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Yu Yu Hakusho
Harry Potter
Vs. System

Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day



- Primal Clash

Date Reviewed:
April 22, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2
Expanded: 2
Limited: 3.5

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

Back to the main COTD Page


Yet another user of the Ancient Trait Omega Barrage, Excadrill does himself a tremendous favor: he gives us attacks that are not only helpful but actually work together! After Nidoqueen's power-heavy strikes, Excadrill is probably the next best user of Omega Barrage - and he demonstrates how well the Trait can be used! 

Now keep in mind that Excadrill can attack TWICE each turn while we go over these attacks. I know that goes without saying, but it's that detail that makes him good! First off, Dredge, simple 1-Energy attack, grabs 2 Energies out from your deck and attaches them to Excadrill. Sure, no damage is done, but it's a set-up - and it works out in such a way that you can use Excadrill's SECOND attack IMMEDIATELY after! 

And what does Mach Claw do? Deal 50 damage...but hey! At least it's not affected by Resistance! 

...what's resistant to Metal in the TCG? 

You can see how Excadrill's meant to work: set-up quick with Dredge, and then keep whacking for 100 damage with Mach Claw every turn onward. Pump in some Muscle Band and HTLBank, and you're getting 140 + 30 damage = 170 damage, the lower end of most Pokemon-EX. It's...well, okay. I mean, Medicham from last week does have the benefit of having a wild variety of boosts being a Fighting-type, and I can understand why they wouldn't want that on Excadrill (imagine if he could have STRONG Energy and Fighting Stadium working for him - keeping in mind he'd be able to Dredge 2 Strong Energy since it doesn't specify Basic Energy), but still... 

As a Fighting-type, Excadrill would've been ridiculously powerful for a Stage 1 - which I would actually be okay with! He's only got 110 HP, so unless you were unlucky and didn't quite KO him after his set-up, he'd be an easy KO of sorts. Not to mention it'd give people a reason to PLAY AN EVOLUTION aside from some super-powerful Ability like with Pyroar (FLF) and Garbodor (LTR). As a Steel-type though...well, he's still got support, just not with upping that damage output. And that just shafts him a little bit. 

...still like him better than that Medicham. 


Standard: 2/5 (a quick set-up to an okay attack...maybe that Energy would help 

Expanded: 2/5 (about the same here) 

Limited: 3.5/5 (once more the lower damage output here lets Excadrill live and also get around to dealing damage!) 


(coming to a theater this summer but not really) 

Next Time: Wait, you dig with your what?!


Excadrill (XY: Primal Clash 97/160) is a Metal-Type; hitting Metal Weakness is fairly good but not great (a few Water-Types but mostly Fairy-Types), Metal Resistance has become a common thing for Lightning-Types again, and the Type has solid (but not spectacular) support.  Yes, this is already turning into one of those reviews where I struggle to properly bound my description of things: Shield Energy finally got a review here… which I can only link to because this is a very, very late CotD.  Probably should have reviewed it and then this card, instead of reviewing Shield Energy a week later.  The short version is that it allows a Metal-Type to soak 10 points of damage which is beneficial but not enough to make it a must play in every Metal-Type deck.  Likewise Steel Shelter is a solid Stadium but not as vital to Metal-Type decks as Fairy Garden is to Fairy-Type decks (and once Hypnotoxic Laser rotates, Steel Shelter will likely be borderline useful).  So that is why I am so double-minded about the Metal-Type; it has quite a bit going for and against it. 

Being a Stage 1 is not as easy as being a Basic but not as problematic as being a Stage 2; let us call it an unhappy medium as the format is very much tilted in favor of Basics, even though Evolutions do play an important role in the competitive scene.  110 HP is again best described as “solid”; while testing this card I often wished it had 120 or 130 HP (only a few Stage 1 cards exceed 130) because that would have been the difference between surviving a hit and being KOed, even while making use of other protective measures, but I also was often hanging in there by 10 or 20 HP as well.  The Fire Weakness isn’t good (no Weakness is) but at the moment it seems to be one of the less dangerous ones to sport; not a lot of high profile Fire-Type decks so the big concern is counters being run for other Fire-Weak decks (like VirGen).  The Psychic Resistance doesn’t provide a huge bonus but is still appreciated and it did come in handy some of the time, if only by discouraging Mewtwo-EX as a fallback attacker.  The Retreat Cost of [CCC] was an issue, but the format is such that even if it hadn’t been there, I’d have needed to build my deck so that Excadrill could retreat for less, get out of the Active slot without manually retreating or stayed up front to “tank”.  As such it was only a small issue (plus it meant Heavy Ball was an option in Expanded). 

