Hello and welcome to another edition of Carl’s Cache! Today’s topic is going to be simple: I will be doing a review of each EX in Next Destinies, some possible combos, and potential weaknesses for each one.
pokebeach.comThis is an EX that, in my opinion is flying under the radar. He’s got some decent base stats for an EX, but 110 Hit Points is by far the lowest. It is also weak to Fire, which to be honest is almost irrelevant given his HP, but he does come with a useful resistance to Fighting and has the lowest Retreat Cost of the EXs. His first attack isn’t much: it lets you attach a Grass Energy to one of your Pokémon, and other than Virizon NVI there just aren’t any viable Grass-based decks at the moment.
However, his second attack might just be the best late-game sweeping attack we’ve had in a very long time. For the cheap cost of a Grass Energy and a C Energy, it does 30 damage plus 30 more damage for each Prize card your opponent has taken. This is extremely strong as it can up to 180 damage, enough to 1HKO any EX unless they have Eviolite attached, and it’s likely that by the time you start attacking with Shaymin EX there is some damage on it anyway.
The big issue with it is its lack of Hit Points, and if you start with it or have to use Pokémon Communication with it, you tip your hand to your opponent and show them your silver bullet. I definitely feel like this one of the best EXs as it being an EX is almost irrelevant since you will typically use it for the late game.
However, you can use it a bit earlier against Terrakion NVI and even against decks that have several Pokémon with relatively “low” Hit Points, as midway through the game it is hitting for around 120. I definitely think this card is worth considering in a variety of decks; I really like this card and expect its value to go up.
Strengths: Late-game strength and is an extremely solid fighting counter, especially against Terrakion. I feel like it has merits in any deck that falls behind quickly or needs an answer to Fighting.
Weaknesses: Lack of use in the early game and low Hit Points. Most Fire Pokémon easily can 1-shot it, and it is pretty much dead against Durant NVI or decks that can control when they take prizes, such as Chandelure NVI.
Artwork: This is one of three EXs where I actually love both artworks. I really love the etching on the Full Art, and while the pose on the regular one is extremely nice, I do like the Full Art just a bit more.
Overall I feel that Shaymin EX is a relatively under-rated card and I think it could show up in a fair amount of decks come States time.
Moving on to one of the three dragons featured in the set…
pokebeach.comThis card is one of the more hyped EXs; it already being hyped as the card that can bring ReshiBoar back. His base stats are nice: 180 Hit Points is the current max on an EX, though the weakness to Water could turn out to be a factor if people start using Kyurem EX, Kyurem NVI, or other Water-based decks/techs to counter him. He also has a three Retreat Cost, which is annoying as you can’t retreat him with a Double Colorless Energy unless you also have Skyarrow Bridge in play.
Both of his attacks are actually solid; the first attack virtually guarantees a Knock Out on Durant unless they stack multiple Special M Energies or Defenders, in which case you would have to flip heads to get a Knock Out; he also can Knock Out Shaymin EX with a PlusPower or a heads flip with his first attack.
His second attack, like most of the EXs, is where the hype is coming from. For two Fire and a Double Colorless it does 150 damage, at the cost of potentially doing damage to himself. The fact that he can do up to 50 damage to himself, even more if he has to use PlusPowers to get a Knock Out on either an EX or something that has Defenders on it, is tough to swallow.
It seems that Reshiram-EX needs to use Eviolite – to avoid putting it in the 130 Hit Points left, which would put it in easy KO range of the non-EX Dragons and Kyurem EX among other things – and FlipTini – so that you have decent odds of not damaging yourself period.
But the strength of this card used alongside Emboar BLW in particular is hard to overlook. I feel that the slowness of that deck is caused by the amount of Energy recovery it has to run and with Reshiram-EX you might not have to run as much; it is also an easier version of BadBoar to get out. Lastly, it can be used in TyRam instead of Druddigon NVI, Rocky Helmet, Black Belt, or Kingdra Prime to get through the Trainer lock and be able to get knock outs.
Strengths: Not having to discard Energy and being able to easily deal 150 damage through Trainer lock.
Weaknesses: Strong Water attackers, high Retreat Cost, and self-damage can allow your opponent to hit magic numbers easier.
