Not A Card Post: Rose Quartz as The Boss

Not A Card Post: Rose Quartz as The Boss

So admittedly, I did say this was a blog to follow my progress and the current competitive scene for the Pokemon TCG, but I don’t have any TCG articles ready to go, or any events to look back at. So what I’m going to do instead is talk about other Nerd Stuff for anywhere from 1000 words up, and then link to a delightful article about the state of the Australian TCG Community, as written by the lovely James Goering.

We cool? Yeah, we cool.

-/- 

100% Nuclear
Me at the End of Snake Eater

Part I: Kojima and Me

I love Metal Gear Solid, to an almost, unhealthy degree.

I have watched and re-watched big, half hour long and more videos, analysing the series from its simple, 8-Bit, moustache twirling super-villain, action movie roots all the way through to the last true Metal Gear Game, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, skipping a beat for MGS4 and the PSP/Vita Games, Portable Ops and Peace Walker.

Just to understand the scope of it all, that is 8 videos, all discussing the themes, game design and the timeline of the Metal Gear games across 28 Years of absolute insanity, that started fairly simply, with a story about a Rookie Soldier tasked with infiltrating the stronghold of a Traitorous Armed Forces General to assess and destroy a rumoured Walking, nuclear tank, (The titular Metal Gear) and ended with an unsatisfying, butchered final instalment, that while doing some things right, ultimately left me feeling burned, tired and wondering just where the rest of the story went.

These videos are not short. They are, for the most part, not easily digested and they are densely packed with analysis of the games, both within the game itself, and outside of the game, about the ideas and motivations of Kojima himself. (The MGS2 video especially, due to the Post-Modernism inherent in the way Kojima told that particular story.)

Post-Modernism is Weird

I have watched these videos at least 10 times each, with the exception of the MGSV one which has only been out for a week, (But I have, again, rewatched more than a few times) and I find myself discovering a new idea, a new thought or concept with every re-watch.

Which I absolutely love, because I’ve been playing these games for 12 years now, having picked up MGS2 on the cheap before moving along to a rental MGS3 before it fixed its camera, and then piecing everything together after the purchase of Subsistance and a 2008 pick up of MGS1 before the launch of MGS4.

The videos help me contextualize and connect half formed ideas that have been sitting in my head for more than half a decade now. To look at things I thought I knew from a new perspective, or to add new ideas that enhance the things I knew.

And mostly, to help me well and truly catalogue just, exactly, what the ridiculous Auteur Games Designer, Hideo Kojima, is trying to tell me through his balls-to-the-walls insanity.

This is where usually I’d say, “Oh Japan.” But Koji defies and exceeds the simple insanity of his home country, to become a whole new level of insanity, unto himself.

Over 28 years, Kojima has taken what was supposed to be a stand-alone, simple action game and expanded the game’s lore, story and characters through insane AI controlling the world with Magic Nanomachines and a rich, thriving war economy, way back to meowing Russian cowboys and a man who shoots bees out of his mouth and circling all the way round to a Nuclear equipped military base that is, ultimately, a recreation of an event that completely cemented the legacy of the legendary hero, Solid Snake, complete with a Flamboyant Vampire, a Roller Skating Wine and Bomb Enthusiast and a woman carrying a gun that should, by all rights, be breaking her back every time she fires the damn thing. Also, she’s got magical bullet bending powers, but not really. Its just a nifty piece of technology the bad guys snuck into her Stupid Gun, to give off the illusion of magical bullet bending powers

 photo MetalGearSolid2Screen10_zpsf0dd8399.jpg
But pants, apparently, were not in the Budget

Kojima does not believe in brevity. Kojima also wanted to end this series 13 years ago. And then again 11 years ago, he claimed the series was wrapping up, with a prequel game.

He repeated the sentiment again in 2007, just before Metal Gear Solid 4 was released before, finally, being allowed to step away from the series and move onto new things in 2015, after being released from his contract with Konami.

