– Ultra Prism
March 30, 2018
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Sometimes there’s just too many things you want to do in a day. Sometimes there’s too many cards to look over. And sometimes you wonder if you’re going to be able to review another card after seeing that you’re going to be reviewing ten of them over the course of the next week.
…don’t worry, it’s not as bad as it sounds, which is a lot like Turtonator here. What, you thought I couldn’t come up with a creative segue? Well you were right, I’m tired.
Turtonator is a Basic Fire-Type, 130 HP, with a Water Weakness, no Resistance, and a Retreat Cost of 4. His first attack, Searing Flame, is a 1-for-10 that Burns the opponent while his second attack, Steam Artillery, is a 4-for-100 vanilla move. To be honest, Turtonator seems incredibly lackluster – there’s a nice word for your crossword puzzles! Steam Artillery is too expensive for what it does, and Searing Flame doesn’t even do that much outside of put a Status Condition on your opponent’s Pokemon. But at the same time, that might be where his saving grace lies.
See there’s another card in the set that we’ll be talking about on Monday that actually boosts the damage from Burn from 20 to 60, which can make Searing Flame look a lot more powerful. Suddenly it’s a 1-for-70 that could go up to 130, then 190-200 (with another attack), and then KO! In the course of only a couple of turns, this little attack becomes massively more potent than before, making it all the more dangerous. The only stipulation to that, though, may be that it’s a Stage 2 that brings its own set of problems to the line-up, but as a potential Burn-centered deck, it’s something.
Turtonator on his own seems like he’d be more of a hassle to make work than he’s worth, but I think that with the right build, it may turn out that it’s not as bad as it sounds.
Standard: 2/5 (yeah, you like that little thing I did at the end there?)
Expanded: 2/5 (what with the whole connecting it back to the statement from before?)
Limited: 3/5 (…creativity, dangit)
Arora Notealus: Turtonator’s one of the more interesting Pokemon I’ve found in Gen 7. He’s only captured by the volcano, looks like a turtle with a massive shell, and yet he’s a Fire/Dragon Type. Kind of an interesting direction to go with your next big Fire/Dragon Pokemon, huh? It only shares this Typing with Mega Charizard X and Reshiram – kind of a weird Pokemon to throw in after those guys.
Side Reviews: Pidgeot – yesterday’s card was Pidgeot, who has an Ability in Quick Search that could retrieve any card you wanted from your deck. There’s a reason cards that came after this limited such searching to attacks that did no damage, because as any player in Yugioh will tell you, free searching every turn is amazing. I should know. I play Yugioh. I’m terrible.
Glaceon-GX – to the surprise of no one, Glaceon-GX is in fact its own new deck archetype, forming pairings with cards like Zoroark-GX, to Alolan Ninetales-GX, to Oranguru (SM), to even Lapras-GX of all things. Yeah, bet you never thought Lapras-GX would be relevant after Sun and Moon, did ya? Definitely keep an eye on this card, cause she’ll be powerful for a while! Not to mention she’s a direct counter to Gardevoir-GX. Can’t argue with that, I’m sure.
Cynthia – …need I say more about this? She’s a staple of the set, a staple in most any Standard deck especially post-Sycamore, and she’s got her own deck archetype to work around. I don’t gotta say anything else – Cynthia’s just too good.
Weekend Thought: What do you think of this week’s cards? Think there’s something that can be done for them? Could they fit into a particular strategy or work with each other? Would you tech in Missing Clover into any of your decks? How do you feel about Rampardos as a potential threat?
Turtonator from SM Ultra Prism doesn’t seem like much, but it made someone’s top 10 list. I believe it has to do with having a cheap one Energy attack. Searing Flame does 10 and automatically burns the Defending Pokemon. Steam Artillery does 100 for RCCC, which is overcosted even though Kiawe pumps up 4 fire energy for you. What will be relevant is being a Basic Fire type Pokemon. Why is this category important?
Volcanion EX from XY Steam Siege!
It’s Steam Up ability lets you discard a fire energy from your hand so that you your Basic Fire type Pokemon do 30 more damage to the Defending Pokemon. If you have four Volcanion EX, that’ll mean 120 more damage! This will turn Searing Flame from a measly 10 for R into 130 for R, which is enough to take down Fire-weak Pokemon (mostly Grass and Metal types) in one shot, and we haven’t even gotten to damage boosting items like Choice Band!
And with that, we have another good candidate of Basic Fire type Pokemon to exploit the Steam Up engine!
Turtonator (UP 27) blazes its way into the meta from the Ultra Prism expansion set. This 130 HP Basic Pokemon has only one attack worth discussing: Searing Flame, for a Single Fire Energy attachment, does only ten damage.
What? An attack that does only ten damage? How is that worth discussing? Because it also Burns your opponent, and our old friend Volcanion EX can bump up its damage as well. So, without any other booster, Searing Flame actually does thirty damage (more if your opponent flips tails), including the Burn. If you add Fighting Fury Belt, then you’re up to forty (sixty if Choice Band and against GX Pokemon). Add in a couple of Steam Ups from Big Daddy Volc and you are suddenly doing 100 damage … for a single attachment.
