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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Top 5 Reprinted Legendary Treasures Cards

#5 - Keldeo EX 

- Legendary Treasures

Date Reviewed:
Nov 11, 2013

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 4.38
Limited: 4.98

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

#5 Keldeo EX 

Hello and welcome to our countdown of the top 5 reprinted cards from Legendary Treasures. Doing reprints raised a few issues when compiling the list – should we just include the cards that are flat out best (even if they were already legal), or concentrate on the ones whose return to the format would be most significant? In the end, we ended up with a bit of both. 

Keldeo EX falls into the former category and has an interesting history in the TCG. On first release it was the primary partner for Blastoise BCR, but only a set later it found itself playing second fiddle to Black Kyurem EX and its unstoppable OHKO power. The real game changer for this card came with the release of Float Stone. The combination of that Tool card with Keldeo’s Rush In Ability meant that it could be used to retreat any Pokémon from the active slot and then retreat itself so you could promote your preferred attacker. This is incredibly useful in a format where the opponent can drag up heavy retreat Bench sitters (Blastoise, Garbodor) to try and buy a turn or two with Pokémon Catcher, but it really comes into its own as a way of dealing with the Status Conditions inflicted by Hypnotoxic Laser. If your Pokémon won’t wake up or is about to die through Poison damage going into your opponent’s turn, then Keldeo EX/Float Stone is your perfect solution. 

Thanks to this Ability/Tool combo, Keldeo EX has become a feature in a lot of decks besides the obvious, and this is one sign of a very good card. It has been used as a counter to Gothitelle/Accelgor Paralysis Lock decks; as a way of retreating Kyurem PLF so it could use Blizzard Burn on consecutive turns; and in order to Retreat Pokémon to be charged up by Eelektrik NVI in the previous format. Really though, Keldeo EX can, and has, done a job in virtually any deck that isn’t exclusively made up of free retreaters who are immune to Status Conditions (Genesect/Virizion/Skyarrow?). Please note, I’m not saying that Keldeo EX should be in every deck, just that it is a card that can go in just about every deck and be useful. 

You can’t ask for much more than that, really. 

Rating 

Modified: 4.5 (very good attacker in its own deck, very high utility tech almost everywhere else)

Limited 5 (Oh, you’ll be playing this if you pull it)


Otaku

For many of our readers, today is a holiday.  In the United States, it is Veteran’s Day; a day to remember and show appreciation to both fallen and surviving members of our armed forces.  According to Wikipedia (a phrase that always makes me nervous) it is also Remembrance Day in the Common Wealth of Nations, which has the same purpose.  Closely related to both is Armistice Day, which commemorates the agreement that officially ended the hostilities between the Allied Forces of World War I and Germany.  Angola and Poland are also celebrating their Independence Days.

 

Welcome to the Top 5 Reprints of BW: Legendary Treasures countdown!  As this was a reprint heavy set, a Top 10 list of newly released cards was going to come out skewed while ignoring impact of several cards that had just rotated out but were restored to legality.  The rule change that went into effect November 8th, 2013 also is likely to shake up the format, so it seemed quite justified.

 

While selecting my picks, I chose to focus on cards that were not already legal.  Normally I wait until the end of the review before I comment on whether or not a card was part of my list, but I just confirmed that Keldeo EX didn’t make my list; it had not rotated out.  That does not mean the card is not worth looking at – like many cards the changes mentioned above will have a significant but perhaps subtle impact.

 

Keldeo EX remains and impressive, Basic Water-Type Pokémon-EX; nothing has happened to diminish the significance of its Stats, though that is not all good.  Its Weakness, which was once negligible, finally has some impressive Pokémon exploiting it (Genesect EX and Virizion EX), though at least the primary strategy for the VirGen deck built around the two means the Weakness wouldn’t matter (G Booster is used to deliver an attack that ignores Weakness but is still a OHKO).  So while Weakness now matters, it still isn’t crippling.

 

Keldeo EX remains a solid attacker (in general) and a great attacker for Blastoise (BW: Boundaries Crossed 31/149; BW: Plasma Storm 137/135; BW: Plasma Blast 16/101) decks, though Black Kyurem EX (BW: Plasma Storm 95/135) is often used as the primary attacker.  Even without it, Keldeo EX usually shares the spotlight with something else: Mewtwo EX, Suicune (BW: Plasma Blast 20/101), etc.  Rush In (its Ability) is what causes it to see wide spread use now; when Keldeo EX debuted, you still needed something to get it out of the way unless you wanted to attack with it instead; there were options but all tended to be a bit clunky (Darkrai EX and a source of Darkness Energy) or finite (Switch).

 

BW: Plasma Freeze brought us Float Stone two sets later.  As long as you can keep a Keldeo EX with a Float Stone attached on your Bench, you get a “free Switch” once per turn.  The quotation marks are because it is not truly free (I just stated you needed a Pokémon-EX and a Pokémon Tool) and it isn’t really a Switch (you’ll have to give up your manual Retreat for the turn unless you want to leave Keldeo EX active or play an actual Switch).  Each part of the combo is vulnerable – Pokémon can be KOed, Abilities can be negated, Items can be blocked, and Pokémon Tools are vulnerable to Tool Scrapper.

