Wassup! Today, I intend to cover all of the major cards lost and gained in Modified with the upcoming rotation and the latest set coming out: Plasma Blast. I will also discuss some new deck strategies that will be introduced as well as revised tiers for every deck after the rotation.
What We Lose
This card is one of the greatest Energy accelerators in the history of the game. It is also the card that defied the hype opposing it after TPCi relentlessly beat down on it with Landorus-EX, Hypnotoxic Laser, and TDK. You shall be missed, old friend.
The deck that defied the hype against it and won Nationals will lose one of its most important parts. However, this card will not be gone for long, as it is being reprinted in EX Battle Boost (maybe).
Editor’s Note: (Probably not.)
Victini NVI 14 and 15
Both Fliptini and Benchtini are rotated, getting rid of one of the best techs against Klinklang decks as well as the only Pokémon that made flippy decks playable.
Although Klinklang gains from the loss of its strongest counter, it loses more from the rotation of its Energy mover. The loss of this card prevents Klinklang decks from taking advantage of Max Potion and removes its ability to attack with any Pokémon while only having three M Energy.
Klinklang decks also lose their favorite non-EX attacker to rotation as well as its Energy mover. Cobalion’s rotation means that Kyurem PLF does not need to fear getting 1HKO’d by opposing Klinklang decks as well as Big Basics/Garbodor decks that run it.
Darkrai and Big Basics both lose a card that provided them with a lot of flexibility as well as the ability to pull off crazy plays to set up attackers out of nowhere.
This is a card that I loved very much, as it allowed decks such as Blastoise and Big Basics to have some Prize denial options without Max Potioning all of the attached Energy away.
Recycle was a great card in many decks because it provided you with the ability to get any card out of your discard pile and put it on top of your deck, then Juniper to get the card as well as a hand refresh.
What Lies Ahead: The Cards of Plasma Blast
Genesect is one of, if not the best Pokémon to come out of Plasma Blast. The first reason I say that is because its Ability, Red Signal, creates a Pokémon Catcher effect whenever you attach a Plasma Energy from your hand to it. Its attack, Megalo Cannon, is not too shabby either. It is essentially a slightly different version of Night Spear, as it does 100 to the Active Pokémon and 20 to any of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon.
There are also two Pokémon Tool ACE SPEC cards you can attach to it, which I will be discussing later. Colress Machine works very well in conjunction with this card because you can search out a Plasma Energy with it and use it to fulfill the C Energy requirement of Megalo Cannon. If you get this as well as two G Energy in your first two turns, you can get T2 Megalo Cannons for some insane damage output quickly. And, if you can get a G Booster out of your deck, you can swing for 200 on T2.
Virizion-EX is Genesect EX’s partner in crime for their quest to become BDIF. Virizion provides a slew of benefits in addition to those Genesect EX brings to the table. Virizion provides immunity to Hypnotoxic Laser as well as Deck and Cover attacks for any of your Pokémon with G Energy attached to it.
Its attack, Emerald Slash, deals a solid 50 damage as well as allowing you to attach two G Energy from your deck to one of your Benched Pokémon. This attack is very effective in powering up Genesect EX after the usage of G Booster, which forces you to discard two Energy attached to Genesect. Plasma Badge allows you to get a T1 Emerald Slash, which allows you to then start setting up Genesect on your bench.
This card is not something I would want to pull in a prerelease tournament. It gives up 2 Prizes and only has 90 HP? Even though the Ability does provide a nice effect by allowing you to grab a Supporter when you play it down onto your bench, and you can use Level Ball to search for it, I would much rather play a Random Receiver than a card that gives up 2 Prizes and has a horrific attack to boot.
Dialga has always had a knack for discarding stuff. And now, thanks to cards such as Double Colorless Energy, Plasma Energy, and Colress Machine, you can hit for 90 damage and discard two cards off the top of your opponent’s deck on your first turn. You can do an evil laugh as well.
Dialga EX is going to be a fun card to test out. Combined with Aggron DRX and Devolution Spray, and maybe a little spice of Sableye DEX, you can build a very competitive mill deck starring the temporal Pokémon himself.
I don’t know about this one, guys. It takes at least two turns to set up, but, with a kick of Plasma Energy, can heal itself over and over while still doing a significant amount of damage. This could be a good attacker in combination with cards like Potions, Gold Potion, and Virizion-EX.
Machamp PLB 49
I don’t feel like this card lives up to Machamp’s rep as a force in the game. It has a nice Ability, which eliminates the most common Resistance in the game, but its attack is much too costly to be effective. Fortunately, Machamp has always looked good in a binder, and still will.
