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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

 

Raichu   

- XY

Date Reviewed:
Jan. 5, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3.17
Expanded: 3.00
Limited: 4.25

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 being the worst. 
3 ... average.  
5 is the highest rating.

Back to the main COTD Page

Baby Mario
2010 UK National
Seniors
Champion

Raichu (XY) 

This week is going to be a bit of a mixed bag: we’re looking at cards which just missed out on our 2014 top 10, along with an important reprint, and an older card which really deserves another review. 

We kick off with Raichu, one of those top 10 near-misses. His Circle Circuit attack has been a relatively common sight in tournaments over the past year, and Raichu owes this fact almost entirely to his Typing. When they put the same thing on Cinccino BLW, it only had a relatively minor impact, despite this being before the days of massive HP EXs, so why does it work so well now on Raichu? Simple: it means you can OHKO the omnipresent Yveltal EX, even if they stick a Hard Charm or an Eviolite on it. 

Of course, the fact that Raichu is also a Stage 1 means that he can be used against Pyroar FLF in a pinch, and he also smacks Lugia EX around for Weakness, but there’s no denying that his primary purpose is to cut the Evil Bird down to size for the relatively low price of a single DCE. This makes Raichu a pretty splashable card, and as a result he has found his way into a variety of decks: Virizion/Genesect, Fighting/Big Basics, and Yveltel itself to name but three. 

Raichu lacks the power and durability to be a main attacker in his own right, but as a counter to one of the most powerful and feared Pokémon in the game, he’s almost certainly the best option we have (Dedenne FFI is your obvious alternative, but without the useful capacity to hit Pyroar). As such, his impact has not been inconsiderable, and he is likely to be a viable card as long as Yveltal or some other Lightning-Weak Pokémon remain popular. 

Rating 

Modified: 3.25 (An important counter)

Expanded: 3 (we have more options here, but he’s still not bad)


aroramage

Welcome back to another week of cards to review! This week, it's Honorable Mentions, referencing cards who didn't make the cut for the Top 2014 list whether it was because they weren't quite the best of the best, were reprints from older days, or are just a little too old for the competition. And today, we're starting off with that lovable electric rodent, Raichu!
 
At the start of the XY era, there was a powerful force called Yveltal-EX that would terrorize the format in much the same way that Mewtwo-EX did in his day. The biggest difference between Yveltal-EX and Mewtwo-EX though is that you didn't need another Yveltal-EX to completely counter Yveltal-EX - you needed an Electric type! And that's where Raichu comes in.
 
Raichu is your average Stage 1 Pokemon in most every single way, including a top score of 90 HP and a heavy Thunderbolt for 100 damage at the cost of discarding all three or more of those Energy you'd attach to him. He didn't really stand out except for his first attack, Circle Circuit; with it, he could do the Empoleon Attack Command trick of counting Benched Pokemon as part of your attack, though Raichu only uses one side of the field.
 
And with good reason! Whereas Empoleon counts the whole field and deals 10 damage for each Pokemon in play, Raichu only counts your Benched Pokemon and deals 20 damage for each of them. Now at the cost of 2 Energy comparing to 1 Energy, it seems that Empoleon's attack is better than Raichu's, topping at 120 versus 100 damage. But there are some factors to consider with Raichu's attack that not only make it better but more relevant to the format!
 
First off, Raichu's Circle Circuit costs 2 Colorless Energy. As odd a thing as that is to point out at times, it's nevertheless an important part of any attack to consider; Seismitoad-EX's Quaking Punch, after all, also costs 2 Colorless Energy, and that made him "splashable," or able to fit into a multitude of decks without impeding the strategy of the deck! Raichu's the same way, just that he's a Stage 1, but this splashability made him very useful! Why?
 
Because Yveltal-EX was running around terrorizing the countryside! With a weakness to Electricity, Raichu could deal 40 damage to Yveltal-EX for every Benched Pokemon the player had! That meant with a full Bench, no Yveltal-EX could stand up to the power of a meager Raichu, and that's the sort of thing that made him so special - he was the first big counter to Yveltal-EX!
 
The other thing to consider between Raichu's and Empoleon's attacks is that while the maximum damage output is less, Raichu's is completely under your control, whereas Empoleon relies in part on the opponent to deal higher amounts of damage. Granted, Empoleon's still dealing at least 70 damage an attack for 1 Energy and a full Bench compared to Raichu's dealing 100 for 2, which is ridiculous when you realize that it can go higher.
 
In any case, Raichu was - and maybe still is - one of the biggest Yveltal-EX counters around in the format, so it's no wonder he was close to making it on the list. He's a fine addition to the game and can fit in most any deck, making him a true force to be reckoned with!...at least to anything named "Yveltal-EX."
 
Rating
 
Standard: 3/5 (nowadays, his biggest problem is much more rampant: his Fighting weakness, and that's what's reduced his playability overall - funny thing too, cause the power-up to Fighting types also gave good cause for Yveltal-EX to come back!)
 
Expanded: 2.5/5 (he's a fairly niche Pokemon in any aspect of the word, but he could get potentially teched into a Rayquaza-EX build as a means of an alternate attacker to take advantage of all those Benched Eelektriks)
 
Limited: 3.5/5 (there are a few more Pokemon weak to Electricity here, and not to many Pokemon that can stand up to something dealing 100 damage each turn)
 
Arora Notealus: In the grand scheme of things, Raichu's gotten the short end of the stick in comparison to his pre-evo Pikachu. I mean, Pikachu gets all the attention, he gets special moves, a special Item in Light Ball, his own ballon at the parades - she even got a set of costumes to change around! Meanwhile, Raichu gets remembered as that evolution of his that wanted to beat Ash's face in way back in Vermillion.
 
