The use of Basic, non-EX Pokemon as main attackers has
declined since the days of quad Terrakion and ZekEels
but this is another card that can stand on its own
without evolving or giving up an additional prize. Of
course it does need some support but it's not hard to
find the obvious combination the designers included in
the set - Hypnotoxic Laser. A card that frankly, combos
with any Pokemon aiming to do damage, it works
especially well with Giratina's Hex attack allowing you
to do 100 base damage for 3 energy or just 2 energy
cards utilising a Double Colorless Energy! Then you must
take into account the Poison damage from the Laser and
adding Virbank Gym seems obvious, the deck builds
Of course it's not without its weaknesses. To start
there's the Weakness to Dark Pokemon, especially bad
considering the continued pressence of Darkrai EX in the
format. There's also that huge retreat cost combined
with quite expensive attacks meaning you can get Catcher
stalled whilst you opponent sets up.
Overall, a very solid card, but it requires support to
deal with Darkrai EX.
Not too much extra to say here as the main combination
mentioned for Modified also exists in Limited. You don't
get Double Colorless Energy to use but you also don't
have to worry about Darkrai EX. If you can get stall
long enough to get 4 energy on it, Shadow Claw can begin
taking KOs whilst destroying you opponent's hand, even
more deadly considering they won't be able to recover as
easily without a deck full of Trainers.
Due to the Japanese printing of this card it's classed
as Pokemon ex in U150. Does this hurt its playability?
Not at all, in fact I'd hate to see it running rampant
in this format as a regular Basic as it plays an
important and powerful role as it is. What is this role?
Gardevoir slaying! Being a Ghost Pokemon (i.e. a Psychic
type with a Darkness weakness) isn't such a drawback
like it is in Modified. This allows it to go toe to toe
with one of the most popular and powerful decks in the
format hitting for weakness but not taking it back like
many other Psychic types would.
The usual Hypnotoxic Laser combination exists along with
many other viable Special Condition inducers such as
Magmortar Lv.X, Blaziken (Platinum) and Beedrill (Skyridge).
In fact, this is how I personally run this card, in a
Beedrill deck as a way to abuse all the Poison effects
available, as a counter to Gardevoir decks and a
powerful Basic that can operate effectively under a Muk
(Fossil) lock. I've also seen it played in Gardevoir
decks for the mirror match!
The second attack, Shadow Claw has its uses too. The
format is a bit slower and more set-up orientated so a 4
energy attack isn't impossible to set up (though it is
vulnerable to Energy Removal). But because of the
importance of set-up, particuarly reliance on draw
Pokemon like Claydol (Great Encounters), a discard
effect can be very powerful once the draw Pokemon has
been taken out. Being able to Level Up into Giratina
LV.X is incredible combined with Shadow Claw considering
the LV.X's Poke-Body forces the opponent to discard a
card whenever they attack, that's going to be a lot of
A defining card of the past year, it's a Pokemon any
deck running Psychic energy or even just many Special
Conditions should at least consider.
Modified - 3.5
Limited - 4.5
Unlimited 150 - 4.5
As 2013 draws to a close, we are going ahead and
reviewing the Top 10 cards for the year, as determined
by the review crew through us providing our own lists
that Pojosama averaged out.
We begin the week with
Plasma Storm 62/135), first reviewed
a Team Plasma Pokémon, allowing it to tap their ample
It is a Psychic-Type Pokémon, meaning it clobbers things
like Mewtwo EX
with double damage, but has to deal with Psychic
Resistance from both Darkness-Type and Metal-Type
Pokémon (sometimes both, always at least has been
popular since BW: Dark Explorers) and the main
piece of Psychic-Type support has been
Next Destinies 57/99; BW: Dark Explorers
109/108) that people tried to build decks around but so
far which haven’t had any lasting success.
It is a non-Evolving Basic Pokémon, sporting what for
the non-Pokémon-EX variety is the maximum printed HP:
isn’t enough to keep it from being OHKOed, but it makes
it so that the average deck has to pull off a specific
combo unless exploiting Weakness… and Darkness Weakness
is pretty bad to have in the current (and previous two)
Darkrai EX has been potent since it debuted and it
just keeps getting new friends.
The lack of Resistance is a common thing, but
still the worst a card can do; the bittersweet aspect is
that Resistance isn’t all that potent to begin with so
having it is just a nice bonus and not a major
The Retreat Cost of three is hefty; most decks already
run at least one way of lowering/bypassing manually
retreating, and that makes this sting less.
