Price Guide Set List
Pokemon GO Tips
Trading Card Game
- Price Guide
- Price Guide
- Card of the Day
- Professional Grading
- Killer Deck Reports
- Deck Garage
- William Hung
- Jason Klaczynski
- Jeremy's Deck Garage
- Johnny Blaze's Banter
- TCG Strategies
- Rulings Help
- Apprentice & Patch
- Apprentice League
- Spoilers & Translations
- Official Rules
- Featured Event Reports
- Top of the World
- An X-Act Science
- Error Cards
- Printable Checklist
- Places to Play
- Gold & Silver
- Ruby & Sapphire
- Fire Red & Leaf Green
- TCG cart
- PuPuzzle League
- Pinball: Ruby/Sapphire
- Pokemon Coliseum
- Pokemon Box
- Pokemon Channel
- ClownMasters Fixes
- Groudon's Den
- Pokemon of the Week
E-Card Reader FAQ's
- Construction Action Function
- EON Ticket Manual
- Pokemaster's Pit Stop
- Kyle's Garage
- Ghostly Gengar
- Episode Listing
- Character Bios
- Movies & Videos
- What's a Pokemon?
- Video List
- DVD List
Pojo's Toy Box
Books & Videos
Advertise With Us
Yu Yu Hakusho
Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day
July 16, 2012
& 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
Combos With: See Below
#56 (Dark Explorers)
Hello and welcome to a new week of
Dark Explorers reviews here on
We kick off with
Excadrill #56 – a card that
got a bit of interest when it was first released and
even saw some play during Spring Battle Roads. By the
time National Championships came around though, it had
completely dropped off the radar. So, was this
card just a five minute
wonder, or could it make a comeback? Let’s find out.
is a Fighting Type Stage 1 with 120 HP. Fighting is a
very good Type to have right now as it hits two major
deck Types for Weakness (anything based around
Darkrai-EX, plus Lightning
decks). Its Water Weakness is definitely a plus as very
little of that Type sees play (maybe a
Kyurem-EX in an Energy Trans
deck like Klinklang, or
Empoleon DEX). 120 HP used
to be a very frustrating number, as it put a Pokémon
within OHKO range of the Unova
Dragons which dominated tournaments. Now however,
Reshiram has all but
vanished from the competitive scene and
Zekrom won’t one-shot
Excadrill due to its more
than useful Lightning Resistance. In fact the majority
of attacking Pokémon these days are
unable to get a OHKO without some serious attack Boost
(like Dark Claw or PlusPower).
Mewtwo is the exception of
course, although even he would need 4 Energy to take
down a fully powered up Excadrill.
OK, so he’s fairly durable, but
what are Excadrill’s attacks
like? The first, Tunnel Strike, costs a single Fighting
Energy and does 30 damage to
one of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon. The slight
downside is that, if they have nothing Benched, you
can’t hit the Defending Pokémon instead. Overall though,
30 damage for one Energy is
decent, and when you couple that with sniping, it
becomes an attack with the potential to set up later KOs
or finish off Weak/low HP Pokémon without resorting to
Pokémon Catcher. By attaching a second Fighting Energy
to Excadrill, you can use
Dig Uppercut. The damage output here is a relatively low
50, but the effect is extremely good as it allows you to
put a card from your discard pile into your hand.
Obviously, this is extremely useful. Game-changing
Trainers like Pokémon Catcher or Crushing Hammer can be
recycled without Junk Arm. Discarded Pokémon can be
brought back without the need for Super Rod. Even cards
that are near-impossible to recover like Supporters and
Special Energy are now accessible once more. It’s most
definitely a very powerful effect.
So, why isn’t this card seeing more
play? Well, I suspect it basically comes down to that
damage output. Unless Excadrill
is hitting for Weakness it is going to have a tough time
knocking out Basic EX Pokémon and most Stage 2s, and as
for a Fighting Resistant Tornadus-EX
with an Eviolite attached .
. . forget it. Of course you could play it with some
more threatening alternative attacker, but then you
would be missing out on the benefits of Dig Uppercut.
Basically, I would class
Excadrill as being
semi-competitive. It doesn’t have what it takes to mix
it with the big boys, but it is exploitable as a card
for small tournament or League play.
Modified: 3 (more damage, even at
an increased cost, would have been nice)
Limited: 4.5 (easy to set up,
relatively fast, and recycling your few good cards would
Welcome back, Pojo readers! I'm back from my two-week
hiatus, so I hope you've all had a great time while I've
been gone! We're reviewing more Dark Explorers cards
this week, so be sure to check back for updates to see
if your favorite card is being reviewed. Today we're
going to kick things off with Excadrill #56.
