– Forbidden Light
May 29, 2018
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
There’s certainly some interesting changes that go on when moving from region to region. Some just happen to be more drastic than others, so why not have one with a really long neck? And also a dragon? I think that last bit’s the more confusing one between the two.
Alolan Exeggutor is a Stage 1 Grass Pokemon, 160 HP, with a Fire Weakness, no Resistance, and a Retreat Cost of 3. The HP for the record puts this guy on-par with most non-GX Stage 2 Pokemon and just shy of the lower end for Basic EX/GX. His only attack is Tropical Shake, a 1-for-20 move that adds 20 more damage for each type of basic Energy in your discard pile, though you can’t add more than 100 damage in this manner.
At first, this attack seems like it’s both astonishing and impractical. Sure, it can deal a lot of damage, maxing out at 120 damage in total, but to get that high, you have to be running a deck with at least 5 different Types of Energy in it, and you have to be able to put them in the discard pile somehow. There’s just not a great variety of decks that do the whole multi-Type thing to begin with, and the one notable one in recent memory, Rainbow Road, wanted to keep them on your Bench and didn’t care much about the actual Energy.
But there is one deck that’s been showcased to have multiple Types and that allows for Alolan Exeggutor to achieve his signature attack, and the starter variant comes in the Theme Deck “Tropical Takedown”. It’s a deck that focuses mainly around the Alolan variants, including partners like Alolan Marowak (who we’ll talk about later this week), Alolan Sandslash, and Alolan Raticate. It’s not exactly a competitive variant of the Alolan archetype, but it’s a good start on figuring out how to build the deck to your liking. The only issue I can see with the main deck right out of the box is the abundance of Stage 1s alongside a general lack of evolution cards.
Doesn’t help that Wally rotated out a while back.
Standard: 3/5 (can’t argue with the idea of a 1-for-120 on a Stage 1 with a Stage 2’s HP)
Expanded: 3.5/5 (and in a format where more Evolution help and Battle Compressor exist, this card works even better)
Limited: 3.5/5 (its usage here is a bit…well, more Limited, based on what you’ve got)
Arora Notealus: Seriously, where does the Dragon part come from? I don’t recall palm trees suddenly becoming “draconic” when they grow in Hawaii instead of elsewhere. What’s up with that? Or is Exeggutor meant to be either a powerful psychic palm tree or a longnecked dragon plant? It’s so confusing.
Side Review: Torterra – funny enough, there’s another version of this card that came out in this set, the only difference being that it’s a Fighting-Type. This happened to the other Sinnoh evolutions as well, and it might be possible that we review them all at once at some point, so we’ll see about it then. For now though, Torterra is a mammoth of a Stage 2 Pokemon, and its attacks are just as brutally bulky. I think ultimately it’s proven to be too slow for competition, but it can definitely make for a frustrating target in casual formats.
Next Time: Another Champion arises to help support you all!
Alolan Exeggcutor from Forbidden Light is a Grass type Stage 1 with 160 HP, weak to Fire, a retreat cost of three, and only attack called Tropical Shake that costs G for 20 damage, plus 20 more for each different basic energy cards in your discard pile, except that you can’t add more than 100 damage in this way. This makes it a 120 for one strike that can potentially achieve 2HKOs (or OHKOs if you exploit weakness).
There are a couple ways to use Alolan Exeggcutor. You can help fuel up Alolan Marowak’s Alolan Club by just being in play. It can be paired with the Eeveelutions in XY Ancient Origins to add more type coverage. Methods of putting Basic Energy cards to the discard pile seems easier to do in Expanded than Standard. Battle Compressor helps thin your deck while putting three cards from the deck to your discard pile, ideally different Basic Energy cards. And should Alolan Exeggcutor gets taken down, Exeggcute from BW Plasma Freeze can put itself back into your hand while you use Rescue Stretcher to get back other Pokemon.
Overall, Alolan Exeggcutor has impressed me that it was my 10th place pick of this set. The amount of work needed to achieve the maximum effect of Tropical Shake isn’t too hard, and it’s attributes of being a one-prize Pokemon exceeded my expectations. I will definitely experiment this card!
Alolan Exeggutor (FLI 2) gets its third card in the Sun & Moon era in the Forbidden Light expansion set. It has one attack, Tropical Shake, that does twenty damage PLUS twenty damage for each type of Basic Energy card in the discard pile. Tropical Shake’s damage, however, is capped at 120 (five different Basic energy cards).
So I don’t know why I get sucked into trying Exeggutors. I got sucked into the GX out of Crimson Invasion, I got sucked into trying the Dragon type in Ultra Prism, and I even looked at this card and knew it would be mediocre when I was doing analysis before the set was released, and yet I still played 25 games with it. Overall, I went 11 W 14 L with three different versions of the deck.
