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Pojo's Pokemon Card of the Day


Unown Q  

Majestic Dawn

Date Reviewed: March 14, 2011

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 3.67
Limited: 2.00

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: See Below

Baby Mario
2010 UK National

Unown Q (Majestic Dawn)

Hello and welcome to conical’s theme week pick here at Pojo’s CotD. He has gone for Unown, which should be interesting. While never viable as a deck type (though people have tried) or as a main attacker, Unown have had plenty to offer in the way of useful techs over the years (remember Unown G or, going even further back, the Unown D from Neo Discovery which offered a possible counter to the notorious Neo Genesis Sneasel?).

We kick off the week with by far the most commonly-seen Unown in the game: Unown Q. With a miniscule 30 HP and a Weakness to Psychic (watch Uxie LA OHKO this), it’s a huge liability if you happen to start with it, but the benefits it brings make it worth the risk.

Those benefits are nothing to do with the attack (although 20 for one Energy isn’t bad and will even OHKO an opponent who is unlucky enough to also open with a lone Unown Q), it’s all about the PokePower. If Unown Q is on your Bench, you can attach it to one of your Pokémon to reduce its Retreat cost by one. Why is that so good? Well, in a format where decks run low Energy counts, keeping as much of your Energy on the Field as possible is very important. With Unown Q, you can afford to run starter/tech Pokémon like Spiritomb, Sableye, and Smeargle, knowing that it won’t set you behind an Energy attachment when you want to Retreat them. It can perform the same function when you find yourself with a less-than-ideal active Pokémon too (for example an Azelf, or a Basic you wish to evolve on the Bench), and even make it less painful to have a high Retreat Pokémon like Vileplume or Regice dragged out: now you can move it out of the active slot in a slightly less painful way.

Because of its high utility, Unown Q is a Pokémon that you will see in 90% of all competitive decks. Running a single, highly searchable copy will minimise the risk of starting with it and give you the option of turning one of your Pokémon into a free Retreater when you need it. I’m not going to go nuts with the rating though: it’s a very nice tech Pokémon, but it’s hardly broken or format dominating (in the way that PokeTurn or Garchomp C are), so the score will reflect that.


Modified: 3.5 (very useful: almost all decks could use one)


3/14/11: Unown Q(Majestic Dawn)
Unown Week? It's like Christmas!
I don't think I've mentioned this, but I'm a huge fan of Unowns in the TCG. Generally, they're not that good, but for the most part, they at least have a creative design. Also, some of them are pretty good. We'll try to look at the more playable ones this week, as well as some that are pretty dear to...whoever thought of doing Unown Week.
We start here with what is likely the most widely played Unown, which is Unown Q. Similar to Unowns E and G, both of which have rotated, Unown Q attaches itself as a Tool, and reduces the retreat of the Pokemon it's attached to by 1. Generally, you would want to attach it to something with exactly 1 retreat; free retreaters don't need it, while with anything more, retreating is still a hassle. Thankfully, many support Pokemon—Uxie, Azelf, Smeargle, Sableye, etc—have 1 retreat. Also, while most versions of Hidden Power are nigh useless, Unown Q's isn't terrible at 20 damage for 1 energy.
There are some downsides, however, most of which start with Unown having 30 HP. As such, any deck running Unown Q also runs the risk of starting with a lone Unown Q, likely the worst common start, besides maybe lone Magikarp for Gyarados. Still, it's a great tool for anyone willing to take that small risk.

