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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Kyurem EX

Next Destinies

Date Reviewed: Feb. 27, 2012

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 3.50
Limited: 4.30

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 being the worst. 
3 ... average.  
5 is the highest rating.

Back to the main COTD Page

Combos With: See Below

Baby Mario
2010 UK National
Seniors
Champion

Kyurem-EX

Hello, and welcome to the week here on Pojo’s CotD. Over the next couple of weeks we will be reviewing those cards that didn’t quite make our Top 10, but still got at least a vote from someone.

We kick off with Kyurem-EX, and yes, I’m the one guilty of giving this a place on my list. It’s also my favourite Full Art EX Pokémon with great colours and a truly menacing pose. Most people won’t care about that though, they will just want to know if it’s good or not, so on with the review . . .

Kyurem-EX is a Basic EX with all the huge benefits (access to Eviolite/Collector/Prism Energy), and drawbacks (gives up two Prizes), that you would expect. Its massive 180 HP puts it at the top end when it comes to these Basic EX Pokémon. The Retreat cost of three isn’t much fun (as we shall see), but pretty fair and balanced for a card like this. One great thing about Kyurem-EX is its Typing: it can hit all the popular Fire Pokémon for Weakness (that means most things in any Reshiram-based deck), while its own Weakness (Metal) is obscure enough that it will rarely come into play. The only viable Metal Pokémon right now is Cobalion NV which only sees play in Electrode Prime decks and (rarely) in Six Corners lists.

There’s no getting away from it, when it comes to attacks, Kyurem is pretty much the weakest of all the EX Pokémon. Mewtwo is fast and can attack as hard as it needs to; Reshiram and Zekrom both swing for 150; Regigigas can do up to 220 damage, while Shaymin is a late game sweeper that can come in at the end and hit for 180. Kyurem can’t match any of that. It’s first attack, Frozen Wings, needs [W][C][C], hits for 60 damage and discards a Special Energy attached to the Defending Pokémon. The fact that the attack is Double Colourless Energy compatible is nice, and the discarding effect can be very useful in a format where DCE and Prism Energy are commonly played cards. The damage output itself is, however, low, and doesn’t really represent good value for the cost. At least it’s something decent to use if you don’t have the Energy for the second attack yet.

That attack, Hail Blizzard, is where the real disappointments come in. The first disappointment is that it only hits for 120 damage. It seems a bit weird to say ‘only 120’, but when you bear in mind that the other Dragon EX Pokémon do 150, and there are many playable Pokémon that will not be knocked out in one attack by an unboosted Hail Blizzard (the BW Dragons, Chandelure NV, Magnezone Prime), that puts it into perspective. The second disappointment is the attack’s drawback: it cannot be used on the next turn. This is where the Retreat cost becomes painful: alternating between Kyurem to use Hail Blizzard continuously is going to require Switch to be played.

So, does all this mean that Kyurem-EX is going to be passed over in favour of the harder hitting EX Pokémon in the set? Well, maybe not. That great typing means that it, alongside Reshiram-EX is probably the hardest of all the Pokémon-EX to take out in one shot. Mewtwo is effectively countered by other Mewtwo; Zekrom and Regigigas are vulnerable to Terrakion NV revenge KOs; while Shaymin’s low HP and Fire Weakness make it the easiest target of all. Because of its great durability, I can definitely see Kyurem-EX finding its way into Truth-style decks which use Reuniclus BW plus healing cards like Blissey Prime to make high HP Pokémon tank for virtually the whole game. In addition, if Fire decks become popular, it could also earn a spot in Six Corners/Big Basics decks as a counter to cards like Reshiram.

Kyurem is not the most powerful EX, or the most versatile, but it is good enough to find a niche of its own in the metagame. Don’t be surprised if you run into one or two of them during future tournaments.

Rating

Modified: 3.25 (slightly underpowered, but a formidable tank with great Typing)

Limited: 4.25 (anything that isn’t an EX will find it almost impossible to KO this Pokémon)

r shenanigans to worry about, and any form of draw is brilliant in Limited)

virusyosh

Welcome back, Pojo readers! Continuing our Next Destinies reviews this week, we are looking at cards that just barely missed our top 10 cut over this week and next. Today we'll kick things off by looking at one of the less popular Pokémon-EX in the set. Today's Card of the Day is Kyurem-EX.

Kyurem is a Basic Water Pokémon-EX. As a Water-type, it sees a decent amount of play along with its non-EX counterpart. Other Water-types are somewhat rare in Modified, but include Vanilluxe and Beartic. As a Pokémon-EX, your opponent takes two prizes when Kyurem is knocked out, so you must make sure to get mileage out of this ice dragon. 180 HP is great for any Basic, and will easily withstand a hit or two. Kyurem also has a very nice Metal Weakness, so only Cobalion will be any sort of a problem. Sadly Kyurem has no Resistance, as well as the standard dragon-EX Retreat Cost of 3.

