– Flashfire

Date Reviewed:
November 2, 2020

Ratings Summary:
Standard: N/A
Expanded: 4.25
Limited: 2.00

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.

Reviews Below:

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For this week, we’re taking a look at older cards in Expanded that were banned from that format based on the recent announcement from Four cards have been banned: Milotic from XY FlashFire, Shaymin-EX from XY Roaring Skies, Sableye from BW Dark Explorers, and Oranguru from SM Ultra Prism. The reasons are given in this link.

Milotic has been reviewed once by the crew, and they expressed that this card has potential, but it doesn’t have decent partners at the time. It’s ability excludes Pokémon-EX, so players are stuck using non-EX Pokemon, and they’re not many good single prize attackers. I guess the few partners it could benefit from this ability is the Unova dragons as they have high powered attacks that cost 3 energies and have good HP for a non-EX Pokémon, but even those decks consider Milotic to take up deck space. Based on the duration of how long Milotic remained Standard legal, it left the 2016 rotation, which is BEFORE Pokemon-GX were introduced, so it never got a chance to shine.

Now, Milotic has been banned by the Expanded format due to newer mechanics. While this ability does exclude Pokemon-EX, it doesn’t exclude Pokemon-GX and Pokemon-V. Like Pokémon-EX, both of the other game mechanics are also worth multiple prizes and have huge HP scores. Most of the attack costs printed on those cards can be easily met with this ability and occasionally a manual attachment. Having to contain three basic energies in the discard pile isn’t an issue with Battle Compressor being able to fulfill that condition. It may be a Stage 1, but that means Ditto (*) can turn into Milotic if you choose to evolve it.

Not only there are lots of combos to exploit, it also make N, Reset Stamp, and Ace Trainer more of a problem for the opponent as it disrupts their hand and gives them a lower draw yield. The ban on Mismagius from SM Unbroken Bonds has both similar and different reasons of being banned, and it may be a matter of time that other Pokémon that gives themselves up could get banned as well (Electrode-GX might be next).

At the end of the day, Milotic did not just improve, but it became too good for the format and was deemed unhealthy for the format. It was fun while it lasted, but looks like players will have to find other methods to accelerate energy, especially if players really wanted to meet the absurd attack costs of “Amazing Rares” Pokemon because most of them requires THREE basic energy types. At least the Expanded format still has Ho-Oh EX from BW Dragons Exalted and Golduck BREAK, even though it takes far more deck space than Milotic and are occasionally unreliable due to the coin flip the Rebirth ability demands.


Standard: N/A (during its time 2014-2016, I think it would be a 2/5)

Expanded: Banned (As far as numerical scores goes, its peak performance could be a 4.5/5 at best, despite having to wait a turn to evolve, and most Feebas cards have 30 HP.)

Limited: 2/5

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For once, my tendency to run late with scheduling Card of the Day reviews worked out in our favor.  This past Thursday (October 29th), the updated Ban List was announced.  It will not go into effect until November 27, 2020, but at that point, the Expanded Ban List will now include
  • Milotic (XY – Flashfire 23/106)
  • Oranguru (SM – Ultra Prism 114/156)
  • Sableye (BW – Dark Explorers 62/108)
  • Shaymin-EX (XY – Roaring Skies 77/108, 77a/108, 106/108)
So we’re going to re-review each of these cards this week.  Up first is Milotic.  It was originally reviewed on June 19, 2014, with Baby Mario awarding it a 2.75/5 and aroramage scoring it 2/5.  I was not reviewing at this time,so I have even more reason than normal to do a full review for the card.
Milotic is a baseline Pokémon: worth a single Prize when KO’d, and lacking any other specialty mechanics.  It is a Water type; in modern Expanded, this can be handy due to support like Dive Ball, but Milotic is more likely to be run off-type than not.  It also isn’t intended to be an attack, so Water Weakness and Resistance don’t matter, nor do anti-Water effects.  Being a Stage 1 is actually pretty good here.  Along with Pokémon VMAX and BREAK Evolutions of Basic Pokémon, Stage 1 Pokémon are the easiest to run after Basics.  Basics are better, but Stage 1 Pokémon dodge Basic counters while still being able to take advantage of Evolution support, including some specific to Stage 1 Pokémon themselves.  Milotic has 100 HP, which is low enough to be an easy OHKO.  With how Milotic is used, this should not matter most of the time.  Back when Level Ball was a more common supplement to Ultra Ball, it was actually 10 too high!  [G] Weakness, no Resistance, and a Retreat Cost of [CC] also almost entirely irrelevant…
…because the reason to use Milotic is its Ability, “Energy Grace”.  Energy Grace KO’s Milotic, then lets you attach three basic Energy cards from your discard pile to one of your Pokémon excluding Pokémon-EX.  Pokémon-ex were the only legal multi-Prize Pokémon at the time Milotic released, so this was a trick only for single-Prize Pokémon.  I remember a few decks experimenting with it, but if any were competitive successes, they’ve since faded from memory.  If you have multiple Milotic, you could sacrifice one to fuel another copies “Waterfall” attack… but why would you?  Waterfall requires [WCC] to do 60, which was poor even when Milotic was new.
Milotic evolves from Feebas, and none of them are particularly good, though at least Feebas (Dragon Majesty 28/70) has an Ability which offers full protection from attack damage while Feebas is on your Bench.  Though you could put Milotic into play directly through Archie’s Ace in the Hole, none of the builds for the deck over at Limitless bother with it… and these are the high performing versions of the list, albeit the newest is still from back in February.  The lists do include Ditto {*}, but also the aforementioned Feebas.  I’m guessing you just eat the potential Prize loss if your opponent goes on the attack that early.
Milotic has found new life fueling Trevenant & Dusknoir-GX.  Use Energy Grace to immediately ready Trevenant & Dusknoir-GX to attack, and hopefully ensure you have fewer Prizes than your opponent, so you can use Ace Trainer to force your opponent’s hand down to three cards.  Trevenant & Dusknoir-GX’s “Night Watch” can swing for 150 damage while also forcing your opponent to shuffle away two random cards from hand.  Even with no additional combo pieces, this means a hand of any size can be dropped to one card.  You cannot pull this off on a player’s first turn, but the deck typically includes some tricks to address that problem, whether it be Wobbuffet (XY – Phantom Forces 36/119; Generations RC11/RC32) or Gengar & Mimikiyu-GX.
Even if they were to ban one of the attackers, or Ace Spec, Milotic is just waiting for the next dance partner Energy Grace can propel to dominance.  While I usually feel this way, wanting bans to be a few steps ahead of the players, this is one of those times when TPCi agrees with me, as the official announcement does indeed cite the risk of Energy Grace working with future Pokémon V.  Once November 27 rolls around, the only place you can enjoy Milotic will be in the Limited Format… where Energy Grace can be difficult to utilize.  Discarding Energy cards isn’t as easy here, and you only start with four Prizes.
  • Standard: N/A
  • Expanded: 4/5 (Soon to be N/A)
  • Limited: 2/5
Milotic’s Expanded score does take into account its current status; it is really more of a three-out-of-five effect, but not when we know we have a quality attacker that benefits from the Energy acceleration and the “cost” of Energy Grace sets up for something like Ace Trainer.  If you already have the necessary cards, enjoy Milotic for the month it has left, whether you’re going for a Dusknoir & Trevenant-GX deck, or trying it with anything else.

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