Haxorus is a card that has a lot of potential in the upcoming format. Its first attack, Metal Axe, deals 40 damage for every M Energy attached to it. Then, for one Metal and a F Energy, you can 1HKO Team Plasma Pokémon with Strike of the Champion. However, unlike the two successful attacking Stage 2 Pokémon still currently playable, who are Garchomp DRX 90 and Empoleon DEX, Haxorus does not have a built-in draw or search engine, which is where I believe it to be seriously lacking.
While the card has potential, I do not believe that it can compete against non-Plasma focused decks, such as Blastoise and Darkrai.
I do not know if Cradily has the potential to be a playable deck, but it seems to be one of the most fun cards to come out of Plasma Blast. Its first attack, Life Explosion, allows you to search your deck for one Stage 2 Pokémon and put it onto your bench for every G Energy attached to it.
Some Pokémon that would be good to partner Cradily with are Empoleon DEX to provide the deck with draw support, the new Haxorus to 1HKO Team Plasma Pokémon, and Garchomp DRX 90 to get rid of Special Energy while doing some significant damage.
This is one of the most interesting cards in Plasma Blast. Its Ability allows you to attach up to four Pokémon Tool cards at once to it, creating some interesting combinations. One of them is to attach a Team Plasma Badge and three Reversal Trigger, which would allow you to grab three cards out of your deck when your opponent Knocks it Out. Or, you can attach a Rock Guard and three Rocky Helmet, dealing 100 damage to your opponent whenever he or she attacks Sigilyph. The possibilities are endless.
The new Froslass’s Ability Cursed Glare prevents your opponent from attaching any Special Energy from their hand to their Pokémon as long as it is your Active Pokémon. This would completely shut down a Team Plasma deck because the only method of Energy attachment with that lock up would be Colress Machine. This might become an interesting tech in a Kyurem/Deoxys-EX deck in a local metagame that has a lot of Plasma decks, which will become very popular when the fall tins are released.
I really do not see this card as something playable, as Plasma Transfer will not allow you to Max Potion an attacker, unless you manage to attach all four Plasma Energy to a Tornadus-EX PLF or a Dialga EX.
One of my friends at league was testing this card with the Drifblim from Dragons Exalted. Those two cards together give you the ability to absolutely roll Plasma decks. Drifblim DRX’s first attack deals 50 damage for every Special Energy in your opponent’s discard pile for a mere C Energy. The new one deals 70 and discards Special Energy for CCC, which is lowered by C for every Plasma Pokémon your opponent has in play. He managed to roll through multiple Plasma decks with it.
I would keep this card in mind for tournaments such as Battle Roads, especially since the September tins will make Plasma one of the most affordable and powerful decks in the format.
Iris is very similar to the Black Belt card from the HeartGold & SoulSilver Triumphant set, but with a twist similar to the way N twisted off of Judge. Iris pumps up your Pokémon’s attack damage by 10 for each Prize card your opponent has taken. Crunch time in this format is about that point when your opponent has only 2 Prizes left, so, when played right, this card should pump up you attacks by 40 damage.
However, this card is completely useless during the first 4-5 turns of the game and is still not the greatest use of deck space until near the end of the game. I feel Iris to be one of those high risk-high reward cards.
Caitlin is pretty much Claydol GE in Supporter form. Basically, Caitlin allows you to put as many cards in your hand on the bottom of your deck as you like. Then, you draw a number of cards equal to the amount you placed on the bottom of your deck. While this card is great during the early and middle parts of the game, it is not nearly as good late game, especially after your opponent N’s you to 1-2 cards. It is a good draw Supporter, but I personally prefer Bianca and Colress.
Reversal Trigger is insanely good in Team Plasma decks. If you are about to get one of your Pokémon Knocked Out and you have no draw Supporter in hand, Reversal Trigger will grab it for you. The high counts of Special Energy in Team Plasma decks make Reversal Trigger even better because you can get exactly the type of Special Energy you need to be able to attack next turn.
Silver Mirror is a card with interesting potential, but it is a dead card against decks like Blastoise, Garbodor, and Klinklang, and only stops secondary attackers against decks like Darkrai. Unless your deck has a very bad matchup against decks that rely on Team Plasma Pokémon, I would not suggest including this card in your deck.
This card seems to be made for Bouffalant DRX. If you attach this card to a non-Pokémon-EX, you do an additional 30 damage to Pokémon-EX. This is actually a very good card in Plasma Basics because it allows Kyurem to hit for 150 with Blizzard Burn and 180 with three Deoxys-EX in play, effectively 1HKOing your opponent’s Pokémon-EX.
