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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

 Noivern

- Furious Fists

Date Reviewed:
Sep. 18, 2014

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.38
Expanded: 2.67
Limited: 3.50

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

Baby Mario
2010 UK National
Seniors
Champion

Noivern FFI

Noivern is a classic example of what I characterise as ‘interesting’ cards. It does some things that seem promising, even tempting for the deckbuilder, but the whole package falls some way short of being truly competitive. 

But let’s look at a good bit first. Noivern has a nice Ability, Echolocation, which will allow you to flip a coin whenever an attack damages it. If you get heads, Noivern takes no damage. Of course, it won’t work on effects (damage counter placement, Poison, Burn), but it could still be somewhat frustrating for an opponent and give Noivern some durability. Unfortunately, the sensible player will pass on it (just like they did with Cinccino NXD which did the same thing), because of the flip-dependency. You cannot build a consistent, tournament-winning deck around a card that only works half the time. It doesn’t make sense to go into a match hoping you’ll get lucky. 

Noivern’s brilliantly-named Boomburst attack is also superficially enticing: 30 damage to each of your opponent’s Pokémon is pretty good, and would combine well with Dusknoir BCR’s Sinister Hand Ability. Unfortunately, with Noivern being a Dragon Type,  Boomburst has a very silly Energy requirement that makes Noivern incredibly slow to power up. And the attack isn’t that enticing either. When was the last time you saw anyone play Kyurem NVI/LTR, which offers the same thing for a better cost? 

So, two flawed, yet interesting, features on a very low HP stage 1. Don’t be tempted to linger . . . move right along. 

Rating 

Modified: 2.25 (recycling stuff we never found a use for)

Expanded: 2.25 (not any better here)

Limited: 3 (you might get a chance to use Boomburst)


aroramage

Welcome to another card of the day that's ready for play! Catchy phrases aside, today's card is another one of the Dragon-types that we've come to know and love over time (at the fearsome prospect of being brutally obliterated by Our Dragon Lord Rayquaza-EX), and this one's from the latest generation! Does Noivern bring with him the prospect of victory in a blaze of glory, or does he just dive right out of the sky?
 
Well Noivern's got a couple of interesting bits to him, so let's take a look at his Ability first: Echolocation. This Ability allows for Noivern to prevent any damage from an incoming attack on a coin flip of heads. Sure, 50/50 odds are not particularly favorable, but considering that those are the chances Noivern could stick around for a turn against something like Lucario-EX or Tyrantrum, that's not too shabby. It would be even better if you could use Fliptini with it, but sadly the latter's Ability only works for attacks, so you're stuck with whatever you get with no chance to reflip it. Better hope your luck is strong!
 
Noivern's attack is a little awkward at Psychic-Dark-Colorless, but Boomburst offers spread damage at 30 damage for each opposing Pokemon in play. That's potentially up to 150 damage on anyone not running Mr. Mime (PLF) with his pesky Bench Barrier! And if you manage to survive with Echolocation, Noivern will be able to have dealt 60 damage to most of your opponent's Pokemon - a great setup for a potential sweep even on Pokemon-EX!
 
While Noivern does have inherent disadvantages, the biggest disadvantage he has will be against anything running Garbodor, who remains a very popular Stage 1 since he's out in the Legendary Treasures set. Without Echolocation, Noivern doesn't have much of a chance at surviving a whole lot since he's only got 100 HP. You could combine him with Training Center from yesterday to have 130 HP, but Garbodor aside, there's not much point to have an extra 30 HP on a Pokemon that can negate damage half the time, let alone what the other Pokemon could be capable of doing.
 
Noivern is meant to be a self-protected set-up Pokemon, and he's designed well enough to do that, but with Garbodor hanging around as a popular choice against Abilities like Pyroar and Jirachi-EX, Noivern isn't going to fair much better. Still, I think there's a niche for cards like Noivern, and who knows? Maybe he'll rise up when the garbageman comes to collect.
 
