Pidgeotto (Team Up TEU 123)
Pidgeotto (Team Up 123)

– Team Up

Date Reviewed:
April 12, 2019

Ratings Summary:
Standard: 2.50 
Expanded: 2.00
Limited: 4.00
Theme: 3.50

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

Reviews Below:

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Usually when we’re looking at cards, we end up looking at the biggest version of it – the Stage 2 GX, the final evolution, or just the Basic form if that’s all there is to it. But sometimes that makes it easy to overlook the steps along the way – the Basics and sometimes the Stage 1s that lead up into the cards we see most often on these reviews. Sometimes they’re even more important than their evolution – Squirtle (BCR) was particularly important for its Ability to protect itself from damage while on the Bench, allowing an easy evolution into Blastoise (BCR)!

Pidgeotto isn’t quite on that level, but it’s still better than Pidgeot.

Pidgeotto is a Stage 1 Colorless Pokemon, 60 HP, with a Lightning Weakness, a Fighting Resistance, and a Retreat Cost of 1. Gust lets you pull out two little mini-fans that get aimed at your opponent’s cards, and as long as they feature the Colorless Energy logo on them, you’re legally allowed to use them to blow your opponent’s cards off of the table. Unfortunately, I’m not aware of any such mini-fans existing, but let me know when you can have 2-for-30. Air Mail is the Ability that lets you look at the top two cards of your deck, adding one to your hand while putting the other on the bottom.

It’s this Ability in Air Mail that makes Pidgeotto worth running in some decks. Effectively, it’s a free draw each turn, allowing you to sift through the top couple of cards to grab whatever you need or else keep the dead draws away. You won’t always get a pair of cards that you’ll like, but with more Pidgeotto, you’ll be able to get through the deck faster and faster. And these days, that’s a pretty big deal – just look at Zoroark-GX!

Pidgeotto will probably see play in only a few decks, but there is a scary thought on the horizon: Zoroark-GX could potentially be rotating out later this year, and that’ll leave an empty space for card draw. And that could be Pidgeotto’s time to really shine! Don’t sleep on this guy – try him out in your decks today!


Standard: 2.5/5 (obviously he’s nowhere near as great as Zoroark-GX is)

Expanded: 2/5 (and while his stats are low, there’s always a possibility of evolving)

Limited: 4/5 (but for the most part, Pidgeotto’s in a good spot to start working through decklists)

Arora Notealus: Pidgeotto offers to fill in a potential niche area that may see some major overhaul in the upcoming months. Draw power and resources are always a critical component of any deck’s consistency, so having an easy means of accessing that – whether through a good Supporter or through a strong Pokemon Ability – is always a huge part to the success of the card itself!

Weekend Thought: There sure are a lot of powerful Stage 1s this week. What did you think of this group? Will they be able to compete in the metagame? Is Stage 1 just a little too slow? Is it better to be a Stage 1 Pokemon or a Stage 2 Pokemon? Obviously Basic is really good, but what other evolving Basics are really good?

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We close this week with Pidgeotto (SM – Team Up 123/181). I’m going to begin this card’s most important trait, its Ability “Air Mail”. Air Mail lets you look at the top two cards of your deck, then add one to your hand while bottom-decking the other. Each instance of this Ability may only be used once, and it must be used before doing something that ends your turn (like attacking). Air Mail is similar to a once-per-turn, reusable Acro Bike, but placing the card you don’t select card on the bottom of your deck instead of discarding it. We are in a metagame where a little draw can go a long way, such as with Zoroark-GX and its “Trade” Ability, but where a little draw can also go nowhere, like Alolan Sandslash (SM – Guardians Rising 20/145; SM – Black Star Promos SM18) and its “Slush Rush” Ability. The former has you discard a card from your hand to draw two cards, while the latter has you simply draw a card; Air Mail seems to fall somewhere in between. Of course, the rest of the card matters as well; Zoroark-GX is a solid, Stage 1 Pokémon-GX that functions as either an alternate or main attacker, depending on the deck, while Alolan Sandslash has not done so in a successful, competitive deck to my recollection.

