A lot of ground to cover today, so I’ll get right into it with a review of what I think the most exciting and/or hyped cards from Black and White are. Sorry for the short intro, pressed for time!
Quick note: I’m going to be reviewing these cards in the context of an HS-on modified environment. So while this info isn’t particularly relevant for Battle Roads, it is potentially for Nationals and Worlds, and is definitely for the 2011-2012 season. Keep that in mind while reading these reviews.
Black & White Set Review
pokebeach.comSerperior is an interesting enough card with a lot of potential, but I just don’t think it gets there. The biggest advantage of it is that it doesn’t require energy acceleration of any sort, which is huge in HS-on. So theoretically it’ll be one of the fastest forces on the scene.
The problem is that it can’t reliably 1HKO anything, and isn’t incredibly difficult to 1HKO back. Combine that with the fact that it has weakness to Emboar and Reshiram, and I’m just not seeing how this card succeeds. Something worth testing and something that could easily be broken, but not at the moment.
If you were going to attempt to play this for Battle Roads, I think the best combination would be with Shaymin and it’s Level X, but even then I don’t think it’s an incredibly relevant deck.
Emboar is an incredibly powerful card, there’s no question in that. Rain Dance is already great, but now the energy can be attached to any type of Pokémon? Nuts. Fortunately, it’s not too great of a card by itself. Its attack caps at 80 damage, which isn’t really saying much with 1HKO fests running around.
However, there’s also the matter of the OTHER Emboar, that has mediocre attacks and no Ability, but is still something to swing for big damage with. RRCC and discarding all R energy afterward certainly isn’t gamebreaking, but 150 damage is huge, even with the steady increase of HP over the years.
In the end, I think that both Emboars will see play, but only with each other. We’re testing a Reshiram/Emboar deck that runs a 2/1 split of the Emboars (2 of the one with the ability), and it’s doing pretty well. I’ll talk about that in a future article as well as on my YouTube channel (get excited, more on that later), soon, so I won’t waste your time here.
pokebeach.comSamurott’s is a pretty well hyped card, although definitely less so than both Serperior and Emboar. It’s most obvious combo is with Feraligatr Prime, giving you the possibility to pump out a steady stream of 100 damage on turn 2, and increase that amount every turn after.
However, after very limited testing, I don’t think this card has what it takes. It’s certainly an interesting card, the Ability and attacks are both solid, but it has it’s fair share or problems. The first of which is that it’s almost a bad version of Blastoise/Feraligatr, and that deck is solidly tier 3 at the moment. Secondly, L weakness is going to be pretty relevant with both Zekrom and Magnezone variants being actual decks.
I don’t think the card is bad whatsoever, but I think, like most Gatr combos, it’ll stay comfortably in tier 2 land.
Reuniclus is one of the most talked about cards from this set. Damage Swap is an incredibly powerful ability, and it has obvious combinations with tank decks like Steelix, Scizor, and Tyranitar. The problem is that I just don’t think it’s good enough. Those decks are slow, even for HS-on, and having to build up another stage 2 is going to make them slow down and exert resources even more.
Even if you can get it to work correctly, it just seems like a card that gives you so little value and is so gimmicky, especially considering that Steelix and Scizor are both weak to Emboar and Reshiram and can be 1HKO’d, and while Tyranitar is big, the spread damage it’s inflicting is going to add up quickly.
It also can’t be its own deck at all, as it’s attack is absolutely atrocious. It also takes 2 turns to get online, which, while not a big deal with HS-BW, will become increasingly more annoying when Pokémon Catcher comes out, both in the sense that the villain can just up one of Reuniclus’ lower forms and kill it before you even get value out of it, and that they can gust up something that has a lot of damage on it or that they can easily KO due to how you’ve used Damage Swap.
As an aside, if you want a fun deck to try at BRs, try using him with Unown Q and Mismagius GL, for an infinite damage heal loop. :D
pokebeach.comThis card suffers from being one of those that has a lot of pluses and a lot of minuses. It’s first attack is great, L resistance is great, the Weakness isn’t all that bad, etc. However, its second attack is terrible and it essentially does nothing for you. It’s too big and clunky to be a smaller part of a combo piece, and there’s not terribly too much that it does on its own.
This card is certainly breakable and something I feel we’ll be discussing more as time goes on, especially as new sets come out, but for now I think it’s worth skipping over.