Plus the Retreat Cost makes
legal target for
has two attacks, both of which require a good amount of
The less expensive attack is Hex, which does 50 points
of damage plus another 50 if the Defending Pokémon is
afflicted with a Special Condition.
The (PCC) cost means you’ll need some serious
Energy acceleration to get this off in a single turn,
but this card does have options to do just that.
The thing to remember is that even an “easy”
three Energy cost is still a three Energy cost, and most
attacks that expensive need to average about 90 points
of damage per hit to be competitive… so ultimately it’s
an underpowered attack.
For an additional Psychic Energy you can use the
“big” attack, Shadow Claw.
It hits for 90 points of damage and discards a
random card from your opponent’s hand.
This is overpriced; while discarding can
backfired, that isn’t the issue; the problem is by the
time you’re investing four Energy into an attack, you
need to be hitting triple digits for damage.
impossible bad, though, as the damage is still in 2HKO
must rely heavily on its Team Plasma status; access to
Colress Machine and
Deoxys EX for pumping up damage.
While also technically Team Plasma Support,
is a must and
Virbank City Gym a pretty obvious follow up.
I wonder if the new rules have led some to more
success with this card.
Overall this card has a lot going for it because
of synergy; four
Deoxys EX jacks the damage from Hex to 90/130, and
since you should be using
at least on its own, now it’s an effective 90/140 unless
facing Weakness, Resistance, or an effect that blocks
140 for three Energy on a 130 HP body isn’t too
shabby, even if it requires a lot of set-up, and if we
can add in
Virbank City Gym for an extra two damage counters
and top it all off with
even Psychic Resistant Pokémon-EX are in OHKO range.
Of course, that is what it could do
I don’t know if it is being used
what about the rest of 2013?
It was still one of the first Team Plasma big,
Basic Pokémon we received and
debuted in BW: Plasma Storm (alongside the
initial allotment of Team Plasma support), so this was a
card that made an impression and saw some play.
For Unlimited, I would stick to something simpler (for
raw damage) or something more complex (if we are trying
to abuse Special Conditions); and of course this is
after deciding not to go the route of a First Turn Win
or Lock deck.
Probably not something I would bother with
because other cards “do it better”.
For Limited play, this was (is?) a good pull even
a little support makes even better.
Yes, you weren’t guaranteed a good way to inflict
Special Conditions, but in Limited play everything else
about this card becomes better, including the second
attack, easily justifying running this in a deck; just
don’t get cocky and try to run it with just 39 Energy on
Unless you just can’t afford to run some
cards, this should be in your deck (unless you pulled a
big Basic worth running with 39 other non-Pokémon
is a card that didn’t make a huge impression, but
apparently it made an impression on some.
It is an example of good card design… not for
making something super-competitive by modern standards,
but for how a more balanced format might look.
If it wasn’t for tricks like
you would have a big Basic Pokémon that needed some time
to come online… meaning we could have our first turn
attacks back if that kind of “designed speed limit” was
Despite (sort of) illustrating a card design concept
I’ve been trying to communicate, this card didn’t make
my own Top 10 list, nor did it make my expanded Top 20
list (I had a lot of honorable mentions).
I was honestly surprised to see it, but I did
forget that it was significant in a least a few early
Team Plasma builds.
#10 Giratina (Plasma Storm)
Hello and welcome to our annual countdown of the best
new cards to be released during the year. The
Pojo reviewers submit their
own top 10 and Pojo himself
works out the final list based on the submissions.
We kick off with Giratina
from Plasma Storm. Ok, I admit, I was somewhat surprised
to see this make the list at all and never really
considered it myself. I don’t even recall seeing it
played very much but . . . well, perhaps there is
something I’m missing here. For sure, it’s not a
terrible card. Giratina is a
Plasma Pokémon and so well supported by the likes of
Colress Machine. It has a
very healthy 130 HP for a non-EX Basic and the attacks
are at least decent, if somewhat expensive. Hex in
particular can be a very effective attack when used with
Hypnotoxic Laser and
Virbank City Gym, and Shadow
Claw does the ‘magic’ 90 (two-hit KO on an EX) with a
nice hand disruption bonus.
On the other hand, being reliant on the Laser/Bank combo
to make a relatively high cost attack work isn’t ideal,
and neither is that Darkness Weakness considering how
prevalent Darkrai EX has
been and continues to be. There’s definitely material
there to work with but for one reason or another it
hasn’t made that big of an impact this year. Even after
another look at the card, I’m still not convinced by it.
Modified: 2.5 (Honestly? I think there are
cards that missed out on the top 10)