Rating
 
Standard: 2.5/5 (his biggest conflict is with Garbodor and competitive space, but he can do what he does well)
 
Expanded: 3/5 (I think despite the weakness of Garbodor, Noivern's set-up potential will be regarded strongly here, and I'm sure there's a good deck just waiting for a card like Noivern to swoop in)
 
Limited: 4/5 (he's a good evolution card, and he can definitely hold off an opponent here far better than in the other formats, notably due to a lack of Garbodor)
 
Arora Notealus: Is it just me, or is it weird that Noivern's attacking in the middle of the day when his flavor text says he's unmatched at night? I don't think Noivern would want to put himself in such a compromising position!
 
Next Time: We need to train harder! Come, we will go to the special place!


Otaku

Our next-to-last card for this week, Noivern (XY: Furious Fists 77/111) is one of only four Dragon-Type Pokémon in this set (five if you want to count the Full Art version of Dragonite-EX separate from the regular).  I already made Transformers references earlier this week, and why its purely coincidence I still have to point out that in the Beast Wars era, there was a Soundwave that was a “mutant” Transformer without their usual humanoid primary mode that instead had two “beast” modes.  One was a bat, the other was an alligator… and those of you who are not raving fanboys are like “alligators aren’t dragons, and ‘sound’ motifs are common for bats.” 

Being a Dragon-Type isn’t as nice as it used to be; they still have Altaria (BW: Dragons Exalted 84/124; BW Promos BW48; BW: Boundaries Crossed 152/149) to boost damage but are less likely to hit any Weakness as XY-era Dragons are Fairy (instead of Dragon) Weak… and at least for now said older Dragon-Types have seen a drop in play.  The small upside is that there are no naturally Dragon Resistant cards. Being a Dragon-Type beats the other option; in the video games this is a Flying/Dragon-Type and thus might have been a Colorless Type in the TCG!  Unless being a Colorless-Type would have given the same card but with all Colorless Energy requirements… but I’m getting ahead of myself. 

Being a Stage 1 Pokémon is not good, but it isn’t quite as bad as it used to be; Basics are still the dominant force, but at least the card pool has a little less Basic support and a little more Evolution support… or at least cards that are specifically meant for those roles; Evolutions that are slow to set-up greatly miss cards like Tropical Beach and Level Ball.  100 HP is about 10 points above what is usually the minimal mean damage per turn a competitive deck can afford, or at least can afford once it starts swinging for damage, in the case of a few slow-to-set-up decks that are still seen as competitive.  More would have been nice, but it isn’t there so let us move onto the Fairy-Type Weakness.  For now I haven’t seen a good, splashable Fairy-Type attacker or enough Fairy Weak Pokémon to entice players to try and work one in for an off-type deck, making this one of the “less bad” Weaknesses to have.  The lack of Resistance is a disappointment; based on its video game Type combinations, it could have had Grass Resistance or Fire Resistance without creating contradictory Type relationships, but at least for now the powers-that-be don’t want those forms of Resistance to exist anymore, and as I often point out Resistance is just a small bonus anyway (unlike how exploiting Weakness is a huge).  Noivern has a single Energy Retreat Cost which is good; it is easy to pay in most circumstances, but also the highest I would give the card as I find it “weird” to make Flying-Types (and in this case, relatively high Speed Stat) Pokémon pay anything to Retreat. 

Noivern has one Ability and one Attack.  The Ability is flippy but potent; anytime Noivern would be damaged by an attack, “Echolocation” triggers and you flip a coin; if “heads” Echolocation prevents all damage done to Noivern by the attack.  This is a potent ability, but it is entirely luck based, and I know of no way to improve the odds, at least legally.  On the other hand there are multiple ways around the effect.  Garbodor (BW: Dragons Exalted 54/124; BW: Plasma Freeze 119/116; BW: Legendary Treasures 68/113) drops your odds to “zero” if Garbotoxin is in effect.  Attacks that don’t do damage don’t care about Echolocation either.  If you have any non-Echolocation Pokémon in play, your opponent might be able to win by KOing those instead, or optionally setting up for something like Dusknoir (BW: Boundaries Crossed 63/149; BW: Plasma Blast 63/149) to then move the damage counters to Noivern.  There are also a few lesser known (and seldom played competitively) cards that will also nullify or bypass the effect.  All of these ultimately mean that if you otherwise had perfectly even results, you would still be protected less than half the time. 

