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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

 Walrein

- Primal Clash

Date Reviewed:
March 20, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 1.75
Expanded: 1.83
Limited: 2.75

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

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

Once again the Arctic Terror descends on the TCG, and once again he's brought something interesting to the table. Our last card of the week is Walrein, who might see play for a couple of odd reasons. Naturally, these reasons are due mostly to his two attacks. 

His first attack, Knock Over, is a 2-for-50 strike which is already pretty good - a lot better than some of the other 2-cost attacks we've been seeing as of late. On top of that, it also can discard a Stadium card in play. That's pretty nice, depending on what Stadium it is; it can get rid of your opponent's Silent Lab so that your Abilities turn back on, Fighting Stadium to eliminate more damage, Virbank to get rid of the extra Poison damage, and many more examples I'm sure. It's also nice that this is optional so you don't have to get rid of your own Stadium, though if your opponent replaces it with another it's honestly easier to just play your own rather than go through the trouble of attacking again. 

Then there's his second attack, which is...situational. At 4 Energy, you can use Frozen Splash for either a not-so-great 70 damage, or you can use it against a Fighting Pokemon to deal 140 damage instead! The problem with attacks like these is that they rely on a very specific Type of Pokemon to be your target - anything else, it's just okay. So against Fighting decks, which are no doubt extremely popular with all their support in recent memory, Walrein's pretty brutal! Against everything else...not so much. 

So Walrein isn't exceptionally phenomenal unless you hang around the Fighting Dojo (shout outs to PTCG for GBC!), but hey, he's something! If maybe Frozen Splash had something to do with some other aspect of a card other than the Type, like if they have a Tool attached or have Special Energy or even Retreat Cost, just...not Type. Anything but Type. THEN maybe Walrein would be more playable. 

Oh right. Stage 2. Never mind. 

Rating 

Standard: 2/5 (decent first attack marred by a second situational attack) 

Expanded: 2/5 (really, what do you expect?) 

Limited: 3/5 (probably more likely to get some mileage out of that second attack, given the support in the set, but I wouldn't be relying on this too much)

Arora Notealus: Walrein's a pretty nice Pokemon in all honesty. I mean come on, how many other Pokemon do you know based on walruses-oh right, there's only WALREIN!! TOO COOL FOR YOUR SCHOOL, KIDS, GOTTA GO TO THE ARCTIC!! 

Weekend Thought: Not bad for Water Week? Part 1? Did you figure we'd have a Part 2? Maybe we'll have a Part 3? Nahhh, maybe not, there's only so many Water Pokemon after all. 

BIG NOTE: We're taking this next week off as a Spring Break of sorts, so take it easy for now folks! We'll see you all when we come back the 30th!


Otaku

At last we come to our Friday pick for XY: Primal Clash Water Week: Walrein (XY: Primal Clash 48/160).  If you skipped right to this review, I’ll repeat what I’ve been saying about the Water-Type all week; Fighting is probably the best Type right now, and this isn’t as good as Fighting, but it is probably no worse than the “middle of the pack” overall.  The main reason for this is because while there aren’t a lot of great, top competitive Pokémon to OHKO even with Fire-Types almost all being Water Weak and a good chunk of Fighting-Types and exploiting Weakness is still an amazing bonus.  Otherwise the Water-Type enjoys great direct support like Archie’s Ace in the Hole and Dive Ball which work specifically for Water-Type Pokémon and indirect support like Blastoise (BW: Boundaries Crossed 31/149; BW: Plasma Storm137/135; BW: Plasmas Blast 16/101) which can fuel anything capable of using Water-Type Energy plus a few great key Pokémon like Keldeo-EX, Seismitoad-EX and Suicune, though Fighting-Types get at least as much or more of each.  Water-Types do have to worry about Water Resistance though its limited to some older Grass-Types and there are some “anti” Water-Type cards but if it was easier to properly format footnotes for CotDs, that’s where I’d mention them because they don’t see even a little competitive play. 

Being a Stage 2 is pretty rough.  It isn’t the worst Stage to be if you fear having to do things the “manual” way, but the competition are the “special” Stages that are still currently legal: some might consider it a bit of a toss up whether ending your turn by manually Mega Evolving is worse than needing two turns and two more cards to manually Evolve into a Stage 2 and Restored Pokémon don’t have a way to enter play without using the effect of another card (and no, Evolution doesn’t count as the effect of another card).  For those Mega Evolutions with Spirit Link cards and possibly Restored Pokémon and Fossil Researcher, sometimes I wonder if that is currently more effective than Rare Candy.  For Water-Types, all three can also use Archie’s Ace in the Hole to skip everything that comes before them, so that helps.  Still it is a format that rewards Basic Pokémon the most and punishes regular Stage 1 Pokémon far less than the rest.  Which means this is already something Walrein has to overcome unless it is one of the few, fortunate Evolutions with lower Stages that chip in to justify running the entire Stage. 

Walrein sports 150 HP, only 10 below the maximum printed on any Stage 2 Pokémon; though there are many Pokémon with greater HP scores only a handful aren’t Pokémon-EX or Stage 1 Pokémon that Evolve from Restored Pokémon.  This gives Walrein good (though not great) odds of surviving a hit outside of the usual suspects; attackers that hit ridiculously hard anyway, scalable attacks, auto-KO attacks, decks that run a lot of attack buffs and of course, Weakness.  As Walrein is an Ice/Water hybrid in the video games, it ends up with Metal Weakness in the TCG, which I believe is a little desirable than the Grass or Lightning Weakness seen on many other Water-Types, though I’m not completely certain due to some (relatively) recent shifts in the metagame.  It isn’t safe because there are indeed some Metal-Type attackers and decks floating around.  The lack of Resistance is the worst but few cards have Resistance so I see no point in penalizing a card for lacking it.  The four Energy Retreat Cost is going to cost Walrein, but only a little; the metagame is such that most decks want at least one or two outs to manually retreating a full price plus while not a huge advantage, in Expanded it makes the card a legal Heavy Ball target. 

