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Pojo's Pokemon Card of the Day


Sawsbuck #14

Black & White

Date Reviewed: May 18, 2011

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 2.40
Limited: 3.33

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

Sawsbuck #14/114 (Black and White)

Today’s card isn’t a Maractus, but it’s pretty similar if you ask me. Not to look at, obviously, Maractus is a cheerful Mariachi cactus, while Sawsbuck is one of the more ‘realistic’ Pokémon in Generation V.

Unlike Maractus, it’s a Stage 1, but it is a 90 HP Grass type with the same nasty Fire Weakness and maybe-useful Water Resistance. Like its fellow Grass Pokémon that we looked at earlier in the week it has both a cheap attack and a healing attack.

Taking the cheap one first, Nature Power costs only one Colourless Energy to do a bargain but usually ineffectual 20 damage. But wait . . . see that + sign by the 20? For every Grass Energy in play (yes, that includes Rainbow), the attack does another 10 damage! If only Grass Pokémon had some kind of massive acceleration like Fire does with Emboar or Water with Feraligatr Prime . . . as it is, you either have to manually attach a ton of Energy to your Pokémon to get decent damage or hope your opponent is playing Grass. Of course, if you do manage to get as much as three Energy on Sawsbuck, you would be better off using Horn Leech anyway. For [G][C][C] (hooray for being Double Colourless compatible!) you get to do 60 damage and heal 20 from Sawsbuck.

Obviously, the same goes for Sawsbuck as it does for Maractus: healing strategies involving relatively low HP Pokémon (especially ones that are Fire-Weak) are not going to work in Modified. Couple that with a fairly low damage output and you have a card which shouldn’t see any play outside of a Prerelease, where it can be a very effective card.


Modified (HGSS-on): 1.75 (You have much better options for healing . . . try Ability Serperior if you must)

Limited: 3.25 (quick, relatively durable and does decent damage for this format)

Deck Garage

5/18/11: Sawsbuck(Black & White)
Fun fact about the Pokemon portrayed in today's card: the 'saws' part is an abbreviation for the four seasons, starting with summer. Just a little tidbit of information.
Today is the 3rd card this week with a healing attack. There have been 3 cards reviewed this week. This isn't a complaint about the order in which we review cards, it's a sort of curiosity of how many cards in this set have healing attacks. Not even counting this week, there's been Galvantula, both Serperiors, Lilligant, and probably another 20 Grass-types, each with various forms of healing. Sawsbuck only has 90 HP, so you can probably guess how well the healing works. Nature Power is pretty interesting, though, even though Grass-types get this sort of attack every few sets. Conceivably, you could combine this with Meganium Prime to get energy switched around fast enough for it to be useful. Or you could use Meganium Prime by itself, since it has 60 more HP, and its attack will do more damage than Sawsbuck with any realistic amount of energy attached to it. It does count your opponent's Pokemon, so this could be used as a counter to decks with heavy Grass energy counts(or maybe they reprint Scramble Energy or something), but even then, it's a stretch.
Modified: 2.5/5
Limited: 2.75/5
Combos With: Meganium Prime  


Sawsbuck is the new deer inspired Pokémon. Think Stantler are jealous? It is the third Grass-Type Pokémon we have looked at this week, and it still holds true that Grass-Type Pokémon have some great support in the current format, but even with it not a lot of Grass-decks see play. Once those are gone, so are some of the best support cards. Sawsbuck is a Stage 1 Pokémon, so it will ideally be a little slower but stronger than a Basic, but be faster and take less space than a Stage 2 Pokémon. It Evolves from Deerling, and the one we got in Black & White (and only one I currently am aware of) is a Grass-Type Basic Pokémon (naturally), with 60 HP (low since it only Evolves once), Fire Weakness (appropriate but potentially fatal next format), Water Resistance (potentially useful next format), and single Energy Retreat cost (easy to pay, but very common for Basic Pokémon). Its first attack requires (C) and gives you two coin tosses for 10 points of damage per “heads” while the second attack for (GC) does 20 damage and heals 10 points of damage from Deerling. It isn’t really “good”, but its shortcomings are minor and thus not too detrimental.

