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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Latias - EX  

- Plasma Freeze

Date Reviewed:
May 31, 2013

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 2.50
Limited: 4.00

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

Latias-EX (Plasma Freeze) 

We end the week of near misses (more to come next week though!) with a look at Latias-EX. Yes, the ever-popular Lati twins make a return to the TCG, which is sure to please their many fans. More to the point, will it please people who enjoy winning at the card game? 

Well, Latias-EX is an EX Pokémon with 160 HP. Not sure why they felt the need to cut back on the usual 170-180, but they did and it will make the KO maths slightly more favourable for the opponent in certain circumstances. It’s not a dealbreaker though, and neither is the Dragon Typing or the nice single Energy Retreat cost.  

Latias-EX comes with a seemingly useful Ability, Bright Down. This prevents all effects of attacks, including damage, done to her by Pokémon with Abilities. Why does this seem useful? Well, think of the popular Pokémon that can’t touch Latias (unless Garbodor shuts off the Ability, of course): Darkrai-EX, Keldeo-EX, Lugia-EX, Mew-EX (in Gothitelle decks) . . . great, right? Uh, I guess . . . until you think of the many more popular Pokémon that aren’t affected by Bright Down at all: Kyurem PLF, Mewtwo-EX, Rayquaza-EX, Landorus-EX, Cobalion-EX, Absol PLF, Black Kyurem-EX, Accelgor (in Gothitelle decks). I think we are starting to get the picture, and it’s not a pretty picture for poor Latias-EX. Practically every single deck has a very easy answer to her Ability. 

I guess you could pair Latias with Sigilyph DRX, whose Safeguard Ability protects it from EX attacks, but then most decks are packing an answer to that too these days. In fact, cards like Kyurem and Absol from PLF don’t care about either. It doesn’t help that Latias has a pretty atrocious attack either. The incredibly awkward cost of one Fire, one Psychic, and one Colourless Energy gets you a mere 70 damage that is unaffected by Weakness, Resistance, or any other effects on the Defending Pokémon . . . so she can’t even take advantage of her Dragon Typing when attacking other Dragons who can hit for Weakness against her. 

I’ve seen a couple of attempts to try and make this card work, but I honestly don’t think it’s viable. Practically every deck has an answer to the Ability, and the attack is downright awful. I would call the card overrated, but honestly, I don’t think she’s fooling anybody. Maybe there will be a combo she fits into sometime in the future, but for now . . . back in the binder. 

Rating 

Modified: 1.75 (weak lock, rubbish attack)

Limited: 3 (you won’t get much use from the Ability, but the big HP probably makes her playable) 


Otaku

Welcome readers; as you have probably noticed by now, I seem to be missing a lot of reviews lately.  This is in part because I have to move soon, and so I simply can’t justify the time it takes me to write one of my reviews very easily.  For those who enjoy my reviews, sorry to disappointment.  For those who don’t like my writing, guess at least one thing will be going your way.  For those that just don’t care… well either you skipped this or you really do just not care one way or the other.

 

The actual card we are looking at today is Latias EX (BW: Plasma Freeze 85/116, 112/116)!  Let’s see if we can work out whether or not this card should have made the Top 10, or was wisely left behind by the collective review crew.

 

Stats

 

Miscellaneous: Pokémon-EX is Pokémon-EX; obvious and yet so easy to forget when evaluating the specifics of a card.  The number of Pokémon-EX counters has also increased, though most of the “new” stuff isn’t overly impressive, and as we’ll see several won’t apply to this particular card.

 

Type: Latias EX is a Dragon-Type – this Type has some support, but said support hasn’t held up well; still better some than none.  Dragon-Type Pokémon never have to worry about (natural) Resistance but all share the same Weakness to each other, at least on everything released so far.  This can create some interesting scenarios based on a Dragon-Type; some hit so hard (or soft) that Weakness seldom if ever matters, while others enjoy hitting a sweet spot where 2HKOs become OHKOs or the like.  Latias EX, again taking into account factors we haven’t discussed yet, unfortunately won’t benefit from hitting Weakness and wouldn’t have had to worry about Resistance anyway, so it doesn’t seem to take advantage of its Typing.

 

Stage: Basic Pokémon still seem to rule the roost, though Evolutions have started making some progress again.  Hard to tell how much of that is due to the shifting metagame and how much is due to players choosing to keep back their decks for Nationals and Worlds and either not play in the Spring Battle Roads at all, or enjoy trying out experimental decks.  Regardless, that doesn’t change that Basic Pokémon are still the most efficient to run plus enjoy added support that is almost totally lacking for Evolutions.

 

Hit Points: 160 HP is a bit unusual for a Pokémon-EX.  Most have 180 HP with 170 HP being the next most common.  Only one other has 160 HP - Ho-Oh EX – and the rest have had even lower scores (which have made them very difficult to use).  Yet 160 HP is the maximum printed on Stage 2 Pokémon, and will often survive a hit.  So overall it is adequate or a little good, but compared to similar cards it is a bit low.  Plus… once again a later part of the card will skew this, so read on.

 

Weakness: I touched upon this under Type since for Dragon-Type Pokémon, the two are intertwined; Dragon-Type Pokémon are all Weak to Dragon-Types.  The ones that see the most play tend to be heavy hitters like Rayquaza EX and Black Kyurem EX (BW: Plasma Storm 95/135), where the Pokémon in question is likely scoring a OHKO before Weakness is applied.  Most other Dragon-Type Pokémon either follow suite or else hit for smaller amounts that won’t be quite so drastic, though it can be troublesome if your opponent can “sacrifice” two Basic Dragon-Types to evenly trade for Latias EX.  Rayquaza (Dragon Vault 11/20; BW: Dragons Exalted 128/124) can do that with its first attack, plus its second attack is a rare example of something that jumps from 2HKO to OHKO range.