 

This at last brings us to the changing format and how it impacts the usage of Keldeo EX.  Virizion EX provides an alternative to dealing with the Special Conditions we used to rely on the Float Stone/Keldeo EX combo to deal with in many decks.  This won’t affect most decks, but it does affect a few, and the prominence of VirGen decks could impact how much Hypnotoxic Laser is played overall; again, not a huge difference, but still worth noting.  More pressing is the erratum to Pokémon Catcher; now that it is less reliable so even if everyone continued to try and run it as much as they one did you’ll need an answer to it less.

 

The way people adjust could actually make Keldeo EX less useful.  Some decks may shift focus; if you can’t reliably hit the Bench, just dedicate those slots to something almost as useful.  Just building your deck to be more aggressive, so that you can push for the win without worrying about what you’re attacking, is an option.  Other decks may use the space to work in counters for other concerns, to try and gain advantage in other areas as compensation for being unable to reliably disrupt the Active/Bench dynamic.  More Tool Scrapper is one such consideration.

 

Lastly there is one of the things prompting the rise in Tool Scrapper use; Garbodor (BW: Dragons Exalted 54/124; BW: Plasma Freeze 119/116; BW: Legendary Treasures 68/113) was already a good partner for many Pokémon, winning some events.  There are quite a few potent decks that were established before the rules change that are diminished if not crippled without access to Abilities, and the lack of attacks first turn coupled with the erratum to Pokémon Catcher makes it likely we’ll see even more, be they new or improved Stage 2 decks or just Bench-sitters like Mr. Mime (BW: Plasma Freeze 47/116).

 

So for Modified, Keldeo EX remains a strong card but its exact future is uncertain; what I’ve mentioned could send its general usage into a cyclical pattern (counters rise and its usage falls, its usage falls so counters fall, its counters fall so its usage rise, repeat) or there may not even be enough variance to justify a cycle and it will be a deck-by-deck comparison.  Some of those counters even balance each other out – Garbodor decks don’t like Tool Scrapper either.  Keldeo EX won’t lose its place in Blastoise decks regardless, and I am only allowing for a slight downturn in general usage with more “Oh, you are so lucky you could Tool Scrapper my Float Stone!” scenarios.

 

For Unlimited, things probably haven’t changed much.  No attack first turn eliminates some First Turn Win decks and diminishes all of the ones I can think of… but probably not enough to eliminate them.  No more using Overconfident from Sableye (DP: Stormfront 48/100) to finish off something you’ve whittled down by spamming Flash Bite from Crobat [G] (Platinum 47/127).  You still have access to Broken Time-Space to Evolve first turn, Porygon2 (DP: Great Encounters 49/106) and its Download Poké-Power to spam Seeker (clearing your opponent’s backfield while bouncing Crobat [G], Scoop Up, Super Scoop Up, TEAM GALACTIC’S INVENTION G-105 Poké Turn (all three for more spamming of Flash Bite), and the Trainer infrastructure of Unlimited to get all of those cards to hand.  All of which means… if you don’t go the (now less dominating) FTW route, it remains one of the best attackers for Rain Dance/Deluge style decks.

 

For Limited… is this a must run?  Yes, though it isn’t quite as simple or foolproof as you might expect.  If you’re fortunate enough to get some BW: Boundaries Crossed to play with, or only slightly less fortunate to be playing in a Limited event with BW: Legendary Treasures, both sets have enough “good for limited” Grass-Type Pokémon to punish you for trying the “+39” strategy with Keldeo EX.  Even under the new rules, your opponent gets at least two attacks in before you can hit back, unless you are crazy lucky (theoretically you might pull, run, and successfully use Ether or Double Colorless Energy, depending on the set).  Even without Weakness and assuming your opponent has nothing large enough to avoid being OHKOed, your opponent can get off up to five attacks before you take four Prizes.

 

I would still do it and just realize I am not invulnerable and that I auto-lose if my opponent drops Golduck (BW: Boundaries Crossed 35/149) with its Amnesia (and the single Water Energy it needs to use it) or Sigilyph (BW: Legendary Treasures 66/113) with its Safeguard Ability.  If you end up actually building a fleshed out deck, Keldeo EX works with anything and everything, at least that you should consider running.  While these concerns are indeed unlikely, they are still legitimate (who doesn’t try and run Sigilyph if they pull it but not a big Basic worth going the +39 route?) so I am shaving off a one-twentieth of a point.

 

Ratings

 

Unlimited: 3.5/5

 

Modified: 4.25/5

 

Limited: 4.95/5

 

 

Summary

Keldeo EX will remain “very good” unless I completely missed something about the shifting metagame, and likely remain “great” and a must play for several decks.  This status comes through combos with other cards, be they Float Stone or Blastoise, and as we receive more and more potent cards (and most avoiding rotation via reprint) I am reluctant to score it that much higher.  It has many peers and even several superiors in the attacking department, with even the deck that allows it to hit the hardest still using it more for the Ability than the attack.

 

If you weren’t paying attention, this card didn’t make my Top 5 because I made the conscious decision not to include cards that hadn’t been cut by rotation, as their reprinting was less significant even if such cards weren’t necessarily as “good” as some of the other reprints.  Ignoring that completely and purely considering how effective a card is in the current environment and Keldeo EX would likely have placed no lower than third.


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