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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Top 10 Plasma Storm
#1 - Hypnotoxic Laser

- Plasma Storm

Date Reviewed:
February 15, 2013

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 4.50
Limited: 5.00

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 Hypnotoxic Laser 

So . . . we come to our number 1 card. The card that has generated hype and fear in equal measure ever since it was first translated from the Japanese spoilers. It’s called Hypnotoxic Laser, but I shall call it HTL for short. 

HTL is a Trainer-Item card with two simple, but potentially devastating effects: firstly, when you play it, the opponent’s Active Pokémon is Poisoned. Secondly, you get a coin flip and, if heads, that Pokémon is also Asleep. Effects that add damage have always been extremely good in the TCG, basically because they allow you to achieve KOs that are beyond the reach of your standard attacks. Think of PlusPower, Expert Belt, Crobat G, and even the Jolteon* that helped Jason Klaczynski win Worlds in 2008. Well, HTL is like these things only much, much better. 

Put it this way: at worst this is a PlusPower, getting you 10 extra damage as the Poison kicks in. Except it’s even better than that because it forces your opponent to switch out their Active to prevent them taking even more damage after their turn, which gives HTL a nice little disruptive edge. But there’s more: play this with the new Virbank City Gym Stadium and any Poison damage is increased by 20, so now it’s like three PlusPowers plus disruption. Don’t ignore the Sleep factor either. Yes, it only has a 25% chance of sticking, but when it does it will give the opponent real problems: if they have no way to switch out their Pokémon, it’s going to be a heavily damaged sitting duck on your next turn. 

The only playable decks in the format that wouldn’t benefit from running HTL are Lugia-EX decks which have to take a KO from attack damage to activate their Ability. Everything else would love that plus 30 damage and disruption effect for the price of a Stadium and a Trainer card. However, it is doubtful whether evolution decks like Blastoise/Keldeo or Klinklang would be able to find any room for more than a copy or two. The decks that are going to benefit most from HTL are those Big Basics decks that have space for 30+ Trainers and can devote 6 spaces to HTL and Virbank Gym. That’s a frightening prospect, as those decks are already very strong. With HTL, Darkrai-EX can now hit for 120 +30 to a Benched Pokémon. Add a Dark Claw and it’s doing enough to OHKO a Blastoise. Tornadus-EX can now do 90 damage on the very first turn of the game. A turn 1 Landorus-EX means 60 +30 . . . scary, no? 

HTL is going to change the way the game is played. Cards that will enable you to retreat out of Poison/Sleep will be mandatory (Switch/Keldeo) and all damage calculations will be altered by the fact that the opponent can now do an extra 30 out of nowhere. This is a card that you will be seeing a lot of as long as it remains legal. 

Just be grateful that they put a copy in each of the set’s theme decks, so its price won’t ever rise to that of Pokémon Catcher. 

Rating 

Modified: 4.5 (a game-changer, if you can fit it into your deck, do so)

Limited: 5 (your best friend in a low damage environment where Status Conditions are more effective)


Otaku

 

At last we come to the final card in our countdown of the Top 10 Promising Picks of Plasma Storm.  That card is Hypnotoxic Laser (BW: Plasma Storm 123/135).  I can say with all certainty the following:

 

I’M A’ FIRIN’ MAH LAZER!

 

Stats

Hypnotoxic Laser is a Trainer, specifically an Item.  This allows you to play it alongside as many other Items, one Supporter, and one Stadium with a new name on your turn.  Normally such a statement would be for the sake of thoroughness, but I will tell you now that this card is significantly enhanced by its combo opportunities, opportunities which would not exist if this effect was the result of most other card classifications.

 

Hypnotoxic Laser is also a Team Plasma card.  This mostly serves to make Team Plasma look good for having something this nasty, but it does allow it to work with one or two of their current support cards (click here for an article about the Team Plasma cards), none of which I am overly thrilled with.  It is still worth noting, especially as we get more Team Plasma cards and support, which will improve what we already have as well as providing many new options.

 

Effects

Hypnotoxic Laser has the effect of automatically Poisoning the Defending Pokémon, with a required flip to inflict Sleep on the Defending Pokémon as well.  In case anyone is still confused, the Poison is guaranteed, the flip is only for inflicting Sleep.

