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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

 Eelektross

- Primal Clash

Date Reviewed:
April 6, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.38
Expanded: 3.00
Limited: 3.50

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

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

And now we return you to your regularly-scheduled card reviews! Today we take a look at what I think of as "lost potential with potential." Think of it this way: the card itself has traits that show it had potential to set itself up for something but lost it, but the traits are flexible enough to give it a different kind potential. It's the idea that a card was designed one way but can be used in another more effective way - like Eelektross here! 

Eelektross starts off with a nice Ability in Energy Connect, which lets you move Energy from your Benched Pokemon to your Active Pokemon. It's a nice way of retooling Energy to guys you've already played so you don't have to worry about waiting around to draw another Energy when you need it, so it's got some good potential and gives Eelektross some good potential too, since he can move Energy onto himself should he end up as the Active Pokemon. In fact, maybe he's got an attack that works with that! 

And Electricannon does!...sorta. The thing is, it's not that great in all honesty, going for 4-for-80. That's an expensive attack that doesn't do much, but it can do more! In fact, it can do 50 more damage for an alright 130! The catch? You have to discard all of Eelektross' Electric Energies. Which, given the cost of the attack, is going to be at least 2. 

Perhaps in Expanded where you have access to Eelektrik and his Ability to attach Electric Energies from the discard pile, this would be alright, but honestly Eelektross needs to be shelved to support. He's better off supporting something like Black Kyurem-EX than being an attacker himself. Which is where the "lost potential with potential" idea comes in. Now I may not be clever enough to think of what deck could use a Stage 2 transferring Pokemon, but I imagine there are a few people who will try. 

...then again, Stage 2. 

Rating 

Standard: 2/5 (not really good here, honestly, but I imagine he's got something that can be done) 

Expanded: 2.5/5 (better here if only for Eelektrik) 

Limited: 3/5 (he's okay here, you can charge him up quick with the other Pokemon and probably get away with Electricannon more often) 

Arora Notealus: Is it weird that Eelektross lives in the ocean yet isn't a Water-type and also has Levitate? Like that'd be like having the electric eel be able to just fly out of the water and come after you! Can you imagine if they let that happen to sharks or something?...wait, Sharpedo's a thing. OH NO 

Next Time: Would you like to discuss your findings, kind sir?


Otaku

Greetings readers; I hope you had a pleasant Easter!  The rest of this month will be the CotD crew combing through the remains of XY: Primal Clash, looking for any potential hidden gems.  Originally I’d planned on doing more Type themed weeks but not only was that going to push back reviews for the next set but I hadn’t set aside time for XY: Double Crisis or planned on taking a week off so the good news for you is that the really long shots have been cut and we won’t be doing Water Week Part II (though you might see another Water-Type or two).

We begin this week though with Eelektross (XY: Primal Clash 65/160), a Lightning-Type.  Hitting the likes of Yveltal-EX,Yveltal (XY 78/146, XY Black Star Promo XY06) and a few others in competitive play for double damage is nice and Lightning-Types can access Rough Seas (alongside Water-Types) for healing but I’m not aware of any other worthwhile direct Type support.  Indirect Type support comes in the form of… a lower Stage!?  What madness is this!?  We’ll touch upon it in detail later, but Eelektrik (BW: Noble Victories 40/101) should be a pretty familiar sight to players active a few years ago.  Not a lot beyond that though and Lightning-Type Resistance is actually seen on some older Fighting-Types, including the well known and oft played Landorus-EX.  Still pro within a con, Lighting-Type Resistance doesn’t seem to show up in the XY-era sets.  All in all a useful but not great Type… if you’re an attacker or perhaps able to make use of widespread but low healing effects. 

Being a Stage 2 is a huge drawback though we still see some of them managing to overcome.  It isn’t quite as nice for Eelektross as it is for something that has a super-shortcut like Archie’s Ace in the Hole or Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick in reserve, but having a worthwhile Stage 1 form is a huge boon here as it takes some of the burden of justifying a Stage 2 and shares it with the (easier to get into play) Stage 1 form.  If the Basic was handier it would be better still.  The 140 HP is enough to usually survive a hit but not by much and probably not at all when taking a blow from a Fighting-Type due to the Weakness.  Fighting-Types are pretty great at inexpensive, cost effective and reliable damage so its a pretty dangerous Weakness to have right now.  Eelektross sports Metal Resistance; it isn’t going to save it a lot but it certainly beats nothing and and can come in handy on occasion.  As can the Retreat Cost of [CCC] in Expanded if you can come up with a deck where Heavy Ball gets more than just this Pokémon; most of the time though it will be a drawback because it can really set you back.  Most decks will have reason to run Retreat Cost lowering effects or something to bypass manually retreating entirely and even if not as well get to, Eelektrik helps out again here (expounded upon later if you needed it). 