Next Time: A Trainer for all your needs!


Otaku

Greetings readers; though it is a new year we are not going to be reviewing new cards, but instead shall feature a week of “Honorable Mentions”.  Besides the obvious, cards that made at least one reviewer’s personal Top 10 list but not the collective effort, are a few other cards that weren’t eligible per the usual rules but had a clear impact on 2014… though we did take into account the most recent review as well.  In other words no, I’m not making us review VS Seeker again barely a month after its last review.  The cards were placed in order of being most efficient to review, as determined by me, not how they actually or would have placed on the overall Top X of 2014 list.  We begin the week with Raichu (XY 43/146), originally reviewed March 5th, 2014.  This was before I came back, so let us run through the basics and then I’ll explain why it qualifies as an honorable mention, though the basics should be pretty obvious. 

Raichu is a Lightning-Type which means if it can deliver the damage, there were some important targets it could OHKO via Weakness, like Yveltal-EX.  As a Stage 1, it is a bit slow and eats up more space than most would like in our Basic Pokémon-focused (but not exclusive) metagame, but can still function.  90 HP means its a glass cannon if it does work as an attacker but makes it a legal Level Ball target (still relevant in Expanded and relevant for Standard pre-rotation).  90 is just barely enough that if your opponent isn’t running its Weakness and doesn’t have a full fledged attacker ready to go, it might even survive a turn on occasion.  The Fighting Weakness is deadly and has been most of the year; even before XY: Furious Fists a Landorus-EX with a single [F] Energy and a Muscle Band could score the OHKO while smacking something on the Bench for 30 thanks to its Hammer Head attack.  Raichu does enjoy Metal Resistance; more useful towards the end of 2014, after XY: Phantom Forces shored up Metal-Types, but even now its just a small bonus though clearly superior to having no Resistance at all.  That perfect free Retreat Cost was and is still amazing.  Circle Circuit requires [CC] and does 20 points of damage per Pokémon on your Bench; this is what qualifies Raichu for glass cannon status, while the Type and Retreat Cost are why it is a glass cannon worth using.  Thunderbolt might matter if you were to run this in a deck that can power it up, but unless its something using Eelektrik (BW: Noble Victories 40/101) its probably pretty useless; too pricey and slow, unlike Circle Circuit. 

Breadth: Raichu has proven most effective in a few specific decks at specific times of 2014, however it could fit into anything that could easily pay for Circle Circuit and fill its own Bench.  This actually makes it fairly universal if you can make room in the first place; besides Double Colorless Energy a lot of other Energy acceleration like Energy Switch or an Emerald Slash from Virizion-EX fit the bill.  In fact many a VirGen deck reminded us that an Energy Switch and manual attachment after an Emerald Slash onto something else would also work well.  It wasn’t really worth the effort though unless the deck really needed to stomp on Yveltal-EX, though as an Evolution Raichu was also handy for getting through Intimidating Mane on Pyroar (XY: Flashfire 20/106), but if you didn’t also have a Muscle Band, Hypnotoxic Laser or some other way of taking out the last 10 HP of Pyroar that a full strength Circle Circuit wouldn’t touch, that wasn’t a huge feature. 

Depth: Here is where Raichu isn’t as impressive, at least directly.  Its a pretty straightforward attacker, just needing a full Bench to get into 2HKO range of most everything run competitively and OHKO range of the Lightning Weak (smaller side of the metagame).  Some of its targets, like Yveltal-EX may have fought back a little using Shadow Circle to block Weakness, but that wasn’t overly reliable and is only just worth mentioning.  What is a bit more intriguing, and also boosts Breadth and Time if applied, is using this as a bit of a catch-all or proxy for the other Stage 1 attackers that during 2014 saw similar play; being run because they were decent in general but mostly for specific match-ups where Weakness resulted in an important OHKO.  Examples of that include (but are not limited to) Beartic (XY: Furious Fists 22/111) and Dugtrio (XY 59/146). 

Time: Raichu debuted in XY and began making a splash as soon as people could look past the more obvious powerhouses of the set.  It has had a couple different partners and still appears to be seeing competitive play in its well accepted supporting attacker role. 

Ratings 

Standard: 3.25/5 - Not quite strong enough to be called more than “good”, its a card that does what it does reasonably well but comes out on top due to one of those things being favorable Type matching and only being worth a single Prize when KOed, in a format where this allows for a favorable Prize exchange against one of the top Pokémon-EX attackers in the game. 

Expanded: 3.5/5 - As above but Raichu regains Level Ball, which is pretty important as it can snag either a Pikachu to Evolve from or Raichu itself. 

Limited: 4.9/5 - Did you pull a Pokémon-EX worth running with 39 non-Basic Pokémon cards?  No?  Then if you pull even just a 1-1 line of Raichu, you’re running it. 

Summary: The little ‘mon that could, Raichu gave us a reason to pay attention to the vast amounts of Pikachu released during the current and previous generation.  If OHKOing something like Yveltal-EX wasn’t so useful, neither would be this Raichu.  Even with Dedenne (XY: Furious Fists 34/111) to try and rival it, Raichu still gets to bring the pain… some of the time.  I had it as my seventh place pick for 2014, somewhat to my own surprise as I tallied up the scores, but being a longtime, steady presence helped it out against other cards that had shorter runs.  That or maybe I overrated it a little in some categories. ;)


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