The exhaustion that kept Kojima almost pleading with fans, to just let him move away to something else, is tangible in every game after Metal Gear Solid 3. But at the same time, rushes of new ideas happened, and Kojima continued to expand his universe of wacky Techno-Magic and Cloned Super Soldiers…

Holy shit. I’ve been playing the Star Wars Prequels this whole time…

Part II: Charisma in Metal Gear Solid 

Metal Gear Solid has more than its fair share of problems in terms of writing and direction. A lot of the time Kojima has issues with getting to the point, throwing so much exposition in your face, that eventually you will start zoning out. It was the biggest problem I (And a lot of others) had with Metal Gear Solid 4. It had so much to tell you, that its cutscenes actually ran out of things to show you, so it cut away to slideshows instead.

Regardless of this, every single game is full of characters absolutely oozing with charisma, charm and so many shades of grey, its damn  near impossible to cast someone as straight up “Evil”.

Except Colonel Volgin and Huey Emmerich. They are pretty easy to cast as “Legitimately Evil Characters.”

Story arcs so rich and detailed that they resonate throughout not only the Metal Gear characters, but throughout all of fiction.

Speaking of…

Part III: Steven Universe

These are the characters of the Cartoon Network show, Steven Universe. From the center, circling clockwise, you have main character Steven and his main supporting cast, Amethyst, Garnet and Pearl respectively.

Steven Universe runs in the same vein as equally popular kids show, Adventure Time, in that it takes what seems like a basic kid’s show about Magical Powers and Magic Fights while weaving in darker themes and narrative tone throughout entire seasons.

Tonally, its about as far from Metal Gear as you can get… Or at least, you’d think that, if I had not spelled out exactly what this article was about in the first place.

While some of the matches are not exact, a lot of them a close enough to raise an eyebrow.

At the same time though, not everyone matches up with someone. I still have not been able to find series equivalents for Amethyst or Garnet, or some of the more prominent supporting cast, but I’ve matched enough that it, as far as I was concerned, merited a blog-post dedicated to the over- thinking of Children’s cartoons.

Part IV: Rose Quartz as The Boss Pt.I

The story of the Metal Gear universe begins and ends with the life and death of The Boss. Leader of the Cobra Unit during World War II, The Boss (Known at the time by the codename ‘The Joy’) led more than several suicide missions alongside her team and participated in, and were integral to, the D-Day Invasion at Normandy.

After the war ended, the Cobras went their separate ways, having all hailed from different countries, The Joy (Now, The Boss, having earned the title for her efforts in the war) returned to her home, the United States of America, where she went on to become a nuclear test subject, and then a test pilot for space shuttles and, even though it was never documented, was the first person to break through the atmosphere, and drift through the black of space.

“The government wanted human data. So they secretly decided to send a human being into space. I was the one they chose. At the time they didn’t have the technology to block out cosmic rays and whoever they sent up would inevitably be exposed to heavy radiation. That’s why they chose me”
-The Boss, Metal Gear Solid 3

Sometime latter, she heard of an up and coming Soldier, and felt drawn to him, both because of his purported prowess as a Soldier and as a fellow Nuclear Test Subject.

She would later go on to dub him, Snake. Her first and last student. The man who would eventually kill her.

In 1964, Snake was sent on a mission into Russia to extract a defecting Soviet Scientist, while successful in making contact with the scientist, Snake was intercepted by the Ruthless Colonel Volgin, a GRU Soldier with a reputation of brutality. Volgin was shortly joined by The Boss, who then announced her defection to The Soviet Union, or, more specifically, Volgin’s GRU, and after reacquiring the Scientist and almost killing Snake, The Boss, alongside her old team. The now reformed Cobra Unit.

However, when Volgin used a Nuclear Warhead that The Boss had gifted to kill people in his own country, President Khrushchev demanded the US prove their innocence in the affair.

He demanded The Boss’ death.

After killing the Cobras, after fighting his way through Volgin and his GRU, Snake once again came face-to-face with The Boss, for the last time.

The Boss talked of her dreams, of her views on the world and how petty things such as sides were in this world.

During World War I, America and Russia had fought side by side, as allies and during World War II they fought for a common goal. Now, in 1964, they were the most bitter of enemies, locked in a Cold War of Nuclear Deterrence and posturing.