Artwork: Not even close; the Full Art one is superb.
Overall I feel like this is the EX that I like the least; the flipping coins part doesn’t sit well with me and self-damage is generally bad.
Next we have another Dragon…
Kyurem EX was hyped as the worst EX, and while I feel like it might not be as splashable or as generally strong as the others it does have some unique traits. I’ll start with his base stats: he was able to get the 180 Hit Points, staying right at the top with Zekrom-EX, Reshiram-EX and Regigigas-EX, but unfortunately he was also blessed with the three Retreat Cost, no resistance and a weakness to Metal.
However, he is the only EX that is able to hit another one for weakness; I don’t count Reshiram-EX because Shaymin EXs Hit Points are so unbelievably low. This gives him something unique in our field of six EX’s. Another nice thing is that he is weak to a generally unpopular type at the moment: Metal.
Metal has been pretty unpopular lately except for one card: Cobalion NVI. The problem is that with Mewtwo EX the Metal type is almost guaranteed to rise in popularity: Steelix Prime is a tank, Scizor Prime might be able to face an entire deck that can’t hurt him, and Cobalion is one of the best attackers in the current format and will continue to rise in popularity.
Luckily, unless those Pokémon attach a ton of Energy or get a PlusPower, Kyurem EX won’t be 1HKO’d. His attack also helps to neutralize that, he is able to discard a Special Energy card, which can take away their Special Metals. However that attack is more valuable as a Mewtwo EX counter, which is what I feel the card was designed to do, as it always will hurt Mewtwo EX’s damage output by discarding their DCEs.
His second attack is useful as it pairs with his initial attack to do 180 damage, enough to KO any EX without Eviolite, it can do significant damage to almost anything, and will likely stay around a turn or more. I feel like he is also a decent play against Durant as they rely on their Special Metals. That attack is also the only attack featured on EX card that does something other than damage to the opponent’s Pokémon, another unique feature.
Weaknesses: Bad starter, doesn’t do much damage in comparison to the other EXs, and not too splashable.
Artwork: I disliked both of them, they both made me think his name was Chin EX; I’ll go with the non-FA here as the picture is smaller.
Overall I feel that the card is probably the weakest, but it is definitely not bad in any sense of the word.
Next up is our last Dragon…
pokebeach.comThis is probably the second-most-hyped EX, as he fits right into several tier one decks and has overall good stats. Again like the other Dragons he gets the 180 Hit Points, the three Retreat Cost, but sadly he does get the worse, yet obligatory, Fighting weakness. Fighting-type has been popular ever since ‘Zone became good and it will continue to be so.
He has an okay first attack; it’s the same as Reshiram-EX’s, but you hopefully won’t have to use it. The second attack is definitely where it is at, 150 for 2 Lightning and a DCE, meaning if you get a god start you can do 150 turn one. Also discarding energies hasn’t been a problem for Lightning Pokémon in a while, thanks to Eelektrik NVI, so he fits right in with Eel decks and ZPST decks that want to beat Trainer Lock.
The best part about the attack is that you can discard the energies, accelerate them to the bench, and then attach a DCE to continue attacking with Zekrom-EX (assuming you can “chain DCE”). This makes the card pretty insane and just an ideal card.
The only “weakness” of the card is Fighting types, which with Eviolite Terrakion + Revenge doesn’t even have a 1HKO unless it plays a PlusPower. This guy is definitely the second best EX in the set, simply because it is lightning and the flip-flop of attack drawbacks between Reshiram and Zekrom.
Strengths: It’s a Lightning type, which has the best of everything at the moment.
Weakness: Not a great opener and can be an easy 2 Prizes for a Fighting based deck.
Artwork: Both are amazing but how can you not like that sick FA?
Overall I feel that the card is the best non-Mewtwo EX card, and it could surpass it because it already fits easily into established archetypes.
Next up is the aforementioned and infamous…
Okay, I’m just going to say this card is insane, but not unbeatable. His stats are extremely nice and he got blessed with a two retreat, which makes him a much viable starter than most of the EXs, and is probably the best because he can attack on turn one for significant damage.
