So now that we’ve reviewed the top 10
promising picks of BW: Next Destinies,
Well for starters, the cards that
were “runners up”, not appearing on
enough lists to make it into the actual
The first such card shouldn’t
come as a surprise; we reviewed the
other five Pokémon EX so now it’s time
So you can chill while I lay it out.
is first and foremost a Pokémon EX and
all that entails.
So as a Basic Pokémon worth two
Prizes, it is still fantastically easy
to fit into a deck, drop into play, and
enjoying a format where Basic Pokémon
aren’t just strong, but they are
supported by several useful cards.
You just have to remember that
its overall effectiveness should at
least approximate two Basic Pokémon or
an end Stage 1 Pokémon.
Given the speed and power of this
format, most Evolutions (at least
initially during set-up) are apt to give
up an “extra” Prize in the form of one
of their lower Stages or an opener being
KOed before said Evolution is ready.
As a quick reminder, if you’re
playing with older cards (such as in
Unlimited), references to Pokémon-ex are
not the same as references to Pokémon
EX, despite the almost identical
mechanics (both are worth two Prizes
when KOed) and naming scheme.
is a Water-Type Pokémon, and that is why
at least I thought it was worth a look.
As a Pokémon Type, Water does
have true Type support, however the only
one of significance is Rain Dance, via
108/123, HGSS Promos HGSS07)
Such decks have been trying to
carve out a niche in the TCG, but
success has eluded them so far.
This is definitely promising, but
whether it’s a promise of a deck aching
Kyurem or an omen indicating it
hasn’t got a prayer, we’ll have to
continue on to see.
has 180 HP, the maximum possible in the
modern Modified format, and just 20
points shy of the historic high set by
EX: Sandstorm 100/100) and
Wailord (DP: Great Encounters
Nothing else past or present has
a larger printed HP score, and not
including multiple printings of the same
Pokémon, only five other cards equal it;
three of which are amongst the Pokémon
EX released this set and the remaining
two of which are more
Only the largest attacks can OHKO
Kyurem EX, and none with straight-up
damage; the attacks that hit this hard
all have drawbacks or conditions that
must be met.
Even someone spamming
PlusPower or trying to make use of
Black Belt will have a hard time
Kyurem EX down in one hit.
If you can’t tell, even though
this is the fourth time covering a
recent Pokémon with 180 HP it is still
has Metal Weakness.
Checking the video game Type
Kyurem has (Dragon/Ice), (Fighting,
Rock, Steel, and Dragon) this is the
Hitting Metal Weakness isn’t a
priority in most decks, but thanks to
certain Pokémon the Type still shows up.
The one successful Metal-Type
deck I can think of doesn’t focus on
hitting for damage; those based around
Durant (BW: Noble Victories
83/101) win through decking you out.
Cobalion (BW: Noble Victories
84/101,100/101) is the main attacking
Metal-Type Pokémon to wary of; if you’ve
got four Energy attached to
Kyurem EX, it can score a OHKO for
just (MC), even if
Kyurem EX has
Kyurem EX has no Resistance.
With the other Pokémon EX that
lack Resistance, I’ve said that was
okay; when Pokémon-ex set new records
for HP, they often were forced to
compensate with a double Weakness, and
I’d rather avoid that then have
Resistance, and this is still true.
Kyurem EX is a bit of an exception,
because of its relationship in the video
Kyurem in the video games, you see,
take half damage from Electric-, Grass-,
and Water-Type Pokémon.
If it had been Resistant to
Lightning-Types, then it would have had
a natural advantage over both
Reshiram (which have all been Water
Zekrom (which have all been
The Retreat Cost of three is quite
hefty, but warranted given the massive
Actually retreating, even with
Skyarrow Bridge in play is costly,
so costly you really should find another
Pack something like
Switch or plan on
Kyurem EX going down swinging.
On the bright side, if you
Kyurem EX is a legal target (since
Kyurem EX is a Basic Pokémon, I
recommend against running
Heavy Ball only for it; you have
many other options).
has the same pattern for its attacks as
Reshiram EX (BW: Next Destinies
22/99, 95/99) and
Zekrom EX (BW: Next Destinies
51/99, 97/99; the first attack costs
(WCC) and the second attack (WWCC).
Unlike those two, the first
Kyurem EX (Frozen Wings) is unique
to itself, doing 60 points of damage and
allowing you to discard a Special Energy
attached to the Defending Pokémon.
Personally I like this better
than the equivalent attack on
Reshiram EX and
Zekrom EX, where we had a 50/80
damage split based on a coin toss.
Many Pokémon, if not relying on
Special Energy cards, at least are
enhanced through there usage.