That’s when it finally hit me. Space exploration is nothing but another game in the power struggle between the US and USSR. Politics, economics, the arms race – they’re all just arenas for meaningless competition. I’m sure you can see that. But the Earth itself has no boundaries. No East, No West, No Cold War. And the irony of it is, the United States and the Soviet Union are spending billions on their space programs
and the missile race only to arrive at the same conclusion.
In the 21st century everyone will be able to see that we are all just
inhabitants of a little celestial body called Earth.
A world without communism and capitalism… that is the world I wanted to see. But reality continued to betray me.
-The Boss, Metal Gear Solid 3

The Boss and Snake fight. Snake proves superior, finally surpassing his teacher in the most tragic of ways. The Boss lies dying on the ground, and instead of cursing him, or the cycle of pain and torment she espoused vicious derision of earlier, she hands you her gun, compliments you with a smile and then, finally, demands you kill her.

Jack… or should I say Snake… you’re a wonderful man. Kill me now. There’s only room for one snake and one boss.
-The Boss, Metal Gear Solid 3

Tragic as it may be, The Boss was a traitor. The Boss needed to die to avert Nuclear War between the US and the USSR. Snake walks away, solemn, yet triumphant. He has done the right thing.

Except, he hasn’t. The Boss wasn’t a traitor, she had been ordered to pretend to defect to Volgin’s side, to locate and identify a hidden fortune that had been amassed during World War I.

When Volgin launched the Nuke, she was given her final mission, her last orders.

Die for your country. To avoid Nuclear catastrophe, you will die at the hands of your beloved student, and, in doing so, you will save the world.

And that’s why she told me. Snake, history will ever know what she did. No one will ever learn the truth.
Her story… her debriefing, will endure only in your heart.
Everything she did, she did for her country. She sacrificed her life and honour for her native land. She was a real hero. She was a true patriot.

-EVA, Metal Gear Solid 3

And that moment on, Snake, now known as a man who is beyond the title of Boss, a man given the title of Big Boss, slowly descends into a life of treachery as he, and those around him, misinterpret and misapply The Boss’ will over and over again, until nothing remains from their sins, but the shadow of their failure.

Part V: Rose Quartz as The Boss Pt.II

By an equal measure, Steven Universe also begins and ends with the life and death
of Rose Quartz and her veneration by those around her, and their misinterpretation of her dying will.

Rose Quartz is a Gem, an alien being whose Native Race looked towards subjugating and potentially sterilising the Earth of all non-Gem lifeforms.

Rose Quartz quickly fell in love with the residents of the tiny blue planet, and after 1000 years of Gem occupation on Earth, incited the War of Rebellion.

A fierce warrior, she was often on the front lines, alongside her small team of trusted gems, Pearl, Garnet and, later on, Amethyst. After potentially hundreds of years of war, the Gem Home World abandoned the Earth as a bad memory and Rose, alongside her 3 friends, remained as the only Gems left on the planet and as Earth’s lone guardians against any future Gem incursions.

A few thousand years later, Rose and her team, under the name The Crystal Gems, were living in a small ocean side town called Beach City, staying separate from the world, almost hidden, until one night, Rose is drawn in by the performance of a musician in the town square, playing to an audience of none.

Regardless, the music hooks Rose and Rose hooks the musician. And that’s how Rose Quartz met Greg “Mister” Universe.

You’re awfully cute, and I’d really like to play with you, but your life is short and I don’t want you to give up on everything you want.
-Rose Quartz, Story for Steven

Both Greg and Rose were awkward in the early stages of their relationship, unsure of how to relate to each other as a human and a gem in a relationship together. It is implied that they eventually got over the awkwardness, and found their groove, Rose Quartz had an announcement to make.

She was pregnant.

To a Gem, pregnancy is not only the bringing of a new life into the world, but in fact the reincarnation of a new one. With the discovery and announcement that she was pregnant, Rose Quartz, Greg and the Crystal Gems had to face the coming idea of a world without Rose.

Even as the others panicked and began grieving, Rose was not only anticipating the birth of her child, she was ecstatic for the day to come. So even though she knew that she would never be able to see her son, she loved him.

Even though to bring him into the world would take her out of it, she loved him with all of her heart.

Isn’t it remarkable, Steven? This world is full of so many possibilities. Each living thing has an entirely unique experience. The sights they see, the sounds they hear. The lives they live are so complicated… a-and so simple. I can’t wait for you to join them. Steven, we can’t both exist. I’m going to become half of you. And I need you to know that every moment you love being yourself, that’s me, loving you and loving being you. Because you’re going to be something extraordinary. You’re going to be a human being
-Rose Quartz, Lion 3: Straight to Video

With her death, Steven Universe comes into the world. A human, wielding the power of Rose Quartz’s Gem. Carrying on his mother’s legacy.