Eelektross has the Ability “Energy Connect”, which allows you (as many times as you like on your turn, before your attack) to move an Energy from one of your Benched Pokémon to your Active.  On its own its slightly useful but there are both smaller combos and larger combos that can make it at least potentially pay off.  The attack is Electricannon, which requires a chunky [LLCC] to use and hits for just 80 points of damage.  That isn’t very good, though it does have an effect allowing you to discard all [L] Energy attached to for +50 damage.  Four for 130 is a solid base before considering the discard cost or that you’re dealing with a space intensive Stage 2 and not a big, Basic that leaves you enough slots free to tack on Muscle Band or Silver Bangle plus Hypnotoxic Laser with Virbank City Gym and turn that into an effective 180 to 190 damage.  Yet again though, this will be mitigated somewhat by Eelektrik (in Expanded play, anyway).  Also just making sure that you have two non-[L] Energy meeting the [CC] portion of the attack cost helps as well.  Still, it is clear that this card’s only real hope is the Ability. 

Alright, time for the lower Stages and its almost exciting since we know it helps (even if it won’t have a lot of surprises).  First we cover Tynamo; your options are BW: Noble Victories 38/101, BW: Noble Victories 39/101, BW: Dark Explorers 44/108, BW: Dark Explorers 44/108, BW: Dark Explorers 45/108, BW: Plasma Blast 31/101 and XY: Primal Clash 62/106 with only the last two of the list being Standard legal.  All are Basic, Lightning-Type Pokémon with Fighting Weakness, no Abilities, no Ancient Traits, and one attack.  BW: Noble Victories 39/101 and BW: Plasma Blast 31/101 have just 30 HP, the lowest printed on actual Pokémon and not cards that function as Pokémon.  Such low HP means they have to be amazing to bother with… except the rest only have 40 so even though its the difference of a OHKO versus a 2HKO from Bench hits, with the Bench protection available versus the split where most decks either don’t hit the Bench at all or can almost as easily take out 40 as 30, this stops being clear cut again.  All of them have a Retreat Cost and no Resistance except for two: BW: Noble Victories 39/101 has no Resistance but also no Retreat Cost while BW: Plasma Blast 31/101 has the typical [C] Retreat Cost but also what has again become the typical Metal Resistance on Lightning Types as of the XY-era sets.  None of the cards have good attacks but this isn’t a simple “so choose the one you like” situation. 

Moving onto their attacks, BW: Noble Victories 38/101 has Thunder Wave for [L], doing 10 damage with a coin flip to inflict Paralysis and actually ended up being somewhat important for a short time in the format when both the tiny bit of damage and Paralysis mattered but for now its back down to the usual “at least it does damage” and “Paralyzing can buy you time.”  BW: Noble Victories 39/101 has a vanilla 10 for [C] via Tackle, but we are at that extreme margin where you still look at the free Retreat Cost and consider that you might on that incredibly rare occasion (if running this off-Type) desperately need to attack for just 10 damage at a cost of [C].  BW: Dark Explorers 44/108 has Charge Beam which can also do 10 damage for [C] and on a “heads” attaches an Energy card from your discard pile to itself… normally a good thing but it is a mandatory flip so if you have another effect that attaches Energy from the discard pile to something else (Eelektrik), that can backfire.  BW: Dark Explorers 45/108 has Spark for [L], which does 10 damage to the opponent’s Active and one of the opponent’s Benched Pokémon of your choice and while (again) rare, sometimes that is handy and we just aren’t seeing that much potential all around. 

