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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Cresselia EX

- Boundaries Crossed

Date Reviewed: Nov. 22, 2012

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 3.33
Limited: 4.33

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

Cresselia-EX (Boundaries Crossed)

Our last card of this short week is one that I picked for my own top 10 list, but didn’t get enough votes from the other reviewers to make it in. I would say *sad face* but I can understand why it was overlooked. Cresselia-EX is not the easiest to use or the most versatile Pokémon to ever be printed, that’s for sure. It is one of the more prettyful, however, with a beautiful and complex design: both the normal and full art version of the cards are very attractive (this is where it scores big over Landorus-EX), but I would hate to think that influenced my rating of the card in any way . . .

What we have here is a Psychic Type Basic EX Pokémon with 170 HP (close, but not quite up to the maximum). The Typing is nice as it can usefully hit some things for Weakness, such as Garbodor and Mewtwo-EX (more on that later), while the Retreat cost of one is very acceptable, and you have the option to negate it entirely with Skyarrow Bridge.

Cresselia has an on-theme healing ability (it’s pretty good at this in the video games) called Sparkling Particles. This states that you may heal 10 damage from Cresselia-EX between turns. That’s more useful than it sound as it makes the Pokémon a little less easy to two-hit KO. If Darkrai (to take a common example) hits it for 90 with Night Spear, then by the time your opponent gets to attack again, that damage is reduced to 70, leaving them needing some kind of attack boost (Dark Claw or PlusPower) to knock it out. Little things like that can make the difference in a game, especially when you consider the two Prizes that an EX Pokémon gives up. Attach an Eviolite and Sparkling Particles can make Cresselia-EX one of the more tricky Pokémon to KO.

Being fairly durable is only half of what is required though: you still need a reason to want Cresselia on the field in the first place. The attack, Psychic Protection, is pretty expensive, costing a Psychic and three Energy of any Colour. For that you get 90 damage, which doesn’t seem all that great, but remember that 90 is the magic number required to get two hit KOs on any EX (except Darkrai-EX, thanks to its Resistance). It does have quite a nice effect though, removing Cresselia’s Weakness during your opponent’s next turn. Why is this nice? Well, if you use Cresselia to OHKO a Mewtwo-EX, then your opponent will not be able to return the KO with a second Mewtwo, which is much better for you than engaging in a ‘Mewtwo war’ of exchanged KOs. The only way around this would be for them to burn two Pokémon Catcher to send Cresselia back to the Bench and drag it out again. That’s not impossible of course, but it does require them to have, and spend, a lot of important resources.

Because of its huge Energy demands, Cresselia is only really practical in decks that can power it up in a single turn. Hydreigon/Darkrai decks are the obvious candidates, but Blastoise/Keldeo can also pull it off if they run a Psychic or Prism Energy. Mewtwo wars are nowhere near as common as they were last format, but they still exist: it’s a matter of assessing your local metagame and making the call as to whether or not a Cresselia tech would be worth it in these decks. It’s a Pokémon that has some potential as a Mewtwo counter and an effective bulky hitter if only you can work around the Energy cost.

Rating

Modified: 3 (a decent all round Pokémon which can fill a useful niche if you have the right deck for it)

Limited: 3.5 (can definitely wall for a while and take Prizes eventually, but it’s by no means the best EX for this format)

Jebulous Maryland Player

Cresselia EX
 
Cresselia EX is a Basic Psychic Pokemon with 170 HP.  It is weak to Psychic and has a retreat cost of 1.  It has the whole EX deal.
 
'Sparkling Particles' is an ability that removes 10 damage from itself between turns.  That is a great tanking ability, if your opponent can't OHKO you.  Throwing an Eviolite on it will cause headaches.
 
'Psychic Protection' costs 1 Psychic and 3 colorless energy.  It does 90 damage and during your opponent's next turn it doesn't have a weakness.  I never read the name of the attack, I like how it actually is Psychic protection.  The cost is a bit pricey, seeing as how other Pokemon hit for 90 for 3 energy, and others 100+ for 4.
 
So this card looks like it was meant to return KO Mewtwo EX.  Its attack would do 180 (so Eviolite would save it) and it loses its weakness.  That means another Mewtwo can't return KO it.  So probably the best strategy is to play it AFTER you see their Mewtwo.  If you Bench it early, it gives them a chance to OHKO it, losing all meaning to the power it has.  Seems like a good addition to Darkrai/Hydreigon since you can power it up instantly and not have to worry about losing all the energy attached to it.
 
