Magearna – Ultra Prism
March 5, 2018
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Metal overall got a major boost in support with this set, going well beyond their last wave of support in Phantom Forces. A Stage 2 accelerator in Magnezone, Energy recovery with Mt. Coronet, major attackers like Alolan Dugtrio and Dialga-GX – and now we get to take a look at a more…niche Metal card to use.
Magearna is a Basic Metal Pokemon, 90 HP, with a Fire Weakness, Psychic Resistance, and a Retreat Cost of 1. Rolling Attack is her only offensive move, a mediocre 3-for-60 vanilla move that just cements her as a supportive Pokemon. Her Ability Change Clothes lets you take a Tool attached to one of your Pokemon and put it back in your hand…but what can that be used for?
First couple of thoughts go out to using it with stuff like Escape Board and Choice Band to swap things around, reserving a Tool to avoid it hitting the discard pile while also utilizing it or swapping it around as need be. That’s mainly in regards to Standard right now, but there are a few more Tools that can be used as well…if you like em. In Expanded, my thoughts drift towards the Spirit Links, and that makes me think of this teaming up with M Steelix-EX…who is…also in Steam Siege…
…so guys I just thought of an idea for Standard~
Granted, you do lose out on Shield Energy from Primal Clash outside of Expanded, but you do get Strong Energy which was reprinted in Fates Collide…for the time being. Canyon Axe is a hefty move, but with Magnezone and Mt. Coronet, the cost could be worked around, and you use Magearna to swap the Spirit Link off your M Steelix-EX for a Choice Band to swing around 190 – possibly more with Strong Energy, since M Steelix-EX is Metal AND Fighting.
Something to consider at the least. Keep Magearna open in the back of your mind if swapping Tools around is a necessity for your deck.
Standard: 2.5/5 (a solid card to have around Standard, though it doesn’t have that many targets)
Expanded: 3/5 (with more Spirit Links around, it mainly has competition from other Pokemon doing the same thing)
Limited: 2.5/5 (it’s really good with the Memories…maybe Escape Board, but that’s really about it)
Arora Notealus: Magearna is definitely a solid tech in certain decks, and Change Clothes is…wait…how does Magearna change clothes? I thought that thing was apart of her metal robot body…can…can Magearna have different outfits??
Side Reviews: Altar of the Sunne – speaking of good for Metal decks, what’d I tell ya? Last time we looked at this card, we didn’t really have any Metal decks. Now we’ve got some prime candidates to choose from…and they all benefit more from Mt. Coronet…welp, still a decent tech choice in some builds. Especially against Fire decks who would expect an easy win over a Metal deck, this card can be very useful as a one-of. Now if only we could search it out…
Next Time: When the leader returns, he usually brings back commanders…
Magearna may not seem like much due to this card, but the star of the show is the Change Clothes ability. This ability lets you return a Pokémon Tool attached to one of your Pokemon into your hand. Afterwards, you can attach a different tool. This could be a great partner for Silvally-GX, since Silvally may need to change into a different type via Memory Cards. A minor complaint I would address are tools that temporary boost HP such as Fighting Fury Belt or Bodybuilding Dumbbells. Taking the tool away makes you lose the boost and if the amount of damage you had exceeded your max HP, you just Knocked Out your own Pokemon! Besides this hiccup, Magearna is your puzzle of managing your Pokemon Tools.
Magearna (UP 91) gets another incarnation in the Ultra Prism expansion set. This Pokemon will see use mostly for its ability, Change Clothes, which allows you once per turn to take a Tool card attached to one of your Pokemon and put it back in your hand. This reminds me of Weavile from Steam Siege (STS 61) which let you move Tool cards around as often as you like… and that card saw very little usage. And that was in a Tool removal free environment. I remember trying Weavile in a Mewtwo EX deck that focused on using Damage Change, but I had little success with that.
I tried Magearna with the Silvally GX Zoroark GX deck I had GREAT success with last week. I ended up going 4 W 1 loss with the addition of Maggie. I took out one of the Silvally GX and also pulled out a copy of Field Blower and substituted a Bodybuilding Dumbbells (mostly because I just pulled a full art copy and needed an excuse to use it). However, I actually never even benched Magearna. A couple of times I used it as Trade fodder, but I generally just didn’t feel like I needed it. I just haven’t really come across a time when I needed to pull off one Memory Card and replace it with another one or the Bodybuilding Dumbbells.
And that could very well change in the future, especially if we get a couple more memory cards, but right now, Magearna’s a pass.
Standard: 1.5 out of 5
Especially considering that Field Blower sends Tools into the discard, Magearna just isn’t going to help any decks out right now. It will be around for an entire year after Field Blower rotates out a year and a half from now, maybe it will see more use then.
