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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Kricketune #4

Next Destinies

Date Reviewed: March 13, 2012

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 1.25
Limited: 3.40

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
Seniors
Champion

Kricketune

You know how you can look at some Pokémon (Charizard, for example) and instantly know that somewhere along the line they will have some massive damage, properly expensive attack? Well Kricketune isn’t one of them. This frail little musical bug has never really had much going for it, except for one incredibly brief period during Autumn Battle Roads 2008 where Kricketune MT swarm was a viable deck choice. Then SW got released and everything was Gardevoir/Gallade . . .

This version isn’t going to change things. It’s hard enough being a Stage 1 in a format dominated by huge and powerful Basics, but when you only have 90 HP like Kricketune has, then it’s all going to get ugly very quickly. Yes, I know that the incredibly popular Eelektrik is also a Stage 1 with 90 HP, but that sits on the Bench and uses its game-breaking Ability. Kricketune on the other hand, has to go out and attack.

Not that it’s much good at that either. White Noise is cheap at least, costing just one Energy of any Colour. Then again it only does 20 damage. It does cause the Defending Pokémon to Sleep, and if you get lucky with the Sleep Check flips, or your opponent doesn’t have a Switch, I guess it could buy you a turn or two . . . for what though? To use Draining Cut? Surely not. Again this is a cheap attack (one Grass, one Colourless), but its damage is completely flip dependant (flip two coins, 40 for each heads) and even at best it isn’t really enough to seriously worry the kind of high HP monsters people are using these days. The fact that it can also heal Kricketune is pretty much irrelevant: it’s getting OHKO’d anyway.

So, neither durable enough to last, nor damaging enough to be worth the sacrifice. Kricketune is simply set filler that is destined for the shoebox.

Rating

Modified 1.25 (Does it look like it could take on a Dragon or a Mewtwo?)

Limited: 2.75 (Status Conditions are effective in Limited, and the healing could work out too)

Mad Mattezhion
 Professor Bathurst League Australia

Kricketune (Next Destinies)
 
Hello Pojo fans, we're here today with another bug that almost never gets any love. Today's card is Kricketune!
 
The maestro has never been very popular as a monster in the videogames or as a character, and that sad tradition has carried over into the TCG with anumber of mediocre-to-terrible versions of Kricketune.
 
Today's card is the best Krocketune I have seen so far, but that isn't saying much. Non-evoling Stage 1 Poke'mon have been getting rough treatment for at least the last 4 years with only the truly exceptional cards making the grade (Claydol GE, Gyarados SF, Donphan Prime, Zoroark BW and Eelektrik NV are shining examples of that exclusive club) while 90 HP has been unacceptable ever since we saw the spoilers for Zekrom and Reshiram (even if it is the expected standard). The punishing Fire Weakness is nothing unusual and the retreat cost of one is pretty much the only bright spot to be found. Basically, seeing this card outside of a prerelease is an indication that you are playing against someone who has a small collection or against someone who is just plain tired of winning and now wants to try flippy Poke'mon that mess with your head!
 
White Noise is a great attack name, but unfortunately the effect is only to put the Defending Poke'mon to Sleep for [c], which is hardly worth the effort. If you get lucky, it will buy you a turn or two to advance your setup so it isn't a total waste but the second attack is what you will use most during the prerelease.
 
Draining cut costs [g][c] and makes you flip 2 coins, dealing 40 damage per Heads and then healing Kricketune for the same amount as the damage dealt to the Defending Poke'mon. The best result is that Kricketune deals 80 damage and gets fully healed, although the more likely result of 40 damage is still acceptable in a Limited match. The possibility of failing completely is yet another drawback for an already underpowered card, but since Kricketune is only an Uncommon that you will likely be able to pull multiples of it isn't a deal-breaker at a prerelease event. Don't even try to play with this pretty looking cricket in any other format though!
 
Modified: 1.25 (Kricketune doesn't deserve the bottom score, but only because it's unfair to compare it to all of the powerhouses we have available)
 
Limited: 4.5 (Kricketune won't last very long against the massive Basics in this set, but if your opponent can't get the 1HKO then Kricketune will stick around for a long time with that helpful healing attack and you'll likely have more than 1 in your deck)
 
Combos with: impressions of Jiminy Cricket saying "Just let your conscience be your guide!"


Otaku

As I am writing this review with little time to spare, I think I’ll try a more concise approach. We’ll see if that fails as badly as in times past… but for now, I present Kricketune (BW: Next Destinies 4/99).

