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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Excadrill #57

Dark Explorers

Date Reviewed: July 17, 2012

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 1.50
Limited: 3.20

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

Excadrill #57 (Dark Explorers)

It’s an unwritten rule of the Pokémon TCG that when you have two cards of the same Pokémon in a set, one will be significantly better than the other. Yesterday’s Excadrill was a decent card . . . so I think we all know where this is going.

Excadrill’s stats closely resemble those of yesterday’s card. You have the decent 120 HP that means it won’t get one-shot by many main attackers, a handy Lightning Resistance, and a Weakness to Water that only Kyurem-EX is likely to trouble. It does have a slightly increased Retreat cost of four but in all honesty three is bad enough that you would never want to pay it, and at least you can search out the card with Heavy Ball.

Excadrill’s first attack, Reinforced Drill, costs one Fighting and two Colourless Energy and does an unimpressive 50 points of damage . . . unless the Defending Pokémon has a Tool attached, in which case that is increased to 80. Right now by far the most commonly played Tool is Eviolite, which will go most of the way to reducing that increased damage, but I suppose it is handy to have Excadrill able to OHKO a Darkrai using Dark Claw if you have a PlusPower available. In most situations though, this is still a less-than-wonderful attack for the cost.

At least it’s better than Mach Claw though. For the big cost of one Fighting and three Colourless Energy, this does a vanilla 70 damage with the only benefit being that it is not affected by Resistance. Great. Now you are free to three-hit KO a Tornadus-EX that doesn’t have Eviolite. Far too much Energy for far too little reward I’m afraid.

Really you have no good reason to play this card in modified. Even if you are a person who loves Excadrill so much that you simply must have him in your deck, just stick with yesterday’s card. You will get much better results with it.


Modified: 1.5 (outclassed by its set-mate)

Limited: 3 (Fairly splashable, but not overwhelmingly powerful)


Greetings, Pojo viewers! Today we're reviewing a second Excadrill from Dark Explorers, #57.
Excadrill is a Stage 1 Fighting Pokemon. Terrakion is the most common Fighting-type seen in Modified, with others seeing little to no play at all. Yesterday's Excadrill could be usable in the right format; will this one stack up? 120 HP is still great for a Stage 1, allowing Excadrill to take a moderately-sized hit before going down, or multiple smaller hits in a slower format like Limited. Water Weakness is once again not bad, though you'll still have to watch out for a random Empoleon or Kyurem. Lightning Resistance is great against the very common Lightning-types that we see, and is especially relevant because it stops Zekrom BLW/NXD from OHKOing Excadrill. Finally, a Retreat Cost of 4 is awful, and shouldn't be paid unless you'll lose the game otherwise. Use Switch instead.
Like yesterday's review, this version of the Subterrene Pokemon has two attacks. Reinforced Drill does 50 damage for a Fighting and two Colorless, adding on 30 more if Excadrill has a Pokemon Tool attached. 50 damage for three Energy is mediocre, and 80 damage for the same price is average at best. Additionally, there aren't too many Pokemon Tools you'll want to attack to Excadrill (perhaps Exp. Share or Rocky Helmet?), making this attack's usefulness inconsistent at best.
Excadrill's second attack is Mach Claw, which does a rather unimpressive 70 damage for the huge cost of a Fighting and three Colorless, but also isn't affected by Resistance. 70 damage for four Energy is terrible by today's standards, but it can be usable in Limited due to its rather forgiving Colorless Energy requirements.
Modified: 1/5 This Excadrill is completely outclassed by Terrakion and even yesterday's version. If you're looking to use a Fighting Pokemon in Modified, you should probably just stick with the rock musketeer.
Limited: 3.5/5 Excadrill is an expensive yet serviceable Pokemon for Limited play. Neither attack is spectacular, but they deal solid damage for Colorless-friendly costs. Lightning Resistance can also come in handy, but four Retreat is still terrible. Also unfortunate for Excadrill here is that the only Pokemon Tool in Dark Explorers is Dark Claw, which is only marginally useful to the drill mole. Overall, Excadrill is a solid, albeit unspectacular addition to a Limited deck.


Time to look at the “other” new Excadrill (BW: Dark Explorers 57/108); let’s get down… but first a word of warning. Yes I am literally writing this review “over” yesterday’s CotD. I reviewed yesterday’s Excadrill and if I want to review this, I can’t waste time trying to restate the same points “differently”.


Excadrill 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 Rare Candy. 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.

Excadrill 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 formats. The maximum HP a Stage 1 Pokémon currently sports is 140, and the biggest attackers can OHKO even that without exploiting Weakness. 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 Resistance! 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 four Energy Retreat Cost is pretty bad; make sure you don’t have to pay it! You need to pack not just one alternative, but probably two or three to manually retreating at full price. 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… too bad it couldn’t do that with a three Energy Retreat Cost like yesterday’s version.


