 can do 10 for (C) or 20 for (CC). 78/114 can do 30 damage for (C), but requires a coin toss and if it is tails, it does nothing instead. I've mentioned before, when you're playing something meant to Evolve, you usually favor attacks that protect it or help set-up, because you hopefully attack once or never with it. Neither card has that, so when that fails you take whatever hits hard and fast. Even if it is unreliable, you won't be using it unless you're already desperate or just want the chance to mess with your opponent. 78/114 was already favored for having 10 more HP, and the slightly better (even if unreliable) damage return (averaging 15 points for one Energy) means that even if it is unreliable, that 30 gives you a better shot and making your opponent hesitate to send something important up unless it can get a OHKO. Small advantages, but advantages none the less.

I can't see using this in Modified unless you're low on cards. Even if you want to go for a OHKO style deck, you have better options like Donphan Prime, Cinccino, and of course Zekrom when it is properly supported. Neither can I see a place for it in Unlimited: "Baby" Pokémon will already for a flip, Confusion is almost totally worthless, and you not only have the above options but also more classical FTKO Pokémon like Erika's Jigglypuff and Neo Discovery Tyrogue.

The only place to really use this is in a Limited format setting. Two Common versions of the Basic Pokémon make it easier to pull a workable line, and Watchog itself is just an Uncommon, again making it easier to pull. Since so many higher HP cards are Evolutions and people just don't pull a full line or enough support to justify including them in a deck, average HP scores and damage output are lower, making 90 HP fairly good. It also means many times Hyperfang will be a flip for a OHKO. Even when it isn't, in this format it is unlikely your opponent will have an answer for Confusion, and thus Confuse Ray becomes a good solid attack. On top of all that, it of course has all Colorless, low Energy cost attacks making it fast and easy to run in any probable deck you'd be able to build.


Unlimited: 1/5

Modified (MD-On): 1.5/5

Modified (HGSS-On): 1.75/5

Limited: 3.75/5


A Pokémon only for Limited, where the stats and attacks are worth the investment.

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