– Call of Legends
March 8, 2018
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Is it weird to think of how there are cards that are already 7 years old at this point? And then you think of how much older other cards are…it’s strange to think there are cards that older than some people even. That’s gotta be weird…but I guess Magic people are used to that.
Pachirisu comes out of the Call of Legends expansion in 2011 and is a Basic Lightning-Type Pokemon, 60 HP, with a Fighting Weakness, a Metal Resistance, and a Retreat Cost of 1. Back in those days, the most HP a Pokemon would have was 150, and that was almost exclusively used for Stage 2 Pokemon. Course nowadays, that doesn’t seem like much, and having 60 HP on a non-evolving Basic is a little underwhelming, but Pachirisu does have some unique qualities to him.
His one attack is Shocking Bolt, a 2-for-50 move that puts all the Energy Pachirisu has into the Lost Zone after the attack is used. It’s not exactly what you’d call crazy, even by the standards of those days, but it’s a sizable portion of most Pokemon’s HP and could potentially OHKO a Lightning-weak Pokemon if the opponent isn’t careful. And how can they be when his Ability, Self-Generation, automatically attaches 2 Lightning Energy from the hand right onto Pachirisu once he hits the Bench?
Pachirisu’s most notable appearance was in the BW-era deck known as ZPST, where it would take up the slot for the “P” in the title. The goal with Pachirisu wasn’t to use its Shocking Bolt to OHKO Lightning-weak Pokemon, as might be intended, but rather to use its Self-Generation Ability in combination with Shaymin’s Celebration Wind Ability to attach the Energy onto Zekrom or Tornadus and begin dealing lots of damage with their attacks, using Bolt Strike and Outrage from Zekrom and using Tornadus as need be against Fighting decks. Combined with some good Basic support, since the deck mostly ran on Basics prior to the advent of the EX in Next Destinies, it was a good candidate and one of the better decks in that time period.
And then Mewtwo-EX happened and everyone went crazy.
Pachirisu is definitely an interesting card in and of itself, and I’m sure if we had more Pokemon that had not only the ability to put Energy into play immediately but also to be used in tandem with those who would end up moving that Energy to big attackers, we’d likely see more decks like ZPST show up even in today’s game. Nowadays though, this sort of combination is almost entirely subverted by the presence of Pokemon who not only put Energy into play but also deal massive amounts of damage – looking at you, Gardevoir-GX.
Standard: N/A (in short, Pachirisu is a bit of a relic of its time)
Expanded: N/A (and while it could feature in some decks with its Ability)
Limited: 3.5/5 (there’s also not enough general support for it to work on its own…or with others)
Arora Notealus: Pachirisu is one of those cards that looks good on paper but does better when people can combine it with other cards, as it has negative qualities that would detract from its “intended” use. Self-Generation is a great card to bring out Energy for free, but Pachirisu isn’t the ideal target for it, and its Ability prevents you from committing that Energy elsewhere outside of switching it around like with Shaymin. I would like to see more cards work with each other in this regard rather than simply working because the one card was just designed to be as efficient as possible, as it opens things up to more customized play styles in the game…rather than just, “This card is the deck now, and you better get used to it.”
Next Time: And now for a new Pokemon who does the same general thing.
Pachirisu from Call of Legends is the subject of Throwback Thursdays. A 60 HP Lightning type, weak to Fighting, resist Metal, and a retreat of one, it has a Poke-Power (not an ability, so Garbotoxin, Power of Alchemy, or Hex Maniac can’t shut it down) and an attack. Static Generator states when you put this Pokémon from your hand into the Bench, you attach two Lightning energies from your hand to this Pokémon. This gets this Pokémon fully powered up to do Shocking Bolt, which costs LL and does 50 damage. But then these energies will get kicked out from the game (Lost Zone). That makes this attack hard to constantly use.
The only one instance where this card was used back then is Zekrom (Black & White), Shaymin (HS Unleashed), and this card. What you do is start the game with Zekrom, if you possibly can, then on your first turn (this was when you can use trainer cards AND attack on the first turn of the game) you use Pokémon Collector to fetch at least one Shaymin and one Pachirisu. You would need at least two Lightning energy and one of any basic energy. Then you play Pachirisu and attach two Lightning Energy to it. Next, you use Shaymin’s Celebration Wind Poke-Power to move these Lightning energies from Pachirisu to Zekrom, manually attach any energy to Zekrom, and then finally swing with Bolt Strike for 120 damage. That was the strategy to perform a donk, and it was possible to do so when the Black & White expansion was released. 120 damage was able to OHKO a majority of Basic Pokémon sans opposing Unova Dragons, which may need a bit of help with Expert Belt or Plus Power.
