Well, since I won’t have another City Championship until the beginning of December, I felt it would be the perfect time to give my mind a rest from thinking about competitive play or the current format and take some time out to start writing about something that is always fun, looking at cards from future sets.
Today, I want to take a look at some of the cards that may appear in our February set, Plasma Storm. The particular set of cards I am going to look at are the Pokemon cards from the Japanese set Plasma Gale. There will surely be more to the set than just these cards, as there are two Battle Strength decks and leftovers from Cold Flare and Freeze Bolt that still have to come our way, but I will look at those cards along with the Trainers in future articles.
For this article, I will just be going over the scans of the Japanese cards, and picking out the ones that excite me in some way.
GCC – Guard Press – 60 damage. During your opponent’s next turn, any damage done to this Pokemon is reduced by 20 (after applying weakness and resistance.)
GCCC – Rumble Stomp – 80+. Flip a coin until you get tails, this attack does 20 more damage for each heads.
What I like about this Pokemon is that it has a massive HP, and could potentially be used as a Blastoise/Keldeo EX counter. Its second attack Rumble Stomp can ohko a Keldeo EX with one heads, and it already ohko’s Blastoise at its base damage. Its atttach cost is probably a little too high to be viable, but most of its attack requirement being Colorless does help some. As Torterra is a Plasma Pokemon, it can be searched out and aided by the Plasma engine, which could help its viability.
One thing that is interesting to note is that none of its pre-evolutions are Plasma Pokemon, so this might hinder a true Plasma engine from being effective at setting this Pokemon up. As far as I can tell, none of the pre-revolutions for any of the Plasma evolutions are also Plasma Pokemon, so this could hinder Plasma decks as a whole.
Ability: Weather Heal – Choose one of your Pokemon with a Grass type Energy attached to it and heal 20 damage. You can only use this Ability once per turn.
GC – Random Peck – 20+. Flip 2 coins, for each heads this attack does 20 more damage.
The instant idea that comes to hand with this card is to pair it with the Grass tank that is Torterra, and just heal 20 damage for each Cherrim you have in play. When paired with Potion and Gold Potion, Torterra will have the potential to live for a very long time if you’re healing 60 damage a turn with three Cherrim in play. The downside to Cherrim is that you are playing a Pokemon with only 70 HP, so they will be very easy targets for your opponent to knockout, and it is still highly questionable whether Torterra can be viable in the upcoming meta game, but I think it’s still a concept that will merit some testing.
Torment – C – 30 – Choose one attack on the Defending Pokemon. During your opponent’s next turn, that Pokemon cannot use that attack.
Hell Fire – RC – 120 – Discard all Energy attached to this Pokemon.
The attack I would be most interesting in using Infernape for would be its Torment attack. A lot of Pokemon in the format right now that are strong only have one attack worth using, at least in most decks. Just some examples: Mewtwo EX and X-Ball, Darkrai EX and Night Spear, Rayquaza EX and Dragon Burst, Keldeo EX and Secret Sword. If your opponent doesn’t have the means for undoing the effect of Torment, then they can often be kept from attacking on a given turn. I am not sure how viable of a strategy this would be, especially since the attack is one a Stage 2 Pokemon, but Infernape does have free retreat, which would allow it to retreat into another attacker on your next turn to finish the job with. I think preventing your opponent from being able to use a strong attack can be a game winning effect, but there just might be too much Switch in the format to make this attac too successful at actually enforcing its effect on the opponent.
Its second attack does a solid damage amount, enough to 2hko any EX. It could be powered up in one turn using Ether and Colress Machine, but for the most part I don’t see it as an attack that is going to be streamed turn after turn all that often.
Victini EX and Victory Piece
Energy Turbo – R – Search your deck for two Basic Energy cards and attach them to your Benched Pokemon in any way you like.
Rising Burn – RCC – 50+. If the Defending Pokemon is a Pokemon EX, this attack does 50 more damage.
Victory Piece (Pokemon Tool – Ace Spec)
If this card is attached to Victini EX, this Pokemon can use its attacks without the necessary energy requirements.
All I can say is that I love the potential of this card. With its Ace Spec in play, it has the potential to power up a three Energy attacker to attack on turn 2, which should be pretty interesting. The Pokemon has some donk potential, being able to ohko a Shaymin EX or Coballion EX on turn one, as well as just swing for 100 on any EX, which is still very strong. If I were to play a deck with Victini EX, I would focus on building it around using its first attack for Energy Acceleration, and its second attack is just there as a nice little bonus. Being able to search your deck for Energy cards rather than needing them in hand or in the discard makes Victini EX a very powerful energy accelerator, that is still balanced, as it needs a specific Energy type to use the attack or an Ace Spec attached.
170 HP, Basic, Water Type, Metal Weakness, Fighting Resistance, 1 Retreat
Blizzard – WWC – 60 – Does 10 damage to each of your opponent’s Benched Pokemon.
