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Top 10 Primal Clash Cards

#4 - Scorched Earth

- Primal Clash

Date Reviewed:
Feb. 17, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3.67
Expanded: 3.62
Limited: 4.87

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

Back to the main COTD Page

Baby Mario
2010 UK National

#4 Scorched Earth
The only Pokémon card ever to be named after a military strategy that is banned under the Geneva Convention (I assume), Scorched Earth is also the second Stadium card to make it into our countdown. I wish they had kept the Japanese name of the card (Incandescent Earth), to be honest.
Scorched Earth offers something very attractive to any deck that runs Fire and/or Fighting Energy. If you discard one of them from your hand, you get to draw two cards. As we all know, more draw equals more consistency, and more consistency means that your deck does what it is supposed to do more reliably. Who wouldn’t want that?
Well, it’s not a case of not wanting it, so much as it being quite difficult to use. Decks these days run on historically low amounts of Energy, with 12 being fairly standard. This means you will rarely have the luxury of a spare Energy to discard alongside the one you want to attach for the turn. Existing Fighting decks like Donphan and Landorus/Crobat run very little Basic Fighting, while Pyroar has around 8 Basic Fire. With numbers like those, just how often are you going to be able to take advantage of the draw that Scorched Earth offers?
That said, I certainly don’t rule out Scorched Earth becoming very good at some point in the future. If we ever have a deck that runs a lot of the relevant Energy, or which likes having it in the discard pile (Landorus FFI + Primal Groudon EX; Fire decks with Blacksmith?), then Scorched Earth could be huge. For now though, it is difficult to see it being used very much.
Modified: 3.25 (a card with potential, rather than current use)
Expanded: 3 (same deal here)
Limited: 4.5 (most people fill their deck with Energy here. If it happens to be the right kind, this card is brilliant)


Okay, I'll admit, Scorched Earth wasn't on my-PFFFTT, okay, yeah, no, Scorched Earth was absolutely on my list! Welcome back guys, today we look at the #4 card on our Top 10!
And when you take a look at this card, you immediately understand why it's so high! This Stadium is yet another reason to run some form of Stadium removal in your deck - even as tech! Scorched Earth gives both players the option to discard either a Fire or Fighting Energy card from their hand, and if they do, they get to draw 2 cards! That's fantastic!
You may have seen some Fire decks with hyper-acceleration with cards like Sycaper and Bicycle and all that, running through their decks at turbo speeds, and Fighting decks have been popular with all the support they've been getting. Seismitoad-EX has had an impact even on these decks, limiting their Item draws so they can't go fast, but now with Scorched Earth, both of these decks have a means to get the cards they need at a fairly regular pace!
And the discard isn't even that big of a deal. Both decks have a way of retrieving Energies from the discard pile (Blacksmith for Fire, and Landorus for Fighting), so if anything you're only improving upon your situation by racking up the draw power for these decks! You get a chance at what you need while setting up for the future - it's perfect!
So if you're not running a Stadium or have a way to get rid of Stadiums, it's time to start adding in those cards, cause Scorched Earth's about to rain down with great balls of fire! That give you cards! Or something...I wonder what mirror matches would be like...
Standard: 4.5/5 (an easy discard for a great effect; the only real downside is it gives your opponent the option to)
Expanded: 4.5/5 (naturally)
Limited: 5/5 (you could even put Fire and Fighting Energies into your deck just on the off-chance your opponent's running this card, cause you'll get the benefit!)
Arora Notealus: In a way, I do find the card to be somewhat ironic. I mean, it's a volcanic eruption! By causing volcanoes to explode, you get draw power. That's what's happening. It's silly, but if you think of it in grander terms - what with how volcanic soil is rich in nutrients and allows life to grow after a volcanic eruption takes place - it makes sense. But for a regular battle? It does seem silly to go so fast.
Next Time: Speaking of fast, those speedy underwater critters are mine!


Welcome to the second week of our Top 10 list for XY: Primal Clash.  If you’re jumping around in the list, note that besides the usual rule against picking reprints I once again chose 10 of the cards that caught my eye and seemed either good enough we should see them, or popular enough that we’ll see them a lot until the metagame sorts itself out.  Speaking of the metagame, this is being written when I’ve seen next to nothing from the St. Louis regionals.  Of course my list wasn’t the only one; thankfully it gets averaged out with the other reviewers’ own picks.  For better or worse, or lists were more varied than they have been the last few sets. 

Just missing out on the Top 3 is Scorched Earth (XY: Primal Clash 138/160).  That’s right, we had at least one more Stadium make the Top 10, which means at least half the Stadiums in this set.  The mixed blessing of Stadium cards is that they all serve as counters for every other Stadium, essentially competing for the same deck slots (if you really want to run “extra” Stadiums though, you can).  I mentioned yesterday that all four Stadiums had at least some potential, with three I was confident in referring to as “good”.  Scorched Earth is indeed one of the “good” ones… so what does it do?  Once per turn before you attack, you can discard a [F] Energy card or [R] Energy card from hand to draw two cards.  Unless the-powers-that-be surprise us, the only Energy that currently meets those requirements are basic Fighting Energy and basic Fire Energy; all Special Energy cards that could supply either (or both) count as Colorless while in hand.  This is important to remember because it means the Stadium is less “general” than the effect might suggest; you can’t just toss it into anything for a little extra draw power, but with the upside that even when facing Fighting-Type decks, your opponent may not have a lot of basic Fighting Energy cards to discard. 

