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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


 Vespiquen #11

- Ancient Origins

Date Reviewed:
Oct. 1, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 1.50
Expanded: 1.33
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


And yes, we ARE reviewing another Vespiquen! Cause I'm pretty sure you don't want to hear about Combee and his 1-for-10 Bug Bite. 

Surprisingly, the Vespiquen with the Ancient Trait isn't so fascinating - or as good - as its non-Ancient Trait-wielding counterpart, something that I've begun to notice is a bit of a theme with the unfortunate majority of Ancient Trait-wielding Pokemon. What's more unfortunate is that Vespiquen's Trait is Theta Double, a trait that is already being used to greater effect by M Tyranitar-EX. You know, the one that crushes everything? 

Here's the thing about Vespiquen: its attacks cost the same as Vespiquen (10)'s, but they are far worse. Rather than drawing cards, Bee Drain does a little more damage and heals Vespiquen for the same amount, which really doesn't do much when she's only got 90 HP to begin with. 90's been a magic number forever - if anything, I wouldn't be surprised if it got bumped up to 120 to match the Mega Pokemon's highest stat of 240 HP - so having the ability to heal off a part of that is moot. 

And don't even get me started on Fury Swipes. Spoiler alert: an attack that flips coins to maybe deal 90 damage isn't going to outdo an attack that can do that same damage with 7 Pokemon in the discard pile - and then KEEP doing MORE damage for EACH NEW ONE. And if you're thinking that maybe having two copies of Muscle Band will make up for that, there is that possibility that you won't flip any heads at all - and then where are you? 

Needless to say, you don't want the rare Vespiquen - you want the uncommon one.  


Standard: 1.5/5 (really a bit of a waste of an Ancient Trait) 

Expanded: 1/5 (NOPE) 

Limited: 2/5 (...okay, if you get two copies of Lucky Helmet and attach them both to Vespiquen, then yeah, I think it'll be hilarious to see your opponent giving you four cards...for the price of four cards.) 

Arora Notealus: Seriously, where's my Beedrill-EX/M Beedrill-EX combo? 

Next Time: THEY'RE IN MY EYEEEEEEES-nah, just kidding, it's a majestic deer!


Today we officially look at the other Vespiquen (XY: Ancient Origins 11/98).  Continuing the common theme for the week, this is a Grass-Type which means it enjoys hitting at least a few noteworthy cards for double damage because of Weakness (more in Expanded), doesn’t have to worry about Resistance, doesn’t have to worry the few anti-Grass-Type cards because they just aren’t that good and enjoys some good Type support, the main relevant bit being Forest of Giant Plants… again.  That would be because this is a Stage 1 that Evolves from a Basic Grass-Type (more on that later) so Forest of Giant Plants offsets the turn delay a Stage 1 normally must deal with (though you still need two cards versus one for a Basic).  90 HP is a probable OHKO for your opponent, the main exceptions being a very incomplete offensive set up or a deck not focused on dealing a lot of damage in the first place.  The Fire Weakness may not matter too much; thanks to Flareon (XY: Ancient Origins 13/98) there may be several exceptions to what I am about to say, but most decks using a Fire-Type are going to at least be trying to hit harder than 90 damage in one turn… which is already a OHKO.  Might save them some resources though.  No Resistance is typical and with 90 HP, it’s kind of iffy about whether it would have helped or not.  A Retreat Cost of [C] helps; while not as good as being free it is still easy to pay and to recover from most of the time. 

Vespiquen has an Ancient Trait and two attacks.  “Θ Double” allows Vespiquen to have two Pokémon Tools attached at the same time.  This can lead to something straightforward like slapping on two Muscle Band to hit for +40 or two Hard Charm to soak 40 damage or two different Pokémon Tools when doubling something up isn’t a worthwhile pursuit.  The first attack is “Bee Drain” for [G] and it does 20 damage, then heals Vespiquen by an amount equal to the damage done.  “Fury Swipes” is the second attack, requiring [CC]: it has you flip three coins and does 30 damage per “heads”.  Possible results are no damage (one out of eight), 30 damage (three out of eight), 60 damage (three out of eight) and 90 damage (one out of eight).  So minimum damage zero, maximum damage 90, with mean, median and mode damage being an awkward 45 because you’re equally likely to hit for 30 or 60.  So how do these attacks stack up? 