My only experience with it was at the pre release tournament.  I was 3-0 and in my 4th match the guy I played against had this as a starter (I never saw any of my Pokemon that had more than 80 HP).  So at turn 4 he took 6 prizes every turn.  It was nasty.
 
Modified: 4/5
Limited: 4.5/5
Combos With:  ...
 
Questions, comments, concerns: jebulousthemighty@yahoo.com


Otaku

An early happy Thanksgiving… or late depending upon where you are; several countries/regions celebrate Thanksgiving or a similar holiday, and even if your area doesn’t I invite all to try and find some time to remember what that for which you have reason to be thankful. While life is hardly perfect, there will be things that are worth celebrating if you only make sure to give them due consideration.

Some of you may be less than thankful that we had a short week because of the holiday, but at least it gave us a good reason to look at the three runners-up from our Top 10 list for BW: Boundaries Crossed. The reviews I missed earlier this week and last week should be up now, if you’re interested.

I am a little saddened by what still missed out being even a near miss, but as long as we stay diligent we’ll have a chance to review those cards soon enough. Our final runner-up is Cresselia EX (BW: Boundaries Crossed 67/149, 143/149)!

Stats

Cresselia EX is a Basic Pokémon worth two Prizes when it is KOed, like all Pokémon-EX, and thus will need their customarily high HP and potent effects if it is to be worth that significant drawback. They already enjoy the usual benefits of being a Basic Pokémon; minimal deck space to run, minimal effort to play, maximum speed as they don’t need time to Evolve.

Unlike their predecessors the Pokémon-ex, Pokémon-EX are also compatible with all forms of support for Basic Pokémon; as usual this provides a solid start as Cresselia EX can enjoy reducing the damage it takes by equipping Eviolite, use Prism Energy as needed to fit into off-Type decks, etc. These first two things provide a solid foundation for Cresselia EX.

It is a Psychic-Type, which could bode well; Mewtwo EX (BW: Next Destinies 54/99, 98/99) should still be widely played so even if only for countering it, hitting Psychic Weakness remains important. Darkness-Type Pokémon I expect to take a hit in play due to Landorus EX (BW: Boundaries Crossed 89/149, 144/149), but they are still strong and thus Resistance will still be common (at least as far as Resistance goes). Sadly, the small amount of Psychic-Type support hasn’t proven very effective.

170 HP is just 10 shy of the max for a Pokémon-EX, and 30 shy of the printed maximum in general. It should serve Cresselia EX well, allowing it to easily take a hit, possibly two. The exception to that, as always, is Weakness; Cresselia EX is Psychic-Weak, meaning it must be wary of Mewtwo EX slamming it back for a OHKO… barring something we’ll discuss under the Effects heading. No Resistance, sadly, but we do end the Stats with a great single Energy Retreat; since Cresselia EX is a Basic Pokémon you can consider running Skyarrow Bridge to eliminate the cost entirely!

Effects

Sparkling Particles is the name of the Ability possessed by Cresselia EX, and I’ve got to tell you, it is a bit hard to get a handle on. The effect is simple; between turns, Sparkling Particles heals 10 points of damage from Cresselia EX. It is like is has been “reverse Poisoned”. The challenge is figuring out if this is really useful for just a bit superficial.

If the attacking Pokémon can’t deliver a 170+ hit in a single turn or total 190 points of damage from two attacks, Sparkling Particles will ultimately buy Cresselia EX an extra turn. For some decks, this will be a hurdle; spread damage isn’t as useful against something like Cresselia EX; by the time you can follow up on it, it’s down by 20 points. Even straight up attacks may struggle, as two 90 point hits, normally enough to take down any unprotected Pokémon-EX, falls short here.

Many decks will be able to push themselves however, making it just a trickier 2HKO; a main attacker that deals the usual level of damage swings, then something with a higher end attack goes for the finish. This makes Psychic Protection, the attack on Cresselia EX, very important; it may come down to resources. So what does the attack do?

For a cost of (PCCC), it hits for 90 points of damage while negating the Weakness of Cresselia EX until the end of your opponent’s turn. The good news is that, except when facing something with Resistance, Cresselia EX can 2HKO any other Pokémon-EX. Barring protective effects, Giant Cape, and Wailord EX (BW: Dragons Exalted 26/124), you can 2HKO anything else as well.

