I’m sitting down to write this report in my good friend Matt Oslakovic’s living room, watching Bob’s Burgers (criminally underrated show, by the way), relaxing and waiting for the pre-release tomorrow. I realize that this set review is a little bit later than others, but I’d like to think I have a fair bit of insight to provide, so hopefully it’s still relevant to you all.
Another benefit of submitting a review a bit later than others is that I’ve had sufficient testing time. I’m still not 100% sure about the format and how it’ll shape up, but I’m confident in my knowledge at this point and I can definitely write a sensible set review.
Going to not give letter grades or anything this time as I feel it’s mostly arbitrary and doesn’t add a whole lot to the article, but if you specifically miss them just let me know and I’ll do my best to post ratings in the comments.
ebay.comThis might be my favorite card in the set. When it was first spoiled I was extremely excited about it as it seemed like something that could turn into a viable anti-meta deck, and I kind of have a love affair with Vileplume.
Unfortunately, I don’t think the time is right for this card. In order for Stage 2s to be successful in this format they’ve got to be insanely good (Empoleon DEX and Hydreigon DRX 97 are very good and still don’t see that much success on a high level) and game changing and I just don’t see that for Vileplume.
While it’s an inherently powerful card, it’s slow and you’ve really got to find the right build in order to make it work.
I think that Vileplume will have it’s time, and it might be as early as Week 3 or 4-of Cities. I think a big part of finding the right build will be accurately countering the metagame, and I just don’t think you can do that this early in a format.
For instance, right now, unless you are positive you know exactly how the metagame is going to break down in your area, you’re going to have to build a Vileplume deck with Fighting, Dragon, Grass, Psychic, and Water attackers in it. That’s assuming that you don’t think that anything strange or rogue or anti-meta will be played in your area at all.
I could definitely see Vileplume being a solid out-of-left field strategy once you can whittle down that list of different types to two of three, but that most likely isn’t going to be possible until Regionals.
ebay.comFor those who aren’t aware, Celebi-EX’s Ability is a functional reprint of the card Memory Berry, which was a big player in the Flygon Lock deck that saw success at Worlds 2009. It’s one of my favorite cards and I’m glad to see it being reprinted in a searchable form with a body.
Unfortunately, I’m not sure that this card can ever be good with Pokémon Catcher in the format. In order for a low-HP EX to be playable, it has to be something that you can splash onto the field and that can swing the game in a huge way. Essentially, it has to be a Shaymin EX.
With Celebi needing to be on the field constantly, and with your deck probably being much worse/not working without Celebi on the board, I don’t suspect that Celebi will be a major card in decks anytime soon. The same can be said for Victini EX, but that’s another card for another article.
If there’s ever a format where Catcher isn’t legal and Celebi is, I could see it making quite the splash as it’s an insane card that opens up a world of opportunities, but I’m not sure that will ever happen, unfortunately.
I don’t think this card is good at all. There are Basics that can do a lot of the same things as Charizard does and don’t require turns of waiting and lots of Energy. In another format this guy could be pretty great but there are just too many better, faster cards out there.
ebay.comAhh, Blastoise. I’m sure by now everyone has read seemingly infinite articles and forum posts about how Blastoise/Keldeo is an awful deck, how it’s the BDIF, how it’s the best “Rain Dance” deck since LBS (or Magneboar), etc., etc. Personally, I think the deck is very good but suffers from a few obvious problems that it will have to overcome if it’s going to live up to it’s hype.
The most obvious problem is definitely N. In a format where we have an Admin/N effect that is played as a 4-of in literally every deck, it can be hard to rely on acceleration from the hand. Additionally Blastoise is a Stage 2, which our format dislikes very much.
However, there are also a few key strengths on the side of Blastoise/Keldeo. Most obviously is the fact that Keldeo is just insane. High HP, a very narrow Weakness, very high damage to energy cost ratio, the ability to Rush In and break any Catcher or Paralysis stalls, and I’m sure there are some things I’m forgetting.
All in all I think that Blastoise/Keldeo will be a major player in City Championships but I think that its code is a little harder to crack than players might initially think. Although not the most skill-intensive deck out there, it can be very fragile if your opponent knows what they’re doing, and requires a bit of thought to not just get completely blown out.
As an aside, I think that a lot of players are really overlooking Keldeo’s Ability in general. When almost every deck in the format is either playing high counts of Switch or has some other way to cheat Retreat Costs, switching in for free should be very valuable.
I haven’t yet got around to testing with this guy yet, and maybe this is just my inner deckbuilder showing here, but I think Jellicent may have a place in the format.
As I said before, nearly every deck is circumventing their Retreat Costs somehow, and with Jellicent’s Ability overriding Dark Cloak, I could see this little guy becoming an interesting anti-meta tech sometime in the future.
Interesting enough card to mention, but it probably won’t have much of a place in the format. Spread is decent at the moment, especially vs. Eels variants that are cutting Max Potion (essentially all of them), but when there are decks that are ONLY big Basics (Darkrai/Terrakion/Mewtwo, etc.) OR have healing powers (Darkrai/Hydreigon, etc) OR can’t be damaged on the bench (Squirtle in Blastoise/Keldeo), I don’t think a Stage 1 that spreads can really keep up.
One of my favorite cards in the set, and I’m sad to say that I don’t think it will make the splash it deserves quite yet. When this card was first spoiled I immediately started dreaming up a Mew-EX / Accelgor DEX / Gothitelle EPO 47 / Dusknoir BCR / Darkrai EX deck, as those variants are by far my favorite in the current format. Then I remembered that pesky Keldeo-EX will override our Paralysis lock by Rushing In. Decklist: scrapped.
