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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Top 15 Ancient Origin Cards

#9 - Ariados

- Ancient Origins

Date Reviewed:
September 1, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3.55
Expanded: 3.67
Limited: 4.28

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

Back to the main COTD Page


Well now, Ariados breaking the top 10 is quiet an interesting surprise. And to be honest, I think it's one that deserves its spot more than a couple of past Top 10 picks (looking at you, Beartic from Furious Fists and Deoxys from Roaring Skies XP). In any case, it's certainly going to hold some major sway over the competition, and that's for one particular reason alone. 

If you said it wasn't because of Impound, you'd be right! While it's only a 2-for-30 strike that keeps the opponent from retreating from Ariados' no doubt intimidating 70 HP (HAHAHAHA), it's definitely NOT the star attraction on this Pokemon. No, the big appeal is having Poisonous Nest on your Bench waiting to go. 

The interesting thing about Poisonous Nest is that once per turn, you can choose to use it and Poison BOTH Active Pokemon. Yeah, that's yours and your opponent's all in one go. How crazy is that? One might even say THAT'S INSANE!! But here's the kicker: it doesn't work on Grass Pokemon. Apparently, they've a natural immunity to Ariados' Poison, so they won't be harmed. 

But oh the plays you can make with this. 

Your opponent has to deal with being Poisoned while you run rampant upon them with your growing Grass-types thanks to your Forest of Giant Plants! Or you can combine this with Machamp-EX to deal a powerful 160 damage and then lose the Poison before it hurts you! It can combine well with M Tyranitar-EX, who will appreciate waiting for a little bit while your opponent's Active Pokemon racks up a couple of damage counters to guarantee its decimation! Or better yet, Sceptile-EX's Unseen Claw will love the Poison since it can now deal 130 damage - for the cost of only 2 Energy!! 

Ariados itself isn't a particularly impressive Pokemon, but the combos it can unleash are very powerful, and there's no telling where a Pokemon like that can go! 


Standard: 3.5/5 (mostly it's the combos you can play off of Ariados' Poisoning that bring it such a great rating; otherwise, he can be a bit slow and unwieldy) 

Expanded: 3/5 (the main trick with running him here is the inclusion of Virbank City Gym and HTL; while Virbank can benefit Ariados greatly, it can also hurt your own Active Pokemon more, making HTL a better Poisoning option - not to mention it's only a single card) 

Limited: 4/5 (hey, steady HP drop will hurt a lot of Pokemon in this format) 

Arora Notealus: Ariados is once again employing its tricky tactics that most of its cards have upheld, focusing on Status Conditions as usual. There's a reason why in Gen II Koga is seen wielding one in his Elite Four team, since Ariados is a very sneaky ninja Pokemon - "Confusion, sleep, poison...Prepare to be the victim of my sinister technique!!" 

(Fwahahas are optional) 

Next Time: Shining brightly as a beacon in the night!


Time for our ninth place finisher, Ariados (XY: Ancient Origins 6/98).  Fun fact: the most recent Ariados prior to this one was Ariados (HeartGold & SoulSilver 15/123), released about five and a half years ago and rotated out of Standard (then referred to primarily as “Modified) play three years ago.  Seems like our “Long Leg Pokémon” is making up for lost time!  So why did this make the list?

To begin with, it is a Grass-Type and as stated multiple times over the last several weeks when it was even remotely relevant, XY: Ancient Origins gave the Grass-Type more support; besides some strong Pokémon that may or may not matter, directly pertaining to the Grass-Type is Forest of Giant Plants which is a Stadium that allows Grass-Types to Evolve immediately after they are put into play, even the first turn of the game and regardless of the Type into which they Evolve.  Which ties in nicely to the fact that Ariados is a Stage 1; while you’ll have to dedicate space in your deck (and at least for a turn your Stadium slot on the field) you can avoid a turn delay and unlike most other Evolution cheats you can use it on multiple copies at once.  Ariados does only have 70 HP, which is tiny by modern standards: expect it to be OHKO while Active and at most 3HKO KOed while on the Bench (that last bit is more significant than it sounds).  It does have the bonus of being Level Ball compliant though and oddly minimizing the risk from its Fire Weakness: most “serious” Fire-Type attackers should score the OHKO before Weakness.  The lack of Resistance isn’t a surprise and with 70 HP, hypothetical Resistance may or may not have made a difference, so let us move onto the Retreat Cost: [C].  This is nice and low so it shouldn’t be too hard to help Ariados scurry back to the Bench. 