I feel the same way about Zoroark as I do about Krookodile, although a little bit more optimistic. It’s a card that is interesting and breakable, but at the moment doesn’t have any super great applications. I have no doubt that this card will eventually become something viable and that I’m just missing something or not looking hard enough, but as for now I don’t see anything entirely gamebreaking.
The combination with Cinccino is relevant, but I don’t even think that deck is going to be all that amazing, so again, it does neat things, but those neat things may not be enough.
Er…didn’t plan for Cinccino to be the next card on the list, but hey, I’ll take it.
This is a very Jumpluff-like card, and I believe that it’ll suffer from the same problem that Jumpluff had after the 2009-2010 season: There are no Bench-sitters that gain you value every turn. Claydol was such a huge help to Jumpluff because in addition to drawing cards for you every turn, it helped you recover KO’d Jumpluffs through drawing out a ridiculous number of cards in combination with Night Maintenance. Jumpluff became irrelevant after the rotation of both Claydol and Night Maintenance, and I’m not sure Cincinno will fare any better.
Combining it with Zoroark and Ninetales HS/COL are the only worthwhile things I see happening, and even that doesn’t seem too good to me. This style of deck is definitely one that I’m a huge fan of, and therefore I’ll test it, but early indications aren’t impressing me at all.
pokebeach.comThis card combos with Tyranitar Prime very well, and is something I’m looking to test for sure. I think this may end up being the sleeper hit of this set when all is said and done, but because I haven’t tested it or even given it that much thought outside of random deck ideas while driving and things of that nature, I won’t speak on it too much.
The better of the two Legendaries, and one fantastic card. Immediately a Reshiram deck using Emboar comes to mind (and is something I’ve tested, and as I said, will have more info and several videos on soon! :P), and I think that’s a perfectly viable option.
I almost feel like this card has been hyped up so much that there’s no point in talking about its values, so instead I’ll play devil’s advocate for a moment. The biggest problem with the card is that, outside of its second attack which requires 3 energy, and makes you discard most of them, it has nothing going for it. No ability and its first attack is terrible.
That’s not to say that it’s a bad card, it’s obviously a great card, but that’s the biggest problem I’ve found in our testing.
Again, am keeping this short as I’ll have tons more information for you soon.
A lot of the testing videos I’ve done with the aforementioned Reshiboar deck have been against a Zekrom/Pachirisu/Shaymin build, and a similar type of deck with Magnezone Prime, so again, going to keep this short as I don’t want to be redundant.
This card has a hard time being better than Reshiram or really finding a home in general until Pokémon Catcher comes out. In my opinion, both of the decks I spoke about in the above paragraph get worlds better with Catcher is released in BW2, and until then remain okay to good options.
pokebeach.comI don’t feel that I’m as qualified to speak on this card as many others are, seeing as how I never played in a format when the original Professor Oak was legal. However, I do have a few random thoughts on this card:
– I don’t see it being as good as Professor Oak was whatsoever. There’s not as much discard pile manipulation now as there was back then, and it’s much harder to play out your entire hand now.
– This makes Smeargle UD so much worse. Last format your worst fear was running into a Judge, but now you run the risk of losing all of your cards, many of which are impossible to get back.
– I don’t see how this card is all that much better than the shuffle effects that we already have in Professor Oak’s New Theory, Copycat, and Judge. In some decks this card is clearly better, but in the end I think it’ll end up being a niche in the majority of decks out there.
Thoughts on the Rotation Announcement
By now I’m sure all of you have heard the news: Pokémon will either be rotating to HS-on in July 1st or September 1st, depending on the results of Battle Roads. Before I go any further I’d like to give a shout-out to my teammate Ann Marie Thompson for predicting this way before it was announced.
To me, this was the only viable option that Pokémon had in front of them. The truth is, even with how broken Sableye may or may not be, Pokémon as a game and a company would lose all of it’s integrity if they ever made rotation or banning decisions based on speculation.
I mean, think about it, if they did take articles and Pokégym posts over actual tournament results, then Gengar Prime and Lost World would’ve been insta-banned. Instead, those cards are used in non-degenerate ways and are by no means overpowered (at least in MD-BW). This was absolutely the correct decision.
pokebeach.comI’ll also throw out there that, if you’d like a HS-on rotation, the only way it’s going to happen is if everyone plays Sableye. The problem with Sableye is that it will lose to Spiritomb, and therefore most players will be inclined to play VileGar or other Spiritomb based decks, and if that happens I think those decks will win out most of the time, proving that Sableye isn’t as overpowered as everyone thought, and lead to OP seeing the modified format as healthy, and deciding to stick with MD-BW for Nationals and Worlds.
