– SM Celestial Storm
August 21, 2018
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
There’s definitely a lot of older players that would recognize today’s card in a heartbeat, but the real question is can it fit into today’s game well?
Magcargo is a Stage 1 Fire Pokemon, 90 HP, with a Water Weakness, no Resistance, and a Retreat Cost of 3. Its Ability Smooth Over lets you search your deck for any card you want and put it on top of your deck, while Combustion is a meager 3-for-50 vanilla strike.
This card’s an upgraded version of the Magcargo from EX Deoxys, which only had 80 HP and couldn’t use its Poke-Power if it was affected by a Special Condition. Not that that mattered too much, when it’s on your Bench most of the time, but the card did feature in a Worlds Semi-Finalist back in 2005, alongside Ludicolo in a deck called “King of the West”. This proved to be a pretty powerful combination, as Magcargo’s Smooth Over could stack the next card of your deck, letting Powers like Ludicolo (EX-DX)’s Swing Dance and Jirachi (EX-DX)’s Wishing Star draw the very card you searched through the effect. Combined with Rhydon (EX-HL)’s Power Diffusion Poke-Body to prevent Benched Pokemon from taking damage, and the deck proved to be extremely formidable.
So what about today’s game? Can Magcargo pull off any similar combinations? Well the answer’s an obvious yes – we were just talking about two cards yesterday that let you draw cards as Abilities! Zoroark-GX and Swampert both have the power to discard a card and draw more cards from your deck, making them suitable not only to combine with Magcargo to get that next guaranteed draw but to also grab an additional 1 or 2 cards as well. Cynthia wouldn’t really combine well with Magcargo, since she shuffles the deck before drawing those 6 cards, but you can search out a Cynthia for your next turn using Smooth Over to guarantee you’ll have some means of recuperating resources when you’ve got an empty hand. There’s a lot of utility in Smooth Over that really brings out Magcargo’s power!
But it also opens up a major target for your opponent to take advantage of. 90 HP is technically bigger than 80, but not by much – especially by today’s standards, where 90-130 is the sweet spot for 2HKO-ing a lot of massive Pokemon. One good Guzma is all it takes for Magcargo to get pulled out and Knocked Out, so it’s something to be wary of. It’s the fate of Bench-sitters to be the primary targets of your opponent’s cards at times; Magcargo just happens to be a little bit more vulnerable.
Will Magcargo open up a lot of possibilities in modern decks? I’d like to think so, but that does come with some risks. We don’t exactly have a Rhydon-equivalent at the moment, so spread damage could impact Magcargo more than most other Pokemon. And as I’ve mentioned before, he’s vulnerable to cards like Guzma. But if you’re able to set him up and use Smooth Over a couple of times – preferably with Zoroark-GX or Swampert nearby to draw cards – there’s a big possibility that Magcargo could be apart of the next Worlds deck once again.
Standard: 3.5/5 (there’s a good chance Magcargo’s Smooth Over will pop up in certain decks)
Expanded: 3/5 (but 90 HP is not a lot, and it can leave him vulnerable to your opponent)
Limited: 4.5/5 (the consistency he brings to most decks in this format makes it worth setting up)
Arora Notealus: I think it’s something of note that Magcargo was apart of a deck that utilized multiple Pokemon from different Types, despite primarily using Water Energy and a few Special Energies on the side. It goes to show the ingenuity in branching out from individual Types, and I really like seeing decks that can push for these other Types to take advantage of other Pokemon and utilize them in combination with each other to bring out the most in all of them.
Next Time: Another powerful Stadium to potentially rock the format!
If yesterday’s card is good because of it’s draw power, today’s card excels in consistency, which is what Magcargo has with its Smooth Over Ability. What it does is you choose a card from your deck, shuffle your deck, and put that card on top of your deck, ready to be drawn next turn, or better, drawn right away via Swampert, Acro Bike, or other draw based Supporter.
While the ability is amazing, it has caveats of being a Stage 1 Fire type with 90 HP, weak to water, and a retreat cost of three. A three for 50 strike isn’t winning any awards either. And it’s Knock Over attack from its previous version was removed (although you have Paint Roller in Expanded to make up for it). So it is mostly a bench sitter being prone to being OHKO in the Bench or being Guzma’d in front for an easy KO.
