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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Swampert EX

- XY55 Promo

Date Reviewed:
August 19, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.20
Expanded: 1.50
Limited: Promo

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

Back to the main COTD Page


And now for the third and final Hoenn Power Tin EX, Swampert-EX! Of note with this one, you'll see he's got 180 HP compared to the other two's 170 HP and he's even got a retreat cost of 3 (compared to Sceptile-EX's 1 and Blaziken-EX's 2). What else does Swampert-EX have that they don't?! 

Well, more expensive attacks, for starters. Mud Flood already costs 3 Energy, and it only does 40 damage with the potential to do more! Based on how well your topdecking is. In theory, if you run a lot of Water Energies, Swampert-EX could reveal 4 Water Energy cards from the top of your deck and deal a whopping 200 DAMAGE!! And you get to KEEP the Water Energy in your deck! Unfortunately, it's bad to be running so much Energy in your deck, and if you're running around, say 12 Energy, you've already got 1/4th of your Energy attached to Swampert-EX to even use the attack. That's even riskier than either Sceptile-EX or Blaziken-EX's attacks!! 

Hydro Tackle is okay though, at least for 4 Energy, you're guaranteed to deal 120 damage. Unfortunately, you end up taking 20 damage yourself, which means Swampert-EX is a tremendous glass cannon. In theory though, you could try a risky run of more Energies in your deck, filling up the spaces that other Pokemon aside from Swampert-EX would take up with more Energy, and then streaming that with all your power, but really you're better off using Primal Kyogre-EX to distribute the Energy towards Swampert-EX to fuel him up for the attack, and by that point you're running Primal Kyogre-EX!! 

It's a shame too. I actually LIKE Swampert...although I do like the other two as well. 


Standard: 1.5/5 (too expensive, too risky, and too much to really be useful)

Expanded: 1.5/5 (not even Blastoise would be good to run alongside him, it would make the deck too clunky) 


Arora Notealus: One day, Swampert, one day you're gonna have a great Pokemon-EX card. And you'll get a Mega Evo card too! And a Spirit Link! Ohhhh, you could be ranked as high as your Stage 2 brother in Primal Origins who barely made the cut on our Top 10 List! Ohhhh that'll be the day...they'll see, they'll ALL see!! 

Next Time: And yet you thought we were done looking at him...

Emma Starr

The next EX starter we have this week is Swampert EX! With 180 HP, he has a tiny bit more than some EXs, and an expected Grass Weakness (but hey, at least he’s only 2x weak to Grass here, while in the games, he’s 4x weak to it!). He also has a large Retreat Cost of three, so be sure to have a better means of switching him out, such as Float Stone, Switch, or even Escape Rope.

Mud Flood, or in Japanese, Mud Gulp (…ew) costs one Water and two Colorless, and lets you reveal the top four cards of your deck, and does 40 damage plus 40 more for each Water Energy you find in them, and you shuffle the cards back in your deck afterwards. Obviously, this attack can be great, or awful, depending on how many energies you run. If you’re running some sort of Mewtwo EX variant deck, you might have enough Energies around to make this attack worthwhile, since if even two cards are Water Energy, you’re already matching the power of his second attack. If you find more than two, it’ll do even more! If you’re not running Mewtwo EX, or a Water-Dark deck with Yveltal EX, you probably won’t find this as effective though, since many decks rely on less Energy lately, so I’d only recommend using this attack if you run an Energy-heavy deck, or of course, if you still need to get one more Energy on him for his second attack. Also, there’s the issue of if you find said energies to power up this attack, you have to shuffle them back into your deck, which means you may not be able to draw them from your deck as quickly. Again, this isn’t as bad of a problem if you’re already running an energy-heavy deck, but if not, you may not see any Energies for some turns.

Hydro Tackle does 120 for two Water Energies, and two Colorless, and does 20 damage to Swampert EX. Well, I guess it’s a good thing he has slightly higher HP than some EXs? But really, I wouldn’t want to rely on this too much, as you could easily get KOed by an EX with a Muscle Band if you’re not careful or use this too much. I would almost prefer to use the first attack in a Mewtwo EX deck more. Almost. That 120 damage just isn’t anything special for an EX though. Especially when it causes yourself damage.  

Modified: 2.85/5 (Has some synergy with Mewtwo/Yveltal EX decks, but Mewtwo EX will soon be rotated, so…have fun while you still can?)