Why would you want it on your Bench?  Well the Ability “Poisonous Nest” is pretty great so long as your opponent’s Active is not a Grass-Type or protected from Special Conditions and yours either is a Grass-Type or protected from Special Conditions or something you can quickly and easily Bench because the Ability Poisons both Active Pokémon excluding Grass-Types.  Even before more complex combos, that’s an extra damage counter that turns a OHKO into a near OHKO, and allows you some degree of offense even if you can’t attack or need your attack to do something else.  Its attack is “Impound” and for [GC] it does 30 damage while preventing the opponent from attacking.  A bit pricey for what it does, but it combos adequately with Poisonous Nest and isn’t too pricey for something of an “emergency” attack. 

You’ve only got one Spinarak so this isn’t about which one is best but knowing what you’ll have to deal: Type, Weakness, (lack of) Retreat, (lack of) Ancient Trait and Retreat Cost are the same.  Obviously it is a Basic and not a Stage 1, which makes the 50 HP just “kind of small”.  Not quite what I had in mind but I’m glad they “front-loaded” the HP instead of holding onto most of it for the Stage 1 alone; now if only they start doing that with the lines that have more HP so that a 150 HP Stage 2 Evolves from like a 100-130 HP Stage 1 and a 70-100 HP Basic.  Given that 70 HP was a OHKO, the relevance of the 50 HP here is in surviving hits to the Bench; Golbat (XY: Phantom Forces 32/119) and Crobat (XY: Phantom Forces 33/119) didn’t get cut by rotation (though they lost their preferred Zubat).  One of each of them takes out a Spinarak no problem, while either of them or Absol (XY: Roaring Skies 40/108) just need a typical Bench hit to still do the job.  While Spinarak lacks an Ability and has only one attack, it isn’t totally worthless: for [C] it can use the often seen “String Shot” for a coin flip to try and Paralyze.  It isn’t much and it certainly isn’t fancy, but it gives it a chance to survive long enough to Evolve if it is stuck Active. 

So… what decks should use Ariados?  Possibly most of them; two slots for a 1-1 line is only demanding because decks are so full right now.  Forest of Giant Plants is not required (and will usually signal not to bother with Ariados if your opponent is using it), with a 2-2 line pushing things but being a bit more stable.  Using it well just requires good math skills; knowing then you can afford to Poison your own Active because the extra damage will be relevant (or Poisoning your own will be irrelevant so you might as well take the chance).  Odds are this will not be how it turns out, but I didn’t expect Shaymin-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 77/108, 106/108) to work well alongside Garbodor (BW: Dragons Exalted 54/124; BW: Plasma Freeze 119/116; BW: Legendary Treasures 68/113) and yet people are managing so I’m not going to rule it out. 

Fortunately that was just the “general” usage segment; there are some specific uses.  Most Grass-Type decks should at least consider it because of all the benefits mentioned above and the fact that you don’t have to worry about hitting your own Active.  Then we come to specific combos: we already discussed Machamp-EX in its own CotD.  If you can’t afford to check that out, know that Machamp-EX has a nice, big attack that only works properly when it is afflicted by a Special Condition and that then removes the Special Condition from itself: a natural partner for Ariados.  Seismitoad-EX decks that don’t lockdown Abilities may also consider this… perhaps even in Expanded.  Mostly though it comes down to Sceptile-EX (XY: Ancient Origins 7/98, 84/98) and M Sceptile-EX (XY: Ancient Origins 8/98, 85/98).  Sooner or later we’ll discuss these in more detail, but for now know that this version of Sceptile-EX has a strong attack called “Unseen Claw” that does 60 for [GC], but +70 if the opponent’s Active is affected by a Special Condition (so 130 plus a damage counter from Poison with this combo).  M Sceptile-EX mostly matters in this case because of its attack, Jagged Saber: same Energy cost but it does 100 damage while allowing you to attach up to two [G] Energy from hand to your choice of Benched Pokémon (can be split between two targets) and that heals all damage from the Pokémon receiving the Energy.  Strong foundation, strong Mega Evolution and oh yeah, Forest of Giant Plants. 

