Hey SixPrizes! It’s me, Logan here with an article that I’m writing while I’m in Vienna, Austria, doing some studying abroad. I’m enjoying the local cuisine and drinks, thank you very much for asking. If you want to see my vlog, here’s the link to my channel.
Today I will talk to you about something that has been going through my mind for a while, ever since Cleffa was brought up as a potential starter Pokémon for our next rotation. As you all know, there are currently eight Baby Pokémon that can be used in the current format: Cleffa, Tyrogue, Elekid, Magby, Mime Jr., Igglybuff, Smoochum, and Pichu.
All of these Baby Pokémon have the same ability, Sweet Sleeping Face, which states that if the Pokémon is asleep, all damage dealt by attacks is prevented. That is a very powerful bit of wording right there. There is a 50% chance that the attack that you have used for your turn may result in your basic Pokémon not taking any damage from a Pokémon during your opponents turn.
However, we must also realize that this does mean that you are vulnerable to special conditions, but we’ll discuss this part later.
Now, as most have you have seen, Cleffa has been creeping into decklists left and right, and taking them all by storm, and often by a multiple of 4. To a lesser extent, so have Tyrogue and Elekid, but the former is meant to counter other baby Pokémon directly, while the latter is meant for damage disruption (another concept that I will discuss later).
Pichu has been placed in certain decks, once in Jumpluff, and then fading away a bit before attempting a comeback in the HGSS-on format. Mime Jr. has been used in decks for the MD-on formats, but has lost much of its hype, and he is now rarely considered for any deck. The others, Magby, Igglybuff, and Smoochum, are barely talked about at all, and, mostly, for good reasons.
The Baby Pokémon
pokebeach.comLet’s start with the ones that have not been hyped, starting with Igglybuff. With the same bottom-stats and Poké-Body (I won’t be repeating this) as all of the other baby Pokémon, it already puts itself into the category of thought-provoking.
However, I’m afraid it doesn’t get much father than that. Its attack, “Graffiti”, increases the cost of each defending Pokémon’s attacks to be increased by one C energy. With all of the energy acceleration going around with Emboar, Pachirisu, and Feraligatr (and Floatzel, for all of you stage 1 lovers out there), it’s probably not going to affect too many people.
But I could see how this could cause some disruption with Zoroark, Cinccino, Donphan, Machamp… What’s that you say? Oh yeah, the wording states “the defending Pokémon”, meaning that if you are affected by the attack, you can retreat, Switch, Super Scoop Up, evolve, or even use “Fighting Tag” to get away from this problem.
The best disruption that this card can give is early game, to make sure that their Cleffa has to have an energy attached, or you can make your opponent waste a DCE on their Stantler if they’re really in a hurry to set up, but I really don’t see it happening. Let’s move on to the next one.
Smoochum. All this card really is a faceplam in card form. It’s not exactly terrible, but it’s not something that can’t very well be widely used either. It’s attack, aptly named Energy Antics, allows you to move one of your opponent’s energy cards attached to a Pokémon to another Pokémon. Simple, and, very situationally, effective.
Though I don’t really like this card, it’s hard not to see some potential with certain decks. You can use the attack to move an energy to a Ninetales for a fire deck, to a baby Pokémon sitting on the bench after not being used, maybe a Shaymin when you’re up against a Zekrom deck, or to another Pokémon that just won’t make good use of that energy card.
It’s beneficial now that there is no Poké Turn (unless you’re thinking about MD-on, in which case, Azelf), but you still have to be wary with its use, as it is a very fragile Pokémon. It could possibly get used as a tech, but just like Igglybuff, I just don’t see it going anywhere, though I think Smoochum has more potential.
Now onto one that has been overlooked too much, Magby. This one doesn’t seem like much, but I desperately want to test with it, because something tells me it has potential if we actually get to a phase where baby Pokémon are starters.
Magby’s attack, “Play with Fire”, burns the defending Pokémon. Why is this important? Remember when I told you that I’d get to the special conditions part of the Poké-Body later? Now is the time. Sweet Sleeping Face doesn’t bother Magby at all, because he just burns you.
Now, imagine your opponent now has to flip two heads in a row to both be awake and to avoid the 20 damage that would be done by burn.