Stats

Kricketune is a Stage 1 Grass-Type Pokémon with 90 HP. I can easily combine all these stats together because they are all poor. Being an Evolution at all is hard this format and only the most potent remain viable (generally Bench-sitters that galvanize a gargantuan basic Pokémon and/or Pokémon EX). This is a fast, hard-hitting format and within the apparent template constraints on Evolutions, if they don’t have killer effects (and preferably top of the line stats), they can’t keep up with basic Pokémon that would make for better Evolutions than they are. The Grass-Type has been struggling, since what support there is for it seems to work better in non-Grass decks and the Types most likely to sport Weakness to Grass (Fighting and Water) are struggling as well. The 90 HP would be a bit low for a transitional Stage 1 (one that Evolves into a Stage 2 Pokémon), so for the end of the line it means either Kricketune has to function semi-protected on the Bench, or be a one-hit wonder KOed by your opponent’s next attack.

The Fire Weakness is expected but doesn’t help: Fire Weakness isn’t the worst but there are multiple strong Fire decks. No Resistance is the worst Resistance but also quite common; I can’t really penalize the card much for lacking it. At least the single Energy Retreat Cost is good; it should be easy to pay most games without really setting you back.

Effects

Kricketune sports two attacks, so Bench-sitter status is not an option. The first attack is White Noise, which costs (C) while doing 20 points of damage and inflicting automatic Sleep. Single Energy attacks have been extremely potent the last several sets, with drawbacks that are easily managed if there are any real issues with said attacks at all. That being said White Noise isn’t horrible, just a bit weak; you get a little more than you paid for in terms of Energy, and if this was a Basic Pokémon, especially one meant to further Evolve that’d be good. As this is the final Stage of the Pokémon, not so much.

The second attack is Draining Cut. For the price of (GC) you score two coin flips that result in 40 points of damage per “heads” with the added benefit of healing as much damage from Kricketune as it inflicts on the Defending Pokémon. This is close to being adequate, but there are too many strikes against it. On its own it is a solid attack: the coin flips make it unreliable, but also allows it to threaten the opponent more than if it did do reliable, predictable damage; without the coin flips we’d probably be looking at 40 points of damage. Yes, one in four possible results is a complete whiff, but that is balanced by the solid chance of hitting 80 points of damage on a two Energy attack. The healing is equal to the damage you do, so anything that jacks up your damage output jacks up your healing.

This is where the real problem lies: the attack is on Kricketune. If you get two heads and nothing is reducing your damage, you could completely heal a Kricketune that was on its last 10 HP. Kricketune has no built in protection so it is going to be OHKOed since it is a small Pokémon; simple as that. What’s more this is the card’s big attack. Now that Evolving first turn isn’t possible and we have a format built on Energy acceleration, having two low-priced attacks doesn’t really work. There is even some clashing between the effects: if White Noise keeps your opponent Asleep, you won’t be as damaged and will thus need less healing. Technically that could also work well together, but it is a matter of fine-tuning that doesn’t happen here, where the turns your opponent’s attacker would theoretically spend Asleep would give you time to heal. Since he order is random and the results all coin flip dependent, odds are low that you will take a hit, make them Sleep, and heal up.

Healing is meant for large Pokémon or Pokémon that reduce the damage they take already, and Kricketune is neither. I applaud that we aren’t being forced to waste a lot of Energy for the attacks, but given the circumstances I’d say it is obvious that Kricketune needed an Ability, preferably one that dropped the damage it took. A “healing sponge” is wonderfully frustrating for your opponent and can make for great strategy, especially when it does indeed do decent damage for the Energy invested.

Usage

You have two Kricketot to choose from: HS: Triumphant 65/102 and BW: Next Destinies 3/99. Both are Basic Grass-Type Pokémon with Fire Weakness, no Resistance, and single Energy Retreat Costs. Sadly, both have poor attacks; the former can do 30 for (GC), decent for an Evolving Basic Pokémon but you really shouldn’t ever have a chance to use a two Energy attack on something meant to Evolve. The latter has two overpriced attacks that are awful: (G) for 10 or (GG) for 10 plus 10 more per “heads” on two coin flips; (GG) should be worth 30 in and of itself. Both of these fail pretty bad from a design standpoint: given the Pokémon’s status and theme, how about something to help Evolve or put the Defending Pokémon to Sleep! Either would have improved odds for survival. Despite having even worse attacks, go with the newer BW: Next Destinies version, it has 10 more HP than the other, ever-so-slightly increasing the chances of survival.

