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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day




Xerosic - Phantom Forces

Date Reviewed:
Oct. 13, 2016

Ratings & Reviews Summary

See Below

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

Back to the main COTD Page


My missing reviews for this Top 20 list should all have been posted by the time you read this, as well as a revised version of last Friday’s review; had a simple typo and decided to use it as an excuse to run through the stats and effect of Aegislash-EX in more detail.  Feel free to give those a read.  I’d link to the ones that were late, but by now I’m not completely certain which those were.  Our 12th place finisher is Xerosic (XY: Phantom Forces 110/119, 119/119).  As someone who hasn’t played the video games, watched the animation, or read the manga in a few generations, I took a moment to look up the character for the purpose of telling a few good jokes.  While an interesting read, I’ll just make the humorous observation I could have based on card art alone: Xerosic joins the small pool of potentially accurate cosplay options for the plus-size.  Well, I’m still too large to pull him off well but I’m also to lazy and broke to cosplay.  So… onto the card! 

Xerosic is a Trainer, specifically a Supporter.  Thankfully both anti-Trainer and anti-Supporter effects aren’t that abundant and what we have hasn’t proven effective, so we can focus on the rest of what that means.  The bits we have of general Trainer assisting effects apply to Xerosic, though not all will be especially helpful; snagging it Trainers’ Mail is usually a good thing, unless you really needed a different card and/or already used a Supporter this turn, but fetching it with Skyla usually isn’t worth the effort.  That brings us to our next point; you normally may only use a single Supporter on your turn, so all Supporters are in moderate competition with each other.  It isn’t true, completely competition like with an Ace Spec card, where regardless of the card name your deck is allowed a single card with that mechanic in your deck, but you don’t want too many Supporters in your deck for fear of them clogging up your hand most of the time.  This is why the designers invented the mechanic; it was a few years into the TCG when they realized “Hey, players like powerful Trainers but all the ones like that we’ve released have caused game balance and/or pacing issues.”  So Xerosic needs a good effect to be worth the space, and he allows you to pick between two; either you may discard a Pokémon Tool or a Special Energy card that is in play.  When this was released (and still in Expanded), we had Item card that could already discard a Special Energy (Enhanced Hammer) and other Item cards could discard multiple Pokémon Tools in a single turn (Startling Megaphone, Tool Scrapper).  Yet this card managed to take 4th place on our Top 10 Picks of XY: Phantom Forces countdown.  Why?

Having two different effects makes it less likely Xerosic will be dead in hand; Enhanced Hammer is no use to you if your opponent has no Special Energy in play, while Startling Megaphone doesn’t help you if your opponent has no Special Energy in play, and can backfire if you are also running Pokémon Tool F cards (which also released in this expansion).  For those rare times you need to discard one of your own Special Energy cards and not uncommon times when you need to discard a Pokémon Tool from one of your own Pokémon (again mostly Pokémon Tool F cards your opponent would use against you), Xerosic has you covered while the other two don’t (though Tool Scrapper can also target your own Pokémon).  This alone isn’t enough, but thanks to other card released from both prior to, in, and after XY: Phantom Forces, we had a good reason to want these effects on a Supporter and not an Item card.  Item lock effects aren’t new and weren’t knew when Xerosic released, but additional Item lock cards were released as well as cards that comboed well with those already available.  XY: Phantom Forces gave Seismitoad-EX Lysandre’s Trump Card and Slurpuff (XY: Phantom Forces 69/119).  The former was banned and the latter was replaced by Shaymin-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 77/108, 106/108), but it still made for some vicious Item lock decks.  Except it often relied heavily on Double Colorless Energy, so a well timed Xerosic had a chance of preventing Seismitoad-EX from attacking, thus breaking the lock.  Another partner for Seismitoad-EX was Garbodor (BW: Dragons Exalted 54/124; BW: Plasma Freeze 119/116; BW: Legendary Treasures 68/113).  With Seismitoad-EX up front to block Item usage, usual counters Startling Megaphone and Tool Scrapper couldn’t discard the Tool from Garbodor, allowing its “Garbotoxin” Ability to shut down all other Abilities, for a devastating double lock.  Except Xerosic could punch through and still discard the Tool from Garbodor, turning off Garbotoxin and every other Ability back on. 

