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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Skarmony

- Roaring Skies

Date Reviewed:
July 24, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.0
Expanded: 2.0
Limited: 3.3

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

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

...well. This is new. This Skarmory is the first ever printed Colorless Skarmory ever! Probably because every other copy has been Metal! So that's an interesting twist! Does that mean Skarmory's better than ever? Probably not! 

Skarmory here is another addition to the Call for Family line-up, sporting out a cheap 1-cost attack and a 1-cost Retreat. Ever since Emolga (DEX/LTR)'s initial rise in popularity, the Pokemon Company has effectively vowed never to make a free-Retreating Call for Family Pokemon to abuse with Pokemon-EX.  

The thing is, I don't think these days the Call for Family strategy isn't even played as much. Sure, it's still effective at getting out quick Pokemon-EX from your deck to enhance your strategy - and for all I know, it's still just as effective - but it's pretty much balanced out by a quicker format and most of the Callers being stipulated with a 1-cost Retreat. Not to mention with stuff like Skarmory here, without some form of Energy acceleration, you could end up wasting your Energy. Callers aren't anywhere near as dominant as Emolga was, and even Emolga hasn't seen as much playability in a long time. 

So Skarmory has to be content with his other attack Blow Through, a 2-for-30 strike that will deal 60 if there's a Stadium in play. While this one's a little more relevant given the prevalence of Stadium cards, chances are you're not gonna be using Skarmory for such a measly attacking option.You're honestly better off with some other Colorless Pokemon. 

......not Swellow (72) though. At least Skarmory can call better Pokemon. 

Rating 

Standard: 1.5/5 (a half-point for Calling, and that's not saying much) 

Expanded: 1.5/5 (see, now you've got less reason to use him because Emolga exists) 

Limited: 3.5/5 (Calling is much more effective here, especially if you manage to pull an EX) 

Arora Notealus: Skarmory's always been a tough Steel-type, even in the games. It's the reason he's never left the OU tier since his introduction - that Defense is ridiculously high! A monstrous bird of prey, no other Pokemon since his introduction has ever had the same Typing. 

Weekend Thought: What are your thoughts on the Roaring Skies expansion? Are Ancient Traits the new meta, or has it shifted towards Megas more? And more importantly...what's the game going to be like after this rotation?


Otaku

Skarmory (XY: Roaring Skies 69/108) is our final CotD this week.  I have had no dramatic revelations or incremental chances in outlook on the Colorless-Typing: overall its a good Type to be but not the best.  It doesn’t hit every piece of established Type support but it manages one of the key ones quite well; Winona is a Supporter that snags three Colorless Pokémon from your deck and you’ve got Shaymin-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 77/108, 106/108) that forms a natural combo just begging for a deck to run a few extra Colorless-Types.  We’ve got M Rayquaza-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 76/108, 105/108) as a powerhouse Colorless-Type attacker.  These last two Pokémon can work with any Type so it isn’t only to the benefit of Colorless-Type Pokémon, but thanks to Winona you have at least a little incentive to see what else you can work in that stays on Type.  You won’t be hitting Weakness or Resistance though; the latter is a small, simple bonus as Resistance isn’t too major a thing (-20 damage isn’t much) but missing out on Weakness is noticeable (even when not frequent, hitting for double damage is usually sizable). 

Being a Basic is still the best; for the extremely new players I’ll point out that it is because they require the least amount of time and resources to get into play reliably, including the fact that being a single card (instead of two or three such as for an Evolution line) per copy means things like search and recycling effects are naturally more efficient and effective.  Continuing the newbie PSA Pyroar (XY: Flashfire 20/106) can wall with its “Intimidating Mane” Ability but in competitive play Pyroar isn’t a good card: a lot of top decks either can shut down the Ability or bypass it (why yes, yes I did have this discussion with a novice player recently).  Skarmory has 100 HP which is adequate; sometimes you’ll survive a hit though much of this stems from the more control oriented decks that aren’t trying for a OHKO in the first place and even then the survival margin is just 10 or 20 HP.  Thanks to people cheating the system and opening XY: Ancient Origins product early we know that Level Ball is indeed returning to Standard play, so this car actually might be a bit better with 10 less HP as it would be easier/less costly to search out without being significantly more vulnerable.  The Lightning-Type Weakness and Fighting Resistance have also been constants this week; Lightning-Type Weakness is pretty dangerous right now though I’m not sure if I would call it the worst while Fighting-Type Resistance is fairly handy though again, Resistance as a whole isn’t a major thing.  The Retreat Cost of [C] finishes out the card’s attributes and is very good; rarely will it be an issue. 

