Hey there SixPrizes, today I’ll be doing a small set preview for Plasma Blast. I’ve actually already written articles on both the NXD-on rotation (what cards will be rotated) and even a deck analysis for Virizion/Genesect. But what is Plasma Blast going to offer beyond VirGen?
Tropius is a card coming into the metagame at an interesting time. To start, Tropius has two decent attacks. The first is one you will likely never use past the first turn, but it has ‘Return’ for G, 10 damage, and you get to draw until you have 6 cards. More importantly, Tropius’ second attack is ‘Energy Press,’ which is an attack we’ve seen competitively from Cobalion NVI.
This Energy Press is exciting though. For only 2 Energy, Tropius can hit for 20 + 20 more damage for each Energy attached to the Defending Pokémon, while boasting a Grass-typing! That’s much more useful than Cobalion’s Metal-typing as an attacker. Obviously Cobalion holds the Klinklang niche, but Tropius is so much more useful outside of that.
For one, Tropius is an Energy-efficient, non-EX response to a 4-Energy Keldeo. Tropius can also KO Blastoises that have charged themselves up (if you are playing a deck that might force a Blastoise to attack). And in any other situation, Tropius is a card that combines for 2HKOs on Pokémon that are set up.
I can see a couple decks fit for Tropius, but one of those is VirGen which I feel has better options. So though I’m saying a lot about Tropius’ strengths here, I figure he’s probably resigned to fringe play at best. It’s still a good card though, and one worth remembering as new sets come out.
One of the big EX’s of the set. Virizion-EX will drastically alter the way our metagame is built, but won’t actually change too too much. It would have nerfed Gothitelle/Accelgor if they hadn’t rotated Gothitelle out already. So as it stands, Virizion’s main purpose is to effectively remove Hypnotoxic Laser from the metagame.
Virizion sports the ‘Verdant Wind’ Ability, which not only prevents your Pokémon with G Energy attached from being affected by Special Conditions, but also removes any that are currently in place. This is reason enough to justify Virizion in a deck that has Prisms, Blend GRPDs, or straight up Grass Energies.
However Virizion also has a useful attack in ‘Emerald Slash.’ GC lets you deal 50 and accelerate two Grass Energy cards from your deck to one of your benched Pokémon. This is the cornerstone of the new Virizion EX/Genesect EX deck.
Now, I also said it would effectively remove Hypnotoxic Laser from the game. That’s a bit of an overstatement to be fair. There are only 2 decks in the NXD-on metagame that I see as running Virizion-EX. Those would be Virizion variants and Darkrai/Hydreigon. Anything else is still vulnerable to being hit for an extra 30 due to Poison. Combine this LaserBank damage with the upcoming +30 from Silver Bangle on EXs, and you have a serious amount of damage being applied. A potential extra 60 damage is enough to let cards like Bouffalant DRX 1HKO EXs.
The viability of Hypnotoxic Laser will have to be a metagame thing. If the meta is mostly VirGen and Darkrai/Hydreigon, then you may want to avoid running a potential 4-6 dead cards. Of course, Darkrai/Hydreigon would need to keep its Blends spread to ensure LaserBank can’t hit what’s important, but I’m sure they would. The point is, it’s a metagame call, and LaserBank won’t be as simple an inclusion in Big Basic decks.
Genesect EX has a cool new Ability called Red Signal, which is a Catcher effect whenever you attach a Plasma Energy to Genesect EX from your hand. That’s a nice deck-topper for the card to have. Its main attack ‘Megalo Cannon’ will, for GGC, hit for 100 and snipe 20. The snipe is a nice plus, especially if Virizion only hit for 50 against a 70 HP Pokémon like Sableye. But it’s unlikely to do too much.
Genesect only gets really scary when you account for its ACE SPEC ‘G Booster.’ G Booster gives Genesect an additional attack for GGC, which hits for 200 and isn’t affected by effects on the Defending Pokémon. This gets through Eviolite, Safeguard, etc… You do have to discard 2 Energies to use it, but that’s a small price to pay for a “I’ll 1HKO whatever” attack.
The unfortunate part is that G Booster is a 1-of, so the ultimate threat of the deck hinges around hitting it when you need it, and hoping it’s not prized. Nonetheless, this is a great card combination, and Shadow Triad will be able to get G Booster back for another round.
