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Undaunted is the third set of the HS era, and like Unleashed before it, is a dreadful set for competitive play.
"But MOTL, I'm undefeated with my Espeon/Umbreon Prime Eeveelutions deck at league!" I hear you exclaim. "Scizor Prime is one of the best cards ever printed!" I hear you carry on. "My Kyogre/Groudon Legend deck is 26-0 on Apprentice!" another adds.
The problem is you're both wrong, all the primes and legends in this set are terrible, and you're talking to a monitor. Seriously, what's your problem?
But I digress. There are a few good cards in this set. In fact, there's one card that's really quite good. That's why it's ranked #1 and you have to scroll all the way down to read it.
Honorable Mention #1: Sneasel
Martin Begins: I opened an Undaunted pack
Martin Begins: And they rereleased Sneasel
Martin Begins: Im like wait
Martin Begins: this was banned at the sts
Sneasel is a reprint from Neo Genesis.. of sorts. The Undaunted version has an inexplicable weakness to Fighting and -20 Resistance instead of -30. It wasn't the bottom stats that made this card broken (although it did have really good ones), it was Beat Up.
Sneasel, as you may know, remains one of the two cards to ever be banned from competitive play (excluding Ancient Mew and other quirky promos), when it was banned from the TR-On Modified format along with Slowking from the same set. It was too fast, had good HP, had excellent bottom stats, benefited from Dark Energy without penalty, and did more damage than Farfetch'd could shake a leek at. In TR-On, without Energy Removal/Super Energy Removal or Ditto to counter it, it was simply far too broken.
Obviously, this is no longer the case. 10 years (Neo Genesis was released in 2000) of power creep has led perhaps the most overpowered card relative to the format it was played in to become a below-average common.
Which, of course, makes it even more inexplicable to nerf poor old Sneasel, and not letting us be able to use Neo Genesis Sneasel in Modified once again. Well played, PCL. Well played.
Honorable Mention #2: Combee
Watch out everyone, this little guy is tilted 11/10!
For a single colorless, this tiny bee can do 80 damage, PLUS Poison. That reaches Kingdra levels of efficiency, and Kingdra's a Stage 2 that requires colored Energy, a Belt, and discard two to get to 80. Not bad for a 30 HP basic!
Now, it does have pretty bad bottom stats, and 30 HP is the lowest any Pokémon's going to have. Your opponent will probably use Crobat G's Flash Bite thrice, then carry on to score another KO on your new active.
"So MOTL, why are you even mentioning this thing?" you ask. "It's not even a shiny Legend card!"
Step forward Memory Berry. You can run 4-4 Vespiquen, with a Shuppet donk like Trainer engine. Unown P will help you damage your own Vespiquens, and with Memory Berry you can have a 100 HP Stage 1 hitting for 80+poison a turn for a single Colorless. It's an excellent fun deck, and one that can actually be competitive enough in tournament play, even if it wouldn't be Tier 1.
It's a very fun card, and unlike 99% of common Basics, has something other than a lazy C/20 attack.
At #5 on the list is Weavile.
This card's not on this list because of its amazing HP, or fantastic bottom stats, or high-damage attack. No, it's here because of Claw Snag: a coming-into-player Power that lets you pick and discard a card from your opponent's hand.
Unlike most hand disruption, Weavile's Claw Snag doesn't randomly discard, or chooses and shuffles back in the deck. It's pick-and-discard, and it's a Power, not an attack.
With Claydol gone from the format, hand disruption instantly became more effective. And Weavile has one of the best disruption Powers in the game. Free retreat is always nice to have, and Feint Attack isn't awful. But if Weavile features in a deck, it will be because of Claw Snag above all other features of it.
This card may as well have been named Giovanni's Drifblim, seeing as it hates Mewtwo more than the TR boss himself.
Mewtwo Lv.X has been an OK counter against SP, forcing them to run a Stage 1 line or Dialga G Lv.X to not scoop to any deck running it. As far as those counters go, Drifblim is Mewtwo Lv.X's worst nightmare: Ballon Tackle will one-shot a Mewtwo Lv.X, but even worse for Mewtwo, it makes it impossible to set up a Mewtwo wall, as Take Away will win the SP player the game if Mewtwo Lv.X is your only Pokémon in play.
Aside from being a perfect Mewtwo counter, SP decks also benefit from Drifblim against tank decks, such as Steelix Prime. Why bother trying to take on a 4-Metal Steelix Prime, when you can simply shuffle the entire thing back in? With Unown G gone, tank decks have no defense against Drifblim.
It makes you wonder why they keep printing cards that are hard counters to random decks, instead of, you know, printing some SP counters so they stop winning every single tournament. What's worse, almost every single new set helps SP more than it hinders it.
There's always straight Machamp though, right? Yeah, me neither.
#3: Energy Exchanger
Energy Exchanger is a very good card, and also one that will enter the metagame immediately.
Read the card closely. Unlike all those useless trainers that begin with the word "Energy" (and don't end with the word "Removal"), Energy Exchanger doesn't refer to basic Energy cards. You can put any Energy in, and get any Energy out.
And thus, 4 Call Energy is no longer dead draw later on in the game, as you can always Energy Exchanger it for a much better DCE, or a Special Metal, or a Warp Energy.. you get the point. This card is simply amazing in Dialga. You don't have to draw into your Special Metals and DCEs, you can just Energy Exchanger for them!
Sableye can also benefit from this card, and so can Steelix. In fact, any deck that uses DCEs or any other Special Energy can make use of this card. However, it is in Dialga that it shines the brightest.
Vileplume was one of the most hyped cards before the set came out, and with good reason. It's a modern version of Dark Vileplume from over a decade ago, which had just 60 HP, but blocked all Trainers (rather than the DP-on definition of Trainers, which don't include Supporters and Stadiums).
Although this Vileplume has twice as much HP, you still don't want it to be your active: You want it sitting at your bench, shutting down their Trainers, while you pummel your opponent down with your main hitters.
Theorymon pairs this deck with Gengar and Spiritomb, its natural allies in the "cards that do something when the opponent has Trainer cards" alliance. It's quite a wordy alliance, I know.
It's a good card, but it's Stage 2, and one that's a huge Bright Look/Luring Flame bait. It'll be interesting to see how this card turns out over the next two seasons, assuming it doesn't get rotated out.
Smeargle is the best card in Undaunted, by some distance.
Its Poké-Power Portrait is what makes it so amazing. In a format where Supporter-based draw and search prevail, a card that lets you effectively use two Supporters a turn will get you ahead of your Opponent. The only time Portrait will result in a less-than-stellar effect is hitting a lone Judge in your opponent's hand. However, even that would hinder your opponent more than you: You still have Smeargle, and you can play your own Supporter after the Judge.
Its bottom stats aren't very good, and a retreat of 1 will need you to run some Unown Qs/Warp Energies/Warp Points/Switches. 70 HP is good for a Basic. But none of that matters, given how good its Power is.
Smeargle is a great card, and expect to run into it at your next tournament. Even better, be running it yourself.
I was talking to Jason, and he accidentally let #1 on his Top 50 list slip. Spoiler alert: It's Base Set Gastly, and the list is a level.
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