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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Forretress

- Flashfire

Date Reviewed:
July 18, 2014

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.07
Limited: 3.13

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
Seniors
Champion

Forretress (Flashfire) 

Our final card for the week is by far the best, though that isn’t saying an awful lot. It does have some combo potential though, and may find a place in some casual decks and strategies, which is more than you could ever say for the likes of Scrafty and Skuntank. 

Forretress is a Stage 1 with barely moderate HP. Its Iron Crash attack is cheap-ish (Double Colourless), and could do reasonable damage to cards with very high retreat such as Garbodor DRX. That’s not why you would play it though . . . all the interest lies in its Thorn Tempest Ability. 

Thorn Tempest places a damage counter on each of your opponent’s Pokémon when you evolve Forretress from the hand (so it won’t work if you use Evosoda). Doing damage without having to use an attack is a good thing, doing it to all your opponent’s Pokémon is even better . . . you could certainly try and build some kind of spread deck with Forretress and Dusknoir BCR to manipulate the damage. But would such a deck be competitive? I doubt it. Spread decks haven’t been viable for a long time now (unless you count Accelgor DEX/Flygon BCR, which is hardly an out-and-out spread deck), and it’s not hard to see why. With the massive HP of today’s Pokémon and a game which deals in one and two-hit knock outs, they are simply too slow for the format. If we lose Devolution Spray in the upcoming rotation (which seems likely), then Forretress will have even less going for it. 

If you want to try something that’s a bit different from the simple beatdown strategies which have dominated the game for the last few years, then you could probably get something usable out of Forretress. I wouldn’t put a whole lot of faith in it succeeding though. 

Rating 

Modified: 2.5 (the format makes it bad)

Limited: 3 (useable attack and nice bonus damage)


aroramage

Hey guys! We're concluding the end of the week here with a Gen II favorite! This guy was a Bug/Steel before it was cool, and his prowess has been demonstrated as far up as the Elite Four! Ladies and gents, presenting the Bagworm Pokemon Forretress!

Now unlike the other Stage 1s we've reviewed over this past week, Forretress has a lot going for him and can help support the right deck built with him in mind. No, I'm definitely not referring to his 2-Energy attack Iron Crash, which does more damage the higher the Retreat Cost for the opposing Pokemon is (although it does get props for being completely colorless). I'm naturally referring to his Ability, Thorn Tempest.

Now there was a card that came out in Dragons Exalted called Devolution Spray. It was an interesting reprint of the card of the same name all the way back from Base Set (funny how we're seeing a lot of that lately, eh?). Around the same time, though, we got a group of Pokemon with Abilities that triggered when the Pokemon was played from one's hand. This ranged from Aggron (DRX)'s Toppling Wind to Roserade's Le Parfum to Ninjask's Cast-off Shell. Some were good, some were bad, all of them could be comboed with Devolution Spray.

And here we have another Ability to combo with it! Forretress' Thorn Tempest activates when he's played from the hand, hitting all of your opponent's Pokemon for a whopping 10 damage! No, you did not read that wrong. It's only 10 damage. This unfortunately small amount is what cripples Forretress' Ability. Is it really worth running 4 Devolution Spray to combine with Forretress in order to do up to 40 damage on each opposing Pokemon over the course of 4 turns?

Well, sometimes we take 10 points of damage for granted. It is the smallest possible amount of damage one can inflict on a Pokemon, but often it gets overshadowed by attacks that do upwards of 60, 90, even 120 damage (or in some Pokemon's cases, 300)! Yet all it takes is that extra 10 damage to defeat a Pokemon-EX. Never mind that this card comboes well with Meowstic from earlier in the week (though not exceptionally well, given that only up to 6 damage counters will get placed) or that this gets by Mr. Mime (PLF)'s Ability (since the Ability prevents damage from attacks and not Abilities) - just think of all the times you could have used that extra 10 damage just to KO a Pokemon-EX!

And that's where Forretress' Ability's real potential lies: getting that extra 10 damage you need for the KO. Sure, running it would be tedious and throw off the balance of a deck depending on how many you evolution lines you set up, and sure you can't combine it with Evosoda to make for a surprise Thorn Tempest KO when Forretress isn't in your hand (since that's the only place the Ability works). But if you're able to run a Forretress and Devolution Spray to unless a little extra devastation alongside a heavy hitter, Muscle Band, and Hypnotoxic Laser, you could surprise someone with a casual win!

Hey, let's face it, Forretress may be splashable, but he's not gonna wreck tournaments.

Rating

Modified: 2.5/5 (finding that niche deck will be tricky, but hey, who knows what could happen?)

Limited: 3/5 (the Ability is much more devastating here, though you don't have Devolution Spray to constantly abuse it)

Arora Notealus: "Its peering eyes are all that can be seen of its mysterious innards." *shudders* Something about that sentence doesn't sound right.

Weekend Thought: If you could improve upon a card from this week, which card would it be? What would you do with it, and why?


Otaku

We finish the week with Forretress (XY: Flashfire 60/106).  Thanks to the intense popularity of Pyroar (XY: Flashfire 20/106) decks, being an Evolution is still a bad thing, but some decks are forced to work them in to deal with Intimidating Mane.  The only Pineco are is an easy OHKO that can do 20 for (CC) and that doesn’t help, though depressingly isn’t the worst Evolving Basic I’ve seen, even excluding the “intentionally” bad like most Magikarp and Feebas. 