Greg raises Steven early, but later entrusts him to Pearl, Garnet and Amethyst, so that they can teach him about his heritage and his abilities. But Pearl, who worshipped and idolised Rose, potentially even loved her, saw Steven as something to be protected and shielded from the world he would need to rejoin one day, never teaching him beyond what he needed to be pacified on any given day.

Thereby misinterpreting Rose’s dying will.

Part VI: Rose Quartz as the Boss Pt.III
Boss Quartz

While The Boss is far more grounded than Rose ever was, the parallel’s between the two are startling. Both are highly respected female warriors, acting as leaders of a small group of warriors, to fight for the country/planet that they call their own.

Both were Mothers, who for whatever reason, were never able to hold their own children and while Rose does not need to live with that pain, The Boss needs to endure it for at least 19 years before facing down Snake for the final time in Russia.

Both had to turn on the very people they fought with and relied on, Rose in her abandonment of her Home World and incitement of The War of Rebellion and The Boss, when she was ordered to Russia to gun down her former Cobra member, lover and the father of the son she never got to hold, The Sorrow.

After they die, both leave behind a Dying Will, The Boss in the form of her ideology on division of the planet through invisible lines in the sand and Rose, in the form of Steven, her living legacy.

And after both of their deaths, those same said wills are either misinterpreted or mishandled by individuals trying to live up to self-imposed ideal images, of the person they have venerated in their minds.

-/-

Continued at a Later Date, Probably Tomorrow, With
Lapis Lazuli as Grey Fox

-/-

The Link to James Goering’s fantastic Article on the State of the Pokemon TCG Community in Australlia
Click Here

The Metal Gear Solid Videos are Produced and Performed by George Weidman, AKA Super Bunnyhop.
For a link to a Playlist of his Videos for Metal Gear 1 through to Metal Gear Solid 3
Click Here

For a link to His Video on Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes
Click Here

And Finally, for a link to his 35 of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Analysis
Click Here

How Good is Ampharos-EX? A Rebuttal By Ulrich Dansworth

My testing Partner decided to spend the day writing a rebuttal to to my Ampharos article. I decided to post it up with his permission. This by no means negates my own feelings on the card, I still feel it is not worth the effort over something like Manectric, but all the same his Points got me thinking and that, more than anything, is what I want this Blog to really do most of all.

-/- 

Ampharos-EX

Ampharos, the Light Pokemon. It is a fairly well known electric type that made its debut in Generation 2. It was given new light… I mean life in Ancient Origins with Ampharos-EX and its Mega Evolution – M-Ampharos EX.

First let’s discuss – Ampharos EX (as a stand-alone card). It has a fairly standard 170 HP (for an EX) and features a desireable Lightning type (which won’t really matter as you will see). It also features a Fighting Weakness, Steel Resistance and a retreat cost of 2.

Ampharos EX’s first attack is “Thunder Rod” which looks through the top 4 cards of your deck and attach as many [L] energy to this Pokemon. As a fond user of Trainer Mail, I can say that hitting an energy is fairly difficult in decks that run high Trainer count. As such, to make maximum use of the attack – the goal should be to run a lower Trainer Count and a slightly Higher Energy count. This can be a fairly challenging task, but I do believe is something Ampharos EX can take advantage of.

Ampharos EX’s second attack is Sparkling Tail which deals 100 damage and isn’t affected by Weakness, Resistance or any other effects on your opponent’s Pokemon. Unfortunately, the energy cost of this attack is fairly significant and really questions if this attack is good at all. There aren’t really enough effects on your opponent’s Pokemon to warrant Sparkling Tail as a good attack. And the ignore on Weakness is also a regrettable thing as it makes Ampharos’ favorable Lightning typing useless.

With that, we have an EX with a “possible” energy acceleration, a fairly… weak attack and a “not-so-good” Fighting Weakness. There is however… hope for this Pokemon… And that comes in the form of M-Ampharos EX.