Boomburst is a great attack name, and the end result is fairly nice: 30 points of damage to all of your opponent’s Pokémon.  The Energy cost is not so nice: [PDC].  If your opponent doesn’t have a mostly full Bench, taken in isolation this attack just isn’t going to be worth it.  You generally need to average at least 90 points of damage per turn, enough to effectively 2HKO Pokémon-EX.  Even if your opponent has three Pokémon in play so that you are hitting that number, as it is all spread out you’ll need a further combo piece to actually move the damage counters around.  If the Energy cost wasn’t so clunky, it might still have been worth it; there is natural synergy between this and Echolocation, as the longer Noivern lasts, the more shots with Boomburst you can get and the more the damage counters can amass on your opponent’s side of the field, resulting in eventual KOs.  For the record, I hope that the designers get off the “Dragons must have bizarre Energy costs since they don’t have Dragon-Type Energy” kick; this is the second time its been tried (it actually predates the Dragon-Type and was attempted with several sets worth of Colorless-Type “Dragons”) and it still isn’t working out correctly, with a few really good attackers but most ending up sabotaged.  Perhaps the biggest problem for this attack is that it does damage (instead of placing damage counters) on the Benched Pokémon, so Mr. Mime (BW: Plasma Freeze 47/116) and Mountain Ring leave it just hitting for 30 damage to the Defending Pokémon!  Doing damage (instead of placing counters) on the Defending Pokémon is probably good, since that means you can boost that damage through the usual means. 

Noivern has to come from somewhere, and there are two Noibat to consider.  Both are Colorless, Basic Pokémon with 60 HP, Lightning Weakness, Fighting Resistance,  Retreat Costs of [C] and two attacks.  The older option (XY Trainer Kit: Noivern Half Deck 12/30, 23/30) can gets a coin flip to Confuse the Defending Pokémon for [C] or does 30 damage for [CCC].  The set-mate to today’s card (XY: Furious Fists 87/111) can do 10 for [C] or 20 for [CC].  All are weak, vanilla attacks and you don’t want to ever attack with Noibat if you can avoid it.  As it should be a desperate situation when you are attacking with Noibat, I would favor the first version even though its first attack is overpriced; a 50% chance of Confusion might actually help it stay alive as when it works and your opponent can’t shake it, any attacks will have a 50% chance of placing three damage counters on the attacking Pokémon instead of Noibat (or whatever Pokémon is being attacked).  It is a very small chance, but its more likely to help you than a mere 10 damage hit.  Also, it is interesting that these aren’t Dragon-Types; Noibat has the same Flying/Dragon-Type combination as Noivern in the video games. 

Noivern (XY Trainer Kit: Sylveon Half Deck 13/30, 30/30) should also be considered in case it compliments or clashes with today’s version.  It has 110 HP, but otherwise the stats are the same: more HP is nice, but since this version lacks a protective Ability, it may not last any longer (and 110 is only a little better than 100).  It has two attacks; the first is Second Bite, which needs [CC] to use and does 10 damage plus 10 more for each damage counter on the Defending Pokémon.  This is actually a solid attack, though in general it would be less useful on a Stage 1 than where we most recently saw it, on the Basic Dunsparce (XY 101/146).  Simply put, if the target has damage counters equal to or greater than half its maximum HP less 10, Second Bite ensures a 2HKO (before protective effects like the Echolocation Ability on today’s Noivern).  For better or worse the second attack, the wonderfully named Sonic Bazooka, has the same [PDC] requirement as Boomburst.  Unfortunately it is much worse; 60 points of damage, plus another 30 and Confusion on a coin flip.  You’re easily paying for 90 points of damage and guaranteed Confusion between the amount and varying Types of Energy.  Having similar Energy requirements plus the nature of Second Bite provide some synergy between the two versions, but I’d rather not have to deal with splitting the line when I could just run Dunsparce; I’d rather have a fragile Basic doing the follow up than a slightly large Stage 1 that is still probably a OHKO. 

