Bunnelby – Primal Clash
April 1, 2018
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
WHAT?! A surprise review on a Sunday?! What kind of shenanigans is this?! Well that’s just how we celebrate holidays around here at Pojo HQ! We make more Card of the Day reviews!
…yeah, we’re not very good at this “relaxation” thing.
All jokes aside, today we’re celebrating Easter, centered around the story of a son who died and rose three days later. So we’re reviewing a bunny card because somehow rabbits got involved with the holiday. I guess cause they keep on hopping? But then what about the whole egg thing…Easter is weird, you guys.
Bunnelby comes from Primal Clash and is a Colorless Basic, 60 HP, with a Fighting Weakness, no Resistance and a Retreat Cost of 2. His attacks are non-damaging, which is unfortunate, but he can both of them for the cost of but one Energy. Burrow mills off the top card of your opponent’s deck, while Rototiller lets you grab a card back from your discard pile. On top of that, Bunnelby was granted the Omega Barrage trait, which allowed it to attack twice per turn.
We actually reviewed Bunnelby a few years back, but we weren’t so keen on it – partly because there was this card in the format called Lysandre’s Trump Card that could do what Bunnelby did only better by shuffling all cards in the discard pile back into the deck. Trump Card did it for both players though, and in combination with Seismitoad-EX created an effective stall environment that eventually got the card banned for life. So outside of the context of the Trump Card, is Bunnelby okay?
While Burrow has never been anything to take seriously, it does at least have the benefit of not getting completely reverted by a Trump Card at any given point in time, but Rototiller is the main appeal of Bunnelby, especially with Omega Barrage. For those who don’t know, Omega Barrage was one of a few traits from the ORAS-era of cards that gave Pokemon different effects to utilize without having to worry about getting negated by Abilities like, for instance, Glaceon-GX nowadays. These tended to range from double attacks to double healing to protection from Trainer cards and even to granting an Evolution in the same turn you played a pre-evo. With Omega Barrage, Bunnelby gets the utility of grabbing two cards with Rototiller, and since they end up in your hand, they can be used again as early as your next turn.
If Mt. Coronet is anything to go by, getting two cards back is pretty good, but remember that Rototiller can grab ANY card you want – you can recycle Supporters without having to toss them into your deck, Energy cards that got discarded, Items that could accelerate your strategy! It’s actually a lot more useful than you might give it credit for. The only minor tweak is the need to attack, and you’ve got a 60 HP Basic that’s likely to get KO’d on the next turn.
But hey, if those two cards you get back are perfect? Doesn’t really matter, huh?
Standard: N/A (course right now, Bunnelby isn’t Standard-legal, but I’d be willing to bump it up as high as 3/5)
Expanded: 2.5/5 (the recovery is substantial enough that it might even justify losing the one Prize card)
Limited: 3/5 (but more than that, having an early game recycler for a bunch of cards can be unexpected for your opponent)
Arora Notealus: In light of Trump Card, Bunnelby just didn’t have enough going for it to justify running, but without it, his ability to retrieve two cards on each turn is certainly the gift that keeps on giving. Kinda like Diggersby tho. Happy Easter to you guys!
Next Time: Back to business as usual~
Today is an unusual day for Pokémon COTD. Easter Sunday happens to be on April 1st, which is also April Fools day as well. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to make any jokes here (except for Sylveon cards, I may be biased on some cards), and I am also blessed to have another opportunity to review a card that I haven’t chimed in at all. We tried to find something on Theme for this COTD, be it an egg or a bunny. Exeggcute (BW Plasma Freeze) was already taken due to it being reviewed as part of Throwback Thursdays. Turns out the subject today will be Bunnelby from XY Primal Clash 121/160. This was reviewed by the review crew (Aroramage and Otaku were there at the time) at April 23, 2015. Right now, it is only Expanded legal, and so much has changed between the old review and today; more options in the Expanded card pool that can help or hinder a particular Pokémon.
