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Vs. System

Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day



- Fates Collide

Date Reviewed:
May 31, 2016

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.5
Expanded: 3.0
Limited: 3.5

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

Back to the main COTD Page


Welcome back from Memorial Day weekend everybody! Hope you enjoyed hanging out with family and eating BBQ and what-not! I dunno what you do, but I do know about some cards, so let's talk today about Tyranitar! 

Last we saw of him, he was terrorizing the EX scene as Tyranitar-EX and, subsequently, M Tyranitar-EX. I'm not saying he topped anything, but there were probably a few victims to the might of the Destroyer King. Now though, Tyranitar takes a step back from the EX throne and sits upon the Stage 2 castle, waiting for his next time to shine. 

Course that doesn't mean he's going to sit down without a fight. Tyranitar still demands to be king of the mountain, and for a whopping 5 Energy, he'll unleash the Dark Mountain on your foes! Already it starts off at 150 damage, but it also discards the top two cards of your deck. What does that mean? Well, if there wasn't more to this card, it'd just be shenanigans. Who'd want an attack that's basically 30 damage per Energy that also gets rid of two cards?...well, some people still might, but Tyranitar offers them incentive for it, for if they end up discarding Supporters because of it, he'll boost the power of Dark Mountain even more by 50 damage for each one! Astounding, and certainly powerful if you've got a lot of Supporters. 

...not that I imagine most decks run so many Supporters, but that's its own issue.  

Let's just address the elephant in the room though: how do we get 5 Energy onto Tyranitar? And more than that, how do we get it all to be Dark? It's not like he's got Hydreigon (NVI)'s Ability to change any Energy into Dark Energy that gets attached! Well, Tyranitar may not have Hydreigon's Ability, but he does have one of his own: Raging Roar! When you play him down from your hand to evolve a Pokemon, he gets to grab out Dark Energy from your discard pile equal to the number of Prize cards your opponent has taken! 

...wait a minute... 

As you can see, there are a couple of fundamental problems with Tyranitar here. For one, his Ability usually sticks you out on the losing end. Not to say that your opponent will be at 5 Prizes every time you put Tyranitar down, but to really get good mileage out of his Ability, your opponent will probably need to take 2-3 Prizes to make him worthwhile. And that's considering you get those Dark Energy into the discard first - a Battle Compressor or Sycamore will do wonders here. Course you may want to keep Sycamore in the deck as best you can, as the more Supporters Tyranitar can hit, the better Dark Mountain becomes. 

There's a lot of potential, but Tyranitar will not accept any other major attacker in his deck...well, maybe one or two... 


Standard: 2.5/5 (he's very demanding, as is the nature of Tyranitar) 

Expanded: 3/5 (but he could be potentially powerful in the right hands) 

Limited: 3.5/5 (hopefully he's glorious even in Limited) 

Arora Notealus: If big bulky powerful Pokemon like Tyranitar and Charizard ever get a good enough card to become competitive on top of being awesome to look at, who knows what will happen to the world of the card game... 



Welcome to a three-day week for the Pojo CotD crew.  Monday we had off due to Memorial Day, a U.S. holiday, while Friday probably has a holiday we have it off for other reasons.  So our first review this week happens today with Tyranitar (XY: Fates Collide 56/124; XY: Black Star Promos XY130).  This marks the proper return of Tyranitar to not only Standard but even Expanded play; no Tyranitar-EX and M Tyranitar-EX don’t count. 

This is a Darkness Type Pokémon, which is a mixed bag.  In terms of Weakness, only certain Psychic Types have to worry about the Darkness Type, while Resistance is universal on the currently released Fairy Type Pokémon (other than Florges BREAK, of course).  If the Fairy Type ever gets its act together again for the competitive scene, this is bad for Darkness Types; Klefki (XY: Furious Fists 73/111) makes Resistance on Fairy Types function as if it read -40, and the Type is most famous for Max Potion and Energy moving shenanigans with Aromatisse (XY 93/146).  There is one Fairy Type deck that is doing reasonably well at Spring Regionals, but it’s Rainbow Road, built around Xerneas (XY: BREAKthrough 107/162), and the entire point of that deck is to run as many different Pokémon Types as you can to power up the “Rainbow Force” attack on that Xerneas.  There are some anti-Darkness-Type cards but so far, none have proven particularly good; I will note that Zygarde (XY: Fates Collide 52/124) is their newest addition.  Darkness Type support is best because of the exemplary Pokémon in the Type, other than Dark Patch (not an option in Standard).  Yveltal-EX gives them one of the best attackers in the game, Sableye (BW: Dark Explorers 62/108) gives them a sacrificial attacker that can reclaim two Item cards, Darkrai-EX (BW: Dark Explorers 63/108, 107/108; BW: Black Star Promos BW46; BW: Legendary Treasures 88/113) provides a free Retreat for anything with [D] Type Energy attached plus is a solid attacker even after so many years of power creep, etc.  These Pokémon keep the Type competitive when otherwise it ought to be struggling. 