Frost Prison – WWCC – 80 – If this Pokemon has a Plasma Energy attached, the Defending Pokemon is now paralyzed.
What makes Articuno so powerful is that it gives you an option for automatic paralysis, which as seen by Accelgor, can be very powerful. I am not sure what type of impact, if any, this card will have on the meta game when it is first released, as Keldeo EX will probably still be seeing a lot of play in February, but automatic paralysis should not be overlooked.
Ability: Last Wish – If this Pokemon is knocked out by your opponent, you may search your deck for any one card and put it into your hand.
Seafaring – W – Flip 3 coins, for each heads, attach a Water Energy from your discard pile to your benched Pokemon in any way you like.
This card probably won’t see a lot of play, but it does have some potential. It could be used first and foremost in Blastoise decks for early game Energy Acceleration before Blastoise hits the field. These decks typically play a lot of Water Energy, Ultra Ball, and Computer Search, so getting energy in the discard probably won’t be too difficult. The obvious downside of this is that its Energy Acceleration is based on a coin flip, so it will be inconsistent on what it gives as a return. Its Ability makes it a cheap prize that your opponent will be nervous about ever taking, as knocking it out could be what leads to the Rare Candy for Blastoise, or grabbing a Professor Juniper to rip off a big play, or even the game winning Pokemon Catcher in the late game.
Ability: Double Brain – You may play 2 Supporters during your turn instead of 1.
Gyro Ball – LLC – 80 – Switch this Pokemon with one of your benched Pokemon then your opponent switches the Defending Pokemon with one of his or her Benched Pokemon.
For anyone who was playing during the HGSS-DEX format, it should be clear just how powerful being able to use two Supporters in a single turn can be. Smeargle UD was seeing play in most competitive decks and especially in the big three decks (CMT, Zekrom/Eelektirk, and Darkrai stuff). Unfortunately, Plasma’s Magnezone isn’t going to be anywhere near as a good as Smeargle was. The problem? It takes up too much space in your deck to really be part of a consistent strategy. At a minimum, you will need to devote six spaces to Plasma’s Magnezone for a 2-0-2 line, and 2 Rare Candy, and that in itself seems pretty inconsistent, so more Rare Candy and a thicker line is probably needed to make good use of it. In addition to that, you probably need to play a higher Supporter count than usual, which takes away from other cards you can fit in the deck. Compare this to Smeargle, which could have been a 1-of, and made use of your opponent’s Supporters, thus not forcing you to play anymore, and it’s starting to become clear why this card isn’t going to be anywhere near as good as Smeargle was.
If I were to add some type of extra Pokemon support to a deck, I would probably opt to play Empoleon over Magnezone. The little bit of extra draw that 1-2 Empoleon’s can give you is very similar to playing an extra Supporter can be, and Empoleon also has an Energy efficient attack that can be used. The advantage of Magnezone over Empoleon is that you can use multiple search Supporters per a turn, or a Search and Draw Supporter, which can be quite powerful, but I think fitting everything in a Magnezone deck to make good use of its Ability will just lead some horribly inconsistent decks.
Ability: Night Eyes – Once during your attack (before your attack) you may draw a card.
Deadly Poison Fangs – PCC – 40. The Defending Pokemon is now Poisoned, put 4 damage counters on it instead of 1 between turns.
I am not sure whether this card will be able to see competitive play or not, but my initial hunch would be that yes, it is playable. It has some built in draw, which will make for more consistency, and its attack seems quite powerful. It’s 40 damage, and then if Virbank City Gym is also in play, that would be 60 damage from poison in between turns, which means a Defending Pokemon could have 160 damage coming back into your turn. Still, Darkrai EX and Keldeo EX are both in the format, and widely played, so a Crobat poison deck probably won’t be in the right format to be super competitive.
Powerful Storm – CC – 20x Damage. This attack does 20 damage for each Energy attached to all of your Pokemon.
High Speed Thrust – PCC – 80 – Your Opponent Switches the Defending Pokemon with one of their benched Pokemon.
If Gallade isn’t part of one of the best decks in the format, I will be very surprised. Powerful Storm is a very strong attack, and these type of attacks historically have been pretty strong. While this card can really go in any deck that plays Energy Acceleration, I think it is going to find its niche in decks playing Gardevoir. You already are playing Ralts and Kirlia, so this card gives you something productive to evolve them into, other than another Gardevoir. In such decks, if you have 5 Energy on board, you are able to do 200 damage with Powerful Storm, enough to ohko any Pokemon in the game. I haven’t heard many players talk up Gallade, and that’s probably because it will be a card that won’t be immediately easy to use, but the power is there and it’s probably the card I am going to be most excited to start testing from this set.
Hex – PCC – 50+. If the Defending Pokemon is affected by a Special Condition, this attack does 50 more damage.
