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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Nidoqueen #69

- Primal Clash

Date Reviewed:
April 10, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.5
Expanded: 2.5
Limited: 4

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 being horrible.  3 ... average.  5 is awesome.

Back to the main COTD Page


So far the best user of an Ancient Trait has been Primal Kyogre-EX, if only because of its sheer bulk and power and the ability to fuel up other Benched Pokemon. Aside from that, Ancient Traits haven't been real big with the other Pokemon. Finishing the week though, we're gonna take a look at Nidoqueen, probably the most promising Stage 2 with an Ancient Trait. 

Nidoqueen is the only non-Basic Pokemon that gets Omega Barrage - the Ancient Trait that allows a Pokemon to attack twice. This is more of a design choice than anything, and to be honest it's a smart one. Can you imagine something like Primal Kyogre-EX with the Ability to attack twice every turn? That kind of power is dangerous in the wrong hands, but so far we've only seen Torchic with this Trait, and he's...okay. 

Nidoqueen takes Omega Barrage and utilizes it in a much more offensive manner, starting with Poison Jab, a 1-for-30 that effectively becomes 1-for-60 with Omega Barrage, AND it Poisons the opponent's Pokemon. Combine that with Muscle Band, and that's 100 damage - yes that's right, 100 damage - AND Poison. That's a lot for just 1 Energy! And that doesn't include things like Virbank being around to up the Poison damage to 30 or Team Magma's Secret Base inflicting 20 on play. Needless to say, Nidoqueen already has an outstanding first attack to utilize. 

But why stop there? Nidoqueen then has a 3-for-70 (read: 140) damage attack in the form of Dynamite Punch! There is just a slight problem though, given that it causes recoil. This is a balancing measure to make sure you're not abusing Nidoqueen's power - it's very difficult to justify aiming for such a strong attack when you're dealing 40 damage to yourself (keeping in mind that's after both attacks, since the recoil doesn't take Weakness in mind). And on a Stage 2 with only 140 HP to begin with, that's very to difficult to work with. 

She's got a lot of power to wield, but you can't be reckless with it. OTK-ing your opponent's Pokemon-EX is only gonna be worth so much, and given the resources it takes to bring out Nidoqueen in the first place - as with ANY Stage 2 - and bring out that kind of damage, it's difficult to judge how much of an impact she'll make on the format if any. 


Standard: 3/5 (really it's the fact that she's a Stage 2 that deals recoil damage, and that's not something Stage 2s can afford) 

Expanded: 3/5 (this is the best version of Nidoqueen out at the moment, so she'll be doing about the same here) 

Limited: 4/5 (a little slow to come out, but that double-strike is very effective here) 

Arora Notealus: Nidoqueen cards of the past have usually had a relationship to Nidoking cards, whether with Nidoqueen's own Family Bonds or Giovanni's Nidoqueen's Love Lariat to Nidoking's Power Gene or Pheromone Stamina. Funny though, since nowadays not only do the cards not interact often in these ways but it's not even a good idea to build a deck around 2 Stage 2s like that! Odd how that works. 

Weekend Thought: What cards from this week do you think show the most potential? Are there are any cards you think would do better? You playing anything else out of Double Crisis? Or maybe you're too excited for the next set in May. 


We end the week with something a little more regal than normal… her majesty, Nidoqueen (XY: Primal Clash 69/160)!  Of course, I’m just having fun with her name; we’ll need to run through the card before we can say whether or not she’s going to dominate the metagame (or at least be a part of the ruling court) like one or two past instances of the Pokémon in the TCG. 

She’s a Psychic-Type; this means she can tap some decent support (though it pales in comparison to say Fighting-Types) and enjoys hitting most other Psychic-Types and a decent chunk of the Fighting-Types for Weakness and that sweet double damage, but has to mind the Resistance found on Darkness-Types and Metal-Types.  She is also a Stage 2 which is pretty painful right now, though not impossible to play and there are some Stage 2 Pokémon that are still doing well without some insane shortcut like Archie’s Ace in the Hole (which is good as there is no Psychic-Type equivalent).  She sports 140 HP which is enough to survive a hit noticeably more often than not, though she is still vulnerable to OHKO from some common cards including the infamous Mewtwo-EX, which brings us to the Psychic Weakness on Nidoqueen; it is very dangerous even with Mewtwo-EX having long ceased being the top attacker in the card pool!  The lack of Resistance doesn’t help the card but as its the norm it doesn’t hurt either, which leaves the Retreat Cost of [CC]; pretty middle of the road as its low enough that you will often enough have the Energy attached to be able to afford to pay it but high enough you would prefer not to.  Fortunately for now we still have enough retreat assisting (or bypassing) tricks that it isn’t overly important anyway. 