You invest enough Energy that, if
this were your standard Basic meant to
Evolve twice more I’d expect the
equivalent of 35 points worth of damage
for this many Energy.
That would probably translate
into 30 points of damage and a weak
effect, and instead we get an extra 30
points of damage and a good effect.
This is good compensation for
being a Basic that doesn’t Evolve, a
Pokémon EX, and having a minimum Energy
requirement of three.
The second attack also breaks pattern,
but here it is unfortunate.
I’ll be honest, I misread (or
else erroneously remembered) Hail
Blizzard as doing 150 damage, like
Strong Volt and Brave Fire.
Instead it only does 120 points
Breaking it down, it is a solid
but unspectacular return.
In Energy, you’re paying for 50
points of damage.
The effect of Hail Blizzard is a
Kyurem EX won’t be able to use it
during your next turn.
This isn’t as bad as attacks that
prevent you from attacking at all with
the Pokémon in question the next turn,
but it is still pretty limiting.
After giving it some thought, I think
I’d count the restrictive effect of Hail
Blizzard as if the attack could fail a
quarter of the time, on the (perhaps
overly optimistic) assumption that I’d
want to (or at least could get by) using
Frozen Wings about half the time I won’t
be able to use Hail Blizzard.
Factoring this into my damage
calculations that puts us at about 75
points of damage, meaning 45 points are
left to compensate for
Kyurem EX lacking the ability to
Evolve, being a Pokémon EX, and for the
attack itself requiring such a large
If that last bit sounds
confusing, it is: I don’t have a
specific numerical value, but it seems
like attacks that require zero to two
Energy to use set the standard, while
attacks with three or four, and
especially more than four need to be
even more damaging than all of factors
would indicate, in order to be effective
Historically Rain Dance is the amazing
Poké-Power (or rather Pokémon Power when
it first appeared) that was quite the
force in the early days of the game.
At a time when most Stage 1
Pokémon, let alone most Stage 2 Pokémon,
failed to compete in a metagame chiefly
dominated by Haymaker decks,
Blastoise (Base Set 02/102,
Base Set 2 2/130).
Indeed in Unlimited you can still
find Rain Dance decks, though unless
there is an intended combo with a
Blastoise, players are likely to
have upgraded to
Feraligatr Prime (it basically is
just a better version of that
The thing that knocked Rain Dance
down a peg in Unlimited was the change
in rules about first turn Trainer usage,
and the first turn win/lock/etc. decks
So shouldn’t it be a force in Modified?
Well there are many decks with
Energy acceleration, and Water Pokémon
just don’t seem built for Rain Dance
This isn’t unprecedented either:
Rain Dance didn’t really stabilize as
the (then) top Evolution deck of the
early days of the game until two sets
later when we got some big, Basic Water
Pokémon to go with it.
Feraligatr has suffered a similar
fate, struggling to find powerhouses to
back up with its Energy acceleration.
By the time such Pokémon started showing
up, a lot of players seemed to have
written it off entirely.
I do wonder if perhaps some of
its “failure” is simply that players
have been scared off of trying it.
The competition is fierce though,
which finally brings us to
Kyurem EX is the personal Pokémon EX
water beatstick of Rain Dance decks.
The plain version of
Kyurem (BW: Noble Victories
34/101), has a potent damage spread
attack instead of hitting for a colossal
amount of damage against the Defending
This has resulted in Water decks
having to settle for less, at least
compared to other competitive decks.
Where other Energy accelerating
decks aren’t restricted to powering up a
specific Pokémon Type and/or have their
own potent big, Basic beatstick, Rain
Dance decks either had to use
significantly weaker Basic beatsticks or
run an Evolution line for the needed
There is also a desire for a good, solid
Water-Type Basic Pokémon to (pardon the
pun) splash into off-type decks.
Big Fire decks are still pretty
popular, and almost all Fire-Type
Pokémon are Water Weak.
Kyurem EX, while expensive in terms
of the amount of Energy required to
attack, still hits hard enough to make
it worthwhile in this function. The
Prism Energy (especially coupled
Rainbow Energy), several decks could
even get off Hail Blizzard reliably.
In either capacity,
Kyurem EX faces stiff competition.
There are only two probable
candidates, but one is established and
neither is a Pokémon EX.
Some decks may prefer just to
rely on the plain
Outrage works with any Energy,
and OHKOing a 130 HP Basic Pokémon is
not easy, so if you don’t need to be
fast, you can hit pretty hard with it.
Kyurem EX set-mate
Articuno (BW: Next Destinies
22/99) is a 120 HP Basic Pokémon; not it
an easy OHKO (though many top decks can
It has the same Metal-Type
Weakness but Fighting Resistance -20:
unlikely to be useful all that often,
but far better than nothing.