Sawsbuck itself has 90 HP, and while that’s an extra 30 over Deerling (what it Evolves from) it still is within OHKO range for many decks, especially if said decks have a means of boosting damage or placing damage counters before attacking. At least most decks will need to use their main attacker’s “big” attack, but Fire decks can get by with weaker attacks whether they are on the main attacker or a supporting Pokémon due to Sawsbuck being Fire Weak. It does retain the Water Resistance we see on Deerling, and again that can come in quite handy. Also carried is a single Energy Retreat Cost; low enough to be fairly easy to pay, though with just 90 HP they might have gotten away with dropping it entirely.

The attacks look pretty good. Nature Power requires only (C) and does 20 damage plus 10 more for each Grass Energy attached to both player’s Pokémon. So with just one Grass Energy attached to Sawsbuck itself to pay the cost of the attack, it still does a decent 30 points of damage. What makes this attack nice is that you can use it to good effect while powering up a different Pokémon. If you happen to face another Grass deck, it can get real big real fast! Horn Leech demonstrates the fundamental synergy desired between attacks on a card: the first attack needs (G) and the second (GCC), allowing you to use the first attack then drop a Double Colorless Energy next turn and move onto the second. Horn Leech does a decent 60 points of damage for the Energy invested, while healing 20 points of damage from Sawsbuck. I’d rather it simply did 70 or 80 points of damage, but I’ll take what I can get! If this card were bigger, the healing would matter more.

All in all, this looks like a good secondary line for a Grass deck that is good about getting its Energy into play. Load up everything else but then let Sawsbuck do the work. The hard part is finding a Grass deck that can load Energy quickly without requiring something be Active and/or attacking. As such this will probably shine brightest in Limited play, where as long as you can run at least a few Grass Energy you can enjoy both attacks. If you run almost all Grass Energy, the first attack will often be amazing.


Modified (MD-On): 3/5 – It actually can do quite a bit in this format, but will require a deck full of support to do it, and that makes it prone to the many individual types of control decks, be they Trainer denial or shutting off one or both of Poké-Powers and Poké-Bodies.

Modified (HGSS-On): 3/5 – I just am not seeing anything in the current card pool for this format that can build-up Grass Energy fast enough to be worth it, and without the support it had in the previous format, it just breaks even losing all the competition it once had as well.

Limited: 4/5 – An excellent pull you should only skip for the standard reasons: no Basic, can’t justify even a few Grass Energy, or the improbable pulling of too many other cards that are as good or better.


Pity Sawsbuck appears to be “going Stag” next format. The only forms of Grass Energy acceleration carrying over to next format look to be a bit unwieldy to combine with Sawsbuck, and this card doesn’t have the HP to sit up front and grow stronger from manual Energy attachments. It isn’t bad card, but either I missed the ideal partner or it isn’t out yet.

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Happy midweek, Pojo readers! Today's Card of the Day is Sawsbuck, a new Grass-type Pokemon whose appearance changes based on the seasons in the video games. Will it see play in the card game?

Sawsbuck is a Stage 1 Grass Pokemon. Being such, it will likely have a tough time in Modified with all of the many Fire-types running around as of late. 90 HP is decent for a Stage 1, but we are still unfortunately transitioning into a format of big hitters with even bigger HP, so Sawsbuck will likely struggle unless it has distinguishing abilities or attacks. Fire Weakness and Water Resistance are to be expected for a Grass-type, and a Retreat Cost of 1 is also passable: you can pay for it quite easily.