So… how would one go about running Noivern?  I’ve bumped into a few such decks on the PTCGO.  You can’t run Garbodor to deal with Mr. Mime since it would shut down Echolocation and be it ever so flippy, you need that.  Dusknoir (as mentioned above) might be your best bet; just get enough damage into play (even if only hitting the Active) and then move it to Mr. Mime for a KO so you can get back to the spreading.  Yveltal (XY 78/146, XY Promos XY06) can give you an early game attacker, possibly misleading your opponent (to an extent) while helping to build Noivern on the Bench.  Virizion-EX is useful to prevent Special Conditions that get around Echolocation; you’re probably running Rainbow Energy anyway, and in Expanded Blend Energy GRPD covers all three relevant Energy Types as well.  Make sure you’ve got plenty of Stadiums and Starling Megaphone: it is lame to lose due to Mountain Ring or Garbotoxin.  I wouldn’t recommend running it alongside Dusknoir, but if you really wanted to you could try to spam Altaria (mentioned earlier as Dragon-Type support); it will not up your Bench damage, but getting Boomburst hitting hard enough to score 2HKOs against the Defending Pokémon while also doing massive spread can be overwhelming. 

In Standard, Noivern is going to be a novelty deck; that doesn’t mean it won’t show up in tournaments, but I don’t expect it to be a major presence.  After all, on top of all the luck inherent to general TCG mechanics, plus seen in other more potent cards, having yet another coin flip dependent card makes for a very unreliable deck.  That also means when it does show up, unless your deck naturally (you shouldn’t even be TecHing against this deck) has a serious Advantage, you have to worry that your opponent will just get the needed flips to win.  In Expanded, I actually like this card just a bit better; you have to worry about Enhanced Hammer, but you gain access to Blend Energy GRPD and there is a slight chance some older decks that used smaller Basic Pokémon (usually to Evolve) will have a better presence.  Sadly, that is the best I can offer: as someone that is currently a PTCGO only player I can’t effectively playtest this format on my own, and I haven’t seen a lot of well supported discussion for it either.  In Limited, Noivern is a pretty good pull.  The downside is that you’ve got to run Darkness Energy and Psychic Energy cards, and you may not pull many (or any) worthwhile Pokémon of those Types.  Still, if you can do it, then Noivern benefits from mean damage being much lower (so that a failed flip on Echolocation is probably not a OHKO), lower average damage totals (so that Boomburst scores KOs more quickly) and how normally retreating something injured to the Bench is worth it here to deny an opponent a Prize (Boomburst still hits such Pokémon).  Noibat is even a little better as the demand for low-quality vanilla filler is higher here. 

Ratings 

Standard: 2/5 - I like this card, but that doesn’t mean its actually competitive.  We’ve got similar Abilities and attacks already in the format, and they rarely if ever see competitive play; both are too easily countered right now, and again with the Ability, having another important aspect of your deck come down to a coin flip is daunting. 

Expanded: 2.25/5 - A little more support and potentially better targets, Noivern might have a better chance here. 

Limited: 4/5 - Not a must run, but besides players that can build a deck around a single big Basic, if you can accommodate the Energy demands, you run this. 

Summary: An interesting concept, even if it involves “recycling”, its tricks are trumped by the competitive format and I know I am once again very sick of “all or nothing” coin flip effects.  If there had been some other cost factor instead of the flip, it might have been worth playing.  Or it might have still been bad or shot up to being broken, so I won’t complain too loudly.  If you want to have a spread deck for fun, this gives you another option.


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