Excadrill has two attacks, so it won’t be Bench-sitting if it sees play. Reinforced Drill, the “small” attack, still requires (FCC) so you need to be running at least some mild Energy acceleration, like Double Colorless Energy. For just the Energy invested, you get 50 points of damage, which is 10 to 20 points shy of “adequate”. There is an effect though; when triggers it bumps the damage up to 80. The requirement is that Excadrill has a Pokémon Tool attached, which is a bit mixed; Evolutions don’t have that “gotta run” Pokémon Tool like Basic Pokémon have Eviolite. In some ways that is good as it means more flexibility with your choices… but Pokémon Tools are often just as easy not to run. “Needing” to run Pokémon Tools makes this sort of like a Stage 1.5 Pokémon; more flexible than a Stage 2 but just as many cards, and for significantly less return. A straight 80 for (FCC) would have been better.

Mach Claw costs a hefty (FCCC); you’ll score 70 points of damage and get to ignore Resistance, which is horribly overpriced. Once you hit three Energy, an attack really needs great damage, a great effect, or good damage and a good effect. This is neither; ignoring Resistance is a good but specialized effect. 70 points of damage even with such an effect is worth the price of the first attack… not the second.


First let’s see where Excadrill comes from: Drilbur. 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 Lightning Resistance. 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 next attack 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 versions.

Interestingly enough, there are three other Excadrill! That is a bit odd, but could be useful. Besides today’s version we have BW: Emerging Powers 56/98, BW: Emerging Powers 57/98, and BW: Dark Explorers 56/108 (reviewed in yesterday’s CotD). 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 discard.

BW: Emerging Powers 57/98 also has a Retreat Cost of just two (still not easy to pay and not a target for Heavy Ball). 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 rests on Excadrill and not the Pokémon it attacked, making it a bit harder to ditch. 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 Excadrill).

The final choice is BW: Dark Explorers 56/108, which again got a full review yesterday. It can hit the Bench or attack while retrieving a card from the discard pile quite affordably, and has a Retreat Cost that is one lower than today’s; if I was going to run today’s version I’d prefer to make room for a copy of yesterday’s as well.

So is there a deck for this card? I won’t rule it out completely, but it will be coasting on Type-matching and only having one Fighting Energy requirement on its big attacks… but those attacks are only worth it when you’re hitting for Weakness: 100 for (FCC) is very good and hitting 160 when a Pokémon Tool is equipped is great! 140 for (FCCC) also becomes very good when hitting Weakness. The problem is when you’re not hitting Weakness; you’re just not competitive enough. Nor do I believe switching to BW-On will yield much of an improvement.

In Unlimited play, the good news if of course you’d want a Pokémon Tool equipped, but even ignoring the first turn win or lock decks, in a sustained game you’ve got many better options. At least in Limited play it isn’t bad; you won’t get any other benefit but you can use Darkness Claw to trigger the extra damage from Reinforced Drill, and if you don’t, having just a single Fighting Energy in the attack requirements allows Excadrill to squeeze into many decks to hit abundant Fighting Weakness. As is so often the case, the lower average HP and damage output makes Excadrill better by comparison.


Unlimited: 1/5

Modified (HS-On): 1.5/5

Modified (BW-On): 1.75/5

Limited: 3.25/5


I would stick with yesterday’s version of Excadrill if you want to use one, though maybe a copy of this will be good for adding a slightly beefier attacker. Both are relying on hitting Weakness, though.

Jebulous Maryland Player

Excadril 57
Like yesterday's Excadrill, all the stats are the same except it has 4 retreat cost instead of 3.
'Reinforced Drill' requires 1 Fighting and 2 Colorless.  That means only 2 energy attachments if you have DCE.  It does 50+ 30 more if the defending Pokemon has a tool attached to it.  The tools available in the BW- format are Eviolite, Exp Share, Rocky Helmet, and Dark Claw (though the last two aren't used as much).  So this attack benefits most against Exp Share and Dark Claw since there are no immediate consequences to deal with.  Against Eviolite, you will only be doing
10 more damage.  Against Rocky Helmet, you will take 20 damage (though you'd be taking it anyway, so it's not that bad).  It's a nice effect to have, but at 80 damage, you won't be OHKOing an EX Pokemon (though you can take out an eviolited Zekrom).
'Mach Claw' does 70 at the cost of 1 Fighting and 3 Colorless.  It isn't affected by resistance, which is nice.  The problem is 70 isn't much damage at all.  It can take out Zekrom, but not an eviolited Zekrom (you would just use the previous attack to do that).  It takes out small guys, but not big ones.
The costs of the attacks are not worth the amount of energy they require.  Terrakion can do 90 for 2 Fighting and a Colorless.  At best 'Mach Claw' is obtained by 3 energy attachments (not included using Eelektrik), which Terrakion takes as well.  Plus Terrakion is a basic...
I'm not a big fan of this Excadrill, I prefer the other one (since it is cheap to power and can recycle any card).
Limited: The odds of them having a tool on all their Pokemon are low, so you will mostly be doing 50 with the first attack.  The second attack bypassing resistance can do a good bit of damage.
Modified: 2/5
Limited: 3/5
Combo's With: DCE

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