 

Resistance: No Resistance is the worst Resistance; I understand that this seems to be an intentional design decision, but I don’t have to like it and neither do you.  It does keep things simple, so some may prefer it.

 

Retreat: A single Energy Retreat Cost is still very good; this is low enough to usually be affordable, and any form of Retreat Cost lowering effect will zero it out (like Skyarrow Bridge).  Nothing seems to have changed to make getting the right Pokémon into and out of the Active slot less important, so it is useful having a Pokémon that won’t require you run more than the “usual” amount of cards to aiding with or bypassing your manual retreating.

 

Effects

 

Ability: Bright Down, which I just realized I had been misreading for about the last month as “Bright Dawn” (ouch) is the best reason this card gives to play it; if a Pokémon with an Ability attacks Latias EX, Bright Down blocks not just damage, not just effects, but both.  This is huge, because we have a format where several important decks are going to struggle to get around Bright Down.  It doesn’t elevate the card to the top of the food chain, though, as there are several primary and secondary attackers that lack Abilities.

 

Attack: Barrier Break is good, but not great; for (RPC) Latias EX can hit for 70 points of damage, about 20 below the “going” rate for three Energy and it even requires two different Energy Types.  The effect is worth it… some of the time.  Barrier Break ignores Weakness, Resistance, and other effects on the Defending Pokémon.  As a Dragon-Type, ignoring Resistance is useless and not hitting Weakness hurts, but bypassing effects like Safeguard and Plasma Steel is very, very useful.

 

Synergy: Bright Down and Barrier Break work together to turn Latias EX into a decent tank; the damage output isn’t huge but it is reliable and the protection is either obviously going to apply or it won’t.

 

Usage

 

Combos: As having anything else in play allows the opponent to attempt to bypass Bright Down by simply using Pokémon Catcher, it is risky to combine Latias EX with other, Bench-sitting Pokémon.  If you are still using Hydreigon (BW: Dragons Exalted 97/124) it might make for a good attacker; Blend Energy GRPD and Prism Energy would both meet either specific Energy requirement of the card’s attack but still count as (D) while in play so that Dark Trance could move the Energy about.

 

Otherwise I would go with a minimalist approach, and maybe pair the card with Sigilyph (BW: Dragons Exalted 52/124; BW: Plasma Freeze 118/116); the goal would be to keep whichever Pokémon in play that your opponent couldn’t damage.  Unfortunately Energy acceleration would then be limited to Exp. Share, Energy Switch, and Ether/Pokédex, which doesn’t sound promising.  Decks recently have diversified in the attacker front, making it unlikely you’ll be able to wall the entire game, or even restrict an opponent to weaker attackers.

 

Future: I believe Latias EX will be greatly enhanced next format; the reason for this is that there is an upcoming Pokémon Tool that blocks damage done by Team Plasma Pokémon.  Combining that with Sigilyph (and its Safeguard Ability) will wall off all but a few attackers we currently see or expect to see then.

 

Ratings

 

Unlimited: Pokémon Powers (as well as Poké-Powers and Poké-Bodies) don’t count as Abilities, so right there the bulk of the older card pool is unaffected by Bright Down.  This is before factoring in that we wouldn’t be using Latias EX as part of a first-turn-win deck, other than a questionable “donk” style deck shooting for a FTKO.  A bit of a shame, as this format would have allowed you to block Trainers and thus include Bench-sitters to help Latias EX out. 1/5

 

Modified: Abilities show up often enough that I won’t write this card off, but the influx of Team Plasma Pokémon have given most decks a solid attacker to fall back on to get around Bright Down, as well as the usual Hypnotoxic Laser combos.  The card definitely needs partners, because the decks that get around Bright Down do so thoroughly. 3.25/5

 

Limited: You could choose to run this card with just 39 Energy but I don’t recommend it; 160 HP will last for a bit, but remember it will take three turns to build up Barrier Break.  Even if the lower average HP scores cause Barrier Break to score OHKOs, your opponent will have at least five turns to attack… meaning they need to average just a little over 30 points of damage per shot to win.  Sometimes it will work, sometimes it won’t, plus as you’ll have to run two Types of Energy you might also lose because all of one Type is buried in your deck.

 

Run backing something else, and even if you don’t have the right Energy Latias EX serves as a good “emergency wall”; something you can throw up when your opponent drops that lucky pull of their own with an Ability.  As there isn’t Pokémon Catcher in the set and the Retreat Cost is just one, you shouldn’t have to worry about Latias EX getting stuck up front.  If Latias EX can actually attack, that is even better.  5/5

 

Summary

Latias EX shows promise, but BW: Plasma Freeze shifted the metagame to the point that more and more decks will get around Bright Down.  Sigilyph and its Safeguard became so important when players assumed no one would run something like Quad Sigilyph at an event, and it was considered more important to run other cards than make sure decks had a non-Pokémon-EX attacker.  That seems less likely here, but still possible.  After we get the next set, my Theorymon prediction is that we’ll see at least a few “Wall” decks for which this is a major component.

 

I actually had Latias EX as my number 10 pick, and it is good the others must have rated it lower.  It is a good card, just outclassed by at least 10 others in the set.  I will also mention that I have resumed selling off my various collectables on eBay again, some of which is Pokémon.  Click here to see what is currently available.  Pojo.com is in no way responsible for any transactions, and merely kind enough to let me link to my auctions in my articles.


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