Limited: lolnope (Yes, I just realized I gave Blaziken EX a rating for Limited yesterday. Oh well. @_@)


Well, a quick Google search for the meaning behind the meme killed my opening joke (something that started out innocently enough but then… *shudder*).  So I guess it is good that while we are looking at Swampert-EX (XY: Black Star Promo 55) we aren’t going to be talking about Mudkip at all (apart from making this point) because it is a Basic Pokémon and not a Stage 2 as would be the usual treatment.  That is the one guaranteed benefit of being a Pokémon-EX: unless you’re a Mega Evolution, you’re a Basic Pokémon regardless of whatever your non-Pokémon-EX counterpart has for its Stage.  The other benefits are not guaranteed, though it usually means higher HP than said counterpart and access to better attacks or Abilities (sometimes both).  What is guaranteed is that Swampert-EX (like all the others) will give up an extra Prize when KOed, has to deal with counter-cards specific to Pokémon-EX and can’t access certain support cards that specifically exclude Pokémon-EX.  As for being a Basic, I almost forgot to state what is obvious to all but the greenest of players: it is simply the best, requiring fewer cards and turns to get into play and thus also working better with just about every other mechanic. 

Swampert-EX is a Water-Type and like Blaziken-EX, it is actually a dual-Type Pokémon in the video, where it is a Water/Ground hybrid: for the TCG that would translate into it being a Water-Type, a Fighting-Type or a Water/Fighting-Type hybrid.  The dual-Type mechanic hasn’t been used for quite some time in the TCG, and even then instead of actually being used for things like this… it was mostly used for set- or block-wide gimmicks at the time (so making things dual-Type that weren’t actually supposed to be).  The Water has some neat tricks but the best either aren’t really exclusive to them because they don’t require other Water-Type Pokémon - supporting Pokémon like Blastoise (BW: Boundaries Crossed 31/149; BW: Plasma Storm 137/135; BW: Plasma Blast 16/101), Keldeo-EX and Suicune (BW: Plasma Blast 20/101) - or do specify Water-Types but another Type as well (like Rough Seas) or end up deck specific because they resource intensive (Archie’s Ace in the Hole - pulling it off quickly and reliably is no mean feat).  In terms of Weakness and Resistance, Water Resistance seems to be another thing fading into the game’s history as I don’t recall seeing it on anything in the XY-era while Water Weakness is almost universal for Fire-Types and at the moment is still on some key Fighting-Types (mostly Landorus-EX).  There are a few Water-Type counter-cards but so far they haven’t proven significant; this sentence is here only so it doesn’t look like I missed them. 

180 HP is good; very few basic Pokémon-EX have more than that and you’ll usually survive a hit.  It isn’t a guarantee though and when Swampert-EX faces its Grass-Type Weakness, its pretty much a guarantee that it will go down a turn faster.  Until September 1st, Grass Weakness is “okay”: there have been key Grass-Type Pokémon on and off for a while now, with Seismitoad-EX making it even more rewarding.  Yet we don’t see a lot of high performing Grass-Type decks and even the one that once was a serious competitor for the best deck in the format - VirGen - failed to make a single showing in the Top 8 of U.S. Nationals for any age bracket.  The lack of Resistance is typical and normally I’d gloss over it but even though I’m already running long even by my standards, we have a Type combination that really justifies Resistance.  There are a lot of reasons I can accept for why a card misses out on Resistance; some TCG Types are multiple video game Types combined into one and sometimes a card really needs no help.  Doesn’t seem to apply here as we’ve got Electric-Type Immunity plus Fire-Type and Steel-Type Resistance: any of these could translate directly into their TCG counterparts, even if it would all become simply -20 damage.  Enough on that though; the Retreat Cost of [CCC] is chunky and you’ll need to plan around it.  As we’ll cover next, the attack costs mean you’ll be trying to get at least three Energy onto Swampert-EX, but recovering from the discard won’t be easy (or at least affordable) so either pack cards to bypass manually Retreating, lower the cost or “tank” while Active. 

So what does Swampert-EX do?  The first attack is “Mud Flood” and requires [WCC] do hit for 40 damage plus the effect.  Said effect is having you reveal the top four cards of your deck and hitting for an additional 40 damage per [W] Energy found there; the revealed cards are then shuffled back into your deck.  For [WWCC] you can use “Hydro Tackle” instead, which hits for a guaranteed 120 damage to the opponent’s Active but also does 20 damage to Swampert-EX itself.  The Energy costs are a bit… awkward.  For long term game balance, I like that this card (apart from complicated combos) will need to wait until your second turn to use Mud Flood, and one of the most obvious shortcuts (Double Colorless Energy) won’t feel like a waste as it also can pay for half of Hydro Tackle.  The issue is that Mud Flood needs you to run mostly (preferably only) basic Water Energy cards as those are the only Energy that count as [W] in the deck and the metagame favors decks running low Energy counts (the latter is a problem in the first place).  The current metagame is also quite hard on Energy intensive attacks, suggesting you’ll have to include at least one form of Energy acceleration to reliably get this going but also taking away from space to run the extra Energy you’ll want in your deck to improve Mud Flood’s results. 

