Top and Bottom 5: The Best (and Worst) of the Black and White Set


Hey guys, this is my first article, so I hope it isn’t too terrible. I am very excited to write for 6P and I hope to do more in the future! I also write for Gengar’s Gossip, a blog I recently created but have high hopes for. With all of that said, let’s continue:

The Black/White Set was released almost a month ago, but has yet to be fully tested in a premier tournament, leading to a deluge of theorymon on the message boards. With time yet before the new format kicks in (though we still don’t know quite when) I thought I’d review my personal Top and Bottom 5 of the Pokémon Black and White set.

The Top 5

5. Zoarark (#71)

Zoarark is good for many reasons: 100 HP for a stage one, Nasty Plot lets you search for any card, resistance, one Retreat Cost, etc… but he stands out because of his Foul Play attack. For a Double Colorless energy he can copy any one attack on the Defending Pokémon, and he doesn’t even have to copy the energy costs.

For example, if he were to copy Reshiram’s Blue Flare he would only have to discard the two fire energy if he already had them attached. With a DCE however, there is no need.

Zoarark will only get better with the release of Pokémon Catcher, a reprint of the base set Gust of Wind that allows you to switch out any of the opponent’s Pokémon, thus allowing you to choose which attack of your opponent’s you’d like to copy.

Still, Zoarark is built to be a situational Pokémon, and as such will continue to be a tech in several decks.

4. Cinccino (#89)

Cincinno is a stage one Pokémon with a decent 90 HP and a fairly reasonable Retreat Cost. However, what sets him apart is his Do The Wave attack which, with a full bench, can net 100 damage by turn 2.

Not to mention the fact that the attack can be paid for with DCE and by virtue of being a colorless Pokémon, Cincinno is splashable in just about any deck.

While Cinccino initially received a ton of hype by players, the Cincinno fever is cooling due to his low HP and his fighting weakness (an unforgivable sin as long as Donphan is around). Cinncino will live to outlast Donphan however, and just like his Jungle set Wigglytuff counterpart, he will excel with the release of Pokémon Catcher.

The minute that card is released (and as soon as we can find a good partner for him) Cincinno will rocket up to the top tiers.

3. Professor Juniper (#101)

Professor Juniper is another one of those awkward semi-reprints from the olden days of Pokémon. Printed in the style of old school Professor Oak, this card allows you to nuke your own hand for another 7 cards from the top of your deck.

Bonuses? You don’t have to shuffle. Why does this matter? Shuffling can do a lot of things to a deck, and overshuffling is not necessarily a good thing. When you shuffle, you automatically statistically reorder the remaining cards in your deck, and depending on your needs, can be a good or bad thing.

Another bonus comes with a partner in crime: Junk Arm. Bad starting hand? Nuke it. You can always get those cards back later with a Junk Arm (I’m looking at you Rare Candy). On the other hand, you can always use Junk Arm BEFORE you nuke your hand, discarding two cards that were destined for the discard pile anyway.

Many players are uncomfortable with Juniper, but that’s why we still have PONT in the format. Still, I’d give the girl a try, especially in decks heavier in trainer lines.

2. Reshiram (#26/#113)

This card oozes with greatness; Reshiram boasts a whopping 130 HP for a basic Pokémon, and can hit for 120. Things not looking so hot? Don’t worry, Outrage! Downsides? A Retreat Cost of two and an attack cost of discarding two (R) energies.

Still, the Retreat Cost shouldn’t be a problem when you can Outrage your way out of a bad situation. Discarding two (R) energy? Have no fear, Typhlosion is here!

Alternatively, a strong Fisherman/Energy Retrieval line can grab you the energy you need from your discard pile, effectively completing a cycle of fire from attack to discard to hand to attack.

The only resulting problem now is how to get more than one energy on the guy in the same turn, which brings us to…


1. Emboar (#19/#20)


I include both Emboar in here since, let’s face it, they are the same Pokémon (can only have four of any combination in a deck) and they are both great cards. Obviously, the one that first came to my mind was #20.

Emboar’s Inferno Fandango is basically a remake of Feraligatr or Blasoise’s Rain Dance, with one critical change: you can target ANY Pokémon, not just water types.

