So let me preface this by saying: if you simply disregard my question above and don’t give it a second thought, that’s fine. I’m not going to attempt to make the argument that Turtonator is better than Blacephelon here. We can all figure that out for ourselves in two weeks… if we’re not too busy fending off the onslaught of Lost Match decks that I’m sure will dominate PTCGO on November 2nd.
And don’t worry, as we get closer to Lost Thunder, I’ll post some potential decklists that might work as good counter decks to Natu and Jumpluff. Or if you have some ideas too, let me know, I’d be more than happy to get those out. PDC will be the anti-Lost March headquarters!
But back to Blacephelon. Everybody is just gushing over this new Ultra Beast. Never mind that it only has 180 HP. Never mind that its feature attack is two attachments. Never mind that it’s a GX card that is susceptible to Shrine of Punishments and all of the other GX Hate running around out there right now.
There are plenty of reasons to like this card. It can hit for unlimited damage, its GX automatically gives you a prize card, you can potentially pair Beast Rings with it, there’s plenty of upside to Cake Pop GX (sorry I love Mahone’s nickname for it).
However, I think everybody has completely missed the ball on something with this card. I think this might have to do with the fact that there’s math involved, and I know that many of us have mental roadblocks when it comes to arithmetic (believe me I know, my daughter is failing Algebra right now).
But let’s take a minute and think about how many Fire energy we’re actually going to have to run in this deck. Let’s say you’re up against Malamar something or other, maybe the most popular and successful deck out there right now. If you’re going up against the Psychic Toolbox, you can probably bet that they’re not going to put down Marshadow on the bench. So let’s say they throw a couple of Necrozma GX’s at you and you’re fortunate enough to be able to Guzma a Lele and take six prizes off of three GX Pokemon.
Necrozma is 180, Lele 170. If you have Choice Bands for all of your attacks, you will need to discard nine Fire energy cards to KO all three of those GX cards.
However, you’ll also need to power up your Blacephelon’s. Now, you might not need six additional Fire energy cards – you probably will be able to see an OHKO coming and discard the two attachments on the ol’ Cake Pop that’s in the active, so there will be some overlap between energy cards you use to power up Blacephelon and the energy cards that actually count towards damage, but we’ll be conservative and estimate that number at three, bringing you to a total of twelve energy cards.
But a dozen Fire energy won’t get it done in the vast majority of games you play. First of all, you’re going to prize at least one or two of those energy cards. Also, you’re not going to be able to get your Choice Bands every time. And you’re going to occasionally come across Stage 1 Pokemon (not Stage 2’s though unless you’re playing PTCGO).
And heaven forbid you come across non GX Pokemon. Granted, Burst GX means you only have to KO 5 of them, and one or two might only need two cards discarded. But against the typical Baby Buzz Garbodor deck, you might need to discard up to fifteen Fire energy cards. Again, you’ll need to power up three Blacephelon, so probably eighteen energy, and if you assume two are prized, then you could need every bit of twenty Fire energy cards to beat a six non GX Pokemon deck.
Now Turtonator: I’ve spent A LOT of time working on this. Naganadel from Lost Thunder will pair with Turt much better than Blaziken. And Turtonator’s discarded energy go to the discard pile, where we have TONS of ways to get them back. Granted, Turtonator is an extremely OHKOable 110 HP, but with Wishful Baton – probably better for Turtonator than Choice Band – I know from past experience that it is possible to stream attackers.
Now, I’m not saying that Blacephelon will be bad – it probably will be at least a Tier 2 deck – but you’re probably going to have to pair it with Ho-Oh GX or Reshiram GX or something else to support it, because a quad Blacephelon deck with twenty energy cards seems like it will struggle to me.