Excadrill is a Stage 1 Fighting Pokemon. The only
commonly played Fighting type in my meta these days is
Terrakion, but that could change with the release of
upcoming sets. As it stands, Excadrill has harsh
competition with Terrakion and Donphan Prime (until it
rotates) for Fighting-type slots, so it needs to make
the most of what it has. Fighting typing is also great
to have right now, as both Zekrom/Eelektrik and Darkrai
variants are incredibly popular. 120 HP is great for a
Stage 1, allowing Excadrill to take at least one
moderate hit, while probably standing up to at least
some of the hardest hitters of the metagame for a little
bit. Water Weakness is essentially irrelevant right now,
but be careful, as you will run into the occasional
Empoleon or Kyurem. Lightning Resistance is great
against the aforementioned Zekrom and friends, and a
Retreat Cost of 3 is fairly high, but not wholly
unexpected. Be sure to use Switch to move Excadrill from
the Active Position.
Excadrill has two attacks. Tunnel Strike snipes one
of your opponent's Pokemon for 30 damage for a single
Fighting Energy, which is great for its cost. 30 damage
is just enough to be relevant, as it can take out very
weak Basics as well as pick off any other Pokemon your
opponent may have on the Bench. Given that sniping is
usually a good ability to have, Excadrill can possibly
find a niche in both Modified and Limited, depending on
your meta (chances are it's probably a bit too slow for
Modified). All in all, this attack's damage to cost
ratio is good, but is something that would be better on
a Basic, though it is still decent on Excadrill.
Dig Uppercut is Excadrill's "big" attack, dealing 50
damage for two Fighting Energy, but the attack also puts
a card from your discard pile into your hand. This is a
very interesting attack effect, as it can get back any
card, regardless of card type. As for the damage output,
50 damage is decent, but not amazing, so you'll want to
pair Excadrill with a more powerful attacker to put
Modified: 2.5/5 Excadrill is very average, but not in
a bad way. 120 HP with favorable bottom stats is great,
but unfortunately both attacks are just short of the
cusp of widespread playability. Sniping for 30 damage is
good, but probably not good enough to warrant using on a
finally-Evolved Stage 1. Dig Uppercut is also very
interesting and has great potential, but is hampered by
its disappointing damage output. Overall, Excadrill is
*almost* playable, but other, stronger options will
probably take its place. That being said, after the
rotation, Excadrill's Dig Uppercut could end up having a
niche as a decent recursion engine, so that's worth
keeping in mind for the future.
Limited: 4.5/5 Excadrill does nearly everything you
could want it to do in Limited. 120 HP is great, and
both attacks are VERY helpful, as sniping is very
powerful here and recursion is always amazing. The only
slight downside is Excadrill's heavy reliance on
Fighting Energy, which stops it from being an automatic
inclusion into any deck in this format. That being said,
if you're running Fighting and pull an Excadrill or two,
be sure to run it, as you won't be disappointed.
Jebulous Maryland Player
I put an email address up if anyone wants to contact
me for whatever reason. This is my first time writing
reviews, so any comments or feedback would be
appreciated. I'll be glad to answer any questions that
Excadrill is a Stage 1 Fighting Pokemon with 120 HP,
a weakness to Water, resistance to Lightning, and a
retreat cost of 3. The high retreat allows it to be
searched by Heavy Ball. The weakness doesn't seem to be
too much of a problem; Vanilluxe, Kyurem, and Empoleon
are the Pokemon that come to mind that would take
advantage of it (though is VVV going to be playable
after the rotation? It looks doubtful at the moment,
Vileplume has big shoes to fill). The resistance comes
in handy when facing Eelektrik variants (and the fact
that a lot of the Pokemon in those decks have Fighting
weaknesses). There is no form of energy acceleration for
Fighting, so having low cost attacks helps it out
(though the good attack requires 2 attachments, which
could hurt depending on the situation).
'Tunnel Strike' costs 1 Fighting and does 30 damage
to one of your opponent's benched Pokemon. This isn't
that spectacular. Darkrai EX's attack does 90 to the
defending, and 30 to 2 benched Pokemon.
This is a VERY watered down version of that attack. It's
great for picking off babies (which rotate out of the
format...) and 30 HP Tynamos (which have stopped being
used since Tyrogue and Darkrai EX showed up in the
'Dig Uppercut' costs 2 Fighting and does 50 damage.
You can then put any card in your discard into your
hand. The damage is not that great, even if it hits for
weakness it still can't take out a Zekrom.
It can OHKO Eelektiks though. The second part of the
attack is what is great. You can get ANY card from your
discard. Energy can be retrieved via powers/abilities,
attack effects, and trainers. Pokemon can be retrieved
via trainers. Tools can be retrieved via Sableye.
Supporters can be retrieved by... this. I can't think of
any cards that can easily get a Supporter back other
than an attack like this.
