– SM Celestial Storm
August 14, 2018
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
One of the more interesting aspects of the set is the usage of Pokemon that would seem very familiar to long-time veterans of the game but to whom newer players might not be familiar with. Probably doesn’t help that a few of them ended up transforming into Pokemon-GX, kinda like what Scizor-GX did.
Scizor-GX is a Stage 1 Metal Pokemon-GX, 210 HP, with a Fire Weakness, a Psychic Resistance, and a Retreat Cost of 1. Danger Perception is a great little Ability that gives Scizor-GX’s attacks 80 more damage, provided that he ends up at around 100 HP or lower. Then there’s Steel Wing, a 2-for-80 move that reduces incoming damage by 30, followed up by Cross Cut-GX, a 3-for-100 move that does 100 more damage if the opponent’s Active Pokemon is an Evolution Pokemon.
This card is based off of Scizor-ex – not to be confused with Scizor-EX from BREAKpoint, mind you – from all the way back in EX Unseen Forces. All of the stats have been modified for the current game, so you don’t have to worry about him getting KO’d. That being said, Scizor-GX’s moves are fairly powerful even before the Danger Perception boost. Steel Wing is a pretty evenly-costed move for what it does, and it helps to increase Scizor-GX’s survivability. And Cross Cut-GX can be utilized against any number of Pokemon-GX to dish out a whopping 200 damage, not even including the Ability which could bring up the base damage to KO even Basic Pokemon-GX! Tack on a Choice Band, and Scizor-GX looks extremely powerful.
Of course this is all under that clause that puts Scizor-GX at 100 HP or lower, which is very risky. Considering that the average amount of damage for a good 2HKO on most anything is about 120-130, having Scizor-GX risking its life constantly to get major value out of its moves isn’t exactly ideal. That being said, it’s nice to know that your moves do get more powerful; it’s almost incentive for your opponent to pace themselves so they don’t run into danger themselves! Which is likely what will stifle Scizor-GX’s own plays, as your opponent is not likely to trigger the Ability intentionally.
A very powerful attacker for Metal decks though, and I’d say a great rework of an older card!
Standard: 4/5 (I imagine that a lot of players will work to take advantage of the damage boost)
Expanded: 4/5 (it’s actually pretty easy to do here)
Limited: 5/5 (if you get that Scyther and this, it’s gonna be hard to fight against)
Arora Notealus: Scizor has always been one of the coolest Pokemon in the games. Scyther’s really cool too by default, but the fact that he evolves into a metal version of himself is really cool! It’s like a straight-up upgrade! Course Scizor himself has been a popular choice in the games, enough so to justify making a Mega Evolution…which aesthetically, your mileage may very.
Next Time: Stacking up for a smackdown!
Scizor-GX (CES 90) cuts its way into the format in the brand spanking new Celestial Storm expansion set. This 210 HP, Stage 1, Metal type Pokemon has caught the interest of many players because of its damage boosting ability. At 210 HP, Scizor will probably survive a single hit, and if that attack leaves it with less than 110 HP, Steel Wing’s base damage becomes 160 and Cross Cut GX would do 280 damage to evolution Pokemon (180 to Basics).
As intriguing as that sounds, I’m just not too interested in Pokemon that have to be significantly damaged in order to do significant damage. Scizor’s main attack has a base damage of 80. Granted, it reduces its opponent’s next attack by thirty, but that kind of works against itself. If the opponent doesn’t do more than 130 damage (210-130= 80+30 = 110… which leaves it outside of Danger Perception’s range), Scizor’s attacks don’t even receive their boost from Danger Perception. Also, an opponent can easily come along and KO Scizor on the next turn, leaving it especially vulnerable to single prize attackers. It’s just like playing against Alolan Ninetales GX: get a small touch on it first, then come along and drop the hammer on the next turn.
