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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Watchog #112 

- Plasma Storm

Date Reviewed:
March 12, 2013

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 1.67
Limited: 3.00

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

Baby Mario
2010 UK National

Watchog #112 (Plasma Storm) 

Hello and welcome to a slightly shorter week of reviews here on Pojo’s CotD. This week, we’ll be looking at some more of the Team Plasma Pokémon from Plasma Storm. While this new mechanic hasn’t made too much of an impact yet, it looks set to do so in the future as more Pokémon and more support cards become available. 

We kick off with Watchog, the Bibarel of Generation V. Yep, the laws of Pokémon say that there must be some kind of rodent for you to run into the moment you step into the first patch of grass when playing the video game. As far as the TCG is concerned, this version of Watchog gives you a Colourless Type Stage 1 Pokémon with a low 90 HP, Weakness to Fighting (so watch out for Landorus-EX) and a decent Retreat cost of one. As previously mentioned, this is a Plasma Pokémon, so you can use some of the benefits that come with that: Colress Machine for Energy acceleration, and nice draw if you discard it with Team Plasma Grunt. To be honest, I think I would rather discard than waste good Energy acceleration on this Pokémon. 

The reason for that is that Watchog’s attacks are very uninspriring, yet also cheap enough to make acceleration unnecessary. Fast Swipe costs a single Energy of any Type, does no damage, but does discard a random card from your opponent’s hand. Maybe you’ll get lucky and hit something important, maybe you’ll help your opponent by putting Energy in their discard pile for them to use with Dark Patch or Eelektrik. Either way, it’s really not worth playing a Weak Stage 1 Pokémon for. Watchog does have a more offensive option, Biting Fang, and although the cost is reasonable (two Colourless Energy), the pay-off is slight: 30 damage and a coin flip for 20 more. Not something that will trouble a 180 HP EX with the power to crush Watchog next turn. 

Watchog is the kind of card that you can tell at a glance isn’t going to cut it in competitive play. A little bit of random hand disruption and a sub-par attack don’t have many uses, especially not on a low HP evolution. As a TCG card, this Watchog is about as useful as the Lv 2 Patrat you caught the moment you left Aspertia in the video game. 


Modified: 1.5 (all but useless)

Limited: 2 (mediocre, even here. At least it’s Colourless though, so you can include it if you need filler, or something to discard for Team Plasma Grunt) 


Welcome back, Pojo readers! We're doing a short COTD week this week, but we're still going to be reviewing new Plasma Storm cards! Today we're reviewing an Uncommon that does something pretty cool. Today's Card of the Day is Watchog (#112).

Watchog is a Stage 1 Colorless Team Plasma Pokemon. Colorless Pokemon can fit easily into any deck due to their relaxed Energy requirements, making the ideal as supporting Pokemon or secondary attackers. As a Team Plasma Pokemon, Watchog will also have all of the Team Plasma support, so it may be able to find a niche in one of those decks. 90 HP is average for a Stage 1, but this value is unfortunately too low for today's Modified game, as nearly every main attacker can reach that value (especially with the help of Hypnotoxic Laser). Fighting Weakness is also a major problem with the likes of Landorus-EX and Terrakion, both of which easily OHKO. To round out the bottom stats, Watchog has no Resistance and a Retreat Cost of 1, which is easily paid for.

Watchog has two attacks. Fast Swipe discards a random card from your opponent's hand for a single Colorless Energy, which is really interesting due to the fact that these sorts of attacks are really uncommon in Pokemon. Discarding an opponent's key Supporter, Pokemon Catcher, or Special Energy card can really put them into a bind, and it's amazing that not more Pokemon have a discarding ability. Of course, this attack is on a Stage 1 and requires an Evolution to get out, so chances are your opponent will already be swinging for the fences by the time Watchog is ready to use this attack, making it an unattractive option for Modified. In Limited, however, it's a great stall tactic, and can really ruin your opponent's day if you hit an important Evolution or Energy card.

Biting Fang is the second attack, dealing 30 damage to begin with but 20 more if you get heads on a coin flip for two Colorless Energy. Once again, no too bad for Limited, but this attack isn't nearly powerful enough to play with the heavy hitters in Modified.

Modified: 1.75/5 Fast Swipe is really interesting, but sadly far too slow for this format. Likewise for Biting Fang, which also doesn't do enough damage to make a difference here. There are better options.

Limited: 4/5 Watchog makes a great secondary attacker in Limited. Colorless Energy requirements means that it fits well into any deck, and both Fast Swipe and Biting Fang are good for their Energy costs here. Watchog won't be winning any offensive awards here, but getting a key random discard or a key heads on a coin flip will easily swing the game in your favor.


If you are reading this, I forgot to write an introduction.