We’ve actually reviewed this in Throwback Thursdays (https://www.pojo.com/magcargo-pokemon-throwback-thursday/) and the three of us saw potential and saw success back in its day. Heck, there’s even a modernized print of Ludicolo whose ability lets you draw one card, bringing back nostalgic memories.
Overall, on a Sun & Moon format lacking insane draw power, we will turn to Magcargo for consistency. Expanded retains cards from Black & White onwards, so insane draw power trumps consistency. And you probably won’t find space to include a 1-1 line on Magcargo. Speaking of deck space, why not use Swampert from Primal Clash that has an ancient trait and Diving Search Ability that does the same thing as Smooth Over? Guess that’s the final nail in the coffin for Magcargo in Expanded.
It also appears in the Hydro Fury theme deck, and after playing at least ten matches with this deck online, it’d be rare to see a theme deck that actually has good consistency! Once I had Swampert and Magcargo, I’m pretty much set! And the cards that are mostly filler can actually be used as discard fodder. Well, not all of them.
Standard: 3.5/5 (Consistency is valuable for a slower format)
Expanded: 3.5/5 (A dedicated Swampert deck in this format doesn’t need another evolutionary line when they got their own that does the same thing. Outside of Swampert decks, it probably still isn’t a must run.)
Limited: 3/5 (Well, that’s me guessing on this one)
Theme: 4/5 (With a single copy of this theme deck, it might risk getting prized. But other than that, let the fun begin!)
Next up: A place that probably no one wants to go.
Magcargo (CES 24) returns to the meta in an incarnation similar to a version of itself from more than ten years ago. Magcargo’s meta defining ability “Smooth Over” allows you to look in your deck and select a card you find there. Then, you shuffle your deck and place that card on top of your deck.
Ah, alas, if only there were a Pokemon with an ability to draw cards….
Obviously, Magcargo will pair perfectly with Zoroark GX, Swampert, Ludicolo, Alolan Sandslash, and Oranguru. Acro Bike could also potentially work well with Smooth Over, and maybe even Hau as well.
I’ve gone to a 2-2 line in my Swampert deck as I frequently Power Draw, sometimes more than ten times in a single game. And you can always use it right before you go to attack, and then that card will be the card you top deck on the next turn.
Magcargo is very good and highly valuable… but it’s not essential. I have had several opponents Guzma up Magcargo and KO that instead of Swampert, but I believe that’s a mistake. Power Draw will still get me lots of good cards, maybe even the card I would have chosen anyways. Plus, there have been a few times when my opponent has KO’d Magcargo, and I’ve used Rescue Stretcher to put it back into the deck where I’ve been able to get it back out in a couple of turns. It’s my opinion, I don’t have any facts to back it up, but I would not recommend Guzmaing Magcargo instead of Swampert. I could be wrong, but I have been playing a lot of Swampert, and I’m basically saying this because I feel a little relieved when my opponent skips taking out a Swampert. Granted, I would still have Smooth Over, but it’s hard getting Swamperts evolved and powered up, even with Smooth Over.
Standard: 4 out of 5
Having said that, as I mentioned earlier I’ve now gone to a 2-2 line in my current Swampy build. Magcargo will facilitate your offensive strategy and the development of your deck. Swampert’s Power Draw is already pretty significant – Smooth Over makes it that much more dominant.
Magcargo (SM – Celestial Storm 24/168) is the fourth-place finisher for our countdown of the top 10 cards of SM – Celestial Storm. It earned this by appearing on three out of five of our individual reviewer’s Top 10 lists and was my PERSONAL number one pick. The reason why is already obvious if you read this Throwback Thursday review we wrote about three-and-a-half months ago. Magcargo brings back the Poké-Power “Smooth Over” as an Ability. Smooth Over (in both versions) lets you look through your deck, pick a card, shuffled the rest of your deck, then put the selected card on top. Is it as good as just adding that card to hand? No. Is it as good as additional draw power? Sometimes yes, sometimes no; the specifics will determine its efficacy. Smooth Over doesn’t stack in the traditional sense; you can use each instance you have of it once per turn but each use will undo the previous one unless you insert a combo in between that makes use of the previous use of Smooth Over. If you’re like me, this is easier done than said.