Being a Basic is probably the best stage for a Pokémon, taking up only one space of your deck, easy to be put into play, and even tapping on support regarding basic Pokemon. Skyarrow Bridge to reduce retreat costs; Fighting Fury Belt for increased HP and damage output, Eviolite for tanking damage. Perhaps counters for Basic Pokemon include Jolteon-EX’s Flash Ray and Pyroar’s Intimidating Mane ability, but other than that, few and far between. Being a Colorless Pokemon means you won’t be exploiting X2 weakness on any Pokemon, but no Pokemon is resistant to Colorless, unless you mess with unlimited card pool, and we’re not. Support for Colorless Pokemon aren’t as much: Aspertia City Gym to bolster your Max HP and Winona to fetch three Colorless Pokemon. Counters to Colorless Pokemon is almost nonexistent, with Necrozma-GX immune to damage from Colorless Pokemon due to it’s ability.
For Bunnelby, 60 HP isn’t going to last long in the field, so the Fighting Weakness may almost seem meaningless, but that also still means that Fighting Pokemon will have a much easier time OHKOing you without devoting too many resources. Jet Punch from Buzzwole-GX without any boosts will suffice, so will Landorus-EX’s Hammerhead attack. Needless to say, if Bunnelby is facing a Fighting deck, it won’t be able to contribute much to the match. Retreat cost of two is also unfitting, Skyarrow Bridge still won’t shave off the entire retreat cost and it also isn’t compatible for what Heavy Ball is searching for. It does carry an Ancient Trait and two attacks that costs a single colorless energy. Pokemon with Ancient Traits also has illustrations that cover 3/4th of the card, almost like a full art card, and the rarity for these cards are one notch higher than their normal counterparts, unless they’re already rare. Ancient Traits cannot be shut down, either, since I don’t see any Pokemon who is dedicated to shutting it off. This trait appeared between XY Primal Clash until XY Ancient Origins. Why did I bother explaining what an Ancient Trait is? In case readers who read this COTD are surprised that such an add-on had existed.
Back to Bunnelby, it has Omega Barrage Ancient Trait, which lets Bunnelby attack twice instead on once. Think about this, imagine reaping the effects twice like Torchic’s Flare Bonus, or doing twice as much damage, again Torchic’s Claw attack. You’ll get things done twice as fast. However, few Pokemon whose ability like Rough Skin can do twice as much back due to being damaged twice, which you don’t see them often enough, but something to keep in mind with. It’s attacks are Burrow and Rototiller. Burrow discards the top card of your opponent’s deck and Rototiller puts a card from the discard pile into your deck. When you factor in Omega Barrier, Burrow will discard the top two cards from your opponent’s deck and Rototiller recovers two cards from the discard to your deck. I find Rototiller to be unreliable, but still a recovery move, and it’s a matter of time until you get a certain card back. Burrow can be a blessing or a curse: you might discard important cards or you may actually discard something your opponent wants it to be. It might irritate your opponent, but the truth is, the opponent could get most of these cards back: Special Charge to get back Special Energies, Basic Energy recovery are plentiful, Pokemon recovery is also plentiful, Supporters can be recovered with VS Seeker. Item cards and Stadium actually doesn’t have much recovery options.
There were players trying to make a deck revolving Bunnelby, and none of such variants had any placings when I searched at Limitlesstcg.com. Mew-EX could act like a bulkier Bunnelby with 120 HP due to being able to copy attacks from any Pokemon via Versatile ability except that it lacks Omega Barrage. I’m starting to feel like Expanded is going to be like a weaker Unlimited format. They don’t rotate expansions, and power creep continues to rise when a new set is released, to the point where gimmicks like today’s card simply isn’t going to work as time passes due to it’s low HP and the opponent having lots of recovery options. Even Durant (both BW Noble Victories and XY BreakPoint) fell into obscurity back then, so I don’t see Bunnelby being able to shake things up. In Limited, Bunnelby cannot do damage at all, so all it can hope for is to keep using burrow. It will take about ten uses of burrow (barring any recovery options your opponent might have to buy them couple turn) to win via deck out.
Conclusion: Bunnelby has some good tricks, but doesn’t last long enough to make that trick worthwhile, even if you have cards to keep it going. Power creep and lots of recovery options means that Bunnelby’s strategy is falling behind much further.
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