Overall, it’s not awful. It’s not the worst deck you could play. The theorymon of the archetype is that you start with Exeggutor and just hit away at your opponents. And you can hit up to 150 with a Choice Band. Moreover, 23% of the decks I’ve faced this month are running some sort of Pokemon that is Grass weak. Actually, Grass weakness is the second most common weakness, and is only 3% behind Psychic weakness, which I see 26% of the time. Exeggutor puts enough pressure on your opponents to force them to develop their offensive strategy at their normal pace – meaning they’ll have to put down Pokemon with abilities on their bench and they have to play Item cards.
THAT’S when you bring out Weavile and GRI Garbodor. Everyone is playing Pokemon with abilities, and if you’re able to put enough pressure on your opponents with Exeggutor and Weavile, Trashalanche will eventually be a game winning attack for you.
The card that makes attacking with three different energy types possible is our old friend Smeargle (BKT 123). Remember him? He has never seen much use outside of Ho-Oh EX decks but is perfect for this archetype. Smeargle is the cornerstone of making this deck work. And about half of the time it’s very good. I frequently hit for weakness, and if you can hide GRI Garb and Weavile for a couple of turns, you can definitely catch your opponents off guard and make their offensive strategy work against them.
Unfortunately, it frequently has consistency issues – I played eighteen energy cards, and whenever you play that much energy, you’re going to dead draw at times. Also, it’s very surprising to me that I could play eighteen energy cards – eight different types of energy – and still have trouble getting more than two or three different types in the discard early in the game. Sometimes I was only hitting for forty or sixty damage early on. Sometimes I wasn’t even able to attack because I couldn’t get to Grass energy at all in the early turns.
So again it’s not horrible, it’s just not all that great. If you get someone who plays a lot of Pokemon with abilities (and my Weavile actually hit for 300 more than once), or if you come across someone who assumed your purple icon in the opening screenshot of the match was Tapu Lele and they played a ton of Items before you benched Trubbish, you’re going to have a fun game. If it’s turn three and you still can’t find a Grass energy and only have two different types of energy in the discard… well… yeah not so much.
Standard: 2.5 out of 5
If they had not capped Tropical Shake at 120, FLI Exeggutor would probably be a Tier 2 and maybe a Tier 1 deck. As it is, it’s not bad, and I went 6 W 5 L against meta decks (hopefully we’ll have an idea of what “meta” really is after the three different Regionals this weekend), but you’ll have some clunker games that make you just click that concede button around the end of turn two beginning of turn three.
Hey so just to give you some insight into the stats on weaknesses, a little sneak peak at my monthly stats that I’ll be posting on PDC this Friday, here’s what I’ve come across so far this month. Here are the most common weaknesses I face:
What drives this? Here’s a sneak peak into the most common Pokemon I’m seeing this month, and the percentage of times I’ve seen them (out of 197 matches as of this writing):
Today we look at Alolan Exeggutor (SM – Forbidden Light 2/131), which can be found in the “Tropical Takedown” Theme Deck. It also would have been our 15th place pick if our countdown had been long enough, securing 35 voting points by appearing on one personal Top 10 list, one personal Top 15 list, and one personal Top 20 list. For the record, I had it as my 18th place pick, and I’m still not sure if I rated it too high, too low, or just right. This is a [G] Type Stage 1 Pokémon with 160 HP. Being a [G] Type is neither especially good nor bad right now, as its Type support doesn’t amount to much but it can hit some solid Weakness against certain [W] and [F] Pokémon. Being a Stage 1 means it isn’t as great as a Basic, but it is still fairly good. 160 HP is very good; not the highest we’ve seen on a Stage 1 Pokémon, but especially for one lacking a special mechanic (like being a Pokémon-GX), it is still up there. It has [R] Weakness which isn’t the worst thing to have right now, though it is hardly safe. It has no Resistance, which is the worst but Resistance is nowhere near as game-changing as Weakness, plus most Pokémon lack it, so it isn’t much of a loss. The Retreat Cost of [CCC] is chunky and can really come back to bite you if you don’t take means to counteract it, but most of the time you’d be running such cards even if you had a Retreat Cost of just [CC], and [CCC] gives Alolan Exeggutor access to Heavy Ball (which sometimes matters, but usually doesn’t).
Alolan Exeggutor has a single attack named “Tropical Shake” which costs just [G]; [C] would be much better as it would allow Alolan Exeggutor to attack for any Energy, but [G] is still fast in a decent amount of decks. Tropical Shake does 20 damage plus another 20 for each Type of basic Energy card in your discard pile, but you aren’t allowed to add more than 100 damage in this manner. That still allows Alolan Exeggutor to swing for up to 120 damage, and for a single Energy, which is pretty nice. Not nice enough that it is showing up in the top cut of the recent tournaments, but nice enough it is floating around as a potential budget deck. Potential? Sorry folks, I’ve been busier than normal this month and never got around to testing it… plus I really didn’t want to have to trade for what I lacked or buy a second Tropical Shakedown deck to get the cards; sooner or later I should pull what I need. Without delving into the more deck specific combos, just having a slightly-hard-to-OHKO Stage 1 that easily 2HKO’s most Pokémon in the metagame isn’t brilliant, but it is good. Dumping five different basic Energy cards into the discard pile isn’t easy, but it is far from hard. So… where else do you go from there?