Shadow Claw – PPCC – 90 – Discard a card from your opponent’s hand without looking.
Giratina seems like a very strong addition to the format. It gives us a Psychic type Pokemon that isn’t weak to other Psychic type Pokemon, which should make it one of the stronger Psychic type Pokemon available to us, and its bulky HP helps it from being instantly revenge knocked out by a Mewtwo EX without forcing them to make a strong Energy investment. With a Poison Hypnotic Beam, you can ohko a Mewtwo EX, or altneratively ohko it withShadow Claw. We’ll have to wait to see just how big Mewtwo is in our upcoming format, but if it’s still a major part of the meta game, then Giratina might become the premier Mewtwo counter.
Spinning Turn – F – 40 – Switch this Pokemon with one of your benched Pokemon.
FFCC – Wreck – 80+. If there is a Stadium in play, this attack does 60 more damage and discard that Stadium card.
This card isn’t the most powerful, but it has an energy efficient first attack for 40 damage, andi t won’t be very difficult to setup as it is a Stage 1. The greatest utility I see this card is as a partner for Pokemon with Abilities that require them to be in the active slot, in particular Flygon. With Donphan now at your disposal, you have an Energy Efficient attacker that will be able to get Flygon to the Active Spot before your turn ends, giving you an extra 40 damage boost.
Ability: Dual Armor – If this Pokemon has a Metal Energy attached, it becomes both Metal and Fighting type.
Gusting Legs – FCC – 60+, This card does 30 more damage for each prize card your opponent has taken.
This card is pretty interesting, although I am not sure how competitive it will truly end up being. At its base, Lucario gives you a Fighting type counter for Klinklang decks, as the attaching of a Metal Energy will give it protection from EX attacks. Within those decks, its attack is a better version of Shaymin EX’s Revenge Blast, so it provides a non-EX that will garner some focus from your opponent targeting, which could allow your EX’s to run rampant. Outside of Klinklang decks though, I doubt it is going to be very useful. Its a Stage 1, and it’s attack isn’t the easiest to setup, and Mewtwo EX easily ohko’s it without Klinklang’s protection, and Mewtwo EX will donk its Basic regardless.
Silent Claw – C – Look at your opponent’s hand, if there is a Supporter card in there, discard that card and use that Supporter as the effect of this attack.
Fake Out – DC – 30 – Flip a coin, if heads the Defending Pokemon is now paralyzed.
Silent Claw seems like a really cool attack. You’re not only able to disrupt your opponent’s game plan by discarding your opponent’s Supporter, which would probably be the only one they would have for a given turn, but you also get to use that Supporter yourself, which can help in getting the rest of your setup going. The biggest downside to using this card is the Fighting weakness, as its pre-evolution will easily be donked by Landorus EX.
Ability: Plasma Steel – Prevent all damage done to your Metal type Pokemon by Pokemon EX.
Heavy Bullet – MMC – 70 damage. Flip a coin, if heads this attack does 20 damage to one of your opponent’s benched Pokemon.
This is the strongest EX hate card that we will have in the format, as it gives you the ability to play cards much stronger than Sigilyph or Scizor that reduce damage. Luckily, there aren’t too many super strong Metal type Pokemon in the format, but there will be enough to make it playable with Coballion, Lucario from this set, and Coballion EX. Perhaps my greatest fear when thinking about this card is a Durant army that cannot be knocked out by EX Pokemon! More than ever it will be important to play non-EX attackers in your deck.
Holy Edge – M – 30 – Choose one Special Energy card attached to the Defending Pokemon and discard it.
Steel Bullet – MMC – 100 – This attack’s effect isn’t affected by weakness, resistance, or any other effect on the Defending Pokemon.
It is pretty clear that this card is designed to be the main attacker of Klinklang decks. It 2hko’s every EX in the format, regardless of Eviolite or any other effect they might have on them. If you don’t have a non-EX attacker to attack into Coballion, you will probably be get run out of the game very quickly. Its first attack is also pretty solid, 30 damage on turn one is pretty solid, and being able to disrupt your opponent by discarding any Special Energy they may have could be powerful.
Countering Klinklang Decks:
There are going to be a few ways to counter Klinklang decks that should help other decks manage with Klinklang being in the format. Hydreigon, for example, can already make use of Hydreigon to attack as a non-EX, but it could also add in Giratina EX and use its Shred attack to get around the effects of Klinklang’s Ability. Rayquaza/Eelektrik decks can use Rayquaza DRX as their counter. Landorus decks have Terrakion and Bouffalant available. Darkrai decks can also use Terrakion and Bouffalant as a counter. Additionally, Darkrai decks can just loop Poison Hypnotic Beam with Junk Hunt in conjunction with Virbank City Gym as a potential counter to this deck. Blastoise decks might be the hardest to find a good counter for, as Kyurem is metal week, but Kyurem DRV might be workable as the counter to this deck. Additionally, we will be adding Victini EX to the format, which adds some major donk or early game prize lead potential against Klinklang decks.