M-Ampharos EX

M Ampharos-EXI am… a big fan of Pokemon cards that can guarantee a paralysis on the opponent’s
Active. So when I saw M-Ampharos, I thought people would’ve been finding (or have found) ways to abuse this – similar to the Vanniluxe/Victini Combination.

In either case – M-Ampharos wields a tanky 220 HP and continues the tradition of a Fighting Weakness and a Steel Resistance. It, however, comes at a heavier 3 Retreat Cost.

Where M-Ampharos shines is Exavolt which for [L][L][C][C] deals 120 damage base with a possible 170 damage and guaranteed paralysis if you choose so. If you do – Ampharos will be dealt 30 damage.

Paralysis is one of the most devastating status conditions in the game. It is (in itself) a form of “Lock” where the opponent can’t attack or retreat. They can, however, use cards like Switch or Escape Rope to circumvent this.

So… IF there was a way to stop them from using those items, Ampharos would be in a fairly decent spot… You either knock-out your opponent or you paralyze them. And not only can they not play Switch or Escape Rope… they can’t play any items like Ultra Ball or Trainer Mail.

Enter Vileplume.

“The Truth” was a Worlds Deck played by Ross Cawthon in 2011. It featured a similar Vileplume alongside Reuniclus and attackers like Donphan.

We’re following a similar principle by locking the opponent’s items. This prevents them from things such as Switch or Escape Rope (like previously mentioned). This allows you to easily maintain the lock.

There are… of course… risks involving running Vileplume. These involves things such as having a Heavy Retreat cost and Lysandre being a thing. However, there are negations to this – especially with the coming of the next set bringing Float Stone to the Table.

But… How about that Fighting Weakness on Ampharos, I hear you say… Furious Fists was a thing… And to you I say… Yes… it WAS a thing. But you see… Ancient Origins brought Lightning Pokemon a little bit of help…

Assuming that “Weakness Policy” isn’t a thing due to the item lock AND the fact you’ll want to use Ampharos Spirit-Link – We have… FLASH Energy.

With Flash Energy, you can circumvent the usual weakness of Lightning Types. And it only becomes harder to remove with the item lock applied. This makes it a great counter against those nasty Groudons.

When taking into account these factors, an Ampharos decks seems pretty possible… and could be even fun to make. As to how it’ll do competitively, it will be up to the player to choose the best way forward for their own personal play style.

Things Still Left to See: How Good/Bad is Ampharos EX?

Kaio Ken!

Ampharos-Ex is not exactly an impressive EX, averaging a value of about $5.00, which is almost as low as you’ll pay for an EX. But at the same time, I don’t feel as though it’s overly bad. At least, not in the vein of Ancient Trait Gyarados bad. (Which I spent 1600 words talking about in my last post.)

So let’s get all Charge Up, (!) and take a look at some of things Ampharos does right, and whether or not Amphy is well and truly Born With It.

The Initial Drop

Ampharos-EX
Do Androids Dream?

 Ampharos-Ex doesn’t start doing damage for a while, requiring a whopping 4 energy before it can even begin laying down damage, and when it does its that standard 100 that we were talking about with Gyarados earlier, worse yet the damage doesn’t even proc weakness, meaning what should have been one of the best Ex’s to be countering the runaway train that is Colorless Rayquazza-Ex. can’t one shot it off of weakness.

On the plus side, with the right application of deck manipulation cards like Trainer’s Mail, Battle Compressor (for deck thining) or even just a higher than average Energy Count, you can be swinging for 100 come turn 2 off of Thunder Rod, which is also 100 damage that is unaffected by Resistance, Abilities, Ancient Traits and Trainer Card effects, which does marginally make up for the inability to abuse weakness.

Hawlucha
ITS JOHN CENA!!!

You know, just a little bit.

The fighting weakness is pretty bad in a format where Groudon-EX still exists, even
if it is in a somewhat mitigated form. Even Hawlucha runs all over it in just 2 turns (With a Strong Energy and Muscle Band attachment) if you can’t pull out the Energies you need in time.

A Steel Resistance doesn’t really do anything in the format at the moment, although it does allow Ampharos to weather Aegislash-EX a little better, and Sparking Tail can cleave through Sword-and-Shield’s Ability if you decide to attach Flash Energies. (For some reason)

Maybe She’s Born With It

M Ampharos-EX
ATREYU!