And that doesn’t even include the growing number of feature Pokemon that will straight up OHKO Scizor… or the fact that it has Fire weakness, and Fire has an arrow pointing up (although not as much without baby Blaziken) after September 7th. All in all, sorry to say it, but Scizor just doesn’t make the cut.
Standard: 2 out of 5
If you skipped yesterday, we’re doing our countdown of the top 10 cards of SM – Celestial Storm! We had five reviewers submit lists – no, you don’t have to post regularly to participate – with lists ranging from 10 cards to 25, which resulted in a total of 39 different cards being nominated! Our ninth-place finisher earned 50 voting points by appearing on three different personal lists (two top 10’s and one top 20). On my personal list, this was my 19th place pick: I present to you Scizor-GX (SM – Celestial Storm 90/168, 158/168, 175/168)! This is a Stage 1 [M] Type Pokémon-GX with 210 HP, [R] Weakness, [P] Resistance, [C] Retreat Cost, the Ability “Danger Perception”, the attack “Steel Wing”, and the GX-attack “Crosscut-GX”. Danger Perception activates when this Pokémon has 100 or less HP remaining, at which point its attacks now do 80 more damage before Weakness/Resistance. [MC] Pays for Steel Wing, which does 80 damage (160 Danger Perception has been triggered) while placing an effect on Scizor-GX itself, reducing the damage it takes from attacks by 30 during your opponent’s next turn (after Weakness/Resistance). Crosscut-GX needs [CCC] and does 100 damage, plus another 100 IF your opponent’s Active is an Evolution. Danger Perception would boost these numbers to 180 and 280, respectively.
Scizor-GX is a pseudo-reprint of Scizor-ex (EX – Unseen Forces 108/115), keeping even the names of Abilities and attacks, just changing the essential bits to change, like swapping out the original Pokémon-ex mechanic for the current Pokémon-GX mechanic and improving the numbers. As we only have so much space, we won’t worry about how well Scizor-ex did or did not do; how does Scizor-GX stack up for post-rotation metagame? How about for the not-quite-three-weeks we have left of the Standard Format being SM-On? Being a Stage 1 isn’t a burden like being a Stage 2 usually is but it really isn’t as nice as being a Basic. 210 HP on a Pokémon-GX makes Scizor-GX a tricky OHKO, maybe even difficult, but far from impossible for the majority of decks. [R] decks only need to hit 110 damage thanks to the Weakness, while [P] decks will have to manage 230 and… both actually seem significant right now (and should be post-rotation). Keeping it simple, [R] decks are going to have an easy OHKO – but still not guaranteed – while [P] decks are going to struggle if they’re after a OHKO or a narrow-margin 2HKO. That Retreat Cost of [C] is good, and it may be better post-rotation when Escape Board no longer has to compete with Float Stone.
Danger Perception is the kind of Ability some players love and some hate; there are no coin flips or the like, but it can still prove unreliable as the Scizor-GX in question must have 100 or less HP for it to kick in… and if you can’t attack something where that extra 80 damage matters, then Danger Perception won’t matter. Fortunately, an extra 80 damage usually matters quite a bit! Now let’s look at something I seemingly skipped: the Typing. Both before and after rotation, the [M] Type has support options that seem pretty relevant to Scizor-GX. Dhelimise (SM – Guardians Rising 59/145; SM – Black Star Promos SM53) is a 120 HP [P] Type Basic Pokémon BUT its Ability “Steelworker” increases the damage of attacks from your [M] Type Pokémon by 10 (before Weakness/Resistance). Frying Pan is a Tool that removes the Weakness of an [M] Type while also reducing the damage it takes by 30 (again, after Weakness/Resistance). Yes, your opponent can just use something like Field Blower to discard Frying Pan, but until they do, [P] Types have to do 260 damage to OHKO Scizor-GX while everything else – [R] Weakness is being nullified – must do 240!