Being a Metal-Type gives access to Plasma Steel, the Ability on Klinklang (BW: Plasma Storm 90/135) a.k.a. Klinklang [Plasma] and allows you to hit certain Water-Types for double damage, but neither are significant advantages at the moment.  The 100 HP is well within OHKO range for most competitive decks (and 10 HP over what Level Ball can snag), especially after a turn or two of set-up, and the Fire Weakness is an issue with Fire-Types still being… hot.  Any Resistance is a welcome sight; Psychic Resistance won’t come in handy often, but is certainly better than no Resistance at all.  The chunky three Energy Retreat Cost could be an issue, but most decks should have a retreat alternative or aid available most of the time, and Heavy Ball can target it. 

Thorn Tempest and Iron Crash are mediocre; they aren’t truly bad but they fall on the unhappy side of “average”.  Thorn Tempest requires too much work to use repeatedly (and thus generate significant damage on its own) and it is only a slight bonus as a “one and done” trick.  There are combos to make use of the damage counters and to spam it, but more on that later.  Iron Crash isn’t good enough to be main attack without an easily thwarted: we have Fairy Garden, Dark Cloak (Darkrai-EX) and Float Stone to zero out Retreat Costs on the competitive cards that do have larger Retreat Costs, plus plenty of Pokémon with naturally low Retreat Costs. 

Thorn Tempest is more or less the same thing we saw as Evolutionary Thunder on Jolteon ex years ago, except as an Ability and not a Poké-Power.  Jolteon ex proved good enough to be a significant part of the winning deck of the Worlds 2007 Championship Junior Age division and enjoyed its time in the sun… but Forretress won’t be that lucky.  If you research both the actual “Flyvees”, Jolteon ex had so much going for it that Forretress doesn’t: Typing, alternate useful Stage 1, “old-school” Rare Candy, the “Holon Engine”, Flygon δ accelerating Energy to Pokémon δ (including Eevee δ), while Flygon ex δ placed damage counters on the opponent’s Bench via both its attack and its Poké-Body (a predecessor to Abilities). 

Forretress can’t go off on the overall first or second turn of the game, and lacks as effective of partners.  Even the damage counter manipulation of Dusknoir (BW: Boundaries Crossed 63/149; BW: Plasma Blast 104/101) requires your opponent has to quickly fill his or her Bench (preferably with low HP Pokémon) for those counters to quickly add up, so why not stick with hitting the Active as hard as you can (a much simpler task)?  Sableye (BW: Dark Explorers 62/108) to recycle Devolution Spray (useful for “spamming” Thorn Tempest) is a tempting attacker but likely leads to insufficient damage and will almost always be a OHKO.  Any worthwhile “spread” attacker of which I can think - like Gourgeist (XY 57/146) - would likely prefer additional support directly reinforcing it or a different supporting Evolution line… like Dusknoir. 

Ratings 

Standard: 1.75/5 - Two mediocre (at worst) or “okay” (at best) effects on a Stage 1 are a pass unless we find an already “good” to “great” deck that is enhanced by it… and I obviously don’t know of one. 

Limited: 4/5 - Both Forretress and Pineco have attacks for (CC), and those attacks are better here.  So is the Ability, thus even a 1-1 line goes into any deck that isn’t an awesome Basic Pokémon backed by 39 non-Basic Pokémon cards. 

Summary: Forretress incompletely mimics a past successful strategy, but as not only the metagame but the rules and past cards still with us have since been revised on top of stat inflation, said strategy likely no longer stands.  I will of course be happy to be wrong should something of which I either didn’t think or didn’t think much of surprises us and uses this well.

Joe
Hollywood

"Hello everyone, just a brief introduction. Formerly "Mariodabrokescrub", I've been away from playing the card game for about 5 years but I still do my best to keep up with the meta-game ever since I took my break due to school and working. I will be playing again full-time in time for next season. So bear with me for the time being if I'm not too up to date on everything, lol. So here we go... FORRETRESS!!
 
When I first laid my eyes on this card, I thought it was a very interesting card. To maximize its potential, it would have to be the focus of its own deck revolving around cards such as Devolution Spray, Sableye, and Dusknoir (Sinister Hand) to reuse the ability Thorn Tempest over and over attempting to rearrange the spread out damage. Pooka from "The Top Cut" had a deck that ran around this strategy in his Bad Deck Monday video. 
 
But with Forretress, the cons heavily outweigh the pros. It has a very heavy retreat cost for a stage one Pokemon. The standard psychic resistance doesn't do too much except defending against Mewtwo EX. The fire weakness lets popular cards such as Pyroar and Charizard EX OHKO with ease. The attack Iron Crash is a sub-par attack that would normally only hit for 60 against most cards in the current format since the most played cards have a retreat cost of 2. What would make matters worse is that if you do try to make Forretress an attacker, cards such as Fairy Garden, Float Stone and Darkrai EX would only allow you to do the base damage of 20. Last but definitely not least, Garbotoxin shuts the Ability down for Forretress. To run the card effectively, you would have to run a lot of counter cards instead of cards that actually focus on the card's ability. 
 
Forecasting the next format most likely being PL-on, the deck itself losses all little power that the card had in the first place with the main cards such as Sableye and devolution spray rotating out in the standard format. I can't even see this card even having its own tech line in a competitive deck. This card as the focus of its own deck would be a fun deck at best to be honest. 
 
Til next time. 
 
Modified: 1.5/5 (The card is just not that playable unless you want to just want to use it in a fun deck.)
Sealed: 2.5/5 (Still pretty sub-par here but a lot of the negatives I talked about earlier don't affect it so it could pose a threat here.)


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