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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Top 5 New Legendary Treasure Cards

#5 - Excadrill EX  

- Legendary Treasures

Date Reviewed:
Nov 4, 2013

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 3.13
Limited: 4.65

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

#5 Excadrill EX  

Hello and welcome to an interesting week on Pojo’s CotD. We have just seen the release of a new set, Legendary Treasures, but unlike most sets, this one is made up of a lot of reprints from previous Black and White sets. Because of this we have decided to split our usual Top 10 and instead do two Top 5 lists: the first featuring new cards from the set and the second (next week) consisting of reprints. We kick off with the number 5 card on our list, Excadrill EX. This card is interesting because for the first time we are starting to see EX cards that are not Basic Legendaries. In fact Excadrill is a Stage 1 Pokémon that has been turned into a Basic EX, and this seems to be a preview of how these things are going to be handled in the TCG in the future – Basic EX versions of Venusaur and Blastoise will apparently be coming our way in the first XY set in February. 

But what about the card itself? Well, it’s . . . ok I suppose. It’s got that nice fat 180 HP for a start. Weakness to Water isn’t nice with all those Kyurem PLF and Keldeo EX around, but it does have a Resistance to Lightning, although that isn’t very significant right now. The attacks are respectable without being special. Dig Out does 40 damage for a Double Colourless Energy and has an effect that works similarly to the Ether Item card: you discard the top card of your deck and, if it’s an Energy, attach it to one of your Pokémon. This is super nice if it works, but there’s no practical way of ensuring that it will (Musharna NEX, I guess) and there is quite a lot of risk involved. 

Mind you, that Energy acceleration would come in handy for paying the cost of Break Ground, a four Energy attack which does 120 damage, but also hits your own Bench for 10 damage. That 120 is decent but just short of where it needs to be when it comes to KOing EX Pokémon in combination with Dig Out. Meanwhile, the Bench damage could be prevented with Mr Mime PLF, or used to fuel a somewhat clunky combo with Gallade from the new set. 

Excadrill is a solid enough Fighting Pokémon, but it doesn’t have that little bit extra which would push it over the competitive borderline. As things are, it sits there in the binder with fellow solid enough Fighting EX’s Groudon and Terrakion wondering why it can’t get a bit more play in a format where Darkrai has been such a strong card for years. 


Modified: 3.25 (decent, but falls just short of what other EX Pokémon can do)

Limited: 4.25 (big EXs are great here but you will have to watch out for the attack drawbacks because either could cost you the game)


The new set, Legendary Treasures, is upon us so it is time for a new Top 10 list!  Last time we expanded to a Top 12 because of scheduling: this time the nature of the set itself demands we “adjust” our usual practice.


When we select cards for a Top 10, we don’t normally consider “reprints”… but that would exclude most of Legendary Treasures. The new rules are about to go into effect and the Modified Format underwent its latest set rotation not that long ago, so this time we’ll be doing two Top 5 lists: the Top 5 Promising Picks of Legendary Treasures followed by the Top 5 Reprints of Legendary Treasures!


We begin our countdown with the fight most Promising Pick of Legendary Treasures… Excadrill EX!  I’ll forgo my usual formatting because I need to hurry and it was really increasing the length.  Excadrill EX is notable as it is the first (alongside its set-mate Chandelure EX) that is of an Evolution (though the card itself is still a Basic, Excadrill normally Evolve from Drilbur) and also is not what are often referred to as “Legendary” Pokémon.


I personally do not think this is a good “change”; I liked Pokémon-EX as a mechanic reserved for “Legendary” Pokémon.  I would not have wanted it to be an Evolution, either; we’ve tried that (remember Pokémon-ex?) and it didn’t really work then either.  While Pokémon-ex existed in better balanced formats, that doesn’t mean they were the source of said balance.  Still, its status as one of the few “new” Pokémon-EX in this set plus breaking the old template means it will likely enjoy at least 15 minutes of fame even if it doesn’t prove to be tournament viable.


So do I think Excadrill EX is something that can win tournaments?  I have serious doubts.  What it clearly has going for it is its Type (hitting Fighting Weakness is amazing), Stage (Basics are still best), and HP (180 HP is the second highest printed).  What definitely hurts it is that it suffers from Water Weakness (multiple established and hopeful threats).  Good but not great is the Lightning Resistance (how often it will matter I don’t know) and the Retreat Cost of three (Heavy Ball target plus most decks don’t retreat normally anymore).


I didn’t comment on the card’s attacks because they couldn’t be simplified as above.  Both do solid amounts of damage for the Energy going into them, but not high enough to score critical 2HKOs (first attack) or OHKOs (second attack).  Dig Out can be powered by nearly all Energy acceleration (including just dropping a Double Colorless Energy onto Excadrill EX) while the second needs four Energy, specifically (FFCC); still Double Colorless Energy compliant but even with help four Energy is still a lot.


The effect of Dig Out reveals the top card of your deck; if it is a Basic Energy card you get Energy acceleration (you can attach the revealed Energy to one of your Pokémon) but anything else and it is just discarded.  The big hit from Break Ground might do 120 points of damage, but it hits your own Bench for 10 a piece; you’ll have to cope with the damage (whether through careful play or combos); it might not matter or it could set things up for a faster KO.  The two attacks combo together, but without more aid you’re not guaranteed to take out the average Pokémon-EX even with one of each attack… and any “combo” card you add in is another non-Basic Energy card to risk on Dig Out.


If Excadrill EX had been released sooner, cards like Recycle and Pokédex could have made it easy enough to stack the top of your deck (besides being slightly useful anyway), but now you’ll have to run something like Musharna (BW: Next Destinies 59/99) which is more about not swinging blind than really improving your odds.  The new rules could also be a problem; Dig Out hits just hard enough to be scary first turn, and Dig Out could set up for a faster Break Ground.  Had Pokédex still been legal, you might have even risked Ether to try for a first turn Break Ground, but probably not.


The one thing that is easy to deal with is the Bench damage – Mr. Mime (BW: Plasma Freeze 47/116) covers that, and as the nerfing of Pokémon Catcher will make snipe/spread damage more useful, you might have wanted to run it anyway.  In the end I am sure a deck can be built around it, but I don’t know how good it would ultimately prove.  I’ll probably never get around to building it, but I was thinking of Team Plasma Badge so that I could use Colress Machine for early game acceleration (and deck thinning) while also tapping Deoxys EX for more damage… but that would still need something else to score OHKOs against non-Weak Pokémon.


For those that like to toy around with Unlimited or Limited, Excadrill EX is obviously a must run in Limited (whether on its own or splashed into almost any deck) but might be a fun pick for Unlimited.  Running a “Quad Excadrill EX” deck could rely on Trainers to help with managing various aspects of the card, HP scores can be much lower here, and 180 HP is resistant to some “donk” strategies (though not immune).




Unlimited: 3/5


Modified: 3/5


Limited: 4.95/5



Excadrill EX is a good card, but in a format dominated by great cards.  As always, I may be missing something; I haven’t been able to test the card at all.  I can only look at how similar cards have performed as well as try to anticipate how the rule changes will affect the game.


Excadrill EX did not make my Top 5 list, though it did make my Top “whatever” when I was jotting down all cards that showed at least some promise.

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