Chances are that your opponent will not be that lucky, as there is only a 25% chance of this happening. What exactly does this mean then? Unless your opponent Seekers or Scoops Up that baby Pokémon you just went up against and it successfully retreats with the burn damage, you can either Gengar Prime that single damage counter for the KO, Spray Splash the baby Pokémon for the KO, use Elekid for the snipe and KO, or (though I don’t recommend it) use Mandibuzz for the baby KO.
An easy prize is always a good thing, right? Though probably not the best combination in the world, you could also combine this with Roserade and a Rainbow Energy to hope that your opponent flips tails. Just some ideas to have you think that this card is not as crappy as you once thought.
Mime Jr. is a card that has seen a bit of hype, even featuring itself in its own deck when it first came out, but since then, it hasn’t seen too much play. Its attack, Sleepy Lost, takes the top card of you opponent’s deck and sends it to the Lost Zone.
How is this good? Well, if you don’t already know the concept of the Mime Jr. deck, the original combination was to use Chatot G and Slowking HS in order to Lost Zone six of your opponent’s Pokémon for the game. Though a good idea, the deck usually lost too much steam around Pokémon #4, and after that, it lost. Honestly, the deck was too slow for an MD-CoL format.
However, now that the metagame will be slowing down dramatically, this card could potentially see some use when paired with its good friend Gengar Prime.
I had originally thought of this combination when my friend was messing with the Mime Jr. deck, but he didn’t have the money to purchase the Gengar Primes, and then we thought that Palkia G LV.X would be a much more suitable partner for Gengar Prime, and as I found out at Regionals, I was right. Now is probably the best time for Mime Jr. to shine, and I hope he does so in style.
pokebeach.comI remember getting Pichu at the prerelease and I immediately thought it was an amazing card. And then about two seconds of thought said, “It’s probably only going to work with Jumpluff.” I think that I’m still standing by this because Jumpluff, at the time, was the only thing that could keep up with the disadvantage of having your opponent set up their basics, too.
Now, it’s still a little difficult for me to see whether Pichu will work or not, mainly because you have the awesomeness of setting up your whole bench, but the disadvantage of giving your opponent the same benefit.
This card competes with Stantler and Cleffa for setting up, but with Collector and Dual Ball in the format, I don’t really know what’s going to happen with this cute little rat, but I say it’s only going to make its way into a few decks, and almost none of them top-tier.
Elekid has got to be one of the strangest techs, or starters, I have ever seen. When you first take a look at its attack, “Sparking Ball”, it seems very mediocre. Well, at least in Modified; during the prerelease, if you didn’t start with this card and your opponent did, it was going to be a rough battle.
pokebeach.comHowever, no matter how bad this card looks on paper, it plays way too well to be overlooked in this format. Where we are all looking at Cleffa for that hand refresh (and I’ll get to that in a minute) to start the game, when you take a look at what Elekid can do for, as well as against, big Pokémon like Magnezone, Reshiram, and Zekrom, it becomes almost infinitely better.
“But Logan, it can only do 20 damage.” But that’s damage to any Pokémon on your opponent’s field. “That’s nothing.” What’s 140 minus 20? 120. What’s 130 minus 20? 110. What’s 30 minus 20? 10. The first two, Magnezone and the legendaries, are now able to be 1HKO’d by Reshiram and Zekrom, and the last one covers the baby Pokémon, which can be immediately taken out with one Sea Spray or part of Gengar Prime’s attack.
The Gengar and Kindgra combos are good in theorymon, but the higher HP Pokémon strategies definitely give your opponent trouble. It’s great to work with Zekrom decks for sure, but testing will reveal its strength with other decks.
pokebeach.comWith all of the Cleffa creep, Tyrogue has been talked about as a counter, and it’s hard to see why it’s not talked about as a counter. For no energy, it dishes out 30 damage, (except to Donphan and Samurott, where it only does 10).
Now, it’s not the most powerful attack for no energy (GYARADOS!!!!!), but 30 is a magic number, not just for the baby Pokémon, but even for the larger Pokémon. While always hitting a baby Pokémon for a prize (except, of course, their Poké-Body and Defender) is great, there are other numbers that like taking 30 away from a Pokémon, not to mention the stall factor. Basic math states that 130-30=100.
