– FireRed & LeafGreen
March 29, 2018
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Today’s Throwback Thursdays is Pidgeot from EX FireRed & LeafGreen! You can read a previous review here (https://www.pojo.com/COTD/2004/August2004/31.htm) and those reviews were very favorable at its time. It is a Stage 2 Colorless type with 100 HP, weak to Lightning, resist Fighting, and free retreat. It’s Poke-Power (not an ability, so Garbotoxin and Hex Maniac can’t shut it down), Quick Search, lets you search your deck for a card and put it into your hand. You can’t use more than one Quick Search each turn, unfortunately, which is ok. Imagine searching your deck for 4 cards…..ok, I’m not going there! Clutch does 40 for CC and prevents the Defending Pokemon from retreating. Pidgeot has been seen in various World Champiom decks from 2005 and 2006.
It it were to be reprinted, I don’t think it’ll be played much because it’s HP is too low. If you manage to get Pidgeot out, you’ll be lucky to use two Quick Search Poke-Powers, otherwise, it’ll take two Giant Water Shurikens or even G Scope from Genesect-EX can KO it.
Last week, I showed you one of the iconic opening Pokémon of the past; this week, we’re looking at once of the greatest bits of Bench-sitting support:
Pidgeot (EX – Fire Red & Leaf Green 10/112)
This Pokémon was more or less a staple at one point in the Pokémon TCG, and I’ll explain why. It begins with its Poké-Power, “Quick Search”. Poké-Powers are similar to Abilities: a non-attack effect provided by a Pokémon card. Poké-Powers are distinct from Abilities, however; an effect that applies to Abilities means nothing to Poké-Powers and vice versa. Quick Search, once per turn, allowed you to search your deck for a card and add it to your hand; the only other restriction is that Quick Search was TRULY a once-during-your-turn effect, as it stated that you could not use another instance of Quick Search during that turn. Running low (even single) counts of key cards has long been an important Pokémon TCG strategy, but Pidgeot blew it wide open. If there was a single card counter for something, Quick Search guaranteed a player to access to it, unless it was already in the discard pile or Prized. This also increased the reliability of setting up your main strategy; I don’t wish to undersell that, but this was at the cost of taking the resources that would have otherwise gone towards such a thing and dedicating it to an early game Pidgeot. THAT is why I focus more on access to counters.
Pidgeot is a Stage 2 Pokémon, but released at a time when the metagame was quite conducive to them; it was just a given that decks would either be attacking with an Evolution, backed by an Evolution, or both. It certainly helped that this was around the time Rare Candy released, and back when you could use it to Evolve a Basic Pokémon into its Stage 1 or directly into its Stage 2 form on the turn it was played (even the first turn of the game); its current effect, where it just allows you to skip the Stage 1 form of a Pokémon, is an errata from the beginning of the Black & White-era. This is directly relevant to Pidgeot as it meant a deck that already ran a Stage 2 (or just needed to be really fast with a Stage 1) might already run four Rare Candy but could afford to spare one. In turn, that meant adding Pidgeot to a deck just required space for as little as one Pidgey and one Pidgeot. Being a [C] Type was more complicated back then, as some cards were [C] Weak (and eventually, [C] Resistant) BUT the real concern was Battle Frontier, a Stadium with an effect that prevented [C], [D], and [M] Pokémon from using their Poké-Powers or Poké-Bodies (we won’t worry about Poké-Bodies in this review). The 100 HP wasn’t anywhere near as small back then; it wasn’t likely to be OHKO’d until a hard-hitting deck completed its setup. It helps to remember that “regular” Pokémon maxed out at 120 HP during this time period. Lightning [L] could be a big problem, and [F] Resistance could be quite useful; the free Retreat Cost was still perfect back then, as well. “Clutch” was about as good as it looks now, but for different reasons. We didn’t have Double Colorless Energy at the time but we did have Boost Energy, Double Rainbow Energy, and would receive Scramble Energy; also, 40 damage meant a little more back then.
When this Pidgeot was legal, until it rotated, almost no deck skipped it, at least if it wished to remain competitive. The decks that did go without were running another option – like Magcargo (EX – Deoxys 20/107) AND a counter – like Battle Compressor. Even some of the decks running Pidgeot would still include Battle Compressor, shutting down Quick Search as soon as that player’s own setup was finished! We aren’t scoring for past Standard Formats, but if we were, this would easily earn a four out of five and probably deserve a bit more than that. The CotD crew has reviewed this card twice before. Since I can’t score it for Standard or Expanded, I’ll mention that it a fantastic pull for the Limited Format (not that you’ll ever get the chance). What if it were reprinted? A straight-up reprint wouldn’t happen, due to how game mechanics have changed. If they only updated the minimal, like labeling Quick Search as an Ability, it would be… iffy. You’d have an extremely fragile Stage 1 with an awesome once-per-turn search, but gone are the days when you could slip a 1-0-1 line into just about anything. Also gone are the days when we didn’t have multiple effective options for forcing a Benched Pokémon into the Active position. 100 HP is now fragile as well. Now, a Pidgeot-GX inspired by this version? Even just an upscaled version of the old card that was not a Pokémon-GX? Still not a must run, but definitely something to make some deck more fiercesome.
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