Once again it is time to dive into a new
set, and we begin with our Top 10 picks
from the set.
Officially, I am calling them my
“Top 10 Promising Picks of Plasma
Storm”, but I think I am alone in that.
The list is not mine alone: as
usual Pojo solicited lists from all the
Card of the Day reviewers,
out the results to compile a master
Our number 10 pick is
Black Kyurem EX (BW: Plasma Storm
Before we even get into the meat
of the card itself, it is already
noteworthy as there is no Full Art
received this card as part of the “Black
Kyurem EX Battle Strength Deck”.
Normally a section I would put in later
as a catch all, in Pokémon the kind of
traits listed here often affect the
entire card so we’ll lead with it.
In this case it is pretty obvious
it is a Pokémon-EX: the very name
references it while the spot that would
normally have Pokédex-style flavor text
instead has the basic rules text
reminding you that this Pokémon is worth
two Prizes when KOed.
Pokémon-EX pretty much
format, though not without help, and
more than one has failed to secure a
place in a deck, or at least in a deck
Black Kyurem EX is a Dragon-Type
Pokémon, allowing it to hit all other
Dragon-Type Pokémon for double damage
due to Weakness, and so far nothing is
Resistant to Dragon-Type Pokémon.
This is actually pretty well in
line with the video games; there
Dragon-Type attacks only hit Dragon-Type
Pokémon for double damage.
Steel-Type (Metal-Type) Pokémon
in the video games do take only half
damage from Dragon-Type moves, but as
the TCG only allows one Resistance on a
card; it a conscious design choice, but
it is uncertain how long it will last.
In terms of support, the Dragon-Type has
Altaria (BW: Dragons Exalted
84/124; BW: Boundaries Crossed
152/149; BW Promo BW48) and
Gabite (BW: Dragons Exalted
The former is a Stage 1 with
(Fight Song) which adds +20 damage to
the attacks of your Dragon-Type Pokémon.
The damage boost only applies
against Active Pokémon, but multiple
instances of “Fight Song” will stack,
increasing the damage bonus accordingly.
Gabite in question is an Evolving
Stage 1 who’s Ability (Dragon Call)
allows you to add a Dragon-Type Pokémon
to your hand once per turn.
Again, this stacks in that each
Gabite with Dragon Call may be used
once during the turn.
Neither of these two have proven
been useful enough to maintain a
presence in the competitive scene, but
are still worth noting; they may just
lack the correct partner.
As a non-Evolving Basic Pokémon,
Black Kyurem EX enjoys many benefits
in this format.
Fundamental mechanics of the game
result in Basic Pokémon being faster
into play and less resource prone than
Evolutions, and if that weren’t enough
there are even multiple cards with
benefits that apply only to Basic
Black Kyurem EX sports the maximum
HP score seen on Pokémon-EX: 180.
This is higher than any printed
Wailord (BW: Dragons Exalted
26/124) and several other Pokémon-EX.
Even without additional support,
only the biggest attacks are going to
Black Kyurem EX outside of its
This allows you to throw it up
front with as much confidence as you can
afford this format.
The Dragon-Type Weakness actually isn’t
too bad; the simple fact is that it is
still the newest Type having only been
officially introduced in the west in
BW: Dragons Exalted.
While most fully Evolved
Dragon-Type Pokémon (yes,
that includes non-Evolving Basic
Pokémon) can OHKO
Black Kyurem EX due to the Weakness,
not every deck is packing such a
hardest hitters just save on resources,
such as needing to discard Energy, if
Few see a dramatic shift such as
going from a 2HKO to
No Resistance is the worst Resistance:
sometimes this is justified because the
video game Types don’t line up with the
Kyurem EX is based off of a
Dragon/Ice hybrid in the video games,
however, and of the three video games
Types it Resists, one (Electric) is an
easy TCG conversion (to Lightning-Type).
Given that no Dragon-Type
currently has Resistance of any kind,
this is almost certainly an intentional
balancing agent, but I do wonder if it
The chunky Retreat cost of three is hard
to pay and debilitating even if you can,
so pack something to lower your its
Retreat, bypass manually retreating
whatsoever, or to build your deck so you
Black Kyurem EX being stuck in the
It isn’t all bad news, however;
Black Kyurem EX a legal target for
Heavy Ball, and as a Basic Pokémon
it is a “one and done” deal.
Slash in the TCG has always disappointed
In the TCGs, it is a pretty
straightforward move, but in the video
games this simple attack has an
increased likelihood of scoring a
“Critical hit” for double damage.
Black Kyurem it simply gives an
inadequate 60 points of damage for
(CCC); 20 or 30 points shy of where it
needs in order to be competitive.
The cost is also slow without
Black Ballista is the card’s big attack:
(WWLC) plus a three Energy discard buys
a massive 200 points of damage; without
protective effects nothing survives that
in the TCG, and even with them the list
of competitive examples is short.
It isn’t an easy cost to meet;
is always a challenge and here it
requires to different, specific Types.
T of the requirements are (W) and
one is (L), restricting the acceleration
options and if you can’t accelerate the
card risks being KOed before it can
attack at all, let alone use Black
The attack isn’t based on anything from
the video games (to my knowledge), but
it does a decent job of reflecting the
Black Kyurem of the video games.
There it has a Base Attack score
of 170 that surpassed only by Deoxys
(Attack forme), and a still quite
impressive Special Attack of 120
(average for fully Evolved Pokémon is
83, and the max is 170).
Slash exists so you have an option if
you can’t afford Black Ballista, but
suffers for multiple reasons.
Black Ballista hits so hard that
it shouldn’t need lead in or follow up
Slash is thus wasted if you
aren’t KOing something with it, or
setting up to KO something with a
follow-up Slash the next turn.