Miscellaneous: Watchog is a Team Plasma Pokémon, allowing it to tap their currently available support.  You can get an idea of what that amounts to here; no ratings but a simple article listing out the Team Plasma cards, there most basic uses, and if you’re a very new or recently returning player, how the Team Plasma affiliation mechanic works.


Being a Team Plasma Pokémon is useful, but it isn’t “great”, at least not yet and there are no drawbacks to being affiliated with them so better to be than not to be.  I also will not be referring to this card as Watchog [Plasma], but for the opposite reasons I usually cite; there is actually another Team Plasma affiliated Watchog, released in this same set (BW: Plasma Storm 113/135).  Context will make it clear if I am talking about today’s CotD or all Watchog in general… and they are a rather homogenous lot so in most cases even when actually discussing today’s it can apply to the rest.  How unusual.


Type: Colorless Pokémon enjoy one noteworthy card of Type support, and that is Aspertia City Gym, good for +20 HP.  The good news is that Stadiums have become more important with the release of BW: Plasma Storm, and the bad news is that Stadiums have become more important with the release of BW: Plasma Storm; Virbank City Gym is potent and popular so while decks will want to run Stadiums anyway to knock Virbank City Gym out of play, it can do the same to the other Stadiums.  This makes it more likely your opponent can eliminate that bonus while setting up for do more damage to you, at least as compared to just a short time ago.


Offensive (as opposed to Defensive) Type-Matching doesn’t apply as Creatures, Inc. seems to have phased it out and returned to nothing being Colorless Weak or Resistant.


Stage: Being a Stage 1 Pokémon is not terrible, but it isn’t encouraging.  This is a format for big Basic Pokémon by big Basic Pokémon.  Evolutions see play, but mostly as Bench-sitters.  They just tend to be too slow to function as an attacker in a format of OHKOs and 2HKOs.


Hit Points: 90 HP is small for a Basic, and bad for a Stage 1.  It doesn’t guarantee Watchog won’t see play, there have been successful Stage 1 Pokémon that are this small: Eelektrik (BW: Noble Victories 40/101) and Accelgor (BW: Dark Explorers 11/108).  Eelektrik exists purely to power-up better attackers and tries to swarm and hide on the Bench; taking out one Eelektrik usually doesn’t do you enough good if there are two more still in play and your Pokémon-EX attacker is going to be OHKOed next turn.  Accelgor sends itself to the deck.


There is a small benefit to all of this; Level Ball snags Watchog (any currently legal version, actually) and unsurprisingly all options for Patrat.



Weakness: Fighting-Type Weakness is not good; it isn’t the absolute worst, and with 90 HP it only matters when you save something like Landorus EX (BW: Boundaries Crossed 89/149, 144/149) can set-up combos to 2HKO two different copies of Watchog with its first, inexpensive Hammerhead attack; first hit the currently Active copy for 60 (due to Weakness), then next turn use a Pokémon Catcher to force the Benched copy Active and KO both.  That basic combo is quite, quite simple in the current format.  This is going to save Fighting-Type Pokémon the extra effort they could use to KO Watchog anyway.


Resistance: Watchog has no Resistance; it wouldn’t have done it much good and “No Resistance” has been the default for at least the Black & White-era of sets.  I still don’t like it, but honestly it is appropriate here.


Retreat: Watchog needs just a single Energy to retreat; this is pretty easy to pay and relatively painless for most decks.  One its own, it is good, but less so when you consider it is a very, very small Stage 1 Pokémon.




Attack#1: Fast Swipe requires (C) and discards a random card from your opponent’s hand.  This is a decent return for the Energy.  When considering it is on a 90 HP Stage 1 Pokémon in a format full of OHKOs and 2HKOs of larger Pokémon, it becomes much less impressive.  If we could build a deck where the opponent’s hand and field were decimated and even the turn’s draw was unlikely to replenish the hand, it would be very useful indeed.  Without such a specific set-up, this is pretty weak and would be much better as an attack on an opening Pokémon that would still need another effect (and or to be capable of Evolving).


Attack#2: Biting Fang does 30 points of damage for (CC), and if you get “heads” on the required coin toss for the attack you score another 20 points of damage for 50 total.  This would be a decent opening/fall back attack, but disappoints as the card’s “big” attack.  The return on the Energy would be solid for a Basic Pokémon that didn’t further Evolve, but on such a Stage 1 as this is frankly bad.


Synergy: The only synergy is perhaps the most basic of all; the first attack requires (C) and the second requires (CC), so any two Energy can power first one then the other.  When you stop and think for even a moment, this becomes pretty bad when you realize that the format is loaded with Energy acceleration, much of which this Watchog can tap; you should seldom fail to access the second attack immediately after Evolving into Watchog in a well made deck.