 

This is a great effect; it works as an enhanced PlusPower in many ways; Poison damage doesn’t care if the attack actually does any damage at all, it just won’t give you a bonus for hitting Weakness and multiple copies won’t stack.  There is also the chance of extra, lingering damage and of course Sleep, making it clearly superior in almost all situations.  Just remember that the odds of the Sleep sticking are low.

 

Usage

Hypnotoxic Laser is not a new deck staple for Modified, but it is quite close.  It falls somewhere between Pokémon Catcher (which you should always run at three or four unless you simply don’t have that many) and Crushing Hammer (good to try and squeeze in at least one as TecH, with several decks using it heavily as a major part of their strategy), at least where those cards were before BW: Plasma Storm released.  Pokémon Catcher is still as much a staple as ever, but Crushing Hammer is being muscled out of several decks for Hypnotoxic Laser; creating effective OHKOs results in discarded Energy, after all.

 

The many attacks myself and other reviews have pointed out that barely missed the OHKO or 2HKO can now hit it thanks to Hypnotoxic Laser.  Yes, PlusPower allowed that as well, and can stack with itself, but Hypnotoxic Laser has Virbank City Gym, which ultimately proves far more effective in most situations.  Virbank City Gym increases the damage counter placement done by Poison by two.  A fairly simple two card combo where the Stadium has a solid chance of being re-used, yields three damage counters to doubled-up copies of PlusPower yielding only an extra 20 points of damage.

 

Even non-damaging attacks like Junk Hunt, the infamous attack on Sableye (BW: Dark Explorers 62/108), can enjoy this; constantly reclaim Hypnotoxic Laser and one other Item, and keep Poisoning whatever your opponent throws at you.  You won’t usually save that Sableye (unless of course the rest of the deck is built for disruption as well) from being KOed, but now your follow up attacker has a much easier time taking out the Defending Pokémon.

 

You don’t have to run Hypnotoxic Laser with Virbank City Gym, and even when you do, two copies of both may be enough.  If you’ve got room, more copies of Hypnotoxic Laser are usually welcome, but as we all know spare copies of a Stadium are just that; spare.  They are important if you opponent starts discarding Virbank City Gym from play but otherwise are discard fodder.  Thanks to the popularity, much like when Skyarrow Bridge was in fashion, you’ll have the chance to use your opponent’s Virbank City Gym for your own Hypnotoxic Laser, further lessening the need to run a lot.

 

Now for some important but minor issues: a “new” Poisoning replaces an older one.  This can cause issues for a Pokémon like Crobat (BW: Plasma Storm 55/135), which causes multi-damage counter Poison even without Virbank City Gym.  You either have to skip Hypnotoxic Laser or be careful while using it as well as risking it being a dead card.  You also have to be careful with your math; if you already have a 2HKO and the extra damage isn’t going to result in a OHKO, don’t waste the cards!  Even if you need the combo for a 2HKO, save it for the final blow; better N shuffles them back into the deck for later than wasting them before an opponent drops Max Potion.

 

This card is why Keldeo EX (BW: Boundaries Crossed 49/149, 142/149), Darkrai EX (BW: Dark Explorers 63/108, 107/108; BW Promo BW46), and a source of (D) Energy will be a common sight.  Not all decks can use that, but one of the two Pokémon is quite handy, and can be supplemented with Switch and/or Escape Rope.  Some decks will also just rely on the Items; that combo has some fringe benefits, but for the space it entails in a deck that has no other reason for running a source of (D) Energy or Darkrai EX, you can fit in a lot of Items.

 

In Modified, if a deck has room it will be packing Hypnotoxic Laser.  Many but not all of those will also be running Virbank City Gym.  Get used to it.  In Unlimited, I am kind of stumped.  It could help a first turn win or certain lock decks, but can also be completely unnecessary (or at least only needed as a fallback option).  If you are encountering something other than those two classes of deck, the Hypnotoxic Laser can bypass the infamous Focus Band as well as Baby Rule.  At least Limited is quite simple; you pull this, you run it!

 

Ratings

 

Unlimited: 1.75/5

 

Modified: 4.5/5

 

Limited: 5/5

 

 

Summary

Decks that have room will be running Hypnotoxic Laser unless they hit so crazy hard they don’t need the extra damage or some similar exemption.  Expect to be seeing it a lot, and definitely get yourself a play set.  Fortunately a single copy is included in either of the BW: Plasma Storm Starter decks.

 

Hypnotoxic Laser was unsurprisingly my number one pick for the set.


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