Moving onto our Standard legal options (yes, the Tynamo are getting a third paragraph) we get to BW: Plasma Blast 31/101 which has Razor Fin for [L], hitting for 20 and no effects.  Normally with the 30 HP that would make it easy to dismiss but I really, really, really like being able to hit Yveltal and Yveltal-EX a bit harder; I mean with a Silver Bangle you can get a quick 100 damage in (with Muscle Band good for 80).  If we had one obvious stand out that would not be something on which to hang your hat but we don’t; we have a sea of “meh” offerings to try and find reasons to like or dismiss.  XY: Primal Clash 62/106 has Water Splash for [C], doing 10 (+10 if you get lucky on the required coin flip) which again is “okay” and it also was the one with Metal Resistance which is also “okay” but not great (even with Resistance 40 HP doesn’t last long, if at all).  So after all of that, I have to recommend you actually check and see; a format still seeing heavy Landorus-EX play versus one seeing mostly Yveltal-EX and/or Seismitoad-EX favor different Tynamo (though ever so slightly).  If you really don’t want to and just want a simple answer, I’d go with BW: Noble Victories 38/101 for Expanded play and XY: Primal Clash 62/106 because when in doubt for an Evolving Basic, go with HP, Resistance and/or protective effects (Paralysis in this case). 

So for Eelektrik, use BW: Noble Victories 40/101… but I would be remiss (especially after covering Tynamo in so much detail) if I didn’t cover the others.  So your choices are BW: Noble Victories 40/101, BW: Dark Explorers 46/108, BW: Plasma Blast 32/101, XY: Primal Clash 63/106 and XY: Primal Clash 64/106.  All are Stage 1 Lightning-Type Pokémon with Fighting Weakness, while all but XY: Primal Clash 63/106 and XY: Primal Clash 64/106 lack Resistance (they are again Resistant to Metal) and Plasma Blast 32/101 gets sports just 80 HP with a Retreat Cost of [C] while the rest have 90 HP and a [CC] Retreat Cost; neither of these differences are majorly significant.  BW: Noble Victories 40/101 is the obvious winner because history established its Dynamotor Ability, which allows you (once per turn per Dynamotor) to attach one [L] Energy card from your discard pile to one of your Benched Pokémon.  This creates an easy to use and obvious combo with today’s Eelektross, even though they aren’t even from the same block of sets.  Its Electric Ball Attack is pricey at [LLC], especially as it only hits for 50, but I’ve seen it come in handy in the past even if only - you guessed it - on rare occasions.  Dynamotor can help reclaim Energy you had to “waste” on either attacking or retreating it. 

BW: Dark Explorers 46/108 has two attacks instead of an Ability and attack.  The designers might have actually been trying with this one; it can use Headbutt for 20 damage at a cost of [C] which is decent and its Shock Bolt attack hits for 80 at a cost of [LLC], enough to set-up for a 2HKO by something else or itself if you can spare a buff (most of which weren’t available when the card first released).  It has the nasty drawback of discarding all [L] Energy attached, like today’s Eelektross, mitigated if you ran it alongside BW: Noble Victories 40/101.  Our first Standard legal option is  Plasma Blast 32/101 tries to keep itself alive a little longer despite its HP deficit; its Retreat Cost is just [C] so its easier to get back to the Bench and while it only has two attacks and both are repeats.  The first is Thunder Wave and this time it does 20 plus the flip for Paralysis, still at a cost of [L].  Its Headbutt requires [CC] and hits for 30, which is pretty underwhelming though lamentably not the worst we’ve seen on Evolving Stage 1 Pokémon. 

The first of the two newest options is XY: Primal Clash 63/106 and for [CC] it can Gnaw for 20, while for [LLC] it can Buzz Flip for four coin flips (each good for 30 per “heads”).  These are disappointing but if we didn’t have an obvious Ability Eelektrik to use instead, even a low damaging (but all Colorless) attack and a flippy attack might end up being the best.  Of the five possible outcomes, obviously zero damage and 30 damage are awful, but 60 is actually better than two of the Eelektrik can do while 90 and 120 are better than any other version.  Glad we aren’t as desperate as we were with Tynamo.  XY: Primal Clash 64/106 enjoys an Ancient Trait but its α Recovery - if you use an effect to heal Eelektrik, its heals twice as much - this is far less useful than the other Ancient Traits we have seen and is rarely going to matter on something with just 90 HP.  It does finally break the pattern with its Thrash attack requiring [LCC], so this version could use Double Colorless Energy for its three Energy attack.  Thrash is again decent by comparison since it has a slightly more reasonable cost to do base 50 damage, but the coin flip for the attack causes a split of “tails” resulting in 20 damage to itself while “heads” means +20 damage (so 70 for 3).  Again, just use BW: Noble Victories 40/101. 