As stated, both attacks really need
Energy acceleration to be accessed in a
timely manner; this restricts what decks
can effectively run
Black Kyurem EX and further reduces
how likely you are to access Slash
significantly before Black Ballista.
Black Ballista has a single (C)
Energy requirement, making the wide open
(CCC) cost of Slash almost useless.
A more specific and thus
expensive Energy cost could have given
us a Slash that was much more useful.
Of course if the card proves good
enough, Slash may be an intentional bit
There are many cards with
Kyurem in the name, but only one
Black Kyurem EX: BW: Boundaries
Crossed 111/149, 145/149).
It has the exact same stats and
actually similar attacks.
The first requires (LCC) and
still only hits for 60, but you get to
flip a coin and Paralyze the Defending
Pokémon on “heads”.
The second attack requires (LLWC)
and deals 150 points of damage, but has
the drawback of stating you can’t use
said attack again next turn.
With BW: Plasma Storm, I actually
believe the BW: Boundaries Crossed
Black Kyurem EX is worth
City Gym combo, hyped since it
and which we reviewers have already
brought up numerous times, looks to be
more than just hype.
If it proves strong enough, it
would allow the older version of
Black Kyurem EX to use its second
attack for a OHKO against anything
lacking special protection and with 180
or less HP… which is most of the format.
Fortunately despite the seemingly
similar Energy costs, that single Energy
difference in the big attack – a second
(L) instead of a second (W) – means they
really shouldn’t be used with the same
back up, so I don’t believe they will
ultimately clash for deck space.
There is also a card that references
Black Kyurem EX;
While attached to a
Black Kyurem EX it sets its maximum
HP to a staggering 300.
As it is hard to recover and too
easily lost to
Tool Scrapper, I do not consider it
worth your Ace Spec slot unless it is
the only Ace Spec card you own.
Black Kyurem EX is set to become the
new clutch attacker in
Blastoise (BW: Boundaries Crossed
Keldeo EX (BW: Boundaries Crossed
49/149, 142/149) is already fantastic; a
Pokémon-EX you can drop from hand, load
with Energy, and if you have enough (W)
Energy potentially OHKO anything in the
Its Ability also makes it easy to
get into the Active spot, making
surprise drops a reality.
Black Kyurem EX seem redundant;
Keldeo EX can already score OHKOs
Black Kyurem EX requires running
Blend Energy WLFM,
Prism Energy, or basic
Lightning Energy cards in the deck…
Blastoise can’t accelerate via its
You’ll have to manually retreat
(or run and use a card like
Switch) to get a surprise
Black Kyurem EX you drop the Bench
active as well.
How can it be worth the effort?
Losing a completely uninjured
Pokémon-EX, possibly one sporting an
Eviolite or being boosted by
Aspertia City Gym (but not both) is
quite a shock for most decks.
Keldeo EX requires foolish amounts
of Water Energy to it to reach that
Due to how its attack works,
Keldeo EX can’t hit 200 even, but
190 points of damage requires seven (W)
Energy attached, while 210 requires
This in turn makes
Keldeo EX a
OHKO for a
Mewtwo EX (BW: Next Destinies
54/99, 98/99; BW Promo BW45), and
devastating to lose even through the
Black Kyurem EX
has to be used carefully, but when it is
the return is worth the hassle.
One use of Black Ballista can
cripple an opponent’s set-up, and taking
down a rival Pokémon-EX will ensure
breaking even in terms of Prizes.
Doing that for (WWLC) instead of
(WWWWWWW) finally starts making sense.
Any extra shots after that are
still expensive, but quickly add up.
Three shots are unlikely, but if
each hits a Pokémon-EX you’ve just won!
Black Kyurem EX also is harder for
Mewtwo EX or Grass-Type attackers
Keldeo EX and
Blastoise are Grass Weak) to deal
decks largely just need to tweak what
they already run to incorporate
Black Kyurem EX.
Energy Search allows
Skyla to grab a lone basic
Lightning-Type Energy, and
Energy Retrieval can add it from the
discard to the hand no problem.
Revive can allow a lone
Black Kyurem EX to be used more than
Super Rod can accomplish both of the
above, provided you have the draw search
power to get the desired card(s)
targeted back from the deck.
One could build a donk deck around
Black Kyurem EX, but unless your
area is obsessed with lesser played
decks, it is a lot of work for very
The presence of “the Baby Rule”
Focus Band, coupled with the
significantly lower HP of older cards
makes it bounce between the extremes of
overkill and near OHKO.
All this is before factoring in
first turn win and lock decks.
Seems like more trouble than it
This is not a good candidate for the
infamous “39 Energy + Basic Pokémon”
deck, as it is too slow to build up and
Black Ballista may not be powered up in
time for a finisher (or emergency shot).
Unless you built up surplus
Energy beforehand, you also won’t be
able to attack the turn after Black
Ballista, even with Slash.
A lucky pull (and successful
Ether could speed things up, but not
The good news is that
Black Kyurem EX is still a must run;
it just has to be worked into whatever
else you are running.
Slash isn’t good enough to back a
solo deck, but should often allow
Black Kyurem EX to at least break
even before being KOed.
If your deck allows you to run
the needed Energy for Black Ballista,
that is just a sick bonus.
Black Kyurem EX
is essentially a weapon for Deluge
decks, possibly a few others that can
use less reliable combos to quickly
power up Black Ballista for an almost
guaranteed OHKO, even against other
It likely won’t replace
Keldeo EX as the main attacker, but
Blastoise decks likely will need
only a single copy, saved for OHKOing
problem opposing Pokémon or simply to
push for two last Prizes a little more
reliably than with
Keldeo EX itself.
On my own list,
Black Kyurem EX actually clocked in
at the number nine spot.