– Lost Thunder
January 1, 2019
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Onix seems pretty simple to review as it seems like it doesn’t have much going for it. However, I did see an Onix teched in on a Malamar deck in Japan to exploit weakness found on some of the popular decks out there such as Zoroark-GX and Zeraora-GX. This is because it’s only attack cost four Colorless energy for 120 damage. Add in a Choice Band, and it’ll do 150 damage to EX/GX Pokemon, enough to 2HKO the game, or OHKO when exploiting Weakness. Onix will greatly appreciate fast energy acceleration, otherwise it wouldn’t be used at all.
Standard: 3/5 (A good piece of tech.)
Expanded: 3/5 (And it fits in any deck nicely.)
Limited: 1.5/5 (Though I doubt it’ll do well here.)
Notes: I wish there are more cards that can be simple and useful like this. I used to initially not thought much about it despite its splashability, but it’s been effective used.
Next up: She would be a hybrid Normal/Fairy Gym Leader due to her team roster.
Onix (LOT 109) tunneled its way into the format from the Lost Thunder expansion set. This 120 HP Basic Fighting Pokemon caught many of our eyes because it is a completely splashable Zoroark GX counter. Malamar FLI builds will probably be able to get four energy on this card without too much trouble. I’ve been playing a ton of Blissey LOT, and I have been able to get four energy on it fairly frequently. And 120 damage isn’t terrible, even if you’re hitting something that isn’t weak to you, but this card will pretty much only see play to 1) evolve into Steelix or 2) function as a one of TecH for the Dark Fox.
And that’s why I haven’t used it yet: I have only seen Zoroark GX 27 times in 249 matches on PTCGO this month. The disparity between the “meta” and PTCGO has been wide since rotation. I have only seen meta decks 23% of the time in September, 27% of the time in October, 35% of the time in November, but then back down to 31% in December. There’s no point in TecHing for the meta when playing on PTCGO, just as the ladder doesn’t serve as a good training ground for decks you plan on playing IRL.
For real life tournaments, this card could help offset a bad Zoroark GX matchup (there are plenty of Psychic Pokemon that are weak to Dark that should consider playing a one of Onix), but I think its only use on PTCGO will be as a stepping stone to Steelix.
Standard: 2 out of 5
I like the idea of this card, though. I really like the idea of the design and the intent. If I start seeing more Zoroark GX (which could happen in February since Dark gets a LOT of love), I could easily see myself TecHing Onix into certain decklists.
Happy New Year!
We begin with Onix (SM – Lost Thunder 109/214). It is an Evolving Basic [F] Type Pokémon with 120 HP, [G] Weakness, no Resistance, Retreat Cost [CCCC] and the attack “Land Crush” for [CCCC], doing 120 damage. Sometimes we look at Evolving Basics because of what they bring to their Evolutions, and sometimes we look at them because of how they are used separately from their Evolutions; today is mostly about the latter. Being a Basic Pokémon means Onix is easy to run and fast to the field, and that it can be your opening Active (which may not always be a good thing). The [F] Typing lets it access some valuable Type support, exploit one of the most common forms of Weakness, but also means dealing with one of the most common forms of Resistance and being unable to access any [M] Type support (the Type of its Evolution, Steelix). 120 HP is at that point where a deck with a solid setup is probably scoring a fairly reliable OHKO, but if you catch something before its really ready or when its trying to recover, Onix can survive a hit. Unless it is a [G] Type attacker because Onix is [G] Weak so it folds to 60 base damage there.
Resistance could have made Onix somewhat durable against the Resisted Type, especially as Onix is worth only a single Prize when it is KO’d. It has no Resistance, however, so that’s a missed opportunity. At least it wouldn’t have been a huge difference, even if Resistance had been present. That Retreat Cost is painful; an Onix that shows up in the Active position is stuck there without discarding far too many Energy cards or relying on help from a Switch or the like. There may be a silver lining here, though; there is a Tool we ought to be getting in the next expansion that, when attached to a Pokémon with this Retreat Cost (or higher) gains +50 HP. Of course, we’ve had somewhat similar support in the past, like Heavy Boots, go almost totally unused. Land Crush is the only thing this Onix can do, and even though it is all [C] requirements, four Energy is still a lot. Fortunately, the reward for the investment is a lot of damage. 120 means each [C] requirement is paying for 30 damage. As a matter of historical perspective, during the first few years of the game 10 damage per [C] was the norm (and not even guaranteed). 30 for [C] isn’t quite the expected rate, but it is a desirable one.
A Basic Pokémon worth only one Prize when KO’d, that for any four Energy can swing for 120 damage isn’t great, but it has its uses, especially with that Typing. It is enough to reliably 2HKO most such things and to OHKO smaller targets as well as some prominent [F] Weak ones, like Zoroark-GX. So far, I think this only works for Malamar (SM – Forbidden Light 51/131; SM – Black Star Promos SM117) decks, where we have already seen it as TecH. Using Malamar’s “Psychic Recharge” Ability, the deck can afford to pile four basic Psychic Energy and toss Onix up front to OHKO something like a Zoroark-GX or a smaller attacker the opposing deck may be using. This was most recently demonstrated by Max Robert’s version of the deck, which he piloted to a fourth-place finish at the Harrogate, UK Regional Championship. This is speculation on my part, but if Vikavolt decks were to make a comeback, Onix could function in those as well. At Harrogate, we also saw this Onix in the 11th place deck, a full Steelix (SM – Celestial Storm 89/168) deck. You could attack with Onix in this deck, but it seems very risky as the deck doesn’t have an easy way to attach the Energy required. I assume the reason today’s Onix was used instead of Onix (SM – Celestial Storm 71/168) is that the slightly older option has 20 less HP.
That HP is also the reason why this Onix has been the one used in the Steelix stall decks that. While this deck wasn’t in the results I have for the Harrogate, it has managed some notable finishes over the last three or so months. In the Expanded Format, I’m not seeing today’s Onix at all BUT my data is quite sparse and incomplete. On paper, it should fulfill more or less the same purpose. I am skeptical of it being out there, however, because at least right now I’m not seeing enough decks with the Energy acceleration to make it worthwhile. When such decks rise again, if nothing better has come along to replace Onix or make one of its rivals (exploiting [F] Weakness via TecH is hardly a new tactic), this version of the Rock Snake Pokémon will be there to do the job. Finally, for the Limited Format, this is a good pull. It takes too long to power it up and the HP is too low for the +39 approach, but those wide open Energy requirements mean you can slap Onix into anything that isn’t a +39 deck. It might take some time to build, but Onix has a good chance of hiding safely on the Bench while that happens, even if you’re doing so only through your manual Energy attachment for the turn. After that, many of its set-mates are going to fall into OHKO range of Land Crush.
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