– Promo #244
June 26, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Aipom (SM – Black Star Promos SM244) is one of those promos that slipped through the cracks. I mean, it is a Sun & Moon series promo that – if I’m understanding it correctly – released as part of the Pikachu & Zekrom-GX League Battle Deck back on May 22 of this year. At a glance, it doesn’t look like much: it is a 60 HP, Basic Colorless Pokémon with [F] Weakness, no Resistance, Retreat Cost [C], and two attacks. The first attack is “Yank Out” for [C], which lets you random cards from your opponent’s hand until they’re down to five. [CC] pays for “Tail Smash”, which does 30 damage but requires a coin flip… and “tails fails”.
Aipom can evolve into Ambipom, but that isn’t why were looking at this tricky little monkey. It showed up once, as a single, in Alex Alvarez’s Zacian V/Lucario & Melmetal-GX deck. Alex finished in 5th-place at the 2020 Limitless Invitational, so I thought this surprise inclusion was worth highlighting. I’m not exactly certain what it is supposed to counter, but if your opponent has a massive hand, Yank Out hurts. My hypothesis is that you’re trying to use the deck’s usual strategy, but while you’re successfully walling, you’re not getting anywhere with your own offense. No problem, you can win by stalling them out.
Wait, problem: your opponent’s hand is flush with cards, so if they play any shuffle/draw effect, they won’t lose anytime soon. So you accept you’ll probably be giving up a Prize, but you send up Aipom to use Yank Out so you can randomly discard until they’re down to just five cards. Five is still a good sized hand, which is why you’re I’m guessing you hold off and don’t try this until they have 10+ cards in hand. Could I be wrong? Honestly, I expect I’m at least half wrong, missing some combo or match up where this would really matter. The mirror is the most likely culprit.
We’ve been discussing Standard; how about Expanded? Maybe. There are stall decks there, where this might make sense. You could use Hugh instead, but it forces both players to either draw until they have five cards in hand, or discard until they reach five cards in hand. In the Limited Format, this might be nice but it is a promo, so it isn’t legal to use there.
This might seem like a bit of a depressing note to end on, given that it scored below average, but this is an example of how scores can be misleading. Aipom may be the best at what it does, but what it does isn’t very
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