pokebeach.comOkay, it is with some hesitation that I write this COTD on Beartic. I do not hesitate because I feel like I know enough about this card – I have been testing with it since May. I hesitate because lately these COTD reviews have been ridiculously volatile in their ratings, with people either hating or loving the review. Regardless, with a bold determination, I shall step forward for my first COTD.
Beartic has been overhyped and over-talked about so much that I feel one, solid review on the card may help cement generally feelings on this card. To be blunt, I (and most others) do not think this card is or ever will be Tier 1 material in the form of its own deck. From my experience this card is too limited in its options to run its own deck, but it is a great tech to counter against many big names out there. More, of course, on this later.
First thing is first, let us pass through the silly part of me running through the important stats of the card you already know so well. In order to avoid mundane drivel, I will do this in actual review and in bullet form.
– 130 HP for a Stage One: Fantastic! Requires a PlusPower for 1HKO from the dragons, which ideally wont happen if you are running this with Vileplume (which is not always a must – Beartic works wonders with Switch and Catcher at his side). Also the fact that his basic form, Cubchoo, has 70 HP is a great asset as well.
– 2× Weakness to Steel: Great! With Fire type so popular right now, it is hard to rationalize running a Steel deck out there that can so easily be shut down by the likes of a Reshiram. It is also rather hard to “tech” Steel type into a deck in order to counter Beartic. A much easier way to counter Beartic is with Dodrio, Yanmega, or Zoroark (more, of course, on this later).
– 3 Retreat Cost: Yuck! This is often what many people argue weakens Beartic so much. This is a big commitment to put Active if you are running Vileplume and cannot Switch the bear out. If you suddenly find yourself countered by Foul Play or a Pokémon with zero Retreat Cost (essentially negating your Sheer Cold attack), you will either sacrifice Beartic or manually retreat him.
– Sheer Cold Attack: Delicious! For WCC, you stop the Pokémon from attacking next turn as well as a meh 50 damage. While this is great in that you can pull it off T2 against the likes of Donphan and hitting for weakness, it is not nearly as consistent due to the reliance on DCE (especially if you are running Vileplume and don’t run anything like Energy Exchanger – if anyone runs those anyway).
This attack shuts down big hitters with high Retreat Cost (Magnezone) and hits Donphan, Reshiram, Typhlosion, and Emboar for weakness. Ideally you will have Vileplume out to restrict their Switch (assuming they are running one).
While this will lock and kill big guys that don’t or can’t commit to retreat, often against cards like Magnezone (in which it takes three turns to kill), your savvy opponent SHOULD have set up something that will just take care of Beartic as soon as their Magnezone is dead (for example, two Yanmegas).
Because of this, Beartic often will claim a prize and then give up a prize himself (hence the mention of recovery cards earlier like Twins and Bouffalant). It is a toe-to-toe attack, and albeit not the best, but it is indeed a form of lock and disruption (either way they need to get out of there or they will die), and for this Sheer Cold is an interesting attack and quite viable if your opponent is not ready for it, lacks energy, and/or is being hit for weakness.
– Icicle Crash Attack: Barf! For WWCC, you can do 80, which is only really useful for hitting a 1HKO for weakness or finishing off a Pokémon like Yanmega that was hit earlier with a Sheer Cold attack. Either way, the energy cost is too high, and often Beartic will be gone before you would really need to use this.
pokebeach.comSo! What does this card tell us? It’s a semi-fast attacking 130 HP Stage One that can lock maybe by T2 and abuse cards like DCE and Rainbow Energy (although Rainbow puts you at the precarious 120 spot – Eeek!). It’s a heavy retreater that makes us commit to it and is foiled by the likes of:
– Yanmega and any other cards that have zero retreat (still not entirely foiled, however, if they do not have another attacker ready to back up. For example, if only one Yanmega is out, you Sheer Cold, and no Magnezone is ready, they may have to fall back on a Cleffa and hope to wall. Anything that stalls the game will help a Beartic player out in that they can further set up their bench (more on this later), as well as maybe claim a prize when that Cleffa wakes up.)
– Zoroark who can Foul Play and lock a Beartic with his own attack.
– Dodrio who can negate all Retreat Cost of two or less and allow cards to glide about like they are on ice.
– Scizor/Steelix who hits Beartic’s weakness. Scizor is quite a nightmare, actually, due to your reliance on DCE.
So how does a Beartic player counter these things? First he will either need a Vileplume to lock all trainer use or a steady and ready supply of Switch/Pokémon Catcher to glide in and out/disrupt as much as possible. I personally think Vileplume is a better option for my particular style of play as it really can hinder Yanmega decks when they are holding too many trainer cards in their hand to match your smaller hand until they draw a Judge or Copycat.
The next step is to think of Beartic as a tech, not the only attacker. For this you can throw him in a Vilebox with cards that help each other nicely. The Vileplume serves to slow the game down and help you bench out as many techs as needed for your particular moment of play (I currently run 4 Oddish, 4 Collector, 3 Communication and 2 PETM to make sure this Vileplume is always possible). Some of Beartic’s worst enemies are actually his best friends in that they are quick, versatile hitters:
– Yanmega has zero retreat and can slip in and out. It can also further play on your lock/disruption by the reliance of Judging your opponent as well as hitting hard and fast by T2 while you set up your Plume and Beartic. It finally can snipe for 40 Pokémon that are forced to retreat later by Beartic or cards like Dodrio that are on their bench.
– Zoroark is an excellent universal tech that can abuse Special D Energy to hit the magical 130 against the likes of Reshiram and Zekrom. It also helps against Yanmega while also using its sniping ability. Zoroark, like Bouffalant, is a great fall-back guy when Beartic stalls a game, kills something, then is 1HKO’d by a big hitter. You bring out Zoroark and Foul Play for a nice comeback.
– Weavile has zero retreat and can also slip in and out. His ability to discard a card from your opponent’s hand can totally change the game. If you can discard a Yanmega or Magnezone before it hits the board, you can often pull away with an extra prize you were not about to get before (or a Judge or Copycat, stopping their attack that turn).
The reason I focus so much on Yanmega/Magnezone is because it is a very popular deck right now that is one of the best decks to shut down Beartic (other than a Scizor deck). Weavile also can abuse Special D Energy and can snipe out retreated Pokémon as well as 1HKO benched babies.
There are, of course, many other cards to consider with Beartic that can help play on the disruption/lock such as (but certainly not limited to) Sharpedo, play on status effects/abuse Rainbow Energy like Roserade, Lilligant, or Ursaring Prime, or to counter cards like Yanmega with Zekrom (although not my particular choice), Raichu non-prime HGSS, Galvantula, and Lanturn Prime.
Also cards like Reshiram to counter Steel if need be or Dodrio to help with Retreat Costs (though it will further slow you down and you will DEFINITELY need a Vileplume to keep away the Catchers).
Finally, in general players running Beartic in their decks must be aware that they will be slower than their opponent (especially if they are running Vileplume). Perhaps in a Stage One deck with a specifically fast starting engine (Pichu, Collectors, Communication, Elm, etc.) this is not the case, but otherwise, you will likely first fall behind in prizes. Remember to try and use this to your advantage!
I hope this COTD has helped you understand Beartic a little more, and if there are things you totally disagree with, give me a negative rating, but please post why. Finally as a rating I will give Beartic the following:
As a stand-alone main attacker with a Vileplume: 2/5
As a tech in a Vilebox deck or other deck that can successfully make good use of his lock: 3.5/5
My rating is 0 being the worst, 5 being the best.
Thanks for reading!