Tyranitar is a Stage 2 Pokémon; compared to most of what works, this makes it slow and costly to play.  You can go Larvitar => Pupitar => Tyranitar, or Larvitar => Tyranitar via Rare Candy, or use a Wally, or get really weird and use Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick to Bench Pupitar directly.  No, I don’t really know why you would try that last one.  Tyranitar is going to need a lot to justify all the time and cards going into it, and it starts by having 160 HP.  No actual Stage 2 has more than this, though it falls a little short of typical Basic Pokémon-EX and some of the bigger BREAK Evolutions, let alone all Mega Evolutions and Wailord-EX.  Still, you have a decent shot of surviving a hit thanks to that HP, unless Weakness is involved.  Fighting Weakness means Tyranitar is likely to be dropped by a single shot; some potential luck if the Fighting Type deck is more geared towards one-shotting Pokémon-EX, as stuff like Fighting Stadium won’t improve the damage done to Tyranitar.  Tyranitar does enjoy some Resistance; -20 may actually matter given its HP even against things like Night March.  The massive four Energy Retreat Cost should not be paid; find an alternative to retreating at full cost, preferably two or three and run them all in your deck (though some can be singles). 

Tyranitar has an Ability and attack that are pretty blatantly tied together; we’ll begin with “Raging Roar”, the Ability.  Raging Roar triggers when you Evolve your Pokémon into this Tyranitar from hand: you count how many Prize cards your opponent has taken and attack that many [D] Energy from your discard pile to itself.  This turns some of the slow, costly setup of the typical Stage 2 deck to your Advantage; unless your opponent is having trouble you’ll most likely give up at least one Prize before Tyranitar can hit the field and trigger Raging Roar.  So, what attack are you working with?  “Dark Mountain”, with a cost of [DDDDD] to do 150 damage while discarding the top two cards of your own deck; for each Supporter the attack discards, it does an additional 50 damage.  Discarding is not optional; if the target has low enough HP that the base 150 will score the KO, you still have to discard.  The good news is that you may do enough damage to OHKO anything without protection; even our chunky Wailord-EX only has a printed maximum HP score of 250.  The less good news is Supporters aren’t too bad to run heavy on and you can reclaim them from the discard pile pretty easily with VS Seeker, assuming Items aren’t being locked down. 

The bad news is that without any additional combo pieces, you’re relying on the luck of having a Supporter in those top two cards; even in a Supporter heavy build the odds are slowly diminishing as you likely will be using more and more Supporters each turn in addition to any you do manage to discard with Dark Mountain.  Said combos are also desirable to minimize how many non-Supporter cards you end up losing from the attack.  There are combos for this, but they are either unreliable, require a lot of additional setup, or both.  We’ll discuss them a bit later.  The damage is good but only the max really hits an important threshold square on: Basic Pokémon-EX with 170 or 180 HP can just barely survive, and all but the smallest (or Darkness Weak) Mega Evolutions can just barely survive a single Supporting discarding hit.  Yet there is always a “risk” you’ll discard one or two Supporters, so including something to increase damage not only means eating up more deck space, but falling into overkill territory when you do manage to hit Supporters with the discard from Dark Mountain.  Keeping on with that bad, Raging Roar requires your opponent have taken Prizes to work; while you could still be clearly in the lead, this does mean it won’t provide serious acceleration until your opponent has taken three or more Prizes.  I mean normally two Energy would be a good deal of acceleration, but Dark Mountain needs five, so even factoring in two manual Energy attachments over two turns, you’d need the opponent to have taken at least three Prizes. 

So what about the rest of the line?  Larvitar has two options, XY: Fates Collide 40/122 and XY: Fates Collide 41/122: both are Basic Fighting Types with Grass Weakness, no Resistance, Retreat Cost [C], and no Ability.  XY: Fates Collide 40/122 has 60 HP and the attack “Reckless Charge” for [C], do 20 to the opponent’s Active and 10 to itself.  XY: Fates Collide 41/122 has 50 HP but two attacks: “Mountain Munch” for [C] lets you discard the top card of the opponent’s deck while for [CC] it can use “Corkscrew Punch” to do 20 damage.  Only one Pupitar, XY: Fates Collide 42/122.  As a Stage 1 Fighting Type with 80 HP, Grass Weakness, No Resistance, Retreat Cost [C], no Ability, and just the attack “Thrash”.  Thrash costs [C] and 20 damage, with a coin flip that determines between 20+20 damage (“heads”) or 20 damage to yourself in addition to the 20 you do to the opponent’s Active (“tails”).  As you can tell, these don’t help, though we have seen worse.  As you do have a choice, go with the 60 HP Larvitar, XY: Fates Collide 40/122: I like the attacks better on the other one, but not enough to offset the ever-so-slight bump in changes to survive that 10 extra HP gives it. 