 Did you attach all 4 of those energies last turn? Awesome, drop a Spirit Link, play M-Ampharos and start one shotting most EX’s. The one’s you don’t? No worries mate, they’re now Paralyzed, and barring a Switch/Escape Rope/Evolution you’re peachy.

Oh, wait.

And you’ve also dealt an additional 30 damage to yourself? Hmmm, okay. Why aren’t you playing Manetric again?

Shaymin-EX
Smug Little Bastard

Okay, to be fair, the ability to deal 170 with very minor repercussion is pretty solid, alongside a Muscle Band, you’re one shotting all Non-Mega’s without much blowback, and taking out Colorless M-Rayquazza without even proccing the extra 50 damage. Hell, if you time your Lysandre’s well, you can drag out and free prize an awkward Shaymin-EX for a
whopping 130HP worth of overkill. (God damned, stupid $40-$80 card)

Not only that, but you can undercut the 30 damage by running Stormy Seas, and healing 30 damage every turn.

So, hey it isn’t all bad news, easy kills on Shaymin’s and (Colorles) Rayquazzas, plus a stadium that consistently heals youm may as well grab all the Ampharos’ you can and build this deck now, if it’s got the ability to stomp Ray, right? Right?

No, Not Right.

M Rayquaza-EXAren’t leading questions fun?

So, yeah, most Rayquazza decks will be running, most likely, a 2-2 count of Altaria. Basically what Altaria does is turn Rayquazza into an unkillable tank, that shreds through any possible defence you can throw at it.

Of course, you can still 2 hit the big scary dragon, but you still need your Ampharos to survive to the point where it can 2 hit it, which can be tricky depending on just how fast you can put M.Ampharos-EX out and fully charge it up.

I suppose, if you look at it properly, I’d suggest running at minimum a 2-2-2 countAltaria of Serene Grace Togekiss with a few Rare Candies thrown in there for good measure. (Second post in a row I’ve suggested Togekiss, this is how trends start… Or is that memes?) It offers you a secondary, larger, Energy Gamble off of the top of your deck as early as Turn 2. Of course a 2-2-2  count with, at minimum, 2 slots taken up by the Rare Candies, in an Energy heavy deck, (12 count minimum, 15 count to really capitalize on all of your Energy Rush techs) that’s a lot of space being taken up by things that don’t really need to be there.

Ampharos-EX in the Current Meta

Beyond Togekiss and Milotic, there isn’t all that much that offers anything in the way of pure Lightening Energy Acceleration. Should you get M.Ampharos-EX out, then you can spam a few Mega Turbos in conjunction with Battle Compressor to discard the energy, but the biggest question I keep asking myself is, why not just run Manetric-EX instead?

M Manectric-EX
Queer Shock for the Pride Rock

Because the bonuses you get for running Ampharos over Manectric are slight. 10hp more and 10 base damage more once you get the Mega out, with Manectric being far cheaper and more efficient to run. Not only that, but while you’re hitting your opponent with TURBO BOLTS, you can simultaneously charge up a second Manectric, so that if the first one dies, come into next turn, BAM! MORE TURBO BOLTS!

Sure, you could easily TURBO BOLT a benched Ampharos, but why would you want to? And that’s essentially what my argument boils down too for the meta at the moment, Ampharos is decent and could do things, if Manectric weren’t already a thing. Because Manectric is just straight up better at doing the things Ampharos WANTS to do.

Which is a shame, because as silly as Mega-Ampharos’ mane of luxurious white locks are, it still looks infinitely better than whatever the hell is happening on Mega-Manectric. But, that’s just personal aesthetics coming into play, and in no way has bearing on the playability of either.

New Format Starting With XY8

So while we’ve already got our starting point for the format going into 2016, in the next few months the 8th Expansion in the XY series is set to release and, with it comes a basic disregard of all of the issues in relation to Manectric. ‘Oh why is that Mothball?’ I hear the cute girls shouting across the internet. ‘Well I’m glad you asked, discerning Pokemon Card Aficionado. Let me explain ecxactlty why for you!’

This special little card on your right is Magnezone. Maggs here, is to Lightning Energy, what Blastoise was to Water, letting you drop as many Lightning Energy from your hand as you care to drop, meaning you don’t have to worry about  trying to luck into Lightning Rod Turn 1 or going through all the effort of bringing Togekiss out only to whiff the Serene Grace.

