We begin this week with
Gurdurr (BW: Noble Victories
So how does the Black & White
construction worker version of
is a Stage 1 Fighting-Type Pokémon.
This is a pretty poor start for
Fighting-Types have little if any
“true” support, and what I can find is
based around Fighting Energy (as opposed
to the actual Type) and on cards meant
to be the focus of a deck, really
supporting themselves more than other
Stage 1 Pokémon are better off
than Stage 2 Pokémon from a game
mechanics standpoint, but either way it
means waiting a turn to drop it and only
if the Basic it Evolves from survived.
In the current format this
usually means sacrificing something else
(often a second copy of the Basic
Pokémon in question) or hitting so hard
with your open that your opponent can’t
afford not to deal with your attacker.
If someone needs a Stage 1 Fighting-Type
Pokémon, odds are they would be using
(or go back to using)
Donphan “Prime” (HeartGold and
SoulSilver 107/123), due to its
protective Poké-Body and great
damage-to-Energy ration on the first
attack (and drawbacks that can be dealt
with fairly easily).
Donphan Prime use is way down from
what I’ve observed, and given that we
have a format full of popular, potent
Fighting Weak Pokémon, something that
should be good for
Gurdurr instead bodes ill.
80 HP for a Stage 1 Pokémon is bad.
It was always poor, even when the
game first began and it was irritatingly
Even though this is a
transitional Stage 1 (that is, it
Evolves once more) this is far too low.
The HP scores in the TCG have
been creeping up for years now.
Basic Pokémon that can be Evolved
twice now can hit 70 HP, and regularly
hit 50 or 60.
Stage 2 Pokémon now usually range
from 130 to 150 HP, with anything lower
being an intentional disadvantage to
“balance” a powerful effect.
I would have hoped TPC would have
learnt its lesson by now: pony up the
extra HP for the Stage 1 and just let
the Stage 2 enjoy a mild boost.
Gurdurr Evolves, can have either 60
or 70 HP in the TCG while
Gurdurr Evolves into, can have 140
HP (well, ignoring effects but I’ll get
to that later).
So going from Basic to Stage 1
adds merely 10 or 20 HP while going from
Stage 1 to Stage 2 adds 60.
This kind of pacing for HP is
also a major contributor to the
balance/pacing issues currently facing
the game: at 80 HP but a turn later, you
more likely to be KOed than at 70 HP
the first turn.
We really need Stage 1 Pokémon to
get an HP boost so that they are the
ones who are 30 or 40 HP bigger than the
Basic, and then add another 30 or 40
when they Evolve into a Stage 2, and
possible skewed even more in favor of
the Stage 1 (and possible the Basic form
of the line as well).
Moving on, Psychic Weakness is
officially the worst Weakness in the
current metagame starting tomorrow if
you’re reading this the day it goes up.
The reason is that is when BW:
Next Destinies is street legal and
thus so is
Unless our metagame is radically
different than the equivalent Japanese
Mewtwo EX will be in almost every
competitive deck as a simple universal
It also means that
Gurdurr is a OHKO due to its
Of course Resistance to something
else would help compensate, if only a
little, but this card has none.
are slow in the video games, so I
understand the massive three Energy
needed to Retreat… except the rest of
Stats don’t reflect it.
It is a painfully high Retreat
Cost and you’ll need to be packing
Switch or some form of Retreat aid
if you want to get
Gurdurr out of the Active slot, or
else build your deck so it can just
tough it out.
All in all, this card has very
bad Stats, only rivaled by “gimmick”
Stage 1 cards that enjoy phenomenal
effects or have an alternate means of
coming into play (often functionally as
a Basic Pokémon).
Gurdurr have the effects to justify
its heinous stats?
No it does not.
It has two attacks that are
uninspired and overpriced.
Gurdurr can hit for 30 points of
damage with Strength.
Now I know this card shouldn’t be
as good as
Donphan Prime: what we call Prime
Pokémon are, for some reason, supposed
to be the “best” versions of that
particular Pokémon even though there is
nothing about them to truly balance out
being better than other cards.
Even if that weren’t the case,
Donphan can’t Evolve and so it has
to be better than a Stage 1 Pokémon that
Evolves in order to stay competitive.