We also received Battle Compressor and VS Seeker in XY: Phantom Forces, so instead of needing two or more Xerosic to have a good chance of Xerosic being in hand at the correct time, you could run a single copy, discard it first or second turn with Battle Compressor, then recycle it up to four times with VS Seeker as needed.  This worked with other potent TecH Supporters.  It was followed by Shaymin-EX further reducing the reliance on draw Supporters.  Suddenly you could afford to run two, three, even four Supporters as singles but enjoy them rapidly and reliably, and have an alternative means of draw to assist in your set and field maintenance, so that you could afford to use the TecH instead of needing it for Professor Sycamore or the like.  So, turns out my review from when the card was new was pretty accurate; I’d left it off my own Top 10 list for XY: Phantom Forces, but stated that was a mistake.  I thought the card had potential but it needed a little more to justify heavy play… and it got that thanks to the potency of Battle Compressor with VS Seeker, as well as Item lock.  At least when those first two weren’t being countered by the third.  In Expanded play, Xerosic is still a common TecH option; not quite a staple, but often used.  I’ll be bumping up the card’s score for that reason, but understand it’s got a lot of competition and not just in discarding Tools or Special Energy; had we looked at it before say Delinquent, Pokémon Ranger, and other useful TecH Supporters released, I would have scored it higher still.  For Limited it is a great pull because this set has multiple Tools and Special Energy cards in it.  You might face an opponent that didn’t get any or never gets a chance to play them, but better safe than sorry. 

So why is it on this list?  Garbodor (XY: BREAKpoint 57/122) has returned Garbotoxin to Standard play, but there is no Trainer based method of discarding a Pokémon Tool from it.  Mega Evolutions are enjoying some time in the sun now several (but not all) low resource attackers have rotated out of the Standard card pool, lost some pieces of support due to rotation, or had counters released.  On top of the previous two, without an easy means of being discarded, players are now comfortable relying on Pokémon Tools with more passive effects… and even if they weren’t Fighting Fury Belt is still a commonly played, strong Tool.  If reprinted, unless another effective method of Tool discard was released, Xerosic would at least temporarily become a staple.  It may even remain one, as I don’t know if the metagame would shift as radically for it as it did for Startling Megaphone and Tool Scrapper.  With those two, players had to read the metagame to know whether Tool usage spiked so it was worth including something just to discard them, which in turn would eventually lead to a decline in Tool usage, leading to players dropping Tool discarding cards, which then lead to Tool usage increasing again and the whole thing repeating. 


Standard: N/A 

Expanded: 3.65/5 

Limited: 4/5 

Summary: Xerosic gives you the option of running one card that can do two different, useful things - discarding a Special Energy or discarding a Tool - and with no targeting restrictions save those imposed by other cards (stuff like the Ancient Trait “Ω Barrier” can still block the effect of Xerosic).  You pay a premium for this package, but the competitive side of the Pokémon TCG has demonstrated that often, this is a good deal.  The intricacies of how it reacts with other cards and the shifting metagame can make it quite easy to under- or overstate this card’s effectiveness. 

Xerosic managed to accrue 25 voting points, three points shy of what secured 11th place and only a point ahead of yesterday’s Focus Sash.  For my personal Top 20, I had Xerosic in 5th place; 12th seems a bit too low.  Still I can see it as lower than 5th place if someone does not value general usage or Tool discarding Trainers as much as I do, and already can formulate an argument for why; sometimes niche effects are so powerful they shape the rest of the game, and the instant we get another effective form of Tool discard (or something else causes Tools to be used less), Xerosic becomes a luxury.  After all, it has lost Battle Compressor to go with VS Seeker.

Zach Carmichael

Phantom Forces was a pretty significant set for the Standard format. It gave us a number of prominent cards in competitive play, including great attackers like Manectric-EX and Dialga-EX; Energy accelerators like M Manectric-EX and Bronzong; and Aegislash-EX as a viable counter to Special Energy-based decks. Today’s Card of the Day is Xerosic, a Supporter that is also from Phantom Forces. Initially dismissed because it wasn’t quite as efficient as Item cards like Enhanced Hammer or Startling Megaphone, Xerosic later became a staple in most decks and will be missed sorely with the new rotation in Standard. 

Xerosic is unique because it gives you options as a Supporter, much like Giovanni’s Scheme. You can discard a single Special Energy or Tool card from either player’s Pokémon. At the time, Seismitoad-EX was rampant, and the Item lock prevented counters like Enhanced Hammer and Head Ringer from being played down. Xerosic (and Team Flare Grunt) helped remedy that void and provided a line of defense against the big, blue amphibian.  

While it has rotated in Standard, Xerosic will continue to thrive in Expanded. Seismitoad-EX is still big, though new Water Box variants solely use Basic Energy to take advantage of Max Elixir, making Xerosic ineffective. However, the card is still great against Night Marchers, as well as decks like Darkrai/Giratina and Dark-type decks using Fright Night Yveltal. It can be played alongside Tool Scrapper or Startling Megaphone for maximum disruption against Tool cards that otherwise become inherently powerful in competitive play, such as Fighting Fury Belt and Bursting Balloon


Standard: N/A

Summary: Xerosic became a staple in the Standard format and helped balance a format dominated by Special Energy attackers amidst an era filled with Item lock and powerful Tool cards. It provided a means to constantly disrupt throughout the game versus a single use from Item cards. The Standard format will now struggle due to Tool cards now being permanent, so hopefully we will see a reprint of Xerosic much like how N did.

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