No Magnezone is guaranteed and continued energy acceleration, allowing you to continuously power up powerful Ampharos-EX’s.

On the back of Magnezone alone, come XY Set 8, I feel that Ampharos can claw its way up to, at the very least, Tier-3. Depending on the rest of the set, which seems to be focussed quite heavily on Lightning support, we could even push that to a Tier-2.

I would say Tier-1, possibly, but as long as Altaria continues to be a thing, Rayquazza is going to make that annoyingly hard to accomplish.

Things We Already Know: Ancient Trait Gyarados is Bad

Ugh, But Damnit if you Aren't Pretty
But Damn-it, You’re Pretty

I think we can all come together, as a collective community, and acknowledge that in a format that just lost water acceleration (All hail King Koopa, long may he Reign… Dance) Primal Trait Gyarados goes from being pretty bad to just god awful.

But this is obvious, as we all know Gyarados is not a good card, its not even playable all things considered, being a stage 1 with lacklustre damage off of its second attack and just awful requirements for the first one, even with the ability to have 2 Pokemon Tools attached to it at a time, any competitive player worth their salt can see its just not a good card.

But then, I got to thinking. Gyarados still does a flat 100 damage off of its second attack, with a potential extra 30. M.Sceptile-EX is getting away with doing around about the same amount of damage and slowly becoming one of the most dominant Ex’s out of Ancient Origins. Of course that only takes 2 energy to dish out, and Sceptile has a lot more HP, so really, we circle back around to “Gyarados is bad and should feel bad” and are content in known knowledge reaffirming itself as truth, once more.

But I just, I can’t let go of it. I can’t just leave Gyarados on the side of the road, call it bad and be done for the day, for one small, nagging reason.

It is a really, really, pretty card you guys.

So, with that in mind let us dive deep into Gyarados, and see what possible madness we can mix into it.

Tiny, Furry Doom

Flareon
Burn, Baby Burn. Grass Meta Counter!

Oh boy, the Eeveelutions this set. Just when you thought Flareon was about to become obsolete due to the format change, a brand new one comes along and drags both Vaporeon and Jolteon into the surprisingly playable category. TLDR of the Eevee’s is that they turn all of your Stage 1 Pokemon into that specific type, in addition to their original type. So while this eliminates Vaporeon as a buddy to the Gen.1 terror of the Seas, with both a Flareon and a Jolteon on the bench, Gyarados is now hitting for a guaranteed 200 damage on 3 different weaknesses, 1 hit KOing anything with weakness on a successful coin flip.

Jolteon
I was not Expecting a Good Jolteon

Notably, its taking down Origin’s sweetheart Sceptile as well as one shot-ing the Colorless Rayquazza EX from Roaring Skies.

Of course there’s still the issue of charging it up with 4 different energy as well as getting the Eevee’s out in addition to the rather frail Magikarp. (30hp is 30hp)

So then, we get two different questions into solving the issue of using Gar-Dos.

First option, what, if any, energy acceleration can Gyarados make use of?

Second option, how could you potentially wall long enough to manually make things happen?

Lets focus on that first question to start with.

Wait Lapras is in Format? 

Lapras
Lapras. A Thing That Exists

Straight up, completely forgot that Lapras even existed. Both as a card in the format and a card with Energy acceleration. Although, even calling it acceleration leaves a slightly salty taste in my mouth, being that you need to first drop the Water Energy and then take a chance on the coin flips off an attack, meaning even if you do get the dream flips, you still won’t be able to do anything about until your next turn. So, anything that can do this better?

Milotic
Ever-Majestic. 6-Squares Milotic

Hey there good looking, what’s your name?

Right off the bat, Milotic already looks better than Lapras. It does the same thing without the coin flips, guaranteeing the 3 Energy Attachment and its not off of an attack so you can do it the same turn you start attacking with Gyarados.

Of course, the drawbacks are harsh. Milotic is a Stage 1, so there’s all the posibility in the world that, while Gyarados may be ready to get out and thrash the world, you have to wait another turn before you can drop and sacrifice the Milotic.

Secondly, the sacrifice. Milotic’s ability is reliant on you being comfortable enough in your deck to give your opponent a free prize card, and lets face it. This is Ancient Trait Gyarados, you would have to have one hell of a deck to be comfortable enough to give up a free prize card.