You might focus on becoming more durable, but while I’d love to make use of Bodybuilding Dumbbells, or in Expanded, Floette (XY – Flashfire 64/106) BUT the former is easily discarded, and the latter is an easy Prize. If you are comfortable with the rest of your setup, you could risk Wally for games where you are Player 2; 120 right out the gate is very threatening. Even without HP buffs, you might be big enough to make good use of Acerola and similar bounce effects. Now let us look at how to improve the damage output of Tropical Shake. Choice Band adds +30 damage, but that only gets us to 150 and we need to be swinging for at least 170 to really stand a chance. Option 1 is to use Lurantis (SM – Black Star Promos SM25), whose Ability allows your [R] and [G] Types to do +20 damage with their attacks, and multiples of it will stack. The main reason I don’t expect this to work is that I bring this up with so many [G] Type attackers but it hasn’t panned out yet. Hope springs eternal: just one on the Bench plus a Choice Band and we’re hitting for 140 against general targets and 170 against Pokémon-EX/GX. A second means 190 damage against Pokémon-EX/GX, enough to OHKO a Buzzwole-GX, and 160 against general targets. I wouldn’t expect to maintain more than that, but if you can, you eventually threaten all but the biggest targets in the game… other than Wailord-EX, which is in trouble if you add a single boost because it is [G] Weak!
Only an option for the Expanded Format, you might consider Flareon (XY – Ancient Origins 13/98), Jolteon (XY – Ancient Origins 26/98), and/or Vaporeon (XY – Ancient Origins 22/98), each of which has an Ability that allows all your Stage 1 Pokémon to count as that Eeveelution’s Type. Being able to exploit [R], [L], and/or [W] Weakness in addition to [G] Weakness hardly covers all Types, but that is about a third of possible Weaknesses. We are talking about a lot of Stage 1 Pokémon and a basic Energy heavy deck, but you might even mix this with the Lurantis option presented for the Standard Format. The BIG thing is that the Expanded Format has a wider variety of HP scores, and a lot of that variety actually clocks in at the lower levels, which Tropical Shake can OHKO through only its own built-in damage boost. It still falls into that awkward place because Pokémon-EX/GX specific damage boosts won’t apply to taking it down. It also gains access to Exeggcute (BW – Plasma Freeze 4/116; BW – Plasma Blast 102/101) so that you can still include cards with a lot of discard costs, and not worry about reclaiming your Exeggcute from the discard pile when an Alolan Exeggutor goes down. Oh, and you gain Battle Compressor, which doubles as “search” for Exeggcute and makes it so much easier to get the right basic Energy into the discard pile.
Finally, in either Standard or Expanded, you can try to make a functional “Alolan” deck. This is actually the approach of the Tropical Takedown Theme Deck. It includes Alolan Marowak (SM – Forbidden Light 12/131), Alolan Raticate (Sun & Moon 77/149), Alolan Raticate (SM – Burning Shadows 82/147), Alolan Rattata (SM – Burning Shadows 81/147), Alolan Sandshrew (SM – Ultra Prism 28/156), and Alolan Sandslash (SM – Guardians Rising 20/145). There are several other options that you could include in a Standard or Expanded Format deck, so many someone should probably write an article on Alolan Pokémon (maybe someday), and enough I’ll just say to look at both alternate attackers and useful Abilities. For the Theme Deck format, Tropical Takedown is a great deck. Is it the new Best Deck In Format? Nope. I’m pretty happy with it, but it seems like the “Mach Strike” and “Imperial Command” Theme Decks are still a little better. Third place isn’t bad, and I’m not convinced the difference between the three (in terms of competitiveness) is all that big. Alolan Exeggutor is a BIG part of that, both for what it can actually do and because an opponent is likely to fixate on it, ignoring how much Alolan Marowark and even the Alolan Raticates can bring the hurt. The Limited Format is a bit different; you’ll have a harder time getting the Energy needed to your discard pile, but you’re likely to already be running a two Type deck, and making room for a five Type deck is merely “tricky” rather than “difficult”. So, putting it all together, Alolan Exeggutor isn’t the new star of the Standard, Expanded, Limited or even the Theme Format, but it looks fairly good for any and all of them. That… is actually what the game’s designers should be aiming for when they are designing cards.
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