So this attack adds the ability to recycle Supporters
(although I'm sure you would just get whatever you
thought you would need at that time). A problem with
getting a card back is that you have to wait until your
next turn to use it (so an N on your opponent's next
turn would mean having to part with what you got back).
With Junk Arm going away, this attack has become more
valuable than it was at the time it came out.
When I pulled this card from a pack and read it, I
wanted to use it in a deck. So I did. I ran Zoroark,
Sableye, Excadrill, Groudon EX, and a bunch of hammers.
The goal was getting out the Brutal Bash Zoroark fast to
do high damage. Sableye to recycle Dark Patch and
Excadrill to give Dark and Lightning decks some trouble
if the Dark Rush was not going well. Groudon EX...
because I pulled it and wanted to play it. The deck was
in no way competitive. It was pretty clunky too, but I
enjoyed playing around with it. When I did get Excadrill
out, I usually had a choice of whatever I wanted.
In Limited, you get whatever you want back, which is
helpful if you don't have other cards to do the job.
Combo's With: any card in the discard pile
Today we will look at
Excadrill (BW: Dark Explorers
56/108); can you dig it?
is a Stage 1 Fighting-Type Pokémon.
Being a Stage 1 isn’t the
greatest right now; the format is a
little more diverse than it has been
recently, but for the most part big
Basic Pokémon (some Pokémon EX, some
not) dominate and Evolutions are played
in a supporting role or not at all.
Still, at least you can get into
play second turn without relying on
Evolution acceleration like
The Fighting-Type is handy,
though; still a good amount of Fighting
Weakness (and on important Pokémon)
floating around. Damage being doubled
for Weakness really is pretty broken
when you think about it, at least given
the differences between the Pokémon TCG
and its video game counterpart.
sports 120 HP, which should be/would be
good except as anyone actively playing
now knows, attacks are hitting harder
and faster than in most previous
The maximum HP a Stage 1 Pokémon
currently sports is 140, and the biggest
attackers can OHKO even that without
120 wouldn’t be that bad, except
many decks can still hit this with only
a little extra effort or set-up.
The good news is that
Excadrill has Weakness that isn’t
too painful and actually posses
Water Weakness isn’t completely
safe, but the decks that really use it
best are more focused on spread than big
hits, and of course Weakness is not
applied while a Pokémon is on the Bench.
Lightning Resistance is helps
against the Lightning decks that are
still seeing adequate play, allowing you
to survive but their biggest attacks
(just remember most will have off-Type
attackers as well).
The three Energy Retreat Cost is hefty,
and you won’t want to be paying it. Try
to find some alternatives to manually
retreating or something to lower your
The good news is that this big a
Retreat Cost qualifies
Excadrill as a target for
Heavy Ball, making it just a little
easier to search out of your deck.
has two attacks, so it won’t be
Bench-sitting if it sees play.
For (F) it can use Tunnel Strike,
a simple attack that hits one of your
opponent’s Benched Pokémon for 30 points
of damage (and of course doesn’t apply
This isn’t good enough, but it is
close; the problem is it leaves the
Active Pokémon completely alone. If it
hit the Active for at least 30 as well,
we would have a pretty spiffy opening
Since it only hits one Pokémon on
the Bench, a Stage 1 needs to be
swinging for a good 40 points of damage.
Remember, you don’t even have the
option of using it to swing at the
Now the second attack does hit the
Defending Pokémon, but for (FF) 50
damage is a poor return.
Fortunately it does have a pretty
spiffy effect as Dig Uppercut lets you
add a card from your discard pile to
your hand. That really is quite handy,
but whatever you grab your opponent has
an entire turn to deal with… and this is
the card’s “big” attack.
First let’s see where
Excadrill comes from:
We’ve got three options in
English: BW: Emerging Powers
54/98, BW: Emerging Powers 55/98,
and BW: Dark Explorers 55/108.
All are Fighting-Type Basic
Pokémon with Water Weakness and
BW: Emerging Powers 55/98
has 60 HP and a single Energy Retreat
Cost while the other two clock in at 70
HP with two Energy Retreat Costs. BW:
Emerging Powers 54/98 has two
attacks with the first needing (C) and
the second needing (F).
They form a basic combo: said
opening attack (Hone) raises the damage
done by the Pokémon’s next attack by 30.
Given that there is always a risk
of being KOed before delivering that
and I would hope to be Evolved next
turn (which erases the effect of Hone),
it isn’t especially appealing.
BW: Emerging Powers 55/98
has a monstrous (FFC) on his lone
attack, which hits for 40.
For a basic the damage return is
only poor because it is the card’s only
attack… but again I would rather be
Evolving and attacking with
Excadrill, and today’s version
doesn’t even need that much Energy.
BW: Dark Explorers 55/108
needs (FF) to deliver a solid 30 points
of damage… but again this is a Basic
going into a Stage 1 so I don’t really
want two Energy attacks.