Expanded gets more dance partners though here you still have Hypnotoxic Laser for your own Poison (and Garbodor and its “Garbotoxin” shutting down Abilities).  Neither may matter if Shiftry (BW: Next Destinies 3/99) First Turn Win decks come even close to the hype.  For Limited play, only skip Ariados if you’re going for a +39 deck (one Basic Pokémon only in your 40 card Limited deck); otherwise apply what I said earlier for “general” usage with the caveat that the attack (if you’re running Grass Energy) may be more useful and Poison will be deadlier to both players more often, at least for the Actives that aren’t Grass-Types. 


Standard: 3.65/5 

Expanded: 3.8/5 

Limited: 4.8/5 

Summary: Composite scores: they have decent-ish general usage in Standard and Expanded (good in Limited) but the deck specific options drive it up because in some of those it is a must run (yeah, even in Limited as this set has a good chunk of Grass-Types worth trying). 

On my own list, Ariados snagged Xth place.  It actually tied with yesterday’s CotD, Ace Trainer in voting points (10).  Needing a tiebreaker, I went with the one I saw being used to better effect on the PTCGO. 

Emma Starr

            Starting to worry that Grass Pokemon are getting OP? Well, don’t look at Ariados then, snuggling up in his poisonous nest, which can somehow shoot poison out at other Pokemon! Just picture that in your mind, because I have a feeling it may be around for quite a while, especially with Hypnotoxic Laser being rotated out…

            So, Ariados looks like your basic Stage 1 Grass Pokemon at first, with the standard 70 HP and 30 damage attack, but his Poisonous Nest ability lets him do some sneaky things! Once during your turn, you may Poison both active Pokemon! Even if he’s on the bench, he can spread Poison around even more efficiently than Hypnotoxic Laser does now! Although your active will get Poisoned too, there’s a sweet deal in it for you – since the TCG assumes all Grass Pokemon to be bugs already and immune to Poison, if you’re active is a Grass type Pokemon, it won’t get Poisoned! Of course, you could also circumvent this the manual way and get rid of the status by either switching/retreating, or with Pokemon Center Lady.

            But the fun doesn’t stop there with Ariados! His Impound attack does 30 for a Grass and a Colorless, which sounds bad, but the effect makes it so that the Defending Pokemon can’t Retreat during your opponent’s next turn! So, you’re literally giving them 20 additional damage, which will equate to at least 50 damage overall, since they can’t Retreat, and can obviously add up the longer Ariados can survive. However, in Expanded with Virbank City Gym, the above total can be bumped up to 70! I can see it as a nice way of forcing your opponent to power up Pokemon like Seismitoad EX, which actually may be impossible in some cases, if Seismitoad EX is the only Water Pokemon your opponent uses. Combining this attack with Lysandre can also be a very evil and fun idea. Never has Poison ever been so much fun, all thanks to the crazy venom-spitting nest of Ariados!

            Modified: 3.5/5 (Ariados is still a Stage 1, and it’s attack needs Grass Energy, so it’s pretty deck specific in the attack, but he’s still splashable in any deck, though you can’t do some of the funner things with him. You can still do the crazy Machamp EX trick I talked about a few days ago here, though.)

            Expanded: 4/5 (Virbank City Gym is a beast here, so use it if you can.)

            Limited: 4/5 (Splashable, and if you get some other good Grass Pokemon to, may as well use them, because they really shine in this set!)

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