This has caused an insane amount of combinations on the message boards, from drawing seemingly infinite cards with the HGSS Promo Shuckle to pumping up the infamous Rayquaza-Deoxys Legend, to the most immediately obvious combo: Reshiram.

pokebeach.comHowever, this post is a tale of two Emboars, and we cannot forget about the second one, #19. At first players decided that this one was terrible. However, if you add a DCE to Emboar, you only have to discard two (R) energy (like Reshiram) to do a massive 150 damage.

That, combined with 150 HP, makes him a valuable partner with the other Emboar and with Reshiram, although naturally one should be focused on the Inferno Fandango Emboar primarily.

He can be a great tech for “ReshiBoar” players who don’t want to run the risk with Rayquaza-Deoxys Legend, since he can do the 150 damage but is easier to get out and maintain (he also doesn’t give away 2 Prizes).

Honorable Mention: Zekrom (#47/#114)

The reader may find themselves asking why I did not include Zekrom in my list of the top five. Zekrom can hit for as much as 120 damage as fast as turn 1 given the Pachirisu/Shaymin combo.

However, this is not a consistent strategy at the moment and Zekrom still has yet to find a good partner (there are some crazy theories out there though). If you don’t get Zekrom out and ready to go turn 1, he has completely lost his edge.

In other words, for the time being he is considered an all or nothing donk machine. While Cinccino can do 100 damage on turn 2 every time without doing damage to himself, and has a Retreat Cost of one, Zekrom is inconsistent, damages himself every turn he attacks, and is nowhere near as splashable.

After smacking himself in the face for 40 he basically becomes an expensive Cinccino anyway. Look for him in the future when he has better support, but for now I would stay away from him.

The Bottom 5

5. Basculin (#35)

Basculin has 70 HP for a basic Pokémon and one Retreat Cost right? So far so good…until we realize this guy does not evolve. Basic Pokémon that do not evolve need to either 1) be able to stand on their own with good attacks/HP/etc, or 2) have some kind of setup or support Ability/Power/attack. He has neither.

Instead, we are treated to an attack, Crunch, which costs two and does only thirty, an attack that pretty much pays for itself, but also only gives you a 50 percent chance of discarding an energy.

After that, this guy has nowhere to go: he never does more than 30 and he never evolves. Chances of surviving turn 3: 20% or less (a statistic I just made up). What a waste of cardboard.



4. Alomomola (#38)

Alomomola is bad for the same reasons as our friend Basculin above. Not good for support, not good for attack. While he improves at a respectable 100 HP for a basic Pokémon, his Retreat Cost is greater and his attacks are more expensive than a gallon of gas these days. Pound does 20 for two.

This means you have to wait until turn two to do…20. Sad. don’t worry, you can always sink four energy into him, or waste a DCE and two energy just to do 60 (if you can survive that long).

What makes matters worse is that, again like Basculin, he does not evolve. This means that the best you can get out of this guy takes four turns and four energy, assuming you can live that long, and only does 60. Stick with the other Alomomola and save yourself the grief.

3. Swoobat (#51)

I had many more Pokémon to put in the bottom 5 but Swoobat just took my breath away when I first saw him. And by that I mean I nearly choked on how bad he was.

80 HP for a stage 1 is not acceptable in today’s metagame, and while I can almost excuse it for his low Retreat Cost and Fighting resistance, weakness to lighting isn’t the greatest at the moment, and even barring his weakness he’s unlikely to survive past turn 3 against ANY deck.

He’s got one thing going for him: Attract. Basically, you do no damage just to give your opponent a 50% chance of pummeling you instead of a 100% chance. You don’t switch him out, you don’t get any fancy effects…that’s it.

If you are a more adventurous type, you can put two energy on him to strike for 40 damage, and you just might be able to make it 80 with weakness.

However, it’s not enough damage to command a position in any deck, and either way your opponent is going to take a prize next turn. I guarantee it or your money back (not really).

2. Watchdog (#79)

I don’t know exactly what to say about this card…it’s just bad. First, 90 HP for a stage 1 is mediocre, but weakness to Fighting is just terrible. At least with Cinccino you get a 100 damage attack, but with this guy (and for the same amount of energy) you get 60 (maybe).