I also have to say that the deck wouldn’t be a strong contender if it hinged around Genesect EX/G Booster. And it is a strong contender, so beware its consistency. G Booster is just the icing on the cake.
Drifblim is a very interesting card. It’s an anti-Plasma card for one thing. Its Ability ‘Drifting Balloon’ allows it to attack for C less Energy for each of your opponent’s Team Plasma Pokémon in play. This works rather nicely when its main attack costs CCC for 70, and discards a Special Energy Card attached to the Defending Pokémon.
This Ability is actually very interesting, because we haven’t really had a Pokémon that can attack “for free” since the HS/CL Baby Pokémon. This is the first Pokémon in BLW-on (I suppose NXD-on) that can attack without using your turn’s worth of Energy attachment. It also has free retreat, which is nice. And 100 HP with a Darkness Weakness, which is workable.
It is also worth noting that Drifblim DRX works rather well as a tech in combination with this Driblim, if you’re going to be including a line in your deck anyway. And for the record, the likely best Drifloon is the 70 HP one being released in Plasma Blast. I can see minor arguments for Drifloon DRX 49, but the meta would have to be very specific to make it a better choice. And this is a minor choice to make at that.
Sawk is a very strong anti-Plasma card. It’s got 90 HP, 1 Retreat Cost, Psychic Weakness and no Resistance. But its first attack is…
C: 10+ damage. If the Defending Pokémon is a Team Plasma Pokémon, this attack does 40 more damage.
This lets Sawk 1HKO an opposing Absol. With a Silver Bangle attached, as well as a Laser, Sawk will also 1HKO a Thundurus EX. For one… Colourless… Energy. That is mighty good.
However, it’s also worth noting Sawk’s second attack, ‘Low Sweep.’ FCC, 60 damage. Seems underwhelming, but remember that whole Silver Bangle thing? If your first attachment is a Fighting Energy, Sawk can also 1HKO a Darkrai or any Fighting-weak EX for FCC and a Silver Bangle attached. For something that is searchable by Level Ball, that’s really good. Very little investment made, but a high reward.
Sawk is also useful as a non-EX for getting that initial damage on a Kyurem PLF to combine for a 2HKO if you whiffed on what you needed.
Small consistency in the form of Level Ball/Ultra Ball. If you haven’t heard, Jirachi-EX’s Ability ‘Stellar Guidance’ lets you search your deck for a Supporter card when you play Jirachi-EX from your hand.
That’s all fine and good, but the disappointing part is that you need to play Jirachi down to take advantage of it! That’s 2 very easy Prizes right there. For this reason, I feel like Jirachi’s niche usage is to prevent your opponent from snatching victory out of the jaws of defeat. That’s potentially worth including in a deck in its own right, but it does make it such that Jirachi is not an auto-inclusion in most decks.
The only decks that can readily include Jirachi-EX are PlasmaKlang and Blastoise. If they’re Catcher-KOing Jirachi, they’re leaving your attackers alone, which you’ll be alright with. PlasmaKlang desperately needs a saving grace if it’s going to compete without Klinklang BLW though.
Jirachi’s attack is a terrible MCC that does 60 and puts both Jirachi-EX and the Defending Pokémon to sleep.
Porygon-Z is a 130 HP Stage 2 Normal-type with one retreat and a Fighting Weakness. Its attack is a very lame “Flip 3 coins, 50× the number of heads.” But its Ability ‘Plasma Transfer’ gives it a decent reason for inclusion. Plasma Transfer lets you move Plasma Energies around as if you were some sort of Plasma Hydreigon DRX. This is very useful considering the bonuses that Plasma Energy provides to a lot of Pokémon.
The two ideas that initially spring to mind for me, with Porygon-Z, is to use it in conjunction with the upcoming Dialga EX and/or Tornadus-EX PLF. If you had both in the deck, Tornadus could apply the early pressure while Dialga EX comes in to mill once your opponent has set up. Putting all your eggs (Plasma Energies) into one basket as your main strategy is mighty risky though, so the deck definitely needs some sort of insurance to prevent Black Kyurem EX or Genesect EX from ruining the whole point of the thing.
