– Ancient Origins
October 31, 2019
Standard: N/A (Rotated)
Expanded: N/A (Banned)
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Hex Maniac is definitely fitting for Halloween themed week as well as a Throwback. Unfortunately, I don’t have anything new to add from my previous insight last year, so I’ll just put a link to a previous review. Long story short, it gives your opponents a hard time even before they even get a turn. And even if it affects you as well, if you’ve already used your abilities before playing Hex Maniac, then that drawback is moot.
Standard: N/A (she already rotated out like three seasons ago, though this could be 4/5 material)
Expanded: Banned (though in its time she would be a 4/5)
Happy Halloween! Now for a card that is both a trick and a treat, we’re looking at Hex Maniac (XY – Ancient Origins 75/98, 75a/98)! She’s a Trainer-Supporter and her affects causes all Pokémon in play, in the hand, or in the discard pile of either player to have no Abilities until the end of your opponent’s next turn! Even if something wasn’t present in those locations when Hex Maniac was used, she places an effect on the field itself, so those Pokémon still have no Abilities!
Why is this both a trick and a treat? Hex Maniac took 5th-place in our Top 15 of XY – Ancient Origins countdown. She was our 8th-place pick for the best cards of 2015. In 2017, she clocked in as the 7th best card we lost to that year’s Standard rotation. The fourth time we reviewed Hex Maniac, it was because she’d just been banned! In other words, she’s so good she shatters game balance.
If you’re wondering how and don’t feel like reading that old review, it helps to remember that she was banned only after finding herself in Expanded-only territory, and when players started spamming a single copy of her to shut down the opposing player’s Abilities. Wait, how do you spam a single copy of a card? VS Seeker, if it is a Supporter. Okay, but doesn’t she stop Abilities for both players? Besides decks that might not have any Abilities, if you only need to use your Abilities periodically, you do just that; use them, then drop Hex Maniac when you’re done.
If she were still Standard-legal, she might be a staple. Hard to say, because the cards she punishes may simply not be successful if she were a part of the metagame. We’re not just talking about walls like Keldeo-GX, or attackers that need their Ability, like Mewtwo & Mew-GX. Even stuff like Malamar (SM – Forbidden Light 51/131; SM – Black Star Promos SM117; Shiny Vault SV18/SV94) can really feel it if you drop Hex Maniac on your turn and OHKO their only attacker with Energy, potentially forcing your opponent to waste their next attack.
In Expanded, even though Hex Maniac is “broken”, even if she wasn’t banned she still isn’t taking home a perfect score. Not all broken cards are equal; it isn’t a matter of being the strongest, but of clearing a certain threshold. Actually earning a ban takes a lot more than earning the label of “broken” from me. For the Limited Format, this is a must-run. You may only have a 40 card deck, but its build from whatever you could pull from your packs and this set has some potent Abilities. Some are better and some are worse than they are in Expanded or were when Standard-legal, but all of them have the potential of mattering, at least if you are also running the right cards.
Expanded: N/A (Banned)
Hex Maniac is a good example of how one shouldn’t assume a card that does the same thing to both player’s is automatically balanced. Controlling when such an effect happens can be surprisingly potent. Given that this is the Trainer-class that specializes in Ghosts-Types and Psychic-Types in the video games, may actually be possessed by such Pokémon (based on in-game dialog), and one may actually be a ghost herself (based on an in-game event) made her seem like a great Halloween choice to me.
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