This card reminds me of an Item that I thought was going to become an important supporting card for Fire decks, Fiery Torch.  Fiery Torch is an Item that draws two cards but requires you discard a [R] Energy from hand to play it.  On paper that looked brilliant; after all Fire-Types got Blacksmith in the same set; this provided non-Supporter draw power that helped prep for Blacksmith!  The catch was that competitive decks have really always been about overwhelming your opponent with card advantage, and in order to reliably have a manual Energy attachment while also reliably having discard fodder for Fiery Torch meant running too many Fire Energy cards (or Items to get them back into hand) to have room for all the other important bits your deck needed to be a top contender.  It was (and still is) easier to approach Fire decks in a manner similar to everything else; play down your hand and Bicycle if you needed to save your Supporter for Blacksmith or Lysandre (the latter of which also applied to decks in general). 

Scorched Earth basically trades all the strengths and weaknesses of being an Item (like Fiery Torch) for those of being a Stadium and especially with Seismitoad-EX being popular and potent, that is a good exchange.  Being able to work with two Energy-Types is obviously much better than Fiery Torch though does come with the not-so-hidden drawback of also being easier for your opponent to capitalize upon (versus a hypothetical Scorched Earth that would have only worked with [R] Energy).  If your opponent doesn’t take it out right away and you’ve got the basic Energy to spare, it can even generate a decent amount of advantage in just a few turns, and even one turn is enough to compensate for itself with a small bonus.  Both the Fighting-Type and Fire-Types have use for Energy in the discard pile; I already mentioned Blacksmith, but there is also Landorus (XY: Furious Fists 5//11).  With such a simple combo as Scorched Earth itself, Landorus active, a target to which you wish to attach Energy on your Bench, a basic Fighting Energy card you can discard, and another source of [F] Energy to attach to Landorus, you can chip away at your opponent’s HP (with the option of doing some nice damage if you add on some more cards) while building something else up on your Bench… with increasing returns if your opponent doesn’t force you to abandon this approach immediately. 

The main reason not to run Scorched Earth is that your deck already has the Stadium(s) it needs.  There is a lot of competition here, but as I advocate running two different Stadium cards anyway as too many decks can make good use of the best Stadiums, causing your own Stadium to too easily backfire, that still leaves a definite place for this card.  It isn’t trying to work into every deck; basically just Fighting and/or Fire decks.  Fighting Stadium is awesome when you’re facing the stereotypical decks of this format; those where you’re going to have to attack a lot of Pokémon-EX.  Of course this can backfire in mirror matches and we are seeing more Mega Evolutions (which may or may not care about that +20 damage) and non-Pokémon-EX (to which Fighting Stadium does nothing).  Fire-Types don’t have a specialized Stadium other than Scorched Earth.  The other piece of major competition is what we discussed yesterday; Silent Lab is a great general use Stadium. 


Standard: 3.25/5 - Scorched Earth didn’t impress me quite as much as Silent Lab did; both effects are good, its just Silent Lab can more easily fit into decks.  Having really thought the card over, though, additional draw power is more useful in general than shutting down the Abilities on Basic Pokémon, so why didn’t I score them the same?  The metagame; most decks aren’t running high counts of Basic Energy, part of why Fiery Torch fizzled where as a surprising number of decks have at least somewhat useful Abilities on Basic Pokémon. 

Expanded: 3.35/5 - Same score, slightly different reasons; the increased card pool, as per usual, means more combo opportunities but more competition.  It might be silly, but I still remember cards like Groudon-EX (BW: Dark Explorers 54/108, 106/108) and think that it would love the Landorus combo suggested earlier. 

Limited: 5/5 - Not only will you likely have the leeway to simply run a decent amount of Fighting Energy or Fire Energy even if nothing in your deck really needs it, not only is draw power so important that the preceding isn’t stupid, but if a set has Stadiums that are Limited relevant because of how much they help the player running them or hurt said player’s opponent, then all Stadiums become relevant in order to discard the previous.  So yeah… every Stadium in this set is potentially awesome in a Limited deck (Silent Lab is actually the least impressive here) so unless you’ve got at least 2-3 other Stadiums, even if you aren’t going to run Fighting Energy or Fire Energy you’d still run Scorched Earth.  Such is Limited play. 

Summary:  Scorched Earth is a good card; it isn’t overwhelming but its easy to at least quickly break even with it and you really should pull ahead at least ever so slightly: drop it to discard an opponent’s Stadium (a 1-for-1 trade), then discard an Energy to draw for two cards (a 1-for-2 trade).  If you have to play it with no other Stadium in play, that’s still two cards from hand for one card in play and two from the deck added to your hand.  At the same time, there are some fantastic Stadium cards available, some fairly general, some more specialized, and it creates a tremendous amount of competition for this card. 

On my own Top 10 list, I had Scorched Earth as my number eight pick, so placing this high means it impressed my fellow reviewers more than it impressed me; I think this is a little high for Scorched Earth to clock in: Teammates and Silent Lab seem like they are better than Scorched Earth.  Is it a huge travesty?  Nope; like most of the cards this set, the difference between them isn’t huge.

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