Genesect EX is the fourth Pokémon-EX to get the specific ACE SPEC tools makeover, and his pack some serious punch. The first, G Booster, adds an additional attack to Genesect. This attack costs GGC, the same as Megalo Cannon. G Booster deals 200 damage and it goes through all effects on the defending Pokémon, such as Eviolite or Abilities that provide defense, with the cost of discard two Energy attached to Genesect EX.
The second Tool, G Scope, adds an attack that costs GGC and does 100 damage to one of your opponent’s Pokémon. While the high damage sniping attack is nice, Red Signal already allows you to bring up any Pokémon you want to. I feel like G Booster is a stronger card in here, as it allows you get clutch 1HKOs in nearly any situation.
Replacing Super Scoop Up is Scoop Up Cyclone, which allows you to return one of your Pokémon and all cards attached to it to your hand. While this is a good card in itself, it is not nearly as good compared to cards like Scramble Switch, Computer Search, and Dowsing Machine.
With the release of new cards and the rotation of old cards, nearly every deck in the format that is still standing will need to make some changes to their standard list.
Pokémon – 12
Trainers – 36
Energy – 12
This list is focused on getting out a T1 Frost Spear with 1-3 Deoxys-EX benched. Maintaining pressure with Kyurem is important to this deck’s success. Silver Bangle is very important for Kyurem and allows you to hit for 60 damage and 30 snipe damage with Frost Spear T1 without any Deoxys-EX. Absol is another great attacker in this deck because he only gives up 1 Prize while still hitting high damage output numbers, especially with Deoxys-EX in play.
There are no copies of Hypnotoxic Laser in this deck because of the presence of Virizion-EX in the upcoming format. However, if for a tournament such as Autumn Battle Roads, you know that there will be 0-2 decks with Virizion-EX there, I would highly suggest changing out the two Frozen Cities and some other things for a 4-2 LaserBank combo.
I have developed a Big Basics list that has positive matchups with the best decks in the format.
Pokémon – 8
Trainers – 39
Energy – 13
Cobalion-EX is one of the best anti-Plasma Pokémon in the format. This is probably the last Pokémon out there that Plasma players want to open Kyurem to.
2 Mewtwo EX
Mewtwo is an excellent attacker in this deck because it fits perfectly within the Energy lines and also serves as a great counter to Blastoise decks.
Bouffalant is a great attacker against any Pokémon-EX that is unable to 1HKO it, such as Darkrai EX and any EX attacker in Plasma decks besides Lugia EX.
1 Tornadus EX
Tornadus is great here because, if you can hit the LaserBank combo on your first turn, you can deal 90 damage right out of the gates.
1 Ho-Oh EX
Ho-Oh is included in this deck specifically to help with the Virizion-EX/Genesect EX matchup. If you can hit a heads on the Rebirth flip and attach an extra basic Energy, you are in business. Unless your opponent can hit the G Booster for the knockout, Ho-Oh is going to be able to take 4 Prizes in two turns with Rebirth. Ho-Oh is also a solid attacker against any deck besides Plasma, which hits Ho-Oh EX for weakness with Kyurem PLF.
Hypnotoxic Laser is key to so many matchups, especially Plasma. Basically, if you hit the T1 Cobalion-EX + M Energy, you are forced to 3HKO the opposing Kyurem. However, a Hypnotoxic Laser allows you to score a 2HKO with Righteous Edge. It also allows you to storm out the gates with a T1 Tornadus EX set up for a Blow Through for 90 damage.
Exp. Share is, not surprisingly, a very good card in this deck. It helps vastly in setting up Cobalion-EX for a Steel Bullet. It also works with Bouffalant and Tornadus, who can deal 100 damage and 120 damage, respectively, with the effect of Exp. Share and the attachment of a Double Colorless Energy.
Eviolite is great in this deck because it slows down the damage clock significantly and turns 2HKOs into 3HKOs. In short, in can extend the life of your attackers by at least one turn and will frustrate your opponent significantly.
Scramble Switch is amazing in combination with Ho-Oh EX. If you have Ho-Oh EX active, you can Scramble Switch into Mewtwo EX, attach a Double Colorless Energy, and swing for 100 damage out of nowhere.
I really like this deck’s potential. It is very good against Virizion/Genesect and Plasma, which are going to be the top two decks in the upcoming format after World Championships. This deck is definitely one of my considerations for Autumn Battle Roads.
Flareon is one of the most interesting decks in the format. It also has a great deal of potential.
Pokémon – 26
Trainers – 24
2 Team Plasma Grunt
Energy – 10
Flareon is the sole attacker in this deck, so a maximum thickness line is very important.