On average this guy can do 30 for two, something we expect out of a poor basic Pokémon but not a stage 1. Alternatively, you can Confuse Ray your opponent for two. First, if you DCE to pay for this, you have just wasted your DCE. You may now proceed to set it on fire because this is the only suitable punishment for such a crime.

If you pay for it with anything else, then you have just wasted two turns of energy attachment. Confusion is nice as a bonus to an attack, but when your opponent can just retreat, use switch, or have a 50% chance of beating you to a pulp anyway it is not a good effect on its own. Stand back Watchdog and watch real cards go to work.

1. Joltik (#45)

It’s too bad for such a cute Pokémon to be so poor. The first thing I (and anyone else probably) noticed is his whopping 30 HP. Stand back everyone, Joltik is here to do WORK.

Seriously though, I thought we got rid of 30 HP Pokémon, what with the power creep and everything. May I remind the reader that 30 HP is the lowest amount of HP allowable for a Pokémon?

Don’t worry though, his leech life can net you a whole 20 HP back if you hit for weakness (you won’t), as if that is enough to save him from his own HP which is so low I expect him to faint at any moment just by existing too hard.

At this point his fighting weakness doesn’t matter, nor does the fact that if he survives long enough (he won’t) he can evolve into a mediocre spider that barely does any damage.

Joltik is so bad I’m afraid to put him in with the rest of my collection for fear of him spreading some kind of reverse Pokérus to them.

Reader Interactions

14 replies

  1. tim h

    Typo:  “wast a DCE and two energy just to do 60 (if you can survive that long).”good article

  2. nilay patel

    Nice. I do think that Zekrom and Reshiram should be tied though. 

    • Mekkah  → nilay

      In my opinion, Reshiram is much easier to constantly attack with. From my experiences Zekrom just ends up with a clogged bench full of Pachirisu and Shaymin, only able to accelerate itself three times at most during a game, and its strongest attack turns it into an easily KO’able Basic. It starts out great but goes downhill quick.

      • Anonymous  → Mekkah

        true that. my list got a t1 zekrom and all maybe took 2 prizes….. then dropped off the edge of the earth as reshiram started stampeding(like tauros, or should i say bouffalaunt. seriously when i say his picture i hopped out of my seat and started yelling “they amde an evolution to tauros!!!!!” then i found out it was a basic.)

  3. Julian Silva

    Haha I only skimmed the title when I opened and saw only the Bottom 5 of Black and White, which threw me off when I saw Zoroark.

    Anyways I still need to wake up but nice article but I would’ve included Zekrom as well. And I have no arguments for the bottom 5.

  4. jason wise

    i giggled, i love joltik as a pokemon but poor cardgame version :(

  5. nilay patel

    Funny. Everyone else notices the “wast” mistake but I notice that the “don’t” wasn’t capitalized. “… Sad. don’t worry, you can…”

  6. Andrew Daley

    I actually really liked this read. It was a serious article with a humorous bonus at the end. Your a really nice writer that is ver sarcastic :). Looking forward to future articles from you.

  7. Stephan Deshazo

    WOW Samurott is probably one of my favorite cards in Black and White.
    You can place it in a lot decks, it 1 shots reshiram and donphan for no
    water energies and its hard to kill only zekrom and magnezone can 1 shot
    it. With reshiram and donphan being probably some of the best decks right now this card
    is a great tech in decks like tyranitar, serperior and donphan.

  8. theo Seeds

    serperior and reuniculus need honorable mentions for good

    a few of the trainers are horrible though

    • Cody Banker  → Grant

      Cinccino>Zekrom…. I’m watching you ;-)

      Zekrom is very nice I can’t disagree but Donphan can OHKO him with Earthquake and a Pluspower which has become so much better considering Zoroark + Pluspower = KO both Zekrom and Reshiram in 1 turn.

  9. Josiah

    Im pretty sure I have the worst non iteam pokemon card in the world, it’s a feebas with 30 hp and it’s attack does 10 damage and a 50% chance to do 10 damage to itelf

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