Originally I was going to do this CotD as a joke, if no one requested anything else, but CaptainX24 actually decided to request Simisear, so the demand shall be met!
Simisear is actually my favorite card from the Black & White expansion, and easily the best card in the set for Limited play, besides the set-ruining legendary dragons. Why did the dragons ruin Black & White? There’s an explanation of that here. This CotD, however, is going to begin with a discussion of Simisear in Booster Draft and Sealed Deck play. I’m not going to cover the basic statistics of the card – they’re fairly apparent by the big picture of it, and it has a lot of similarities with most Stage 1s in the block.
Simisear in Draft is an excellent card – as an uncommon in a set with a low uncommon count, it is fairly easy to see several of them, and its basic form is reasonable. Its job is to make use of its “Flame Burst” attack to do two things: take cheap prizes, and soften up future targets for “Fury Swipes”, or better yet, for your better attackers. Using three energy on a Simisear should be a last resort, as you can output as much average damage (albeit spread out) for a single fire.
Picking up Simisear in Draft can be somewhat difficult: as a good uncommon in the thickest type, Simisear is a high pick for everyone around the table. If a lot of players try to avoid Fire for this reason, you should have no problem getting at least four, if not more, giving your deck a solid core of spread.
Good draft picks to support Simisear are few and far between, as there are few other snipers in the set to back it up. Mandibuzz is the big winner here, having a 50 damage snipe for a single energy, Knocking Out every basic save the dragons after a Flame Burst. Both Zebstrikas are also good choices, as they can hit all of the water Pokémon in the set for weakness.
The rare Zebstrika also has bench damage synergy, while the uncommon one benefits from Simisear softening up its targets on the bench.
Hate-drafting Water yourself is also a good call if you get a lot of Simisears; since the monkeys are very splashable, as are all the water cards in the set save Basculin BLW, there’s a lot of energy freedom to be had between Fire and Water.
In sealed, Simisear is an auto-include; as a splashable single energy attacker that damages the bench, as well as a potentially big hitter with Fury Swipes, there’s almost no reason not to run it. Almost no sealed deck in Black & White will run without R Energy anyway, given the disproportionate number of fire Pokémon in the set.
For other choices, the uncommon Zebstrika quickly becomes its best friend in sealed, as most players should open at least one, and can protect it from the deadly Simipour. Rarely is there much choice to make between lines in sealed deckbuilding, so there is little else to say.
Leaving Limited play, as we’ve shown that Simisear can be a huge card there, let’s move on to HS-on Modified. There are three potential decks that Simisear can see play in: Typhlosion, Rush, and Mew Box. One of the biggest advantages of Simisear is in fact Pansear EP, whose “collect” attack makes it one of the best starters Typhlosion and Rush get.
In Typhlosion, the point of Simisear is to soften targets for Reshiram’s “Blue Flare” attack, and to threaten Gothitelle decks with Flame Burst to the bench. The main targets for Flame Burst are members of Magnezone’s line, Zekroms, and Reshirams that won’t be receiving damage from Afterburner or other sources. It also lets you pick off catchered
Typhlosions with a single Blue Flare, making it a useful card in the mirror. Outside of the Magneboar and mirror matches, it doesn’t have enough utility to be worth the slot, though it’s rarely a completely dead card. As stated above, it can be an excellent rattlesnake against Gothitelle, preventing them from keeping as many damage counters in play.
Rush benefits from Simisear in much the same way, but it sets up many more 1HKOs, similar to how a first turn Absol Prime does. One Flame Burst sets up Magnezone Prime, Quilava, and Zekrom for Donphan, Reshiram and Zekrom for Zoroark, Tornadus for Cinccino, and many others. It also sets up most Basic Pokémon for Yanmega Prime’s “Linear Attack”, though with Pokémon Catcher in the format, Simisear’s attacks matter less for this purpose; Yanmega can just attack with “Sonicboom”.
Again, Mew Box benefits from Simisear for the same reason, but it also has the ability to use Mew Prime’s “See Off” to Lost Zone Simisear, and use its attacks with Mew instead. Realistically, two 20 damage spreads is not worth the turn spent using See Off, though a Flame Burst does put many Pokémon into the 120 damage range for Jumpluff’s “Mass Attack”. It can be an excellent attacker to use on a Pokémon that has been pulled up from the bench; much like Yanmega Prime, it can use the free attacks to deal heavy damage to the opponent’s bench.
One nasty play all three decks like to do with Simisear against decks like Gothitelle and Vileplume/Reuniclus is to damage two Oddishes or Solosis with Flame Burst, then knock them both out next turn, preventing the opposing player from using Twins to evolve either of them. While Tyranitar Prime does the same job, Simisear is generally faster and more reliable.
Juniors and Budget Decks
pokebeach.comFor people who don’t own Yanmega Primes, Donphan Primes, and other expensive cards, Simisear should be a staple of Rush. The little fire monkey, if allowed even two cheap shots, can set up almost everything in the format for Cinccino BLW and Zoroark BLW based beatings, letting you quickly clean up the board with one-energy attackers.
This trio has every kind of problem with Donphan, so backing it up with a direct counter like Swanna EP is advised. While PlusPower can replace Simisear in many situations, a single Flame Burst can do the job of between four and six PlusPowers, saving Junk Arms for other uses.
DP-on Extended and Unlimited
As much as I love to talk about Extended and Unlimited formats, the powerful Pokémon from the SP block, like the incredibly better sniper Garchomp C LV.X, make Simisear a poor choice. With Unlimited being purely focused on eliminating the entire opposing field in one turn, there’s little room for 20 spread, even for a single energy.
I give this card a 3.5/5. It’s a lot better than people give it credit for, especially for juniors and casual players who want to be able to rumble with the big decks without spending much money. While I don’t see Simisear appearing in any Nationals winning decks, I could see a Simisear-backed Rush variant winning a Battle Roads or two, especially among the kids.
If you want to hear even more about our non-favorite flaming monkey, stay tuned for the next Custom Tooled – I promise you, he’ll be in there.