Limited: 2/5
Combos With: Any 1-retreat Pokemon

Mad Mattezhion
 Professor Bathurst League Australia

Unown Q (Majestic Dawn)
This review has been sponsored by the number 7 and the letter Q!
Forgive me, but I love Jim Henson’s Muppets and Sesame Street, while aimed at a much younger audience, is still populated by many memorable puppets (The Count, Cookie Monster, Oscar the Grouch, Bert & Ernie and Kermit the Frog all come to mind) which are the source of many happy childhood memories, as well as being the butt of some brilliant parodies. I do want to go on record as saying that all of the newer puppets (Elmo and the rest of that [censored]!) don’t have the same special something that transcends the ages and are merely money makers. Rest in Peace, Jim.
With that bad joke and rant out of the way, I can review the most popular Unown in play since Unown G left the format. Despite being a dud draw in Scrabble, Unown Q is a card many players are happy to pull on their second turn of the game.
The stats are terrible, with 30 HP for a Psychic non-evolving Basic being the absolute worst amount you can have. The free retreat is a small compensation if you start with it as your Active, while the lack of resistance further reduces the odds of surviving a turn, and the Psychic weakness of +10 is just another nail in the coffin with both Uxie LA and Azelf LA taking the KO without any assistance. Basically, this Pokémon should never be Active at the end of the turn, and considering that almost every deck plays a sniper or some way to drag a Benched Pokémon to the Active slot, it shouldn’t be on the Bench at the end of the turn either. At least it is easy to grab out of the deck with Pokémon Collector.
As you all will have realised, a Pokémon that has stats this terrible and is still considered playable doesn’t stay in play for even a whole turn to do what it does.
The meat of this card is the Poke-power, QUICK (all Unown have this quirk along with the interesting effects given to each of the Hidden Power attacks, and as a design choice it was a great idea). The effect is that, once during your turn if Unown Q is on the Bench, you can discard all cards attached to Unown Q (and you shouldn’t have any other cards attached to Unown Q so this isn’t a problem) and then attach Unown Q to one of your other Pokémon as a Pokémon Tool. The effect of the Pokémon Tool is to reduce the retreat cost of the affected Pokémon by 1.
A few points about the Poke-power: Unown Q will not count as a Knocked Out Pokémon if it is sent to the discard pile while attached to another Pokémon, and it does not count as a Trainer Card even though it does count as a Pokémon Tool. While in the deck or discard pile Unown Q is a Pokémon and it is the same on the Bench, but it does not count as a Pokémon while it is attached as a Pokémon Tool, so attacks that deal damage based on the number of Pokémon in play will not count Unown Q and other effects are also not applied to Unown Q. Finally, reducing the retreat cost means that effects that add to the retreat cost (like Victreebel TM’s Tangling Tendrils Poke-body) are still applied (these effects are not applied to Pokémon with their retreat cost set to 0 by a card effect, like Flygon RR’s Rainbow Float).
Now that is out of the way, the actual use of the Poke-power is to make a Pokémon with a retreat cost of 1 into a free retreater, or on occasion you can make a Pokémon with an expensive retreat cost a little lighter so you can retreat it manually (though most of the time you will just use Switch/Warp Point/Warp Energy for that, especially if you use other Pokémon Tools in your deck).
The most common candidates are Smeargle UD, Spiritomb PA and Sableye SF as it means you don’t have to drop any energy just to retreat them if your opponent is taking too long to knock them out. This is especially useful for Smeargle, as you can use the Portrait Poke-power and then retreat for another Pokémon to attack, while Spiritomb also gets a boost as a switching attack that brings Spiritomb Active to lock the opponnet's Trainers (Gengar PA's Shadow Skip comes to mind, as does Gastly SF's Trick Gas) no longer requires an energy sacrifice each turn. Other techs with a single energy retreat cost (Kingdra Prime for example) can also be made free so that they can be removed from the Active slot with a minimum of fuss if they get dragged up.
The attack, Hidden Power, is just [c] for a vanilla 20 damage
Basically, this card fills a niche that exists in a lot of decks and is great for getting around low retreat costs which are a problem for decks with low energy counts (which to be honest, is most of them).
Modified: 3.75 (starting with it is terrible and it is most useful early game, but it is definitely in the “playable” category)
Limited: 2.5 (the stats are a killer, but reducing the retreat cost is even better here!)
Combos with: Smeargle UD, Spiritomb PA, Sableye SF

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