Unless your deck also runs
Skyarrow Bridge for some reason,
stick with one of the two 70 HP
Interestingly enough, there are
That is a bit odd, but could be
Besides today’s version we have
BW: Emerging Powers 56/98, BW:
Emerging Powers 57/98, and BW:
Dark Explorers 57/108.
All are Stage 1 Fighting-Type
Pokémon with Water Weakness and
Lightning Resistance, like today’s card.
BW: Emerging Powers 56/98
only has 110 HP and a Retreat Cost of
two (so no
Heavy Ball); all other versions
sport 120 HP.
Its first attack for (C) hits for
30 and for (FFF) it hits for 80 and
allows you to discard an Energy attached
to the Defending Pokémon.
That missing 10 HP could matter,
but 110 is an unusual amount of damage,
with most attacks being more likely to
hit for 100 or 120 without extra help.
What really holds it back is that
(FFF) is a pretty massive Energy cost in
today’s game, and 80 damage a low
return, even with the nice Energy
BW: Emerging Powers
57/98 also has a Retreat Cost of just
two (still not easy to pay and not a
For (FC) it hits for 30 points of
damage and gets a coin toss dependent
effect; tails does nothing but heads
blocks all effects of attacks, including
damage, done to
Excadrill the next turn.
The wording means the effect
Excadrill and not the Pokémon it
attacked, making it a bit harder to
Handy for the effect, but the
damage is a bit low.
Earthquake hits everything on
your Bench for 10 points of damage, but
at least it scores a solid 70 points of
damage for (FCC); with almost any form
of Energy acceleration you’ll need two
turns at most to use it (probably on
your first turn as
The final choice is BW: Dark
Explorers 57/108, which we will
I will go into more detail then,
but for now I will note it has the
heftiest Retreat Cost of all three (four
Energy), and the most expensive attacks
with one for (FCC) and the second for
It does however hit the hardest
and the second attack even bypasses
Personally, I probably wouldn’t
run any of them alongside today’s
version unless said other version was
meant to be the actual focus and you
just wanted a single copy of today’s to
retrieve spent cards on occasion.
So is there a deck for this card?
I won’t rule it out completely,
but it will be coasting on Type-matching
and the coattails of another card;
Sableye (BW: Dark Explorers
I’ve been toying with some decks
that spam the most disruptive Items in
the game at the opponent, then using
Sableye to keep those Items coming
The downside is that I am not
doing any damage while this happens.
Normally I try to build something
up while tearing down my opponent’s set
up and rapidly ripping through my own
Excadrill may actually be worth
trying, and I hope to test it soon (but
sadly not before this article goes up).
Since it does have a good chance
of hitting for Weakness, only recycling
one card will be worth it in those
match-ups plus it can grab any one card,
not just Items.
Probably back them up with one or
two other cards and while one isn’t
dealing out a lot of damage, one
shouldn’t be taking much either.
Now to be clear, I will be testing it
for BW-On; it might work in HS-On, but
it is hard to anticipate if that is
worthwhile owing to
Junk Arm also retrieving discarded
If you’re really curious, I
encourage you to try it out; you still
have cards like
Black Belt that would be hilarious
to constantly use over and over again
after your opponent expends most
resources pulling ahead early game by
KOing two or even three of your
It would be nice to have a good
As for the remaining two commonly played
formats, Unlimited is still quite the
mess due to older cards interacting with
current (revised) rules.
Even ignoring decks that win the
very first turn of the game or all but
win by forming a “lock”,
Excadrill just pails in comparison
to what else we could use; I bump it’s
score by half a point since a deck built
around it would enjoy that retrieved
Limited is the opposite, I think.
While you’ll mostly be retrieving
Pokémon and Energy, that matters a lot
more in Limited. That one good Pokémon
you pulled can be rebuilt as
Excadrill grabs all you need to
replay it while hitting for solid
If you did get a few Trainers, it
is pretty amazing getting them to use
again and again.
The lower than average HP and
damage outputs (due to so many
Evolutions being unable to see play)
makes both its own HP and attacks that
much better, plus hitting the Bench is
much more important in a format where an
opponent is likely to build something
there or retreat something injured.
Lastly, you’ll have the chance of
pulling the other
Excadrill in this set as well, which
enjoys the same generic benefits but is
friendly to being run off-type, and
worth mentioning since it gives a slight
increase to the possibility of running a
more fleshed out Pokémon line.
While this card didn’t score
tremendously high, it scores much better
than I had expected.
If testing proves it worth
Sableye, and indeed that using
Sableye in such a manner doesn’t
quickly become predictable and a “bad”
play, I’ve actually underscored it and
deserves somewhere between half and a
full point’s bonus.
Excadrill, but not bad either.