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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Top 10 Plasma Blast Cards

#1 - Virizion EX  

- Plasma Blast

Date Reviewed:
Aug 30, 2013

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 4.38
Limited: 4.63

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

#1 Virizion-EX 

So . . . our #1 card from Plasma Blast turns out to be Virizion-EX. 

It’s certainly a card that comes loaded with the usual EX goodness of massive HP. As a bonus, it offers Resistance to Water (very handy against Kyurem PLF) and a very nice Retreat cost. But that isn’t nearly enough to make this a #1 card, so let’s move on and take a look at the good stuff. 

First up is the Ability, Verdant Wind. With this in play any of your Pokémon with Grass Energy attached cannot be affected by Special Conditions. Yep, powerful effects like Poison and Paralysis are completely prevented (as well as annoying ones like Confusion and Burn) with a Virizion and the correct Energy in play. Just the threat of this card entering the format has had players replacing their Hypnotoxic Lasers with Silver Bangles and it will singlehandedly kill off any hope of an Accelgor/Gothitelle revival once the latter is reprinted. It really is an incredibly useful Ability to have in the card pool and I suspect it will earn Virizion a place in many decks before it eventually gets rotated. 

The second reason to play this card is the attack, Emerald Slash. For two Energy, this does 50 damage and allows you to attach two Grass Energy from your deck to one of your Benched Pokémon.  Now normally I’m not a fan of Energy acceleration via attack, but the 50 damage is decent and the amount of acceleration is substantial, so I’m happy to rate this as pretty good for the cost. The obvious partner here is Genesect-EX, but it could be used with anything that needs Grass Energy, or isn’t fussy about Type (such as Mewtwo-EX or Bouffalant DRX). 

Am I surprised to see Virizion-EX take the #1 spot on our countdown? A little. Its use seems to be mainly as an anti-Status tech and a fairly limited acceleration engine. Having both certainly makes Virizion a very good card, but I’m not sure it will be as widely played as (say) Silver Bangle, or have as much overall impact on the game. 

Rating 

Modified: 4.5 (making Status decks unplayable since 2013)

Limited: 5 (any acceleration is fantastic in limited, where 50 damage and Status immunity are also brilliant things to have)


Otaku

Once again, we come to the close of our countdown, and the most Promising Pick of Plasma Blast is… Virizion EX (BW: Plasma Blast 9/101, BW: Plasma Blast 96/101)!  I’ll be honest, I was surprised to see this come in at number one, but read on to find out why I shouldn’t have been.

 

Stats

 

Miscellaneous: Consider the following a combination of disclaimer and reminder: if you’re like me you can gloss over even the obvious too easily when excited by a card's Stats, Effects, potential combos, etc.  So let us not forget that Virizion EX is worth two Prizes when KOed and may need assistance to deal with the growing number of anti-Pokémon-EX cards.  Plus now we have Silver Bangle and Silver Mirror, two important, “simple combo” pieces that help every Pokémon other than Pokémon-EX.

 

Type: Virizion EX is a Grass-Type Pokémon, a Type that has been desperate for a break out card.  The Grass-Type lacks any useful Type support, which is part of why it performed so poorly in the BW-On format, despite not needing to worry about Resistance (generally only an irritant anyway) and hitting most pieces of one of the top performing decks for double damage (due to Grass Weakness).  So all in all, this is good Typing for Virizion EX as there is beyond a niche waiting for it.

 

Stage: As a Basic Pokémon, Virizion EX enjoys the best this game has to offer; it requires the least amount of slots in a deck to run per copy, it fills the requirement a deck have at least one Basic Pokémon, it can be put into play during set up, it can be played from hand so long as there is an open Bench slot without any additional requirements, there are cards that specifically benefit Basic Pokémon, and Basic Pokémon even benefit more from certain common card effects by virtue of their simplicity e.g. one search card results in one Basic Pokémon able to enjoy all of the above, where as one search card that results in an Evolution still needs something to Evolve from.