There is a Druddigon in Plasma Gale, and it kind of sucks, so that’s it for the Dragon section.
Ability: Moon Guidance – Flip a coin. If heads, search your deck for a Pokemon that evolves from one of your Pokemon and put it on top of it. (You can evolve Pokemon that were evolved this turn). Shuffle your deck afterwards. You may only use this Ability once per a turn.
Moon Impact – CCC – 50.
Clefable gives another way to setup evolution decks. I don’t know if it will be the most playable, but if we ever get a full on trainer lock, like Vileplume UD, I could see Clefable as being the preferred evolution setup for a deck like that. In the current format though, I don’t see Clefable being quick enough to set up all of your evolutions, and the coin flip is brutal for consistencies sake.
Ability: Block – If Snorlax is your Active Pokemon, the Defending Pokemon cannot retreat.
Team Impact – CCCCC – 30x. This attack does 30 damage times the number of Plasma Pokemon you have in play.
I don’t think Snorlax will be the most playable Pokemon, but it seems like it can be highly disruptive. Against Rayquaza/Eelektrik, for example, they like to retreat between two Rayquaza EX’s using Skyarrow Bridge for free retreat. Snorlax would be able to lock the Energyless Rayquaza EX in the active spot, forcing your opponent to use a Switch to get their Pokemon out of the Active Spot. Team Impact has a high energy cost, but with Scramble Switch, Colress Machine, and Ether, it might not be the hardest attack to power up, and when it does get powered up, it can do major damage to your opponent’s Pokemon. Snorlax can also be frustrating to knock out in its own right, as it has 130 HP built in, but that can quickly go up to an effective 170 HP with Eviolite and Aspertia City Gym.
Ability: Prideful Veil – If Togekiss is your Active Pokemon, when your opponent uses an Item card, all of your Pokemon are unaffected by any of its effects.
Return – C – 30. Draw cards until you have 6 cards.
My initial assumption is that Togekiss won’t have too much impact on the format, as there is just too much stuff in this format that can ohko it, but outside of Lightning type Pokemon, and heavy hitters like Rayquaza EX and Keldeo EX, not much will be able to ohko it if you have Aspertia City Gym in play. I think ultimately, the best way to play Togekiss is going to be as something that buys you turns to setup Energy to attack with another Pokemon, while creating an even/odd prize exchange in your favor.
Lugia EX (Plasma)
Ability: Overflow – For each of your opponent’s Pokemon that is knocked out by damage from Lugia EX’s attack, take 1 more prize card.
Plasma Gale – CCCC – 120 – Discard a Plasma Energy attached to this Pokemon, otherwise this attack does nothing.
Once again, we end up with another extremely powerful Pokemon that is still fairly balanced. At the 2011 World Championships, Rayquaza and Deoxys Legend, a card with a Poke-Power/Body/whatever that allowed you to take an extra prize card when you knocked out something was a key component to the winning Magneboar deck. Lugia EX is a lot easier to use than that card was. I think the best way to use Lugia EX is going to be with established energy acceleration decks, that is Blastoise, Eelektrik, Emboar, and maybe in Hydreigon decks as you can move the Energy to Lugia EX to set it up in one turn. I think it will be best used as an opportunistic attacker that needs to be dropped at just the right times to truly be used to its fullest. I think some people will try to play speed Lugia decks that setup using Colress Machine and Ether, but if those decks don’t win fast, they just won’t be winning the game in most cases as their late game would be horrendous, so I don’t recommend trying one of those.
Well that’s it for our cursory look at some of the Pokemon that we will probably be getting in our February set Plasma Storm. Overall, I am pretty excited for the cards we will be getting in this set, the Pokemon from Plasma Gale look terrific, and will add a lot of new aspects into the format that aren’t presently there.
It will be interesting to see what impact the re-introduction of owner Pokemon has on the format. Overall, it looks like Plasma Pokemon will have a lot of things going for them, but my only fear is that the lack of Plasma pre-evolutions will hold back the Plasma engine from being as powerful as it could be, as you cannot use an all Plasma based engine if you want to play the evolution Plasma cards.
This is just a slice of the cards that we will be getting in Plasma Storm, and I just covered these cards first, as these are the cards most likely to make an appearance in our set. There are still a lot of Pokemon to be covered in the Battle Strength decks, including four more EX Pokemon (could we have an 8 EX set?), and many more. Additionally, there are some Pokemon from Cold Flare and Freeze Bolt that got left off from the final list that I will cover in a future article. However, the next article I will do covering the Plasma Storm set will be all the Trainer cards in the set, so you will have that to look forward to in the coming weeks.