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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


 Absol EX

- Mega Absol-EX Collection

Date Reviewed:
October 26, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.25
Expanded: 2.50
Limited: DNA

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

Back to the main COTD Page


Hey guys, and welcome back to another week of card reviews! We took last week off, but now we're back to a new week with a bit more Halloween-y cards! And what better type to represent Halloween than the Dark-type? Oooooooh~

...well, aside from Ghosts, but hey, TCG. 

We start off with a promo card in the form of Absol-EX! This guy actually came out back in May with the Mega Absol-EX Collection, but we're only just now getting around to him - to be fair, a lot's happened in the last few months! What with M Rayquaza-EX, the whole Ancient Origins thing, the Team sets - you know, lots of stuff! In any case, Absol-EX is ready for action. 

Starting off simply with a 1-for-20 strike, Dark Fang also offers a 50/50 shot at discarding a random card from your opponent's hand. That can be nice if you hit a key card in their hand, but naturally the chances of that happening are a bit slim. Usually your opponent will have played the cards they need to play before you attack with Absol-EX, but hey, you might be able to get away with something! 

Dark Edge doesn't let you get away with much else though. For 3 Energy, it deals a pretty decent 100 damage while also reducing the damage Absol-EX takes from the Defending Pokemon by 20 damage. Again, not a bad effect, but it's a bit stunted by things like retreating and gratuitous damage outputs. Just saying, it ain't gonna do much that a Muscle Band won't fix. 

Still, the occasional Fighting deck may rain on Absol-EX's parade outside of the main competitive arena, but there may be a fair bit that can help him out inside with Dangerous Energy, making him a little more dangerous to attack given the trade-off. Still, he's not gonna put the pressure on some of the other Megas...well, not without his own, at least. 


Standard: 2.5/5 (decent as an EX, though not the best option overall) 

Expanded: 3/5 (the extra Dark support always helps) 

Limited: N/A (he is a promo after all) 

Arora Notealus: Absol is usually known as the disaster Pokemon, with his appearance tied to natural disasters occurring shortly afterwards. Not that he causes any of these, but hey, maybe that's why you can first find him in Route 120 after Fortree City in the RSE/ORAS games - he's signaling the oncoming conflict of the plot of the game! Crazy thought, or just good planning? ;) 

Next Time: And what a Mega it is!


As it tends to be a “spooky” time of year as October comes to a close, for its final week we’ll take a trip to the dark side with some Darkness-Types.  First up is Absol-EX (XY: Black Star Promos XY62)! 


I wanted a Halloween theme that involved the cards of this set (and recent promos); I worked with what we had. 

So how is the Darkness-Types?  During the mid BW-era it was a ferocious beast because of the rules and card pool of the time: Pokémon Catcher did not require a coin flip to work, you could attack first turn and Dark Claw and Dark Patch were the best (and I think only) examples of Trainer based Type support.  Darkrai-EX and Sableye (BW: Dark Explorers 62/108) were huge both when and for a good length of time after they debuted; with all of them working together first turn “Night Spear” for 110 (and 30 to something on the Bench) was a legitimate strategy!  Darkness-Types have received more support since then, such as Dangerous Energy, Shadow Circle and Yveltal-EX (though the latter just needs a source of [D] Energy).  Yveltal-EX is magnificent, Shadow Circle is adequate but Dangerous Energy is lackluster at best, while not only have the rules changed but out of the old support only Dark Patch remains strong, with Dark Claw almost totally useless due to Muscle Band.  There are three anti-Darkness-Type cards: Cobalion (BW: Black Star Promos BW72), Terrakion (BW: Black Star Promos BW71) and Virizion (BW: Black Star Promos BW70) which have an Ability (Justified) that increases the damage done to Darkness-Types.  They never proved worth the effort.  A subsection of the Psychic-Type (those representing the video game Ghost-Type) are usually Darkness Weak, but that is it; better than nothing at all but not much.  Yveltal-EX and the lingering strength of the older support keeps the Darkness-Type somewhat strong. 

Being a Basic Pokémon is the best; least amount of deck space required, just needs an open Bench spot to be put into play, required as your opening Active Pokémon and in most cases having better natural synergy with card effects (a single card search can get you part of an Evolution or all of a Basic) and while there are definitely some anti-Basic Pokémon cards like Pyroar (XY: Flashfire 20/106) and Silent Lab, only that last one is going to often matter and hey, Expanded actually contains Basic Stage support in the form of cards like Eviolite, Prism Energy and Skyarrow Bridge!  It is a Pokémon-EX (as you can easily tell by the name) which means it is worth an extra Prize when KOed, doesn’t get all (or sometimes any) of the benefits of certain cards while other cards will “punish” a player for having a Pokémon-EX; Silver Bangle can be our example for both of those last two as it provides +30 damage while attached but only when a non-Pokémon-EX attacks a Pokémon-EX.  Usually this is balanced out (at least some) by Pokémon-EX having better attributes and effects than their non-Pokémon-EX counterparts, such as Absol-EX having 170 HP while contemporary Absol like BW: Plasma Freeze 67/116 or XY: Roaring Skies 40/108) only have 100. 

