Professor Kenny’s Observations

A Quick Look at Primal Clash

professor birch's observations

Recently, some department stores started selling an auxiliary product from the upcoming Primal Clash expansion, the Hoenn Collector’s Album. Because of this, the set has leaked in English earlier than any set that I can remember. Today, we’re going to take an initial look at some of the more interesting cards from the set.

I can’t promise I’ll get to everything, because I’m limited on space. I also can’t promise that I’ll be right about everything, or otherwise explore every angle of every card, as I’m limited on brain space. What I can promise you is a few quick looks at upcoming cards and a healthy, polite discussion in the comments, whether you agree or disagree with me!

Torchic PRC 26

Firstly, let me say that I think this card frame is atrocious, and I don’t really understand why these Omega traits couldn’t have simply been Abilities. Not only does it make the card frame look subjectively ugly, but it also is objectively more confusing to new or returning players! Pokémon is a game that has changed its card frame way too often for way too little reason, but this a pretty big leap, even for them.

Regardless, I do think it’s cool that these abilities are getting made, and it’s certainly interesting design space to explore. I just wish they could’ve been handled a little bit more elegantly.

Moving onto the actual card, I think Torchic is probably better than most are giving it credit for. Its Barrage ability allows it to attack twice, which means that you could draw 4 cards on turn one (going second) simply by discarding two R Energy!

Mind you that there are a lot of powerful things you can be doing in this format and it’s likely that discarding two of a specific Energy to draw four cards isn’t one of them, but if a slower Fire deck or a deck that abuses the discard pile becomes relevant, I expect Torchic to be at least a consideration.

Swampert PRC 36

This ability is worded completely unintelligibly! Just from reading it, I have no idea how it works. Do I attach a second Energy? If so, it should be worded “… you may attach an extra Energy card to this Pokémon.” Do I attach two more Energy cards? If so it should be worded “… you may attach two extra Energy cards to this Pokémon.” Or, does the ability trigger every time I attach an Energy card, meaning that I can attach as many as I want, because it re-triggers as the second or third one are attached??? This is unreal. Obviously that last one is a bit of a stretch, but the only way I would know that is if I assumed (which I did) that using this counts as an Ability, which isn’t stated anywhere as far as I can tell, and is the name of a different term!

As for the actual card, I think it’s very interesting and probably playable. The Ability (not the new unreadable one above the art) is great, the new Alpha ability above the art is either good or very good, and its attack and other stats are fine. The primary factor holding Swampert back is that it is a Stage 2 and Keldeo-EX, which has a similar attack, is a Basic with more HP. Swampert accelerates itself, but many decks have an inherent reason to play Keldeo already, etc.


This card has an interesting interaction with Emboar LTR, because it’s very similar to Magnezone Prime. A heavy Retreat Cost, average HP, and Weakness to Water aren’t helping its case, but I think there is some potential there. Might be worth looking into in Expanded?

Primal Groudon-EX

Being able to construct your deck in such a way that you can deal 200 damage every turn is a pretty big game. Obviously Primal Groudon has some things working against it — for one, it’s a Mega, which are notoriously hard to play. Secondly, its attack requires four Energy, which is notoriously hard to get online.

My initial thought would be this card in an Aromatisse shell that skimps on some attackers in exchange for more healing and a lot of Stadiums. Not sure if that’s where it’ll end up, but I think it’s a good place to start, and I can definitely imagine a metagame in which Primal Groudon-EX plays a large role.

Excadrill PRC 97

In anything that is able to move Energy around, or otherwise can capitalize on Energy acceleration, this card seems playable. If it were a Basic instead of a Stage 1, I think it would be a slam dunk.

M Gardevoir-EX

The Fairy decks might have a new primary attacker in this card, since it seems to be designed with Aromatisse in mind. Like most of the other cards that I think will be good in Fairy Trans-based decks, there’s a possibility that Gardevoir is just too slow.

Still, I can imagine a world in which the Fairy decks switch to playing higher counts of basic Y Energy, focus on more of a Geomancy opening, and play a higher number of Fairy-type attackers, all with the aim to fuel Gardevoir as much as possible, and then win the game in just a few attacks.

Acro Bike

I don’t think this is a playable card. The card advantage in Standard is too good right now.

Archie’s Ace in the Hole
Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick

I don’t think either of these cards are playable. You simply can’t guarantee that you will have zero cards in hand at the right time to fire this off. They’re certainly powerful and cool, but I don’t think they realistically get the job done in any format.

Dive Ball

On the very end of the spectrum from the Archie/Maxie’s cards, I think this card is certainly playable, but not very interesting. Any Water-based decks (Blastoise) will probably take out their Ultra Balls for these, but other than that it doesn’t have a very wide application.

Professor Birch’s Observations

A surefire way to determine whether or not you are a gambling addict is to take a look at this card and decide what you think of it.

In all seriousness, I don’t think this card is very good in a Juniper/N/Shauna/Colress format, but I can see a format with less card advantage wanting this guy. Drawing 4 is pretty bad but not completely game-ending, and drawing 7 can be huge.

That’s all for today. Thanks for reading!


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