No, we’re not done yet; there are other Eelektross to cover as well!  The other options are BW: Noble Victories 41/101, BW: Dark Explorers 47/108 and BW: Plasma Blast 33/101.  All three have the same Stage, Type, HP, Weakness and Retreat Cost of today’s Eelektross, though none have Abilities or Ancient Traits but instead have two attacks.  BW: Noble Victories 41/101 can use Acid for [CC], good for 30 damage an effect that prevents the Defending Pokémon from retreating during your opponent’s next turn.  For [LLC] it can use Wild Charge for 90 damage to the opponent’s Active and 10 to itself; neither attack is worth it for a Stage 2.  BW: Dark Explorers 47/108 can use Suction Heal to do 40 damage while healing as much damage from itself as it did to the Defending Pokémon… unfortunately the attack requires [LCC] and even when it released it wasn’t guaranteed to survive a hit, with odds of survival lower than back then.  Slurp Shakedown is horribly overpriced and/or underpowered as it requires [LLCC] to switch the opponent’s Active with the opponent’s Benched Pokémon of your choice and doing 60 damage to the new Active. 

BW: Plasma Blast 33/101 spices things up a bit by being a Team Plasma Pokémon.  Honestly it isn’t too bad and has seen some play in decks already running the Dynamotor Eelektrik.  Crash and Burn requires [LC] to use and does 30 damage times the amount of Energy you discard from your Pokémon in play (you can discard up to all of your Energy in play).  With Eelektrik and Dynamotor backing it, it could sometimes get a nice big hit and be a decent finisher.  For [LCCC] it can use Thunder Tempest for four coin flips, good for 50 damage per “heads”.  Obviously no heads is awful and just one is almost as much of a waste, but two is just a little disappointing while three is good and four is great.  I know I wouldn’t want to rely on such a flippy attack and even if I wanted to I can get the same cost and damage from Zapdos (BW: Next Destinies 41/99; BW: Legendary Treasures 46/113) and its Thundering Hurricane attack.  So just as the Dynamotor Eelektrik stands out above the rest, so to does Energy Connect Eelektross. 

With all that said, there isn’t actually much else to say.  In Expanded this is your new friend in Dynamotor decks.  Yes, this costs you one at least potential Eelektrik but it saves you the hassles of getting your current, expended Active out of the way of the one you just prepped as well as needing to predict what to prep for the next turn.  Tricks like using Max Potion aren’t as effective as they are in say Fairy Transfer decks, but they become a lot easier as you can either Bench something, move any remaining Energy off of it and then heal or simply heal it while it remains Active, Dynamotor to your Benched Pokémon and then Energy Connect the Energy back to your Active.  You might even find some use with Dark Patch, though I suspect it will still just be easier and/or more effective to build Darkness decks to that you are attaching to something you’ll easily promote or use an Energy Switch.  There may even be some combos with Ho-Oh-EX that are also worth considering. 

So what about in Standard?  Well there are some cards like Team Magma’s Camerupt that can attach to just itself from the discard… but now you’re running a Stage 2 line and a separate Stage 1; you could have up to four Team Magma’s Camerupt plus one Eelektross on the Bench, keeping an Energy hungry Active going but making for a fragile and card heavy set-up.  If we had a Basic Pokémon that attached to itself from the discard via an Ability like Ho-Oh-EX or Slugma (HS: Undaunted 67/90) we could have a pretty potent deck.  For Limited, this is a great card to pull; its attack is really good here as is the Ability, as it allows you to basically change your mind about what you were building on the Bench, which is important for when a lucky draw does or doesn’t show up as hoped or when your opponent drops something you could exploit… but only if you had built up Pokémon A instead of Pokémon B.  The extra Eelektrik in the set is somewhat helpful as well, even if its rarity means it won’t increase odds of a fuller Evolution line by that much.  Just mind the Fighting Weakness and remember that if you intend on attacking with Eelektross you’ll need a good supply of Lightning Energy. 

Ratings 

Standard: 2.75/5 

Expanded: 3.5/5 

Limited: 4/5 

Summary: If you can get it going and partner it up with the right cards, Eelektross is amazing… but as the scores should indicate that’s a big “if”.  A card worth having to experiment with and enjoy in more casual play and not to completely dismiss for competitive play, but one that may ultimately not amount to much (even in Expanded) and needs thorough vetting before a player takes it to a major tournament.


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