Why is this important? Two Pokémon immediately come to mind for hitting that exact amount of damage: Blastoise and Magnezone (2 energy instead of 3 for Magnezone is always a good thing). Other Pokémon hit harder than 100, and this benefits them as well, especially when you consider Machamp Prime, with 150-30=120. 1HKO range for Zekrom and Reshiram.
Tyrogue seems to be a great counter/tech to mess around with, and I know that some groups are abuzz with this card, and it’s been good in the past, so I believe that everyone needs to at least test this card.
pokebeach.comAnd last, but certainly not least, Cleffa, the currently most commonly used baby Pokémon in this developing format. With the classic attack “Eeeeeeek”, you shuffle your hand into your deck and you draw 6 new cards (or, if you shuffle poorly, the same 6 cards).
This card is becoming the new staple starter because of three main reasons: 1) free Retreat Cost, 2) 50% invincibilty, and 3) the ability to regain hand size and/or get rid of a bad hand after use on the first turn.
All of these reasons make Cleffa an almost perfect starter, but I’ll take it over some of the other choices. So this card has no attacking potential whatsoever, but what it gives you in support more than makes up for its lack of power.
This card reminds me a little of Crobat G, and don’t think I’m crazy until I give you my reason, because it is a very useful card when it’s there to serve its main purpose and it’s there on the bench so, when your main guy gets KOd, free retreat. A very promising card that everyone has already talked about, Cleffa should be a prominent option in everyone’s mind.
As you should be able to see, most of these baby Pokémon seem to be very useful, and I think that very resourceful players can come up with great ways to use these guys to their advantage. Personally, I think that the best three are Elekid, Tyrogue, and Cleffa, but Mime Jr., Magby, and Pichu have their own roles.
And maybe some day Smoochum and Igglybuff can serve a purpose other than being cute. The format seems to be moving toward baby Pokémon as starters and counter-starters, so be prepared to either embrace it or counter it. If you don’t like it, make use of Reversals and Circulators. If you like it, read through this article again and test. It will be beneficial.
Closing Remarks (meaning a rant)
flickr.comIt is here that I really want to have some sort of rant about the format. I really, really enjoy it. Ever since I’ve started playing competitively, it’s just been the same thing. Too much draw power and too much support.
At least when I started it was even (I started at the release of Great Encounters, just after Worlds), and then it just grew into a lopsided powerhouse of SP and other broken Pokémon like Gengar SF and Gyarados SF.
It just got even worse when the B&W rules came around, making it a struggle between trainer lock and the ability to donk. It has just been terrible.
But now, I’m enjoying this format. In my limited testing, (I could only get with my friend for one day, and 3 games in and a food break, I started getting a massive headache), I have been in the best games I have ever played.
I refer to these as chess games, because neither side had a major advantage, and you had to really think through every single move before going, otherwise you risk losing the match. Cappuccino (Cinccino and Zoroark) is a very good deck, even with its “low” damage output, it gave Magneboar problems, with the prize count going to 1-1 before I took the match (of course, I wasn’t running RDL, so that may or may not have helped).
Plus, the ingenuity of the decks is amazing, and I really enjoy that we have so much freedom in this format. Just today I was looking at the Japan World Championships decks, and they were Torterra, Blastoise, Raichu, and Magmortar. They are all different, and those are the top four decks. It’s astonishing. I love it.
Which brings me to the next point. I don’t want them to release Pokémon Catcher in the next set. Pokémon Reversal is fair, and we’ve already seen what one card with the effect of Pokémon Catcher can do. This card even had to be played under special conditions for it to have to right effect, but it was still detremental to the players going up against it.
I mean, even when people have equal power, it balances things a bit, but I just don’t like this factor that’s too broken. I mean, Haymaker was a very powerful deck back in the old days, and not many of the evolution decks could keep up with it.
We have a deck now that mimics Haymaker, and it’s Reshiram and Zekrom, not to mention Cappuccino can directly counter, and even overpower, Reshiram and Zekrom. Pokémon Catcher is just too disruptive for the current state of the game, especially when we have those 1st turn trainers rocking everyone around.
Though I don’t think it will distract us from our originality in making decks, I do believe that it will send us back to disliking the format (though I could be wrong).
With that, I think I should end this article. I hope you will now take a closer look at each baby Pokémon card and see what you can do with it. I was going to leave you with a couple of lists that included different uses for baby Pokémon, but I haven’t had the time to develop them due to my studies in Vienna.