So what does the “Ice Break Pokémon” do?  It has two attacks.  For [WC] it has Knockover, a handy attack that does a respectable 50 points of damage and gives you the option of discarding the current Stadium in play.  Jockeying for position with your Stadium (or rather denying your opponent their own) is usually at least a small advantage and sometimes rather significant, with some of the cards next set poised to make this attack even more useful (though that won’t affect the current score).  Frozen Splash requires a hefty [WWCC] to use and hits for… 70 points of damage, unless used against a Fighting-Type in which case it does an extra 70 damage.  It sounds pretty good but isn’t: most of the time it is a horribly overpriced 70 damage and even when hitting Fighting-Types, those with 70 or less HP (140 or less HP if they are Water Weak) would be OHKOed without the effect.  Those with over 140 HP still aren’t OHKOed, so only those that see either 80 to 140 HP or 150 to 280 HP and are Water Weak are majorly affected.  Especially restricting things further to what sees competitive play this is far too specialized.  There is only some basic synergy in that without Energy acceleration the first attack can be readied in two turns while the second needs four (three with the simple acceleration that is Double Colorless Energy). 

Let us see if Walrein gets any significant support from its related cards.  The Basic in the Evolution line is Spheal: the options are BW: Dragons Exalted 29/124 (Expanded Only), XY: Flashfire 24/106, XY: Primal Clash 45/160 and XY: Primal Clash 46/160 (an alternate art reprint of XY: Flashfire 24/106).  Normally I would go into a bit more detail but XY: Flashfire 24/106 (or XY: Primal Clash 46/160 as it is the same) are the choice to go with because they have 10 more HP and none of the attacks are really worth it on any version.  Since it is 70 HP, it even will even remain useful when getting hit (some) Metal-Types.  Sealeo has three cards and three options (as there are no reprints): BW: Dragons Exalted 30/124 (Expanded Only), XY: Flashfire 25/106 and XY: Primal Clash 47/160.  Things are slightly more complicated here; while all three are Stage 1 Water-Types with Metal Weakness, no Resistance, Retreat Cost [CCC], no Ability, no Ancient Trait and two attacks, the attacks have some merit.  BW: Dragons Exalted 30/124 can do 30 for [WC] with Ice Ball and 40 for [WCC] with Aurora Beam, but has only 80 HP so its out.  XY: Flashfire 25/106 has Rest for [CC] which heals 60 from itself and puts itself to Sleep or for [WWC] has Ice Ball again but this time for 60 damage.  XY: Primal Clash 47/160 has Freezing Headbutt for [WC] which does 30 with a coin flip to inflict Paralysis or has Aurora Beam as well, but this time for [WWC] and hitting for 50.  In the end, go with XY: Primal Clash 47/160 as Paralysis is the most likely to buy you an extra turn. 

That leaves the two other Walrein to compare and contrast: BW: Dragons Exalted 31/124 and XY: Flashfire 26/106.  XY: Flashfire 26/106 was reviewed here but that was about 8 months ago so its already a bit dated.  They have the same attributes as today’s version except that BW: Dragons Exalted 31/124 has 10 less HP.  Its has two attacks, Aurora Beam for [WCC] and hitting for 80 as well as Ice Entomb which requires a massive [WWCC] and hits for 60 plus automatic Paralysis, though the attack contains a clause stating it can’t use Ice Entomb on the next turn.  XY: Flashfire 26/106 has Powder Snow to hit for 60 and Sleep at a price of [WCC] while for [WWCC] it can use Big Tusk for 120 points of damage, less 10 per damage counter on it.  I’d say all four are overpriced to the point that today’s version looks good by comparison; so no help from the previous Stages or alternate final forms, though also no competition. 

So should you run Walrein (XY: Primal Clash 48/160)?  Most of the time no, but if you have an Archie’s Ace in the Hole and some VS Seeker (or multiple of the former) then there is a very slight chance.  Knock Over really can be handy, such as if Ninetales (XY: Primal Clash 21/160) has a particular Stadium locked into play or if something like Primal Groudon-EX wants to attack while discarding Stadiums for more damage (your opponent will get a chance to play more Stadiums, but you can slightly decrease their opportunities).  Unfortunately Knock Over can be a bit hard to power up unless the rest of the deck has additional acceleration.  While not enough to justify it alongside the rest, there will also be a few, select times when Frozen Splash comes in handy as well, however those will definitely require Energy acceleration or luck to ready it.  Oh and as always, there is Limited where as long as you can run it and don’t get something substantially better that clashes, its a good pull. 

Ratings 

Standard: 1.5/5 

Expanded: 1.65/5 

Limited: 3.5/5 

Summary: Walrein is a bit of a downer to end the week but it isn’t as hopeless as the score indicates; I wasn’t kidding when I said to think about the future.  It is still a bit of a long shot but there may be something coming to make it worth that Stadium discarding niche.  Still with some of the Water-Types we didn’t cover that should at least be better than this (if not some of our other picks this week), its inclusion seems a bit odd.


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