 

Hit Points: 170 HP is the second highest printed on any Pokémon-EX, and the third highest printed on anything in the Modified legal card pool.  Despite being so high, it is no longer as safe as it once was as decks last format (and continuing into this one) easily doll out 100 points of damage per turn and many of the most competitive can at least push themselves to hit 170 (if not already being capable of reliably hitting it).  At least hitting for 170 in one turn isn’t inexpensive, even in the decks where it is reliable.

 

Weakness: Fire Weakness may be the new “best Weakness” other than not having one at all.  There are definitely Fire-Type Pokémon capable of dealing out great damage in the card pool, but I am unaware of any current, competitive Fire-Type focused builds.  That won’t prevent decks from running a Fire-Type splashed in, though so it isn’t totally safe, and perhaps I am just unaware of the next big thing.  It is just that compared to having any other Weakness, there are more Types that see heavy or widespread play, be it as the driving force of a deck or just something successful deck regularly runs.

 

Resistance: Virizion EX actually has Resistance!  Specifically Water Resistance good for reducing the damage a Water-Type Pokémon does to Virizion EX (through attacks) by 20 points.  While very nice to have, it may not often be game breaking; Resistance is more a nuisance than a threat as -20 points of damage isn’t significant in the current format unless it changes a OHKO into a 2HKO, a 2HKO into a 3HKO, etc.

 

Retreat: Virizion EX requires just a single Energy to retreat; this is low enough that you’ll usually be able to afford it, and that any Retreat Cost reducing effect will end up zeroing it out.  In short, it’s great.

 

Effects

 

Ability: Verdant Wind both prevents Special Conditions from affecting and removes them from Pokémon with a source of (G) Energy attached.  In past formats, this probably wouldn’t have meant much, but in a format where we have an Item that inflicts Poison with a 50% chance of also afflicting the Defending Pokémon with Sleep?  Color me impressed.

 

This creates a form of pseudo-Grass-Type support; not “true” Grass-Type support as they are just the most likely Type to require a source of Grass-Energy, but there are plenty of off-Type Pokémon that need it, and of course anything with sufficient (C) Energy requirements could elect to fill them with Grass Energy, while any deck already using Prism Energy or Blend Energy GRPD could be meeting both non-(G) Energy and non-(C) Energy requirements while still being able to trigger this effect.

 

Attack: Emerald Slash requires (GC) and hits for 50 points of damage, but also allows you to search your deck for two (G) Energy cards and attach them to one of your Benched Pokémon in play (shuffling your deck afterwards, of course).  For the record, we have no Energy cards that provide (G) while in the deck, other than basic Grass Energy; Blend Energy GRPD and Prism Energy, for example, provide (C) while in the deck and don’t start providing something else until they are attached to Pokémon (a Basic Pokémon in the case of Prism Energy).

 

50 points of damage for two Energy isn’t especially “good” but I wouldn’t call it “bad” when it is backed up by an effect, and one shot from Emerald Slash can allow Virizion EX to essentially cover its own Energy cost.  True, the exact Energy cards you attached to it are committed but you’ll get to attach (GG) to something else (assuming you meet all requirements).  This also means you need to attack twice to do more than break even (in terms of Energy).  50 points of damage isn’t likely to score a OHKO, but it can soften something up.

 

Synergy: Anything you power-up with Emerald Slash (even if you can only attach one Grass Energy) will benefit from Verdant Wind, so this is a very direct combo indeed!  Well, not necessarily Emerald Slash and Verdant Wind from the same Pokémon; obviously if Virizion EX is up attacking, nothing else is Active.  If your opponent forces something up without finishing off Virizion EX or you’ve got a second on the Bench, you’re good.  This would also allow the first Virizion EX to “go down swinging”, hopefully powering up two or three other Pokémon with Emerald Slash.