So couple months passed and Zekrom with company were able to chiefly knock out any Pokemon in the start of the game. However, EX Pokemon came out with even higher HP counts like 170 and 180, and suddenly Zekrom cannot reliably OHKO any Pokemon anymore. Asking the deck to perform SIX Plus Powers (which needed Junk Arms to recycle them), is beyond the capacity of having enough cards in your hand. That donk strategy was thrown out from the window at that point. Even if this card were to be in Legacy, that strategy isn’t good as it once was. The 2013 ruling makes the player go first not being able to attack at all. Sure, you can attack second, but the player that went first would already have reinforcements to back it up if their Active Pokemon falls. However, an unlucky opponent who went first but doesn’t start with an EX Pokemon and doesn’t have other Benched Pokemon will still fall prey to an outdated donk strategy, so there’s some hope there! Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym can help you place more damage counters, easing the pain from abusing Junk Arm. Bolt Strike, Virbank City Gym, Hypnotoxic Laser, and three Plus Powers is enough to reach 180 HP. Even if reinforcements did arrive, whatever your opponent has in front is going to get OHKOed if sufficient card combo pulls off. The exception would be if Zekrom would be facing a Landorus-EX with Eviolite attached to it; you would have to do the full 220 due to 180 HP, Lightning resistance, and Eviolite factored in. Such an amount will need HTL/Virbank, 4 Plus Powers, and 3 Junk Arms, all in one turn!
So, if a donk strategy is no longer a thing, we would have to look elsewhere, hypothetically. If Pachirisu were to be legal, then it would be in some decks that does massive damage if all of the energy cards are loaded on your Pokemon in play such as Delphox XY Fates Collide or Gallade BW Plasma Storm. Pachirisu actually has a legitimate use in Raichu-GX decks. There are situations where you cannot afford to lose an attack, not even Snuggly Generator from Pachirisu (Ultra Prism), and must use Powerful Spark. Well, putting Pachirisu and using Static Generator means you are about to deal 40 extra damage. And if you have more than one Pachirisu, and you have tons of Basic Lightning Energy in your hand, then imagine how much damage you can potentially deal! As such, this card would actually find a home in such decks.
Standard: N/A (would be 2.5/5)
Notes: Something that I would like to mention is that I thought that the Pachirisu we’re looking at was from Ultra Prism before it was corrected. It was too late by then, already having an review talking about the new Pachirisu card. Oh well, it was fun doing so, and whether or not we’re reviewing the Pachirisu card from Ultra Prism remains to be seen. Looking further on the next expansion, scans were translated on the 70+ cards from Forbidden Light as well as a frame of Japan’s Dragon Storm subset that hasn’t been translated yet (although the pictures determined to show Dragonite-GX, Salamence-GX, Articuno-GX, and Reshiram-GX).
This Throwback Thursday we look at Pachirisu (Call of Legends 18/95), a 60 HP Basic [L] Pokémon with [F] Weakness, [M] Resistance, Retreat Cost [C], a Poké-Power (they’re like Abilities), and one attack. The Ability is “Self-Generation”, which triggers when you play this Pokémon from your hand to your Bench during your turn; if you use Self-Generation, you attach up to two [L] Energy from your hand to itself. “Shock Bolt” requires [LL] and does 50 damage, but it also requires you send all Energy Pachirisu has attached to itself to the Lost Zone. The damage output is okay, helped by the Ability not only speeding up Pachirisu but freeing up your manual Energy attachment for the turn to go elsewhere (at least, if you have enough Energy in hand). The Energy being sent to the Lost Zone is bad, but not as much as it may sound; odds are Pachirisu won’t survive attacking, even against cards from its own era, so it only hurts because recycling Basic Energy from the discard pile is relatively easy, while getting it back from the Lost Zone is impossible. Still, this wasn’t enough to make Pachirisu look… and yet this was a card that helped shape the Standard Format for at least some of the time it was legal.