Not too shabby for baby Turt. And I hit that 100 number a good amount of times – it’s not unreasonable to think you’ll be able to get up there on a regular basis.
Plus, I added Infernape (UP 23), and when I got him on the board that 100 actually became 160 (180 or 200 if tails). In the games where I was able to really get going with this deck, it was pretty impressive to do that much damage for a single attachment.
Unfortunately, it’s hard to get everything to line up. Getting out Infernape can be a little tough considering you can’t Brigette with this deck. It also can fall flat – there were a couple of times (especially early in the game) when I was only doing thirty or sixty damage. It was just inconsistent in damage and it sometimes bricked. I went 3 W 7 L. Maybe it was just my build, but maybe baby Turt’s more suited to be a one or two of than a feature Pokemon.
Standard: 2 out of 5
You would think that Turtonator and Infernape would have good synergy, especially with Big Daddy Volc, and maybe I’ll revisit this Volcanion variant at some point, but I just didn’t have much success with this combo.
Turtonator (SM – Black Star Promos SM27; SM – Ultra Prism 27/156) closes this week. It is also one of those cards that didn’t make our top 10 list for SM – Ultra Prism BUT did make an individual reviewer’s list. In this case, it wasn’t a personal top 20 but 14th place on a personal top 20, not on mine but on another reviewer’s list, but that was still good enough that Turtonator would have finished in 26th place with seven voting points… at least if we had gone to extremes and done a top 30 list.
So, what does this Turtonator have going for it? It is a Basic Pokémon with 130 HP, so it requires minimal deck space and effort to field, can function as your opener, AND still take a solid attack while doing it. Being a [R] Type helps against most [G] and [M] attackers, not that there are as many of those right now as expected. Fortunately, it also means access to a solid base of support, with Volcanion-EX and its “Steam Up” Ability proving the most important. Don’t forget that anti-[R] cards do exist, with Parallel City (used for its Bench-shrinking effect) possibly proving relevant. [W] Weakness isn’t good but there are worse ones to have right now, and while any Resistance is better than none, Resistance is only a small bonus even when present. That massive [CCCC] Retreat Cost is painful, but perhaps not much worse than a [CCC] would be; both require roughly the same amount of compensation or resignation when building your deck, both have a small silver lining (stuff like Heavy Ball that is occasionally worth running). “Searing Flames” lets you attack for [R], so this card could be seen as fast; it only does 10 damage, but also Burns the opponent’s Active. Not bad for the Energy, as you’ll do an effective 30 damage to most targets. [RCCC] pays for “Steam Artillery” to do 100 damage; underpowered for four Energy, somewhat mitigated by a mostly [C] Energy cost and probable combo with Steam Up. Double Colorless Energy can speed this attack up, with Blacksmith, Max Elixir, etc. giving the potential to somewhat reliably pull this attack off ASAP. Choice Band plus two uses of Steam Up put a decent chunk of the metagame into OHKO range; if you can manage three or four Steam Up alongside Choice Band, you’re taking out almost everything in one hit.
Too bad backing a big, Basic Pokémon with Steam Up has better options. Not from the previously released Turtonator cards, which matters a little more than anything else as sharing a name means sharing the same maximum of four slots in a deck. Turtonator-GX has a suffix that makes the game treat it as something totally separate, but it isn’t anywhere near as heavily played as it once was, anyway. The real rival, seeing as Turtonator is not a Pokémon-GX, is Volcanion (XY – Black Star Promos XY145; XY – Steam Siege 25/114). This Volcanion is basically a better Turtonator; it can’t Burn and do 10 for [R], but it can do 20 and attach an [R] Energy from the discard pile to two different Benched Pokémon. If you do need to use it for a big hit, it also knows “Steam Artillery”, but needs [RRR] to do 100. If nothing else in your deck will use Double Colorless Energy well, then that pricing is better than Turtonator’s, otherwise, they are about even. There is one deck where you might prefer Turtonator to Volcanion, though, except it isn’t a proven deck: use Infernape (SM – Ultra Prism 23/156) as a Bench-sitter, maybe even alongside some Volcanion-EX, and you can not only boost the damage of Searing Flame with Steam Up, but Infernape has the Ability “Flaming Fighter”, which causes Burn to place six damage counters between turns instead of just two.
For Standard or Expanded Format play, I don’t see either deck option proving competitive – a Benched-sitting Stage 2 isn’t too bad to have, but it just seems easier to stick with what works (established Volcanion-EX decks). Of course, Burn could add more damage counters if your opponent doesn’t shake it, and we even have additional support for Burn on the way (maybe even already here), but why settle for a delayed KO when you can shoot for something more immediate? Perhaps we’ll revisit this combo after rotation when both Volcanion and Volcanion-EX are gone, but Turtonator and Infernape are sticking around. Now, for Limited Format play, Turtonator is nearly a must run. Leave it out if you absolutely cannot afford to include some basic Fire Energy (probably around five) in your deck or if you pull a Basic Pokémon-GX worth running solo. Unless you are insanely fortunate an also pull the Infernape line, you’ll lack the combos mentioned above… but this is an expansion that favors the [M] Type, so having a [R] attacker is quite valuable on top of being a big, Basic that Burns.
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