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Card Spotlight: Porygon-Z

Alolan Ninetales-GX LOT 132Hey there trainers! Welcome to Card Spotlight, a column where I, the one and only LiteralGrill, will be taking a close look at cards that may deserve a place in your deck based on the current meta. The Pokémon Latin America International Championships have recently come to a close, and we have a first snapshot at where the Standard metagame may be headed. With Lost Thunder bringing Alolan Ninetales-GX into the fray, many have wondered what effect it would have on the meta game. With 22% of the Top 64 decks using it in some form we can expect it will be seeing use for some time. Some players used its ability Mysterious Guidance to help search out items they needed, while using Alolan Vulpix from Guardians Rising to Beacon Alolan Ninetales and a pokemon to evolve with a Rare Candy, providing speedy setups for decks with Stage 2 Pokemon. Others simply used it for item consistency. 

Oddly enough however, that 22% statistic also covers another curious statistic: the number of decks in Top 64 that used Rare Candy overall as part of its engine. Decks with Stage 2 Pokemon as part of their engines are becoming quite common, with the likes of Vikavolt, Gardevoir-GX, Swampert and Decidueye-GX, being important tools in many decklists.

But what if I told you there was a single card that could potentially shut them entirely down? Let's give a warm welcome to Porygon-Z from Burning Shadows! While its attack is nothing to get excited about, its ability could make it well suited to take down Rare Candy users.

AbilityInitialize
When you play this Pokémon from your hand to evolve 1 of your Pokémon during your turn, you may devolve each of your opponent’s evolved Pokémon by putting the highest Stage Evolution card on it into your opponent’s hand.

Porygon-Z BUS 105What makes this card so powerful? Imagine a bench with several Decidueye-GX, or honestly any other Pokemon that used Rare Candy to evolve. Porygon-Z comes onto the field, they return to your opponent's hand, and suddenly with a lack of Rare Candy to play, the only attacking force they have left are Basic Pokemon. Oh, and it also avoids Alolan Muk with its ability, which is being teched into many decks currently, so there's no way to stop it other than using Slaking, an uncommon card choice.

"But Grill," you may ask, "what if they have a few Stage One pokemon just in case?" Statistically this is unlikely as only two decks out of any with Rare Candy related engines did so with a single Kirlia card. Just one card, something that can easily be taken out after you provide such massive disruption. As it currently stands, this would massively stall around 1-4 decks making top cut.

"But Grll," you ask, because asking questions seems to be your thing, "what good will this card be against all of the other decks I'm facing?" First quite ironically, it would do well in decks that already have Rare Candy engines. Seeing as how it's a Stage 2 Pokemon, this is the fastest way out onto the field and disrupt your enemy. It would likely need to be kept to a single line however, which could be difficult.

Another potential option would be to add a small line to a spread damage deck. With Tapu Koko's attack Flying Flip, each Pokemon on your opponent's side of the field gets 20 damage. Now  with Professor Elm's Lecture from Lost Thunder, many more players are opting to use 60 HP Pokemon for easier searching. This list includes (and yes it's a long one) Zorua, Sneasel, Inkay, Rockruff, Ralts, Mudkip, and a few more. 

Imagine now with Taku Koko's Flying Flip you've managed to spread 60 damage to several benched Pokemon, many of which are very valuable to your opponent's deck running. This is just three attacks, not impossible to manage right? Place Porygon-Z onto the field and watch as those evolved Pokemon slowly reveal their previous evolutions with enough damage to kill them on the spot

Even Alolan Ninetales-GX itself could be used to spread damage, cutting out the middle man entirely to create a deck solely centered on spreading damage, then forcing the devolution to snag prizes. The attack itself even does 70 damage, helping to take down some of those pesky Pokemon with a little more health to spare. You know, maybe that should be a deck list... But we'll get back to that later.

Porygon-Z however isn't perfect. Although they seem not be doing well according to current results, Lost March decks wouldn't be susceptible to the combo. Any Stage 2 Pokemon brought in my Lance Prism Star would also be immune. As there's no cards underneath them, they are by default the only Pokemon available, there's nothing underneath them for those Pokemon to be removed from. This also doesn't do much of anything in decks that just stick to Basic Pokemon with high HP. At that point these cards hold up the deck, and are better used for Ultra Ball discards than be put onto the field. 

Summary

Porygon-Z is a solid card that can be teched into several kinds of decks and be made into a deck based on it entirely. It does come with weaknesses, and won't fit into every deck, but it's highly worth considering if you run a deck with Rare Candy involved, or play against a lot of decks that do. Statistically, it an stop 1-4 current meta decks, which is something that can't simply be ignored.


"Grill, I have one last question." I can see you saying. "We never saw a deck list for that Porygon-Z deck you talked about, where is that?" That's coming up in my next article! Stay tuned to PokeGoldfish for Deck Crafters: Porgyon-Z Guidance Initialized, an article that will show the deck building process alongside a deck list you can try yourself soon! Have thoughts on this card, or suggestions for that upcoming deck? Drop a comment below or chat me up on Twitter @LiteralGrill because I'd love to hear your thoughts! Until next time, keep it lit trainers! 

- Linnea "LiteralGrill" Capps


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