Like the other two EX dragons, Kyurem has two attacks. Frozen Wings deals 60 damage for a Water and two Colorless, while also discarding a Special Energy attached to the Defending Pokémon. This attack is meant to be a counter again Mewtwo's abuse of Double Colorless Energy, but works well against mainly other Pokémon with Prism and Rainbow as well. I don't know how well this works in practice, though, and many strategies with Mewtwo utilize basic Energy and will still easily hit Kyurem for a lot of damage due to this attack's somewhat high energy cost. Hail Blizzard deals 120 damage for two Water and two Colorless, but Kyurem can't use the attack next turn. This is a very unfortunate side effect, especially because Hail Blizzard doesn't do a lit of damage to begin with. Given the significance of the setback, Kyurem could have easily dealt over 150 damage with this attack; as it stands now, it's really just disappointing.

Modified: 3/5 Kyurem-EX isn't that impressive, but has enough going for it to make it see some play. 180 HP and Water typing are Kyurem's strengths, as it is the only Pokémon with a realistic shot of knocking out Reshiram-EX in a single hit. Unfortunately, lackluster attacks and Metal Weakness limit Kyurem's effectiveness, relegating it to mostly being a tech against the Fire-types we occasionally see in the metagame.

Limited: 4.5/5 Like all Pokémon-EX, Kyurem is quite effective in Limited. 180 HP is once again monstrous, and both attacks are useful here as well, even with Frozen Wings having a disappointing damage output and Hail Blizzard having the terrible drawback. That being said, Kyurem's Energy costs don't fit into any deck, so you'll have to splash a few Water Energy to run Kyurem. Overall, Kyurem can be a great addition to your Limited list if you play to its strengths.

conical

2/27/12: Kyurem EX
 
So, this is the lone EX that didn't make the top 10 list. People who remember the Reshiram/Zekrom EX reviews I did might remember that I wasn't fond of either of them. However, I do like Kyurem, for reasons I am in the midst of explaining.
 
The bottom stats, as you might expect, are awesome. The first attack, Frozen Wings, is also pretty good. It's not something you would build a deck around, but Machamp Prime has a similar attack , and Machamp's been decent since it released. Hail Blizzard is decent as well, although the 4 energy(or 2 energy and a DCE) requirement worries me. However, what interests me about this card is that no other card, to my knowledge, does something better than Kyurem among Water types. Sure, some cards deal better damage for less energy, but those cards usually aren't basics, and they probably don't have 180 HP. Among basic water-types, the only card I can think of with this level of damage is Alomomola BW, which to me isn't in Kyurem EX's league. Whereas Reshiram and Zekrom were already better than their EX counterparts, the regular Kyurem is still good, but it does something completely different than what this card. Therefore, I think this card is better.
 
Modified:4/5
Limited:4.5/5


Otaku

So now that we’ve reviewed the top 10 promising picks of BW: Next Destinies, what’s left? Well for starters, the cards that were “runners up”, not appearing on enough lists to make it into the actual top 10. The first such card shouldn’t come as a surprise; we reviewed the other five Pokémon EX so now it’s time for Kyurem EX!

So you can chill while I lay it out.

Stats

Kyurem EX 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.

Kyurem EX 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 Feraligatr (HeartGold/SoulSilver 108/123, HGSS Promos HGSS07) “Prime”. 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 for Kyurem or an omen indicating it hasn’t got a prayer, we’ll have to continue on to see.

Kyurem EX 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 30/106). 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 Wailord. 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 taking 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 fantastic!

Kyurem EX has Metal Weakness. Checking the video game Type combination Kyurem has (Dragon/Ice), (Fighting, Rock, Steel, and Dragon) this is the most legitimate. 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 Eviolite attached!

Unfortunately, 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 games to Reshiram and Zekrom. 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 Weak) and Zekrom (which have all been Lightning-Type Pokémon).

The Retreat Cost of three is quite hefty, but warranted given the massive HP. Actually retreating, even with something like Skyarrow Bridge in play is costly, so costly you really should find another option. Pack something like Switch or plan on Kyurem EX going down swinging. On the bright side, if you already run Heavy Ball, 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).

Effects

Kyurem EX 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 attack on 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 of damage. 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 limiting one: 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 investment. 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 in play.

Usage

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 different Blastoise, players are likely to have upgraded to Feraligatr Prime (it basically is just a better version of that Blastoise). 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 that created.