Excadrill bears an Ancient Trait - Ω Barrage - allowing it to attack twice in a single turn (assuming it could attack to begin with).  We’ve seen this on a few cards and at first glance I thought Excadrill might be the best of them.  The attacks it has to work with are Dredge for [C] which allows you to search your deck for up to two Energy cards and attach them to itself and then Mach Claw for [MCC] which hits for 50 and ignores Resistance.  Dredge is another borderline example; attaching Energy via an attack has been mixed the last few formats, working for Basics that often have something else going for them (like Virizion-EX) but not a lot else.  Dredge gets not only two Energy from the deck but can target Special Energy, which is most impressive and of course with Ω Barrage you can attack twice so you could attach an Energy to an Excadrill that had none before and then use Dredge to prep for Mach Claw in the same turn.  Mach Claw - like the attacks on all Ω Barrage users, has been pre-nerfed to prevent it from being obviously broken.  Unlike say Medicham (XY: Primal Clash 81/160), which we looked at here, there aren’t a lot of buffs you can easily apply to Excadrill.  Assuming you could use Mach Claw twice in a turn, you either need Weakness or Muscle Band (or Silver Bangle) plus Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym to get to OHKO range against most Pokémon-EX.  It is handy that it ignores Resistance, though. 

You’ve got to use a Drilbur so let’s go over our options, which is easy for Standard play as there is only one version availble: XY: Primal Clash 89/160.  It is a Basic Fighting-Type with 60 HP, Grass Weakness, no Resistance, a Retreat Cost of [CC], no Ability, no Ancient Trait and a single attack.  Said attack is Fury Swipes which requires [C] and gives you three coin flips each good for 10 points of damage per “heads”.  In Expanded you have three other options, though it will seem like more due to reprints.  BW: Emerging Powers 54/98, Black & White Trainer Kit: Excadrill Half Deck 13/30 as well as 25/30 and McDonald’s Collection 2012 8/12 are all the same card; there is also BW: Emerging Powers 55/98 and BW: Dark Explorers 55/108.  All three are Basic Fighting-Types with Water Weakness,Lightning Resistance, no Abilities and no Ancient Traits.  BW: Emerging Powers 54/98 (and its reprints) have 70 HP, a Retreat Cost of [CC] and two attacks: Hone Claws for [C] which raises the damage of your next attack by 30 and Scratch for [F] which hits for 10.  BW: Emerging Powers 55/98 has just 60 HP and a Retreat Cost [C] with a single attack - Mud Slap - that requires [FFC] and hits for 40 damage.  BW: Dark Explorers 55/108 has 70 HP and a Retreat Cost of [CC] with only one attack: it is Scratch once again, but this time it costs [FF] and hits for 30.  All the attacks are poor so just pick whichever one has better odds of surviving; probably a 70 HP version unless Weakness is relevant. 

Excadrill also has some other versions to consider as either complementary or competition.  For Standard play all you need to worry about is the other Excadrill from this set, XY: Primal Clash 96/160.  It has a lot in common with today’s version so I’ll just highlight the differences: 10 less HP, [C] less in the Retreat Cost, no Ancient Trait and two different attacks.  The first attack is Drill Run for [C] does 20 and (on a successful coin toss) discards an Energy from the opponent’s Active.  For [MCC] it can use Straight Claw for 60 damage with an optional Energy discard from itself to add 30 damage (so 90 total).  This is clearly the lesser version (we’d have reviewed it otherwise) but it's pretty disappointing even without comparing it to others as the second attack especially doesn’t give you enough damage for what you’re paying.  In Expanded there are four more Excadrill to consider though again it looks like more because of multiple printings: BW: Emerging Power 56/98, Black & White Trainer Kit: Excadrill Half Deck 17/30 and 30/30 are all the same card while there is also BW: Emerging Powers 57/98, BW: Dark Explorers 56/108 and BW: Dark Explorers 57/108. 