 

Usage

So the big combo talked about for Virizion EX was to use it to open (or help open) for Genesect EX.  Not having had a chance to test (and with Energy Switch gone), this seems less likely, though if you really wanted a first turn Emerald Slash you might use Team Plasma Badge so that Virizion EX could make use of Colress Machine and Plasma Energy, but I have not had any testing to know if that first turn Emerald Slash is really worth it.  Letting your opponent take a false lead by allowing them to KO Virizion EX while it uses Emerald Slash to either load up one or multiple copies of Genesect EX and help set-up for G Booster spam after an N takes their hand down to four cards might be the opening strategy, or it might be fanciful thinking.

 

At least having a Benched Virizion EX is important to protect against Hypnotoxic Laser.  So what else should Virizion EX be used with?  Well any deck that runs Blend Energy GRPD, Prism Energy, or basic Grass Energy should at least run a single copy for the Ability; it really is that handy in our Hypnotoxic Laser happy metagame.  Next we have decks wanting to use some of the better Grass-Type Pokémon.  Besides Genesect EX there were two that made my Top 20 list; Genesect (BW: Plasma Blast 10/101) and Tropius (BW: Plasma Blast 5/101).  Such a deck would have an awful lot of Fire-Type Weakness, however.

 

The last major branch I can think of are decks that can simply be reworked to run on basic Grass Energy, allowing both Verdant Wind and Emerald Slash to be effective.  In some cases, this can be easier than you would think; perhaps we’ll be seeing some “Green Tea” decks where popular Colorless-Type attackers enjoy optional Energy acceleration and “Laser proofing” from Virizion EX?

 

Ratings

 

Unlimited: Doesn’t help the dominant strategies of this format, though like all Pokémon-EX just being so huge counters a few.  Older Pokémon have lower HP scores, so a brute force assault might be adequate for those not wanting to run a complex lock or FTW deck. 2/5

 

Modified: Virizion EX is something most players will want to run in their decks, but actually doing so effectively won’t work with just anything.  Hypnotoxic Laser made an already fast, brutal format even more so; I suspect this will again shift the playing field and the teams, though for the most part the players will remain the same. 4.25/5

 

Limited: If you pull this, you run it.  If you have to it with 39 Energy cards, it won’t be as impressive as some other Pokémon-EX were, but they aren’t in this set.  While the raw attack power isn’t there, Virizion EX hits one turn sooner than the other Pokémon-EX this set and has built in protection from Special Conditions, and if your 39 other cards includes some Trainers then you can attack to thin your deck and increase the odds of pulling them.  If you are insanely lucky and pull another Pokémon-EX worth running… use them both! 5/5

 

Summary

Virizion EX is another “answer” card, like our second and fourth place picks.  This has lead to some strange scoring by me, because even though a card may not meet my requirements for a higher numerical score, it still remains the most significant because of how it will force the metagame to respond to it.  In the end, I scored Virizion EX just as high as I scored our runner up, Silver Mirror.  The former is harder to work into decks, but as most decks use Hypnotoxic Laser it could create another “cycle”, similar to Tool Scrapper and Garbodor (BW: Dragons Exalted 54/124; BW: Plasma Freeze 119/116), or Tool Scrapper and Pokémon Tool usage in general.  Silver Mirror will only affect a few match-ups, but it hits them even harder and is easier to work into a deck.

 

I had Virizion EX as my number one pick… yes I was surprised that apparently a good deal of the crew agreed with me or else disagreed with each other so much that this was the “least debated” card!  While I am not 100% sure whether it, Silver Mirror, or Silver Bangle will ultimate affect the metagame the most, all three are “answers” to complaints about the metagame and while they won’t reverse how things play out, they will upset the status quo.


Jason Klaczynski
"Ness"
Three-Time World Champion
Check out The Klaczynski Open. August 31, 2013

1. Virizion EX
 
Finally, something to counter Hypnotoxic Laser! Virizion EX will make duds of the four otherwise incredibly strong Hypnotoxic Laser cards in so many decks.


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