This… isn’t actually that impressive; most Pokémon-EX 2HKO most other Pokémon-EX and are in turn 2HKOed back. 90 points of damage for four Energy, even with a beneficial attack and almost totally Colorless Energy requirements is a little below what is desired as well. It is good it covers your own Weakness; but due to the massive Energy cost you can’t risk tossing it up to stall early game, when the Ability can slow an opponent down the most.

Usage

When dissected in a vacuum, Cresselia EX neither impresses nor appalls. As far as Pokémon-EX go, it has roughly average Stats barring a terrible Weakness, a good-but-not-great Ability and an underwhelming attack, save that it can mitigate the Weakness problem. Simply put, without Energy acceleration, it can’t attack quickly enough. Using pure manual Energy attachments, not even allowing Double Colorless Energy, Pokémon-EX like Mewtwo, Tornadus EX, and Landorus EX are going to finish it off before it can get off an attack.

Most decks will support their Pokémon-EX, and the decks running Cresselia EX as well as facing off against it will as well if they are at least competent. Eviolite is sure to show up on both sides of the equation, but Cresselia EX has that natural, obvious combo with Sparkling Particles; together a full 40 points of damage from the attack are nullified (20 absorbed, 20 healed). If a deck lacks a “big damage” attack, you finally hit “wall” territory.

I just do not think this is enough; until it can attack, your opponent has the chance of dropping a Mewtwo EX and slamming it pretty hard. In fact, several attackers can still 2HKO Cresselia EX and not all of them need to hit the Weakness to do it. Much of this comes down to what else could you be playing; running your own Mewtwo EX will leave you just as vulnerable to your opponent dropping another copy and laying into yours with an X-Ball OHKO, but Mewtwo EX is so much more useful on general offense.

There is also the risk of something like a double Pokémon Catcher or your opponent just attacking around Psychic Protection; with Skyla and the fact I don’t expect people to cut that fourth copy of Pokémon Catcher, that isn’t easy but it isn’t rare enough to be “safe”. I’ve heard many interesting ideas for supporting Pokémon tossed around for Cresselia EX, but the problem is that a Bench-sitter can provide a way around a “wall” and you often find better synergy with other cards.

The absolute best usage for this card I’ve heard of in Modified is to toss it a deck focused mainly up Hydreigon (BW: Dragons Exalted 97/124) and Darkrai EX (BW: Dark Explorers 63/108, 107/108), though Sableye (BW: Dark Explorers 62/108) is also quite important as well. Still with zeroed out Retreat costs and the capacity to move Energy off an injured Pokémon, remove all damage with Max Potion, then move it back on, plus Darkrai EX already being Resistant to Psychic Pokémon, I am almost hoping I did just fail to hear of a deck that is a better fit.

For Unlimited, I could actually see it used, provided we get one of the rulings I anticipate for the older copies of Computer Search (play using the most recent version’s text or simply unable to be played/played without a reference copy) and said ruling affects lockdown decks in a very specific manner; forcing them to run a Pokémon-EX beatstick up front. This is pure guesswork, not even substantiated enough for me to call it Theorymon, but then again it isn’t like there are a lot of big Unlimited tournaments; considering taking it for a spin when playing with friends.

For Limited, if you pull this, you run it. All the usual things apply; lower average HP scores make this card’s damage output function as if it were higher, lower average damage outputs mean its HP functions as if it were even higher, and you aren’t worried about a Mewtwo EX hitting the field and slamming you before you finish powering up! Mind Special Conditions, however, since you won’t have a Switch and/or free retreat combo to easily ditch it… most of the time. Sparkling Particles is pretty amazing here, as you would expect

You will need to make room for a decent chunk of basic Psychic Energy as well, but the odds of not being able to make room because you pulled so much “better” stuff is so small, even I won’t dock the score. Since that seems contrary to other reviews, let me clarify that with the attack only needing one source of (P) Energy, you just need to run enough to avoid being too slow in setting up… which with manual attachments means you probably have four turns in which to pull a Psychic Energy. This is as opposed to other times I’ve made similar statements where I was referring to pulling two or three specific Energy.

Ratings

Unlimited: 3/5

Modified: 3/5

Limited: 5/5

Summary

Cresselia EX is not a bad card; in fact it is well designed. By lacking an inexpensive opening attack, it avoids being overpowered in this format; even with all the Energy acceleration we have, it isn’t easy to just drop and swing away with it. The power creep that has plagued this format unfortunately renders it fairly average, and when the format is full of great cards, “good” doesn’t cut it.

I actually ranked this as the number 12 card of the set, because I know we often have runner up weeks I figure it shouldn’t hurt to be extra thorough.


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