The only other Modified legal Kricketune has 10 less HP than today’s CotD, but all other stats are identical. Its “cheap” attack is (GC), doing 30 and giving a chance at Confusion; overpriced for a Stage 1, especially one that can’t Evolve again. The big attack (Fury Cutter) is “flippy”, requiring 3 coin flips. At least even if all three are “Tails”, you’ll still score 20 points of damage, but “better than nothing” is not a good selling point. Even one “heads” only bumps it up to 40 points of damage, at beast half of what the attack needs to do. I mentioned Fury Cutter’s name because it isn’t a new attack, and has been reasonably useful on certain older cards. The different was those cards usually did only slightly sub-par damage on one heads usually put it at the “average” range. A result of two “heads” doesn’t even do that, only scoring 60 points of damage! Only if all three coin flips result in “heads” do you get a good (actually a great) return of 120 points of damage. When that is only one of eight possible results, and especially when all other results are a rip off, it makes for a bad card. Clearly today’s card gets no help (or competition) here.

If you insist on using Kricketune, back it with Vileplume (HS: Undaunted 24/90) just because that’s about the only way to slow your opponent down enough for the healing to matter; most of the time your opponent will still be able to build a big basic attacker and run roughshod over multiple copies of Kricketune. You could alternatively accept that it is a OHKO and just focus on building them all up and using Exp. Share to keep your basic Grass Energy in play, but again you’re fighting a losing battle. Either might risk some other back-up Stage 1, preferably something that causes a debilitating Special Condition to your opponent’s Pokémon to help protect Kricketune, but without Vileplume such Special Conditions are easy to shake. No matter what, I think you’re only playing this because you are a fan of the Pokémon.

Unlimited is pretty much the same as Modified, but with first turn win/donk/lock decks dominating. You can plug Kricketune into a deck full of staples/loose staples and have something functional, but far inferior to so many other options. I actually think it functions better in this format than in Modified, but the cruel irony is that the brutal decks of Modified, even enhanced with older cards, aren’t the top decks of Unlimited; the bar is just that much higher. Kricketune actually combos with Focus Band; if you survive, you can try and heal yourself via your attack! You can use Double Rainbow Energy to power it up in a single go; yes you’ll drop your damage done (and thus healed) by 10 points, but Unlimited HP scores have such range that quite a few Pokémon will still be within OHKO range of Draining Cut; even the older Neo and e-Card era “Baby” Pokémon only require one “heads” on Draining Cut (every attack requires a “heads” when checking against “the Baby Rule” so that doesn’t count against it). Kricketune can even tap some older, semi-potent Grass-Type support like Shaymin LV.X DP: Platinum 126/127. I said the card needed more HP and that Shaymin LV.X grants Grass-Type Pokémon +40 HP. Add some Trainer denial and you’ve got a functional deck…

…except this isn’t the best Grass-Type Pokémon for the build; it isn’t even the best Kricketune. That leaves Limited, and yes things are finally looking better, if not good for Kricketune. The Kricketot isn’t any good, but you’re stuck running it anyway. The nature of Limited play means the HP and damage output on Kricketune jumps from “bad” to “good”. The effects of the attacks go from “trivial” to “effective”: when your opponent is probably only doing 30 to 50 a turn, Draining Cut hitting for and healing at least 40 points of damage as three of four possible outcomes gives it longevity. I wouldn’t run it just for White Noise, but if you can fit at least some Grass Energy cards into the deck, Kricketune is a good attacker.

Ratings

Unlimited: 1/5

Modified: 1.25/5

Limited: 3.25/5

Summary

Kricketune, like Pinsir, is a bug waiting to be squashed. It doesn’t have enough HP to take a hit, lacks an Ability (let alone a “good” Ability), and doesn’t OHKO what it attacks. I can’t even recommend it for a fun, casual deck, as it will more than likely prove frustrating instead, making other fun decks look like champs. If you pull it at a Pre-Release, enjoy it in Limited and then trade it or store it.

Please check out my eBay sales by clicking here. It’s me whittling away at about two decades worth of attempted collecting, spanning action figures, comic books, TCGs, and video games. Exactly what is up is a bit random. Pojo.com is in no way responsible for any transactions; Pojo is merely doing me a favor by letting me link at the end of my reviews.


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