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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Basculin #24

Emerging Powers

Date Reviewed: March 23, 2012

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 1.75
Limited: 2.50

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

Basculin #24 (Emerging Powers)

The final card for this week is another from the ‘to do’ list. Sadly, I think we may have missed the boat on this one.

Basculin is an unevolving Basic Water Type Pokémon with a low-ish 80 HP, one of the worst Weaknesses in the game (Lightning), and a single Retreat cost that isn’t bad, but not exactly cause for celebration either. So far . . . it doesn’t look very promising, does it?

But we do get two attacks. The first, Flail, is kind of like Outrage-lite. For a single Energy of any Colour, Basculin does 10 damage for every damage counter on him. That could amount to 70 in total for just one Energy, but it is highly unlikely that your opponent would be so accommodating. However, as we shall see, there are ways around that thanks to Final Gambit, Basculin’s second attack.

Final Gambit does 80 damage for the reasonable-I-guess cost of one Water and a Double Colourless Energy. The attack does have a downside though: flip two coins and, if both of them are tails, Basculin does 80 damage to itself. When it comes to the self-damage you can try either to lose it (by playing Victory Star Victini) or use it (by helping it survive with Defender or, more likely, Eviolite) and then perhaps using Flail should Basculin survive and you don’t want to risk another Final Gambit flip.

So . . . why did I say at the start of the review that we had missed the boat on Basculin? Well, it’s simply because, for a very brief period during Autumn Battle Roads 2011, it was probably the most feasible Basic tech to hit for Water Weakness, principally against Reshiram BW and Donphan Prime. It wasn’t exactly brilliant, and it didn’t exactly see a whole lot of play, even in a metagame where Fire decks were amongst the most popular. A few players tried it as a tech with very modest results.

Even today we lack really good (by which I mean fast, low cost) Water techs, but we can still do better than Basculin thanks to Ice Shard Cryoganal (vs Donphan), and probably Kyurem NV. Neither of those are completely satisfactory either, but with Fire a diminishing force and Donphan a rare-ish sight, we probably don’t feel the need so much. Besides, it’s not like you need to be hitting for Weakness to do massive amounts of damage these days, is it?


Modified: 2 (had a small amount of time to shine . . . but didn’t)

Limited: 2.5 (nothing special, but a solid Basic can buy you time, and Flail isn’t useless)


Happy Friday, Pojo readers! Today we're ending our Card of the Day week by reviewing a Basic all the way back from Emerging Powers. Today's Card of the Day is Basculin #24.
Basculin is a Basic Water Pokemon. Water Pokemon see little to no play right now with the exceptions of Kyurem and Kyurem-EX, but even then, those two don't see all that much play either. 80 HP is fairly good for a non-evolving Basic, but it's unfortunately very low compared to other huge Basics, such as Reshiram, Zekrom, the aforementioned Kyurem, Thundurus, Tornadus, and the Pokemon-EX. Lightning Weakness makes Basculin have a really hard time against the likes of Zekrom and Zekrom-EX, two of the most common Pokemon seen right now in Modified. To round out the bottom stats, Basculin has no Resistance and a Retreat Cost of 1.
Like many other Pokemon in the TCG right now, Basculin has two attacks. Flail does 10 damage times the number of damage counters on Basculin for a single Colorless Energy. While the damage output can be decent (up to 70 for C), Basculin's HP is too low for it to see any realistic play in Modified. The attack can still worth fairly well in Limited, where attacks generally do less damage. The second attack, Final Gambit, is a very interesting take on a suicide attack. It deals 80 damage for a Water and two Colorless, with the additional effect of flipping two coins: if both flips are tails, Basculin also deals 80 damage to itself. Now, 80 damage for three Energy is fairly solid in any format, and with only a 25% of getting double tails (6.25% if you have a Victory Star Victini), the attack could see some use. However, given that there are no Pokemon of note in Modified right now with a Water Weakness (Fire-types in general are very rare right now, and very few people play Donphan), Basculin will have to wait until it has a niche in the format. Of course, the angry fish has steep competition in Kyurem and Kyurem-EX, so that day may never come.
Modified: 2/5 Basculin could be relevant in a format where there is a dominant Pokemon with a Water Weakness. However, since we don't have that right now, 80 HP, a Lightning Weakness, and a potentially self-destructive attack aren't very good.
Limited: 3/5 Basculin is decent, but not great, in Limited. Flail will generally see some use in this format, but Final Gambit is really risky, as setting up three Energy onto a Pokemon in order for that Pokemon to Knock itself Out isn't the best idea in a slow format. Basculin is still potentially playable, but make sure that you know what the risks are and plan accordingly.
Combos With: Victory Star Victini (all flip cards do, but Victini stops Basculin from KOing itself, which is very notable.)