Sawsbuck's two attacks, Nature Power and Horn Leech, are basically what you would expect for a Grass-type from Black and White. Nature Power starts at a decent 20 damage for a Colorless Energy, but deals 10 more damage for each Grass Energy in play (both yours and your opponent's)! This works very nicely in a mirror match, but unfortunately, most Grass decks don't use a whole lot of Energy, meaning that this attack will probably do 50 or 60 damage maximum (although that's still really good for starting at one Energy). This attack is just begging to be broken somehow, but it really is unfortunate that it specifically requires Grass Energy, otherwise Sawsbuck would be an amazing tech. Electrode Prime might be an interesting combo piece, being able to attach a lot of Grass Energy quickly to your Pokemon, but this is strictly theory, and who knows how well this will actually do.

Horn Leech deals 60 damage for a Grass Energy and two Colorless, while healing Sawsbuck by 20. This attack is great in Limited, since it allows Sawsbuck to heal while doing solid damage, though it's a bit weak for Modified.

Modified: 2/5 I think that despite Sawsbuck's low HP, Nature Power really has a chance to be exploited in a deck somewhere. Of course, Fire Weakness really hurts.

Limited: 3.5/5 Nature Power is great in a dedicated Grass deck (or even a deck with mostly Grass), and Horn Leech is even great here too. Again, just look out for the high-powered Fire-types in this format

Combos With: Electrode Prime

Mad Mattezhion
 Professor Bathurst League Australia
Sawsbuck (Black & White)
Hello Pojo readers, here's another nature-loving Grass card up for review. Introducing Sawsbuck!
The giant deer that looks sort of like Bambi's dad is a Grass/Normal dual type in the video games, which is only the third Normal dual type to appear that isn't Normal/Flying (the other two are Girafarig which is Normal/Psychic and Bibarel which is Normal/Water). Maybe more will apear in the future?
Sawsbuck is a Grass type non-evolving Stage 1 with 90 HP, Fire Weakness, Water Resistance, a retreat cost of 1 and two attacks.
Based on the HP Sawsbuck isn't going to survive many hits, but the resistance is helpful (it seems Water resistance is going to become standard for Grass Poke'mon rather than the hit-and-miss resistance we have seen the last few years). The Fire weakness is terrible with Ninetales and Reshiram running around, but the retreat cost is easily manageable.
With that mixture of stats, Sawsbuck stands a good chance of fitting in to a revived Grass deck if the attacks are good. Sadly, they lack the punch we like in deck (low damage is never any fun).
Nature Power is the first attack, and on the surface it seems to be the better one. For the cost of [c], you deal 20 damage plus 10 more damage for every [g] energy in play (including you opponent's energy). If Grass decks were a major presence In the game then this card would be in every flowery build (at least as a 1-1 line) but as it stands you will have to attach all of the [g] energy yourself to harness the power of Nature. If Grass had some depndable energy acceleration then this buck would still be a good pick but as it stands the poor Bambi lookalike is out in the cold. Maybe future seasons will bring a powerful partner into the game?
Horn Leech does more or less what it says on the tin. Sawsbuch deals 60 damage for [g][c][c] and heals itself to the tune of 20 damage, which is fair for the cost but not overly helpful based on the number of big hitters out there that really don't give a damn how much you heal yourself. It also turns out that deer don't like Fire, which between Ninetales HGSS and FanBoar is a serious problem.
Sawsbuck just doesn't make the cut in the current card pool and probably won't enter the fray in any way until future release after the rotation (maybe?) provide a combo. Until and unless that fateful day arrives, stick it in the binder.
Modified: 2.5 (Nature Power has possibilities, but Sawsbuck is just going to have to wait for that all important call to battle)
Limited: 3 (Stage 1 Poke'mon with healing powers tend to rock in this format, and if your opponent is using Grass without Sawsbuck in play you will dominate. Sadly, Reshiram and Zekrom rule here so you aren't guaranteed a win by a long shot)
Combos with: [g] energy acceleration, if it ever appears.

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