Now I’m not really expecting Tyranitar to be a hit at tournaments, but I do have some ideas if you just want to build and enjoy a Tyranitar deck.  First is to just follow the usual “Dark Deck” guidelines, but star Tyranitar.  With Dark Patch in Expanded and Yveltal (XY 78/146; XY: Black Star Promos XY06; Generations RC16/RC32) in either Standard or Expanded, you can get some extra Energy on Tyranitar so that you don’t need Raging Roar to attach as many.  Yveltal can also act as an opening sacrifice and possibly alternate attacker; you need something that doesn’t require a lot of space but could be easily built up into a threat.  Yveltal-EX is another option, of course, but it can’t help Tyranitar directly.  Losing the original, regular Yveltal means an extra Energy attachment from Raging Roar  as well.  The big problems with this set up are that without massive luck (multiple Dark Patch or the opponent’s offense being delayed), Tyranitar isn’t going to be ready that fast, and it is obviously less effective than your typical deck focused around these cards would be (and perhaps less fun than something more competitive or more creative). 

Still focusing on getting Tyranitar ready more quickly, an odd thought is Milotic (XY: Flashfire 23/106); you can not only use its Energy Grace to attach three basic Energy cards from your discard pile to one of your Pokémon in play (presumably Tyranitar or its lower Stages), but since it is KOing itself that fuels Raging Roar as well.  In fact, if you can time it correctly (Energy Grace then Raging Roar), you could start with a Larvitar or Pupitar that has no Energy to fully ready to attack, even if your opponent has taken no Prizes before you KO Milotic for Energy Grass.  You’ll need to have four Darkness Energy cards in the discard pile available though, plus one in hand to attach manually, though.  The obvious flaw here is that Milotic has to either Evolve from Feebas (possibly speeding it up via Wally) or use Archie’s Ace in the Hole to hit the field directly.  This does bring us up to another concern though; pushing for the OHKO.  Gallade (XY: BREAKthrough 84/162) improves your odds of avoiding valuable cards/discarding the Supporters you actually want to discard, thanks to its PokéDex-like Ability.  Or you could use Swampert (XY: Primal Clash 26/160) and its “Diving Search” Ability to ensure you top deck the exact Supporter you want, but you can only do the top card, not the top two.  The former is probably best used with Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick while the latter is another potential target for Archie’s Ace in the Hole.  The thing is those supporters have painful requirements to hit when your deck is built around a wholly or mostly unrelated (to those Supporters) Stage 2. 

Alternatively you could use the Item “Recycle” in Expanded; flip a coin and if “heads” you get to top deck something from your discard pile.  If you want to “stack” more than two cards on top without relying on said cards already being in the top five of your deck, you’ll need Recycle.  In fact, if you want Diving Search to guarantee you hit one Supporter, Recycle can then top deck the second.  All of this gives you a massive monstrosity that can deal huge amounts of damage up front, but the setup will be painful and it will be vulnerable to more kinds of disruption.  For Limited, this thing looks like a beast to me, but it still requires some caution.  First, remember that Limited uses four prizes instead of six.  So the most you’ll be able to attach via Raging Roar is three Energy.  You’ll have more time to build manually, so it still remains a good trick.  Average HP scores tend to be lower, which is good as Dark Mountain is rarely going to have a Supporter it can hit, and you probably don’t want to discard but rather use what ones you did pull anyway.  Still, once it gets going only the odd Pokémon-EX or Evolution will take more than one hit.  Which is good because of an additional drawback for the attack in this format; Limited decks are 40 cards, so discarding two cards is a bit bigger of a deal as it is proportionately more of your deck and you’ll have little to know way to reclaim what is discarded.  Lastly it will force you to run heavy on basic Darkness Energy cards.  As Raging Roar recycles them, you probably won’t need to go mono-Darkness, but you’ll want a lot since the attack must you five of them, no less.  All this assumes you pull at least one Larvitar and Pupitar as well. 


Standard: 1.9/5 

Expanded: 2.1/5 

Limited: 3.75/5 

Summary: Tyranitar actually has a lot going for it apart from being a Stage 2, it is just while it gives us built in recovery for when the opponent just keeps taking Prizes along with the potential to OHKO anything unprotected, but the unreliability of the last bit of the needed damage and massive Energy cost means what we really need is another Tyranitar to run alongside this one.  Something that is better early to mid game.  This one might actually be a bit better in Expanded; while there are more dangers for it to face, Dark Patch can really help with getting Dark Mountain going before Raging Roar is attaching much. 

Though I am probably overrating it; I now just have this paranoid vision of something I didn’t suggest (or something I did but dismissed) working and someone streaming Tyranitar to victory.

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