Max or I will be writing a deck idea down for TCGwithHats.com at some point, as we’ve got some brewing. But though this card is cool, I don’t expect it to do much. Nonetheless something to keep your eyes on and keep in your binder.
Suicune is a new Safeguard Pokémon. Like Sigilyph DRX, Suicune cannot be damaged or affected by opposing Pokémon-EX. Its attack is a vanilla 70 damage for WCC, and it has 100 HP, a 2 Retreat Cost as well as a Grass Weakness.
This doesn’t sound all that much different from Sigilyph DRX. And Sigilyph hasn’t done much of note lately, so what’s the big deal?
Well… it’s not so much that Suicune is particularly threatening in and of itself. It’s that new Tools are coming out which will aid Suicune’s ventures. Silver Mirror will grant Suicune immunity from Team Plasma Pokémon, on top of its immunity to EXs. And as most non-EX attackers are Plasma Pokémon right now, that sets Suicune or Sigilyph up to do quite well. Tool Scrapper is of course going to be standard in the next metagame, but I highly suspect that Suicune decks will run more Tools than the opponent runs Scrappers.
I had a bit of an irksome conversation with an anon on my NXD-on article on TCG with Hats regarding Suicune. For clarity’s sake, understand that I don’t think Suicune is a great Pokémon. It’s hardly different from Sigilyph. But the format in NXD-on will shift to an environment that can suit an anti-meta rogue that could involve Suicune.
What’s more, new cards are being released which only bolsters the strength of Safeguard abilities, and PlasmaKlang as a deck has been hit hard, so it is no longer the undisputed king of anti-EX decks. Even when people knew to beware PlasmaKlang at US Nats, it still made Top 8. Awareness does not equal preparedness (and for good reason, don’t get me wrong).
The doors are wide open for Safeguard to make a comeback, but whether it can or not is another question. Especially if people are conscious of the potential problem.
Finally I get to talk about Silver Bangle. But at this point you’ve already heard a lot about it, so what’s left to say?
Well, beyond Virizion limiting LaserBank’s potential in the metagame, Silver Bangle offers a unique advantage. This isn’t Poison damage, this is damage. That means that it is affected by weakness. Thus that extra 30 becomes 60 if you play your cards right. An example, once again, being Sawk vs. Thundurus EX (or Darkrai EX with Low Sweep).
Of course, this is also useful for cards like Eeveelutions if you were to play a deck like Flareon in the new format. And honestly… Eeveelutions + Sawk seems like a good way to hit most of the metagame. Plus, you could even include LaserBank on top of Silver Bangle in an Eeveelutions deck, and be able to hit for some pretty big damage fairly quickly. Not sure if that could solve the Plasma/Kyurem matchup, but it ought to help.
Attach a Silver Mirror, be immune to Plasma Pokémon. Seems really good considering Plasma will be one of the best decks in the format. Of course, the deck will run heavy counts of Tool Scrapper (2), so you really need to dedicate your deck to Silver Mirror if you’re planning on that being your only out to the Plasma matchup. But the mirror could be a good way to take the matchup from unfavourable to even, depending on the deck, etc…
The really fun combo that surfaced in Japan was to use Zebstrika NXD in Eels to Disconnect with a Silver Mirror attached and auto-win the Plasma matchup. Without Eelektriks, this idea has been hit hard. But nonetheless, a deck like Zebstrika/Garbodor seems like it could be very strong in NXD-on. I still love that deck idea, and Zeb/Garb vs. Emp/Accelgor has been the best game I played in BLW-on. Thanks for that match, Simon!
Caitlin, at first glance, seems like an amazing Supporter. You can hold onto the one card you need, and send the crap to the bottom of your deck, and refresh your hand with potentially good cards.
But Caitlin is going to see less play than Colress in my opinion. You can’t really use it as a dedicated Supporter, since it doesn’t plus your hand at all. That means you can’t have both an effective Caitlin AND an effective turn (i.e. you can’t play your hand and also Caitlin). So it’s really a cake vs. eating it too scenario.
Decks where I think Caitlin could shine are Darkrai/Hydreigon and Blastoise/Keldeo. The reason being Tropical Beach. If you beach in the early game and start your turn with 8 cards, you can hold onto the important combo completer and Caitlin for 7 to try and hit the other. That’s bloody brilliant.