No, that wasn’t a typo; while any effect which forces you to shuffle your deck will wreck Smooth Over, any draw power which does not force you to shuffle your deck transforms Smooth Over from deck manipulation into search. In the SM-On Standard Format, this is a bit trickier because our best draw Supporters are indeed “shuffle-and-draw” types, but we’ve got Acro Bike back. It is pretty easy to fit into most decks, and may even belong there regardless of Magcargo. Many decks will have at least one of Oranguru (Sun & Moon 113/149; SM – Black Star Promos SM13) or Zoroark-GX already, as well. While we are losing a powerhouse form of draw power like Professor Sycamore, some of the “mixed result” current options like Lillie and Professor Kukui are a lot better when they’ve got Smooth Over backing them. I’m starting to wonder if even Hau might show up in a few competitive decks. Wondering, but not expecting. What is nice about this mix of options is that decks which need a lot of specific cards at the right time might be able to afford two Magcargo on the Bench and pull off Smooth Over => Draw combos twice in a turn… but even if they can only pull it off once, the second one just forces your opponent to disrupt or deal with you prepped top-deck for the next turn.
The rest of Magcargo varies from “adequate” to “troubling”, but none of it is crippling; the worst of it is probably the 90 HP which makes it an easy OHKO, but you’ve got to remember that it is a Bench-sitter that provides reusable search and is a Stage 1. Like all useful Bench-sitters, you can only afford to prioritize KOing them if you’ve got the combo handy (Guzma + attacker, solid snipe, etc.) and you’re not leaving yourself open to a strong counter. Magcargo shifts the game from something to which most current players are familiar with to something only some veterans remember; Swiss Army TecH. by that, I mean decks which can toss anything out once per turn. Not just a clutch Supporter, as with Tapu Lele-GX. Not just a clutch Pokémon, as with Ultra Ball. Any single Pokémon or Trainer or Energy card gets topdecked and the appropriate draw-power gets it to one’s hand. Control decks can try to pull this off more than once in a turn; imagine three Zoroark-GX backed by three Magcargo. We’re moving from an era of quantity to an era of quality, at least in Standard.
For the Standard Format pre-rotation, Magcargo won’t even be a loose staple, but it’ll show up often enough. Decks that still want to rely on raw draw power still can, and even prove to be the more effective approach. Some decks, like those focused on Zoroark-GX, will need a very good reason why they couldn’t squeeze even a 2-2 line. You may also find some surprises, like someone using Smooth Over to boost not only overall consistency but to make something like Max Elixir guaranteed to work. post-rotation, I expect Magcargo to be a loose staple; not every deck will run or need it, but it will feel like it. This will become even more pronounced after the release of Magcargo-GX. The short version is we won’t get it for ourselves until November (I think), but it has an Ability that discards the top card of your deck and, if that card was a basic Energy, you can attach it to one of your Pokémon. That alone already makes it a strong contender to join Smooth Over Magcargo in many decks.
As for the Expanded Format, I do not expect Magcargo to fare as well there, but I do expect it to have a role. Think of all Expanded has to offer Zoroark-GX and add Magcargo to the list. Think of some cards that count on the top card (or something within the top X cards) of your deck, and how that works with Magcargo. I mentioned Max Elixir earlier, but its predecessor – Ether – may be worth another look if you’ve got Magcargo in your deck. This is a must-run for the Limited Format. Even if your deck is all filler, even if you can’t combo with any draw-power, just ensuring you get the RIGHT bits of filler at the start of your next turn – is worth both the deck and bench space. Now, for a moment, let’s say that I’ve got everything above wrong; I’ve done little-to-no playtesting, so I can understand folks being skeptical of that. What I can confirm FIRSTHAND is that Magcargo is amazing in the Theme Format, alongside Swampert (SM – Celestial Storm 35/168) in the “Hyrdo Fury” Theme Deck. Is it the new BDIF in the PTCGO’s Theme Format? No; “Mach Strike” still seems dominant… least until we get a decent SM-era Theme Deck.
We would love more volunteers to help us with our Card of the Day reviews. If you want to share your ideas on cards with other fans, feel free to drop us an email. We’d be happy to link back to your blog / YouTube Channel / etc. 😉
Click here to read our Pokémon Card of the Day Archive. We have reviewed more than 3500 Pokemon cards over the last 17+ years!