Nidoqueen has an Ancient Trait and its one of the promising ones: Ω Barrage!  This allows her to attack twice in a row if you choose.  The first option is her Poison Jab for [P], good for 30 damage and Poison.  With Virbank City Gym you can up this to three damage counters and 10/30/60 damage against Resistance/neutral/Weakness.  The second is Dynamite Punch for [PPC] which deals 70 damage to the opponent’s Active and 20 to Nidoqueen herself (the self-damage doesn’t apply Weakness).  So… Poison Jab is a solid attack but the Poison side of the attack gains no benefit from hitting the same target twice.  Dynamite Punch is a subpar attack as its overpriced in terms of Energy required and recoil damage, but at least since it is self-damage that doesn’t apply Weakness and not damage counters, if you’ve got an effect that protects against it, Nidoqueen can soak it.  Granted I am not finding any such effects off hand (most I can think of like Hard Charm don’t block self-inflicted damage).  Still three-for-70 with a drawback is fairly poor, but the Ancient Trait and potential cost reduction from Dimension Valley can make it a serviceable attack.  After all with a Silver Bangle you take out any Pokémon-EX with less than 200 HP (albeit with 40 points of self-damage) or with Muscle Band you can down anything with 180 HP or less (barring protective effects in either case).  You may have noticed I referenced a different benefitting each attack; that’s going to become a theme. 

So what about the related cards?  First there is Nidoran and that provides two options: BW: Plasma Freeze 40/116 and XY: Primal Clash 66/160.  Both are 60 HP Basic Psychic-Type Pokémon with 60 HP with Psychic Weakness, no Resistance, Retreat Cost [C], no Abilities, and no Ancient Traits.  BW: Plasma Freeze 40/116 has Poison Sting for [PC] which does 20 and (if you make the coin flip) Poison.  XY: Primal Clash 66/160 can Scratch for 10 at a cost of [C] or Bite for 20 at a cost of [PC].  Neither of these versions is all that helpful (typical and yet still a bad sign); they don’t aid in setting up and they don’t bring anything that justifies running them solo.  As I alluded to earlier, even some fundamental support like Stadiums will have mixed results; BW: Plasma Freeze 40/116 and its Poison Sting attack aren’t competitively priced but by those terms becomes half decent with Dimension Valley in play or Virbank City Gym so that it acts like triple Poison when you get “heads” but in reality, you’d need both to make it “scary” enough your opponent wouldn’t want to risk exposing anything to important to take the KO (which indirectly prolongs the lifespan of Nidoran ).  I mean, you don’t want to use a two Energy attack on a 60 HP basic without compatible, competitive Energy acceleration.  XY: Primal Clash 66/160 can tap Dimension Valley to make the attacks better (but still poor) with a free 10 damage and 20 for just [P].  Even with a compatible stadium, there just isn’t much here to work with so unless testing proves otherwise, go with either or both. 

Next up is Nidorina as unless you want to be extra vulnerable to Item lock, you’ll need to run at least a few (and anymore now Rare Candy is the one to run sparingly).  Again there are two choices - BW: Plasma Freeze 41/116 and XY: Primal Clash 67/160 - and they are both Stage 1 Psychic-Type Pokémon with 90 HP, Psychic Weakness, no Resistance, no Abilities, no Ancient Traits and two attacks.  BW: Plasma Freeze 41/116 has a heftier Retreat Cost of [CCC], and her first attack is Poison Sting that once again costs [PC] and does 20 damage with Poison, but this time the Poison at least is guaranteed.  Her second attack is Double Kick for [PCC], good for two coin flips that do 40 per “heads”.  Primal Clash 67/160 has a Retreat Cost of [CC] but also upgrades an attack from its lower Stage set-mate as it can use Scratch for [C] as well but this time does 20, though its second vanilla attack this time is Strength with a [PPC] cost and doing 60 damage.  Again, its a toss-up as the right Stadium takes either from slightly below tolerable to slightly above.  Pick whichever one suits the rest of your build and don’t be surprised if neither is favored enough to matter. 

There are also two other Nidoqueen currently legal: BW: Plasma Freeze 42/116 and XY: Primal Clash 68/160.  If you’d like, you can check out a nearly two-year-old review for the first of this pair here but I’ll be doing my usual and going over them both in this CotD for comparison’s sake.  For example, they have a lot in common with today’s card so I’ll just highlight the differences.  BW: Plasma Freeze 42/116 has 10 less HP and [C] more Retreat Cost (so 130 with [CCC]) and no Ancient Trait (of course, since that was a new mechanic in XY: Primal Clash).  Her attacks are Poison Horn for [PC] which inflicts 50 damage plus Poison and Double Stomp for [PCC] which does 60 damage with two coin flips good for another 30 per “heads”.  This was why I tried to coin the term “French Vanilla” for describing TCG cards; this isn’t just straight up numbers but its not a lot more than that and as those numbers aren’t record breaking, this card is best forgotten; even Virbank City Gym or Dimension Valley can’t get the attacks up to the competitive level.  XY: Primal Clash 68/160 is sort of the in between version of the other two Nidoqueen; she does have the 140 HP but with the Retreat Cost of [CCC] and no Ancient Trait.  Her attacks have the same costs as those of Plasma Freeze 42/116 but are a bit better: Double Kick for [PC] that is good for 40 per “heads” and Poison Fang for 60 and double Poison (two Poison counters between turns instead of one).  I apologize as it is probably getting annoying, but this card makes you wish you could stack Dimension Valley with Virbank City Gym; the attack costs are too high (though again the worst we’ve looked at today) but pumping up the Poison damage counter placement would be really helpful.  In the end though it doesn’t matter; stick to today’s version. 