To be honest, there aren’t really all that many cards that function well with getting out energy for Gyarados. Things like M.Sceptile EX can drop bonus energy onto it, but that requires you to start mixing in Grass Energy and defeats the purpose of Gwar-Dos in the first place. Why attack with the G-Man if you’re already attacking with Sceptile?

I Do Believe in Faries, I Do!

You could always go for Serene Grace Togekiss, but that is a lot of moving parts in a deck that already has a lot to do in a short amount of time.

If you want to go with an acceleration deck, Milotic is your best choice as far as I’m concerned. Easy to search out with dive ball, and if you wanna go for a T1 drop or a second Energy Grace, Archie’s Ace in the Hole offers a free drop from the discard onto the bench as well as a refreshed hand.

Of coure you trust your Random Number God Luck on the Coin Flips or there being enough energy in your top 8 cards, then by all means, run Lapras or Togekiss, its your deck and ultimately your decision.

But acceleration isn’t where I place my money for this deck. No, I feel if you’re going to run Gyarados with any kind of success rate (no matter how minor) you need early game stall and late game tankiness.

My friends, the deck I would run to try and bring out all of Ancient Trait Gyarados’ potential would be a Gyarados/Seismatoad-EX /Amorus deck.

Gyarados and the Seisma-Scrub Team

Seismitoad-EX
Ugh, Weren’t You Leaving?

Well Now, ain’t This Wacky? Lets talk about the Toad in the room first.

Last rotation, Seismatoad saw heavy play and high success in concert with Garbador, locking out your opponent’s abilities, as well as denying them the chance to play much of anything for set-up, Quaking Bags was one of the most oppressive decks to come into fruition since Vileplume.

However, their terrifying reign has come to a jarring end, as Garbodor has been rotated out of format, leaving Seismatoad-EX a little less impressive. At least until someone pairs it with the new Vileplume, which is essentially Garbodor at a stage higher. (Although that’s a rant for another day)

Having Seismatoad as your leading Pokemon is a beatiful little touch for Gyarados, offering you some breathing room while you search out your Water Dragons and the Eeveelution best suited for your current match up, dropping a Switch when you’re little Red Karp is all grown up. Ideally your Toad Stall will have hamstrung your opponent enough that all it should take to finish off your opponent is 2 or 3 well placed Thrash’s to end the game.

Now here’s where things get fun.

Aurorus
Aur-Who-rus?

Aurorus offers something to your entire field, that usually only targets a single Pokemon at a time, and that is damage reduction.

While this bad boy is on the field, any of your pokemon with Water Energy attached take 20 less damage from your opponent’s attacks.

Well, you know, it’s not bad, but it’s hardly great either, why are we including it?

Well remember Gyarados being able to equip two pokemon tools?

Well, we make 1 of them a Hard Charm, for further damage reduction, meaning any damage Gyarados takes is reduced by 40, which is pretty neat.

Hard Charm
Something, Something Rock Solid

The second Tool is a little more subject to change. You could choose to run Muscle Band, so that you score a little more damage on a bad coin flip, One Hit KOing several EX’s off of a Flareon or Jolteon powered Thrash before the coin flip is even calculated.

If you enjoy the tankiness route, you could throw in Protection Cubes, preventing
the self-inflicted damage from a bad coin flip or alternatively, a Healing Scarf, allowing you to heal what ever damage breaks through your Aurorus/Hard Charm Wall.

Hell, if you want to be really tanky, double down 2 Hard Charms on your first Gyarados and split the difference on the next one. Its a wonderful little trick, that appeals to the Troll in me.

At the end of the day, I do not remotely believe Ancient Trait Gyarados to be a good card, at least not with the cards currently available in the format. Which is a shame, because as I said, it is a very pretty card that deserves to be played and not hidden away in a Binder.

I’ll probably put a list together over the weekend, and get my testing buddy to come and help me gauge its viability. (I am pretty firmly of the opinion that it is not viable)

But maybe future sets will offer ways in which Gyarados can storm the scene, and land itself a place among the most highly regarded decks in the land.

Maybe, just maybe, one day, Ancient Trait Gyarados could be competitive.

But I doubt it.