The two Energy Retreat Cost is
just a little better, but again that is
unlikely to matter.
The attacks aren’t impressive
unless you’re specifically combining it
with Rain Dance or needing that off-type
Articuno can use Ice Beam, a classic
This version hits for 50 points
of damage and gives you a 50% chance of
Paralysis (“heads” on a coin toss, same
While this wouldn’t be all that
good in general, it probably can be
skipped with most Energy acceleration
and when being used to strike Weakness
suddenly is on par with most big Basic
Pokémon in the format (at least when
they aren’t hitting Weakness).
For one more Energy, it can hit
(WCCC) for 80 is disappointing,
but again the niche
Articuno is looking to occupy won’t
care: either you’re powering it up in a
single turn (most Energy acceleration)
or you’re only using it for
When it comes to an off-type splash, I
Kyurem-EX plainly beat, unless you
really need to mess with Special
Energy cards and
Lost Remover isn’t enough.
In fact, even as just a big,
Kyurem EX struggles to outperform
Articuno and the regular
Fortunately there is a facet of
being the big, Basic beatstick that has
changed with BW: Next Destinies,
the Pokémon-EX big, Basic beatstick.
Mewtwo EX (BW: Next Destinies
54/99, 98/99) as always is an option
(provided you can afford them), but
unlike other Energy acceleration (at
least that sees competitive play), Rain
Dance does nothing to help
Mewtwo EX directly: you’ll need a
potentially fatal two turns to manually
power it up or you’ll have to run some
Double Colorless Energy.
Kyurem EX has a chance to earn its
When slugging it out with other
Pokémon EX, it has an inherent advantage
Reshiram EX, striking its Weakness.
Regigigas EX (BW: Next Destinies
82/99, 99/99) is quite likely to have a
Double Colorless Energy helping to
fuel it, and given its second attack
allows it to hit harder the more damaged
it is, Frozen Wings should give it some
This will sometimes also benefit
Mewtwo EX, which is infamous as a
single turn drop powered by a
Double Colorless Energy.
Mewtwo EX is not being powered by a
Double Colorless Energy, then
Kyurem EX is at a disadvantage.
Zekrom EX will be a challenging
match-up, at least in the decks most
likely to run it.
Shaymin EX (BW: Next Destinies
05/99, 94/99) really shouldn’t be played
in a manner where you get to attack it,
but if it does its Resistance
(especially if combined with an
Eviolite) can be tough for
Fortunately much of the time it
will be relying on a Special Energy to
fulfill its Grass Energy needs, and that
too can turn things in the favor of
For Unlimited play, we save a lot of the
This is a format of decks that
win first turn, and not always through a
Still if you’re not trying to be
hyper competitive, you still can do
quite well with the latest version of
Rain Dance, now enhanced with many of
its classic partners.
Kyurem EX is likely to be the ideal
attacker: its HP is so high that it is
difficult to “donk”, and even the
infamous attackers of this format have
to work hard for a OHKO.
The fun part is that while many
Pokémon will survive a hit from
Kyurem do to
Focus Band, the heavy reliance upon
Special Energy and low HP scores of many
classical attackers mean you don’t need
to rely on Hail Blizzard.
Instead you can use Frozen Wings,
and so one way or another, a Special
Energy hits the discard pile.
In Limited play, I’d say this is at
least close to a “must run”, for the
You must be careful since a
Kyurem EX (and you’re lucky to pull
even that) is worth two Prizes, half the
starting total of a Limited match.
Frozen Wings is unlikely to
discard any Energy, but 60 damage for
three Energy is good here, and Hail
Blizzard is very likely a OHKO due to
lower average HP scores.
The massive HP of
Kyurem EX should last several turns,
due to the lower average damage output
of most Pokémon.
The main drawback is simple:
you’ve got to make room for some basic
Water Energy cards in your deck, and
since you likely won’t have a lot of
Trainers to search them out, a single
Kyurem EX run off-type in a deck
will likely need about five Energy, just
to make it likely you’ll get at least
one by the time you draw said
could make a very big impact on Rain
Dance decks in Modified.
My review of it may seem a bit
negative, but don’t let its potential
match-ups with other Pokémon EX scare
you too much: one would hope a Rain
Dance deck was structured expecting to
sacrifice at least one normal
Kyurem to spread damage, which helps
compensate for Hail Blizzard being a tad
Rain Dance decks should also be
able to make room for
Max Potion, so that a
Kyurem EX that doesn’t go down it
one hit at least has the option of
shrugging off the damage it took.
Really, if it doesn’t see play I
expect that is because Rain Dance itself
would remain underused or that
Mewtwo EX is simply that important
for mirror matches that there just isn’t
Kyurem EX in the build.
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