I’ve seen lists with and without Deoxys in it, but I prefer Deoxys over draw support Pokémon such as Electrode PLF mainly because it gives you discards fodder for Team Plasma Grunt as well as a Pokémon to absorb some damage when you need to.
Ditto is an excellent card in this deck. Not only does it provide stability for your Flareon and Cofagrigus lines, but it also allows you to discard three Pokémon at once when you use Six Feet Under with Cofagrigus.
Audino provides the deck with a method for getting out of any poison or sleep from Hypnotoxic Laser, and adds power to Vengeance as well.
These two cards are vastly important to the success of the deck. Not only do you get to discard Pokémon with Six Feet Under, but you also get to place three damage counters anywhere, allowing you to set up high HP Pokémon for the KO with Vengeance.
The high counts of Team Plasma Pokémon that this deck runs allows it to use Team Plasma Grunt to discard a Pokémon and provide decent draw support.
Silver Bangle is excellent in this deck. It allows you to hit higher damage numbers with Flareon even quicker and reduces the amount of discarding you have to do in order to 1HKO Pokémon-EX.
I believe Computer Search to be the best ACE SPEC option for this deck because it allows you to grab Double Colorless Energy and set up a Flareon quickly.
While not as fast as other decks in the format, Flareon sets up by T3 and can do a lot of damage quickly, especially with Silver Bangle available. Flareon has one of the best matchups against Virizion/Genesect in the format, and can 1HKO anything in the deck by T2 thanks to Heat Tackle.
Pokémon – 10
Trainers – 34
Energy – 16
Virizion-EX is your ideal starter. If you can hit the G Energy, Plasma Badge, and Colress Machine on your first turn, you can immediately start setting up a Genesect EX for some massive damage later on in the game.
4 Genesect EX
Genesect is the only legitimate attacker in the deck, so running four copies is a must here. It is important to bench one early so you can start setting it up with Emerald Slash.
I love these two cards in this deck. You are able to get any card out of your deck, which replaces the lack of Computer Search in this deck. Also, if your opponent decides to Knock Out Roserade, they just wasted a turn because the deck has no other non-Pokémon-EX.
Having draw support that you can Skyla for in case you are unable to hit the T1 Emerald Slash is extremely helpful for this deck.
This deck is going to be very good in the upcoming format. It shuts down Hypnotoxic Laser, can straight-up 1HKO Pokémon-EX, has access to one of the best methods of Energy acceleration in the format at its disposal, and is a very fast deck.
The following is the tiers that I believe each major deck in the format to be in. Please take note that this is my opinion after a decent amount of playtesting and you are entitled to your own personal opinions.
Both Plasma and Virizion/Genesect are, in my opinion, the two best decks in the format going forward. They both have power, speed, and the ability to dish out huge amounts of damage.
DarkGarb is going to be a very good deck in the upcoming format. Between its speed, power, and ability to function incredibly well under Ability lock, it will wreak some havoc at a tournament near you. Blastoise was originally a Tier 2 deck, but I still believe it to be strong enough to win the majority of its games. Regardless, it is more like a Tier 1.9 deck.
Garbodor/attackers is the best Tier 2 deck available. It has solid matchups against both Tier 1 decks and is good against a slew of other decks as well. I do not think anyone will disagree with my demotion of Darkrai to a Tier 2 deck after its poor showing in top cut at Nationals.
Flareon is a very good deck because of its ability to hit Virizion and Genesect for weakness, but it is not as good against Plasma decks because of Flareon’s Water weakness. Flareon has positive matchups against a good many other decks as well.
Klinklang lost a good many cards to rotation, including its Energy movement and favorite non-EX attacker. While it still retains its anti-EX policy and strongest attacker, it is going to have a difficult time coping with decks such as Plasma and Flareon. Big Basics is still good, but just is not as good as it used to be. It takes another hit from the release of Virizion-EX’s ability to shut down Hypnotoxic Laser.
The upcoming format is going to be interesting to watch evolve. The fall tins will make Plasma a significantly cheaper deck to construct, thus increasing its playability. My bold prediction of the article is that Plasma is going to be the #1 most popular deck at Regional Championships. DarkGarb is another deck that may become popular because of its solid matchups against the entire top Tier.
Also, don’t count Blastoise out quite yet. It will definitely take a hit from Virizion/Genesect, but if we have learned anything from Eelektrik, great cards are not going to be gotten rid of easily. Higher counts of Tropical Beach, one or two teched Fire attackers, and some Prism Energy could easily turn it around for the deck.
Thanks for reading,