In isolation, all of these are at least “adequate” with the Ancient Trait being the most impressive.  Θ Double has the positive note that the two examples of “simple” tricks I gave can actually be pretty impressive… but not with the attacks on the card.  In fact, with Pokémon Tools you have to read the waxing and waning of the metagame because we have a fantastic, hard counter that any deck not running Pokémon Tool F can easily incorporate - Startling Megaphone - except we have dozens of similar, potent counter-cards for a variety of circumstances and only enough room to run one in the typical deck, if that.  So when Tool usage is down elsewhere, you can risk running more Pokémon Tools so you can do things like slap both Trick Coin and Muscle Band onto Vespiquen to improve the damage from Fury Swipes.  Even then there isn’t much you can do to avoid being a OHKO and that might be the biggest problem; your opponent doesn’t need Startling Megaphone when they can just take a quick OHKO.  Even doubling up on Hard Charm isn’t going to make Vespiquen overly durable; 130 damage attacks aren’t as easy to hit your opponent with rapidly, reliably and repeatedly for all decks, but plenty of decks already do it or could if it meant rapid, reliable and repeated OHKOs. 

The attacks, as stated, don’t live up to the Ancient Trait but they aren’t worthless.  Bee Drain is, however, ill-suited to something so small; healing when you’re a probable OHKO a waste because you’ll lack damage to heal the first time you attack and then you won’t survive getting damaged to attack again.  If this was a hypothetical “Vespiquen-EX” the typical HP of Basic Pokémon-EX, this might work, but as a 90 HP you would require an outlandish (resource intensive, complicated and fragile) combo to both bump up this card’s HP and damage at the same time… and there would still be opposing decks that can manage the OHKO.  Fury Swipes has sufficient damage for the Energy involved, or at least it does half the time.  The really obvious plan of using Forest of Giant Plants plus a Double Colorless Energy to get Vespiquen into play and attacking in a single turn, then slapping two Muscle Band onto her to go for fast damage?  Even when you pull it off, before all the things your opponent might be running to mess it up, 12.5% of those assaults will score zero damage if you experience “average” luck.  37.5% are going to be 70, which would be nice except we just invested a Special Energy card, Stadium, a Basic and Stage 1 Pokémon and two copies of the same Pokémon Tool.  Even the 100 or 130 damage on the “happy” half of the results aren’t all that impressive then.  Trick Coin can replace a Muscle Band to improve your odds a little, but as the “main” attack is falls very, very short.  At least the Energy cost is nice and low for both of these. 

Does the extended card family make a difference?  Combee has one Expanded-only option - BW: Plasma Storm 4/135 - and one good for Standard or Expanded play - XY: Ancient Origins 9/98.  We have a repeat with the other options for Vespiquen with BW: Plasma Storm 5/135 and XY: Ancient Origins 10/98.  All are Grass-Types with Fire Weakness, no Resistance, no Abilities and no Ancient Traits.  Both Combee are Basic Pokémon with a Retreat Cost of [C], lack an Ancient Trait and have a single attack that costs [G]: BW: Plasma Storm 4/135 does 30 damage and then shuffles itself and all cards attached into your deck (and also only has 30 HP) while XY: Ancient Origins 9/98 just hits for 10 damage (while having the marginally better 40 HP).  Even if you’re not trying to instantly Evolve via Forest of Giant Plants go with whichever you prefer as there are times when that 30 damage (even with drawbacks) or 10 more HP will actually matter. 

Both of the other Vespiquen are Stage 1 Pokémon with two attacks.  BW: Plasma Storm 5/135 has 100 HP, which sometimes will make a difference but most often will still be a OHKO for your opponent.  She has a Retreat Cost of [C] like today’s card as well as a similar [G] cost for its first attack “Gather Order” which allows you to search your deck for as many Combee as you like and Bench them.  That isn’t as impressive as it might sound: besides the fact that outside of extenuating circumstances you’ll at most be getting three Combee out of the deal, with Forest of Giant Plants (told you it was important to Grass-Types) and the low HP of Combee, you are likely better off using effects that leave you time to Evolve before your opponent gets a chance to swing away.  “Damage Beat” (the second attack) requires [GC] to hit for 20 damage times the number of damage counters on the opponent’s Active; that isn’t bad as when combined with damage counter placing effects you could should for a OHKO but the attack does no damage itself (and neither did Gathering Order) so even when shooting for a 2HKO you need a combo partner, at just 20 per damage counter you need something a third of the way KOed (60 damage isn’t that easy to supply outside of attacking) and that [GC] cost isn’t easy enough to pay in a single turn and depressingly, the pacing of the game is so fast that yes this needs to be a single turn set up even if you are using a different attacker to spread damage the turn before.  Maybe that is why this card was reviewed on April Fool’s Day when she was a more recent release (but probably not). 