The 170 Hit Points rather than 180 really isn’t insanely important, and of course there’s the weakness to Psychic. He’s being hyped in decks with quick and easy acceleration, such as Celebi Prime, along with friends, in a deck my friend, David Cook, coined “Celebisics.” The card is also going to see play in almost every deck as he is the best counter to himself in general because it is easy to tech in.
His obvious weakness is that his attack causes you to overextend for early game knock outs and anything Metal, as Cobalion literally makes the card scared, and so do Scizor Prime and Steelix Prime. Avoid Metal decks and you’ll be okay. I can’t say much because so much has already been said.
Strengths: Turn one 40 or 60 easy, can sweep games, and is very viable as a tech in anything.
Weaknesses: Mew Prime, Mewtwo EX, Cobalion, Steelix, Scizor, and overextension early game.
Artwork: As a collector the FA just annoyed me a ton; definitely non-FA here.
Overall it’s the best EX in the set, but he might be too over-hyped to excel by himself.
Last, but not least is the beast…
pokebeach.comThis is an insanely good card in my opinion, but as always we’ll start with the base stats: he got the max on Hit Points, 180, which in my opinion should’ve been more. I mean it’s Gigas. Anyhow he got the awful four Retreat Cost as well weakness to Fighting, which after delving into it with Zekrom-EX would be overkill at this point.
But he’s got two relatively amazing attacks: the first is a base 60 and you can add 20 damage if you do 20 to yourself and, this alone gives you two options, the first you can attach an Eviolite and just end up doing 80 and doing no damage to yourself or you can do the 80 and charge up his second attack.
His second attack is basically an “uber” Outrage. For four energy it does 50 damage plus 10 more for each damage counter on itself, and with a 180 HP Pokémon you can just tell where this is going. It’s perfect at just KOing multiple things early game if you can get set up with Celebi Prime, or in late game and attempt to sweep, which can and will be used in Ross.Dec.
The card gives several decks a boost, such as Ross.Dec and Celebisics decks, as a big hitter and late game sweeper. The card also is a somewhat-effective Durant counter, since if you can go turn one and they whiff on Crushing Hammers and/or can’t get Lost Removers then you are poised for an easy win.
Strengths: Outrage, 80 for three, and somewhat splashable.
Weaknesses: Starting with it and Fighting types; Energy denial is a huge pain for the big guy.
Artwork: Both are extremely solid, but I do have a thing for the Full Art Gigas.
In conclusion he’s an excellent card, but only as a card that fills a couple of niches in the metagame.
BulbapediaThey are good, but nowhere near broken after testing a fair amount of games. They can be stopped and, to be honest, I feel the preorder value on them is fair, other than Mewtwo which is the most over-hyped card. It’s good, but no way is it worth 80 dollars (or 100 dollars in California, must be inflation/rage at losing to Giants). They are all playable but can be beaten, which I love.
I feel that almost all States winning decks will run a Mewtwo EX, even if it’s simply as a counter to other Mewtwos, but that most will also run one or two others as techs depending on metagame. The bottom line is I see them being in a lot of decks but not as their focal point, except for Celebi/Tornadus/Shaymin/Gigas/Mewtwo decks that have been hyped the past couple weeks. The nice thing is that you can definitely succeed without EXs. Also worth noting that the one weakness of all EXs is, simply put, Magnezone Prime. They will be happy if the magnet doesn’t show up at States.
On to what I think will happen at States: I don’t know. I was testing a lot of games recently – a techy Chandy, a techy Durant, and a Zone/Eel/Mewtwo – but I couldn’t work out the kinks in any of them, and with my college classes starting to get more involved as well as the potential for a job, my testing is limited and I’ve already decided I’m just going to play something I’ve played before and done well with, and then just add in an EX or two to adjust it.
Basically my five options for states are: MagneBoar, Zone/Eel, Zekrom/Eel, and then Durant (which I would really rather not run unless the techy version works), and probably Celebisics if I can get the cards and a good list without testing. That hurts me a lot, but so far just running a deck with Magnezone seems to be the right call for week one, when the EXs will be most hyped and in full force.
I can’t say much else since this article is sort of a spring-board into my next article in which I will do a huge City Championships review to bridge a section on how the decks improve and possible techs for our current top tier decks. See ya in February and let the countdown to POKEMON’S MARCH MADNESS BEGIN!