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 very often. 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. 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 Pokémon. 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 power.

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. Something like 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 release of Prism Energy (especially coupled with 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 Kyurem. 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 OHKO it). 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 Splash.

For (WCC), Articuno can use Ice Beam, a classic attack. This version hits for 50 points of damage and gives you a 50% chance of Paralysis (“heads” on a coin toss, same as usual). 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 for 80. (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 Type-Matching.

When it comes to an off-type splash, I think Articuno has 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, Basic attacker Kyurem EX struggles to outperform Articuno and the regular Kyurem. 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.

Now Kyurem EX has a chance to earn its keep. When slugging it out with other Pokémon EX, it has an inherent advantage against 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 problems. This will sometimes also benefit it against Mewtwo EX, which is infamous as a single turn drop powered by a Double Colorless Energy.

If 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 Kyurem EX. 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 Kyurem EX.

For Unlimited play, we save a lot of the drama. This is a format of decks that win first turn, and not always through a traditional “donk”. 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. Here 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 usual reasons. You must be careful since a single 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 Kyurem EX.

Ratings

Unlimited: 3.75/5

Modified: 3.5/5

Limited: 4.25/5

Summary

Kyurem EX 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 weak. 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 room for Kyurem EX in the build.

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Mad Mattezhion

Hey folks, we've decided we aren't finished milking our Top 10 Next Destinies hopefuls, so this week we are going to review some of the cards that appeared on at least one reviewer's list but didn't quite make the cut. So prepare for another two weeks of awesome cards!
 
Today's card didn't make my personal list, much for the same reasons that Reshiram EX and Zekrom EX didn't make my personal list: because unlike the powerful (but not quite unbeatable) normal versions, you can't keep spamming Revive and your energy acceleration of choice to keep up an endless assault because you will run out of Prizes far quicker than your opponent due to the EX rule.
 
Still, Kyurem EX is by no means a bad card. I don't like it anywhere near as much as I loved its NV cousin (which has sadly taken a dive off of the tournament scene lately) but let's judge the card on its own merits.
 
Kyurem EX is a bewilderingly massive Water type Basic with that beautiful 180 HP, Metal Weakness, a retreat cost of 3 (use Vanilluxe ND, Politoed UL or Switch to pay the cost) and 2 attacks.
 
Kyurem has the stats of a champion just like the other Tao Dragons in all of their forms, but the EX rule does help balance that out somewhat. Unless your opponent is playing Cobalion NV, they should have quite a headache trying to remove Kyurem from play. But what does kyurem do while it lazes about in the Active position?
 
Water Wings is a good first step. The cost of [w][c][c] is easy to pay in this age of Prism Energy and Double Colourless Energy, while Feraligatr Prime is still a great option for Water energy support as well (although currently Rain Dance decks have become extinct once again due to the rise of Mewtwo EX and Eelektrik NV). The damage output of 60 is much lower than I expected for both the cost and a Poke'mon EX which is compounded by the fact that even with Weakness, Kyurem will not get many 1HKOs with Water Wings. The added effect of discarding a Special Energy attached to the Defending Poke'mon is situationally useful, but I would prefer to discard all of my opponent's energy with a string of Knock Outs.
 
Hail Blizard is the big attack, costing [w][w][c][c] to deal 120 damage with the drawback of not being able to attack with Hail Blizzard on the next turn. Playing the necessary energy is easy enough between the 180 HP and various energy acceleration options, but why would you bother when these attacks won't get enough KOs to make a fair trade before Kyurem itself is Knocked Out? You could use Politoed UL or Vanilluxe ND to switch between 2 Kyurem EX (and use Blastoise UL to move the energy between them) but that is still too much effort for only 120 damage a turn when you will lose 2 Prizes each time a Kyurem bites the dust
 
There are fewer restrictions and more powerful attacks found on several non-EX attackers so unless you are trying to build a Rain Dance deck dedicated to energy removal, there is no reason at all to play Kyurem EX.
 
Modified: 2 (Kyurem EX doesn't do anything well enough to earn a spot in your tournament deck, and with yet another rise in the average HP score due to Poke'mon EX you can count Rain Dance's special brand of spread and snipe attacking as a dead archetype, however much I keep trying to tell myself otherwise)
 
Limited: 3.5 (You will definitely use Kyurem EX, but not being able to use consecutive Hail Blizzard attacks is still a major downside when you come up against another EX)
 
Combos with: a remake that turns Kyurem into the champion that Rain Dance needs to hold it's own again, that brief period in the spotlight just after the release of Noble Victories just wasn't enough!


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