Even stripping all that away,
averaging 15 points of damage per
specified Energy requirement is the kind
of return you expect on a twice Evolving
Strength should do exactly what
it does, but for a single Fighting
The second attack, Pummel, doesn’t fair
much better, though it does yield more
damage for the Energy invested.
It requires (FCC) to use and does
40 points of damage plus another 20
points of damage if you get “heads” on a
This means it does an average of
50 points of damage.
While better than Strength, the
return is still sub par even for a
transitional Stage 1 Pokémon.
To put it into perspective,
Pummel would be reasonably useful on a
Timburr requiring the same amount of
Energy and doing the same amount of
Being able to use a
Double Colorless Energy helps this
attack a little, but jumping ahead a
bit, I assume we are only playing
Gurdurr to Evolve into
One version can’t use
Double Colorless Energy to pay for
attacks, and the other rewards using as
Fighting Energy as possible, so that
creates a bit of a clash.
If you do use
Double Colorless Energy, then odds
are Strength will be useless.
Just to add insult to injury,
this attack is also incredibly boring
and uncreative by Pokémon TCG standards.
For constructed formats, I would use
this card only if I really wanted to run
Conkeldurr deck and because I don’t
like relying solely on
and I didn’t have any of copies of
Gurdurr (Black & White
This slightly older
Gurdurr is of course still a Stage 1
Fighting Pokémon, and unfortunately
still has only 80 HP, remains Psychic
Weak, and lacks any Resistance, but has
a slightly less painful two Energy
Retreat Cost and marginally better
Specifically for (C) it does 20
points of damage with the added effect
of its next attack doing 20 extra points
of damage before Weakness and
So after one use, you can 40
points of damage each turn unless your
opponent Benches or Devolves
Gurdurr (or you do for some reason).
Once you get (FFC) on it you can
hit for 60, or 80 points of damage if
you used the first attack the previous
Since I am saying to only run
Gurdurr if you plan on Evolving,
odds are you won’t be attacking more
than twice with it anyway.
There are three versions of
Timburr to pick from: Black &
White 58/114, Black & White
59/114, and Noble Victories
All three are Basic Fighting-Type
Pokémon with Psychic Weakness and no
Black & White 58/114 has
the best Retreat Cost; a single Energy
instead of two Energy like the other
versions. Black & White 59/114
has the best HP; 70 HP instead of 60 HP
like the other two versions.
Noble Victories 62/101 has
the best single attack, but this one is
It can do 10 for (F) and does
another 10 points of damage if you get
heads on a coin toss.
Black & White 58/114 has a
single attack as well, 30 for (FF) which
isn’t bad for a Basic Pokémon except
that is its
only attack, meaning it can’t do
anything first turn.
Black & White 59/114 can
do 10 for (C) or 20 for (FC), which is
better than nothing and at least lets
you do something first turn, but
ultimately won’t mean much.
Timburr is also being played only to
Evolve and no version has an attack
likely to keep it alive longer while
Active, I’d err in favor of HP and pick
Black & White 59/114.
70 isn’t much sturdier than 60,
but it will require just a little more
effort to KO.
Conkeldurr should a player use?
According to our review schedule,
we’ll be looking at them both tomorrow
so I won’t go into details, but I’d
favor Noble Victories 64/101.
Whether or not the deck can
handle the competitive scene at all is
the big question, and that will have to
wait for tomorrow.
Based on the Modified portion of the
review, you can tell that I wouldn’t use
this at all in Unlimited either, so the
only place I would consider using it is
at a Limited event.
The set has two different
Conkeldurr, increasing the odds of
pulling a full Stage 2 line.
Even if that is not the case, as
is usually the case the overall Stats
and Effects for every member are much,
much better here.
Gurdurr will still be the low point
of the line, but its big attack only
needs for one of three Energy to be
Fighting, making it a reasonable splash.
I wouldn’t call it a “good” pick,
but it isn’t “bad”, so I’d go with
The good news is Fighting Pokémon
have a good presence in this set, but
the bad news is Psychic-Type Pokémon
have an even stronger one.
could be worse, but it would require
effort on the designer’s part.
The only place to consider using
it is in Limited, where being “adequate”
can get you into an otherwise