Skarmory keeps things simple with two attacks (no Ability or Ancient Trait), both of which have only [C] Energy requirements as you would expect from a Colorless-Type Pokémon (though sometimes the designers do surprise us by changing things up).  For one Energy you can use Call for Family to search your deck for up to two Basic Pokémon and put them on your Bench.  Several years ago this was a pretty typical opening attack but the pacing of the game and current first turn rules have not been kind.  Still it can be quite useful, especially if you can spare an Energy and afford to give up a Prize to have a better Bench waiting.  Just remember the cards are played from the deck, not the hand: no trying to draw extra cards by Benching a Shaymin-EX in this manner.  Blow Through is another recycled attack, though interesting because this one came from a Pokémon-EX: Tornadus-EX (BW: Dark Explorers 90/108, 108/108; BW: Black Star Promos BW96).  Skarmory does it just as well; same cost for the same 30 points of damage (plus another 30 if there is a Stadium in play).  30 for two is “okay”, 60 for two is pretty good; slap a Silver Bangle on there and you’ve half-KOed most Pokémon-EX. 

Skarmory has four other versions and since they share the same name, they are competing for the exact same slots in a deck: BW: Boundaries Crossed 95/149, BW: Boundaries Crossed 96/149, BW: Plasma Storm 87/135 and XY: Phantom Forces 59/119.  All are Basic Metal-Type Pokémon with no Abilities, no Ancient Traits and two attacks; other than XY: Phantom Forces 59/119, all have Fire Weakness, Psychic Resistance.  BW: Boundaries Crossed 95/149 has 80 HP, a Retreat Cost of [CC],  “Claw” for [M] and hitting for 20 damage (but is a “tails fails” attack) and “Drill Peck” for [MCC], hitting for 50 damage.  BW: Boundaries Crossed 96/149 jumps up to 100 HP (matching today’s version), repeats the Retreat Cost of [CC], can use “Metal Sound” for [M] which on a “heads” Confuses the opponent’s Active but does nothing on “tails” and for [CCC] can use “Swift” for 70 damage that ignores Weakness, Resistance or any other effects on the opponent’s Active.  BW: Plasma Storm 87/135 drops the HP down to 90 and the Retreat Cost down to [C] while for [C] it can use “Cargo Jet” which allows you to discard a Team Plasma card from hand to draw three cards or for [MMC] it can use “Steel Wing” to hit for 40 damage while reducing the damage it takes by 20 points (after Weakness/Resistance is applied) until the end of your opponent’s next turn. 

The last other Skarmory is the only other one besides today’s that will survive the next rotation for the Standard, XY: Phantom Forces 59/119.  Other than being a Metal-Type its attributes are the same as today’s Skarmory: 100 HP, Lightning Weakness, Fighting Resistance and a Retreat Cost of [C].  For [CC] it can use “Slash” to do 20 damage and for [MMC] it can use “Iron Wing” to hit for 90 damage, but the latter requires it discard a [M] Energy attached to itself.  None of these combine a Colorless set-up attack with a solid Colorless damaging attack and the one other set-up attacker BW: Plasma Storm 87/135 just isn’t that good: you have to discard a Team Plasma card to draw three cards, cards to the hand might be shuffled away by an opponent’s N before you use them).  Still I did not expect that BW: Boundaries Crossed 96/149 and XY: Phantom Forces 59/119 would strike me as ever-so-slightly being useful.  With more and more “blocking” effects and a Muscle Band or Silver Bangle to up the damage, Swift doing 70 for three might not be terrible while XY: Phantom Forces 59/119 had decent attacks but designers remembered that the strength of a dual-Type Pokémon in the TCG (where cards are mono-Typed) is putting a different Weakness and/or Resistance than usual on the card.  I don’t think there will be an issue with these crowding out today’s Skarmory though and they don’t actually compliment it. 

