– EX Deoxys
May 3, 2018
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Today’s Throwback Thursdays is a card that will be getting a update (rather than a reprint): Magcargo from EX Deoxys. The updated card will be in Japanese’s Champion Road subset, so we won’t get our hands in them for a while. So what does it do? A Stage 1 Fire type with 80 HP, weak to Water, and a retreat cost of 3, it has a Poke-Body and two attacks. Smooth Over lets you search your deck for a card, shuffle your deck, and put that card on top. Knock Over does 10 for C and discard any Stadium card in play. And Combustion is a vanilla 50 for RCC.
This ability is useful. Sure, it may not be in your hand, but putting it on top of your deck is acceptable because it’s about to be top-drawn with straight draw Supporter cards. If you didn’t have any of those, you can wait for a turn to draw a card in the beginning on your turn. One might watch out if Rocket Admin, whose effect is identical to N. Other than that, you are guaranteed that card. You can read the old review here (https://www.pojo.com/COTD/2005/February/16.shtml). Opinions were mixed, with some saying how good the ability is, while others ranting how it won’t last long in the field as well as the retreat cost.
Fast forward to a card we’re about to get. The new version is the same, with differences being an increase of HP by 10, and getting rid of the Knock Over attack, which is unfortunate. Magcargo would’ve been at least a little more useful if it gets stranded in front, but now it can’t hope to contribute as an attacker, because 50 for 3 isn’t hitting important numbers, save for small basics. The ability is still good, and Standard/Expanded has no shortage of straight draw supporter cards. Paint Roller (XY Ancient Origins) does make up for the loss of Knock Over attack, as well as drawing one card, that one card that you exactly want via Smooth Over ability, and you still haven’t even used your Supporter for your turn yet! The retreat cost of 3 means that Heavy Ball can search for it.
For Limited, if you pulled one, you’ll definitely run this, because outside of the flippy Cosmo’s Discovery, this set has no other draw Supporter cards. Getting the exact card you need next turn is key to making your deck function.
Standard: N/A (would be 3/5)
Magcargo (Celestial Storm) isn’t even Standard legal yet, and boy is it setting the Pokemon community a twitter. Pokemon continues its tradition of not being afraid to laugh at itself by making one of the potentially most dominant cards in the game a… snail. A molten, gooey mollusk that seems completely impervious to insanely hot temperatures, but a snail nonetheless.
So what makes this snail, this card that won’t even be released for three months SO special that we actually bumped a throwback card we originally had in this slot in favor of this fiery little slug? Because back when it was in the game before in 2005 it was one of the most popular cards in town. But that’s what being able to go get even a single card out of your deck will do for you. Just ask Lucario – he’s the only thing that makes Garchomp playable (and now that it’s a Fighting type, potentially good).
Magcargo is back and almost the same as he was before – he now has the ability to go get you any one card out of your deck that you want and put it on top of your deck.
Huh. Oh well. That’d be really useful if we had any Pokemon with, say, the ability to allow you to draw two cards simply by discarding a card from your hand. Or – ooh even better – Pokemon that will let you draw cards once per turn until you have three cards in hand. WOW! Then Magcargo would be freaking awesome!
Yes obviously a 2-2 Magcargo line will now come standard in all Zoroark GX makes and models, and he’ll also be available for just a small additional upgrade in your Oranguru (SUM 113) series as well. And you’ll have room for him, too, as the Puzzle of Time features are being outmoded from next year’s class.
And you won’t have to worry about that pesky Garbodor BKP either. Man, with these options available, who cares that we’re losing three of our most important Supporter cards. The downside is, of course, that we just don’t have the bench space to put more than two down, and even that might be pushing it. But it’s going to be one of the most popular cards in the game, virtually every archetype will run it (especially if Pokemon becomes the Zoroark GX trading card game like I think it’s about to turn into), and it’s going to help define the meta we’ll be living in.
I’ll give it a 4 out of 5 tentatively. I’m seriously thinking about going as high as 4.5 if we get someway to expand our benches again.
Today we have a special Throwback Thursday because… I’ve got very little time to write it! Also, we’re looking at Magcargo (EX – Deoxys 20/107), which just received a pseudo-reprint in the Champion Road expansion released in Japan. The new version is very similar to the original, with just 10 more HP and losing its “Knock Over” attack. Knock Over was handy back in the day, needing [C] to do 10 damage and have the option of discarding a Stadium from the field. The essential part of the card is its Poké-Power, which will be updated as an Ability with an identical effect (and probably name): Smooth Over. Smooth Over allows you, once per turn per copy, before you attack, to search your deck for a card and put it on top of your deck (shuffle the rest of your deck before topdecking the searched card). This effect partially stacks; each instance of Smooth Over may be used once during your turn BUT if you don’t use an effect to draw the card you topdecked, you’ll just undo the effects of the previous Smooth Over when you go to use the next.
This effect is half a Mallow, and that may sound like a bad deal; more than few potent Abilities are as good or better than equivalent Supporters, but this is one of those times where you need to consider the nature of using a non-attack Pokémon-based effect instead of a Supporter. Any non-shuffling draw effect naturally combos with Smooth Over and both then and now, it was pretty much a given that at least a few of a decks draw Supporters would qualify, without needing to further modify the deck. Contrast that with Mallow needing a non-Supporter form of draw to immediately cash in on its effect; plenty of decks run such effects, but it isn’t near universal like it would be going the other direction. That is what made this Magcargo a common sight in decks during its Standard-legal tenure; it would have been a staple except Pidgeot (EX – FireRed & LeafGreen 10/112) with its “Quick Search” Poké-Power was such a fantastic deal, that even with an alternative like Smooth Over and Quick Search counters like Battle Frontier, Magcargo wasn’t the top choice.
Magcargo still saw a lot of success, especially when the deck had room for a non-attack Pokémon-based draw effect, like Ludicolo (EX – Deoxys 10/107). It was a good attacker for its day and had the Poké-Power “Swing Dance” that allowed you to draw a card before you attacked, once per turn per copy of Swing Dance. The two created a pretty great Fire/Water deck, and this Ludicolo is also received a pseudo-reprint in Champion Road. Magcargo was great back in the day, is great in Limited unless you lack a Slugma (good luck getting sealed EX – Dexoys boosters), and its pending almost-reprint will likely be great alongside Zoroark-GX (if not in most decks).
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