Card Family: Watchog (today’s version and its set-mage BW: Plasma Storm 113/135), due to their completely Colorless Energy requirements, could be fit into any hypothetical Team Plasma deck.  This card can’t just tap Team Plasma support, but essentially is a form of it; if it seemed more promising, that would be more enticing.  Colress Machine and Plasma Energy are once again the only support really worth using.  Though I would probably derive a somewhat perverse pleasure in tossing them with Team Plasma Grunt, it doesn’t make any of the cards involved “good”.


As for Evolution line, you have six options for Patrat: Black & White 77/114, Black & White 78/114, BW: Emerging Powers 78/98, BW: Boundaries Crossed 118/149, BW: Plasma Storm 110/135, and BW: Plasma Storm 111/135.  The other Watchog options total four: Black& White 79/114, BW: Emerging Powers 79/98, BW: Boundaries Crossed 119/149, and BW: Plasma Storm 113/135.


All Patrat are Basic, Colorless-Type Pokémon with Fighting Weakness, no Resistance, a Retreat score of one and no Abilities.  Black& White 77/114 has 50 HP and can do 10 points of damage for (C) or 20 for (CC).  Black & White 78/114 has 60 HP and for (C) can hit for 30, but requires a coin flip and on “tails” the attack does nothing at all.  BW: Emerging Powers 78/98 is Black & White 78/114 with alternate art.  BW: Boundaries Crossed 118/149 has 60 HP and for (C) lets you look at and rearrange the top three cards of your deck how you wish.  BW: Plasma Storm 110/135 has 50 HP and can attack for 20 with just (C), but does 10 points of damage to itself.  BW: Plasma Storm 111/135 has 50 HP, can draw a card for (C) or for (CC) lets you flip two coins at 20 points of damage per “heads”.


As usual, all of these are bad and you’ll only run them if you want to run a Watchog.  I would pick one of the 60 HP versions; 10 more HP might barely save you from a donk, and the two that do damage (while unreliable) could themselves donk something if your deck also runs the Virbank City Gym/Hypnotoxic Laser combo (and odds are decent of that).  The non-damaging 60 HP Patrat can hopefully improve your next draw and give you a heads up on whether to try and use a “shuffling” effect before playing anything based on whatever is on top of your deck… like draw cards.


The Watchog all have the same Stats as today’s version, save only BW: Plasma Storm 113/135 is a Team Plasma Pokémon; they all even have two attacks!  For (CC), Black & White 79/114 can automatically confuse the Defending Pokémon or flip to do 60 points of damage; two attacks that might as well have been one to make room for an Ability or actually useful attack.  BW: Emerging Powers 79/98 lets you look at the top five cards of your opponent’s deck and rearrange them how you like; might have been a good Ability but would only be a good attack on a Basic Pokémon (and even then as an Evolving Basic).  It does have a slightly better attack for (CC); you can do a flat 20 points of damage or you can flip a coin and do zero (tails) or 80 (heads).


BW: Boundaries Crossed 119/149 can do 20 points of damage but with guaranteed Sleep (annoying but not overly effective) for (C), or for (CC) do 30 with an effect that makes the attack 30 more points of damage the next turn; interesting but not really effective since you’ll probably be OHKOed or something more important forced up via Pokémon Catcher (and Benching resets the effect).  Lastly comes BW: Plasma Storm 113/135 and for (CC) it does 20 points of damage plus 10 more points for each damage counter on the Defending Pokémon, allowing it to finish off anything that is at least close to half-KOed.  For (CCC), it can deliver a solid 60 points of damage; overpriced but at least fairly easy to hit, all things considered.  BW: Plasma Storm 113/135 is probably the only one really worth running, but even that is a long shot and as such, not much help for today’s CotD.


Unlimited: Horribly outclassed here; don’t bother.


Modified: Horribly outclassed here; don’t bother.


Limited: Finally a format where today’s Watchog is worth running (its set-mate too).  There are two versions of Patrat (both “Common”) and two Watchog, one Uncommon (BW: Plasma Storm 112/135) and “normal” Rare (Black & White 113/114) but both Team Plasma Pokémon; this gives strong odds of pulling a more fleshed out Evolution line and the benefit of tapping the set’s Team Plasma support.  Its low HP, while still not good, isn’t as bad here and the attacks are much, much better (for all four cards) because of less competition and the increased importance of working well in a deck using multiple basic Energy Types.


Future: Horribly outclassed here; not even the pending Team Plasma support we know of should help it, and in fact having more Team Plasma Pokémon actually gives you even less reason to need it!




Unlimited: 1/5


Modified: 1/5


Limited: 3.75/5




The only place where you should use this Watchog is in Limited, and even then it benefits heavily from everything else.  This card would make for a decent Patrat, but makes for a lousy Watchog.

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