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Pojo's Yu-Gi-Oh! Card of the Day
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Cactus Bouncer
#ABPF-EN084 

This card cannot be Special Summoned. While a Plant-Type monster other than this card is face-up on the field, neither player can Special Summon monsters.

Card Ratings
Advanced: 2.25 

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale
1 is Horrible. 3 is Average. 5 is the highest rating.


Date Reviewed:
June 29, 2015

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Misdreavus
"Mean and Evil"

The word is out! I woke up to a nasty surprise last week, when I found that one of the cards I had been testing with, was apparently noticed by a larger portion of the playerbase, and, as we should be used to by now knowing Yu-Gi-Oh!'s secondary market, its price had skyrocketed to ten times to original value upon recognition - it's Cactus Bouncer. Let me start my article by once more requesting our playerbase to stop to overvalue their cards - I know that the Yu-Gi-Oh! playerbase is not used to playing a format with multiple viable decks, but here we are... Allow me to explain it one more time: in a format with multiple good decks, the price of any of these decks should be comparatively lower than the best deck in a one-deck format, as sealed products only cost so much. 

But that's neither here nor there, because (spoilers!) today's card cannot be played in any (to be) relevant deck currently; what could explain Cactus Bouncer's current spike in price then, other than its status of a secret rare card that has not seen a reprint as of now? Let's find out! 

When it was released, many players concluded that Cactus Bouncer was supposed to be played with Black Garden, and this interaction it even stronger today than it was back then admittedly: Cactus Bouncer's 1800 ATK becomes 900 when halved by Black Garden - just enough to not be run over by a Rose Token, and its effect stops both players from special summoning whatsoever as long as a Rose Token is on the field. Were all Rose Tokens removed? Not to worry: as soon as either player summons a monster, a new Rose Token hits the field, and the lock is re-established. 

Unfortunately this approach does not make very practical use of Cactus Bouncer's one redeeming feature when compared to Fossil Dyna Pachycephalo, which is its higher ATK - the better play would be to summon Cactus Bouncer before playing Black Garden: now we have given the opponent one summon until they are locked out of the game! Cactus Bouncer can be rather decent when played this way in decks that could make use of Black Garden, with cards like the "Traptrix" monsters, and Evilswarm Thunderbird. Still Cactus Bouncer's reliance on Black Garden to play a role of importance is a large letdown, and since even with three copies of the field spell and three copies of Terraforming, one will not always have access to the needed support card for it, Cactus Bouncer never enjoyed as much popularity as one might expect. 

What changed? For that we have to look ahead, at Clash of Rebellions, which introduces the "Aroma" (アロマ) theme, and one card in particular that catches our attention - Aromage Jasmine (アロマージ-ジャスミン) has the following effect (keep in mind that none of the text below is official):

"During your Main Phase, if your LP is higher than your opponent's, you can Normal Summon 1 Plant-Type monster in addition to your Normal Summon/Set, except "Aromage - Jasmine". (You can only gain this effect once per turn.) Once per turn, if you gain LP: Draw 1 card." 

As you may have guessed, for "Aroma", manipulating the player's LP is the name of the game, so please take my word for it when I say that establishing a field of Aromage - Jasmine and Cactus Bouncer is not an improbable play. Now assuming that we opened Lonefire Blossom as opposed to Aromage - Jasmine, and were able to summon Aromage - Jasmine in defense position, as well as access our field spell to gain LP, we're talking a very decent opening field here. 

I would like to say that the "Aroma" theme is worth looking into, but the truth is that not many people have an idea of what to do with the deck: the monsters' effects are severely lacking, and that is if the player manages to access any effects to influence their LP to begin with before the opponent brings them down too far. Aromage - Jasmine is the only monster that creates a form of advantage, but will often be in attack position to make up for this actual positive of the deck, and the other monsters' means of disruption are rarely relevant. The artwork for the archetype is wholly appealing, and I'm looking forward to the reveal of further support myself, but as things are now (after the release of Clash of Rebellions in August I mean), I can't see this theme try anything another deck cannot do better.

With how little the main deck monsters add to the "Aroma" deck, the theme has no other option than to focus on a stun playstyle sporting a good number of traps, a strategy that Cactus Bouncer can support; Cactus Bouncer won't win games by itself, and neither will the "Aroma" monsters. All in all Cactus Bouncer is a card with a niche, but not one with enough utility to magically make "Aroma" decent. I was looking forward to what would become of the "Aroma" theme, and unfortunately for now it seems the deck won't be just bad, but expensive to boot. 

Playability: 2/5. In 90% of the decks, Fossil Dyna Pachycephalo does what Cactus Bouncer would do, but better. Decks with a high number of Plant-type monsters, or that make use of Black Garden, can opt to use this card instead for its higher ATK, but no deck has ever successfully made Cactus Bouncer work currently. Not at all worth the price tag. 

Art: "It's a giant... Mushroom! Maybe it's friendly!"/5


Dark

Paladin

Cactus Bouncer is hardly new, but anything that's gone 5 plus years without a review can get a second crack.  Cactus Bouncer has some things going for it obviously, Level 4, Earth, 1800 attack, and the awesome ability of preventing either side from being able to Special Summon.  Now for a plus, this would include XYZ, because it doesn't mention anything Level.  For two, it can't be Special Summoned itself, which is fair given the negation it can provide.  But somebody, somewhere, in design, thought it was TOO powerful, as this guy isn't going to do you any good outside of a Plant Deck.  In order to prevent these Special Summons, you need to have ANOTHER face-up Plant Monster.  Now on that, I suppose you could luck out and your opponent could have one out...maybe?  Yea, if you're playing Plant, I'd use one or maybe even a second, but losing the splashability, hurts the playability.

Rating:

It's a 4 in a Plant and a 1 elsewhere so 2.5/5 

Art:  4.5/5


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