I’m going somewhere with all of this, but we need to also look at the attacks in a little more detail; 80-for-two, even when its one on-Type requirements and one [C] requirement, is pretty good. Just like damage buffs, defensive buffs only matter if they shift the number of turns it takes for something to be KO’d; -30 is enough to effectively “cancel out” an opponent’s Choice Band (unless it is an [R] Type exploiting Weakness), so that sounds significant to me! Crosscut-GX is a one-time deal, but its [CCC] makes it relatively easy to fuel; almost any Energy acceleration will ultimately work, though some – like Max Elixir or Electrode-GX – require thinking ahead and attaching to a Scyther that then Evolves into Scizor-GX. 100 damage for any three Energy would normally be a good, solid attack. Not great, but enough to easily OHKO smaller targets and set up moderately sized targets for a 2HKO. Most targets if you can tack on some damage buffs. Being a GX-attack would sour this except the effect means you now have an easy 200-for-three attack against (most) of the largest targets in the TCG. You still need multiple buffs to take out something like a 250 HP Stage 2, and if that Stage 2 has its own defensive buff, you’re out of luck, but for something that runs on anything, this is still impressive.
Finally, we put it all together! Harass your opponent with Steel Wing, either in a deck built around optimizing Scizor-GX or just splashing it in with a small source of [M] Energy. When you’re going all out, you use so many tricks that few decks can counter them all and with some luck and skill, good for you and bad for your opponent, those decks won’t be able to counter any of it! At which point you still aren’t blazing through the game with OHKO’s BUT you’re far outpacing your opponent in damage, and Crosscut-GX gives you a clutch OHKO against an Evolution. Even against a deck that can count what you’re doing, you can try to bait them into taking out the second best of your tricks, saving what you really need for them because most decks aren’t [R] Types running four Puzzle of Time and four Field Blower plus Garbodor (XY – BREAKpoint 57/122). Your opponent probably has to slowly chip away at the HP of Scizor-GX, making it that much more likely Danger Perception triggers at least once before the Scizor-GX in question is KO’d, and you get in a BIG hit. When the deck is not focused on Scizor-GX, you slip it into something that can spare room for a 1-1 line that can OHKO moderately sized or smaller Evolutions, and frustrate attackers with lower damage outputs.
Scizor-GX is not aanatural powerhouse; to get a lot out of it requires you invest a lot in it, and while I pointed out that countering all of its tricks is insanely difficult, countering just a few of them is almost a given. Pre-rotation, Puzzle of Time makes it easier to spam Field Blower and for Garbodor packing decks to recycle a thin Garbodor line and/or Tools to trigger “Garbotoxin”. We’ve got some decks built around delivering OHKO’s no matter what and we’ve even got some built around forcing the other player to take OHKO’s or (eventually) lose due to attrition. [R] decks don’t seem to be all that great right now, but it is hard to completely discount things like Ho-Oh-GX, especially while Volcanion-EX is still in the format. Post-rotation may or may not help [R] decks in general. I’m also uncertain of how Magcargo (SM – Celestial Storm 24/168) fits into things; squeeze it in to help Scizor-GX have what it needs exactly when it needs it, or does it kill off any hope a Scizor-GX focused deck had because BAM! Field Blower on demand.
The Expanded Format gets weird as well; this is purely a guess, but Scizor-GX reminds me of the “gimmick” decks in Expanded that either your deck steamrolls or can’t handle. Finally, if you pull this and at least one Scyther (SM – Celestial Storm 4/168) in this set, run Scizor-GX. You won’t have any of the added tricks, but everything else about this card becomes better. Scyther is actually a good Limited Format pull in its own right; this still isn’t a great Evolving Basic, but with its HP, one attack geared towards setting up, and the other towards surviving to help set up, it is more than mere filler. Though I’ve said a lot about what Scizor-GX can do, I’m still not convinced it will become a new powerhouse deck. Rather, I think it will simply become a deck – and sometimes surprise extra attacker – that certain decks will fear and others won’t sweat.
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