We reviewed XY: Ancient Origins 10/98 yesterday and if you skipped it, here is a brief recap.  While she still only has 90 HP she enjoys a free Retreat Cost and two “Colorless” attacks.  For [C] she can use “Intelligence Gathering” to hit for just 10 damage but more importantly to draw until you have six cards in hand.  Not something to rely on, but nice to have and since it still does 10 damage, it can be boosted should it prove worthwhile to do so.  The second attack is “Bee Revenge” and it needs only [CC] to hit for 20 plus 10 per Pokémon in your discard pile.  I am so used to using cards like Battle Compressor, Professor Sycamore and Ultra Ball to both speed through my deck and toss Night March Pokémon (among others) into the discard pile that I didn’t even bother naming them (no really, I wasn’t only being lazy, though it was that as well).  It takes a lot of work to get into the OHKO range for Pokémon-EX (especially Mega Evolutions) but as a cleaner late game it is pretty sweet and it compliments both some existing and some recent strategies. 

As is painfully obvious by now, if you’re running a Vespiquen in Standard or Expanded, stick to XY: Ancient Origins 10/98.  Even as a one-of just to use before you get your discard pile fully stocked, I can’t recommend today’s version (XY: Ancient Origins 11/98).  If our Bee Revenge option didn’t exist in the format, I still wouldn’t be too keen on the Ancient Trait version; some good pieces go into it but the whole is less than the sum of its parts.  The one place to enjoy her is in Limited.  The usual things apply; the HP lasts longer and the attacks are more impressive because of the lower average HP and damage yields caused by only being able to run what you pull with most Evolutions lacking their lower Stages to be run or a properly fleshed out line and the deck resources to get into play reliably.  Vespiquen is fortunate that her Uncommon counterpart makes it easier to get said fleshed out line (and thus at least one of them out) plus all three are Level Ball legal targets, and Level Ball is in this set.  Only one Pokémon Tool that is not a Spirit Link card, so Θ Double probably won’t matter, but both Bee Drain and Fury Swipes should serve you well here and the single [G] in their costs will allow Vespiquen to fit into most decks. 


Standard: 1.5/5 

Expanded: 1.25/5 

Limited: 3.75/5 

Summary: Perhaps Vespiquen (XY: Ancient Origins 11/98) will be fortunate and either the other reviewers know something I don’t or a later release will make her worthwhile, but this seems to be one of the examples where the “fancier” Ancient Trait version of two Pokémon in the set is the lesser option, and by a sizable margin.  The individual aspects of the card vary from “okay” to “good” and even the fragile 90 HP isn’t so bad since we have Level Ball to help whether one is a supporting Pokémon or glass cannon, but the package deal isn’t worth the asking price (in terms of game resources - I don’t know for how much this sells).

Emma Starr

            Today, we have the not-so-exciting version of Vespiquen, who was lucky enough to get a full-ish art card because…got to impress the casual collectors with it somehow? How this warranted Vespiquen getting two cards in one set, I don’t think we’ll ever know, but poor Vespiquen from yesterday, getting her full-ish art stolen by this jealous bee…

            For one Grass Energy, Vespiquen can use Bee Drain, which deals 20, and heals 20 from her as well. Um…got to get rid of that Poison damage somehow? With 90 HP and Fire Weakness, Vespiquen won’t be sticking around very long anyway, especially with this Base Set-esque attack…NEXT!

            For two Colorless, Vespiquen can use Fury Swipes, which lets you flip 3 coins, with each heads letting you do 30 damage, for a maximum of an unimpressive 90 damage, if you’re that lucky. More often than not, you’ll most likely actually be doing 60 or 30. You COULD use a Trick Coin with her, but I think that Ancient Trait of hers could be used in a better way than with this awful attack.

            Omega Double, her Ancient Trait, lets her wield two Tool Cards. How can you make the best of this otherwise-awful attacker? Simply attach two Lucky Helmets to her, and draw 4 cards, even if she is Knocked Out! Is this worth giving your opponent a prize? Well, maybe, especially if you know she can actually take 2 or more hits. This could be a liable, but risky strategy in Limited, especially with only having a maximum of 4 Prize Cards. With a 40 card deck though, with not as much draw power, it could be worth considering. In Expanded, you could try using a Rock Guard and Rocky Helmet for an 80 damage counter-attack, but I prefer using Rock Guard on someone who I think will be in play longer, such as most EXs. All in all, with Omega Double, she could pull off some craziness, but play her with caution. 

            Standard: 1.5/5 (Although she may be easily replaced by other Omega Double Pokemon…at least Fury Swipes only costs two Colorlesses?)

            Expanded: 1.65/5 (You have more Tool Cards here, such as Rock Guard, Rocky Helmet, or even Life Dew, to prevent your opponent from taking any Prizes for KOing this Pokemon…)

            Limited: 2.5/5 (The strategy from the last paragraph may give you the drawing power you need to win…maybe.)

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