So… how do you run XY: Roaring Skies 69/108?  I don’t think it is complicated; find a deck that already runs or wants to run multiple Shaymin-EX and/or Winona and has room.  It might be a single TecH copy of Skarmory, a full four count or something in between, but you’ll have a decent opener that can help fill your Bench or do a decent hit to set-up/finish off a 2HKO.  It faces a bit more competition in Expanded but perhaps it also benefits as the old “White Tea” deck (a primarily or purely Colorless-Type deck) could be revived.  In Limited play the only reason not to include Skarmory is because you pulled a single, powerful Basic Pokémon (probably a Pokémon-EX) that you believe is strong enough to run a +39 deck, a Limited deck (which is typically 40 cards) that has just one Basic Pokémon in it, guaranteeing you start with said Basic Pokémon (and that you lose if/when it is KOed). 

Ratings 

Standard: 3/5 

Expanded: 3/5 

Limited: 4.9/5 

Summary: Yeah, this is a generic score: Skarmory isn’t brilliant but it does what it does (being an opening Basic/emergency closer) competently with the added bonus of tapping into the current Colorless-Type support to elevate it above the many other such cards that don’t see much or any competitive play.  Except in Limited where it is awesome even if you don’t have a Stadium. 

As an interesting note barely related to the review, I realized something kind of embarrassing but kind of funny as we finished up this week.  We never looked at Swellow (XY: Roaring Skies 72/108) but I thought I had it on the schedule.  As has been noted before, I often pick out the cards we review because I’m usually willing and available to do so; I had listed this entire set out, made a quick note on how worth a review each card was and from there periodically made a list of cards to review.  I did the last four weeks all at once and seemed to have made a copy and paste error somewhere as poor Swellow was accidentally replaced by yesterday’s CotD, Fearow (XY: Roaring Skies 66/108)! 


Emma Starr

            Well, every set has it’s rares that are basically as useful as a Febass for no good reason. Somewhat like Skarmory, who’s reason for being rare is I guess…his Call for Family attack, which was on at least two other Pokémon before: Kangaskhan (PB 71), who had the decency to be common, and Shaymin (BC 10), who is rare because of Lenendary-ness…I mean, name one Legendary Pokémon whose ever been printed as a common or uncommon card! Regardless, let’s take a look at Skarmory.

            100 HP, Electric Weakness, Fighting Resistance (even though it’s neutral to Fighting types in the video games), and one Retreat Cost have all been very common to many of the other Colorless Pokémon here, so no surprises there. For one Colorless, Skarmory can use Call for Family, which is actually a nice way to potentially get 2 EXs (or any other basic, or combination of the two) into your hand in one turn. I know the Kangaskhan I mentioned earlier got quite a bit of use in the PTCGO (Though that was probably because it was part of a Theme Deck that you could easily get from a code that you could redeem an endless amount of times. You still might be able to do that, actually). Of course, cards such as Ultra Ball can be a more effective way of accomplishing this (with the tradeoff of getting one less Pokémon, of course), but it was still an easy alternative for getting the Pokémon you needed quickly. What wasn’t so nice was that Retreat Cost of two. Here, Skarmory actually trumps Kangaskhan, by having one less Retreat Cost. So, it could actually just use the energy that you attached to it for this attack to retreat! That’s not too bad, actually! (Also, Shaymin actually had the same Retreat Cost as well, just thought it’d be nice to note that.)

            Skarmory’s other attack, Blow Through, does 30 damage, with the possibility of doing 30 more if there is a Stadium in play, for two Colorless Energies. Well, Stadiums are pretty popular currently, so you may just end up doing that pretty poor 60 damage, but if it’s early in the game, and neither you or your opponent have gotten your Stadiums in play, you’ll be doing the even-worse 30 damage. Well, Gamefreak hasn’t been training this Skarmory in Attack EVs… 

            Standard: 1.5/5 (I actually can see the point in this card, though. In the next rotation coming up, both Kangaskhan and Shaymin will be rotated out, and Skarmory will be the only(?) Call for Family Pokémon available, while also being ever-so-slightly better than Kanghaskhan. Once that happens, I guess I’d rate this as a 2/5. But that hasn’t happened yet, so it’s still only a 1.5/5 right now for me.)

            Expanded: 1.5/5

            Limited: 2.1/5 (Any effects like Call for Family are great, but remember Winona still does a better job at this, for Colorless types at least. And you still have Ultra Ball, potentially.)


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