– Team up

Date Reviewed:
April 3, 2019

Ratings Summary:
Standard: 2.75
Expanded: 2.50
Limited: 3.00

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

Reviews Below:

aroramage avatar

Once again, the Supporter strats are impressive, and it looks like there are Pokemon willing to take advantage of them. I mean it’s not like every deck relies on Supporters these days and that every deck that’s worth its salt has a good handful of them lying around.

Articuno is a Basic Water Pokemon, 110 HP, with a Lightning Weakness, a Fighting Resistance, and a Retreat Cost of 2. Blizzard Veil puts a white blanket in front of your opponent whenever they play a Supporter, distracting them with a white cottony softness while protecting your Benched Water Pokemon from the Supporter’s effects. Cold Cyclone also helps Articuno spread the snowy love around, dealing 2-for-70 while moving 2 Water Energy off of Articuno to a Benched Pokemon.

The great thing about Articuno right now is that he helps with protecting Water Pokemon while you’re setting up, keeping things like Guzma away from them. This can be particularly useful for decks running things like Blastoise, whose Power Squall can push for a lot of quick Energy acceleration and can help power up Magikarp & Wailord-GX! Or you can protect stuff like Quagsire to power up Hydro Pump.

There’s been some rumor of Articuno showing up in tournaments, but it’s definitely one of those fringe picks. Still don’t underestimate the power of keeping your opponent out of your playstyle – this bird will help out in packing a punch!


Standard: 3/5 (…but birds don’t really learn any of the punching moves)

Expanded: 3/5 (I mean it makes sense, how do you punch with your wings)

Limited: 3/5 (but then again Hawlucha’s part-bird and part-punchy, so…)

Arora Notealus: Expanded can make use of Articuno pretty nicely too, since as I recall Archie’s Ace-in-the-Hole isn’t actually banned yet. That means you could use it to set-up a powerful Water Pokemon like Blastoise or Wailord-EX and the like while protecting it with Articuno. That’s some pretty scary stuff!

Next Time: Loyal to the bitter end of Expanded.

Otaku Avatar

Articuno (SM – Team Up 32/181) is a Basic Pokémon, and that is already starting strong. Basic Pokémon require the least space in your deck to run, the least amount of time to put into play, and tend to work better with many game mechanics (bounce, search, recycling, etc.) because of these traits. They can function as your opening Active, which isn’t always a good thing but (spoiler) will be in this case. There are effects that directly reference Basic Pokémon, but that’s more of a neutral thing as some are beneficial – like Nest Ball – while others are detrimental – like Alolan Muk (Sun & Moon 58/149). Being a [W] Type is good, but not great. [W] Weakness is mostly found on Blacephalon-GX, but while that deck is still a good, competitive choice, it is far from the competitive choice anymore. [W] Typing does offer some nice support, like Aqua Patch and Brooklet Hill. The only notable anti-[W] effect which sees heavy play is Parallel City, in Expanded, and even that isn’t a clearcut case. Parallel City is run for its Bench-shrinking effect, but the player NOT being hit by that effect has attacks from their [R], [G], and [W] Pokémon doing 20 less damage. You may also run into Resistance on certain BW-era [G] Type Pokémon in Expanded.

Articuno has 110 HP, low enough it is more likely to be OHKO’d than not BUT still high enough that it isn’t especially fragile. A practical example would be if Articuno is on the receiving end of Zoroark-GX’s “Riotous Beating” attack; Zoroark-GX would need a five Pokémon Bench or four Pokémon and +10 damage (or single damage counter) buff. That isn’t a tall order BUT does require a fairly solid setup for a Zoroark-GX deck; Articuno has a decent chance of surviving when your opponent is building or rebuilding. [L] Weakness means most [L] Type Pokémon provide an exception. Not Zapdos (SM – Team Up 40/181; SM – Black Star Promos SM159), because it doesn’t apply Weakness anyway. Not Pikachu & Zekrom-GX, because they hit so hard they’d score a OHKO even without applying Weakness. Technical and backup attackers (or even just back-up attacks) is where Weakness will shock Articuno, especially with Electropower spiking the damage output of such attacks. Articuno does enjoy [F] Resistance, which will usually amount to canceling out the damage bonus provided via the “Princess’s Cheers” Ability of Diancie {*}; that still improves Articuno’s rate of survival against [F] attacks. The Retreat Cost of [CC] is worse than it looks, due to the first attack. Normally, this wouldn’t be either good or bad, but this Pokémon’s effects make it unfortunate (though still not too bad).

Articuno has the Ability “Blizzard Veil” and the attack “Cold Cyclone”. Blizzard Veil only works while Articuno is Active, and protects your Benched [W] Pokémon from the effects of your opponent’s Supporters. Cold Cyclone does 70 damage for [WW], then forces you to move two [W] Energy from Articuno to one of your Benched Pokémon. Blizzard Veil is reasonably good on its own; there aren’t a lot of Supporters that affect the other player’s Bench, but Guzma is among them. Just remember it won’t offer any protection to something like a Benched Tapu Lele-GX or other common off-Type deck inclusions, nor will it do anything to block anything other than Supporter effects. Cold Cyclone is a bit weak in terms of damage, and it does hurt that its effect isn’t optional or able to split the moved Energy between multiple Benched Pokémon. Cold Cyclone doesn’t hit hard enough to even OHKO Blacephalon-GX or Volcanion-EX, which are both [W] Weak Pokémon. Choice Band would make up the difference, however, and also let Cold Cyclone score decent 2HKO’s and 3HKO’s. That isn’t enough to make it a good attacker on its own, but with the Ability and the fact that the Energy attached to it is likely going to your NEXT attacker, it becomes a solid deal. They do make the Retreat Cost a bit of a sticking point; whether using it just for the Ability or for the Ability and the attack, they give you a reason to have an Active Articuno up front without even a single Energy attached to it.

I’ve run into a deck embracing Articuno on the PTCGO. I don’t think its especially competitive, but it seems functional; Quagsire (Dragon majesty 26/70) uses its “Wash Out” Ability to keep moving [W] Energy to whatever you’re using as your Active attacker, which includes Articuno itself if you need to attack while building something that takes more Energy. Your opponent will have some trouble getting Energy off of your side of the field because Articuno devoid of Energy after attacking and Quagsire can just move some or all of it to the next attacker. Assuming you didn’t just move it to the correct Pokémon in the first place. The deck suffers for two reasons. First, because it needs to run mostly or entirely on [W] Pokémon, or risk creating a “gap” in its protection. Second, it also has to either include a Pokémon-EX/GX or else it will struggle to deliver some really big hits, though if it can be used to deliver the finishing blow, it would be a non-issue. The deck just doesn’t hit key numbers reliably enough to rely purely on Articuno. I misread some high-placing Expanded Format lists, which is why I was originally quite excited by this card; they were running Articuno (XY – Roaring Skies 17/108) and I mistook it for today’s card. Embarrassing, but true (and probably the source of the “rumors” aroramage mentioned).  If we see a rise in [W] Weakness, Articuno with Quagsire and/or other [W] decks may move up in the food chain.


Standard: 2.5/5

Expanded: 2/5

Limited: 3/5

Blizzard Veil is good enough that I’d still consider (but not necessarily use) Articuno for most of my [W] Pokémon-focused decks. It has some potential as an opener, buying time to build something on your Bench even if you choose not to attack with it. That goes for Expanded as well, though its easier to deal with Blizzard Veil. For the Limited Format, you don’t really have much use for Blizzard Veil but the rest of the card is decent, so long as your deck runs on mostly [W] Energy.

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