All four Expanded-only Excadrill are Stage 1 Fighting-Types with Water Weakness, Lightning Resistance, no Abilities, no Ancient Traits and two attacks.   BW: Emerging Power 56/98 (and its other releases) have 110 HP and a Retreat Cost of [CC] while being able to use Metal Claw for [C] to hit for 30 damage and Drill Run for [FFF] to hit for 80 while discarding an Energy from the opponent’s Active.  You can read our review for it when it was new here.  Interestingly the other three Excadrill left to cover have 120 HP.  BW: Emerging Powers 57/98 also sports a Retreat Cost of [CC], but its first attack is Dig for [FC] which hits for 30 and on a successful coin flip prevents all effects of attacks, including damage, done to Excadrill during your opponent’s next turn.  Its second attack is Earthquake for [FCC] which does 70 damage to the opponent’s Active and 10 to each of your own Benched Pokémon.  It was reviewed here, the day after its set-mate.  BW: Dark Explorers 56/108 is a bit chunkier with a Retreat Cost of [CCC] though that makes Heavy Ball an option.  Its first attack is Tunnel Strike for [F] which does 30 to the opponent’s Benched Pokémon of your choice.  For [FF] it can use Dig Uppercut which hits for 50 while allowing you to add a card from your discard pile to your hand.  You can read our dated review of it here.  BW: Dark Explorers 57/108 jumps up to a Retreat Cost of [CCCC]; for [FCC] it can use Reinforced Claw to hit for 50 damage, +30 if you have any Pokémon Tool attached.  Mach Claw requires [FCCC] to hit for 70 and ignores Resistance.  Surprisingly it too received a review.  None of these are likely to combo with today’s version, but there might be some slight competition from BW: Dark Explorers 56/108, though it’s in name only as it would involve a Fighting-Type deck using an entirely different strategy. 

Excadrill (XY: Primal Clash 97/160)?  Thanks to this review going up late (oops) I had some time to try it out and its main use was… meeting the quota for a Metal Evolution Daily Challenge on the PTCGO.  I’m not sure if you can make good use of this card but the approach I tried was to combine it with Shield Energy (as you can use Dredge to attach them from the deck) and some healing and depending on the situation, a Muscle Band or Silver Bangle to hit harder or a Hard Charm to try and soak even more damage.  Didn’t work to well.  I don’t think there are enough good damage boosting options to bother trying the usual Ω Barrage build, hence why I didn’t; I’d have needed Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym to take out targets with 190 or less HP.  Sounds plausible but as you’re not overly likely to survive attacking, you are still prone to losing because you can’t stream Excadrill quickly enough.  I didn’t have the cards to try it with Klinklang (BW: Plasma Storm 90/135) and/or Klinklang (Black & White 76/114) but if there is a deck that could make this card work, I think it is one with at least one of and possible both of these two.  Using Dredge twice you should be able to get all four Shield Energy (sans those that are Prized) into play before your second turn ends.  Especially if you’ve got Klinklang [Plasma] protecting you from Pokémon-EX, you stand decent odds of surviving everything else.  Then you can… switch to a different attacker, moving the Shield Energy to it. 

In Limited play, go ahead and run Excadrill with just about anything else; as long as you can fit at least a few basic Metal Energy into the deck, Dredge will help snag them and the rest of the card is amazing here.  The other Excadrill in this set isn’t as bad here and that helps this version as - while still low- you might manage to pull more than a 1-1 line. 


Standard: 1.75/5 

Expanded: 2/5 

Limited: 3.75/5 

Summary: Excadrill might be the least of the Ω Barrage attackers; it may hit a bit harder than some and can accelerate some Energy by “burning” its first attack but it doesn’t have the same raw damage output and neither is it easy to bolster the damage to the needed levels.  Just maybe it has a use with Klinklang (BW: Plasma Storm 90/135) and/or Klinklang (Black & White 76/114), but I didn’t get the chance to test and it still seems somewhat dubious.

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