But in a deck like Plasma, I don’t see Caitlin being more than a 1-of. And even that is questionable. So yes… any deck with Tropical Beach is going to be a deck where I can see 2 Caitlin being a strong play. But any other deck has to think long and hard about its Caitlin inclusion.
Seems interesting, but the bench space required to remove your Weakness also seems crippling. If VirGen decides it can get away with 1 Virizion-EX and 2 Genesect EX as its field, you could use the 4th gen trio to remove your Fire Weakness.
Tools aplenty! With multiple Silver Bangles attached, this card seems like it could do some serious damage. You can chuck 3 Silver Mirrors on (to prevent Scrapper from removing immunity), as well as loads of Eviolite and Giant Cape.
Could a Sigilyph deck really do well? It seems incredibly gimmicky to me, but I bet some crazy Kettler will show up to a Battle Roads with it. If I play more for fun next season, I would totally run it for Battle Roads one week. Honestly, this card is different from the other honourable mentions. It has much more potential than they do. It’s also worth noting that this deck combos rather well with Masquerain PLB.
Durant NVI was one of my favorite decks of BLW-on. It’s been since HS-NXD that we’ve had a mill deck capable of winning a tournament. Dialga EX has a strong mill attack, but as I alluded to in the Porygon-Z section, it probably couldn’t be the focus of the deck. Also, I suspect it would flop unfortunately. But that’s not to say it’s not worth giving it a shot!
Screw you Plasma! Also screw you TPCi for making Stage 2s nigh-unplayable! Nah… just kidding. You guys are alright.
Remove all Tools eh? Well… if Sigilyph decides to be really frickin’ OP, we’ve got Chatot to bail us out. NEXT!
Call for Family for Grass Pokémon with a useable attack. There are worse non-EX options for VirGen, but there are also far better.
From the Blastoise + Kyurem-EX Combo Deck, this Kyurem is like a better Regigigas. It only takes DCE to Outrage for 30 + 10 more damage for each damage counter on Kyurem. I’d love to see a Reuniclus/Kyurem deck in the next format.
It’s worth noting that the days of a quick 30 snipe will be near gone outside of Kyurem PLF. I don’t expect many T2 Night Spears from Darkrai/Hydreigon. Not to mention Mr. Mime being able to protect Solosis. Of course, it’s so darned donkable.
A worse version of Black Belt (unless you’re at the end of the game). I don’t see myself willingly using this as my Supporter per turn when we have Silver Bangle and LaserBank. Maybe in that Reuniclus/Kyurem EX deck…
This could be a really good card if it didn’t need to be attached to a Plasma Pokémon, and there weren’t other amazing Tools being released. As it stands, Tool Scrapper will be running rampant and this thing is going to be lost to the binders.
This only gets an honourable mention since it is only really useful in one deck right now, that being Blastoise. Not even an Emboar variant could make great use of it. Not only that, but Blastoise also doesn’t really need Scoop Up Cyclone for healing Black Kyurem EX since Max Potion does that already while only losing one Energy.
Scoop Up Cyclone is only good in combination with setting up a monster Keldeo, or healing a monster Keldeo while perhaps transitioning to a Black Kyurem EX.
Whew! Done and done! I don’t think I’ve missed anything important. I don’t think a card like Cradily is really worth an honourable mention. We all know it’s going to do jack all, even if it does sound really fun. It’s not that it’s a Stage 1, it’s that it’s a Fossil… Stage 1. And with the new Fossil mechanics, that’s just gross. That’s like a Stage 2 that’s even less consistent to get into play. Not to mention that you have to use its attack to actually set up, and that you’d need 3 Energies on Cradily to make it really worth using over just setting the Stage 2’s up manually.
As some advance advice, you may want to try and sell off some Pokémon Catchers. Plasma Blast has some pretty good uncommons as reprints like Rare Candy and Catcher. Hopefully the next rotation will still nip Catcher in the bud if it’s XY-on.
Anyway, it’ll be interesting to see how this
banlist rotation works out in NXD-on. Oh wait… no it won’t because the only rotated card that could have done anything in the next format is Eelektrik.
Haha… my mistake.
P.S. Be sure to check out www.tcgwithhats.com for some NXD-on discussion, as well as interesting rogues that could surface!