So… we can’t discuss Nidoqueen without covering Nidoking (and company).  Nidoran (BW: Plasma Freeze 43/116), which is a 60 HP Basic with Psychic Weakness, no Resistance, a Retreat Cost of [C], no Ability, no Ancient Trait (it has become part of the litany) and just one attack:  for [P] it can hit back for 30 with the appropriately named Hit Back, but only if there is at least one damage counter on the card.  30 for [P] still isn’t competitive on such a small Basic but it could be handy… except you either have to hope your opponent somehow damages it without KOing it or you have to get the damage on there yourself and then it should be OHKOed after attacking, defeating the purpose of trying to Evolve it.  Nidorino (BW: Plasma Freeze 44/116) is a little better, but Nidoran set the bar low; a Psychic-Type Stage 1 with 90 HP, Psychic Weakness, no Resistance and a Retreat Cost of [CCC] plus two attacks (no Ability or Ancient Trait) it can use Double Kick for [PC] to do 30 damage per “heads” or Horn Attack for [CCC] to do a flat 50 damage.  At least it could tap into Dimension Valley. 

Then again that might be silly because Nidoking (BW: Plasma Freeze 58/116) is a Fighting-Type!  A Stage 2 with 140 HP, Water Weakness, Lightning Resistance (yay!), a Retreat Cost of [CCC], no Abilities, no Ancient Traits and two attacks.  For [CC] Love Strike does 20 plus another 40 per Nidoqueen you have in play.  For [FCCC] its Horn Drill does a straight (or is it spiraling?) 90.  The whole line is disappointing, flirting with potential (and Nidoqueen) but never delivering.  Even with Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick to avoid having to actually run two Stage 2 lines in the same deck, Mega Evolutions are taking HP scores to the next level and you’d need four Nidoqueen to take out 180 HP Pokémon-EX that aren’t Fighting Weak.  You could add other buffs if there are room… but even if you do odds are you won’t have a full four Nidoqueen in play anyway, so you’re still striking out on the biggest attacks.  What about Strong Energy?  Love Strike can be fueled by a single Double Colorless Energy; using Strong Energy means an extra turn building that you probably can’t afford and again the Strong Energy won’t get a chance to up the max damage because you’ll struggle to get and keep more than one or two Nidoqueen into play.  For the curious, you can see a full but two-year-old review of Nidoking here. 

So… how should you run Nidoqueen?  I’ve bumped into it a few times, and most seem to focus on Dimension Valley and Dynamite Punch; like I said with a Muscle Band or Silver Bangle it will take out most threats with an effective OHKO for [PP].  The goal is to keep your opponent from building anything that can OHKO Nidoqueen or if they do, hide behind something else and hope your opponent can force whatever you’re building into Nidoqueen up front prematurely.  She’s quite a brutal foe when your deck suffers from Psychic Weakness, but mostly falls into the “not quite competitive” range of decks… which doesn’t mean they can’t beat even a well built deck if they get lucky, you get unlucky, or they simply play a better game than you.  In Expanded, things don’t get any better but I’m not sure if they get any worse; the handful of cards that might help the deck are balanced out by the additional threats (mostly general), but that’s mostly speculation on my part.  I won’t be scoring it, but it is a bit nicer for this card in the PTCGO Unlimited Format.  Unlike the true Unlimited Format, the PTCGO’s only goes back to the HS-era sets, which means access to Defender (capable of soaking self-damage and damage from the opponent’s Pokémon) without all the insanity that you’d encounter in the full Unlimited format.  Limited play enjoys Nidoqueen, though you have the hurdle of pulling a decent Evolution line and enough compatible cards as she does need just enough Psychic Energy that you can’t easily splash her into a deck where she’s the only one that can use it.  If you can get her up and running that Ω Barrage is likely to end the game quickly! 


Standard: 2/5 

Expanded: 2/5 

Limited: 4/5 

Summary: Nidoqueen is mostly kept down by the abundance of decks that can effectively do what she does (score OHKOs) without being a Stage 2.  Even for Ω Barrage attackers, there is Medicham (XY: Primal Clash 81/160), which I had initially written off but that seems to have a Tier 3 level competitive deck (fear the damage stacking bonuses of the Fighting-Type… I guess).  If you’re a fan or want to try something a little different, go ahead and build a deck.  If you’re trying to find the next big thing, you’re probably safe looking elsewhere… unless we suddenly get a new piece of the puzzle. 

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