What about Mud Flood’s results?  The attack actually has some solid damage to it; don’t get me wrong it is horrible if you whiff on Energy revealed since it just does 40 for three then.  If you hit at least one [W] Energy then you’ve got a adequate 80 for three.  Two Energy provides a good 120 damage, enough to 2HKO typical Mega Evolutions.  Three means you would just need a Muscle Band to OHKO 180 HP targets.  A perfect four [W] reveal does 200 damage, with Muscle Band bringing all but the protected, the biggest Mega Evolutions and Wailord-EX into OHKO range.  This isn’t brilliant for three Energy but it seems at least adequate.  Seems clunky but you could try to tack on something else (like the Hypnotoxic Laser/Virbank City Gym) combo to shore up some of the weaker results, and I have already been assuming Muscle Band.  The same can be said of Hydro Tackle; with the full Muscle Band/Hypnotoxic Laser/Virbank City Gym treatment it can effectively OHKO something with upwards of 170 HP.  The 20 points of self-damage isn’t good but it is mostly only going to matter when 20 damage will shave a turn off of the KO counter (mostly just when a 2HKO becomes a OHKO).  So much “extra” clashes with the first attack though, and can yield better results elsewhere.  In fact, Hydro Tackle is pretty disappointing to me; I’d expect 120 damage even without any self damage for the Energy going into it. 

This brings me to the three main problems I think will keep this card seeing no significant, successful use in competitive play.  The first is that it is outclassed by other cards as a Basic, Water-Type attacker in a deck using a significant source of [W] Energy (it shouldn’t even be attempted as an off-Type attacker).  The second is that while there are a couple different cards with attacks dependent on the top X cards of your own deck there aren’t a lot of good ways to prep your decks for such attacks.  It is entirely possible that if there were such attacks instantly become overpowered, but then I’d rather they not tease us with what we already get.  There are some effects you can use to stack the deck (pardon the expression), but the best is Swampert (XY: Primal Clash 36/106), but that only allows you to pick the top most card, so you couldn’t set-up for massive hits even though we are including a Stage 2 in the mix and frankly it seems like a waste given how potent its “Diving Search” Ability actually is (you get to pick any card from your deck and after shuffling your remaining deck place your pick on top).  Third, while I’m not sure if the-powers-that-be in this game share the idea, as someone who prefers all fully Evolved Pokémon to be equals in their area, Swampert-EX isn’t fully Evolved.  Mega Evolutions already complicate this notion, but we know Japan already has M Swampert-EX as a promo and likely we’ll get it sooner or later.  Plus there is always the chance of an in-set version (accompanied by a Spirit Link card) as well. 

So what this all means is once again we’ve got a card that just isn’t very good for competitive play.  Mud Flood at least looks like a kind-of-fun mechanic, but since you don’t have a good way to ensure (or at least improve the odds of) your top four cards containing multiple [W] Energy and insuring even one requires using Stage 2, it degenerates into a “Whee!  Random!” mechanic like flipping a lot of coins.  You could use this in the current Standard Format if you wish.  It gets worse as soon as we rotate; you lose some of the nice pieces of support (like Blastoise) and XY: Ancient Origins seems set to drastically increase the presence of Grass-Type attackers in the format.  Expanded won’t have to worry about losing any cards (and adds in one or two that might help Mud Flood), but once September 1st rolls around it too should see more Grass-Type attackers running around (possible for keeps).  Being a promo, we don’t even have to worry about Limited play, but if this made it into a set, it could be one of the best pulls possible.  Decks here (even ones not running just a lone Basic Pokémon) tend to run heavier on Energy while average HP scores and damage outputs are lower.  Either in a fully fleshed out deck or the infamous +39 approach (said deck running a lone Basic Pokémon), Mud Flood should hit hard with some reliability.  The main concern would be that even with the lowered damage output 180 HP only lasts so long and either you're down two Prizes (fleshed out deck where you might have a Bench) or you lose (+39 deck where this would be your only Pokémon). 


Standard (Pre-Rotation): 1.75/5 

Standard (Post-Rotation): 1.25/5 

Expanded (Pre-Rotation): 1.8/5 

Expanded (Post-Rotation): 1.3/5 

Summary: The good news is that this won’t be the potentially scarce promo card to track down (not sure how prolific tin-only cards are) and it isn’t a totally boring or hopeless bit of filler, but it will be going from a hostile format into a more hostile format, and even once the best alternatives to it have rotated out, more options still better than Swampert-EX remain. 

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