Pidgeotto also has the attack, “Gust” for [CC]. It does 30 damage. Not a reason to run this card, but at least there is an attack and it isn’t horrible, just underwhelming. Whereas I wanted to look at Air Mail right away because it was so important, we just covered Gust because it will seldom matter, but it makes it easier to comment on the rest of the card now that we’ve covered both effects. For example, the [C] Typing can clearly be explained as largely irrelevant; it doesn’t matter we can’t exploit Weakness and don’t have to worry about Resistance. I suppose the fact that [C] Type support isn’t really worth the effort matters, and not having to worry about Necrozma-GX’s “Light’s End” Ability (even if only because you shouldn’t be attacking with Pidgeotto) is just barely worth mentioning. Pidgeotto would be better as a Basic than as a Stage 1, but it is still serviceable as is… and while it needs to Evolve from a Pidgey or Ditto {*} it doesn’t (directly) need to worry about Alolan Muk (Sun & Moon 58/149) this way.

Pidgeotto has 60HP; the bad news is that this not only makes it an all-but-guaranteed OHKO against most decks, but it may even be an easy OHKO while on the Bench. You’re much more likely to see someone running Weavile (SM – Ultra Prism 74/156) than Weavile (SM – Burning Shadows 86/147), but even the latter flirts with being a competitive play. 60 HP does make Pidgeotto a legal target for Professor Elm’s Lecture, and I suspect that is a major selling point for the card. Weakness normally doesn’t matter for a Pokémon this small, but [L] Type decks have become really popular as of SM – Team Up. While most serious attackers won’t need to exploit Weakness for the OHKO, you get stuff like Jolteon-GX where it still matters. The low HP still nerfs the [F] Resistance, not that the -20 from Resistance is usually that important in the first place. Still, any Resistance is better than none at all. When it comes to Retreat Costs, none at all is actually the best case scenario and… Pidgeotto is off by one. A Retreat Cost of [C] is still very good, and if you can spare an Escape Board then Pidgeotto can function as a pivot Pokémon.

Pidgeotto evolves from Pidgey and into Pidgeot; neither of these two Pokémon have currently legal options that are worth. You probably don’t want Pidgeotto to eat up your Ditto {*}, so you’ll still want Pidgey. I wouldn’t bother with a Pidgeot at all unless we get something better than the current offerings. In that regard, Pidgeotto reminds me of Eelektrik (BW – Noble Victories 40/101). While that card became famous because its “Dynamotor” Ability would go on to fuel the Energy acceleration of more than one competitive deck, and I do NOT expect Pidgeotto to be an equivalently good source of Bench-sitting draw power, Eelektrik decks almost never bothered with Eelektross because even the few that complemented it weren’t usually worth the extra slot. I could have missed them, but I haven’t seen any successful, competitive decks built using Pidgeotto.

I’ve seen some nearly competitive, could-be-rogue decks trying it, enough to make me think it can do the job, only just barely. Comboing with the “Smooth Over” Ability of Magcargo (SM – Celestial Storm 24/168) or periodic usage of Mallow isn’t enough. A swarm of Pidgeotto on the Bench, though, can do you quite a bit of good; three mean accessing the best three of the top six cards of your deck and that probably frees up your Support for something else. The problem is the decks I’ve seen trying it can’t afford that much Bench space for Pidgeotto. Possibly, it could emerge as the single-Prize, budget Zoroark-GX. After all, it took Oranguru (Sun & Moon 113/149; SM – Black Star Promos SM13) time to emerge as a common Bench-sitter. We as players may just need to evolve a little to properly utilize it as it isn’t quite like anything else when it comes to optimal usage. Expanded seems to be in a similar boat, though with fiercer competition and combos. Pidgeotto is fantastic in the Limited Format and the PTCGO’s Theme Format… once it hits the field.  I cannot tell if I am being generous or demanding by scoring it a bit lower in the Theme Format; it hasn’t performed as well as I expected but I blame the “Torrential Cannon” Theme Deck; it doesn’t utilize the card as well as I’d like.


Standard: 2.5/5

Expanded: 2/5

Limited: 4/5

Theme: 3.5/5

Pidgeotto is far from a must-run card right now, but it might be another “must-test” option. Definitely remember it about five months, when we see the Standard Format rotate and (potentially) lose some of our current, preferred Bench-sitters.

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