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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Carnivine #5

Dark Explorers

Date Reviewed: June 7, 2012

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 2.37
Limited: 3.50

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

Carnivine (Dark Explorers)

Carnivine isn’t the most attractive, or even the most memorable, of Pokémon, but Yukiko Baba has done an amazing job with him on the artwork for this card. The background is so colourful and charming, and the way Carnivine is drawn gives a meh Pokémon a ton of character. Sometimes you don’t need 3D action poses and Pokémon bursting out of the card to make something great.

No-one plays a card for the artwork though, so let’s look at the important stuff. Carnivine is a non-Evolving Grass Type Basic with 90 HP. That’s not stellar, but seems adequate: your opponent will have to work pretty hard to get a first turn KO anyway. Fire Weakness is ok at the moment, while Water Resistance will just be a seldom-used bonus. The thing I’m not too fond of is the Retreat cost of two. A card like this would have been so much better if it could have used Skyarrow Bridge to switch in and out for nothing.

The reason I say this, is because the first attack, Lure Poison, gives this card some potential as a disruptive tech. For a single Grass Energy (or Prism, seeing as it’s a Basic), Carnivine can drag a Pokémon off the Bench and Poison it. It’s very similar to Muk UD’s Sludge Drag, which was once an effective option for Mew Prime decks, but with Carnivine being a Basic, you don’t even need the cute kitty to make this viable. Of course, most aggressive decks will prefer to use Pokémon Catcher and go for the OHKO, but in a list built around Trainer Lock, this can be a neat little tech to make life awkward for an opponent who is building Pokémon on their Bench for a late-game assault. It can also be a nice way of countering Trainer lock: can’t use Catcher? Well then just Lure Poison up a Vileplume to make life difficult.

Carnivine’s second attack is also interesting. Spit Squall (yeah, Carnivine cards always have an icky reference to spit) costs a hefty [G][G][C] but forces the opponent to put the Defending Pokémon and all cards attached into their hand. Yes, it’s a neat way of setting them back if they have spent a few turns building up a threatening EX, but the attack cost is prohibitive. You might be able to pull this off mid-late game with the help of Shaymin UL, or even in decks using Celebi Prime acceleration, and if you do, your opponent will not be laughing. However, that’s a bit of an unlikely scenario, and not really why you would play this card.

So, Carnivine is a nice card with genuine tech possibilities. If only that Retreat cost were slightly less though. The fact that you have to burn two Energy, or a Switch, after using it just makes it that little bit too much trouble to be worth it in most decks. I wouldn’t count it out of competitive play completely, but I think Carnivine is going to be a pretty rare plant at tournaments.


Modified: 2.5 (REALLY needed free Retreat)

Limited: 3 (If you’re running enough Grass Energy, it’s a handy way of messing with your opponent)


Hello once again, Pojo readers! Before getting to today's COTD, I'd like to point out an error I made yesterday. I said that Scyther couldn't be searched out by Level Ball due to having 80 HP, but since Level Ball searches out Pokemon with 90 HP or less, it is a legal target. Special thanks to Otaku for pointing this out to me! Today we're continuing our reviews with another Grass-type that has a couple of interesting attacks. Today's Card of the Day is Carnivine.

Carnivine is a Basic Grass Pokemon. Like I've said all of this week, Grass types see little to no play in Modified for a variety of reasons, so Carnivine will have to do something fairly special in order to see play. 90 HP is about what we'd expect for a non-evolving Basic, as it's enough HP to take a weak hit or two, but also small enough to be searched out by Level Ball. Unfortunately, this also means that Carnivine will fall to more powerful assaults. Fire Weakness is what we would come to expect for Carnivine, and this isn't such a huge problem right now given the lack of Fire, however, Reshiram, Reshiram-EX, Emboar, and even Typhlosion Prime all still see play on occasion. Water Resistance is a welcome sight, though Water doesn't see much play, either. Finally, Carnivine has a solid Retreat Cost of 2, which you can pay in a pinch, but you'll likely want to use Switch to retreat.

This Venus flytrap has two attacks, and both are at least interesting. Lure Poison switches the Defending Pokemon with a Benched Pokemon of your choice, and then Poisons the new Defending Pokemon for a single Grass Energy. You're probably better off using Pokemon Catcher in Modified, but this attack can be useful under certain circumstances, like if there is a Pokemon like Vileplume in play blocking the use of Items. In Limited, switching your opponent's Pokemon can give you a ridiculous advantage, and the Poison just makes it even better.

Spit Squall, Carnivine's second attack, returns the Defending Pokemon and all cards attached to it back to your opponent's hand for two Grass and a Colorless. This attack is similar to Drifblim UD's Take Away, only Spit Squall has much more stringent Energy requirements, and Carnivine stays on the field to use the attack again the next turn. Spit Squall can obviously get rid of any potentially annoying threats your opponent has if you can power it up in time, which may be difficult given Carnivine's relatively low HP.

Modified: 2.25/5 Carnivine is a mixed bag in Modified. 90 HP and Grass typing are both fairly bad, but Spit Squall can potentially deal with your opponent's major threats in a big way, setting your opponent back a turn or two. However, with most popular decks relying on speed and the ability to bounce back after KOs, most of the time Spit Squall will not work as well as you'd expect. Additionally, Lure Poison is largely outclassed by Pokemon Catcher except in very limited circumstances, you chances are you'll probably want to steer clear of Carnivine here.

Limited: 4/5 However, Carnivine is excellent in Limited. While Spit Squall is somewhat Energy intensive requiring two Grass, Spit Squall will undoubtedly set your opponent back a few turns, especially if you bounce a fully powered heavy hitter. Lure Poison is also a great move here as well, since forced switching is rare in this format and Poison is also decent. If you're running Grass, Carnivine should be at least worth a look.

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