How? If you said, “By finding a way to abuse the Poké-Power!” you’re absolutely right. As with nearly all coming-into-play effects, you could use a bounce effect in an attempt to reuse Self-Generation; this card was even legal during the time of Seeker, a card that forced both players to bounce a Pokémon (and all cards attached) from that player’s Bench to his or her hand. Of course, that still doesn’t seem too impressive when you just use it to spam Shock Bolt, but players quickly learned to make use of Pachirisu and its Self-Generation by finding cards with good effects that required discarding Energy from your other Pokémon, as opposed to only itself. Some talked of using Pachirisu to back Magnezone (HS – Triumphant 96/102), a.k.a. Magnezone Prime. Magnezone Prime was a great card back in the day and had an attack called “Lost Burn” that allowed you to send as many Energy cards attached to your own Pokémon to the Lost Zone as you wanted, doing 50 damage for each. Pachirisu meant an extra 100 damage! However, this is NOT what made Pachirisu famous; indeed, the best Magnezone decks had other ways of fueling Lost Burn or relied on a different main attacker.
Enter Shaymin (HS – Unleashed 8/95). Shaymin has the Poké-Power “Celebration Wind”, which allowed you to move as many of your Energy attached to your Pokémon to your other Pokémon as you liked when you Benched it during your turn. This meant an instant [LL] to anything on your side of the field. It took one more set and the shift to the BW-era first turn rules, which actually meant no special first turn rules except the one about not being able to Evolve; you could play any kind of Trainer, still attack, etc. on T1. While multiple attackers could make use of this trick, perhaps the most iconic ended up being Zekrom (Black & White 47/114, 114/114; BW – Black Star Promos BW005, BW24; BW – Next Destinies 50/99; BW – Legendary Treasures 51/113, 115/113). Zekrom is a beefy 130 HP Basic Pokémon, released at a time when only Evolution, Pokémon LEGEND, and Level-Up cards had more HP, with that last card being the “almost totally gone” old mechanic. Its first attack, “Outrage”, did 20 damage plus 10 per damage counter on itself for just [CC], while [LLC] paid for “Bolt Strike”, an attack that let Zekrom hit the opponent’s Active for 120 damage and itself for 40.
There was even more to the deck commonly referred to as “ZPS”. We had Pokémon Collector, a Supporter that allowed you to search your deck for up to three Basic Pokémon and add them to your hand, or you could save your Supporter for something else and use Dual Ball (flip two coins, get one Basic per “heads” from your deck). The pre-errata (so no coin flip required) version of Pokémon Catcher showed up one set later in BW – Emerging Powers, and one set after that, Eviolite debuted in BW – Noble Victories (-20 damage from attacks by either player’s Pokémon to the equipped Basic Pokémon). That expansion also contains Tornadus (BW – Emerging Powers 89/98, 98/98; BW – Black Star Promos BW42; BW – Legendary Treasures 108/113), at which point the deck became known as “ZPST”. ZPST went on to win the 2011 Canadian National Championship so… whatever happened to this deck?
Competition. The same set that graced us with Eviolite also brought us Eelektrik (BW – Noble Victories 40/101), with its “Dynamotor” Ability that could attach [L] Energy from your discard pile to your Benched Pokémon. A little slower, but far less complex a combo but it was reusable. Then there were the Pokémon-EX that first showed up in BW- NExt Destinies (the set after BW – Noble Victories). As long as they weren’t [L] Weak, they could tank a hit from Bolt Strike. While there were ways to up attack damage, it wasn’t enough. While some of the Pokémon-EX could easily fit into ZPST, even make use of the combo, they didn’t NEED the combo itself. In fact, a lot of the tricks used by this deck would be used to back similar decks that left out the Pachirisu, Zekrom, and Tornadus. Which brings us to today. If suddenly re-released into the Standard Format, Pachirisu might be a worthwhile trick. Why? Ninja Boy, mostly; you’ll have to use up your Supporter for the turn, but you’ll instantly have a Basic Pokémon (including Basic Pokémon-EX/GX) with [LL] attached to it. I’d assume a straight up reprint wouldn’t happen, however; even if everything else remained the same, Self-Generator would change from a Poké-Power to an Ability, and as such have to deal with anti-Ability effects (some of which work only against Basic Pokémon).
The same goes for the Expanded Format, with the usual three condition – more combos, more competition, more counters – likely causing it to work differently, but with approximately the same net level of usefulness. If you can actually afford it, you could make pretty good use of Pachirisu in the Limited Format; just remember you’re probably going to pull off a quick Shock Bolt and then get KO’d before you can do it again. Finally, for the Legacy Format, Pachirisu looks like it might be pretty good; Poké-Powers are hard to counter (unlike Abilities) and its old deckmates are still here, with access to a few new tricks that help the deck cope with Pokémon-EX. I cannot confirm this; I don’t have the card sto run the deck myself, I don’t encounter it often, but the deck involves enough pricey (for the PTCGO) cards that it could simply be the people who can afford to build it can also afford to build decks that are as good (or better).
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