We begin this week by continuing to look at the runners-up from our last top 10 countdown. Magearna (SM – Ultra Prism 91/156) showed up in one Top 10 list (mine, as my fifth place pick), and in one Top 20 list (specifically, as a 15th place pick). This was enough to net it 22 total voting points, so Magearna would have been our 18th place finisher if we’d done a large enough countdown. You may be wondering why we’re covering this card now and not before we covered the 19th place finisher, last Friday’s Unit Energy cards. That is because I wanted to re-review the Blend Energy cards for a Throwback Thursday and then immediately follow-up with the Unit Energy cards. You are also likely wondering why I ranked this card so high and – right or wrong – I’m going to explain why.
Pokémon Tools are a pretty important part of the Pokémon TCG; essentially every Pokémon has a “Tool slot” you can utilize as part of a simple combo to make it stronger. What currently hurts Tool usage in the Standard Format (and what has hurt it for the entirety of the Expanded Format) is that there are strong anti-Tool effects (Field Blower, Startling Megaphone, etc.) in addition to any anti-Item effects (most Tools are also Item cards and all count as such once in play). Still, a few Tools like Choice Band and Float Stone see a tremendous amount of successful, competitive play, while several others see less (but still significant) amounts of usage. Normally, once you commit a Tool to a Pokémon, it is there until another card effect discards it or the Pokémon leaves the field. Magearna has the Ability “Change Clothes”, which allows you to select a Tool attached to one of your Pokémon and move it from the field to your hand. This can only be done once during your turn, and before you attack.
Even the best overall Tools for a deck aren’t always the best Tools for a particular situation, but sometimes you’ve got to make do with what you have. Change Clothes allows more leeway in using the best Tool for the job, and can also help recover Tools that you were forced to play prematurely. A stronger form of this Ability can be found on Weavile (XY – Steam Siege 61/114) and Masquerain (BW – Plasma Blast 2/101). Besides having different names, these Abilities can bounce your Tools (one at a time) as often as you want during your turn. Masquerain actually has proven competitive before, during the heyday of “Tool Drop” decks, which are named for the attack on Trubbish (BW – Plasma Storm 65/135). The deck used Trubbish as its main attacker, as the Tool Drop attack only requires [PC] to do 20 damage times the number of Tools in play (belonging to both players). While not essential to the strategy, the deck sometimes ran Masquerain so that you could both Trubbish and Bench-sitters all had the most advantageous Tools attached to them. The deck is currently dead in Expanded but still persists as a budget deck in the Legacy Format of the PTCGO.
It all ties into Magearna in that being able to manipulate your own Tools is a pretty useful effect in general. Weavile saw little to no competitive success, but it was on a Stage 1 Pokémon with 90 HP and didn’t have a great attacker to go with it. Magearna also lacks a killer combo with a particular attacker BUT is a Basic with 90 HP. While still an easy OHKO while Active, your opponent can’t quickly take Magearna out with bonus Bench hits. We are also seeing a decent amount of attackers big enough to survive a hit, and have multiple good general and specialized Tools, also factors that make Change Clothes handy. Good enough to deserve being in the top five? Nope. I hate to say this, but I misread Change Clothes; I thought it was like the two older Abilities, able to be used as often as one wanted in a turn. Does the once-per-turn aspect ruin the card? No, but it does significantly lower its usefulness. I still think Magearna is a good card, but not a great card (or even a “very good” one). If it deserved to make the top 10 for SM – Ultra Prism, it would only be near the bottom, and because so many other cards have failed to deliver. I’d say most decks can get at least some small benefit from Change Clothes, just not enough to crowd out the next best thing.
If we get the right Pokémon or Tools sans anymore really great anti-Ability, anti-Item, or anti-Tool effects, and Magearna suddenly goes from the happy side of average to a vital piece of TecH. This is less likely in Expanded than in the Standard Format, simply because the Expanded Format already has so many of really great anti-Ability, anti-Item, and anti-Tool effects. Mega Evolutions may create a niche for Magearna, though, due to Spirit Link cards avoiding that pesky “end your turn” drawback to Mega Evolving. How long Mega Evolutions will remain viable is uncertain, so I can’t give too big a bump for this. For the Limited Format, it is nearly a must run. What stops it from being a true must-run is that you may not get a Tool worth bouncing: SM – Ultra Prism has four Tools, but three of those are Pokémon-specific and one of those three only works with Pokémon not in this set. This would actually make the card pretty bad, but here is being a 90 HP Basic – and several things we haven’t discussed yet – pay off. Magearna has a Retreat Cost of [C], which makes her fairly easy to manually Retreat. This is also a bit more significant as the one general purpose Tool in the set is Escape Board. Magearna can use “Rolling Attack” for [MCC] to do 60 damage; bad for Constructed play, adequate here. A 90 HP, Basic attacker doing 60-for-three is still filler, but it becomes quality filler in the Limited Format.
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