Welcome to Runners-Up Week, where we
look at five cards that made some of the
reviewers’ lists from last week’s Top 10
Promising Picks of Plasma Storm… but not
enough to make it into the actual Top
We begin with a card we’ve talked
about quite a bit while reviewing
several of the last two week’s picks:
Virbank City Gym (BW: Plasma
Virbank City Gym
is the least played and run of the three
major divisions of Trainer, the Stadium.
Stadiums special in that they
almost always provide the same effect
for both players and that they remain in
play in a shared Stadium position
There can only be one Stadium out
at a time; if either player plays a new
one, the old is discarded.
You also can’t play a Stadium
with the same name as one currently in
play, and you may only play a single
Stadium during your turn.
Only a few effects can discard Stadium
cards, and I don’t believe any of them
are currently Modified legal except for
what is built into the Stadium mechanic
Only a few Modified legal cards
reference Stadiums in their effects, and
all are enhancements to the attack as
opposed to something that affects
The only one of note is the
Tornadus EX (BW: Dark Explorers
90/108, 108/108), whose Blow Through
attack hits for 60 (instead of 30) when
a Stadium is in play; a great bargain
Virbank City Gym
causes any Poison ailment to place two
extra damage counters between turns.
It has been ruled that this is in
addition to whatever amount of counters
the Poison condition would place, so any
form of Poison now places at least
three, and the very nasty attacks that
place two, three, or four now place
four, five, and six.
I don’t believe there are any
stronger forms of Poison, but if there
are, but if there are they also place
whatever they say plus two.
This is a fantastic effect, well worth
running in almost any deck that makes
use of Poison damage.
amounts to a “double
PlusPower” for such decks.
only drawback is in a format where all
decks are relying on Poison damage, as
you will risk providing your opponent
that same benefit.
This gets to be tricky when some
decks are able to rely on others to run
Virbank City Gym “for them”.
We’ve had some Special Condition
boosting Stadiums before like
Full Flame (EX: Legend Maker
74/92), and they an adequate amount of
Boosting Poison in the manner of
Virbank City Gym is more potent
since there is no other combo required
to guarantee said damage:
Full Flame caused Burn to place four
damage counters and prevented Evolution
or Devolution from removing the Burn
It didn’t guarantee the damage,
so besides needing something that
inflicted Burn, there was always a 50%
chance no extra damage would be done.
Hypnotoxic Laser, any deck with room
for a few Items can reliably inflict
Poison, and the two cards together yield
the same effective damage bonus as three
PlusPower, barring exceptions such
as hitting Weakness (damage from
PlusPower would be doubled, Poison
damage counter placement of course is
not) or using the combo with a
non-damaging attack (PlusPower
cannot add damage to a non-damaging
attack, but the combo will still result
in damage counter placement).
Our format was already full of decks
that were nearly OHKOing or 2HKOing most
Pokémon; surviving a turn will be even
more difficult now.
Decks will need to include
countermeasures to this combo; first
expect all decks to have several cards
to enable changing out of their Active
It might be,
Darkrai EX (BW: Dark Explorers
63/108, 107/108; BW Promo BW46),
Keldeo EX (BW: Boundaries Crossed
49/149, 142/149), increased usage of
Escape Rope, with combinations of
the preceding quite likely.
As such, what I would have expected to
be the most prominent beneficiaries of
Virbank City Gym, the Poison-Type
Pokémon (usually represented by part of
the TCG Psychic-Type) are actually on
the fringe; their tactics of relying on
Poison for the bulk of their damage is
sabotaged by decks that are using
Hypnotoxic Laser and
Virbank City Gym as a triple
You simply cannot expect a
Poisoned Pokémon to stay Poisoned most
of the time.
I expect many a deck will be able to
spare room for a 2-2 pairing of
Hypnotoxic Laser and
Hypnotoxic Laser proves useful
enough on its own (and will be run at
more than two if room permits) plus
sometimes you will be able to keep
Virbank City Gym in play more than
one turn for re-using it or use your
Stadium wars will happen, but the
format does not lend to the larger scale
ones from the days of
Scott; decks will probably only have
room for two, not the three, four, or
sometimes more than saw play around the
Scott was popular.
I don’t expect this to be as important
in Unlimited, but my information on this
format is very sketchy and unreliable at
the moment (sadly, for some time now).
Rulings for this format are not
high priority and are still pending, or
have been misunderstood by some.
For that matter, opponents are
unreliable and testing it is not high
priority for most (including me).
best guess is that if the
first-turn-win/lock decks remain
dominant, this card won’t be needed.
In Unlimited, there are cards like
Windstorm a (retroactively declared)
Item that can discard a Pokémon Tool, a
Stadium, or both at the same time, as
well as several cards that can (or flat
out do) block some or all kinds of
Trainers; the latter both helps and
Virbank City Gym.
The combo with
Hypnotoxic Laser might be overkill
here though the Poison from
Hypnotoxic Laser can bypass what is
so far still the best Pokémon Tool ever
In Limited, it all depends on having
something that can actually use it.
There is one other Stadium in
Plasma Frigate, but it requires
Plasma Energy to gain its effect…
but that effect does negate the Weakness
on a Pokémon with a
This is tempting to run as a
counter-Stadium, but not advised; odds
are low that you’ll encounter someone
Plasma Frigate and
Plasma Energy in their deck that
also have a Weakness to enough of your
attackers to matter and will get it all
out at the same time.
Special Conditions are always at a
premium in Limited; expect to Poison in
multiple matches even though only a few
cards in the set can inflict it.
So don’t use it as a
counter-Stadium, but definitely run it
if your own deck can inflict Poison…
just don’t drop it too soon lest it be
turned against you or discarded by
Virbank City Gym
will be a must run for several decks,
but not all.
Some decks already hit so hard
that it is too inefficient at raising
damage to be worth the space, and while
it is part of a potent combo,
Hypnotoxic Laser carries the bulk of
their combined power.
Virbank City Gym as the 11th
best card of the set; on its own it
would have been a very interesting card,
but it always needs partners to do
anything more than bump another Stadium
Even its rank as my number 11is
Hypnotoxic Laser, though it wouldn’t
only drop two or three places at most