Still, I’m sure there will eventually be some use for this guy. I know some trainers are brewing Darkrai/Dusknoir decks and although I haven’t tested them myself, they seem fine in theory.
Like with so many other cards mentioned in this article, I’m just not certain if playing a Stage 2 that’s not absolutely absurd is actually doable in this format. Hopefully a better brewer will prove me wrong!
Unlike a lot of other players, I actually really like this card. Although I can’t be certain of its absolute usefulness and in no way am I saying it’s format breaking, it does provide a few interesting advantages, one of which is as a counter to Mewtwo EX.
For PCCC it can 1HKO a non-Eviolited Mewtwo EX, and then can not be responded to by a second Mewtwo EX with less than five Energy attached, as it loses its Weakness. Additionally, the healing is a not irrelevant, and in something like Darkrai/Hydreigon that can both accelerate and move energy around at all, it’s a very interesting piece of technology.
Also, that full art is darn beautiful.
Before proceeding with this article, please go to Dictionary.com and type in the phrase “Mixed feelings.”
On one hand, Landorus-EX is insane as a starter. Opening against pretty much anything and hitting for 30 + 30 snipe, as well as threatening a Turn 3 150 is fantastic even before you consider that this donks Tynamos, Darkness-type Deinos, and can put a serious hurting on Darkrai EXs, Zekroms, and Raikou-EXs.
Running 4 Landorus in a quick, efficient deck of any sort seems pretty scary, and in this position it’s strictly better than it’s cousins Terrakion, Terrakion-EX, or the redheaded stepchild Landorus NVI.
On the other hand, outside of that early initial damage I’m not sure it has a lot going for it. 80 for 3 is fine and 150 for 3 is obviously insane, but are you really going to want to discard all your F Energy when they’re probably the only type of energy you have attached and there’s no efficient way to recycle them?
That seems like a pretty big brick wall to hit and I’m really not sure how to solve the issue. Weakness to Keldeo-EX is also very relevant.
All in all I think Landorus is definitely very powerful, but I think that he’s a big overrated and I’m not sure if the majority of players are going to be using him correctly, particularly in the first week or two of Cities.
ebay.comSuch an interesting card with probably such little use in this format. Jay Hornung wrote about Flygon pretty extensively and his list is one of the best I’ve seen including the card, so I’ll spare you too many extra words.
In a different format Flygon could be a major player but I don’t think he’ll have his time to shine in the current environment.
White Kyurem EX & Black Kyurem EX
An interesting rogue card that could be good if a way to efficiently, consistently Poison the Defending Pokémon is found. Poison Hypnotic Beam, maybe?
Ditto is fantastic and criminally underrated. One of the downsides of doing this set review so late is that others have already said a lot of what I’ve wanted to say, but I’ve been a pretty big Ditto supporter since day one. I think it’s very likely that he won’t be as played as much as I think he will be simply because of the raw speed of the format, but here are a few examples of how Ditto benefits you…
Ditto is pretty much the best starter in the format. It’s impossible to know what he’ll transform into, and your opponent will be forced to make the decision to spend resources, attacks, and energy trying to KO a Ditto that could be harmless. Anytime during a game that you make your opponent make decisions is another opportunity for them to make a mistake.
Ditto brings teching back into the game. Allowing you to drop a Croagunk into a Toxicroak on the same turn to 1HKO your opponent’s Mewtwo EX is something that the game has been missing for a long time (not that I would necessarily recommend running Croagunk or Toxicroak), and with Ditto the possibilities are endless.
It’s safe to say that I’m very, very high on this card. Get yours now.
Very interesting Abiility coupled with a very mediocre attack. Probably not making a splash anytime soon.
Oh hey look another card that gets around Accelgor tricks.
This card allows Tornadus EX to hit for 60 on T1 while having 190 HP before an Eviolite. I like it! Also buffs all of the already-high HP Colorless Pokémon at the moment, including Tornadus EPO, Bouffalant DRX, and Regigigas-EX.
I personally haven’t tested many decks using Aspertia but it certainly has a powerful effect and I have no doubt that it will see play at some point.
Obviously insane. I’ve read a lot of talk about it’s ability to fetch Stadiums and Supporters, but to be honest I think that is the weakest part of this card. It’s not very often that you’re going to be able to afford the tempo swing of grabbing a Juniper or other Supporter with Skyla and waiting an entire turn before doing anything.
It’s even more unlikely that you’ll do all of that and your opponent won’t play any of his or her four copies of N, essentially setting you back an entire turn.
Nevertheless, searching for a single Trainer is pretty great a format with Pokémon Catcher, Max Potion, and most importantly Computer Search. I expect Skyla to be a one or two of in any decks that would like having the ability to fetch their Catchers and such at the right time, and a three or four of in decks that NEED that ability (read: Darkrai/Hydreigon).
Being an ACE SPEC makes this card interesting on a number of different levels. Unlike a lot of others I think that it will see play, but it will only be in a very narrow set of decks that would rather have the ability to heal 90 from their active than to be able to search for any card in their deck. Computer Search is the inherently better card, but Gold Potion will have its place.
Best card in the set, not close. I consider Computer Search to be one of the “Power 9” of Pokémon (read: cards that are insanely powerful and should never be reprinted again) along with Item Finder/Junk Arm/Soon to be Dowsing Rod, Gust of Wind/Pokémon Catcher, and Energy Removal, so the fact that this is legal in the year 2012 is pretty mind blowing to me.
This will be THE premier ACE SPEC for a long time coming.
The ACE SPEC mechanic opens up a whole lot of design space and is my favorite thing Pokémon has done in a long while.
Hope y’all enjoyed that, let me know what you think in the comments! See y’all at Cities.
P.S. For those attending the Texas marathon, I should be there thanks to some very, very generous friends. See you there!