Mad Mattezhion
 Professor Bathurst League Australia

Basculin #24 (Emerging Powers)
Now we have reached the end of yet another productive week, and we're going to lay off of the Stage 1 Poke' on in order to review Basculin. This seems to be the Gen V replacement for Magikarp, and while I must admit I'm quite happy to avoid the endless parade of Magikarp while fishing, I prefer Gyarados to Basuclin any day.
Still, my personal preference doesn't make the card a write off so I'll move on to the review.
Basculin is a Water type non-evolving Basic with 80 HP, Lightning Weakness, a Retreat Cost of 2 and two attacks.
Although 80 HP is respectable for a Basic, it isn't going to last against any of the main or backup attackers employed in the tournament arena. The typing is great for hitting Weakness, but the Lightning Weakness is a crippling liability as is the Retreat Cost. Basculin can abuse all of the Basic support like Revive, Eviolite and Prism Energy but most of its competition has the same claim, so it comes down to the attacks to save the vicious fish from the shoebox.
Nope, not going to happen. Basculin has Flail and Final Gambit, both of which would be useful if only Basculin had a massive amount of HP. Flail costs [c] and deals 10 damage for every damage counter on Basculin, which would be great if Basculin had some way to survive the damage it would take during a regular battle. Final Gambit costs [w][w][c] and deals 80 damage which is fair enough, but the drawback is that you have to flip 2 coins and getting any Tails results in Basculin whacking itself for 80 as well. Fliptini and Eviolite can help reduce that drawback, but I seriously doubt that Basculin would live long enough to power up Final Gambit normally, and I sure as heck wouldn't want to include it in a Rain Dance deck.
Basculin is okay for a decent-sized Water Basic in Limited, but this Red Basculin will never see play anywhere else. Being both relatively fragile and self-destructive is bad no matter what way to try to phrase it.
Modified: 1.25 (Flail might be useful If your ooponent only has a Support Poke'mon left in play)
Limited: 2 (works well as a suicidal bomb to take out one of your opponent's more important Poke'mon, but it doesn't have any longevity here either)
Combos with: the shoebox, now and forever!


For those unaware, I compiled a list of cards from Black & White (and later) sets that we hadn’t reviewed yet. This is one of the missed cards I feel pretty bad we skipped: Basculin (BW: Emerging Powers 24/98).


A Basic Pokémon, Basculin is easy to work into decks. As a Water-Type, it hits the popular Fire-Type Pokémon for double damage (Water Weakness is almost universal on Fire-Type Pokémon that are currently legal). Being a Water-Type Pokémon allows some support, but so far that support has been found wanting; not delivering as good of results as you’d expect. 80 HP on a Basic that doesn’t Evolve has become low, though when the card was first released it was still passable; Basculin is an easy OHKO for most Pokémon, even before factoring in its dreaded Lightning-Type Weakness. Having Resistance wouldn’t have hurt it, but it also wouldn’t have helped much given the average damage of most Types, so as usual its total absence is just irritating. Basculin needs just a single Energy to retreat, which is good; easy to pay and recover from, and low enough that Skyarrow Bridge drops it to a perfect free retreat cost.


Basculin has two attacks; Flail and Final Gambit. Flail requires (C) and hit for 10 points of damage per damage counter on Basculin, meaning a max of 70 points of damage. This is adequate; not good, but not bad. Final Gambit requires (WCC) and does 80 points of damage, but the catch is that you have to flip two coins and if both come up “Tails”, Basculin inflicts 80 points of damage to itself. The main benefit is that it has some synergy with the first attack (provided you combo in a card to reduce self-damage), and that you could run it with no source of Water Energy, or a very limited source if you want to access both attacks.


In Limited play this is a great pick; if you’re running Water Energy cards, you’ll be able to afford Final Gambit, and if you aren’t you’ll probably enjoy the ability to exploit Water Weakness from splashing Basculin into a deck. Sadly, these aren’t enough for the card elsewhere, and it is because it has simply been outclassed by other cards. Kyurem has Outrage, a superior version of Flail, and can also be splashed into any deck in a more effective manner. Final Gambit was pretty risky, so most players won’t mind just relying on Outrage (Kyurem has more HP to fuel the effect). Outrage may cost (CC), but that’s what Double Colorless Energy is for. If you can afford to meet the Energy requirement of (WWC), Glaciate provides spread. You also can use Kyurem EX, provided you don’t mind using a Pokémon EX for the role, for the same cost that Final Gambit has, you can access Frozen Wings; 60 points of damage and discarding a Special Energy (if present) on the Defending Pokémon. For (WWCC) you get Hail Blizzard; more than enough damage to fill the role of “splashed in Water attacker”; that is enough to OHKO a Reshiram EX even when it has Eviolite protecting it.

Before Kyurem, Basculin saw some play as an off-Type Water attacker, or even just a solid Basic attacker in Water decks. This was both to combat Fire and to combat Donphan Prime decks that (while still on the decline), were seeing more play back then.


Unlimited: 1/5

Modified: 1.75/5

Limited: 4/5


It is a shame we missed this one; had we reviewed it then we would have been able to point out an interesting bit of tech, but now it is a budget card at best.

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