The problem with this, however, is that the format is NOT healthy. Even if Sableye doesn’t win the majority of events (and I don’t think it will), it will only lose to the aforementioned Spiritomb decks. When one deck/card is warping the format so that the only decks that directly counter it can win, that’s a huge problem.
Even SP was never that overpowered, as there were decks that could lose to it (Gyarados, for instance), and still perform well and win tournaments. Sableye takes things to a whole different level.
I’ll also note that the problem is Uxie. Sableye, Crobat, and Uxie make the deck what it is. The difference between them is that Sableye and Crobat can be used in non-degenerate ways. Crobat is an incredibly useful card, and Sableye is a great starter in Gyarados and decks of that nature. It’s Uxie that fuels it all. Uxie is one of the most degenerate cards ever, and should’ve been banned long ago.
Without Uxie you don’t have access to the ridiculous amount of card draw that nets you a million Poké Turns, Poké Blowers, Junk Arms, etc. and you certainly wouldn’t be able to hit your misers copies of Special Dark and Expert Belt nearly as often. If you want to put the blame on something, it has to be Uxie.
So, in short, if you want a new format for Nationals, convince all of your friends to play Sableye and nothing but Sableye. If you choose to play a Spiritomb-based deck at Battle Roads, understand that you’re probably hurting the game in the long run.
My YouTube Channel
As some of you may have already heard, me and my OMGWTFBFF Amelia Bottemiller have recently started a YouTube channel dedicated to Pokémon, which can be found here.
The show is called Play To Win, and will mainly be focused on accomplishing just that. We’ll have deck techs, filmed matches, filmed top cut matches with commentary, financial advice, set reviews, box/product openings, random debate, and anything else that you ask for. Expect content from us to come out about once a week, give or take depending on how much there is to do and talk about.
If you’d like to support our channel, the best things you can do are rate, comment, and subscribe. We absolutely need subscribers as they are what fuel this entire project. Ratings give us more spotlight, and comments will help us make videos that are more relevant to you, giving you what you want to see.
So again, please take a few seconds to subscribe, I guarantee it’ll be worth your time. When we reach 500 subscribers I’ll be giving something back to the community. :D
I’m not sure what we’ll have up on the channel by the time this gets published, but you can look forward to the following:
Sableye vs. VileGar testing
Emboar/Reshiram deck tech
Zekrom/Pachirisu/Shaymin deck tech
Emboar/Reshiram vs. Zekrom testing
An array of both HS-on and MD-BW testing videos.
So please, subscribe, watch the videos, and let us know what you think! Also keep in mind that we’re still figuring everything out, and that our videos only get better from here. Please me know what you think, Like us on Facebook, and spread the videos around as much as you can!
I don’t want to be too much of a shill here, so I hope I kept that segment about the YouTube channel as short as possible. Thanks so much for reading. :)
Moving into some random thoughts…
– This usually doesn’t happen with promos, but those Tepig, Snivy, and Oshawott blister packs are fantastic. Not only are they a great value at $5 for a pack of BW and a promo, but they’re great competitive too. The Tepig and Snivy are the best versions, and they all have great art (I’d put Snivy as some of the best art in Pokémon, actually).
pokebeach.com– Cleffa from HS and COL is a fantastic starter next format, so get your hands on them while you can. Amelia and I bought multiple online stores out of their reverse foils, so holler at me if you need any. ;). If you can find them at a low price, snatch up as many as possible as they’re going to be useful for a loooong time.
– The B/W products in general, the Victini box, the tins, and all of the blisters are a fantastic value, since they all come with BW packs. The Victini box in particular comes with 5 packs of BW, a Victini figure, and an awesome alternate-art Zoroark card and retails at $20. Seeeeems good.
– A small gripe about PTCGO: I bought multiple boxes of Black and White and was super excited to crack the packs and get those pack redemption codes. So I redeem them all, open all the packs, and get some pretty sick pulls. I crack multiple foils of good cards, Primes, Legends, and the like.
However, I then learn that all of the cards that you pulled are going to be wiped when the official version of the game officially releases.
I understand that wipes are common in beta, and that you will be credited for your packs, but that makes this game almost completely useless to me until September, and I was planning on getting a jump-start on it. I dunno, just a little peeved about that.
S’all I’ve got. Thanks for reading!