The 170 HP of Absol-EX is the lower of the two commonly seen scores on Basic Pokémon-EX, but it is enough to not easily be KOed rapidly, reliably and repeatedly except by decks that expressly win through OHKO.  The big exception will be hits from Fighting-Types because Absol-EX is Fighting Weak; another change from “back in the day” when Darkness-Types ruled the Earth… er… metagame, the Fighting-Type has probably the best Type support and includes attackers that hit well for a single Energy and multiple damage bonuses plus other stuff.  Absol-EX does benefit from Psychic Resistant; it isn’t a major bonus but Absol-EX will be a little harder for Psychic-Type attackers to OHKO, at least the ones that rely on doing damage.  It has a pretty typical Retreat Cost of [CC], which I find to be low enough you often will be able to pay (and recover from having paid) but high enough you really would prefer an alternative: running something to lower the cost of or entirely bypass manually retreating is recommended (and thanks to Darkrai-EX, a bit easier for Darkness-Types). 

Absol-EX lacks either an Ability or Ancient Trait but does have two attacks.  The first (Dark Fang) costs [D] and hits for 20 damage, with a coin flip discarding a random card from your opponent’s hand on “heads” (tails still does the 20 damage); not likely to matter most of the time but you do have to flip and when it is “heads” you have to discard from the opponent’s hand and discarding from the opponent’s hand can be meaningless or even backfire against certain decks.  Both the damage and the effect are a little weak, but not bad.  The second attack (Dark Edge) requires [DDC], does 100 damage to the Defending Pokémon while also reducing the damage done from its attacks by 20 during your opponent’s next turn, before Weakness and Resistance are applied.  Again we have decent but not great damage and effect; the main issue with the effect is that your opponent just has to change out attackers (including Benching or bouncing the current Defending Pokémon but getting it back up and attacking that turn) to ditch the effect.  Still when it sticks it can be handy as though it isn’t a lot, it can throw off OHKO and 2HKO calculations.  The Energy cost means you’ll probably have to rely on Dark Patch or some other form of Energy acceleration compatible with [D] Energy; too slow otherwise. 

Absol-EX doesn’t have any other versions available but it does have a Mega Evolution.  M Absol-EX (XY: Black Star Promo XY63) changes as you would expect: access to the mechanical bonuses (usually better attributes and effects) and drawbacks (has to Mega Evolve, which ends your turn) of being a Mega Evolution, plus the cards that similarly benefit (Mega Turbo) or cause problems (Faded Town) for Mega Evolutions.  M Absol-EX gets another 40 HP (so printed HP of 210), making it one of the smaller (but not the smallest) Mega Evolutions.  The only other change is that it now has one attack (Disaster Wing) instead of the two that Basic Absol-EX possessed.  Disaster Wing only requires [DD] and hits for a solid base damage of 80; not brilliant but with a Muscle Band, it would 2HKO most non-Mega Evolutions.  The attack’s effect has you reveal the top card of you discard the top card of your opponent’s deck (could be a bonus, could backfire) and if it was a Trainer card, the attack does another 80 on top of the original, or 160 total.  With a Muscle Band that can score some useful OHKOs… except you’ll notice I said nothing of a Spirit Link for this card, and there is no Darkness-Type equivalent of Archie’s Ace in the Hole or Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick. 

We’ll discuss more in depth strategy for M Absol-EX tomorrow but the short version is that you’re probably only using Absol-EX alongside M Absol-EX.  It isn’t one of the horrible lower Stages; both attacks have some use but just not enough to compete with the many other Basic Pokémon-EX you could be running: Darkrai-EX, Malamar-EX, Sharpedo-EX and Yveltal-EX gives you much better options, for Standard or Expanded.  This isn’t Limited legal so no score there, though if it had been in a set it would be a great pull: not the top Pokémon-EX in a set (unless it was a kind of lackluster set) but the effects are just a little better in Limited and the lower average HP scores/damage yields would have made it a viable as a +39 candidate. 


Standard: 2/5 

Expanded: 2/5 

Limited: N/A 

Summary: Absol-EX joins the long list of Pokémon-EX that “do stuff” but not so well that they are worth playing on their own, or will be a selling point for their Mega Evolution (if one exists) but aren’t really “bad” per se.  It doesn’t have crippling HP or attack costs any other defect like that (though Fighting Weakness can feel like it sometimes) and the attacks have “okay” damage and effects for the Energy invested.  It is simply underwhelming, but not lacking enough that if everything else about M Absol-EX is good, it would prevent M Absol-EX from seeing play.

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